Hirscher unveils new ski line and branding
Alpine ski racing is a pretty lucky discipline – new stars often pop up soon after the retirement of previous heroes, allowing the sport to keep its momentum and attract new fans. In recent years Austria’s Hermann Maier started his amazing career at the end of Alberto Tomba’s phenomenal decade – and when the four-time overall World Cup Champion stepped down, it didn’t need long to see another unusual and intriguing character fighting for a front row on the white scene, Maier's former teammate Marcel Hirscher.
The now 23-year-old triple junior World Champion from nearby Salzbourg reached his first World Cup podiums in the final seasons of the ‘Herminator’ and like the skier from Flachau in 1998, he fully surprised the rest of the field with his amazing overall triumph at Schladming after celebrating his ninth win of the season.
At the Atomic Press conference that took place on Thursday (Sept. 27) – a month before the World Cup Opening at Soelden – Hirscher was able to amaze the numerous journalists and TV reporters who had traveled to the ski factory located at Altenmarkt, reinforcing his image as the ‘Special One’ within the ‘White Circus’.
As relaxed and pleasant as usual, the champion from Annaberg near Hallein was jubilant as if he were making a joke to the crowd when he presented his autographed ski-line produced by Atomic.
After excelling on the tour as only a few technical specialists prior him and celebrating a total of eleven victories within two seasons, Marcel Hirscher proved that he was also a trend-setter in his sport when he introduced his MH Icon Series that was for sure quirky, eye-catching and definitely unprecedented on the tour.
A first for Hirscher.
Marcel Hirscher has become use to fighting for first places, but from now on, he’ll already be first when lining up at the start of every competition as the first World Cup racer in the history of the international circuit to compete on his own range of flashy equipment. The ‘Atomic Marcel Hirscher Icon Series’ bears all the hallmarks of the man after who it was named.
Hirscher, an absolute passionate motorbike and motocross fan, has indelibly imprinted his very personal taste and mark including his personal logo and his own artwork on the exclusive products designed at the Atomic development division in Altenmarkt. "From now on, not only can I ski the way I am but also have the skis that are the way I am," he explained to the press.
"The boring times in our sport are over, let’s bring in some colors," he added. "I’m really excited that the company was able to take over the ideas and designs that I worked out last spring with my dad. "
"It’s also a fun way to be creative in another field, I like it," Hirscher said. "It’s for sure a special feeling for me."
Among the new gear developed last summer is a new slalom ski – Redster SL – that he’ll be the only one to use on the World Cup tour because of his particular straight technique. Known in Freeskiing as the ‘Rocketing’ model, it should help him to be even faster in narrowly set runs.
Looking forward for Soelden.
Marcel has also launched his new website (www.marcelhirscher.at) and also wants to promote his ‘MH’ logo that has been printed on his own brand including his new red helmet. As all his colleagues, he is looking forward for the start at Soelden where he achieved a solid comeback a year ago – nine months after injuring his leg at Hinterstoder, prior to the beginning of the 2011 FIS World Championships at Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
"I wish I could ski more now, but the weather is not so good right now, too bad for us. Things went fine in New Zealand but I would enjoy training more GS now to keep on testing the new skis," he said. For the moment, he is keeping his energy under control with intensive fitness training in the gym.
A mystery for Marcel.
Marcel has heard about Ted Ligety’s comment on the good training conditions in Chile and his great form. "I don’t feel under pressure prior Soelden, but it would be nice to be back on snow soon, " he told the press. "As I have often trained by myself this summer, I don’t really know how fast I am in reality. Some timed run would be interesting,” he said.
"My slalom skis are fine, but I need to get more use to the new GS model which may be tough to use in challenging conditions. They could be pretty tricky."
As he did in past winters, Hirscher remains down to earth and is not looking too much ahead for the moment. He is not losing any time or nerves on the upcoming FIS World Championships at Schladming or the fight for another overall title. "Let me first really believe I clinched the other one last spring, I still have a hard time believing it," he said with a grin. "If I would not see the crystal globe at home I would think it has been a dream. I’m still wondering how it could happened, how I did it in reality, it remains a small mystery."
Spectacular equipment for ‘MH’
During the next World Cup season, the new Icon Series will be exclusive to Marcel Hirscher. Otherwise, though, anyone can use the original Hirscher ski or Hirscher helmet – as long as they're quick enough. In fact, there are three models of ski and one helmet featuring the original Hirscher design recognized at his funny ‘MH’ signature.
The highlight of the new Icon Series is his new Redster Marcel Hirscher SL MTL: beneath the transparent race base there is a black and signal red design. It’s an absolute World Cup first, inspired by Hirscher's aggressive style of skiing. Since the crowd usually gets to see only the bases of his skis, he also took care of that part and imagined a particular design for them.
There are also skis for the junior racers who can emulate their hero with two models featuring the Hirscher design: the Redster Marcel Hirscher JR II ETS and Redster Marcel Hirscher JR III ETM.
Hirscher's helmet is also distinctive: the Troop SL Marcel Hirscher with special red and yellow paintwork comes in two sizes – and fills every fan with the absolute confidence that they are using the very same equipment as the best skier in the world. The limited Marcel Hirscher Icon Series will be available in limited numbers from selected specialist retailers world-wide.
Even though someone could consider all this operation as a PR-gag, it can also be quite a good idea to catch the attention of the younger generation of ski fans who often are neglected by the modern means of communication and the sometimes boring and uniformed image of ski racing. In some teams, as is the case for the Japanese or the American women, the athletes are allowed to design their own racing suits that could even change from one weekend to the other. Lindsey Vonn has been a successful front-runner on that matter with her colorful downhill suits.
- Patrick Lang