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A WIDE SKI FOR THE HARD CHARGER: Cochise, Influence 105 & 115, Sidestash, Legend Pro Rider 105, Katana, Girish, Inferno 104, Olympus Mons, and Kiss of Death

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

 

The specs of what I'm looking for: 105-110 mm wide, rockered tip, flat tail, super damp, powerful carver on piste, and great turn initiation, soft enough for at least the denser PNW powder (I realized that no ski can really do all of this).  I think it might be labeled "70% off piste-30% on piste".  I'd be thrilled to find something that feels like a wider Salomon Enduro XT850, which is the middle ski in my quiver.

 

Why a flat tail?  It seems that I can't find happiness with a fully rockered ski.  They're terrific in tight trees, but when moving really fast, a ski that is already bent doesn't track as well.  I love the feel of a GS-type turn on soft- and hardpack, and I like the rebound from flexing then releasing a cambered ski.  But I also like the help that a little bit of tip rocker provides in turn initiation in soft snow.

 

Nonetheless, I've included here some fully rockered skis.  Some of them can be described as cam-rock or rocker-camber-rocker.  Others have rocker at both ends and are pretty flat underfoot, so they technically can't be called cambered at all.  I've decided not to try to distinguish among the amounts of camber-- only the rocker gets mentioned.  What really counts, of course, is how they ski, not what their shape is.

 

These are all the 2011-12 models, written up in the order that I tried them.  A few of them I only had for three or four runs, but generally was able to get them on some hardpack and some powder.

 

Blizzard Cochise-- 185cm, 135-108-123, tip and tail rocker

Very easy and nimble off piste, yet still holds a good edge on piste.  Even though the ski at first feels short on piste (because of so much rocker), it nonetheless feels OK at higher speeds.  Lay it over, and it feels like you're getting snow contact from the full length of the ski.  And I do agree with the widespread consensus that this should be a very popular ski.

 

Line Influence 105-- 179cm, 141-105-131, slight tip rocker

Feels like a normal-cambered, quick-turning carving ski on piste.  Damp and holds a good edge.  Both tips and tails stay engaged with the snow all the time.  The tip rocker is very subtle, but I can feel how it helps off piste with turn initiation.  The second day that I skied them I was feeling stronger and they felt too small.  So I went wider and longer-- I tried the Influence 115 at 186cm, then the 105 at 186cm (see below).

 

K2 Sidestash-- 181cm, 139-108-127, strong tip rocker

Stout, good edge, with lots of tip rocker.  Light and easy to maneuver off piste-- they'd be great randonee skis.  On piste it feels like only the rear two-thirds of the ski are engaged, but with good edge grip.  They have stiff tails and a fully rockered tip while I'd prefer a rounder, more uniform flexing ski.  Earlier models are said to have less rocker, so I'm guessing I might like them better.

 

Dynastar Legend Pro Rider 105-- 184cm, 132-105-122, strong tip rocker

Whoa-- these are missiles.  Totally metal-damp, can crush anything.  The most powerful, tank-like ski among these.  When skiing off-piste, the stiff tails and pre-bent tips give me the feeling of being canted forward, or skiing in high heels.   But with those tips, I can turn them anytime, anywhere-- just not quickly.  They remind me of my Monster 82's in the same length: metal damp, unfazed by rough snow, and they make me ski faster than any of the other skis so far.  I never got them over 20 mph off piste, but it feels like these would be less apt to over-turn than others with fully rockered tips.

 

Volkl Katana-- 184cm, 143-112-132, tip rocker and slight tail rocker

Terrific edge grip on piste, easy turn initiation off piste, very smooth.  Even though they are fully rockered, when tipped on edge (on piste), they feel like powerful skis with the whole length engaging the snow.  But they don't feel as stable as I'd like when skiing at high speed in medium-density powder-- which I attribute to having too much tip rocker for my taste.  A couple of times at about 25mph they'd over-turn when I merely wanted to do big arcs (but I'm sure that I could learn to deal with that).  There's no getting around it: when skiing fast, a straight ski works better than one that is already bent.  But these are my favorite fully-rockered skis.

 

Line Influence 115-- 186cm, 153-115-142, slight tip rocker

This ski is a step wider AND a step longer than the Influence105 that I skied, and that's exactly what it feels like.  Damp, good edge grip-- a big ski that likes to go fast.  The subtle tip rocker makes them turn easily-- but not THAT easily: they're still 186cm long.   And being 115 wide makes them slow to get up on edge when skiing on piste.  They're good for a fast, hard-charging skier, but a handful in tight trees (especially for a 150-pounder such as me).  I had such a good time on these big ones that they're my favorite ski so far, but it was also a hero-powder day and I haven't given them much of a crud test. 

 

Nordica Girish-- 185cm, 139-110-129, tip rocker

These are the burliest skis yet.  Straight-lining at 30 mph in powder down Avalanche Basin at Crystal Mountain, they're the stablest ski ever.  Great carving-- tip them up on edge (with some effort) and lay trenches on groomers.  Wonderfully damp and they cruise through crud easily. With their rocker they turn easily enough off piste, but they're stiff: I can only bend then by bearing down hard.  On them I can ski powerfully, but not nimbly.  They're too much ski for me.

 

Head Inferno 104-- 181cm, 130-104-120, slight tip and slight tail rocker

Take a 165cm GS racing ski, make it wider and softer, then attach at each end a slightly rockered tip or tail.  On piste it rails GS turns.  Off piste it steers and floats easily.  Or call it an updated Head Monster.  It feels SO MUCH like the Monster series: damp, metal, glued to the snow, and it absolutely slays crud.  But having moderate stiffness and a little tip and tail rocker, it also steers easily in powder.  Unlike the Sidestash, Katana, LP Rider and Girish, the tip and tail's performance feel balanced with each other, on piste and off.   My preference for flat tails doesn't stop me from appreciating this ski's slight tail rocker-- I can feel how it helps the ski's maneuverability in tight places off piste, yet still doesn't make the ski feel too short when on piste.  There it feels like a stout 165cm ski, which is shorter than I'd like, but it's so damp and well-balanced in flex that it's still really good.  Off piste, these Infernos reward hard, fast skiing, even in tough crud, but one can also relax, slow down, and still turn them easily.  Annoyances: turned-up tails, and they're fucking ugly.  If I get some, I'll have to cover them with contact paper.

 

Elan Olympus Mons-- 183cm, 140-110-130, slight tip rocker

Too soft for me.  Not much power, not a lot of edge grip.  Quick-turning and very easy off piste, of course.  They felt like an updated and livelier Volant Chubb.

 

Head Kiss of Death-- 181cm,  130/110/120, tip and tail rocker

These feel like the Blizzard Cochise (or should I say that the Cochise feels like the Kiss of Death?).  Good edge grip, very maneuverable off-piste.  Tip and tail are balanced nicely.  But they feel too short on piste for me-- they have more rocker than I like.

 

Line Influence 105-- 186cm, 141-105-131, slight tip rocker

As above, the whole length of the Influence feels engaged, both on and off piste.  Off piste, the tip rocker is so subtle that its help with turn initiation is barely noticeable. They do turn easily, if not quickly.  They are a very precise ski, and not as forgiving as some of these others.  On piste they're quick-turning for 186's-- and I like them better than the GS-y Infernos in that trait, although the Infernos feel more damp and powerful in the carve.  I was able to rip some very fast lines with the Influence 105's, but they don't absorb the rough, uneven snow quite as well as the damper Infernos.  These are my second-favorite ski wider than 100mm.

 

My conclusion--  In the never-ending quest to make the impossible ski, that is, one that is stiff and damp enough to satisfy a hard-charging skier at high speed, yet soft enough to bend in powder and be forgiving, the Inferno 104's are the fullest expression of that seemingly impossible combination that I've felt (at least in the 100-115 width).  Yes, they're an impressive ski, but not quite as amazing as the (much narrower) Salomon XT850's.  And I'm seeing Infernos for sale at bargain prices.  It must their looks.

post #2 of 20

Great reviews. I have tried a number of the skis you list and based on your comments, there are two key options not yet included that you may consider or like better than the others on your list that are designed by/ for hard chargers Chris Davenport and Hugo Harrison.

 

Kastle FX104 - 1mm narrower than your criteria but so is the head. Very solid ski, two sheets of metal like the LP105's flat tail, no tip rocker but is just soft enough to bend up well in soft snow. Super quick for their width but stable like a bigger slightly less damp MX88 which is high praise 

Kastle BMX 108 - bit bigger, not quite as stout or as much edge hold as the FX104 but a bit more nimble in deep snow and not as demanding to ski. I found it more stable than the Katana and more rewarding to ski.

 

Check out Dawgcatchings reviews. Your from Seattle, not sure who your closest rep / demo option is. April 13 & 22nd weekends in Whistler there will be Kastle demos as part of the Telus Ski and snowboard festival.

 

Good luck! 

 

 

post #3 of 20

Interesting that you really like the 850's,  I also think they are a highly underrated ski, kind of a dark horse in the ski world.  
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by crudmaster View Post

 

The specs of what I'm looking for: 105-110 mm wide, rockered tip, flat tail, super damp, powerful carver on piste, and great turn initiation, soft enough for at least the denser PNW powder (I realized that no ski can really do all of this).  I think it might be labeled "70% off piste-30% on piste".  I'd be thrilled to find something that feels like a wider Salomon Enduro XT850, which is the middle ski in my quiver.

 

Why a flat tail?  It seems that I can't find happiness with a fully rockered ski.  They're terrific in tight trees, but when moving really fast, a ski that is already bent doesn't track as well.  I love the feel of a GS-type turn on soft- and hardpack, and I like the rebound from flexing then releasing a cambered ski.  But I also like the help that a little bit of tip rocker provides in turn initiation in soft snow.

 

Nonetheless, I've included here some fully rockered skis.  Some of them can be described as cam-rock or rocker-camber-rocker.  Others have rocker at both ends and are pretty flat underfoot, so they technically can't be called cambered at all.  I've decided not to try to distinguish among the amounts of camber-- only the rocker gets mentioned.  What really counts, of course, is how they ski, not what their shape is.

 

These are all the 2011-12 models, written up in the order that I tried them.  A few of them I only had for three or four runs, but generally was able to get them on some hardpack and some powder.

 

Blizzard Cochise-- 185cm, 135-108-123, tip and tail rocker

Very easy and nimble off piste, yet still holds a good edge on piste.  Even though the ski at first feels short on piste (because of so much rocker), it nonetheless feels OK at higher speeds.  Lay it over, and it feels like you're getting snow contact from the full length of the ski.  And I do agree with the widespread consensus that this should be a very popular ski.

 

Line Influence 105-- 179cm, 141-105-131, slight tip rocker

Feels like a normal-cambered, quick-turning carving ski on piste.  Damp and holds a good edge.  Both tips and tails stay engaged with the snow all the time.  The tip rocker is very subtle, but I can feel how it helps off piste with turn initiation.  The second day that I skied them I was feeling stronger and they felt too small.  So I went wider and longer-- I tried the Influence 115 at 186cm, then the 105 at 186cm (see below).

 

K2 Sidestash-- 181cm, 139-108-127, strong tip rocker

Stout, good edge, with lots of tip rocker.  Light and easy to maneuver off piste-- they'd be great randonee skis.  On piste it feels like only the rear two-thirds of the ski are engaged, but with good edge grip.  They have stiff tails and a fully rockered tip while I'd prefer a rounder, more uniform flexing ski.  Earlier models are said to have less rocker, so I'm guessing I might like them better.

 

Dynastar Legend Pro Rider 105-- 184cm, 132-105-122, strong tip rocker

Whoa-- these are missiles.  Totally metal-damp, can crush anything.  The most powerful, tank-like ski among these.  When skiing off-piste, the stiff tails and pre-bent tips give me the feeling of being canted forward, or skiing in high heels.   But with those tips, I can turn them anytime, anywhere-- just not quickly.  They remind me of my Monster 82's in the same length: metal damp, unfazed by rough snow, and they make me ski faster than any of the other skis so far.  I never got them over 20 mph off piste, but it feels like these would be less apt to over-turn than others with fully rockered tips.

 

Volkl Katana-- 184cm, 143-112-132, tip rocker and slight tail rocker

Terrific edge grip on piste, easy turn initiation off piste, very smooth.  Even though they are fully rockered, when tipped on edge (on piste), they feel like powerful skis with the whole length engaging the snow.  But they don't feel as stable as I'd like when skiing at high speed in medium-density powder-- which I attribute to having too much tip rocker for my taste.  A couple of times at about 25mph they'd over-turn when I merely wanted to do big arcs (but I'm sure that I could learn to deal with that).  There's no getting around it: when skiing fast, a straight ski works better than one that is already bent.  But these are my favorite fully-rockered skis.

 

Line Influence 115-- 186cm, 153-115-142, slight tip rocker

This ski is a step wider AND a step longer than the Influence105 that I skied, and that's exactly what it feels like.  Damp, good edge grip-- a big ski that likes to go fast.  The subtle tip rocker makes them turn easily-- but not THAT easily: they're still 186cm long.   And being 115 wide makes them slow to get up on edge when skiing on piste.  They're good for a fast, hard-charging skier, but a handful in tight trees (especially for a 150-pounder such as me).  I had such a good time on these big ones that they're my favorite ski so far, but it was also a hero-powder day and I haven't given them much of a crud test. 

 

Nordica Girish-- 185cm, 139-110-129, tip rocker

These are the burliest skis yet.  Straight-lining at 30 mph in powder down Avalanche Basin at Crystal Mountain, they're the stablest ski ever.  Great carving-- tip them up on edge (with some effort) and lay trenches on groomers.  Wonderfully damp and they cruise through crud easily. With their rocker they turn easily enough off piste, but they're stiff: I can only bend then by bearing down hard.  On them I can ski powerfully, but not nimbly.  They're too much ski for me.

 

Head Inferno 104-- 181cm, 130-104-120, slight tip and slight tail rocker

Take a 165cm GS racing ski, make it wider and softer, then attach at each end a slightly rockered tip or tail.  On piste it rails GS turns.  Off piste it steers and floats easily.  Or call it an updated Head Monster.  It feels SO MUCH like the Monster series: damp, metal, glued to the snow, and it absolutely slays crud.  But having moderate stiffness and a little tip and tail rocker, it also steers easily in powder.  Unlike the Sidestash, Katana, LP Rider and Girish, the tip and tail's performance feel balanced with each other, on piste and off.   My preference for flat tails doesn't stop me from appreciating this ski's slight tail rocker-- I can feel how it helps the ski's maneuverability in tight places off piste, yet still doesn't make the ski feel too short when on piste.  There it feels like a stout 165cm ski, which is shorter than I'd like, but it's so damp and well-balanced in flex that it's still really good.  Off piste, these Infernos reward hard, fast skiing, even in tough crud, but one can also relax, slow down, and still turn them easily.  Annoyances: turned-up tails, and they're fucking ugly.  If I get some, I'll have to cover them with contact paper.

 

Elan Olympus Mons-- 183cm, 140-110-130, slight tip rocker

Too soft for me.  Not much power, not a lot of edge grip.  Quick-turning and very easy off piste, of course.  They felt like an updated and livelier Volant Chubb.

 

Head Kiss of Death-- 181cm,  130/110/120, tip and tail rocker

These feel like the Blizzard Cochise (or should I say that the Cochise feels like the Kiss of Death?).  Good edge grip, very maneuverable off-piste.  Tip and tail are balanced nicely.  But they feel too short on piste for me-- they have more rocker than I like.

 

Line Influence 105-- 186cm, 141-105-131, slight tip rocker

As above, the whole length of the Influence feels engaged, both on and off piste.  Off piste, the tip rocker is so subtle that its help with turn initiation is barely noticeable. They do turn easily, if not quickly.  They are a very precise ski, and not as forgiving as some of these others.  On piste they're quick-turning for 186's-- and I like them better than the GS-y Infernos in that trait, although the Infernos feel more damp and powerful in the carve.  I was able to rip some very fast lines with the Influence 105's, but they don't absorb the rough, uneven snow quite as well as the damper Infernos.  These are my second-favorite ski wider than 100mm.

 

My conclusion--  In the never-ending quest to make the impossible ski, that is, one that is stiff and damp enough to satisfy a hard-charging skier at high speed, yet soft enough to bend in powder and be forgiving, the Inferno 104's are the fullest expression of that seemingly impossible combination that I've felt (at least in the 100-115 width).  Yes, they're an impressive ski, but not quite as amazing as the (much narrower) Salomon XT850's.  And I'm seeing Infernos for sale at bargain prices.  It must their looks.



 

post #4 of 20

I'm a bit confused about what you want? Is the idea that you want to hit the new stuff then not have to switch skis once it is skied out? To me this idea that your wide skis are going to be a "powerful carver on piste" is a bit of a misnomer. Wouldn't it be easier just to take two sets? Dung

post #5 of 20

Cool, thanks for posting. I agree about the Inferno: terrific ski (it is my AT setup).  I found the Olympus to be great in trees and bumps, a little soft for serious speed in chop in big turns, and the Cochise to be the exact opposite. The latter ripped in trees for me, as long as I had some soft snow to bend it up, and was really skiing it well (really active feet). If I was lazy, it is easy to get behind the game. My experiences mirror yours on the other skis.  That Kiss of Death is a really solid ski as well, although I haven't seen it reviewed much, if at all. 

 

It is a shame you haven't tried the Kastles.  The FX104 in particular is likely what you are looking for. The BMX108 is much more like the Cochise in terms of performance, although more damp.  I really like that one as well. 

post #6 of 20

Seems like we have similar tastes.

 

One ski that's missing from your list is the Moment Bibby Pro -- the 186 and 196 version, which is a different ski than the other lengths.  They're renaming it the Governor next year to avoid confusion.  I demoed them for an hour and fell in love.  They have a pronounced pintail, which gives much of the same benefit as a rockered tail in soft snow, but means that they carve much better on the groomed. And they're on end-of-season sale for $560.

post #7 of 20

crudmaster - you never state your physical specs (height, weight).  I have the feeling you're going too short on skis with tail rocker.

 

TheDad - interesting that you're equating a flat pintail with a rockered tail in soft snow.  I don't see any similarity in how the two designs ski in deep snow, but I'll let you elaborate before I chime in.

post #8 of 20

Different solutions to the same problem -- tip burial.

post #9 of 20

 Quote:

Originally Posted by TheDad View Post

Different solutions to the same problem -- tip burial.


Interesting.  Personally I've never viewed tail rocker as a solution to tip burial.  I've always felt it was more about changing the feel of the ski in deep snow to make it "looser" (more slarvy).  I guess if the rocker is severe enough it could reduce the tail float, but even my ZAG Slaps that have significant tail rocker don't give me any sense of the tails sinking (the tails are really wide though).

 

Consider a ski design that doesn't exist - a ski with no tip rocker, but a ton of tail rocker.  Would that ski actually really feel less prone to tip dive?  I guess it could be viewed almost as if you have a more rearward mount (since the rocker "takes away" tail).

 

post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cascadung View Post

I'm a bit confused about what you want? Is the idea that you want to hit the new stuff then not have to switch skis once it is skied out? To me this idea that your wide skis are going to be a "powerful carver on piste" is a bit of a misnomer. Wouldn't it be easier just to take two sets? Dung

 

I almost never have powder in the a.m. and hard snow in the afternoon, which, I think is the scenario that you allude to.  Rather, it's usually easy to find powder in the a.m. and nooks, crannies and have-to-hike-for-it in the afternoon.  I've almost never wanted two skis in one day.  Also, many of my runs have hard snow near the top and bottom of the lift with soft snow in the middle.  One ski that can do it all (in so far as it's possible) is always desirable for me.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post

crudmaster - you never state your physical specs (height, weight).  I have the feeling you're going too short on skis with tail rocker.

 

TheDad - interesting that you're equating a flat pintail with a rockered tail in soft snow.  I don't see any similarity in how the two designs ski in deep snow, but I'll let you elaborate before I chime in.


Sorry about the omission of my height and weight.  Actually, the weight was buried in the narrative.

 

I'm 5-11 and 150 lbs.  Another important spec is that I'm getting OLD, and don't ski with the power that I used to.

 

I sort of agree with your notion of length and rocker.  It's easier to get a pre-bent ski into the bent shape, thus one can easily turn a fully rockered ski of a longer length than non-rockered.   And I might actually like the Cochise and Kiss of Death at 190-something better than at 180-something cm's.  But I don't think I'd like 'em better than less rockered skis, especially at  high speed.

 

 

 

_____________________________________________________________________________________

How well you are able to ski is related to how hard you are willing to fall.

 

post #11 of 20

Quote:

Originally Posted by Noodler View Post

I guess it could be viewed almost as if you have a more rearward mount (since the rocker "takes away" tail).


Ding ding.

 

Whatever the reason, the Bibby Pro is the first tip rockered flat tailed ski that I've liked, much less loved, and I chalk it up to the pintail dimensions (150-118-128, IIRC).  In feel, it seems to slot between the DPS Lotus 120 and Wailer 112RP.

post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 

Now I see, thanks to Dawg's info, that Head will replace the Inferno 104 with the Sacrifice 105, which is turnier.

 

PERFECT!  If they retain the Inferno's other traits, it'll be a more perfect wide ski for me.

 

The only reason I didn't buy Infernos already is that two days after I finished demo-ing I headed to Afghanistan for a photojournalism embed.  I may be missing the major dumpage at Crystal Mountain, but now it'll be easy for me to delay my purchase until next year's Sacrifices are available.  But I'll still need the contact paper.

 

 

_____________________________________________________________________________________

How well you are able to ski is related to how hard you are willing to fall.

post #13 of 20
Crudmaster, great write up. Thanks.

For a real crud busting ski, the 191 Katana should be considered. It is a totally differenent ski than the 184, with much more fiberglass & epoxy in it. I just got my 2013 191 Katana's and am comparing them to the 2012 model to find the difference.

Nothing, I repeat, nothing stands in the way of a 191 Katana.

HB
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by crudmaster View Post

 

Head Kiss of Death-- 181cm,  130/110/120, tip and tail rocker

These feel like the Blizzard Cochise (or should I say that the Cochise feels like the Kiss of Death?).  Good edge grip, very maneuverable off-piste.  Tip and tail are balanced nicely.  But they feel too short on piste for me-- they have more rocker than I like.

 

 

As others mentioned above, I wonder if the 191 would have been your huckleberry, someone else on another thread (Bob Peters?) said that was the length to have for the KoD.  I'd like to demo a pair, something that skis like the Cochise but has camber underfoot sounds perfect.

 

I ended up getting the 181 Inferno, it's going to be an AT setup with Guardians, so more of a 90/10 focus on downhill vs uphill ability.  

 

When I learned that 'The Ski' contact paper was no longer available to cover up the hideous Motorhead topsheet, I was bummed; now what am I going to do?

post #15 of 20

I also picked up the Inferno's.  Mounted w/FFG14 and out the door for <$400.

post #16 of 20

Interesting reviews. I went for the Influence 115 a length shorter than you tried with the idea of using them in tight trees. We'll see how that works out. 

post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post

Interesting reviews. I went for the Influence 115 a length shorter than you tried with the idea of using them in tight trees. We'll see how that works out. 


What is the general attitude toward skis manufactured in China over in Europe. Would a person living in Austria really buy a pair of Lines? Not trying to start a fight, and I won't attempt to justify my bias. Just interested since you selected a pair originating there. I would not consider them, as I have a very bad attitude toward them on several levels. The Volkl Katana, made in China for the first 5 years or so, was liked by many "hard chargers" for their dimensions and overall stiffness and Volkl brand, but they fell apart on many people. Now they are designed and manufactured in Germany, and are a very different construction. 

post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post


What is the general attitude toward skis manufactured in China over in Europe. Would a person living in Austria really buy a pair of Lines? Not trying to start a fight, and I won't attempt to justify my bias. Just interested since you selected a pair originating there. I would not consider them, as I have a very bad attitude toward them on several levels. The Volkl Katana, made in China for the first 5 years or so, was liked by many "hard chargers" for their dimensions and overall stiffness and Volkl brand, but they fell apart on many people. Now they are designed and manufactured in Germany, and are a very different construction. 


My preference is for ski's made in the US. But I have ski's built in China, and Austria. If a company is going to outsource to anyone, it is that companies duty to stay on top of the quality. The problem I find with many skiers is they base opinions on un evolving attitudes.

 

Line makes a solid product, but many peoples opinion of Line is based upon old experiences that are in no way a reflection of what the company produces at this time.

 

You yourself have a negative opinion based upon what you have seen locally. And I would submit to you that I have seen a lot of shitty indie ski's come out of your neck of the woods. But there are others out there that spare no expense, work hard, and produce some of the highest quality sandwich construction ski's around.

post #19 of 20

Your opening up a whole other can of worms but my 2 cents are..

One of the key reasons why I stopped buying Volkls - 1st quality, 2nd made in China, 3 owned by K2, and lastly discovered Kastle's.

Kastle was interesting because they were the opposite of most everything I disliked about the direction of the ski biz - they're not flashy, the graphics are understated, not over marketed, proven designs, top quality materials, input form many of the top hardcore skiers and long product runs.

I'm glad to see Volkls move back to Germany and seemingly focusing more on quality than margin. They were always a premium brand and prices never really dropped with the China production (don't you just love it when that happens..) Yes I understand the economics but it's not always necessary or the right strategy. Volkl is actually a great case study whereby a cost saving move became detrimental to company image and to QC.

Like with most purchases I value performance, quality and craftsmanship over other factors. Other people may have a different view but culturally I think we have become far to willing to accept outsourcing of manufacture, reduced quality or disposibility for the goods we buy. I think brands like Kastle are popular not just because of the performance but because of the care, craftsmanship and heritage that goes into them (and yeah I can tell the difference). The other flip-side is better made products often cost more up front but last longer thus becoming cheaper in the long run. 

 

That and fundamentally buying a ski made in a country with no skiing heritage makes little sense to me.

post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecimmortal View Post

My preference is for ski's made in the US. But I have ski's built in China, and Austria. If a company is going to outsource to anyone, it is that companies duty to stay on top of the quality. 

^^^^ Case in point: Volkl has made tennis racquets in China far longer than it's made skis. And its racquets are known for their quality and durability. True for a bunch of other racquet manufacturers such as Wilson. So manufacturing issues not about China, or the Czech Republic, or Reno, or wherever, it's about whether the particular company wants a certain profit margin, or accepts a certain % of defects. Volkl's tennis group did not, their ski group maybe did. 

 

If you have political problems with China, or think we should only buy skis from a place that has chair lifts, another issue altogether. But not as if China can't make solid tech if they're asked to do it. If some Volkls chip, blame Volkl. Or its evil parent.

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