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Völkl's Racetiger connects generations
From "Renntiger" to "Racetiger", from one generation to the next: since 1970, the Völkl Racetiger has stood for Image, Innovation & Tradition - a revolutionary ski design with its legendary zebra pattern and a success story that still resonates today, recognized by racers of all ages. In 2020, this iconic design tells a brand-new story. A story in which the ski legend meets athletic legends and tomorrow's up-and-coming stars.
Enter former Italian World Cup ski racer, Giorgio Rocca, World Cup bronze medal winner in slalom, and skiing legend Manfred Pranger, slalom world champion from 2009, and their children Francesco and Giaccomo Rocca along with Mario and Laura Pranger, who were all involved in the process of developing the new Racetiger SL R Junior.
They tested one of the final stages of development of the new junior ski together under real training conditions in Livigno, Italy. Their feedback and the experience and observations of their legendary parents were given directly to the Völkl engineers on location, and flowed straight into the final product. This put the "icing on the cake" in terms of finishing touches.
The next chapter began at the beginning of 2020 when they were joined by Swiss skiing legend Sonja Nef (15 World Cup wins, Olympic bronze and giant slalom world champion in 2001) and her two daughters, Sophia and Anna. They put the Racetiger SL Junior through its paces in the Flumserberg area, in the south of the canton of St. Gallen. It was another milestone in Völkl’s development and its Next Generation story.
Also present as an expert at Flumserberg: Martin Kurath, U16-U18 ski coach at the Davos Sports Academy, who together with Sonja Nef took a close look at the performance of the Racetiger SL JR. “I think when you make a good youth ski, it responds easily because it’s not too hard and of course the kids don’t have that much strength yet. But this can’t be at the expense of stability. The advantage with Völkl is that the ski flexes nicely, you have good grip, but it’s still stable,” says Sonja Nef about the new Racetiger SL Junior.
After a successful day of testing on Flumserberg involving lots of training sessions and plenty of lively exchanges between the kids, Sonja Nef, Martin Kurath and the Völkl developers, one thing was clear: the interplay of experience, of young and old alike, works as the key to success. Sonja Nef summed up after a successful day of skiing: “When I watch my daughters skiing, I can sense the joy they get out of it. Just because I love skiing doesn’t mean they have to. But they do. They enjoy skiing with their club and their friends – training, but also just having fun. I think that’s very important.”
And the journey continued... Next stop: USA
Italy, Austria, Switzerland and now the United States of America – Völkl’s Next Generation Story is unstoppable. The Racetiger project not only connects generations, it knows no borders: US ex-World Cup ski racer Erik Schlopy (World Cup bronze medallist in giant slalom and five-time US champion) can look back on one of the longest and most successful careers in the history of US ski racing. He has passed on the experience he gained in over 18 years as an elite ski racer to his two children Spider and Skye. But not just to them. He also fed it into the process of developing Völkl’s new Racetiger GS Junior as part of the Next Generation Story.
“As a former Olympic athlete and father of two young ski racers, I realised that it’s never too early to choose the right equipment. The ideal combination of boot and ski helps children get on the right track and not only develop their technique, but also gain more confidence. We’re delighted to be part of the MDV family,” says Erik Schlopy about the Next Generation project.
Former Italian World Cup ski racer, Giorgio Rocca, World Cup bronze medal winner in slalom, with his kids Francesco and Giaccomo Rocca
THE NEW Racetiger SL R Junior
Völkl has always been actively involved in working with young talents and places great emphasis on fostering them. Even when it comes to the development of new products for junior racing, the younger generation plays a decisive, leading role. It is in our aim to involve these young talents in the development process and work with them to create skis that perform on the race course.
The development of a ski is a lengthy process that goes through many stages. Each person involved brings different ideas and expectations into the process that need to be taken into account.
"Racetiger - The Next Generation" sums up how we have taken a unique turn in the development of the new Racetiger SL R Junior. By bringing former Völkl World Cup athletes, their children who are themselves racers, Völkl's engineers, and the product management team together, the first part of an amazing story came about - a story that is far from over.
THE NEW Racetiger GS R Junior
A new body has been developed for the Racetiger GS JR ski for the 2021/22 season, as it was last year for the Racetiger SL JR. A new sidecut combined with a more direct shovel response mean the GS Junior provides more support when initiating turns. The process is also assisted by a new thickness profile, which results in a modified flex in the Racetiger GS Junior.
What makes the Racetiger Junior ski so special? Each length is carefully balanced in elaborate test processes together with junior skiers at different stages of development (weight and skiing ability). The ski is then set up so that it works for both strong and the not-so-strong skiers. Although the same materials are always used, they differ in thickness, quantity and proportions, depending on the length of the ski. The proportion of beech and poplar in the wood core can be adjusted, or the thickness of the Titanal and the amount of glass in the ski varied.
A completely new ski body was developed for the new Racetiger Junior. New sidecuts provide more support for turn initiation. Each length was also individually tailored to the different levels of development in terms of the children's weight and skiing skills. In each case two children of different sizes and with very good or average skiing skills tested the individual lengths. This allowed each ski to be individually designed in terms of construction, so that it works for both strong and not-so-strong skiers. Although the same materials were used for all constructions, each length differs in terms of the thickness, quantity and proportion of material used.
In addition, the new setup combines three key technologies: Torsionally Soft Tip Technology, Marker’s new X-Comp 12 Binding, and a new race plate. The first of these provides direct, accurate and reliable ski tip response for easy turn initiation and greater agility. The modified hole pattern in the toe piece of the X-Comp binding (reduced from four to three screws) makes the ski more forgiving and allows for more forgiving, gradual turn entry. In addition, the Race Interface Plate provides an even flex and harmonious grip while providing direct edge response and power transmission.