The brainchild of Olympic ski champion, Antoine Dénériaz, DÉNÉRIAZ uses exclusive technologies and high-end materials to create bespoke skis and ski apparel that stand the test of time.
Not only are the cutting-edge skis beautiful, elegant and refined, but also extremely fit for purpose having won awards for their capabilities out on the pistes.
Handmade in small quantities, DÉNÉRIAZ skis, helmets and goggles proudly stand for authenticity, quality, and functionality. FOUR speaks to founder, Antoine about his journey from Olympic gold medal winner to champion ski manufacturer…
Can you explain about your background and how you got into your line of work?
I am a former professional Alpine Skier. I did world cup downhill racing for just over ten years, and during that time, I won the Olympic Games in Torino in 2006. I stopped skiing professionally in 2007, and a few years later, I decided to focus on my own ski apparel brand.
I launched the business in 2009 with ski helmets and goggles but have since gone on to produce my own line of bespoke skis. It was actually after I met Alain Zanco – who was producing his own handmade skis from a small factory in France – that I was really inspired to start creating skis. When Alain decided to sell the company in 2018, I bought the tools and machinery in order to be able to produce my own skis on-site there and continue flying the flag for his factory.
What was the inspiration for creating DÉNÉRIAZ?
Apart from being a way of working after I stopped skiing, it was an idea that I had always had at the back of my head. It started as a project, but after a few years and all the people I met, I forged something I was proud of. When I met Alain…, it was the moment that propelled the project into the company it is today.
My main inspiration for the company is to create an excellent product. When I was racing, I was thinking about how to develop skis or ski apparel that people would like to have. I don’t want the products to be mass-produced; I want to create small-batch, handmade items that tell a story and can be cherished for a very long time. In the same way that a Michelin star chef would choose ingredients that are the best, the freshest, and the most seasonal, we do the same with the skis – we choose the best fibreglass, the best wood etc.
We are trying to create a unique, luxury product you can’t find anywhere else. The skis are limited in production and Made In France, so the price also reflects the high-quality product people are investing in.
Can you describe the brand and its products in a few words?
Elegant, Excellence, Perfection. Handmade and Functional.
Do you have a signature style?
We are becoming increasingly recognised even though we are still a young brand, which is an excellent sign that we are achieving what we set out to do. We are recognised for our materials, not just the fashion and design element, but for the premium quality materials, we use for the skis. This is probably our signature style, along with using many skilled marquetry techniques.
How important is it for you to champion local artisans, craftsmen and components?
Yeah, keeping it local is really important for us. Our factory makes 100% of the skis, so everything is made in-house. For the materials, around 80% of the components come from the region in France where we are based, and for anything else, we try to source as close to us as possible when we can. The intention is to keep things close and local because we can also forge a community like this.
What makes DÉNÉRIAZ different from other ski apparel brands, in your opinion?
We are different because we are hand-making the skis in our factory in France. They are made one by one, and we only make 30 skis per month, which is a very small and exclusive production. There is a lot of intention behind each pair, and every set of skis comes with a serial number, making it feel like a collectable item and not just something you bought from any shop.
They are just as much of a keepsake as a nice watch, car or even piece of art.
We also offer a unique maintenance service where we do a ski MOT after each winter to make sure they are in the best working condition.
What have you been working on recently?
We are pushing our collection forward and improving on what we already have. We are also driving the fact that we can personalise the skis and custom-make them to any requirements a client may have. We also have colouring and knitting carbon fibre techniques, which can be exclusively used for a bespoke design.
Recently, we have also been experimenting with gold leaf and producing some really cool designs.
Do you oversee the production process?
I am involved in the whole production process because I enjoy seeing it go from idea to end product. I work really closely with our graphic designers and product designers throughout the entire design of the collection. Likewise, when we create tailor-made designs, we all have meetings together – myself, the client and the designers to come up with the best idea for their dream ski apparel.
To browse the beautiful ski apparel from DÉNÉRIAZ, go to www.deneriaz-ski.com
Images – ©MarcMuller_Studio404