STEVE: Hello and welcome to another Summit Sports Podcast for skis.com and snowboards.com. I'm Steve. I'm the host and today sitting across from me today is Rik Anderson – Sales Rep for Salomon who has been at it for 19 years. So, let's get right into it. Let's start talking ski boots and skis. First off, are you a skier? And, if you are, what type of skier are you?
RIK: Yes, I am. I've been skiing since I was three years old. I was born and raised up in Northern Michigan and started skiing at some of the little ski areas up there. Now I live out west so I like to ski all conditions from big mountain to groomers and just everything out there.
STEVE: How often do you get out skiing?
RIK: Well, everybody thinks that when you become a ski rep you get to ski every day and that's all you do but unfortunately, especially with my territory, there's a ton of travel involved but I still manage to get in usually, probably, and I hope my boss isn't listening but about 25-30 days a year.
STEVE: Wow, that's pretty good. What skis and boots do you have? I'm assuming they're Salomon boots and skis.
RIK: They are Salomon, yes. I'm skiing on a couple different skis. I'm skiing, in the early part of the season, I use our new Enduro 850. It's an all-mountain ski but it tends to ski the frontside of the mountain a little bit better. Its 85 underfoot so again, it tends to ski the groomers so I like it, again, for early season. And then once the snow starts flying, like I said, I live out west now, so I ski at Taos Ski Valley most of the time. Once the snow does start flying I ski our new Quest 105. Which, just like the name implies, is 105 underfoot so great frontside/backside ski and really can be skied in just about every condition. It has a little bit of rocker up front too so it's great in powder. Boot-wise I ski in our X-Max 120 which, again, great all-mountain boot.
S: Excellent. Let's get to technology as far as skis are involved in Salomon skis. Are there any technological advancements we should be aware of for Salomon skis for this upcoming season?
R: Yeah, we're launching a brand new line of skis called Quest where we have re-looked at what we're doing with rocker technology. We still do offer a full rockered line of skis being our Rocker 2 line of skis but the new Quest line of skis are rockered in the full body or the tip only so you've got rockered tip and an early rise tail. And these skis are offered from a 90mm waist all the way up to a 115 and the key thing about the skis is the fact that we're not really selling them by performance. In other words, as you go wider you're really not going for a higher performance ski. We're really selling the whole range more by snow conditions so a person like myself, where I am an advanced level skier and I am skiing in the Midwest and out west, I may own a Quest 90 and a Quest 105 or a Quest 115 so you've really got skis that will cover all the different snow conditions that will get thrown at you.
S: Okay, excellent. Besides the Quest skis are there other skis that Salomon is introducing for this upcoming season?
R: We still do also have our Enduro family of skis which, like I said earlier, is our, more of our inbounds. Still all-mountain but ranging from mid-70s to mid-80s underfoot so it's gonna be more for that person tends to stay in the groomers 75-80% of the time.
S: Okay. Sounds like my kind of skis. I'm mostly groomers kind of guy.
R: And then one other one that we're bringing back into the country that we've been out of for a little while is some of our, not full-board but some of our softer race skis, kind of, what I would say would be our frontside carvers that are also a lot of fun especially for the Midwestern and east coast skiers.
S: Okay. Now, rocker shapes have evolved throughout the years, can you tell me about some of the rockers Salomon uses on their skis and what they're designed for? Who they're designed for? Sorry.
R: Yeah. I think the biggest thing that's happened is, almost like shaped skis, the evolution has kind of worked its way out. Skis, for lack of a better word, have settled down. They've found their niche. You know, when shaped skis first came out, the shapes were very exaggerated and were a little specific in design or as far as turn shape. With rocker skis, it was kind of the same way, when they first came out they were very powder-oriented. Now, Rocker is used everywhere from, like I said, with race skis to big mountain powder skis still, and everything in between. So, you've got rocker in a lot of different millimeters or different lengths as far as how much of the ski is rockered so like in a 90mm ski you might have 15mm of that ski or just the tip area rockered so you get a little bit of flotation but it's still very easy to ski. It absorbs vibration a little bit nicer and really is still super comfortable on the groomers but it's going to be a nice ski for someone who wants to start experimenting with getting off the beaten path, maybe trying a little powder snow. And then as you tend to go to a wider ski then you're going more rocker so the ski will be more powder friendly.
S: So, let me make sure I'm hearing that correctly. I guess, kind of, couple years ago when for rocker…it was pretty much very specific towards a specific liking towards the mountain but now it's kind of evolved into somebody who kind of likes to do more all-mountain. Am I hearing that right?
R: Yeah, I mean, to sum it up, every ski on the market nowadays from a race ski all the way to a full-board powder ski, it's going to be rockered. There really isn't anything out there, to the best of my knowledge, there really isn't any ski out there that's offered that doesn't have some amount of rocker on it.
S: Okay, now my wife and I, we're the type of skiers who take the chairlift up, we ski the blues, ski the black diamonds. We go out west occasionally. What are some Salomon skis you would recommend for us?
R: When you are skiing out west, what type of terrain do you…do you tend to stay more on groomers or do you ski a little bit off the beaten path? Or mix it up?
S: My wife's much newer at skiing so I would be one to venture maybe a little bit off but for her, no.
R: I would say then probably for you, the new Q90 which again, we try to make it pretty easy for the customer and even for the shop employee but the Q90, which as the name implies, is 90 underfoot. So, very comfortable on the frontside of the mountain but also with a little bit of rocker, early-rise tail. Usually good all-mountain performance on the backside as well. Little bit of flotation or maybe even the Q98 which is going to give you a little more out-west performance but still is narrow enough underfoot that you can ski it in the Midwest as well. Your wife, she could ski the Lux which is 88 underfoot or, if she's a little newer and a little more timid, the Lava which is from our women's all-mountain collection might be a little better choice for her if she tends the groomers a little more.
S: Yeah. Okay. Now, let's talk a little about the ski boots in the Salomon line. Tell me about some of the technology that goes into the boots and what separates Salomon from the competition?
R: Well, I guess I can thump my chest a little bit there. One of the things that separates us is we are the number one boot in the world and, more importantly, in the United States. I think it boils down to fit and performance but the most important thing to any skier out there is fit and I can't stress enough, if you are purchasing new equipment, whatever you're looking at, if boots are part of the purchase that is the number one by far most important piece of the puzzle. What really sets us apart, I think, is the fact that we offer two things. One: we offer a custom fit liner. It's a preformed liner but it's also heat-moldable so the customer takes it into the shop or when they're purchasing the boot from the store they can simply put it on a machine that the store has, it heats the liner up, it molds the liner to the customer's foot. Now most companies offer this technology so I'm not saying that we're the only one with that but something that is pretty proprietary to Salomon is the fact that now we offer what we call twin frame technology and basically that is now, that we've taken that custom fit liner idea and transferred that over to the shell as well so we offer heat moldable shells. It's always been possible for a qualified shop to heat up a ski boot, to punch a shell if you've got a problem area or a hot spot but it takes a pretty qualified person, somebody with some good experience and I'd like to say you could find that at every single shop out there but unfortunately you can't. This new technology really is super simple. When I talk about it to shop guys I compare it to, if you could put a hot pocket in the oven, you can custom fit our boots because its basically the entire lower shell of the boot is heat moldable so you get customization with both the liner and the shell now and really it forms to the customers foot. And you put it in the oven, a special oven, heats up, take it out, put it on the customers foot and 15 minutes later they're out the door.
S: Excellent. Sounds good. So for those listening out there, check out, we've got a lot of good Salomon products coming in for the 2013-2014 season. So, check out skis.com and even snowboards.com for all of that. For the Summit Sports Podcast, Rik thank you very much for coming in and talking with me today.
R: You're very welcome.
S: And we will see you hopefully again soon and for everyone out there listening, thank you for listening.