A Reader Has Discovered A Perfect Ski For Seniors.  Here’s His Story.

Portland-based ON3P are hand made. And you can customize. Credit: ON3P
Portland-based ON3P are hand made. And you can customize.
Credit: ON3P

Editor’s Note:  We received this ski review from Seniorsskiing.com subscriber Tom Levak, an enthusiastic skier who skis in the Portland, OR, area and also hits Mt. Hood every summer.  As far as we know, Tom is not associated with ON3P; this is an example of how our readers can contribute to our editorial content.  This is not an ad or sponsored content. Just an attempt to expose our readers to other readers’ favorites. We love the idea of a “reader-reviewer”.  If you have something to review, let us know at [email protected], and we’ll get back to you.

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First, my qualifications: I’m a 77-year old Level III+ male skier and Level II snowboarder. Before I moved to ON3P Kartels, most recently, I was on Volant Chubbs, then Salomon Pocket Rockets, then Atomic Bentchetlers. I was on the snow 50-plus days last season and, in the summer, I go up to the Mt. Hood’s Timberline Palmer lift every two weeks or so.

Now then, here’s my opinion about the ON3Ps: it’s the best ski on the market for anyone, but, in particular, senior skiers.

In 2006, Scott Andrus, the ON3P founder, who started skiing at age three in Vail/Beavercreek, was a college sophomore, majoring in biology. That was when he decided that he could build a ski that was better than any on the market, even though he knew nothing about building skis. So, in 2008, he graduated and set up a 220 square foot factory in his garage and got several of his ski friends to help him put it together. He had no money, so he and most of those who helped him spent hundreds of hours sleeping on couches in the garage. Don’t laugh, but it took him ten months just to figure out how to build a ski press. Ultimately, by the end on his first year, he had built 53 different skis, all with their own characteristics and graphics, and by the 2008-09 ski season, he had talked amateur and professional friends to test them all on Mt. Hood. They loved most of them (some of them not so much).

By 2009, he was marketing several skis, and of course he had some problems, such as when Scott USA sued him for naming one of his skis “The Great Scott.” He just changed the name to “Cease and Desist.”

Over the years, Scott’s Portland factory has grown into a super facility, located in a manufacturing strip mall. A couple of months ago, Scott took me for a tour, which was pretty darn impressive, and a hell of a lot of fun (Do you like bidets? One of the bathrooms has one). Each room of his operation is a separate part of the process. And every ski is hand-built by employee friends who love their work—there’s no contracting out.

All of their skis are fiberglass/carbon with FCS certified bamboo cores. Of course, they manufacture all types of skis, but the shop’s all-weather favorite is mine too: The Kartel. ($799.00 with free shipping on domestic orders.) They also custom manufacture to your personal specifications. Because Mt. Hood has every kind of weather and snow, I’ve skied the Kartel on everything, and I can say, unreservedly, that it does everything: It holds tight on the hard stuff, floats in the powder, and turns like a dream. With its twin tips and center balance, I was even able to easily ride them switch (backwards).

I could load up a bunch of photos with this review, but there’s really no point, you can just go to shop.on3pskis.com and take an on-line factory tour. Or you can take a demo tour on the slopes. Check for demo dates for 2016-17 season here. Facebook is ON3P Skis. The factory itself is open 8a.m. to 5p.m., Monday through Friday. If you’d like to take a personal tour, Scott would appreciate it if you would call ahead at 503-206-5909. When you arrive, he’ll be the first person you see, sitting at his desk, working on the design of his next ski.



  1. Hard to read your article with the 70+ Ski Club thing blinking on the right. Could have been an interesting article too. A shame really.

  2. richard meyer says:

    Hardly a review. The comment, “It’s the best ski on the market for anyone” is ridiculous because all generalizations are wrong.

  3. Peter McCarville says:

    I guide and teach senior skiers for a living and it is rare that even one of my guests/students can tip a ski that is over 90 mm, underfoot, on edge. I find it hard to imagine that most seniors can tip a ski of this width, even in powder. The Kartel is huge underfoot (116 mm) and not what most of my clients need nor care to ski.

    In addition, I will casually add (this could be a huge topic of debate and discussion) that this is probably too much underfoot for most skiers, in that carving a turn (actually skiing vs the sliding around people are now calling skiing) is very difficult if not impossible on such a fat ski.

    I do not doubt that these skis are of high quality. Many small, handmade skis are being made around the west are of high quality. And the price for this handmade ski is more reasonable than most.

    And, I am glad this skier found his perfect ski. However, I have my doubts and from my experience would not put the average senior on a ski like this.

    I am glad they have a demo days calendar and would encourage everyone out there to ski as many types of skis as possible. Finding what is right for you is the name of the game.

  4. I was the one who gave Tom a factory tour here at ON3P, so just wanted to clear up one aspect of his posting.

    First – Tom – very glad to hear you are enjoying the skis. We feel the Kartel line, particularly the updated Kartel 98 & 108 (and the 106 you are currently on), are great everyday skis depending on your need & location. Most everyone at ON3P skis the Kartel 106 or 108 as their everyday ski.

    Second – if I recall correctly, the skis in question were a pair of Kartel 106, not Kartel 116, so our West Coast all-mountain variant of the Kartel line, not the Kartel 116, which is our powder specific Kartel variant.

    I suspect that, as the Kartel 106 is no longer offered and has been replaced with the Kartel 108, the confusion on the ski came from that change on the website and the fact that the Kartel 106 is no longer available.

    From the ON3P line, for most senior skiers, I would lean more towards the Kartel 98 as it is easier to get on edge, rounder in its flex, and lighter than the other two variants, though stronger skiers in heavier snowpack, like Tom, would see the additional benefits of the widers the Kartel 106 or Kartel 108 variants. That said, our line is tailored to a more aggressive skier, regardless of age, so for those who need something a bit easier to ski, a different brand/model is likely a better option.

    Either way, really glad you are enjoying the skis Tom! If I can ever be of help in the future, just give us a call. Thanks!

    • Michael Maginn says:

      We just heard from Tom Levak, the author of the article. His comment: “Wise comments from the Grand Master of ski making. Really.”

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