Inside the quiver of 3 Olympic athletes
While skill and athleticism is what has landed these locals on the world’s biggest sports stage, we couldn’t help but take a sneak peak at the equipment that will hopefully carry them to the podium. Following is an inside look at two gear kits that could make you feel like an Olympian at home.
Jaelin Kauf (Moguls):
Steamboat Springs-trained moguls skier Jaelin Kauf skis on ID One skis and Full Tilt boots, which she says are great for competing and will hopefully carry her to the podium in South Korea.
“I love my boot and ski set up,” says Kauf, who earned her berth in South Korea with strong finishes in this year’s Olympic qualifiers. “Mogul skis typically aren’t great for the average person. They’re quick and small and can be a little shaky free skiing. But ID One does have some all-mountain skis that I love, which are basically a wider mogul ski.”
Her Full Tilt boots, she says, are more well-rounded.
“My boots are super-fun to free ski on,” she says. “They’re great for the typical skier because you can get different tongues and change around their flex.”
The ski: Made in Japan, Kauf’s ID One MR-SG ski is used by top mogul skiers around the world for its quick response and speed. Featuring a sandwich structure and available in three lengths (172/177/182cm), it carries a sidecut profile of 95-61-85 and comes with a solid, seamless stainless steel edge and specialized graphite base for speed. The 177cm has a turn radius of 21.4 meters. $819, http://www.idoneusa.com.
The boot: Kauf’s Full Tilt First Chair 10 features the fluid, progressive flex of Full Tilt’s ribbed tongue, which bends like a flexible straw, never bottoming out and providing smooth rebound, enabling a smoother, more natural linear flex from shin to toe — perfect for bashing bumps. The boots flex is rated from one to 10 (10=stiffest), controlled by the Send Knob. Lean can be adjusted on the three-piece shell from 4mm to 8mm, from an aggressive forward stance for landing switch to a more neutral lean. It also comes with an auto-locking cinch power strap, wide-track buckles, Pro Intuition Liner and shock-absorbent boot board to dampen big landings. $800, http://www.fulltiltboots.com.
Bryan Fletcher (Nordic combined)
As the first U.S. Nordic Combined skier to earn a berth in this year’s Olympics, Steamboat Springs born and raised Bryan Fletcher skis on Atomic Redster Carbon skis and boots and Oneway poles.
“The skis are great— stable, fast and light,” he says, adding he occasionally trains on such lower models as the Redster marathon skate. “For any level skier, Atomic has a ski that will work great for any condition.”
He also classic trains on Atomic’s new Skintec C7-C9, with built-in skin.
“It’s a game changer for classic skiing at all levels,” he says, also touting the company’s Prolink system that allows them to be compatible with NNN bindings. “It skis as close to a race waxed classic ski as possible.”
The ski: Atomic Redster S9 Carbon Skate
What makes this ski special, says Atomic, is its acceleration, thanks to its V-shaped sidecut and carbon race monocoque construction. The sidecut, which Fletcher used to earn his berth in South Korea, employs a narrow tail and wider tip to catapult skiers forward, while its featherlight Nomex construction and BI 5000 SA/WC Grinding Core race base keeps it fast in all conditions. $800, http://www.atomic.com.
The boot: Atomic Redster Worldcup Skate
Atomic’s top skating boot is chockfull of technology, including Custom Fit, which lets you heat the liner into a perfect foot mold; a Carbon 3D Chassis with carbon arms for torsional rigidity and power transfer; Prolink outsole for snow feel (compatible with all two-rail bindings); and a Precision Closure system, combining ratchet closure, wrapping lace and dissociated quicklace for fit and traction. “They’re awesome,” says Fletcher. “They’re comfortable, perform well in a variety of conditions, and are warm yet breathable so you don’t sweat and freeze after.” $500, http://www.atomic.com.
The poles: Oneway Premio HD Pole
Oneway’s Premio HD pole comes with a durable, ultra high modulus carbon shaft, carbon/look grip, AV+ strap and new Premio Flash basket. “They’re light and have a great swing weight,” says Fletcher. “The company also offers a few different high-level options so you can select the pole that’s right for you based on stiffness, performance, comfort and weight.” $250, http://www.onewaysport.com.
Arielle Gold (halfpipe snowboarding)
There are plenty of giants in the snowboard industry, but Steamboat Springs halfpipe snowboarder Arielle Gold gets her boards from a relative shrimp, at least in terms of market share.
Gold’s now a two-time Olympian, having made the team in 2014 and again this season.
In terms of riding, she said she’s found exactly what she’s looking for.
Gold rides the 152 centimeter Origin board from Unity Snowboards, a small 1,000-board-per-year company that’s been hand building boards in Summit County for more than 20 years. They still do today out of the corner of a two-story warehouse in Silverthorne.
For Gold, it was about finding the right fit in Unity’s line. She tried a larger men’s board and the size worked well enough but it proved stiff for her.
The women’s boards, meanwhile, proved a little too soft.
So, her custom snowboard supplier built her a custom snowboard.
“The outside is the men’s board, but the actual core is a women’s core,” Gold said. “It’s a little softer, a little more flexible. I tried his men’s board, and it felt like it was a little too much for me, a little hard to turn.”
She’s ridden Unity boards to the podiums of some of the biggest events in her sport, including a second-place finish at Winter X Games Aspen, and she rode one in the most recent Warren Miller flick, “Line of Descent.”
She gets two new boards every fall and doesn’t plan to switch up anything before arriving in Pyeongchang, South Korea, for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
She’ll ride the same two boards that got her onto the U.S. Olympic Team.
The board: Made in Silverthorne, Gold’s board is a custom-made version of the 152 Origin with a full length aspen and maple wood core. Built to shine in the park and pipe, it’s symmetrical in shape and flex. $545.00, unitysnowboards.com.
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