All zai skis have cores made from bonded cedarwood staves. Cedarwood is expensive and complex to work with, but it is also incredibly light, offers excellent resilience (it returns to its original shape after bending), and has a consistent grain that resists warp.
The cedarwood cores of zai spada and giubileum skis have integrated CFS® (carbon fibre stone) to provide extra damping.
Vulcanised natural rubber is an amazing material for ski-making, being both durable and scratch-resistant, and possessing excellent damping qualities.
Applied to the upper surface of a ski, natural rubber helps to absorb impacts when riding on rough or icy snow. Not only does this make for a smoother ride, it’s also kinder to your knees.
Best of all, natural rubber can be re-worked to pristine condition. So when it comes time to service your zai ski, it will be returned to you looking like new. zai uses only the very best quality natural rubber - the surface of a spada ski costs around the same as some professional racing skis. This, and the technical challenges involved with working with it, is why zai is the first and only ski brand in the world to use this incredible material.
zai is the only ski-maker to build its skis with stainless steel upper edges. The hardened HRC 50 steel we use for this is extremely rugged and resistant to corrosion. Steel upper edges protect the ski against bumps and knocks, and can be re-worked to as-new condition during service.
We also use stainless steel in the upper surface designs of some zai skis. For this we use high-grade spring steel, the same used in the manufacture of fine Swiss watches.
Spring steel has a high yield strength, meaning it always returns to its original shape after bending. This is one of the reasons why zai skis maintain their torsion so much better than other skis.
CFS® (carbon fibre stone) is created by prestressing Swiss alpine granite with carbon fibre, allowing it to flex without breaking.
Developed in a joint venture with TechnoCarbon Technologies, CFS® has incredible compressive strength and the same specific weight as aluminium. Its damping properties are key to the signature smooth, grippy ride of zai spada skis.
The stone used in CFS® is green Rofna-Porphyr gneiss, sourced from Andeer in Graubünden. Gneiss is a form of granite that has been subjected to especially high temperature and pressure during geologic formation. Only zai skis can boast a core that is over 50 million years old.
zai uses pre-impregnated UD (unidirectional) endless carbon fibres in an uncured thermoset plastic matrix. The fibres are applied to the ski by hand and in varying thicknesses, allowing tension to be precisely controlled at strategic points.
The ‘pre-pregs’ are then heat-and-pressure cured during the pressing process, resulting in an extremely strong, lightweight ski structure with excellent torsion dynamics.
Because zai ski designs are arrived at through repeated real-world testing (as opposed to being computer-generated) various thicknesses and arrangements of carbon fibres can be tried during the prototype phase. Only when exactly the right combination and placement of carbon fibres has been achieved is a ski approved for production.
Unsatisfied with existing carbon composite solutions for ski making, we developed and patented our own – zaiíra®.
An ultra-lightweight synthesis of the most modern reinforcing fibres and thermoplastic compounds, zaiíra® improves flexibility, stability and durability. Importantly, it also has far better damping qualities than regular ski carbons.
zaiíra® is key to zai's commitment to maintaining optimum damping and smoothness with minimal weight. It makes zai skis such as laisa, nezza and zai for Bentley the most balanced and durable of their time.
zai spada has evolved. Offering three new sizes, proven CFS® technology and a groundbreaking top surface made from natural cellulose acetate, the world’s only ski with a solid granite core is now better performing and more innovative than ever.
Cellulose acetate upper surface — a world first in ski building
Acclaimed CFS® stone core technology for an extra smooth ride
Stainless steel upper edges
Handcrafted in the Swiss Alps
Natural pattern of surface material makes every ski unique