When did the idea of getting into ski production yourself come about? Was that always your follow-up plan or did the idea only mature when you came to terms with the end of your active career?
Hirscher: I have always played with the idea of creating my own brand of ski. The decision to finally embark on this journey and put my plan into action was made in June 2020. I have spent my whole life learning and working with skis as a product, and I am very proud of what we have achieved in the past few months. May I take the opportunity to say: Thank you to my team and all our supporters!
How much influence does the material really have on the success of a ski racer?
Hirscher: The material plays a very big role, of course. Most important is the exact set-up for the particular skier and his style. No one has used the word "set-up" as much as my team and I during the active years. We now try to pass on this experience to our athletes and our service team.
How do you rate the use of titanal in ski construction?
Hirscher: Titanal is an incredibly important component in ski construction. It starts with the milled aluminium moulds, plate systems and finally the component for a ski. There are countless compositions and of course we also work with different sheet thicknesses. AMAG has been a partner from the very beginning. We are very grateful for this and are pleased to have a company at our side that has a lot of experience and focuses on quality.
The rigidity of a ski is essentially determined by the thickness of the sheet metal. How big is the difference in sheet thickness between a Van Deer World Cup ski and a series production model? How well do you really have to be able to ski in order not to be left behind by a World Cup Van Deer?
Hirscher: Basically, we use the same components in all series models as in racing models. Only by using the best materials do we achieve the diverse skiing characteristics that make our product so special. The difference to racing are the variations in thickness and composition as well as the different side-cuts. Part of our vision is to make racing accessible to everyone, that is, to feel similar things that I felt as an active athlete. We like to compare ourselves to motorsport and anyone who has driven an Audi RS model knows what I'm talking about. With a well-balanced and primed ski, every skier out there will have more fun and feel more comfortable.
What does quality mean for you?
Hirscher: No compromise and precision. We uncompromisingly use the best materials for all our products, produce them with the highest precision and also very important, the hallmark: "Handmade in Austria". One of our principles is: "When perfection becomes obsession, something magical is created." We love and live skiing and want to change and develop it together.
How important is the issue of sustainability/green material for VAN DEER-Red Bull Sports and what role does geographical proximity to suppliers play in this?
Hirscher: To be honest, it is very difficult to produce a truly sustainable ski. We try to buy regionally and make sure that we work with suppliers from Austria. Our quota is a solid 80 % and we strive to constantly increase this. The use of renewable energies is shaping our future, and we already have investment plans for this. We will keep our design the same for several years and strive to produce a long-lasting product. This will also help the trade. There should be no "old" VAN DEER Red Bull Sports products.
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