Originally Posted by beyond
Don't follow how this is "slip and jive" logic. A company such as 4FRNT designs its own skis, to its own parameters. These designs differ from what Elan offers. So I know who makes the ski (Elan), and I know where the design comes from (4FRNT). Since I have experience with both companies, I feel comfortable. That fact that I could chose a ski made by a single company from design to shipping doesn't seem to bear on the logic behind choosing a ski designed by one company and made by another, unless you could prove that somehow a designer in one place and a maker in another produces an inferior ski. But all you have is a sense of distrust.
In fact, however, I like the idea of indies, who often come up with very innovative designs, not making their own skis out of someone's garage or a rented warehouse. Elan or Neversummer have a long track record of making other people's skis to spec. I know they'll do a good job. New indies often cannot produce strong QC for years. Moreover, even established indies may find it more economical to outsource the manufacturing. Like DPS or Volkl in China. Seriously, how is this any different from buying a Ford that's actually made in Yrp or Asia by a collaborating manufacturer? Or a Phillips DVD player that's made in Malaysia? Conversely, American car makers produced crap for years, some might say they still do, mostly, and each one was designed and made by a its own company right here in the good ol US of A. So why does making something in one place help us confident about quality?
This is right where it falls out for me. Maybe if the handful of major manufacturers were putting out 1000 different models of skis under their own name, would the counter-argument make sense. But obviously they don't. Ski preferences are almost like fingerprints- pretty much everybody has different ideas of what a good ski feels like on their feet. Some people want a light, playful quick to turn ski, others want a super stiff, minimal sidecut bomber to straightline down 50* chutes and launch cliffs. Having indy manufacturers making quality skis that fill in gaps in the major manufacturer's lines can't be anything but a good thing.
Saying that only the big manufacturers can design the skis "right" forgets the fact that everybody has a different definition of what "right" is. The S7 is a revolutionary ski, which is why almost everybody makes a 5 dimension ski now. But what if the S7 is too soft for you, or too stiff for you, or you want it a little narrower, or fatter, or longer, or shorter? Well, good news, Rossi makes what, 4 different S7 skis now? Choice is great! But again, that is 4 different skis while there are hundreds of other 5 dimension skis out there.
Getting back to the Meiers that started this thread, I haven't found anybody else, certainly not a major manufacturer, making 5 dimension skis as light a the Meiers (for less money, I bet the DPS Wailers in carbon are pretty damn light) and with anything close to that short of a turn radius, the two attributes that I think made the ski really stand out. Its pretty damned ridiculous to say my experience of having these skis on my feet is bunk, and that I should just conform to one of the Rossis. I KNOW WHAT I LIKE, and its not like I was fondling them on a store rack and deciding that indy skis are teh bets evar.
The reality of today is that there are a like of ski companies, and a handful of really large production facilities. Thankfully, the dynamics appear to be a win/win. Ski companies can contract for manufacturing, get a consistent product, and enjoy the economies of scale that come with large scale manufacturing, even if they are only doing 1000 skis a year. If the larger indy companies that currently contract out production were to do it in house, there is a very good chance that either costs would rise dramatically so that they can afford the factory equipment needed to make skis like the big boys (yet use this expensive equipment on much smaller runs of skis), or quality would sufferand more things are done by hand.
If Indy skis were consistently more expensive than major manufacturers skis, I could kind of understand the argument, but in many cases, they are not. Sure, DPS charges an arm and a leg, but they are also the only game in town if you want a carbon fiber ski. Icelantic charges a slight premium over the mainstream market, but no so much that I haven't seen there stuff for sale at attractive prices. Lets not forget that their skis are made in the USA and have one of the best warranties in the biz, which I think are two solid reasons to justify the premium before even talking about the performance of the ski, which a lot of people love...
I don't see anybody making an S7 ripoff, sending it out to China to be stamped out of a factory, and then throwing a $1200 price tag on it. At least those aren't the skis that get a lot of (positive) interest here or on Epicski.
Finally, I leave you with this- a ski "manufacturer" that I think we can all agree sucks.