Tad Elliott and Holly Brooks returned from the European World Cup to successfully avenge previous 2nd place finishes and discovered the speedy ride of the Salomon Soft Ground skis in the process.
Salomon Complete Athletes put on impressive performances at
American Birkebeiner taking 5 of the 6 podium positions. While snow has been scarce this winter in the U.S., the Birkie trail has had snowpack all year. This snow was rock solid old hard pack seven days before the race. But throughout race week 1-3 inches of warm wet 27 degree snow fell most days. The groomers bided their time and when they rolled out onto the course Friday night more than 6 inches of new snow had accumulated and temps had dropped into the teens. By Saturday morning a firm, yet flexible, corduroy track emerged. Race morning testing revealed that the Soft Grounds
liked this surface as they seemed to “skim over the soft corduroy unimpeded.”
The athletes say it best:
U.S. Ski Team, “I skied on a pair of SoftGrounds that Zack Caldwell (my tech) handed me for the first time at the start line Birkie morning. I said really? He said yes, really. I said OK. Early in the race I was smashing them and they felt like nothing special. Then instead of smashing them, I relaxed, settled back and let them ride, and they just took off."
3rd Team CXC
, “Yes, I skied on my SoftGrounds. Smooth!”
Catlin Compton Gregg 2nd Team CXC, “I raced on a soft ground pair that I absolutely love. They are a cold ski with a Salomon D5 grind and 56 MF. They are an amazing pair of skis that have a lot of energy under the foot but a great pressure distribution that gives them incredible glide. They are the easiest pair of skis to V2 on I have ever skied on. I knew they would be my "Birkie" ski from the moment I first skied on them. I would recommend the soft ground skis to anyone who wants the "perfect Birkie" ski!
Holly Brooks 1st Team APU,“So. I am wondering if there is any way for me to get my hands on some of these Soft Grounds? At the awards podium I noticed that everyone went on Soft Grounds. I did not get a pair this year and my other skis are so good I did not know what I was missing. When I inquired about the skis to the other athletes they were shocked that I don't have any - in that they've had TONS of success racing on the softs this winter, and in particular, on Saturday.
Jennie Bender 3rd, “I raced on Cold’s. But McCabe 4th and Dussault 6th I think were on SG’s.”
PHOTO CREDITS SWIX SPORT/ANDY CANIFF