“We achieved the goal of the rights offering: to boost our balance sheet.”
Pekka Paalanne, Executive Vice President of Amer Sports, page 14
AN AMER SPORTSIN MAGAZINE 4.2009
SUPPLIER OF NCAA
ARC’TERYX ATOM LT MAVIC R-SYS MICHAEL WALCHHOFER SUUNTO ELEMENTUM
AN AMER SPORTS MAGAZINE
The magazine is published quarterly
in Finnish and English.
WINTER FUN AND SPORTS ARE Amer Sports Corporation,
RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER P.O. Box 130, FI-00601 Helsinki,
Winter weather can be extremely changeable, including anything FINLAND
Tel. +358 9 7257 8306
from harsh subzero temperatures to hot and sweaty sunshine or
Fax +358 9 791 385
driving sleet. Coming up with a suitable outdoor sport in such
fickle conditions may seem something of a challenge. We easily www.amersports.com
forget that outdoor exercise – whether done alone or with others
– remains an option even in wintertime. Alma Media Lehdentekijät Oy
Traditional winter sports remain popular. Cross-country P.O. Box 502, FI-00101 Helsinki,
skiing, for example, is a very effective form of exercise: it FINLAND
strengthens several muscle groups, such as the back and legs,
and improves heart and lung performance. Many people also Producer
appreciate being out in nature while skiing. Markku Rimpiläinen
Thanks to the functionality and protection of new equip- Subeditor
ment and clothing, there’s no need to leave summer Jenni Sepponen
sports aside in the winter. An increasing number of Art Director
runners continues to exercise outdoors, and cycling is Mika Soikkeli
also a fully viable option. It’s no more dangerous in the
Cover photo Atomic
winter than in the summer – as long as the equipment Translations by AAC Global Oy
and speed match the weather conditions. Composition and repro Aste Helsinki Oy
Amer Sports offers sporting goods for all of the Printed by Libris Oy
most popular winter sports, both traditional and ISSN 1459-5095 (print)
newer disciplines. Good examples include the new ISSN 1795-2247 (online)
products that Salomon and Atomic have intro-
duced for the slopes this winter. Skis, boots, and Address source
helmets – all of them with great functionality Amer Sports Register
and eye-catching looks. of Shareholders and Customers,
This would be a good time to check your Amer Sports Corporation,
gear, not to mention your own basic condition. P.O. Box 130, FI-00601 Helsinki,
Get out and enjoy the jogging trail or head FINLAND
off to the gym!
CONTRIBUTOR FROM HISTORY TEACHER TO SKI BUM www.precor.com
Thirty years ago, Jimmy Petterson, a history teacher www.suunto.com
from California, made a sharp turn in life, abandoning www.wilson.com
a secure career in teaching to become a full-time skier.
He first made a living as a ski instructor and later as a
ski writer and photographer. In addition to hundreds of
articles on skiing, Jimmy has authored Skiing Around
the World, a book that chronicles his skiing experiences
in 47 countries. These days Jimmy lives in Sweden.
Curry and corn snow, page 36.
2 || 4.2009
THE SALOMON S-LAB SKATE PRO
BOOT FEATURES SEVERAL CARBON
24 & 46
NEW GEAR ENSURES EFFECTIVE MICHAEL WALCHHOFER MT. APHARWAT IN INDIA
PROTECTION BUT DOES NOT FREE WROTE A COOKBOOK DURING OFFERS SKIING AT AN ELEVATION
THE SKIER FROM RESPONSIBILITY. SUMMER TRAINING. OF THREE KILOMETERS.
18 26 36
6 NEWS. Amer Sports turns 60 in 2010. 24 NEXT SOLUTION. Salomon renews its 36 REPORT. The gondola on Mt. Apharwat
The company began to expand into skate boots for cross-country racing. in India takes skiers to an elevation
sporting goods in the 1980s. of 3,980 meters and every freerider’s
26 PROFILE. Downhill skier Michael nirvana.
12 NEXT HOT. The overall weight of Mavic’s Walchhofer conquers new ground with
R-Sys wheelset has been reduced to less his own cookbook. 42 NEXT PRODUCT. Suunto Elementum
than 1,300 grams. creates a new segment on the watch
30 INSIDE AMER SPORTS. Amer Sports market.
14 IR. Amer Sports’ rights offering boosts Winter & Outdoor Americas settles
the company’s equity ratio. in Ogden, Utah. 46 NEXT TEST. Salomon’s new skate skis
and boots also benefit recreational
16 NEXT SOLUTION. NCAA endorses 34 NEXT Q&A. With Jean-Marc Pambet at skiers.
Wilson’s technical, high-performing the helm, Apparel and Footwear aims at
soccer balls. superior performance in both products 47 KEEP FIT. Get ready for the ski season
and operations. with Precor’s AMT.
18 TREND. Modern protectors are light,
good-looking, and functional.
4.2009 || 3
This is what a golf course in Dubai looks like. Pictured here is Padraig Harrington
at the 2009 Abu Dhabi Golf Championship. The 2010 championships kick off on
January 21 and will offer around $2 million in prize money.
Andrew Redington/Getty Images
4 || 4.2009
DECEMBER 4–6, 2009
DAVIS CUP WORLD GROUP FINAL
The Spanish and Czech tennis teams will
meet at the Davis Cup finals hosted by
Spain. The Spanish home team is the
defending champion and the favorite in the
weekend-long event featuring four singles
and one doubles match. These are the first
finals for the Czechs since 1980. Wilson is
the Official Tennis Ball of Davis Cup.
DECEMBER 13, 2009
CHAMPIONSHIPS IN DUBLIN
European endurance runners will chal-
lenge each other in cross-country running
at the European Championships in Dublin,
Ireland. The best-known runner at the
start line is Spain’s Marta Domínguez ,
the defending World Champion in the
3,000-meter steeplechase. Last year’s
winner in the men’s event, Sergei Lebid
from Ukraine, will also be back to defend
his cross-country title.
JANUARY 21–24, 2010
ABU DHABI GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP
The European Tour will stop over in the
United Arab Emirates, where some of the
world’s top players will be contending for
a total of $2 million in prize money. One of
the strongest candidates to win the title is
JANUARY 30–31, 2010
NORDIC COMBINED WORLD CUP IN
As the Vancouver Olympic Games draw
near, every winter athlete will hope to be
in peak form. The cream of the Nordic
combined team will meet in the Austrian
Tyrol, vying for valuable World Cup points
and the mental upper hand before the
season’s main event.
4.2009 || 5
E Old clippings recount
Amer Sports’ expansion into
the sporting goods industry.
Acquisitions were of great
Sixty years of Amer Sports
Amer Sports will turn 60 in 2010. The company’s name in 1986 and resulted in a majority holding in MacGregor,
and line of business have changed a great deal since a golf equipment manufacturer. This was followed up in
1950, the year Amer Tobacco Ltd was set up to produce 1989 with the acquisition of Wilson. The Group turned
American cigarettes, under license, in Finland. increasingly to the sporting goods industry and began
The company gradually grew into a conglomerate divesting its other businesses. Atomic, a ski manufac-
active in several sectors. It also changed its name to turer, became a part of Amer in 1994.
Amer Group in 1973. Roger Talermo was appointed President and CEO of
At its biggest, the Group included companies such Amer Group in 1996, and the company has since focused
as Weilin+Göös, a publishing house; Korpivaara, an solely on sporting goods. Acquisitions in the sports
automobile importer; Time/System, a manufacturer sector soon followed with Suunto in 1999, Precor in 2002,
of planning systems; and Marimekko, a design and and Salomon, along with Mavic, Arc’teryx, and Bonfire in
textile company. Sporting goods first became a part 2005. In 2004, the company changed its name from
of its business in 1974, when the Group acquired Koho- Amer Group to Amer Sports Corporation and withdrew
Tuote Oy, a manufacturer of ice hockey sticks and from the tobacco business.
protectors. The hockey business was subsequently At the end of September 2009, Amer Sports reported
divested in 1986. net sales of €410.6 million (2008: €1,577 million) and a
The following sports-related acquisition took place headcount of 6,455.
6 || 4.2009
PAT SUMMITT JOINS WILSON
Pat Summitt , a legendary NCAA W
women’s basketball coach, is
now a member of the Wilson
Advisory Staff. Over her career,
Chuck Solomon/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images
Summitt has collected more
wins than any other NCAA coach.
Wilson and the NCAA have been
partners since 2003, when
Wilson became the Official
NCAA Game Ball.
CADEL EVANS BECOMES ROAD
CYCLING WORLD CHAMPION
The Australian Cadel Evans and
his team celebrated the nation’s
Roger Federer (right) and Juan Martin del Potro
first world road cycling champi-
in action during men’s final.
onship in September. The race
was decided in the final climb,
where the Aussies opened a gap
Wilson dominates the US Open over the field. Evans rode on
Mavic’s light and stiff Cosmic
If one were to name the biggest success men’s doubles with his partner), Andy Carbon Ultimate, the same
at the US Open, Wilson might be a good Ram and Max Mirnyi (who made it to the wheel that Romain Sicard, a
choice. Wilson team players achieved top semifinals in the men’s doubles with their 21-year-old Frenchman, used to
placings in all categories. [K]Six-One 95 rackets) and Jo-Wilfried clinch the Under-23 Road
Cycling World Championships.
In the men’s final, the near unbeatable Tsonga (who reached the top 16 in the
In the men’s time trial, Tony
Roger Federer was ultimately bested by men’s singles, playing a [K]obra Tour). Martin , from Germany, took
Juan Martin del Potro, from Argentina. Ekaterina Makarova reached the bronze in his Zxellium cycling
Both finalists are Wilson players: Federer semifinals in the women’s doubles, using shoes.
uses the [K]Six-One Tour and del Potro her [K]Tour racket, while Melanie Oudin,
the [K]Six-One 95. wielding her [K]Blade Tour, eliminated WILSON AND THE NFL
In the women’s singles, Serena three seeded players in the women’s sin- JOIN FORCES IN
BREAST CANCER CAMPAIGN
Williams made it to the semifinals, and gles. Kateryna Bondarenko’s [K]Blade 98
In October, numerous cam-
together with her sister, Venus, claimed served her well, taking the Ukrainian to paigns around the world
the women’s doubles title. Both sisters her first-ever quarterfinal. promoted awareness of breast
used the [K]Blade Team racket. Wilson is also the official US Open cancer. The list of participants
Other Wilson players performing well stringer. The team of Wilson stringers also included Wilson and the
at the US Open included Mahesh Bhupathi serviced over 3, 000 rackets with the new NFL. The NFL’s October games
were played with Wilson balls
(a [K]Six-One 95 player, who made it to the Wilson Baiardo stringing machine.
featuring a pink ribbon, the
international symbol of breast
cancer awareness. Wilson is a
long-time supporter of breast
Suunto Vector with heart rate monitoring ARC’TERYX BRIZA 75
A TEST WINNER
Vector, the iconic Suunto outdoor watch, In the training period, the monitor
The Arc’teryx Briza 75 was
has become even more versatile. In helps to determine the correct hailed as the best big backpack
addition to an altimeter, barometer, level of intensity for gym or in its category by testers of the
electronic compass, and watch, the interval sessions. Backcountry Skiing website.
new Suunto Vector HR also fea- The Suunto Comfort Belt, They called the Briza an
tures a heart rate monitor. supplied with the Suunto extremely comfortable pack
with excellent adjustment
HR monitoring comes in Vector HR, features sili-
handy in various situations cone bands that keep the
whether training or hiking. belt firmly in place with-
The zone alarm indicates out it being overly tight-
when the user is at risk ened. The thin adjustment
of making too great an buckles reduce the risk of
effort during a climb. abrasion.
4.2009 || 7
The FG Tour irons. E
MAVIC DOES WELL
IN MOUNTAIN BIKE DOWNHILL W
Top downhill racers relied on
Mavic’s products in the Mountain
Bike World Championships held
in Canberra, Australia, in
September. Emmeline Ragot ,
from France, secured the
championship on Mavic’s
Deemax wheels. In the men’s
category, Australia’s Mick
Hannah, came in third place on
the same wheels.
FAN VIDEOS OF
Wilson decided to give Roger
Federer’s fans a chance to cele-
brate their idol’s success in a
brand new way. The Roger
Federer Tribute video contest,
which set out to find the best
Federer video, received thou-
Clubs for different player profiles sands of entries. The first prize
ultimately went to Celine
Wilson Golf recently announced its 2010 D = Distance Lostracco, from Texas, who’s
video is based on artwork by her
launch of new irons for players of all skill The D (Distance) player is looking first and
brother, Paul Lefebvre. The win-
sets. Each new iron fits into a player foremost for the longest and straightest ning entry can also be seen on
profile system that Wilson recently shots, and relies on technology to address YouTube.
unveiled based on global iron sales. swing flaws. Wilson offers two unique
equipment options for the D player. D2 SKIS WIN TEST AWARDS
F = Feel The powerful Di9 iron features low and In addition to being a hit on the
The F (Feel) player is a skilled golfer back weighting that gets the ball airbone race slopes, Atomic’s new D2
Race skis, based on Doubledeck
looking for Tour-caliber performance. easily. It also features Wilson's patented
technology, have also done well
The FG Tour iron is designed for just such wide-tip technology that reduces twisting in ski tests. Ski Magazin, a
players. on off-center hits. D players now have a German publication, nominated
The FG Tour Iron features a classic revolutionary second option in Wilson's D2 Race GS the best giant slalom
design, and is Wilson’s first cavity-back D-FY combo set that includes hybrids and ski and D2 Race SL the best sla-
forged iron. It's currently played on Tour irons. D-FY's patent-pending Half-and- lom ski. D2 Race GS also took
first place in tests carried out by
by Padraig Harrington, Ricky Barnes and Half shaft was inspired by high perfor-
the German magazines DSV
Anthony Wall . mance Demarini baseball bats. By
Aktiv and Ski Presse.
combining a steel half and a graphite half
C = Control into a single shaft, D-FY deliers the feel of ELIAS AMBÜHL STUNNED
The C (Control) player is attracted to graphite with the response of steel. THE CROWDS
Tour-inspired designs coupled with Only 17, the Swiss skier Elias
game-improvement technology. Ambühl had the home crowd
cheering wildly at the freestyle.
C players expect excellent
ch event in Zurich. The youngest
playability from their irons, but competitor in the event, Ambühl
also require for forgiveness on clinched second place with a
less than perfect shots. demanding Switch Double Cork
The Ci9 iron follows in the 1080° Double Mute. The overall
footsteps of its award-winning success of the Atomic team was
sealed by Norway’s Andreas
predecessors, the Ci6 and Ci7. Ci9
Håtveit , who came in third.
offers player's club looks in a midsize
Freestyle.ch is held annually in
head for excellent workability and September. The European free-
maximum forgiveness. style season opener drew 47,000
4.2009 || 9
Atomic redesigns its website N
If downhill or cross-country skiing is your The front page also provides news and
q Learn a new snow sport. E
thing, be sure to visit www.atomicsnow.
com before the winter season. Atomic has
direct links to new equipment making
the headlines this season, such as the D2
In January 2010, a group of
winter sports resorts in the W
given its site a new, perkier look, packing
it with photos and videos and creating a
Race giant slalom skis and the new
Featherlight cross-country skis.
U.S. will join forces and
encourage people to try their
new structure to make the pages faster to Atomic products are presented in hand at new snow sports and
forms of exercise. They will
navigate. detail and accompanied by photos. It is
be offering professional guid-
The main sections – Race Channel, easy to compare products, since each ance in cross country and
Freeski Channel, and Nordic Channel – product category is presented in a single Alpine skiing, snowshoeing,
are accessible from the front page. view with miniature pictures that take you and snowboarding. Last
All three contain facts and information to more detailed information. Dealers are year’s campaign attracted
about the disciplines, equipment, and shown on Google Map, making it easy to some 20,000 children and
athletes. locate the best place for purchases. adults in 200 resorts, spread
over 22 states.
q Cross-country skiing in
the U.S. American Cross
Country Skiers (AXCS) is the
national membership associ-
ation of cross-country skiers
in the United States. The
association maintains com-
prehensive Web pages about
almost everything related to
cross-country skiing, includ-
ing techniques, gear, and
training. For recreational and
performance skiers alike.
q Model triathlete. Canadian
Jenny Fletcher is one of the
best triathletes in her age
group, as well as a catwalk
star. A small-town country
Mario Matt Heart rate monitors girl, Jenny started her sports
career in modern pentathlon
returns to Salomon in new colors and has featured on the pages
of numerous fashion and
Mario Matt , the two-time World Champi- Suunto has added new color to its line of sports magazines. Suunto is
on, is back on Salomon’s equipment. This heart rate monitors designed for women. one of the sponsors of this
marks Matt’s return to the ski brand of his This fall’s new products are the t1c True 33-year-old model athlete.
younger days; the brand that brought him Fuchsia and the t3c Sporty Red.
his first World Cup victories. Easy to use, the Suunto t1c is an ideal
q For Alpine fans. The
Matt first tested Salomon’s skis on the companion for weight control, basic revamped FIS Alpine website
heels of the World Cup finals in Åre last conditioning, and aerobic exercise. is a must for any enthusiastic
spring. The results were so convincing In addition to doubling as a watch and fan of Alpine sports. One of
that he decided to switch back to the offering versatile heart rate data, it the most interesting features
familiar brand. counts the calories burned and keeps is live timing, which lets you
follow the World Cup races in
Matt also changed to Salomon’s boots, track of your training.
real time. The site also has a
and will be seen in the new X3s this season. The Suunto t3c is designed for goal- wide array of news items and
Mario Matt has won 12 World Cup oriented training. Among other things, it video footage of, for example,
races in his career and was crowned shows the real-time training effect to help skiers training.
World Slalom Champion in 2001 and 2007. the user determine the suitable intensity www.fisalpineworldcup.com
Other new athletes on the Salomon level. The red HR monitor pairs nicely
Alpine team include Sandro Viletta, from with a Suunto Foot POD of the same color,
Switzerland, as well as Massimiliano which automatically measures distance
Blardone, from Italy, who narrowly and speed.
missed the podium in the Sölden World
Both heart rate monitors come with
a soft and thin Suunto Comfort belt. GUIDE
4.2009 || 11
THE NEW ATOMIC BENT CHETLER is the ski Chris Benchetler has
always dreamed of… and which he's now designed together with Atomic.
It features a rocker tip and tail – this is the secret – it's specially cambered
to ensure excellent turning behavior. And because Chris is also passionate
about artwork, he's designed the graphics too.
WARMLY DRESSED. The well-fitting Atom LT hoody by EYE-CATCHING IN RED. Suunto has recently launched
Arc’teryx features warm Coreloft ™ insulation that is perfect a new version of its award-winning Suunto Core outdoor
for active exercise. The Polartec® Power Stretch side wristop. The eye-catching Suunto Extreme Edition Red fea-
panels deliver stretch mobility and breathability. tures a black composite case, aluminum top ring, elastomer
strap, and buckle, with red used for special effect.
12 || 4.2009
LIGHTEST CLINCHER WHEELSET. Mavic 2010 R-Sys FOR SKILLED ON-PISTE SKIERS. The new Equipe 24 Hours
wheelset weigh less than 1,300 grams. The ISM3D rim ski from Salomon is perfect for any fan of fast on-piste
sidewalls and the superlight hub axle and bearings save skiing. The full wood core and sandwich construction give
weight, while the carbon fiber TraComp spokes stiffen stability, while the 3D Race Monocoque frame, familiar from
the wheel. race skis, ensures optimum rigidity and flex. The ski comes
with the Protrak binding system and Z12 binding.
WILSON A2000® SHOWCASE™. In the spirit of the original A2000; the A2000
Showcase is designed to have this same game changing experience for players
with smaller hands. The A2000 Showcase carries on this tradition. Now, players
of all hand sizes can have a professional quality glove designed to maximize their
performance, just like the A2K and A2000 gloves do for our professional players.
4.2009 || 13
strengthens balance sheet
Amer Sports will use the proceeds from its rights offering to pay down debt.
F Markku Rimpiläinen t Mervi Ahlroth
mer Sports’ rights offering met all expectations. continue to improve our cost-effectiveness and manage-
“Nearly 100 percent of the shares were sub- ment of working capital.”
scribed for with subscription rights, which is a very Paalanne points out that Amer Sports adopted many
good result. Overall, subscriptions amounted to nearly measures in early 2009 to reduce the company’s gearing.
1.5 times the number of shares offered,” says Pekka One of the most important ones was the hybrid bond,
Paalanne, Executive Vice President and CFO of Amer which the company can recognize in equity.
A total of 48.5 million shares were subscribed for in the Improved profitability
rights offering, corresponding to a net revenue of some The first investor meetings this fall spoke in favor of the
150 million euros. The successful outcome will have a rights offering and its success.
considerable impact on Amer Sports’ balance sheet. At “Our road show took us all around Finland and abroad.
the end of September, taking into account the effect of the We didn’t hear any negative comments about the offering.
rights offering, the company’s equity ratio was 46 percent Shareholders and investors understood our reasons for
and gearing 60 percent. carrying it out. This was clear from the comments we
“We achieved the goal of the offering, which was to heard during investor meetings, and the outcome obviously
strengthen our balance sheet,” says Paalanne. confirmed it.”
“However, what also became apparent at meetings was
Improved investment opportunities that we now have to develop our business. The balance
According to Paalanne, the rights offering was a proactive sheet is in shape, but that is not enough. We also have to
measure that gave the company room to operate, in make business more profitable than it is now.”
addition to boosting its balance sheet.
“The proceeds will be used to pay down debt. Having The acquisition of Salomon increased debt
less debt will put us in a better position to make invest- The rights offering became topical when Amer Sports
ments when demand picks up. What we are primarily could no longer pay down its debt at the planned rate.
talking about are organic investments, not acquisitions. The company accumulated debt especially through the
On the other hand, should the slowdown last long, we can leveraged acquisition of Salomon in 2005.
also cope with that.” “We had planned to repay debt with cash flow and to
Paalanne does not expect growth to start immediately. reduce gearing to 60–80 percent in three years. In 2006,
“We have consistently repeated that our sector shows our balance sheet took off in the right direction.”
no signs of an upturn at the moment. We keep a close eye The first surprise came in the 2006/07 winter season,
on weekly developments in the U.S., but haven’t detected a which brought poor snow conditions in all key markets.
turn for the better as of yet. There is no point in dreaming Nearly a third of the revenue from winter sports melted
about the markets quickly returning to normal. We must away.
14 || 4.2009
“The business environment for winter sports weakened
significantly. This obviously had an impact on the corpora-
tion’s key figures.”
The company had to speed up restructuring in its
winter sports equipment business. Integration increased,
but at a price.
That brought Amer Sports to 2008 and the onset of the
real economy downturn.
“Our operating environment suffered two exceptionally
strong blows in late 2008. This led to a situation that we
had no way of forecasting in 2005,” explains Paalanne.
The company decided last winter that a rights offering
was the best option for Amer Sports. The Board of
Directors gave the green light in June, and preparations
were made in August–September. October saw the first
“We got a good reception because our story was easy to
grasp. If you yourself understand the message, it is easy
to explain to others. The rights offering was an extremely
important and well timed measure.”
WHAT A RELIEF!
Pekka Paalanne, Executive Vice President and CFO of Amer Sports, has experienced a great deal in his career,
but never before had he arranged a share issue.
“An international rights offering involves a huge amount of work in today’s world. From early August to
late September, our finance department, legal affairs, and communications worked non-stop. However, it’s
also been a very interesting period.”
Are you relieved now?
“Definitely! And I’m sure many agree with me. I would like to extend my warmest thanks to all those who
put themselves into play and grew along with the process.”
4.2009 || 15
16 || 4.2009
A new tradition begins
Wilson is now the Official Soccer Ball of the NCAA Championships.
F Markku Rimpiläinen t Wilson
Soccer ball of the NCAA® championships beginning with
ilson is one of the fastest growing brands in the
global sport of soccer and has quickly estab- the 2009 NCAA Soccer Championships.
lished itself as a true performance soccer brand Utilizing high-performance materials and advanced
in many international markets. Wilson's tremendous lining technologies, Wilson has perfected the feel and
growth in the sport of soccer comes from producing pre- control soccer players demand for precise shot making and
mium products that help deliver performance to athletes accurate passing. Wilson’s finest craftsmanship delivers
at all levels of play. The international successes in soccer top-notch durability and has benefited players around the
and the ability to produce quality performance soccer world. Wilson soccer will continue to deliver championship
products have enabled Wilson to become the Official performance in all of their soccer products.
Soccer Ball of the NCAA Championships
The new Wilson Official Soccer Ball of the NCAA Championships has been uniquely designed and hand constructed to
provide the ultimate in performance and durability for competitive, collegiate soccer player. Utilizing ball construction
technologies already in play in many international soccer competitions, the Wilson NCAA Championship Match Ball is
constructed with the finest materials and exquisite craftsmanship to provide the highest level of superior soccer
LATEX BLADDER: Hex-wing designed, FOAM CARCASS CONSTRUCTION:
latex bladder for a balanced, round Panels backed with SBR soft foam for
shape with consistent rebound high energy return with a soft touch
performance. and precision control.
LINING LAYERS: Four layers of lining COMPOSITE LEATHER COVER: High
provide the ball its structural round performance, hand-sewn composite
shape and consistent durability leather cover material provides
during match play. a superior level of performance for
SPANDEX CARCASS BACKING: CLEAR COAT PROTECTION:
Lined with super-elastic spandex for Dual-layer, clear coat protection
power and enhanced velocity. on graphics for improved finish and
4.2009 || 17
Okko Raitanen might be able
to pull this off while the average
skier should not attempt it.
18 || 4.2009
Modern skiing helmets and protectors offer a good fit and are
both stylish and protective, but the ultimate safeguard is the skier’s
own behavior − and therein lies the risk.
F Antti Laiho t Rami Lappalainen, Atomic, Salomon
kiing helmets made the headlines in Austria last A similar trend has been recorded in Europe, with
winter, after a German politician collided with around half of Swedish, over 60 percent of Finnish, and
another skier on one of the country’s slopes. The more than 70 percent of Norwegian skiers now donning
woman he ran into died, while the politician, who was protective headgear. Children’s helmet use is promoted
wearing a helmet, survived. The accident gave rise to with legislative measures in Italy, Slovenia, and Austria.
wide-ranging discussion about safety on the slopes, and All three countries have made helmets obligatory for
helmet sales surged in Germany. under-15.
There has been a steady annual increase in helmet use Does the increased use of protective gear mean that
all around the world. In the U.S., for example, usage was downhill skiing has become more dangerous? Experts
up 12 percent last winter. Some 48 percent of American won’t admit to such a straightforward correlation. In fact,
skiers now wear a helmet compared to only 25 percent in skiing equipment has become safer over the years. That
the 2002/03 season. alone does not help, however, since over 95 percent of →
4.2009 || 19
injuries are caused by skiers’ own actions. In other words,
protective gear may come in handy.
Danger lurks especially on crowded and narrow
slopes, where the risk of collision is greatest. Moreover,
modern skis have led to skiers coming down faster and
using more of the horizontal depth of slopes.
Changes have also been detected in skiers’ attitudes.
“The development seen in equipment technology in the
past 20 years has made people more self-confident and
increased their risk-taking. Freeskiing movies, for
example, clearly show that skiers need to take bigger and
bigger risks to attract attention,” says Victor Humbert ,
Product Manager for Atomic’s protective gear.
Nevertheless, freeskiing in parks maintained by ski
resorts is no more dangerous than before. According to
Hans Gerremo, Managing Director of SLAO, an organiza-
tion for Swedish ski lift owners, park safety has actually
improved in recent years.
“We now see fewer injuries in parks, since ski resorts
have learned how to build better and safer jumps and
rails,” says Gerremo.
In the best parks, skiers can graduate in a controlled
manner from small jumps to bigger ones.
Design and fit
The development seen in helmets is certainly one reason
for their increased use. Helmets have become more
protective, but also lighter, featuring an improved fit and
better ventilation. More importantly, design has received a
20 || 4.2009
great deal of attention. Skiers are no longer forced to wear If worse comes to worst, back armor is ideal protection
half a cannon ball on their head, but also have other against cuts and bruises and even serious spinal injuries.
Helmets are made in one of two ways. In-mold helmets Safety and performance
are characterized by their light weight. They combine a Knee injuries are still the most common ones suffered on
thin outer shell with a shock-absorbent EPS core. the slopes. In Sweden, for example, 23 percent of all
Traditional helmets have a hard outer shell. The shock injuries affect the knees. This gives bindings a key role in
absorbency of such a helmet is excellent, but the weight improving slope safety.
is also higher than that of in-mold helmets. The two Bindings have become lighter in recent years, their
methods can also be combined, as has been done in the mounting pieces have been widened to match modern-day
Atomic Xeed. skis, and, above all, they have been made easier to mount
Other protective gear is also more common these days. and adjust. Only a correctly-adjusted binding will work as
Back protectors, for example, are a familiar sight among intended.
racers and freeskiers. It isn’t always easy to combine safety and performance
“To begin with, there were only hard protectors avail- in a single product.
able on the market, but now it seems that soft protectors “The biggest challenge is taking into consideration
are growing more common. They are light and don’t differences between end users. As you can imagine,
restrict the skier’s movement, yet give just as good someone who skis ten days a season has very different
protection as hard gear,” says Humbert. demands compared to a World Cup racer,” says Ralf
In addition, soft protectors can be adorned with prints Schörghofer, Product Manager at Atomic.
and pictures, as shown by Atomic. Atomic will introduce a brand new family of bindings,
Protective devices also have opponents, who claim that specifically designed for World Cup racers, in the 2010/11
protectors lead to more risk-taking. season. Consisting of 392 components, the X binding
“There might be truth to that. Protectors bolster the stands out because of its individual adjustability. It can be
self-confidence of skiers – even if they are only moved both lengthwise and sideways in relation to the ski
beginners,” Humbert points out. to find the optimal feel.
Noel Hendrickson/Getty Images
New high-speed lifts carry skiers to the top in a jiffy. The slopes are crowded
in many places, increasing the risk of accident. Pictured here is the lower station
of Whistler Mountain. →
4.2009 || 21
Atomic X race
Atomic will introduce a brand new family of X
race bindings (X20RS, X18, X16, and X12) for
the 2010/11 season. In addition to being
adjustable lengthwise along the ski, the
binding can also be adjusted laterally.
Thanks to this Edge Grip Alignment (EGA),
the toe wings can be moved left or right so
that the boot is aligned with the edge accord-
ing to the skier’s preference. This effectively
transmits the skier’s force to the edge,
making skiing precise.
“Some World Cup racers used our X bind-
ings last season, and we celebrated victory
in the very first competition,” says product
manager Ralf Schörghofer, referring to
Kathrin Zettel’s win at the Sölden World Cup
giant slalom in October 2008. The season
brought other wins, as well. In addition to
being successful in races, the binding
received the Red Dot Design Award in the
sports equipment category. Combination helmet
The Atomic Xeed helmet combines the
traditional and in-mold helmet. The hard
shell ensures superior shock absorbency,
while the liner is made of light EPS.
22 || 4.2009
The Salomon SPK Pro Model boot features
cushioning both at the toe and heel. This
provides increased protection for the feet
when landing off jumps – whether backwards
Atomic’s Air Shock Vest represents the
latest in back armor. The soft and flexible
protective vest feels comfortable.
Shown here is the women’s model.
Light and airy
Part of Salomon’s line for women, the Divine
Origins helmet features a Custom Air element
that enables the helmet to be easily adjusted
for a perfect fit.
4.2009 || 23
Top skiers, such as
Ivan Babikov from Canada,
piloted the S-lab Skate Pro
boot last season.
24 || 4.2009
Ease of skiing
F Ilkka Järvimäki t Nordic Focus, Salomon
or the 2009/10 season, Salomon structure makes the skis lower without racing use. Moreover, both
renewed its cross-country boots compromising on the required stiffness, cross-country and Alpine
designed for racing and goal- elasticity, and glide. racing products come in
oriented exercise use, as well as its ski- Abundant use of carbon fiber adds an elegant black-and-
athlon boots for combi racing. The entire lightness and torsional rigidity to the white color scheme,
ski collection from novice to racing Salomon S-lab Skate Pro boot. The making them easy to
equipment was also revamped. Power Hold System strap over the arch recognize.
“The new skis reflect the Finnish – or keeps the foot firmly in place inside the
shall we say Nordic – philosophy and boot and improves the feel for the ski.
heritage, which emphasize the ease of Thanks to the quick release, the strap is
skiing,” says Vesa Mikkonen, Amer easy to tighten or loosen while skiing.
Sports product manager for Salomon’s The new inner sock gives better support
cross-country skiing in Finland. to the foot and increases comfort.
All Salomon Equipe 10 Lab skis now The outsole puts the Pilot binding
feature the Light Cut sidecut, which point 7 mm back and the pivot point
offers added stability and comfort along 17 mm behind the front of the boot.
the tracks, whether doing the classic The solution transfers kick power more
style or skating. effectively and improves ski control.
In both types of skis, the light Nomex The new pivot points must be taken into
honeycomb core has been reinforced consideration when mounting bindings
with a carbon and fiberglass wrap. The on skis.
Power Distribution Camber technology Salomon has also clarified its prod-
ensures well-balanced pressure distri- uct categorization. All S-lab products
bution between the rear and front now come under the racing category,
pressure zones. The revised stiffness which stands for the most demanding
Carbon fiber structures add lightness The Salomon S-lab Vitane SK
and torsional rigidity to the Salomon offers race-class features to
S-lab Skate Pro boot. recreational skiers.
The Light Cut sidecut of
the Salomon Equipe 10 Lab
makes the ski easier to
control all along the track.
4.2009 || 25
Michael Walchhofer in a familiar
setting on the steep finish
of the Kitzbühel downhill.
26 || 4.2009
Having seen pretty much everything in the downhill,
Michael Walchhofer is going for nothing less than victory
in the Vancouver Olympics and his fourth crystal globe
in the World Cup. Last summer, Walchhofer laid claim to
something few competitive athletes have achieved:
his own cookbook! F Timo Repo t Getty Images, Atomic
he Altenmarkt village in Austria is known as the lage’s first-class hotels, Hotel Zentral and Zauchenseehof,
home base of Atomic. Just a 15-minute drive are also under his management.
south of the village lies a lake that glimmers It can’t be all that common for a person to own ski
deep blue in the summer months, sheltered by slopes, can it?
magnificent mountains. Called Zauchensee, the lake has “My father bought these slopes years ago, providing me
also given its name to the village on its shore. with this incredible training environment,” Walchhofer
Zauchensee has only a couple of hundred permanent explains.
inhabitants, but tourists keep the village buzzing all year
round. In the summer, it is filled by families who come to Heading calmly into the Olympic year
hike or bike in the majestic settings. In the wintertime, the The experienced downhill skier opted for a tranquil start
slopes and hotels are taken over by enthusiastic Alpine to this season.
skiers, numbering nearly 50,000 over the entire season. “At the age of 34, I believe I’ve learned how to time my
Zauchensee and the nearby Flachau area offer close to training,” says the Alpine star, grinning.
1,800 kilometers of excellent slopes. In addition, “I started basic training slightly later than normal this
Zauchensee annually hosts World Cup races in the wom- summer, hitting the snow for the first time in July in Aus-
en’s downhill and slalom. tria and Switzerland. From there I flew to the subzero
snows of Chile, and then spent August and September
Innkeeper and competitive athlete training at home in Austria.”
There’s no doubt about Zauchensee’s most famous resi- Most of the summer is taken up with basic conditioning
dent: it is Michael Walchhofer, the 34-year-old World Cup and equipment tests.
champion. “Tests are constantly present in speed events. The
“For me, Zauchensee is both a brilliant training loca- Alpine season is never over; it’s more like year-round
tion and a very dear home base,” he says. training and testing. As a downhill skier, you’ve got to try
Walchhofer’s training opportunities are hard to match, new tricks all the time. This discipline is a constant battle
seeing as he owns the Zauchensee race slopes. The vil- for every thousandth of a second,” Walchhofer points out. →
4.2009 || 27
under the glare of TV
spotlights after the
Val Gardena downhill.
major event always has a few surprises. However hard you
train, it does not guarantee you a place on the podium. You
always need a sprinkling of good luck as well. The medals
aren’t handed out until the whole race is finished.”
Walchhofer’s last season?
Walchhofer’s long career may come to an end after this
“Yes, this may very well be my last season on the white
circus. If I get a medal in Vancouver and round the season
off with the crystal globe, I may retire and move on. I have
yet to make up my mind, but time will tell. The following
World Championships have crossed my mind, though. I’ve
still got the motivation, especially since they will be held in
the familiar surroundings of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in
2011. The 2013 Championships will be practically next door,
in Schladming, but they feel too far in the future.”
Following up on a solid season
Last season, Walchhofer claimed the highly valued World
Cup downhill title for the third time.
“I performed solidly throughout the season and was in
good condition. Thanks to tough physical training ses-
sions, I managed to push myself and my equipment to the
max. That was the formula that helped me win the crystal
globe. Winning wasn’t easy, but the overall Cup title more
than compensated for all the season’s suffering.”
In the 2006 Turin Winter
Olympics, Walchhofer got silver
in Zauchensee. in the downhill. He also has
gold, silver, and bronze from
the World Championships.
In Vancouver, Walchhofer’s
only goal is the gold medal.
“Of course the Olympics
always give an extra boost to
training. And there’s no deny-
ing that I’m interested in the
gold – it’s what I still lack. I
know the Olympic downhill
slope suits me well, but every-
thing has to fall into place just
so in the competition. As we
saw in the Val d’Isère World
The new downhill piste at the Val d’Isère World Championships
Championships, no medal or was a letdown for Walchhofer. The champ was not satisfied
placing ever comes easy. Every with his ninth place.
28 || 4.2009
“Both of these World Cham-
pionships are very exciting, but
there comes a time to say ‘no.’
One thing’s for sure: I want to
quit at the top, so that everyone is left with good memories of recipes suitable for athletes, Alpine enthusiasts – and
of my career and achievements,” says the king of the any friend of Austrian cooking. The book was called Abge-
downhill. “Luckily, I don’t need to make any decisions now. fahren aufgekocht, which translates freely as ‘Cooking in
Even after I retire, I will continue to work with something the Downhill.’
that involves snow and Alpine skiing. I’ve experienced both The volume includes many meals suitable for Alpine
good and bad times in this sport and wouldn’t change a skiers, as well as Zauchensee’s own delicacies.
day.” “I’m no Gordon Ramsey, but I promise the book con-
tains fun and delicious treats for all readers.”
Author, cook, or Alpine star? “Although athletes follow a strict diet, treats are
Over the past summer, Walchhofer quietly worked on his allowed every now and then. Austrian desserts are partic-
first cookbook with Thomas Schaubmeier, the chef at ularly delicious. They, along with some surprises, can be
Hotel Zentral. found in the book. It offers flavorful enjoyment and new
On the eve of the Sölden race, the star released a book experiences,” says Walchhofer.
Albrecht pulls through
Daniel Albrecht will return to the World Cup circuit after
a serious injury last season.
The Swiss Alpine skier was kept in an induced coma
for three weeks after a crash in downhill training in
Kitzbühel in January. The accident brought an end to
his race season.
The 26-year-old sustained head and lung injuries,
but is optimistic about his comeback. He says he has
taken part in nearly every national team practice.
“Everyone thought I was a fool in 2007, when I said I’d
become World Champion. I did, though,” says Albrecht,
who won the super combined and took silver in the giant
slalom in the 2007 World Championships in Åre.
to the white circus
Marlies Schild, former World Cup #1 in the women’s
slalom, returned to Sölden and the Rettenbach glacier,
the site of her September 2008 accident. The leg injury
Schild suffered on the eve of the 2008 opener kept the
Alpine star off the slopes all season.
“This run was a positive step on the road toward the
World Cup and the Olympic Games. There’s still a way to
go, but I feel confident about my recovery,” said Schild.
Schild has won 20 World Cup races in her career and
was the overall World Cup slalom champion in 2007 and
4.2009 || 29
30 || 4.2009
When Amer Sports Winter and Outdoor
Americas moved to Ogden, Utah,
it wanted to be a pioneer, not a settler.
F Shane Osguthorpe t Out Of Bounds Creative
few years ago, a new bumper sticker began
appearing on the backs and racks of SUVs around
the Intermountain West. It simply read, “New
York. London. Paris. Milan. Moab.” The tongue-in-cheek
tie between the fashion centers of the world and the tiny
desert town brought smiles to the maniacal mountain
bikers and Colorado River rats that kicked around the
area. As jokes go, it was pretty funny.
A couple of years ago, outdoor industry insiders would
have likely had the same smiling response had they seen
Amer Sports Winter and Outdoor Americas’ final list of
possible sites for relocation: “Seattle. Portland. Salt Lake
City. Park City. Ogden.” When it came to iconic locations
associated with outdoor sporting goods mega-brands, it
was clear that one of these things was not like the others.
However, this was no joke to Amer Sports Winter and
Outdoor Americas’ President and General Manager, Mike
Dowse. He had a tough decision to make as he worked to
determine the best place to consolidate and house the
day-to-day functions and North American efforts of
Salomon, Atomic, Suunto and Bonfire. When Dowse
announced the final decision to move to Ogden, Utah, he
cited what he termed the three M’s, that is, the mountain,
the mayor, and the money.
“With the single exception of Park City, no other location
offered us such proximity to the mountains we rely on for
product development, testing, demonstration, and life-
style,” said Dowse. “We’re now only 20 minutes from the
site of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games’ downhill and GS
A glance out of Dowse’s third-floor office window
confirms how the first M factored in. Ben Lomond Peak
(the inspiration for the Paramount Studios logo, as legend
has it), Mount Ogden, and Strawberry Peak all tower
a stone’s throw away. And while the world-renowned
powder that falls on those mountains is an obvious draw
for snowsports brands like Salomon, Atomic and Bonfire,
Amer Sports Winter and Outdoor Americas settled
in a renovated old factory building in Ogden. →
4.2009 || 31
what may be less apparent is the vast number of trekking able to infuse each brand with amazing new energy and
trails that lie between his office door and those summits. ideas from local mountain athletes who came to work for
“What we discovered was a true year-round mountain us,” said Dowse.
community,” said Dowse. One such athlete is Atomic Marketing Manager Jordan
Judd. Prior to joining Atomic, Judd was a part owner in a
The mayor local Ogden ski shop and a virtual legend among local free
Dowse’s second M, the mayor, actually encompassed skiers and all-mountain fanatics. His understanding of the
much more than just Ogden mayor Matthew Godfrey. unique approach to North American skiing has fueled
Dowse uses the word “mayor” to cover an entire commu- excitement in the growth potential of the Atomic brand in a
nity that has been wildly supportive of Amer’s relocation key market.
and subsequent business operations. And he’s not simply Among the individuals who relocated to Ogden, Dowse
referring to the cheerleading from local admirers of Amer cites Salomon Marketing Director, Jean-Yves Couput and
Sports brands. other Europeans who have brought a valuable under-
“Of the 90 or so employees we have working here standing of Amer Sports brands as well as a perspective
since the relocation, 65 of them are local hires. We had on the cultural differences and similarities found in
25 people relocate to Ogden, which gave us an invaluable markets on both sides of the Atlantic.
level of stability, tradition and knowledge, and we were
Dowse’s final M came in the form of approximately $2 mil-
lion in grants and $5 million in state and local tax credits,
for a total of $7 million over 10 years.
“While we weren’t planning on the current economic
situation at the time, the windfall that we received in
incentives has enabled us to weather the storm pretty
well,” said Dowse. “Add in the 30-plus percent reductions
in operational expense that resulted from the move and
I’m more confident than ever that the decision to come to
Ogden has been the right one.”
Throughout the relocation process, Dowse insisted that
Amer Sports be pioneers, not settlers.
That vision has played itself out in both subtle and
dramatic ways in Ogden.
Amer Sports’s role in its new community has been
anything but passive. The company funded the installation
of dozens of branded bike racks around town to encourage
green transportation and supplies a fleet of bicycles for
employees to use for errands and exercise. The iconic new
high-adventure facility in downtown Ogden that houses
indoor climbing walls, standing surf waves and skydiving
wind tunnels was dubbed the Salomon Center. The poles
marking the boundaries in left and right field at the city’s
minor league baseball stadium are a giant Atomic and
Salomon ski respectively. Suunto is the official timing
Mike Dowse found a true year-round
mountain community in Ogden.
32 || 4.2009
sponsor of the scenic Ogden Marathon, which fills up
nearly every year .
In addition to the financial support the organization has
provided in the community, employees have taken on
active and impactful roles as board members and volun-
teers in key non-profit organizations whose efforts range
from helping at-risk youth to attracting high-profile global
events to the area such as the XTERRA USA Champion-
ships and the upcoming Winter Dew Tour.
The unique corporate culture that Dowse has fostered
in the new Ogden location has been adopted by other
companies in town, who have begun offering corporate-
funded season passes to local ski areas and company-
encouraged powder days any time snowfall hits a deter-
mined amount in a 24-hour period.
It is clear that what began as a move by Amer Sports
to Ogden has become a movement in Ogden.
4.2009 || 33
– President, Apparel and Footwear business area
– President, Salomon SAS starting in January 2010
– Member of the Amer Sports Executive Board
– Born 1959, French citizen
– Education: Business School HEC Paris 1982
– 2002–2007: Salomon Apparel and Footwear,
– 1996–2002: Salomon EMEA, General Manager
– 1990–1996: Salomon France, Country Manager
– 1985–1990: various positions within Salomon
– 1983–1985: Eurequip Paris, Consulting
– Board Member of the European Outdoor Group
Jean-Marc Pambet on a
rainy fall day in Helsinki.
34 || 4.2009
Apparel & Footwear:
a new opportunity for Amer Sports
Jean-Marc Pambet is the President of the Amer Sports Apparel and Footwear
business area. His target is to offer outdoor enthusiasts the best performing
apparel and footwear. Markku Rimpiläinen t Miika Kainu
You visited Helsinki recently. Did you have many things enthusiasts who engage in activities such as trail running,
to do here? walking, hiking or snowshoeing in cold conditions. At
» Helsinki is the base camp where we talk about our Salomon, Arc’teryx and Bonfire we are not offering tradi-
strategies and plans with the Amer Sports general tional and identical products. For each brand we make
management. We presented our Salomon, Arc’teryx and targeted choices so products on the market have a unique
Bonfire future plans, and it was really interesting to identity in terms of performance, fit and style.
discuss the situation and future perspective of the apparel Have you launched some new product lines recently?
and footwear business. » Salomon, Arc’teryx and Bonfire are also looking
How is the business running? to target the urban consumer with product lines that are
» Business is developing very well. The first half of suitable for the mountains and city streets alike.
the year was really great. The pace of the second half will Is the footwear and apparel business different than
be slower because dealers and buyers have been very the sports equipment business?
cautious when doing their fall and winter buys. However, » No, the business model is the same. In our model we
13 percent sales growth year-to-date at the end of take the footwear or apparel product as seriously as any
September is a very positive achievement. other equipment. My organization is built with people who
How is the competition in the market? are experts in their product and service field, in their
» The outdoor market is very dynamic and attractive; profession and in the sports we target. It is important that
therefore the battle in the field is very tough. The outdoor we understand consumer expectations and the needs of
market is not comparable to the ski market where you our dealers and buyers to guide the creation process.
have the same five or six key brands in every region. We have to know the fabrics, the fit, the factories, the
We have many strong competitors. Some of them are sourcing and the distribution. It also helps that we are
strong globally, some regionally, some are strong local, located near our consumers in Vancouver, Canada
national brands. (Arc’teryx); Portland, Oregon (Bonfire); and Annecy,
The popularity of trail running seems to grow all France (Salomon).
the time. Do you see any other trends that could be As long as we take the need for specific apparel and
equally strong? footwear expertise seriously, I really believe that Amer
» Trail running is creating a bridge between two big Sports can grow into this footwear and apparel world.
markets: the outdoor and the running markets. It is one Has the soul of Salomon brand survived when it
of the reasons why the Salomon footwear business has started to also make apparel?
doubled its sales within the past four years. At this » There are no distinguishing traits for Salomon winter
moment, we don’t see any other product segment that sports equipment and Salomon apparel and footwear.
would grow as fast. The consumers see Salomon as one brand whatever
What about the winter – are there any new things product of ours they buy. That’s why we have a single
appearing or do you have to concentrate on traditional Brand Department, which acts as a strong and pro-active
skiing apparel? bridge between Salomon winter sports equipment and
» We have three important product segments to Salomon apparel and footwear. Every employee at
develop: skiwear, cross-country apparel, and winter Salomon inherits something from the soul of our founder,
outdoor apparel and footwear. We equip all the outdoor Georges Salomon.
4.2009 || 35
36 || 4.2009
India is incredible – even if you talk about skiing.
For a freerider, Mt. Apharwat is the equivalent of Nirvana.
F & t Jimmy Petterson
ou might wonder why anyone would cross halfway around the
world to ski in a location where the fate of your holiday rested
in the hands of bureaucrats and laborers who are well known
for their lack of competence, and where the entire system makes the
mañana mentality of South America look like a prototype of German
That answer is simple as well. The two-stage gondola rises up
Mt. Apharwat to an elevation of 3 980 meters – the highest gondola in →
4.2009 || 37
the world built for skiers. From there,
one has a series of long, steep ridges
and bowls on either side. One of the sub-
peaks, at 4 124 meters, is an easy hike
from the top station, and that trek gives
access to even more off-piste terrain.
Since it opened in May 2005, Gulmarg
has become a secret hideaway for a
small handful of powder freaks from all
parts of the world. These freeriders
begin to arrive in January, and usually
have all gone home by mid-March, by
which time the powder is on the wane.
Even this small enclave of off-piste
connoisseurs missed one secret – corn
← Yasin, a moun-
tain guide, also snow. By the time we arrived, in mid-
sells Kashmir- April, the only patrons of the lift were
style clothing and Indian tourists coming to Gulmarg to
accessories – not to escape the oppressive heat that was
beginning to make life miserable on the
↙ The two-stage subcontinent. There was nary a freerider
gondola on Mt. to be seen. We had one of the world’s
Apharwat takes best ski mountains at our disposal and
skiers to an eleva- nobody else was here to share the
tion of 3,980 me-
spoils. For that kind of reward, I can put
up with a touch of incompetence and a
↘ The Rose Wood lack of infrastructure.
Guest House in
Gulmarg does not
offer luxury, but
the views are This story actually began in the autumn,
breathtaking. when I was surfing the Internet before
38 || 4.2009
the season. I found a web site referring stretching more than 7 000 meters into
me to Yasin for accommodation priced the Himalayan heavens.
for ski bums and I booked a cabin for our The panorama was stunning. We
group of friends. gazed out over the fertile rice paddies
Five months later we arrived to be and fields that surround Srinagar. The
greeted by a middle-aged man with a big valley is ringed in by the Himalayas in a
smile, a twinkle in his eye, and a humble perfect 180-degree semi-circle. It was
demeanor. We learned without much ado unlike any view I have ever seen.
that Yasin did more than merely organize
accommodation for wandering gypsies A dangerous mountain
of the ski world. He could also provide One look at Mt. Apharwat (4 339 m) is
visitors with skis, boots, and other enough to make very clear to any skier
equipment from his rental shop, and that this is one dangerous mountain, and
Kashmir style shawls, hats, jewelry and the advice and knowledge of a local
traditional clothing from his souvenir guide is almost a must.
shop. And of course, he would be happy But this was spring skiing, and Yasin
to sell you a Kashmir carpet as well. assured us that there was no danger at
After all, any Kashmiri businessman this time. He guided us over to a ridge of
worth his salt sells carpets. spring snow maturing under the hot Indi-
Yasin is also a mountain guide, an sun. It was a north face, where one answered with a much more precise
Gulmarg’s first, beginning his guiding rarely finds corn snow in the Alps, but we answer than I had expected. “That does
career in the mid-1970s, 30 years before were definitely not in the Alps. not include Kashmiri people, of course.”
the gondola was finally completed. It was amazing to have Apharwat Enjoying our privileged status as the
Yasin showed us around the mountain entirely to ourselves, for we were literal- mountains only skiing guests, we fol-
that he has loved for so many years and ly the only skiers on the mountain. I lowed Yasin down three more big valleys
which has provided him his livelihood in asked Yasin about how many Indian peo- that were easily accessible from the lift.
return. He pointed out Nanga Parbat (8 ple skied the upper mountain during the Others to the west required a hike, and
125 m) to the north, the ninth highest course of the year. He scratched his head we would save those for another day.
mountain in the world, almost close and looked thoughtful. He began to In between runs, we stopped to
enough to touch, in nearby Pakistan. He mumble “Mohandas, Mahesh, Rahul , quench our thirst or eat a snack at an
also indicated Nun and Kun peaks, both Sanjay…this year there were eight,” he enclave of food stands situated a few →
4.2009 || 39
Daal Lake and surrounded on all sides by
the snow-covered Himalayas.
After a couple of days, the stormy
weather in Gulmarg had passed, and we
returned to Yasin to sample a few more
slopes of Mt. Apharwat. Our first morn-
ing back began with a 45-minute hike
above the gondola. After a brief rest, we
followed our leader down a beautiful val-
ley of virgin corn snow before traversing
back to the lift.
Then we skied along the ridge to the
west of the top station and again snaked
virgin tracks into yet another ravine.
While skiing along the ridge, Ari almost
tripped on a ski, jutting out of the snow.
“Oh, that is great,” said Yasin. “I will
carry it down to my shop. I know the
young man who lost it during a powder
hundred meters above the middle sta- skied directly back to our cottage. dump in February.”
tion. This mini-village was nothing less When a thunderstorm hit Gulmarg on The run ended with a slalom through
than a three-ring circus. our third afternoon, we made the the birch trees. Yasin pointed out that
Many of the Indian tourists here were 55-kilometer drive to the capital of during the winter, one could follow this
certainly seeing snow for the first time. Kashmir. The city is built on the shores of valley into the pine forest and finish
Women in their brightly colored saris,
their husbands in jeans or slacks, and
↖ Locals come to
excited children throwing their first the gondola middle
snowballs or building their first snow- station to enjoy a
man are all part of the show. picnic in the snow
Scores of entrepreneurs and so- and sun.
called ski instructors stood around wait-
↑ On the last
ing to rent sleds or skis to the visitors, evening, Yasin
with the possibility of a ski lesson as part prepared a feast
of the bargain to go along with a ski for the visitors.
→ A variety of snow
Other tourists tried their hand at ski-
vehicles can be
ing, with a Kashmiri-style ski instructor seen at the middle
holding onto the back of their pants, station.
running after their guest while tugging
on the pants in an attempt to keep the
skier from going too fast.
The weather was extremely warm,
with the mercury climbing up to above
30 degrees in the sun. Yet the corn snow
on the upper mountain remained good
all day. Lower down, the heat made the
snow sticky and slow, but still, it was
quite skiable. It was a bit like summer
The upper slopes are completely
open, but trees grow to above 3500
meters in this part of the world, and
some widely spaced birch trees begin to
decorate a few of the ridges part way
down. Then at the level of the middle sta-
tion (3,063 m.) one skis into pine forests
full of monkeys. At the end of the day, we
40 || 4.2009
close to the village of Tangmarg – a attention to their school lessons.”
descent of approximately 1700 meters! We came to Gulmarg for the moun-
tain. When we return, we will go back for
The perfect guide the mountain and for Yasin. Gulmarg is
Our final day finished with a feast in a certainly not for everybody. Many people
tiny room above Yasin’s rental shop. We will prefer to be guided around in the
sat on the floor as our host prepared a powder of Chamonix or La Plagne by
meal fit for a maharajah. He spread out a Pierre or Jean Claude or in St. Anton or
tablecloth on the floor and laid almost a Zermatt by Frans or Fritz. But if you have
dozen bowls of Kashmiri specialties the ability to view the uncertainty of not
before us. Our group of famished skiers knowing exactly what time the lift will
ate until we were stuffed, but we could open or if it will open at all as part of the
not finish the enormous portion of food adventure, then give a call to Yasin Khan.
he had prepared. You may well have an experience as
Peter had rented skis from Yasin and memorable and enjoyable as our own.
also bought some souvenirs from his
store, and he asked for an invoice. Yasin
called over one of his friends, gave him a Yasin’s web site is www.kashmiralpine.com.
writing block and told him what to write You can send him an e-mail at yasin@
kashmir alpine.com or snow@kashmir-
on the invoice. It was then that I realized
alpine.com. Although he cannot read or
that our friend was illiterate. I asked him write, one of his partners will read your
and he corroborated my suspicion. mail to him and formulate an answer to
“Yes, said Yasin, that is why I am very you as well. You can also call him at
insistent that my children pay close +91-9419525606
FROM NATURAL MATERIALS
Salomon has used natural
materials in the new Shogun ski.
Bamboo fibers in the fullewood
core create excellent responsive-
ness. Volcanic basalt layer
maintains stiffness in all speeds.
Extra wide edges give the ski
durability and shock resistance.
A new rocker technology puts
traditional camber underfoot
and reverse camber in the ski tip.
A perfect ski for free skiing in all
4.2009 || 41
New segment on the watch market
These really are unique! Made of first-class materials, the stylish
Elementum premium watches come packed with functionality familiar
from Suunto outdoor and diving wristops. Markku Rimpiläinen t Suunto
he Elementum look was inspired, among the Aqua down to 200 meters.
other things, by Suunto’s field compass The Elementum line will be sold through
from the 1930s. The goal was to design a watch retailers. Suunto’s genuine sports image
line of watches that are sleek, functional and offers the new collection several advantages,
convincing − as well as eye-catching in urban which can be utilized by the retail channel. Users
settings. The watches come with an austenitic appreciate the accuracy and functionality of
316L stainless steel case and scratch-resistant these exclusive watches, which elegantly com-
sapphire crystal glass. The electronics, user municate the wearer’s hobbies and interests to
interface, algorithms, and mechanical solutions others. The versatile features in each of the
are Suunto’s own design, and the watches are three watches are operated with prominent but-
exclusively made in Finland. The Ventus and tons, which give an added touch to the watches,
Terra are water-resistant down to 100 meters, while also saving space for electronics.
AQUA TERRA VENTUS
The diving functions kick off Perfect for the mountains, Terra The Ventus sailing watch measures
when Aqua detects entry into features time functions, a barom- air pressure and shows the results
the water. The watch measures eter and altimeter, and a com- graphically. A substantial drop in
depth, water temperature, pass. The altimeter can be set to air pressure is indicated with red
maximum depth, and dive time. record the cumulative ascent and slanted lines. The watch also
Aqua can be used for diving descent or the maximum altitude. features a compass and sailing
without a dive computer. The altitude information is dis- timer that counts down to the race
It is also ideal for freediving. played on the face of the watch. start.
42 || 4.2009
EVERY SKI HAS
ONE SKI HAS
THE REVOLUTIONARY NEW ATOMIC D2 VARIO CUT IS THE WORLD’S FIRST SKI CAPABLE
OF AUTOMATICALLY ADJUSTING ITS TURNING RADIUS TO THE SKIING SITUATION AT HAND.
THE MORE PRESSURE YOU PUT ON IT, THE WIDER IT GETS PUSHED APART AT THE TIP AND THE
TAIL – LETTING YOU MAKE BOTH SHORT AND LONG TURNS WITH EQUAL PRECISION.
Schwarztor – a heli-ski classic
F & t Jimmy Petterson
Every skier has a favorite ski run. Some of them are marked
pistes while others are off-piste routes, but there are only a few
such runs that can truly be called classics. There are a variety of
reasons why a ski run or route attains classic status. Some are
classics because of a famous race that is run there while other
attain recognition as classics because of their steepness, length,
vertical drop, great powder, beauty or a combination of these
factors. In the years since the inception of using helicopters for
skiing, some heli-ski routes have also achieved the exalted
status of classic descents.
In this category of great heli-ski runs must be the route from
the Schwarztor down to the fairytale village of Zermatt. In the
right conditions, this run has it all – length, vertical, and powder,
plus it is without question one of the most beautiful runs in the
world. One glides over ancient glaciers, through fields of icy blue
seracs, past deep yawning crevasses, and all the while, the
magnificent Matterhorn rises majestically above the
surroundings. Skiing can´t be any better.
44 || 4.2009
4.2009 || 45
rigidity. As the distance grew longer, the
benefits became even clearer. When
sweat gradually made my feet move back
and forth inside the boots, I tightened the
strap a couple of notches, and this
noticeably stabilized the glide phase.
The ratchet, familiar from cycling
shoes, may be the most visible change in
the S-lab Skate Pro, but the biggest
improvements lie elsewhere.
The enhanced torsional rigidity of the
boots, along with their pivot point, placed
17 millimeters behind the front, gave a
noticeably better balance to the glide
and put more force into the kick. I’ve
For a balanced usually felt a lot wobblier at the start
of the ski season, after the normal
glide and six-month break. However, wearing
the new boots, I felt surprisingly
a strong kick
F Ilkka Järvimäki t Taavetti Alin
he Salomon S-lab Skate Pro boots
attracted a great deal of attention at
last season’s World Cup races. The
boots come in white this season and feature
a new ratchet mechanism over the arch,
which holds the promise of brand new
properties for both racers and enthusiastic
Tests on indoor snow showed that the
Power Hold System, with its technical ring,
also works well in practice. From the first
kilometers onward, the strap and support
mechanism provided additional firmness to
the skate boot, which in itself does not lack
46 || 4.2009
comfortable with my balance and the
feel of the ski. Prepare to ski with the AMT
The new inner sock was very comfort-
able. Moreover, this version of the boot is
F & t Precor
easier to pull on than its predecessor, The winter ski season is nearly here, and Precor’s Adaptive Motion Trainer
which was a very tight race model. This (AMT) is the perfect cardio machine to help you prepare for the rigors of the
has not affected the fit or rigidity in any slopes. Engaging a wide variety of muscle groups, the AMT not only builds up
way – quite the contrary, in fact. aerobic fitness – it also improves anaerobic capacity, to help sustain the short
In an effort to find something to bursts of energy which are so important for skiing. The following eight week
criticize, I could mention that the already program has been created for experienced AMT users looking to prepare for
praised ratchet – or rather, the quick the ski season, and should be undertaken alongside exercises designed to
lock – picked up snow when skiing improve strength, flexibility and balance.
indoors. When I moved to room tempera-
ture, the snow turned to ice and prevent-
ed me from opening the straps for a few Week 1 Week 4
minutes. This can probably be avoided in Program: Manual Program: Interval
the winter by taking the boots off out- Stride type: Climb Stride type: Climb
Frequency: 2–3 times per week Frequency: 3 times per week (Default
doors and carefully shaking off any snow
Time: 15 minutes resistance settings are 1 and 4)
before releasing the ratchets. Level: L4 Time: 18 minutes
Program: Manual Week 5
Stride type: Climb/short strides Program: Interval
– Climb 4 minutes/short stride Stride type: Short stride/long stride
Armchair diving 4 minutes, repeat twice
Frequency: 2–3 times per week
– Short stride 10 minutes/long stride
This inspiring and informative guide gives Time: 16 minutes Frequency: 3 times per week
a detailed account of the world’s best diving Level: L4 Time: 20 minutes
locations. The vivid descriptions provided Level: L6
by the book’s famous authors and photo- Week 3
graphers take readers, including non- Program: Manual Week 6
divers, on a fascinating armchair trip to the Stride type: Climb/short stride – Climb Program: Heart Rate*
depths of the sea. The service directories 6 minutes/short stride 6 minutes Stride type: Short stride
for different locations also come in handy Frequency: 3 times per week Frequency: 3 times per week
– at the latest when throwing your mask Time: 18 minutes Time: 20 minutes
and flippers into the suitcase. Level: L5 Level: Program adjusts
JACK JACKSON: DIVE ATLAS OF THE Week 7
WORLD: AN ILLUSTRATED RERENCE Program: Heart Rate*
TO THE BEST SITES, NEW HOLLAND Stride type: Short stride/long stride
PUBLISHERS LTD, 2009 – Short stride 10minutes/long stride
Frequency: 3–4 times per week
Time: 25 minutes
Level: Program adjusts
Stride type: Long stride
Frequency: 4 times per week
Time: 25 minutes
Ski Photo: Atomic
*Requires a heart rate chest strap
to be worn.
GUIDE For more information, visit www.amtfitness.com
4.2009 || 47