Quebec’s small-batch Xalibu Skis evolve as the East’s top backcountry boards
Xalibu is a Mi’kmaq word for caribou, meaning ‘one who walks on snow’. Since 2012, Xalibu (note the capital X) has become synonymous with fun, lightweight, high-performance, backcountry ‘skis that float on snow.’
Alexandre Vézina and Maxime Bolduc first came across the word ‘xalibu’ eleven years ago when they were looking to brand their brand-new ski company. The pair had met while studying adventure tourism at College Mérici in Quebec City. A modern-day Renaissance man, Alex had previously studied industrial design and worked as luthier building and repairing violins. Upon graduating the dynamic duo worked in a mountain co-op where they also got to test all the latest gear. But the more skis they demoed, the more they realized that no one was building a ski that actually met all their needs. Especially, when they were putting themselves and their gear to the test hiking up and skiing down Quebec’s Chic-Chocs.
From Noodle to Feathery Light & Fun
Determined to make things right, they set up shop in a barn, and began designing and constructing their own skis. Alex’s first pair were about as stiff, heavy and nimble as concrete slabs. His second pair, though considerably lighter and more flexible, skied much like wet noodles. Clearly, they had some work to do. Undaunted, they spent three years conceiving, designing, building and testing more skis. In 2012, they built their first Xalibu: a ski as durable as ferro-cement, yet so feathery light and fun that it actually let them float and dance on snow. Which just goes to show you what a skilled craftsman can do when he knows how to make wood sing.
Xalibu has since established itself as Quebec’s first dedicated backcountry ski manufacturer. Now headquartered in Rimouski, the company’s mission is to become a mountain sports leader focused on making fun, high-performance skis and then constantly innovating to improve them. They’re also committed to sponsoring athletes and events.
Six Models, Aztec Cosmetics
Xalibu currently builds six different models: four for men and two for women. They test all of their skis in the Chic-Chocs, where the snow can be as challenging as it is bountiful. And where lines can get super gnarly superfast. All Xalibu skis are built around a laminated core of 100% pure, Quebec poplar. They also use a semi-cap construction and have rockered tips and tails and a fully cambered waist that measures anywhere from a spry 95 mm to a whopping 112 mm. Their new, eye-grabbing, Aztec-inspired cosmetics stand out anywhere, indoors or out. According to Alex, every Xalibu ski is designed and built to handle any snow condition you’ll find in the East. From impenetrable Eastern boilerplate, through breakable crust to bottomless Gaspé pow and even — the horror! — immaculate corduroy. As importantly, they’re so light, you’ll expend less energy hiking up, so you’ll have more in store when you zip back down.