Rocker technology has revolutionized ski design over the past five years, to the point that almost every pair of big mountain or all-terrain boards on the market are now built with some level of reverse camber.
But the innovation has been slow to spread in frontside skis designed for hardpack, groomers and moguls. Which is surprising, given that World Cup downhill ski designers looking to ease turn initiation without sacrificing edge hold were just as important in proving the technology’s worth as the late great freeskier Shane McConkey, rocker’s original powder proponent.
All of that changes, however, in the fall of 2012, as many manufacturers introduce reverse camber-infused carving skis that in some cases will be touted as the brand’s vector product. Designed for ex-racers, ski instructors, and edge driving lift jockeys from Vail to Vermont, these are skiing’s new breed of sports cars, with the next generation of hold and quickness. Here are six new skis for next season that caught our eye at the Gear Institute.
K2 bet hard on rocker two seasons ago, becoming the first major manufacturer to add some level of rocker to every ski they make. This fall, they unveil the Bolt (125/72/99), utilizing what the brand is calling Rox Technology, a mix of Speed Rocker and a new Carbon Web Placement. As K2 global marketing manager Mike Gutt told the SIA Snow Show Daily regarding the ski, “Speed Rocker allows us to create a level of turn initiation that wouldn’t otherwise be possible with a ski this torsionally rigid.”
Blizzard’s Flipcore technology was the talk of the freeskiing community this year, with a pre-shaped reverse camber core that helped speed sales of skis like the Bodacious and Cochise. Next season, Blizzard’s frontside Magnum Series (80 and 85mm underfoot) will get the Flipcore treatment.
As Rossignol vice president of marketing and communications Tait Wardlaw likes to say, “A little bit of rocker goes a long way.” Rossi’s new Pursuit HP Ti (125/81/111) is the proof, pairing subtle tip rocker with traditional camber underfoot, as well as a new Diamond Tip for precision carving on the hardpack.
For skiers who still want to fine-tune their rocker experience, Fischer is unveiling the Hybrid, which features an aluminum band that can be tightened to raise the tip, thereby increasing the amount of rocker that they want.
Nordica’s new Transfire line, which will debut with a line of Transfire boots, features what the brand is calling an extended “Transfer Zone” in the shovel for a more even feel from the tip to the midsection. There are four new skis in the line, including the Transfire 78Ti, 78Ca, 74 and 75.
Volkl’s big story in frontside skis is called “V-Werks,” which features a new construction of Metal-Tex titanal for torsional rigidity, and a Motion iPT Hollow Tech binding and Xtra-Light wood core for less weight. It debuts in the V-Werks RTM 84, and the V-Werks Code (122/76/104).