or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Ultimately who makes the best race/hi performance skis?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Ultimately who makes the best race/hi performance skis?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Ultimately which brand makes the "best" skis race/hi performance? Best as in most enjoyable and best performance out of the ski.
post #2 of 22

Ultimately, you need to define performance more specifically, since the common meaning doesn't necessarily include enjoyable. 

post #3 of 22

You may get the performance you are looking for on a ski others do not like. What works for you best now,  will not work so well later, as your skills improve.

 

There is no brand that makes the best race/performance ski, they all have their unique properties.


Edited by Snowfan - 7/20/16 at 12:57pm
post #4 of 22

Look at podiums on the WC over say 3 years, normalise for sponsorship budget and let us know the results.

post #5 of 22
post #6 of 22
post #7 of 22
What they ski on in the WC is irrelevant to us. It is one offs made specifically for the athletes. A skier on brand A might have skis that have more in common with a competitors brand B than his or her brand A stable mates skis which has an identical top sheet.
post #8 of 22
Are WC skis really completely custom? Or are they tweaks to a core design? Would seem odd that teammates would have a completely different construction. Maybe a little more of this, a little less of that, but oriented around a core design, I would think

But I've never been in a ski factory or a race room.
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karlsson View Post

What they ski on in the WC is irrelevant to us. It is one offs made specifically for the athletes. A skier on brand A might have skis that have more in common with a competitors brand B than his or her brand A stable mates skis which has an identical top sheet.

 

I agree. The different racing brands have different budgets and sponsorship strategies so overall FIS point totals have to be taken with a grain of salt.  There is also an element of luck involved as when a skier under contract with a specific brand may have an exceptionally good season or have the misfortune of a ski season cut short or see a strong rival on a different brand out early.  As Karlsson has said, the top World Cup athletes can and do work with their sponsors to have skis built to their personal specifications.

 

Among American skiers, Bode Miller has skied and won for K2, Fischer, Atomic, Rossingnol and Head. It is pretty common for top skiers to leave one brand for another that offers a more attractive compensation package.

 

All the major race ski brands can produce fine skis for their top skiers and they can all produce quality race skis for their not yet "stars" and for the rest of us. However,  other than the top sheet design, they are not the same skis and may not even be close.

post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonD999 View Post

Are WC skis really completely custom? Or are they tweaks to a core design? Would seem odd that teammates would have a completely different construction. Maybe a little more of this, a little less of that, but oriented around a core design, I would think

But I've never been in a ski factory or a race room.

All skis have basically the same core design, but a little extra glue, thicker layer of metal etc. can make skis very different. Even what time of year they are made can make them very different. And yes, the WC skis are handmade to each athletes specs. So what's sold to you in the shop with identical paint to Hirscher's skis is something very different.
Edited by Karlsson - 7/21/16 at 3:28am
post #11 of 22
So no mfg has a technological advantage over another? They don't even try? A WC racer just submits his/her "specs" to the factory? I'm not saying WC are the same as retail skis but I just find it hard to believe that there are literally no differences among suppliers with respect to performance or feel. Especially to find such a consensus on this forum which can discern very subtle differences in all kinds of skis.
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonD999 View Post

So no mfg has a technological advantage over another? They don't even try? A WC racer just submits his/her "specs" to the factory? I'm not saying WC are the same as retail skis but I just find it hard to believe that there are literally no differences among suppliers with respect to performance or feel. Especially to find such a consensus on this forum which can discern very subtle differences in all kinds of skis.

There are big differences in feel and there are differences in performance, but not "better" or "worse" just different. Certain skis work better for certain racers and some brands make better speed event skis than technical skis and vice versa. Race skis are laminated wood metal and plastic... just not a lot to do different, really. It is more like cooking than building F1 cars. The end result is different feel, which can translate to more performance- for the right athlete. Sometimes an athlete leaves a brand they have been successful with and lose 'that magic', so yeah, the skis DO matter, but your question of 'best' is impossible to answer. There is no universal 'best' for everyone.

post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonD999 View Post

So no mfg has a technological advantage over another? They don't even try? A WC racer just submits his/her "specs" to the factory? I'm not saying WC are the same as retail skis but I just find it hard to believe that there are literally no differences among suppliers with respect to performance or feel. Especially to find such a consensus on this forum which can discern very subtle differences in all kinds of skis.

 

First, it's not the factory who makes the WC skiers skis. It is the race department. The factory makes the skis you and I buy. At WC-level the race department handmake skis for each WC racer. They can make the skis to have a different feel and characteristic not only to suit different skiers, but also for different conditions. One Atomic-skier can have skis that skis more similar to what a Nordica-skier is on than his fellow Atomic team mate. Sure they try to find small advantages, but there are really no big technical secrets. Head has been very succesful in speed the later years, but it has more to do with that they have very good speed athletes contracted than that their product is superior. André Muhrer won the last SL last season on Head and I think they are going to have some SL sucess as well if they have the right skiers on their skis.

post #14 of 22

Actually I think it is easy to answer the question and I wager most on the board would agree.

 

 

 

 

 

Ultimately who makes the best race/high performance skis?

 

A highly skilled technician tunning the skis makes the best race/high performance skis.   No skis lacking a high level tune for the ski, skier and conditions will be the best.  Pay for the tune either directly or through buying the kit and doing it yourself.

post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maineac View Post

 
Actually I think it is easy to answer the question and I wager most on the board would agree.





Ultimately who makes the best race/high performance skis?

A highly skilled technician tunning the skis makes the best race/high performance skis.   No skis lacking a high level tune for the ski, skier and conditions will be the best.  Pay for the tune either directly or through buying the kit and doing it yourself.


Yes, especially on a WC level ... the importance of the service man can not be overestimated.

edit OVERestimated
Edited by Karlsson - 7/21/16 at 8:37am
post #16 of 22

That's why mine get stoned every evening, to keep that tune!!!  But Head , for me, has been the go to products for boots and skis for 15+ years now.  For this Level3 guy, they just do what they're told better than the others I've tried..  They ski VERY centered unlike Atomics and a lot of Fischers for example.

post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddsski View Post
 

That's why mine get stoned every evening, to keep that tune!!!  But Head , FOR ME, has been the go to products for boots and skis for 15+ years now.  For this Level3 guy, they just do what they're told better than the others I've tried..  They ski VERY centered unlike Atomics and a lot of Fischers for example.

 

For you; hence the OP is the only one who can actually answer their own question, especially since they also want the ski to be "enjoyable" - doesn't get more subjective than that:deadhorse:

post #18 of 22

This question seems to come up at least 3-4 times a year.  And all of the answers get re-hashed. Head is on a roll right now, quite frankly because they spend a TON more than any other ski company to contract athletes, then support them. The majority owner and CEO treats them almost like a F1 team. And yes, they and the various federations work through details like who's doing the tuning for whom. They employ the best. So yeah, when a skier like Lara Gut has her contract running out, she tests product of various manufacturers, and Head says we can build you want you want, we already own the speed world, and make great W's GS skis. You can use some of Fenninger's skis this season, and oh yeah, we can build boots in your tiny size, like hers. Plus we'll pay you the most. Done. 

 

Take it a rung down from the very best, and maybe they are attracted to somebody else, mainly based on how much "love" they're shown. I will say RARE is the athlete sho doesn't go to the highest bidder. And in some cases, people want to change it up. Maybe their current ski company is questioning their value, and wants to cut the contract when it's up, or drop you. Maybe you want to try something else. A lot of head games. Lots of reasons. OK....I can be a big gun with...........

 

The lower you drop down the ladder, things change. Pretty quickly it's about a contract for the actual product, and one that involves minimal if any compensation. All based on your world ranking. At that point, the actual product matters a great deal, and whether you and your coaches think it will help you get faster and lower your world ranking. It's very common for example, for guys in the US who are on the team, skiing primarily NorAMs, or for other college racers with similar profiles to be using skis that have come out of the quivers of bigger guns on the WC. I'm talking tech skis. ALL of the fast speed skis are experienced and coveted. If you're good enough to ned them, you have them. When my son was a NCAA racer, ALL of his skis were skis that had been designed for top 30 WC skiers, and came out of that production. Some had been used, tested, and set aside for whatever reason. And they were nothing at all like the production race skis that the US race reps were selling and providing to even fairly top level skiers. They tweak everything. The base material, the size of the edges, the core, the laminate. How much metal, and where, the sidecut, and on and on. Often the top sheets are just a bit different. and they tend to have no gimmicks. Ie, Head's real race skis have no KERS. Atomic have no double-deck, it's a cosmetic decal. same with every company. 

 

If you have the skills, the skis make a difference. If not, they don't. 

 

My son was racing before the 35M rule. But his GS skis, which all has 193cm topskins were 191cm to 196cm in length. They all had different side cuts, and different radius. They were all pressed in the race room to see what worked best for other big guns. 

 

You may remember when the rule changed that Head brought what sounded like an insane number of skis to New Zealand for Ligety and Bode to try. I think it was close to 400 pairs. And they had a a number of guys doing testing to help get it sorted out.  When Bode first went to Head, they were going nuts pressing skis. Particularly SL skis, as he still felt he could regain his SL magic of many years ago. A lot of those skis were passed on down the line, at least the most conventional ones. 

 

Same stories exist with EVERY company. Hirscher? Rumor has it that NONE of his stuff is make in any Atomic factories, or race rooms. I would imagine at tis point that MS's Atomic tech skis are pretty much purpose built, as she gets stronger, etc. 

 

But really, does it matter? What they need and what we need are not the same. I've taken runs on a bunch of SL and GS skis that have passed though WC finish lines, and they all skied great, but didn't for me feel a ton better than some of the better production "everyday" race runs. Some were a lot more demanding. 

 

Agree that enjoyable and performance don't always intersect. At all. All about personal preference. I have one cheater GS ski that I spend a lot of time on. Not even close to a real WC ski, in any way. But for where I ski them, for me, they are enjoyable. 

post #19 of 22

As you can see, nobody is going to answer your question, for the reasons given above.

 

Perhaps a better question might be if you had to gamble, what manufacturer(s) would you gamble on to make the best skis for you to buy for the purpose of enjoying high performance skiing.

If someone came to me today and said I could have any race skis or high performance skis I wanted, but had to limit it to four or five manufactures, who's skis would I demo?

Fischer, Atomic (despite their very different feels- I can make both work), Nordica, Head, Stockli.  I might consider Rossignol for SL, but not for GS or higher speeds.   Also note that if you add into the mix learning to become a better skier and not just enjoying letting it rip, I might stick to Fischer and Stockli but that's just me.  Others may have their own favourites.

post #20 of 22

I agree with Ghost. ALL of these companies make great skis. I would even include Rossi for GS, personally. There is an independent team, Global Racing, which is geared toward placing people in not just national team systems, but on the WC eventually. The coach is VERY knowledgeable. All of their guys are on Rossi skis. They make some very good product. Our son primarily coaches U16's, which is a pretty good bellweather for regular folks interested in skis, and he's pretty pleased with their better skis. But then again, he has kids on all sorts of stuff. 

 

Between my brother and I, we have Atomic, Blizzard, Dynastar, Head, Nordica and Rossi cheaters. They're all really great. No racing on any of them. Just hard snow cruising. Kind of our weapons of choice. I'm bigger. I ski the Head most of the time, the Blizz and the Dynastar. He skied the Atomic most of the time, and got a pair of Nordicas given to him. Loves the new Rossi. When the category really first appeared, we were both on Fischer....

 

And tes, Stockli might be both a safe and great choice. 

 

They're all good. Try to demo a couple, pick what you like, and don't either look back or overthink it. That's my advice. Good luck!

post #21 of 22
Quote:

 

If you have the skills, the skis make a difference. If not, they don't. 

 

I think this is the most valid statement made in this or any related thread.

 

Head - like it or not - has signed up the majority of the very best racers (not on Atomic) and they build skis to the specs of those athletes.  You can argue that's all just providing high-quality tools to high-quality craftspeople, but Head seems to believe in the business model that making high-speed skis to high-speed skiers will translate to results which will translate into mass-market sales.  For whatever it's worth, the results are in their favor over the last several years.

 

You can argue that someone like Vonn or Svindal or Miller or whoever will dominate on whichever brand they ski, but the fact is they DON'T.  They ski on Head.  

 

to me, that means that Head has decided that ski racing is the pinnacle of the ski development world.  Lots of others will argue that free-skiing is the pinnacle of the sport with its jumping off features and spending lots of time in the air (but not on the snow).  

 

That's fine.

 

All I suspect (not KNOW because I don't have anything like the kind of skills that the above-mentioned world-class ski racers have) is that these marquee names can get huge money from whichever manufacturer they might sign with.  They choose to go with Head.  Does Head support them with custom builds and endless tech support? Probably. But they could go with a variety of manufacturers and they choose Head.  To me, that's not a coincidence.

 

And in the interest of full disclosure, I'm supported by Rossignol in the sense that I get free skis from them each year.  I love their free-skis and their race skis, but that doesn't mean that I can't admire the tools that Head builds for those very few athletes in the world who can make a ski work the way only one tenth of one percent of the people in the world can do.

post #22 of 22
I think that this question is best answered by someone who gets to play on all of the different skis (ScotsSkier comes to mind). In fairness SS will suggest based on how/what you ski and your size and wt as to which brands seem to work better. From reading his latest reviews most are all currently very close, with slight differences geared towards the strength/power of the skier.
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 › Ultimately who makes the best race/hi performance skis?