Good Gracious Almighty! What Has Atomic Gone And Done Now?
Atomic is to classic marathons what Ferrari is to Formula One. For the last thirty years, the long distance events have been dominated by Atomic athletes and the tenacious Austrian ski company is not about to let that change. Atomic’s racing focus has always been on the Marathons because these are the races that have proven to be the best testing ground for equipment. For the next two months, the world’s top nordic retailers will be reviewing and testing one of the most innovative and successful classic race skis ever made.
What do skiers want out of a classic ski? They want fast glide and they want easy grip. Traditionally, fast glide meant a stiff classic ski that was hard to kick. And easy grip meant a soft ski with kick wax that might drag. Atomic’s Roman Toferer and his crew of artful rascals scoffed at this old rule of thumb. They came up with a classic ski that glides as if you forgot to put on the kick wax, yet the kick is extremely easy and you will feel like you are kicking down a compliant touring ski.
How does it work? How does this ski obtain such fast glide with such an easy kick? It was not easy and the testing has taken many years. Atomic created a highly elastic insert made of ABS that is placed in the kick zone of the new ski. Strips of carbon with high rebound qualities are laminated above the ABS. This makes the kick zone a very strong bridge that keeps the grip wax riding well above the snow. Even though the skis have a low camber, the kick stays high during the glide phase. This means the pressure zones in front of and behind the kick zone are static, their location does not change. The end result is that there is no drag at all on the part of the kick wax. However, the elastic qualities of the ABS allow the ski to be easily collapsed without much pressure during the kick. It is surprisingly easy to get the kick down and have excellent grip. Go out with your friends, you will still be getting kick on a steep uphill when they are all switching to herringbone. Get in a tuck coming down that hill and you will still be gliding while they are standing up and double poling. The new ski is simply called the WORLDCUP CLASSIC SDS. The SDS stands for SHORT DISTANCE STEP.
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Audrey Mangan (@audreymangan) is an Associate Editor at FasterSkier and lives in Colorado. She learned to love skiing at home in Western New York.