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Atomic's "Densolite" - Foam?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I've always had an aversion to foam-core skis.

The rap on foam skis is that they're lightweight, they break down quickly, and they don't hold well on icy, gnarly terrain. This view is, of course, a simplification.

For these reasons, among others, I've embraced "German" skis (Volkl and Atomic). Above all, I cherish edge-hold.

However, I was recently informed that the mysterious ingredient found in most Atomic skis: "Densolite", is actually just a foam core.

True?
post #2 of 20
Search and you shall find:

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=20468
http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=2785

Personally, I'm impressed that Atomic managed to come up with something that's apparently both dense and light. I guess that just means they don't use very much of it. Or something.
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjjohnston
Search and you shall find
Thanks for the insight. That's an excellent thread. The comments by Betaracer appear highly credible and well-conveyed. His post reads like an engineering whitepaper.

Clearly, there's a major difference between foam and Densolite, both in terms of composition and fabrication.

It's comforting when one's small paradigm remains intact.
post #4 of 20
Don't call densolite foam or Betaracer will come yell at me again.
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scalce
Don't call densolite foam or Betaracer will come yell at me again.
LOL. Yeah, he didn't seem to take that sitting down. In your defense, "Densolite" is referred to as foam by a number of sources - hence this thread. Betaracer, however, obviously has detailed knowledge.

Without your proding, who would've known?
post #6 of 20
two things to consider after reading all the links/threads:
"The core is the principal load bearing structure of the ski" no the topsheet is the loadbearing structure the core keeps either the laminates apart or fills the middle of a torsion box(or these days "cap" which is basically an external torsion box)

"consider why wood is used you'll realize that it is to absorb vibrations" no wood does not absorb vibrations but transfers them rapidly along the length of any given piece of wood (ever hit a rock with a baseball bat? and get the shock passed to your wrists? same idea) the way that BR explained densolite is correct and someone else mentioned rossis microcell which works the same way(very very generally) the other elements(layups/material/ski profile 3-d shape) do the work and the core is secondary

a good rule is if you buy a 200$ ski (wood or synthetic) you get a 200$ ski, if you buy a 1000$ ski (wood or synthetic) you get a 1000$ ski.
how long they last is up to you and your weight/skiing/style/maintenace etc.
i have friends that bend skis every year whereas i have bent one single ski once in my life whose fault is that? the cores? unlikely...
personally i would love to see someone (consumer reports?) hook up the various skis to some form of torsional/longitudinal cycle tester so we could put this to rest forever

and to everyone who says "i only ski wood because...blah blah..." there was a test done by a company with a group of WC athletes where they were given various skis to test all with the same GS graphic/sidecut etc but two different cores and they couldn't tell the difference....i have heard that rossi does the same thing on their glacier in the summer with retailers and the results are the same....

i will say that a really big coreshot is easier to repair on a wood ski, you just need enough chopsticks from the chinese restaurant next door and a really big press...

and to the volkans out there i once had an athlete break a pair of super g skis in training who brought them into the shop so for fun we took them apart:
-peeled off the base/sidewall/topsheet/two layer of metal (top and bottom) to reveal the famous wood core grown in volkls own forest(that was the story in the old days)
imagine my surprise when it was primarily finger joints(not really bad i guess) but one ski was comprised of about 3 time as many as the other HMMMMM....
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Waxman: Intriguing counterpoint!

It seems that the actual core material itself isn't the "do or die" of the ski.

Regardless of the tests and materials, most decent skiers can tell what works for them. In my case, it's always been "Germanic" skis.

If the core isn't the issue, it appears I can go with my long-established preference for Volkls and Atomics.
post #8 of 20
As you may know from some of my earlier posts I have some development nad testing contacts with our ski manufacturer Sporten.
They produce skis with both wood and foam cores and they have extensive experience with the latter, also from manufacturing crosscountry skis of all levels including pure race skis.
They always emphasize that the pejorative "foam" neglects the differences between cheap foamed constructions and some sophisticated non-wood materials used. Which is - from an entirely different source - the same message some posters here are conveying.

A personal experience: I owned the first-generation Atomic Beta Carv 9.14 (almost identical with the 9.18 back then) which was a high-performance ski with the original Densolite core.
The ski might have had as many as 150 ski days over the 4 seasons I had owned it. Incredible life, it hadn´t lost the camber and as far as my memory serves me, its grip never deteriorated (at least not that I remember). I sold it not because it wasn´t good anymore but because I had lots of other newer skis. Almost incredible. I´m almost inclined to express it as Densolite and Beta rulez...
post #9 of 20
strato, you are correct that's why going to your local retailer and demoing is key(personally i don't think "tent demos" sell skis they are frequented by people who just don't want to pay for rentals that day.
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by waxman
strato, you are correct that's why going to your local retailer and demoing is key(personally i don't think "tent demos" sell skis they are frequented by people who just don't want to pay for rentals that day.
The bitterness! But think of the fun under that tent watching those frollicking skiers and freezing your toes. Besides those puffy jackets are quite fashionable on you.
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_Strato
In my case, it's always been "Germanic" skis.
I've suspected the captain was a closet 'squarehead'.
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by waxman
strato, you are correct that's why going to your local retailer and demoing is key(personally i don't think "tent demos" sell skis they are frequented by people who just don't want to pay for rentals that day.
Demo days are the only way for me to demo multiple skis and not have to worry about bringing them back that night to a retailer or being limited to purchasing through them by putting the demo cost towards new skis.

I am getting more and more dissapointed by the lack of customer service and increase in attitude at some ski shops.
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by L7
I've suspected the captain was a closet 'squarehead'.
Indeed, it's true. I was born in Denmark. However, I find both Germany and Austria a bit aloof (until they've had a few beers - then it's whoop-dee-doo).

Mostly, though, it's because I used to feel like Bambi on the ice pond when skiing K2's on hard surfaces. K2's and French skis have likely improved their edge-grip since then.

However, once I discovered that I could hold an edge on any slope with impunity on "Germanics", I never looked back.
post #14 of 20
scalce, you would be in the 1% of people who have done some research before going to a demo. think of a "tent demo" as maybe 1 or 2 days in 7 and maybe at your local hill(depending where you are, some resorts don't allow demos anymore) once a month maybe? the local store is open 7 days a week and may know what works for the area(i have found that going to the top and telling someone in charge that there is an issue with service works wonders)
i have done a few "tent demos" in my day and for return on time/equipment/money invested there is NONE for a ski company to do them (they still do but there are many meetings at trade shows/conferences about them because they are one of the biggest expenses faced)
look for the idustry as a whole to put more emphasis on retailer/resort based demos
post #15 of 20
L7, bitter no, cynical yes, realistic even more so.....
post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by waxman
L7, bitter no, cynical yes, realistic even more so.....
ahhhh we should change your name to pragmaticman. Bit of a mouthful though.
post #17 of 20
hey go over here and cast your knowledge, or modify mine if you deem it useful....

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=29783
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scalce
Demo days are the only way for me to demo multiple skis and not have to worry about bringing them back that night to a retailer or being limited to purchasing through them by putting the demo cost towards new skis.

I am getting more and more dissapointed by the lack of customer service and increase in attitude at some ski shops.
From the perspective of a shop: demo days are an excellent way to provide customers with a wider range of demo product than possible with a in-house demo fleet, all without the costs of an in house fleet which usually loses money like a sieve at non-resort shops.

As to how effective the tent demos are at selling skis, I think it probably varies widely based on location. Being involved in these days that weren't at destination type places, I can say that about a quarter of the participants were genuinely interested in new skis. At a destination resort it may be smaller than that. We offerred a coupon for x dollars off within a certain time period to the demo participants last year....I think we had a success rate in the low single digits of percentage.

It really sucks getting stuck working in the shop while everyone else is out partying....er....demoing....
post #19 of 20
Definitely had some good demos when they are shop driven. Either to compliment an existing program or by special invite of the shop or just shop guys being there and bringing clients by when it's a smaller local set up.

I have to agree with Waxman though that a LOT of people are just there to save the cost of rental skis or figure they can inflict the carnage on the demoes and spare their own skis. It gets pretty frustrating.
post #20 of 20
I went to a demo day last year at Mt Sunapee in NH that was run by Ken Jones of Manchester.

They touted it as a "private" demo and made you buy tickets in advance which they made me drive all the way up there to get a few weeks before.

I come to find out that they allowed other people to buy the passes over the phone and they were pushing the demoes to people at the hill that day.

I can understand that you want as many people as possible participating but don't brand it as "private" when you are trying to get anyone and their grandmother to sign up that day.

It sucks because the RX 8s and 9s that I wanted to demo in certain sizes were gone for most of the day. I did demo alot of skis though and was happy I went.
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