It`s time to continue on the ski front. This one will be a little shorter and it will mostly focus on the other interesting candidates I had a chance to check out at the fair. That said the number of ski producing companies has increased dramatically in the last few years. With companies like Ninthward, Majesty and some snowboard manufacturers like LibTec trying to get a slice of the pie the market is getting increasingly crowded. The qulity also seems to weary a lot. Except for the big brands the small once produce with OEM vendors in China, Romania and at Elan in Slovenia. Even Ammers factory in RadStadt seems to offset some of that business. Questions of profitability remain open here…
The Big Mountain Line – Watt is the word.
The outdoor big house has expanded to all sorts of activities in recent years. It`s core remains climbing but its gradually shifting into a more all around outdoor direction. This year the ski offerings have been surely expanded. Since the commercial introduction of the carbon fiber powder ski the company has made a name for itself in the back country market. This said the new lines are divided into big mountain, Freetour and Touring.
The new Big Mountain range includes the Watt Series (Gigawatt, Megawatt, AMPerage). The one that struck me most as interesting here was the AMPerage. With 115 underfoot it seems like the one and only clearly defined all around contender. And the design is nice to. The price should start at 600 bucks. That said not the most price performance oriented all rounder. But you get what you pay for:
Front 40 cm rocker and a rear 32 cm tail rocker. Unfortunately I wasn`t able to find info about its weight but hey… if it`s all that you will carry the extra grams .. right 😛
The Freetour line.
Like Salomon, Atomic is part of the Ammer group. That’s why, like Salomon, Atomic is jumping on the Ride and Hike bandwagon. For that they introduced the Guardian binding with there branding called Tracker, thou it is the same thing. With it they did revamp most of there big mountain line. New features include Integrated Titanium plates for stability and rebound. That should take care of the flutter we all “love” so much. Top of the line here is the Atlas ski. The entire concept with the atlas will probably be available as a all in one package.
Rosis Freeride skis
Coming to the Rosi booth I must say that I was a little disappointed. They did have a lot of new skis for the alpine skier but the freeride and park stuff was way in the back. Left at the side.. as if it was not important at all. There were no novelties to speak off. last years models in a new look. And to be completely honest the new look didn`t become them. I had a chance to test this years Scratch at the Stubai opening where I even got a backpack 😛 and I wasn`t very happy with it. Sure it`s a great park ski… but still the edges were slippy and it wasn`t the lightest. Comparing them to the Völkl Wall I rode the other day they were not my kind of beast. An addition in the park series are a girl and a kids version, since these days you do double-corks at 10 years of age to stay “competitive”.
The Scratch on the right.. cornerstone
Girl and Kids versions
For us Slovenians Elan is somewhat of a thing of national pride. A company that by all means should have been bankrupted and dissolved years ago, thanks to mismanagement, continues to linger around as one of the bigger ski producers. It`s innovative and always comes up with something new. It invented carving, Waveflex and tons of other technologies that would have made it king of the hill, yet never managed to capitalise on them. The fault as all Slovenians know likes in greed and incompetence. Fortunately these days Elan is picking itself up and reinventing itself a new. Reading the Slovenian business newspapers does not head a lot of confidence, but the people who work there innovating and building in those conditions deserve a special praise. And so this year Elan brings us three new novelties. First of all the entire Park and Freeride range has been redesigned. The Puzzle in it`s current incarnation being the Flagship parkski. I will have to try these to see if they fixed the weight issue that seemed to be one of the put offs of its predecessor. The new designs are nice, definitively better then last year, but with Elan I am still a fan of the old Partizan design with its big red star.. Call me nostalgic. If this one garners up more retail sales then the last incarnation will remain to be seen. But it`s definitely a move into the right direction.
The TBT ski
I spoke of Elan and Innovation. One of these that might change something is the concept TBT ski. Triple-base technology is nothing new in the snowboard business. But bringing that to a ski is definitely something to look out for. The middle base normal, and two lightly elevated on the side should offer you a safer and smoother ride while allowing for some off those flat ticks to look even better. It should also be a little more forgiving on your landings and even the design is spot on on this ski. If this kind of trend catches on it could be a great for the company. This one is also one of the products that got the ISPO award. A good sign indeed :).
The last but not least novelty is the jump on the ride and hike wagon with Tyrolia. I will go into detail on these two bindings from salo and tyrolia in the next article.