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French skis and German (Aus and Swiss) skis have different personalities

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Like the people of the countries they come from. like the stereo-type that prevails I should say

does it ring true? provide example: achtung, schreiben Sie sofort

post #2 of 24

 I don't have enough experience on every type of ski to give you examples, but I remember a friend of mine saying " Germans make stiff skis because they want to go fast and the French make softer skis because they want to look pretty. Have no idea if it's even remotely true, but I always thought it was funny.

post #3 of 24

I believe so. I'm partial to Austrian skis such as Atomic and Fischer. They all seem to be a bit more controlled and damp than the livelier French skis.

But hey, it's only an opinon.

 

MIke

post #4 of 24
I've been selling or buying hardgoods as a career for 23 years and pretty much agree with everything that's been said for far. What does that say about K2 and the US?
post #5 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecpowderhound View Post

I've been selling or buying hardgoods as a career for 23 years and pretty much agree with everything that's been said for far. What does that say about K2 and the US?



Been a long time since hardgoods came off "the island".....

 

post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 

I'd ask what it says about, just two examples, Praxis and the U.S., or DPS and the U.S., micro companies, which says a lot, especially for the future (if they get some consumer support and loyalty)

 

post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rossi Smash View Post





Been a long time since hardgoods came off "the island".....

 

I was a buyer at the time and remember thinking "uh oh, this could be a problem". Judging solely by sales and market share, it didn't make a dent.
post #8 of 24

These are not distinctions worth making anymore. The days of the fiberglass, torsion box (often foam core) French skis have been replaced by wood metal laminates from all of the French big three. There are skis from Rossi, Dynastar, and Salomon that are as damp and stable as anything from the Austria/Germany makers. One thing is that the French often understand flex better than the germanic brands and hence can often build skis that are mere user friendly without being wimpy.

 

SJ 

post #9 of 24

^^^^ Ironically, think Volkl still makes torsion box designs for a few of its skis, just as it has been since the French were making same. Also complicated by fact that Salomon is now owned by same holding co. as Atomic, and Volkl by the same as K2. And I've skied some weirdly lite n flexy Atomics lately while Salomon has been getting beefier by the minute. Resistance is futile.

post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 

The flex of the French skis I own trades off amplitude of pop out of the turn  for a wider sweet spot, the flex being more even throughout the ski, not the uber-stiff tail, making it easier to ski the tail without getting launched. I note that historically the French have employed technique, first racing and more recently freeride, which moves the weight back aggressively for certain effects. More so than an Austrian trained skier of the same era. This is anecdotal, based mostly on my experience with Volkl and Dynastar and conversations with friends (who rep Salomon and coach).

 

does the holding company, the source of financial backing I guess, make any difference with respect to the ski design phase?

post #11 of 24

The holding companies have almost no input on nutz and boltz design but they do hold the purse strings for the R&D budgets which of course influences the final products. It is truly fascinating to watch the development paths of brands that under the same umbrella and how they take different paths toward the market. Sometimes the market will sort of drift off on a tangent that veers away from the direction of brand "A" and more toward brand "B". Sooner or later the guys at brand "A" wake up and get back on the curve and hopefully don't overcorrect. A lot of the time, I think that this is reflective of internal budgets where the guys in the ivory towers basically dictate that "brand A is doing great but B is slipping. Let's throw the budget toward B for a while to freshen it up." In that respect, I think that the holding companies do affect the final product but they would never dictate the details of the final offering.

 

SJ

post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post

 In that respect, I think that the holding companies do affect the final product but they would never dictate the details of the final offering.

 

SJ

 

The obvious question would be: do the holding companies affect the final product representationally,  by controlling who gets hired to do design and review of prototypes. 

 

'Ve muss ave fwench testeurs.  All zese testeurs, zey are not fwench.  A twaditionally fwench marque muss ave fwench testeurs!'

post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by cantunamunch View Post

 

The obvious question would be: do the holding companies affect the final product representationally,  by controlling who gets hired to do design and review of prototypes. 

 

'Ve muss ave fwench testeurs.  All zese testeurs, zey are not fwench.  A twaditionally fwench marque muss ave fwench testeurs!'



ROTF.gif..........................................that's really bad.

 

OK seriously, the testers are pretty far down the food chain for the holding companies to have any input (or even care) who the testers are. However, the international brand manager (or whatever title that position carries within a company) who oversees product development is the guy responsible for staffing the R&D department and that of course includes engineers, testers, production guys etc. FTMP......holding companies really don't care about the details.

 

Generally however, the brands based in say France will have French testers and Germans the same.......etc. This is not always true but the ski biz used to be pretty nationalistic. With the huge conglomerate ownerships, this is less the case than it used to be but it's still there.

 

SJ

post #14 of 24

All I can say is my Atomics are solid and dependable, if not a bit boring, whereas my Dynastars are down right rude and, for some reason, smell like an ashtray.

post #15 of 24

And MY Atomics are upfront and tell me exactly how they want to be skied and then reward me with surprising enthusiasm, while my Dynastars want me to seduce them, play hard-to-find with the sweet spot, and seem to be almost unskiable --  but then bowl me over with unexpected passion for the task when I get it right.

post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by tch View Post

 while my Dynastars want me to seduce them, play hard-to-find with the sweet spot, and seem to be almost unskiable --  but then bowl me over with unexpected passion for the task when I get it right.

 

They like to be skied from the back, eh?
 

 

post #17 of 24

I think it used to be important but not anymore.  In the past I have not met an Austrian/German ski that I liked, so I spend years on French boards- primarily on Solly and Dynastar.  But last two seasons my daily drivers have been 50/50 Austrian and French (Head and Dynastar), and this year I will be on an Austrian ski (Blizzard).    I really think the nationality of the brand has lost its meaning.  For example, it looks like the Flipcore series of Blizzard was conceived in the US and most likely tested here as well.   I think a more important distinction is the location of the R&D facility, because I imagine this is where the rapid prototype testing happens.

post #18 of 24


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexzn View Post
, it looks like the Flipcore series of Blizzard was conceived in the US and most likely tested here as well.   I think a more important distinction is the location of the R&D facility, because I imagine this is where the rapid prototype testing happens.

Where do you think this leaves other manufacturers with a Miltie-national heritage?   My Nordicas say." designed in Italy, built in Austria".  And where do the Italian skis fit into this mix?  They seem sto like technique, but don't seem to mind a little fooling around.   (I know mine like wine and sunshine.)

 

Who has any example with any of the Japanese skis of recent times?  That could be interesting.  Personal racist guess says they would ski more like German or Austrian skis.
 

 

post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 

Volkl tried the Engineered in Germany label on their skis for 2011. It didn't fly I don't think. I looked and looked again, kind of a double take, first time I saw it. It's basically just a bullsh%t thing to print on the ski, IMO. (they just want the word Germany on the ski)
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stranger View Post


 

Where do you think this leaves other manufacturers with a Miltie-national heritage?   My Nordicas say." designed in Italy, built in Austria".  And where do the Italian skis fit into this mix?  They seem sto like technique, but don't seem to mind a little fooling around.   (I know mine like wine and sunshine.)

 

Who has any example with any of the Japanese skis of recent times?  That could be interesting.  Personal racist guess says they would ski more like German or Austrian skis.
 

 



 

post #20 of 24

The lines are so blurred these days that the nationalistic heritage of many brands is just not it used to be (for better or worse). There have been several examples mentioned and of course they are all true. A hard core Austrian company like Blizzard adopted a building philosophy that is the antithesis to the typical hard core Aus/Ger heritage and sure enough, the impetus for that came from the US. Dynastar has for several years now been moving away from the light and nimble but a little fluttery skis that they used to make and the US product managers had a pretty big say in that development. Recently Rossignol and Salomon are following that suit. The Italian brands simply have no impact on the market and their factories while very very capable, cannot compete effectively due to the Italian Labor situation. Certainly in recent years Blossom has shown itself to be a world class factory and going back several years the Persenico factory as well could build world beater skis.

 

The times they are a changin'................

 

SJ

post #21 of 24

 

If we can put on our Carnac the Magnificent turbans on for a second,  I have a semi-serious question.

 

If the US product managers of previously nationalistic European brands have had a serious say in affecting direction and development,

 

What direction will Chinese product managers of European ski brands wish to take development towards, when they get to having as much or more say than US product managers? 

 

(And I firmly believe they will).

 

Interski 2011 attendees might be best placed to answer this question.

 

 

*takes off turban, strokes chelengk*

post #22 of 24

Chinese product managers don't exist. Brand managers.....a theoretical possibility, but.....product managers no. Here's how the deal goes for a typical company.............................(titles may vary)

 

International Brand (sales) Manager (worldwide enchilada guy that figgers out how and where to sell the stuff)(one guy worldwide)

                   ^

International Product Manager (works with R&D and the factory. Responsible for the worldwide collection of stuff, one guy worldwide)

                   ^

Distribution level brand (sales) manager (sells the stuff in his market, there are usually 4-8 of these guys, one for each major market)

                   ^

Distribution Level product manager (researches and communicates product needs for his market to IPM usually 4-6 of these but occasionally a few more)

 

China has no ski market hence the need for a product manager or a distribution level brand manager is nil. It is possible that a Chinese could take over the (IBM) position but even that job usually falls to someone with vast experience at several lower levels of the business. A bean counter or factory manager could possibly be given this responsibility but although its been tried, so far, it has never worked. A very talented DLPM may become very influential at the international level without actually getting promoted to that position. This has happened fairly recently in a couple of cases where US guys now have significant input with a Euro or China based company.

 

FWIW.....each of these positions must spend a significant time in the Carnac business school.

 

SJ

 

post #23 of 24


Well, that's a very clear explanation of the hierarchy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post

 

China has no ski market hence the need for a product manager or a distribution level brand manager is nil.


 



I was rather wondering about the slightly longer term outlook.    ~20+ years.

post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by cantunamunch View Post


Well, that's a very clear explanation of the hierarchy.



I was rather wondering about the slightly longer term outlook.    ~20+ years.


Check back in ~~19 years.

 

SJ

 

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