March 27, 2023

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“We make candy from what we have.” In Russia, created skis to replace foreign brands

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Foreign ski manufacturers left Russia, but found a way out in biathlon – they launched an import substitution project and have already presented the first batch of the new brand.

Under the PROTEAM brand, skis, bindings, poles and waxes are produced. The idea is several months old, but the equipment for junior sports is already ready, in the future – reaching the top level.

A presentation of the first large batch was held in Moscow, which will go to the regions for tests.

We talked to Alexander Pechersky , the head of the service team of the Russian biathlon team , one of the inspirers of this project. Who makes Russian skis and will they replace the usual Fischer and Rossignol?

When did the idea for the Russian brand come about?

– We want to create a high-level inventory in Russia. The idea is already over a year old, it arose even before the 2022 Olympics with me and our leader, President of the Russian Biathlon Union (RBU) Viktor Maigurov  (pictured right).

I visited our STC ski factory in Balabanovo (Kaluga region) several times, where this project began to take shape. There is a foundation on the basis of which it is possible to work, there is a director (many thanks to him for cooperation) who supported the idea, there is a customer in the person of the head of the RRF Maigurov, and there is a RBU service group that acts as an expert department.

So we began to study all the leading imported analogues: Fischer, Salomon, Atomic, Rossignol. We took all the characteristics, design features from them – so we gathered an information base.

In the light of political events, the picture is even more pragmatically understandable for us – the idea of ​​creating our own inventory has become more relevant.

“It’s like producing Lamborghini at the Lada plant. Miracles do not happen, but we will try. If there are no top skis left in Russia, what to do?

After the Olympic season, I got into it more and more. I was looking for people in Russia who have abilities, opportunities and knowledge. It’s great that such specialists were found, and they also wanted to create something new. A team has been formed that is interested in creating domestic equipment for skis, bindings and poles.

Already before this season, on the basis of the factory, we prepared several design options. As soon as the snow fell, we with our service team went to the stages of the Russian Cup and tested experimental samples as part of our work. We compared them with the best imported skis that the guys are now using.

The first samples did not represent anything interesting, the second, third, fourth – too; only on the seventh variant did we find that this constructive solution fits the characteristics that we are trying to find.

I don’t want to beat myself in the chest and say that we have created top-class skis. Today they can be positioned as sports racing skis, but for young men and juniors. There is no claim (yet) that these are aerobatics skis, that they can be offered immediately to Alexander Loginov or Kristina Reztsova.