A Vermont based company that claims to use a material in their skis that adapt to the conditions... What do you think?
I've heard of them — I thought in an Epic thread — and I saw somebody on a pair at Sunapee. I asked what he thought of them. "Fantastic!" he said.
I sensed he was connected somehow to the company, perhaps as a friend, but I'm still intrigued by the ski.
The company is run by a recent college dropout who washes windows in the summer. I don't have an issue with that since often times this is the kind of background where innovation comes from. It seems the material is D3O, which is marketed as a flexible material that hardens upon impact, and then goes flexible again. Obviously, manufacturers are marketing D3O products for safety/impact protection (see one manufacturer of the product here: http://www.d3o.com/materials/how-d3o-technology-works/ ). For skis? We have all seen this new material movie before, with everything from space age products to concrete. Perhaps there is something there, but you will never know unless you can demo the product.
The idea is cool. Build a ski that is flexible in soft snow conditions, and stiffens when carving on hardpack.
Update: Video is in this article http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/04/13/new-ski-innovation/25731887/
Stay tuned folks...we have been in contact with Cyrus Schenck and we will be visiting his shop and getting the details on his design and the D30 material incorporated in to the layup.
He has promised us some test skis this season, so we will get some honest reviews from a wide variety of testers of all abilities on how the ski actually feels in the real-world conditions of Vermont!
While the D30 dampening material is getting all the attention, we want to concentrate on the shaping and flex pattern of the flagship model and how the adaptive dampening ingredient might work with the geometry to create a unique personality in the ski. His crew is intelligent and creative, and that's a great combo. We will keep people posted just as soon as we get our hands on a test pair and talk to Cyrus in person about the design and components! Winning an ISPO innovation award is not indicative of anything specific, but the use of a new material got the judges' attention, and ISPO sees a ton of different tech each year by a huge collection of companies...so we will see what it's really all about...
Me 55 year old skier, prefers woods, ungroomed, bumps and powder (when I can find it). Primarily ski at MRG, Jay and make a trip out west once a year. Ski 30 to 35 days per year.
Was finishing a wet rainy turned cold icy week at Jay (2/5) and wanted to meet someone at the Tram House. Approaching the building I saw that Renoun had a demo tent set up. Cyrus adjusted a pair of their all-mountain ski for me to try. Fast run on the boiler plate (Flyer Chair to Upper Goat to Lower Quai to Tram base) showed he's on to something. They chattered less and provided more control than I was use to. Then I tried the carving ski. These were even better on frozen boiler plate. While I ski the whole mountain, carving steeper icy slopes is not one of my skills. These skis increased my control on these slopes to a good degree. Not sure how the better dampening control would benefit the ski in other conditions. I would need to demo for a longer time and in more variety than Jay was offering that day to know.
Funny thing was he did not ask for any forms, ID or security (I had left my skis at a rack before approaching the tent). I asked him about this afterward and he said he trusted people and if he lost a pair to theft he'd change how he runs his demos.
I just purchased some Powertrack 89 so I'm not in the market but if the price would come down (he quoted $1100 a pair) I'd consider them for Eastern hardpack.
Not really stiffness more like a lively ski on softer smoother snow and a damp ski on harder more rutted snow. It definitely works on the hard snow side of the theory. I will need to demo it again in different conditions to comment on how it reacts to smoother softer snow conditions.
We've gotten some time on the Endurance model (all-mountain) 98mm underfoot in Eastern hardpack and some powder conditions....we should have a full review in the next couple weeks (holding out for another fresh snow day and subsequent packed-powder / cut up condition testing)...and yes, the rumors are true. Cyrus at Renoun has something very interesting going on. In short, the Endurance is loose, playful and friendly at slower speeds and tigher terrain, yet can be called on to rail GS-like arcs on hardpack with authority and security without requiring super-human effort from the pilot. Quicker than you think edge-to-edge for a 98mm all-mountain design, with good spunk and energy, but the most interesting behavior is the faster you go, the quieter the ski gets underfoot...very addicting.
This could be one of the class-leading all-mountain, "one ski to grab no matter what the day is like" kind of skis...we could ski this design pretty much anywhere all day except on the hardest of surfaces and the inspirational deep-powder days...which means pretty much every normal day. The breadth of the excellent-performance envelope from the Endurance is very impressive and hard to find in any other model of ski we can thnk of. Super impressive ski from a very intelligent designer with great engineering sense and a passion for good ski behavior. We will be swapping out the Endurance for a pair of the Z90 carving skis this month...so stay tuned!
As far as the "HDT" material used in the ski goes...I played with a wad of the stuff (Cyrus carries a little tin of it around to show off to curious people), which feels just like Silly Putty (but a little thinner), so it will sort of ooze through your fingers a little if you let it sit in your hand for a bit....and you can push your finger through it slowly with no real effort (very soft...nearly gooey). Wrap a wad of it around your finger, lay your finger on a table ahd bang it hard with your fist or hard object, and it isolates the impact to your finger...you never really feel your finger being wacked...the material "stiffens" on hard impact...yet remains pliable and gooey when prodded gently and slowly. Renoun has a video somewhere of a beer bottle wrapped with a layer of the HDT being wacked with a hammer...no damage. The material is manufactured by a couple different companies...each formula being roughly equivalent in their behaviors.
Below is a pic of the Endurance model showing the little strips of the HDT (about the width of a pencil) inlaid into the wood core.
Cool... wish I had realized what they were. It's a really neat concept - though simple at the same time. Non-newtonian fluids are amazing. Even cornstarch and water is fun to play with...