In June, we suspected that Croatian SL specialist Istok Rodeš would change equipment partners. The conspicuous absence of his name from the Atomic athlete roster informed the world that change was imminent.
We now know that Rhodeš will work with Marker/Dalbello/Völkl. In an Instagram post, Rodeš says: “I’m part of Völkl for the coming season – a great company with even better personalities who will give me the impetus to take my skiing to an even higher level.”
Eric Wolf, Racing Manager at Marker/Dalbello/Völkl, and his team of experts produce high quality racing gear. And while they don’t have the money to sign many riders, the gear they provide is excellent. Hence, they were able to attract prolific talent. For an athlete like Rodeš, a smaller program will give him higher priority and more influence in directing new builds.
Even though Rodeš has spent most of 2021/22 recovering from an elbow injury sustained in a training accident in August, he was able to start his 2021/22 World Cup season at Adelboden.
However, no one will be surprised if Rodeš has an exceptional 2022/23 season and performs at a world-class level at the Courchevel/Méribel World Championships in February. The injury meant World Championship sixth-placed Cortina d’Ampezzo 2021 SL missed the 2022 Beijing Olympics. However, after just three World Cup races in January, he showed his form had returned. Rodeš finished 12th and 8th in the two February SLs at Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
As noted, many equipment contracts end after an Olympic year. Rodeš is just the latest to announce its new brand partnership.
The biggest American name to switch brands is Jared Goldberg, who went from HEAD to Rossignol.
Rossignol has also entered Italian speed skier Mattia Casse, a former HEAD athlete.
Fischer has signed a rising young Italian SL star, Lara Della Mea. The young Italian has already worked with Salomon.
In addition to Rodeš, Marker/Dalbello/Völkl have recruited Austrian Olympian Michael Matt. Matt is a World Cup winner and Olympic and World Championship medalist.
HEAD has attracted its share of talent.
Austrian talent GS Patrick Feurstein converted from Rossignol.
Additionally, French Olympian speed skier Matthieu Bailet left Salomon to join the program.
Atomic has signed its share of new talent to add to its roster of athletes. Most notably, Italian SL star Alex Vinatzer left Nordica to join Atomic. Additionally, Norwegian tech star Mina Füerst Holtmann left Völkl to partner with Atomic.
Henrik Kristoffersen has ended a long and fruitful relationship with Rossignol. He joins Marcel Hirscher’s Van Deer-Red Bull Sports Equipment GmbH skiing on Van Deer.
After being acquired by Van Deer-Red Bull Sports Equipment GmbH, Augment signed two Austrian sprint athletes. Most notably, they signed Austrian Max Franz, formerly of Fischer. Franz is a World Championship medalist, World Cup winner and a three-time Olympic team member.
So far, it seems Solomon has been the most aggressive with new recruits.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Michelle Gisin of Switzerland joined the program from Rossignol.
French Olympic medalist and world champion Mathieu Faivre has been transferred from HEAD.
Alice Robinson, the young three-time World Cup winner from New Zealand, came from the Völkl program.
Additionally, Salomon added Slovenian speed skier and World Cup winner Martin Čater, who skied on Stöckli, and Swiss Olympian Camille Rast, who previously skied on HEAD.
Finally, it’s good to see Kästle back in the game, signing former Stöckli athlete, Slovenian Ilka Štuhec. Štuhec is a multiple world champion and World Cup winner.