World's lightest touring skis use spread-tow reinforcements

Sweden-based Ridea Skis used Oxeon's TeXtreme Spread Tow Reinforcements (carbon and aramid) to develop what are said to be the world's light touring skis, weighing in at just 1,100g.

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Oxeon (Borås, Sweden) reported on Jan. 26 that Sweden-based Ridea Skis has recently released its new high-performance ski models built with Oxeon's TeXtreme Spread Tow Reinforcements. The touring skis are said to be the lightest high-performance skis in the world, weighing in at 1,110g, less than half the weight (2,300g) of the previously lightest ski.

Ridea Skis, part of the R-Idea group, have benefitted from R-Idea’s patented high-fiber-volume fraction manufacturing process that enables maximum use of TeXtreme reinforcement’s physical properties. The resulting composite product benefits from superior strength to weight properties, improved laminar strength, excellent adhesion and enhanced thermal and electrical conductivity.

Touring skis are made for ski mountaineering, i.e., to ski or climb uphill and then ski downhill. When moving uphill, it is desirable to have the lightest possible skis, and when skiing downhill it is desirable to have the best possible handling characteristics. Ridea Skis early on identified some issues with existing touring skis, such as weak torsion, non-responsive flex, insufficient fastening of bindings, downsized to reduce weight and low tensile strength.

To overcome these issues the main challenges for Ridea Skis was to maintain the mechanical properties of carbon fiber/wood core-based skis while reducing the weight by more than 50 percent, ensuring safe fastening of bindings for various fastening patterns and to maintain tensile strength.

For composite reinforcement, Ridea Skis turned to Oxeon and evaluated its TeXtreme Spread Tow Reinforcements. After testing different TeXtreme variants of carbon, aramid and hybrids of the two, they found the optimal reinforcement solution for the skis.

The skis are reinforced with TeXtreme carbon UD tapes braided in 45° orientation for extreme torsional stiffness. The fabric of choice is a hybrid combining a high-modulus HS40 fiber in the width direction of the ski, with an aramid fiber in length direction, to enable the skis’ hybrid wood/foam core to withstand compression forces.

Tobias Björnhov, founder and manager at Ridea Skis, says: “The combination of R-Idea’s patented composite manufacturing process and the TeXtreme reinforcements used give us possibilities to significantly reduce weight and still meet the stiffness requirements that has previously not been possible to obtain from the use of any other carbon reinforcement. This is a result of the extremely high fiber volume fraction that is achievable through the process combined with the use of TeXtreme.”

The final construction includes TeXtreme carbon spread-tow tape filament-wound braiding, DIAB H-foam/wood/aluminum hybrid core, pre-molded carbon/aramid spread tow fabric and large size steel edges for durability.