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Does it matter where skis are manufactured? - Page 3

post #61 of 92

I don’t like the off shoring of skilled labor.

I believe this is why there is no longer a middle class in the good ole USA.
Publicly traded companies do not give a hoot about you, me and the long term health of the country they live in. They don’t even care about the long term future of the mega corporations they work for.
Its about quarter to quarter profit taking.
I believe we are gutting the infrastructure of our country when we buy products from offshore that require craftsmanship and ingenuity to create
Moving money and product around the globe from your computer is not for everyone.
I have allot more to say. But I just don’t l know how to articulate my thoughts on the subject.
Your going to wake up one day, and there won’t be enough craftsmen left here to help when we need them most.
Making skis is an insignificant piece of the big pie.
BUT!
The craftsman who knows how to work with plastic, wood and laminates.
They guys who make tools, Bandsaws, Presses, Grinders Routers.
Electricians who install and maintain.
Factories who make Ptex, ABS sidewall material, Wood cores, Complex metal materials (And so much more.
Support skilled labor and manufacture in your own country.
You have a chance to preserve your standard of living by paying attention to what and who you are supporting with your wallet.
post #62 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by philippeR View Post
. No, it's not tricky to decide that the PRC is an oppressive regime. No, there are no different ways to look at basics human rights. I don't believe in cultural relativism BS. I believe human rights are universal, that they would be meaningless otherwise. I believe that if they're good for me, they're good for the chinese too. And I read quite a bit too before forming that opinion.
"
I agree with you, but I still don't see how refusing to buy a ski made in China helps the Chinese worker. Keeping them as poor subsistance farmers won't do much for their universally deserved human rights. I can just hear the ruling elite "gee, they aren't buying skis, we'd better step down and have true free elections."
post #63 of 92
well then, only one way to settle this. Garrett and beyond, choose your weapon *displays impressive selection of medieval weaponry* Maybe after one of your has macabrely slaughtered the other, we can get back to the real question, instead of your own personal confrontations....
lets just try to stick to the thread and put forth new and constructive ideas here
post #64 of 92
Thread Starter 
I am thinking the way it must work is... that there is a ski press at the site of design, inspiration and divine guidance. The inspiration is created and tested at the site near the snow. Then the molds and specs are sent to the Amazon Basin where the locals will work for pretty beads.

So, politics and morals aside, it doesn't really matter where the ski is manufactured. This thought is somewhat validated in that most of the conversation is about politics and morals.

Globalization makes me itchy.. I personally don't shop at Walmart, so don't have dreams of buying a toaster for $1.99. I just figure it will settle out when we run out of money and become a nation of "shopkeepers' (what happened to the British Empire) and we will all be programmers and earn dinner money by selling all our Walmart stuff on ebay. We can live by listening to hip hop... (I'm not sure how that really works). Anyway, most economist preach Adam Smith's laissez-faire ideas and comparative advantage. So unless you can write something that gets as much attention, we are stuck with this economic course. By the way, before Adam Smith defined economics, he was a moral philosopher. Adam Smith Wealth of Nations

Please consider that manufacturing is only a portion of the cost of skis. Marketing and Promotion has to cost a lot. And of course there is distribution and the cost of shipping all the stuff back and forth across the vast oceans. Some skis cost more because they are strapped into first class airline seats to fill just-in-time supply channels.
post #65 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruxpercnd View Post
I am thinking the way it must work is... that there is a ski press at the site of design, inspiration and divine guidance. The inspiration is created and tested at the site near the snow. Then the molds and specs are sent to the Amazon Basin where the locals will work for pretty beads.

So, politics and morals aside, it doesn't really matter where the ski is manufactured. This thought is somewhat validated in that most of the conversation is about politics and morals.

Globalization makes me itchy.. I personally don't shop at Walmart, so don't have dreams of buying a toaster for $1.99. I just figure it will settle out when we run out of money and become a nation of "shopkeepers' (what happened to the British Empire) and we will all be programmers and earn dinner money by selling all our Walmart stuff on ebay. We can live by listening to hip hop... (I'm not sure how that really works). Anyway, most economist preach Adam Smith's laissez-faire ideas and comparative advantage. So unless you can write something that gets as much attention, we are stuck with this economic course. By the way, before Adam Smith defined economics, he was a moral philosopher. Adam Smith Wealth of Nations

Please consider that manufacturing is only a portion of the cost of skis. Marketing and Promotion has to cost a lot. And of course there is distribution and the cost of shipping all the stuff back and forth across the vast oceans. Some skis cost more because they are strapped into first class airline seats to fill just-in-time supply channels.
Oct 4, 2007

Hi Ruxpercnd:

One of the funniest posts not on the Humor forum, IMHO. Looking forward to buying skis made from highly skilled Amazonian craftspersons compensated in "beads". Reminds me of THE spectacular real estate transaction which the Dutch pulled off a few years ago in New Netherland. So some "skis" travel like Ma YoYo's cello? Well, I'll be. Must be the skis from China.

I especially loved the quote:"L'Angleterre est une nation de doutiquiers" often attributed to Napoleon.

Think snow,

CP
post #66 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruxpercnd View Post
So, politics and morals aside, it doesn't really matter where the ski is manufactured. This thought is somewhat validated in that most of the conversation is about politics and morals.
One hundred percent agreed.
Quote:
By the way, before Adam Smith defined economics, he was a moral philosopher. Adam Smith Wealth of Nations
It is interesting to note that many of the most important figures in 20th century macroeconomics were successful politicians and bureaucrats, often before they were revered intellectuals. Friedman was suckling at the D.C. teat a dozen years before he had a Ph.D.
Quote:
Some skis cost more because they are strapped into first class airline seats to fill just-in-time supply channels.
Is air freight in widespread use for hardgoods? I wonder who is doing this. Certainly it makes sense for HP to buy components for my laptop on Monday, assemble it, and have it delivered to me from Asia on Wednesday. But skis seem to present a less clear case...if demand in Asia is high (Japan) aren't you better off shipping your orders to Europe and North America slow and then filling your more local orders? I'm having trouble envisioning how you do JIT with skis without wasting a bunch of money on underutilized tooling. Especially because "just in time" is pretty much the same date for all the retail channels, particularly if we are talking about high end gear. Unless the point is just to keep the warehouse in Asia instead of Kentucky or Utah, but its hard for me to envision that being cheaper than air freight.
post #67 of 92
I have very stong feelings about this topic in regrads to skis... I want to write a couple of page about my feelings here but most of my thoughts have been expressed. I will share a few points

* I can not speak for a every company producing skis in Asia but I have talked to three companies executives that have told me basiclly the same thing, that their Asian factories produce an inferior product and they are riddled with quality control problem. The work force is trained for mass production and quality.

* Any company that is cutting cornors in the Human crafting part of building a skis is cutting corners in the materials of the ski. THE SUM OF A SKI IS ONLY AS GOOD AS THE PARTS THAT MAKE IT UP.

Companies producing in third world countries are not fouscing on building the best product they can, they are focused on making profit for shareholder.

When I am paying my hard earned $ for a product that I am passionate about, I darn sure want a product that is the best I can get for the money I buy it for.
post #68 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by Garrett View Post
Is air freight in widespread use for hardgoods? I wonder who is doing this.
Yes. Everyone.

Skis take a long time to make, and the window to sell them at max margin is short - from Columbus Day to Christmas in most places. So if your product is not in shops by Columbus Day, chances are that you're at least considering airfreighting it into the country. If you're late often, the retailers will remember. They'll order less of you're stuff because their margin on it shrinks with each passing day that it is not in their store.

Most gear brought into the US is shipped via sea container, but each manufacturer always has a model or three that are late, and airfreight is almost always used to get these products here ASAP.
post #69 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by troutman View Post
Most gear brought into the US is shipped via sea container, but each manufacturer always has a model or three that are late, and airfreight is almost always used to get these products here ASAP.
That is what I expected. That the use of air freight is an (expensive) exception, instead of part of a real JIT effort to reduce waste (inventory). IOW, its not anything like a computer manufacturer that uses air freight as a matter of course to eliminate extremely expensive inventory.
post #70 of 92
The Yes Men, a movie, follows a couple of anti-corporate activist-pranksters as they impersonate World Trade Organization spokesmen on TV and at business conferences around the world. (Click here for some articles about the movie, and here for the official U.S. movie site complete with trailer.)
The Yes Men UK DVD Poster The story follows Andy and Mike from their beginnings with GWBush.com, and on to their tasteless parody of the WTO's website. Some visitors don’t notice the site is a fake, and send speaking invitations meant for the real WTO. Mike and Andy play along with the ruse and soon find themselves attending important functions as WTO representatives.
Delighted to speak for the organization they oppose, Andy and Mike don thrift-store suits and set out to shock their unwitting audiences with darkly comic satires on global free trade. Weirdly, the experts don’t notice the joke and seem to agree with every terrible idea the two can come up with.
Exhausted by their failed attempts to shock, Mike and Andy take a whole new approach for one final lecture.
The Yes Men is directed by Dan Olman, Sarah Price, and Chris Smith, whose previous credits include the 1999 Sundance Winner “American Movie.” It was released by United Artists.








See this film.
post #71 of 92
okay, so this whole discussion was running through my head yesterday when i went suit/slack/shoe shopping. I hit up Macy's, Nordstroms, Nordstrom Rack...tons of shirts, suits, slacks, and shoes are made in China. Pretty much all the big manufacturers (Kenneth Cole, Liz Claiborne, etc., etc., etc.).

I managed to snag a pair of slacks made in mexico and a pair of sandals made in Brazil. 90% of the stuff i tried on was made in China, though.

there was even a wool sweater with a label that said "Designed in France, Made In China." i thought it interesting that they felt compelled to tell me that it was designed in Europe even though it wasn't made there.

i think it's pretty tough to find stuff made in U.S.A. these days unless you spend the time tracking it down and are willing to spend the extra $$$ to purchase it. if you work 60 hours a week and don't live near a big city and don't make a lot of money you're pretty much resigned to buying stuff made in China.
post #72 of 92
Has anyone commented on how most of the upstart ski companies of the past several years eventually outsource their manufacturing?

Armada is made in the EU
Line is made in China
4Frnt are made in Canada
Bluehouse are made in China

even PM Gear is having skis manufactured in Europe.

there were rumors that Scotty Bob was going to move production to China.

very few of the U.S. made upstarts still make their skis in the US (I believe Icelantic, Liberty, High Society, Lib Tech, Moment are still made in USA and that Prior are still made in Canada. Not sure where Ninth Ward are made).

At what point does a company decide that they need to outsource manufacturing? For example I believe Bluehouse just went straight to China after making a few small test batches in SLC. Other companies like 4Frnt started out in Tahoe and then moved to Canada. What is the deciding factor in all of this?
post #73 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post
i thought it interesting that they felt compelled to tell me that it was designed in Europe even though it wasn't made there.
Apple is most annoying and condescending with those "Designed in California" labels, as if thats supposed to be something a right-coaster like me is impressed by.
Quote:
if you work 60 hours a week and don't live near a big city and don't make a lot of money you're pretty much resigned to buying stuff made in China.
You need to open your eyes to the Google. For instance, I bought this shirt last week for 10.99 with a coupon they sent me with my last purchase. Made by American Apparel in your neck of the woods. I don't know how much a made in China t-shirt costs at your typical mall store, but I'm pretty sure it ranges from at least that much to quite a bit more.

Outside of silly t-shirts there are all sorts of other options as well...again, let The Google be your guide. I like to buy from people who at least put some effort into telling me where their stuff comes from and who their suppliers are. The biggest problem is of course trying stuff on, but I don't usually try on my undershorts anyways...
post #74 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post
very few of the U.S. made upstarts still make their skis in the US (I believe Icelantic, Liberty, High Society, Lib Tech, Moment are still made in USA and that Prior are still made in Canada. Not sure where Ninth Ward are made).
?
Liberty are also produced in China. Not sure about the others.

PMGear manufacturing will be split between US and Europe.

I cant speak for the others, but for PMGear, it become a capacity issue. The small shop in Reno wasn't able to keep up with demand, and outsourcing a bit (to Switzerland), helps to alleviate some of those issues with less risk (i.e. less infrastructure and equipment sitting around doing nothing if the market were to dry up).
post #75 of 92
Right on Ty.

I'm just curious at what point does a small manufacturer decide that they need to move manufacturing.

For example, you guys at PMGear very easily could have latched up with somebody over in China, no doubt. What prompted your decision to go with AK in Switzerland? Was it cost? Connections? Quality control?

I recall reading up on Line and how they went from Vermont to latching up with Karhu's Canadian plant. Then that was all moved over to China.

Not sure what 4Frnt's deal is, but they used to be made in Truckee and now they're made in Canada (at least they were last season...they said so on the top sheets, too).

My Lib Techs say that they are made in U.S.A. something like "handcrafted near Canada in the U.S.A."

Didn't know that Liberty was made in China.

This brings up another interesting thing...small companies that tout the location of where they started and where corporate headquarters is (Utah, Colorado, etc.) yet their skis are made overseas.

For example, I remember two seasons ago when I was demoing Line skis and asked where they were being made. Nobody was willing to divulge that they were made in China. I even queried Line via their contact email and nobody ever got back to me. It felt like they were trying to preserve their "small" company/grown in Vermont image.

So, is it wrong for a company to tout that their skis were designed/conceived/conceptualized in Colo/Utah/insert your desirable ski town here and then have them made overseas? (Bluehouse hypes the whole Utah angle, but then they are made in China, a fact that they don't hide as the owners have been very open about it here on these boards).
post #76 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post
Right on Ty.

I'm just curious at what point does a small manufacturer decide that they need to move manufacturing.

For example, you guys at PMGear very easily could have latched up with somebody over in China, no doubt. What prompted your decision to go with AK in Switzerland? Was it cost? Connections? Quality control?
For PMGear it was primarily a capacity issue and a reluctance to spend more capital on the Reno shop until we're sure that we can continue to support that growth. For a teeny, tiny company...spending dollars on capital equipment is a huge risk if the demand dries up. Having low overhead is imperative for the tiny companies to survive.

Again...I can't speak for others, but many times it's just like any other shopping trip and it comes down to many factors when evaluating who you want to do business with i.e.... Who am I comfortable working with? Are they easy to communicate with? Responsive to emails and requests? What's the factories reputation? Can the factory delivery what they say they will? How will the factory address issues when (not if) they come up? Cost of course has to be considered. Do they even have capacity for the batch? Will they bump us if a larger order from another company comes in? etc. etc.

It's an evaluation process with no single answer that requires alot of due diligence.

I've never been to China or toured a factory there, but I can comment on my one personal experience with a Chinese made ski......I am the proud owner of a DP Lotus 138 (All Drake Powderworks, DPS, skis are made in China too) and it is VERY well made, and I would buy another no problem, but I expect this ski to last a very long time so I hopefully won't have to worry about that for awhile
post #77 of 92

Quality Control

Yup...

It's ALL about quality control.

EXAMPLE: Nike running shoes have horrible QC and suffer greatly. The consumer pays top dollar when they could buy a shoe for the same price from Brooks and own a pair of SERIOUSLY good QC'd, top quality sneaks.

With the large ski companies, your QC x Quantity naturally leads to a diminished over-all quality. I can't believe that someone who does not ski or look forward to getting out on the boards can take solid ownership of the product they are cranking out in mass numbers.

two cents,

t-bone
post #78 of 92
Read that 4Frnt has relocated from Canada to Europe, starting to use a multiple radius design that looks sorta like Scott's.

Lost in all this is the possibility that manufacturers actually can implement new ideas, get more creative (all of which cost $), by moving to facilities that are more cost effective or already are set up to produce a desired design. In another business field that I'm learning a bit about, using subcontracters who already have experience with your product can allow you to take some creative and marketing risks.
post #79 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post
Has anyone commented on how most of the upstart ski companies of the past several years eventually outsource their manufacturing?

Armada is made in the EU
Line is made in China
4Frnt are made in Canada
Bluehouse are made in China

even PM Gear is having skis manufactured in Europe.

there were rumors that Scotty Bob was going to move production to China.

very few of the U.S. made upstarts still make their skis in the US (I believe Icelantic, Liberty, High Society, Lib Tech, Moment are still made in USA and that Prior are still made in Canada. Not sure where Ninth Ward are made).

At what point does a company decide that they need to outsource manufacturing? For example I believe Bluehouse just went straight to China after making a few small test batches in SLC. Other companies like 4Frnt started out in Tahoe and then moved to Canada. What is the deciding factor in all of this?
Ninthward are made in Austria.
post #80 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post
Lost in all this is the possibility that manufacturers actually can implement new ideas, get more creative (all of which cost $), by moving to facilities that are more cost effective or already are set up to produce a desired design. In another business field that I'm learning a bit about, using subcontracters who already have experience with your product can allow you to take some creative and marketing risks.
For certain ski companies described recently (hint), outsourcing anything from the customer service staff to the production would automatically be an improvement. Nothing like filing a warranty claim in March, checking up on it with a voicemail box in June, and getting that call returned in December with a January expected ship date for the replacement product. Warranty claims shouldn't take ten months. True story, I spent the first couple minutes of the phone call trying to figure out why I was getting a warranty ski call right before Christmas when I hadn't sent a ski for warranty since the previous spring.

If you can't produce your product domestically without leaving dribs of epoxy stuck to the edges, by all means let someone else produce your product. Design it, even. There are several ski companies that started in the US in the last few years that really should have just slapped their graphic on someone else's product from the get go, saving everyone involved a bunch of headaches. I remember one brand in 2003 where we brought in about 6 pair, and by the end of the season all but one pair had been warrantied...
post #81 of 92
out of curiosity, which of the U.S. "based" indies actually still make their skis in the U.S.?

PM Gear - Reno / Switzerland
Moment - Reno (pretty sure they're still made in Reno, too)
4Frnt - Europe (originated in Truckee)
Line - China (originated in NY/Massachusetts)
Liberty - China (originated in Colo)
Ninth Ward - ?
Lib Tech - Washington state
High Society - originated in Colo, not sure where they are made
Icelantic - made in Colo
Scotty Bob - China/Colorado - originated in Colo, custom modesl made in Colo, regular models in China
Bluehouse - China (originate from Utah)
Igneous - JH
Prior - originated in Vancouver, but not sure where are they manufactured
Armada - originated ? currently built in EU
DP - China

am I missing anybody?

it would be interesting to know out of all the small indies, how many of them are still being built in the U.S. (or their point of origin) and how many have moved operations overseas (either Europe or China).
post #82 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post
out of curiosity, which of the U.S. "based" indies actually still make their skis in the U.S.?

PM Gear - Reno / Switzerland
Moment - Reno (pretty sure they're still made in Reno, too)
4Frnt - Europe (originated in Truckee)
Line - China (originated in NY/Massachusetts)
Liberty - China (originated in Colo)
Ninth Ward - ?
Lib Tech - Washington state
High Society - originated in Colo, not sure where they are made
Icelantic - made in Colo
Scotty Bob - China/Colorado - originated in Colo, custom modesl made in Colo, regular models in China
Bluehouse - China (originate from Utah)
Igneous - JH
Prior - originated in Vancouver, but not sure where are they manufactured
Armada - originated ? currently built in EU
DP - China

am I missing anybody?

it would be interesting to know out of all the small indies, how many of them are still being built in the U.S. (or their point of origin) and how many have moved operations overseas (either Europe or China).
Quote:
Originally Posted by philippeR View Post
Ninthward are made in Austria.
Austria !
post #83 of 92
Prior skis and snowboards are built in Whistler. Really, take a tour next time you're there.
Line was bought by Karhu/Trak which got bought by K2

I was on Vashon Island last week. I don't think that many people from Vashon actually ski. I'm not really sure but I did notice that the large magazine rack at the Thriftway had climbing, mtn biking, road biking and tons of other magazines but no ski, skiing or powder.
post #84 of 92
I would love to get my hands on a shipping invoice from k2 to see what they are really paying their chinese manufacturer for skis. I work in a customs brokerage and i get to see invoices from these chinese companies all the time for stuff going to companies like mountain hardwear, marmot, oakley, quiksilver, etc. I saw a shipment of marmot goretex jackets the other day, jackets with a $300 retail price tag cost $35 from the manufacturer. The manufacturer prices don't always have much to do with the retail prices either, i've seen invoices where jackets that were cheaper at retail cost twice as much from the manufacturer as ones that were priced a lot higher at retail. I've seen oakley sunglasses priced well under $10, and forget about the quiksilver/roxy stuff. I went to a b2b website for one of mountain hardwear's suppliers and they just have page after page of hundreds of jacket designs that a company can slap their logo on and call their own. Same with one of their tent suppliers. I wouldn't be surprised if a pair of $1000 skis costs the same to make as some low end rental pair. You certainly will never see any of the savings passed on to the customer though. I pretty much can't buy anything anymore without feeling like i'm being cheated.
post #85 of 92
Me, I don't care as long as the product holds up the way I expect it to do.

Pirate/illegal imitations violating other's patterns/rights are a different story though.
post #86 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by newfydog View Post
I agree with you, but I still don't see how refusing to buy a ski made in China helps the Chinese worker. Keeping them as poor subsistance farmers won't do much for their universally deserved human rights. I can just hear the ruling elite "gee, they aren't buying skis, we'd better step down and have true free elections."
Screw human rights they want us dead

Also who makes sure that the stuff manufactured overseas for adult use isnt toxic.
post #87 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by skidbump View Post
Screw human rights they want us dead
I've been over there and they don't seem to want me dead. There may be a few who wouldn't mind if you were. I can't imagine why.
post #88 of 92
I used to ski K2 skis almost exclusively, my first pair of skis were a used pair of K2 5500's, then on to KVC's etc, Kreitlers for bumps, Merlins when I started teaching, a pair of Enemy's for playing in the park, and AK's for powder.
When they first switched production over to China, rumour has it they were actually shipping boatloads of wood over to retain the "feel". This was soon to be axed as well.
K2 skis have lost the feel that they had, and after I got 2 pairs that came from the factory railed severely, I switched companies, and never looked back. Skied a few last year and wasn't impressed, still with a very average feel, nothing special. A bunch of my clients who I had put onto different K2's also when trying the newer skis felt similar experiences.
Funny now that Line, who moved their production overseas to China, is now recalling product.
post #89 of 92

thanks for those numbers, epl.

I heard a similar story from a rep in slc. I was complaining about $300 for zip fits, as much as a very good boot in last years color.
He asked me to guess the cost of production. I said $30
He said $3
I think there is a real opportunity here for that most villified store Walmart. At least they do pass on some savings to the consumer.
I predict they will have skiis soon. K2's for $200?
post #90 of 92

the humanism of SOULFUL skis

I cannot abide skiers saying that all that matters is whether the ski is good. (first of all, probably 2% of skiers can evaluate the quality of a ski's design and engineering and understand how that relates to its performance), and second, my proposal here is that the issue is the people who make skis: craftspersons, engineers, artists. I am a furniture-maker up in the mountains, making one of a kind, very high quality pieces that I design and construct in my own shop (not lucrative but really fine objects go to some really fine people). I mention this because IF a person has close involvement with actually making things, anything: furniture, skis, decks, cars and so forth, that person has a REAL (the bias of this reply) perspective on the connection between an object and the process involved in making it, craftsman, materials, design and engineering, all elements of an object created by human beings. Perhaps this is the 'humanism' of ski manufacturing. Objects have a feel about them: part the physical kinetics that a skier feels in his body while riding the skis, and part the legend or personal history of that ski that he feels in his mind, an understanding of the people that brought this object into existence in the first place. When I ski, I am aware of both of these realities. Perhaps this distinguishes some objects, skis or anything, from others and explains why some skis have no feel or personality whatsoever. they just bend if you push on them. yeck! Finally, the social part of the humanism of ski manufacturing: It is wrong to permit any company to dump their employees, not because Germans are better than Chinese, but because in this case, the Germans are YOUR EMPLOYEES and have made your past successes possible. they are the heart and soul of the product. And I don't want to hear any retorts about designer suits made in china are of very high quality! f--that crap anyway. Apply pressure with your wallet. It got us better beer and ale,and it may prevent the extinction of SOULFUL SKIS.
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