This post is sponsored by SkiEssentials.com
Every year, there seems to be a slew of new innovations and updates to existing ski designs. More often than not, these technologies fall by the wayside and are forever seen as marketing gimmicks. Occasionally though, there are technologies that legitimately raise the bar and become a technology that other ski manufacturers must answer to. Such will be the case with Rossignol's new Air Tip Technology.
This past Winter at the SIA (Snowsports Industry of America) Tradeshow, Rossignol unveiled their latest update to the famed S-series. For years, this lineup of skis dominated the freeride / powder ski scene as Rossignol was one of the first companies to really embrace rocker technology. Now, for 2014, Rossignol has once again stepped their game up with the addition of their award-winning Air Tip Technology.
Put briefly, Air Tip Technology is a new way of building rockered skis, that includes a honeycomb core in the tip and tail. The benefit of the the honeycomb pattern, is that there are pockets of air trapped in the tip of the ski. As a result, the tip of the ski is both lighter weight, and less dense. This combination results in an enhanced ability to stay on top of light, powdery snow. With this less dense tip in mind, it's easy to hear the naysayers question the stability of skis with this technology. Well, fortunately Rossignol is one step ahead of you and saw that problem coming from miles away. Knowing that a less dense core would likely mean a less stable ski, Rossignol spent the time to develop a special ABS Resin that would ensure the torsional integrity of the Air Tip design. Simply utilizing a stiff material wasn't enough to stabilize the honey comb tip though, so Rossignol also included thicker, more supportive sections of the ABS Resin to provide that extra level of stability in the tips of skis with Air Tip technology.
The result is a ski that is 20-30% lighter, offers superior float, and maintains torsional rigidity. For obvious reasons, this technology is most valuable in deep snow. Instead of having to fight to keep your dense, core-filled tips above snow, the Air Tip Technology in these skis causes the tips to float effortlessly above the snow. This is achieved not only by the lightweight of the tips, but also as the result of a redistribution of weight. In a typical set of skis, there's a pretty consistent weight and density throughout the ski. With Air Tip Technology though, the tips of the skis are significantly lighter than the center of the ski. As a result, the center of the ski ends up bearing more of your weight, and therefore raising the tip and tail of the ski upward. With this in mind, it's easy to see how these skis would have superior float in powder.
Of course having a ski that's lightweight also lends itself extremely well to Alpine Touring. If you've never had the pleasure of skinning up a mountain, then you might not realize how much equipment weight matters. On the other hand, if you do have experience with Alpine Touring, then you can attest to the fact that gear weight adds up quickly when you're literally climbing a mountain. As a result, Air Tip Technology lends itself extremely well to being used as a touring setup. While there are many lightweight options available to use as touring skis, there are few out there that will perform as well at the resort, as they will in the backcountry. Rossignol Air Tip technology is excellent in this sense, as it's one of the only skis that provides the lightweight characteristics of an Alpine Touring ski, with the full performance of a resort ski. Plus, the skis that Rossignol is offering with Air Tip Technology are all mid-fat or fatter, so you know they'll be perfect for the kinds of snow you'll be encountering on your average tour.
For its inaugural season, Rossignol decided to release Air Tip technology in a total of five different skis. Of these skis, the narrowest is the Rossignol Soul 7, with a waist width of 106 mm. From here, the skis only get fatter and more powder friendly. The men also enjoy Air Tip Technology in the Super 7 and the Squad 7, both of which are ideal backcountry and powder oriented skis. For the Women, Rossignol included Air Tip technology in the Savory 7 and the Star 7, both of which are most at home when they're in deep powder (the Savory 7 is 106mm underfoot, and the Star 7 is 116mm underfoot). Despite the fact that Rossignol has utilized this technology on mostly powder-oriented skis, it's important to realize that Air Tip can also hold it's own at the resort. Whether you're taking them through the glades, or simply need to get from your powder stash back to the lift, Air Tip technology will be right there with you, providing that stability you need. For more on this, check out David's review of the Rossignol Soul 7 from this past Spring. And if you're still feeling skeptical about Rossignol's new Air Tip technology, then we highly encourage you to get on a pair of skis with Air Tip this season, and see what the rage is all about! We promise, this is one technology that'll be sticking around for years to come!
Posted by Matt on 8/20/13