“What the hell?” It’s a common reaction to a pair of skis that can best be described as a set of kayak paddles with ski bindings. The skis in question, dubbed “The Oar,” are just one of many recent prototypes to emerge from ON3P’s molds.
Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, ON3P (pronounced “Oh-en-three-pea”) makes “normal” skis too, but it's their fearless leaps into the abstract that set them apart. Abstract? For starters ON3P runs an annual “Worst Topsheet” contest where neon ferret-laden skis become reality. The unconventional nature ON3P embraces carries over to their ski design as well.
SKIING caught up with Tych to get an insiders view on the ideas behind some of their more peculiar experiments.
“There’s a lot to be said for sitting at a bar, drawing on napkins and thoroughly thinking out a design.” Says ON3P’s Production Manager Rowen Tych. “Taking the bold step by exploring and testing stuff to answer your questions puts you on the frontier of research and development. There’s so much that hasn't been tried yet.”
Tych cites the small size of ON3P as part of their creativity. “It's cheap for us to prototype since we don't have expensive aluminum molds or a board of directors worried if research will be applicable to a specific market of skiers - we're really just a bunch of skiers at the heart of it, only difference is our ability to actually make the crazy ideas you get when you love skiing.”