Somehow we missed this last year. Karhu have introduced Paulownia to the construction of their backcountry skis. We've blathered on about this timber before (once, twice or thrice,) regarding its application in surfboards, and even in shelving. As Karhu see it Paulownia is "valued for its reforestation abilities on marginal and contaminated soil, it grows extremely quickly, reaching maturity two- to four-times faster than equivalent hardwoods, making it easy to farm and harvest instead of logging old growth timber. But most of all, its fast growth and large leaf production give it a high carbon sequestration value... ." The Paulownia core which is said to make for a lighter ski, while still providing a smooth, even flex, is supported by stringers of either maple or bamboo. Karhu suggest that being a native to China, where their skis are made, the choice of Paulownia also reduces transportation needs and global shipping impacts. Though this last point might be drawing a long bow, as the skis are then shipped off for sale in what appears to be over 50 countries around the globe.
The company do however have own TreeHugger-style credo: "We believe that the next generation of design should go further than just functionality, taking into account the footprint of its entire lifecycle, from production to disposal or reuse. We won't get there overnight, but we are taking the first steps and reducing our impact." ::Karhu Greenlight