ISPO 2017 (Extended, P2) — Atomic Austria FIS Shop

Post by blogger | March 21, 2017      
Boot 'blanks.'

In the “FIS” shop at Atomic, they work with racer’s skis, boots and bindings. The boots got most of my attention. Racer boots are built from cuff and scaffo ‘blanks’ that the techs drill with exactly located holes for the cuff pivots and buckle attachments. The blanks are molded from various types of plastic. Reminds me of one of those scifi clone movies where you pick your body off a rack and install your mind.

Aspen. We spectated wonderful ski racing at the alpine World Cup Finals this past weekend. Lots of countries represented. (We particularly enjoyed seeing three Italian gals podium for the same race). With Atomic athletes Marcel Hirscher and Michaela Shiffren getting handed their crystal trophies, I figured a blog post sharing my recent visit to the Atomic “FIS” shop would be better now than later. I was sworn to secrecy on some of the cool stuff those guys use to tune boots, but I still got a few fun shots of the Redster boot clinic in its red glowing glory.

I happened to be at Atomic HQ during World Cup World Championships.

I happened to be at Atomic HQ during World Cup World Championships. Atomic puts immense resources into their race program — clearly they get returns in sales — IF their athletes win. In this case, staff filtered in from various offices to cheer Marcel Hirscher as he aced another win.

Scaffo blank. Lower shell walls are around a centimeter thick (for strength and to allow grinding) and the sole is thick to accommodate being angle planed.

Scaffo blank. Lower shell walls are around a centimeter thick (for strength and to allow grinding) and the sole is thick to accommodate being angle planed. Each racer’s cuff and sole angles are a matter of record, so each pair of boots can be precisely built.

Boots being customized bear the names of athletes such as Max Franz.

Boots being customized bear the names of athletes such as Max Franz. I was told Hirscher travels with 30 pairs of boots and 70 pairs of skis. Don’t be embarrassed when you show up in Europe with two pair of planks.

Clearly, these guys use thousands of screw rivets.

Norwegian racer Aleksander Kilde’s boots getting the treatment. Clearly, these guys must use bins and bins of screw rivets. I’m realizing that changing the buckle location on a touring boot, now and then, is not something to panic about.

Nice workbench.

Nice workbench.


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5 Responses to “ISPO 2017 (Extended, P2) — Atomic Austria FIS Shop”

  1. Frame March 21st, 2017 11:05 am

    30 pairs of boots. I can’t get my head around that. Surely you could spend time saved from working out which boot to wear on something more important like, memorising a course or looking for a pastry or scratching your left ear.
    I’ve never raced, so perhaps I need some insight into why one might go to such lengths?

  2. Greg Louie March 21st, 2017 12:50 pm

    It seems to work for Marcel Hirscher.

    Good stuff, Lou, thanks. The boot lab is fascinating. I was scheduled for an Atomic factory tour last week but the trip got put on hold.

  3. Lou Dawson 2 March 21st, 2017 1:28 pm

    Funny, I checked the spelling of Hirscher several times online, but got it wrong anyway! Thanks for getting it right, which reminded me to check the blog post. Lou

  4. SteveR March 21st, 2017 1:36 pm

    My wife just pointed out that he probably has 10 pairs for Slalom, 10 for GS and 10 for downhill, so maybe not so excessive as it seems. She also told me that this doesn’t mean that I can go and buy 28 more pairs of boots.

  5. XXX_er March 21st, 2017 6:49 pm

    When losing is not an option different boots for different disciplines, different courses, duplicates of all their gear in case of loss, theft, breakage, one set goes to one race while one set to the race after that … 30 pairs of boots make sense.

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