Nordic Redux

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Continued growth in the popularity of telemark skiing-both for the backcountry and at the resort-is helping fuel this season's rejuvenated interest in all things Nordic. A new retail shop dedicated to telemark and other backcountry gear that opened this season in the heart of Copper Mountain's base village is only one of several signs that Nordic gear is going mainstream at many of the country's resorts. And as technology improves and prices continue to drop in many categories, many crossover consumers are apt to expand their ski quiver by adding a pair of "skinny" skis to the rack-or fat tele boards, as the case may be.

Alpina/Madshus/Crispi
www.alpinasports.com

Following last season's successful introduction of the "Solution" ski-sizing selector, the big news at Alpina Sports for 2002-03 comes not in skis or boots but in the Madshus Multigrip Vario 3D nonwax base. Developed in Norway, the new base offers improvements in kick, stability, and glide, while offering a grip "like a lion on an antelope," according to company VP Steve Kvinlaug. Though the Multigrip Vario 3D looks much like the standard fish-scale bottom, the pattern itself contains different edge configurations and varying depths. "The Madshus history of accurate camber design, combined with this new nonwax pattern, makes it possible to meet the expectations of having our very best race ski in a nonwax version," says Peter Hale, U.S. racing service manager for Alpina and Madshus.

Also from Alpina comes further refinements in top-end racing boots-including the SK2002 and CL2003-as well as improvements in the sport and performance lines, with an increased emphasis on women's models such as the new women's 530. The touring category also has a new model-the BC Outbound-aimed at the multipurpose skier looking for greater warmth and stability. Featuring both Thinsulate and Outlast, the high-cut BC Outback makes use of Alpina's patented Active Skating Cuff and Power Strap closure.

Atomic
www.atomicsnow.com

Atomic introduces two new skating skis: the Beta RS:10C and the Beta RS:10D. Both skis have a Nomex core and Beta construction. The 10C ("C" stands for control) has the relatively wide and stable 49/44/48 sidecut that has done well for Atomic since its introduction in 1998, while the 10D ("D" for dynamic) uses a narrower 44/42/43 sidecut aimed at those looking for speed. Atomic's Rick Halling predicts that many athletes will choose the fatter ski for short races, when stability is the main concern, and will use the narrower ski in longer races, when they need more glide. On the telemark side, Atomic offers five backcountry models, including a couple of shorter lengths-168 and 177-in the Beta 10 EX TM, to better accommodate female skiers. With the exception of the sizing changes, most of the telemark line remains the same. "We did so much work in our lines last year that this year it's mainly just refining things," says Atomic's Matt Miller.

Backcountry Access
www.bcaccess.com

Most notable for Backcountry Access is the addition of two packs to the Stash line: the Micro Stash and the Stash Pro, which are slightly smaller and larger, respectively, than the standard Stash model. Both packs feature Backcountry Access' patented hydration system, with the hose and bite-valve placed inside an insulated shoulder strap. Also new for 2002-03 is the Companion Light shovel and probe system. "It's basically a smaller, more compact version of the original Companion system," says company spokesman Bruce Edgerly, "only with lighter components and a T-grip handle instead of a D-grip."

Black Diamond/Scarpa/Fritschi
www.bdel.com

Like many tele ski makers, Black Diamond is going fatter. The Crossbow is a radical new design, with a 115/82/105 profile available in 168, 178, and 188cm lengths. Another key product is the Fritschi Freeride Alpine touring binding. Weighing just 3.8 lbs per pair, the Freeride has a releasable heel and foulevels of climbing posts.

On the boot and binding side, the Scarpa F1 is a new Alpine touring boot built specifically for randonnée-style racing and designed to be used with the Dynafit binding. Latest in the Riva series of telemark bindings is the Riva Z Comp. Built for on-mountain performance and for use with bigger boots and skis, the binding uses a burlier cable, compression springs, and reinforced toe plate.

Black Diamond also has the new Switchback, a 30-liter ski/snowboard pack with a shovel-blade pocket, hydration and probe sleeves, two ice-axe loops, and a small inner pocket. The new Stratos glove is waterproof and quick drying, and will retail for less than $100. Finally, Black Diamond offers the new Carbon avalanche probe, a 270-cm, lightweight probe pole that weighs a mere 160 grams.

Climb High
www.climbhigh.com

For 2002-03 Climb High will carry Pomoca skins, which come in both synthetic and mohair versions. The company also continues to distribute Silvretta bindings (with a few improvements in that category), Mammut clothing and softshell gear, and Baryvox digital avalanche transceivers.

Erik Sports
www.eriksports.com

Asnes skis, which Erik Sports distributes, introduces two new backcountry/touring models for 2002-03: the Whitetail and the Nomad. Both have three-quarter metal edges, a laminated wood core, and cap construction, and are priced for entry level. In other Asnes news, the Snowman DLX, a junior ski in 70 and 80cm lengths, has been upgraded to a wood-core ski mounted with a Kinder binding.

Erik Sports also distributes Alfa boots, which introduces a full line of redesigned racing, touring, and backcountry models with brighter colors and updated graphics. Alfa adds more stiffness to the uppers of the boots in the backcountry line while retaining the comfort of the footbeds. The Alfa racing line includes a new Combi model and a new youth racing model, Dual Race Jr. All current skate and classic models have new designs.

Evolution
www.evoski.com

Evolution continues to grow its Alpine line to complement the company's collection of tele skis: the Wasatch Soft, the Teleporter, and the Uintah. More information was not available at press time.

Fischer
www.fischerski.com

How can Fischer top the success of last season's S-Bound series? Product manager Peter Ashley says it comes in the form of a new line called Nordic Cruising. "When you see these skis," he says, "you will know that something in cross-country has really changed." One of the first things retailers will notice with this line-featuring names like Orbiter, Voyager, and Explorer-is that the sidecut is listed with five numbers instead of three. For example, the Orbiter-the narrowest of the bunch-has a sidecut of 48/40/48/39/43.

The line includes four skis plus a junior ski; all have what Ashley calls "wide-body technology," making them much more stable and user friendly.On the telemark side, Fischer follows up last year's Boundless and Outtabounds with two new skis: the Inbound (without a metal edge) and the Outbound (with a metal edge). These models round out the S-Bound group by providing something for the casual backcountry skier. Fischer's racing line stays mostly the same.

Garmont/Exel/Peltonen
www.garmontusa.com

Garmont offers numerous boot developments for 2002-03, including new models and liners for both telemark and ski mountaineering. For randonnée, Garmont launches five new models, including the G-Ride, a high, stiff, four-buckle ski-mountaineering boot designed for randonnée touring and freeriding. Also new is the G-Lite, a superlight, three-buckle randonnée boot available in three models.

Garmont adds two models to its g-fit liner line: the g-fit High, designed for Garmont's higher two-buckle-cuff-models, as well as for aftermarket use with other higher boots; and the g-fit Mid, a slightly softer liner that has a new flex panel for touring.

Four new telemark boots join the line for 2002-03, including the three-buckle Syner-G, which is high and sturdy enough for big skis, without restricting use in the backcountry. Also new is the triple-injected Ener-G, Garmont's stiffest, burliest boot for all-mountain, free-heel skiing. It has a newly-designed overlap cuff, which Garmont says gives the boot a closer fit, better buckle adjustment, and more precise performance. Garas and Veloces get new colors this year as well as a totally new inner boot made of materials such as sculpted EVA foam and Cordura. The instep and heel are secured by Garmont's new Pad-Lock design, with rear "flex ribs" that allow free ankle flex for walking and climbing. The tongue is one-piece molded Pebax, and the polyester lining wicks and disperses moisture for quick drying. Another key model is the Excursion-the only plastic boot on the market developed specifically for touring. Soft, light, and flexible, it's available in both women's and men's versions.

Genuine Guide Gear (G3)
www.genuineguidegear.com

G3 highlights new high-performance climbing skins for 2002-03. The skins have a new adhesive technology that eliminates glue blistering and new fabric treated to decrease clumping and improve glide. Also new from G3 is the Trim Tool-used for trimming the skin to the shape of the ski for better traction-as well as a new Tip & Tail Connection System for quick and secure skin application.

K2
www.k2skis.com

The big telemark news from K2 this year comes in the form of their new women's ski, She's Piste, which will use the same mold as the Super Stinx but with a slightly different construction. Though the company dropped plans to produce a kid's telemark ski, they will still be making most of their popular backcountry models. The Work Stinx, Super Stinx, Totally Stinx, and Piste Pipe will all stay the same, as will both randonnée models, while the World Piste will become a little stiffer and lighter. The Heli Stinx is being dropped.

Karhu
www.karhu.com

Karhu introduces several new products for 2002-03, as well as new graphics in an unlikely place-traditional Nordic gear. Two new backcountry skis-the Dorado and the Crux-bridge the gap between telemark and backcountry. The Dorado is a lighter, more versatile version of a telemark ski, while the Crux is a slimmed-down version of the Dorado intended for all-around touring and downhill performance. Both skis have a cap design and a full carbon-steel edge. Karhu also introduces the Sirus, an updated version of the original 75mm leather telemark boot, with wraparound reinforcement, 8mm insole, two ratcheting buckles, and a Vibram 75mm Outback sole. "We continue to focus on the backcountry skiing market because we understand it and believe in it," says product manager Tracy Ferland.

Also from Karhu come two new twin-tip telemark designs, the Ruckit and the Jak. "No more baby steps." says Ferland. "We're going to produce what the people want." Targeting a younger, more aggressive group of free-heelers, the Ruckit has dimensions of 107/76/97, and the Jak has dimensions of 127/91/110. By adding these two skis to its collection, Karhu offers a complete telemark line that appeals to new school as well as traditional backcountry telemark skiers.

With its cross-country line, Karhu introduces new design concepts and graphics that the company hopes will help breathe new life into traditional Nordic ski gear. Initial retailer reaction was cautious, but, according to Karhu sales manager Ted McGuinness, "early sales from retail indicate that Karhu ski sales are up 40 percent over last year." Karhu also launches the Sweeper, its latest version of a hybrid ski/snowshoe that combines the climbing capability of a snowshoe with the glide of a ski. It uses a universal binding system-eliminating the need for a cross-country ski boot and binding-and a cap design with metal edges.

Leki
www.leki.com

For 2002--03 Leki brings out the Vk boots join the line for 2002-03, including the three-buckle Syner-G, which is high and sturdy enough for big skis, without restricting use in the backcountry. Also new is the triple-injected Ener-G, Garmont's stiffest, burliest boot for all-mountain, free-heel skiing. It has a newly-designed overlap cuff, which Garmont says gives the boot a closer fit, better buckle adjustment, and more precise performance. Garas and Veloces get new colors this year as well as a totally new inner boot made of materials such as sculpted EVA foam and Cordura. The instep and heel are secured by Garmont's new Pad-Lock design, with rear "flex ribs" that allow free ankle flex for walking and climbing. The tongue is one-piece molded Pebax, and the polyester lining wicks and disperses moisture for quick drying. Another key model is the Excursion-the only plastic boot on the market developed specifically for touring. Soft, light, and flexible, it's available in both women's and men's versions.

Genuine Guide Gear (G3)
www.genuineguidegear.com

G3 highlights new high-performance climbing skins for 2002-03. The skins have a new adhesive technology that eliminates glue blistering and new fabric treated to decrease clumping and improve glide. Also new from G3 is the Trim Tool-used for trimming the skin to the shape of the ski for better traction-as well as a new Tip & Tail Connection System for quick and secure skin application.

K2
www.k2skis.com

The big telemark news from K2 this year comes in the form of their new women's ski, She's Piste, which will use the same mold as the Super Stinx but with a slightly different construction. Though the company dropped plans to produce a kid's telemark ski, they will still be making most of their popular backcountry models. The Work Stinx, Super Stinx, Totally Stinx, and Piste Pipe will all stay the same, as will both randonnée models, while the World Piste will become a little stiffer and lighter. The Heli Stinx is being dropped.

Karhu
www.karhu.com

Karhu introduces several new products for 2002-03, as well as new graphics in an unlikely place-traditional Nordic gear. Two new backcountry skis-the Dorado and the Crux-bridge the gap between telemark and backcountry. The Dorado is a lighter, more versatile version of a telemark ski, while the Crux is a slimmed-down version of the Dorado intended for all-around touring and downhill performance. Both skis have a cap design and a full carbon-steel edge. Karhu also introduces the Sirus, an updated version of the original 75mm leather telemark boot, with wraparound reinforcement, 8mm insole, two ratcheting buckles, and a Vibram 75mm Outback sole. "We continue to focus on the backcountry skiing market because we understand it and believe in it," says product manager Tracy Ferland.

Also from Karhu come two new twin-tip telemark designs, the Ruckit and the Jak. "No more baby steps." says Ferland. "We're going to produce what the people want." Targeting a younger, more aggressive group of free-heelers, the Ruckit has dimensions of 107/76/97, and the Jak has dimensions of 127/91/110. By adding these two skis to its collection, Karhu offers a complete telemark line that appeals to new school as well as traditional backcountry telemark skiers.

With its cross-country line, Karhu introduces new design concepts and graphics that the company hopes will help breathe new life into traditional Nordic ski gear. Initial retailer reaction was cautious, but, according to Karhu sales manager Ted McGuinness, "early sales from retail indicate that Karhu ski sales are up 40 percent over last year." Karhu also launches the Sweeper, its latest version of a hybrid ski/snowshoe that combines the climbing capability of a snowshoe with the glide of a ski. It uses a universal binding system-eliminating the need for a cross-country ski boot and binding-and a cap design with metal edges.

Leki
www.leki.com

For 2002--03 Leki brings out the Vision Viper AE pole, which adds the new Air Ergo foam grip to the best-selling Vision Viper, as well as the Full Spectrum Tour, a new version of the popular Full Spectrum push-button adjustable pole. The company also offers a new, lower-priced category of poles with Trigger grips and straps. All former entry-level poles receive grip and tensile-strength upgrades. The full line of rental poles-including the Vario, Vario Jr., Full Spectrum, HP, Classic, and Classic Jr.-returns.

Life-Link/Dynafit
www.life-link.com

Life-Link continues to have success with the Dynafit brand; for 2002-03 the company introduces the Dynafit Tourlite, a wide carving ski with a soft flex and lightweight core that is intended for use in all snow conditions. Also new is the Dynafit TLT All Terrain Boot, which aims to bridge the gap between backcountry touring boots and Alpine ski boots. Life-Link also introduces a new carbon-fiber probe that is nearly half the weight of other probes its size; a Quickdraw tension system makes for fast assembly and probing. Two new packs-the Rando and the Schoolroom-join the line.

Lowa
www.lowaboots.com

Lowa is offering three new women's models in the Struktura series of alpine touring boots, two men's models in the new Futura Series alpine ski boots and an entire range of new SC (Sport Comfort) Series alpine boots for men and women. The Struktura EVO, Struktura GTX and Struktura alpine touring boots are designed especially for women. The three models offer options for high alpine touring, alpine and off-piste skiing and backcountry snowboarding. All models start with Bi-Injection shells and feature power straps, cant, 4-position ski/walk, 3-position tooth block. The men's RX and SX Futura Series alpine boots are based on Lowa's proven Struktura touring boot performance, shell and tongue construction. The RX is for more aggressive skiers while the SX offers a softer flex.

Four new SC models each for men and women, including the SC 600, SC 400, SC 200 and SC 100 focus on comfort. All models feature a new four-buckle design, central entry lightweight Bi-Injection shell and a self-centering Floating Shell Tongue. Starting with the SC 100, the four models offer progressively higher levels of performance for different downhill skiing preferences. They all offer power straps and ski/walk mechanisms. The SC 600 and SC 400 have a full range micro-adjustment system.

Nordica
www.nordicaboots.com

Nordica returns the TR12 and the TR12 W women's boots for 2002-03-they are unchanged except for color. Nordica is not making backcountry skis this season.

Ortovox
www.ortovox.com

Ortovox introduces the new x1 transceiver, which is supposed to help users find multiple avalanche victims faster. The x1 marries the latest digital advancements with the proven track record and reliability of analog technology. Using just two standard batteries, the transceiver switches quickly from transmit to receive mode, while a microprocessor quickly calculates search direction, distance, and volume control. Bright LED lights lead searchers in the right direction. All Ortovox transceivers are components of the Ortovox Avalanche Safety System, which includes high-performance shovels, avalanche probes, technical backpacks, bivy sacks, and other safety accessories.

Rainey Designs
www.raineydesigns.com

Russell Rainey says he's mainly focused on keeping up with orders for the Hammerhead binding, introduced late last season. "If you like your ski, you'll like it better with the Hammerhead," Rainey promises. "It tours great and allows for as much versatility as you want."

Rossignol
www.rossignol.com

The big news from Rossignol this season is the introduction of their Evo Nordic line, which includes the Evo Skate (46/44/44) and Evo Classic (53/45/50). The new skis are 20 centimeters shorter than traditional skating or classic skis, and they each come in three different lengths. Both