Wednesday, April 19, 2006

skiing: Salomon's missteps since the XScream

The Salomon XScream Séries from 1997 had more impact than any other ski in the last 20 years. Although Elan came up with super sidecut "parabolic" skis several years earlier, it was the XScream that convinced tens of thousands of skiers to abandon their long skinny skis (in my case, Fischer Vacuum SL 204cm's) for shaped skis. The Rossignol Bandit XX was also influential (back in 1998 it was hard for me to choose between them) but Rossi confused the issue by selling the thinner Bandit X; the K2 Four was another great mid-fat ski from that time but it didn't have any extreme cachet.

The yellow XScream was so stupidly popular that intermediates who couldn't handle the stiff-ish tail were demanding "XScream thingys with double Prolink bars", so Salomon made all kinds of other XScream models. Meanwhile other manufacturers had to come out with yellow skis.

Salomon stopped selling the XScream Séries model a few years ago, mainly I believe because the awful pun on the tired "Extreme" craze embarrassed someone in marketing. But Salomon have yet to make a proper replacement! First they came out with the integrated Pilot binding which dulled response, then they dropped the 'X' and the Prolink bars to make some beefy "Scream" ski that didn't do much except for an "Xtra Hot" model with a chili pepper graphic (so they're embarrassed by an xscream pun but not by sizzling hot jokes?). The closest ski to the XScream was the Crossmax 10 with super! ugly! graphics, but Salomon stopped selling that model. This year they made an 'S' Hot model that was pretty solid, but for next season they're replacing it with an XWing model and replacing the Pilot binding with a rail binding.

Around 1999 Salomon also came out with the fine Pocket Rocket, one of the first and best skis for all-mountain "ripping on planks tilted on edge", and the 1080 twin-tipped park ski. Salomon were deservedly the most dominant manufacturer. But they dropped the Pocket Rocket and replaced it with a new "GUN" name, and the 1080 is now an illegible "FOIL" model ("FILTY"? FTL"?).

Salomon are truly the masters of destroying their own brand equity by destructively renaming and replacing trusted model names.

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  • I used to see tons of XScreams on the slopes, but this year mine were the only ones. Several people commented that they wished they had their's back.... No one had a new pair that they liked better than their old XScreams!!

    By Blogger Paul, at March 31, 2009 10:16 AM  

  • You nailed it on Salomon's failure to replace a GREAT ski that should never have been discontinued. I bought some Scream Pilot 10 Hots as their replacement before they were shot (with that integrated binding plate). Exactly as you said -- that binding arrangement dulled the response, but the Pilot 10 never had the carving ability of the Series anyway. Still have my '03-'04 X-Scream Series in 185 (or was that 187?), but they're getting beat. One of the very best skis I've owned in 5 decades of skiing.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 09, 2009 12:41 PM  

  • I couldn't agree with your post more, and I'm very envious of Paul still having a functioning pair. Mine had to be put to rest a few years ago. I've been on CrossMax 10 since and they are not a patch on the XScreams. I've tried many different skis since then, and I still long for thoses good ole S-Scream Series skis.

    By Blogger bekchops, at January 11, 2010 2:27 AM  

  • As I was looking for a good place to sell my yellow X-Screams,I came across this page and found myself wondering wether i should get rid of 'em at all!

    But they have to go, since these sort of ski's are not matchable with my present style of skiing. I must say, they're the nicest ski's i've ridden in at least a decade.

    They're in good condition, but need a bit of a wash up and a full service. 187 lenght, radius: 20, 106/68/96 side-cut.

    If there's anyone interested: daanvandedem@yahoo.co.uk

    By Anonymous Daniel, at January 14, 2010 6:59 AM  

  • I am still riding a very nice pair of Salomon Scream 8 Pilots from 04.

    Nearly had there day, local ski shop wants me to but a pair of the lords... Any insight?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 15, 2010 11:00 PM  

  • I love my X-scream series skis! The only thing about them I don't love is the black goo that keeps oozing out of the prolink connections getting all over everything. I found that "goo-gone" does clean up the mess but it doesn't keep the ooze from returning. I don't suppose anyone out there knows how to cure this little problem.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 16, 2010 12:47 PM  

  • Nice write-up. Stumbled on this trying to learn what Salomon was going to provide a successor for this fabulous ski.

    As a 1-2 week/year skier, I have been able to stretch my enjoyment of my X-scream's for several seasons, but it's days are numbered. Last year in Vail, rode the bus with a woman with a pair and we wondered what we would do when that time came.

    Now seeing so many skis over the $1k mark, how I wish I had bought a second pair for the wine cellar.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 18, 2010 6:16 PM  

  • I could not agree more. My X-Scream series are 10 years old and I have tried numerous demo skis but none are up to the challenge. Can anyone recommend a good replacement? Also, once the black goo is cleaned off I used an epoxy gell glue and sealed around the prolink which kept the goo from leaking any further. Hope this helps.

    By Blogger James, at March 03, 2010 8:38 PM  

  • @James, read my Replacing an icon post. I found nothing equivalent, but skis better in some respects.

    You could also change your technique to ripping big turns at high edge angles, and buy the fattest Völkls available; that's what all the cool kids are doing.

    By Blogger skierpage, at March 09, 2010 2:05 PM  

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