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looking for feedback on equipment testing criteria - Page 3

post #61 of 98
Bud, you probably remember the old Snow Country magazine, I think they had some of the best price and level point comparisons. Jackson Hogan ran that and I htink he did a great job. If you need a refresher on what they were like, I still have some of the old mags around and I could get them out to you.

Intermediates testing intermediate gear works like kids testing kids gear. That is who it is geared towrds. Just as a good amount of "experts" couldn't discribe what makes a ski work for them, finding a good intermediate that CAN discribe a ski is also possible. Ski Magazine did a test about 10 years ago that included intermdiates and the results then got were very good.

Where will this testing be done? Since the main contributers (Bud and SSH) are west. what about easterners? Most skis will ski well on the softer snow out west, but what about the ice and boilerplate we get east? We skied Jackson Hole last year during horrible "western" conditions, but I related the snow as good "eastern" snow, but out west. You do not get "bad" eastern conditions out there, conditions that we plan for and buy a ski that will excel in those conditions. A bump ski will ski different on a bump trail at (say)Copper than the rock hard bumps on Outer Limits or down the Chute at MRG. To do this right the test has to be that comprehensive.
__________________
post #62 of 98
I agree that we need to get some east coast on-snow testing, as well... Having grown up in Michigan and skied the East (lived in the Catskills), I certainly understand what you mean. There's a reason I live here...
post #63 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marmot mb
They may not be the best skiers but they will know a good ski when they get on it and be able to give simple feed back (ease of initiation, edge hold, length of turn, speed of edge to edge, stability at their top speed) Mach 1 performance matters not as they don’t ski at this level and if they do they have the wrong ski category.
What I bolded is a HYOOGE assumption. You'll have to look far and wide to find intermediates that that can understand these terms, let alone understand them enough to measure them. And then have the reviewers be somewhat consistent or in agreement? "Hmm lets see I'll give the kalaidoski and edge hold of 7.0/10, but the dynosore was a little better, maybe 8.0." Many intermediates I know can't even hook up an edge, so asking about things like "edge hold" and "speed of edge to edge" could well be met with blank stares.

This is not intended to put intermediate skiers in a bad light. I just believe that asking an intermediate to make measurements of technical features is incorrect.

IMO, if you include intermediate skiers, they should be asked few questions: Would you buy this ski? Why?

Just don't be surprised if the answer to "why" is "It looks the best!", or "It is very light an comfortable on the lift".

Also, make sure that height/weight and length tested is recorded. The last thing you need to hear from a tester is that "It was hard to balance on it." And then realize they are 220 lbs and skiing on a 157. Or "it was hard to turn" coming from a 140 lb skier riding a 185.

I would try to make sure that the skier was outfitted with an appropriate brand and model of ski, at the appropriate length, with bindings positioned at the manufacturers mark.

Why not find the best spot? Because you can be assured that any shop selling an intermediate a ski will just line up the boot to the mark on the topsheet. So, you should test them that way! Otherwise the test results will differ from the results after purchase.
post #64 of 98
Having already gone on (and on and on) about slope testing, I'll just say that I like several of ssh's suggestions. Particularly having one "blind" and one "known" run per ski, having a large "public" test day to compare with the experts, testing on different terrains. Can get at some of the reliability issues but stays realistic.

As far as having intermediates included as experts, have to side with BH: A level 6 may know roughly what's wrong ("The front feels jiggly when I turn,") but probably won't be able to partition what's wrong into tester technique, tester interaction with a particular style of ski, ski construction. Experts, especially with a racing background, will.
post #65 of 98
Why not include a "price on eBay" section.

And a "how do I fix the holes I drilled through the bases of the skis I just bought on eBay while trying to follow the mounting point suggestions" section.

Perhaps a "using sandpaper to grind plug boots I bought on eBay" section.
post #66 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman
Good points guys, Manufacturers are pretty good about getting their equipment out for testing and certainly if this concept is presented well and they see the power and experience behind the team that is putting the sight together (not me) that getting equipment shouldn't be difficult. More later.
Bud - if you truly deliver what we're asking for - highly detailed technical specs and unbiased opinions - then I think you're going to have a hard time getting manufacturers to cooperate with demo gear. I think part of the reason we've seen the technical specs and more thorough testing disappear in the magazines is due to pressure from the manufacturers. They don't want their products shown in "full light". They want their marketing departments to sculpt what we should think of their products and they take every opportunity to make sure that it's difficult to compare products across manufacturers, hence the lack of standardization of the simplest of measurements.

To really do this I think you're going to have to adopt the Consumer Reports style of acquiring the product just like any normal consumer (not necessarily at retail pricing of course!).

When the manufacturers hear about what you plan to include in your reviews they may start running.
post #67 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom
Why not include a "price on eBay" section.

And a "how do I fix the holes I drilled through the bases of the skis I just bought on eBay while trying to follow the mounting point suggestions" section.

Perhaps a "using sandpaper to grind plug boots I bought on eBay" section.
Hmmm, someone sounds bitter
post #68 of 98
I am a bit bitter, but it's more that I am joking with you guys. I'm not sure what the hatred of ski mag tests is though. Do you really think that a test that asks for free gear (or discounted gear) from manufacturers then sells add space back to them will be 'less biased' than the mags tests. I know the magazines don't come out and say anything is bad but you can read into the test by whats not said or not included. How many people on this site speculate on the performance of skis they've never skied. Empirical data will only add to the 'must be one best' syndrome. There isn't.
Instead of perfecting a ski test why not get people to perfect the art of the demo. Know what you tested, know what size you tested, understand that trying one ski today and something different 2 weeks from now from a different shop (different tune)at a different area (different snow/ terrain)is really just 2 high performance rentals.
There aren't any BAD skis out there anymore, there are inappropriate skis for a given task but BAD? I don't think so. It's just too competative, the industry is shrinking every year. Look at who owns who, the pool just keeps getting smaller, but the skis get better.


On a lighter note I would recomend not allowing the manufacturers to 'prep' their skis, use a world class tuner to tune everything the same, or ski a 'fresh out of the wrapper' stock factory tune.
post #69 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom
On a lighter note I would recomend not allowing the manufacturers to 'prep' their skis, use a world class tuner to tune everything the same, or ski a 'fresh out of the wrapper' stock factory tune.
I will answer that question with a question...Does Joe and Jane Skier get to have their new skis prepped by a world class ski tuner or do they ski them fresh out of the wrapper?
post #70 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Pugliese
I will answer that question with a question...Does Joe and Jane Skier get to have their new skis prepped by a world class ski tuner or do they ski them fresh out of the wrapper?
I'd love to see the ski-test with great tunes. Maybe its cause I don't get to go to the really cool tests, but it seems that a consistent bunch of tunes is hard to find.

When you see the typical tech-reps schedule/diet/bar bill I guess it becomes a bit less surprising.
post #71 of 98
Hmm...what would Joe and Jane do? Drive 4 hrs through sleet and snow, on salt covered roads, with the skis that haven't seen a tune in 35 ski days, on a trailer hitch mounted ski rack behind their giant SUV...or a good tune that highlights the full potential of the ski. I'll stop now, sorry.
post #72 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom
Hmm...what would Joe and Jane do? Drive 4 hrs through sleet and snow, on salt covered roads, with the skis that haven't seen a tune in 35 ski days, on a trailer hitch mounted ski rack behind their giant SUV...or a good tune that highlights the full potential of the ski. I'll stop now, sorry.
Do you bring that black cloud of doom that hangs over you to every post? :

In your example....If this Joe and Jane haven't tuned their skis in 35 days, that means they have probably 3-4 seasons on them and probably never looked at a ski review in their life. They probably walk into a shop and either ask for the latest and greats or point to a pair and say, "'ll them them, they match my jacket". The don't want help.
post #73 of 98
Phil I said I was sorry. I have a habit of only responding to what i disagree with.. and my responses are 'tongue in cheek'. I love skiing. I love talking about skiing.

BUT one of the most important lessons I learned in college was "Science is an inherantly human endevor". There is ALWAYS a result the scientist expects...and ussually gets. The best way to get to the bottom of any study or report or poll is to look at where the funding came from. This also goes along with "Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics", even with every hard number about ski characteristics...what have you got? It will help you narrow down the choices...HOW?

If you walk into a ski shop tomorrow and tell the 'pot smoking' help that "I tried Salomon XScreams and LOVED them, I tried Volkl P40 F1's and hated them, I bought Crossmaxes and really enjoyed them...do you think the Elan Ripstick is a good choice for me?" The 'dude' will 9 times out of 10 walk to the ski wall, grab a Scrambler Hot put it in your hand and walk you to the cash redgister...and he's RIGHT. You told him what you like...soft flexing, light, easy to ski. AND what you didn't (VERY important)...burly, heavy, stiff.

Numbers are fun but most male 'experts' will look for the torsionally stiffest ski they can find hoping to get better edge grip...but thats not exactly how it works...if someone came to you and said "I don't like Metrons, they are unstable at speed and chatter..." you'd chuckle to yourself and hopefully suggest something with less sidecut and less torsional rigidity because that guy is pushing his feet away from his body to get his skis on edge instead of tipping 'em and ripping 'em...but hethinks he needs aski with better edge grip. NUMBERS WILL NOT HELP THIS POOR LOST SOUL, a lesson will but thats another story.


Numbers are useful while talking around the watercooler..." my Y Ski 2000 has a shovel flex of 27nm and a tail flex of 32nm...so it's better on ice than you're U Ski 3500!"
post #74 of 98
Whiteroom,

FYI: this years crossmax v-12 is supposed to be a stiff ski, according to skipress mag. Big and Burly, they say, ladies could not get edge grip, but men could.

Weird huh?
post #75 of 98
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Pugliese
Bud, you probably remember the old Snow Country magazine, I think they had some of the best price and level point comparisons. Jackson Hogan ran that and I htink he did a great job. If you need a refresher on what they were like, I still have some of the old mags around and I could get them out to you.

Intermediates testing intermediate gear works like kids testing kids gear. That is who it is geared towrds. Just as a good amount of "experts" couldn't discribe what makes a ski work for them, finding a good intermediate that CAN discribe a ski is also possible. Ski Magazine did a test about 10 years ago that included intermdiates and the results then got were very good.

Where will this testing be done? Since the main contributers (Bud and SSH) are west. what about easterners? Most skis will ski well on the softer snow out west, but what about the ice and boilerplate we get east? We skied Jackson Hole last year during horrible "western" conditions, but I related the snow as good "eastern" snow, but out west. You do not get "bad" eastern conditions out there, conditions that we plan for and buy a ski that will excel in those conditions. A bump ski will ski different on a bump trail at (say)Copper than the rock hard bumps on Outer Limits or down the Chute at MRG. To do this right the test has to be that comprehensive.
__________________
Phil, Yes I remember the snow country tests well. Jackson is a colorful guy and his tests were "colorful" and his writings were fun to read. I had in fact put the webdesigners in touch with Jackson however; his vision of how the testing should be done differed from our goal. Lab testing will be done here in Reno/Tahoe area probably. The on hill testing will also probably be done primarily here in the West however; your points are well taken and as we progress with this thing I can certainly see some testing for skis being done where the snow is clear (EAST). What is it called again?..."packed powder"??
post #76 of 98
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond
Having already gone on (and on and on) about slope testing, I'll just say that I like several of ssh's suggestions. Particularly having one "blind" and one "known" run per ski.
I believe too, that this type of unique format should and probably will be included in the on hill testing methodology.
post #77 of 98
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler
Bud - if you truly deliver what we're asking for - highly detailed technical specs and unbiased opinions - then I think you're going to have a hard time getting manufacturers to cooperate with demo gear. I think part of the reason we've seen the technical specs and more thorough testing disappear in the magazines is due to pressure from the manufacturers. They don't want their products shown in "full light". They want their marketing departments to sculpt what we should thing of their products and they take every opportunity to make sure that it's difficult to compare products across manufacturers, hence the lack of standardization of the simplest of measurements.

To really do this I think you're going to have to adopt the Consumer Reports style of acquiring the product just like any normal consumer (not necessarily at retail pricing of course!).

When the manufacturers hear about what you plan to include in your reviews they may start running.

EXACTLY!!! You have hit on a good point....another unique part of this website's philosophy is to "tell it like it is" (ala consumer reports) and unbiased means just that! Should equipment manufacturers choose not to supply equipment so be it. We may have to purchase equipment to be in the test and that's OK however; I believe that once we establish that this site is for consumers and not a manufacturer marketing tool. The companies will pony up if they believe in their products.

Should this website offer valuable unbiased evaluations of ski equipment, consumers will find out about it and flock to it's recommendations. When manufacturers see this, heads will turn. The site designers already have advertisers waiting in the wings to jump on board (travel industry, sports drinks & bars, alcohol companies, Ski resorts,.... you get the idea) In fact I believe it would be preferable not to sell ads to ski manufacturers, don't you?

Which brings to light another interesting point. Have you ever noticed how many ski company ads fill the pages of the print magazines! Maybe a little leveraged influence there?....This website, like the company's other sites, have put extreme pressure on print magazines. Take a look at some of the computer industry magazines and you may notice that they are not a thick as they once were. The fact that "breaking news" takes much longer to show up in a monthly periodical than it does on the web! This proposed site will not only have ski equipment tests showing results on new equipment well in advance of the print mags, but it will have fresh breaking industry news almost daily as well as pertinent "how to" articles like "How to choose optimal mounting position for YOU on your new skis!". I just get more excited the more I think about it!
post #78 of 98
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom
I am a bit bitter, but it's more that I am joking with you guys. I'm not sure what the hatred of ski mag tests is though. Do you really think that a test that asks for free gear (or discounted gear) from manufacturers then sells add space back to them will be 'less biased' than the mags tests. I know the magazines don't come out and say anything is bad but you can read into the test by whats not said or not included. How many people on this site speculate on the performance of skis they've never skied. Empirical data will only add to the 'must be one best' syndrome. There isn't.
Instead of perfecting a ski test why not get people to perfect the art of the demo. Know what you tested, know what size you tested, understand that trying one ski today and something different 2 weeks from now from a different shop (different tune)at a different area (different snow/ terrain)is really just 2 high performance rentals.
There aren't any BAD skis out there anymore, there are inappropriate skis for a given task but BAD? I don't think so. It's just too competative, the industry is shrinking every year. Look at who owns who, the pool just keeps getting smaller, but the skis get better.


On a lighter note I would recomend not allowing the manufacturers to 'prep' their skis, use a world class tuner to tune everything the same, or ski a 'fresh out of the wrapper' stock factory tune.
Please read my prior posts regarding gear aquisition.

also I agree with your idea for ski tunes. In fact I had an idea similar to yours. Since most of us would not ski a factory tune (that's another story) I was thinking along the same lines of offering a well respected shop in Truckee California (the start haus) if they would put tunes on all the test skis for us in exchange for advertising on site!?
post #79 of 98
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiingman
I'd love to see the ski-test with great tunes. Maybe its cause I don't get to go to the really cool tests, but it seems that a consistent bunch of tunes is hard to find.

When you see the typical tech-reps schedule/diet/bar bill I guess it becomes a bit less surprising.

I believe for the most fair, scientific comparison test, the skis should all be tuned either the same bevels or to factory reccomendations so that the skis are put in their best condition for the test. Then the ski companies could not blame any poor results on the ski tune. The consumers may ski the skis out of the wrapper, but then that is the shop's fault where they purchased them and maybe they should search for a shop that takes the time to put a good tune on their new ski rather than throwing some wax on and calling it a "new ski prep".
post #80 of 98
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom
The best way to get to the bottom of any study or report or poll is to look at where the funding came from. This also goes along with "Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics", even with every hard number about ski characteristics...what have you got? It will help you narrow down the choices...HOW?

If you walk into a ski shop tomorrow and tell the 'pot smoking' help that "I tried Salomon XScreams and LOVED them, I tried Volkl P40 F1's and hated them, I bought Crossmaxes and really enjoyed them...do you think the Elan Ripstick is a good choice for me?" The 'dude' will 9 times out of 10 walk to the ski wall, grab a Scrambler Hot put it in your hand and walk you to the cash redgister...and he's RIGHT. You told him what you like...soft flexing, light, easy to ski. AND what you didn't (VERY important)...burly, heavy, stiff.

Numbers are fun but most male 'experts' will look for the torsionally stiffest ski they can find hoping to get better edge grip...but thats not exactly how it works...if someone came to you and said "I don't like Metrons, they are unstable at speed and chatter..." you'd chuckle to yourself and hopefully suggest something with less sidecut and less torsional rigidity because that guy is pushing his feet away from his body to get his skis on edge instead of tipping 'em and ripping 'em...but hethinks he needs aski with better edge grip. NUMBERS WILL NOT HELP THIS POOR LOST SOUL, a lesson will but thats another story.


Numbers are useful while talking around the watercooler..." my Y Ski 2000 has a shovel flex of 27nm and a tail flex of 32nm...so it's better on ice than you're U Ski 3500!"

Wow a sinic

Let me ask you this... If you could design a ski test and control whatever aspects of it you could, how would you do it?? Because this is basically what we are doing here. "part of the problem" or "part of the solution"?? you decide.

You raise good points, but if you take the time to read my and ssh's posts you will see that the #1 goal is to provide hard numbers from the lab of useful information (some of which you have never seen before) then having the on hill testing relate the data to more sensory feedback that an "EDUCATED" equipment buyer would then be able to use in narrowing his/her purchase decision.

Another part of this site is the goal of EDUCATING the consumer in how to use these numbers with ongoing "how to" articles.

The third priority of this site is to offer "breaking industry news" to keep you ahead of the less educated pack so when you get to the water cooler you can impress your friends with your knowledge.

We are aiming to answer alot of the "whys" in equipment testing. "To dig deeper than has been dug in the past, to go where no man has gone before!"
You wanna come along???
post #81 of 98
Regarding the tunes of the skis being tested, a couple of years ago I was out at Beaver Creek skiing and there was a tractor trailer with a Winterstieger machine in the back preparing the skis for Ski Magazine's test we walked by. I haven't seen this in more recent years that I have been out there. But I think one of the magazines references Precision Tunes down in Dillon as providing tunes for the skis being tested.

I've bought quite a few skis over the years based on the reviews without demoing the ski first. I'm not advocating this for anyone else, but the skis that have been highly rated have always worked well for me. I think right now skis are so good its pretty hard to find a dud. But they list without mentioning the ski, the worst remarks given during the test. I think Keelty said that its really becoming a function not so much of the brand but the category of ski that fits your requirements best, the product brands in each category are pretty uniform in performance generally speaking.
post #82 of 98
Thread Starter 
roundturns,

I can only speak for myself, but I can still discern differences between brands, models, sizes, etc.. They may be subtle in some cases but that is the testers job to describe these subtlties. I believe using ssh's testing criteria of having ski testors first evaluate the skis without any lab information then looking at the lab test results and testing again will help shed a better clarity on the test results and maybe take ski testing to a new level of focus.

I don't think we want to speak "generally" we want knitty gritty!
post #83 of 98
Here's a paper describing a machine that will test the "quality" of the ski. It's rather heavy sledding. The executive summary is that stability is the most important factor.

http://ej.iop.org/links/q93/c3tbncId...UtQ/e904n3.pdf

It also states something that was raised in a thread long-ago: control of speed in carved turns is by ski to snow friction.

Perhaps one day, we'll be able to do away with any sort of human testing, and just stick the ski in a machine for an evaluation?
post #84 of 98
There are people who are in the business of creating standard ways of measuring stuff:

http://www.iso.org/iso/en/CatalogueL...copel ist=ALL
post #85 of 98
Thread Starter 
Here is what I have come up with so far for BOOT testing criteria. Please offer your suggestions if you don't see something important to you or that I am missing.


boot test criteria
10/21/05


mechanical tests:

forward flex: testing device used which measures resistance through a predetermined range of movement and graphed on software program.

medial lateral flex: testing device used to attach to boot “foot” (must offer tight connection between heel and upper cuff) which will allow force to be applied laterally. boot sole to be secured to bench with clamping device. This measurement should elicit resistance to flex over a predetermined range.

spoiler flex: same device used to measure rearward resistance over set range

torsional flex of lower: this test the torsional resistance of lower by anchoring the heel lug and measuring twist resistance to a determined angle.


measurements;

zeppa ramp angle: This angle measured with iclinometer to determine ramp on a level true beam surface.

Forward lean: measured angle of boot shaft in relation to ground and zeppa angle.

Shaft cant angle: angle created by boot shaft relative to vertical.


forefoot width: measure at widest point in shell at forefoot (up approximately 2-3cm from zeppa) with calipers. This measurement will quatify for comparisons the met head width of a particular boot model.

toe box triangle: measured from forefoot vector to tip of big toe area or centerseam whichever is longer. This measurement along with forefoot width will create the “toe box triangle” to relay a quantifiable “toe box” size.

heel width: measurement of heel width radius (measured from center of heel area so that the distance from sides and back of heel are equal) . This measurement quantifies the size of the heel width for comparisons between models.

instep dimension: measured from back of heel at zeppa to instep shell in shortest distance. This measurement offers comparisons for instep volume and potential heel hold characteristics. another possible dimension that could be useful would be from the instep point vertical down to zeppa to create a box volume.

VOLUME: lower shell volume measured from 5” above heel of zeppa. this device needs to be a flexible rubber/latex bag which will shape to inside shell contours that can be filled to determined height with liquid. The volume of this liquid will then be measured in milliliters.
post #86 of 98
Seeing that this kind of data might actually become available brings a tear to my eye.

I'm so happy.
post #87 of 98
Thread Starter 
Psssst! personally, I would like to start with the first tests being on "plug-a-like" boots! We will see? I believe by addressing the peak of the pyramid first the information and buzz created on the new sight will trickle down quicker and build enthusiasm. The full plug boot catagory may be too narrow of a focus to start.

Working on a ski testing criteria now, keep your suggestions coming guys/gals!
post #88 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE
What I bolded is a HYOOGE assumption. You'll have to look far and wide to find intermediates that that can understand these terms, let alone understand them enough to measure them. And then have the reviewers be somewhat consistent or in agreement? "Hmm lets see I'll give the kalaidoski and edge hold of 7.0/10, but the dynosore was a little better, maybe 8.0." Many intermediates I know can't even hook up an edge, so asking about things like "edge hold" and "speed of edge to edge" could well be met with blank stares.
"Feel" is a bit tough. I have seen higher-level, long-term skiers slide turns and think that they are carving. They talk about this ski carving better than that ski, and yet I can observe that they carved on neither. Or, at times, that they came closer to carving on the one that they thought they were sliding.

This is one reason that I have personally asked for input from very high-level observers (members of the ESA Coaching staff, Copper training staff, and my EpicSki mentors). Most people that I know have a difficult time asking for this level of feedback, and yet it's the only way for many skiers to have a clue what's happening.
post #89 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiingman
I'd love to see the ski-test with great tunes. Maybe its cause I don't get to go to the really cool tests, but it seems that a consistent bunch of tunes is hard to find.

When you see the typical tech-reps schedule/diet/bar bill I guess it becomes a bit less surprising.
Can't be tuned the same, though. Need to be tuned to factory recommended tune.
post #90 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom
BUT one of the most important lessons I learned in college was "Science is an inherantly human endevor". There is ALWAYS a result the scientist expects...and ussually gets. The best way to get to the bottom of any study or report or poll is to look at where the funding came from. This also goes along with "Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics", even with every hard number about ski characteristics...what have you got? It will help you narrow down the choices...HOW?
This is where double-blind studies come in. There are some very specific ways to do this, and I think that it's not difficult.
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