Originally Posted by fatbob
And of course you do see lots of people who can really use those skis but I also suspect a fair number of them are NOT paying full retail. It's no different really to the car industry- people will buy based on brand perception and badge over actual needs - why does suburban soccer mum need a big German SUV for the school run and groceries? She doesn't - there is no more real utility for the actual use (transportation and load capacity) than a minivan, but there are plenty of intangible reasons why it might be justified.
I agree with your larger point that a lot of people buy for brand value but knowledgeable consumers don't typically care. For skis in particular given that premium equipment is usually targeted at experts, it is true that getting premium stuff you can't use effectively is at best unhelpful and at worst counterproductive. If I were a ski manufacturer with a rep for producing expert equipment, I might try and monetize that by producing intermediate friendly skis at a premium price point so I think it's fair to ask if a brand has started doing that.
That said, I'm not sure how big a rep Kastle or Stockli actually have among the Deer Valley crowd, but the point is absolutely valid that people who can afford nice things can't always use them effectively.
On the other hand, if you're a knowledgeable consumer who enjoys hanging out on ski boards you probably know that you don't need to pay full price for Rossis. In fact, it could be argued you are more likely to pay full price for premium skis because they're harder to find at the end of the season (but still possible obviously).
My experience: I've definitely seen some locals who looked like they knew what they were doing in the Jackson tram line on Kastles. I agree they probably didn't pay full retail, but neither of us really know that. I'm not sure it's any less likely than the people on Fischers paying full retail.
I've also seen a few local looking dudes on frigging Igneous boards, which cost $500+ more than Kastles and because every single one of those is custom anyone who buys new is probably paying full retail. I can't tell you how many of them bought new nor was I interested enough in observing skill correlations in equipment to follow them down the mountain to see if they could really ski.