Editor’s note 2014: This was a historic event as the entry of Black Diamond into the ski touring backcountry boot market indicated a “main streaming” of the human powered ski industry. More, their process of having the boots made in China instead of Italy was a sea change in the worldwide schema of the ski boot business. Where and when this will all shake out is unknown at this time. Most backcountry ski boots are still designed and made in Italy, and Black Diamond’s boot line, while excellent, has never achieved much in the way of market share. In our opinion, the biggest feather in BD’s ski cap is their development of a cutting edge “beef boot” that showed the market welcomed a walk and hike capable boot that skied like an alpine boot. As of this writing, their beefy Factor ski boot model is still in distribution.
January 13, 2006, (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Black Diamond Equipment Ltd., a global leader in skiing and climbing gear, announced the development of a new line of alpine touring and telemark ski boots. This is a logical step for Black Diamond (BD), which has been both SCARPA’s North American distributor as well as its primary driver in terms of telemark ski boot designs and concepts for eighteen years. SCARPA and Black Diamond terminated their partnership as of January 1, 2006, with Black Diamond assuming responsibility of the SCARPA boot line until the end of the current ski season.
Peter Metcalf, CEO/co-founder of Black Diamond explains, “BD designs and builds products that make a difference in the day to day existence of skiers and climbers.” Metcalf continues, “In the case of ski boots, we will draw on our vast experience as intimate users, innovative designers, and as a reliable, ethical and committed partner to our dealers in order to design a new standard of AT and Telemark boots to meet the needs of the modern day telemark & off-piste skier.”
Black Diamond has already assembled a specialized design team that has been actively working on the boot project for over six months. BD plans to show boots at (Outdoor Retailer) Winter Market 2007, for release the following Fall season (Winter 2007/2008). Led by Thomas Laakso, Ski Group Category Manager and Dave Narajowski, lead designer of many of BD’s successful products, the BD Boot Team is comprised of Andi Lachinger, Jake Hall, Jeremy Saxton, Paul Terry and Alex Holzberger. This group brings a “Chop Shop” tenacity, resourcefulness and diverse work experience ranging from the biomechanics of skis and ski boots, to alias surface modeling, high performance footwear and auto design. Specifically, Lachinger worked with Atomic as their ski boot product manager, and BootDoc which develops high-end custom ski boot footbeds and liner solutions in Europe. Hall brings previous experience from Rome Snowboards, Saxton worked at Nike, Terry hails from Porsche Designs and Holzberger developed Roces speed skates.
Metcalf explains, “This is a huge investment for BD, but one that we are excited to make because we see opportunity to raise the bar in terms of product and the performance it delivers. (Wildsnow editor’s note: “huge” is an understatement.”) BD is the only player in the tele/AT boot market with designers who are an integral and organic part of the backcountry ski community, dawn patrolling each day before work. (Wildsnow editor’s note: We’re not sure where Metcalf got the idea that other boot companies don’t have designers who ski tour, as that’s simply not true. Companies such as Scarpa and Dynafit have many individuals working on their boots who are long-time committed ski mountaineers.) Such levels of intimacy and passion are terrific sources of creativity and inspiration. You can feel the energy level of this project radiating through all parts of BD”