Verispellis Skis & Snowboards Utilize Nitinol to Change the Sport Forever

Helena Guglielmino |
Verispellis will change the technology of skiing and snowboarding forever, photo from Verispellis website

“Verispellis may be the most innovative concept since shaped skis were developed in the late 80’s/early 90’s.”
Armenian Weekly 

We’re nearing the end of skiing/snowboarding as we know it. We are carefully guided to the future of the sport by Verispellis Skis and Snowboards. The company is unveiling boards that are made with a metal called Nitinol. With Nitinol, Verispellis skis and snowboards will be able to transform their shape via Bluetooth.

Nitinol, or Nickel Titanium, is commonplace with the founders of Verispellis, Ara Nazarian and Ken Rodriguez. Both work at one of the Harvard Medical School teaching hospitals in Boston – Nazarian is an orthopedic scientist and Rodriguez is an orthopedic surgeon and engineer – and frequent a ski hill in New Hampshire. The pair bonded over their love of skiing, but found a common pain point: the day would often start out icy but would turn into a mush after lunch. Something needed to happen and then, “one day we asked ourselves, why can’t we use [Nitinol] in skis to allow us to control the stiffness of our skis?”

They set to work, eventually creating a prototype (patent pending) that places a thin sheet of Nitinol between the traditional wood and fiberglass layers of skis and snowboards. Nitinol is a unique class of shape memory alloy whose cells are superelastic, essentially making them malleable with a memory. Basically, changing the temperature of the metal changes the crystal structure of it. At lower temperatures, its cells become a weak form, called Martensite, that is “easily deformed into a new shape”. When the metal reverts to a higher temperature from, called Austenite, it “recovers its previous shape with great force”.

Nitinol diagram illustrating the change in structure due to temperature, photo from Research Gate

Verispellis will allow users to change the heat of the Nitinol metal sheets within their boards through their smartphones. The skis and snowboards will have an electric heating element, powered by a battery, within the boards. The heating element will be able to communicate with the smartphone through a wireless Bluetooth. This means that users will be able to control the stiffness of their boards with the touch of a button. On days where ice turns to cottage cheese, Verispellis riders will be able to enjoy every turn. “We figured we’d consolidate a quiver into a single pair of skis that could handle different conditions by making the skis softer or stiffer as dictated by the conditions,” explains Nazarian.

Though the company seems illusive still – due to a lackluster online presence – they have wrangled the interest of Alpine Ski Racer and San Francisco native, Arman Serebrakian. Serebrakian will be skiing exclusively on Verispellis Skis during the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Verispellis means “shape-shifter” which is why the company mascot is a werewolf, photo from Verispellis’ Twitter

I have a million questions and some reasonable doubt about this new technology. The only given is that skiing and snowboarding technology has significant growth potential. Shredding might look a lot different in 2018 and beyond.

Skis are available for pre-order February 1st, 2018. Contact Verispellis for more information.


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