Endre Hals was born in 1979 and grew up at the northwest coast of Norway, but the connection to the mountains was always stronger than to sea. Now he lives with his wife Elisabeth and their (soon to be) three daughters in the mountain valley Storlidalen. Here he runs a small ski factory inside an old barn. Together with three employees they are making and selling the skis from Prog and EVI. Endre is an industrial designer (AHO 2001-2006), but started early on to specialize towards skis. Since 2005 the goal was set to build a Norwegian ski brand- and factory.
In the beginning his main focus was on making a useful language about skis. One of the main characteristics of skis, longitudinal stiffness and flex curves (how stiffness varies throughout the ski), had no universal standard. The way people were used to check if a ski is stiff or soft is by hand flexing them. By measuring ski stiffness in a flex tester, the SFI (Ski Flex Index) is calculated through a set of formulas that adjusts the values to show how stiffness varies through the ski compared to the average. The SFI can also be translated in to a colored diagram, showing the stiffness through the skis in an intuitive way. In cooperation with ski magazine Fri Flyt, Endre has gathered and measured geometry and flex curves of more than 1000 pairs of skis and snowboards since 2006. The Fri Flyt ski tests are the most detailed ski tests in the world, with a technical review as well as a thorough on-snow testing.
The geometry database has been the most important source of information for Endre’s skis. Prog is a shortening of program, the basic idea behind the first concept. By making a mathematically based program with formulas that calculate the ideal skis to different skiers, Prog never makes the same skis twice. “Skis by the snowflake method” was the in-progress title. By itself Prog soon showed its strengths and its weaknesses. A lot of people wanted tailor made skis, but everyone wanted them at the same time of the year. The rest of the year it was hard to get the orders flowing smoothly. So Endre started EVI- a model brand produced in the same way as Prog, but with a large multitude of fixed models in a database. Prog and EVI work together. The skis are made in the same production line, but the customer comes in at different states of the process.
Pure functionalism and pragmatic solutions are keywords to Endre’s designs- beauty exists only as a result of function. The skis are made bottom up, from the most fundamental state practical. The cores are pressed to shape on forehand; the carbon- and fiberglass prepreg laminates are produced and frozen in-house.
Endre has been nominated to several awards and in 2010 he won “Askeladdprisen”, in 2013 he got “Norsk forms pris til unge designere”.
The dream is to be able to employ ten workers in his ski factory, and be able to focus solely on developing the best skis in the world.