Tailor-made skiing events from the world’s finest ski maker
At zai we put as much passion and care into creating your ski event as we do into creating our famous handcrafted skis.
Whether you’re planning an exclusive activity with your company, or an off-piste adventure with friends, you can rely on zai’s bespoke service to ensure your event is a success.
Bring zai quality, innovation and performance to your golf game
» visit sabiBring the finest Swiss craftsmanship and precision to
your golf game with zai's range of high MOI
» visit sendaChoose between the highly customisable zai senda
line or the putter that inspired it, the handcrafted
The zai philosophy
The zai manufacturing ethos is driven by three core values: quality, performance and innovation. The standards we aim for are without equal. The methods we use to attain them are as radical as they are uncompromising.
The name zai comes from a Rhaeto-Romanic word meaning ‘tough’. It also symbolises resilience and conviction. zai follows no trend or tradition, but forges its own path in design, development and manufacture.
zai is about reduction to the essential in the quest for natural balance. Form follows function. A zai ski is a quiet statement of individuality and control. It does not require garish logos and graphics. Good design speaks for itself.
It is these intrinsic, lasting qualities that give zai products their soul, and make them so rewarding to own and to use.
All zai skis are handcrafted in Disentis, in the heart of the Swiss Alps. Manufacturing is geared towards producing the finest skis possible, regardless of the time, effort and cost involved. Quality and durability are second to none: zai skis decrease in tension by only 5% after 100 days of skiing, compared to 25% after just 30 days for mass-produced skis. zai skiers can expect to enjoy many years of use from their skis, with little or no discernable drop in performance.
Nothing compares to the feeling of riding zai. zai skis are characterised by incredibly smooth, solid handling, with effortless control through turns right across the speed range. You can opt to cruise in comfort or ‘push the envelope’, confident that the ski will never reach its limits. This is why skiers of all abilities choose zai, from beginners to Olympic champions. And because zai skis maintain their torsion so well, the performance you love will continue year after year.
Passion drives constant innovation. zai’s forward-thinking approach to ski design makes the impossible possible – whether it’s bending stone to make our famous CFS® cores, or creating a new high-tech material where none before existed. Even the machinery in our factory is specially engineered to operate at the standards we demand. By pioneering new designs, construction methods and technologies, zai continually redefines the boundaries of modern ski-making.
zai is a world leader in the use of new and radical materials for ski building. Many of the materials we use are developed and patented by zai. Cut open a zai ski (quite a task!) and you will find materials as varied and exotic as granite, cedar wood, vulcanized rubber, space-age thermoplastics and military-grade Dyneema®. By combining them in groundbreaking ways, zai achieves levels of quality, handling and durability far beyond those of a conventional ski.
Not just anyone can build a zai ski. Our craftsmen come from the Surselva region, where working with wood and metal is a traditional skill, and skiing is a way of life. Their artisan knowledge, often passed down through generations, is complimented by the most advanced ski-making technology available, including the world’s most advanced CNC ski press. This handmade meets high-tech approach allows us to design and build skis in unique and innovative ways.
What passion can do
zai was founded in 2003 by leading Swiss ski designer Simon Jacomet, with the aim of building a ski that did not compromise on quality, materials or performance. The result redefined the perimeters of modern ski design.
zai skis are handcrafted in the Swiss Alps from the very finest materials, including wood, stone and patented carbon fibres. In terms of quality and longevity zai is in class of its own: our skis lose just 5% tension after 100 days of use, compared to 25% over 30 days for mass-produced skis.
zai skis are owned and loved by skiers of all abilities around the world, from beginners to Olympic champions. All share the same passion that drives us in our mission to build the ultimate ski. We look forward to sharing that passion with you.
CEO, zai AG
A former ski instructor with a successful career in global finance, Benedikt was employed as Chief Strategist for UBS bank in New York when his friend and ski buddy Simon Jacomet invited him to join zai in 2009. Disillusioned by the banking industry and happy to return to the sport that he loved, Benedikt made the bold decision to relocate with his family back to Zurich to become zai’s CEO. Still very much a skier at heart, Benedikt’s drive, integrity and passion have made him an influential commentator within the Swiss ski industry and beyond.
Founder & Head of Design, zai AG
Born and raised in Disentis, Simon studied art in Florence, supporting himself by working as a ski instructor. He went on to become a technical coach for the Swiss national ski team, and helped to develop skis for Salomon and Völkl before founding zai in 2003. Part artist, part athlete, Simon’s approach to design is influenced by Zen philosophy, in which the unity between thought, action and equipment is paramount. He is widely regarded as the most visionary ski designer of his generation.
Head of Production, zai AG
Marc has been with zai since the company was founded in 2003. A native of Disentis, he is a trained technical draughtsman and worked as a construction manager before moving into ski building. A keen skier, paraglider and accredited snowboard instructor, Marc’s love for the mountains shows in the dedication and care he applies to his work.
Hubert is a professional carpenter whose family has worked with wood in the Surselva valley for generations. A former ski instructor who knows the mountains around Disentis like the back of his hand, Hubert brings traditional artisan skills and an expert eye to bear on every zai ski produced.
A professional carpenter and ski instructor from Brigels in the Surselva valley, David joined zai’s production team in early 2015. An expert craftsman with a sharp eye and a creative touch, he is also a talented musician and plays trombone in his local music society.
Disentis-born Baseli is a former ski and snowboard instructor with many years of snow sport industry experience. He worked as a ski salesman in Lucerne for 10 years before his love of the mountains lured him back to his hometown. When not building zai skis he can usually be found in the mountains, skiing or biking.
Duri grew up in Disentis, where he and fellow ‘ski freak’ Simon Jacomet (zai’s founder) were building their own slopes and jumps long before the village had a ski lift. He left a successful career as an architect to join zai in 2004. On winter weekends Duri can always be found carving down the slopes on his spada skis, while in the summer months he gets his kicks riding his beloved Triumph motorbike.
Patrick hails from Sedrun (the neighbouring town to Disentis) where he is a ski instructor and trainer of the local ski racing team. An expert operator of zai’s Montana race grinding machines, he is a keen skier and enjoys tinkering around with motorcycles. He joined zai’s production team in 2014.
Ursina keeps everything at the zai factory running smoothly. Born and raised in Disentis, she is an expert skier and always one of the quickest down the mountain. She is also known for her excellent homemade cakes, which make her very popular at the factory.
Marisa has become an indispensable member of the zai team since joining the company in 2010. A keen skier, she spent 12 years based in Zurich before the lure of the mountains called her home to Disentis. When not helping to manage the zai office she enjoys cooking, handicrafts and spending time with her young family.
Pascal has 20 years of experience in sales and events management for the sports and lifestyle sector. A keen skier and former pro golfer, his expertise on the putting green and on the piste makes him an invaluable member to the zai team. Look out for Pascal at zai events and ski demo days.
The international wing of zai's sales and events team, Frigg is well known to dealers and customers from Aspen to Zermatt. Hailing from Laax in the Surselva region of Switzerland, he’s an expert skier whose relaxed, down-to-earth nature infuses any event he organises.
The zai factory
All zai skis are built at our factory in Disentis, in the heart of the Swiss Alps. Having the mountains on our doorstep means we can test our skis at every stage of development, in all conditions. The rugged landscape of the Surselva valley inspires our work.
The factory is part workshop, part high-tech laboratory. Construction is carried out by hand and complimented by cutting-edge technology, including the world’s most advanced CNC ski press. Most of the machinery we use is custom-made.
zai employs local craftsmen and technicians from the Graubünden region, where carpentry and metalwork are traditional skills, and where skiing is a way of life. The pride we take in our work shows in every ski we build.
the zai poem
All'entschatta era il cuolm
pitgogna e pezza
zaccas e zincas
crappa e greppa
zai anfla la lingia
che capescha il cuolm
termaglia ella neiv
sco la curnaglia el tschiel
zai, ski zaiíra
che fa siu tgau
— Leo Tuor
In the beginning
was the mountain
Summits and steepness
pinnacles and peaks
stony, rocky ranges
zai finds the line
reading the mountain
plays in the snow
like jackdaws in the sky
zai, the tougher ski
going his own way
not willing to compromise
not willing to die
— Leo Tuor