OUT OF THE GATE
The last major innovation in alpine ski boots was in 1959, when Bob Lange
put a soft liner inside a plastic shell. David Dodge, a mechanical engineer and
former All-American alpine ski racer from Vermont, thinks it’s time to move
on to carbon fiber.
That’s why Dodge and his business partner, Bill Doble, founded Dodge Ski
Boots in December 2008. A year later, after the pair molded the boots in
Doble’s three-bay garage in Essex Junction, Vt., the product became available
to the public. At least three World Cup racers now like the boots enough to
haul them around the globe.
Making boots out of carbon fiber instead of thermoplastic isn’t a new idea;
for a short time, Dodge worked with Rossignol on the concept. Hermann Maier tested a pair and gave his approval, but they weren’t practical. The boots
were almost impossible to put on, and they’d break after just a few days. Before Dodge could solve those problems, Quiksilver bought out Rossignol and
stopped funding the project.
With some money from patent royalties and help from Doble, Dodge was
able to start from scratch on a carbon boot that would be comfortable, easy
to get into, and offer higher performance than its plastic kin. After just 16
months, Dodge thinks he’s pretty much done it. “Every test we’ve done where
we’ve had a good comparison between a skier’s regular boots and our boots
on a timed run on decent snow,” says Dodge, “[racers have] been faster on
The most obvious performance advantage is the weight difference. Dodge’s
carbon fiber shell weighs half as much as a plastic shell. But the more important advantage comes from making the boot both lighter and stiffer at the
same time, which increases the vibration frequency of the boot so much that
its chatter is no longer noticeable to the skier. This, explains Dodge, results in
more control and less deflection, so a skier can set an edge angle in a turn and
ride it to the transition without adjusting her balance or stance. “You can be a
lot more precise,” Dodge offers.
Another plus? Dodge can make a production mold for just $10,000, while
the same thing costs $200,000 or more with thermoplastic boots, per shell
size. That means research and design can happen faster and the company can
be more responsive to feedback. In Dodge’s “beta program,” racers can use the
boots until May 1st and then get a new, refined pair next year.
For more information, visit dodgeskiboots.com.
The End of Plastic Ski Boots?
David Dodge’s carbon fiber kicks are starting to pick up speed BY KIRK KARDASHIAN
Macartney hangs them up BY ERIC WILLIAMS
In early March, while at World Cup races in Kvitfjell, Norway, 12-year U.S. Ski Team veteran Scott Macartney of
Kirkland, Wash., announced (via his Facebook page) that he was retiring.
“I will retire after this weekend’s racing in Kvitfjell, Norway,” he wrote. “It has been an incredible ride — 12 years on
the National team, 2 Olympics...podiums, ups and downs. It is time to move on though. No idea what my next move
might be, but it will be fun figuring it out. Thanks to everyone who has helped me along the way! My parents I owe most
of all, along with friends, coaches, sponsors that have all made this happen.” The post received 23 comments from
fans, friends and family.
The 32-year-old Macartney scored two World Cup podium results in his time — a third-place result at Val Gardena in
downhill on Dec. 15, 2007 and a second in super G at Garmisch on Jan. 29, 2006. It is the crashes, though, which
brought him notoriety, the most spectacular coming on his 30th birthday at Kitzbuehel in 2008 when he lost balance at
the final jump before the finish and smashed his head against the snow, sustaining a severe concussion and ending his
season. The dramatic scene was used to open Audi’s documentary film Truth in Motion.
Early indications are that Macartney will continue to be active in the long list of organizations and charities he supports,
including the World Cup Dreams foundation, which strives to provide financial resources and disability insurance to athletes at the national team level.