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SKIING REVIEWS - Better this year?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
SKIING just released their annual equipment round-up for 05/06.

These are far from the best reviews available. However, they seem more "comparative" than in years past.

Typically, the mags don't want to diss any brand, for fear of derailing the gravy train (PO'ing advertisers). However, this year the skis are aligned vertically, with comparison values stacked against each other. Most significantly, a "Best in Test" stamp is awarded to one ski in each category.

This test may not offer the detailed, numeric breakdown of say, SkiPressWorld. However, it appears to be a reasonable step forward.

Interesting to note that Atomic barely registered in this year's evaluation, scoring a "Best in Test" only in the race section.
post #2 of 24
OMHO, this is because Atomic excels in race skis, and really not much else. Sure, there are Metron fanatics; however, there are just as many people out there who think that, at best, the Metron is a jack of most trades and master of none. Personally, I think that the R:11.20 (circa 2002) was Atomic's best foray into the all-mountain, fall-line charging market. I mean to say that, arguably, Atomic makes the best SL, GS, SG and Downhill skis on the market. It also manufactures excellent pow skis (ala Sugar and Big Daddy, and even the M:EX). The M:11 and Metron B5 do not represent an improvement over the R:11. At least, that's my take on it.
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
Canyons: You point of view regarding Atomic is valid, and obviously shared by others.

There's no question that Atomic excels in the race department, and their powder skis are often in the quivers of Utah experts.

However, I'd respectfully disagree regarding the R:11's and Metrons. I own both, and was once a fire-breathing acolyte for the R:11's. However, once I tried the Metron B:5's, I only skied the R:11's once more - enough to know I was done with them.

I'm clearly one of the Metron fanatics you mentioned. For me, the B:5's marked a transition in ski design and my own ski experience. I've never felt as confident, smooth and powerful on the slopes.

If find it fascinating that people can have such dramatically different experiences on the same ski. Biomechanics must be a factor.

I used to be a total Volkl geek. However, I really disliked the 5/6 star. I found them impossibly "hooky"; dictating the turn shape. Yet, a zillion others love the skis.

Go figure!
post #4 of 24
No Metrons reviewd at all. They create a segment of wide midfat allmountain carvers then they aren't even mentioed. I don't get it. Did Atomic NOT offer any for review? Looks like there will be some sweet Metron deals later on this year. If a ski is not a gold medal winner it just tends to sit on the rack in ski shops. If it isn't in a magazine review a lot of people won't even concider it. What a shame.
post #5 of 24
Shame for some, great for others.

Best,
Chris
post #6 of 24

Link

Can somebody provide the link to these reviews or are these reviews available in the Skiing Magazine only and will be added to their web site later on.
post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Pugliese
No Metrons reviewd at all. They create a segment of wide midfat allmountain carvers then they aren't even mentioed. I don't get it. Did Atomic NOT offer any for review? Looks like there will be some sweet Metron deals later on this year. If a ski is not a gold medal winner it just tends to sit on the rack in ski shops. If it isn't in a magazine review a lot of people won't even concider it. What a shame.
The M:EX was reviewed, and received very good grades. Remember last year, the Metron B5 was presented, but tested poorly. This was attributed to adverse snow conditions and/or a bad tune. Despite the poor test, Metrons sold out in every shop. This year, other than top sheet and binding changes, the Metron B5 remained the same. My hunch is that rather than risk a second poor test, Atomic didn't present it for the test. I'm sure that it will sell out again this year despite its outrageous price tag.
Cap't: You may be right. I spent two seasons on the R:11.20 and only 2 days on the Metron B5. I am probably not the one to pass a truly educated opinion on them.
post #8 of 24
SKIING magazine sucks, its reviews suck. Gapers invited to partake in the "image of skiing"!! :
post #9 of 24

Too many choices...so little time

I think the problem facing all of us is that nobody gives the complete picture. You know what you know, you see what you see, you read what you read, you ski what you can get your hands on. The rest is pretty much left up to speculation.

I've heard great things about the RX8. Haven't skied it. The Legends. Haven't skied them. Volkl's. Tried the 6* and didn't like it. Nordicas, Elans, Salomons, K2s, Dynastars, Rossis....Don't have access or have limited access.

I think Ski Magazine's Gear Reviews are steadily going downhill. I can't comment on the others.
post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomic_918
I think Ski Magazine's Gear Reviews are steadily going downhill. I can't comment on the others.
How can you go downhill if you're already at the bottom?
post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Pugliese
If a ski is not a gold medal winner it just tends to sit on the rack in ski shops. If it isn't in a magazine review a lot of people won't even concider it. What a shame.
Indeed. So there must be great temptation for manufacturers to offer a 'bung' to reviewers to get a decent write-up.

All reviews should be taken with a pinch of salt. Reading some of the words is a waste of time. Reviewers try to outdo one another with silly, irrelevant comparisons and fanciful similes. It's as though some of them are taking a cue from the wine trade.

Metron B5 did not seem to do that well in Europe. It was on sale in Austria and hugely discounted in UK ski shops at the end of the season. One chain is not re-stocking it this year.
post #12 of 24
It is interesting how difficult it is to find ski reviews online. If really good ski reviews were posted, it could even support advertising. I would like to see flex and torque measurements. If anyone ever would publish the square inch/centimeter foot area of a ski, I think I would faint. Seems like nobody in the ski industry ever advanced beyond 8th grade math.

Some interesting reviews from Ski Canada Magazine. The online versions are a year behind and they have mulitple year reviews. This makes sense because if they test a ski in 2003, there is no big reason to re-test it in 2004. I would be willing to purchase Ski Canada Mag, however "international" mailing just double the mag's cost.

Ski Canada Reviews:
http://travel.canoe.ca/SkiCanadaProductTests/home.html

Some other miscellaneous review sites:

http://www.ski-review.com/

http://www.skitest.net/en/
post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruxpercnd
I would be willing to purchase Ski Canada Mag, however "international" mailing just double the mag's cost.
I don't know where you're located, but I was surprised to find Ski Canada at a local Barnes and Noble in suburban Maryland. I figure they must sell it elsewhere, too, considering there is far greater interest in skiing in many places other than here.
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Latchigo
Reading some of the words is a waste of time. Reviewers try to outdo one another with silly, irrelevant comparisons and fanciful similes. It's as though some of them are taking a cue from the wine trade.
Bizactly. When I start hearing crap like that my BS meter goes off the scale. Same thing happens with high-end "audiophile" stereo equipment -- purple prose to convince people that $400 stereo interconnects are a good buy. Notice that when one can actually make objective quantitiative, or even *well grounded* qualitive statements about something much of this bogosity goes away. For example see car reviews -- sure there is whimsy and judgement involved but there are real measurements and real critique. And this is possible to do, just see the TSFS reviews for how to do it right.

While I would never want to see reviews become pure quantitive numbers games, I love the idea of timing actual runs on SL and GS skis. Car mags publish comparative slalom times, why can't ski magazines?
post #15 of 24
So far this year I have checked out three magazines ski tests: Ski, Skiing, and Ski Canada. I also subscribe to Peter Keelty's site, realskiers.com.

I couldn't understand how Ski classified the skis. Many of them didn't seem to fit together in the same place. Also the reviews themselves seemed mostly fluff.

I really enjoyed Ski Canada's reviews. I went back and looked at years past reviews and many of the reviews are similiar to my own feelings when I demoed the ski in the spring. Their classifications make sense to me. They also have a 'ski listing' section that lists every ski available by manufacturer with specs included, even if not reviewed.

I also thought Skiing's classifications were good. Some of the reviews echoed my own feelings, a few did not.

Keelty's reviews are the most accurate and detailed, in my opinion. I think overall, they do the best job.

In general, I think how you read all the reviews will differ depending on your own experience. The only way to decide if the reviews are accurate is to ski the same skis that they review and decide if you have the same feeling about the ski.

Also, I am not going to buy anything just because it does well in a magazine. I use them to get a good demo list. I think that goes without saying for most people here.
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Pugliese
No Metrons reviewd at all. They create a segment of wide midfat allmountain carvers then they aren't even mentioed. I don't get it. Did Atomic NOT offer any for review? Looks like there will be some sweet Metron deals later on this year. If a ski is not a gold medal winner it just tends to sit on the rack in ski shops. If it isn't in a magazine review a lot of people won't even concider it. What a shame.
I'm betting that Atomic decided not to give 'em any Metrons. I'm not sure why. But, my bet is that they have a marketing maven who decided that was a bad idea...
post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by cbgarrett
Also, I am not going to buy anything just because it does well in a magazine.
True, but I might buy a ski because people here like it. Interesting, no?
post #18 of 24
Does anyone elso remember 25 yrs ago or so Ski Mag used to publish construction and test data on all their reviewed skis. I remember cross sectional construction diagrams of each ski. The skis were each rated for longitudianl stiffness, torsional stiffness and more. Bindings were tested and given numerical values for mm of elasticity under varying load conditions as well as final release forces at various din settings. In those days, it seemed like they were really trying. Now its all fluff and flash.

I wonder if Stu Campbell would have any interesting comments on this.

Epic, AC, Nolo whoever has access to Stu, I wonder if someone could run this issue by him and see if he has any comments on the decline in review quality.
post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiDeC58
Does anyone elso remember 25 yrs ago or so Ski Mag used to publish construction and test data on all their reviewed skis. I remember cross sectional construction diagrams of each ski. The skis were each rated for longitudianl stiffness, torsional stiffness and more. Bindings were tested and given numerical values for mm of elasticity under varying load conditions as well as final release forces at various din settings. In those days, it seemed like they were really trying. Now its all fluff and flash.

I wonder if Stu Campbell would have any interesting comments on this.

Epic, AC, Nolo whoever has access to Stu, I wonder if someone could run this issue by him and see if he has any comments on the decline in review quality.
I remember those days too. In their boot tests, they also used to measure ramp angle, forward lean, flex under differing loads etc., as well. I thought the information was useful, espcially the boot tests.

Two pretty good sources for ski equipment reviews are http://www.footloosesports.com/ and http://www.gords.com/ There are also some very good reviews here at Epic Ski.
post #20 of 24
ah, the good ole days.
post #21 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lodro
Same thing happens with high-end "audiophile" stereo equipment -- purple prose to convince people that $400 stereo interconnects are a good buy.
Ski reviews are pure science by comparison. I've spent most of my adult life in the high-end audio industry and BS meter there has no red line - it's unfettered.

Regardless, I thoroughly share your nausea over the glib, snappy little comments which comprise the "reviews" in SKI and SKIING. Only a sentence (two at the most) pertains to some experience regarding the ski. The rest is either marketing techno-gype, or an attempt impress with clever word-play.
post #22 of 24
There's obviously a lot of very good skis available, for the B5 to get poor reviews is mind boggling to me. At the very least its a tremendous ski. Maybe not what every skier wants but I have to believe most skiers would love this ski.
post #23 of 24
A few thoughts on some complaints and on good ol´ days:

- Those 20-or-so years ago the differences between skis were much bigger and there were quite a few less good skis. Nowadays the differences (I mean real quality differences, not the feel) are much smaller. It´s therefore more difficult to find and describe them.

- A profound lab test is expensive. Ski mags are not so strong as they used to be (surviving, not flourishing) and they either can´t afford or aren´t ready to pay for such a part of the test which addresses only a smaller part of their readers.

- The target group are less knowledgeable skiers who don´t care about cross sections and some flex values.
The more you know about a subject the more facts and less empty crap you want. It´s you, it´s us. We are a small group, though.

- Precise info is not in the companies´ interest either.

Which means:
The mags don´t have the money, most readers don´t care and the companies don´t need them. Why should there be any?
post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by checkracer
A few thoughts on some complaints and on good ol´ days:

- Those 20-or-so years ago the differences between skis were much bigger and there were quite a few less good skis. Nowadays the differences (I mean real quality differences, not the feel) are much smaller. It´s therefore more difficult to find and describe them.

- A profound lab test is expensive. Ski mags are not so strong as they used to be (surviving, not flourishing) and they either can´t afford or aren´t ready to pay for such a part of the test which addresses only a smaller part of their readers.

- The target group are less knowledgeable skiers who don´t care about cross sections and some flex values.
The more you know about a subject the more facts and less empty crap you want. It´s you, it´s us. We are a small group, though.

- Precise info is not in the companies´ interest either.

Which means:
The mags don´t have the money, most readers don´t care and the companies don´t need them. Why should there be any?
Unfortunately, your response explains all too well why this information is no longer being presented. I can't help but wonder whether there might be a niche opportunity (Epic Ski, Peter Keelty?) to partner with a few ski shops like Jeff Bergeron, Green Mountain Orthotic Lab or others to do the ski boot specs analysis at least. It seems like there is a fair interest in the subject among many members here based on all the threads on flex, ramp angles and so forth. Unfortunately, I don't have a real idea how expensive it would be to set up tests to measure flex under load, forward lean, ramp angels etc.
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