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December 15, 2014

Salomon '16-'17 Preview

The Salomon guys were in town today from Annecy and stopped by evo for a "focus" event. This was strictly "no photos" but I didn't sign a NDA so I'm assuming it's OK to give a verbal recap.

Plans are to roll the current Rocker 2 and Q series into one freeride line, called the MTN (mountain) Series - they may or not continue to use the Quest name as well. The skis will come in mulitiple widths and share similar constructions, with wrap-around honeycomb tips and tails and poplar cores. Full sidewall constructions go on the wider skis, with split sidewall/monocoque construction for the narrower ones. They'll also share a wide woven strip of carbon and flax that serves to stiffen and dampen the ski while dropping weight.

Salomon is shooting for skis that will appeal to a wide range of abilities, and that will function as a true "quiver of one" for most skiers - pretty typical of their design philosphy in the past. Their head of global marketing, Scott, mentioned several iconic Salomon skis from years previous (the Pocket Rocket was one) that serve as models for what's to come. The prototype samples they brought along were quite striking in terms of graphics, and showed the interior structure of the skis off well, but didn't incorporate the new shapes or rocker profiles. Word is the tail rocker will be somewhat less than the current Rocker 2 skis, somewhat more than the current Q series skis, and that Salomon are trying to build in better hard snow performance AND reduced weight across the line.

There was mention of two new touring skis that will debut next month (samples are being laid up now), with Karuba wood cores, super light constructions, and target weights of <1600 grams and <1200 grams (not sure what length they are talking about). They'll have a couple of tech boots available for the 2015-2016 season as well, aimed at the Maestrale RS and TLT6 markets respectively - I'll hopefully be able to comment on them next month after I get a chance to see them. I asked if there was a sub-700 gram race ski for Kilian Jornet on the way, and they confirmed that the rando superstar will in fact be skiing on both Salomon skis and boots in the coming season, but that a consumer version of these products was a long way from reality.

December 11, 2014

Stocking Stuffer?

Here's an idea for the backcountry gear nut who has pretty much everything. I wish I'd known about these Salomon Snowcross CS shoes a few weeks ago, when Kevin and I were crossing the normally mellow Pan Point face on Rainier. The icy, off-camber steps made me wish I'd chosen something more grippy than my regular Salomon trail runners (sure enough, some unlucky hiker fell here last week and bounced over the rocks - end result a double compound fracture of the tib/fib). These would have been perfect.

Basically a CrossMax race shoe with a built in gaiter, more lateral stiffness in the sole, and automobile-style studs embedded in the tread, these were designed for guys like Kilian Jornet to light up snow and ice covered trails enroute to endurance run records, but should be perfect for that transitional time when there's not quite enough of a snowpack to skin. Be careful where you wear them, though, the studs reduce grip on hard surfaces and would do heinous damage to hardwood floors!

Salomon's Snowcross CS running shoe, check out those studded treads!

December 1, 2014

'Tis the Season

The holiday season is upon us; if I needed any more reminders the twelve hour day at the store on Black Friday really drove it home. I made space for a tree by moving the harp into the bedroom and I would have put up the Christmas lights if the rain gutters hadn't been frozen solid. Really.

Here's this year's virtual Christmas card:

Yes, it's us with our new daughter-in-law Kerry, Lindsay's mom Dolores, and my dad Ken. Happy Holidays!

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"Incoming" covers developments that have personal interest to me (ie. gear I might consider acquiring, or events I feel may impact the sport of skiing) - it is by no means meant to be a comprehensive enumeration of gear or events in the ski world at large. Feel free to contact me via the link below with news or images that may be of interest . . .

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