It’s been just over 10 years since the very first Kingswood prototype was cracked from the mould. We’ve come a long way in that time, but some things haven’t changed a bit. We still choose only the best materials for our hand made skis. We still champion simple, solid construction. And we still love watching each pair take shape and be passed into the hands of their new owners.
After 14 back-to-back winters roving from Canada to Europe to Australia, Alex Herbert discovered New Zealand. He fell in love with the Canterbury club ski fields and made Lyttelton, New Zealand his home in 1997.
In 1999, he started a repair workshop, the Ski & Board Surgery, in central Christchurch and it quickly became the city’s busiest workshop.
When fat skis appeared in the late 1990s, Alex wanted them bad, but they were scarce.
Eventually, he took matters into his own hands. Taking his knowledge from 14 years at the ski repair bench, Alex set to work.The first step was to take his favourite (and only) pair of skis and cut them into 86 pieces. Now he was committed.
The first press was made from two pieces of rolled steel sandwiched together with car jacks. Though the start was rough, the aim has always been to make the best skis possible. Alex was convinced skis could be simpler, stronger, more durable. And so he experimented until he got it right. The first ski was good, ski-able and strong. The hard part wasn’t making a ski… it was making a great ski. That took three more years.
Kingswood Skis hit the market in June 2005 but the search for perfection continues. New shapes are constantly added and old ones tweaked. The process is continually improved.
Alex still makes each pair himself and runs the business with his wife Kris. “We have no aspirations to be giant – just to be great,” Alex says.
For the last two years, Christchurch has been rocked by more than 9,000 earthquakes. The biggest of those took the Kingswood factory and family home. We’ve set-up in alternative locations and we’re working hard – like the rest of the city – to carry on and rebuild.
The support we received from new and past customers during this time has been overwhelming and we’re very grateful to everyone in the Kingswood community.