or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Member Gear Reviews › Review Requests: Frontside Skis From Smaller Ski Companies...what do you want to see reviewed?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Review Requests: Frontside Skis From Smaller Ski Companies...what do you want to see reviewed?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

The emphasis on fat-midfat big mountain and backcountry off-piste skis has been going like gangbusters the last few years, and for good reason. There are some awesome designs for powder addicts from nearly every company out there.  What people have perhaps forgotten is the small, innovative builders are also making some excellent frontside carvers and all-mountain designs under 90mm underfoot.

 

We are putting together a test of some frontside skis from smaller ski companies and wanted to ask the EpicSki crowd if they have some skis from this less "industrial" collection of more than 300 ski companies besides Nordica, Elan, Fischer, Head, Rossignol, Salomon, Dynastar, K2, Volkl...etc. they would like to see reviewed.  No guarantee we can get test skis from any companies you suggest, but we're curious to see what brands come to mind and which models interest the crowd, and will see what we can do to get the skis on-snow and review them thoroughly.  We already have several skis lined up...and are looking for your ideas.

 

Let us know what you think.  Feel free to reply to this thread with suggestions.

post #2 of 21

If you're interested in testing frontside skis from small companies, the ones that immediately come to mind for me are Blossom, Vist, and Hart (though these may not be as obscure as what you have in mind).  And as a baseline against which to compare, you might want to include some from Stockli (Laser series: SC, SX, AR) or Kastle (MX series or RX12).

post #3 of 21
DPS and Cassiar line...
post #4 of 21
ON3P. If they have a frontside ski.
post #5 of 21

Ski Logic has one as well.

post #6 of 21

Zai's Spada & Testa and  Sterling skis would be nice.

post #7 of 21

Seconding the vote for the Ski Logik Occam's Razor, and the DPS Cassiar. In particular, most reviews of the Cassiar compare it to skis like the Rossi E:88. I'm more interested in whether it can actually compete with a torsionally stiff, low 70's-type of ski, though...

post #8 of 21
Ogasaka.
post #9 of 21

Blossom, Sporten, Ski Logik, Palmer, Co. H. En, Bomber and anything else you can find that comes  out of the Blossom factory. This assumes Stockli is not "smaller" given it podiums so much (Tina Maze).   I understand Sporten is pretty big and makes great skis for racing,all Nordic events, etc., but they don't export. 

post #10 of 21

ExoticSkis, thanks for putting this up. Interesting thread.

 

At the risk of derailing it, I'll just point out that there seems to be a dearth of reviews and discussion of ANY recreational pure front-side skis. There is a fair amount of talk among a small group of regulars (ScotsSkier, zentune, Atomicman, et al.) about serious race skis for actual racing. And then - for the most part - there is a huge gap until you get to people talking about front-side-biased all-mountain skis in the 80+mm group, such as the MX83, Blizzard Mag 8.5 ti, etc. There is the occasional exception (a minor buzz around the new Head Rally, for example, or, briefly, a while back, the Kastle RX 12), but overall I stand by my assertion.

 

Five years ago there was a whole lot of talk about recreational race-carvers and the like. For instance, there was a lot of chatter about skis like the Head Supershape Magnum, Blizzard Supersonic, Volkl Tigershark, Fischer RX8, and Nordica Speedmachine, to name just a few. I think skis like this still exist. Maybe they don't sell as well as they once did because the 85s meet most people's needs. But they don't need ALL people's needs all the time. How is the latest crop of these skis performing, without respect to how "small" the mfr is?

post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 

Great response folks...thanks...many of you are thinking along the same lines as some of us...Keep the suggestions coming!

 

We currently have some skis being arranged (some we have reviewed by themselves before) such as:

 

- DPS Cassiar 80SL carbon,

- DS Cassiar 85, plus we will throw in a hybrid 99 we think)

- Blossom Flere SL + maybe some others as available

- Anton Dynamics UFOria

- ROMP custom 80 frontside

- SkiLogik Occam's Razor

- SkiLogik Front Burner

- IDONE SL

 

We have some possible opportunities to review (but no promises yet)

 

- Amplid

- Liberty Variant 97

- RAMP Frenzy

- RTC classic and crossride

- Co.H.En

- Bomber

- Sterling

- A.K. Ski

- SCC

 

Others as we get responses back from companies..We think we can probably get some Stockli and Head carvers in the mix as some widely-known reference standards if we plan it right...

Keith at Praxis was playing with some frontside designs, but they may not be ready for primetime yet, and Scott at ON3P does not yet have a dedicated frontside carver in the public mix.  We are seeing if we can get a demo of Folsom Custom's Blue Note Carve, as well as some skis from other companies......

 

Sometimes it is difficult to get some Euro-skis to review in North America if they do not have active distribution...but we will have a presence in Chamonix this winter to hopefully get some rides on EU-only skis...

 

Keep the ideas coming......thanks.

 

 

 

 

 

post #12 of 21

Lot of good ideas here; since the holidays are getting closer, I'll play The Grinch. Or Devil's Advocate: Why do it?

 

As in, what are the opportunity costs? While it's not a bad idea at all (who would begrudge exposure to small or boutique companies making anything?), why is it a better idea than reviewing a bunch of equally deserving 100-something skis that a decent sized audience might have a decent chance of actually buying? Where are the planned reviews of 2014 Armada, Praxis, Prior, Moment, ON3P, Kootenay, Icelantic, Faty-pus, Movement, and the few other indies that are actually making a modest blip on the average American skier's radar? (OK, I realize that most of these are not probably "exotic," but your theme appears to be "indie," not "technologically unusual.") I mean, I find Palmers as, well, unusual as the next guy, and I certainly love Anton's suspensions, but how many Americans are going to buy them over a Blizzie or an Atomic? 

 

Some of this is market. How many Americans plan to put down major $$ on a frontside carver these days? (Answer: Racers, ex-racers, and instructors, and they'll go with models made with plenty of metal, often from the companies that made their race skis back when. Or if they have the means, on a luxury carver like a Stockli. Otherwise, the interest, and $$, are flowing to 90+ skis. I recall a few years ago when Real Skiers gave the Anton UFO's all 4's and 5's. Very competitive scores. The Anton site still quotes them, along with a bunch of ExoticSkis.com reviews. So what happened? Do we just keep hammering at how great they are, or do we accept they may be the answer to a question no one is asking? 

 

The alternative, of course, is to just say, "Hey these guys deserve exposure, because, well, it's cool to build skis and it's cool to read about them." Or, "Narrow skis are gonna make a comeback when all the precipitation below 7,000 ft is sheet ice." OK, all for the first, and unfortunately the second is probably dead true. But meanwhile, I also would like to see more balanced reviews of the sort of skis most people are actually buying right now. Or even the newest "exotics:" ON3P is making some very crazy reverse elliptical designs that are getting strong comments, for instance. DPS's 3D spoons are IMO far more radical than anything Anton is making. Moment is making skis with four contact points on two separate camber curves. Movement is making amazing touring skis that are really extending carbon technology. 

Just sayin...:duck: 

 

But to address your question, uh, sure anything Folsom makes. 

post #13 of 21

(beyond: I know you're playing Devil's Advocate, but I couldn't resist making a serious response. Sorry!)

 

I suppose one reason to do it would be because there are other people reviewing those 100-something skis (Blister, people on this site, etc.), but it is very hard (at least, for me) to find reviews of 70-something -- or even 80-something -- skis that are by non-racers. I have no race or instruction background, and so I find a lot of the reviews of frontside skis just aren't particularly helpful for me. I appreciate a good frontside ski for using around here in western PA, even though I'm not racing on it. So, which would be good skis for those purposes? 

 

People often say that skis should be bought for what people *actually* ski, not what they wish they were skiing. For many, particularly in the mid-Atlantic, what they actually ski might be better served by these types of skis rather than 100-somethings. So, why not provide information about what is out there besides yet-another-k2?

post #14 of 21

^^^^ Reasonable replies. And fully agree about "actual" skiing. I think the biggest hole in my argument is that actually, coverage becomes positive feedback: The more reviews of 90+ skis, the more people will focus on them, the more buzz, and the less interest in perfectly good 80 mm models that might fit the conditions better.

 

But the biggest strength of my advocate is that these days, the average 100 mm performs a lot like a 85 did a decade ago. Yet the average 85 has not advanced to the same degree. It's not like an older 70 mm. And so on; progress has been non-linear, in other words. So you could make a case that the focus on fatter skis is less about fashion or even indies than how much they can take care of. Personally, this coming season I'll be on some racing or cheater skis under 70 mm, and then probably something in the 90's. Nothing in between, because in all sincerity I'm not sure they're necessary. Even a couple of years ago I was arguing for the utility of 75 mm skis back here. Now it's honestly a toss, IMO. Dawgcatching said a while back that the new Stockli Stormrider 95 was comparable on hardpack to most 80-somethings. I haven't skied it yet, but I believe him. And I can think of several others. 

 

So what's left, I suspect, is specialized terrain. Bumps want a narrower ski, by their nature, if (big if) you zipper them. Other styles are fine on a 90 mm. And real ice will always ask for a true carver, if (another big if) you want to carve it with decent edge angles and speed. Other styles are fine on a 98 mm. And a race course will always be more enjoyable on a really narrow race ski, even if Picabo did in fact do pretty well on a pair of Mantras one time. 

 

My Devil's other strength is about the political economy of indies, why we should support them if we can. Because the best form of support is to the heart of their lineups - wider soft snow skis - rather than kinds of designs that put them more head to head with, ah, Heads. That's not a fight they can win, frankly. Andit could weaken them, perhaps fatally, to try. Niches are fine. Not every maker has to make every kind of ski for every kind of terrain...

 

But I'll still like to read about mid-fat Folsoms. 

post #15 of 21

Review the new Icelantic SKNY line (preferrable the NOMAD RKR SKNY and the SHAMAN SKNY).  I am really dickering over just grabbing a pair a shaman skny's but I'd like some feedback first.  

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

Lot of good ideas here; since the holidays are getting closer, I'll play The Grinch. Or Devil's Advocate: Why do it?

 

As in, what are the opportunity costs? While it's not a bad idea at all (who would begrudge exposure to small or boutique companies making anything?), why is it a better idea than reviewing a bunch of equally deserving 100-something skis that a decent sized audience might have a decent chance of actually buying? Where are the planned reviews of 2014 Armada, Praxis, Prior, Moment, ON3P, Kootenay, Icelantic, Faty-pus, Movement, and the few other indies that are actually making a modest blip on the average American skier's radar? (OK, I realize that most of these are not probably "exotic," but your theme appears to be "indie," not "technologically unusual.") I mean, I find Palmers as, well, unusual as the next guy, and I certainly love Anton's suspensions, but how many Americans are going to buy them over a Blizzie or an Atomic? 

 

Some of this is market. How many Americans plan to put down major $$ on a frontside carver these days? (Answer: Racers, ex-racers, and instructors, and they'll go with models made with plenty of metal, often from the companies that made their race skis back when. Or if they have the means, on a luxury carver like a Stockli. Otherwise, the interest, and $$, are flowing to 90+ skis. I recall a few years ago when Real Skiers gave the Anton UFO's all 4's and 5's. Very competitive scores. The Anton site still quotes them, along with a bunch of ExoticSkis.com reviews. So what happened? Do we just keep hammering at how great they are, or do we accept they may be the answer to a question no one is asking? 

 

The alternative, of course, is to just say, "Hey these guys deserve exposure, because, well, it's cool to build skis and it's cool to read about them." Or, "Narrow skis are gonna make a comeback when all the precipitation below 7,000 ft is sheet ice." OK, all for the first, and unfortunately the second is probably dead true. But meanwhile, I also would like to see more balanced reviews of the sort of skis most people are actually buying right now. Or even the newest "exotics:" ON3P is making some very crazy reverse elliptical designs that are getting strong comments, for instance. DPS's 3D spoons are IMO far more radical than anything Anton is making. Moment is making skis with four contact points on two separate camber curves. Movement is making amazing touring skis that are really extending carbon technology. 

Just sayin...:duck: 

 

But to address your question, uh, sure anything Folsom makes. 

 ExoticSkis fills a need identifying  "unknown" manufacturers and their better skis, giving exposure to people  producing interesting products,  and identifying great potential bargains when these "unknown" skis go on sale or get mispriced on ebay.  Probably the easiest ski to design is a classic carving machine since it doesn't have to be versatile in all conditions.  If the snow is hard, a typically layered carver/race ski works.  If it works better on ice than competitors, it is likely less versatile due to the torque, stiffness and perhaps weight (more metal).   It isn't like anyone is going to reinvent what Stocki, Rossi, Atomic, Nordica, Dynastar, etc. has done in this space so most of us want to see reviews of more innovative or cooler looking skis.  Regardless, everyone west of the Continental Divide should own something that skis great during those three week stretches without snow, and seeing what the smaller manufacturers come up with sounds like fun.    This guy (Eric) demoed a lot of skis from companies that were unknown and are now common to many of us.     Someone will let a new Ramp Frenzy go for $250 (his best offer price) on ebay, but I already have a couple old pair of Stocklis.  If I every found an Anton Glider for sale for cheap, I'd grab it and then thank ExoticSkis for finding it first.   

post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by quant2325 View Post
 

 ExoticSkis fills a need identifying  "unknown" manufacturers and their better skis, giving exposure to people  producing interesting products,  and identifying great potential bargains when these "unknown" skis go on sale or get mispriced on ebay.  Probably the easiest ski to design is a classic carving machine since it doesn't have to be versatile in all conditions.  If the snow is hard, a typically layered carver/race ski works.  If it works better on ice than competitors, it is likely less versatile due to the torque, stiffness and perhaps weight (more metal).   It isn't like anyone is going to reinvent what Stocki, Rossi, Atomic, Nordica, Dynastar, etc. has done in this space so most of us want to see reviews of more innovative or cooler looking skis.  Regardless, everyone west of the Continental Divide should own something that skis great during those three week stretches without snow, and seeing what the smaller manufacturers come up with sounds like fun.    This guy (Eric) demoed a lot of skis from companies that were unknown and are now common to many of us.     Someone will let a new Ramp Frenzy go for $250 (his best offer price) on ebay, but I already have a couple old pair of Stocklis.  If I every found an Anton Glider for sale for cheap, I'd grab it and then thank ExoticSkis for finding it first.   

Agree completely about filling the need, less certain how large the need is in the United States.

 

Disagree about how a classic carver is the easiest to design. Or more accurately, maybe it's easy to design - cannot say - but I bet it's not easiest to make. Why? Because most modern race skis aren't simply stiff carvers, and all race skis I know of, as well as most narrow carvers, have plenty of metal. Some of it more exotic than alu alloy. They also tend to have rather sophisticated designs for producing dampness, a quality many indies don't much worry about because they don't need it, or the grip it helps, in soft snow. So while most boutique makers could produce a fair imitation of my VR17's, less certain they could make a fair imitation of my Kastle's or Rossis or Blizzards. And even majors who use carbon alone - Fischer comes to mind - use it ways that would be difficult to replicate with a classic layered sandwich, carbon on top and bottom. Obviously, the caveat here would be companies like Blossom. But they're not much different than Kastle or Stockli IMO, just more likely to have pasta for lunch. 

 

Sad to say, but I wouldn't go grab an Anton or Ramp Frenzy, despite how interesting they seem, simply because I'm very satisfied with my existing carvers, and my uses for them produce conservatism in me. That old opportunity cost thing, only the cost is in my time, learning curve, and so on. But I love reading about them, so definitely test on...

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

The emphasis on fat-midfat big mountain and backcountry off-piste skis

Real BC skis?

La Sportiva Hang5, Hi5, Low5, Mega Low 5

Dynafit Huascaran, Grand Teton

Praxis BC, Yeti, Woo Test, GPO,  La Petite

DPS 99. RPC, 120 Spoon

post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 

Wow...didn't expect to make people type so much!......

Great comments by the Devil and Quant.....

 

Our goal for the "Exotic Frontside Test" is to merely get a sampling of some of the harder-surface skis from some lesser-known builders since they are producing some impressive boards these days, some of which equal or exceed the the performance found in the big names like Head, Rossi, K2, Elan, Kastle, Fischer...etc..  Anyone who has ridden the new carving machines from Head, Fischer, Kastle and the other big names knows these things rip and have huge fun factors...and if you find a pair of last-year's models on Ebay for pennies-on-the-dollar...BINGO!...happy skier.

 

We run into tons of the racers, coaches, ex-racers, beer-leaguers, instructors and other ski addicts who love their traditional brands and would buy their frontside skis for the rest of their ski days, but they are always asking about something different....maybe something they can get customized, or merely something fresh to peak their interest.  The good news is, these days there are tons of opportunities to find lesser-known skis with great performance at about the same price...sometimes more, sometimes less...sometimes waaaayyyy more expensive (I personally have a hard time thinking about paying $3,000 for skis when Ebay can get me some $250 killer deals).  It's fun to be able to email or call the folks building these small-brand skis and have them build a pair for you, and you can get a warm and fuzzy feeling about giving your hard-earned money to a small operation (if you're into that "warm and fuzzy" thing...).

 

Anyway, we hope to get a good cross-section of skis for our little project and let people see how it turns out.  When we were discussing this season's testing, the options became dizzying.  Dane's comment about the new "Real Backcountry" skis being a category by itself is enough to keep me up at night...the cool ski designs (mated with the new BC boot and binding gear) are exploding the possibilities of high-performance off-piste....and the industry sales stats show it's a huge market shift over the last couple seasons.   Eeek....frontside, racing, backcountry, freeride, powder, big-mountain....when will it end? (hopefully never).

 

Perhaps the topic is mis-named as "Exotic Frontside Skis"....since the emphasis is really on smaller, lesser-known companies rather than the "Exotic Technology"....although we have been toying with the idea of reviewing the "cutting-edge technology" skis in a future project....including the various flavors of Spoon or "convex base" designs, multi-camber-multi-contact-point geometries, odd materials such as flax, carbon nano technology, "gneiss" cores, honeycomb aramid cores, etc....although collecting samples of such skis and getting them into the appropriate testing conditions can be a daunting task, or really expensive since we have to travel to the builders' locations for review in some cases.  Ahh.. if only we could win the lottery..

 

We have asked Jordan over at Folsom if he could provide a sample of his craftsmanship for our project....let's see if it works out.  We are also trying to get some Euro-brands to fill out the fleet, so stay tuned and let us know about other skis you would like to see more on-snow reports of!


Cheers,

post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dane View Post
 

Real BC skis?

La Sportiva Hang5, Hi5, Low5, Mega Low 5

Dynafit Huascaran, Grand Teton

Praxis BC, Yeti, Woo Test, GPO,  La Petite

DPS 99. RPC, 120 Spoon


Stunningly tasty collection of skis for BC.....you have excellent taste....Now, if we could afford some cool dynafit BC boot/binding combos to go with those.....

post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post
 

 

At the risk of derailing it, I'll just point out that there seems to be a dearth of reviews and discussion of ANY recreational pure front-side skis. There is a fair amount of talk among a small group of regulars (ScotsSkier, zentune, Atomicman, et al.) about serious race skis for actual racing. And then - for the most part - there is a huge gap until you get to people talking about front-side-biased all-mountain skis in the 80+mm group....

 

 

We're still around. I had the widest ski in the group yesterday at 72 underfoot.

Mostly we're in the pmts forum.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Member Gear Reviews
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Member Gear Reviews › Review Requests: Frontside Skis From Smaller Ski Companies...what do you want to see reviewed?