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Do all mountain skis require compromise????

post #1 of 80
Thread Starter 

Following is a quote from Beyond which is so cogent, that I think it deserves not be lost in it's original thread. This was originally posted Re: the Blizzard "flipcore" skis and QFT on all points but it honestly relates to all of our ski choices and also sorting out the free lunch that is promised by the "rocker revolution"

 

Quote:
Well, saying that a particular model line has excellent grip for a rockered design is not the same as saying that it has made no compromise. All design is a compromise. And I think it's safe to say that Sierra Jim knows what he's doing and stays balanced, but he also makes the point that you will feel the disconnect in the tail, particularly. More relevant is whether skiers who buy a flipcore will even care about the disconnect, versus the other sorts of bonuses. I'd guess not. You have to really be into carving, and like to work a tail, which is very different than riding the radius, before it'd matter. And if that's the case, you wouldn't be buying a rockered tail, anyway. Dawgcatching, for instance, allows as how the 8.7 and 8.1 are ultimately better on hardpack and ice, but the 8.0 and 8.5 are not far worse there and significantly better everyplace else.

 

 

So.....with that intro, here is maybe a more focused look at these new ski choices. My own favorite ski category is the 95-98mm all mountain group. I'll always own narrower and I'll usually own wider, but over the last several years, these are the types of ski that "live in my car 24/7".  Meaning...........if I can bug out of work near the end of the day or come in a little late and get in a few runs, these are the skis that will cover 95% of the Tahoe conditions pretty well. I have had the Blizzard Bonafide in this spot for over a year but it has had a very close contender or two all along. I'll use two of my own personal favorite skis to illustrate some differences here which might influence a skier looking to make a model choice for a new purchase. Keep in mind that there are gazillions of great skis in the range that I'm mentioning here but these two are very illustrative of the differences.

 

 

Blizzard Bonafide: The thing that worked so well for me with the Bonafide is the balance of skills. In a normal season, I'll ski 75% of the time off the groomed trails. The tip and tail rise of the Bonafide gives the ski a smeary and forgiving feel in mixed snow and the even flex of medium stiffness allows the ski to flex and hence to turn well in deeper snow where flex is the most important factor. Because the Bonafide has camber in the center section of the ski, the skier has a solid base for the skier to recover to when out of balance. When the Bonafide is at lower angles or approaching crossunder, the tip and to a lesser extent the tail definitely feel disconnected and the tip displays a bit of flappage. At higher angles, the tip and tail touch down and feel more secure. It's important to note however that while the full extent of the ski is receiving contact, the maximum pressure occurs from the end of the cambered section. Thus, despite the tip touching down, it is really not fully engaged. This is not a huge deal but definitely changes the feel of the ski.

 

Nordica Enforcer: This is a ski that has been among my favorites for several years. The Enforcer is a classic wood/metal layup like the Bonafide and others in this class but the thing that set it apart in the past was the near perfect balance of flex for my tastes. With no real rocker deal to talk about, the Enforcer is old news these days and for sure, it has a little less off trail/mixed snow maneuverability than the Bonafide. However, the Enforcer has a more solid and traditional feel when on the packed surfaces either groomed or just skied out. When the Enforcer passes through the various phases of the turn, the tip engages normally and "pulls" from the end of the contact area. The Enforcer also finishes and redirects with the full length contact at the tail of a conventional ski. For someone without the many other skis that I have access to, this ski could in fact be an even better choice than the Bonafide. Since I have several firm snow skis to choose from, the Bonafide is my choice in this width range but the Enforcer is sooooo close in overall skills, it could have easily been the #1 call for my preferences.

 

So.....as you can see, the compromises that a skier is willing to make are reflective of their preferences. I choose to compromise in one direction while someone else might make the opposite call.

 

SJ

post #2 of 80
I agree with everything you said in you post Jim. Every ski is a matter of compromise. Wether it is a question of width, length, flex or shape (where shape can mean rocker or actual shape or both)...every design is a compromise. Throw in skill,level, preferred terain and geographical location and ski selection can become quite complex. Given that the vast majority of people do not have the array of skis at their disposal that a shop owner does, the unfortunate lack of demos in many areas and the continuous variety of "which ski should I buy" it is clear that the process of selecting a ski is tough. But I guess this is obvious.

What is not so obvious to me, and I see it over and over again in various threads is why so many people are so obstinate or opinionated. Only narrow skis ( let's call it under 72mm) can carve on hard snow! I disagree! Rocker is simply bad. Well maybe when there are no more skis without rocker they will wake up! I could go on and on, but there is no real point. It is just frustrating and clearly no different than those who said "shaped" skis were a fad.

More importantly, when I read Whiteroom's review of next year's Stockli Y85, I suspect that an era of less compromise may be around the corner. What will people complain about then?
post #3 of 80
Quote:
I choose to compromise in one direction while someone else might make the opposite call.

Yep.

However --
Quote:
Well maybe when there are no more skis without rocker they will wake up!

Or maybe it IS a fad like GLM planks, or plate bindings, or knee-high rear entry boots? At their peak, each of those items was said to be "the future" by their proponents and fans.

Why was a 5-point design created? Wasn't it because early-rise and rockered tips created a vague end-point at each (tip and tail) end of the sidecut?

Why does a 5-point design need to be skied at 15cm longer than you would if it were a traditional sidecut w/o rocker or early rise? Isn't it because the effective edge is shorter?

If people enjoy themselves on traditional sidecut skis, should the market force them into rocker and early-rise tips/tails? Should people's pursuit of fads and herd mentalities control equipment choice? Is there any room for doubters who see long-term detriments from some of these "game-changing" things that well may be fads to trick people into prying open their wallets?

If you find it easier to ski on a shorter edge, why not just use a shorter ski, instead of bending up the tip & tail to effectively shorten it? Is it because some skiers identify more with the stated length of their ski, rather than its on-snow performance under their feet?

When I recently skied the 2013 Bushwacker, I found the rocker made the tip and tail feel like they could fall away instead of biting. Why would someone like that feel in a ski? If I want to drift or sideslip I'll adjust the edge angle, or pressure, to achieve that. I don't want the ski making that decision for me.

Is it wise for the market to push a ski design that is tested and desired by the highest-level freeskiers (not just the most famous but those with the most bombproof technique, stance, balance etc) for moves and turn types that are beyond the reach of 95% of skiers?

Let's say a new ski design provides fun for Skier Jones right now because it reduces the need for Skier Jones to develop higher-level skills before enjoying a type of terrain or tactic. Is "fun right now" a good trade-off for the possible weakening of that skier's skill set? Do we short-change Skier Smith by suggesting, for example, that he should be on 100mm waisted skis for white concrete manmade conditions on the 95% of ski days those skis will see? How about selling fully rockered skis as "game-changers" without really hyping the shortcomings of those skis for Skier Smith on hardpack 95% of their ski days?

What is fun? Is it limited to whatever makes something easy? If you prefer technical challenge but the market wants everything made easier, what then become your options?

**********

Sierra Jim, this is a good discussion. I think it would be good to also discuss how ski designs change: what are the relative inputs of the mfr's engineers/designers, the test pilots, and that vague thing called "the market" -- those potential buyers? Who really drives the changes? How do these relative inputs vary from big manufacturer to small boutique ski builder?

I am definitely not being facetious when I ask people to recall GLM, or BURT plate bindings, or that knee-high that Nordica wanted all of us to buy back in the 80s. I remember the first Salomon rear-entry boots with that ridiculous sense of isolation from the boot shell. And the stupid brick-like flex of the SX-90 and 90E, it was like the boot wanted to snap your tibia. But rear entry! So convenient! And space-age looking too!

Skiing goes through these fads usually when "the industry" -- meaning, the folks who think more about $$$ than about the act of skiing itself -- is in panic mode, usually because of gross economic signals.

Is that what's happening now, given the real estate side of Resortopia heading downward?

I'm pretty reminded of the Reagan-Thatcher era myself. At least it gave birth to Blizzard of Aaahhs.
Edited by GrizzledVeteran - 3/12/12 at 8:59pm
post #4 of 80

IDK

 

I just like to ski, if the ski is fun then it works.  I am starting to believe there is no one ski quiver, so you are going to give on something.

 

post #5 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrizzledVeteran View Post

Quote:
I choose to compromise in one direction while someone else might make the opposite call.
Yep.
However --
Quote:
Well maybe when there are no more skis without rocker they will wake up!
Or maybe it IS a fad like GLM planks, or plate bindings, or knee-high rear entry boots? At their peak, each of those items was said to be "the future" by their proponents and fans.
Why was a 5-point design created? Wasn't it because early-rise and rockered tips created a vague end-point at each (tip and tail) end of the sidecut?
Why does a 5-point design need to be skied at 15cm longer than you would if it were a traditional sidecut w/o rocker or early rise? Isn't it because the effective edge is shorter?
If people enjoy themselves on traditional sidecut skis, should the market force them into rocker and early-rise tips/tails? Should people's pursuit of fads and herd mentalities control equipment choice? Is there any room for doubters who see long-term detriments from some of these "game-changing" things that well may be fads to trick people into prying open their wallets?
If you find it easier to ski on a shorter edge, why not just use a shorter ski, instead of bending up the tip & tail to effectively shorten it? Is it because some skiers identify more with the stated length of their ski, rather than its on-snow performance under their feet?

Well, to answer your last question, my opinion is it also makes the ski even easier to manipulate for an intermediate skier. it allows them to roll-into the turn rather then having a more discrete engagement point. I found the best analogy to be like the clutch on a manual car. If its got all the modern synchrob doodads, you can roll into that gear rather then just having a sharp engagement point where the gear hooks up.
post #6 of 80

Every ski is a compromise. 

 

Just as an example, even choosing between two 24-m side cut traditional camber skis in two different flexes involves a compromise.

The softer flex will work better in the moguls and trees, but will bite you if you try to force a sudden (and very non-gs) turn at high a GS speed, whereas the stiffer ski would be able to dig into that turn without folding up on you. 

post #7 of 80
Unfortunately I cannot seem to reply/edit very well on my iPad so I will try to respond to your post "veteran" in an organized way.

You may be right. We may all laugh at those silly rocketed skis in the future. But who cares if history repeats itself as long as people / companies continue to innovate. Some will hit dead ends others will prove to be revolutionary. I certainly hope that in the process the skis that you prefer don't disappear from the market. But if they do...you may find at the end of the process that you next shiny pair of oddly shaped ski are just fantastic. I don't know and you don't know....yet.

As to the just buy a shorter pair of skis logic...sorry that just does not hold water and I suspect you know it. Unfortunately I have a miserable cold and can't focus anymore...but if you insist I will try in the morning.
post #8 of 80
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrizzledVeteran View Post


If you find it easier to ski on a shorter edge, why not just use a shorter ski, instead of bending up the tip & tail to effectively shorten it? Is it because some skiers identify more with the stated length of their ski, rather than its on-snow performance under their feet?

What is fun? Is it limited to whatever makes something easy? If you prefer technical challenge but the market wants everything made easier, what then become your options?
**********
 


For question #1, the answer is dependent upon the skier's goals. Generally, folks buy skis on the shorter side b/c they think they are easier to ski on. In some cases they are but the bennie of the longer rockered ski is that it allows an easier turning ski on packed surfaces while presenting more surface and stability when submerged in 3-D snow. The  degree of rocker is certainly variable and generally, if the skier wants to sample the benefits of rocker he/she can get about as much or as little as desired.

 

For question #2 the answer is, of course the market wants easier. It always has and always will. There is plenty of technical challenge available for those that want it but the majority of skiers want to "buy" their fun as opposed to learning/earning it. That is why skis like the Salomon BBR can and should find an audience while more technical skis like a Kastle MX88 will always have a (smaller) following. That is also why, if a company were to re-introduce a decent rear entry boot it would be wildly successful within a certain rather limited audience.

 

I suppose one can get by with manual transmissions, no cell phones, and manual can openers but the majority of folks don't seem to want to.

 

SJ

post #9 of 80

Nice thread, Jim. I'm struck by (warning: blatantly overreaching analogy follows) the degree to which our allergy to compromise in skis mirrors our increasing allergy to compromise anywhere else. We seem to be in a cultural moment where everything (skis, music, environment, child rearing, cars, political stances you name it) are Balkanized. We find a little niche that promises no compromise, therefore no wrestling with nuance or priority, and then we reinforce each other's POV: "This xxxx rocks in all situations!"

 

Why ever think about what a (conservative/liberal/Atomic owner/Frenchman/race carver/backcountry freak/vegetarian/oil producer/Occupy guy) has to say, unless we already know we'll agree? IMO, compromises in gear, as in the rest of life, are messy, require making tough choices or learning new stuff, are constantly open to second guesses. We seem as a people to be less and less inclined to deal with our wants by compromising.

 

Off the wall prediction: The ski industry would be doing a lot better if - besides there being more snow - we all decided to try something really different for our next pair of skis, learn to sleep with the enemy. eek.gif

 

Oh yeah, I love manual transmissions. And all mechanical watches. And my smartphone. 

post #10 of 80



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post

 

I suppose one can get by with manual transmissions, no cell phones, and manual can openers but the majority of folks don't seem to want to.

 

SJ



Oddly, the above mentioned does not only work for me, it is preferred.

 

I despise auto or cvt gearboxes....

 

The cell phone is in the glovebox and off 95% of the time

 

What the hell do you have against a hand cranked can opener?

 

 

Ski wise, as long as the marketers don't drive the equation so far from the real word that decent skis for the actual conditions incounterd can still be had, they can knock themselves out.

 

I've never understoud the desireability of a single pair of skis. Just think of the number of variables on any given day at say a central VT ski area.

Can you do it? Maybe if you have a decent skill set. Why not make it more fun with the right tool for the actual job at had. (not imagined Alaskan heli skiing)

 

post #11 of 80
You're opening cans with a crank can opener? How lazy. Try opening a few with the true manual can opener (the one on a swiss army knife) and you'll get sick of it pretty quick. smile.gif
post #12 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post
. The tip and tail rise of the Bonafide gives the ski a smeary and forgiving feel in mixed snow and the even flex of medium stiffness allows the ski to flex and hence to turn well in deeper snow where flex is the most important factor. Because the Bonafide has camber in the center section of the ski, the skier has a solid base for the skier to recover to when out of balance. When the Bonafide is at lower angles or approaching crossunder, the tip and to a lesser extent the tail definitely feel disconnected and the tip displays a bit of flappage. At higher angles, the tip and tail touch down and feel more secure. It's important to note however that while the full extent of the ski is receiving contact, the maximum pressure occurs from the end of the cambered section. Thus, despite the tip touching down, it is really not fully engaged. This is not a huge deal but definitely changes the feel of the ski.

 

N


 

SJ



SJ, great description of something I couldn't quite describe from my Blizzard Ones.  For a wide ski (yes, wide for me since i seem to spend the majority of my time on a race ski) it is gratifying how well you can lay it way over on fast high angle GS turns without it letting go.  (That did surprise me!)  However when fast running without much edge angle it had a slight feeling of "looseness" in the tip.  Almost like it was too soft but it wasn't flapping or chattering like I would have expected if that were the case.  Now i understand



Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

Nice thread, Jim. I'm struck by (warning: blatantly overreaching analogy follows) the degree to which our allergy to compromise in skis mirrors our increasing allergy to compromise anywhere else. We seem to be in a cultural moment where everything (skis, music, environment, child rearing, cars, political stances you name it) are Balkanized. We find a little niche that promises no compromise, therefore no wrestling with nuance or priority, and then we reinforce each other's POV: "This xxxx rocks in all situations!"

 

Why ever think about what a (conservative/liberal/Atomic owner/Frenchman/race carver/backcountry freak/vegetarian/oil producer/Occupy guy) has to say, unless we already know we'll agree? IMO, compromises in gear, as in the rest of life, are messy, require making tough choices or learning new stuff, are constantly open to second guesses. We seem as a people to be less and less inclined to deal with our wants by compromising.

 

Off the wall prediction: The ski industry would be doing a lot better if - besides there being more snow - we all decided to try something really different for our next pair of skis, learn to sleep with the enemy. eek.gif

 

Oh yeah, I love manual transmissions. And all mechanical watches. And my smartphone. 

icon14.gif  apart from the manual transmissions!  I used to love them and still do for a sports car but to be honest, i find the 8 speed auto in my truck, with paddle shifters gives me all the capability without the effort   As you suggest, try something different  biggrin.gif Besides, i have a small problem here with manuals.  thanks to 40+ years of muscle memory, it is my left hand that instinctively grabs for the stick in a manual........eek.gif

 

post #13 of 80

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

Every ski is a compromise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by allan o'neil View Post

Unfortunately I cannot seem to reply/edit very well on my iPad ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post

For question #1, the answer is dependent upon the skier's goals.

 

For question #2 the answer is, of course the market wants easier. It always has and always will. There is plenty of technical challenge available for those that want it but the majority of skiers want to "buy" their fun as opposed to learning/earning it....

I suppose one can get by with manual transmissions, no cell phones, and manual can openers but the majority of folks don't seem to want to.

 

SJ

Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

...I'm struck by (warning: blatantly overreaching analogy follows) the degree to which our allergy to compromise in skis mirrors our increasing allergy to compromise anywhere else. We seem to be in a cultural moment where everything (skis, music, environment, child rearing, cars, political stances you name it) are Balkanized. We find a little niche that promises no compromise, therefore no wrestling with nuance or priority, and then we reinforce each other's POV: "This xxxx rocks in all situations!"


As 'beyond' notes, EVERYTHING we do, in our existence, is some degree of compromise. Compromise, relative to our expectations.

compromises of the ipad, relative to what we expect it to do for us. same for manual and auto trannies.

 

I prefer not to think of the compromise side.

40 yrs ago we all did the ski thing on basically one type of ski with minor nuances. Then came short skis, and later more 'innovation' to shape/profile, width, sidecut geometry and so on.

we now have real 'choices'!

for a 60+ guy, these choices have re-energized the activity/sport/experience - stoke!

 

realizing that everyone's idea of 'all mtn' (that is the question, right ...?) is different, the operative consideration is not what the ski can;t do (compromise) but what it can do (choice)

taking terrain park/skateboard stuff out of the equation... (which it totally is)

my all mtn ski, simplistically, must provide the important choices.

it better be exacting on every turn I take on terrain where one missed turn could end in injury or worse. I botch turns easy enough on my own, I don;t need help from the ski.

worrying about 'float' in powder is way lower on the list of choices. it better be real good at going thru ski deflecting crud, it better lay a strong edge on a tilted hard surface...

easier turning?

at this point everything I have that's 10 yrs old or newer is super easy turning anyway... maybe when I'm 70+ I'll change my tune/choice...

I can live with mid '80s, but I've found high 90's skis which do all this as well. So my chosen mid-high 90's ski is easily my Western All Mtn ski.

But I've not found anything I like at 170 or shorter. My preference/choice is mostly 180 or longer.

my choices

 

 

post #14 of 80

It seems like there are two key factors in this discussion: 1) the compromises a skier is willing to make and 2) the reduction of compromises that skis can offer.

 

Regarding the first point -- I know that, as I ski more days and in more varied conditions, I learn more about what is important to me to maximize my skiing fun. But this is actually a difficult process because I do not get to try out lots of different skis in lots of different conditions. I therefore have to make a lot of guesses regarding what I think is the most important to me. I like a challenge in skiing but very difficult conditions (or using the wrong type of skis in a given condition) becomes tedious after a fairly short while and I start losing the fun factor. The easier it is to ski in a given condition the more fun I can have. Because skiing is one of my favorite sports I am willing to spend some time and money on building a quiver to reduce the compromises I have to make and therefore cause more days to be more fun. I usually recommend to my friends who tell me they only want a single pair of skis (depending on their skiing style and preferences) that they get a 95-100mm width all-mountain ski because, as SierraJim pointed out, this width range includes a lot of skis that are good to very good in a wide variety of conditions. But frankly, it is unfortunate that a single pair of skis cannot be the best option in all snow conditions because that would truly be the ultimate one-ski quiver.

 

This is where the second point and the ski industry comes in. In my opinion, if the ski industry is working with a zero-sum game where the only capability advances in new skis causes an equal reduction in capabilities in some other aspect, then the ski industry is not really moving us forward. My hope is that the ski industry is truly moving forward so that, for example, a single pair of skis creates an improved experience in one aspect while barely reducing (or not reducing at all) the experience in another aspect. As a more specific example, I would say we are moving forward if a new ski model makes mixed conditions 50% easier to ski while reducing hard snow performance by only 10%. To me, the purpose of the ski industry in their R&D is to reduce the number and level of compromises I have to make. If they are not doing this then I wish they would just stop the R&D and reduce the cost of skis.

post #15 of 80

Snow conditions vary so much during a season that I'd be quite bummed to be stuck on one ski for everything. One day's acceptable compromise might ruin a day in different conditions. I'm old enough and contented enough with my skill level that I don't want my skis making things more technically challenging. I want skis that are best suited for the conditions I will face that day. Minimal compromises.

 

Of course, I don't always guess properly and conditions can change (a lot!) over the course of the day. So a ski does need to perform well in a variety of conditions - but not all. If I'm stuck on the hill in powder conditions on my hard snow skis, it's time for a demo session.

 

Regarding specific ski characteristics (like rocker), there are many ways to change the feel of a ski. Even if rocker is a fad, the feel of a well behaved rockered ski will likely still be available. Maybe the ski will be shorter or softer but the feel of sucessful skis will not be lost. Engineers are smart. Marketing people who push gimmicks that promise one ski for all, hmmm... Sometimes the engineers can make those gimmicks work!

 

Manual transmissions rock! How do you push start an automatic? Plus, LA traffic MUST be avoided in a manual so you plan wisely and don't waste your life in traffic. And I've opened cans with much less than a swiss army knife - luxury is relative.

 

Eric

post #16 of 80

It has been a while since I updated the skis I use, but on Demo day at Mount Rose, Jim suggested I try the Nordica Enforcer. It was kind of sitting there all ignored as yesterday's news, and after skiing a range of the new Flip-Cores and other rockered skis, I got the Enforcer out, back to back with the Hell N Back and Bonafide.  

 

Of all the skis I was on that day, the Enforcer was confident with speed in the fall line, but responded predictably with power to make any radius turn I wanted, or to bulldoze soft bumps.  I really liked this ski and felt that most of the others were hunting for a line, while the Enforcer gave me feedback of exactly where we were going.  Wish I had taken it into some softer snow to explore the powder potential.  FWIW i don't have much experience in on rockered or early-rise skis, and I do like a directional tail in a ski but appreciated that the Enforcer will flex enough not to toss me.

 

It's all personal preference, and I think that ski is a home run for me in most conditions. 

post #17 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post

For question #1, the answer is dependent upon the skier's goals. Generally, folks buy skis on the shorter side b/c they think they are easier to ski on. In some cases they are but the bennie of the longer rockered ski is that it allows an easier turning ski on packed surfaces while presenting more surface and stability when submerged in 3-D snow. The  degree of rocker is certainly variable and generally, if the skier wants to sample the benefits of rocker he/she can get about as much or as little as desired.

This gets into what I was talking about with "who drives the changes?"

I know from reading your ski reviews that you would walk Buyer Bill through the points required for Bill to make a wise choice. But you and I both know how difficult it is to get males age 13 to (around) 60 to be open and honest about their limitations and what might be the best ski for them. When I ride the lift and watch skiers I see a lot of people on skis that are well out of reach of Optimal for the situation they're skiing. And I'm just talking about new skis here, skis whose modern features (5-point shapes, big rocker, massive underfoot widths) stand out obviously. Somewhere along the line these folks are making poor decisions. Are they aware that their choices are poor, and they're just skiing Magic Funshape 2000 because of its image? Are they willingly skipping over a whole mess of skis that would be better for them? Is the "industry" doing its part in being relatively (hah hah hah) honest about the limitations of the "game-changers" it sells?
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post

For question #2 the answer is, of course the market wants easier. It always has and always will. There is plenty of technical challenge available for those that want it but the majority of skiers want to "buy" their fun as opposed to learning/earning it. That is why skis like the Salomon BBR can and should find an audience while more technical skis like a Kastle MX88 will always have a (smaller) following. That is also why, if a company were to re-introduce a decent rear entry boot it would be wildly successful within a certain rather limited audience.

The "should" re. the BBR raises interesting Qs. I would agree after skiing the BBR 8.9 in a 186 (at my spindly 150 lbs) that its friendliness and ease-of-skiing will be something a lot of skiers would enjoy. But its easy nature bothered me! It reminded me of the difference between driving a car, and riding in a commuter train. It was like the BBR said, "hey just click into my bindings, I'll take care of everything else." How is that good for a skier long-term, from the perspective of his development as a skier? Do we side with inferential goodness arising simply from more time on snow?

At the same time I agree that like the "soft boots" Rossi sold in the 90s, a revived version of Nordica's knee-high would sell today -- to a narrow audience, but it would sell for sure.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post

I suppose one can get by with manual transmissions, no cell phones, and manual can openers but the majority of folks don't seem to want to.

SJ

Unfortunately the direction of our supply of natural resources suggests people are going to have to get used to manual can openers etc before too long. Maybe those who are in their 70s and older might not see that happening, but I think younger folks will. I don't mean to divert the thread, but it is related -- in this way: if we are going to experience an industrial down-turn then is it wise to waste resources on things that are more short-term in nature? That should be a different thread, but it's still related to your main observations in this thread.
post #18 of 80
Thread Starter 

I have heard that only 5-6% of all cars on the 2012 market will have manuals. This is (I think) a somewhat lower percentage than non rockered skis. Keep in mind, I'm not pushing rocker but it is the current reality in most of the best selling ski categories. Getting a reasonable handle on it will save skiers much agonizing in the next few years.

 

As an aside, I just got a care package from Head USA with a nice new pair of 2013 iSpeed Magnum 177's. Those in our shop and some of our consumer test team will be treated to a spectacular ride on hard snow days and there ain't no rocker on these babies.

 

SJ

post #19 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post

For question #2 the answer is, of course the market wants easier. It always has and always will. There is plenty of technical challenge available for those that want it but the majority of skiers want to "buy" their fun as opposed to learning/earning it. That is why skis like the Salomon BBR can and should find an audience while more technical skis like a Kastle MX88 will always have a (smaller) following.


Except for training devices I cannot imagine any sports equipment that is designed to make the sport more difficult. Sports equipment innovation exists to make the sport easier and therefore help participants reach higher levels in the sport. Isn't the MX88 designed to make skiing easier at certain speeds and in certain conditions compared to the BBR? I don't have experience on either of these skis but I can't imagine that the BBR is "easier" to ski at all speeds and all conditions compared to an MX88. A ski that "performs better" in a given condition means that it is easier to ski in that condition -- right? I don't really get the comment about skiers wanting to buy their fun as opposed to learning/earning it in this context. I simply do not believe anyone who tells me they want equipment that makes their sport more difficult (again, unless it is a training device).

 

post #20 of 80
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TallSkinnyGuy View Post


Except for training devices I cannot imagine any sports equipment that is designed to make the sport more difficult. Sports equipment innovation exists to make the sport easier and therefore help participants reach higher levels in the sport. Isn't the MX88 designed to make skiing easier at certain speeds and in certain conditions compared to the BBR? I don't have experience on either of these skis but I can't imagine that the BBR is "easier" to ski at all speeds and all conditions compared to an MX88. A ski that "performs better" in a given condition means that it is easier to ski in that condition -- right? I don't really get the comment about skiers wanting to buy their fun as opposed to learning/earning it in this context. I simply do not believe anyone who tells me they want equipment that makes their sport more difficult (again, unless it is a training device).

 



You are somewhat confused. The specific conditions or tasks than a ski such as an MX88 is great at require a type of build that makes said ski "less great" in other situations. It is generally thought that the MX88 is a superb hard snow ski........no question about it. But, is it as good as the Head Magnum I just mentioned?........no. Is it as good as an FIS level race ski?.......big no. But it is easier than either of those other two. Nobody will come in to our shop to buy an iSpeed in order to make mogul or powder skiing more difficult. They will buy it in order to make the technical aspect of a day on the groomers more fun. Is the Magnum "easier" than an MX88?......no. Is it more versatile?.........no. Is it more exciting with a homologated trail in front of you and nobody in your way?.........boy howdy!!!

 

A ski like a BBR will of course not be better at all things and for all people. Such an idea is absurd. However, it absolutely will be easier at many things. When viewed through the prism of the average skier on the average day, the BBR is easier at most things. Hence, that ski will have a wider audience than an MX88 and wider still than an iSpeed Magnum.

 

Hence the two terms that most of us on here preach..............Prioritize and Compromise.

 

SJ

post #21 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by TallSkinnyGuy View Post

Except for training devices I cannot imagine any sports equipment that is designed to make the sport more difficult. Sports equipment innovation exists to make the sport easier and therefore help participants reach higher levels in the sport.

I don't think it is possible for me to disagree any more strenuously with this observation.

Also I should point out that if you make the sport easier, then you're eliminating its "higher levels" so your idea that gear makes it easier to reach "higher levels" is an illusion. What you're really asking for is that the gear be able to eliminate all of skiing's higher levels, and dumb skiing down to the point where no skill is required at all.

You're suggesting that we really should be looking for a ski that does everything for us, and that the goal of all ski equipment should be to automate as much as possible of the technique required to ski. In other words, ski equipment should enable us to be 100% passenger, 0% driver.

That would mean you participate in skiing for reasons that are not related to technique, balance, skill refinement, challenge, or anything else. It makes me wonder why you ski. Wouldn't it be easier to just have one of those neural net devices from Strange Days, so that you could put it on your head and "experience" skiing without actually doing it?biggrin.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post

I have heard that only 5-6% of all cars on the 2012 market will have manuals. This is (I think) a somewhat lower percentage than non rockered skis. Keep in mind, I'm not pushing rocker but it is the current reality in most of the best selling ski categories. Getting a reasonable handle on it will save skiers much agonizing in the next few years.

I agree completely.

I'm really asking whether incorporating all these features to such a mainstreamed extent is going to mean the death of technical skis over the next 2-3 model years (2014 and beyond). If American cultural trends are any indication, I'm concerned about what skis will be available for people like me. And I don't have the money to stockpile things right now.
post #22 of 80
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post

It has been a while since I updated the skis I use, but on Demo day at Mount Rose, Jim suggested I try the Nordica Enforcer. It was kind of sitting there all ignored as yesterday's news, and after skiing a range of the new Flip-Cores and other rockered skis, I got the Enforcer out, back to back with the Hell N Back and Bonafide.  

 

Of all the skis I was on that day, the Enforcer was confident with speed in the fall line, but responded predictably with power to make any radius turn I wanted, or to bulldoze soft bumps.  I really liked this ski and felt that most of the others were hunting for a line, while the Enforcer gave me feedback of exactly where we were going.  Wish I had taken it into some softer snow to explore the powder potential.  FWIW i don't have much experience in on rockered or early-rise skis, and I do like a directional tail in a ski but appreciated that the Enforcer will flex enough not to toss me.

 

It's all personal preference, and I think that ski is a home run for me in most conditions. 


I just had a hunch............Actually, since I know you and have a fair idea of your skiing and your preferences, the input that you gave me that day helped to reinforce what I was already thinking anyway.

 

I have been thinking about the Enforcer since the SIA show in late January. At that time, the Nordica crew informed us that while they were showing the Enforcer, they weren't really encouraging us to buy it. When I came back from the show, the sales crew gave me the usual wring out on trends and they were all vastly disappointed about out the demise of the Enforcer. It really is collectively one of our favorite skis. I own a Hell & Back and really like it but the Enforcer is different and it hits a niche that is not extensively served. Now the Nordica guys know what they are about and the incoming trend of Alpine/back/slack country skis are served very well by the H&B and others. And they really aren't letting go of the great Enforcer either. Rather, they are just in a transition process of updating it with a new configuration that we'll likely see in 2014. In the meantime for 2013, I have decided to bring in the Enforcer regardless. There won't be many available and the market probably won't support a ton of them anyway but the new tip rockered version that you skied on is just an incremental improvement on an absolutely great platform.

 

SJ 

 

post #23 of 80
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrizzledVeteran View Post


I don't think it is possible for me to disagree any more strenuously with this observation.
Also I should point out that if you make the sport easier, then you're eliminating its "higher levels" so your idea that gear makes it easier to reach "higher levels" is an illusion. What you're really asking for is that the gear be able to eliminate all of skiing's higher levels, and dumb skiing down to the point where no skill is required at all.
You're suggesting that we really should be looking for a ski that does everything for us, and that the goal of all ski equipment should be to automate as much as possible of the technique required to ski. In other words, ski equipment should enable us to be 100% passenger, 0% driver.
That would mean you participate in skiing for reasons that are not related to technique, balance, skill refinement, challenge, or anything else. It makes me wonder why you ski. Wouldn't it be easier to just have one of those neural net devices from Strange Days, so that you could put it on your head and "experience" skiing without actually doing it?biggrin.gif
I agree completely.

I'm really asking whether incorporating all these features to such a mainstreamed extent is going to mean the death of technical skis over the next 2-3 model years (2014 and beyond). If American cultural trends are any indication, I'm concerned about what skis will be available for people like me. And I don't have the money to stockpile things right now.


This is a great question and the answer is anybody's guess. My own guess is no but with a caveat. The product managers fully understand the market reality but they also fully understand the technical reality as well. Most of the brands will continue down the technical skier's road with a limited but effective offering. This may only reflect 5% of their sales here in the US and related markets. However, this currently reflects about 50-60% of sales in the combined Euro market. While the US market is trendy, the Euro market is collectively maybe 60-75% of the total. These guys know how skis work and they also know what to do. The technical skis will be here for the next few years at least. Unless the cumulative market decides otherwise, they'll always be here.

 

SJ

 

post #24 of 80

I'm going to shy away from all this techno duel.gif

 

 

Quote:
Do all mountain skis require compromise?

If all you are looking to do is get from the top of the mountain to the bottom on any given day with a big smile on your face and no particular other goals then NO

 

If you are looking to ever focus on any particular type(s) of discipline, terrain, or conditions then YES

post #25 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrizzledVeteran View Post


I don't think it is possible for me to disagree any more strenuously with this observation.
Also I should point out that if you make the sport easier, then you're eliminating its "higher levels" so your idea that gear makes it easier to reach "higher levels" is an illusion. What you're really asking for is that the gear be able to eliminate all of skiing's higher levels, and dumb skiing down to the point where no skill is required at all.
You're suggesting that we really should be looking for a ski that does everything for us, and that the goal of all ski equipment should be to automate as much as possible of the technique required to ski. In other words, ski equipment should enable us to be 100% passenger, 0% driver.
That would mean you participate in skiing for reasons that are not related to technique, balance, skill refinement, challenge, or anything else. It makes me wonder why you ski. Wouldn't it be easier to just have one of those neural net devices from Strange Days, so that you could put it on your head and "experience" skiing without actually doing it?biggrin.gif
I agree completely.


So you don't think that the skis of today have enabled the sport's best athletes to ski lines faster, to ski much more difficult lines, to successfully drop bigger cliffs? Are you skiing on solid wood skis with no metal edges? Remember, metal edges is a technology that was added to skis to make skiing easier. Making a sport easier is not eliminating its higher levels, it is expanding the higher levels to greater heights that could not be achieved with the older equipment.

 

post #26 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by TallSkinnyGuy View Post

So you don't think that the skis of today have enabled the sport's best athletes to ski lines faster, to ski much more difficult lines, to successfully drop bigger cliffs? Are you skiing on solid wood skis with no metal edges? Remember, metal edges is a technology that was added to skis to make skiing easier. Making a sport easier is not eliminating its higher levels, it is expanding the higher levels to greater heights that could not be achieved with the older equipment.

TSG,

1) Don't you think you should ask me a question about what I wrote if you're going to quote me? Why bother quoting me if only to ask a question that covers what I didn't write?

2) Reductio ad absurdum ("Are you still skiing old wood skis with cable bindings?") doesn't address what I wrote. Please either don't quote me, or if quoting me, address what I wrote.

3) So, coming back to what I actually wrote -- how is your perspective not arguing for 100% passenger, 0% pilot?

4) The skiers at the top levels who are doing different things today compared to 20 years ago are a tiny, nearly invisible segment of the overall skiing population. What they can do is not indicative of what the great majority of skiers can do. I already mentioned this above in an earlier comment. If you judge "progression in skiing" by what 0.05% of the skiing populace can do, I don't think you're talking about progression in skiing itself, but rather, what is required to amaze watchers of big mountain and jibbing video footage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post

This is a great question and the answer is anybody's guess. My own guess is no but with a caveat. The product managers fully understand the market reality but they also fully understand the technical reality as well. Most of the brands will continue down the technical skier's road with a limited but effective offering. This may only reflect 5% of their sales here in the US and related markets. However, this currently reflects about 50-60% of sales in the combined Euro market. While the US market is trendy, the Euro market is collectively maybe 60-75% of the total. These guys know how skis work and they also know what to do. The technical skis will be here for the next few years at least. Unless the cumulative market decides otherwise, they'll always be here.

SJ

Useful perspective!
Edited by GrizzledVeteran - 3/13/12 at 2:45pm
post #27 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrizzledVeteran View Post


I don't think it is possible for me to disagree any more strenuously with this observation.
Also I should point out that if you make the sport easier, then you're eliminating its "higher levels" so your idea that gear makes it easier to reach "higher levels" is an illusion. What you're really asking for is that the gear be able to eliminate all of skiing's higher levels, and dumb skiing down to the point where no skill is required at all.
You're suggesting that we really should be looking for a ski that does everything for us, and that the goal of all ski equipment should be to automate as much as possible of the technique required to ski. In other words, ski equipment should enable us to be 100% passenger, 0% driver.
That would mean you participate in skiing for reasons that are not related to technique, balance, skill refinement, challenge, or anything else. It makes me wonder why you ski. Wouldn't it be easier to just have one of those neural net devices from Strange Days, so that you could put it on your head and "experience" skiing without actually doing it?biggrin.gif
 

 

 

 

lol...  Old people.

 

 

2008 called and it wants it's rediculous argument back.  Where have you been for the past few years anyways? 

 

 

Seriously though, haven't we already gone over the "I'm so amazing of a skier that I am offended such advances in technology are now allowing people that simply HAVE to be worse skiers than me- simply because I'm so rad and rip so hard- the ability to cheat their way onto lines only I should be ripping, just like back in 'EleventySix." bullshit callout like 500 times or so?  We know you think you're above the curve because we've been reading this same argument since McConkey skied ElCamino bumpers and enjoyed himself.  We know you're, like, the raddest dude on the hill.  I mean, it's just so apparent that the only feasible reason others are now able to approach your radness is because they're cheating.  Clearly.  Now all that's left is for you to draw the correlation between skiers like Plake or Schmidt to yourself and you'll have completely shed your doucherpillar coccoon and you'll be a full blown doucherfly.  Better act now before skiing is just hoverboarding, only you can save skiing's soul!   

 

 

You're right though, these technologies are obviously for hacks who can't cut it.  Surely you're still in leather boots like me, no?  Heaven forbid you use a crutch such as plastic boots and *gasp* releasable bindings.  BLASPHEMY!  I mean, why even ski at that point?  Metal edges are also stupid and overrated, nobody needs that kind of edgeability unless they can't ski for crap.  Helmets are also cheating, as in my day only the best skiers survived- the rest died of horrific injuries, that's why nobody is around to agree with me. 

 

See how rediculous you sound?  It's as if ONLY YOU can draw the line to where technology advances are ok and when they're just destroying the soul of skiing.  Unless you're in leather boots and zipperlining bumps on straight 210 cm waxless XCs every day, you're a hipocrite and can stop now.  Skiing is about enjoying yourself first and foremost, quit hating on things that make my favorite activity even more enjoyable because you percieve them as a threat to your superiority.  Nobody really cares how you feel about it or your inflated self image for that matter. 

 

 

Heh.  It's been a while since I let that one out.       

 

 

post #28 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Do Work View Post

lol... Old people.
2008 called and it wants it's rediculous argument back. Where have you been for the past few years anyways?
(more straw-man invective, now redacted)

Snark from a superior perspective? At EpicSki? You forgot you're not at TGR? Or NewSchoolers?

Yeah, it's all about being "old." And you're doing an indirect call-out too. Hah hah hah you're quoting G.N.A.R.! That makes you so bada$$!rolleyes.gif

You don't win anything with hyperbole and straw-man argument, but you can feel mighty superior while using those devices!

Imagine I admit to riding on skis from the 2010 Model Year. Does that eviscerate my arguments? Really? How about you explain why that's the result, Mr Work?

Here's the result I see:

* do work creates and defeats the straw-man of Caricatured Luddism,
* GrizzledVeteran's perspective is never discussed.
* do work pretends he's "beaten" the supposed Big Ego that isn't GrizzledVeteran, but do work swears it is... and walks away with a smug grin on his face as if he "won" an artificial debate!
Edited by GrizzledVeteran - 3/13/12 at 2:38pm
post #29 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post



You are somewhat confused. The specific conditions or tasks than a ski such as an MX88 is great at require a type of build that makes said ski "less great" in other situations. It is generally thought that the MX88 is a superb hard snow ski........no question about it. But, is it as good as the Head Magnum I just mentioned?........no. Is it as good as an FIS level race ski?.......big no. But it is easier than either of those other two. Nobody will come in to our shop to buy an iSpeed in order to make mogul or powder skiing more difficult. They will buy it in order to make the technical aspect of a day on the groomers more fun. Is the Magnum "easier" than an MX88?......no. Is it more versatile?.........no. Is it more exciting with a homologated trail in front of you and nobody in your way?.........boy howdy!!!

 

A ski like a BBR will of course not be better at all things and for all people. Such an idea is absurd. However, it absolutely will be easier at many things. When viewed through the prism of the average skier on the average day, the BBR is easier at most things. Hence, that ski will have a wider audience than an MX88 and wider still than an iSpeed Magnum.

 

Hence the two terms that most of us on here preach..............Prioritize and Compromise.

 

SJ


Actually I am not confused and I believe I am clear on the point you were making. My comment was a response to the phrase about "buying" fun rather than earning it. It sounded like a comment that was looking down on people who want to buy modern gear that makes skiing easier and more fun for them -- but I could be completely wrong about your attitude with this comment (these things are often hard to judge accurately on Internet forums). You are a retailer after all.

 

I was also responding to how the word "easier" seems to be considered a bad word as if buying equipment that makes the sport easier is to be judged with disdain. And yet, nearly everyone on this forum likes to discuss the latest gear and how it "performs" better because of tech advances. My point regarding this was that when we are saying something "performs better" in a certain condition we are usually saying it makes skiing that certain condition easier. For a given individual, a really soft ski that performs well (i.e. makes skiing easier) at slow speeds is going to make skiing much more difficult at high speeds and on hard surfaces. For a good ski racer, an FIS racing ski is going to be "easier" to ski at high speeds on hard snow than a soft beginner ski because it will hold its edge far better and not fold up when the skier is making high speed turns and will be much more stable at high speeds. No, an FIS ski is not what we normally consider "easier" to ski than a consumer ski -- I am just trying to make the point that when we are saying a ski "performs better" in a certain condition we are usually (but perhaps not always) saying that it is "easier" to ski in that certain condition. Therefore, the word "easier" should be dismissed as a bad thing.

 

I am fully aware of the concept of compromises as discussed in this thread. However, I still believe what I said in my first post in this thread -- that technology "advances" are really only advances if they reduce the compromises we are having to make. Like was pointed out earlier: Dawgcatching, for instance, allows as how the 8.7 and 8.1 are ultimately better on hardpack and ice, but the 8.0 and 8.5 are not far worse there and significantly better everyplace else. This sounds like a technological advance because the skis make most things "significantly better" while only making some things "not far worse."

post #30 of 80

I am skiing at the resort on my skate XC skis just to keep it interesting. Hyper camber and REVERSE sidecut I am so great because I could not ever do that. 

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