Originally Posted by alexzn
I think the Pocket Rocket was the first all-mountain fat ski, and IIRC it came out before the Gotama. Volkl is not very good at innovating, but they are very good at marketing and perfecting other's design ideas (and as every generalization, it is inherently flawed).
Hmmm. Well, you're right that the PR came out earlier, 2002, methinks, than the Goat in 2004. But less clear to me that the two are in any way comparable, or that the PR was the first "all mountain" ski, or that it was the design idea for the Goat.
The PR, recall, was a scaled up TenEighty, 90 mm, marketed as a unique "fun ski" that could handle anything, foam core, extremely soft, extremely forgiving, and a blast in light soft snow or soft bumps at modest speeds. It was supposed to be a more accessible ski than the Super Mountain, which I also owned, and which handled like a runaway freight train in powder. And it was anything but original, since Sollie had been making foam cap skis for years that sold like there was no tomorrow. Recall the XScream? Anyone want to consider that super successful ski as influential in 2012?
So the PR was fun, for sure. But on ice or hard groomers at anything over 20 mph it was truly terrifying, and at any speed in irregular snow it would earn you a trip to the orthodontist for those lost fillings. It went on for, what, 4 more wildly successful years with only cosmetic changes, then gave rise to a succession of slightly more stabile and slightly fatter Sollies like the 1080 and the Gun. When Sollie got serious and stopped with the foam, the lineage stopped too.
So if sheer numbers of skiers who bought them is your criterion, then yep the PR rules all. But as for your other arguments, well, Volkl introduced the Snow Ranger at ISPO, marketed as the first "all mountain" ski, back in 1994. It was specifically aimed at strong skiers who liked to go off-piste, with a decent taper (unusual for the time) and core/edges borrowed from the Renntiger R for carving chops. Owned one, definitely was a revelation - both personally and in the skiing press - for its off-piste versatility and build quality, but ability to carve. "Glassy" was a term I recall be used to describe it. It opened up sidebounds to skiers; patrollers loved it. Your first claim, about the PR being an all mountain ski, let alone the first, does not hold.
Nor does your second claim, about Volkl not being very good at innovating. The original Goat was 15 mm wider than the PR, targeted to a different demographic, as a powder and backside ski for serious skiers, had an all wood core, and it evolved every year with changes to the sidewall, stiffer flex, and so on. If you want the lineage, here's Powder Magazine's comment in 2007: "The Gotama has assumed the place the Explosiv once held as Volkl’s flagship freeskiing ride. Fat and floaty, the Gotama shines in deep powder, but is reasonably lightweight and transitions easily to hard pack and groomers. There’s a reason this wood-core ski is ubiquitous at deep resorts like Jackson and Squaw." I'd make the case that the Snow Ranger begat the Explosiv, which split into two lineages: The Goat was Volkl's freeskiing backside twin model and the Mantra was its big mountain gun. Today, of course, the Chopstick is the dialed up Goat, and the Katana is the dialed up Mantra. So I see no connection to or influence by, Salomon here. It's a clear tree back to 1994. Or if you want to include the Renntiger R, 1983. I'm no longer much of a Volkl fan, but to call them good borrowers of other's ideas is so ahistorical its funny.
As for the Goat's influence, IMO, it was not in introducing vast numbers of recreational skiers to powder skiing - for sure the PR takes that title - but in driving the subsequent decade of freeski development. The reason you don't see any fat foam core cap twins is that they truly sucked for most activities other than cruising soft snow. So much for influence...