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Salomon XDR Skis Review

Salomon are replacing the X-Drive range of skis with the new range of Salomon XDR skis, next season, and let me tell you – its more than just a name change!

There will no doubt be plenty of articles explaining the technical merits of these skis; from the Snowsport Industries Great Britain (SIGB) Ski Test in March. This annual event is open to suppliers, retailers and the media; and provides them with an opportunity to thoroughly test next season’s skis. This year it’s in Kühtai, Austria.

They will no doubt explain the benefits of the full wood core, the single titanium laminate, the power zone, and the all terrain rocker – to name a few – and how these XDR skis meet Salomon’s desire to produce a ski that, in resort (or frontside as they like to call it) will handle a variety of snow conditions, such as carving groomed pistes, powering through crud or floating on fresh powder.

What I will say, “there isn’t an emoji with a big enough grin to express how much fun these skis are to ski”! I’m not going to explain the all mountain C/FX Shape; I’m going to say these are the best skis I have ever skied on; they are the skis for me!

So who am I? I’m the average recreational skier, who once a year travels to the mountains (Alps) to ski for six days. I like to ski on piste, and I’m extremely comfortable on red runs. I’m sure that ‘technically’ I could improve, but I’m on holiday, and my main focus is to have fun skiing in the mountains! I’m on the first lift and will ski all-day; so the ease with which I skied these skis, made them all the more delightful – and they look good too!

salomon xdr 80 Ti skis
I even ventured off-piste! Well a little area of ‘powder’ between the runs.

These skis took me where I wanted to go, on large carving turn, with excellent edge hold; even on the few ‘black’ runs these skis gave me the confidence to attack. The faster I went the more stable and confident I felt. I was having fun, run after run, and thanks to the lightweight construction I could – all day long!

I even ventured off-piste! Well a little area of ‘powder’ between the runs. I was awful, but the skis gave me plenty of float as I manoeuvred myself back to the haven of the neighbouring run. I tried it a few times, and marginally improved, however it only reinforced my love of the groomed ‘corduroy’ pistes – which is where I stayed!

So if reading this you’re thinking, “he sounds a bit like me”; there is a good chance that these Salomon XDR skis are the ones for you. Chad Blanc

But don’t just ‘take our word for it’; why not check out what the good people at Fall Line Skiing magazine have to say [Oct 2017]

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Falke SK2 Ski Socks Review

Whether you are a skier or snowboarder, you know a full day in boots has the potential to get sore, and really ruin your holiday. Falke want you to enjoy skiing every day – all day, and their socks really show this. The Falke SK2 ski socks feature a medium level of padding in stress zones like your shins and instep for protection and comfort, along with an asymmetric right and left toe box.

I’ve worn my SK2 socks while both skiing and snowboarding on our own dry slope here at Tallington Lakes, and at two different indoor slopes, and I think they are fantastic! All the padded zones aren’t just for looks; I really felt the difference. The padded zones on the shins are really effective for reducing that pressure you can sometimes feel when pushing forward into your boots. With some socks, the padding can cause a bit of rubbing due to how they are knitted, but with Falke’s socks that’s reduced due to the thin terry style knit giving it a softer, less abrasive feel against the skin.

falke sk2 ski sock
All the padded zones aren’t just for looks; I really felt the difference.

I had my ankle reconstructed when I was younger which makes it a lot less flexible than it should be, and some days my ankle feels particularly stiff which mean I really have to force my foot into the boot which can really hurt. Now, I’m not saying these socks removed the issue but I did notice the reinforced instep helped to ease the pain which is really nice!

Once my feet get cold, there’s not really much I can do to save them. I’ve got quite a few different brands of ski/snowboard socks and considering these Falke socks are a merino wool blend, rather than 100% merino like some of my socks, I was pleasantly surprised as to how warm they kept my feet, and how breathable they actually felt! Not only do these ski socks feature the usual merino properties of heat retention, and moisture wicking properties they have merino’s natural odour control, which is ideal if you need to wear them more than once… ‘Cause honestly, whoever says they don’t try get multiple days out of a ski sock is probably lying to you…

Another cool thing about Falke socks is that they also do socks that are designed for snowboarding, with snowboard boots and bindings in mind. So, whether you are a skier or a snowboarder they have designed socks that’ll keep your piggies warm while protecting your shins, ankles and toes from pressure bruising, leaving you to enjoy the day from your morning on piste all the way through to après ski in the evening!

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Avalanche Awareness

How aware are you about the risk of avalanches? One of our guys  jumped at the chance to improve his knowledge with Salomon Mountain Academy. Their website offers a theoretical course of eight modules for just €29, but they do the first introductory chapter for free. So it would be foolish not to check it out. Here’s his thoughts:

The chapter took around 15-20 mins to complete, and each subsection was a mixture of video, text and pictures. It gave me enough information to realize how ignorant I actually am when I go to a resort; and actually how lucky I have been in the past, blindly following better skiers than me around off the sides of runs etc. Its what we all do to get better and push ourselves right?

Some of the bits will be pretty self explanatory to people that have skied a few times, however there are some very interesting bits of information. One of the biggest statistics, that opened my eyes, was that 55% of Avalanche deaths happen with a Level 3 Avalanche Risk, and only 1% on Level 5. Basically most of us are sensible enough to know not to venture off the pistes in a Level 5 but a Level 3 seems to be an acceptable risk, being middle of the scale, despite it officially translating as “Considerable Risk“.

The chapter finished with a multiple choice quiz, which had some questions in which I guess are covered in other parts of the course. Again opening my eyes to how little I know. Consequently, I’ll be reading up on the whole course before heading off next week!

On a side note, Epic TV are doing an short video series on ‘off piste skiing’ with Graham Bell from Ski Sunday. Also worth a look! The series aims to explain how to prepare your gear and yourself before heading into the mountains for your backcountry adventure.


Thanks Will.

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