Remember the days when ski shapes were so much alike they all looked like skinny straight pencils? At that time snowboards were a lot more innovative, they had shape and when you railed them they carved amazing turns. It made me forget about skiing and just ride for about 10 years. The skis got boring and boards were really fun.
Look at what’s happening now! The snowboards are still incredibly innovative, there is every kind of camber you can imagine and every shape-width. Full rocker, camber in the middle with early rise tip & tail, rocker in the middle with normal camber tip and tail. Whew. And don’t forget, riders like Ross Powers (Olympic andX Games Gold Medalist and RAMP Team Member) still prefer boards with traditional camber. In fact if you’re trying to go as big as Ross off jumps and in the pipe, camber gives the most pop. So now what? Lots of these shapes, while doing some things well are more one-dimensional. Normal camber = best pop and high-speed carving.RAMP’s One Board Quiver (zero camber in mid body with early rise tip and tail) is amazingly versatile. This shape seems to ride great all the time on all snow and terrain.
Skis are super fun again. Actually they’ve been getting there since about 10 years, but today, wow! I am blown away when I get on a 115mm ski like our Peacepipe and totally surf in deep snow or crud and it’s effortless. Lots of wide skis do that but it amazes me when I get on harder snow and I’m still having fun. I think one of the biggest things in ultra-modern skis is that wide skis can be great when the snow gets hard. When we were working on the Groundhog and Beaver, both 100mm skis it was the biggest challenge of all. The really good 100mm skis are not only fun when the snow is deep, they feel like full blown carving skis when you’re on groomers. Only a few do this. We went through 5 rounds of prototypes to get these skis at this level with 3 to 4 flexes each round. We skied so many different versions and finally found a combination of flex and shape that was perfect. What was interesting to me was the flexes that were finally spot on tended to be much softer under foot. What this seemed to do was create a tip that was aggressive into the turn, while allowing the ski to flex more, making a nice round shape with great edge grip AND more rebound. It’s all so fun I’ve found myself picking up my skis again each time I go.
Luckily each way you go down the hill now puts a big smile on your face. What’s next? I’ll talk next week about the development of women’s products.
President and CESnow.