Shape-shifter Bertrand Krafft, alpine ski developer for Salomon, lives near Chamonix, but brings a surfer’s soul to the snow. The creator of several pioneering ski designs, Krafft (aka “Beber”) has an eponymous ski launching this season, the BBR.
SKI › You created the X Scream and twin-tip Pocket Rocket, both of which challenged design conventions—and sold well. Now you’re launching the V-shaped BBR. What inspired it?
Beber › Board-shapers in surfing understand that wave conditions change, and you have to have a board that can adapt. When you surf, you go to the beach in flip-flops with your board and have fun no matter the conditions. That’s what skiing should be about: one shape that offers more possibilities for more fun in more conditions.
SKI › Salomon has avoided categorizing or defining the BBR. What do you want the ski to accomplish?
Beber › For me, a ski is not a product that fits in a category. X Scream and Pocket Rocket proved that it is possible to break the rules by offering new possibilities to skiers. Unfortunately, people became convinced that those new possibilities were the only possibilities in skiing, and they became “rules” that have narrowed the vision of skiers. Not everyone is able to ski in three feet of powder in Alaska. Not everyone is able to ski on empty slopes. For a skier who wants to have fun whatever the conditions or terrain, there wasn’t one tool to use all the time. That’s why I created the BBR.
SKI › Super-sidecut, fat skis, now rocker ... it seems that the past 15 years have been a time of rapid design evolution. What’s next?
Beber › What’s important to me is changing the game through sensations. I’m not interested in what the ski is going to look like, but what it is going to feel like. An idea that I am toying with, and this can be a major gamechanger if skiers have an open mind, is a ski that will allow you to experience a back-side turn and a front-side turn like a snowboarder. That will change the rules for sure, and who knows? It might happen sooner than later.