Skiing made easy with Atomic Savor

Jan 25, 2019 By Amer Sports team 4 min read

With a long tradition and around 50 million participants around the world, alpine skiing is a well-established winter sport. One could presume that it is pretty hard to find an entirely new product concept for a large group of skiers. However, that is precisely what Atomic has done. Innovative Savor skis and boots offer beginners and intermediate skiers more benefits than any other products in the market, opening up a whole new business opportunity for Atomic.

New Savor skis, boots and helmets are designed to make skiing easy. They help beginners and intermediate skiers gain confidence, learn faster and enjoy the skiing experience to the fullest.

The Savor products will hit the market with full power before the season 2019/20. Herbert Buchsteiner, business unit director for alpine skis and bindings at Atomic, is already excited.

“So far, nobody in the skiing industry has offered beginners and intermediate skiers a dedicated product line. We are at least one year ahead of other ski brands.”

Ease of use, comfort, and confidence

What kind of equipment do beginners and intermediate skiers really need? That was the big question Atomic wanted to solve.

The planning team in Altenmarkt started by looking at the megatrends in the society. Three of them are relevant to the skiing industry: mobility, sharing, and convenience.

The combined impact of these trends has already shaped the industry. Recreational skiers tend to rent their equipment rather than buying it. Already over 50% of the Alpine equipment goes to rental operators.

To get first-hand consumer insights, the team interviewed almost 400 beginners and intermediate skiers in the Austrian ski resorts.

The interviews revealed that skiers mostly want to have a good time in the mountains: enjoy the snow, sunshine, good company, and maybe a nice Austrian Kaiserschmarrn in the hut.

Ease of use, comfort and a confident feeling in the descent are the most important criteria in choosing skiing equipment. Moreover, all skiers want the equipment to look cool.

“We quickly realized that we have a whole new business opportunity in our hands,” recalls Buchsteiner. “Existing products simply did not respond to the needs of these skiers.”

Skis with a triple sidecut

When the team had a clear understanding of the target group, the actual design phase began.

“We wanted to get rid of all traditional barriers that makes skiing inconvenient. We wanted to make skiing easy but also offer help for walking, carrying the skis, and standing in the lift queues”, Buchsteiner points out.

In a nutshell, the Savor skis are very user-friendly on-piste skis. They are light, and thus power-saving. A moderate sidecut in the tip and tail makes turn initiation effortless. A little bit more sidecut in the middle section ensures that skiers can carve when they want to. The grip on icy slopes is as good as in racing skis. As an extra feature, the skis have a particular grip zone that makes carrying them easier.

Boots for walking and skiing

In boots, comfort was the number one design target. Alternatively, as Buchsteiner puts it: “Happy feet make you a better skier.”

In the boot design, Atomic took learnings from the backcountry world.

The wall thickness of the Savor boots was reduced to make them as light as possible. A particular cuff construction makes it super easy to step–in into the boot. When the cuff is loosened, it moves towards the rear to add walking mobility. The grip sole makes walking easy and prevents slipping while walking on snow.

The comfort is instant and individual. In certain models, fit can be adjusted by pumping air directly inside the liner.

Helmets and goggles combined

To finalize the Savor concept, Atomic designed an entirely new helmet.

The Savor Visor helmet combines helmet and goggles. The visor maximizes the field of vision, and the exclusive HD lens technology offers high contrast. “When you see better, you ski better,” Buchsteiner points out. Helmets are also 100% compatible with prescription glasses.

Closer to rentals and ski schools

Savor is not only an equipment concept. It is also an entirely new business model.

Atomic has already started close co-operation with the most influential ski schools and rental operators in Austria, Canada, the United States, and Japan. To find out what the real end users think about the new concept, Atomic equipped them with a full product range already in during winter 2017.

The results were overwhelming.

“We got confirmation that our ideas work. The skiers felt a big difference – how easy it was to ski, how little power they needed and how confident they felt going down the mountain. Moreover, they didn´t get tired. They were able to ski the whole day long. They wanted to buy the skis immediately.”

This winter, Atomic continues to work with rentals and retailers.

“We will offer them seeding products already this winter prior the booking season. We want to make sure that the operators can get a proof of the concept with the real end consumers.”

Ski schools play a significant role.

“We identified very early that ski instructors are critical for us. Savor products make teaching easier, and the clients learn faster. I believe that the skis schools already see this potential.”

“All in all, Savor will be a big thing,” Buchsteiner concludes.

Photo credits:
Atomic / Christoph Schöch, Georg Wallner