Lightweight garage #4 lightweight sandwich in freeride and touring skis

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Lightweight garage, News

The vehicle

Behind this garage door is not an automobile, rail vehicle or aircraft, but a category of skis. What these skis have in common is that they are specially designed for use in deep snow, off-piste, and they are called freeride and touring skis. Freeride and touring skis should float as well as possible on the snow and avoid sinking. In order to generate the best possible buoyancy on the snow with the ski, a sandwich wood core that is as light as possible is used in addition to the wide shape.

© Völkl, example of a wood core from the BMT series and the Revolt series from Völkl

The technology

Just as the first skis were made of wood, modern skis are still largely made with wood as the core material. Special (mechanical) properties can be achieved with the help of different types of wood and their combination. To produce these wooden sandwiches, wooden sticks are arranged and glued together according to use. Combinations of beech and poplar wood are used, for example, as well as Paulownia wood in special variants. The beech wood provides the necessary stability under the binding and the strength required to screw the ski to the ski binding. With a density of less than 0.5 g/cm³, poplar wood is very light and makes the ski particularly flexible. Compared to poplar wood, paulownia wood is even lighter. Thanks to its density of less than 0.3 g/cm³, the wood can contribute significantly to reducing weight. In freeride and touring sports, particular importance is attached to the weight of the wood, as every additional gram is transported up the mountain by the athlete, especially in touring sports.

©Völkl, example of a wood core with paulownia wood from the Rise series by Völkl

The lightweight aspect

By using wood sandwich cores, harder types of wood can be used in areas subject to higher loads - such as in the binding area. In less stressed areas of the ski, weight can be saved by processing the wood with CNC milling machines; in addition, the sandwich technology enables the local insertion of lighter but softer types of wood such as poplar or paulownia wood. This method ensures that the freeride and touring skis are not too heavy despite their wide shape and prevents them from sinking in the snow.

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