Recreation Sports Entrepreneurship Outdoors

BPM Skis Creates Fully Custom Skis in Chippewa Falls

founder and ski enthusiast Steve Brilla custom crafts skis for Midwest conditions

Sawyer Hoff |

IT'S SNOW UNIQUE. BPM Skis creates custom skis – and soon snowboards – right in Chippewa Falls. (Photos via Facebook)
IT'S SNOW UNIQUE. BPM Skis owner Steve Brilla creates custom skis – and soon snowboards – right in Chippewa Falls. (Photos via Facebook)

You’ve likely heard the saying, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” Chippewa Falls resident Steve Brilla took this sentiment to heart, first handcrafting his own custom skis about five years ago. After ample research – and his share of trial-and-error experiences – over six months, Brilla tested his first pair of custom skis on Christie Mountain, and found success. This pushed him to open his own custom ski business, and Bear Paw Manufacturing (BPM) was born.

“That was the very beginning,” Brilla recalled. “If I could get that close to having a decent ski on the first shot, what’s it going to be like when I’m 10 or 20 pairs deep? It became an obsession and, basically, I ended up going crazy with it.”

The idea to create his own skis was sparked by a fellow ski patroller at Christie Mountain who knew Brilla was a tool-and-dye maker by trade. To create the skis, Brilla also had to create a lot of the equipment he continues to use for the business, including BPM’s ski press and large CNC  (computer numerical control) router.

BPM offers completely custom skis made fully in Brilla’s newly built workshop in Chippewa Falls. Brilla uses information such as height, weight, skiing ability, and skiing style to create the perfect ski for each person. BPM’s skis mostly focus on Midwest skiing conditions, which largely consist of man-made snow and the shorter runs found on Midwest hills.

“The big manufacturers will put you in a window that you’re supposed to be in, and a lot of people don’t fit in that window,” Brilla said.

Graphics on the skis are also customizable, or customers can choose from BPM’s pre-made designs. Brilla often receives orders that use designs coming from the customers’ loved ones, which adds a personal touch to skis that are already crafted especially for you.

Chris and his daughter with his BPM skis.
Chris and his daughter with his BPM skis.

Brilla explained that one of the most uniquely designed skis he has made were for a father/daughter skiing duo who had skis printed with a Sasquatch carrying a donut. The father, Chris, had approached BPM about creating a shorter pair of skis which would usually be made for someone half his size. Chris wanted this so he could easily be tethered to the back of the sit-ski used by his daughter, who has cerebral palsy.

Brilla was able to create the correct length skis adjusted for Chris’ weight so the edges wouldn’t wash out while skiing with his daughter. The Sasquatch holding a donut referenced the pair’s nicknames for each other, which was the cherry on top of amazing personal project.

BPM will also be moving into the world of snowboarding soon, with models likely to be for sale within the next month and a half. All of the same customization abilities BPM offers for skis will extend to snowboards, which is even more rare to find through traditional manufacturers.

On top of skiing, Brilla is also incredibly passionate about teaching his craft. That’s why BPM hosts build classes in the summertime, allowing participants to learn about creating their own pair of custom skis. Students select the wood they want to use, glue components, prep bases, and fit and attach edges, layup and press, and sign their work. Once the snowboard models are perfected, snowboard build classes will be launched this summer as well.

“I really enjoy teaching people (and) showing people how this works, and it’s just such a cool process,” Brilla said. “It’s pretty neat to have your own custom pair of skis, but to say that you’ve actually made your own custom pair of skis just makes it extra special.”

Whether you’re relatively new to skiing or you’re a pro on the slopes, BPM Skis is ready to create a pair of skis – or soon, a snowboard – just for you and your lifestyle.

Learn more about BPM Skis at and on Facebook.