or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Are skis really improving year to year?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Are skis really improving year to year?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Are skis really improving year to year or is it mostly marketing? I mean are the best rated mid-fat all-mountain skis from say 2012 any worse than the best rated mid-fat skis from this year?

 

If in fact skis and ski tech are getting "better", I'm surprised that there isn't a likewise rise in the skill or enjoyment level of the average skier ...

post #2 of 23

Year to year--probably not. But watching the evolution of gear from my perspective of 50 years of skiing, obviously. I wouldn't be skiing if I had to ski on the gear I started on (I probably wouldn't be walking). I'd say the incremental changes in gear become noticeable every 3 to 5 years, roughly, although improvements don't seem to occur steadily but rather in fits and starts--periods of no change followed by periods of rapid progression. At some point skis might reach the point where they can't improve, but that will only be apparent in retrospect. Obviously better technology doesn't improve skill, but it certainly improves enjoyment by reducing the physical effort of skiing, especially in soft snow, and by allowing more people to enjoy the pleasures of the carved turn and of deep snow.  I'm sure the Luddites will chime in that people on modern skis aren't "real" skiers--we certainly hear that one enough. I would just ask those folks why they aren't skiing on gold rush era longboards. Now those were real skiers. 

post #3 of 23
At this point I doubt it. Where can they go from here? Of course I might just not see it, fat skis make so much sense it's hard to believe how long it took them to take off but somehow we were reluctant to except them. The rockered skis are getting toned down a little next year or a lot of what's going to be marketed is. I think a lot of heavily marketed skis will be more versatile and for the regular every day skier. Most of us don't need a ski for AK helicopter drops.
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the insightful, funny posts :D. In agreement with oldgoat that improvements are made in fits and starts. If one reads the annual gear reviews it would appear that skis are always getting "better"?! Reviewer's rarely hold up a ski from years past as a paragon against which the current crop falls short. This rarely if ever happens. Anyway, just have to remind myself not to be swayed by online buzz before I actually try the stuff ...

 

In regards to the question about skill, it may just be me but as witnessed from the chair lift I'm inclined to think that there's actually been a decline in skill due to the use of "better" or fatter skis since around 2009. I have a bad habit of evaluating people's skiing as I'm riding up. There's seems to be a disconnect in what the average skier aspires to as implied by what's on his/her feet versus how or what they can actually ski :D ... that disconnect or gulf is widening every year.

post #5 of 23
Equipment development is driven by skills development, skills development is drive by equipment development. Both occur in succession so that progress happens. Some times progress stales when one or the other has not yet figured how to maximize it potential which is usually find the limitations which is the drive to make a change.
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by epicskigaper View Post
 

Thanks for the insightful, funny posts :D. In agreement with oldgoat that improvements are made in fits and starts. If one reads the annual gear reviews it would appear that skis are always getting "better"?! Reviewer's rarely hold up a ski from years past as a paragon against which the current crop falls short. This rarely if ever happens. Anyway, just have to remind myself not to be swayed by online buzz before I actually try the stuff ...

 

In regards to the question about skill, it may just be me but as witnessed from the chair lift I'm inclined to think that there's actually been a decline in skill due to the use of "better" or fatter skis since around 2009. I have a bad habit of evaluating people's skiing as I'm riding up. There's seems to be a disconnect in what the average skier aspires to as implied by what's on his/her feet versus how or what they can actually ski :D ... that disconnect or gulf is widening every year.


There are just as many shitty skiers 20 years ago as there are today. Regardless of what is on their feet.

post #7 of 23

People with less skill can ski more difficult terrain because of improvements in technology.  Powder used to last for days because very few people could ski it, but now it's gone in minutes.  It's not because of some great increase in skill level of the average skier, it's because they have equipment that allows them to ski those conditions without great skill.  I suppose it makes some people lazy and therefore their skill level is not as high, even though they can ski much more of the hill than was possible in the past, though proving that would be difficult.

post #8 of 23
There have been more changes in the past 5 years than the previous 15 which had more change than the previous 50. Every year I think skis can't get better and every year they do. There are the occasional "once a decade" skis that do stand the test of time and hold up well.
Edited by Philpug - 2/18/15 at 11:48am
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by epicskigaper View Post

In regards to the question about skill, it may just be me but as witnessed from the chair lift I'm inclined to think that there's actually been a decline in skill due to the use of "better" or fatter skis since around 2009. I have a bad habit of evaluating people's skiing as I'm riding up. There's seems to be a disconnect in what the average skier aspires to as implied by what's on his/her feet versus how or what they can actually ski :D ... that disconnect or gulf is widening every year.

 

My guess is that, prior to 2009, you were mostly watching people cruise around easy(ish) groomers on slalom skis, giving you the impression that they were decent skiers. What you're seeing now is more people trying to ski difficult terrain, and it makes it much easier for you to spot their technical deficiencies.

post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Posaune View Post
 

People with less skill can ski more difficult terrain because of improvements in technology.  Powder used to last for days because very few people could ski it, but now it's gone in minutes.  It's not because of some great increase in skill level of the average skier, it's because they have equipment that allows them to ski those conditions without great skill.  I suppose it makes some people lazy and therefore their skill level is not as high, even though they can ski much more of the hill than was possible in the past, though proving that would be difficult.

 

This is true... but I also think part of it is how the newer equipment allows you to ski powder makes it a more desirable pursuit.  So yes, it's easier for sure, but it's also a lot more fun ripping big slarvy powder turns at high speed than doing a bunch of exhausting jump turns down a face.

 

I don't think the year to year differences are huge but they definitely add up.  A lot of skis now are more versatile in varying conditions than they were just a few years ago.  It's taken several years for rocker profiles to become more refined IMO.

post #11 of 23

I'll fall on the "yes" side here, with the caveat that "better" means something to different to everyone. I'm defining "better" as a ski that is really good and doing a lot of things and pleasing skiers with a variety of goals.

 

It seems like in the past, there have been skis that were great filling a specific niche or condition, but only recently has there been a large crop of skis that is really, truly, versatile and enjoyable in a wide range of situations for a wide range of skiers. That's improvement. 

 

It does get a little difficult to compare, because unless you keep unused skis from previous years around (hey, I know someone who does), you'll be comparing against used skis, which does impact that feeling of "freshness" you get with a new pair. 

 

Also, there's some validity to the idea that skill level plays into how much how you notice a specific improvement...for instance you aren't going to catch a marginal improvement in the rebound and edge hold of a fatter ski, for example, if you just skid around.

post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by raisingarizona View Post

At this point I doubt it. Where can they go from here? 

That's what they said about the telegraph.

post #13 of 23

In general, yes.

post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post

That's what they said about the telegraph.
Meh, it's two planks for sliding on snow. I'll believe it when a brain is installed that can read conditions and alter the suppleness of the skis. Maybe throw in a blinking red light that shows the pilot it's active. That's the future!
post #15 of 23
Do skis get HUGELY better each year? No. They evolve each according to our need while pandering to our desires. smile.gif IMHO, the industry is chasing boomers, but some manufactures are bringing back the 'burl'. The range of skis available in a particular width segment is almost stunning: a Soul 7 and the new head monster 108. For women, a Temptation 100 and a Head Great Joy. Cheater GS skis? A Blizzard WRC and a Rossi Hero Master. There's just so much truly great product out there, it's mind bending and often incredibly confusing for both the consumer and manufacturers.

In the west, after poor seasons in CA and now in the PNW, people are realizing that if they want to really enjoy skiing in the conditions that are rather than the conditions hoped for, a more dedicated piste/old snow/firm snow ski makes the day immensely more enjoyable than floundering around on 110+'ers.
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by raisingarizona View Post


Meh, it's two planks for sliding on snow. I'll believe it when a brain is installed that can read conditions and alter the suppleness of the skis. Maybe throw in a blinking red light that shows the pilot it's active. That's the future!

 

Actually, I wouldn't be surprised to see a ski company start experimenting with D3O or some similar material to develop skis with variable stiffness. If you use the materials right, then you might be able to create a ski that is progressively stiffer the more force you apply to it. So, it could be reasonably soft when you're just puttering around at low speed but then get reasonably firm whenever you're throwing in GS turns or busting through crud at higher speeds.

 

I'm not sure if anyone will pull it off successfully, but I wouldn't be surprised to see someone try.


Edited by CerebralVortex - 2/20/15 at 5:04am
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldschoolskier View Post

Equipment development is driven by skills development, skills development is drive by equipment development. Both occur in succession so that progress happens. Some times progress stales when one or the other has not yet figured how to maximize it potential which is usually find the limitations which is the drive to make a change.

 



Good point.
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by CerebralVortex View Post
 

 

Actually, I wouldn't be surprised to see a ski company start experimenting with D3O or some similar material to develop skis with variable stiffness. If you use the materials right, then you might be able to create a ski that is progressively stiffer the more force you apply to it. So, it could be reasonably soft when you're just puttering around at low speed but then get reasonably firm whenever you're throwing in GS turns or busting through crud at higher speeds.

 

I'm not sure if anyone will pull it off successfully, but I wouldn't be surprised to see someone try.


Something like this was done by Blizzard many years ago with the Firebird Thermo RS.  More of a temperature dependant ski.  Warmer weather (above -6C) this skis were noticeably softer, I would use the word floppy and that was when I weighted 115lbs at 6' on 203's (yes I was a tooth pick before anybody comments).  When cold (like below -15C) they are stiff with noticeable more chamber. The newer version was considerably less sensitive to temperature variation (I still have those) too in 205's.

 

Something like that was also done with pizo electrics on some skis over the years.

 

Again as manufacturing changes and costs come down, we should things re-appear (better than before) or come in new as we progress in time.

post #19 of 23

Next year's crop of skis are a quantum leap forward in progress and technology making for the best skis ever produced as confirmed by the information superhighway utilizing space-age super materials like Graphene®©™ and Area-51 derived technologies such as K2's revolutionary Konic process making for a Win/Win and Immersive, "Best-in-breed", Bleeding-edge skiing experience delivering the best Value Proposition for the 21st Century and beyond all delivered by the Holistic Thought Leaders in the ski industry. The Bottom Line is the future is Hover-ski's.

 

LZ

post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemon Zest View Post
 

Next year's crop of skis are a quantum leap forward in progress and technology making for the best skis ever produced as confirmed by the information superhighway utilizing space-age super materials like Graphene®©™ and Area-51 derived technologies such as K2's revolutionary Konic process making for a Win/Win and Immersive, "Best-in-breed", Bleeding-edge skiing experience delivering the best Value Proposition for the 21st Century and beyond all delivered by the Holistic Thought Leaders in the ski industry. The Bottom Line is the future is Hover-ski's.

 

LZ


Let me guess you work in marketing ;)

post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemon Zest View Post
 

Next year's crop of skis are a quantum leap forward in progress and technology making for the best skis ever produced as confirmed by the information superhighway utilizing space-age super materials like Graphene®©™ and Area-51 derived technologies such as K2's revolutionary Konic process making for a Win/Win and Immersive, "Best-in-breed", Bleeding-edge skiing experience delivering the best Value Proposition for the 21st Century and beyond all delivered by the Holistic Thought Leaders in the ski industry. The Bottom Line is the future is Hover-ski's.

 

LZ

Next year, nothing...wait till 2018-19...mind <<<<BLOWN>>>>

post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemon Zest View Post
 

Next year's crop of skis are a quantum leap forward in progress and technology making for the best skis ever produced as confirmed by the information superhighway utilizing space-age super materials like Graphene®©™ and Area-51 derived technologies such as K2's revolutionary Konic process making for a Win/Win and Immersive, "Best-in-breed", Bleeding-edge skiing experience delivering the best Value Proposition for the 21st Century and beyond all delivered by the Holistic Thought Leaders in the ski industry. The Bottom Line is the future is Hover-ski's.

 

LZ


Yah....I think you may be a bit overboard/premature in that assessment.

post #23 of 23

In the long term, like oldgoat said, yes there is definitly improvement. But there are two things I've noticed in recent years:
1. On the way to a new trend, sometimes we go too far and have then a backlash. For example, when the "rocker" began, there has been in the early years, some wandering and sometimes a little too much exageration ... It is now going more towards a balance way to use a rocker in the conception of a ski ...  Blizzard has even removed the rocker of its high performance downhill skis and Volkl will sell RTM skis with camber!

 

2. The companies want to sell skis so they will often change their skis just to be able to sell skis to a new crowd... They will not necessary be better ( it could even be a drawback) but they will be adressed to a new market: exemples? The Mantra. And I would bet that in a couple of years, The Mantra will, again, come with camber! They're selling skis getting lighter and lighter right now. Probably because of the touring trend... Again, I would bet that it will go to the other direction when they will have got too far on the light side and that skiers will want skis that get let toss around...

 

Life is a circle, but they draw it better and better!:)

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Skiing Discussion
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Are skis really improving year to year?