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Did FIS ruin retail? - Page 6

post #151 of 154

Perhaps the hypothesis being advanced here should actually be reversed.  The contention is that race skis are being sub-optimized because manufacturers are being forced to design to a spec (which may or may not be sub-optimal) and as a result race skis and the trickledown effect to retail and retail race is adversely impacted.


Yet, if we look at some of the actual facts, the 30/35m FIS rules have brought a number of developments to the market sector, which have also cascaded out to the lower level.  For example:


  • early rise that actually works on a high performance ski without the tip feeling like a wet noodle
  • improving turn-in on a longer radius (and arguably more stable at speed)  ski
  • a LOT of development around plates to really match it to the required characteristics (watch out for some significant developments from Atomic next season to get Hirscher back in the fold
  • Development that not only considers the ski/plate interface  but also optimizing the plate/boot interface and compatibility (this is a big area of focus although it flies under the radar screen
  • Stability at speed and smoother ride  without having the stiffness and (lack of) flexibility of a steel girder.


I could go on but I am sure you get the drift.  And as  myself and  Atomicman (who both have a decent amount of miles on them),  and Primoz (who has much closer contact to the real scoop) have pointed out, based on experience  as opposed to reading a two year old blog, the new skis have now reached a level where they are actually superior in most ways to their smaller radius predecessors.  


So, my hypotheses is that the constraints placed on design by the new regs have actually forced additional creativity and improved the breed, what racing is designed to do.....


If we look at F1, where there are very tight constraints and regulations we see the same thing.  It has driven things like KERS, hybrid power trains, which are also starting to filter down to the mainstream (and spawned a new breed of super car like the Porsche 918)

post #152 of 154
Originally Posted by utahsaint View Post

  Your right I have not actually skid a ton of them.  I have only been on maybe 6 or 7 on demo days and the three that I have owned.  I ended up buying a World Cup FIS slalom ski that I absolutely love.  Its the first slalom ski I have ever owned and only purchased it after trying tons of skis including three different variations on the Fischer slalom ski.  When I found the one that felt right it was like finding that rare unicorn.  I don't think I will buy a new slalom ski for a long, long time.  Its also made a huge difference in my slalom times.  I am almost always on this ski.  Of course I did this to test out mostly slalom skis and not GS skis. 

  I also wouldn't say condemn, I think the ski industry is doing the best is can given the circumstances.  I really think removing or working with top athletes would create a better ski.

Kind of puzzled... What does this mean? Ski/boot manufactures work extensively with their top signed athletes, to the point they pretty much get what they need.

Sort of my point... no one asking what is best.  Seems they are targeting some random numbers made up from some FIS group.  No one has asked world cup racers what they think the best would be.  Also I don't believe we mere mortals could flex the best ski for top athletes.  It would be fairly easy to make a ski softer though.  I really don't think its rocket science.  Right now we have a GS World Cup FIS ski in soft, medium, and a hard flex from some manufactures. 

Expecting some sort of consensus on 'best' doesn't happen anywhere in the ski world, nor has it ever. I'm still puzzled. Sorry it took a long time for you to find a SL ski for you and all, but your struggle sounds pretty much like anyone's trying to find 'the' ski in any category yet alone race.
post #153 of 154
Originally Posted by utahsaint View Post

Ironic enough you are confirming exactly what I am saying and yet missing my point all together.

Maybe, but not the way you think ;) Thing is, FIS is dealing with racing part of skiing, and not even this in all aspects. Racing part of skiing is very very small part of skiing in general. It's like saying FIA and Formula1 destroyed retail of road cars, because god knows what aerodynamic stuff is not allowed on F1 cars anymore. FIS legal race skis are so small part of ski production, that noone cares about it. And maybe I put it wrong this what I wrote, so you got it wrong (sorry English is not my native language), but I meant to write, that main priority for FIS is safety and making their main sponsors happy (not really related with this ski regulation change), not so much retail of skis. Especially as race skis have so low percentage in sale of skis, that it's not really relevant. On the end, FIS has nothing to do with all this retail stuff anyway. If ski companies would see big enough market in this, they would be producing certain skis on their own... just like they do. And if they would think certain race skis would sell a lot (or at least in big enough numbers to bring them big enough profit), they would be all over producing certain models of skis, regardless of FIS regulations, as FIS regulations doesn't influence this what you are skiing on Sunday, when you go out free skiing.

As far as 50 billions of different skis and elite athletes working with ski companies, that has nothing to do with FIS rules. There are 50 billions of different models because people want them and buy them, and they bring profit to ski companies. And athletes do work with ski companies... on alpine race skis, on freeride skis, on xc skis, hell even on ski jumping skis. But since nowadays people are not happy with just race GS skis, companies put out 50 billions of different skis. Otherwise they did develop best possible GS ski... currently that would be 195cm 35m ski, but obviously you don't like it, so that's why they put 10 other models of ski, so you can pick the one you like best. Same goes for every single model of ski and on the end, we end up with 50 billions different skis ;)

post #154 of 154
Originally Posted by utahsaint View Post
Sort of my point... no one asking what is best.  Seems they are targeting some random numbers made up from some FIS group.  No one has asked world cup racers what they think the best would be.

As I wrote before...this what you are reading as current news, is few years old stuff. And sometimes, things are not how they are written, even if it came from your favorite racer. Thing is, FIS actually did ask WC racers about their opinions. They did invite them to test several times, through the season and on the end of season (those two season, which were last two seasons on 27m skis) but noone bothered to respond, as they were all too busy or just didn't feel like. So they were making tests and measurements with some EC racers, which bothered to come to those tests. Next to that, pretty much every company was making their own test and they were developing skis way before that (I have been skiing on 40m and then 35m Rossi and Head skis during 2011/2012 winter, if I remember right, so racers had access to this waaay before that), so races did try and test those skis, and also based on their feedback rules did change. First GS ski came down to 35m instead of first planned 40m, after that, there were also few changes in width of ski... most of them based on racers remarks. But it doesn't really matter. Main point for this change was safety, and based on current statistics (yes it's way to early for accurate one), they actually managed to get injury numbers down.

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