At the start of the XXth century in Nay, a little municipality in the département of Pyrénées Atlantiques, this Pyrenean factory specialised in the production of skis made of one single piece of ash-wood, becoming one of the best in its sector. Created by Félix Villecampa, a cabinetmaker at the time, this production helped to define not just a sport, but an entire philosophy: a way of life …
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE ORIGINAL
In 2015, however, the torch passed to another producer. Production started up again under the name of La manufacture [à Félix], in tribute to Félix Villecampa. A team passionate about the mountains dared to develop a ‘Made in the Pyrenees ski under the brand name Villacampa, an authentic, handcrafted wooden ski designed on the basis of natural fibres. Everything had to be rebuilt. The skills and know-how had dispersed …
In 2016, the first prototype was presented: the FLx, a freeride weighing 1kg 490g. It was tested by a number of experienced skiers. The feedback was positive. After a few adaptations, a short run of production was launched in December 2017.
At La manufacture [à Félix], the study of wood and woodwork were the focal point. Each variety has its own mechanical and thermal properties. Villacampa therefore pays special attention to the choice of wood varieties, according to criteria of resistance to diseases and natural or biological transformations.
For our core design, we selected one specific variety to meet needs in terms of performance, resistance and durability.
This is the strength of our design.
The manufacture of artisanal skis does not boil down to merely the machining and shaping of a wood core. For our wood cores, we have chosen to use a variety with mechanical properties which can naturally handle the constraints facing it: deformation, bending and torsional stress. We use fibres to magnify, amplify or restrain. The choice of resins and hardener and also the pressing time are all essential elements in meeting our goal: revived expertise … committed and environmentally responsible production.
‘ We do not make skis – we make Villacampas ‘
The FLX range is developed and produced in Garlin (64). Our team of craftsmen manufactures in limited series using traditional methods. FLX, the result of a skilful assembly of wood, fibres and carbon, is produced by the unit. A varied range of veneers affirms its identity and expresses its character. The composites bring out their natural mechanical properties, making Villacampa a unique product.
This was originally the story of an encounter between ski enthusiasts and mountain lovers. Inspired by the search for forgotten Pyrenean know-how, they aimed for the exceptional in both aesthetic and technical terms.
Committed and respectful of the nature which they admired and wished to preserve, limiting environmental impact was an integral part of their project. Villacampa therefore engaged in a high-quality approach without compromise on the choice of materials and eco-responsible, artisanal manufacture. For each pair of skis sold, two mountain trees would be planted in cooperation with a back-to-work association.
Drawing on our Pyrenean heritage, with its roots in the Béarn region, the values of Villacampa are taken from the Pyrenees and the circle of pioneers … Ours is a mountain spirit, to which respect for nature is vital and the prioritisation of exploration and discovery over performance and competition. Following the principle of authenticity, we are moved less by the sporting spirit than by a thirst for freedom and adventure.