South Lake Tahoe resident Marianne Rosenfeld used an electric saw to slice through a set of skis Tuesday as sparks sailed in her one-car garage.
To those who only know her as a seasoned snowboarder, cutting up skis may have seemed like a jab at an often rivalrous sport. But Rosenfeld was giving new life to old skis — a motto in her evolving South Shore business.
The idea of turning unused snow equipment into furniture first came to her when her husband died five years ago from leukemia, she said. She didn’t want to throw out his old skis, so she decided to make them into a chair and ottoman.
Since then, Rosenfeld has used every part of the snow equipment for a variety of household items, including benches, chairs, lamps and coat racks.
“I love it,” she said. “I live for this.”
Her company, Forest Furniture, has expanded significantly since its roots in log furniture, she said. Rosenfeld already had the experience making different types of furniture, so the basics of building chairs were already in place.
It wasn’t long before people were coming to Rosenfeld, asking her to turn their snow equipment into a variety of colorful furniture. Her house has become a drop-off point for old skis and snowboards, which she also turns into furniture.
“A lot of times, I wake up and skis are on my lawn,” Rosenfeld said.
Forest Furniture currently sells three types of ski benches and chairs, including mission, sierra and Adirondack. But it also carries ski lamps, ski mirrors, ski wine racks, snowboard wine racks, ski chalet door knockers, ski pole wind chimes and more.
“Nothing is too weird,” she said of the different furniture designs. “I love the weird ideas.”
Rosenfeld uses every bit of the skis, from the binding to the ski poles.
“Nothing is wasted here at Forest Furniture,” she said.
The longtime local is always looking for new ways to turn skis into household items, Rosenfeld said. She shares a deep appreciation for the snow equipment — even if snowboarding is her preferred choice.
“I ride the ski lifts,” she said, “and I see future furniture all around me.”
At the beginning of the holiday season, Rosenfeld said she’s been busy building new ski furniture, but she’s still on the hunt for new designs.
“I’m always perfecting it,” she said.