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Technological lifespan of skis

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

How quickly do ski designs become obsolete?  

 

Let me explain:  I ski an average of 15 to 20 times a year; sometimes a bit more; sometimes a bit less.  I tend to change my main pair of skis about once every 5 years, on average.  I have never changed a pair of skis because they were worn out.  I usually take good care of them.  

 

Some of these equipment changes have been revelations; some have been disappointments.  I must admit that I have sometimes fallen victim to ski manufacturer/ski magazine hype, only to find out the newfangled skis were not much different from my old ones.  In fact, I can only remember three instances where a new pair of skis turned into an epiphany.  The first such instance was when I purchased a pair of Dynastar Course Géant race skis in the late 80s.  They were my first pair of "racing" skis.  The second instance was getting my first "non-straight" skis in the late 90s (Volkl P30RC).  The third revelation was in 2009, when I got my current Dynastar Legend Mythic Rider skis. I did not think that a ski that wide (88mm) could carve and hold an edge this well on a hard surface.   I absolutely love those skis, and they have never disappointed me.  I have used them in everything, except for bottomless powder.  They still ski well and will last me a few more seasons.  Which makes me wonder:  is it time for something new?  Are they old technology, by today's standards? For those unfamiliar with the Dynastar MR, they are 88mm wide, have a 21m turn radius, full camber, hybrid sandwich/cap construction.  Back in 2009, they were pretty much at the top of the class.  How would they fare today, against the best skis in that category?  

 

BTW, I also own a pair of Blizzard Gunsmokes, that I have only taken out twice in marginal conditions (9 to 12 inches of new snow, turning to crud by 10 AM).  The jury is still out on those, In both instances, I switched to the MRs before lunch, as I prefer busting though crud, as opposed to riding over it.

post #2 of 29

"How quickly do ski designs become obsolete?"

 

 

 

They are always as good as they were...

 

Yes, things do change. There are compromises in design. Some times something is gained and other things are lost.

 

I can still enjoy a full day of skiing on a pair of skis from the 80's, others would sooner go golf. :eek

You can demo to see if "this years big thing" makes you happy or not, right?

 

Some folks just like to be on the latest thing, others will wear the edges right of them before they replace them.


Edited by Rossi Smash - 5/21/14 at 2:32am
post #3 of 29

Some sooner than others. Kastle MX88's haven't changed in 7 years (and will be around for more) and the Salomon BBR were gone in 2. 

post #4 of 29
Can't think of seeing a pair of BBRs other than in a wall display.
post #5 of 29

The BBR 8.9's helped my dad ski 10 years younger.  He's done black groomers the last two years without difficulty, for the first time since he had both hips replaced seven years ago.  Only complaint is that they weigh like they're made of iron.

 

Of course, I'm sure there are a few better "pure carving" skis by now.  And obviously, if you're doing anything other than groomers, fuhgeddaboudit.

post #6 of 29
That is good (and interesting) to know about the mx88s not changing.

Old skis don't stop working apart from wear and tear. New skis may be better or worse than older skis. A lot has to do with experience with the ski, skiing style and conditions.

I am particularly fond of a 20 year old design and have actively searched for a replacement pair when I damaged my first pair. I don't think they hold me back although they aren't the moly ski I use. This spring I've been bringing 2 and 3 pairs to the basin to cover the widely varying conditions we get.

The softer the snow, the more the new skis make a difference.

FWIW, I skied a BBR one day and enjoyed it, but not nearly enough to buy a pair. I think the design had merit. It was a powder day and they worked fine. They also handled the crud nicely. Their shortcoming was that they were trying to be all things and as is usually the case, they didn't excel at any.
post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post

That is good (and interesting) to know about the mx88s not changing.

Old skis don't stop working apart from wear and tear. New skis may be better or worse than older skis. A lot has to do with experience with the ski, skiing style and conditions.

I am particularly fond of a 20 year old design and have actively searched for a replacement pair when I damaged my first pair. I don't think they hold me back although they aren't the moly ski I use. This spring I've been bringing 2 and 3 pairs to the basin to cover the widely varying conditions we get.

The softer the snow, the more the new skis make a difference.

FWIW, I skied a BBR one day and enjoyed it, but not nearly enough to buy a pair. I think the design had merit.

Nothing agains the BBR, it was the first ski to come to mind that had a short life span. While the design wasn't globally accepted, it was still a design that worked for some. Another ski, coincidently also a Salomon that lasted just 2 seasons was the Sentinel which was a fantastic 93mm powerhouse but alas gone in a untimely death, the Sentinel should still be around. Nordicas very good Vagabond was only with us one year, it's brother the El Capo and sister the Wildfire still carries on but the Vagabond doesn't. There are a few and I am sure I can add more like the Kastle MX98 that was here for two season, then was discontinued then returned four years later! 

Quote:
Originally Posted by F2BNG View Post
 

The BBR 8.9's helped my dad ski 10 years younger.  He's done black groomers the last two years without difficulty, for the first time since he had both hips replaced seven years ago.  Only complaint is that they weigh like they're made of iron.

 

Of course, I'm sure there are a few better "pure carving" skis by now.  And obviously, if you're doing anything other than groomers, fuhgeddaboudit.

post #8 of 29

Surely stuff gets discontinued because it doesn't sell i.e. hasn't found or landed in its niche.  The BBR is an example where I've never seen so much marketing behind a ski (and some hilarious "reviews" by sponsored skiers) but it seemed to be totally love/hate among those that tried it with a fair proportion of the hate coming from experienced skiers whose opinions might hold sway with peers.  Plus it looked a bit weird and therefore intimidating to the underinformed don't take a risk on something outside the norm purchaser.

 

Technical obsolesence plays a very small role - the properties of an older design don't change - it still works great, just there might now be something lighter, more agile, snappier, etc etc. I still have a CRT TV in the house - it still works just fine and has outlasted newer flat panels. Object of mirth for friends however.

post #9 of 29
I still have a CRT as well. It's the "new" one, in fact. Old one with actual knobs still worked, but my mom got a new TV and I took the old one because it had a Mute button. One of these days we'll own a flat panel, but not yet.
post #10 of 29
BBR's might have lasted longer if they didn't go for that lawn dart tip. Who wants to jamb it into a mogul?
How long did the "revolutionary" Soloman Pilot system last? 3 years?

The original Volkl "Power Rail" plate system was awesome. Lasted 1? Year then it was wimped out.
post #11 of 29

Surely the latter couple are the result of the public getting wise to hostage systems

post #12 of 29
Here is a thread from 10 years ago...http://www.epicski.com/t/21619/ski-technology-gone-by-the-wayside goes with the topic here
post #13 of 29
Soloman needs to come back out with a good rear entry boot. I guess their patents have expired so maybe someone else could do it.
There's a market for it esp when you see expensive garbage like the Apex being sold.
post #14 of 29

Nice bump - you still see the occasional CADS rods around on a certain demographic of skier - I always assumed they were some sort of knee booster but never looked substantial enough.  The SkiMoJo is something I look forward to prolonging my skiing life once the rugby knees blow the whistle.

post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post

Soloman needs to come back out with a good rear entry boot. I guess their patents have expired so maybe someone else could do it.
There's a market for it esp when you see expensive garbage like the Apex being sold.

It is expensive, but it isn't garbage. I demoed them and they are extremely comfortable and provide excellent, although not race, performance.

post #16 of 29

It seems to me that the main improvement in skis in the last few years has been in versatility. An old ski, unless it's worn out will always do well what it does best, but most newer skis, other than those at the extremes (racing skis and ultra fat, soft, fully rockered powder skis), do better at the stuff they don't do best. While there will never be a ski that does equally well on hardpack and deep powder, the performance range seems to be widening. (Ironically, while modern skis are much more versatile than the old skinny straight skis a lot of us learned on, quivers are far more common now. Back then except for differences in stiffness and minimal differences in sidecut, which was minimal to start with, skis were alike enough it didn't make sense to own a bunch. Instead of the one ski quiver we had the one ski skier--one learned very different techniques for the groomed and for the deep stuff, and for the most part stayed away from the wet heavy. Nowadays the differences in technique for different conditions are much subtler.)

post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 

It seems to me that the main improvement in skis in the last few years has been in versatility. An old ski, unless it's worn out will always do well what it does best, but most newer skis, other than those at the extremes (racing skis and ultra fat, soft, fully rockered powder skis), do better at the stuff they don't do best. While there will never be a ski that does equally well on hardpack and deep powder, the performance range seems to be widening. (Ironically, while modern skis are much more versatile than the old skinny straight skis a lot of us learned on, quivers are far more common now. Back then except for differences in stiffness and minimal differences in sidecut, which was minimal to start with, skis were alike enough it didn't make sense to own a bunch. Instead of the one ski quiver we had the one ski skier--one learned very different techniques for the groomed and for the deep stuff, and for the most part stayed away from the wet heavy. Nowadays the differences in technique for different conditions are much subtler.)

The only thing I will add is that race skis have become more specialized, in the past, if you wanted to be taken serious on the mountain, you would ski a race ski, salmon ski in the east and a GS in the west and "all mountain" skis we're scoffed at, now the race skis are specialized instruments and usually only used by racers, sure there are some that use a SL/GS as their every day ski but they are few and far between when it used to be the norm. 

post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 

It seems to me that the main improvement in skis in the last few years has been in versatility. An old ski, unless it's worn out will always do well what it does best, but most newer skis, other than those at the extremes (racing skis and ultra fat, soft, fully rockered powder skis), do better at the stuff they don't do best. While there will never be a ski that does equally well on hardpack and deep powder, the performance range seems to be widening. (Ironically, while modern skis are much more versatile than the old skinny straight skis a lot of us learned on, quivers are far more common now. Back then except for differences in stiffness and minimal differences in sidecut, which was minimal to start with, skis were alike enough it didn't make sense to own a bunch. Instead of the one ski quiver we had the one ski skier--one learned very different techniques for the groomed and for the deep stuff, and for the most part stayed away from the wet heavy. Nowadays the differences in technique for different conditions are much subtler.)

The only thing I will add is that race skis have become more specialized, in the past, if you wanted to be taken serious on the mountain, you would ski a race ski, salmon ski in the east and a GS in the west and "all mountain" skis we're scoffed at, now the race skis are specialized instruments and usually only used by racers, sure there are some that use a SL/GS as their every day ski but they are few and far between when it used to be the norm. 

I thought they were only for use at 

:D

post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

The only thing I will add is that race skis have become more specialized, in the past, if you wanted to be taken serious on the mountain, you would ski a race ski, salmon ski in the east and a GS in the west and "all mountain" skis we're scoffed at, now the race skis are specialized instruments and usually only used by racers, sure there are some that use a SL/GS as their every day ski but they are few and far between when it used to be the norm.

I thought they were only for use at 

:D

 

I believe you are mistaken. A salmon can never be considered as a white fish. Scrod and/or haddocks are generally used in New England. While large California sea bass are good for the west.

 

In order to handle the deep soft white stuff at your local hill in Montana a larger wider flat fish (no camber) like Halibut will probably fit the bill.   

post #20 of 29
Salmon can very well be white. The red color comes from what they eat. So. African salmon have a greyish tint. Farmed salmon are given food coloring to make them red. Agree with the halibut call, however.
post #21 of 29

Sometimes I demo skis I have no intention of buying, just for the halibut.

post #22 of 29
Ick. Theologists.
post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbob View Post
 

Surely stuff gets discontinued because it doesn't sell i.e. hasn't found or landed in its niche.  The BBR is an example where I've never seen so much marketing behind a ski (and some hilarious "reviews" by sponsored skiers) but it seemed to be totally love/hate among those that tried it with a fair proportion of the hate coming from experienced skiers whose opinions might hold sway with peers.  Plus it looked a bit weird and therefore intimidating to the underinformed don't take a risk on something outside the norm purchaser.

 

Technical obsolesence plays a very small role - the properties of an older design don't change - it still works great, just there might now be something lighter, more agile, snappier, etc etc. I still have a CRT TV in the house - it still works just fine and has outlasted newer flat panels. Object of mirth for friends however.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

I still have a CRT as well. It's the "new" one, in fact. Old one with actual knobs still worked, but my mom got a new TV and I took the old one because it had a Mute button. One of these days we'll own a flat panel, but not yet.

 

We should start a support group!  "Feeling isolated? Left behind?  Friends making fun of you behind your back?  You are not alone!"   We bought a "big" screen CRT just before the flat-panel prices dropped through the floor for the first time.  Still got it.   We'd probably still have an even older one, but oldest kid (now 20) shoved a penny through the grille over one of the speakers when he was about 4.   Godawful buzzing, we eventually just gave up on it.

post #24 of 29
Oops. double post.
post #25 of 29
I think a good CRT tv has a better picture in many ways than a flat screen. Fix the speaker.

Then there's the awful " soap opera effect" from the anti-juddering processing of some flat screens, notably Samsungs. (google it, we had to research it. It's a pretty well known issue with a solution sometimes)
post #26 of 29

What we get with our flat panel TVs, LCD and Plasma, is the delay between the picture and the sound when processing satellite and cable broadcasts.  Some of our TVs have a setting to attempt to compensate for this lag in the time it takes the picture to process through the flat panel TV.  But, even when we try different settings you can still clearly notice that the lips on the screen participants are moving after you hear the words start to come out of their mouths.  It gets more complicated because we also run the sound through surround amplifiers and multiple speakers in 5.1 and 7.1 depending on the room. 

 

I've trained myself to just not fixate on the mouth of the actors when watching dialogue because the little delay becomes maddening.

post #27 of 29
That would drive me nuts!!!! We have satellite as well. I'll have to ask my neighbors about this. I know I've seen that off and on for some channels. I'll have to pay more attention to this when it happens. If it's going to get worse with a flat panel I'll move onto the next item on the wish list.
post #28 of 29

I have to wonder if more expensive TVs have better, faster video data processors and cheaper ones have that picture/sound lag.  It does seem worse on satellite and refreshing the channel, making sure it is live and not recorded a little behind seems to make it go away sometimes.

post #29 of 29
Recorded? We don't have a DVR, maybe that is the problem? Maybe something else to remove from my wish list? We either watch it when it's playing or go online and hope that the channel allows you to go online for old episodes. I've actually stopped watching shows because they didn't have that and it was a continuing story. On the other hand, it's helped fill up my Netflix queue.
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