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Salomon... Why?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Okay, as an introduction I realize that bringing up the world vs. Salomon debate is not always a good thing to do here. I also know that Salomon has been discussed on this board over 20 times in the last year, but since Amer corp aquired Salomon this year, they dont seem to be the same company. It could be directly related or completely unrelated to the company being taken over by another firm... I don't know. But here is what have I noticed:

Where did the true freeride line of skis go? There is no AK, no Xtra Hot, and no Hot. They have been replaced with the scrambler series... which tops out at the Scrambler Hot - which just doesnt seem to cut it as an expert freeride ski to me. I mean 78mm waist (max) is not enough for true freeride skiing. Okay, so they have the 1080 line... but what if you don't like twin tips... or want to refinance your home to get a pair of twin tips?

Where did the Crossmax series go? Replaced by the street racer? Lets be serious here... even if its the same ski as the Crossmax V12 (europe's model), which it isnt, it still makes no sense to rebadge one of the most prominent names in the business.

Now, on to race skis. Oh, wait... there aren't any? I've skied the GC - its a good ski, but it is no where near what even their retail race skis were in years past...

It looks like Salomon is marketing their European line to the US - meaning they are focusing on groomer skis - when the trend in the market is to wider... Europe tends to use more carving skis it seems. This makes sense as Europe also gets the Demo series, and the Crossmax Series, as well as the 2V (and I'm assuming the 3V). I know that Europe is a much larger market for salomon than the Us... but this is getting rediculous.

This season I can honestly say that there are no high end groomer skis in the Salomon lineup that I would recommend to an expert skier, and the only way you can get a semi-expert tool is to go with the 1080 Foil or Gun/Pocket Rocket. After that you have to look toward the LAB skis, which are about as easy to get ahold of as the pair of skis that Bode will be skiing on tomorrow...

So, is Salomon stupid... or is Amer Sport trying to drive them into a mediocre company that targets large retail outlets and intermediate skiers? They must have a reason for the skis they produced, because they have a different mold for each one (different dimensions for every length), which is a costly endevour... At least they have converted to making only "soft" boots yet. So is this all just a "transition" or is Salomon doomed to become last seasons rebadged atomics like Dynamic became? I also wonder how long for this earth the still unchanged Salomon driver bindings are...

Later

GREG
post #2 of 22
go VOLKL and don't look back
post #3 of 22
My theory would be that they are trying to do what they have done so well the last 15 years -- sell a shitload of skis. I know a LOT of good skiers who like Salomons because they are fun to ski. Some of these skiers have other brands in their quiver. I consider them "expert" skiers. Perhaps they are thinking: "if someone wants a stiff to very stiff ski, they can go buy a Head, Volkl, or Atomic -- we will serve the masses." I agree with Heluvaskier that having the regular line top out at 78 mm is curious.
post #4 of 22
A side note on the Gs issue:

I am no fan of salomon, trust me, but the gc is not a race ski, and is not supposed to be. I would not compare it to any. The GS lab is what is supposed to be their race ski, I have tried it (a few of my h.s. race friends have had them) and they suck compared to any other brand, granted I weigh 195 pounds and am therefore out of the Salomon target market.

The lab skis aren't that hard to find, in my experience. I spend time around racers though, so nothing is hard to find I guess.
post #5 of 22
Salomon has not been it's own company for a number of years, remember, they have been run by Adidas for the past number of years. Quite frankly, I would rather see them under the Amer umbrella than Adidas. With that said, I think Salomon has been a victim of their own success on that they grew to a "full line" manucaturer. By full line, they make a product for EVERY level from a first time beginner to a world class racer. Remember Salomon's history, Georges (sp?) started off (in the ski industry) making edges, then bindings, then boots, then skis. They expanded to other sports like hiking boot and in-line skates. Good bad or indifferent Salomon grew past what I thought was good as a ski company years ago, but no one asked me. And good for them for they are much more successful doing what they are doing than to be selling just high end gear.
post #6 of 22
we should've sent you to consult with 'em, Phil! then we'd all be in Dalbello Salomon boots based on Raichles!

Greg, it would be interesting to get Eric desLauriers' view on this. He's been with Sallie for many years.
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by gonzostrike
we should've sent you to consult with 'em, Phil! then we'd all be in Dalbello Salomon boots based on Raichles!

Greg, it would be interesting to get Eric desLauriers' view on this. He's been with Sallie for many years.
OK Mr. Wisenheimer I did specify that Salomon is much better off for NOT consulting with me. For what is worth I did some some tech work with Salomon in the early to mid 90's when the skis came out and did some of the pre testing on the suspension and pro-pulse binding (and boots). One of the reasons my "relationship" ended was that I couldn't/wouldn't ski in their boots. It's not like I was on the payroll, but I was getting gear. Salomon was hell bent on going main stream with the company. I spent some time with Eric and his brother doing some shows and some on-snow work, quite frankly as long as Salomon keeps writting them checks I am sure they are happy with the progression.
post #8 of 22
The Salomon line for 2005/06 has not been influenced by the AMER purchase. The whole line was designed well before AMER became involved. As to what happens in the future, that's anyones' guess.
post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
Yeah, by no means am I trying to trash the brand... but I am confused as to the route they have taken in the US (especially). They are really lacking the high end skis that they are capable of building. I suppose they are still making moeny, but without the "flagship" skis like the Xtra Hot, the CrossMax (which had a racing series named after it), and the 2V and 3V names, the company may lose a lot of equity with the intermediate skier consumer that they are making their money from. The 2V and 3V disappearing would be like Rossignol discontinuing the 9S and 9X... or Volkl doing away with the P series... wait, they did that (in exchange for an older name with possibly even more equity built into it... but IMO nothing really topped the P10/P20 era as far as equity is concerned now). Either way, I think Salomon is losing some serious equity with the crowd that see the "flagship" skis as the ones they want to be skiing on, while they are actually skiing on a pair of skis several levels below that high end model. Think about it, how many skiers creamed in their pants thinking about the day that they might own a pair of X-Scream Series.
Later
GREG
post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 
Betaracer, that is what I assumed, but wouldn't Amer Sport have a say over what skis were released and where? It seems that if they thought it would boost the sales of other Amer brands, they could actually force Salomon to not release certain high end boards, to increase the popularity of the other brands. With Salomon's deep pockets, and small margin on the high end stuff anyways, it could happen that certain skis could see the incinerator before they saw the shelves of a shop. Possible... yeah. Probable... I would hope not.
Later
GREG
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier
Betaracer, that is what I assumed, but wouldn't Amer Sport have a say over what skis were released and where? It seems that if they thought it would boost the sales of other Amer brands, they could actually force Salomon to not release certain high end boards, to increase the popularity of the other brands. With Salomon's deep pockets, and small margin on the high end stuff anyways, it could happen that certain skis could see the incinerator before they saw the shelves of a shop. Possible... yeah. Probable... I would hope not.
Later
GREG
To a point. Remember the "next years" buying time is in January. The Amer buyout was not until the spring. It was really too late to make any changes.
post #12 of 22
The skis you buy this year were conceived 3 years ago. Changes are not made overnight. There has been talk among fellow industry insiders over thalast few years as to the direction Salomon has been going. Again, time will tell what happens with all brands.
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier
Where did the true freeride line of skis go? There is no AK, no Xtra Hot, and no Hot. They have been replaced with the scrambler series... which tops out at the Scrambler Hot - which just doesnt seem to cut it as an expert freeride ski to me. I mean 78mm waist (max) is not enough for true freeride skiing. Okay, so they have the 1080 line... but what if you don't like twin tips... or want to refinance your home to get a pair of twin tips?
Your big-mountain/freeride ignorance shines forth strongly here -- for YEARS, American distributors have had to battle with their European-based companies to even consider the addition of twin-tips on freeride skis. In Europe, the big-mountain guys are concernced about a ski that you can anchor a belay to, and other assorted uber-ultra rad mountaineering crap like that which 99.9999% of our skiing population (including EpicSki) would never consider). Fischer skis is no different -- the new Fischer Watea's are no different... The Euro's wanted a flat tail, the American's wanted a full twin, and we ended up with a useless tail flare with a useless "swallowtail". The Atua's are a different story, of course. Volkl has faced these same pressures for YEARS! The Explosive was flat for many years, finally got a half-twin in years past, then went back to flat, and is now a full-twin with the Mantra.

In America, most of the big name pro's want to just be able to take off and/or land switch, and dork around in the park. Lots of people are jibbing on "fat" skis now. There really is no logical reason why every "freeride" ski shouldn't be twin-tipped, since the entire concept of "freeride" skiing is that the mountain can be ridden multiple ways, either direction. To say twin-tips are bad for freeride skiing is to degrade the essence of it and expose your own shortcomings.

Furthermore, having ANY kind of tail flare assists in skiing tight, technical chutes. People that bitch about lack of turn completion as a result of twin-tips typically don't have their skis tuned correctly, or ride their heels out of a turn too much anyways.

Salomon has ALWAYS been on the skinny edge of the freeride market, and this year certainly is no different. Sure, the Lab Gun is 101 waist, and probably fairly rad, but it retails at well over a grand, and is doing battle with companies that have had 100+ skis for years now.
post #14 of 22
I´ve been shaking my head over Salomon skis since the last year´s (04/05) line appeared in January 2004.

Much has become clear when the Amer thing got published. It was not surprising to read how thin the profit over the last years was. With such results and non-skiing bosses in Germany the Salomon guys had probably not much chance to decide. (I know from our Importers that as soon as Adidas took over 7 years ago the communication with Salomon got much more complicated and much had to be decided by the Germans. It must have been even worse recently, I suppose.)
As I see it alpine racing got support because of the women´s results (Kostelic, Parson) but R&D suffered. Cf. the bindings.

The ski line seems almost ridiculous. Last year´s Streetracers are nothing but belated hypercarvers which were most popular in Europe in 1998-99. The Scramblers seemed - dimension-wise - a match for Metrons but performance-wise are one or two steps lower. The absence of 80+mm freeriding skis, together with discontinued Pocket Rockets or AK Rocket, is totally crazy considering the trends.
Otoh, the skiers presented are:
alpine: Goetschl, Paerson, Strobl (not named) (Where´s Kostelic???)
freestyle: Cline, Dumont, Lewen, Thovex
Where´s the emphasis and logic?

It´s as Betaracer writes. An example: in December 04 we were all waiting for the info on the 05/06 lines presented soon after (Jan/Feb). A friend of mine who is our Dynastar etc. importer was invided to France not to see the new 05/06 line but the 06/07 already. Which means about the 3 years Betaracer mentiones.
IMO both 04/05 and 05/06 lines reflect the the poor economic results and the corresponding position Salomon had.
I´m not even sure if the Adidas-Amer transaction is so far as to enable Amer/Atomic to have a say over what is (not) being shipped now.

I don´t know what exactly Salomon presents in America. There are 2V Race and 3V Race in the catalog, albeit not the Lab skis. Another mystery: last fall Salomon disclosed the existence of LAB skis and offered some of them in the shops. Now there´s not a single Lab ski in the catalog. Instead, the ancient "slalom" 105-64-95 is still presented.

Btw, ski sales worldwide are not based on wide skis. These skis are an important segment in America but in the most important markets in Europe (except France) they are (still) more or less marginal. "Narrow" skis used on groomers are simply much more important in Europe (probably in Japan as well although freestyle twintips are fairly strong there) and the manufacturers´ emphasy on them is logical.

(The sales of alpine skis are about 4.5 million pairs, US + Canada 1,0-1,1 million - a strong and important market but not the decisive one.)
post #15 of 22
BakerBoy,

is there any existing ski (i.e. Volkl Mantra) that the new Fischer fatties resemble in feel?

I've skied the WC SC and currently have Big Stix 7.6 and 8.6 and found the 8.6 a bit floppy in the thigh-deep spring snow last March at Alta.
post #16 of 22
Well... I am not a ski expert, but the trend I see is that new ideas are being tried out and then later folded into a clean marketing lineup. For example, K2 developed the T-Nine series including the very popular Phat Luv for women. Then last year they came out with a vastly expanded 'Luv' series. I lost count trying to count all of K2's Luv skis. Reminded me of Rocky I, Rocky II Rocky III......

Salomon has experimented with a variety of things like the Pilot Series which cross pollinated with the Scream. The AK Rocket got somewhat superceded by the Pocket Rocket. The Pocket Rocket/ Ten-Eighty was a unique design that was considered somewhat experimental. I see the Pocket Rocket as a very popular ski that gets talked down a lot... and it has been re-done as the TenEighty Gun for 05-06. So now there is this entire TenEighty series - Gun, Foil, Thruster, Flyer. That now looks like a very clean marketing line.

I guess this makes someone happy, but I am not sure who.

I get nervous when my favorite ski disappears, even in name. Anyway, I now have two pairs of PR's. One is a 03-04 pair with 912ti binding. And I just picked up a brand new 04-05 pair and have put AT bindings on them (Naxo), for backcountry skiing. So, I feel secure for a couple of years.

So the Pocket Rocket, once a trick, powder ski with rad graphics, is now being given conservative graphics and tamer name. Hmmmm.. It's a marketing thing. These ski companies want to present a linear lineup.

I ski in the Pacific NW crud and powder on and off groom. Took the PR's to Utah's Park City/Deer Valley's nicely groomed slopes last January, they performed just fine. So, Now I feel I can ski anywhere in the West.

I just hope that whatever happens at Salomon, they don't forget where the rad ideas come from... not from marketing committees, but from rad skiers.
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by gonzostrike
BakerBoy,

is there any existing ski (i.e. Volkl Mantra) that the new Fischer fatties resemble in feel?

I've skied the WC SC and currently have Big Stix 7.6 and 8.6 and found the 8.6 a bit floppy in the thigh-deep spring snow last March at Alta.
Well, the new Atua (186, 96mm waist) feels like a Pocket Rocket, only far better. Vertical sidewals, full wood-core, full-twin tip, medium flex with fantastic dampening. It's like the ski the Pocket Rocket should have been before it was neutered by those "rad" guys at Salomon.

Not sure where the "rad" graphics Ruxpercnd is talking about were ever in existence, much less went too, since they were pretty much blue. Now they are not blue. Not any worse, not any better. I guess "rad" is non-comparative state of mind, since most people my age will tell you that Armada's have the most amazing graphics in the ski industry, and most of the doctor/lawyers will tell you Pocket Rockets are the best. Like I said, it's a matter of perspective, I suppose. Anyhow.
post #18 of 22
armada's graphics are good for the market they are targeting. i will never buy an armada ski because of their graphics. however, the 1080 graphics floats my boat.

armada scored big time.
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Not sure where the "rad" graphics Ruxpercnd is talking about were ever in existence, much less went too, since they were pretty much blue. Now they are not blue. Not any worse, not any better. I guess "rad" is non-comparative state of mind, since most people my age will tell you that Armada's have the most amazing graphics in the ski industry, and most of the doctor/lawyers will tell you Pocket Rockets are the best. Like I said, it's a matter of perspective, I suppose. Anyhow
Yea.... rad is a relative term... I am old enough to remember when there pretty much were no graphics. Now I thought the Pocket Rocket's Mechanical Man was a little rad, not to mention the other mech doodles. Then, of course the 04-05 Pr's have that funny bird wing thing. I didn't realize how rad the Pr was until I got them out on a sunny slope and my ski buddies commented on the metaltex reflective subsurface.

However, my main point was that I believe that Pocket Rocket was developed by JP Auclair, a rad skier. So, it stood out in the lineup like something really different. Now, Salomon seems to be taiming down the ski's image.

BTW - JP Auclair is on the Armada management team! Ok.. I suppose, someday folks will say... oh yea, JP Auclair, that old guy, ha ha...
post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruxpercnd
However, my main point was that I believe that Pocket Rocket was developed by JP Auclair, a rad skier. So, it stood out in the lineup like something really different. Now, Salomon seems to be taiming down the ski's image.

BTW - JP Auclair is on the Armada management team! Ok.. I suppose, someday folks will say... oh yea, JP Auclair, that old guy, ha ha...
JP left Salomon because they are the kings of designing the ski once, and then leaving it for years, with no hint of improvement or progression. They get a winner, and then ride that for awhile, until its been choked of all life.

Armada ANT Pro 191cm - 133/106/123
post #21 of 22
I agree with Beta Racer, the whole time line for designing and or marketing skis is much longer than Amer's involvement. The same issues that caused the situation with the current line could have also created a situation that made them rip for Amer to take them over though. I have to agree with the line above about JP leaving. I've long thought Salomon was run by marketers and accountants with not enough contact with actual skiing. They've had their successes but then they milk it too long. Even their flops they won't let go of but keep pounding at them.
post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier
Now, on to race skis. Oh, wait... there aren't any? I've skied the GC - its a good ski, but it is no where near what even their retail race skis were in years past...
Well Kostelic and Paerson didn't seem to do so badly on them last year!...

I use some Pilot 8s occasionally - great fun, and plenty stiff enough for someone who's 6 ft and 150 lbs, I find.
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