Skiing in tomorrow's world.

In the beginning, there were skis. Initially made of wood, they went through all kinds of evolutions, but not too many revolutions. Then, in the 70s and 80s, The Big Bang happened. New ways to use the snow shifted the universe. And a serious challenger pointed its tips: the snowboard. The market split and both skis and boards go on improving.

 

Juniors à Plaine-Joux(c) Laurent Bouvet / RAPSODIA
 

Where are skis going?

According to the Wed’ze Ski product manager, “Skis are becoming more all-round and a little fatter than current models. In the USA, the trend is already a reality and skis have a minimum 85mm sidecut at the waist. That gives new on-piste thrills to Mister Ordinary, with greater stability and float – and also permits shorter lengths per size.”

 

Skis go on getting fatter…

According to him, ski waist sidecuts will grow from 75-80mm to 85-90mm on average. “Remember that only 5 years ago, a 75-80mm waist sidecut was typed for powder!
That’s progress!”

 

… and even easier to use.

For him, “Rockers facilitated the emergence of fat skis, as they makes turns shorter. The trend really is towards greater facility. In fact, that’s a global trend, not just to do with skiing! People want everything immediately and learning to ski and ride are no exception.”

 

Freeride à Sainte-Foy(c) Laurent Bouvet

 

Huge changes in the world of snowboards.

Created in the USA by water surfers, snowboards arrived to France in the early 80s in the arms of Australian Paul Loxton. After an enormous success, boards are losing popularity in Europe as skiing gets a new boost driven by fast reactions to this turbulent challenger. But new, very innovative, shapes and cambers and the fast growth of freestyling, due to skateboards, could accelerate this transition and ensure their future. High float in powder will durably remain the top selling point.

 

A big success in emerging nations.

In countries like Russia, Turkey, the former Eastern bloc and China where skiing is a new mass sport, snowboarding is growing fast. Why? When skis and snowboards arrived, consumers favoured boards because their image is more ‘”fun”– and they are easier to learn to ride and enjoy faster.

 

Evolution towards even more facility.

For the Wed’ze snowboard product manager, “Riders will always look for greater accessibility and ease of use with no loss of performance. That seems paradoxical, but we are working on it with our engineers. Boards sell on image. Riders dream about boards that can soar 15m – but few actually do it. We design products that can – but which people who jump 15cm on a green piste enjoy just as much. Our products give super vibrations to everyone even if not all riders go to the limits of their boards.”

 

Advice for beginners?

Our product manager advises people trying snowboarding for the first time to start with Freestyle models as they are easier-running, more stable and easier to control According to him: “Always aim for the shortest model for your height and weight. In fact, average sizes have dropped by 10cm over the last 10 years. Generally speaking, your board should reach your chin.”

 

 

Long-lasting trends.

A close observer of markets all over the world, he distinguishes three types of families: “The first family is composed of riders for whom a great day out means fast runs and tight turns. Family members want rigid, powerful snowboards with high grip and controlled full flow in turns. The second family is composed of freestylers whose get their kicks in snowparks, switches and playing with nature. They need boards with high flex, great control and easy to use”. The third family is, and will remain, important: freeriders looking for the unique thrills specific to snowboards.

 

The proportion of these families varies by country.

The idea of what snowboards are about is not the same on all continents. According to our product manager “the ‘Fast’ family is essentially European. The “Freestyle” family is primarily in the USA and in countries where gliding and riding are new sports. In the USA, everyone uses the snowparks – parents and children alike. But there are fewer boards on the pistes and they go slower. As for skis, you see them on the pistes, but hardly at all in the snowparks.”

Emily - EN
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