The ski industry comes out with better, faster, lighter equipment every year, and each time I think companies must be close to reaching the upper limit in product development. Earlier this month I discovered just how wrong that assumption was at the SnowSports Industries of America (SIA) on-snow demo at Devil’s Thumb Ranch in Tabernash, Colo. It seemed that every company there to show off their 2013-2014 equipment had revolutionized the top of their product line to make skis, boots and/or poles that are better than the nordic ski world has ever seen before.
Fischer’s Speedmax skate ski was the first new ski I tried — there’d been a lot of buzz about the new manufacturing process that makes it and I was curious to see what could possibly be better than a Carbonlite. To make the Speedmax, Fischer engineered a new step on the factory production line called Cold Base Binding, which separates ski core production from the step that attaches the base material to the rest of the ski. Where once it was all one big step, the base now goes on at the very end. The adhesive Fischer concocted specifically for this process allows the ski to better absorb thermal fluctuations in all snow conditions and iron temperatures — so its speed comes from both the base’s ability to absorb more wax as well as its consistency as snow temperatures change.
The Speedmax ranks somewhere between a Carbonlite and an RCS in weight, but even though it’s not Fischer’s lightest ski the new construction method definitely makes it the fastest. And because the ski comes with all the responsiveness and stability we’ve come to expect from Fischer products it is without a doubt one of the best skis that will be on the market in 2013-2014. World Cup athletes have been racing on it (hidden behind old graphics) all season and have landed on multiple podiums with it. Results like that speak for themselves.
After I tested the Speedmax skate ski I found myself comparing others products to it for the rest of the day. When I went uphill it felt like they climbed for me, and on the descents I was speeding by fellow testers without even trying. Though I’d like to think this was due to my own ability, I’m fairly certain the skis deserved most of the credit.
Watch Fischer’s promotional Speedmax video for endorsements more credible than my own:
Fischer has also made improvements to its Carbonlite skate and classic boots. They’re less bulky, more breathable, and have an antibacterial treatment on the insole to make them less stinky. Here’s Nordic Division Vice President Peter Ashley describing the new features at SIA: