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Improved ski reviews

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I’ve been thinking for a while now that most ski reviews suck.  You have an interest in some equipment for the upcoming season so you do a couple google searches and what you wind up with is the manufacturer’s regurgitated marketing campaign. If you’re lucky someone will have actually tested the ski and what they’ve done is rate the ski much like a movie critic,they give the ski a grade and then average it out. Well that’s OK ,but what if (like me) you don’t happen to agree with ski tester number 5? Well then you’re left to demo skis (which is a time and resource consuming effort) not to mention a financial drain. (fun? Yes! Viable option for most? Not really!)

            I’d be more than happy to suggest a standardized test for skis.  It would be a pretty simple deal so that instead of saying that ski brand A is “stiff” we could load up a binding (with a weighted boot sole) under load and measure deflection so that stiffness has a meaningful number,and do the same for shovel and tail flex as well as torsional stiffness.  Over time these numbers would give greater meaning to the words rendered in reviews.  I’d like to see the same thing happen with ski boots. How hard would it be to load the boot after under a specific weight and measure deflection? It’s not rocket surgery is it?  Flex number 100 sounds cool but it’s almost totally meaningless.

            I’m not disputing that clever marketing sells new equipment but I’d really like to see the cold hard fact and data to help me choose the ski and boot that’s most likely to fit me rather than what ski tester number 5 or 1,000,000 thinks.   Who’s with me?

post #2 of 7

That ski tester #5 is a jerk, personally I don't trust a thing he says.

post #3 of 7

Whiteroom is actually on to something.  If a tester from a magazine says a ski is a little soft, and that tester happens to be Daron Rahlves, I may not think the same way.  He has world class legs and I don't (not to mention he is two decades younger).  I can sometimes better relate to Phil's or Dawgcatching's reviews (I probably ski similarly to the Dawg).  The way you ski is as important as the skier, and that is what Real Skiers tries to do with their reviews.  The methodology is slanted towards those who can carve ("smooth drift", "clean carve", "accurate", etc.) and the reviews are done by a multitude of skiers including shop employees of varying backgrounds and guys like Harold Harb. 

 

EPICSKI can easily do the same with its supporters, giving them (and the manufacturers) access to the compiled data of the skis they own or demo.  Is it worth it for them to do so?  I dunno.  So far guys like Dawgcatching & Philpug & SierraJim have been on the money for me.  I haven't skied with them, but can probably tell who carves purer turns and how each skis moguls by their reviews.

 

The Canadian magazine tests are probably more to your liking.

 

I am a quant kind of guy, but there are too many factors that can't be measured that go into a skis performance to say a "stiff" of "soft" ski is right for a particular person.  I know I'll likely never be disappointed in certain brands of carving skis, but everything else isn't a slam dunk based upon construction or measured flex.


Edited by quant2325 - 12/31/11 at 6:45am
post #4 of 7

I have observed something about automobile advertising and I wonder if the same exists for skis.

The better cars, Mercedes, Volvo, BMW, always talk about substantive things like safety, performance, durability and resale.

The lesser cars only make image ads, like Zoomzoom, rats in little box cars, cars flying down wet roads at mach speed, women seducing men from the drivers seat of a sexy car, men demonstrating their status and power by selecting a powerful automobile.

post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by wikked1 View Post

I’ve been thinking for a while now that most ski reviews suck.  You have an interest in some equipment for the upcoming season so you do a couple google searches and what you wind up with is the manufacturer’s regurgitated marketing campaign. If you’re lucky someone will have actually tested the ski and what they’ve done is rate the ski much like a movie critic,they give the ski a grade and then average it out. Well that’s OK ,but what if (like me) you don’t happen to agree with ski tester number 5? Well then you’re left to demo skis (which is a time and resource consuming effort) not to mention a financial drain. (fun? Yes! Viable option for most? Not really!)

            I’d be more than happy to suggest a standardized test for skis.  It would be a pretty simple deal so that instead of saying that ski brand A is “stiff” we could load up a binding (with a weighted boot sole) under load and measure deflection so that stiffness has a meaningful number,and do the same for shovel and tail flex as well as torsional stiffness.  Over time these numbers would give greater meaning to the words rendered in reviews.  I’d like to see the same thing happen with ski boots. How hard would it be to load the boot after under a specific weight and measure deflection? It’s not rocket surgery is it?  Flex number 100 sounds cool but it’s almost totally meaningless.

            I’m not disputing that clever marketing sells new equipment but I’d really like to see the cold hard fact and data to help me choose the ski and boot that’s most likely to fit me rather than what ski tester number 5 or 1,000,000 thinks.   Who’s with me?




Not saying that there is no place for hard numbers. There is. You raise a good point, and others here on this board have advocated for things like objective flex stats on multiple occasions. I don't disagree with them or you that such numbers might be interesting as part of a bigger information gathering picture. I'm all for that. I'm almost certain, though, that the numbers by themselves would not tell you what you probably really want to know, which is whether you will like a ski or not. By analogy, nothing gets a dismissive laugh from an experienced wine taster - even one who knows a lot about the quantifiable aspects of wine production - faster than the poser who starts spouting stats about pH levels and sugar content in degrees Oechsle. The people who get the most respect and make the best recommendations to others are the ones who have done the most tasting and listening, not the ones who have deconstructed the most wines, analytically speaking. There are probably too many variables and too much subjectivity involved to be able to go purely by the numbers, even for something like skis that arguably are more "engineered" than wine and whose production is less subject to the whims of weather, soil, and what have you.

post #6 of 7

Years ago, some the ski mags used to publish data on things like stiffness. I never thought it was very useful.

post #7 of 7

I think a three or five point longitudinal flex index would be helpful in a similar way that the sidecut dimension numbers help. People would not make a decision using the numbers in isolation, but might compare it to the numbers of skis they know and like. You could infer the general stiffness of a ski, similar to standing it on the floor and flexing it in the shop. Having skied three skis with similar numbers, Mantra, Legend Pro, B-Squad, and very different personalities, I agree that without skiing it you won't know the important thing: how it feels.

 

Other useful information would be the construction, and here's one: the resonance properties. I wonder.

 

I have been told that the ski companies feel that they have nothing to gain by it, and possibly something to lose when numbers are used improperly by consumers.

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