Technology

Close up of someone building a ski

Technology & innovation

Bode working on a ski in the shop

Discover KeyHole Technology™

KeyHole was born from jury-rigging. A ski builder during Bode’s World Cup days cut through a metal laminate to affix a pair of damping plates to some GS skis. That cutaway created an inflection point in the flex that allowed for forgiving turn entry and powerful edging from the void back. Bode immediately recognized the advantage—and won the GS Crystal Globe on ’em.

We incorporate a similar cutaway into every Peak ski. We call it KeyHole Technology™. It unlocks a ski’s potential. And it will unlock your potential too.

Unlocking performance with KeyHole Technology™

Like all World Cup stars, Bode had his pick of skis. But as he was culling the fleet in the lead-up to the 2003/2004 season, he stumbled upon two pairs of GS skis that just felt fast.

Because the forebody of the ski was more compliant, it was easier for Bode to throw them across the hill before the gate. But where edging matters most—from just in front of the bindings through the tail—the skis felt “stacked” in Bode-speak. Meaning the torsional rigidity was properly tuned. When it was time to rail, Bode could hook up without scrubbing speed. On flatter sections, thanks again to that compliant shovel, he could maintain a tuck while turning, whereas his competitors had to stand up to muscle out arcs—catching wind in the chest.

In a deep field, Bode won the ’03/’04 World Cup GS Title—the Crystal Globe. “I wasn’t the fastest GS skier in the world,” he says. “I just had faster shit than anyone else and I knew it.”

What Bode didn’t understand, though, was what exactly made those skis so damn fast. But for the rest of his career, Bode designed GS skis to try to match that winning flex.

Sure, you might say, Bode is a one-in-a-million athlete, and it’s true, he can drive a golf ball dead straight 280 yards—with his weak hand. But we have ski racing’s equivalent of a double-blind study to look at, too. Years after Bode switched companies, a fellow racer saw those winning skis gathering dust in a European race room. The edges had been tuned away to the thickness of wire. “Grab them,” said Bode. “Those are the fastest skis I’ve ever had.”

On his first GS race with the worn boards, Bode’s pal—who’d never cracked the top 10 in GS—set the day’s fastest time. But he pulled an edge in the process. The metal was so thin it just snapped. Between runs, he tucked the edge back in, swapped his left ski for his right and won his first World Cup GS. At the next GS, the story was the same. It was another win, but both sets of skis were trashed. He never podiumed in another GS.

Years later, Bode got those skis back and, Bode being Bode, cut them open to investigate. That’s when he saw that a ski builder back in Europe had cut away a small patch in the top layer of alloy just upstream of the bindings as a makeshift fix to glue two finicky damping plates to the ski. The cutaway created a subtle inflection point in the ski’s longitudinal flex allowing for that easy turn initiation and smearing up front, but it also unlocked the ski’s torsional power where it mattered most, from the cutaway back, where most of our edging happens.

Based on years of Bode's subsequent tinkering, Peak’s proprietary KeyHole Technology™ is an oval cutaway in the upper layer of alloy of every Peak by Bode Miller ski. Like the best innovations, it's simple. But the benefits are wide-ranging: On-trail, it’s easier to vary turn shapes because of that forgiving forebody. Off-trail, because the KeyHole™ allows us to reduce the sidecut of our wider skis, they track better in soft, crusted, and unconsolidated backcountry snow. What's more, no matter where you ski or at what speeds, the KeyHole™ supersizes each ski's sweet spot (balance point) at every length. They’ll feel at home on your feet.

As soon as you arc or smear a mellow turn, the difference becomes clear in a hurry. But you won’t understand the KeyHole’s full potential until you push the ski to your limits. It’s then that the KeyHole™ unlocks that “stacked” torsional rigidity that Bode felt all those years ago. We call this “accessible power.” The skis know how hard you’re charging and, like a sophisticated mountain bike suspension, respond accordingly.

On the hill, Peak skis equipped with KeyHole Technology™ are loose and smearable when you’re backing off the gas or slashing turns in the trees, but when it’s time to achieve high-edge angles, push into big sweeping arcs, or flat-out ski like you’ve got places to be, there’s enough oomph there to push back. That’s why we say KeyHole Technology™ looks a lot like the future of ski design.

Skier slashing a pow turn on a big alpine line

Radius is just a suggestion

While KeyHole Technology™ lets us elongate the radius by multiple meters “on paper,” in reality, our skis execute easy short-swing turns too. But when you take them off-trail in powder, crust, and crud, there’s less of that “hooky” hourglass shaping that wants to turn when you don’t.

Peak 98
25 M Radius

How we calculate radii

The ski industry is full of bogus metrics. Take those flex indexes on ski boots for example. A “130” stiffness isn’t even consistent within each boot company, let alone between different brands. It’s a sales tool.

Something similar is at play with turn radius designations. The numbers are derived from static geometry–meaning they tend to only be true on paper. With Peak, the turn radius we publish is just a suggestion. Our multi-radii sidecuts let you lay down a range of arcs because that’s how skiing works in the real world.

This versatility all circles back to KeyHole Technology™. Because Peak skis are more compliant in the shovel we can elongate the sidecut radius by multiple meters “on paper.”

Note the ironic quote marks. Although our 98s, 104s, and 110s sport 25-meter radii in the longer lengths, in reality they execute easy short swing turns too. When you’re balanced on your skis, variations in terrain, snowpack, and turn shape feel more natural. And because the fatter Peak skis feature less sidecut, when you take them off-trail in powder, crust, and crud, they track better. They don’t get hooky.

We could get all egg heady here, but we won’t. Just know that Peak skis with KeyHole Technology™ sport longer radii on paper in order to deliver more versatility where it matters most—in the mountains.

Light enough. Never too light.

Light enough. Never too light.

That’s a guiding principle at Peak. Skis that are too lightweight deflect off chunks, skitter at cruising speeds, and demand nervous piloting. That crushes confidence. We stop shaving grams before performance suffers. We post ski weights based on an average of 20 skis per model and length. They’re plenty light. But in skiing, mass matters.

A women skier fixing skins onto skis

Why We Don't Make "Women's" Skis

"Shrink it and pink it." A lot of folks will take issue with it, but that's our take on the degree of "design" behind most women's-specific skis. Throw in "dumbed down." The typical accommodation when building women's skis is to remove the metal laminates—as if women don't want stability and edge-hold.

Skis don't care what gender you are. Thanks to KeyHole Technology™ and careful testing of each length during R&D, Peak skis are tuned for both ease of use and higher g-forces—no matter the user. Bode once gave his best skis to Lindsey Vonn for exactly that reason.