Dalbello and Elan split in the U.S.

Tanner Hall skis on Dalbello's Krypton Il Moro T boot. Courtesy of Dalbello/Flip McCririck

Effective January 1, 2011, Dalbello ski boots will no longer be the U.S. distributor of Elan skis. Dalbello and Elan have partnered since late 2006 when they consolidated in an effort to strengthen both companies.

While marketed separately, the companies shared research and development, athlete sponsorships, demo vans, sales reps and promotions. The addition of internationally recognized freeskiers like Brad Holmes and Glen Plake, as both athletes and ski designers for Elan, helped to reinvigorate Elan's brand.

"While we have enjoyed a great deal of growth and success with Elan, we have just come to the point where Dalbello requires our full attention," says Matt Titus, vice president of marketing for Dalbello Sports International. "We experienced a dramatic increase in sales with both brands this year. However, in order to maximize our opportunities with our core brand, Dalbello, we felt it was necessary to focus our efforts."

This decision comes almost exactly one year after Dalbello teamed up with Volkl/Marker in Europe. While rumors have circulated that Dalbello may join forces with another ski company here in the U.S., "that is simply not true," says Titus.

According to Titus, Dalbello Sports -- which outfits top freeskiers like Tanner Hall, Julien Lopez, Jacob Wester and others -- saw 30 percent growth globally last.

As for Elan, Alpina Sports -- a Nordic-oriented company that distributes brands like Crispi Boots, Exel Poles and Rottefella bindings -- will be taking over U.S. distribution of Elan skis. Full disclosure: I'm a six-year member of the Elan freeski team. I may be biased, but I can say with great confidence that the skis have only gotten better over time, and this season's lineup is the best by far. Titus agrees. "Having been involved in the development of next year's collection," he says, "I can confidently say there are some exciting things on the horizon for Elan."