#ORshow: Creating a Better Skimo Downhill ExperienceFebruary 10, 2016
Maybe it’s the long lift lines and expensive life tickets or maybe it’s the simple desire to return to a more unadulterated experience, but there’s no denying uphill skiing is on the rise. But, what goes up, must come down. At Outdoor Retailer Winter Market ’16 we saw a strong focus on creating a better downhill experience for athletes participating in various ski-mountaineering/touring activities.
Killian Jornet may be best known for his record-shattering trail runs, but his love for the mountains doesn’t stop when the snow starts to fall. The Salomon-sponsored athlete needed something that would perform during his skimo races, but be able to handle the downhill of his more extreme adventures into the world’s tallest peaks. To meet his needs, Salomon introduced the S-Lab Minum. Chris McKearin, Alpine Commercial Manager at Salomon USA, explains, “This is Killian Jornet’s brainchild. It’s not your traditional skimo ski. He wanted a ski that was super stiff, so he could go really fast above exposure and have a lot of confidence.” The 160 cm length is standard among the typical skimo ski, but the full sheet of carbon running tip to tail, as well as, flax prepreg linen sheet absorbs a lot of energy and results in a bit heavier, bit beefier ski. Chris says, “It’s actually the stiffest ski in our range as well. Super burly for a little toothpick.”
Salomon didn’t stop there. The MTN Explore for women ensures an enjoyable hike up and controlled bomb down the hill. Chris McKearin details, “(The MTN Explore) Hikes up like a lightweight touring boot and skis down like a free ride boot. Has a ton of power at only 1200 grams for a size 24. It’s really nice and light and has the same geometry as the alpine boots. The cuff and shell pivot location is high which translates to better power.”
Voile’s team is made up of a large number of ski mountaineers themselves. It’s no wonder they took a strong focus on the ski sector for the 2016 year. Ben Kelly shares, ” Here in the Wasatch there’s quite a bit of ski-mountaineering. The athletes like to go out and ski big mountains. We needed something that would allow them to keep it light and keep it fast in that type of terrain.” The Objective comes in at just under 5.5 pounds. It’s made of a Polonia core with two layers of carbon fibers. This is lighter than their standard Aspen core.
From carbon to linen, we saw a lot of innovation in materials being used for this category. However, Scott took the cake using cork in their new Speed Guide. Rebecca Crew explains, “The Speedguide is a new concept for us. It has cork on it. It’s an interesting look, but really great for dafting. This is a great ski for someone who wants to get into skimo, likes skiing uphill, but really likes the performance downhill. Something special about this ski is that we have an elliptical top sheet that provides more torsional rigidity and as a result it’s a pretty stuff ski that carves really well. Our product manager is Switzerland is really excited about it. He believes if you’re going to ski, you have to enjoy the downhill experience.”
Did you check out any of these skis at Outdoor Retailer? Let us know what you thought. #ORshow