Updated. Innovations That Will Shake Skiing World Next Season. Or Not

About a year ago we highlighted some of the interesting, innovative products that were/are supposed make to skiers’ lives a tiny bit better.

Let’s see what came out of it. Updates are in bold

Rottefella Xcelerator Electric
The future of cross-country is electric!! Thus declared legacy Norwegian firm Rottefella and presented the ski bindings that can be moved along the ski for better grip/glide, using tiny motors controlled via Bluetooth from a remote control on the poles.

“Our extensive experience of product development in cross-country skiing and ski bindings combined with Semcon’s technical expertise has made it possible to create a groundbreaking new product,” said Øyvar Svendsen, R&D manager at Rottefella.

Rottefella aims to produce the world’s very first electric bindings in Norway and bring them to the market in 2018. One major hurdle to clear though – it needs to be approved for use in races by the FIS. The decision is expected in May. Until now, no device using external power, no matter how small, has made it onto the cross country ski or pole. Will the Xcelerator Electric break the ice?

WHERE TO BUY & HOW MUCH?
Didn’t we say that it’s still waiting for formal approval? Were such to be granted,expect the price to be in the low hundreds of Euros. The only comparable production device on the market, Rollersafe’s rollerski with Bluetooth-controlled brakes retails for EUR 529 in Norway.


*** As many suspected, cool Xcelerator Electric were what is known in automotive industry as “showstoppers” – cool machines that won’t be mass produced. After all the Electric employed external power, tiny as it is – but specifically banned by the FIS rules, no exceptions

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Move System is a distant relative

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Swix Super Power Poling Support (SPPS)

The SPPS is an ergonomically shaped wrist support made of carbon that is meant to “increase the energy transfer from hand to the pole”. Unlike Rottefella Electric, SPPS does not use either an external source of power or any springs or coils and, therefore, does not have to be approved by the FIS for use.

Early testers gave SPPS generally positive reviews, especially when used for double-poling and/or the V2 skating technique. Their main complaint was that the SPPS tend to slip off the hand during long races– Swix, however, is planning to address it by launching gloves made specially for use with the SPPS.

WHERE TO BUY & HOW MUCH?
No price has been set, but the SPPS appears in the Swix official catalog for 2017/18 season, p.101 – a promising sign:


*** SPPS are now on the market and could be had for about 70 euros. They did not exactly revolutionized the market, but their happy users could be observed on many a mass ski race

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Well02 or “the space kettle” as it was immediately dubbed, is a device that “combines the inhalation of hot steam and in the backpressure exhalation, which exercises the muscles of the pulmonary”, as the official press-release helpfully explains.

Hapella, the Finnish company that manufactures the device, claims that it “supports the lungs through the airway opening and improves breathing”. It could even improve lung capacity, which in the long run can lead to less lactic acid for the skier.

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The Finnish cross country team have been active and happy users of the Well02 during this last season. “The machine has helped us,” explained the Finnish coach Reijo Jylhä laconically.

“The machine” was also rather heavily criticized by Norwegian and Swedish skiers and coaches alike for supposedly giving an unfair advantage, although nobody could quite point out how, as the only substance that one breathes is water vapors.

WHERE TO BUY & HOW MUCH?
Well02 is currently available only in Finland and retails for EUR 239

*** It’s now available across Europe, including on Amazon

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