Fall Ski Selection Trip!

StelvioA&ZFor the past five years Amy and I have split our ski selection obligations out over two trips to Europe; one in the spring, and one in the late summer or early fall. The later trip has turned out to be the one we’ve enjoyed the most, as we’ve managed to work-in some spectacular mini-vacation days. We’ve ridden road bikes on Tour de France routes around Annecy. We’ve been on utterly spectacular alpine hikes in the mountains above Ramsau. We’ve attended UCI mountain bike World Cup finals in Val di Sole. We’ve skied on the Stelvio glacier above Bormio. Altogether, it’s been a pretty rewarding series of work trips!

Unfortunately for both of us, this year will be a bit less exciting, since I’m hobbling around on a broken leg and won’t be much of a companion for fun adventures. We’re still working to come up with a fun weekend for Amy, but I fear that the balance on this trip will swing toward work. You all are welcome to start feeling sorry for us anytime, but we’re still getting away with a pretty decent lifestyle around here, and broken bones will mend soon enough!

Last year's visit to Salomon, with Jenny Beckman

Last year’s visit to Salomon, with Jenny Beckman

While we’ll be visiting all of our regular stops to finalize ski selections with our main brands, this will be our first trip of the year to Salomon. Last year Salomon made a big jump in sales with the introduction of their Carbon skate model, which was very well received. That ski was adopted quickly by World Cup athletes, which is usually a good sign. And it was just as quickly adopted by the skiing public, with really good reviews from our demos and sales all season long. This year they’ve added a “red” model Carbon LAB skate ski to the line-up. This is the model that Jessie Diggins and Maurice Manificat used to such good effect at World Championships two years ago in Falun, with the clear base material. It’s worth noting that not all clear bases are created equal. This is the second clear base that Salomon has used, and it’s arguably the best and most versatile wet base on the market, with a tremendous tolerance for new snow, which most other clear bases don’t have.

The other exciting addition from Salomon this year is the release of an entirely new line of classic skis. Rather the rehash a whole lot of well-used superlatives, I’ll simply point you to our preview article from the spring: http://www.caldwellsport.com/2016/04/reviews-previews-salomon-for-2016-17/

Prototype Propulsion ski from our May visit...

Prototype Propulsion ski from our May visit…

The other ski to really consider prior to our upcoming selection trip is the new Madshus Propulsion model. This was designed as a double-pole ski for long distance skiers, but testing last spring indicated that it is also quite excellent with kick wax on it. Madshus has focused on smooth pressure distribution, good floatation, long lasting glide performance, and high average speed with this ski. It comes in two lengths – 195 and 205 – and in a cold and a warm version. Given the limitations I will face with my broken leg, I plan to do a lot of double-pole testing this winter, and will be spending a lot of time comparing these models with other solutions. There are very few of these coming into the country, and we’re planning to put our hands on some during our last couple of days in Europe, when we’ll be checking back in with our Madshus friends in Biri, Norway.

I like to shoot some funny videos from time to time, and this video with Tad was intended to be way shorter, and a lot funnier than it turned out. The set-up was that Tad would be hanging out, not even thinking about skis, and then I was going to try to get him to tell me what his fleet needed from the upcoming pick trip. He was supposed to be basically unconcerned – you know, because his existing skis are so good, and he just doesn’t have to worry about that so much. As it turns out, Tad is among the most intelligent and engaged skiers I’ve ever worked with when it comes to skis, and this video ends up being more of a study in how an elite level skier thinks about their fleet than anything else. But it still has its moments of humor. That’s just a constant with Tad.

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