Whoa. Look what happens when I try my hand at a pithy short form post on the way out the door to ski Blackcomb. Real skiing definitely takes precedent over internet-skiing in my book. Sorry for the underdeveloped post.
@Paul Lutes basically had my point (if not necessarily agreeing) . . . I am reacting to the almost reflexive use of the term "refined" which is thrown around here to describe premium-priced inanimate object that we interact with. Like "sophisticated," "refined" is marketing-speak that appeals to one's aspirations and perception of self. It has virtually no relevance toward accurately describing the performance of the object at issue, be it a ski, a car, or a wine for that matter.
Originally Posted by SierraJim
So.....if the term "sophisticated" were used in place for refined, would that be culturally elitist too?
I don't know that it is elitist. It is sales-speak. And I don't necessarily object. There is nothing wrong with peddling luxury goods. I love great retail. And you guys are clearly brilliant at it - I'd love to check the shop out in person. I bet that I could find something super "refined" and extremely "sophisticated" that would make my day (or season).
Originally Posted by SierraJim
It's easy enough to build a ski that holds well on very hard snow.
It's easy to build a ski ski that feels stable at speed or over rough snow.
It's also easy enough to build a ski with a compliant flex.
It's even relatively easy to build a ski with excellent damping.
What isn't so easy at all is to build a ski that has all those qualities at the same time. That's what you get with a premium ski.
Now this is legitimate, and very likely true. And I do think that the secret sauce in the layup and construction is real. And that is a privilege that you pay for.
But it is also true that there are a bunch of other really good skis out there with similar attributes, that may not sell at a premium tariff. One example, a ski that I have demo'd twice in the last month, is the Solly QLab 104. I found it to be an impressive balance of attributes, powerful, nimble, stable, quick, damp with nice "pop." Not sure whether or not it is"refined," but I did think that it was really good, an impressive balance of attributes, well made (the "QLab" moniker apparently designates a premium build quality), well designed and purpose-built for the kind of skiing I typically do. I might buy a pair when my Bones are officially reclassified for rock duty. And I am glad that they don't run four-figures, because I thought that they were worth it.
As for Kastle. . . I have ridden a bunch of them, largely to see what all the fuss is about. And as much as I'd love to be snarky and say that the "emperor has no clothes," that would be complete BS. Every Kastle I've tried was excellent and a couple (MX 88 and FX 94) were fantastic (for me). At some point, I'll get around to adding my impressions to an appropriate thread, but the short answer is that I am less bothered by Kastle's pricing than their size runs. It is odd to complain about sizing, because I am pretty much center of the bell curve in size and the reference size of most skis fits me perfectly. So I always have something great to choose from. But I can't figure out why Kastle designs around the center of the bell curve (basically the guy who rides a 180ish all mountain ski) rather than for it. Are Austrians either Arnold-like or pro cyclists? Nothing in the middle? The MX 88 (178) is the Kastle that fit me perfectly. With the others, I feel like they are either too short (in the low/mid 170 size), or I am just not big enough, or maybe not macho enough, to really ride the mid-180 size.
I am sure that the SRs are great and the reviews here have me very interested. In truth, the biggest issue that I have isn't price, it is availability to demo. Stockli just isn't widely distributed in our region, they don't turn up at demo days, it is a special-order item and while the check would clear, it is a big one to write purely on faith, marketing and internet reviews.
Not trying to start a fight here. I am more amused by the discourse and just want to point out that none of us are immune from marketing, even a community like Epic where we all like to think that we are "smart" about this stuff. The reality is that we are all being marketed to. . . all the time. By manufacturers, friends, peers and even our favorite retailers. And that is OK. All good retail is aspirational at its core. I just think that as a largely lay-community striving to provide solid advice about equipment we should be more careful about language, avoid parroting marketing copy and try to stick to descriptions that actually go to performance attributes experienced in the first person.
Now if I play my cards right, I might find a "refined" B.C. red to enjoy with my dinner tonight.