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A very underrated ski...

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I've just spent a day on one of the best frontside carvers I have tried (and I have demoed a lot).

Me: 41 y/o 6'2" 165-ish, former racer, ski instructor.

The ski: Kneissl White Star RC 178 with integrated Marker bindings (but all Kneissl skis can be ordered flat).

This ski is awesome. Traditional sandwich construction, dimensions 115-68-101 comes in 162 (r 13.5), 170 (r 14.5) and 178 (r 15.5) lengths.

The ski is very comparable to the Stöckli Laser SC, but slightly wider underfoot and a bit stiffer. It also feels a bit more lively and with slightly better edgehold.

Here in Norway Kneissl is almost invisible, which is a shame if all of their skis are as good as this one. I don't even know if they are available in the US, but if they are, I would really recommend a demo
post #2 of 20
They have had a longstanding reputation for making excellent, high performance skis. Unfortunately, a few years back they they went though a financial reogranization that set them back.

Kneissl was a little late in trying to follow others in developing skis/boots/ bindings packages. They aquired Raichle's alpine boots for the boot component and entered a relationship with a binding manufacturer.

Along the way they became over-extended. Now they are back to skis and tennis rackets. I'm not sure that Kneissl is currently available in North America, but I wish them well. They have made some great skis and I'm glad to hear that you like yours.
post #3 of 20
Hi Norskier,
Thanks for your review on the Kneissl - it is true that Kneissl is making some good skis, but they have a long road ahead of them to get back to a top postition that they've once held. There will need to a marketing effort laid in place. It won't be easy to put together a race team at this time at World Cup level, but they will have to get some A level and B level skiers winning races with their skiis at a consistent pace......then maybe in a few years we may see someone in the World Cup on Kneissls! In the meantime, it would be great to see more reviews like your speaking about Kneissl. Next time you make a post, you should make sure to put the name of the ski in the title.....I clicked on your title 'a very underrated ski' by chance as the name 'Kneissl' wasn't in the title. Kastle is doing a good job getting their name back in the minds of good skies, lets get Kneissl back there too.
post #4 of 20
Yes, the resurrection of Kneissel skis has been awaited for a long time! They certainly have a full lineup of skis (including nordic). I will see if there are any demos floating around the US to test and get reviews of !!!
post #5 of 20
Kneissl, Kastle, and [tooting own horn]Hart [/tooting own horn] are all returning to the market with a premium product. There will be some tough choices to make out there.
post #6 of 20
Phil, you beat me to it. I was just going to say the same. It's going to be interesting to see how the market receives and views the return of these lines. I think they all aare going to offer great products, but they are really going to have to offer something that is not already provided by the current giants. The new wave of custom or small niche players like Wagner. Praxis and Icelantic are taking a part of that market already. I have to think there will be some folks who just want to ski on something with tradition and I hope others will recognize the quality and design of the skis. However: It's not going to be easy to sell to a market that widely buys the skis most highly tauted by ski magazine. Having tested one of the new Hart's, I am looking forward to being on a pair next season; and having something different underfoot. The challenge will be how to effectively market their products in a profit structure that doesn't provide room for mass media ad campaigns. Lower volume in sales with a higher profit margin will be the ticket. that's a challenge
post #7 of 20
I've recently picked up a pair of Kneissl White Star GS Races skis used from a demo shop - during the same time frame I bought them I also tried a pair of Salomon Equipe 10 3v's and a pair of Fischer RC4 RC's.....one thing to keep in mind is that all of the skis are 3 years old so any reviews should taken with a grain of salt.
In reality, I am not really prepared to write a proper review, but I will give a few pieces of information comparing the skis that I tried and the reasons and why I ultimaty bought the Kneissls.*

All three pairs were in the 175 - 185 range and had similar Marker speedpoint binding setups.

First the Salomons as these were my least favorite.....These skis seemed skittery at high speeds. The more I pushed them the less they seemed stable. There was a lot of chatter on hard pack and on ice they didn't grip at all. Trying to run straight lines they weren't stable and they were chattery. Maybe due to their age the core had lost integrity but in any case this didn't speak well of the material used - a ski should last at least 3 years no? I felt that the Salomons were stable and felt I confident in soft snow and afternoon slush. A funny note - after lunch i put what I thought were my skis on and off I went. Half way into the run I was thinking 'very nice indeed' and then i looked down and realized that I had put someone else's Salomons on! These were Salomon Equipe GC Race + Z12 and they were very very nice, round turns, stable and responsive - they were in fact a pair of Salomons i wish were for sale in the demo shop

Next Day: The Fischers were great in both morning hard pack and choppy afternoon snow. They loved to be pushed hard and never showed any sign of loosing an edge. They were quick in tight turns and stable in high speed carves. Nice ski for sure.
After that day i was convinced to buy the Fischers......

That evening in the demo shop i noticed a pair of Kneissl White Star GS in the corner and asked if they were part of the Demo program? Apparently they had been traded in by someone, but I was told if i wanted to try, why not?
The next day off i went - They were very very stable and loved to go fast. Not amazing amounts of energy out of the turns like the Fischers, but not weak either. This is not a nervous ski, but neither is it lazy. It did what I wanted and responded well to my initiation. Quick enough but not skittery. A good compromise in the GS range.
Not as energetic and precise as the Fischer, but then again, what is? It had a good hold on ice (once again, slightly less than the RC4) and I felt slightly less confident on afternoon slush than I did on the Salomon....

Overall: A very good, quick, round turning GS ski - I don't race anymore so i didn't need the zoomy race graphics (hehe) and I enjoy the elegant old school graphics that are harder and harder to find! In the end, I bought the Kneissl also because it wasn't beat up like the others - whoever had it before me took good care of it.....

This week, I've bought a new pair of Vist bindings (arriving any day now - I hope I get one more day in this season!) -
I have Vist World Cup Plate on the ski - I think it is going to be a very good set up.

Like I said before, welcome back Kneissl - it's time to get a good team (top juniors, some trainers/instructors and eventually a world cup entry or two) riding your gear in order to get you back on track - I'm convinced.


(*Once again, all of these skìs had 2/3 years on them, and i am not a real 'reviewer' so take this with a grain of salt)
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
I think one the reasons I like Kneissl (and Hart and Kästle for that matter) is that they still produce high quality skis the old fashioned way. They are all flat, sandwich construction skis, and I just like the feel of them better than mass produced torsion box skis with integrated binding systems, such as Völkl Racetiger (consumer versions) and others.

I also like the design of the new Kneissl lineup - very clean and simple design. I posted a link to them in this thread for those of you who haven't already seen it.
post #9 of 20
Interesting that you mention that you prefer the sandwich construction of the Kneissl - the model that i purchased is actually a Kneissl WS GS Race made using torsion box construction. It is not overly sculpted like the Volkl or the Atomics of that same period but it is not simple like this coming years model.
I too like the sandwich construction. Correct me if i am wrong, but the Head race skis are sandwich construction as well, correct? BTW, thanks for the link - the new Kneissls are beautiful!
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
Yes, Head use sandwich construction in their race skis, and also in their Monster line (and a few other models I believe).

I think Head make great skis, but unfortunately they are very hard to get in Norway. They are imported by a large sporting goods chain store, and they focus mostly on the cheaper, low-end models. Because of this, the brands reputation is more or less ruined here.
post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
Kneissl, Kastle, and [tooting own horn]Hart [/tooting own horn] are all returning to the market with a premium product. There will be some tough choices to make out there.
Phil, do you know if Hart will be available in Europe for the next season?
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorSkier View Post
Yes, Head use sandwich construction in their race skis, and also in their Monster line (and a few other models I believe).

I think Head make great skis, but unfortunately they are very hard to get in Norway. They are imported by a large sporting goods chain store, and they focus mostly on the cheaper, low-end models. Because of this, the brands reputation is more or less ruined here.

Check out:

http://www.skinett.no/

Ole imports the skis himself and his prices easily beat the 25% racing discount available from Torshov Alpin, Anton Sport etc.

If you want something and you don't see it, give him a ring.

On the other hand, thumbs up to G-Sport for selling me my i.M78s with LD12 bindings mounted for 3100,- G-Sport are fine, as long as you want the products they want to sell.
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorSkier View Post
Phil, do you know if Hart will be available in Europe for the next season?
We will have everything that is here over there too.
post #14 of 20
I hope to see you on a pair of Kneissls or Kastle (or Harts as well) soon - If you get anything else thats been discussed in this forum, you'll just look and SKI like everybody else out there.....
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorSkier View Post
I think Head make great skis, but unfortunately they are very hard to get in Norway. They are imported by a large sporting goods chain store, and they focus mostly on the cheaper, low-end models. Because of this, the brands reputation is more or less ruined here.
Just curious, but how would that ruin a brands reputation. I am no expert but to me the low end skis Head makes are fine compared to similar products by other brands (for instance I bought my girlfriend a nice pair of Cool Thangs and they don't seem less than the Atomic Black Minx and the Salomon Jewel Chrystal). The same goes for most other models I know.

To me the fact a brand makes low-level skis that compare well to similar skis says the brand is fine and I would imagine the same things go for their high-end skis. So for me it wouldn't ruin the brandname (unless of course the lower end models are sold overpriced; the Fischer RX8 is more expensive than in most countries for instance which makes it a complete flop).

Maybe ofcourse I am just defending the fact I ordered a pair of Heads .
post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Remco View Post
Just curious, but how would that ruin a brands reputation. I am no expert but to me the low end skis Head makes are fine compared to similar products by other brands
....
Maybe ofcourse I am just defending the fact I ordered a pair of Heads .
I'm second guessing Norskier', but his point could be that Head is perceived as a manufacturer of knocked down beginners ski packages. For example, G-Sport stocked Xenon 1.0, 3.0 and possibly 5.0 but there was no retail outlet in Norway for the 7.0 or 9.0. Similarly no Chip XRC, no XRC1200 in the shops and no SuperShapes. Also the kids trying to push these cheap Head skis on you are not always the most informed (there are exceptions).

Head are not carried by any shops that actually have a racing dept. or what I would call a proper ski tech.
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Remco View Post
Just curious, but how would that ruin a brands reputation.
Squawker got it, and his last sentence is probably the main reason.

Don't you think a brands reputation would be affected if it was only avaible at Costco or Target (or a similar type of store)? If I'm not mistaken, that's what happened to Wilson golf clubs.

Oddly enough, Head's reputation in Sweden, our neighbours, is completely different. And for the record, I think Head makes great skis .
post #18 of 20
Is this a Head Thread? or Kneissl/Kastle/Hart thread?
The poor small guys won't stand a chance if even in 'their' thread the get knocked off the board
post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorSkier View Post
Here in Norway Kneissl is almost invisible, which is a shame if all of their skis are as good as this one. I don't even know if they are available in the US, but if they are, I would really recommend a demo
The Kneissl Tankers seem to be highly rated here with the serious freeride set, so they're not totally invisible.
post #20 of 20
true, so why do you spend so much time talking about HEAD? (actually, i would love a pair of Heads to - but i love my Kneissls too much)
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