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Industry Consolidation - Salomon Benfits?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I noticed that Salomon is going to great lengths to emphasize the fact that the 2008-09 X-wings have a wood core.

I believe that Amer Corp has consolidated Salomon and Atomic ski production in Austria, so I am wondering if Salomon's new devotion to wood core skis is a direct result of this? I quess the Austrians areteaching the French how to make skis Conversly, I guess the French are going to teach the Austrians how to make a better ski binding.

So this got me to thinking about what are the benefits of consolidation in the ski industry?
post #2 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiNut View Post
I noticed that Salomon is going to great lengths to emphasize the fact that the 2008-09 X-wings have a wood core.

I believe that Amer Corp has consolidated Salomon and Atomic ski production in Austria, so I am wondering if Salomon's new devotion to wood core skis is a direct result of this? I quess the Austrians areteaching the French how to make skis Conversly, I guess the French are going to teach the Austrians how to make a better ski binding.

So this got me to thinking about what are the benefits of consolidation in the ski industry?
FWIW:

A fair number of the all wood Sollies say "made in France" on the topsheet.

A fair number of Atomics (Betas) are not wood cores.

It won't necessarily be Austrians making ski design decisions for Salomon. Or vice versa.

In fact, engineers (Austrian, French, or otherwise) generally don't make initial ski design decsions anyway. That is typically done by the marketing/export departments.

Marketing and R&D folks have a vision of how they want something to ski.

Salomon is perfectly capable of building skis that ski like Heads or Volkls or whatever. They will generally have a reason when they choose not to.

There is a healthy market for "French" skis just as there is for "Austrian" skis.

SJ
post #3 of 19
Right or wrong, French skis have a recent reputation for being "soft", and Austrian skis for being "hard".

The foam cores, used for example in the "Bandit" series, were lightweight, and said to break-down quickly. Not sure about Sollies.

Atomic's Beta "Densolite" designs, are supposed to be "milled" from a single block of composite, rather than injection molded, like many foam cores.

Germanic designs, a la Atomic and Volkl, have always been known for stiffer, race-bred skis with fierce edge-grip.

Although K2 acquired Volkl, the brands remain starkly different.

I'm sure the French won't abandon their design philosophy, nor the Austrians, regardless of who's name is on the paycheck.
post #4 of 19
salomon make what the market [ or what they think the market] wants

they want skis to enjoy, skis that anyone can jump onto and feel great, skis that are flattering to ski on, think back to the original Xscream series...sure in its day a great ski but a ski that any intermediate could stand on and not get throw about to badly

nothing to do with being french or austrian...i would have siad american as well but.... K2 and china
post #5 of 19
My understanding, though, is that all the Amer skis (Salomon, Atomic and, I guess, Dynamic) will be made in Austria, all the boots in France. I still don't understand what the binding plan is.

For what it's worth, I've owned a lot of French skis, particularly Rossignols, and liked them just fine. I've always found Rossis to be a very lively ski, though comparitively light. I've generally loved my Austrian skis too, particularly Fischers. Just me.
post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post
My understanding, though, is that all the Amer skis (Salomon, Atomic and, I guess, Dynamic) will be made in Austria, all the boots in France. I still don't understand what the binding plan is.

For what it's worth, I've owned a lot of French skis, particularly Rossignols, and liked them just fine. I've always found Rossis to be a very lively ski, though comparitively light. I've generally loved my Austrian skis too, particularly Fischers. Just me.
Don't forget Volant.
post #7 of 19
Yeah, I was gonna say Volant too, but not sure where they're made. In the Atomic factory too?
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post
Yeah, I was gonna say Volant too, but not sure where they're made. In the Atomic factory too?
Last I heard, they were.

Where Salomon used to be an innovator, now they are a follower.

Bindings: The 727 which the basis which most every current binding heel piece is based off of. Propulse, Suspension, Spheric.

Boots: SX series, the best rear entry boots, I know that is like being the tallest midget, but in that genre of design, they were the best. You can either credit or blame Salomon for "high performance" RE boots. Volume fitting, Propulse, Intragal.

Skis: Monocoque, the first major ski design that changed ski building. Propulse, Pilot.

Just an overview, but IMHO this is where Salomon lost its way.
post #9 of 19
In Europe they may have just been the wrong nationality. World Cup racing sells a lot of skis here, and for the last 10 years, that has meant Austrians. Despite a few wunderteam defectors like Fritz Stroebl and Mario Matt (earlier in his career), most of the Austrians skied Atomic.
post #10 of 19
not all the x wings are wood core this year...theyre more or less the same as last year...something like the tornado and fury is wood and the x wing 10 and lower, for example, is synthetic.

re: milled vs. injected foam, almost no adult skis are injection molded, nor have then been for years. dynastar, rossi, atomic, all companies making high end skis out of a synthetic material, and all milled from a solid piece of material and then treated like wood. usually the only place to find injected foam skis is in jr stuff under 140 cm

re:salomon not innovating...the CS technology thats coming out this year is probably the single biggest leap forward in boot technology that ive seen in 15+ years of working in the ski business...its going to allow the average customer to spend 30 minutes working with his/her fitter on the day of purchase and then get a fit that, until now, would have taken hours of work on the part of a bootfitter to obtain...its not perfect, but its a huge leap forward in terms of getting people in boots that fit with a minimum time investment on both the fitter and customer's part...
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
While I have no reason to dispute SierraJim's statement that "In fact, engineers (Austrian, French, or otherwise) generally don't make initial ski design decsions anyway. That is typically done by the marketing/export departments.", I do find it disturbing that ski design and product decisions are being driven by the marketing department - but that might explain why all the new skis are getting wider and wider each year.

Didn't Atomic come out with a cap race ski during the Torino olympics?

But with increased consolidation, do the companies share R&D or are the mergers a way to boost the bottom line by consolidating manufacturing and distribution networks?
post #12 of 19
Don't be disturbed in the least. Engineers have basically little clue about market demands. Marketing department folks (and their R&D staffs) are faaaarrrrr better skiers than most ski engineers and they know what is working in the market.

I was a US product manager for four years and went to international meetings where collections were developed. The initial decisions are made there. Then, the R&D dept. sets the target. At the end, the factory and engineers get involved but most of the decisions are already made by then.

When an engineer thinks something up....it's usually some way to reinvent the wheel and often is not viable...(sometimes not even skiable)

SJ
post #13 of 19
As far as the OP's assertion about French skis, I can tell he has never skied an Intuitiv Big, the Legend Pro Rider, the Legend Pro XXL, or the Mythic Rider - all made by that little French ski company based in Chamonix.
post #14 of 19
Yeah, boy do Dynastar skis have a great reputation. One of the few brands with credibility among both free skiers and racers. Are there any others that can make that claim? Volkl? Blizzard?
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by broad View Post

re:salomon not innovating...the CS technology thats coming out this year is probably the single biggest leap forward in boot technology that ive seen in 15+ years of working in the ski business...its going to allow the average customer to spend 30 minutes working with his/her fitter on the day of purchase and then get a fit that, until now, would have taken hours of work on the part of a bootfitter to obtain...its not perfect, but its a huge leap forward in terms of getting people in boots that fit with a minimum time investment on both the fitter and customer's part...

but how well does it work...have you tried it, the pair that they moulded for me at a trade show went straight back to where they started from..heating shells during fitting is somwething boot fitters have been doing for years

IMO it is more marketing than innovation...ok so the plastic goes softer than normal shell plastics when heated.... the biggest worry is that some shops and many customers are going to treat this as a 1 boot fits all solution

i only hope that this doesn't happen
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by CEM View Post
the biggest worry is that some shops and many customers are going to treat this as a 1 boot fits all solution

i only hope that this doesn't happen
Care to write up a detailed why not?
post #17 of 19
I agree with CEM, as a bootfitter and boot modifier for many years I have seen plenty of companies come out with innovations that are going to allow their boot fit all skiers. It never happened and will never happen. We are all different and require different needs in boots. I have a size 12.5 - 13 shoe and where a 28.0 boot that doesnt imply that all people with that size shoe belong in a 28.0. Another thing is that Salomon has been great at innovating the technology for the ski industry of the future.... Pilot which was the most ineffective binding ski interface ever spured the integrated binding revolution and they got left in the dust. So what may come of this no one knows, but there is a reason boots have stayed slow and steady on the advancement scale compared to skis....IF IT AINT BROKE DON'T FIX IT!!!

I also want to add that I love the Salomon Falcon boot as a boot fitter and I think the Smart Track and the new X Wing series could be the return of the Salomon we all one new before Pilot
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJB View Post
As far as the OP's assertion about French skis, I can tell he has never skied an Intuitiv Big, the Legend Pro Rider, the Legend Pro XXL, or the Mythic Rider - all made by that little French ski company based in Chamonix.
WHAT SKI REVOLUTIONIZED SKI RACING IN 1999-2000????????????????????

THAT WOULD BE THE SALOMON EQUIEP 10 3V AND 2V
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post
Care to write up a detailed why not?

sure.....because it won't work, people will complain, shops will get p!$$ed off

I sould add that the public will be marketed into thinking that it is the greatest thing in the world

it is all very well moulding the shape of a boot round a foot which fits the general profile with the odd lumb and bump on it...but trying to tell the world that they only need one ski boot is just plain stupid

let's see how many are returned to stores by the end of the season....let's see if it runs for more than 2 seasons

who knows..it may work brilliantly but IMO only for certain feet
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