the Alpine Ski World Cup has just come to a close and the Rossignol Race Department teams are busy behind the scenes. For them, as well as for the Band of Heroes athletes, the season is far from over. In fact, it's the chance to take advantage of the great snow conditions and test next season's equipment. There's lots of work to be done, including ski and slope preparation, tests, bootfitting, timekeeping, and debriefing.
One week before the tests:
The bottom of the Langes slope in Tignes has been reserved for the occasion. It's not a competition area, but its varied profile is ideal. Before being able to ski, we have to prepare it perfectly. Does the slope need to be injected (water added to the slope)? Is it cold enough? So many questions need to be addressed in order to ensure the best possible snow conditions and obtain consistent and impartial test results.
Tuesday 21 March 2022:
Start of the ski tests.
It's early in the morning, but we need to set up the route and smooth it.
The athletes arrive on the slope and receive a briefing on the morning's proceedings.
We explain the new developments in the equipment, so they can decide what to choose.
The aim is to find the best-performing skis and shoes, with the glide/grip/comfort ratio being taken into account.
Start of the tests and multiple runs for Zan and Loïc.
Between each round, we do a quick debrief at the bottom of the slope to assess the athlete's thoughts on the equipment they're testing.
Zan and Loïc will test different pairs of skis several times so that, depending on the change in snow conditions and their energy levels, the tests are as thorough as possible.
Each run is timed and filmed, which gives us an idea of which equipment is performing the best.
“End of season ski tests are an opportunity to start the new season in the best possible way. Developing material towards what didn't work the last season but also technically to have the best possible base before the summer break!”
Another debrief after the morning rush and the different teams confer with each other in order to give as much detail as possible on the results obtained. This leads to a few tweaks being made to the preparations, and the Rossignol Research and Development department make adjustments to the ski designs. This is an important phase in racing ski design.
“Ski tests are quite important. Especially for first feedback. For sure you need to test more by yourself on different snow to get more information.”
The afternoon is dedicated to recovery and more discussions between the technicians and all the Rossignol Race Department teams. Video analyses are made for each run, allowing us to assess the techniques and equipment.
During this time, the bootfitters thermoform the boots and adapt the shells to the shape of each foot. Meanwhile, the ski technicians wax and sharpen each pair for the next day.
Time for dinner and a chance for the teams to chat and spend time together, because skiing is also about moments of sharing.
"The spring tests mark the end of racing season, but also the start of the next season. The racers have just finished the World Cup so their skiing level is at its best and their sensations are still heightened, so we like to take this opportunity to test the latest developments created by our R&D team. Following the feedback given throughout the season by the athletes, our engineers have made new developments in our various products: skis, boots, bindings, and interfaces.
Stéphane MOUGIN – Rossignol Group Race Department Head