Originally Posted by PhilT
It's true about ski racing dying and when you say mcconkey can get a pontoon but mahre cant get a race ski alot of the reason is because more people will by the pontoon than the race ski.
Most of the rest of your post is pretty accurate, but I had to comment on this. K2 really doesn't sell that many Pontoons. Pontoons and other super-specialized models, like the original Spat, Maid'n AK, the Volkl Sumo, etc, are purely image pieces. The manufacturers make a couple of hundred pairs for sponsored athletes and a few core skiers that have the cash.
After you account for R&D, mold costs, and regular production, I'll bet ya that K2 doesn't actually make money on the Pontoon. BUT it does make money on the image
of the Pontoon. In the minds of many freekiing-wannabees, it cements the image of K2 as a technology leader. Then they go buy a more mainstream, more versatile pair of K2s. Almost every manufacturer uses this strategy to some degree.
Regarding the ski racing dying comment, I understand why many people think it, but it really isn't true. What is
true is that nobody chooses "race skis" as their all-mountain ride anymore. But at the grassroots ski club and collegiate level, racing is still quite strong. The fact that the US Ski Team is substantially more competitve now than it was 10 years ago is evidence of this. I'm sure the companies that make good race skis - Atomic, Head, Völkl, Fischer - would not tell you that racing is dead. A couple of them are making a lot of money on racing.