ALPINE SKIING Flife de by dominic.cecilia

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									AN AMER SPORTS MAGAZINE 4. 2006




ALPINE
SKIING
A NEW WAVE SPURS DEVELOPMENT

OUTDOOR
THE STORY OF ARC'TERYX

SKI INDUSTRY LEGEND
RUPERT ”KILLY” HUBER
                                                                                                AN AMER SPORTS MAGAZINE




                                                                      WHITE WITH SNOW
                                                                      The winter season has begun, and Lapland is already white as snow. An indication
                                                                      of the start of the winter season was seen on November 10–12 when the world’s
                                                                      best men’s and women’s Giant slalom skiers met first time ever on Finland’s Levi
                                                                      Black slope. The brightest stars of the Atomic Racing Team were present: Giorgio
                                                                      Rocca, Benjamin Raich, Aksel Lund Svindahl, Markus Larsson, Jukka Leino, Felix
                                                                      Neureuther, Kentaro Minagawa, Marlies Schildt, Kathrin Zettel and Ana Jelusic.
                                                                           We at Amer Sports can be happy knowing that the popularity of alpine and
                                                                      crosscountry skiing is on the rise. Various skiing disciplines are also beginning to
                                                                      converge, as many skiers have noticed that they can also have fun in ungroomed
                                                                      terrain. This new wave in skiing has become a powerful trend that is directing,
                                                                      among other things, equipment development. Salomon was the first ski manu-
                                                                      facturer to get enthusiastic about Ski Cross and came up with the Saab Salomon
                                                                      Crossmax series. At the same time, a new type of ski was born for fast piste skiing.
                                                                      Read more about this high-speed series on page 34.
                                                                           Enjoy the coming ski season – and remember your helmet! These days, all
                                                                      freestyle skiers and snowboarders wear helmets, too. It’s a question of safety,
                                                                      but also of style.

                                                                      Maarit Mikkonen
                                                                      Communications Manager




               The magazine is published   Fax +358 9 791 385       Editorial Secretary           Address Source                    www.amersports.com
               quarterly in Finnish,       maarit.mikkonen@         Outi Rinne                    Amer Sports’ Register             www.wilson.com
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                                                                                                  and Customers,
                                                                                                                                    www.suunto.com
               Editorial Staff             Alma Media               Cover photo                   Amer Sports Corporation,
               Editor-in-chief             Lehdentekijät Oy         Salomon                       P.O. Box 130,                     www.precor.com
               Maarit Mikkonen             P.O. Box 502, FI-00101                                 FI-00601 Helsinki,                www.salomonsports.com
               Amer Sports Corporation,    Helsinki, FINLAND        Composition and Repro         FINLAND
               Communications              www.lehdentekijat.fi     Faktor Oy
               Department, P.O. Box 130,   Producer                 Printed by Libris Oy          Changes
               FI-00601 Helsinki,          Markku Rimpiläinen                                     of addresses
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2   |   Next
    Next 4.06: Contents
 4 NEXT HOT. The Salomon SPK is a new boot        22 BRANDS. Arc’teryx designs and
    for new school freestyle skiers. The Precor       manufactures top quality products
    M9.57 treadmill comes with an integrated          in Vancouver, Canada.
    entertainment center.
                                                  26 AMER SPORTS. Winter Sports have
 6 ALPINE SKIING. The new wave is                     generated growth for Amer Sports Canada.
    attracting both skiers and the equipment
    industry alike.                               28 BASEBALL. New age groups are taking up
                                                      the sport.
11 NEXT GUIDE. Introducing Ed Viesturs’
    book on conquering 8,000-meter peaks,         31 GOLF. Padraig Harrington putts his way to
    and much more.                                    the top of the European Tour Order of Merit.

12 PROFILE. Atomic’s Rupert Huber knows           32 NEWS. Suunto D9 nominated for notable
    everything there is to know about designing       design award.
    alpine skis.
                                                  34 CLASSIC. The Saab Salomon Crossmax.
16 FITNESS. Precor is installing top-class
    fitness facilities in Hilton hotels.

19 NEXT PRODUCT. The new Wilson Staff
                                                                                                     12
    Di7 irons.

20 RESULT. 2006 is a transitional year                VICE PRESIDENT RUPERT HUBER,
    for Amer Sports.
                                                      IN CHARGE OF ATOMIC’S PRODUCT
                                                      DEVELOPMENT AND THE ATOMIC
                                                      RACING TEAM, IS KNOWN BY THE
                                                      NICKNAME KILLY.


    THE NEW WAVE CHANGED ALPINE                       PRECOR AND HILTON ARE AIMING TO
    SKIING, EQUIPMENT AND SKI CENTERS.                ENTICE MORE GUESTS INTO
    THIS COMING WINTER, MORE SKIERS                   HOTEL FITNESS CENTERS WITH THE
    THAN EVER WILL BE ON TWIN-TIPS.                   NEW FITNESS BY PRECOR CONCEPT.                  4




                                                  6                                         16       22

                                                                                                      Next   |   3
        nexthot

                                                                 HYBRID. Precor has brought to market the S3.15 – a multi-station home gym.
                                                                 The Precor S3.15 offers a blend of fixed-path motion and functional move-
                                                                 ment to target either specific muscle groups or train several muscle groups
                                                                 simultaneously. The S3.15 comes with a guide that depicts correct form for 26
                                                                 different exercises.




                                                                                         RADICAL STYLE. A progressive looking jacket, a core freestyle design that’s
                                                                                         pushing style as far as performance. Salomon’s Borderline Down Jacket
           PIPE BOOTS. New school freestyle skiers now have their own boot from          has an exceptionally high collar to protect your face from the chilly winds of
           Salomon. The Salomon SPK boot’s outer shell is made of extra tough            the mountaintops. Breath holes have been punched into the collar on both
           plastic to protect your feet from knocks. Effective shock absorption in       sides of the zip to prevent your goggles from steaming up. The jacket is
           the heel ensures a comfortable descent. Good forward lean and a wide          extra long too. Its stretchy waist band has an over-wide low rider cut, which
           toe box make jumps easier. There are only two buckles.                        provides your back with extra protection from the cold and flying snow.




4   |   Next
SUUNTO D9, NOW WITH TITANIUM BRACELET. The innova-                 INTEGRATED ENTERTAINMENT CENTER. Precor’s products have been com-
tive, award-winning Suunto D9 all-in-one dive instrument is        mended for their integrated entertainment equipment. For example, the flat
now also available with an eye-catching and durable titanium       screens installed in treadmills have been especially popular in US fitness clubs.
bracelet. The Suunto D9 is the first dive instrument to provide    A comparable screen is now available for home treadmills. The M9.57 treadmill
all the vital information you will need when diving – and also     on sale in the United States has a total of 23 different running programs and its
boasts a digital compass.                                          top-quality construction will guarantee many years of trouble-free use.




                                     SILK ORCHIDS. Salomon is delighted to present Siam Origins - limited edition skis
                                     with hand-placed silk orchids under a transparent top and base. The skis were the
                                     result of a design workshop in which 30 women skiers from all over Europe were
                                     invited by Salomon product designers to present their views on design.




                                     THE SUCCESS STORY CONTINUES. The SX:12pb supercross ski – successor to
                                     the test and sales success SX:11 – now has a completely revamped structure and
                                     cut. The new Powerbridge binding base, coupled with integrated rubber inserts at
                                     the front and rear of the binding, damps vibration at even the fastest speeds.




                                                                                                                                                   Next   |   5
               Freestyling takes
               skiing by storm
               A powerful trend has emerged from new wave skiing – one that is
               already shaping the development of ski resorts and equipment.
               ■ Text by Markku Rimpiläinen, Tuija Seipell
               ■ Photos by Rami Lappalainen




               Life is an important part of skiing!” This 70s ski bum declaration        growing from year to year. Slopestyle competitions comprise a mix




           “
               also aptly describes the attitude of today’s young freestyle and          of different jumps, boxes and rails.
               freeride skiers. Skiing is a way of life for them, encompassing not            One of the sport’s first major competitions – the US Open Free-
               only their sporting performances, but also their circle of friends,       sking Championships – is being held for the tenth time this win-
               fashion, music and individual style. Young people jumping in parks        ter. It says a lot that the event’s major sponsors now include the
               and pipes want to do so with their own individual style and not ac-       prestigious and time-honored magazine Skiing, which has to date
               cording to traditional rules.                                             focused on mainstream skiing. If you don’t know what free skiing
                   Just as vital as the skiing itself is having a photographic or        and freestyle are all about, you’re hopelessly out of touch.
               cinematic record to distribute among the Internet community. The               In spite of its name, the US Open Freesking championship is
               main prize in Salomon’s Jib Academy – an international freestyle          not actually free skiing, as its disciplines are superpipe, slopestyle
               event for young skiers this coming winter – is a shoot on Mammoth         and big air. The championship will be held on Copper Mountain
               Mountain in the USA with Salomon’s pro skiers.                            from January 17–21 and is such a major event that the sport’s
                                                                                         elite will all, for once, be there – as long as their filming sched-
               From competition to images                                                ules permit.
               New wave skiing can be divided into three sub-disciplines.                     Favret has followed the development of the young sport closely.
                   Freeride, or free skiing, is done on ungroomed slopes with            “It’s incredible how the sport has progressed in ten years. The
               jumps over natural formations. The aspects judged in free skiing          riders are more and more professional and each year they invent
               competitions include the line of descent chosen, jumps and descent        new tricks – they are obsessed with style.”
               speed – the faster the better. On the new, broad free skis, you can            Simon Dumont’s Truck Driver and Jon Olson’s Double Rotation
               descend at great speed in deep snow.                                      were two of last season’s new tricks.
                   Competing is, however, only one part of the picture.                       The third sport in the new wave is ski cross, a general start race
                   “In freeride, we clearly moved from competition to ‘image’.           and a veritable battle between skiers.
               Mountains, nature, powder, sensations, road trips rule freeride ski-
               ing,” says Lionel Favret, who is in charge of Salomon’s free skiing,      A mishmash of disciplines
               freestyle and ski cross skiers’ contracts.                                Although the sub-disciplines in new wave skiing are sports in their
                   Free skiers value natural slopes, but the terrain in freestyle        own right, they clearly belong to the same family. Many skiers hap-
               – the second main direction in the new wave – is the complete op-         pily practice them all in parallel without caring too much about
               posite. The sport is practiced on a stage of purposely-built halfpipes,   definitions. The disciplines begin to merge into one.
               quarterpipes and huge big air ramps, which just seem to keep                   “They’re two different sports, but freeriders & freestyle skiers
                                                                                                                                                             q

6   |   Next
Skis: Atomic Urban
Triplet. Apparel: Salomon.



              Next    |   7
               approach them with the same freestyle spirit. Freestyle becomes              “Freestyle and free skiing are now rapidly heading in the same
               a culture,” says Lionel Favret.                                          direction snowboarding did ten years ago. The new skiing disci-
                    France’s Enak Gavaggio undoubtedly belongs to the ski cross         plines are similar. Development is just faster, because a decade ago
               elite, but also spends plenty of time free skiing.                       the equipment industry didn’t yet really understand what was going
                    “Freeride is one of the aspects of skiing I like the most. The      on,” says Marko Martikainen from the Swedish-Finnish athlete
               only rules you have are the ones you want. Many free skiers, like        management agency Sportsyard.
               Kaj Zachrisson, don’t do any freestyle at all – but they’re so good at       Martikainen started out working with snowboarders, but now
               free skiing that they don’t need to,” says Gavaggio.                     his company is also very involved with skiers. It says a lot about
                     “If you want to stay on the scene, you need to be able to mix      the sport that Martikainen also arranges events in addition to his
               elements from both,” he adds.                                            managerial tasks. There can’t be one without the other, as no ski
                                                                                        factory could ever imagine success without skiers and events.
               Taking a note out of the snowboarding book                                   Freestyle events already draw in huge crowds of young people.
               The new wave in skiing has a clear role model: snowboarding.             freestyle.ch – Europe’s largest competition – attracted 50,000 spec-
                   “Snowboarders came with their own style to high-level com-           tators in the center of Zurich in September.
               petitions and brought with them so many other skills, cameramen,             The best snowboarders are already riding full-time and con-
               photographers and so on. Skiers and snowboarders are starting to         sider themselves professionals. “Many freestyle skiers still think
               have similar attitudes,” says Favret.                                    that being as cool as possible is what it’s all about. Freestyle is still




8   |   Next
learning to walk, but it has the chance to go anywhere – and it’s                 only on snowboards,” says Whistler Blackcomb’s Public Relations
definitely heading in the right direction,” says Martikainen.                     Coordinator Ryan Proctor.
                                                                                      Whistler – one of the most esteemed ski centers in the world
Youth culture                                                                     – now has two half pipes and four separate parks. All of the terrain
Snowboarding and freestyle are already influencing ski center in-                 features are clearly categorized according to their level of difficulty
vestments and construction.                                                       using an S-XL scale familiar from clothing. The features are snowed
     “Well-managed ski centers know how to build excellent terrain                as required and several piste machines have been allocated for
parks for snowboarders and freestyle skiers. It’s essential that ter-             their maintenance.                                                  q
rain parks are well-constructed and well-maintained – an untended
ramp can easily become dangerous. It’s also vital that there are
ramps suitable for skiers of all levels, and that these levels are
clearly labeled,” says Martikainen.




                                                                        Salomon
     The Canadian Whistler Blackcomb ski resort built the first half
pipes in 1991. They were previously only intended for snowboard-                        Mike Douglas,
ers.
     “It all changed with twin-tip skis. From there on, skiing was
                                                                                        inventor of twin-tip skis
never the same. You could do on skis what used to be possible                           Mike Douglas from Canada’s Whistler Mountain took a real
                                                                                        shine to moguls and jumps and, at the end of the 90s, be-
                                                                                        came interested in snowboarding jumps. He came up with
                 You can achieve really high and impressive jumps
                                                                                        an idea for skis that could be used for jumps and also to ski
                 with these skis. Pictured: Iisko Heiskanen.
                                                                                        backwards down ramps. Skis of this type had been tested
                                                                                        in the 80s. The skis got their name from their appearance:
                                                                                        twin-tip.
                                                                                            Douglas and his partner Steve Fearing presented their
                                                                                        idea to ten ski manufacturers, who didn’t want anything to
                                                                                        do with them. Finally, Salomon took an interest in Douglas’
                                                                                        ideas and brought to market the first Teneighty skis in 1998.
                                                                                        Todays’s twin-tip ski had been born – and skiing had changed
                                                                                        forever.




                                                                                                                                                            Next   |   9
                                                                Towards the mainstream
                                                                Is free skiing splitting off completely from alpine skiing into a sport
                                                                of its own? Salomon’s Lionel Favret doesn’t believe so.
                                                                     “More and more people try a 360° for the first time at 35 and
                                                                over, and we meet more and more modest skiers who want to go
                                                                on powder.”
                                                                     Enak Gavaggio, who was raised in the heart of the French Alps,
                                                                agrees.
                                                                     “Ten years ago, everybody was skiing on the slopes. For the
                                                                past four years, people who come on vacation to the French Alps
                                                                just want to free ski.”
                                                                     Increasing numbers of people are also leaving the parks and
                                                                pipes for off-piste tracks, and attention has already been paid to
                                                                this when developing equipment. A number of the latest twin-tip
                                                                skis, such as Salomon’s Teneighty Foil and Atomic’s Rascal Junior,
                                                                also handle well in deep snow and carving turns. These are real
                                                                all-purpose skis for young people who want to try everything the
                                                                mountains have to offer.
                                                                     “Freestyle is not only parks and pipes,” says Salomon’s Lionel
                                                                Favret. “I really like the way young skiers are curious to discover the
                                                                mountains – ‘making great lines on backcountry’ is really important
                                                                for them. It shows whether you’re a good skier ... or not.”
                                                                     In Favret’s opinion, more mature skiers should also take the
                                                                plunge and try twin-tips.
                                                                     “People have come to understand that they can have fun off
                                                                groomed pistes. Now you can play with all the terrain offered by
                                                                the mountains, and it’s easier to do that with a mid-fat twin-tip ski.
                                                                It came from ‘the FREE movement’, but it works for you and me
                                                                too,” says Favret. ■




          The sub-disciplines
          of new skiing
          Free skiing. Skiing and jumping in natural snow on
          unmanaged slopes.
          Freestyle. Jumps and skilful tricks in half pipes
          and off of ramps. FIS has already accepted this new
          discipline into its official competition program.
          Ski cross. A general start race on a marked track,
          which has gates, jumps and banked curves. Possibly
          an Olympic event in 2010.


10   |   Next
                                                                                                                                            nextguide
               Books                 the book: “Getting to the top
                                     is optional, getting down is




                                                                                                                                                                                    Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images
                                     mandatory,” Viesturs re-
                                     minds us. In the space of 18
                                     years, Viesturs – a father of
    ED VIESTURS, DAVID               three who lives in Washing-
    ROBERTS: NO SHORTCUTS            ton State, USA – managed
    TO THE TOP: CLIMBING             to conquer 14 of the world’s
    THE WORLD’S 14 HIGHEST           highest peaks in Nepal,
    PEAKS, BROADWAY 2006             Pakistan and Tibet. His list
                                     of achievements includes
    Ed Viesturs is the first         six triumphant trips to the
    American to have succeeded       top of Mount Everest,
    in scaling all the mountains     although he was once
    in the world higher than         forced to turn back a mere
    8,000 meters. A strong focus     100 meters from the roof of
    on safety comes through in       the world.




               Online




                                                                                                        Getty Images
q   Armchair adventurer.
    National Geographic
    magazine’s website offers                                                                                          The deciding jumps of the Central
    fabulous photos and excit-
                                                                                                                       European Four Hills Tournament will be
    ing tales of adventure from
    around the world: kayaking                                                                                         made from Bischofshofen’s natural hills.
    in Cambodia, cycling from
    the Dead Sea to the Red Sea,
    snorkeling with white whales
    in Australia.                                                                                                                  What’s               in Italy. The skiers on the
    www.nationalgeographic.                                                                                                        next?                tour will be competing in
    com/adventure/                                                                                                                                      both styles and over several
                                                                                                                       DECEMBER                         different routes. The women
q   Fast-paced triathlon. Who
    will make it to Peking 2008?
                                                                                                                                                        will travel a total distance of
                                                                                                                       DECEMBER 1–3                     about 60 km and the men just
    You can follow the fast pace                                                                                       DAVIS CUP FINAL                  over 100 km.
    of triathlon athletes’ shorter                                                                                     Russia and Argentina will         www.tour-de-ski.com
    races in swimming, cycling                                                                                         battle it out in Moscow for
    and running over Internet TV                                                                                       the Davis Cup tennis tro-        JANUARY
    and through results listings                                                                                       phy. Statistically, the home
    on the International Triath-                                                                                       team leads 2-1 in previous       JANUARY 7
    lon Union’s website.                                                                                               encounters, but surprises        SKI JUMPING – CENTRAL
    www.triathlon.org                                                                                                  have been seen before in this    EUROPEAN FOUR HILLS
                                                                                                                       weekend of one doubles and       TOURNAMENT FINAL
q   Safety in the Alps. The Ger-
    man Alpine Association
                                                                                                                       four singles matches. Every
                                                                                                                       one of the Olimpiinsky indoor
                                                                                                                                                        As has been the tradition for
                                                                                                                                                        decades, Bischofshofen in
    (Deutscher Alpenverein,                                                                                            hall’s 10,000-16,000 specta-     Austria will host the final
    DAV) website provides an                                                                                           tor places will no doubt be      competition of this Central
    excellent portal for mountain                                                                                      filled when the best players     European ski jumping week.
    weather forecasts, ava-                                                                                            from these two countries         The 55th Jack Wolfskin Four
    lanche warnings, Alpine ac-                                                                                        meet.                            Hills Tournament culminates
    commodation and other rel-                                                                                         www.daviscup.com                 in two rounds of jumping from
    evant information for those                                                                                                                         world-famous natural hills in
    with a grasp of the German                                                                                         DECEMBER 29 - JANUARY 7          front of an ecstatic audience.
    language.                                                                                                          FIS TOUR DE SKI                  www.skiclub-bischofshofen.at
    www.alpenverein.de               BEST QUOTE                                                                        Following the example set
                                                                                                                       by the great tours in cycling,   JANUARY 17–27
q   All-time top basketball
    players. The world’s top bas-
                                     “Cycling is a sport of the people. How many people in the
                                     world have never been on a bike? Not many. It always comes
                                                                                                                       the Tour de Ski will be held
                                                                                                                       for the first time at the turn
                                                                                                                                                        WINTER UNIVERSIADE
                                                                                                                                                        IN TORINO
    ketball league, the NBA, has     through and always will. It is unstoppable. What we must do is                    of the year. The crosscountry    These “Winter Olympics” for
    listed all the essential data    to make sure it is well managed and policed. After that it has a                  ski tour starts from Nove        students will be held in Torino,
    on its best players – per-       dynamic of its own. I have no worries for cycling. It remains a                   Mesto in the Czech Republic,     Italy. About 1,500 athletes from
    sonal information, careers       great spectacle and a passion for many.”                                          continues through Munich         50 countries are expected to
    and match listings.                                                                                                and Oberstdorf, Germany,         compete in the official sports.
    www.nba.com/history/             THE WORLD’S ALL-TIME BEST PROFESSIONAL CYCLIST, EDDY MERCKX,                      and finally reaches its peak     www.universiadetorino2007.
    players/index.html               IN THE TELEGRAPH NEWSPAPER.                                                       in Asiago and Val di Fiemme      org



                                                                                                                                                                           Next     |                             11
                “You can’t rest
                                   on your laurels”
                 Rupert “Killy” Huber is the product development wizard for the most successful team in the
                 alpine circus: Atomic. He still burns with the desire to test the ultimate pair of skis – skis that
                 are not only the best of the best, but also manufactured in the most cost-effective way.
                 ■ Text by Tapio Nurminen
                 ■ Photos by Werner Bachmeier




                 V
                         ice President Rupert “Killy” Huber, who is in charge of                 “Contrary to what is generally thought, I already joined Atomic
                         Atomic’s product development and the Atomic Racing                  as a trainee back in August 1964,” says Killy Huber, correcting mis-
                         Team, has had an exceptionally successful career in the ski         conceptions about when his career with Atomic began.
                 industry. There is little that he hasn’t achieved in the last 38 years.         “At that time, I used to ski competitively, and my father went to
                 In spite of this, Huber states that he’s still fervently searching for      find me some good equipment from Atomic’s founder and then Pre-
                 the optimal alpine ski with his team so that Atomic can be even             sident & CEO Alois Rohrmoser. He asked me what my plans for the
                 more dominant in both the consumer market and on the competi-               future were. In fact, I wanted to go back to school. I’d spent far more
                 tion slopes. Huber loves slopes and powder with a passion and his           time on the snow than I’d done at a school desk. Rohrmoser offered
                 motto is: “You can’t rest on your laurels if you want to succeed.”          me an apprentice’s position, as well as training to become a ski and
                                                                                             ski equipment manufacturer. I grabbed the chance and I’m still on
                 Everyone knows Killy                                                        that path today,” says Huber, flashing his first friendly grin.
                 A company that calls itself “one big, happy family” is undoubtedly a
                 rather off-putting cliché. At Atomic’s plant, nestled in the Pongau         Winters in the USA, summers in Austria
                 Alps in Altenmarkt, Austria, this worn-out phrase does, however,            Officially, Killy Huber was first employed by Atomic in 1968 in the
                 spring unavoidably to mind.                                                 product development department and as a model builder. Since
                      At the plant gates, it’s pointless to ask officially for Vice Presi-   then, he has toured the world constantly. The young Huber got to
                 dent Huber, in charge of Atomic’s product development, quality man-         taste Atomic’s success straight away in 1968, when injury forced him
                 agement and the Atomic Racing Team. The visitor will be questioned          to take a break from skiing. Huber was one of the helpers on Atom-
                 suspiciously on which Huber they mean. If you want to get things            ic’s team when Olga Pall won gold in the downhill at Grenoble.
                 rolling, you have to ask members of the “one big happy family” if                “I was developing the ski that Pall won with, and I was also
                 “Killy” is around.                                                          there to help get her skis into competition condition,” remembers
                      Across the yard comes a 58-year-old regular guy, casually dress-       Huber.
                 ed in jeans and a blue sweater. In the Alps, it’s said that in the narrow        His own active alpine skiing career continued until 1973. He
                 valleys, people are quite guarded when it comes to visitors, but            spent winters on the alpine circus, summers learning the secrets
                 when the ice melts there is true warmth; in the wide valleys, such          of the ski industry in Austria. At the beginning of the 70s, Huber
                 as Zillertal, life is one big smile, but superficial.                       won two competitions as a professional skier in the US. He counts
                      When it comes Killy Huber, who has spent his whole life playing        those as his greatest achievements as a skier. It’s also from those
                 around with skis in Altenmarkt at the base of a narrow Pongau               times that the name “Killy”, known to everyone in the alpine circus,
                 valley, this saying rings true. His handshake is strong and friendly,       originated.
                 but he initially avoids any unnecessary chatter. At first, his hands             “It was the product development manager of the time that
                 stay crossed on the desk as he describes the exceptional turns in           started using it, but I really don’t remember where it came from,”
                 his exceptional career.                                                     he insists.



12   |   Next
Rupert Huber’s career with Atomic has lasted
almost 40 years. Product development is as
close to his heart as the Atomic Racing Team.




    Since 1973, Killy has been developing new
skis for Atomic and spurring the Atomic Racing
Team from one success to another. Right from the
word go, Huber was put in charge of building proto-
types. Since the end of the 70s, Huber has headed
up Atomic’s product development, and later also
production. He has, for example, integrated Dy-
namic into Atomic and built its subcontractor’s
production lines in Bulgaria, which Atomic still
uses with great success today.
    “Nowadays, the majority of our product
development is done using various computer-
based design programs. However, it is much
easier to evaluate which new solutions can be
made and which can’t from a hand-built model,”
says Huber.

All you need is boyish enthusiasm
Alongside the Atomic Racing Team, product de-
velopment is obviously close to Huber’s heart. He
still has a boyish enthusiasm for innovations.
     “My own most important invention, which
is still in use today, is the twin cap – a double
shell for skis – that helps us to manufacture
top-level skis both economically and efficiently,”
says Huber.
     “The twin cap, which I invented at the begin-
ning of the 90s, is very important to me because
although it was initially opposed by supporters of
old technology, it is now a vital part of our pro-
duction. Using the Cap sandwich technique, one
worker can make 34 skis during a single shift. In
one shift, 130 skis are made.”
     Twin cap is a part of the production process.
The breakthrough of Atomic’s Beta technology,
in which Rupert Huber also played a key role,
revolutionized ski technology.                  q


                                              Next    |   13
              “It was a German inventor who came up with      I was a bit insane when I promised a new ski on       its top skiers during his decades of heading up
          the original innovation. He contacted me in 1995    such a rapid timetable. At other ski factories, the   the team.
          at the ISPO fair in Munich. He had a number of      lead time from concept to production might be              “Doing the rounds of the competitions and
          drawings and designs, which got me excited. I       as long as three years. In spite of the pressure      catching up with old friends is still fun for me
          asked whether we at Atomic could see if they        and difficulties, we did bring the Beta skis to       even after all these years, and I definitely want
          would work. He told me there were already pro-      market in February 1996 – and they were a huge        to play a part in paving the way for future teams
          totypes in existence,” says Huber.                  success,” says Killy.                                 to match the great successes to date.”
              “At that time, the merger with Amer was             Killy, who had been so reserved early dur-             To competitors’ ears, Atomic’s “great suc-
          underway. We tested the Beta skis. Although         ing the interview, is now emphasizing his points      cesses to date” are no doubt a sore topic, as
          they were exceptionally lightweight and the         with his hands and he keeps breaking out into         Atomic has towered above other brands of com-
          shape design of the prototype was way off, I        enthusiastic laughs.                                  petition skis in recent years.
          noted that the new technology brought unbe-             In addition to the twin cap and Beta, Huber            “Even so, you can’t rest on your laurels. Oth-
          lievable stability. We thought that there was       also counts as his own successes the optimiza-        erwise your competitors will pass you left, right
          every reason to make use of it. Our company         tion of Atomic’s production process, which has        and center,” Killy Huber reminds us.
          was headed for bankruptcy and we desperately        enabled essential operations to remain at the
          needed something new and revolutionary.”            Altenmarkt plant.                                     Competitive skiers are conservative
              The rest is ski industry product development        “We make the fiberglass laminate here our-        The Beta technology customized by Huber’s pro-
          history. Killy presented the new technology to      selves, and the ski shell manufacture, including      duct development team has been one of the gua-
          Atomic’s President & CEO Roger Talermo, who         graphics, is also carried out here. While we coat     rantees behind the exceptional and continued
          also approved of the technology and liked the       our skis in two days, it takes our competitors four   success of the Atomic Racing Team since the end
          way the ski looked. Talermo, however, was more      weeks, because they have outsourced these pro-        of the 90s, despite the fact that it’s very difficult
          interested in when the finished ski – which could   cesses,” explains Huber, proudly showing off the      to convince competitive skiers on the merits of
          revolutionize alpine skiing – could be brought      production line where familiar Atomic graphics        new innovations.
          to market.                                          are transferred onto skis.                                 “Competitive skiers are extremely conser-
              “Talermo asked me this in June 1995. I told         As well as these landmarks in product de-         vative, which was evident when Beta technology
          him that the ski could be exhibited at the next     velopment, Killy also fondly remembers the de-        was introduced onto the competition slopes at
          ISPO. Roger later admitted that he’d reckoned       served success of the Atomic Racing Team and          Talermo’s request,” says Huber.
                                                                                                                         “My good friend Hans Knauss promised to
                                                                                                                    use the Beta skis at the last competition of the
                                                                                                                    1996-97 season. However, even he was doubtful
                                                                                                                    right up until the end and – this he told me later
                                                                                                                    – even planned on crashing out of the last de-
                                                                                                                    scent on purpose so as not to completely shame
                                                                                                                    himself with the new equipment. However, after
                                                                    “The twin cap is                                about six or seven turns, Knauss realized that
                                                                                                                    the skis were exceptionally fast and went on to
                                                                    the most important                              finish the descent and win the competition in
                                                                    innovation of mine                              April 1997.”
                                                                                                                         The Cinderella story continued in the 97-98
                                                                    still in use.”                                  season at the first competition in Tignes, France.
                                                                                                                         “We had about 18 or 19 starters in the Giant
                                                                                                                    Slalom, about half of which were on Beta skis,
                                                                                                                    although Hermann Maier, for example, wasn’t.
                                                                                                                    After the first descent, Atomic’s skiers held the
                                                                                                                    top five places and all of those were on Betas.
                                                                                                                    Hermann wanted to swap skis for the second
                                                                                                                    descent, but we didn’t have any that were suit-
                                                                                                                    able for him. In the end, we took the top four
                                                                                                                    places with Beta skis.”




14   |   Next
     In Killy’s opinion, the power of the Betas was,   thing about being on holiday is the chance to          to be between Raich and Svindal. Although Maier
and still is, in their stability. Skiers can focus     try out new powder skis on the heliski slopes          has been unbelievably strong during practice,
completely on speed without having to think of         in Canada.”                                            he really isn’t a good slalom racer and so will be
stability. In spite of their conservative natures,          Atomic’s stalwart is not a reader or a music      left behind in the overall championship,” says
Huber says that stars like Hermann Maier, Benni        listener. When he wakes in the early hours, Killy      Killy Huber as he leads his visitors to the park-
Raich, Aksel Lund Svindal and Michael Walchho-         says he does a little brainwork and ponders how        ing lot.
fer all take an active role in further development     to solve the problems plaguing certain skis.                Right on cue, in through the gates walks Her-
once new products are in use.                               “Construction, building and designing hous-       mann Maier’s father Hermann Maier Senior, who
     “They provide us with a constant stream of        es, is something I like. It’s the best way to relax    works in Atomic’s quality assurance. Only mo-
tips on how we can improve the skis, and 90            and get away from work,” says Huber, who is            ments before we had been talking about Maier
percent of the feedback from competitive skiers        now building his third house on the slopes of          Junior, one of Atomic’s legendary stars.
leads to concrete product developments,” notes         the Alps.                                                   “One big, happy family” doesn’t sound at all
Huber. He admits that he’s left with little free            The first icing sugar coating of snow has fall-   clichéd in Altenmarkt. ■
time after heading up the Atomic Racing Team           en on the peaks surrounding Altenmarkt, and
and intensive product development – and some           the weak October sun is unlikely to melt it. Killy’s
of that tends to be spent on skis.                     thoughts stray now more than ever to the coming
                                                       season rather than hobbies.
Hearing the call of the powder                              “Looking at the overall men’s World Cup           Ski production in Altenmarkt,
“This is surely difficult to believe, but the best     Championship, the main battle is definitely going      the world’s largest ski factory.




                                                                                                                                                           Next    |   15
16   |   Next
A new era in hotel fitness
Precor – the world’s leading supplier of fitness equipment – can expect great
things from the cooperation agreement signed with the global Hilton Hotels chain.
Fitness by Precor facilities will revolutionize the hotel fitness experience.
■ Text by Olli Herrala
■ Photos by Precor


                                                                                                   First facilities already open

“
       We’re more than excited about the Pre-
       cor project. All of our North American                                                        “Fitness facilities are some of the most im-
       full-service Hilton, Doubletree and Em-                                                       portant targets for development. Two out of
bassy Suites hotels will get Precor fitness                                                          three business travelers surveyed use fit-
equipment in a very rapid timetable,” says                                                           ness facility services during their stay. Fit-
Hilton Hotels’ Alexander Mirza, Senior Vice                                                          ness facilities are one of the top five criteria
President, Corporate Development.                                                                    when business travelers choose a hotel,”
     “Co-branded fitness centers will open in                                                        explains Mirza.
at least 500 Hilton, Doubletree and Embassy                                                               The first of these jointly developed facili-
Suites hotels by 2009. It’s highly probable that                                                     ties have already been opened at the Beverly
our fitness center initiative with Precor will                                                       Hilton, the Doubletree Claremont in Califor-
expand to encompass the rest of Hilton’s ho-                                                         nia, the Doubletree Club at Las Vegas air-
tel brands,” speculates Mirza on the potential                                                       port, the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu
of the agreement. “We already have 200 fit-                                                          and the Embassy Suites hotel in Alexandria,
ness facility projects on the go,” he adds.                               Virginia. New York’s famous Waldorf=Astoria and the Hilton New
     The Hilton Family currently comprises over 2,800 hotels, but         York have also received their own Fitness by Precor centers.
that number will rise to at least 3,200 in the next five years. Mirza’s        “The new fitness facilities have been favorably received, with
vision has Fitness by Precor coming to many more hotels, mean-            customer satisfaction surveys at the Beverly Hilton giving promis-
ing extra orders from Hampton and Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood             ing results: customer satisfaction has risen by tens of points,” says
Suites, and Hilton Grand Vacations hotels.                                Mirza.
     “The Hilton Family of Hotels is expanding rapidly in Europe and           Surveys conducted by the Hilton Family of Hotels reveal that
Asia,” says Mirza.                                                        fitness facilities outfitted with top-quality equipment increase guest
     Mirza displays some unbelievable figures on fitness facility         satisfaction by up to 30 percent. Fitness by Precor centers therefore
use, as the Hilton chain’s full-service hotels in North America and                                                                               q
the rest of the world attract an annual total of 24.2 million guests.
Therefore it’s no wonder that Hilton is installing brand new Precor
equipment all over the world.

                                                                               Hilton Hotels Corporation
                                                                               – estimated fitness facility users
                                                                               (visits per year)
                                                                               Full-service hotels, USA                     14.4 million
                                                                               Full-service hotels, rest of the world        9.8 million
Fitness by Precor fitness centers are being installed at all Hilton,           Total worldwide visits                       24.2 million
Doubletree, Embassy Suites Hotels and The Waldorf=Astoria.                     Source: Hilton Hotels Corporation



                                                                                                                                                         Next   |   17
                offer a distinct competitive edge and make Hilton stand out from             The co-branded fitness centers are equipped with Precor Car-
                other chains.                                                           dio Theater Exercise Entertainment technology. Every piece of car-
                                                                                        dio equipment features a personal viewing screen, while strength
                Demanding design                                                        areas have a large, wall-mounted plasma screen.
                Mirza emphasizes that fitness facilities at the Hilton Family’s full-        “Guests can improve their fitness experience using these
                service hotels comply with strict design requirements. First, Pre-      systems. They can choose whatever network entertainment they
                cor’s equipment is installed, including special flooring and logos.     want and can, for example, follow ESPN’s sports broadcasts on the
                The walls are painted and the facility lit to an agreed design.         screens,” says Mirza.
                     “During the second stage, the facility can be expanded, but it’s        Fitness by Precor facilities are equipped with a range of tread-
                vital not to make any compromises, because we’re aiming to revo-        mills, cross trainers and exercise bikes that can be found in the best
                lutionize our guests’ experiences of hotel fitness,” says Mirza.        fitness centers. In addition to adjustable weight training equipment,
                     “I’m extremely encouraged that Precor renews its fitness equip-    guests also have dumbbell and barbell weights at their disposal.
                ment every three years. We can also develop new kinds of fitness        Core training, balance and stretch machines round out the training
                entertainment and equipment together,” says Mirza.                      options.
                                                                                             “Traditional hotel fitness centers don’t really offer experiences.
                                                                                        Fitness by Precor will turn that notion completely on its head,” Mirza
                                                                                        assures us. ■




                                                                                        Top-performing AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour Player Rachel
                                                                                        Wacholder and world-renowned gymnast Peter Vidmar visit
                                                                                        the Fitness by Precor facilities at The Beverly Hilton.




                                                                                             An all-round success
                                                                                             Precor and Hilton began discussing cooperation in the summer
                                                                                             of 2005. By then, Hilton had already conducted a lot of research
                                                                                             and collected plenty of background information and had con-
                                                                                             cluded that a quality fitness concept was the way to stand out
                                                                                             from its competitors.
                                                                                                  “They then went out to see which vendor best matched their
                                                                                             desired outcomes of differentiating. Through the negotiation
                                                                                             process we found that the outcomes Hilton was looking for and
                                                                                             the core competencies of Precor’s Customer Oriented business
                                                                                             approach, our distribution and field resources and our products
                                                                                             best matched their requirements as outlined in their Fitness
                                                                                             Concepts for their properties,” says Precor’s Guy Williams,
                                                                                             Director of Dealer and Vertical Markets, North America Com-
                                                                                             mercial Sales.
                                                                                                  The Hilton cooperation agreement was a major one for
                                                                                             Precor, as the production, installation and maintenance of
                                                                                             equipment for hundreds of facilities will keep Precor personnel
                                                                                             occupied for years to come.
                                                                                                  Williams is confident that Hilton will forge the Fitness by
                                                                                             Precor concept into a lasting competitive edge.
                                                                                                  “Hilton and Precor obviously feel that this new initiative will
                                                                                             allow Hilton to expect higher than average usage of its fitness
                                                                                             centers and for this to become a core competitive factor for
                                                                                             them within the hospitality industry as more and more travelers
                                                                                             use the access to a quality fitness offering as a Top Five reason
                                                                                             to choose one property over another,” says Williams.
                                                                                                  It’s evident from customer feedback that Fitness by Precor
                                                                                             is a success.
                                                                                                  “Guests at Hiltons outfitted with Fitness by Precor facilities
                                                                                             have given the properties some of Hilton’s highest-ever guest
                                                                                             satisfaction ratings.”



18   |   Next
                                                                                                      nextproduct
■ Text by Markku Rimpiläinen
■ Photos by Wilson




                                                                                                        POWERFUL HEAD DESIGN
                                                                                                        Lower profile pulls CG (center of gravi-
                                                                                                        ty) lower promoting a higher ball flight
                                                                                                        for greater distance. Wider sole moves
                                                                                                        CG deeper promoting head stability for
Wilson Staff Di7                                                                                        straighter ball flight.
The next generation of irons                                                                                 Lower profile.

                                                                                                                      Lower,
The new Wilson Staff Di7 irons contain a whole bundle of
                                                                                                                   deeper CG.
technical solutions that provide longer, straighter and more
precise shots. Even club players will find the green more eas-     Di7 clubs have a classic
ily with the Di7.                                                  aesthetic, although the
     The Di7 golf clubs have been designed for players with a      lower section of the shaft                  Wider sole.
handicap of 10 plus, who make up about 75% of all golfers.         is wider than usual.


Low-profile clubs
The club’s lower profile pushes the clubhead’s center of gravity   Wide Tip shafts
lower, giving higher ball flight and greater distance.             The Di7’s new features don’t stop at the clubhead. The lower
     The wide sole also shifts the clubhead’s center of gravity    section of the Di7’s shaft is wider than an average iron’s. This
deeper, which promotes greater stability during swings and         patented Wilson Wide Tip technology reduces shaft torque and
results in straighter and more precise shots.                      twisting on off-center shots.
     The thin clubface gives the ball an excellent launch speed.       Di7 clubs come with either graphite or steel shafts. The
It also has a very wide sweet spot – the part of the clubhead      graphite shafts are made by UST and the steel ones by True
where hitting is most effective. The clubhead’s rear cavity        Temper – both leading manufacturers of lightweight shafts.
has been coated with an Elastomeric Dampening Layer that               The line includes clubs from a 4 iron to a gap wedge. You
reduces vibration, even on miss-hits.                              can buy gap, sand and lob wedges separately. ■




                                                                                                TWIST-CONTROLLING SHAFT
                                                                                                85% of all shots are hit center-to-toe on
                                                                                                an iron. Shots struck toward the toe cause
                                                                                                the clubhead to twist open.
                                                                                                Wider shaft tip diameter reduces torque
           Standard Tip                                     Wide Tip                            for less twisting on off-center hits.
             Geometry.                                     Geometry.




                                                                                                                                               Next   |   19
            “We will maximize the synergies
            of Atomic and Salomon while
            upholding their differences.”


20   |   Next
                                                                                                                                              result




A transitional year
2006 was a transitional year for Amer Sports. The focus of its efforts has been the integration of Salomon
into the Amer Sports family. It has progressed in line with plans, says Amer Sports CFO Pekka Paalanne.
■ Text by Pekka Rinne
■ Photo by Sarri Kukkonen




T
        he acquisition of Salomon boosts Amer Sports’ net sales              “We are actively seeking opportunities for utilizing the same
        from one billion to two billion euros, increasing the relative   raw materials and components, while ensuring that Salomon and
        importance of winter sports in Amer Sports’ portfolio.           Atomic retain their distinctive stamp. We will maximize synergies
    “It’s now particularly important to bolster our competitiveness      while upholding their differences.”
in winter sports. To this end, we must review all the subareas of our
winter sports business,” says Amer Sports CFO Pekka Paalanne.            When distribution failed
    Salomon’s social plan negotiations have already been con-            The integration of Salomon has unfolded in line with plans, but
cluded. In addition, Salomon and Atomic have initiated numerous          one unforeseen hitch caused a hiccup. In September, Salomon’s
industrial cooperation projects.                                         logistics partner was unable to supply products to customers as
    The setting up of a shared country organization with Amer            scheduled – this is a significant hit because approximately half of
Sports is also continuing. Paalanne emphasizes that there will be        the full-year deliveries of winter sports equipment are made to
no changes in how Salomon interfaces with its customers.                 customers in September and October. Due to the delayed deliveries,
                                                                         the range of Amer Sports forecast earnings per share had to be
Higher efficiency                                                        widened. The delays may be reflected in the amount of additional
Paalanne says that there is significant potential for stepping up        orders for the rest of the year.
Salomon’s efficiency in the employment of capital. The objective is to       “Because Salomon has a great significance at the Group level,
free up at least EUR 50 million in restricted equity over 2–3 years.     the delay will have a moderately substantial effect on the Group’s
    Salomon has begun a process review of its ski boot production.       earnings. For this reason, we adjusted our guidance figure.
According to Paalanne, this is especially important because Ato-             “This problem cannot recur,” says Paalanne. ■
mic boots will be manufactured at a Salomon outsourcer’s plant
in Romania.
    “The project will carefully assess demand forecasting, produc-
tion planning, manufacturing and logistics processes.”                   Key figures
    A similar project carried out at Atomic shortened production
lead times from 12 to six weeks. The results of this project will                                                                  Pro forma                   Pro forma
largely be brought to fruition this year. The experiences gleaned at                                                 1–9/2006      1–9/2005           Ch %             2005
Atomic will also be applied at Salomon. In addition, synergies are          NET SALES (MEUR)                            1,211.1       1,173.5              3      1,732.0
being sought from the Salomon and Atomic product platforms.                 EBIT (MEUR)                                    50.5          49.3              2           117.1
                                                                            % OF NET SALES                                     4             4                               7
                                                                            EBT (MEUR)                                     32.2          31.9              1            93.1
                                                                            EPS (EUR)                                      0.33          0.30                           0.87
CFO Pekka Paalanne enjoys sports such as
crosscountry skiing, tennis and golf.                                       The January–September interim report can be found in its entirety at www.amersports.com.




                                                                                                                                                               Next      |   21
                                                     Arc’teryx – rock solid as ever
                                                     Arc’teryx believes in the importance of quality, manufacturing 75 percent of its
                                                     products in its home country, Canada. The company also has complete control
                                                     over the design process.



                                                     By             2002, when the company was bought by Salomon,
                                                                    Arc’teryx had already developed into a strong mid-
                                                                    sized brand. It was well known in the hard-core out-
                                                     door circles for its top-of-the-line climbing harnesses, backpacks
■ Text by Tuija Seipell
                          ■ Photos by Arc’teryx




                                                     and clothing. And that’s how it still is today. Arc’teryx tells its story
                                                     through innovation milestones, product breakthroughs and awards
                                                     from outdoor publications. The Vapor harness in 1993, Bora back-
                                                     pack in 1994, Targa harness in 1997, Gore-Tex® outwear in 1998,
                                                     and the Descent line of harsh-condition clothing in 2001 – these
                                                     are just some of the highlights. They represent the best quality and
                                                     the latest proprietary technology, and although the prices were



22                        |                   Next
                                 milestones




         VAPOR 1993                             BORA 70 1994                  THETA LT 1998                     GAMMA SV 1998




sometimes as much as 60 percent higher than the next equivalent,       dent and CEO. A passionate enthusiast of multiple sports himself,
sales were always strong.                                              Jordan was hired in 1993 by Guard as the fourth office employee of
                                                                       the company, which had 12 factory workers at the time. ”Our first
Roots in Vancouver                                                     slogan was ‘Arc’teryx — evolution in action.’ Our theme has always
Arc’teryx was born in 1989 in Vancouver, an outdoor paradise           been to not just take products to the next level but to be the people
wedged between the magnificent Coast Mountains and the Pacific         that reinvent each product category.”
Ocean. The company was originally called Rock Solid Manufactu-
ring, a home-based business of a stubborn rock climber, David          Professionals as testers
Lane, who decided he could make better climbing products than          Jordan sits at a mismatched huddle of desks at the end of an enor-
what was around. He started making climbing harnesses and chalk        mous hall at Arc’teryx’s new 36,000-square-foot headquarters,
bags and was soon joined in the business by fellow local climber,      which has a total of 107 employees. The small management team
Jeremy Guard.                                                          shares the open-concept second floor with the all-important R&D
     They changed the company name to Arc’teryx in 1991. The name      and production management. ”We wanted the management to be li-
and the logo mark come from Archaeopteryx Lithographica — a            terally in the middle of R&D,” says Jordan. ”We cannot go anywhere
fossil with a dramatic past. The creature’s story is now the compa-    without passing the guys who work on the products.”
ny’s manifesto: ”A hundred and forty million years ago a creature           In total, Arc’teryx occupies 140,000 square feet in three build-
struggled to escape the hostile horizontal world. It became lean       ings in the Vancouver area — headquarters, factory and warehouse
and strong and developed into a magnificent climber. Then, driven      — and has 440 employees. To retain compete control of the design
by success and the gears of evolution, it developed the feather. For   and manufacturing process, Arc’teryx has an unusual business
the father of the modern bird, downclimbing had become a thing         model for an outdoor softgoods firm. ”We are vertically integrated,”
of the past.”                                                          says Jordan. ”We do our own product development and we have
     The old name Rock Solid Manufacturing and the characteris-        our own manufacturing facility right here in Vancouver. This gives
tics of the Arc’teryx describe the company today perfectly. ”For us,   us tremendous control over the entire process.” Over 75 percent
Arc’teryx was a symbol of evolution, a symbol of continuous change.    of Arc’teryx’s production takes place in Canada. The remaining 25
That’s what we strive to do with our products — to make them           percent is contracted elsewhere around the world in eight countries,
evolutionary,” says Tyler Jordan, the company’s 36-year-old presi-     a situation usually reversed in the industry.
                                                                            At Arc’teryx, the entire design process takes place in-house,
                                                                       also an unusual situation for a softgoods brand. ”Our senior de-
Arc’teryx’s production facilities are located                          signers can do all of the designs from the technical point of view
at the base of the Coast Mountains.                                    — from cutting to patternmaking to technology to the look — so we
                                                                                                                                         q

                                                                                                                                               Next   |   23
24   |   Next
        M40 2002                            JAVELIN SV 2002                     ALPHA SL 2004                     NAOS 55 2006




are completely vertical as opposed to being what we call sketch          technologies into larger packs for 2007, and into a women’s series,
designers,” explains Jordan.                                             the Maias. Arc’teryx is also currently working on several different
    To ensure that the products perform in real life, Arc’teryx’s        new harness technologies for release in 2008.
staff members – most of whom are avid climbers, bikers and skiers             While the company’s focus is on the products, other areas are
– use the prototypes constantly. In addition, the company uses local     being developed as well. In November 2006, Arc’teryx opened its
professionals including climbing guides, avalanche crews and park        first retail store in downtown Montreal at Concordia University’s
rangers. ”We are here close to the mountains so we have access to        Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Complex.
professionals who are out in harsh conditions 200-plus days a year,           Jordan describes the 4,000-square-foot space as a perfect fit
whom we can talk to regularly and get quick feedback from. We give       for Arc’teryx: ”Super streamlined and product focused.”
them stuff, they test it in the harshest conditions, trash it, give us        ”Our own store is part of an effort to learn more about our core
feedback and we give them a new one. We look for wear points, any        consumers, and about how we can better service our retailers, and
comfort feedback, anything that they’d like to see improved about        how they can in turn better serve the needs of our consumers,”
the usability or functionality.”                                         says Jordan. ■

Own store coming to Montreal
Arc’teryx started from climbing harnesses, moved onto backpacks
and from there to technical outerwear and other assorted apparel.
Today, apparel generates close to 90 percent of the company’s
revenue but harnesses and backpacks remain very important to
the company. ”I am a strong believer in heritage, remembering
where you came from,” explains Jordan. ”We started as a climbing
company and we should not forget that. The other thing is that we
go into product categories for a variety of reasons. One is potential
sales, one is that we think we can make a product difference, and
also because we are personally interested in those products and in
those markets.”
    So in 2006, Arc’teryx introduced the AC² (Advanced Composite
Construction) backpacks and – and it has introduced some of the



Senior members of the design team
reviewing textile samples.



                                                                                                                                                 Next   |   25
          Winter sports businesses
          fuel growth for
          Amer Sports Canada
          With a strong Wilson business, a growing Atomic business and now
          with the acquisition of Salomon, Amer Sports Canada has become
          a major player in the Canadian sporting goods market.
          ■ Text by Teppo Kuittinen
          ■ Photos by Amer Sports Canada, Atomic




          A
                  mer Sports Canada’s Country Manager,        business into Amer Sports Canada’s operation
                  David Deasley, is very proud to lead the    has gone extremely well, and it’s a credit to ev-
                  new Amer Sports Canada Organization.        eryone on the team for making this a very smooth
          With Salomon joining the fold this summer, the      transition,” said Deasley.
          Canadian operation now combines all brands
          into one Amer Sports location just north of To-     Working with retailers
          ronto. The “back office” functions are in the       Amer Sports Canada has developed a strong
          process of being fully consolidated in Belleville   reputation for providing excellent service in the
          and Montreal. “The integration of the Salomon       Canadian market. Deasley states, “We will con-
                                                              tinue to build upon our strong service levels and
                                                              brand specific expertise to our customers. We
                                                              have strong and deeply experienced sales orga-
                                                              nizations for Wilson, Atomic and Salomon, and
                                                              they will continue to work with our dealers to
                                                              provide them all the tools for a win-win partner-
                                                              ship to drive profitable sales.”
                                                                   In Deasley’s opinion, the general trend today
                                                              in the sports industry is consolidation and it’s no
                                                              different in Canada.
                                                                   “We see the big accounts becoming larger,
                                                              stronger and more demanding everyday. We
                                                              need to make sure we provide the products,
                                                              service, expertise and knowledge they expect.
                                                              It’s increasingly important that you must be a        Sports Canada is well positioned to experience
                                                              top tier brand if you want to make it into the key    strong growth over the years to come. We have
                                                              programs of these key top accounts.”                  very strong teams in place on both the Atomic
                                                                                                                    and Salomon sides to grow in the winter sports
                                                              Atomic and Salomon – strong teams                     categories.
                                                              According to Deasley, with the addition of the            With the 2010 Whistler Winter Olympics on
                                                              Salomon business, along with Atomic, Amer             the radar screen, we will see more focus on
                                                                                                                    winter sports in the next few years. In Canada,
                                                                                                                    Atomic and Salomon both have excellent plat-
                                                                                                                    forms with regards to athletes, sponsorship and
                                                              David Deasley began his career at                     marketing programs to promote their respective
                                                              Wilson Canada 25 years ago.                           brands.



26   |   Next
    David Deasley began his career as a sales    side, Wilson has a very strong inflatable pres-          “This is an incredibly exciting time for all of
representative for Wilson Canada 25 years ago    ence in the market. Wilson is the official ball of   us at Amer Sports Canada, and we look forward
and has watched the Wilson business grow and     the Canadian Football League (CFL) and sells         to building our business in the years to come,”
evolve over these years. “We have experienced    even more CFL footballs than the popular NFL         says Deasley. ■
excellent growth in rackets and team sports in   footballs in Canada – all adding up to over 80%
the last few seasons.”                           market share in Canada.
                                                     “Additionally, our strong sales in basketball,
Wilson – Strong racket                           volleyball and soccer all add to the strength of
and team sport businesses                        the business in Canada. The team sports busi-
                                                                                                            “Atomic has a strong
“Wilson is the #1 racket company in Canada       ness utilizes key adoptions and sponsorships               position in Canada.”
with over 60% market share in tennis balls and   throughout the nation, providing credibility to
over 40% in tennis rackets. On the team sport    both the products and the Wilson brand.



                                                                                                                                                    Next    |   27
         Baseball for all




28   |   Next
Baseball is played
at all levels.
■ Text by Jennifer Lyng
■ Photos by Wilson




                                                                                                  Look the part in this easy-to-use NXTGEN helmet
                                                                                                  from Wilson, complete with comfort foam padding
                                                                                                  made from the latest breathable materials.




                          I
                               t’s a ground ball to the shortstop, deftly swept up,        lable for children as young as 8 and 9 years old. These
                               tossed to second for one out, then fired to first for       teams hold try-outs and the game gets taken to a differ-
                               the double play. The players head back to the dugout,       ent level. These players often play year-round baseball,
                          eager for their turn at bat.                                     some with personal coaches, with their eyes on coveted
                               These aren’t professional players; they play for the        spots on their high school team. (Yes, indoor facilities
                          love of the game and the camaraderie of their team               have been built to take weather out of the equation.) The
                          mates. This attraction to baseball is usually apparent           hope is to get noticed by either college or pro scouts,
                          at a young age, with 2.7 million children playing Little         which could lead to a lucrative college scholarship and/
                          League baseball and more than another million playing            or an invitation to try out for a professional squad.
                          in other organized leagues in the United States alone.               Of course, most of the children playing youth base-
                          In addition to playing the game, many are fans of major          ball will not make the pros or get a college scholarship;
                          league baseball, the local minor league team or an area          most won’t even make their high school team. These
                          college team. Some of these youngsters have aspirations          players are often content to simply enjoy the game of
                          of being one of those players, or at least trying to play        baseball while learning some valuable life-long skills,
                          like them.                                                       such as teamwork, sportsmanship and how to handle
                                                                                           individual pressure. They also make new friends along
                          The T-ball helps children to practice hitting                    the way.
                          One of the trends affecting baseball today is that the
                          players are getting younger. With the introduction of            Improved helmets
                          T-ball, where the children hit the ball off of a tee, the        An emphasis on safety is yet another rising trend. With
                          basics of the game are introduced at the age of 4 or 5.          increased bat speed and corresponding velocity of the
                          Next comes a few years of pitching by the coaches, then          ball off the bat, the safety of the players has received
                          the players are allowed to pitch to each other. This is          added attention. Batting helmets are made of stronger
                          when the cream starts to rise to the top.                        materials, have better fitting designs and many now
                               Another trend is that the talented, or those ‘with          include air vents for added comfort. Face shields are
                          potential,’ are being nurtured more intensely, and at a          now also an option.
                          younger age, than ever. While most programs are open                 Wilson has had a major influence in this trend. Only in
                          to players of all talent levels, elite travel squads are avai-   the batting helmet market since 2000, Wilson has alrea-
                                                                                                                                                   q

                                                                                                                                                 Next    |   29
                                                                                                                     Junior players look to top athletes
                                                                                                                     for role models.




                                                                                                                     and patterns down throughout the line, Wilson
                                                                                                                     has been able to create a marketable point of
                                                                                                                     difference down to $69.

                                                                                                                     Here come the seniors
                                                                                                                     Regarding the importance of equipment, Bill
                                                                                                                     Foss became a catcher at 9 years old when he
                                                                                                                     was given Wilson catcher’s gear as a gift. He
                                                                                                                     went on to play scholarship ball in college and
          dy garnered a 30% share. Jim Hackett, Wilson’s       are even a relatively new phenomenon in the           play for the Chicago Cubs in the minor leagues.
          General Manager for Baseball and Softball, says      major leagues, but are now being instituted for       Now a financial planner, Foss continues to play
          that “not only has Wilson made helmets that are      some Little Leagues.                                  organized ball, but now he’s in the ‘48 & over’
          more protective, but we’ve been able to raise            Corresponding with the younger age of             division.
          the expected price point of helmets by providing     player development is the demand for top quality           This is yet another growing trend in baseball.
          increased quality, comfort and that all-important    equipment at an ever earlier age. Jim Uhrich, a       The Mens Senior and Adult Baseball Leagues
          ‘coolness’ factor.”                                  coach of his son’s team in the Chicago suburbs,       are growing, with more than 45,000 members
              Since many of the prime players are playing      says that he “is impressed with the quality of the    currently playing on 3,200 teams. These leagues
          year-round or on multiple teams, the coaches are     baseball gloves today at all price points. There is   provide the opportunity for players 18 & over, 28
          now being very careful not to ‘over use’ the young   a well-made glove for every level of play.”           & over, and so on to play competitive baseball on
          arms. Pitchers are throwing faster fastballs and         Wilson, the Official Ball Glove of Major League   a regular basis. Similar to the younger leagues,
          learning to throw breaking pitches that years        Baseball, makes top-quality gloves for about a        players come from every talent level. There are
          ago were not taught until high school. Too much,     third of the pros. Hackett boasts that “Wilson is     some serious athletes (some former collegiate
          too soon, can lead to an early end to an aspiring    the only company that offers a pro quality glove      and minor league players) playing alongside
          pitching career. Pitch counts, or the number of      to consumers in the exact specs that the pros         guys who just love the game and want some
          pitches a player can throw before being replaced,    use.” Taking their popular A2000 model’s looks        exercise. There are even players who never made
                                                                                                                     their high-school team but now have a chance to
                                                                                                                     put on a uniform and get an at-bat or two.
                                                                                                                          What brings them together is their often
                                                                                                                     life-long love of baseball. Foss says that his
                                                                                                                     team’s roster includes a surgeon and an attor-
                                                                                                                     ney, as well as a truck driver and warehouse
                                                                                                                     worker. “Baseball transcends our differences,”
                                                                                                                     he claims. “The bench is diverse in race, income
                                                                                                                     and interests, but is full of mutual respect and
                                                                                                                     esprit de corps.”
                                                                                                                          One final trend is the importance of snacks
                                                                                                                     for the athletes after the final out is made. For
                                                                                                                     some players, post-game treats are more of
                                                                                                                     a motivation than the game itself. This time-
                                                                                                                     honored and seemingly growing tradition applies
                                                                                                                     to all levels of baseball, whether it is cupcakes
                                                                                                                     and juice boxes for the kids, pizza for the teens
                                                                                                                     or post-game beers for the adults. In the end,
                                                               The Wilson A2K DW5 glove.                             baseball’s a game for all. ■



30   |   Next
Harrington tops Order of Merit
and tames Tiger Woods
During the closing months of 2006, Ireland’s Padraig Harrington has played what is maybe some
of the best golf of his career. At the end of October, Harrington clinched the European Tour Order
of Merit title at the final event of the season in Valderrama, Spain. November saw him defeat Tiger
Woods at the Dunlop Phoenix after a dramatic final round including two play off holes.


■   Text by Markku Rimpiläinen
■   Photos by AFP/Getty Images




H
         arrington’s top spot on the European money list came with
         the narrowest of margins. Just one shot more and the win
         would have gone to England’s Paul Casey, who led the
money list before the final tournament.
    Harrington’s approach shots over the final holes in Valderrama
were nigh on perfect – so precise that he only needed to take out his
putter five times in as many holes.
    At the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan, Harrington took maybe the
sweetest first place of his career. Harrington, who teed off with
Tiger Woods for the last two rounds, was just three shots behind
him going into the final round. With only six holes to go, Woods still
retained that lead. Although the majority expected Woods to take his
third consecutive Dunlop Phoenix win, Harrington had other ideas.
After the 16th, it was level pegging.
    On the second par 5 play off hole, Harrington’s tee shot ended
up in the trees. Most people would have put the ball back onto the
fairway, but not Harrington. He took a long shot with his Wilson Staff
Fh6 hybrid and squeezed the ball back onto the fairway through a
narrow y-shaped gap in the trunks.
    Harrington pulled off an unbelievably precise third approach
shot with his Wilson Staff Tw7 gap wedge, the ball coming to rest
a mere 60 centimeters from the hole. When Woods fluffed his own
3.5-meter birdie putt, the game was over. Harrington sunk his ball
and started celebrating.
    “I definitely got lucky, but sometimes fortune favors the brave,”
Harrington so rightly said at the prize ceremony.
    Harrington will now start the 2007 season in excellent stead. His
victory over Tiger Woods will lend him the self-confidence that’s all
important during the deciding moments of major tournaments. ■




                       In Valderrama, Padraig Harrington showed us
                      that he is a real master of the short game.




                                                                                                      Next   |   31
news                                                                                                                                                                    Intelligent ski boot
                                                                                                                                                                        for jumpers
                                                                                                                                                                        Finnish footwear manufac-
                                                                                                                                                                        turer Jalas has developed
                                                                                                                                                                        an intelligent boot for ski
                                                                                                                                                                        jumpers.
                                                                                                                                                                             The boot contains a
                                                                                  Suunto D9 nominated                                                                   measuring system that pro-
                                                                                  for major design award                                                                vides real-time data, such as
                                                                                  Suunto’s D9 dive computer has been nominated for                                      speed and trajectory, during
                                                                                  one of the world’s most esteemed design awards. The                                   a jump.
                                                                                  D9 is competing for the Deutsche Designpreis – held                                        The real-time measure-
                                                                                  by many influential people in the design industry to be                               ment system will notice-
                                                                                  “the prize of prizes”.                                                                ably speed up performance
                                                                                       Only products that have already received a na-                                   analyses, because it used to
                                                                                  tional or international design award can be nominated                                 take several months – and
                                                                                  for the Deutsche Designpreis. No other design compe-                                  sometimes up to half a year
                                                                                  tition sets such strict entry requirements, which is why                              – to receive feedback. Now,
                                                                                  this is such a respected award.                                                       every practice jump can be
                                                                                       The German jury will consider such things as                                     accurately analyzed right
                                                                                  innovation in the product’s design and technology, de-                                away.
                                                                                  sign strategy, and usability. The Suunto D9 has already                                    Jalas, Nokia, Suunto and
                                                                                  been commended for its design and user-friendliness.                                  VTI are all participating in
                                                                                                                                                                        the project.




                                                                                                                                                                        Harrington and Wall
                                                                                                                                                                        hit the spot
                                                                                                                                                                        Wilson Staff players Padraig
                                                                                                                                                                        Harrington and Anthony
                                                                                                                                                                        Wall hit the green with as-
                                                                           A whole season in one week                                                                   tounding accuracy at the
                                                                           The Saab Salomon Transalp X-Wing Rally is a new and unique                                   classic Dunhill Links Cham-
                                                                           multi-discipline alpine skiing tour that will be held from March                             pionship. The pair made a
                                                                           23-30, 2007.                                                                                 combined total of 43 birdies,
                                                                               Competitors will ski at the world’s most famous centers:                                 with a whopping 80 percent
                                                                           Sölden, St. Anton am Arlberg, Engadin St. Moritz, Cervinia &                                 of their approach shots end-
                                                                           Zermatt, Chamonix, Les 3 Vallées and Tignes.                                                 ing on the green. Harrington
                                                                               Each group of three skiers will have a Saab car, and every                               won the tournament and
                                                                           skier will have just a single pair of skis to be used for every                              Wall came in second. Both
                                                                           discipline. Both the center and the discipline will change every                             players use Wilson Pi5 irons.
                                                                           day. Disciplines include ski cross, Giant Slalom, derby and
                                                                           freestyle.
                                                                               The event is being organized by Salomon and Saab in
                                                                           cooperation with Suunto, the world’s leading manufacturer of                                 Amazing adventures
                                                                           sports instruments. Saab and Salomon arrange a number of
                                                                           events together, such as the Saab Salomon Crossmax Series.
                                                                                                                                                                        on Arc’teryx’s
                                                                               www.SalomonXWing.com.                                                                    website
                                                                                                                                                                        Did you know that you can
                                                                                                                                                                        read incredible travel stories
                                                                                                                                              Jean Marc Favre/Salomon




                                                                                                                                                                        on Arc’teryx’s website? The
                                                                                                                                                                        tales, many of which are
                                                                                                                                                                        about climbing, are accom-
                                                                                                                                                                        panied by plenty of fabulous
         Precor honored by the                                                                                                                                          photographs. You can read
         Anytime Fitness chain                                                                                                                                          the stories of climbers and
         The North American fitness club chain Anytime Fitness has                                                                                                      other adventurers by visiting
         chosen Precor as Best Vendor. The Anytime Fitness chain has                                                                                                    www.arcteryx.com and click-
         over 700 franchise facilities in the United States and Canada.                                                                                                 ing on ABOUT and NEWS.
              Franchisees named Precor as the best supplier in a sur-                                                                                                       Arc’teryx has recently
         vey conducted by the chain’s head office. The criteria assessed                                                                                                revamped its website. A
         were reaction time, quality, price and follow-up.                                                                                                              large, stylish photograph
              “Vendor performance is something we value and closely                                                                                                     now greets you on the home
         monitor,” says Anytime Fitness CEO Jeff Klinger.                                                                                                               page, and the other pages
              “Precor’s line of fitness equipment has been a big part of                                                                                                have magnificent, mystical
         our success,” he adds.                                                                                                                                         winter landscapes as back-
              Anytime Fitness began franchising in 2002 and has since                                                                                                   drops. It makes you want to
         grown rapidly. The chain expects to break the 1,500 fitness                                                                                                    whip out your pick, skis or
         facility mark within five years.                                                                                                                               snowboard this very second!



32   |   Next
                                                                    Miika Kainu
                                                                                  Julien Absalon becomes Crosscountry
                                                                                  World Champion on Mavic Crossmax
                                                                                  SLR wheels
                                                                                  Julien Absalon, winner of Olympic Gold in Athens, is
                                                                                  rapidly becoming one of the all-time biggest names
                                                                                  in crosscountry cycling. At the end of August, the 26-
                                                                                  year-old Frenchman dominated in New Zealand to win
                                                                                  his third consecutive Cross Country World Champion-
                                                                                  ship.
                                                                                       In the World Championship race, Absalon rode on
                                                                                  a Bianchi bike with Mavic’s new Crossmax SLR wheels.
                                                                                  The Crossmax SLR is Mavic’s number one model for
                                                                                  2007. The competition wheels are intended primarily
                                                                                  for crosscountry use and provide good support and ex-
                                                                                  cellent roll. The V brake version weighs in at just 1,410
                                                                                  grams per pair, and the disc brake version at 1,520
                                                                                  grams. The color scheme of these top-level crosscoun-
                                                                                  try wheels follows the familiar red and black aesthetic
                                                                                  of Mavic’s Ksyrium ES road racing wheels.
  The top three in the men's opening competition:                                      www.absalon-julien.com, www.mavic.com
  Magnus Larson (left), Benni Raich and Giorgio Rocca.
                                                                                  Osterman
                                                                                  joins Wilson                      Mavic products win Eurobike Awards
A super start for Atomic                                                          Olympic Gold Medal winner         Two Mavic products have received esteemed Eurobike Awards
The opening of the Alpine Skiing World Cup in Levi really was                     and pitcher Cat Osterman          – the Wintech HR cycle computer and the Crossmax SR
a party for Atomic - Atomic skiers took no less than five out of                  - regarded as one of the          wheelset.
the six podium places.                                                            world's best Fastpitch play-          The Wintech HR is a lightweight and easy-to-install wire-
     In the women’s slalom, Austria’s Marlies Schildt skied to                    ers - has signed a multiyear      less cycle computer that offers distance traveled, speed and
a definitive victory. Austria’s Kathrin Zettel was second and                     agreement with Wilson.            many other useful measurements, including a broad range of
Croatia’s young Ana Jelusic clinched a fine fourth place.                              Osterman will serve as       heart rate monitor functions.
     Three smiling men with Atomic equipment in hand                              an ambassador to the Wilson           The Crossmax SR is a crosscountry wheelset made
climbed onto the podium after the men’s competition.                              brand, representing Wilson        from super lightweight materials for optimum lightness and
     Benni Raich is no doubt happy to celebrate his first win                     ball gloves, DeMarini Fast-       strength.
at a World Cup opening event – and with an especially fine                        pitch bats and ATEC training          The Eurobike Award was contested by 212 products from
descent. In second was Sweden’s Magnus Larsson, delighted                         equipment. She will also          19 countries. The winners were chosen by a jury consisting of
at a top-three place for the second time in a row after finish-                   help with the design of new       cycling journalists and representatives from manufacturers
ing on the podium at the World Cup final in Åre in the spring.                    Wilson and DeMarini equip-        and retailers.
Italy’s Giorgio Rocca said he was satisfied with his third place,                 ment including a signature
although his second descent could have been better.                               line of Cat Osterman fast-
     “I’ve still not come close to my limits,” says Rocca.                        pitch gear.
     Rudolf Huber, who heads up the Atomic Racing Team,
was pleased with his athletes’ performances. The experienced
crew was up to speed and young skiers, like Sweden’s Jens
Byggmark, were coming on fast. Byggmark started out at 32,
but held on to his lead for a long time before finally coming in
sixth. In the second round, only Raich was faster.




The Salomon Jib Academy – a dream come
true for young freestyle skiers
Salomon is offering young freestyle skiers the chance of a
lifetime through the Jib Academy: skiing, photographs and
making movies with Salomon’s professional skiers. At the Jib
Academy, young people will have the chance to improve their
skiing and make their dreams come true with a movie seg-
ment.
      Heats will be held in many countries. The 10-16 year-old
skiers will get to meet Salomon representatives and show
them what they can do, as well as getting the chance to im-                                                         Suunto launches new website for divers
prove their skills on jumps and rails. The professionals will                                                       At the beginning of November, Suunto launched Diving World,
provide coaching in small groups, and the most skilled from                                                         a new section on its website suunto.com aimed at divers of all
each group will then battle it out in a two-descent final. The                                                      levels.
winner will go on to the national final.                                                                                 Suunto’s Diving World is choc-full of both information and
      Photographers and reporters will be present at the events                                                     experiences: divers can find out about Suunto’s diving prod-
to photograph and interview the skiers.                                                                             ucts, chat in the discussion forum, and learn more about the
      At the end of the season, the world’s best skiers will meet                                                   finer points of diving.
for a week’s skiing with Salomon’s international professional                                                            A competition for the best underwater photos is currently
team in the USA’s best park in Mammoth. Well-known produc-                                                          running on Diving World. The first prize winner gets to choose
ers will be filming and the best takes will make it into movies                                                     either a Suunto Vyper2 or a Suunto Cobra2 diving computer.
such as Salomon Adrenaline Hunters.                                                                                      www.suunto.com/diving



                                                                                                                                                                         Next    |    33
         classic




          How Salomon found ski cross
          Salomon was the first ski manufacturer to get into ski cross, creating both
          the Saab Salomon Crossmax Series and a new type of fast piste ski.


          ■   Text by Markku Rimpiläinen
          ■   Photos by Salomon




          At
                         the end of the 1990s, the world     born. In 1998, the sport reached Europe and ra-      international competitions began to be organized
                         of snowboarding began to blow       pidly attracted both participants and spectators.    – an effective way of getting the sport recognized.
                         a breath of fresh air into alpine   Salomon, always interested in fresh new forms of     As Salomon was the first to get rolling, its Series
          skiing, which had until then remained very         skiing, decided to devote efforts to ski cross and   also received plenty of publicity.
          traditional. Open-minded snowboarders had          created the Saab Salomon Crossmax Series – a              Salomon launched new Crossmax skis in
          invented such disciplines as boarder cross, a      true classic in this young sport.                    conjunction with the Series, and both skis and
          general start race in which four snowboarders           The first competitions were held in the 2000-   Series gained recognition so successfully that
          compete on a motocross-style track. The disci-     2001 season. Among those who took part in the        the Crossmax brand became almost synony-
          pline includes jumps, turns and high speeds, but   Les Deux Alpes competition was Enak Gavaggio,        mous with the sport as a whole.
          is above all a strongly contended battle between   who had quit alpine racing a couple of years pre-         The FIS (International Ski Federation) started
          individuals.                                       viously. Gavaggio had already been successfully      to take interest in the new sport and made it part
              Sportspeople in the USA noticed that board-    skiing in cross races, but the track still came as   of the freestyle in 2002, at the same time fixing
          er cross could also work on skis - ski cross was   a shock to him.                                      its name as ski cross. Ski cross was part of the
                                                                  “All the skiers were terrified when they saw    Freestyle World Championships for the first time
                                                             the track, but after the first descent everyone      in 2005, and it seems highly probable that it will
                                                             was so enthusiastic. There was a lot of snow, and    be an Olympic Sport in 2010.
                                                             the organizers had constructed an absolutely              The nature of ski cross changed with the ar-
                                                             brilliant track: full-speed from start to finish     rival of the FIS. Now, it is a competition between
                                                             with long, high jumps. That was one of the best      skiers specialized in the sport.
                                                             tracks I’ve ever skied. It was a monster race! I          “Competition is tougher than ever before, but
                                                             think I won,” adds Gavaggio, apologizing for his     the fun has not disappeared,” says Gavaggio.
                                                             bad memory.                                               He intends to be around next season too,
                                                                  Gavaggio has remained at the top of the sport   when the Saab Salomon Crossmax Series starts
                                                             to this day.                                         up again for the seventh time, bigger than ever
                                                                  The Saab Salomon Crossmax Series grew           before. ■
                                                             quickly. Alpine racers and even the odd mogul
                                                             skier joined in the races. Competition was tough,
Enak Gavaggio: the top name in ski cross since 2001.         but racing was always fun. Both national and         www.saabcrossmaxseries.com



34   |   Next
                                                     Padraig Harrington




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