Brand Chat: Rossignol
Rossignol are consistently ahead of the ski industry curve, delivery ground breaking designs and refining them to clinch accolade upon accolade for their 7 Series. In the second of our Brand Chat series, we speak to Franz Marsan, Rossignol's Freeski Product Manager about the processes behind their production and testing...
EB: Wow, the 7 series skis certainly took the ski world by storm, do you have any idea just how many awards you won?
Franz: We don't have any numbers, but for sure, it's the most award-winning product for a long time in the Rossignol story.
EB: Obviously the skis didn't need any improving for this season, but how long did the process take from start to finish when the 7 Series was first discussed in a meeting?
Franz: Skis have been evolving for more than 100 years for Rossignol, so we are always in a process of how we can deliver better product matching the consumer's needs. For this project it took us more than 4 years, from first idea to finding the finished article in a store.
EB: With skis like these how much testing is done by Rossignol R&D staff and how much is done by sponsored freeskiers and ambassadors? Did these athletes have much say in the design process?
Franz: Our job is really to translate the consumers/athletes needs into an answer to a product. It's usually a 6 months period of testing to validate a product; athletes are involved during the last 3 months. Obviously this time it took us less time, because the first prototypes were already really good.
EB: How long into the design process were you before you realised you had created a very special set of skis, ones that are sure to reach iconic status? Did you know for sure or was it not until test results and reorders started rolling in?
Franz: As soon as we moulded some of the first prototypes we were convinced that we will bring a unique product to the market. Then you have to go through industrial issues, performance of the product, graphic creation, and more…
EB: The Air Tip is obviously a key feature of the skis, but the Powder Turn Rocker is also something that makes the skis stand out from other wide options. Can you explain a little about what it is and how it affects the skis?
Franz: When we designed the ski, we tried to react to all the freeride trends with a unique answer. Camber under foot is key for the performance on hard snow, tip and tail rocker give the product accessibility. We were also able to adjust the profile due to the Air Tip technology. In the end, it's always fine tuning between construction and profile.
EB: The range has huge appeal to lots of skier types and abilities, really opening up the wide ski category, especially with the Soul 7. Was this something you always planned, did you expect quite so many people to accept new technology and shapes so quickly?
Franz: Yes, we were feeling that the European market was ready to jump on freeride skis but narrower than 110 under foot and that the American skiers were expecting a more versatile freeride ski. It was really a growing trend but we approached it to make it accessible. That was also a part of the success.