Bentley’s skis take four-wheel drive to the slopes
Inspired by a collection of Bentley’s most celebrated and recognisable cars, the Bomber for Bentley Centenary Edition 84 ski combines world-class engineering with alpine aesthetics
Expertly and exclusively handcrafted in Cossato, Italy to the highest Crewe, England standards, the new all terrains-capable Bomber for Bentley, Centenary Edition 84 ski is precision engineered like one of the marque’s luxury four wheel drive Bentaygas. Constructed from an all-wood core and a pre-bonded ABS sidewall, then finished in shiny carbon steel, the ski’s laminates conceal diamond-shaped, 24-karat gold-plated, performance-enhancing inserts. Just 100 pairs will be made.
‘As a brand, Bentley likes things to be beautiful but also functional; engineered and detailed to the next level,’ explains Chris Cooke, lead designer at Bentley Motors. ‘So this project was never going to be a simple aesthetic exercise – say, a standard ski with a simple 2D graphic applied to it.’ With each ski requiring 32 hours of labour to produce per piece, says Cooke, it was vital that the design and engineering of the ski had to work to the same basic philosophy as Bentley’s.
The cutting-edge 3D geometry on the surface of the Bentley ski, for instance, not only creates a dramatic look but concentrates material strength around the areas where support and response are needed most by the skier. ‘This creates a design execution that has never been seen before and an experience for the user that surpasses all expectations.’
Accents of aluminium on the ski’s tips and on its iconic Winged B logos recall the brushed interior surfaces of Bentley grand tourers, the gold detailing nods to the precious metals on the Bentley EXP 100 GT concept car, while the six, gloss black-finish, raised diamonds call to mind the upholstered tessellation of the car’s leather seats. But there is, insists the designer, a genuinely technical connection to these materials, stiffening up the ski, minimising vibration and improving damping. ‘Incorporating walnut or leather, just for the sake of it, wasn’t an option.’
Bomber skis principal Bode Miller, the USA’s most decorated skier, was a key collaborator and advisor during the gestation of the ski’s development. ‘I didn’t have any background in ski design – which I actually think ended up being a huge advantage and gave me a fresh outlook on the design process,’ says Cooke. ‘But Bode was involved in the design of the Bentley Centenary Edition 84 ski at every step of the way recommending technical stuff like parts of the ski that needed more strength and structural support.’
Not having any preconceptions about how a ski should look or perform, Cooke travelled to the Bomber ski factory near Biella in the northern Italian region of Piedmont to discover a collection of artisans, craftspeople and winter sports lifers who shared the passion, standards and philosophies of the Bentley workforce back in Cheshire. ‘I knew the partnership was going to be a success as soon as I opened up the doors to the Bomber factory’s wood shop,’ says Cooke with a smile. ‘It had exactly the same smell and atmosphere as the wood room at the Crewe factory.’ §