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Have skis gotten too complicated for consumers?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Traditional camber and sidecut

Flat camber

Tip Rocker

Tip and Tail Rocker

Earlier rise vs high rocker

Reverse camber

Waist width from 90-140mm

Rocker with various amounts of camber

5-point sidecut

Pin tail

Shark nose

etc.

 

The choices completely overwhelmed the average ski buyer years ago, but now it has gotten to where even serious skier gear geeks have way too many variables to consider when choosing new boards. In the Powder Mag Gear Guide issue about 15 of the 35 manufacturers did not exist or were not making skis 10 years ago, and they are all experimenting with new shapes and features, which is good but makes for unfathomable options. 

 

I'm calling it, we are finally at a point where no skier can make a really good decision on new skis without demoing.

post #2 of 9

Noooooooooooooooope.  People are looking too far past what the ski is and does.  It's actually quite simple, but people are literally getting so wrapped up in the buzzwords that they are confused by the percieved differences. 

 

Once you understand how a 2 dimensional surface interacts with stiffness, camber, length and such, the transition to thinking about function in a 3D environment i.e. deep pow in the context of width, rocker and camber profiles and sidecut is a no brainer IMO.  Sure, there are a myriad of choices and that can make it tough to decide, but I think it's more that most people don't understand what experience they're after so they make the wrong choice. 

 

 

What I mean by that is a traditional-style skier that came from skinnies may very well be very disconcerted by the loose, playful floaty feel of a set of R/R boards whereas they might love something with a huge shovel, real sidecut and a fat tail, since it will be more in line with their expectations, both in terms of physical input and posture as well as turn shape and stability at speed.  The same can be said for different shapes.  If you want swively, poppy pow performance for trees a 5 point design might be more up your alley, whereas if you want to lay down huge arcs on steep faces, it might not be as good of a choice for your style of play. 

 

So basically I feel like people shoudn't worry about the marketing terms and what's different about that specific brand over another- just try to understand what the different dimensions of construction do in a more broad sense, be honest with yourself about how you ski- or want to- and find the best combination ofthose qualities, no matter what the marketing weirdos are calling it this week. 

post #3 of 9

icon14.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by Do Work View Post

Noooooooooooooooope.  People are looking too far past what the ski is and does.  It's actually quite simple, but people are literally getting so wrapped up in the buzzwords that they are confused by the percieved differences. 

 

Once you understand how a 2 dimensional surface interacts with stiffness, camber, length and such, the transition to thinking about function in a 3D environment i.e. deep pow in the context of width, rocker and camber profiles and sidecut is a no brainer IMO.  Sure, there are a myriad of choices and that can make it tough to decide, but I think it's more that most people don't understand what experience they're after so they make the wrong choice. 

 

 

What I mean by that is a traditional-style skier that came from skinnies may very well be very disconcerted by the loose, playful floaty feel of a set of R/R boards whereas they might love something with a huge shovel, real sidecut and a fat tail, since it will be more in line with their expectations, both in terms of physical input and posture as well as turn shape and stability at speed.  The same can be said for different shapes.  If you want swively, poppy pow performance for trees a 5 point design might be more up your alley, whereas if you want to lay down huge arcs on steep faces, it might not be as good of a choice for your style of play. 

 

So basically I feel like people shoudn't worry about the marketing terms and what's different about that specific brand over another- just try to understand what the different dimensions of construction do in a more broad sense, be honest with yourself about how you ski- or want to- and find the best combination ofthose qualities, no matter what the marketing weirdos are calling it this week. 

post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot View Post

Traditional camber and sidecut

Flat camber

Tip Rocker

Tip and Tail Rocker

Earlier rise vs high rocker

Reverse camber

Waist width from 90-140mm

Rocker with various amounts of camber

5-point sidecut

Pin tail

Shark nose

etc.

 

The choices completely overwhelmed the average ski buyer years ago, but now it has gotten to where even serious skier gear geeks have way too many variables to consider when choosing new boards. In the Powder Mag Gear Guide issue about 15 of the 35 manufacturers did not exist or were not making skis 10 years ago, and they are all experimenting with new shapes and features, which is good but makes for unfathomable options. 

 

I'm calling it, we are finally at a point where no skier can make a really good decision on new skis without demoing.

 

I am not saying demoing isn't good, but I have seen as much misinformation from demoing as good information. When you are demoing, you are demoing the tune as much as you are demoing the ski. There are many cases that the demo also happens in conditions that aren't suited for the ski. Also, a tip for people who do want to demo, don't demo your first choice first. Demo other skis/contenders in the class to get a base mark then demo the ski that is at the top of your list. 

post #5 of 9
Gear forums are generally about 5% tuner arguments and about how that 5% has made all the difference. Complexity makes it fun, otherwise what would be the point of talking about the same thing year after year?

You might argue that complexity is driving consumers to consensus skis like the Bonafide, but then this too is logical as it is wise to drive the 95% for awhile to gain experience and knowledge underfoot prior to believing you can tune the remaining 5% to any particular advantage.

I suspect one reason for the Kastle love fest is plenty of people simply want a large quality envelop and feel, and they'll drive the rest of the features straight off the showroom floor understanding simply that a quality sweet spot is ultimately the goal of good tuning anyway for all but the top 1%, and you can spend a small fortune chasing it to the net effect of actually spending less time actually doing whatever sport it is you love.

Epic tends to lump wisened gear hounds into the 'don't know what you want' clueless category, but in simplest terms when you have spent small fortunes on the edge you often come to realize that overall experience value lies squarely in the middle, and value is a pretty easy variable on which to choose if you have any self reflective capacity at all as it tends to align squarely with that elusive thing called satisfaction.

All of which is a long way of saying I am getting too old to care anywhere except in the proximity of my keyboard.
post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by NayBreak View Post

Gear forums are generally about 5% tuner arguments and about how that 5% has made all the difference. Complexity makes it fun, otherwise what would be the point of talking about the same thing year after year?
You might argue that complexity is driving consumers to consensus skis like the Bonafide, but then this too is logical as it is wise to drive the 95% for awhile to gain experience and knowledge underfoot prior to believing you can tune the remaining 5% to any particular advantage.
I suspect one reason for the Kastle love fest is plenty of people simply want a large quality envelop and feel, and they'll drive the rest of the features straight off the showroom floor understanding simply that a quality sweet spot is ultimately the goal of good tuning anyway for all but the top 1%, and you can spend a small fortune chasing it to the net effect of actually spending less time actually doing whatever sport it is you love.
Epic tends to lump wisened gear hounds into the 'don't know what you want' clueless category, but in simplest terms when you have spent small fortunes on the edge you often come to realize that overall experience value lies squarely in the middle, and value is a pretty easy variable on which to choose if you have any self reflective capacity at all as it tends to align squarely with that elusive thing called satisfaction.

A good err...a tune period  is more than 5% of the decision. Most shops demos are not really demo's but high end rentals and are treated as rentals in the area of maintenance. These skis go out 4-7 days a week and USUALLY do not see a proper tune, let alone a good waxing more than run over a hot waxing machine. I am not saying that there is not good demo shops but they are in the vast minority, if you are demoing, just know when that ski was tuned so you are actually trying it in its best light, if you are demoing to buy, that is why you are demoing it, right? 

 

Addressing your use of the Bonafide as an example, I have a friend who demoed it as a local mountain said he was unimpressed with it and felt it skied awful.  I let him try mine and he said it was a completely different ski. I know mine, even with 60 days on them, has a good tune, the others were glorified rentals. Coincidence, I think not. 

post #7 of 9

Tune is WAY more than 5% of the skis performance. The firmer the snow you ski the bigger it gets. I'd almost rather ski a lesser ski with a perfect tune than the other way round.

 

OR

 

better yet, the very best tool for the conditions at hand (ski type) with a great tune  biggrin.gif

 

With every new ski purchase, I am constantly amazed by the prep the factory supplies. I guess they figure they already have your money so......

 

Do yourself a favor and have a competent shop tune your brand new skis before you ever put snow under them. Then you can realize all they have to offer.

(or even better, learn how to tune them yourself!)

post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot View Post

Traditional camber and sidecut

Flat camber

Tip Rocker

Tip and Tail Rocker

Earlier rise vs high rocker

Reverse camber

Waist width from 90-140mm

Rocker with various amounts of camber

5-point sidecut

Pin tail

Shark nose

etc.

 

The choices completely overwhelmed the average ski buyer years ago, but now it has gotten to where even serious skier gear geeks have way too many variables to consider when choosing new boards. In the Powder Mag Gear Guide issue about 15 of the 35 manufacturers did not exist or were not making skis 10 years ago, and they are all experimenting with new shapes and features, which is good but makes for unfathomable options. 

 

I'm calling it, we are finally at a point where no skier can make a really good decision on new skis without demoing.

 

I disagree.

 

I have bought 2-4 pairs each of the last few years and have not been disappointed yet. I read specs, reviews and listen to word of mouth. I NEVER demo.

There are a LOT of very good skis out there now. If you are honest about your needs and the conditions you will ski on, it's not hard to come up smiling biggrin.gif

post #9 of 9

Yeah, I'd actually have to agree with R.S. here. Gasp. Seems to me that there are fewer duds, more really fine skis out there, especially in the < 110 range, than ever before. Above there, hmmm. But I see more convergence toward certain designs that work in the past coupe of years. And more info, from YouTube to mags to websites like this to PM's with other Bears or phone calls to same. So I do less demoing, and haven't really suffered. OTOH, not exactly an average buyer, not sure they pay attention to the labels or just listen to the salesperson; I chase down rocker and shape and construction specs before I buy rather than pay attention to marketing terms. Which are, ah, coming from where someone's sun don't shine. 

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