Henrik Kristofferson Leaving Rossignol ... Joining Van Deer?

Tony S

I have a confusion to make ...
Skier
Team Gathermeister
Joined
Nov 14, 2015
Posts
8,641
Location
Maine
The fact is that just about every post on this site celebrating Augment - and they were MANY - trumpeted the whole "choose your flex" thing as a primary differentiator for the brand, applying to all consumers and all models. It was NOT AT ALL like what Fisher and Atomic do with their race skis (only). Those brands reveal flex numbers cryptically and privately as a downplayed piece of info intended for and consumed by a handful of insiders like coaches and technicians. They don't so much as mention it to general consumers as a feature of some kind.

Ron, bless his heart, was the one who revealed that the Augment flexes were incidental and not intentional. In other words, Augment was making a bug into a feature that promised far more than it could possibly deliver. The Augment fans were conspicuously silent when this news broke.

Joe Poster like me knows NOW that the Augment rep was not an employee, sure. (Not that it should matter, when I'm forking over above a grand for a pair of skis. Were they offering discounts because the seller was not an employee? Didn't think so.) But really, from a business point of view who cares? A rep is called a rep because s/he REPRESENTS the company to the customer. That's literally his or her job. And by all accounts - many communicated to me privately over the years - this guy did a damn shitty job of it, if the skis are half as good as advertised.

So don't rag on James for telling the truth about the whole affair.
 
Last edited:

DocGKR

Stuck at work...
Skier
Joined
Apr 1, 2019
Posts
1,027
Location
Palo Alto, California
"So don't rag on James for telling the truth about the whole affair."

Well, if he was telling the whole truth, then there would not be a problem....but that is not the case, is it.

I think we all agree that the Augment USA rep was not ideal by any means. Nor was Augment Europe engaged well here in the US--and now we know what they were working towards.

And while the Augment flex ratings are not magic, nor are they developed any differently than any other race brands, they are fantastic for Masters and Junior racers, as the easily understood flex ratings from Augment are far simpler to discern than any other race brand, making it much easier to select skis.
 

jimtransition

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
Nov 15, 2016
Posts
446
Location
Niseko/Queenstown
Are Van Deer skis available in the US? I know the world cup doesn't mean much over there, but surely some people would know who HK and Hirscher are and want a pair.
 

fatbob

Not responding
Skier
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
4,646
Look we're never going to get the full "true crime" expose of everything that Augment and particular Augment US (distributor/rep who cares?) got wrong. They had an advertising/promotion relationship with this site and I think Phil has said enough to indicate that he feels a bit let down by what transpired in their execution.

Whatever it's a signal that the US market wasn't a high priority for the brand and now we see the fuller picture perhaps we can understand why not given Hirscher and Red Bull were probably involved in discussions going back at least 2 years. Let's not forget Van Bull doesn't have a clear shot at a commercial win either but that probably doesn't matter to Red Bull - I would suspect they'll be more than happy with a whole bunch of content around the alpine skiing circuit.

It's sometimes hard for equipment geeks to get their head around it but sometimes consumer consumption of hardgoods isn't the primary driver for brands. If you follow that logic it's possible to see that maybe that Van Bull (full collab name is definitely too long) have some distribution in the US as fan service but not going all out to establish a strong sales channel in the US at least early days (cf the Faction market blitz etc)
 

Muleski

So much better than a pro
Industry Insider
Joined
Nov 14, 2015
Posts
5,200
Location
North of Boston
I thought this was an interesting FB post today.

293762641_604256314403997_906668025557390451_n.jpg

^ Over half the entire production for North America last season right there!

It’s funny how Hirscher and Herman Maier both go for bowling ball head.

More interesting news:
SkiWeltcup.TV

"The Austrian ski racer Max Franz will compete in the 2022/23 World Cup winter with a new material. The speed specialist from Carinthia thanked Fischer for the three “super cool” years on social media. Now is the time to try something new. In the coming season he will start with "Augment". This outfitter manufactures its skis like Marcel Hirscher's company "Van Deer" in Stuhlfelden, Salzburg. By switching to "Augment", the three-time winner of a World Cup race can also benefit from Hirscher's know-how."

I believe Augment is in the Austrian Ski Pool so VD-RB can use that as a pathway to get more upper echleon athletes on the product.

That pic is NOT of Hirscher. It’s Max Franz, and it’s recent. Although CROC, later branded Augment, is part of the OSV ski pool, who knows where VDRB stands in that process. The solution is that for Austrians, they compete on the WC for at least the time being on Augment topsheets. We’ll see others on the Van Deer Red Bull look.

Interesting developments, for sure.
 

Swiss Toni

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
Aug 26, 2016
Posts
279
Unless things have changed recently VDRB haven’t yet applied to join the ÖSV ski pool. The rules state that a new member can only supply C and B team members for the first 2 years. Van Deer wanted the rules changed / bent so that they could supply Austrian World Cup team members upon entry. The ÖSV refused to do this so VDRB was set up so that they could buy Augment and their pool membership. Shortly after the deal went through they announced the signing of Max Franz and Christoph Krenn who will ski on Augment branded skis but be part of the VDRB setup

Presumably VDRB will now join the pool, wait 2 years and then put the Augment racers on Van Deer branded skis and drop the Augment brand.

Does anyone know if they are required to produce consumer skis? Now that Red Bull are actively involved it would be much easier if they covered the costs of the race team via sponsorship as they do with the Formula 1 team rather than from the variable income of a small ski manufacture operating in a cramped building using mainly second hand equipment.
 
Last edited:

markojp

mtn rep for the gear on my feet
Industry Insider
Instructor
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
5,475
Location
PNW aka SEA
Well, now that my ski season has officially ended, I can jump right into this little cesspool of first world-y problem-y phenomenally importanty higher level talker-y. It is most certainly summer. In my incredibly important opinion, I think some posters are allowing their industry connects to particular brands and/or personal purchases wrap themselves around an open PTO shaft.
In my book, if you're happy with your brand affiliation whether in the industry or as a consumer, there is absolutely no reason to get involved in the woes of a 'competitors' issues. It starts to feel cultish diminishing one brand to bring attention to your own. It's not a good look. You should have plenty of 'good' to share about your own to go around.

On a personal note, I've skied on one pair of Augment 88's. I thought they were really really dandy. I haven't skied on Blossom skis yet, but imagine they're nice as well. I think most here know I'm affiliated with a major brand, but wish all the best. Everyone is making some great ski product these days, and that's good. Now boots, don't get me started. There's a lot of just crap by multiple manufactures being feisted off/beta tested on consumers, but you know what? I'm certainly not going to call out the particulars here unless you're (third person) asking me to help you sort out your boot/boot fit issues, and that's not going to happen on line.
 
Last edited:
Thread Starter
TS
Philpug

Philpug

Notorious P.U.G.
Admin
SkiTalk Tester
Joined
Nov 1, 2015
Posts
35,221
Location
Reno, eNVy
Does anyone know if they are required to produce consumer skis? Now that Red Bull are actively involved it would be much easier if they covered the costs of the race team via sponsorship as they do with the Formula 1 team rather than from the variable income of a small ski manufacture operating in a cramped building using mainly second hand equipment.
I am not sure if its like Grouppe B racing where manufacturers were required to produce 200 cars for sale. If they do decide not to produce consumer skis, that would be a shame, they have some very good ones.
 

Primoz

Skiing the powder
Skier
Joined
Nov 8, 2016
Posts
2,034
Location
Slovenia, Europe
@Swiss Toni for this year (meaning season 2022/2023) they are too late for OSV. Ortlieb (I think nowadays he's vice president in OSV) last time already explained that deadline for this was sometime in February and while there was some contact between OSV and Van Deer, they wanted conditions changed, to which OSV literally told them to FO, which in my mind is pretty understandable. If conditions change for Van Deer, you need to change them for every single supplier, and then you end up with much less support they you get now. Once Van Deer/Red Bull somehow agreed to conditions it was already too late, so yet again they wanted rules changed, and yet again OSV told them it's not happening, so they can be on time for next season (2023/24).
Now when they bought Augment, it could be they also bought in way to OSV pool. I have no idea how these things work at OSV and if for example Rossignol and Dynastar (basically exactly same story as Van Deer and Augment now) need each their own membership or it goes under same one. If it goes under same, it could also be that Van Deer could supply skis now already, as Augment is in OSV pool since their beginning.
As for FIS goes, I have no idea what exactly are rules, but there is suppose to be rule (ski jumping excluded), that non-ski companies can't have their brand skis, so no Red Bull skis. But no idea how exactly is that rule formulated and what all includes, but there's no rule like in cycling, that all equipment needs to be available on free market, so you can easily ski with prototypes that will never ever be available for general public.
 

Brian Finch

PT, CSCS, FRCms, FRSC, Ready State L2 Coach
Industry Insider
Joined
Nov 17, 2015
Posts
2,341
Location
Vermont
... can jump right into this little cesspool of first world-y problem-y phenomenally importanty higher level talker-y. It is most certainly summer. In my incredibly important opinion, I think some posters are allowing their industry connects to particular brands and/or personal purchases wrap themselves around an open PTO shaft.

On a personal note, I've skied on one pair of Augment 88's. I thought they were really really dandy. I haven't skied on Blossom skis yet, but imagine they're nice as well.

I re-read this entire thread & the cesspool is not coming from RBVD.......it's here w/ ppl anchored in some really silly perspectives. I think Augments may be wonderful, I happen to sell Blossoms out of my space in Vermont. However, I caution anyone to avoid a boutique ski if you are competing; ya can never be assured of a reproduction in season or similar feel next year or even availability- ever again.

Are Van Deer skis available in the US? I know the world cup doesn't mean much over there, but surely some people would know who HK and Hirscher are and want a pair.

VD is not. That said my wife just informed that I should not be surprised if a set of SLs arrives w/ her name on em. I'm ok is this athlete fails to listen to me :)
 

James

Out There
Instructor
Joined
Dec 2, 2015
Posts
18,229
So if only the Augment name is allowed on World Cup, will they keep the name for consumer skis? Which won’t be sold in the US as they announced. Though that was before Red Bull I think.

Maybe they’ll go for an “Augment -Powered by Van Deer-Red Bull” campaign in Europe.

On the other hand, Augment on skis is good for their e-scooter business.
 
Last edited:

CascadeConcrete

Getting off the lift
Skier
Joined
Feb 29, 2020
Posts
297
Location
Seattle
Although CROC, later branded Augment, is part of the OSV ski pool, who knows where VDRB stands in that process. The solution is that for Austrians, they compete on the WC for at least the time being on Augment topsheets. We’ll see others on the Van Deer Red Bull look.
If CROC was able to rebrand as Augment and remain in the pool, why can't VDRB, which now owns Augment, similarly rebrand their identity in the pool to VDRB? I know literally nothing about how these supplier relationships work, but that would seem to be a logical path forward.
 

Swiss Toni

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
Aug 26, 2016
Posts
279
Good point! Croc joined the Austrian ski pool in 2016, it looks like they were able to transfer their membership to Augment without any problems in spite of there being a change of ownership. It also looks like Kästle was also allowed to transfer it’s membership to Nordica after the Benetton group dropped the brand name in 1999.
https://www.austria-skipool.at/en/chronik/index.php
 

S.H.

USSA Coach
Skier
Joined
Nov 14, 2015
Posts
1,211
Location
New England --> CO
So if only the Augment name is allowed on World Cup, will they keep the name for consumer skis? Which won’t be sold in the US as they announced. Though that was before Red Bull I think.

Maybe they’ll go for an “Augment -Powered by Van Deer-Red Bull” campaign in Europe.

On the other hand, Augment on skis is good for their e-scooter business.
The Van Deer name is allowed on World Cup. It's not allowed (yet) on the feet of Austrian athletes. I'm sure Van Deer is in the GBR and NOR supplier pools, given their signed athletes.
 

Brian Finch

PT, CSCS, FRCms, FRSC, Ready State L2 Coach
Industry Insider
Joined
Nov 17, 2015
Posts
2,341
Location
Vermont
Maybe they’ll go for an “Augment -Powered by Van Deer-Red Bull” campaign in Europe.
APVDRB sounds like a disease that you should speak to your medical provider about.
 

David Chaus

<insert clever custom title>
Skier
Team Gathermeister
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
4,532
Location
Stanwood, WA
It's a mental health diagnosis:
Awful, Persistent Verbal Douchebag Response Bloviating syndrome.
 

Snuckerpooks

Putting on skis
Skier
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Posts
106
Location
Tohoku, Japan
I for one will miss Augment. The marketing may have been fake news, but the skis were legit.

The fact that people here are still trash talking them after a 16 ski run and cutting off na operations says something.
One of my former students swears by his Croc skis that he picked up from a rep here in Japan. He still gets comments from the ski maniacs saying that he was so lucky to get a hold of a pair.

Not my cup of tea but they were a fun ski on open piste. Can't say the same for in the slalom gates, though.
 

ski otter 2

Making fresh tracks
Skier
Joined
Nov 20, 2015
Posts
2,051
Location
Front Range, Colorado
I'm sort of reeling from trying to get caught up on these developments, wrap my head around them. (I've been working at finishing a basement, sort of had me distracted this past month or so). Forgive me my ignorance and surprise here.

My first exposure to Augment was at SIA at Copper mountain (the year before the Winter Park SIA, where Phil was into Augment all mountain skis). There was a single rep, beside a flimsy tent there at Copper, with nothing one could demo, only fact sheets, as I recall, and a few race skis to show, as examples. He was offering to custom order race skis to spec, with a custom flex of 1 to 10, that would have the build, fit and finish of a true, top FIS race ski, like the ones only found in top race rooms on the World Cup, that only the best racers had access to normally: now available direct to the public in Europe and North America, to racers of any level who wanted them. He did not mention Croc skis - as far as I can recall (but he may have). The cost was high. Nice guy. I believed him - me with nothing in the game, of course.

He seemed pretty tentative, maybe disorganized, but hopeful. At that moment (and every time I had looked his way), there were no other folks around who were interested. He said, "This year, we are just trying to introduce ourselves and our skis, meet people. Next year hopefully we can bring some skis over to try out."

When I saw the Augment setup at SIA Winter Park the next year, with a few actual race and recreational skis to demo, I jumped at the chance. The Masters Pro 185/25 I got on was great, really tops (a 7 flex, soft medium). The recreational ski was a pair of AM77s that were too soft flexing for me (10, the softest).

The two guys there seemed pretty earnest and truthful about what they were doing. Was the 1 through 10 flex thing really untrue? Or just not practical as something they could follow through with, ramping up?

And was it just the end result of taking out a bunch of good skis shipped from their factory and testing them for flex, then numbering them - kind of the way that top racers do, within the normal, routine variation that race skis come with?

(Sorry for my slow uptake here, my ignorance.)
 
Last edited:

ski otter 2

Making fresh tracks
Skier
Joined
Nov 20, 2015
Posts
2,051
Location
Front Range, Colorado
Well, I guess I had a chance to read and sort out most of the thread, sort of. Thanks for so much great info!

So, to tentatively take a stab at answering my own question, yes, maybe Augment was applying basic top racer/coach routines to sort out the flexes, to give ordinary racers a shot at flexes that might fit them, that might be customized a fair amount to them also, not just the top racers: from out of the ordinary, routine, but surprisingly wide range of flexes to top race skis, from the factory, after they've been readied for prototyping by the best.

And that's what that lone Augment rep told me back the first time I was introduced to Augment race skis at SIA (seemingly a year before anyone at pugski got wind of them), just by him describing what Augment wanted to do: bring race room skis to a wider range of racers, including with some customization of flex, more like the way a top racer would get to choose.
 
Last edited:

Sponsor

Staff online

Top