More than a basic Element

Image:More than a basic Element
25. Dec, 2018 Written by: Vid Baruca
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Members of the Ski Association of Slovenia demonstration team keep in close contact with the ski industry. New materials and new ski technologies help us a lot in our work. We could say that the technique of skiing has been revised many times over the years just because of developments in ski technology. Just think of deep sidecut skis that turned not only skiing technique on its head but also teaching techniques and the entire perception of the sport.

On my ski days I almost always use the Elan GSX. I also bring a set of Ripsticks just in case the sky decides to dump half a meter of fresh powder overnight. There is nothing like carving up fresh snow during the rare free time I get on the mountain. During the season I also carry test skis that I lend to my ski instructor candidates. When they tried out the new Element line the response was overwhelming. The ski is not built just for less experienced skiers. It is an amazing tool for anybody who wants to have fun on the slopes without having to work hard in the off season. The Element is a beautifully intuitive ski, perfectly balanced and stable even at higher speeds, so it is appropriate for a very wide spectrum of users.

Let me share the story of how me and the Element got to know each other. We were shooting a promotional video for Elan. The crew gathered on a glacier in Austria to shoot videos for the entire ski range. The entire ski team was made up of professional skiers and we were tasked with shooting a segment for the Element on a particularly hard piste that froze completely overnight. We shared some concerned glances in the morning, doubtful about the ski’s ability to handle the ice. After the first turn I felt the ski follow me without a twitch. In fact, I could initiate turns with ease and the ski would not let go even when I ramped up the speed. It would maintain grip even as I leaned it over far beyond any reasonable limits. I stopped to check on the other skiers and they too were all smiles, saying: “What did they put in these skis to be so light and so stable?” After a day of fun we all agreed that a day of shooting on the Element can be just as much fun as a day of free skiing with friends.

So what is on the inside?

After returning to the factory, we asked the development team, the “parents” of the Element, about the technology behind the line. They were happy to share all the secrets. The main three technologies behind the ski’s characteristics are: Groove technology, Power Shell and a parabolic profile augmented by Rocker technology. Let’s take it one at a time. Every skier that steps on the Element needs just two turns to feel as though they have been skiing on it forever. This is the result of Groove technology that assures that the skier is always placed in the most balanced position - a problem shared by most skiers, from beginners through to the best racers. We need only take a look off the chairlift at skiers below to see that most skiers share the same problem, an unbalanced position.

The Element solves that problem through its shape. The ski shape is milled out during production in such a way that it offers linear flex and easy control throughout every turn. A parabolic rocker profile adds to the ride with the tip inviting the skier into the turn and the parabolic sidecut helping to easily carry speed through the entire turn. This combination is perfect for supporting the development of individual skiing technique. When the speed increases, as it is bound to due to the fun and confidence inspiring nature of the ski, the Power Shell construction steps into play. A combination of wood and CAP reinforcement running edge to edge spread the forces evenly across the entire length of the ski and onto the edges. The Power Shell construction carries no extra weight, allowing the skis to remain lightweight and packed with technology, ready for when we want to take that extra step. When snow turns to ice and speeds increase even further, fiberglass reinforcements in the Element grant high speed stability and make sure that every turn is as safe as possible. That is why I use the Element as a teaching tool. Skiers have a lot on their hands when learning to ski, so it is very helpful to use skis that lend a helping hand and not complicate matters further.

During summer training sessions, I gave the skis to racers to test and they were overwhelmed by just how much lean angle they could get with a minimal investment of energy. The final test of the skis was when I gave them to my wife. She is an experienced skier who uses skis for fun and teaching children. She happily said that her current slalom skis have been relegated to special opportunities duty and that the Element is her mainstay from here on out.

The Element truly is a ski for all types of skiers. Less experienced ones will enjoy Groove technology and the Parabolic Rocker profile for its ease of turn initiation and constant stability while experienced skiers appreciate the Power Shell construction that assures unyielding support through even the most powerful carving turns.

After my experience with the ski, I always take a set of Elements with me. When my ski instructor candidates ask me about testing skis, I take out the Elements first. As it is Elan’s entry level ski, people always give me funny looks as if to say, hey, I’m an advanced skier, give me something I can use. But it is always great fun to see how enthusiastic really good skiers become about the Element and refuse give them back very quickly.

About the author

If we had to describe Vid Baruca with a single word, the choice would be simple: Skier! How else could you describe somebody who collects 220 ski days in a year. For Vid winter is not a time of the year, it’s a way of life. His winter takes up two thirds of each year. In the 2107/18 season he skied all around the world, Central Europe, Norway, North America, the Balkans ... Vid is a member of Ski Association of Slovenia’s demonstration team, a group of skiers tasked with educating new personnel, studying and developing ski technique and working with upcoming competitors. He is fully aware of the responsibility and is more than happy to share his wealth of knowledge with others.

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