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How Did Atomic Fall From Grace?

post #1 of 190
Thread Starter 
Whoa, just over six months that I've been away from Epic, and all I see now is Atomic-bashing up and down the forums. Maybe you disagree with this assumption, but I've been surprised at consistency of the ridicule/vitriol heaped upon the company that I'm seeing.

I don't know enough to say whether it's justified or not (what do you think?), but I see many names of Bears whom I trust and they have nothing good to say about Atomic. Surely Atomic has people who look at Epic -- they must be wondering what the hell is going on and thinking, Et tu, Epic?

What happened?
post #2 of 190
Oh, what a fickle bunch we are.
post #3 of 190
Head happened.
post #4 of 190
Metron...

Beyond the Metron people finally realized that most of the skis were over rated - much like Volkls (yes the AC4 is over rated folks - sorry ). People are starting to realize that race bred sandwich laminate skis with vertical sidewalls are where it's at in terms of performance. There might be other ways to arrive at that performance, but right now if a ski looks like it was built the same way that a race stock board was laid up - it is the new "hotness." Atomic, with their "funny" profiles and space-age construction don't have that niche filled... not to mention that the once coveted "Beta" has all but disappeared from their tech event WC race skis, leaving people to wonder why it isn't being used if it is so great. Not only that but a few of their powder skis are now laminates - absent of beta - and they don't look like, or feel like Atomics anymore. A high performance Atomic without Beta - something doesn't seem right to the consumer... plus their skis are no longer known as the most brutal brand as they were in the days of the Betarace 10.28 and have actually (since the Metron) become known as skis that are soft, flimsy, forgiving, and usually skied on by gapers.

Of course that is all just speculation... I do think that the Metron killed the "performance" niche that Atomic had filled because it turned out to be the trendiest ski that has graced our presence in a long time (possibly since the Xscream).

Later

GREG
post #5 of 190
The Metron was indeed a paper fire. I still liked my M11 and the M11 B5. I just prefer a longer TR. IMHO the pendulum was swung too far over with the Metron's sidecut. I would rather be in the upper teens, low 20's vs. the 12-13M range.
post #6 of 190
I think the industry, having become frustrated with Salomon and it's every decreasing quality issues, were shocked by Amer's purchase of Salomon and have lumped the two together. It could have gone either way, with Salomon being viewed as a product on the up, however the effect is in reverse. The continuing wrangles on the W/C circuit continue in a financial climate rife with insecurity. What the future holds for Atomic i have no idea. This winter's offerings have had a mixed reception here in Europe. We love the Nomad range, i skied the Crimson all last winter and loved it, but i don't sell non-woodcore skis! The Hawx has to be the biggest joke( at least for bootfitters!) since the Soft boot idea. On the whole, their range looks poor. Yes the Race dept stiff is the best prepared i've ever skied on but will that endorsement be enough for me to pass on the product to my clients? Sadly, no.
post #7 of 190
Hmmm... I have heard plenty of good things about the Thug and Big Daddy. The MB5 is a really really nice ski it also one of the stiffest, heaviest, skis I have ever ridden. The 172 is stiffer than my 183 im103s. When I first heard about it 3 years ago I just ignored the "hype" but last season I gave it a try and I still think it is underrated on this board because in the past year or so many have been trying hate. To me they are carving skis that can do juat about everythign else pretty well except bumps where they are just 'so-so'.

Otherwise, I really don't know a ton about atomic's other skis. I demoed the M11B5 which was a solid ski but pretty typical midfat no real problems but nothing mind blowing.
post #8 of 190
The SX11 is a prettty good ski for hard snow. The SX12 should be good too. The Balance 11 is a great intermediate female specific ski. I think there are just a few outspoken critics.
post #9 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
The SX11 is a prettty good ski for hard snow. The SX12 should be good too. The Balance 11 is a great intermediate female specific ski. I think there are just a few outspoken critics.
The problem is this: Lets say you put the SX:12 up against the Head Superspeed (i.XRC 1200 SW), Stockli Cross Pro, Elan GSX Fusion Pro/Ripstick, and Nordica Mach 3 Power - all in comparable lengths (say high 170cm lengths). In the past, the Atomic would also always come out near the top in terms of performance, feel, grip, etc. People liked the skis because they were beefy and had powerful edgehold and rebound. Now, I bet that if you put those 5 skis in a test against each other that the Atomic would not be at the top... and might be lucky to not be in the bottom spot. That isn't to say that Atomic isn't still building good skis, but I do think that the rest of the industry has "caught up" in a sense that they can consistently offer products that can easily rival Atomic...

I think that Volkl's mass produced freeride and cap race skis are in the same position. The difference is that Volkl has been able to adapt their lines and now you see a big focus on the very successful freeride skis (Mantra, Gotama, etc).

Overall, the industry is headed in a good direction because skiers are demanding better built skis. The companies that are not producing better skis are not selling skis and losing marketshare. Evidence of this is how Nordica has been able to successfully push their way into the market by offering top quality skis. In just a few seasons they have gone to a "never seen" brand to one of the biggest players in the market. The maket wasn't getting any bigger, so they had to be taking marketshare from someone - right?

Later

GREG
post #10 of 190

Atomic RS

I skied the infamous Atomic RS's in the early to mid 80's.

If Atomic really wanted to be #1 in the market, they would
resurrect the RS Bionic with a modern sidecut. (Use the exact
same construction.) Something like 116/80/102 would be excellent.

Tom
post #11 of 190
Its odd that a couple years ago it seemed all the top instructor types on Epic were on Metrons. Those of us with more of a free-ride inclination and 20 to 30 meter skis felt compelled to tease these guys on their 160 CM 12 meter radius carvers. I really don't think any specific disrespect was intended to Atomic, but the Metron religion was too tempting to ignore. I think for a while I might have been only moderator here that wasn't on a Metron..then Phil sold out.

Yes, I think we have to blame Phil for all the hating.
Atomic missed the boat and failed to sponsor this influential and Epic skier. :
post #12 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post
I think for a while I might have been only moderator here that wasn't on a Metron
Nope, that never happened... there was always one more non-Metron skiing mod.
post #13 of 190
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post
Its odd that a couple years ago it seemed all the top instructor types on Epic were on Metrons. Those of us with more of a free-ride inclination and 20 to 30 meter skis felt compelled to tease these guys on their 160 CM 12 meter radius carvers. I really don't think any specific disrespect was intended to Atomic, but the Metron religion was too tempting to ignore. I think for a while I might have been only moderator here that wasn't on a Metron..then Phil sold out.

Yes, I think we have to blame Phil for all the hating.
Atomic missed the boat and failed to sponsor this influential and Epic skier. :
Cirque, weren't you skiing Volkl 5*'s a couple years ago? I seem to remember you catching some guff for skiing those out west. Maybe I misremember.

So what's the new Metron? Has the Eternal Epic Hype Cycle coalesced around another ski or group of skis?
post #14 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trotski View Post
What happened?
I cursed them for making Volant into a superficial ornament for uber elite posers. (Not really)
post #15 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richie-Rich View Post
Head happened.
I really think that what happened, was that Bode went over to Head from Atomic, taking his greatness with him, and now all the cool kids are retooling.
post #16 of 190
News to me.. I hooked up with the ST-12 and LT-12 last season coming off of a quiver of race stock Fischers for the past 3+ years.
Skeptical of Atomic due to my experiences with demo's in Mount Hood all I can say is WOW!!

The ski industry is a up and down world, on top today and scrambling to survive tomorrow...
post #17 of 190

Caution: Gross Overgeneralization Ahead

I am not knowledgable about all their models, but my impression is that Atomic's high end skis tend to be traditional race carvers and smooth even flexing beefy skis. Skiers that really carve their turns like Atomics, but that seems to be becoming a lost art to some extent. They make some fantastic skis but they don't work as well for "scarving" as many other brands.

I may be completely off base, but it seems to me like the general public is going for skis with more pop that work well for slashing their turns as opposed to the continuous carve which Atomics have always excelled at. Superb high speed and crud blasting skis, but not if you are trying to cheat on carving. Just my 2 cents from and old school crumudgen.
post #18 of 190
They still make great skis. Don't buy into the hype for the newest thing. Wait a year or two and buy the stuff that works, cheap.
post #19 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trotski View Post
Cirque, weren't you skiing Volkl 5*'s a couple years ago? I seem to remember you catching some guff for skiing those out west. Maybe I misremember.

So what's the new Metron? Has the Eternal Epic Hype Cycle coalesced around another ski or group of skis?
Ummmm, no, those 6-stars I happened to be seen holding in the 04-05 season were my daughter's skis. (which were incidentally much longer than ssh's Metrons)

The new "Metron" is a Head Supershape. We are working to debunk the myth from atop our soapbox made of Mantras, Gotamas, Sugar Daddies and Spindrift's Pontoons.
post #20 of 190
Herman ditched Atomic for Head as well - another legend
post #21 of 190
heluva nordica makes goods skis but one of the primary reasons for their "success" is that in most cases a retailer must take the skis if they want carry the boots
aside from race product which is given away at the beginning of the season go to your local reatiler and see which brands are left on the walls
i would bet they satrt with N
post #22 of 190
What's the new Metron?

Skis that are over 105mm at the waist, preferably rockered with reverse sidecut. Something with over a 35m turn radius and burly flex...gotta have it so everyone in the lift line can see how rad you are. Better get a fullface helmet also.

Carving is so 2005, it's all about the slackcountry freshie secret stash now.
post #23 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by waxman View Post
heluva nordica makes goods skis but one of the primary reasons for their "success" is that in most cases a retailer must take the skis if they want carry the boots
aside from race product which is given away at the beginning of the season go to your local reatiler and see which brands are left on the walls
i would bet they satrt with N
Without actual data there is no way of telling where the marketshare came from (someone must have access to it), but the bottom line is that when a new large player emerges in a most saturated market that someone is going to lose marketshare. Now, ski companies can turn a blind eye to it by burying their heads in the sand and say "nope we aren't being affected it" but the fact is there that someone is losing ground when someone else gains it. It is easy to say that a company's sales are going up because shops are forced to carry both their boots and skis, but Atomic has boots and skis just like all of the big players in the market (Salomon, Nordica, Dynastar, Rossignol, Fischer, Head, Elan, Volkl). So you're saying that Atomic is selling every pair (to a consumer) of a smaller and smaller number of skis every year. The long-term impacts could be rough.

And BTW read this - http://www.amersports.com/amersports...18673228028 8

Amer sport is showing a 6% overall decrease in revenues from 2006 to 2007 as reported for the second quarter, and are partially blaming the decrease on their winter sports business in which preorders have declined by 25%, resulting in an expected loss for 2007. They go one to say "In early 2007 we began to adjust our winter sports business to match the decrease in volumes."

In January - June 2007 Salomon's sales declined 8% and Atomic's 41% - This is huge for Atomic as a brand even though revenue from the Atomic brand only makes up 3% of the Amersport total. The numbers don't lie... Retailers are clearly not buying as many Atomic skis than they have in pervious years... the reason for this cannot be because they are flying off the shelves.

Later

GREG
post #24 of 190
I forgot to say that I demoed the LT11 last year and it wasn't that great either.

IMVHO... Atomic hit a home run with the MB5... 3 years ago. Obviously by now that is cooling off and people are looking at the next super awesome amazing thing. Lets see what they come up with next.

And I agree that the money people are spending on new skis seems to be on a fatter pair of skis.
post #25 of 190
The shop I helped out with lest year sold ZERO pair of their Atomics. The sticked...

M11B5
M9
M7
LT11
Snoops
Balanz 11
Izor 9

Most were gold metal winners. Zero pair. made me look bad, I suggested most of them.
post #26 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post
Its odd that a couple years ago it seemed all the top instructor types on Epic were on Metrons. Those of us with more of a free-ride inclination and 20 to 30 meter skis felt compelled to tease these guys on their 160 CM 12 meter radius carvers. I really don't think any specific disrespect was intended to Atomic, but the Metron religion was too tempting to ignore. I think for a while I might have been only moderator here that wasn't on a Metron..then Phil sold out.

Yes, I think we have to blame Phil for all the hating.
Atomic missed the boat and failed to sponsor this influential and Epic skier. :
Clearly this is the case, first Phil jumps to Elan, the plake jumps to keep up,,:
post #27 of 190
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
The shop I helped out with lest year sold ZERO pair of their Atomics. The sticked...

M11B5
M9
M7
LT11
Snoops
Balanz 11
Izor 9

Most were gold metal winners. Zero pair. made me look bad, I suggested most of them.
WTF! That's crazy! What does that say about the mainstream ski media and their hallowed Gold Medals?
post #28 of 190
From what I recall last time I looked, Atomics were also generally more pricey than the other skis.
post #29 of 190
Yikes, zero pair sold! Could it be something so simple and stupid as the lack of "cool" graphics. Based on the new crop of skis it seems like you need some inane crap on the top of the ski to be popular. Atomic's graphics have been very subdued compared to the competition the last few years.

After all, it's more important to look good than to ski good.
post #30 of 190
The SL9 was a great ski for carving but the BINDING on the Atomics suck, and now the ski and binding are entirely too heavy.
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