Reporting from Outdoor Retailer trade show. One of the more interesting things I’ve seen in the past few days is Technica’s new line of tech compatible ski boots and ‘freeride’ skis.
While beef boots for touring are now somewhat of a yawner category (hot thing is again lightweight boots — the cycle never ends…), it is still interesting to see who will make a real alpine ski boot that doubles as a touring boot, rather than endlessly trying to convince hardcore riders that a touring boot can ski hard. (The latter makes for good blog fodder, but does get a bit repetitive.)
Now, for those of you who recall WildSnow history that’s so old it has to be translated from rock carvings, you’ll remember that Tecnica attempted to re-brand and slightly rework some Lowa AT boots a few years ago. I thought those were fairly nice and blogged about them, but I have to admit they were sleep inducing. After that, they went off my radar. But Tecnica wasn’t snuggling under the covers despite putting the rest of us to sleep with the Lowas. Instead, look what happened:
Press release reprinted below, with slight editing:
Tecnica introduces new Free Mountain collection targeting the Big Mountain and Side Country skier.
WEST LEBANON, NH. (December 2010) – Tecnica introduces a new ski boot collection for the freeride skier with performance features and designs throughout. There are six models that will be introduced in the Free Mountain collection that are designed specifically for the skier who wants the excitement of skiing the outer limits.
The new collection addresses both Big Mountain and Side Country skiing with features to address the needs of both. The Big Mountain collection is built for gnarly terrain where performance is critical but the product is lightweight enough for some hike capability. There are two models that utilize a performance 98mm last – the Bodacious with a 130 flex and the Bonafide with a 110 flex. Both feature interchangeable soles so they can be either DIN or Tech Compatible. Injected in a lightweight, yet strong, Triax material, they also feature an Arch Grip Insert for gripping while walking on rough terrain. An I-Rebound flex management system and a shock absorbing zeppa complete the performance package.
The Side Country models offer more side country touring capability without sacrificing downhill performance. A new Cuff Mobility System allows a long range of motion for uphill mobility. An easy switch from hike to ski mode offers great versatility. A three-buckle system with a fourth Velcro Alu closure enhances the cuff mobility while still offering four buckle performance. There are three men’s models and one women’s in a 100mm last that also feature the Interchangeable Soles, the I-Rebound Flex Management System, the Arch Grip Insert and are injected in a lightweight triax material. Quick Instep enhances easy on and off while a shock absorbing zeppa completes the performance package.
The Side Country models offered are the Cochise, Bushwacker Air Shell (flex 110, , Crossfire (flex 100) and the Viva Crossfire for women (flex 100).
Located in West Lebanon, NH, Tecnica handles all sales and marketing efforts in the U.S. and collaborates on product development with the parent company Tecnica Spa located in Giavera del Montello, Italy. Tecnica began producing work and mountain boots in 1960, fast becoming a world leader in footwear design and development. It should be noted that Tecnica created the famed Moon Boot™ in 1970 and the first bi-injected plastic ski boot in 1973.
WEST LEBANON, NH (January 2011) – Blizzard skis takes the freeride market by the horns with a 2011–12 collection that boasts innovation and marketing savvy. The Blizzard Free Mountain collection, with five new models, features Blizzards revolutionary Flipcore Technology.
Flipcore is a patent pending new technology developed by Blizzard at their factory in Mittersill, Austria where the core of the ski is flipped and built upside down in the mold. The result is a naturally reversed camber ski built in the mold, whose downward-facing convex side forms the natural rocker shape of the ski, without having to bend or artificially shape the ski in a press. This allows the rocker construction to reach a previously unknown level of stability and even pressure distribution. Flipcore Technology produces super stable, smooth handling skis that are extremely easy to use.
The Flipcore concept originated with our Tecnica/Blizzard engineers in collaboration with the late Arne Backstrom, who was a member of the Tec Blizz Freeride Team. The Bodacious, a ski built for big terrain, was Arne’s ski of choice and adorns his signature on the tail of the ski.
The Free Mountain collection is made up of five models. The line-up includes the Bodacious (118 mm), Cochise (108 mm), Bonafide (98 mm), Bushwacker (88 mm), and Black Pearl (88 mm)–the later being a women’s specific ski.
Blizzard Sport USA is the distributor of Blizzard Skis in the United States. The Blizzard factory is located in Mittersill, Austria. Blizzard Sport USA is under The Tecnica Group umbrella where Blizzard and Tecnica operate as a single business unit in the United States. Current Olympic Silver Medalist, Reinfried Herbst has many victories on Blizzard skis. For more information on Blizzard, please go to www.blizzardsportusa.com.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain. For more about Lou, please see his personal website at https://www.loudawson.com/ (Blogger stats: 5 foot 10 inches (178 cm) tall, 160 lbs (72574.8 grams).