However, reality sets in and this overweight, middle-aged businessman awakes from his deep slumber to realise that he will not challenge Zubriggen, Cuche or Miller, but will merely be enjoying a week’s skiing in the Austrian Tyrol.
The area I can share with the professional downhiller, as I stare up at the forbidding start gate, is the skis that adorn my feet which are made by the same specialist ski manufacturer from Switzerland that has been named Official Ski Supplier to the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup. zai.
zai – hand-made skis
zai is a small ski manufacturer who makes hand-made skis favoured by the professional and hobbyist alike. The company is based in Disentis, Switzerland and the skis are creations of the designer, Simon Jacomet and his team.
In a relatively short time they have earned a reputation as a company who produces premium products.
Intrinsically innovative, zai design beautiful skis not for aesthetic reasons but because, like many wonderful products, the form has followed function.
The symoblism of hand-made craftsmanship was confirmed with the marriage of zai and Bentley. Bentley has a world-renowned reputation for its skill at working with wood and leather exhibited in its wonderful range of fine motor cars.
However, the zai brand also exemplifies innovation by working with state of the art materials and original design. This sits comfortably with Hublot with whom they have a relationship. Hublot is a watch maker who has fused ceramic, titanium, carbon-fibre and other wonderful materials to form unique timepieces which have proved very popular at ski slopes, race tracks and yacht clubs alike.
An obvious example of this innovation is exemplified with laisa, double-tip geometry skis which facilitate driving through deep snow with little resistance and the second tip aiding uplift in the right place. This ski works well in deep snow or on-piste with packed ice.
Selecting your skis
What are your needs, powder, ice or both?
How competent are you? Blue routes or black? On-piste or off-piste?
When choosing a prestigious car, do you want a grand-tourer or an all-out, hard-core track racer? And so it is for skis; handling and speed must be considered when making your choice.
The one thing you know with zai is that due consideration has been given to performance with a focus on weight and high durability.
For me it has to be feffa
The feffa 170cm skis, are lightweight, with each ski weighing only 999 grammes. This attention to weight makes climbing hills much easier.
They are a particularly wide ski, utilising high grade materials including carbon fibres applied in seven different directions providing strength but also ensuring that an absence of weight does not impede downhill enjoyment.
They suit my needs as I favour powder, feffa providing maximum drive even in the toughest conditions.
The HRC48 Steel edges of the skis ensure longevity and durability.
“feffa” means “hint of”, alluding to the skis light weight but these skis may have a modest mass but they are heavyweight performers of the first degree.
zai feffa provides the perfect all round touring ski, lightweight for the ascent but with great performance when making the descent.
zai may be the champion’s choice, but they are my choice too.