XCSki Dream Job – Explained

…You obviously noticed them guys with enigmatically looking SRS letters on their bibs, that are a fixture of any FIS World Cup stage. Looking trim and fit enough to be taking part in the races themselves, they are most often seen doing what looks like interval training , visibly oblivious to the hustle & bustle around them.

Those are “company test pilots” – the people who help develop & test world’s most advanced skis at any given moment in time – and prototypes for the future big events. Their job is easy to define yet extremely difficult to implement: to make sure that their firm’s athletes have absolutely best skis at all times. The skis that will sail them to the podiums.

Today we talk to Simon Caprini, Rossignol’ senior racing manager – the man Alex Bolshunov, Pål Golberg, Emma Ribom rely upon and call friend.


Ski testing has two big subdivisions: a) testing actual athletes’ skis, typically 6 to 10 pairs for 2-3 athletes, about 20-25 pairs in total b) testing of prototypes – additional 15-16 pairs. Testing classic skis, clearly, takes longer
We need to emulate real-life racing conditions and skis’ behavior – so we need to ski fast, sometimes very fast. The difference is, the athletes run long distances while we test on loops of some 500 to 800m inclusive of uphills and downhills. After each loop we stop and make notes on special notepad, noting skis’ behavior under current conditions.
On heavy testing days we ski around 4 hours in the morning plus 2-3 hours in the evening. Total mileage? Could be 50-60 kilometres Sometimes, on an easy day it’s only 20/25k, but if it’s the day before the race. it could be longer, much longer! It is hard to know on what pulse we ski since I do not use GPS/heart rate watch while testing but it must be in zones 2/3/4 throughout the day – so it’s more like constant interval training.

May 3rd 2021 will be my anniversary at the company: 10 years. All these years I eat once a day (plus sometimes a glass of beer in the evening) I spend a lot of time away from home – testing on glaciers and ski tunnels offseason, going to the World Cup stages in the season. I drive my minivan loaded with skis some 70-75000 kilometers each year. It’s not an easy job – but it’s is a job you live for!
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