Ella Meade with her hand-crafted skis

In the Career and Technical Education (CTE) program in Bellingham Public Schools, design and shop classrooms often work together to make projects happen.

One such project was a pair of skis created by student, now graduate, Ella Meade in her junior and senior year. Jared Greenwood, Options High School and CTE teacher, explains below how classrooms and schools work together to help students in the CTE program. And Ella shares a how-to guide to make a pair of skis and what she learned through the process.


Jared Greenwood, CTE teacher: Students learn a wide array of skills throughout their educational experiences in Bellingham School District. This is especially true around technology and Career and Technical Education (CTE) opportunities through different schools in the district.  Often, it is a team of people that come together with their expertise, to help contribute and complete a project.  Ella Meade’s Winter Composite Ski project is no different. 

Ella Meade (Bellingham High Student) and Paul Clement (BHS CTE Teacher) started the project in Bellingham High School’s Engineering Technology class.  This independent project allowed Ella to apply the Computer Aided Design skills she was learning in class to a more personal project.  Once her design was ready, she moved on to the Machining side of things with another piece of software.  She then cut out the mold, wood cores, and bases of the skis at Options High School.     

Next, Ella put all the pieces together permanently.  She completed the layup with her father’s help, Paul Clement, and Jared Greenwood (OHS CTE Teacher). The skis turned out great and the hope Is Ella is able to ski on them in the next season. A lot of people came together to make this project work. We even had a Seattle ski company, Crosson help out with a special machine to clean up the bases and help finish the skis

Ella Meade (graduate 2019):  My biggest takeaways from this ski project were the CAD (computer-aided design) skills I learned in Paul Clement’s Programming class, running a CNC router, using many different power tools, and most importantly, developing the mindset to overcome challenges and to problem solve. 

My plans for next year after graduating is to pursue a mechanical engineering degree at Montana State University. The programs provided at Bellingham High School with Paul Clement regarding technical education made me fall in loves with design and technology and ultimately fueled my passion for a future in engineering.

The process of building the skis looked a little like this: research ski design and materials; model design on CAD; design core, base and mold profiles; create tool paths for CNC machine; cut out core, base and mold profiles on CNC router; attach steel edges to the bases; attach sidewalls to cores; design top sheet; thread ready rod through mold profile cut outs and sand to smooth; research vacuum bagging techniques for ski pressing; prep vacuum bagging setup; cut fiber glass, edge tape, tip and tail filler to size’ Get ready to press, mix epoxy resin with hardener’; now layup fast!; let cure; take skis out of mold; cut out skis carefully on a band saw following the steel edges; using special machinery, continue with the finishing process (Crosson Ski in Tukwila helped me with this process); use a grinding belt to take all the excess epoxy off the sidewalls and edges; stone grind bases and bevel edges; and finally, wax!

This ski project is just one of many CTE maker projects that were completed by students in Bellingham Public Schools in 2018-19.  There are many opportunities for students to take a variety of CTE classes to learn new skills and explore STEM opportunities.  Every year the extensive list of courses are included in the CTE section of the High School Course Catalog.


  1. It was awesome watching the project come together! I respect Ella’s determination and creativity; Greenwood, you’re always helpful and I saw you were especially so in this project.

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