GeneralNewsProduct NewsTechThe Fischer Hole Ski

FasterSkier FasterSkierSeptember 1, 200921

The Fischer Hole Ski was one of the hottest pieces of equipment to be released on the World Cup last winter… now you can add a pair to your ski bag.

A PDF version of this press release is available by clicking on the following link: Fischer Hole Ski

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  • Avatar
    Cloxxki

    September 1, 2009 at 8:35 am

    Lighter, yes – faster, sure.
    But really, but how much? 5g per ski. Ever held 5 grams of water in your hand? You’ll be shocked how little it is.
    I’ll wager $10 that no-one can tell a bucket with 500g of water from a bucket with 505g. That’s what we’re talking about here. Who can tell 1%? Do the calcs how much 10g is of your total package. For me, just over 0.01%.

    I could ahve bought them in Austria last January, and almost did. So pretty, and the regular Carbonlites rode so nice…

  • Avatar
    Eric123

    September 1, 2009 at 9:15 am

    I agree with the above comment. Almost no one who spends the extra money for these skis will realize any added benefit. I suspect they will not be around forever but will be looked back upon as another gimmicky innovation that didn’t quite pan out.

  • Avatar
    Martin Hall

    September 1, 2009 at 10:13 am

    OK guys, I’ve seen all of the changes from the early ’70s until now ( the modern period of skiing)—so, here are my thoughts–SOMEHOW WE JUST KEEP GOING FASTER—it won’t be like in the early part of the period with the grooming changes, the poles going to carbon, the synthetic skis, cambering, the wax changes, etc—the minutes came off—but now the changes are small and we keep taking the seconds off the per kilometer times.
    On these skis, and I’m no physicist, I don’t know inertia or moments of force—I know the terms and I’m sure they apply, but that 5 grams in each ski you guys are so hung up on is about 30 inches forward of the boot and binding and that is what makes me think there is a difference. So, when you start moving that ski back and forth laterally with the skating movement, how many thousands of times in a race, I’m sure a physicist or some kind of numbers guy is going to be able to tell you much less weight you moved over the course of a 5, 10 30 and 50 km race. On top of that he may be able to give you your ability to how much faster you can move it laterally, back and forth. Two to 3 seconds faster in a sprint race could mean qualifying, winning a heat or the gold medal—can you take the chance!!!!
    Here is one for you—at the xc facility at WOP— a 5km test was done with the same pair of skis on one of the courses there—with a different grind on the skis for the 2 trips around the course with this pair of skis waxed with the same wax each time—the time differential was 1 (yes, one) minute!!! Don’t forget to get your skis ground for this year.
    So, I don’t think you want to be so quick to throw this idea in the trash can. We’ll just have to wait and see if the top guys are actually using them. It is sort of like buying the zero degree skis—there will be days you’ve got to have them and days they won’t be so hot.
    I’ll give them a thumbs up until they’re proven to not have a benefit in producing faster times. Like I say, we just keep going faster!

  • Avatar
    jmeserve

    September 1, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Looks like less money for USSA an the U.S. Ski Team again this year.

  • Avatar
    Tim Kelley

    September 1, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Marty, What you say makes sense. But I think the bigger issue here is consumer apprehension of potential ski company marketing BS. Yes – ski equipment evolution has allowed the sport to get faster. But the industry also has a history of “revolutional” products that turned out to be marketing gimmicks, and are now mostly forgotten. Examples: the Kneissl dial-a-camber skis, the RSS “kangaroo” poles, the Swix paddle grips, the Atomic ski top dimples.

    Fischer in particular is notorious for marketing blitzes in the past for products that eventually fall by the wayside. Remember the Fischer driven short ski “revolution” and how these skis were just as fast as long skis but were lighter and would cause less fatigue for racers? They don’t make ‘em any more. Remember the “revolutionary” hour glass Fischer “Skate cut” ski that we had to have if we wanted to race faster? Elite racers said “give me a break”, stopped using them and these “shape” skis are now gone.

    When it comes to holes in ski tips you have to ask if this is fashion or function. Fischer had holes in their Alpine skis 15 years ago. Then they plugged the holes. Now the holes are back in their Alpine skis. Their Alpine marketing seems to drive their Nordic marketing – so it doesn’t seem too surprising that holes are also in their Nordics skis now.

    I won’t argue that lighter isn’t better. But to pay $650 (plus stonegrinding and bindings) for a pair of skis that are a mere 5 grams lighter that the skis you have now – seems to be a marginal gain for a very high cost. If holes in Nordic ski tips truly prove to be the way to go then it would be very easy to make your own. Drill a one inch hole above a 1 ¼ inch hole in the ski tip and then use a Dremel tool to complete the cut-out. In 10 minutes you would have pair of hole skis, for free.

  • Avatar
    Eric123

    September 1, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    While we’re on the subject of weight, I’m very surprised there hasn’t been more innovation in binding materials-like using carbon fiber or kevlar. Boots have become lighter, but Pilot bindings are still using steel and seem a little heavy when compared with all of these ultra light skis. Tim- that do it yourself tip was pretty funny- thanks!

  • Avatar
    Cloxxki

    September 1, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    Indeed. POUNDS can be saved on bindings and boots.
    And, it’s no big secret that all-carbon skis of 800g can be commissioned. Sure, some break, but how’s that for 10x the weight advantage of the Hole Skis?

  • Avatar
    Zaatar

    September 1, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    What if a big iceball forms at the end? How fast will we all be then?

  • Avatar
    Ben Page

    September 1, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    If we decide that we can get away with a gaping hope in the tip of our skis, then what is the point of having a ski tip at all? I don’t understand the point of the little bit of carbon outlining a big hole in the tip. why not get rid of it altogether?

    Also, I understand the concept of swing weight, but I don’t think that the best skaters are really swinging their tips around. I would bet that the angle between the two skis remains more or less the same throughout the course of a stride which would make swing weight much less important.

  • Avatar
    natron

    September 1, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    I have actually skied on hole skis on snow and worked with them quite a bit carrying them around in the shop, grinding, etc. Revolutionary? No, but they are certainly an evolutionary improvement. The reduced weight at the tip is noticeable on your foot while skiing and moving the ski around in your hands.

    Fischer still makes the “old” tip, so if you don’t want to risk icing, stop complaining and buy the solid tip. I’m glad that someone is actually making progress with development in the industry.

    In terms of cutting down the tip to nothing, FIS has rules regarding tip shape and how high the tip must stand off the snow. Aside from the obvious that if you cut the tip down too much you will catch the front of the ski in the snow and fall down….

    Ski manufacturing is a pretty amazing process and after seeing it up close in the Fischer, Madshus and Atomic factories, I’m amazed that we have skis for under $1000. The amount of engineering, testing and machinery required to make changes in production are impressive, so it is a good thing to see companies making investments in development under the current economic conditions and after several terrible winters in Europe.

    Yes, this is not a huge revolution. But it appears to be an improvement, judging by the quick adoption on the World Cup.

  • Avatar
    Tim Kelley

    September 1, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    If you look at Fischer’s current Alpine GS racing skis you will see that they took off weight in the back of the ski (the V tail) to counter the lost weight of the hole in the tip. This makes sense – the ski will be balanced.

    But with Fischer’s Nordic hole skis they reduced mass in the tip, but they don’t say that they reduced mass in the tail. Now they have a ski with a tail end that has an increased effective moment arm. If that’s the case, then the ski should wobble more when it is picked up off the snow after a push-off, not less. This could be fixed by moving the binding back a bit. But, assuming the hole and the non-hole RCS’s are made on the same mold – that would deter the optimal binding mount location for the targeted ski flex from that mold.

    So – it sure seems Fischer needs to trim some weight off the back of their hole skis. Maybe make a V tail, like their Alpine hole skis. They could probably trim 5 grams off in the back to balance the hole in the tip. But of course – they wouldn’t want to trim weight off the front and back of the ski the same year. That would be a bad marketing plan. It’s better to get people to buy a $650 dollar pair of skis with a hole in the tip this year. And a $700 dollar pair of better balanced skis with holes in the tip AND tail next year. Better for Fischer that is.

    What will be really funny – is if in the future Fischer comes out with hole plugs for their hole skis. So if you are racing a mass start or spring heats and you don’t want your tips broken or a ski pole run through them, or you don’t want them icing … then you just clip in a 300 dollar set of Fischer ski tip hole plugs! That would be laughably ironic.

    PS to Nate: “Quick adoption on the World Cup”. Translation: “WC skiers use the new stuff because they are paid to use the new stuff whether it’s better or not.”

  • FasterSkier
    FasterSkier

    September 1, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    Tim – Your PS is incorrect. World Cup skiers are not paid to race on any specific pair of skis. It is common to see a top skier like Northug finish a race on an old pair of skis – sometimes 5-6 years old – and be handed a new model to hold on the podium. World Cup racers are paid to race on a brand, not a specific model. They are also paid to endorse specific models. But they race on what is fastest.

    If lots of World Cup skiers are actually racing on new equipment like the Hole Ski, it means they think they will help them win races.

  • Avatar
    Cloxxki

    September 2, 2009 at 2:51 am

    Yes! I’ve on live TV seen a skier win a race on regular Carbonlites, and kiss a pair of Hole Skis before they had even taken off the former. And, those wins were usually not “just”, even sprint WC wins with no-one-else-on-the-finish-foto. Such athletes didn’t even NEED faster skis to dominate. They need just the right grind and flex, I suppose.

    I do agree that skis are overly CHEAP for what they are. And, I would REALLY want to pay more for them, if I could be more impressed with their made-to-fit features. Skis are so personal, getting YOUR pair of skis seems to be the hardest part. And then, for every kind of snow you’ll ever face.
    Skis are now so mass-produced, with considerable “coincidental” manufacturing variances… I’d gladly pay triple for a ski shaped and sized the way I want them to. IF they are of Carbonlite quality, that is.

    I have some revolutionary ski designs on the drawing board that should really boost ski speeds and easy of use. Not so sure that the UCI will appreciate them (skis would become more of a machine than a flexing plank), but the buying public who makes the numbers and price for top skis possible, may not really care. They want to glide well, corner comfortably, and have easy speed control. These 3 do not exist in any “usual” ski. Not even 2, for less than experienced skiers. Surely such skis would need to cost well north of $1000. But hey, ever tried to buy a decent mountainbike at $650? Those that are somewhat nice, usually have lots of <1970’s technology and 1890’s complexity.

    I have bought and built bikes well over $5000 to get an edge. I would certainly spen $1500 on a pair of skis if I could make a real improvement in my lap times on them. You’ll not easily reach the point of unfair rich kid competition, when you don’t have a big number of skis between which you regularly switch.

  • Avatar
    Mike Trecker

    September 2, 2009 at 7:46 am

    Just for the record, I have seen these hole skis used live in races to success. I’m not a fan but it seems they got the flex right if nothing else because they do appear to be fast. I believe both Kikkan and Andrew Newell have used these in races and are happy with them. Still, the SPEED of the ski has nothing to do with the holes in the tips and I believe the racers still go for the flat out speed versus anything else unless perhaps it’s the climbing stage of the Tour de Ski.

  • Avatar
    donpollari

    September 2, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    “…the racers still go for the flat out speed versus anything else unless perhaps it’s the climbing stage of the Tour de Ski.”

    You’ve got that right MT.

    In reality, “marginal gain” sums up most advances in ski technology. Is there a benefit – yes, reduced swingweight. Is there a cost? Yes again – at the very least, pricepoint will increase. In the longer term, the test of time will be the final judge.

    When this reality meets “marketing hype” some feathers can get ruffled.

  • Avatar
    bert@webskis.com

    September 2, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    As way of introduction, I work at a shop where we sell Fischer, Madshus and Salomon. Fischer supplied me with two pairs of new skis to test for this coming season, the Hole Ski and the Carbonlite Soft Track skis. Both pairs had Plus bases and warm snow grinds. I had a chance to test the skis at Mt Bachelor in late April and May. I skied on cold groomed snow, warm (near 0C) old groomed snow, 2 inches new warm snow on top of old snow and snow thawing in the May sun. I spent about 90 minutes total on each pair of skis. As you might expect, the Carbonlite Soft Track skis were much better in any soft snow conditions. The Hole skis I had skied very well in the hard snow conditions. I skied about 5km with a Hole ski on one foot and a Soft Track on the other foot and there was a noticeable difference. The Hole ski was lighter, noticeable mostly when transfering weight and moving the ski under me for the next stride. On the hard snow it felt good on a steep uphill in V1. The Hole skis had a higher camber profile and were a bit stiffer than the Soft Track skis. The Soft Track skis have the Carbonlite components, but a lower profile and softer flex, much like some of my fast older Fischer RCS skis. After skiing on these two new skis, I would be happy to have a pair of Hole skis for exactly what they are intended for, well groomed snow set up firm and not too cold. I don’t think I would use them in a mass start. I would select the right ski for the race and conditions. The Hole ski is not something that everyone should run out and buy. They are a specific ski for specific conditions. We will continue to see people skiing on old skis that are fast. The ski was noticeably lighter when compared to the Soft Track. That could be a good thing.

  • Avatar
    prairiekid

    September 2, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    Last year all ski companies came out with something new. The most noticeable being the Fischer hole in the ski. Which was done back in 1976 for Kestrel Downhill skis and you no longer see that development in the DH world. Does it have an application… maybe but Madshus came out with there new ski but it went much less noticed. Instead of cutting a hole in the tip they simply cut the tip of the ski off. If you see a new pair the ski tip is very low to the ground and a pair of 190 cm measures much more like a 185cm but has the same amount of ski touching the ground as a 190cm from the previous years. It does seems at times like the tip would want to catch the ground but they they are made for groomed race trails and I have not had any issues yet. Those of us on Madshus on my team that received some Madshus at 2009 WCH last year have nicknamed them Stubbies because of the shorter tip, and they are faster and edge better then previous years and we don’t have to worry about breaking the “hole in the tip” so easily as I saw in a few cases at WCH last year.

  • Avatar
    mnfinnkidd

    September 3, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    First thing is that you don’t want to cut a hole in your regular carbonlites. The CF that they use in the tip of the hole ski is different from the regular. So most likely you would crack your tip. Second, MSRP is exactly want it means. Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price. I doubt you will have shops actually selling it for full MSRP in the store. Online prices may reflect msrp because of minimum advertised pricing rules. Revolution, no. Evolution, yes. Are you saying that if there was only a $30 difference in going 1 sec/Km faster, you wouldn’t take it? I would.

  • Avatar
    caldxski

    September 6, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    Well, I went to Dartmouth in the late ‘40’s and one of the logos used by the college at that time had written on it, “Vox clamantis in deserto.” I’m just smart enough now to know that applies to me, but here goes anyway.

    I have no disagreements with anything that has been written above about the “new” ski design. However, I have always found it amazing that there is such an outpouring over highly technical xc matters when, in my opinion, there are more important issues to deal with in order to improve our lot in the US.

    All the best equipment, best grinds, best wax, best running order, etc. will do a racer little good if he/she is not trained well and doesn’t know how to ski. People who have watched races with me will verify that most of the time, when I see someone ski by, I simply say, “She/he can’t ski.” By that I mean the skier’s technqiue is not good enough to be a medallist, even here in the States. For example, I watched a SuperTour Race in Vermont last winter and on a significant uphill I saw three females who had acceptable, even good technqiue. The rest of the field (200?) couldn’t ski.

    And so I say, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had enough people who could apply their expertise–as those who made comments about ski design above–to enabling our skiers to train better and ski better. After that we could begin to pay more attention to the new technology in whatever form it appears.

  • Avatar
    caldxski

    September 6, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    Sorry–reading this over I realized I misstyped “technique” 2x.

  • Avatar
    OldManWinter

    October 1, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    “…to a man with a hammer, every solution looks like a nail…”

    Likewise, I always find it amazing when grizzly old coaches advocate technique as “the way”. 50% of the above solution is correct…but its the motor that really matters. With streaming web video, it is easy to observe top international stars ski the WC, cycling the Tour or running Boston…and in some cases approaching it very differently on the exact same portion of the course. Even the Japanese have beaten us! My own years of coaching have taught me that there are a lot of very different ways of going fast that play to one’s strengths and individual physiological differences. Past the point where certain fundamentals have been mastered, there is no ‘correct’ way to ski, cycle or run. If you are truly interested in helping the American program, you should direct your considerable knowledge, energy and industry contacts into finding a way where the USST can attract and retain top endurance athletes (ie: Ben True, a huge natural talent that never should have been allowed to get away), rather than tearing down the best efforts of those with lesser ability that are trying to go as fast as they can.

    However this was about the hole ski, guaranteed to (if nothing else) put a hole in your pocket. 5g per ski? Give me a break. I can give up dessert and lose that almost overnight. I have to agree with the above, that it is more marketing bs from Fischer that will soon have a place in their hall of fame next to their skatecuts (another p.o.s. from them). There are probably fewer than a dozen people on the planet that can appreciate that weight difference. 5g amounts to a spot of extra epoxy on a dated design which still, to this day, is largely resin reinforced paper and balsa wood. They have a lot of nerve. Even at the (ahem) lower price points, the retail cost of this stuff is beginning to rival downhill equipment…and it isn’t nearly as durable. This shouldn’t matter to me, as I have the option not to buy it. But for a lot of families that have to face these expenses, it sure does make winter track look appealing. Fools and their money though…come on, we are counting on you to buy those hole skis and pull us out of this recession…

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