Ski gadget maker pivots toward overseas slopes

A kit to more easily swap out ski bindings is adding a new European country to its distribution list. Image courtesy of Quiver Killer.

A kit to more easily swap out ski bindings is adding a new European country to its distribution list. Image courtesy of Quiver Killer.

With the goal of selling more of its kits in Europe, a Denver ski accessory company wants to tighten the screws on its overseas business.

Denver-based Quiver Killer, which designs kits to mount bindings on skis interchangeably, has found American markets difficult to penetrate. So the company’s traversing the pond to find better trails.

“There’s more backcountry skiing outside of the U.S., whereas people within the U.S. generally go to resorts,” co-owner Todd Stockbauer said. “(Quiver Killer) allows these people to have multiple skis with different bindings and gives them the ability to travel lighter and ski on different types of terrain.”

Stockbauer and his partners are tightening Quiver Killer’s grip on the European market this year by expanding distribution into Bulgaria. The system is currently available in a dozen countries worldwide, including the U.K., Norway, Italy, Switzerland and Australia.

Quiver Killer, named after a skier’s quiver, or collection of skis for different circumstances, develops mounting kits for ski bindings. The kits consist of metal cylinders that are placed into a hole drilled in a ski, screws that fit into those cylinders and the properly-sized drill bits. Once a Quiver Killer kit is installed on a ski, the skier can swap bindings on the ski depending on conditions and terrain.

The gadget, which retails for $45, allows a single pair of skis to be mounted with any kind of binding – from alpine to Telemark to touring – without the need to remove an old binding, drill new screw holes and attach a new one.

Quiver Killer aims to axe an expense that many skiers face. For example, if a skier wants to cruise through knee-deep powder one day and hit the park the next, he generally needs two pairs of skis. And that means more bindings, which can regularly run upwards of $200 per pair.

In addition, bindings are traditionally screwed and epoxied directly into the core of a ski, and a ski can only be remounted about three times before it loses its strength. Quiver Killer kits allow bindings to be swapped as many times as needed.

Customers are generally responsible for mounting the kits, with instructions available on Quiver Killer’s website.

Quiver Killer kits are all manufactured in the U.S., with the majority of parts coming from a Loveland factory.

Stockbauer said that Quiver Killer conducts most of its business online, but the product is available in a few retail locations, including Denver’s Edgeworks and Boone Mountain Sports.

Stockbauer said he’s also beginning to apply Quiver Killer’s technology to other sports. He has been in talks with Mike Maloney, founder of Denver longboard company Knights of the Air, to see how Quiver Killer can be applied to longboards.

“I met Mike about a year and a half ago at OR (Outdoor Retailer),” Stockbauer said. “I grew up in southern California, so I’d spent some time on a skateboard. They mentioned what they were trying to do, and I told them about Quiver Killer.”

In order to install Quiver Killer kits on longboards, KOTA needs to acquire a new milling machine. A June Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the machine ultimately failed.

Stockbauer, 52, and his business partners Tim Bauer and Rusty Perry, both 45, bought Quiver Killer last August from its inventor, Nick Bosco, who founded the company in 2011. The three originally met while buying another company, ICEdot, a helmet-mounted device that alerts emergency contacts of a biking or skiing crash.

“We decided to make the purchase because we know the ski industry fairly well and we thought it was an opportunity to take a unique product and run with it,” Stockbauer said.

The company will continue to expand in Europe, Stockbauer said, and explore plans to export Quiver Killer technology to other sports.

“We’re going to continue growing internationally in the ski industry,” he said. “But we are always in search of other opportunities for the insert.”

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