i picked other because i honestly can't think what the first thing is that i look for now.
used to be manufacturer. but that was because my experience was limited. i was a life-long Rossi skier for 20 years. then i demoed some Volkls (the P-9/P-10 series). Loved those, but missed the boat on buying them. When it came time to finally break down and get new planks I started with Rossi and Volkl again, but then began reading Epic, TGR, and of course the routine ski mags (Powder, SKI, Skiing). The twip fad was blowing up and had more or less become legit, so I began looking into that, as well. First year of new planks saw me buying 2 pairs of Volks (Karma and Mantra) and a pair of Armadas. Ditched the Armadas. Next season ditched the Mantras for some AK King Salmons. Have since sold the Karmas. Basically after having bought based on manufacturer I began learning about smaller companies such as AK, Blizzard, Lib Tech, PMGear, and intrigued by these alternatives I began trying to demo what I could find. Oh yeah, ended up with some Spatulas, too, based on what I'd read by some diehards over on TGR. Also, I've developed a xenophobic tendency toward my skis, so i tend to inquire as to where they are made. If it's USA, Canada or Europe, I'm cool with 'em. So, it's a variety of things, manufacturer, point of origin, niche clout (i.e. are they a ski that fewer people will have...I like to stand out, but only if the ski rides well). I also factor in use, thus determining the width. I guess I'm considering several things simultaneously, but now it would be mostly looking at where the ski is made and its reputation.