Blog post based on the article in Skiing Penguin, Nov 2018, https://www.skiingpenguin.at/augment-der-unbekannte-weltcupski/
Augment is a ski company from Stuhlfelden, Pinzgau, Austria. The most hardcore alpine ski fans know the company by its original name, Croc. Since 2015 Augment has been working hard to make its real breakthrough in the FIS Alpine World Cup.
The most well-known athlete in the Augment ski team is the giant slalom superstar Philipp Schörghofer, who will make his comeback on Dec 2nd after more than a year off. All 18 Augment employees will be glued to the TV to see how Schörghofer performs in Beaver Creek, USA, with the skis they have built.
Last year American skier Tim Jittloff competed with the company’s previous ski brand, Croc. The company has changed its name from this season to avoid trademark disputes with companies like the shoe maker Crocs. Augment was founded by experienced ski builder Franz Angerer, ski service and race specialists Michael and Albert Kogler and the seasoned entrepreneur Jukka Peltola. The big vision of the company is to offer skis which give everyone the equal possibility to excel in ski races at every level.
Sales Manager Johan Brolenius clarifies the starting position: “If you are Marcel Hirscher, sure you will get anything from your equipment supplier. But if you are number 19 on the World Ranking list, you’ll have to use skis designed for others.” What makes Augment different, is that all Augment skis are handcrafted in Stuhlfelden to meet each skier needs based on their style, abilities and physical measurements. “Most of the ski companies cannot offer same level tailoring. If you are racing in the European Cup from other companies, you might get some skis and you’ll have to get away with that. You cannot say they’re too stiff for me”, explains Johan Brolenius, once a World Cup slalom athlete himself for more than ten years.
When it comes to catching World Cup points the biggest hopes lies on Philipp Schörghofers’ shoulders. However Augment’s first World Cup points were earned by Gabriela Capova in Killington, where she finished 19th with a start number 42. “To have a World Cup skiers is very important for us, as we market ourselves as a racing ski company. We simply have to be present in the World Cup, “emphasizes Johan Brolenius. “We probably won’t take any wins this year, but the television seconds are important for us. To do so we are after top 30 slalom and giant slalom athletes”, Johan Brolenius explains.
It hasn’t been easy to inspire World Cup athletes to trust new ski brand’s skis, not least as the company might not have been able to pay the skiers as much as other companies. “Last year we produced 3 000 ski pairs. This year our production is 6 000 pairs. And we have to finance our racing team from the ski sales”, says Johan Brolenius. This year Augment is investing 200 – 250 000 euro into our World Cup / European Cup ski team with athletes from Sweden over Finland, Czech Republic to Austria. “We are strongly focusing on supporting young European Cup skiers to help them to reach World Cup. But it takes in many cases years.”
Originally Swedish ex ski racer Brolenius is especially satisfied the race ski demand on his old home country “In Sweden many young athletes have tested our race skis after skis from the traditional ski brands. All a sudden they have become two second faster. For many families it doesn’t really matter if Augment skis might be 200 euro more expensive. Our competitors don’t simply produce top best performing skis for young skiers”, says Johan Brolenius, who have lived in Innsbruck for 17 years.
Schörghofer is „super happy“
For Augment sales manager it would be dream come true to see Philipp Schörghofer making his comeback in top 15. The giant slalom specialist himself doesn’t comment the desired position: “At the moment I have no result in my head. My goal is to have 2 strong solid runs. Then a lot is possible.” He is satisfied his injured knee and the physical condition. And what does the skier from Salzburg think about his new skis? “I’m really happy about them. My service man Ali (Kögler) and I are a great team and also other Augment employees have always made all their best. The Augment skis just feels perfect for me”, says Schörghofer. For his and Augment team in Stuhlfelden Advent solemnity will start on Sunday, Dec 2nd at 5:45 pm CET.