Fischer ending Salomon partnership opting for Rottefella's NNN

Fischer has announced that it will not extend its partnership with Salomon and its SNS system beyond the 2006-07 line. Starting with the winter 2007-08 season, Fischer will be basing its branded boot and cross-country products on Rottefella's New Nordic Norm (NNN) platform. Also, Fischer will no longer produce skis for Salomon.
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Fischer has announced that it will not extend its partnership with Salomon and its SNS system beyond the 2006-07 line. Starting with the winter 2007-08 season, Fischer will be basing its branded boot and cross-country products on Rottefella's New Nordic Norm (NNN) platform.

Peter Ashley, vice president of sales and marketing for Fischer Sports U.S., told SNEWS® during a Jan. 20 interview that Fischer also will no longer produce skis for Salomon, something the company has been doing since Salomon launched its Nordic ski line.

Hal Thomson, communications manager for Salomon, told SNEWS® that Fischer's decision in no way affects Salomon's commitment to its ski program.

"Fischer has been a great first partner for us," said Thomson. "In the long run, it only makes sense for Atomic and Salomon to work more closely together. It is an obvious synergy. We have the same parent company. Ski wise, we have had an extremely successful launch of our Nordic skis at every level -- race, high performance and fitness, and recreation level."

Fischer will continue producing Salomon skis through 2007 as per the agreement between the two companies.

As for the reason that Fischer decided to make the change to a new boot/binding system, Ashley told SNEWS®, "I think one of the primary reasons that we opted to make the change to Rottefella is that NNN is being a little more creative than Salomon is with its SNS system. It is important to state though that there is absolutely no animosity. The cooperation we have had with Salomon for the last two years has been very good for both companies."

The comprehensive cooperation agreement with Fischer also includes the development of any new binding systems.

"With Fischer's strength as world market leader and the cooperation of the major cross-country ski brands, NNN will become the world's leading system after 2007," Ashley told us. "This will turn what is essentially a 50/50 split between SNS and NNN in the U.S. into a 70/30 split, favoring NNN."

Added Thomson, "This is not a performance-based decision by any means. We totally respect Fischer's desire to do what they feel is best for their business."

As for the belief SNS has not been innovative, Thomson respectfully disagrees. "The changes to the SNS system are the best changes and innovations we have ever had in Nordic, and the performance at the World Cup level is proving that."

SNEWS® View: Not a surprising move at all, and we have been wondering when -- once Salomon was sold to Amer, parent company of Atomic (a Fischer competitor) -- a decision like this would occur. Atomic will be a powerful high-end partner for Salomon, as Salomon will be for Atomic. Fischer is also sending a powerful message, putting its immense global weight behind NNN. In the end, we think these changes give Salomon and Fischer, as well as Atomic and Rottefella, what each wants and needs.

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