Years of ski racing inspired the owner of 7even to build his own high-performing skis
Fresh-sawn wood, ski wax, a little bit of machine oil. Scent is the first sense activated when entering the tidy 7even Skis shop just off Main Street in South Salt Lake, tipping me off that this is not your typical 10-minute-wax beginner boot/ski-rental operation. The bell over the door brings the immediate attention of Sonic, shop owner Todd Herilla’s friendly Border Collie, who trots over to greet me by the register. She jumps up to rest her front paws on the top of a waist-high gate made of repurposed old skis, and I give her a good scratch under the chin. A young ski tech—earbuds in place and hot wax iron in hand—shoots me a grin and a “We’ll be right with you.”
From the custom-built wood-core ski selection in back to the careful hand tuning of race skis in the front of the shop, it’s immediately evident that 7even Skis is all about craftsmanship and attention to detail. With a background in ski racing—Herilla attended prestigious Burke Mountain ski racing academy in Vermont during high school and then raced for Ski Club Vail—7even Skis has been known for years as the go-to shop for professional ski tuning. That goes for local ski racers and customers who’d like their boards at optimal performance for all mountain conditions.
Herilla’s company 7even Skis reflects having one ski boot metaphorically planted in racing and the other clicked into an all-mountain binding. “My skis combine traditional race styles with new technology, making them a great all-mountain performance ski,” Herilla says.
He compares his ski-design philosophy to how automotive technology often starts with performance track racing and influences the mainstream automobile industry. “They’re race-inspired all-mountain skis,” Herilla says. “They can hold an edge like a race ski but have very little vibration and can carve a great turn in any conditions” from powder to windblown ice or a day of spring skiing with a frozen-crud start to corn-snow finish.
“My skis are definitely a niche market,” Herilla admits, noting that most of his customers are expert skiers over the age of 30. “When I build a custom ski for someone, I encourage them to demo the off-the-rack models,” of which there are currently three types available (prices start at $949, but look for discounts in the off-season down to $749). He asks them how they felt on the skis so he can make micro-adjustments as needed, using his experience in ski engineering to fine-tune the side cut, rocker and other dynamics.
In addition to professional ski tuning, the 7even Skis shop does snowboard wax/tuning, and sells wax, tuning equipment, poles, goggles, helmets, sunscreen and other accessories. “We’ve got everything but boots,” Herilla says. The shop also offers free one-day demos of all of their stock skis to encourage people to try out the brand (boots and beginner skis not available). After the first day, ski demos are $30 per day, with the cost of the demo deducted from the price of the ski if you buy a pair. The 7even Skis website has all the details, or visit the shop.
And give Sonic a good scratch under the chin while you’re there.
25 W. Louise Ave. (2860 South)