Originally Posted by Keith Jordan
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