Nestled against the beauty of Slovenia’s Julian Alps, award-winning global winter sports manufacturer Elan has been a pioneer in the industry for over seventy years. With a focus on producing game-changing sports gear via the relentless pursuit of ever-advancing technology, ski enthusiasts can’t get enough of Elan’s boots, snowboards and accessories. Ten years ago, they partnered up with Swarovski to develop skis discreetly embellished with sparkling crystals, mirroring the magical glitter of the snow. We quizzed Melanja Šober, Head of Product Management, on Elan’s latest innovations.
Do women skiers prefer an element of fashion when it comes to ski choice?
Most people wants to look good, of course, but our research shows that a woman’s image on the slope is a priority, and they often select skis according to the design. (Women account for around thirty per cent of Elan’s sales).
How closely does the ski industry follow fashion trends?
We make sure we’re aware of what’s going on, and we attend some Fashion Weeks every year. The ski industry is more traditional, so you won’t see crazy combinations that you get in skiwear—we have to reach a broader audience, after all, so maybe bold splashes of color here and there.
What motivated you to create the beautiful black crystal snowflake logo for the Delight Black Edition skis?
Our relationship with Swarovski started with our bestseller, Black Magic skis. The idea behind Black Magic had its roots in fashion: Just as every woman needs a little black dress in her closet, our aim was to give her the same option with skis. The design featured one simple Swarovski crystal. The Delight Black Edition skis came about as a result of our great partnership with Swarovski. It’s positioned as high end, and is sent to stores together with a certificate showing its authenticity. Over the years, the choice of materials has expanded, so we’ve been able to overcome production limitations and apply further Swarovski innovations.
Was the snowflake your first choice?
It wasn’t just the Elan design team. We were open to recommendations on shapes and colors. Most importantly, we wanted to make sure the ski had the right feel from a customer’s perspective. Everything else just fell into place like a mosaic. Swarovski’s designers came up with several amazing proposals. The main challenge was how to make it recognizable in an area where crystals won’t get damaged. In the end, we used Crystal Fabric, with black crystals on a black base.
What are the technical difficulties of attaching crystals to a super-functional item?
Applying crystals required some tricky specifications—we spent a long time testing. Luckily we’re stubborn, so we succeeded. Anyway, failure wasn’t an option!