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Belfry Meeting, 6th January 2006 Equipment Information - Christian Xavier

By Norma Green

Chris used to work for Ellis Brigham, but now runs his own ski shop in Harrogate - his dream come true. He is also an experienced skier and used to coach special needs skiers who in fact attained an Olympic gold.

He had a no-nonsense approach to skis and boots and his power point presentation was full of good advice and useful information. The gist of the presentation is as follows but, as is usual with such informative talks, one cannot provide a verbatim account, so these are merely the points upon which Chris spoke.

Ski Hardware Rules:
Buy a ski you are going to enjoy and one to suit your ability.

Ski Shapes:
Piste, all mountain, park (which is a very flexible, twin tip for half pipe), off piste and race.

Bindings should be right for your weight and the DIN should be in the middle of the settings.

SALOMAN One of the best ranges around, very strong and with the best bindings, but there is no "star" ski. However, as a range Saloman is No.1.

K2 (taken over by Volkl) Continues to strengthen, great all mountain ski, a strengthening off piste ski but no real piste ski.

ROSSIGNOL (bought out by Quicksilver). The B Series is still top. There's a reasonably priced park ski. No investment in new products. Bindings axium - don't buy.

VOLKL Bullet proof traditional piste ski - the VW of skis, reliable, lasts, worth money. The all mountain could do better.

DYNASTAR Intuitive great high end ski. Good piste carving ski - heavy. Shows lots of promise, but costly.

ATOMIC Best race ski and good general piste. Binding tech needs overhaul. Rather heavy.

NORDICA is a big surprise this season. Strong range with better bindings. Hard to define category for some choices.

Recommendations for piste skiing - a close call between Saloman Streetracer 10 and all mountain Nordica Nitrous, for off piste the K2 Seth.

An interesting point regarding our British racing team is that apparently the team as a whole receives £40,000 - the French team receive £120,000 per person.

The best boot is the one that fits! Needs to be the right level for you, suits your foot shape and curve of leg. An accurate boot fitting is essential for accurate sizing. The fitter should assess this along with foot shape and the problems you have encountered along the way. The boot should also be a close fit without having done up the buckles.

Chris Xavier's talk ended with many questions from members and he was very happy to discuss the individual's particular problem. His knowledge and experience inspired a great deal of confidence in our members, many of whom thought they would certainly try to see him at his shop in Harrogate - 17 Commercial Street, HG1 1UB. Tel: 01423 522230.