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Ski production this year

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Does anyone know what kind of production of skis we can expect this year. I am looking at low consumer confidence, and thinking that the ski manufacturers might be very cautious in their production numbers this year. Further, I am not seeing very many left over skis in my area, although maybe someone else has a different take. If there aren't a lot of leftovers and ski manufacturers get too cautious with production numbers we may see something of a shortage later this season. Does this reflect reality?
post #2 of 8
Volkl freeride stuff is already incredibly difficult to come by. Salomon is behind on delivery of X-Wings and Siams. The supply of K2 Seths is pretty thin.

And its not even October.
post #3 of 8
Yes, it does. There is reaction to everything, the ski manufacturer response to price slashing on 'closeout sites' is to cut back production to pre-sold skis (sold to shops). It will probably be another 2 years before the impact of this is really felt at the consumer level but you're onto something. Something a lot of people won't like much.

The worst case scenario I see is direct sales by the manufacturers. They'll streamline production to only what is currently being sold, change models only when sales drop off (no left overs) and get their MSRP $$$. Won't that be fun??? Not saying this is happening, just spit balling.
post #4 of 8
I respectfully disagree that we are witnessing some sort of glacial shift in total production numbers. Most of the ski factories are 1) owned or at least subsidized by local goverments, or 2) part of a public company.

In either case, the interested parties aren't really in favor of reducing production. For European factories, this means a reduction in labor - something that can be very difficult to do with some European labor laws.

In the given examples of short supply, keep in mind that forecasting demand and the logistics of international supply lines are not exact sciences. Mistakes happen.

Having said all of that, Whiteroom is correct that the ski industry is investigating any means to ensure a future. In 1990, 16 million Americans considered themselves skiers. That number is 7 million today. The US ski/snowboard market is 300,000 units behind where it was in 1998. Combined with bad exchange EURO exchange rate, and high petro-derivative raw material cost (base & topsheet materials), it ain't a great time to be in the ski/snowboard manufacturing business. This is the major factor why there has been so much consolodation...and there's more on the way by the end of this year.
post #5 of 8
Troutman, I think we are on the same page as far as what is going on in the industry, I would simply add that your as you mentioned factories desire not to decreasing production could easily be overcome by producing DIFFERENT product (say Shakespear fishing poles instead of K2 skis).
post #6 of 8
I'm also curious how much the custom and botique ski market is cutting into the top end of the major manufacturers. I realize the output is fairly small for PMGear Bros, Capital, Igneous, DP, Armada, 4FRNT, Kingswood, Stockli, Prior; but the kind of skiers that are using them are influential and vocal about these. I suspect at the retail level, they are not even noticeable; but for upper end skiers inhabiting places like EpicSki, they have gotten some attention.
post #7 of 8

They have some efect on the overall market, but it's pretty neglible. Of the brands you've named, only Armada and Stöckli even produce enough equipment to be noticed by the big 5 manufacturers. The remainder of those manufacturers may sell 2,000-3,000 pairs combined...a proverbial drop in the bucket of the 1.3 million pair/year US market. 4FRNT has done a nice job evolving with the jib market, but their future is far from certain. PM Gear certainly has done a textbook job with viral marketing, but I think their total production target is 300 pairs?

Don't get me wrong - I applaud all these guys for keepin' it real. But the odds are against them in the long term are enormous.
post #8 of 8
just from casual observation, I'd lump 4Frnt up there with Armada and Stockli.

if i'm not mistaken, 4Frnt has gone from a lakeside operation (Donner Lake in Tahoe) to having their skis manufactured in Canada (i often wonder if they will mirror Line...start out small, move operations to Canada, then China?) and I think they have moved their base of operations out of Tahoe, though i'm not sure (i thought i saw something recently where they were no HQ'd in SLC).

but you are right, those are all "niche" markets, though the availability on both 4Frnt and Stockli and Armada is pretty wide out here in the SF Bay Area.

i did get curious about how many skis were out there since two of the models i'm riding--Karma and Mantra--more often then not I got bewildered looks on how I was able to find those skis since they sold out at the beginning of the season rather quickly.
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