Sport: Downhill Delights

  • Sweet Ride
  • Mountain Bike
<< Back to Robb Report, November 2002

While skis may be the most traditional means of descending the slopes, there is nothing traditional about these models, which incorporate the latest innovations designed to optimize performance—whether they are attached to your feet or to a bicycle frame.

Sweet Ride
Atomic’s new Sugar Daddy ($795) skis may be fat, but their girth has nothing to do with inactivity. On the contrary, equipped with Atomic’s new Beta-4 technology, which aims to increase the ski’s edge grip and stability, and the input of Atomic’s AFT team of elite skiers, the Sugar Daddy is built for one mission: cruising deep powder on steep slopes. Its voluptuous dimensions (126mm tip, 99mm waist, and 116mm tail) will keep you afloat when the snow piles up, making it the perfect companion to take on a heli-skiing or snow-cat adventure.

As Good as Gold
Volant’s Genesis V2 ski ($799) is sure to draw stares and whispers in the lift line. Its gold vapor finish is produced in a vacuum chamber, where heated, electrified high-energy metal ion particles are fused to the surface of the ski. While this high-tech process makes the all-mountain ski virtually scratch resistant, the beauty of the Genesis goes well below its 1-micron-thick layer of titanium cardo-nitrate. Volant’s new V2 technology combines metallized fiberglass sidewalls with a streamlined stainless steel top sheet, which translates into a lighter and livelier ski than what Volant has produced in the past, yet one that still has enough metal to uphold its reputation for being stable underfoot.

Breaking the Rules
In a sense, Völkl’s Supersport T50 5 Stars ($1,125) are too good for the International Ski Federation. Völkl originally designed the 5 Star to be the next-generation giant slalom race ski, but then the sport’s governing body placed limitations on a ski’s sidecut radius, disqualifying the 5 Star. Rather than allow good technology to go to waste, Völkl decided to produce the all-mountain ski, which features a shape (111mm tip, 68mm waist, and a 98mm tail) suited for experts. The ski incorporates Völkl’s new Piston Control motion technology, an integrated ski/binding system that provides freedom of ski flex, better edge control, and a stable ride.

All in One
Salomon’s Winter X-Adventure Raid system is perfect for people who cannot decide how they want to spend their ski weekend. The Raid boot ($279) is compatible with the premounted bindings on the
145cm Raid ski blades ($399), designed with metal edges and gripping grooves that enable you to go up, down, and across unbroken snowy terrain. The boot also fits into the Traverse Pivot binding on the Raid snowshoes ($199). All of the snow tools, which also include Raid poles ($96) fit neatly into the Weekend Warrior backpack ($94).

Mountain Bike
K2 borrowed technology from its mountain bike line to create the for-adults-only Snowcycle ($850), which features a lightweight aluminum frame, suspension technology that is top-notch, and a motorcross-style foam seat to cushion the ride. Skis take the place of tires, and instead of churning pedals, you strap on mini foot skis to help navigate the bike downhill.

Atomic Ski USA, www.atomicsnow.com;
K2 Corporation, www.k2sports.com;
Salomon North America, www.salomonsports.com;
Volant Sports, www.volantsports.com;
Völkl Sport America, www.volkl.com

Photo by Kim Kumpart
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