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Follow up to Rossi's "if I had a dollar" post

post #1 of 61
Thread Starter 

After thinking about that thread some more; what were the issues that were identified in the post?  How do we resolve them?  Beyond that, referencing marketing currently in the industry? 

 

The backbone of skiing's financial success is typically the middle income family: not great skiers necessarily, just up on the hill to have some time together and enjoy the sun, fresh air, and views.  That is certainly my core customer. Is the industry well served by marketing "freeride" gear to that crowd, either in the short or long term? 

 

Possible negative consequences of that approach:

 

 

1) people buying skis unsuitable for their conditions (not necessarily a problem in itself, if the skier is happy)

2) people getting frustrated by poor gear performance, not realizing that their gear is not suited for the task at hand (skiing on Vermont frozen death cookies)

3) frustrated people therefore not skiing as much as they otherwise would, given that they had more suitable gear

 

Do you think this is a pressing issue, or not?  Many in the industry see it as such; talking to a manager at a very well known Idaho resort (there is only one), it was mentioned that people are less inclined to show up for a typical groomer day, and instead are holding out for those powder days that are few and far between these days. This results in fewer skier days overall and less interest in the sport. 

 

I don't see my typical suburbanite, Honda Pilot-driving family of 4 customers that skis 8 days a year as having any sort of connection to anything "freeride" (which is in itself an empty term, but if we define it as either big mountain skiing, park, pipe, backcountry, then there is no connection).  

 

I ski mostly off-piste, love skiing steep big-mountain terrain, would enter a big-mountain comp if there were some barbie lines to learn and get smooth on, yet don't even get the "freeride" marketing being done these days. I consider myself a skier, not a "freerider", whatever that means.

 

Thoughts? 

post #2 of 61

Not to fall into easy, over-used cliche responses, but....especially in this case, they're true.  

Ski companies have to sell so much new stuff every year to stay in business. So they have to create, and then match up, with a new theme or concept every couple of years.  I'm not at all belittling the advances made in ski design and technology, but isn't "freeride" just a new "rocker"/"carver"/"shaped" "revolution"?   I've been around for at least 20 years, and every 3-4 years there's a new meme which sweeps in, creates a demand for new equipment, and then moves on.  

Whether it's ever really about the needs of the general public is somewhat doubtful.  Again, not disputing that new designs have significantly eased and improved the average duffer's skiing... but most of the equipment sold has little to no relation to the average duffer's real skill, application, or need.  

 

Since you're a biker, think of electronic shifting, disc brakes on road bikes, carbon-fiber frames and bits.  Are these "advances" necessary or even desirable for the average Joe Schmoe?  Nope.  But how many freds do you see buying this stuff?  

 

Finally, I defer to Tim Petrick on this: "far too many skiers buy skis for conditions they WISH they were skiing, instead of conditions they ARE skiing".  

 

I see this here on this board.  In fact, how many real powder days do most of us really have?  Yet how much of the discussion even here is about powder or out-of-bounds quality equipment?  The ads, the mags, the movies, the hype is all about dream conditions that require new/different stuff -- even if the truth is few will actually do the different stuff.


Edited by tch - 1/13/14 at 3:34pm
post #3 of 61

@dawgcatching it seems strange to me that the core is a family of 4, middle income that ski 6-8 times a year. Being a weekday skier, I of course never see this group! I see retired folks, trust fund darlings, college kids and folks like me with a fair bit of vacation time. All of this group skis WAY more than that, probably at least 20 days with some twice that.

 

So my frustration is seeing a skier from this group with LTOSFC (less than optimum skis for conditions). As many have said, in New England a frontside harder snow ski is ground zero. From there you branch out to "specialty" skis, maybe a 88ish for bumps and a few inches of fresh or a 98mm for zero overlap and a good  crud, boot deep and spring corn use ski. Then if your wallet don't mind you can get crazy with a real powder ski for "fantasy island use". Point is ya gotta have that base ski, pure and simple. Some years that might be 80% of your year!

 

Now for all the "extreme" skiers out there that will proclaim that they can rail their 105mm big mountain skis on frozen chicken heads, have at it.

 

Can't speak to the snow conditions from the Rockies west, but suspect that during off cycles things aren't all that different except maybe the freeze/thaw thing. Without that, even without fresh snow I could probably live with a 80-85mm ski for the bottom line.

 

ymmv


Edited by Rossi Smash - 1/13/14 at 4:21pm
post #4 of 61

I'm not a gear head by any stretch, but totally understand the marketing need to create "buzz" about new products.  If there's good data that suggests that people stay off the hill waiting for conditions to match their gear then that's a problem.

 

How to balance expectations with actual on snow results is tricky I'm fairly certain.  My experience with "freeride" skis (Fischer Watea and Nordica Hell & Back) is that they are wider and are easier to ski in 6/7 inches of fresh or more.  Having said that I'm on my 78 waist Top Fuels 80-90 percent of the time and I ski almost exclusively out west.  They're just better for me in anything less than the 6/7 inches or more I mentioned.

 

I've learned through experience that for me "freeride" is still a specialty ski.  I think the 4 person Honda Pilot family you mention is likely done a disservice by these skis but that's just one mans opinion.

post #5 of 61

OK, I'll bite. Interesting followup. 

 

First, I fully believe Dawg's composite core description. We are one of the more biased, non-representative special interest groups I've ever run across. According to recent studies (below), the average Oregon skier is 40 years old, 2/3 of them are married, 91% own their own skis, and they seldom ski; non-season pass holders go 6 times a year and season pass holders go 20 times a year.

 

Here, Dawg, if you haven't seen this, interesting reading: https://scholarsbank.uoregon.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1794/12578/Ski%20Oregon%20Econ%20Impact%20Final.pdf?sequence=1

 

Far as I can tell, these numbers are not out of line nationally. The average age of all skiers in the U.S., for instance, is 38.5, according to SIAA. But it's a non-normal distribution with a big lump of >65 boomers. So I think that there are actually three "lumps:" 20-something freestylers, married folks with tweener kids, and cranky old guys like me and Rossi Smash who obsess over perfection.

 

Second, I think this entire "freestyle" rubric is becoming overworked. There are plenty of so-called "freestyle" skis that do nicely on hardpack (anyone skied a Blizzard or Nordica lately?), and plenty of so-called "traditional" narrower skis that suck on same).

 

Moreover, the average skier really doesn't care about fit of ski to conditions, according to this or other documents; he (majority of us are male) gets his data from peer reviews, ski mags, and friends' recommendations, and claims to care about performance. But shop guys I've talked to say the buzz around a ski and its test scores is what's important, rather than whether the ski fits the conditions it'll be used in. Or the actual skill set of the buyer. Not that we here at Epic would ever contribute to buzz, but how many average skiers really need a 98 mm ski? Let alone one with lotsa metal in it? Let alone a 106? 

 

Third, I'm not convinced that most skiers actually notice the lack of fit. What I mean by this is that an intermediate who skids down a icy pitch on a blue groomer tends to write off the run as about conditions, not about equipment. Or their lack of skills. Saw a lot of this the last few weeks in NE. Oddly, they don't get all that upset; conditions are acts of god, y'see. And he/she may not be far off; IME most of the skis we drool over here will shine in ways that will be lost on folks who don't carve, don't speed along, and don't expect silky smooth runs through crud. We want envelopes that exceed what the average skier will ever approach.

 

Fourth, calling a ski "forgiving" is the kiss of death here at Epic, but I bet most skiers will enjoy a easy going/forgiving ski under variable conditions a lot more than a ski that is perfect for the same conditions but asks more of the operator. For instance, some here have long been ridiculed for saying that rockered fat skis are better for beginners and intermediates. (I've been among the ridiculers.) But if you define "better" as "easier and more fun" rather than "more appropriate for learning to carve," they may be right.

 

A ski that comes to mind is the Atomic Theory. It's never gotten much love around here compared to stiffer, higher performance (and more expensive) skis. It appears to be a classic B+ ski, and freestyle to boot. But I see a lot of them around the slopes, and what folks like about them, when I ask, is that they are (wait for it) versatile, cheap, and capable of getting by on ice. People get by on ice, y'see. They don't expect to dominate it. Or care. They wait for the soft snow and remember it when it comes. Another example is the Rossignol 88. Not nearly as sexy as the Brahma or Steadfast or MX88, but there are about 10-20x more of them on the slopes. Because they are (wait for it) versatile, cheap, and capable of getting by on ice. A third example is the Volkl Bridge. Slopes are cluttered with them. Some reviewers here don't like them because they're "greasy." Yup. But they pivot on a dime, they can set an edge on ice, sorta, and they feel great on features in a park with 4" of new wet snow. And they're (wait for it) cheap and etc etc. 

 

Conclusion: Freestyle or lightly rockered skis that are wrong for the conditions prolly do lead many to struggle more than they could otherwise. Yep. Agree. On record, and all that. 

 

But on the other hand, they may also make skiing on the average day for the average skier more enjoyable precisely because that skier doesn't have to worry about the proper weight distribution, or angulation, or all that cool stuff. They can pivot and slide and skid down the groomer, whooping all the way, hit a few tame features, survive a bump field, and feel like heroes at lunch. I see this every weekend at the lodge, and y'know what? More power to them. They're plateaued, and they're prolly having way more fun than me having one of my self-critical meltdowns over edge angle during retraction. 

 

My .015...:eek 


Edited by beyond - 1/13/14 at 4:30pm
post #6 of 61

Skiing hard packed boiler plate or frozen corduroy with even an 80-90 mm ski is like ballet dancing with steel-toed heavy duty work boots on when compared to skiing with something built for these typical conditions like a Fischer WC SC.  Just say'n.

post #7 of 61
I honestly don't think it's that big a deal, especially not knowing the specifics of a particular mountain's culture. Dawg, you're around Bachelor, correct? You've got a park culture, a race culture, a pretty serious group of PSIA tech types, and relatively low slow angles with a load of snow. There's an good argument for a 90-105 mm a la a Soul 7 or similar daily ski for anyone who spends a good bit of their time off piste. You need some surface area to float the Flatchler, so I can well imagine a 115-120 dedicated powder ski. :)On piste most of the time, 75-85 would work well for the typical rec skier. Unless one owns multiple pairs of skis and is putting in several days a week on the hill, it's pretty tough to sell a hard core dedicated carver.

Crystal, we've got an active youth free ride program. The terrain park is very limited, so we see very few skiers on a dedicated park ski. All mountain twins like a Soul Rider or one of the Shredditors is a different story. The certainly have a place. We've got race programs. Their orders are done through reps and race day programs. There's not that strong a 'tech skier' culture outside of racing, so you don't see many dedicated carvers even if it hasn't snowed in a whole or off piste is more like coral heads than buttery mush. We've got a lot of steep off piste terrain, so a versatile all mountain quiver of 1 is going to be 95-110 for most. It is what it is. I don't see a ton of skiers falling outside these basic perimeters.

Individual shops locally clearly have different client basis that show in their gear selections. Customers go where they seem to fit the demographic. One 'young' shop looked at me like I was a delusional old fart when I asked about a pair of Katanas when they first came out. Good shops question the customer to figure out the skier's narrative and point them to skis according to what they're looking for. Generally, they're pretty good about pointing out discrepancies, etc.... And getting people into a decent ski. Anyhow... My two cents.
Edited by markojp - 1/13/14 at 10:53pm
post #8 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post
Good shops question the customer to figure out the skier's narrative and point them to skis according to what they're looking for. Generally, they're pretty good about pointing out discrepancies, etc.... And getting people into a decent ski. 

Good shops yes. But I wonder what % of people buy their skis at good shops, vs. online vs big box stores with slacker students advising. 

 

Not an idle question, because the slopeside shops I know, full of skilled staff, tend to do well selling boots, less well on skis, which average skiers buy in the city or from an online warehouse. And the funny thing is that the prices at said shops are pretty competitive, occasionally better, than stuff in the city. And these shops in general (dangerous phrase) seem to carry skis more in line with local conditions and terrain, fewer freestyle skis. Maybe my sample is off, cannot say. Suspect western shops have to carry more freestyle from demand?

post #9 of 61
Yeah... But around here, big box stores seem to carry system skis by and large. Evo's based in in Seattle and I'm pretty sure they have a very large volume of Internet sales of very big skis for small and icy places. It's not than many 40 something beginners that are drinking the kool aid, but I'm sure lot of teens through 30'ish go phat or go home. Buyin the dream is just part of the American experience. DOes it hurt the sport? No more than Burt bindings did. smile.gif
post #10 of 61

My opinion is that in most sports many people get the bulk of their actual enjoyment in the thinking about/dreaming about/planing/researching/buying gear and less from actually using the gear like those people in "the business" use their gear. That's the real fun for a lot of people [and more power to them.]

 

Some get the hook but most stay in that mode or until they're on to some other "thinking about/dreaming about/planing/researching/buying gear" sport.

 

Bottom line [as I'm sure many know] is that becoming as good as some people hope to be, they'll never get there because of the commitment required to do so. 

post #11 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clark Griswald View Post
 

My opinion is that in most sports many people get the bulk of their actual enjoyment in the thinking about/dreaming about/planing/researching/buying gear and less from actually using the gear like those people in "the business" use their gear. That's the real fun for a lot of people [and more power to them.]

 

Some get the hook but most stay in that mode or until they're on to some other "thinking about/dreaming about/planing/researching/buying gear" sport.

 

Bottom line [as I'm sure many know] is that becoming as good as some people hope to be, they'll never get there because of the commitment required to do so. 

That's kinda how it is with MTB, which I've got a fair amount of experience in.  Lots of people buy new stuff..keeps them interested..keeps them riding..which is great for them and their health.  For me, whatever I use for riding is just tools in the tool box..I build durable stuff and just get on it and ride.  My bikes might as well be hammers..just doing the job for me..

post #12 of 61

Question is: what do you want out of your skiing experience?  That then determines your outlook and direction for purchases, time, energy, and money to invest (or not) in the sport.  And make no mistake, MANY people don't call skiing a "sport", it's simply a recreational activity to have some fun time outdoors.  And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

 

Do you want to slay the boilerplate and leave utterly clean railroad tracks?  Then pick a scalpel of a ski and spend lots of $$$$ and time on lessons and practice.  Or do you want to have a day outdoors, enjoy the fresh air, time with your kids, create some memories, and come home tired, happy, and full of life and positive energy?  Then grab some skis that are "forgiving" and forget about it.....because then it's not about the skis, or the $$$$ and time on lessons.  It's about the EXPERIENCE, and those people don't really care about freeride vs freestyle, sidecut vs early rise, and so forth.

 

Same thing with road cycling.  Scott, you've heard the question: is it about the bike or not?  My impression? Possibly.....possibly not. Really depends on how hardcore you are (or want to become).  Skiing is no different.   The more serious you are, the more you care about the minutiae.

 

Is it about the equipment, or is it about the experience?  More interestingly, are the two mutually exclusive?  If you say No, then you're hardcore and  not the "target mainstream demographic" for the retailers.

 

Case in point: this past weekend, it was PACKED PACKED BUSY at our local ski bump of a hill.  Tons of people in crappy, wet weather and poor snow conditions.  They didn't seem to care, they enjoyed the mild weather and seemed to be having lots of fun.  Nobody was vexing about which ski to bring to the hill, which sidecut would be more suitable for the heavy wet snow, or what waist width would be ideal for a given flex pattern in order to optimize the vertical that day.  That's utterly hiliarious!  Think about it.  NOBODY CARED.  (well, maybe me, but admittedly I'm a gear whore).  Everyone just was enjoying the mild day and having fun outdoors, getting exercise, and having some laughs.  So.......is that skiing?  Yes.  Are they right?  Sure they are, all the power to them.

post #13 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

Yeah... But around here, big box stores seem to carry system skis by and large.... smile.gif

 

Interesting, not true back here. Lot of freestyle and flat skis, some system, depending on how you define system. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clark Griswald View Post
 

My opinion is that in most sports many people get the bulk of their actual enjoyment in the thinking about/dreaming about/planing/researching/buying gear and less from actually using the gear like those people in "the business" use their gear. That's the real fun for a lot of people [and more power to them.]

 

Hmmm. Like your namesake. My opinion is that most people here get an unhealthy amount of enjoyment from thinking about/researching etc. But many of us are certifiable.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunnerbob View Post
 

Question is: what do you want out of your skiing experience?  

Yep, and I'd guess most people want lift tales of how gnar the last run was, maps at lunch to peruse for remaining runs, decent beer after 2 pm, and getting laid before midnight. Maybe a hot tub in there somewhere. If of a certain age, it may trump the midnight deadline. :D 

post #14 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post
 

 

Yep, and I'd guess most people want lift tales of how gnar the last run was, maps at lunch to peruse for remaining runs, decent beer after 2 pm, and getting laid before midnight. Maybe a hot tub in there somewhere. If of a certain age, it may trump the midnight deadline. :D 


Take out the lift tales and sounds like my kind of day/night!  LOL.

post #15 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post
Do you think this is a pressing issue, or not?  Many in the industry see it as such; talking to a manager at a very well known Idaho resort (there is only one), it was mentioned that people are less inclined to show up for a typical groomer day, and instead are holding out for those powder days that are few and far between these days. This results in fewer skier days overall and less interest in the sport. 
 

 

Interesting question.  By all rights, this SHOULD show itself to be big issue, but I am not sure most folks make the connection.

 

I find the comparison/contrast between marketing and advancements in skiing gear and golf clubs to be fascinating.  So much of the newer technology in golf over the last decade seems to be about making it EASIER to hit the ball longer and straighter for the mere mortal.  Whether you dream about hitting the ball like Tiger, Phil, Rory or anyone else, you are not likely to get there using the clubs they do!  Forgiveness on off-center hits, more consistent distance with hits anywhere on the face of the club, etc., have made some level of memorable performance more within the reach of the average duffer. Bridgestone and others even hammer this home in their marketing with messages about NOT using what the pros use.

 

It seems like many of the newer developments and manufacturer marketing focus in ski gear are about skis that experts rave about, or those that are beyond the reach of most average resort skiers to make the most of.  I don't know how big an impact this has on participation in the sport, but I DO see a lot of anecdotal evidence when I get on the slopes indicating that a pretty large percentage of skiers (those not using rental gear) are using skis that are not even close to a great match for the conditions and their skill set.  That has to be frustrating.

 

It seems to me, at least, that golf technology and marketing may be heading in a more healthy direction for increased participation than technology and marketing in skiing.  But, then again, what the heck do I know?? I own multiple pairs of skis and am only getting out 12-15 days per year!!! :dunno

post #16 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

 

A ski that comes to mind is the Atomic Theory. It's never gotten much love around here compared to stiffer, higher performance (and more expensive) skis. It appears to be a classic B+ ski, and freestyle to boot. But I see a lot of them around the slopes, and what folks like about them, when I ask, is that they are (wait for it) versatile, cheap, and capable of getting by on ice. People get by on ice, y'see. They don't expect to dominate it. Or care. They wait for the soft snow and remember it when it comes.

 

 

you nailed it there, i think. i live and ski in new england and bought the theory this season for EXACTLY those reasons. i'm advanced/expert, haven't yet found a trail i wouldn't ski, and head for the trees at the first opportunity. also maybe worth noting that i'm 5'11'' and about 147 lbs, so although i'm very athletic and ski pretty hard sometimes, i don't exactly need a super-stiff ski.

 

does it carve as well as many narrower skis? probably not. but i only had the budget for one ski (well, one pair - one ski would be a little awkward, right?), and i wanted it to be awesome in the trees and softer snow and good on hardpack rather than the other way around. reviews all said it carved really well for a 95mm-waisted ski, which it does, and that was enough for me. haven't taken it in the trees yet, but i did have a couple of soft-snow days (one real powder day) in december, and it was a blast. on hardpack? maybe not ideal, but still plenty of fun. on ice...who cares? if i go down a trail and it's covered in ice, i'm not going down it again.

 

versatile and affordable, just like beyond said.

 

if you're a good enough skier to feel and care about the suboptimal carving performance (compared to a narrower ski) on a ski like the theory, you're probably good enough and knowledgeable enough to pick the right ski for your preferences. if you don't understand the difference between a 65mm and a 95mm waist, you probably aren't carving hard enough for it to matter anyway.

post #17 of 61
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

I honestly don't think it's that big a deal, especially to knowing the specifics of a particular mountain's culture. Dawg, you're around Bachelor, correct? You've got a park culture, a race culture, a pretty serious group of PSIA tech types, and relatively low slow angles with a load of snow. There's an good argument for a 90-105 mm a la a Soul 7 or similar daily ski for anyone who spends a good bit of their time of piste. You need some surface area to float the Flatchler, so I can well imagine a 115-120 dedicated powder ski. :)On piste most of the time, 75-85 would work well for the typical rec skier. Unless one owns multiple pairs of skis, it's pretty tough to sell a hard core dedicated carver.
 

 

Actually, my shop caters to vacationers more than anything. People who ski a couple of days (alpine), ski a couple days (nordic), snowshoe a bit, hike out at Smith Rock (almost always clear) and head back to Portland to sit in the rain (except for this year). 

 

Speaking of locals though, yeah, I would say that something between 85-105 is the typical everyday ski.  Maybe something wider for people who wait for powder days and don't ski as much.  Hard to say what locals use: my friends are typically skiing something in that 85-105 range, but have others on Supershapes, and others on Surface skis that have been all but unusable recently.  I do sell a fair amount of carvers to coaches and instructors; we are the only shop stocking them!  

 

I "make do" with 4 typically. Usage based on a typical year

 

170cm slalom race carver (20% use, 100% of use this year)

around 180cm all-mountain more frontside ski (like an MX88): 40% of my use, typically a travel ski unless I expect a big storm

around 180cm all-mountain/big mountain soft snow ski (like a Kabookie or FX104): 30% of my use, travel ski if it is supposed to snow

Powder ski (BMX108, Huge Trouble, Cochise, something like that): 10% (these haven't seen snow in since the spring of 2012, though)

post #18 of 61
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tch View Post
 

Since you're a biker, think of electronic shifting, disc brakes on road bikes, carbon-fiber frames and bits.  Are these "advances" necessary or even desirable for the average Joe Schmoe?  Nope.  But how many freds do you see buying this stuff?  

 

 

I would say that for many skiers, the wrong gear could hold them back. It would be similar to having a boot with poor alignment, 2 sizes too large. 

 

Those high-end cycling upgrades aren't necessarily a bad thing though; it isn't directly comparable.   Yes, they could do better by using that money to take a couple of weeks off of work and put in 45 hours in the saddle, but that isn't the point really.  They won't be held back by a sweet bike.  Joe Schmoe Cat 5 doesn't need a $10k bike: hell, I am a strong Cat 1 and could throw race wheels on a $2200 Cannondale CAAD10 and go just as fast as I can on my team bike; if it doesn't matter in a Pro/1 race, it doesn't matter for a recreational rider.  Cycling really isn't a gear-based and technique based sport, at least on the road.  When it comes down to it at mile 80 and the attacks are flying, you either have the legs or you don't.  Having a dialed cross bike is more important in terms of gear, but that is more a function of geometry and fit, not bike weight and price paid.  

 

I agree though, money that could be better spent elsewhere, but there are a lot of things we could say that about.  

post #19 of 61
I was in the role of Aaron Rodgers in that State Farm "double check" commercial on the lift listening about how the kids can only do one turn where two belong and how much powder that leaves for the double turners and on and on and on and on and on...

My own approach to gear has largely been to buy unisex or "same ski, different top sheet" that rate well with women. Forgiveness with some mix of other features I want - I am not heavy so it is easy. Kastle LX 82. Having a lot of fun on a new to me pair of Rocker2 92's. Those are fairly conservative choices, frontside, freeride, whatever, but I like the Rocker2's enough that my wife has a set of 2013 Rockette 90's (eBay, $250 new) and STH12's (Evo, $125) on the way. That ski shows up in the right way in reviews everywhere I have seen it.

Skiing has an obvious extremism problem, but any consumer can go step by step. Wait a model year and do it cheaply. And some days bring the wrong ski and don't change them anyway.
post #20 of 61
I'd consider myself an extreme version of the guy who buys the 100mm ski for his only ski, I'm definitely an example of a guy who sometimes has the wrong gear and I don't just have 1 pair, I have 5.
 
My quiver is currently

194 Rossignol B-Squads 104 waist

198 Salomon x-wings 108 waist

194 Salomon El Dictators 114 waist

192 Salomon Rockers 127 waist 

196 4frnt Renegade 122 waist

 

 

Does that mean I don't have as much fun as I could have on a GS ski when its a groomer day? Maybe yes, maybe no, but I can't see myself shelling out real money (lets say $200+) for what I basically consider filler days in my season. For me skiing steep untracked powder snow is easily 30x maybe 100x more enjoyable than skiing a flat groomer covered in moving gates, so I spend my money on skis that will allow me to maximize my experience in those conditions and I think that this thinking is becoming more and more common amongst the average skiers. Just look at what happened at stevens pass yesterday. Parking lots full by 9am and overflow lots full by 10 or 1030 and I heard crystal was similarly affected. Unprecedented and all because of a big pow day. 

 

Put another way: If you skied a 20 day resort season and went heliskiing for a week in Alaska in which you got just 20 runs in, would you remember more suffering for being on the wrong equipment in the resort or suffering for being on the wrong skis while heliskiing? 

 

Not to mention you can have lots of fun on the "wrong equipment" when the conditions aren't exactly all that fresh. My x-wings, being relatively soft in the tip and fairly straight, are actually a lot of fun in the bumps. If plake can do it on 220's I can do it on girly 198s; yes, the width makes for a slightly wider than traditional stance but it's still a lot more fun than the "carve the bumps" approach I see a lot of the tech team nerds attempting. Then you have the squads which are as stiff as any ski short of a DH ski and with a tip designed to deliver maximum death cooking destroying force without deflection, just crank the bindings to 17 and drop into the rock solid steeps before mach ing in to the refrozen crud filled bowl. Pure exhilarating masochism. 

post #21 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post

Actually, my shop caters to vacationers more than anything. People who ski a couple of days (alpine), ski a couple days (nordic), snowshoe a bit, hike out at Smith Rock (almost always clear) and head back to Portland to sit in the rain (except for this year). 

Speaking of locals though, yeah, I would say that something between 85-105 is the typical everyday ski.  Maybe something wider for people who wait for powder days and don't ski as much.  Hard to say what locals use: my friends are typically skiing something in that 85-105 range, but have others on Supershapes, and others on Surface skis that have been all but unusable recently.  I do sell a fair amount of carvers to coaches and instructors; we are the only shop stocking them!  

I "make do" with 4 typically. Usage based on a typical year

170cm slalom race carver (20% use, 100% of use this year)
around 180cm all-mountain more frontside ski (like an MX88): 40% of my use, typically a travel ski unless I expect a big storm
around 180cm all-mountain/big mountain soft snow ski (like a Kabookie or FX104): 30% of my use, travel ski if it is supposed to snow
Powder ski (BMX108, Huge Trouble, Cochise, something like that): 10% (these haven't seen snow in since the spring of 2012, though)

Just for a fun comparison:

177 Head Titan (digging'em this far, but only have about three days on them... Maybe the start of paring things down to a 2 ski quiver*)
180 Rossi E-98 (the most of the time ski, quickly becoming rock skis this season... If I had only one ski, this would these.)
186 Blizzard Bodacious (3D powder and major deep 2 1/2D crud, amazing ski... Probably spend 10% of my total days on them)

* thinking of the Titan and something like or roughly equivalent to an FX 104... Maybe the 104. The E-98s would become official rock skis.
post #22 of 61

What's hurting the industry is the ridiculous number of skis each manufacturer makes.

The whole production and buying schedule is also problematic. Skis are basically ordered by what? March, maybe April of the previous season? If something becomes a hit the mags or stores didn't see coming, too bad.

 

As for the gear, you'd be amazed at how little most people know about gear. What everyone just listed, most have no clue of. Even shops that are good, have people in there that don't know much. I was in one getting demos for a friend. The descriptions of the skis were comical and untrue in most cases. And I would consider that a good shop actually.

 

It's funny, but not one person here referred to "twin tips". People haven't used that as a category here in what, 10 years? Maybe a little less. Many in the public are different.

I was in a shop late last year. (East). Woman came in who skis a lot, kids are big racers. "I need a pair of twin tips" she says. I relate as to how I think the term "twin tips" is now outdated. They thought I was nuts, the term still relevant. I asked them, are you going to land a jump backwards? - "no." Do you want to ski switch? - "no." So, what you want is something that's wider and not a carving ski? - "Yes, a twin tip!"  lol - Can't hold back the tide.

 

And....stand by for post Olympic, "my kid needs a twin tip", possible scenario. Half pipe skiing is finally in the Olympics. How lame was it in Vancouver with just snowboarders in the pipe. People are going to be blown away by how much better skiers are in the half pipe than snowboarders. Most adults are still stuck in like some past time period where the half pipe was for snowboarders. Last Olympics, the only real impressive one was Shaun White. They've definitely gotten a lot better since then, but skiers are way beyond.

It will be an eye opener for people.

post #23 of 61

Here in Quebec (east coast), we don't have problem finding ice skis ( the one everybody around here should have first thing in his quiver or as the only ski) in ski shop cause they have them. Problem is trend and magazines...

If you look at Ski buyer's guide, in the hard snow category, they have one 78 mm and one 79 mm skis; all the rest is over 80 mm!!! Skiing gear guide? A little bit better but with maybe a third of their trenchers category being in the 74-78 mm range...the rest? over 80 mm...

The only magazine that has a more complete approach is Ski Canada that is also reviewing slalom skis and has more slimmer skis in his reviews... 

 

 

If more people had the right skis for the conditions, I would not have to explain every time why I had so much fun skiing on refrozen hardpack!!!:D

 

 

Tog, ski industry should produce less skis but each ski should be available in differents colors so it would help the person who is hesitating between the wrong skis that fit with their jacket and pants ( the skis they will leave the shop with) and the right skis that has an horrible top sheet...:rolleyes 

post #24 of 61

Love Beyonds post #5. After witnessing & surviving the Christmas hordes and what they're on, and how much fun they were having, I'd say he nailed it. 

post #25 of 61
Quote:

Originally Posted by Tog View Post


As for the gear, you'd be amazed at how little most people know about gear. What everyone just listed, most have no clue of. Even shops that are good, have people in there that don't know much. I was in one getting demos for a friend. The descriptions of the skis were comical and untrue in most cases. And I would consider that a good shop actually.

 

^^^  Definitely agree with what Tog mentioned above.  I have no doubt that some of the retailers/shops represented here on Epic are a completely different story, but so many of the shops overall and many of the employees in the better shops simply don't demonstrate either the knowledge or the interest in really understanding what ski will work for a particular customer's situation.  (this is a separate issue from the customers who think they already know it all because they read Ski magazine and talked to their friends!).

 

  I spent 3 days last season doing demos with a really good shop on-mountain.  I was working with the equipment manager.  After sharing my thoughts and impressions on each ski and exchanging ideas with him, he flat out asked me on the spot if I would work with him there!  (And folks, I am no ski expert by any stretch of the imagination!!)  Apparently, he just has one heck of a time finding people who care enough to really get to know the skis they sell so they can best understand how to help customers make the right choice.

post #26 of 61
The truth is, unlike boots, there are probably a dozen different skis that will work well for any given customer, myself included. A good shop can help you narrow things down a bit, but in the end, there's a lot (too much in fact) of pretty great product out there. Skied some Head Rev 90's the other day... Didn't like it mounted on line at all, but with the binding mover +1-1.5, it was lovely... Would certainly use it for a daily ski if the rep tossed a pair my way. Nordica's also going to have a 100mm variant of the El Capos that's most certainly going to confuse me further. The epic ski solution is to just buy both. smile.gif
post #27 of 61

Are many people out on the "wrong" skis? Sure. But look what they drove up in? Look at their houses? It is the "American Way" to buy for the 10% of the needs. The marketing tells is to buy for the 10% percent of the conditions that we want to see verses what we do see. Look at the resort ads, bluebird powder days, cliffs to jump off of with a big SUV parked in the parking lot and the consumers drink the kook-aid by the pitcher. Skiing is one of the few sports people "do" verses strive to get better at. How many take lessons, let alone practice? Tennis, they practice serves, hit balls against the wall. Baseball, play catch, go to the barring cages, golf, to the driving range or putting green. Skiing? just the top skiers (or most dedicated) work on pivot slips or let alone run some gates. We forget sometimes how much we are the lunatic fringe here.

 

I will throw out some examples and name names but I will say I can be as guilty as these examples. Josh, an awesome instructor mocked a Ski (or Skiing, I forget) Magazine "How to: segment on "How to ski trees basics" that segment was directed towards intermediates just getting into exploring the mountain..on the skis that some shop rat who cannot buy a turn but rips the biggest line in the mountain, so he is surely rad. But Josh, much to his credit highly endorses the Blizzard Bushwacker, a very easy "forgiving", a term @beyond says is a kiss of death here (I will get back to that ;)). I mocked some skiers I ski with at A-Basin about their desire to just work on drills all morning, hell they are doing what they think is right and wanting to make their enjoyment better. I may not agree with their methods but it is better than Joe Shop Rat just bucking a big line and straight lining it. 

 

Getting to the topic of "wrong skis" or too much skis. Look at my Steal & Deals over the past few seasons. All are easy skiing skis with a bid sweet spots, the winners.  The Rossignol Experience 88, a ski that was said that nobody talks about, well yeah..I carry the torch for that ski and having in my quiver for a season. Look at the Salomon Quests 90/98 great skis with huge sweetspots. I enjoy reviewing skis where I can use words like obtainable power, compliant, sweetspot, easy, fun, playful, maneuverable. So, there are shops and sales guys that are not trying to satisfy their own ego and help some buy the ski for the skier that they are and the terrain that they actually ski. Be weary of the person who only suggests one ski (usually the ski that they bought for themselves) or the person who goes by just what ever someone else thinks is cool and regurgitates some spew from another source.

 

I will not speak for Scott, but I feel that this is true, we don't ski all these skis to stoke our egos but to help us do our jobs better, our job is to help people here make a better decision in their gear purchase to have a more enjoyable time on the slopes. They feed the industry, an industry who supports our lifestyle. I have said hundreds of times before, there are no bad skis, just wrong skis. 

post #28 of 61

Phil,

 

No doubt that Scott and the folks at Starthaus seem to really work hard to provide information that will help people make a much better decision about the right ski for them at their own level and in the conditions they ski.  We definitely appreciate that here on Epic.  That's why I mentioned in my post above that "I have no doubt that some of the retailers/shops represented here on Epic are a completely different story, ..." 

 

  My own personal experience, however, is that the approach taken by Scott and Starthaus is more of an exception (and a good one!) than the rule.  Others may have a different experience, but that has definitely been my experience in the majority of shops I have had occasion to deal with.  YMMV.

 

 

post #29 of 61
Quote:

Originally Posted by Gunnerbob View Post

 

Same thing with road cycling.  Scott, you've heard the question: is it about the bike or not?  My impression? Possibly.....possibly not. Really depends on how hardcore you are (or want to become).  Skiing is no different.   The more serious you are, the more you care about the minutiae.

 

I dunno..I was seriously hard-core..I enjoyed new stuff..then I kinda got past all that and now I just use the hammer.  :-)  I do agree though, as long as you are happy and having fun and out there getting it, it really doesn't matter.  Participation is the most important thing.

post #30 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott43 View Post
 

 

I dunno..I was seriously hard-core..I enjoyed new stuff..then I kinda got past all that and now I just use the hammer.  :-)  I do agree though, as long as you are happy and having fun and out there getting it, it really doesn't matter.  Participation is the most important thing.


That is not the Epic ski way. You MUST be on ski's that fit the conditions. Unless of course you are on old obsolete straight ski's, or a skinnier ski because you like to be "in" the powder. You're just showing everyone how much more skilled you are then.:rolleyes

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