Originally Posted by skidoc
As former Product Manager for Volkl Skis, I can honestly tell you there are very few skis that suck... It is generally that huge variable in the ski's preparation that make's it noteworthy or unworthy. There does exist a very small group of skis that suck because they just are not ready for production yet, and do not get adequate R&D time...That is why independent testing can brutalize a ski for no good reason other than the fact it needs proper edge angles...
Assuming you really are who you say you are, I have a few questions / comments for you:
1) Aren't the Ski mag tests always done in mid to late season, and often in the west, ie, usually in snow considerably softer than boilerplate (where edge tune clearly is critical).
2) Are you really claiming that the edge tune is more critical in such snow than other variables like skier weight and ability? That certainly isn't most people's experience in snow which your ski indents by more than (say) 1/2 to 1 cm.
3) If, in response to comment #2, you try to claim that the tests are all done in the early AM before the mountain has opened to the public and the surface has softened, then shouldn't the tests be clearly labeled as hard snow performance ONLY? OTOH, if the tests are done throughout the day (or early on various days) in a wide variety of snow conditions, the edge tune shouldn't be as critical as you have claimed (unless, of course, they are wildly off).
4) I agree with you that few modern skis "suck", provided
you put a skier of the right weight and ability level on them, and do so in the right terrain and snow conditions. Put "the wrong" skier onto them, and I guarantee you that they will "suck" for that person. Your argument doesn't even mention these other variables, and essentially places edge tune above all other variables. IMHO, this seriously hurts the credibility and impartiality of your argument.
5) Put differently, I would say that matching potential buyers with appropriate skis is the most important service that could be done for the skiing community, but the Ski Mag tests fail miserably in this for a litany of reasons ranging from their (IMHO) idiotic ski / skier classification names, failure to consistently report the results from all testers who tried a given ski (along with their weights and specific snow conditions), failure to report on even the most basic of physical properties of the ski under test (ie, weight, flex, flex distribution), consistently lumping reports on various sizes of each model into one report, meaningless (but cute) quoted analogies, etc., etc..
Tom / PM