Scott Evans is a fanatical skier. He skis alpine and telemark and goes from mountain to mountain having his runs filmed by several different video production companies.
But these days, the actual ski runs haven’t been dominating his life as much. Instead, the last four years, he’s been concentrating more on what goes on back at the lodge, the cabin or the bar.
Evans, out of Sandpoint, has invented a brand new type of shot ski. Shot skis are simple products that make the act of simultaneous drinking even more coordinated: attach a few shot glasses on a snow ski, fill them with booze and then let multiple winter drinkers tilt the whole contraption back, chugging in festive harmony. They can be relatively crude devices, with the shot glasses screwed, superglued, duct-taped or velcroed on.
But Evans has engineered something more sophisticated.
“OK, now let’s talk about the Shotzski,” Evans proclaims on his website, Shotzski.com. (Note the extra Z.) “The Shotz has gone twenty seven steps beyond the traditional shot ski, and opened up a whole new realm of artistic madness!”
Instead of shot glasses, he’s designed, patented and outsourced the manufacture of tiny plastic ski boots, complete with graduated ounce levels. The plastic boots slide easily on and off pre-fitted bindings on the shot skis he sells, letting them pop in the dishwasher for easy cleaning. He calls them the “Rolls Royce” of shot skis.
When Evans skies at Schweitzer, and at mountains throughout Utah, Colorado and British Columbia, he always brings a small stock to display. Mostly, that’s the extent of his advertising. But it’s worked.
“You know, it happens every single time, somebody sees it for the first time,” Evans says. “The word out of the mouth is ‘holy shit, that’s cool.’” Clients began posting pictures of their skis on their Facebook pages.
“People saw my little prototype I was cruising around with,” Evans says. “Now it’s turned into a full-time job with orders coming in all over the world.”
The skis, customized and easily branded with company logos, aren’t cheap, he readily admits. Even the cheapest in-stock version begins at $155 per ski and quickly climbs to over $250.
Usually, they’re people with disposable incomes, the type who regularly shell out money for heliskiing.
Most buyers want three or four. He sold 40 or 50 in the first year. The next year he sold 150. “It’s basically been doubling or tripling or quadrupling every year,” Evans says. This year, he says, the Shotzki was publicized in an article in Powder magazine, potentially boosting his traffic even more.
Still, Evans admits there’s a downside to the popularity. If the success of his business starts cutting into his ski time, he says, “I’ll be a little upset.”