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Why women's gear sucks - Page 5

post #121 of 136

Waaaaaayyyyy too late for anyone to be likely read this, but my son at aage 13 grabbed my my wife's Volkl "Queen Attivas" and rocked them for 2 years when he was the size of a decently athletic adult woman.  (Too much ski for her at that time)

He just told his buddies that the "Queen" part was from the rock band.  He's giving them to a smaller buddy who will likley just paint the topsheet 100% black for this year and continue to use a ski that designed for someone in his weight range.

post #122 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanna View Post




DAMN You SnowHot & SkiDiva et al ! :):) (Anna from SkiDiva here)

 

 

(Hopefully I can get some more days out there until it melts away!)


You're welcome

 

Something came to mind as I reread this thread.......

 

Kästle Skis 

They don't have gender specific skis, but they do offer a lot for both genders with different lines, with different flexes, different applications,  and clean, simple graphix.

Just sayin'...

post #123 of 136

I agree with the OP's premise, but that's true of a lot of things, right? A "woman's shoe" is really just a narrower shoe with a few other tweaks. It's a lot easier to make the common tweaks (softer flex, bindings forward) and market it as a woman's ski than to expect everyone to go into the shop with a specific list of specs.

 

And ... there are probably 5x as many men who are really into skiing in a serious way than women, at least in the U.S. The total number of skiers is closer (might be equal) but the skiers really into gear and really into challenging themselves skew male. That means there's less focus on the female-specific market because there's less money there for high-end stuff. For mid-level stuff, it's tempting to make some quick tweaks and put "female" graphics on it and call it a day.

 

This is not representative, but another anecdote ... the women I ski with are very focused on color coordination and usually don't know the brand of the skis they're on unless they look. One of them knows she owns Fischers but she can't remember the model name or the ski length. Meanwhile ... I wear a green/yellow jacket, white helmet, black pants, blue boots, red poles, and skis are mostly white/green in one case, black/white in another. Color coordination rarely enters the equation ...

post #124 of 136

And here is why we had to have a ski forum for women, because of generalizations like this.....  OH MY GOD.  I might as well have the same remarks about Texans.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Jordan View Post

I agree with the OP's premise, but that's true of a lot of things, right? A "woman's shoe" is really just a narrower shoe with a few other tweaks. It's a lot easier to make the common tweaks (softer flex, bindings forward) and market it as a woman's ski than to expect everyone to go into the shop with a specific list of specs.

 

And ... there are probably 5x as many men who are really into skiing in a serious way than women, at least in the U.S. The total number of skiers is closer (might be equal) but the skiers really into gear and really into challenging themselves skew male. That means there's less focus on the female-specific market because there's less money there for high-end stuff. For mid-level stuff, it's tempting to make some quick tweaks and put "female" graphics on it and call it a day.

 

This is not representative, but another anecdote ... the women I ski with are very focused on color coordination and usually don't know the brand of the skis they're on unless they look. One of them knows she owns Fischers but she can't remember the model name or the ski length. Meanwhile ... I wear a green/yellow jacket, white helmet, black pants, blue boots, red poles, and skis are mostly white/green in one case, black/white in another. Color coordination rarely enters the equation ...

post #125 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Jordan View Post

I agree with the OP's premise, but that's true of a lot of things, right? A "woman's shoe" is really just a narrower shoe with a few other tweaks. It's a lot easier to make the common tweaks (softer flex, bindings forward) and market it as a woman's ski than to expect everyone to go into the shop with a specific list of specs.

 

And ... there are probably 5x as many men who are really into skiing in a serious way than women, at least in the U.S. The total number of skiers is closer (might be equal) but the skiers really into gear and really into challenging themselves skew male. That means there's less focus on the female-specific market because there's less money there for high-end stuff. For mid-level stuff, it's tempting to make some quick tweaks and put "female" graphics on it and call it a day.

 

This is not representative, but another anecdote ... the women I ski with are very focused on color coordination and usually don't know the brand of the skis they're on unless they look. One of them knows she owns Fischers but she can't remember the model name or the ski length. Meanwhile ... I wear a green/yellow jacket, white helmet, black pants, blue boots, red poles, and skis are mostly white/green in one case, black/white in another. Color coordination rarely enters the equation ...


Really really hope this is badly executed irony, because otherwise it pretty much hits the double-double: Top ten Epic posts in both offensiveness and ignorance. 

post #126 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Jordan View Post

 A "woman's shoe" is really just a narrower shoe with a few other tweaks. 

 

I have been saying the same thing for years...No one seems to believe me. Plus they go with so many of my outfits. 
 

post #127 of 136

Not sure I follow. Do you disagree with the 5:1 ratio of ski gear freaks? Or do you think mentioning an anecdote is offensive? I ski regularly with three women and one girl (my niece) and that's my observation. I do not claim it represents everyone but I hope you also don't believe it represents no one.

 

Incidentally ... all of the three women ski pretty well. They simply don't care about searching the world for the perfect ski, or even really care that much what skis they use.

post #128 of 136

I don't believe it represents NO ONE.  I believe it represents the vast majority of skiers that buy tickets.  It may also represent the vast majority of people who spend time on PC's talking on message boards.  But I believe that if I look at the generation of women YOUNGER THAN ME, MY DAUGHTER'S generation, you're wrong.  That generation of women, brought up with Title Nine, is far more athletic than I was, and far more serious about their sports.  They run, they play tennis, they mountain bike, they kayak, etc.  They care about their equipment.  Of course, I just looked at where you live...Virginia.  I live in a ski town.  The women here are a different breed.  Sure, we've got the Walmartians, but the local gym doesn't have enough parking and within a year of opening was expanding.  I think you need to get out more. 

post #129 of 136

It's clear I touched a nerve and that wasn't my intention. I'd like to apologize but it frankly wouldn't be sincere.

 

Ski manufacturers put certain graphics on skis because they know how to sell skis and that generally works (not always).

 

I have skied at a lot of places, I have eyes, and I know what I've seen in terms of ratios. I know what conversations I've heard in lodges.

 

The four people I mentioned before are late 30s, early 40s, late 20s, and 12.

 

They don't live in ski towns, which is the point. I am referring to mass market - the reason ski manufacturers do the things they do.

 

I didn't say a 500:1 ratio, I said a 5:1 ratio in terms of ski gear freaks/backcountry experts. If you disagree with that, say so, but don't argue against a vibe you perceive.

 

There are plenty of female skiers who know more about gear than I do, have better gear than I do, are better skiers than I am, and - if this is something that bothered you - there are most likely some who are even less color coordinated than I am. Individuals are individuals.

 

My point is quite simple. Companies make what people will buy. The more buyers in a niche, the more product options will be available for that niche. That is why there are suddenly a million 100+ ski models and not as many newly designed and heavily marketed 70- models.

post #130 of 136

I think Ken has hit the nail on the head.  Women's gear sucks because ski companies cater to the bulk of the market place.  They have targeted the women skier who can't ski very well and have ignored the ones who can ski well.

post #131 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post



.

 

Kästle Skis 

They don't have gender specific skis, but they do offer a lot for both genders with different lines, with different flexes, different applications,  and clean, simple graphix.

Just sayin'...

I still maintain that any woman can find what she wants/needs in women specific skis or unisex skis if she takes the time and energy to demo and know her equipment.

 

The truth is, there are a lot of women who are just not that interest in their gear, unless it looks like its made for women.  For those of us who ARE interested and take the time to demo, study and know our gear, there is no problem.

 

The problem I see is that having gender specific skis makes it nearly impossible to sell a ski to a lightweight guy that has women specific graphix, and it requires ski shops to stock a lot of unnecessary gear that could be, and should be designed to body types and not genders.

Like I noted above with Kästle Skis 

 

post #132 of 136


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

 I live in a ski town.  The women here are a different breed.


Well, yeah. But the women who live in non-ski towns vastly outnumber those who don't, so I don't think he's necessarily wrong. I don't live in a ski town, but I know many women here in CO who have skied forever, are quite good skiers, and who also really don't give much thought to their gear. Some thought, but not a ton. Most of them get a pair of skis and ski them into the ground before they even start to think about beginning to consider possibly getting another pair. ;-) And many are far better skiers than a lot (not all) of the men who obsess about another millimeter underfoot or tinker with binding position etc all the time.

 

I do think it's just more of a guy trait, the tinkering. You see it with tennis racquets. I play with a lot of ex-college tennis players. Generally the women get a racquet they like, settle on a string combination, and use it until it's dead (or discontinued, or their husband backs over their racquet bag in the driveway, or some such other tragedy). Meanwhile, you see these 3.0 guys with a stable full of racquets, all with differing amounts of lead tape and hybrid string jobs of every possible combination of tension in the crosses and the mains ... <shrug> vive la difference, non?

 

That's not to say some women don't tinker, or some (even most) men don't just use whatever, but I don't think Keith J made an incorrect assumption.

 

I  tinker until I find what I like, then I become rigid and inflexible and never want to use anything else. Which is a problem when companies discontinue racquets/shoes/skis(to a lesser extent) every season. I have about 15 pairs of tennis shoes in my closet: half are pairs I used 3 or 4 times and then pronounced to be unacceptable, the other half are the same exact shoe in different colorways, hoarded off ebay and other online sites after they were discontinued. Those are the ones I wear. I don't know if that's a female or male trait, lol.

 

(p.s. if anyone comes across any pairs of Adidas ClimaCool Feather II's in a women's 9.5 or a men's 8, I'll pay a finders fee! ;-) )

post #133 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Jordan View Post

It's clear I touched a nerve and that wasn't my intention. I'd like to apologize but it frankly wouldn't be sincere. Points for honesty.

 

Ski manufacturers put certain graphics on skis because they know how to sell skis and that generally works (not always). 

 

I have skied at a lot of places, I have eyes, and I know what I've seen in terms of ratios. I know what conversations I've heard in lodges.

 

The four people I mentioned before are late 30s, early 40s, late 20s, and 12.

 

They don't live in ski towns, which is the point. I am referring to mass market - the reason ski manufacturers do the things they do.

 

I didn't say a 500:1 ratio, I said a 5:1 ratio in terms of ski gear freaks/backcountry experts. If you disagree with that, say so, but don't argue against a vibe you perceive.

 

There are plenty of female skiers who know more about gear than I do, have better gear than I do, are better skiers than I am, and - if this is something that bothered you - there are most likely some who are even less color coordinated than I am. Individuals are individuals.

 

My point is quite simple. Companies make what people will buy. The more buyers in a niche, the more product options will be available for that niche. That is why there are suddenly a million 100+ ski models and not as many newly designed and heavily marketed 70- models.

OK, I'll try to go through this slowly for you. Your argument is unfalsifiable because your premises are based on "vibes" and having "skied in a lot of places," not to mention that you "have eyes." There's no empirical way to evaluate slop like this. Your "5:1" ratio sounds very precise, except that it's manufactured out of thin air. It's your guess, period. You also mention a sample size of four, but I trust you're not basing your argument on an N of 4. Obviously, you have randomly selected female skiers at resorts all over the world, recorded their gear, interviewed them about their motives for buying it, and then had an independent judge, preferably a pro, evaluate them on slope. Then, in your follow up above, you go to lengths with a variant of the "some of my best friends are..." approach. This shows you're waaay above sexism, have an endearing self-deprecatory streak, and from a logical perspective, want to make clear that it's "them" (the vast mass of silly, vapid women skiers out there) you want to characterize, not the (hypothetical) individuals that are (may be) better or more serious than you. 

 

But to your argument, such as it is. I'll try to tease your assumptions apart. First premise: A ski's graphics make it more marketable to a particular segment of the skiing pubic. I'll agree wholly with this. Otherwise why would any human being buy K2 products?

 

Second Premise: A ski's graphics correlate to its construction, such that swirly topsheets mean insubstantial insides. According to industry types, this might have been partly true a decade ago. Today, skis particularly marketed at females tend to be a bit lighter, often by using different wood blends in the laminate, and the mount point may be 1-2 cm forward. The Volkl Aura, replete with swirly Geisha-like motifs, is simply the old 94 mm Mantra with a different topsheet and marginally lighter wood core. I owned the old Mantra and I've skied the new Aura. Hard to tell much difference at similar length. K2's like the Lotta Luv, I am told, are pretty much the same construction as the "male" versions, slightly softer, with a different mount point and of course a different length range. Still heavy and damp. The Watea Koa lacks a carbon beam that the Watea 84 has, so it is a bit softer.

 

OTOH, if you access Physics Man's calculator, and calculate surface area, then divide by weight, you'll see that a 130 lb female has a lot less weight/square cm with which to bend a ski than a 180 lb male. Going shorter or narrower is a traditional solution, but that changes the float, handling and stabilty of the ski. A more reasonable approach is to create a slightly softer flex that produces the same bend at a smaller weight/sq cm fraction. But hey, we all need to be as Hard as possible, huh? Only wusses care about bending skis because only wusses turn. 

 

Conclusion: Because feminine ski graphics attract women and also indicate weak insides, they indicate the abilities or seriousness of a skier. This does not follow because your second premise is weak at best. It is unsupported sufficiently by skis currently being sold, and your personal "observations" about skis and clothing and ability come from, ah, let's say an unusual design.

 

You are left holding a more classic sexist stereotype about women:  Women who like "fem" designs or functionality, whether in their clothing or car interiors or sports gear, are to be taken less seriously in their endeavors. For instance, pink paisley means trivial, while dark blue pinstripes warn of substantiality, power. (And of course flames like the old Dynastar 4x4's or eagles on the current racing Volkls mean your dick is over 12" long.) Minivans are known to diminish testosterone level (although hopefully not so much that more children cannot be produced for the wife to haul around in the minivan while the husband does Important Stuff). Obviously, stuff targeting woman is crap because, ah, well, women are (circle correct answer) gullible, slaves to impulse, not to be taken seriously about much of anything unless they imitate males. God help a guy on skis aimed at women, regardless of whether their weight and flex suit him. Johnny Cash got it about right.

 

Of course there remain irritating problems with categorizing. Obviously flowered topsheets = Eurotrash one piece mostly gossiping inside the lodge, and evil clowns = Everest gear gut checking before dropping into the 60 degree chute. But many of the new unisex Nordicas have a sort of late impressionist look. Does that call a male user's seriousness into question? Is there a slippery intermediate slope, with damnation, long lunches, and bad weight distribution waiting for Lotta Luv users? Personally, I'd be careful. If you're too flippant about your own color coordination (even as a signal of how enlightened you are), you may not remain Above Suspicion. 


Edited by beyond - 9/17/10 at 12:22pm
post #134 of 136

It seems to me that this thing has gone two or three laps around the maypole with no progress. While the chauvinism of the ski industry is undeniable and the need for good information is too, it is time for somebody to toss a damp hanky on this deal. I love the idea of a women's forum where women can communicate with one another without the interference of bastidly males. Unfortunately at this time, the proper info about boots is not really being conveyed on the most well known of these resources. Unfortunately (again) the women there, while well meaning, are not bootfitters.  I'll say this one time so that hopefully, it will add some clarity to everyone's thought processes.

 

Women's feet are undeniably different than men's. Unfortunately, from a substance standpoint.......There are no real women's boots. (sorry, just the way it is)

 

The shell is what determines the character of a boot. What exists are unisex shells with (sometimes) different liners. Occasionally, those liners provide a bit of additional grip in the heel ankle circumference. Unfortunately, the liner usually provides a placebo fit without real substance. Our store stocks everydangthing we can find in size 22-24 in race or race derived shells in order to fit women that are performance skiers. When a woman with a typical foot shape really needs a flex softer than a 90 nor so, she is in a real quandary.......it just ain't out there except in Jr race boots.

 

On the ski thing, there are some women's skis that are....and some that aren't. The real experts will probably prefer the women's skis that aren't. There are enough of those available with nice graphics that the true expert will have plenty to choose from if she knows how to look or whom to ask.

 

Mt Lion was right.

 

SJ
 

post #135 of 136

Okay, i almost bought a ski last year, solely because I LOVED the way it looked.  I was in a ski shop in Toronto and happened upon a pair of Retro looking B2's called something else, on sale as they were a couple years old now...   I think this thread is the same ski.  I didn't buy it right away.  I had to go home, check the Internet to see if what the sales person told me checked out (they were really Rossignol B2's, would be suitable to an advanced skier for eastern conditions,).  The ski would have worked fine for my general purposes though not great, but, It really wasn't needed ( i have two good, probably better, eastern skis now), and when I got home I couldn't find a way to have them picked up and shipped at what I considered a reasonable cost.  They would have shipped them to my mother's in Canada, but it was really working to an issue and they were very expensive (around $600.00 Cad and still needed a binding) for a three year old ski that started out priced rather high at around $1200.00 cad, compared to is identical, non retro counterpart, and add shipping to South Carolina or me driving up or flying back to Canada.  So, in the end, sanity won over and I didn't buy the ski just because I loved how it looked.  But I must say, I almost bought it for the look.  If i had known more about the ski before I saw it.... I probably would have purchased it.  If I could pick the ski I wanted and then the top sheet I liked best...I'd possibly pay for it.  But, I won't buy a ski that won't ski well for me because it looks good.  I have certainly loved an awful lot of really UGLY skis in the past 20 years.

 

On the boot side... I wore V3 Dachsteins, foam blown for years, for the pure comfort of made to fit and after two years in my women's Dream Thangs, with custom foot beds, work done in Vail, and two constantly sore toes.. Strozl are beginning to look really nice.  If they last the 10 years my Dachsteins did, they'll be well worth the cost per year!  (Oh yea, i think someone re did the foam on them maybe once).   I've bought three pairs of boots in two years now since losing my Dachsteins.  What feels good in the store doesn't feel the same on the hill.  I remember always having cold feet and trouble finding a good fit before I bought my foamed one's the first time too.

 

The ski industry could pick graphics that would appeal to a broader audience... I'm sure. 

post #136 of 136


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lady_Salina View Post


 

The ski industry could pick graphics that would appeal to a broader audience... I'm sure. 


No doubt whatsoever that this is true. However, they have been trying hard for 15 years or so to accomplish this with apparently little success. No matter what they do or whom they hire, the ski makers cannot seem to manage this seemingly simple goal. Women's advisory boards, women designers, Women's focus groups, it just doesn't seem to matter. No matter what, one constituency or another is always under served IE; too many flowers or not enough. If someone could come up with this broader audience graphic they could make a lot of money. So far it hasn't happened so I'd say that window of opportunity is wide open for the enterprising and accomplished graphic artist.

 

SJ

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