We sat down with Salomon’s Alpine Product Marketing Manager Cyril Espalieu to find out more behind-the-scenes details about the new Fall/Winter 2018 on-piste ski range that was unveiled in late January.
OK, Cyril, the readers who come to the Inside ADC Blog are looking for a little extra info than they might find in the marketing story from Salomon. So, let’s give the people what they want. First, tell the readers how the new Blast range of skis and boots came to be
The idea behind this collection of products was to give every skier the best sensations on-piste, because amplifying sensations is what our brand has always stood for in this sport. Digging into what skiers really feel on the slopes, we focused on that precise moment when you are moving from the base of your skis to its edge as you initiate a turn. This defying of gravity is what we call the Blast: an explosion of sensations as you take the risk of angulation and feel the forces running through your body. The Fall/Winter 2018 collection aims at making every turn a Blast for all skiers.
How does the technology actually work in the ski?
The fundamental need when making an on-piste turn is edge grip, so the initial idea was to have the skier energy transmitted as efficiently as possible to the edges of the ski. For this we have built in lateral ramps on which the plate of the ski directly relies, instead of sitting on the base of the ski. Our lab tests show a 30 percent increase in the torque measured at the edge contact point thanks to these ramps. Edge Amplifier is, logically, the name of this technology.
How long is the development time for this type of product?
We kicked off this project in October 2015 in a collaborative mode between our team of engineers and designers, and a collection of carefully recruited racing and on-piste specialists. These include our World Cup athletes such as Luca Aerni, Marta Bassino Victor Muffat-Jeandet and others. They relentlessly tested the racing products. But we also relied on coaches, local legends or bootfitters coming from all over the skiing world who have been focusing on defining products that enhance sensations for the everyday skiers they are in contact with. Famous names like Davide Simoncelli or Günther Mader proudly belong to that group we call the Sons of a Blast.
This product isn’t necessarily created for racers with trickled down products for the weekend skier, right? That is sort of reverse engineered a bit? As in, we know this works for both weekend skiers and racers? How did that happen?
Our range of skis and boots cover both practice, with S/RACE being the products for racers from GS to the local Sunday race, and the S/MAX range being the skis and boots that cater to experienced and recreational resort skiers. Both ranges share the same technologies and benefits. In the skis, that’s improved edge grip thanks to Edge Amplifier. In the boots, that means a lightweight feeling thanks to a new construction method called Coreframe. These technologies are adapted in terms of shape and materials to give the right amount of performance and comfort to each skier.
Salomon offers many alpine skis and boots, which might make choosing difficult for people. If you were talking to a man or woman in a ski shop, can you tell that person what product is for whom in this new on-piste range?
OK, let me focus on 3 fictional skiers to make things simple:1. A 30-year-old committed skier who used to race when he was a kid and still likes to push his limits skiing 40 days per year would likely want the S/RACE Rush ski and S/MAX Race boot for precision and transmission. 2. A 40-year-old technical skier burning all kinds of groomers with style and skiing 20 days per year would likely go for the S/MAX Blast ski and S/MAX 130 boot for all-day performance and responsiveness3. A 20-year-old intermediate skier improving his/her level by skiing five days per year would probably be best suited to the S/MAX 10 ski and S/MAX 110 boot for maneuverability and comfort.
Why was it so important for Salomon to bring this exciting new on-piste range right now?
Well, 2018 is an Olympic year and we wanted to be part of this amazing celebration of our sport, both in the gates with our athletes and on the slopes with the always more numerous skiing enthusiasts in Asia and all over the world.