My prediction for 2012 is that it will be the year of the demise of the independent ski manufacturers. They have flourished in recent years mainly because of their ability to innovate the new rockered and fat ski shapes, and also because of the developments in the non-metal construction that allowed them to build decent skis in small shops. Now it looks like the major manufacturers who were slow in rocker acceptance have caught up. And the majors can and will utilize their considerable advantage in the build quality and sophisticated design. So suddenly the PMGears, Moments, and Libertys of the world do not look quite as cutting edge and as attractive. I think some of the indies will go mainstream (DPS is the leading candidate), some will leverage unique things (Bluehouse will leverage their pricing advantage, SkiLogic their work-of-art topsheets), but the middle of the road indies are in trouble.
OK, I'll have to challenge you on this. First, judging by the way 112RP's are backordered (and you don't seem to think they're too shabby either), this seems like you're contradicting yourself. Demise for all. No, oops, read further, DPS will go mainstream (wanna bet? Not that easy), the artsie/custom ones will be fine, the price point ones will be fine. Only the "middle of the road indies" will go belly up. That doesn't leave a lot. But for the record, ON3P is doing really well, PM is expanding its line and can't keep up with demand for the Lhasas, Moment seems fine from what I hear, Armada is fine, and so it goes...If they're soon pushing daisies, they better start declaring bankruptcy before the 2012's get pressed. I hate it when you're making too much money to go out of business...
Second, you assume that rocker is IT, that after the Bonafides hit the stores, Epic Gear Discussion and TGR Tech Talk can roll up and go home because the crown of all ski creation will have arrived, no more need to even think about innovation. I'm sure Rudolf Lettner felt the same way*
Third, you assume that the only reason people go indie is because of their innovation. Naw. Many do it to support small businesses rather than pad the pockets of holding companies. Others do it to buy American. Still others do it because some makers are producing skis that may be lower in QC than majors, but can offer a unique feel and on-slope experience. There is nothing made by any major - and being an old guy who churns way too many skis, I have pretty much skied a lot of the skis made by all of the majors at this point - that feels like a Prior, or a DPS, or a PM. Not saying better or worse, just different. If you don't believe me, go try them and report back. But if you just want the feel and handling of a Bonafide and 122RP, and know there will never be better skis for you, hey, great! Well, maybe not great for Blizzard, who want to sell you the next great thing in 2014: Newman's Own Flip Core, that makes coffee as you ski, small tube comes out of the core. Or DPS who will market a modified i-Pod shuffle device to randomize rocker on the fly, with topsheets of your favorite neutral country's flag.
Fourth, many support indies because they offer semi or full custom skis. I can have my own design, from shape to flex to topsheet, from Folsom for about the same price as a Kastle. Wagner and Prior will offer semi-customization, and several others will if you ask nicely. There is a lot more symbolic capital in skiing your own design, maybe even your own photographs on the topsheet, than in flashing your new Kastles. What if customization is the new frontier? What if people will pay for their own skis, and even Volkl can't figure out how to do it on a mega-scale.
Fifth, you assume that indies have shot their wad, rocker was DP's one-trick pony, carbon helped, but now no more ability to stay ahead of the, ah, curve. Uh, what about the crazy edges and compound base curves coming out of DPS, Praxis, and LibTech? Is that innovative, or is innovation limited by definition to shape? Oh, and PM is experimenting with new materials that wed rubber and carbon. Again, guess that's boring compared to (drumroll): ROCKER.
Not only are you dead, utterly, cadaverally wrong, but my prediction, made earlier in this thread, is that rocker will be a yawn, pretty much like what we currently call a "traditional" tip, in three years. Go look at pics of old skis. People have been messing with the curvature and splay of shovels forever. Literally, as in the first neolithic skis. Nothing special about rocker except that we think everything we're part of is special...
* invented steel edges in 1928.