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ANOTHER reason Ski Magazine Sucks (again)...

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Every time I think I should give Ski or Skiing Magazine another chance to entertain or inform me, they come up with another reason to dump their rags in the recycling bin. Read their "2013 Ski Test" lineup blurb. To quote:



"You’ll notice that some companies get more skis than others. It’s a controversial approach among the manufacturers who get fewer entries, but we do it for the reader. The number of skis allowed each brand is based on two factors: market share and performance in last year’s test. By factoring in market share, we reflect what’s actually out there in the shops. (No use giving a ski a Gold Medal if you can’t find it for sale anywhere.) By factoring in past-year’s performance, we reward companies, however small, for doing well in the test—because we want to focus on the good skis and waste less time on the dogs. In the end, doing well in the test is the quickest way for a brand to get more skis in next year’s test, which should in turn help them to sell more skis and gain larger market share. Makes sense to us."



This pisses me off to no end. "Do it for the reader"? Are you frigging kidding me?


There are nearly 300 OTHER ski companies out there besides Atomic, Blizzard, Head, K2, Volkl, Dynastar, Nordica, Rossignol...etc. Sure, the big ski companies can make some kick-ass skis, and I like them just fine, but to limit the test universe based on market share, "performance in last year's test" and availability in retail stores is a serious disservice to the skiing population out there.


With direct-to-consumer sales from hundreds of websites (should we name a few innovators like Praxis, DPS, ON3P or not?), the idea of limiting the test field like that tells me Ski Magazine has no clue about the kick-ass skis made by small businesses out there. Personally, I like the idea of giving my hundreds of dollars per-pair of skis to someone I can email or call on the phone, knowing that money goes toward paying their bills and feeding their families without huge corporate overhead sucking up a chunk of that cash. With tons of people wanting to "buy local" and "support small companies" these days (for good reason in my book), limiting a field of ski companies in an annual test to the criteria stated at Ski Magazine is seriously deficient and serves to perpetuate ignorance in the buying population.  I am all for shopping at small shops and supporting small shops, and nearly every small company will put their product in shops if they are asked and a reasonable profit can be had by all, so the "available in shops" argument rings hollow with me.


They did include Goode and Line (a rep told me this month that Line expects to press 30,000 pairs of skis this season..so they are not really "small"..being under the K2 corporate organization), but that really does not cut it. Ski Mag should rename their test "2013 Skis from the largest companies". Anyway...just venting....I knew I should ignore Ski and Skiing Magazine (again)....but the criteria just burns my biscuits...

post #2 of 12
 I suspect a better way of stating this would be to say: 
  "there is no point giving a ski a gold medal if the company won't purchase ad space from us..."

That is my take & most recent tweet!

post #3 of 12

So, I take it you want them to review every new ski on the market?


They're a mass-market publication.  They're reviewing the products that are the most commonly available.  And they have something like 150 different skis on the list.  It's not like they're only reviewing the 5 most popular.


This seems like nothing more than complaining for the sake of complaining. 

post #4 of 12

Yep, they cater to the mainstream, not the enthusiast/niche market.  That's just the focus of their publication; go after the biggest and easiest money share.  Those that don't know better probably won't care, and those that do know better won't listen to them.

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

I know, I know...I just complain, complain....


By rough calculation, they are testing 150 various models of skis from 14 of the biggest names (no Elans?) out of approximately 300 companies.

I figure that represents less than 5% of the companies out there.


I know that it's a mainstream magazine, and that's fine.  I just wish they would support more of the industry and its diversity.  I don't expect them to test every ski from every brand, or focus their efforts on garage brands or really esoteric companies, but expand their once-a-year test to encompass a little more variety.


Too many skiers go through their lives completely unaware of the vast variety of skis out there, and I think an industry magazine should test more than 5% of the ski brands available.

The small, independent builders are exploding in popularity with great designs and great quality at decent prices.  It gives the magazines something NEW to talk about if they had the editorial inclination.  They have to run a business publishing info about an industry that's interesting to them, and profitable, and that's OK. I just wish they would actually report what's new and interesting in the modern world so people can explore a wider choice of options.


post #6 of 12

For the record, I do agree with you.  There are some excellent skis/companies out there that deserve a look and exposure.  It's a slow climb though, hopefully the enthusiast/niche market that we all support will spill over more into mainstream.

post #7 of 12

If those "smaller company" skis don't fit into the yearly ski test, then another idea might be to have each smaller company put their best foot (ski) forward and do a "smaller or up-and-coming company" ski review focusing on the niche ski companies. I know I would certainly pay the cover price of a magazine that focused on some of the smaller companies best skis. Just a thought...

post #8 of 12

I don't necessarily like everything in SKI Magazine, and am occasionally disappointed by their content (and some inconspicuous errors like saying on a mini map that Squaw Valley was at Mammoth Mountain, nowhere near Tahoe).


BUT, on this issue you can't blame them.  I don't think they are claiming to have a comprehensive review of every ski in existence... they are simply highlighting the major players and helping their readership of casual skiers choose a ski, or at least have a place to start.


I don't necessarily think that any of the smaller of these "300 companies" is entitled to any space in a major publication.  If those companies build themselves up, which they can in the free-market economy, then they can earn the resources and prestige to gain market attention via a marketing budget.

post #9 of 12
Here is my issue w the testing: each year ski skiing pick 8-10 skis per per catagory that they like. Well they
just told us that they have invited a dozen skis for the Mixed East group. How shocking can the results be? They like all but 2? So what!?!

At the same time, the test is baised as more skis from key manufacturing groups are featured. Leading the tester to ski more skis w a familiar feel.

The smaller makers can't even get into the testing. That too is an issue.

Lastly & what really burns me as an importer is the assertion that you can't buy a certain ski so let's not test them! Really? I have manage to supply clients all over North America with technology no greater than an iPhone. Often, I have gotten skis from the factory to the customer in about 1 week using only a smartphone. So let's check that argument in the day & age!

I have made my skis avail for folks to try! I would be nice to see the mags acting in a responsible manner & consider the smaller companies.

FWIW: Blossom is out @ the Middlebury Carnival this weekend! biggrin.gif
post #10 of 12
Originally Posted by nvr2late View Post

...... and do a "smaller or up-and-coming company" ski review focusing on the niche ski companies...

Didn't ski or skiing do exactly that on their website this year?  Somebody did, and I'm a little foggy on who, what or where.  Sorry  In any event, it is definitely a great idea.  IMO, the ExpertSkier website does a pretty good -- and pretty complex -- job of evaluating a huge range of skis from manufacturers of all sizes.  Especially if you lean towards the technical end of the skier spectrum (they don't yet have a category for "Best Smearing Jibber Ski").  Some of their Ski of the Year picks recently have included skis from SkiLogic and Movement.  Hardly mainstream.

post #11 of 12

Agreed, ExpertSkier is an excellent resource that does focus on some of the smaller companies.  But there are realities to deal with, and a very BIG one is getting their hands on a set from a smaller company.  Perhaps the smaller companies can contact ExpertSkier directly and see if they'll review one of their skis.  Great place to start to expand their marketing and focus.  Just my $0.02 worth.

post #12 of 12

Bonnier corp (owner of SKI Magazine) is a for-profit company in a free-market economy.  How could you expect them to lend a helping-hand to a small start-up?  In a society where so many are vehemently opposed to the government providing universal health coverage to all people (something so much more important that ski sales), how can we expect a corporation to help out small ski equipment companies???



Also, small companies can't have it both ways.... you know, a lot of the appeal with those is the unique factor.  As soon as many of those companies "sell-out" and show themselves in a main-stream commercial publication, they lose their "cool-factor."  Pretty "cool" for the owners/employees, right?  Not so cool for the consumer?


Lets face it, ski equipment is an oligopoly mostly... you have the big dogs (rossi, atomic, fischer, blizzard, head, k2, volkl, nordica, dynastar, elan, did I miss any), and then the indies.  There's always going to be that dynamic.  Everyone can't have a piece of the pie.  Unfortunately, stratification of (wealth, market share, etc) is what makes the world turn.


If nobody is winning, everybody is losing.  Think about genetic engineering... if we could make all babies have a 190 IQ, nobody would be "smart" anymore, because that is a relative concept and everybody would be the same.  So, if there aren't big-players and small guys, then nothing would work in the SKI industry.


Also, I wouldn't be surprised if many of those 300 companies have their stuff manufactured by one of the big dogs.

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