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Marcel Hirscher - Long LIve The New-Old King ! (or is it too early to say it ?....) - Page 2

post #31 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by primoz View Post

No, I'm not saying it's fabrication, it's just PR, and of course company itself won't put out that he's skiing on different binding, different shoes and different skis. Did Atomic ever mentioned anything about Marker bindings? No wink.gif

Last year he was on Salomon shoes, which are still sort of in-house shoes, as Salomon and Atomic fit under same roof, but for skis, it wasn't even close to any company related to Atomic/Amer sports wink.gif

Whatever happens under the Atomic roof and whatever names are involved under this roof he still doesn't have a boot set up that works and skis that are half as good on soft snow as they are on injected ice. He will continue loosing points on soft surfaces and this is exactly what happened last year as well.
post #32 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by primoz View Post
 

No, I'm not saying it's fabrication, it's just PR, and of course company itself won't put out that he's skiing on different binding, different shoes and different skis. Did Atomic ever mentioned anything about Marker bindings? No ;)
Last year he was on Salomon shoes, which are still sort of in-house shoes, as Salomon and Atomic fit under same roof, but for skis, it wasn't even close to any company related to Atomic/Amer sports ;)


Understood that the companies won't publicly acknowledge when a sponsored athlete is on someone else's equipment.   Likewise, we all remember the nudge-nudge wink-wink way things were a few decades ago, where none of the RD equipment bore any relationship to the consumer goods (typically being made in different factories), but where at the same time everyone knew this.   I.e., while it was all baloney, there was no active attempt to deceive, because everyone knew, and the companies knew that everyone knew.  My point, then, is that there's a difference between doing that, vs. releasing professionally-produced videos and websites, featuring Hirscher, in which they explicitly talk about how Atomic custom-produces his personal equipment (I remember one video, whose link I can't currently locate, in which they show rows and rows of Atomic boots made specifically for Hirscher).   If Hirscher is indeed using equipment made by someone else, that would constitute a deliberate attempt to deceive, and would thus be qualitatively different from the nudge-nudge wink-wink PR of the 70's, in that it really would be an active fabrication. 

 

See, for instance:

http://www.marcelhirscher.at/en/Highlights/Highlights/Inside%20Team%20Hirscher/highlight-details.aspx

 

"We produce 30 pairs of ski boots and 100 pairs of Atomic Redster racing skies for him before every season. That’s 40 pairs for slalom and giant slalom respectively, plus another 20 pairs for speed events. And that’s just his basic equipment. Throughout the winter we add new models as well as tweaks and changes to existing kit....Service guru Edi Unterberger can come up with 1,640 different setup options for a giant slalom Doubledeck ski. Today Team Hirscher decides to try something a tiny bit different in the middle of the ski. Atomic Racing Manager Christian Höflehner and Hans Schaidreiter, head of the Atomic Development Department, decide that one of the 40 components, assembled and pressed into the ski in 20 stages, will be moved toward the tip by a couple of millimeters."


Edited by chemist - 12/26/15 at 10:21am
post #33 of 42

While I agree with you on this, I would also say people over here are a bit less trigger happy with lawsuits etc. on one side, and on other side, it's still common knowledge, that race equipment (no matter who makes them) has still nothing to do with stuff you can buy in stores. So things didn't really change much from decades ago. Nowadays RD stuff is still RD stuff only, and not sold to general public.
This below is current "doubledeck" World cup GS race ski... Doubledeck is simply painting :) Similar to Head's KERS etc. So is this deceiving? Could be, but noone really cares much about this. And it's similar in other sports too with other equipment, where compay sponsored athletes use equipment from different companies painted as equipment from their sponsor. I guess always was, and always will be. For me, it's not really that much of a problem, as even with "Hirscher GS ski" you are buying in store, you still don't get anything similar to this, what he skis, even if he would ski on 100% Atomic made ski.

 

post #34 of 42

OK, I hear you about the marketing, but there's something I'm still confused about -- not about Hirscher specifically, but about today's RD gear generally: :o

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by primoz View Post
 

Nowadays RD stuff is still RD stuff only, and not sold to general public.

 

Today (unlike in decades past) you have companies explicitly acknowledging that their production race gear is different from true RD gear, but at the same time making what they call true RD FIS gear available on a special-order basis (thru speciality race shops) to the general public, complete with hand-written flex numbers, etc. -- the idea being that what you are getting in the latter case really does have the same construction as the stuff they offer the bulk of their sponsored racers, just possibly with a different flex and set-up.  Indeed, experienced USSA Masters here on Epic have talked about ordering true FIS equipment during the early season. 

 

As a result, it's been my understanding that sponsored racers (except at the top levels) are offered the same type of RD gear (i.e., same construction, though with customized flex and set-up) I can special-order thru specialty race shops, and it's only in cases where that gear doesn't work for them (and if they're high-enough in level) that the companies will custom-fabricate or obtain (or allow the athlete to obtain) something different (and then adjust the cosmetics to make it look like the company's gear). 

 

Is what I'm saying incorrect?  For instance, if "RD stuff is still RD stuff only," that would mean none of Lange's sponsored racers (i.e., those in true RD gear), even at the lower levels, would be in the R2006 shell geometry I would get if I special-ordered a Lange ZC.  And likewise that none of Dalbello's sponsored racers are in some (perhaps stiffer) version of the DRS WC I could buy.

 

Not trying to be argumentative, just trying to get a clearer picture of what's actually going on. :)


Edited by chemist - 12/26/15 at 5:55pm
post #35 of 42

These things are a bit tricky. You can get FIS legal skis (let's stick with skis, as I don't know boots part all that well), but FIS legal skis and skis made for WC racers are two completely different things. They are similar, they have same dimensions, they might even have same materials, but for most of them, they are not done in same place. Race departments are small departments inside of company, where they very limited resources, people vise and tech vise, so they are simply not able to produce big numbers of skis. Now do the calculations... Head for example have 1000+ skis to produce just for their WC racers, then there are lower level FIS racers, then there's 1000s of hobby racers all over the world, who of course want to be on Head, as Ligety is on Head, so they are for sure best GS skis. Adding these numbers together, you come to numbers, where you need smaller factory just to produce these "RD" skis, not small lab with few people and ski press or two. :)
So in reality you have WC race skis, then "Europa/Noram cup" (considerably big part of these skis are skis, which come back from WC racers as they don't fit them or are too slow, the rest are either produced in RD or in normal factory) and then you have "race stock" skis, which are skis with same/similar materials and same dimensions as WC skis, but have never been even close to RD (they still get measured etc.), and that's what you can normally get in stores (so called race shops I mean,not some big sport stores). With Fischer for example these things were marked with famous blue (WC stock) and red (everything else) tape when they came out of company.

post #36 of 42
Quote:
hobby racers

 

Perfect description! I know what I am now!    :D

post #37 of 42

JohnnyV I didn't mean anything bad with this, so hopefully noone will feel offended by this :)

post #38 of 42

I'm not offended at all-it's a perfect description! I've also used the term "gentleman racer", but "Hobby Racer" fits even better. I'm far from being sponsored and the only thing I'm going to win are cheesy trophies, bragging rights and occasionally a nice prize in the weekly sponsor drawing.

post #39 of 42

Obviously the skis the top WC guys use are better than what an average person buying a race stock ski gets, but what makes the difference? The turn radius and sidecut are largely fixed by regulations followed by personal preference/style. The ptex is probably better, but I imagine there must be more to it than that, especially in say slalom. Their skis are probably stiffer, which seems like an easy thing to do, just increase the thickness of the core. Testing 100 pairs of skis can let you get this stuff just right for each hill. But this doesn't seem like enough of a reason for some racers to have skis that make them faster than others, at least in the tech events (the initial switch to 35m GS being a notable exception).

 

My guess is that WC skiers are primarily looking for the right amount of damping. That's presumably why Kristoffersen had a dashpot pinned to his skis recently. But if some damping doo-dads like double deck, hole tips, piezoelectric fibers, etc. are frequently removed from the WC skis, does this mean that WC skiers need less damping than a masters racer? I read Hirscher uses the Marker piston plate, which I imagine is for the damping. So is it a matter of mixing and matching to get the right amount of damping as a function of the amount the ski is flexed? Or is there some other completely different parameter that makes one WC GS ski for example, faster than another? I have no idea what they really care about, I'm just speculating.

post #40 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by primoz View Post
 

These things are a bit tricky. You can get FIS legal skis (let's stick with skis, as I don't know boots part all that well), but FIS legal skis and skis made for WC racers are two completely different things. They are similar, they have same dimensions, they might even have same materials, but for most of them, they are not done in same place. Race departments are small departments inside of company, where they very limited resources, people vise and tech vise, so they are simply not able to produce big numbers of skis. Now do the calculations... Head for example have 1000+ skis to produce just for their WC racers, then there are lower level FIS racers, then there's 1000s of hobby racers all over the world, who of course want to be on Head, as Ligety is on Head, so they are for sure best GS skis. Adding these numbers together, you come to numbers, where you need smaller factory just to produce these "RD" skis, not small lab with few people and ski press or two. :)
So in reality you have WC race skis, then "Europa/Noram cup" (considerably big part of these skis are skis, which come back from WC racers as they don't fit them or are too slow, the rest are either produced in RD or in normal factory) and then you have "race stock" skis, which are skis with same/similar materials and same dimensions as WC skis, but have never been even close to RD (they still get measured etc.), and that's what you can normally get in stores (so called race shops I mean,not some big sport stores). With Fischer for example these things were marked with famous blue (WC stock) and red (everything else) tape when they came out of company.

Thanks primoz, that's the most detailed explanation I've seen yet!

 

It makes sense that once they've figured out an innovation that improves performance, they're not going to release it publicly (in their "red tape" product) for a while, to prevent other companies from reverse-engineering it*, to allow their racers to maintain a competitive advantage.   I suppose an example would be the first generation of Head RD GS skis after FIS went to 35 meters, which reportedly worked better than anyone else's that year.   But then, when it becomes clear other manufacturers have figured it out, I suppose they would then begin allowing the tech in their "red tape" gear (?).

 

Correspondingly, I would guess this means that even someone like Hirscher can't ski on whatever he wants, because there's no way Head would have been willing to provide Hirscher those special 35 m skis (which Atomic would have then covered over with Atomic cosmetics), since in so doing they would have given away a significant competitive advantage.

 

It also makes sense that skis are customized, since the nature of ski construction makes customization easily.  But what about bindings, which seem to be at the other end of the customizability spectrum (since they require extensive testing and certification for safety, etc.)?  Is there any difference between a company's top publicly-available race binding (e.g., a Head "Freeflex Evo 20 X RD") and what a pro would use?  I don't mean things like add-on damping arms, I mean something that would directly change the release and/or retention mechanism of the binding itself.

 

I see from your profile that you ski raced for 20 years, and are now a professional sports photographer.  May I ask what circuit you raced on, and whether your avatar is a picture of you, or one of your pro shots of another racer?

 

**********

*Actually, this raises an interesting set of questions:  I assume Atomic has its own in-house race lab that fabricates gear for its WC skiers.  Given this, when they encounter a situation in which one of their star racers (in this case, Hirscher) has to race on someone else's product to get the performance he wants, do they try to reverse-engineer those skis themselves so that their star can be on their own product the following year?  Or do they even have the capability to do this (not sure if skis can be reverse-engineered)?  Or is it the case that they could, but since he can get what he wants elsewhere (and if all their other WC skiers are happy with their gear) perhaps it's not worth their time to devote the resources...?  Or do they have to make an agreement with the other supplier that yes, you can put your graphics on our skis, but you can't reverse-engineer our tech?   


Edited by chemist - 12/27/15 at 2:17pm
post #41 of 42

Skis are really tricky to reverse-engineer... hell in xc skiing, where things are even more complicated, it's impossible to make two same pairs, not to mention there's simply no chance to get ski from some other company, and copy it. There's just too many factors on which ski performance depends. With alpine things are a little bit easier, and it's sort of possible to replicate skis, while with xc skis it's just too complicated, especially because materials and the way they are done. But thing is, even if you have exact procedure and know exact materials with which you built previous pair, it's still hard to replicate this, as most of (alpine) ski is from wood, and it's pretty much impossible to get two exactly same pieces of wood, with exactly same structure, exactly same hardness, and amount of water in it it etc. Then you have ptex, which is another pretty important factor in this how fast ski will be, and place where you cut ptex from big roll defines in what conditions ski will be fast (or slow). And on the end, you glue all these things together. While I agree this could be done exactly same pair by pair by pair, if they would use modern technology, but skis are still glued by hand, and there's simply no way, person will apply exactly same amount of glue (epoxy and several other things) on every single ski. And all these things matter on then end, when it's about small margins on which depend if you will win or end up 10th.

PS: As far as my racing is concerned, I was never any good. I have been racing for 20 years and something (xc skiing, not alpine) and never even qualified for World cup, which also means I never won Olympics either :) I have been racing European cup races and I didn't win not even there, so that's all what I "achieved". After that I have been serviceman on World cup for years, and there I have been doing much better then in my own racing, but that doesn't really count as success :) Photo in profile is my photo of, I think Carlo Janka, from Alta Badia from few years ago.

post #42 of 42

I agree with the OP. The only real threat I see for Marcel are drones. Apparently, he is able to keep .25 seconds ahead of those as well.

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