or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Evolution(aging?) of a ski line
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Evolution(aging?) of a ski line

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Ever notice how often times a new ski will hit the shelves and it will be hailed as the ultimate, high-performance ski. It is often touted as being for "experts only" or a "responsive but very demanding" ride...etc.

I have observed that such skis will have a reign of 2-4 yrs at which time they will either be replaced by a new line (new design, technology, side cuts, material, philosophy etc.)--OK this makes sense. But what I don't get is sometimes the hot, super performance, highly demanding ski will not be replaced along with its line but rather "displaced" downward in the line by newer models. When this happens, yesterday's hot-dog ski is gradually remarketed as Advanced, or even Intermediate ski and the new ski on the block of course gets the attention.

My question is: is the original hot ski "detuned" for the new target group or is it the same ski it was before. If so, then was it ever that hot to begin with; is the new ski that much better? I doubt that all the Int. skiers are suddenly that much better so how do companies justify this type of line evolution.

Any thoughts?
post #2 of 9
Any examples?
Afaik, sometimes the (popular, well-sold, etc.) name remains but the ski changes.

Some classic examples are Rossignol Strato (a top race ski in the 60s and a recreational ski Made in Spain much later, the name Strato had been in use for 35 years!) or Volkl Renntiger (similarly, the race ski of the 70s which ended up as a rec ski in the 90s yet this was no continuation but a comeback).

Sometimes the introduction of a new model is accompanied by detuning of the older ski which is not top of the line anymore. The words "detuned" and similar implying less performance are avoided and "more tolerant", "easier to turn", "more versatile", etc. (you must know much better than me which expressions English favors) are used.
post #3 of 9
three words....

Mark et ing.
post #4 of 9
Phil hit the nail on the head here. Well partially. I guess that the arguement could be made that the new skis are significantly better, and offer new technology or features that the older skis did not offer.

A good example i think would be the Atomic 9.18 - which to date is the longest produced shaped ski marketed first to expert/advanced skiers, and now to intermediate skiers.

Over the past few years i have noticed that the level of skier is greatly improving - and as the level improves, so does the level of equipement used. Thus the evolution of skiing is that skiers are getting better. There is a need for new high end gear - and if you ski the top model from say 3 different ski lines from a particular company over the course of 9 or 10 years you will tell a significant difference between the #1 ski and the #3 ski. Typically if a ski is moved down there will be a slight rebuild of the ski - but not always - look at the Salomon X-scream Series - 5 years for that one. Only once did it change when the wood core was added. The skis above it offered better performance. Since Salomon had been producing it for so long, I am certain the production costs were minimal, and could then offer a higher performing ski to a less skilled audience.

Is this good for the progression of skiers? In extreme cases - no. but usually we arent moving the ski very far. At the maximum the hot high end ski becomes an intermediate ski, which is then marketed as a very high end intermediate ski - not something you would put a beginner on unless you were foolish (or looking to rip off a weekend warrior).

The rest i believe is marketing. the new expert ski takes center stage, and the old ski is offered to the advanced skiers for a little less money than it was the previous season - so the company says - "look at this great high performance ski that you get for this price, great deal isn't it?" Then of course everyone and their brother has an Xscream, 9.18, Race 9.20, SL:9, 5-Star, Speed 63, and Axis/MOD X.

Even though the cycle is marketing based, i think overall, that it is good for the sport. It ultimately makes more skilled skiers - for those who are proactive enough to purchase new gear every few seasons - and produces a more skilled skiing population. Whether they know it or not, when you put avergae joe skier on a better (not stiffer/more advanced/moredifficult to ski) they will ski better on the ski - since it is better than their old skis (better edgehold, dampening, rebound... list goes on).


post #5 of 9
Its a trickle down thing. The newest skis are generally marketed to advanced skiers, since they can feel changes and subtleties. A season or so later, new technology makes for a new ski fr the advanced skier, and the previous version is re-tuned to be more user friendly to the next demographic. Every industry uses the same method.
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
That is really the crux of the issue. Is the ski actually "detuned" or is it the same ski. I guess this prob varies from model to model.
post #7 of 9
It varies i think. Take the Atomic SX:9 for example. The first season it was out it was just one notch below the SX:11. Then the SX:10 was introduced to take its place, and the SX:9 was bumped down a model - it was also softened slightly and used overall softer materials and lower end construction - from what I understand anyways. Beta may be of more help in that department. The SX:10 then broadened the line and added a model that fell between the old SX:9 and the SX:11... The introduction of the SX B5 ski further complicates things so i guess it can be left off there. In the case of the SX, and 9.18, both have evolved over their live cycle, but skis like the Xscream and bandits have not (old bandits became new Rebels when the second phase bandits were released).
post #8 of 9
I can think of two great examples. first the Rossi 4S. It started off as being their Slalom race ski then the popularity was overwhelming, soon we saw variations then eventually the ski was in Hermans. When the ski got too popular (3rd year or so) they came out with the 7S to keel the loyalists. The Salomon XScream was another ski along the same lines. Eventually that ski became a whole series.

It usually happens whe a ski is overly popular and becomes a victim of its own success.
post #9 of 9
If a ski brand is fortunate enough to have a winner model, they want to capitalize on that popularity and name recognition for as long as they can. Also, they can futher amortize the cost of molds by continuing to build the same ski over and over again. Plus that's the most efficient way to build skis.....keep building the same ones. The demotion of the model through the line is pure marketing evolution. They might say that the model has been made slightly softer to give it broader appeal, but my bet is that's marketing hype most of the time. On the plus side, the price usually drops and the consumer has the opportunity to pick up a great performing ski at a better price. Technology changes, but for the bulk of the skiing population it doesn't change so fast that they won't be very happy with an excellent ski design that has a few years behind it.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Gear Discussion
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Evolution(aging?) of a ski line