Touring skis are designed for ski mountaineering, a sport in which the skier travels
uphill as well as down. This means they
require a difficult balance of characteristics.
The lighter the skis, the better they are on
the way up the mountain. But skiing down
again, it is their handling characteristics that
Always in search of something better,
the employees of Ridea Skis had a number
of issues with existing touring skis. The skis
exhibited weak torsion, non-responsive flex
and low tensile strength, in addition to being
downsized in order to reduce weight.
Moreover, the bindings of the skis were insufficiently
Determined to solve these problems,
the team at Ridea Skis took on considerable
challenges. They wanted to reduce weight by
more than 50% while retaining the mechanical
properties of skis based on carbon fiber
and wood, and they wanted to ensure a safe
binding attachment in a range of fastening
The key to the solution was the R-Idea
group’s patented high-fiber-volume-fraction
manufacturing process, which minimizes
the use of resin. Resin is always the weak
link in fiber composites, so the group’s process uses just enough resin to bind the fibers and fill out the laminate without gas pockets or pores.
Achieving the lightest possible touring skis with retained mechanical properties was a matter of matching this unique process with the most advantageous materials. One of these was Divinycell H200 foam from Diab, which offered the right combination of flexibility, high compression strength and excellent impact tolerance. Having cooperated previously with Diab, Ridea Skis knew from experience that this particular core was a good fit for the specialized manufacturing process.
For the fiber component, the team looked for the lightest and most compact fiber available, settling on TeXtreme. Spread Tow Reinforcements from Oxeon. Though the team tested different versions with carbon, aramid and carbon/aramid hybrids, they finally settled on TeXtreme. carbon UD tapes, braided in 45° orientation for extreme torsional stiffness. The team chose a hybrid fabric – with a high-modulus HS40 fiber along the ski width and an aramid fiber along the ski length – to help the core of wood, Divinycell H200 and aluminum reinforcements withstand the necessary compression forces.
This blend of an exceptional process with high-performance materials yielded a composite containing only a fraction of the resin used in normal skis. Not only does it have superior strength-to-weight properties, it also exhibits improved laminar strength, excellent adhesion and enhanced thermal and electrical conductivity.
The resulting touring skis, which have large-size steel edges for added durability, are nothing short of remarkable. At just 1110 g each, the skis are the lightest in the world, weighing a full 50% less than the previous record holders. And just as importantly, they provide the no-compromise performance Ridea Skis is known for.