You asked! He answered! Professional Skier Legend Seth Morrison joined Teton Gravity Research for a one-on-many chat about life as a pro skier. For over 3.5 hours and 141 posts, Seth took any and all questions regarding cliff drops that exceed 80′, how to prepare & stay in shape for the winter season, and the risk vs. the rewards in today’s top tier skiing.
Q: Do you ever watch another skier and ponder that they may be a better skier? What is your go to phrase when skiing… like “Get money!” or “Time to riiip it uuuuuup!!”
S: Go to Chamonix, everyone is better! My phrase at resorts is “Get out of the way.”
Q:So what is my best regimen for still skiing hard as I get older? I know you mountain bike and hike a lot. Any other specific tips? - whyturn
S: The whole idea is to stay in shape so you’re ready for the task at hand. I have had to do way more riding on the bike and hiking to simulate a day in the mountains, for the climbing of runs and skinning in to get there.
Want more? Head over to TGR and read their recap article HERE or peruse the entire thread HERE.
“These boots allow me to ski the way I do with the lightness and full flex no other boot in the market has. Believe me, I have tried many others and they just don’t work for my foot or skiing style. At the end of the day I wish I never tried anything else, it was just a waste of time. Couldn’t be happier that these boots are back and everything on them is exactly the same as they ever were. The ease of set up and fit with the moldable liners saves time at the boot fitters. If Full Tilt ever stops making them, I’ll have to buy the molds and make my own boots!” – Seth
During the late 60s and early 70s, NASA was in the early stages of developing the modern space suit. These suits, which would be used during the agency’s first lunar missions to the Moon, had a large problem. The heating, cooling and electrical lines that ran throughout the suits, which powered the suit and kept the astronaut alive, would kink, crease and crimp when the astronauts would walk and flex their arms.
Enter Al Gross.
Gross with Dixie Rinehart and the NASA design team came up with the solution to include articulating hinges with ribs that allowed a natural flex in the astronaut’s ankles, knees and elbows; preserving the shape and functionality around the joint.
Today, this technological feature is seen in everything from water pipes to flexible drinking straws.
Gross and Rinehart would eventually leave NASA and find their way to employment with a small research and development firm, Comfort Products, headed up by former racer Eric Giese. Giese applied their knowledge of space age technology to skiing while living in Aspen. The goal was simple: to enable the boot to flex without a bulge or distortion in the lower shell, which was one of the largest problems of the day with boot design – boots during the time period had no ankle hinge. No hinge meant any distortion caused a significant loss of control.
He developed many unique boot designs during this period that featured a floating ribbed tongue instead of an overlap. These designs would become the precursor to the original Raichle Flexon tongue. Tongue in hand, Giese approached the US distributor of Raichle and presented his concept with a rough prototype. Seeing the potential, Giese was flown to Switzerland to meet the president of Raichle Switzerland, Heinz Herzog.
Meeting after meeting, Giese found himself facing steep opposition to his new concept. The Swiss felt it too radical of a design, too different of a look for the conservative company. In one last effort, Giese leapt onto the conference table wearing one of his own prototypes and one of the company’s own products, flexing them both in the process and showing the Swiss how their boot bulged and distorted under pressure which Giese’s product kept its shape and aesthetics in tack. The decision to move ahead was obvious.
In 1979, ten years after the first moon walk, the first 3-Piece boot prototype was built by Raichle and finally brought to market in the Winter of 1981, becoming known as the Flexon Concept and ultimately named the Flexon 5, and later the Flexon Comp.
In 1983, the president and soul owner of Raichle parted with the company in a sudden sale to a relatively unknown figure in the industry: Peter Werhan. Werhan, a grandson of German chancellor Konrad Adenauer, had married a Swiss woman and moved to the country. Loving skiing, Werhan’s new acquisition meant the perfect blend of work and play. Raichle enjoyed tremendous success during this time as Werhan’s enthusiasm and charisma helped shaped the company into an industry leader. Sales grew at an exponential rate and out paced production and the boot found itself on podium after podium.
Some of the first professional skiers to compete in the boots were Billy Shaw, on a prototype in the early 80’s, as well as hot dog freestyle skier Peter Ouellette. Legendary Bill Johnson would win a gold medal in the 1984 Olympic downhill in the boot. Nelson Carmichael would also dominate the late 1980 mogul scene in a pair of Raichle’s.
From the Olympics to the World Cup circuit to Freestyle competitions, no other boot could match its performance in part to the athletes that wore it and to its patented flex technology.
In the late 80s, only a few years into running the business, Werhan died in an unfortunate auto accident with his secretary in the car. Werhan’s wife immediately inherited the company and took over its operations. Sadly, the company was never the same after that Werhan’s death and by 1996 the business was on the verge of bankruptcy.
It was then that Raichle was purchased by Swiss banker Dr. Grosnick who was in the business of buying companies in distress. He purchased the Kneissl Ski Company shortly thereafter.
Despite its success and due to its unchanged design, the original Flexon boot was archived. Knowing the 3-Piece concept worked, the new owners offered volume and lower priced versions of the original design but none ever delivered on the predecessor’s performance, not understanding that no matter how many iterations of the original design were created, skiers would always came back asking for the original.
In 1999, insisting that the Kneissl brand offer a boot, Dr. Grosnick made the decision to rename all of the Raichle boots to Kneissl branded boots. The rebranding wasn’t received well by consumers and only a year and half later, Kneissl was sold to the parent company of Roces.
From this point, the molds were bought and sold and passed around without much of being done with them, all the while maintaining a strong core following of skiers addicted to its performance. These pro athletes had built their careers on this boot as well as thousands of skiers like you whom also couldn’t give them up. With a lack of production, everyone was suddenly forced to search for parts and boots on Ebay and scrounge ski swaps to keep them on their feet.
We’re skiers. We’re boot fitters and we know better than anyone that something had to be done. We took it upon ourselves to go back and search out the original molds and bring it back to life! Not in some new and distorted form, but in the original construction and design that had been proven over the past 25 years to be the most popular 3-Piece design in the world.
We purchased the original molds, tested every feature, kept what worked and then added some of today’s most advanced technology to make them work even better, never stopping until we were skiing them again. We hope you enjoy these boots as much as we enjoy bringing them back to life. The revolution in 3-piece boot design started here, and will now continue from here.
For the good of skiing.
Featured 2015 Products:
Special thanks to all of the original pioneers of this 3-Piece boot design, and the people, brands, shops, companies and skiers that kept it alive even when it was no longer available. If you’ve got an interesting piece of this boot’s history, please send it and we’ll consider including it.
Clayton Vila is set to release his own solo project this Fall and we cannot be more excited. FIVE, as the work is titled, will be Vila’s first release as principal director, self edits such as The Creep not withstanding. Details about its contents are few & far between which has only fueled the hype.
As a lead-in to the film, Vila had released a documentary earlier this Summer called A Career Reflection which seeks to show a true reflection of Vila as a former competitor turned urban ski scene phenom.
That’s the theme we gave Will Wesson when we asked him to sort through his instagram feed in order to best showcase his past season. Wesson, who’s been traveling at a ferocious pace both this past winter and current summer season, obliged.
Below you’ll find twenty-one curated photos of the world as Wesson sees it.
Want more? Check in with Will’s “Summer on Snow” series now playing on Freeskier.com! Watch that HERE.
With the majority of resorts in the Northern Hemisphere closed down for the season, the countdown has officially started until the bullwheel spins & the 2014/2015 winter season begins! In between then & now, there’s plenty of opportunities to get out and work on evening out that goggle tan. As such, we asked Tom Wallisch to put together a list of ways to enjoy the off season.
Steve Stepp is at it again! After an extended hiatus, Steve returns for his “Victory Lap.”
“Steve has been too busy partying to make any Trollin’ episodes. But why? After meeting one of his lifetime heroes and rediscovering his passion for skiing in Episode 2, Steve Stepp disappeared from public view. We expected him to use this newfound motivation and momentum to push out more amazing ski videos. But after months and months went by with no contact we began to wonder “Where’s Steve Been?”. We finally tracked him down and were left speechless.” – Saga Outerwear
Watch the latest from Steve Stepp & the “They See Me Trollin’” series below!
The numbers don’t lie, the best in the world wear Full Tilt Boots.
Here are a few of the highlights from the Sochi Winter Olympics:
Justine Dufour-Lapointe, along with her sister Chloe took home Gold and Silver for Canada in Women’s Moguls. Also from Canada, Mikael Kingbury took home silver in Men’s Moguls. Rounding out Canada’s impressive performance was Kim Lamarre. She took home bronze in Women’s Slopestyle. Mengtau Xu & Jongyang Jia, both of China, would win Silver & Bronze medals for Women’s & Men’s aerials respectively. Finally, Australia’s Lydia Lassila took bronze in Women’s Aerials.