I concur with what most have said here. Being a regular gear poster, I feel that the "forum thread" of gear reviews and the give and take that goes on there is invaluable. Not many people have the time nor the ability to test as many skis as those of us in the industry who are gear hounds. Also, most people who "test" skis aren't really very good at it: there is a certain skill to pulling apart the nuance in a ski, and cycling it through conditions that a typical weekend warrior would face. Even a seasoned ski shop employee at a show may not be a good ski "tester", even if he/she skis a lot of models. At my own shop, we have great testers, good testers, and people who can ski well but can't seem to relate those abilities to testing a ski (the reviews either come up as black or white).
From what others tell me about the reviews here, especially from the frequent reviewers, is that they appreciate the lens through which the ski is being reviewed. Speaking for myself; video is readily available, conditions are well described, people know my height, weight, athleticism, and skiing style. It gives the reader somewhat of a transparent filter. This isn't Yelp, when we don't know if the reviewer even has taste buds or is a jerk, possibly working for a competitor, reviewing a 3rd-wave coffee shop and giving them poor marks because they don't serve mocha frappuccinos....Epicski has the most trustworthy reviews on the web. A big part of that is the way the forum works: a reviewer such as myself can post content (for which I am not compensated), and give my honest opinion about how a ski works, and why. Posters can follow up with their own reviews or questions. I can update the review going forward, playing with tune, mounting position, and learning the ski over time. As the owner of a ski shop, that is something I can uniquely contribute and which is unavailable to most weekend warrior skiers, who, at best, may attend a rep consumer demo, ski a model for 2 runs on whatever conditions happen to be present that day; tune unknown on the ski.
As a result, this is a place where consumers and the general public can get a wealth of relatively unbiased information on a wide variety of models. Certainly, no review is fully unbiased: we all bring in our own preferences to a review, even if it is nothing more than skiing style and height/weight and skill level. With Epicski reviews; we know those in advance. If we love a ski, you will hear it; if a ski isn't widely loved, or targets a narrower audience, that will be noted. There are few bad skis these days, but plenty of skis that are incorrect for the skier or conditions.
Of course, we have other posters providing content such as "unofficial guides" such as Finndog's work on Steamboat. Again, a review from a local, all-around great guy, who can give you a quick but thorough primer on where to eat, what to do when you are in town. Something like this is years ahead of, say a marketing promo (paid by advertising) put out by some sort of tourism board. This is the type of content people come to this site for.
Going forward, I would like to see more emphasis on this type of commentary and community building. The model of "paid content" won't foster that sort of investment and buy-in from the community here: posters will leave, as will advertisers. I really want the site to grow and prosper: it is a great asset to the ski community as a whole, and is needed more than ever with specialty shops closing each year. The free content that is generated here by posters (whether by commentators such as Trish and Phil, supporters such as myself, ambassadors such as Finndog, or the first time poster) is really the reason this site is what it is. I want to support that model and grow it, as I feel this is an amazing way of giving back to the ski community for those of us fortunate to be in a position of knowledge not available to the average consumer.