If one were to distill Fischer to its essence, the resulting elixir would be made of equal parts precision and speed. Rigorous quality control has been the defining feature of its corporate culture going back to the days of Vacuum Technic that ensured even distribution of glue in an era of loosey-goosey QC. The infatuation with speed comes with the territory, namely Austria, where winning World Cups is considered a national necessity on a par with strudel and snow.
Despite the recent spectacular results of American racers on the World Cup, American interest in alpine racing remains a pale shadow of Austria’s national obsession with the sport. As skiers, we gravitate towards models that are more forgiving than precise. Except where Fischer is concerned. Over the course of the past decade, the Fischer models our panelists have preferred ran contrary to the Zeitgeist of the smeared turn; they were unapologetically accurate and geared to run smoothly on the Autobahn. In the language of Realskiers, Fischer has had its greatest success making Power models that reward speed and technical skill.
Fischer’s fortunes in the American market found a fresh foothold when the brand introduced its first boot a couple of decades ago. Fischer capitalized on its opportunity when it created a moldable shell material it could vacuum-fit around the skier’s forefoot. Overnight, Fischer went from being a bit player in the boot world to a market force. As other brands with more market penetration entered the heat-molding fray, Fischer gradually lost ground to more convenient methods.
A brand is only as good as the people it can attract, and two years ago Fischer added one of the most admired men in the equipment world to its roster, Mike Hattrup. (BTW, 2019 marked the 20th anniversary of Greg Stump’s magnum opus, The Blizzard of Aahhhs, in which Hattrup teamed up with Scot Schmidt and Glen Plake to create celluloid magic.) Hattrup is well known for his work in the backcountry arena, and his connection to American ski culture can only improve Fischer’s product development.