Ski Fences

by Jon Kovash on October 13, 2011

About twenty years ago, I wanted to build a fence made out of skis and bicycle wheels along my small Telluride back yard. Permission was denied by the town Historic and Architectural Preservation Commission. They said it wasn’t historical. But I’ve always liked ski fences, which seem kindred with fences made from surfboards, bowling balls, toothbrushes, bikes and bras. In ski country, they seem as natural and authentic as license plate houses. You get that great picket effect, and they’re bound to last decades longer than any wooden planks, without the aid of paint or oil. I’ve long seen many examples in Colorado, but I see that recently ski fences have also become a craze in Russia.

If you live in a ski town, you can amass old skis with a perusal of ski swaps, free boxes and dumpsters. Most prized are skis without bindings because the bindings are a pain in the ass to remove. If you want a tall fence, with the advent of short skis, the old 200s will be harder to find. For colors, I prefer just going with the random cacophony of industrial day-glo, which gives you a kind of happy camo look, but you can also look for matches or color groupings.

Unless you’re an experienced metal worker, it’s best to avoid designs that require cutting the skis — metal ski edges are very hard and difficult to cut through with home tools. To erect the pickets, you just drill holes through the ski bottoms to accept screws or bolts. Many artisans are also making everything from ski benches and ski Adirondacks to ski coat racks.

To live large in the Rockies, we must embrace a new vernacular architecture that supports our lifestyles and doesn't hog energy. This illustrated blog will call out the good, the bad & the ugly things being built in MG country, from the perspective of a self-taught designer, wannabe urban planner, passive solar advocate and master builder.

Jon Kovash is a veteran public radio news producer and regional journalist, who grew up in Wyoming and spent 40 years on the Colorado Western Slope. He now lives in Moab, where he operates a sound studio and plays sax & harps with Phil Dirt, Moab’s largest garage band.