W hile skiing at Valle Nevado Ski Resort just outside Santiago, Chile, earlier this year, University of Colorado assistant ski coach Taggart Spenst stumbled upon a pair of CU Leeds School of Business alums, who recognized him as a fellow Buff by his skis -- special CU-themed Skilogik skis emblazoned with the CU logo, the Flatirons, Ralphie and a herd of buffaloes.
"It was a cool connection that we wouldn't have otherwise probably had," Spenst said. "It makes skiing on them that much more enjoyable. It's fun to ride the lift, it's a good conversation starter."
Don McLean, father of current CU ski team member Shane McLean and a '77 CU alum, designed the skis and founded CollegeSkis.com in Steamboat Springs, Colo.
McLean said he wanted to give back to the university and will donate 20 percent of ski sales to the athletic department and ski team.
A pair of CU-themed Skilogik Ullr's Chariot or Goddess models costs $849 plus tax, which translates to a roughly $170 donation per pair.
"I've been in ski towns and always been involved in helping out with ski clubs," McLean said. "I'm an advocate of skiing, so I saw an opportunity to help out the CU athletic department and do something that's kind of fun."
The plan is to make Colorado State University-themed skis next, and then appeal to other schools across the country, McLean said.
While in Chile, Spenst tested the skis in powder and on groomed runs, he said. He gave them his stamp of approval for both style and functionality.
"When you're on hard groomers, they're fun because of the wood core they have," he said. "In powder, they're light enough, they flow really well."
--Follow Sarah Kuta on Twitter: @SarahKuta.