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Gear Reviews - content and format

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
In the "Walk the Talk" thread, many members thought equipment reviews could be improved if recommended contents and format for reviews would be posted in that forum. The purpose of this thread is to get ideas for what would be useful in a review to get the most out of it. We will try to summarize the suggestions here and post them as a "sticky" in the review forum. The format will be optional but will hopefully be useful to increase value of the reviews.

Noodler and Steve have used a standard format that I have slightly modified. That is probably as good of a starting point as any. Please copy, add-on and modify as you see fit.

Test Title:
Brand, model, length of ski

Skier info:
Height/weight:
Ability:
Days/year:
Skis I like:
Skis I don't like:
Preferred skiing style: (briefly describe your preferred terrain, conditions, activities.)

Test Factors:

Location:
Conditions:
Terrain:

Summary of Test:


Details of Test:

Recommendation:
post #2 of 16
I agree that a format can be helpful. When I demo skis, I try to use this format so I can best describe the ski in a manner other than "this ski sucks" or "this ski Rocks!"
Its not perfect, but its something.
Quote:
Tester:
Age:
Height and Weight:
Ski the tester usually skis:
Ski being tested:
Manufacturer
Model
Length
Category & Dimensions AM CARV POW

1=Poor 2= Fair 3=Average 4=Very Good 5=Excellent
1 2 3 4 5
Short Turns
Medium Turns
Long Turns
Rebound
Stability
Forgiveness
Grip
Steeps
Crud
Powder
Ice
Overall Impression

Tested Length Felt:
Too Short Just Right Too Long

Ski Sidecut Felt:
Too Much Just Right Too Little

Ski Flex Felt:
Too Soft Just Right Too Stiff

Best Described As:
Nimble Balanced Burly

Notes:
post #3 of 16
Looks good,

Here is another variation on the same theme;

Ski name in title and in the top line of the post.

Where: The name of the resort

Conditions: Recent snow amounts or lack of, grooming or lack of.

Were the following conditions tried;
ü Groomed runs
ü Moguls
ü Natural soft snow
ü Crud

Weather: Temperature & precipitation.

Reviewers specs: gender, height, weight, years of experience, skiing level

Skis used in the last 2 years:

Boots & bindings:

Test impressions
  • Low speed ease of use 1-9
  • High speed stability 1-9
  • Short turning agility 1-9
  • Long turn stability 1-9
  • Groomed & hard snow conditions edge-grip 1-9
  • Ease of use in moguls 1-9
  • Ease of use in Natural snow 1-9
  • Stability in crud 1-9
Narrative



I try to consider how the ski perform in situations that are linear opposites, hence;

Low speed ease of use 1-9
High speed stability 1-9

and

Short turning agility 1-9
Long turn stability 1-9

and

Groomed & hard snow conditions edge-grip 1-9
Ease of use in moguls 1-9
Ease of use in natural snow 1-9
Stability in crud 1-9


Usually a ski is able to perform well in some situations, but not all. This forces the reviewer to make choices while reviewing the ski. If the ski "Does it all well" or is "totally useless" in this format, the reader will quickly spot a bias.

Cheers,

Michael

P.S. Many skis models are often reviewed as "doing it all (well)". The Head SS and Volkl Gatoma are two examples. A review format could be designed to increase the level of rigor. For example;

the 183cm Gotoma would test as follows

Low speed ease of use: 3 Not ideal for lower speeds due to length and sidecut
High speed stability 9 Excellent due to length and sidecut

and

Short turning agility 2 Not ideal for lower speeds due to length and sidecut
Long turn stability 9 Excellent due to length and sidecut

and

Groomed & hard snow conditions edge-grip 7 Very good due to quality construction
Ease of use in moguls 3 Not ideal due to width
Ease of use in natural snow 9 Excellent due to width, sidecut & softer flex
Stability in crud very 7 Very good but not ideal due to softer flex

the 170cm Head SS would test as follows:

Low speed ease of use 8 Excellent due to shorter length a deeper sidecut
High speed stability 6 Above average performance at moderate speed due to construction but loses some stability at very high speeds due to deep sidecut

and

Short turning agility 8 Excellent agility due to shorter length a deeper sidecut
Long turn stability 6 Above average due to construction but loses some stability due to deep sidecut

and

Groomed & hard snow conditions edge-grip 9 Excellent groomed skiing due to short length, deep sidecut & construction
Ease of use in moguls 6 Short length is a plus but deeper sidecut and wide tail reduces performance in moguls
Ease of use in Natural snow 4 Short length and deep sidecut limits soft snow performance at higher speeds
Stability in crud 4 Short length and deep sidecut crud limits performance at higher speeds

While both the Gotoma and SS are top performers. The review format provides data that allows the reader to understand the differences in top performing gear.
post #4 of 16
Michael,
This would be a very good format, i think.
Nevils
post #5 of 16
There used to be a suggested outline at the beginning of the section of the forum for member reviews. It was quite simple, calling for the reviewer's specs - ht, wt, skier level, etc, specifics of the ski, where and when skied, conditions skied, reviewer's commentary on the skis, and, what other skis the reviewer likes. Most ski reviews posted pretty much followed the outline without being regimented into filling in the blanks or answering the questions on a form. There was usually some discussion following a review with others expressing their agreement, disagreement, asking questions, and expanding upon the original review. Simple, and it worked pretty well.
post #6 of 16
My $.02...

I appreciate the idea of a standardized format, particularly if it's not applied rigidly. Unless we're creating a database that can be queried by structured fields, there's no reason why there has to be agreement on whether to use a 1-5 or 1-10 scale, on the order of topics, or on the topics generally. That said, a blank form can be useful as a "tickler" to remind you of the points to hit.

I take a different approach to ski purchases than most here, because I don't particularly like the standard demo methodology of skiing multiple skis in a given day. I feel like I need a couple of days to really get the sense of whether I like a ski or not. For instance, my current faves are a pair of 186 Fischer Big Stix 84s that I hated -- hated -- until my third day on them. If I'd demoed them, I never would have bought them. So instead, I tend to look for deals on skis that I can rationalize adding to my quiver, on the theory that if I love them that's great, and if I end up not liking them, at least I can offload them without a huge hit.

I look to reviews to identify certain characteristics of the skis I'm considering buying, beyond what's easily available, like dimensions. Build quality. Durability. Feel. Stiffness. The unexpected -- like when a narrow ski has surprising float, or a wide ski carves particularly well. Stuff like that.
post #7 of 16
Does anybody have a headache yet???

SJ
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpinedad View Post
My $.02...

I appreciate the idea of a standardized format, particularly if it's not applied rigidly. Unless we're creating a database that can be queried by structured fields, there's no reason why there has to be agreement on whether to use a 1-5 or 1-10 scale, on the order of topics, or on the topics generally. That said, a blank form can be useful as a "tickler" to remind you of the points to hit.

Agreed. A format is good, but a lot of reviews seem to be lacking any real description of the personality of the ski.

I know these aren't really epic type skis, but the best example I can think of is 194 rossi sqauds vs 193 head im103s. On paper, they seem to be very similar skis, and indeed they are. They both fit into the category of big burly skis that are meant for going really fast on hardpack and variable snow. They are both going to suck at lower speeds, in bumps, in trees, and at making tight turns. All that is a given. However, even for their designed use, they each have very different personalities. The heads are way heavier, a bit less sidecut, and less camber. Each different is just a little bit, but the combined effect is enough to make the heads way more work to ski than the squads.
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by MAGGOT View Post
Agreed. A format is good, but a lot of reviews seem to be lacking any real description of the personality of the ski.

I know these aren't really epic type skis, but the best example I can think of is 194 rossi sqauds vs 193 head im103s. On paper, they seem to be very similar skis, and indeed they are. They both fit into the category of big burly skis that are meant for going really fast on hardpack and variable snow. They are both going to suck at lower speeds, in bumps, in trees, and at making tight turns. All that is a given. However, even for their designed use, they each have very different personalities. The heads are way heavier, a bit less sidecut, and less camber. Each different is just a little bit, but the combined effect is enough to make the heads way more work to ski than the squads.
That is a good review description!
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post
Does anybody have a headache yet???

SJ
post #11 of 16
A format is a great suggestion but some of us ADHD people will have a hard time staying on task. I am game, on my next review I will try it..
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post
Test Title: Brand, model, length of ski

Skier info:
Height/weight:
Ability:
Days/year:
Skis I like:
Skis I don't like:
Preferred skiing style: (briefly describe your preferred terrain, conditions, activities.)

Test Factors:

Location:
Conditions:
Terrain:

Summary of Test:


Details of Test:

Recommendation:
This is the best option I have seen so far and is generally what I follow when documenting skis. Sorry but I don't want to write or read book length article for a ski review. Plain language is more informative than a detailed numerical break down. Keep 'em short and sweet with basic essential information. I don't honestly see how a single review should really take more than a half page.
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post
Does anybody have a headache yet???

SJ
Seriously, much of this is overkill. These formats are fine for some, but if you have something to say, say it. More can be revealed in the discussion that follows, including the merits of the review.
post #14 of 16
If you look at this review I did on the Wave Spice, you may see how the rating system can make it simpler to read, and simpler to keep the properties of the ski in mind when the tester writes a review.
Quote:
Originally Posted by trekchick View Post
Me: 40 year old advanced recreational, Female skier, 5'6" 126 lbs


Ski: 2008 Elan Wave Spice, 160 cm, sidecut 126/80/109, R 13.4

Flex: Stiff, burly ski


I first tried this ski at Kton during BumpPhest and, though I liked it on the terrain that wasn't bumped up, I didn't find this ski happy in the bumps at all which is not surprising because that is not really what it is made to do.

All of the local ski hills here in Michigan have been closed, but the recent snow storms allowed Boyne Highlands to open up for the weekend for a Big Air Contest they had cancelled, which also allowed a few of us to ski some limited terrain for one last hooray!


conditions:
Spring like, firm groomed for the first hour or two but softening to almost slush conditions by day's end.
After reading the literature on these skis, I was eager to click in and get these out for a real chance to see what they had to offer. They are the womens' Specific version of the Elan Magfire 12, and are being described at a Substantial Women Specific Ski.
They were not wrong. This ski performed very well on the firm groomed snow in the early morning and carried me through the afternoon crud, busting through anything in its path. There was little that this ski couldn't handle. I was skiing with a few guys who were willing to try it out and give their impression, and both were surprised at how well the Elan Wave Spice held up under their weight and power carves in the spring crud. I wouldn't be surprised if either/both of these guys check out the Elan Magfire in the upcoming season.




Rating on a scale of 1-5
Short turns: 4
Medium turns: 5
Long turns: 5+
Rebound: 4
Stability: 5
Forgiveness: 5
Grip: 4
Crud: 5+
Over all impression: 5+
The tested length was perfect for me at 126 lbs, but both of the guys said they would go for something more in the 170-175 ish range.
The side cut is definitely not a carver cut but perfect for the type of ski that it is.
If you're an advanced female skier looking for something that will let you conquer the mountain. The Elan Wave spice is definitely worth a try!
post #15 of 16
The use of the format would actually save the reviewer time and will usually improve the quality.

Think of it as an online form with a narrative section, this is more simple than people are assuming.

Michael
post #16 of 16
barrett's format is headache-city for the reviewer...

nothing wrong with noodler's/dawgcatching/ssh type reviews..

all I know is that skis covered in WHITE camouflage will always be shi**y..:

other than that....not much really!:

cheers.......imo current reviews are fine..
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