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Epicski as a legit too for buying gear

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

In the teaching section we started a thread discussing how Epic has become a Legit Tool for Learning How to Ski


I would like start the discussion on how Epic has also become a great source for buying, discussing and reviewing gear. Most know that I wear a couple of hats here on Epic, Overseeing the Gear/Equipment Section, Reviewing Gear, Editing and also as a seller/sponsor with Start Haus Ski shop. I also talk to quite a few manufactures and they do read (and even some post/respond (under aliases)  the forum and the information posted here IS taken very seriously. 


It is interesting seeing not only the posts in a thread, but the views. The views are from people searching for information, and for this discussion "gear" and people who are lurking. At the Start Haus, I get almost as many calls from that latter as I do from names/handles I recognize to buy gear. So the members here that are posting about gear, your words and opinions are being read. Are there any thoughts that could be added by not only the members here, but also sellers too. Thoughts that could expand the base of information that we have created past our usual readers? 

post #2 of 9


I'll start -


With regards to the searching for information and retrieving information.  I do all types of searches here trying to find out about gear and brands.  I currently have a couple requests for information in threads because I couldn't find it here or maybe even anywhere (i.e. Klymit and Avalanche Ski Wear).  Even when I search Mr. Google, I usually get led back here anyway.


I guess my issue is that when you do a search here, it seems to bring you to the thread the info is in but not the post.


As for information that is being posted, for clothing, I try to figure out how it will fit.  I'm probably one of the few normal size persons in this forum; 5'7" 170#.  My torso is the top end of medium to the low end of Large but my height and sleeve length is Small to Medium.  With my current pursuit of a shell, I'm trying to figure out if I'll be able to get a liner under it or not and whether I'll have to get the sleeves hemmed.


Even on skis, a search will pull up a thread that mentions what you are searching for but you have to find that post and then you find out it says something like "I got these to replace my XXXX that were stolen..." and you were trying to find out about XXXX.


Maybe if in posts that actually talked about the gear, there was a button that could be clicked so it would be included in searches.  My example is that I posted here about Klymit asking if anyone was familiar with them after doing searches for them and not finding anything.  When I later did more searches, it pulled up my thread asking about them.


With regards to information being provided, it would be good to know if you are reading something being written by someone that is sponsored, is trying to sell something or just really likes it.  I think iriponsnow did a great job on "full disclosure" in the thread on skiers edge.  I think it sways peoples opinion on how they feel about something depending on how much they spent.  Saying something is well worth it when it is free is different when it is well worth it when you paid full price or got a pro deal or on sale or closeout.



post #3 of 9

In terms of it being a great source for buying/discussing/reviewing, OK, but I'd add two caveats.


First, you need to filter. A lot of what gets said on threads about gear is bullshit, from people who aren't experts, just spouting off. Or in some cases, people who are experts but just like being aggressive dickheads. It's not that hard to figure out who really knows what they're talking about and who has useful input to give, but still, you need to make that effort.


Second, I think we should discern between threads asking, "what kind of gear works best for xx situation or need," and those just extolling or dissing the latest skis (and it's usually skis). I've gotten some useful information/responses on very specific gear questions here at Epic, and I'll certainly continue seeking that kind of advice here. But a lot of the gear discussion, for my money, is interesting for entertainment value only. 

As far as actual buying, Epic offers lots of great opportunities and I've found all the affiliated shops to be very helpful. Not as convenient for us in Europe as for those of you in N. America, but that kind of goes with the terrain.

post #4 of 9



Internet forums are obviously filled with "early adopters" who seek information, ego satisfaction or both.  One  way to take advantage of this viewer base is through a formal questionnaire designed to help retailers and manufacturers identify trends that will help them better serve the consumer (Think: more revenue).   Another idea is to structure a more formal rating and reviewing system for gear, based upon a usable rating system designed to identify the type of skier who would most likely benefit from the equipment.  For example, the narrow turning radius of a ski like the Enforcer can be loved or hated by skiers of equal ability but with different skiing  "styles." 

post #5 of 9

Excellent topic, has implications for everyone from the industry folks here to those who are just trying out our sport. I'd say that five things could benefit the lurkers and newbies. 


1) Be civil to them. Consider how you felt when you first stumbled across this place, trying to figure out the protocol, the culture, who was worth reading and who was blowing smoke. Or your first post. Keep in mind that your post will be read by hundreds or even thousands of people, most of whom will never reply. Most of whom don't "know you" in the web version of community, or how awesome you are. I routinely jump in when someone's post count is in the single digits and welcome them to Epic, and I go through the usual drill. I typically include a suggestion to search the Gear Forums for particular sets of reviews. So do some others here. Before we break our arms patting ourselves on the backs, this should be something that's part of the basic cultural responsibilities here, like subscribing or deducing BWPA's missing words. Take your turn. Accept the fact that yeah, a 2 poster could have done a search (if they could figure out our ridiculous engine, see #3). Make them feel like they can become part of this too. If they want to be Jonged, they can go sign on to TGR, and wade through the ritual initiations. A few may end up bicultural. (Love the half thread parsing Skifishbum's syntax). Conversely, if you've got all of 53 posts yourself and are jonging a newbie...


2) Figure out a way to sticky/otherwise foreground seminal threads that we've had about particular issues. For instance, ski length, or helmet safety, or ACL's. Often when I'm replying to someone, I just can't invest the time in searching for these, so I give some vague descriptors and suggest they search. Weak, and see #3. 


3) Improve the in-house search function, or have a box on the opening page that directs newbies on how to search here using Google. It's just too inefficient to wade through all the irrelevant crap to try to find a particular post from a year ago. I'm not a techie, but seriously guys, our engine sucks. If that's a problem for all engines, how come I can Google stuff from the outside so much more efficiently? 


4) Phil's initiatives about Gear on the opening page are great. But I've noticed that if you factor out the Epic administrators, there's still a disjunct between those that post in the Gear Review section and those who post in the Gear Review Forum. So if I'm a newbie interested in a ski, I might go first to the Gear Reviews, then eventually work my way to Ski Gear Discussion, then be directed to Ski Gear Reviews, where I would come up against the search engine. Tedious. Plus, many of us actually do it in reverse, start with the forums and then (maybe) go look or post at the Gear Reviews. The nuanced stuff - and most of the dings or "yes but's", which are more valuable than the adoration - gets left in the forums. So would suggest better interface between Gear Reviews and Ski Gear Review forum if possible. I realize that getting links to particular threads might be tough, but at least a link to the forum? Or to all threads with that genre of ski in their titles? Or from a particular thread to the Gear Review section review?


5) Assume that every hour someone who's never been here before shows up and wants to lurk. Our job is to create the illusion that it's worth their time they could be devoting to earning money or interacting with flesh and blood people. Our forums have a long "rules of conduct" link that says "read this first," so I doubt anyone will this week except me (so I could double check). Besides, we ignore half the rules. Suggest something flashier graphically that addresses lurkers specifically, could include appropriate conduct but more relevant to show how to get around, how to search, why this is way cooler than doing that report, etc. Wouldn't hurt to be a hair less we're-watching-you than the "Rules of Conduct," also. 



post #6 of 9

I will only read posts that say where a person is from (or make up something, ;)  ) by the number of posts in the corner. That is because if no information is there, the profile is not filled out. If the profile is not filled out, and a person gives a scant self-description in the post, there is insufficient information to make an intelligent response, waste of everyone's time. Sooooo, I would encourage people to fill it out, and I would actually add some categories, DOB, years skiing, height and weight, fitness level, skiing style, that kind of thing that is often left out. Because, what reason is there to leave that blank: a poster wants to be anonymous so they can be abusive, perhaps? They are lazy? They are not serious about gaining or providing information on topics? They do not want to be held accountable for what they say?? They are very shyredface.gif

post #7 of 9

^^^^ Poster may be shy for good reason. I was super careful what I put on TGR because of the culture there. There have been incidents of folks going after other folks, as in, real life. And because first try, accidentally posted real info (including name); vaguely worded instructions that didn't clearly explain difference between field for personal admin data and field for stuff that went to the screen, etc. Had to go to admin there, have it expunged. (Of course I'm half an idiot, so maybe that's rare. But I know people who think an avatar is something Cameron thought up, so...) Also, not automatically clear how to do this stuff or why it's worth it if you're just casual, don't want to go to a lot of trouble just to post a question. 


Totally agree about other data being useful. The box I suggested above could emphasize need to include relevants along with asking "what ski should I buy?" In another thread, I suggested we could use a version of Phil's Gear Review form, in fact. My pet peeve is that few bother to list weight, height, where they ski. OTOH, part of getting to know someone here, understanding their needs, is to draw them out. Most newbies would seriously overestimate their abilities, for instance. By having them reply to a coupla questions, you can see pretty fast what they actually will enjoy rather than what they see themselves ripping on. So pre-forms have their limits. My own self-characterization as "just missed U.S. team" may be a slight exaggeration. Or so my friends tell me...biggrin.gif


Also note that thread title has awkward truth we're avoiding: "Buying." When I talk with newbies, I often point them to specific retailers. Ruin their lives and bank accounts by hooking them up with Phil or Dawg or Whiteroom, say. I feel that's a reasonable thing, given that I have personal experience with same, like ruining lives through skiing. But maybe we need to decide a) is it? and b) if it is, where's the line? Should we have smoother interfaces between potential consumers and retailers? Or is that too much conflict of interest, like becoming a store site with glowing reviews just of the skis it carries? The subtext in my complaints last spring concerning the Bonafide was basically about conflict of interest. OTOH, maybe the system's self-correcting. If I visit a store site, I realize they're not gonna ding the skis they bothered to stock this year. And if I become too much of a cheerleader, somebody will call me out. (Meanwhile I will continue to recommend those Titan 9's floating around to all new posters, because they're the greatest ski ever made. wink.gif

Edited by beyond - 9/9/11 at 9:46am
post #8 of 9

good point. I have always thought it was a bad idea to use so much of my name as if it were a clever fiction. real deceptive and subtle, huh? 

post #9 of 9

I have to second the poor search function on the site. I have found that other forums will highlight the terms searched so you can at least scan quickly through a thread. However, I usually end up using Google and have it search the specific site. For example, if I want to search for Bonafide on epicski I will type into Google these words = Bonafide site:epicski.com. This works really well, but most people don't know how to search a specific site with Google.


Also, the best reviews in my opinion are when a number of skis in the same class are reviewed together and compared, like what Dawg and SJ do. Perhaps reviews could be rated (most useful to not useful) and then part of the search function could be to only search the more useful product reviews.

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