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Where has Fischer gone?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

What has happened to Fischer?  The Wateas used to always be included in the multi-ski reviews of that category, and I would have assumed that the new Big Stix also would be, but I've noticed that this season's reviews have been very sparse regarding either of these lines and that Fischer ski availability has gone down (Dawcatching no longer has them, Starthaus has no non-groomer Fischers except some KOAs, O2 Gearshop used to carry much of the Fischer lone but has stopped carrying them).  Has Fischer failed to keep up with the competition technologically in the big mountain/back country and similar categories, or is it just the historic Fischer [bad] marketing?

post #2 of 21

I have a pair of twin tip Fischer Atuas from 2007 or 2006 (can't remember) that still get a surprising number of days each year.  They've become my rock skis, especially during these past couple of low snow years in CO, but they're still an absolute blast to ski in bumps, trees, 8-10" of fresh, etc..  Fischer is still one of my all-time favorite brands but I do think they suffer from poor marketing in the US. 

post #3 of 21

Not sure they've gone anywhere. FWIW, I see as many or more Fischer racing skis out there as ever, they, Head, and Volkl seem to be the top three, put Rossi as high for kids, Atomic for adults. And I see plenty of rec carvers; the Progressors or whatever this season's descendants of the RX's are named, remain great skis. IMO they lost their way with fatter skis like the Wateas, going with boat hulls when everyone else was chasing rocker.

 

But the reviews for this year's crop are strong, especially the Big Stix series, although whoever runs the zoo obviously still thinks that skiers like to carve. Suggesting a very Eurocentric mentality. wink.gif

 

Also keep in mind that Fischer's never had "good" marketing prolly because they don't need to make big $ in skiing, it's a large and diverse company. Have read that most of their income comes from carbon-based technologies used in aircraft and cars, including F1. And I think they do nicely making skis for other people, like Elan does. Plus selling buttloads of carvers elsewhere than here. So not clear this is an example of a failing company as much as an example of not caring enough for us Americans and our smallish market...eek.gif


Edited by beyond - 1/23/13 at 12:20pm
post #4 of 21

It is unfortunate that Fischer doesn't have a bigger presence here in North America.  Probably because of non-existent marketing and they don't hand out free product to every "Tom, Dick and Harry" and "seed" the big ski areas nearly as much as other manufacturers.  

 

Yes, they are Euro-centric and focus more on racing skis, and technical, carving oriented skis.  (Those damn Austrians!)  And they also suffer a bit, by offering 'gimmicky" tech (i.e. Powder Hulls, Hybrid Camber Switch, Carve plates with stiffness adjustments, etc.), most Americans could care less about any of these things.

 

But, if you actually ski the line and try to objectively compare Fischer models with similar models from more mainstream or in-vogue manufacturers, they compare very favorably.   The overall quality of materials and build is definitely top-tier, and are often offered at lower prices than comparable products.  They are some of the most durable skis on the market.    Fischer is a technically oriented company that builds ski products, not a marketing company that happens to sell skis (see K2 or Salomon).

 

The Wateas have a lot of critics in this forum and have been pigeon-holed as a soft snow only ski for intermediate level, lightweight skiers.  They are actually perfectly suited to many 'western" skiers of all sizes and a variety of skill levels. True, not great for true hard snow or boilerplate, but, very capable in most other snow conditions.  In my shop, this has been a consistently top selling series, with many satisfied customers.  

 

It should also be noted, that this season's Watea 96 and 106 are much stronger skis than the models that they replaced in the lineup - they are only similar in their waist width, really are entirely new skis and are unfortunately stuck with an outdated name that has "baggage".  Ski 'em, they are every bit as good as (and in many cases better than) the Blizzards, Volkls, Rossignols, and Dynastars.

 

Try this season's Fischer Motive 86 compare it with a Kendo, E88, Magnum 8.5, or Rev 85 you'll be surprised how well this model compares with those.  Another good bet is the Motive 80.  And their Ladies offerings are outstanding as well.  

 

Why are they out of favor with the "cool kids"?  Dunno?   I can't figure out the fascination on this forum with Blizzard, Nordica, or Dynastar.  I have skied/tested and tuned skis from these companies, some models are very good, but not substantially different or better than a comparable Fischer.  I guess that I didn't get to drink the Kool-aid.  Like I said, people ought to give Fischer skis a chance - demo them, I think that you will be pleasantly surprised.

 

An aside... I do believe that the Kastle is truly outstanding and offer products that are cut above the norm.  But that is another story.

post #5 of 21

Quote:
Originally Posted by coolhand View Post

It should also be noted, that this season's Watea 96 and 106 are much stronger skis than the models that they replaced in the lineup - they are only similar in their waist width, really are entirely new skis and are unfortunately stuck with an outdated name that has "baggage".  Ski 'em, they are every bit as good as (and in many cases better than) the Blizzards, Volkls, Rossignols, and Dynastars.

 

Man, I guess that just goes to show how much is due to personal preference and style... I totally disagree with the bolded text.  I had the watea 94 as my main ski, usually skied at least 50% of my days for 4 years.  The watea 96 is very different, and not better IMO.  Much nimbler, but much, much lower speed limit.  Terrible crud ski now.  Skied it at a demo day, my buddy had a few runs on it too and felt the exact same way.  Just no top end to the ski at all.  And this is coming from someone who doesn't usually like stiff demanding skis.

 

The big stix 98, on the other hand, was very fun.  I'd be really interested in knowing what the construction difference is between the 2.  The rep acknowledged when I brought the big stix back that it would definitely be beefier than the watea 96, but didn't go into detail on what the differences were.

post #6 of 21

Huge Fischer fan, think I've owned more of their skis than anyone else's; ski the Watea 94 a lot. Over here, they cost a bit less than some of the other major brands, and just seem to have a little less 'tude. 

post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaobrien6 View Post

.

 

The big stix 98, on the other hand, was very fun.  

 

Yes it was.    (From someone who was meh on pretty much all the Wateas, ever)

post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolhand View Post

It is unfortunate that Fischer doesn't have a bigger presence here in North America.  Probably because of non-existent marketing and they don't hand out free product to every "Tom, Dick and Harry" and "seed" the big ski areas nearly as much as other manufacturers.  

 

Yes, they are Euro-centric and focus more on racing skis, and technical, carving oriented skis.  (Those damn Austrians!)  And they also suffer a bit, by offering 'gimmicky" tech (i.e. Powder Hulls, Hybrid Camber Switch, Carve plates with stiffness adjustments, etc.), most Americans could care less about any of these things.

 

But, if you actually ski the line and try to objectively compare Fischer models with similar models from more mainstream or in-vogue manufacturers, they compare very favorably.   The overall quality of materials and build is definitely top-tier, and are often offered at lower prices than comparable products.  They are some of the most durable skis on the market.    Fischer is a technically oriented company that builds ski products, not a marketing company that happens to sell skis (see K2 or Salomon).

 

The Wateas have a lot of critics in this forum and have been pigeon-holed as a soft snow only ski for intermediate level, lightweight skiers.  They are actually perfectly suited to many 'western" skiers of all sizes and a variety of skill levels. True, not great for true hard snow or boilerplate, but, very capable in most other snow conditions.  In my shop, this has been a consistently top selling series, with many satisfied customers.  

 

It should also be noted, that this season's Watea 96 and 106 are much stronger skis than the models that they replaced in the lineup - they are only similar in their waist width, really are entirely new skis and are unfortunately stuck with an outdated name that has "baggage".  Ski 'em, they are every bit as good as (and in many cases better than) the Blizzards, Volkls, Rossignols, and Dynastars.

 

Try this season's Fischer Motive 86 compare it with a Kendo, E88, Magnum 8.5, or Rev 85 you'll be surprised how well this model compares with those.  Another good bet is the Motive 80.  And their Ladies offerings are outstanding as well.  

 

Why are they out of favor with the "cool kids"?  Dunno?   I can't figure out the fascination on this forum with Blizzard, Nordica, or Dynastar.  I have skied/tested and tuned skis from these companies, some models are very good, but not substantially different or better than a comparable Fischer.  I guess that I didn't get to drink the Kool-aid.  Like I said, people ought to give Fischer skis a chance - demo them, I think that you will be pleasantly surprised.

 

An aside... I do believe that the Kastle is truly outstanding and offer products that are cut above the norm.  But that is another story.

Aside from the first two making good ski's and substantially upping their marketing dollars. You have to stop and take in to account that this board is heavily driven by retailers.

post #9 of 21

At Killington, three shops carry Fischer skis, includng the resort's retail shop.  I suspect the observation that they are more focused on race and carver skis is a reason for them beng less popular in the west.  My last two daily drivers for Vermont have been Fischer skis and will be looking for a third when replacement time comes.

post #10 of 21

I'm not sure whether or not this is true, but I heard that Fischer owns a lucrative patent for some type of aerospace technology, perhaps related to their Vacuum system, and that their earnings off sporting goods are therefore basically gravy. Mmmm. Gravy. 

post #11 of 21

I think some of what happened is that Fischer limited the number of vacuum machines that were available to shops.  Shops that couldn't get machines tossed the whole Fischer line.   I know at least one shop around here did that.

 

BK

post #12 of 21

and they are making skis for Dynafit now.

post #13 of 21

Lucrative aerospace patent?  Fischer must be vying to dominate the Martian ski market in 100 years

post #14 of 21

Fischer didn't show up at either the shop, or public, demos at Loveland either this year or last.  They seem to have no interest in selling skis in North America.  Pity.

post #15 of 21

I am a big fan of the Fischer Progressor line of skis.  About 4 years ago I took the positive advice of realskiers.com and purchased the Progressor 8.  The Portland, Or. ski shops do not have Fischer skis to any degree.  Fischer almost never appears at Meadows ski area on demo days.  Purchasing without demoing is contrary to me.  I was not disappointed in the ski.  Last year I repeated with a purchase of the Progressor 900.  Both skis are fine carvers and will work in 6" of snow.

 

I gave my Progressor 8's to my ski mentor, Nils Eriksson .  Nils is 77 years old now with a lifetime of skiing experience.  He was delighted with the Progressor 8's performance.  Nils told me recently that his son, Hans, entered a citizen race at Hoodoo with these Progressor 8's.  Hans has not ski raced in 10 years.  He narrowly lost first place.  Hans was the pace setter for the World Cup when Tommy Moe came to Bend.

 

My "quiver" of skis is the Progressor 900 and the Kastle MX88 .

post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by tenpenny View Post

Lucrative aerospace patent?  Fischer must be vying to dominate the Martian ski market in 100 years

 

---

post #17 of 21

I've been on Fischers for about 10 years now and really love their frontside-oriented skis.  RX-8, Race SC and now the Progressor C-1000.  The RC4 Pro SC and RC are on my short list for those days when it's blue ice on the trails in New England.

 

I've also got a pair of Watea 84's, which I really enjoy in spring snow conditions, the bumps and after 2-4" of fresh.  They are pretty soft, but they're light and quick and still have pretty good edge hold on the groomers.  They have a speed limit and can get pushed around in crud, but still a fun ski .. if you respect their limits.  I actually think these would be good with a tele or AT setup in New England ... in fact Fischer now positions the Wateas as "Hike and Ride" skis.

 

I've tried skis in the Motive line and didn't have any love for those skis.  Haven't tried the Big Stix, so can't comment there.

 

Overall, my feeling is that Fischer still makes some of the best frontside carver skis going, but they're being out-paced in the all-mountain and freeride categories.

 

At least that's my $0.02 worth ...

post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by cray View Post

I am a big fan of the Fischer Progressor line of skis.  About 4 years ago I took the positive advice of realskiers.com and purchased the Progressor 8.  The Portland, Or. ski shops do not have Fischer skis to any degree.  Fischer almost never appears at Meadows ski area on demo days.  Purchasing without demoing is contrary to me.  I was not disappointed in the ski.  Last year I repeated with a purchase of the Progressor 900.  Both skis are fine carvers and will work in 6" of snow.

 

I gave my Progressor 8's to my ski mentor, Nils Eriksson .  Nils is 77 years old now with a lifetime of skiing experience.  He was delighted with the Progressor 8's performance.  Nils told me recently that his son, Hans, entered a citizen race at Hoodoo with these Progressor 8's.  Hans has not ski raced in 10 years.  He narrowly lost first place.  Hans was the pace setter for the World Cup when Tommy Moe came to Bend.

 

My "quiver" of skis is the Progressor 900 and the Kastle MX88 .


Hillcrest carries Fischer, so does Meadows.

post #19 of 21

I ski on Fischer, mainly the Big Stix series. I'm a professional ski instructor and off-piste guide working in St. Anton am Arlberg, I'm skiing 95% of the time off-piste and the Big Stix 98 or the Watea 101 is really great skis for all conditions, even not too bad on the piste as well.

 

Also as an examiner for the Danish ski instructors I prefer the Fischer race skis on the piste and for teaching.

 

Try the Big Stix 120 for the deep powder and you will find yourself cruising along with mark speed.

 

I agree that their marketing is not something to applaud, as a matter of fact they are just hiring someone new for the job :) but they mainly rely on racing, World Cup races where they have a lot of top riders.

 

As to quality I have never had any better skis in my 20 years as a pro.

post #20 of 21

Hillcrest & Meadows barely carry Fischer skis.  They do not stock frontside carvers by Fischer.  I did order my Progressor 900's from Nate Turner at Meadows. Neither shop carries frontside carver oriented skis unless the customer orders them.  It is difficult to find a frontside traditional camber carver from the shops around here now. I recommend the Ski Chalet in Beaverton for some selection of this type of ski.

post #21 of 21
They're (still) very big in XC here in North America.
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