After reading and following Volkl's ski products and thinking about their ski offerings I found myself asking "as a company, what has Volkl become and what is their place in the market?" It's been quite sometime since I worked in a shop selling skis, boots, and bikes to help pay my way through college and I realize that for most businesses, innovation is key for survival. I realize that Volkl is not the same quiet German company that manufactured big performance oriented skis which demanded the most their user but also rewarded the user with a superior ride. This is not to say that the current Volkl product line is not performance oriented and dopes not offer an inferior product. But when I look at Volkl in 2015 I find myself asking who is Volkl? First, and full disclosure I own a pair of 2012 Racetiger SL's, but I look at this UVO thing and am instantly transported back to the early 1990's or late 1980's when Dynastar tried that dampening device (I owned the Course Sl's) or Rossi's VAS.
Clearly Volkl has responded or led advances in ski technology and worked to integrate those new advances into their lineup. Similar to any company the results have varied. Some of the product results are good and some not so good. But overall, the direction Volkl has been heading seems to be to broaden the mass appeal of the product line at the expense of quality or risk getting cannibalized in the market. The get bigger or die theory. Perhaps I'm wrong with this assessment. I have skied the RTM line and found it to be a good product for the targeted buyer. The Mantra and Kendo have been great products, got a lot of strong reviews, but the performance seems to be lagging in recent years.
Overall, who is Volkl? They have worked to avoid the Salomon/Rossignal mode, but is Volkl similar to a Stockli and to a much lesser extent Kastle (obviously the Kastle history has been volatile so perhaps not the best comparison), or is the Volkl business model unique? Is the business model and the product line working? What has been the retailers response been to the diverse product line? Removing the highest end user, are the middle of the market consumers buying the RTM line over products from Rossi, K2 and Salomon?
Obviously a long winded question/observation that doesn't have an answer. Just interested in what the community's thoughts are.