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Moved to gear forum -- Latest Issues - Ski Previews & Buyer's Guides

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I just received my September Issues of Ski and Powder with all the gear info. I know that the opinions in there are unreliable, but it sure is exciting to see all the new gear and start my "want to demo" list! I was happy to see that Ski Mag even tested a few real fat skis in their "Freerider" section, instead of the usual 70-mm waist sticks. In contrast to that, the folks at Powder are already calling skis like the 10EX (now R-EX) a midfat! I love it! Anyhow, go and check your mailboxes to see if the postman left you a little bit of winter, too.

[ August 20, 2002, 11:23 AM: Message edited by: dchan ]
post #2 of 18
Bandit, thanks for the heads-up that the fall issues are on the way!

FWIW, I have seen it said quite a few times before that a 10ex is more of a midfat than a traditional fat ski. After skiing a pair of 184 10ex's for the past season, I'm starting to think they may have a point.

There are a few things behind this feeling:

1) The swing weight of the 10ex is considerably less than one might expect given its dimensions. Thus, when you swivel turns in moguls on it, it feels closer to a midfat than to most powder boards.

2) I can ski a groomer on my 10ex's and hardly have to adjust my technique to get them to carve just like a 70 mm ski. OTOH, if I try to do the same on my Explosivs, a pretty significant "attitude adjustment" is required with respect to carving. Thus, the 10ex again acts more like a midfat than a traditional powder ski.

3) As an example, the footprint area of a 190 Volkl Explosiv is about 12% more than that of a 190 10ex. In deep powder, that's equivalent to a 170 lb skier carrying an extra 20 lbs in his backpack. Of course, people will easily feel a this difference in flotation, and once again, the 10ex simply doesn't feel like a traditional powder board.

Personally, I wouldn't simply term either the 10ex or g4 a midfat. Maybe we should invent some new category name for it like "beefy midfats" or "light fats", etc. etc.

Just my $0.02,

Tom / PM
post #3 of 18
I don't really think of the 10.EX as a powder ski either. But it certainly isn't a midfat. I think the terms mid-fat and fat are going to go away in the next few years. Theres going to be a major change in thought regarding ski shapes. What exactly do you label the Volkl T50s with shapes like 111/68/98 and lengths below 180. Is it a slalom or a midfat? Whatever it is, it seemed one of the highest ranked skis in the SKI all-mtn expert category.

I think K2's lineup this year says it best. Instead of a bunch of mid-fat Axis skis of the same shape, they now have the western expert skier Axis XP and the eastern expert Axis XR. Suddenly western skiers want a ski that is wider than the basic 107/70/97 ski, and they can look toward the 115/78/105 XP. Eastern skiers are realizing they dont need a 107/70/97 ski either, and are going with the new slaloms like the Axis XR (Mach S of last year) 106/64/95.

The Axis X is the tweener all around advanced board with the regular Axis just below it.

The SKI buyers guide is going to surprise a lot of people. The All-Mtn Expert category winners are mostly skiercross type skis, a few slaloms, and a midfat here and there. The oddball in the bunch is the K2 Axis XP being way wider than anything else, but still hanging with the others. The Freeride category is dominated by pure fat skis (R-EX, Pocket and AK Rockets, Monsters, etc.) and wider mids like the Rossi XX and K2 XP. The exceptions here are the Rossi X and Volkl Vertigo G3 motion.

There is no K2 Axis X or Salomon X-Scream Series anywhere in either the All-mtn expert categories or the Freeride categories. They're in the cruiser category now. Thats a giant change in thought just from a year ago.
post #4 of 18
It's so nice to hear the The marketing gurus Have been so hard at work this Summer.Dispite The questionable reveiws I'll be buying my copy of ski mag soon. Like Bandit said It's nice to take a look at all the new toys.Besides The gear reveiw mags are just one more sign That Yes Ski Season is on The Way!!!!!!!!!!
post #5 of 18
At first I thought the same thing Utah. They decided to market their old established skis (which they've already sold a ton) to a new market, and hope the people already on the Series and X decide to "upgrade."

But then I took a closer look. It seems more than anything the magazine mostly redefined the categories. The All-Mtn Expert category now seems to be leaning toward power and hard snow performance. Volkl T50's, Salomon Crossmax, Rossi RPM, Atomic R11. I wouldn't group the Axis X and Series with these skis either.

The Freeride category seems to value float and power more than years past. Its mostly all fats and wider midfats. I wouldn't group the Axis X and Series with these either. The Bandit X showing up in this category is questionable, but I think its here because it scored best overall in bumps.

So after thinking it over, I think its more than marketing. SKI seems to have redefined its categories. Overall, the reviews aren't too bad. The only review I disagree with is the Bandit XX. I dont have the magazine with me now, but it said something like "short turns are work." The XX I skied last year was a breeze in short turns....
post #6 of 18
mine just came too. I have a 8 hour flight to Alaska on Tuesday, need something to read on the plane.
post #7 of 18
Matter, I'll second that emotion. I really loved the Dynastar Intuitiv 71, but the Bandit XX did all the same things, got more float, AND is the snakiest short turner and edge-to-edger I've been on in a while. It was the edge-to-edge liveliness that sold them to me.

The Volkl T50 was a fun ski, but it did not appear to me to be as versatile as the Rossi Bandit XX. Also, I thought that Volkls were wood core skis, and these T50's do have "some wood", in the form of wood strips, I was told by the Volkl folks. I'm not sold that wood is the only durable core. Some foam is injected, but some is milled, like wood, and I understand it's not too shabby.

[ August 10, 2002, 08:13 PM: Message edited by: oboe ]
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
I love the debates! I always take the reviews with a grain of salt, but the skis are tried by real skiers, with very subjective opinions. Rather than questioning the results of testing, I look to the categorizing of skis to be suspect. I agree with Matter that Ski Mag has changed their View of the categories, but they seem to be the slowest of the mags to respond to changes in the ski tech scene. Anyhow, concerning my category suspicions...How is it that a Salomon Pocket Rocket gets to be in the Ski mag test as a "Freeride" ski (with a 90-mm waist) under last year's test, with most of the other skis in that category being 70-mm in the wasit, while the R.EX (10.EX) or G-4 or XXX only have a faint showing after many years of existence? It seems that certain manufacturers have influence to get producted tested and reported on. I guess that only "gold medal" winning skis get listed and a R.EX (10.EX) recently under went some change to make it suddenly become a winner? I'm confused.

Anyone wish to respond?
post #9 of 18
You have very luck!Here (Andorra), Ski Mag and Powder don't arrive!!!
post #10 of 18
Good point Bandit Man.

SKI needs to relook at their categorization. Why bother separating AME and Freerider categories when they are going to lump the 195 cm new AK against Dynastar's Intuiv 74 all within the "Freeride" category? That is confusing and misleading.

I read all of these mag reviews with healthy skepticism anyway, but I did like SKIING's categories last year much better (i.e. using subsets within the "freerider" title to segregate between the skier's skill / terrain preference). Their superhero category (doesn't that stroke the ego) lumped all the 84-90 mm waisted skis together and then left the "traditional" midfats in separate category for those experts who emphasize frontside skiing as much, if not more, than backside skiing.

I found that format much more useful when I was deciding on a new pair of skis last year (ultimately choosing the 10.EX).
post #11 of 18
What BigHarvey said. Skiing's reports are more useful than Ski's because of [among other things] the categorization of models. I'm mindful of the tough job ALL magazines have in testing so many models of skis. In two days at Stratton last year, it was simply impossible to test everything. Sometimes, it was impossibe to test a particular model in a length which would have been appropriate - frequently, they weren't available, and we had to take what was there, regardless of length. I understand that the ski mags receive, from the manufacturers, either one or two lengths of each ski tested - and considering that, and the numbers of models to be tested, it's not easy to come up with a report.

After the Stratton on snow trade show, I continued during the season to test models that had caught my interest, whether at Stratton or elsewhere, in a variety of lengths. Only in that continued search have I been able to refine reports to be more descriptive of performance than the short blurbs publshed in the ski mags. Of course, this would be vitually impossible, as a practical matter, for the ski mags to do.

This is not to say that the ski mags don't do a good job as far as they can, or that their reports are not useful - I feel that they ARE useful. Rather, I think there is a need for places like this web site for continued reporting on more in depth tests - in depth meaning on appropriate lengths [appropriate for the tester], and many different conditions, and over more of the season.
post #12 of 18
I dont know what I would do If my issues of SKI and SKIING didn't come in the mail. I was starting to pull my hair out.

$0.02 for OBOE: while true that their organization and presentation is generally a little better than SKI's SKIING will always suffer from one major drawback in my mind. They dont have the Warren Miller cloumn.

So hard to decide which is really a "Better" ski mag so I just subscribed to both. Between the two, I get my ski fix...
post #13 of 18
BTW, Hi to Freak'N'Do. Welcome to the forum!
post #14 of 18
I think Oboe has alluded to something that may clear up the confusion about which ski belongs where in terms of catagory and performance characteristics.

Frankly, since they [ Ski and Skiing ] are both published by the same company in the same Boulder Col. location, they have a real difficult time creating two seperate magazine identities.

So I will wait for my issue of Skiing, and then maybe it will be less confusing. I also get Ski Canada, which seems to do a good job of catagorizing and performance evaluations. Unfortunately, as a US citizen, it seems that my issues arrive a few weeks after the Canadian subscribers.
post #15 of 18

let's remember that the "category" is an arbitrary marketing feature.

what matters are the performance differences.

I don't care if they call the fatter skis "freeride" or "deep snow" or "stupid hucker with damaged carcass" skis. I'm going to try them regardless of their "category," and regardless of what SKI or SKIING or ANYONE else says about them.

gosh, have we become a nation of pigeonholers?
post #16 of 18
The fact is, Gonz, that if no one ever "said" anything about them, you and I wouldn't have as good a chance to KNOW that they are there to be tried. Although I and you and several others here have a strong interest in the technical and performance aspects of equipment, many others don't - and they'd like some idea where to start looking for their next pair of skis, so the marketing is a help.

Since the magazines sort of "rank" skis within a category, it does make a difference whether they're comparing skis based on the ability of the skier ["All Mountain Expert, Player"] or on the intended use for the ski ["Expert Freeride, Intermediate Freeride"]. Market positioning is IMPORTANT, both for the consumer and the manuacturers/vendors.

As for trying skis "no matter what anyone says about them", it just doesn't work that way. I spent a few days on the hill with manufacturers' reps and retailers. My first expectation was to "try all of them no matter what anyone else says about them," to borrow your phrase. Couldn't do it! Humanly impossible! There were just too, too many models and lengths to try them all. So, as it turned out, my conversations with manufacturers' reps and retailers - what they said - helped, and in fact was necessary, to make the experience at all useful. The techies sure did THEIR part: After a miserable time on the Rossi Bandit XX in 177 cm, the techie urged me to try the 170 cm - and the rest,as they say, is history! I fell in love with the Bandit XX's, and I've been enjoying a torrid affair them ever since!

[ August 19, 2002, 04:19 PM: Message edited by: oboe ]
post #17 of 18
This discussion about ski categories and performance qualities largely misses the point. What matters is the graphics (and to a lesser extent whether they are single or twin tipped or have "Freeride" "X" or "Cross-something" in their name). Come on, let's get our priorities straight.
post #18 of 18
Soooooooo Lostboy, after that post your new handle should be......"Savedagain."

Seriously, I do agree with your post, and it is about marketing [gonzostrike's post] just like the auto guys and the new cars that we "must" buy or lease each year.
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