Rossignol has been on a new product introduction rampage recently, investing in five major diversifications plus a concept store, leaving few Euros in the corporate kitty for ski R&D. The only activity in the Alpine collection is the creation of a 4-model Technical series called React (73mm). Given that Technical skis are the bêtes noires of the American market, the Reacts’ arrival barely registered on our testers’ radar. A parallel women’s collection, Nova, was also given the cold shoulder by our female panel, who gravitated towards the more commercially active All-Mountain East and Frontside categories.
The magnitude of Rossi’s seemingly overnight expansion into mountain bikes, hiking boots, casual footwear, a full line of skiwear and a complementary collection of active wear, plus a concept store in Aspen, suggests that management intends to permanently shift Rossignol’s product portfolio so the brand is less dependent on its ski equipment divisions. The latest clothing lines aren’t Rossi’s first forays into fashion, but it’s the first time the brand has put down so many bets at once. It’s another sign of the on-going, Internet-induced, seismic shifts in how brands sell and consumers shop.