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AMER boycotts french ski tests

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
There are 2 leading ski mags in France : Skieur and Ski Magazine. Both mags publish special ski-test issues in october. Their ratings are widely used in shops or ads by ski makers.
In this year's Skieur, there are no Atomics or Salomon tested. According to the magazine, AMER was unhappy with their test procedures / results and refused to lend them skis. (In the past 2 years, Skieur gave quite bad reviews of the Metron line.)

My question : Who loose here ?
Skieur, who has to publish a magazine without 2 of the major brands ?
AMER, who looks like a sore looser and the big corporation trying to silence a free press ?
Ski Magazine, who gives good reviews of Atomics and Salomons, runs several pages of AMER ads, and looks like they have sold-out ?

My guess :
Skieur looks like the incorruptible.
AMER loose exposure and looks bad.
Ski Magazine looks dumb.
post #2 of 16
Independent ski testing is a minefield. There are so many ways the results can be influenced by artificially tuning the factory product that the skier will actually buy.

I organised ski testing for a British magazine for some years. If anyone can tell me there's a research methodology which everyone agrees I'd like to hear it! Do you tape the top surfaces so the skis are blank? Can you realistically hide the shape of the ski anyway? How do you ensure that the testers are voting objectively rather than subjectively? Do you allow or undertake extra tuning of the factory product?

I agree that Skieur looks incorruptible. If they published their results in defiance of powerful brands then they stood up for independent journalism. That, in itself, doesn't mean that their results were correct, though.

Amer would, I imagine, work on strategies which bypass that magazine but maintain their credibility. This kind of battle has happened before, and it's usually detrimental to the magazine and the manufacturer.

But it's always fun!

Why do Ski Magazine look "dumb"?
post #3 of 16

i have never seen a bad ski review.

i have also never seen a bad restaurant review for the same reason. the whole set-up rests on advertising.
post #4 of 16
I think both the magazine and the ski manufacturers lost on this one. I might lean more towards Skieur for being honest. Then again I would still have to buy Ski Magazine to get a review on Atomic and Salomon. Of course I don't read french so I would need someone to read it to me.

I only use the ski test reviews as a guide for the type of ski or boot as well as specs. My final decission is based on getting some time on the boards at demo days and swtiching skis with friends. I am also influenced by fellow skiers that I respect when they say good things about a ski. Also what I read on EpicSki has a huge influence on what I demo.

The few that I have tried, I have not found an Atomic ski that I liked. I find the whole Atomic line too confussing to understand. The one pair of Atomic skis that I purchased based on a coworkers recommendation 5 years ago, I skied on only two days. I hated those Atomics and could not wait to get rid of them. This probably turned me off to Atomics more than anything. That said I have not skied the Atomic Metron, which I hear good things about. The few Salomon skis I have tried, were ok but nothing to get excited about. I tend to lean more towards Volkl, Rossi, K2, and Dynastar. To be fair I have not tried the other maufacturers like Fischer, Head, or Stockli. There are only so many skis you can demo each year.
post #5 of 16
Part of this is what makes me worried when brands get too big and too controling.
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Goldsmith View Post
Independent ski testing is a minefield. There are so many ways the results can be influenced by artificially tuning the factory product that the skier will actually buy.

I organised ski testing for a British magazine for some years. If anyone can tell me there's a research methodology which everyone agrees I'd like to hear it! Do you tape the top surfaces so the skis are blank? Can you realistically hide the shape of the ski anyway? How do you ensure that the testers are voting objectively rather than subjectively? Do you allow or undertake extra tuning of the factory product?

I agree that Skieur looks incorruptible. If they published their results in defiance of powerful brands then they stood up for independent journalism. That, in itself, doesn't mean that their results were correct, though.

Amer would, I imagine, work on strategies which bypass that magazine but maintain their credibility. This kind of battle has happened before, and it's usually detrimental to the magazine and the manufacturer.

But it's always fun!

Why do Ski Magazine look "dumb"?
'Dumb' is a poorly chosen word actualy. I meant that, for those who'll buy both magazines, their results (very favorable towards AMER brands - the brand new Xwing Fury : mid-fat of the year) will look especialy suspicious and that Ski Magazine must know it. I guess they, maybe, would have wanted to edit their tests if they had know that AMER would shut off Skieur. Because, in the long run, I'm not sure Skieur's troubles are good news for Ski Magazine credibility.
post #7 of 16
What is AMER?
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
post #9 of 16
I think Amer have shot themselves in the foot a little with with this. But then again, as I do a similar job to the one David used to do (running a ski test for a major British ski magazine), I would say that, wouldn't I?

The overall effects will be minimal. Amer may lose a little short-term credibility within the opinion-formers of the french ski industry. "Ski" magazine may also lose a little credibility. "Skieur" may lose some ad revenue. Rossi and Dynastar may gain a few sales.

In the end, ski-testing is just a collection of opinions, more a "stimulation for discussion" than anything else. Nevertheless, over the years, certain generalisations of certain brands and certain long-running models are, I think, justified, on the basis of many opinions which co-incide.

With the shapes and structures of modern skis it is not possible to run a truly "blind" test. And of course it's impossible to guard against testers' biases and preconceptions. In the end, if you have a large enough test team then you can merely hope that all the testers' prejudices cancel each other out, once you average their scores.

Deciding "how far to go" when testers are critical of a product is always difficult. I always ask my testers to give details of the performance areas where a ski may be lacking, rather than to just express a blanket dislike. And if there is an upside, we try to give that some coverage as well.

What will never change is that every manufacturer thinks that their own product is the best!
post #10 of 16
Ski Canada has worn the names of those manufacturers who have boycotted their tests as a badge of honor for some years. They explain up front why you many not see a certain brand or brands in their tests in some years.

Recognizing that all tests have some inherent limitations, I think that Ski Canada's are the best available in North America. The Japanese ski magazines test, weigh, measure and graph just about everything (from skis to bindings and poles) and do a very good job of it. However, beyond metric descriptions, it is very helpful if you understand Japanese or know someone who does. Still, the Japanese magazines are worth buying, if only for the great photography.

Some of the best ski reviews can be found right here at Epic Ski.
post #11 of 16
All SKI TESTS LIE.

Infact lets face it the only reason mags publish ski tests is to give there editors and editorial ........
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lostboy View Post
Recognizing that all tests have some inherent limitations, I think that Ski Canada's are the best available in North America. The Japanese ski magazines test, weigh, measure and graph just about everything (from skis to bindings and poles) and do a very good job of it.
I agree Ski Canada is quite good, I just wish they had different scales for the results, rather than dealing with what the testers judge to be the optimal skier type for a ski ('heavier' <-----> 'lighter') I'd like to ski the focus on how the ski performs...

Do you know of anywhere to find translated versions of the Japanese magazines? Or at least of the detailed measurements of the skis they take? I'd prefer to have more detailed info on the ski design and make my own inferences of how it should ski before reading tester feedback. (Does Japan generally get North American, or European models of skis?)

Maybe Salomon got crappy reviews on their skis over the last few years...because their skis over the last few years have been garbage:. IMO Salomons by nature wouldn't perform well in tests because they just aren't good for the type of skiers most testers are. It's a shame because they seemed to be great skis for the weekend warriors out there.

This is all a shame because the new X-Wing line is a big step up, and probably would have scored better. I don't think Ski looks dumb, because the Fury isn't a bad ski.
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Singel View Post
I agree Ski Canada is quite good, I just wish they had different scales for the results, rather than dealing with what the testers judge to be the optimal skier type for a ski ('heavier' <-----> 'lighter') I'd like to ski the focus on how the ski performs...

Do you know of anywhere to find translated versions of the Japanese magazines? Or at least of the detailed measurements of the skis they take? I'd prefer to have more detailed info on the ski design and make my own inferences of how it should ski before reading tester feedback. (Does Japan generally get North American, or European models of skis?)

Maybe Salomon got crappy reviews on their skis over the last few years...because their skis over the last few years have been garbage:. IMO Salomons by nature wouldn't perform well in tests because they just aren't good for the type of skiers most testers are. It's a shame because they seemed to be great skis for the weekend warriors out there.

This is all a shame because the new X-Wing line is a big step up, and probably would have scored better. I don't think Ski looks dumb, because the Fury isn't a bad ski.
I don't know of any translated versions of Japanese Magazines. The graphs and metric measurements are readily understandable. The narratives require a good knowledge of Japanese written language forms. Most, though not all, brands and models available in Japan can also be found in North America and vice versa. Sometimes the topskin graphics in Japan are different to better appeal to the Japanese market.
post #14 of 16
What brands come out on top in Skieur? I'll guess they are French. Could there be a nationalist bias?
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE View Post
What brands come out on top in Skieur? I'll guess they are French. Could there be a nationalist bias?
I will have to edit this post, as I don't have the magazine with me. But, from the top of my head, I would say not that much. (if you take into account the fact that rossignol / dynastar is objectively a huge company). Scott (pure), Volkl (gotama), Nordica (hot rod eliminator ?), K2, fisher (SL race stock) has also been praised.
They did say nice things about the Rossis (z9, B-squad, scratch BC...) or dynastars (contact 11, Legends, course comp...) of course...
What's true is that skieur has never been very favorable towards Atomics, but for their race products.
I'll update with a precise palmares is someone is interested.
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Singel View Post
I agree Ski Canada is quite good, I just wish they had different scales for the results, rather than dealing with what the testers judge to be the optimal skier type for a ski ('heavier' <-----> 'lighter') I'd like to ski the focus on how the ski performs....
I like Ski Canada's approach, as well as their giving the men & women's ratings on the same ski. I'm a light weight, so the those ratings mean a lot to me. I pay particular attention to the individual testers comments as well. A heavy skier may hate a particular ski that a lighter person may love.
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