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post #61 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexzn View Post

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. wink.gif 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...jk.gif

 

 

* invented steel edges in 1928.

 

 

 

 

post #62 of 75

There are a few brands with a MASSIVE following on TGR and Newschoolers. I don't see them falling of the face of the planet. 

 

 

 

 

post #63 of 75

Ok, guys, I will bite.  duel.gif   Frankly, although I care whether a ski is made by an evil corporation in China or an enthusiast in his garage in Colorado, all I want from it is to ski well, hold an edge, be damp, last a long time, take some hard knocks, and be backed by good customer service (would be nice if the topsheet didn't have some juvenile satanic imagery or naked babes).    In a nutshell, this is what a ski company needs to produce to get my $$s.   I think you missed my argument- I was not saying that rocker is the end of things and some company named Blizzard or DPS has discovered a holy grail.    Innovation in skiing does go in waves, there were plastic boots, shaped skis, fat skis and now rocker, there will be something else in a few years' time.    Small independent companies are certainly faster to pick those innovations, but they do have a technological disadvantage relative to the big boys who have race rooms, big R&D budgets, and glues that they perfected for years.  Add to this advantage a big dealer network and fat advertising budget and you get a playing field that is tilted significantly.  In the past years the indies had a lot of stars aligned for them- they had new materials that simplified manufacturing, they had internet-enabled guerilla marketing (I bet a few good reviews on TGR can sell a few skis), and frankly, the majors have been asleep at the wheel missing the rocker boat completely, just as they missed the fat skis initially.  Majors will miss the next big thing when it arrives too, but it has not landed yet.  So now an indie needs to compete with a sophisticated manufacturing capability and sales network of a big company and that is just tough.  I skied a couple of runs on a 190 Moment Bibby last weekend, very nice ski, stiff, tip/tail rockered, a good carver.  But it felt too stiff and planky for real powder and just didn't have the sophistication that I felt in the Blizzard, some Dynastar, or, yes, DPS.  A couple of years ago I would have been all over that Moment ski, but now I know that there are better choices out there, (and most of them are coming from the majors).  

 

All I wanted to say was that a ski company can compete on innovation, quality, or price (or any two of those), and it is becoming increasingly difficult for indies to compete on pure innovation.  Making a burly rockered ski does not cut it anymore, and making a crazy edge wont cut it either.   You need to go the whole nine yards, and marry that shape with sophisticated construction.  BTW, DPS is actively touting their construction on their website, so they get it.  Time will tell.... beercheer.gif

 

P.S. Sorry if I am making the impression that the Bonafide is the end of it, I dont think so, it is just a damn good ski that I will enjoy skiing.  Given the frequency with which I change skis, Blizzard wont have much problem selling me their Flipcore-2 ski...

 

 

 

 

 

     

post #64 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexzn View Post

 But it felt too stiff and planky for real powder and just didn't have the sophistication that I felt in the Blizzard, some Dynastar, or, yes, DPS.  A couple of years ago I would have been all over that Moment ski, but now I know that there are better choices out there, (and most of them are coming from the majors). 

 

     


That stiffness is actually one of the things working in the indies favor in capturing niche markets imo (full disclosure: I haven't skied the Bibby).  There's a demographic that likes big, stiff charging skis (e.g. TGR) and there aren't a lot out there anymore from the major manufacturers.  Dynastar softened the Legend Pro.  Rossignol discontinued the RC112 and (i believe) the B Squad.  The indies seem to be well placed to step in and grab some of this market (which the majors may consider too small to target).

 

post #65 of 75

I dont think anything is going to change except the paint job. Wood cores for the rental skis, wood titanium cores for the aggresive skiers just like it has been for years. Carbon skis are most likely to expensive to make to mass preduce. The hype about new & improved will remain the same even though the ski is basicaly the same. What ever ski is the flavour of the month will not be the one I will be adding to my quiver. I will stick to skis several years old. Basicaly the same ski with differnt paint jobs & or anti vibration gizmos will be priced @ differnt levels & hyped up to ski totaly differnt & the consumers will rush in believing they are buying a turn.

 

 @ some point binding might come with adjustable delta angles & or canting by the turn of a screw. ( maybe they already do)

post #66 of 75

The new progressors are skiing great! All new molds with wider waists!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RaceDude View Post

Biggest surprise so far for me:  Volkl RTMs are pretty solid and much better than the ACs. 

Biggest bust:  Atomic, and probably the new Goode skis except the powder stuff. 

Biggest question:  How the new Fischer Progressors do.  I really liked skiing the Motives, but didn't get a chance to try the Progressors 



 

post #67 of 75

Winners:

 

Line - The Prophet and new Influence lineup is solid. Even if the changes to the EP Pro/Opus and Bacon don't pan out, they still have all the hype going for them. At the last demo day I went to, they were easily doing the most business.

 

Indies with a strong forum presence - Especially the ones on TGR, PM Gear, DPS, ON3P, etc. People like to know the person who makes their skis, even if it does make you seem like an elitist weiner to your friends, family, and random acquaintances on the street.

 

Losers:

 

Dynastar - No buzz and no hype. Whether or not they make good products doesn't matter, because no one seems to care.

 

Questionables:

 

Fischer - The Watea line is pretty solid, especially with the addition of the new Watea 120. The Vaccuum boot is getting a lot of buzz, and the addition of rocker to their whole all-mountain line is an interesting move. Now they just need to raise their brand awareness.

post #68 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wooster View Post

Winners:

 

Line - The Prophet and new Influence lineup is solid. Even if the changes to the EP Pro/Opus and Bacon don't pan out, they still have all the hype going for them. At the last demo day I went to, they were easily doing the most business.

 

Indies with a strong forum presence - Especially the ones on TGR, PM Gear, DPS, ON3P, etc. People like to know the person who makes their skis, even if it does make you seem like an elitist weiner to your friends, family, and random acquaintances on the street.

 

Losers:

 

Dynastar - No buzz and no hype. Whether or not they make good products doesn't matter, because no one seems to care.

 

Questionables:

 

Fischer - The Watea line is pretty solid, especially with the addition of the new Watea 120. The Vaccuum boot is getting a lot of buzz, and the addition of rocker to their whole all-mountain line is an interesting move. Now they just need to raise their brand awareness.

I think Line will kill it this year. Almost every ski in the Influence series is appealing to me as well as the redesigned EP models.

 

I also don't think people who only stick to Epic realize how entrenched PM Gear, DPS, and ON3P are at TGR. ON3P also has a massive following on Newschoolers.
 

 

post #69 of 75


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcusBrody View Post




That stiffness is actually one of the things working in the indies favor in capturing niche markets imo (full disclosure: I haven't skied the Bibby).  There's a demographic that likes big, stiff charging skis (e.g. TGR) and there aren't a lot out there anymore from the major manufacturers.  Dynastar softened the Legend Pro.  Rossignol discontinued the RC112 and (i believe) the B Squad.  The indies seem to be well placed to step in and grab some of this market (which the majors may consider too small to target).

 

 

The new Dynastar Pro Rider 105 is the real deal, not soft by any means- ski it if you can!
 

 

post #70 of 75

Losers--- local ski shops in skitowns but not on the hill.

Outfits such as D2D are hurting their businesses.

post #71 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexzn View Post

Ok, guys, I will bite.  duel.gif   Frankly, although I care whether a ski is made by an evil corporation in China or an enthusiast in his garage in Colorado, all I want from it is to ski well, hold an edge, be damp, last a long time, take some hard knocks, and be backed by good customer service (would be nice if the topsheet didn't have some juvenile satanic imagery or naked babes).    In a nutshell, this is what a ski company needs to produce to get my $$s.   I think you missed my argument- I was not saying that rocker is the end of things and some company named Blizzard or DPS has discovered a holy grail.    Innovation in skiing does go in waves, there were plastic boots, shaped skis, fat skis and now rocker, there will be something else in a few years' time.    Small independent companies are certainly faster to pick those innovations, but they do have a technological disadvantage relative to the big boys who have race rooms, big R&D budgets, and glues that they perfected for years.  Add to this advantage a big dealer network and fat advertising budget and you get a playing field that is tilted significantly.  In the past years the indies had a lot of stars aligned for them- they had new materials that simplified manufacturing, they had internet-enabled guerilla marketing (I bet a few good reviews on TGR can sell a few skis), and frankly, the majors have been asleep at the wheel missing the rocker boat completely, just as they missed the fat skis initially.  Majors will miss the next big thing when it arrives too, but it has not landed yet.  So now an indie needs to compete with a sophisticated manufacturing capability and sales network of a big company and that is just tough.  I skied a couple of runs on a 190 Moment Bibby last weekend, very nice ski, stiff, tip/tail rockered, a good carver.  But it felt too stiff and planky for real powder and just didn't have the sophistication that I felt in the Blizzard, some Dynastar, or, yes, DPS.  A couple of years ago I would have been all over that Moment ski, but now I know that there are better choices out there, (and most of them are coming from the majors).  

 

All I wanted to say was that a ski company can compete on innovation, quality, or price (or any two of those), and it is becoming increasingly difficult for indies to compete on pure innovation.  Making a burly rockered ski does not cut it anymore, and making a crazy edge wont cut it either.   You need to go the whole nine yards, and marry that shape with sophisticated construction.  BTW, DPS is actively touting their construction on their website, so they get it.  Time will tell.... beercheer.gif

 

P.S. Sorry if I am making the impression that the Bonafide is the end of it, I dont think so, it is just a damn good ski that I will enjoy skiing.  Given the frequency with which I change skis, Blizzard wont have much problem selling me their Flipcore-2 ski...

 

     

 

You are making a classic economies of scale type argument.

 

However I think your statement in bold above misses a good amount... Quality is more than improving QAQC, quality is sizing, customisation, and other special requirements.

 

I know a guy who has 175cm praxis powders build softer for his 13 year old daughter to ski. Can you do that with a major ski company?

 

It is hard to find powder skis longer than 190cm... Rocker funshape skis ski sooo short. And indies seem to have the riches line up with multiple models of skis above 190cm as well as the biggest offerings. 205 praxis powder or a 202 DPS 138...

 

Major ski makers are not marketing to touring crowd at all. Where as companies like PMgear an DPS were developed as touring skis from the ground up. I can't think of any major ski maker that even lists weights of their skis online (except maybe BD)...  And then there are also the fact that pretty much every freeride ski form major Mfg is a twin tip...

 

 


Edited by tromano - 8/11/11 at 9:41pm
post #72 of 75

Pow skis for kidsicon14.gif

Praxis and the other awesome boutiques blast off into the stratosphere, while skis that don't work fall by the wayside.

Full rocker becomes totally assimilated.

Check out Las Lenas, in really rough conditions (all the newest models performing): I think a lot of these young kids were way on the wrong skis in the clips I've watched of the first run. Or it's a style over function thing... A couple years ago, many competitors would have been on Legend Pros (97mm) in these conditions, and better served, IMO. The leader of the first run (French dude, Guerlain) was on Dynastar Huge Rockersyahoo.gif and second (or third) on Rossignol S7 or super. The snow was partly packed out crud.  Dampening  and drive/power was key, therefore the prominence of French manufactured models. just a supposition on my part.

post #73 of 75

Obviously Flipcore is going to be a big winner for Blizzard... but I'm also seeing a lot of Volkl Shiro's showing up in trailers and videos already, which bodes well for its chances.  DPS's brand will continue to grow in reputation, especially since you can't miss those banana boats in a lift line.  The Fischer Vacuum boots may take a full year to really build enough buzz to convince people if they're worth spending that much to upgrade.

post #74 of 75
DPS is going to explode...the hype is everywhere
post #75 of 75

If the ski draft in Powder is any indication, it's going to be a good year for 4FRNT too.

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