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Are Demo Days Worthless

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Can you really test 4, 5 or 20 skis in a day and pick one. I think you can get a feel for the ski but that can be misleading. Many skis that I liked the first run tend not to preform well as the day goes on and ones that I disliked on the first run tend to feel better the more I ski on them. For me two hours on a ski is like reading a cover of a book. I need more time to learn the ski, find its strengths and weakness. I have had skis that have taken more then 5 days to get comfortable on and love them the more I ski on them.
post #2 of 24
I find they are useful but problem is past several years the manufacturers have canceled because of weather or other issues early in the season.

But the ones that have em on the hill I have used and made my decision based on that - to me there is no substitute (to borrow a phrase from Porsche . Even if it costs me 50 bucks it's worth a try, especially if I'm paying anywhere close to retail.

Maybe since we had a good year last year the industry will be flush with money and do more of em again this year (wishful thinking).
post #3 of 24
First impressions are the best impressions. Don't take more than two runs on a ski. The ones that work the best for you right off are the winners.

Keep in mind that as the day wears on the skis lose their tune, the conditions change (usually deteriorate) and you get tired. Factor those variables into you rankings. It's still not a perfect test because all tune jobs will not be equal, but it's the best you can do.
post #4 of 24
My experience with demo days has always been bad. I spend a lot of time not skiing, and they rarely have the ski in the length I want when I want it. If you want to try one particular ski and are willing to wait, it's great, but if you think you will be comparison shopping it usually dosen't happen. Plus demo days usually have only one brand per day.

My wife needed new boards and paid to demo some at a slope side shop in Telluride. She got to ski them as long as she wanted and then go back to the shop for a different pair and try different brands. She thoroughly tested 3 pair during the course of the day, didn't waste much time on the switches (they had the boot adjustment and DIN set on the next pair when she walked in), and the demo fee went towards the cost of her purchase.

IMO if you are paying for your lift ticket the free demo turns out to be a loss. If you have a pass and are willing to wait for the ski and length you want it can be worth it, if the hill offers a good range of test conditions that particular day.
post #5 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by rockdude View Post
Can you really test 4, 5 or 20 skis in a day and pick one. I think you can get a feel for the ski but that can be misleading. Many skis that I liked the first run tend not to preform well as the day goes on and ones that I disliked on the first run tend to feel better the more I ski on them. For me two hours on a ski is like reading a cover of a book. I need more time to learn the ski, find its strengths and weakness. I have had skis that have taken more then 5 days to get comfortable on and love them the more I ski on them.
Approach the demo day with a list of demands that you want from your ski. For instance, if you want a good carver that performs well in the bumps, take the ski out and lay down some high speed carving turns. A good carver should be stiff, responsive, with easy edge engagement requiring minimal angulation.

Then take the ski into the bumps and dabble.

Personally I think there is only so much you're going to get from just one ski, so you have to narrow down what it is you want from the ski. Obviously you're not going to find one ski that excels in powder, bumps, carving and park. So you have pick one area in which you want the ski to excel.

With a carver, you sacrifice floatation for sidecut and stability. With a park ski you sacrifice stability for lightness and flickability. And with a powder ski you sacrifice hard-pack turnability for floatation.
post #6 of 24
most I've demoed in a day was 3 I think. You need to do more than 1 run most of the time. And the weather/surface has to be right. So free demo days are hit or miss. The whole idea though that you need a season to figure it out is ludicrous. Who has that much time - life's short and ski seasons are shorter!

Also I researched them first to narrow down choices. Otherwise you're going to waste your time figuring out what it is you want. Then among the smaller group of demos - I usually pick the most fun ski.

Then again, I have other friends who just wait for deals on tramdock or whatever or buy last years. If they get a deal but don't like em - put em up for sale again. To me to do that you need a buffer (of cash or quiver space or however you want to put it). I'd rather mostly know first and get what I want. It's kind of like stocks in a way too - get the latest hottest thing or buy something out of favor that is a good value. Depends on your viewpoint/tolerance for risk and cash available.
post #7 of 24
Are Demo Days Worthless?

No.

This has been another in a series of simple answers to simple questions.
post #8 of 24
They're about as useless as ski reviews, personal comparisons and advice to other skiers... If you find that useless then I guess so but lowly skiers such as myself might actually base their next purchase on some input from other skiers who have tried them at a demo day.
post #9 of 24
I always liken this to golf. I'm a pretty crappy golfer - if you put a brand new set of Taylormade's in front of me, I'm going to hit them about as well as I hit a crappy set of Wilsons. Sure, maybe after a while I can tell you some different nuances, but it doesn't have a giant impact on my game.

Skis however, I can tell you in one run what I think of them and after about 3 runs I can tell you if I'd purchase them or not. While I might not be sophisticated enough to understand the subtle interactions between varying camber and edge bevel, I can definitely tell you whether or not the skis performs like I want them to.

So yeah, demos are great.
post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinn View Post
Skis however, I can tell you in one run what I think of them and after about 3 runs I can tell you if I'd purchase them or not. While I might not be sophisticated enough to understand the subtle interactions between varying camber and edge bevel, I can definitely tell you whether or not the skis performs like I want them to.

So yeah, demos are great.
Agree.
post #11 of 24
My first ever demo day really opened me up to the different ride of different skis. You can read reviews, but actually skiing an Elan, after a K2, after a Volkl, etc., helped me better understand the type of ski I like. Whenever I'm in the market for new skis, I try to demo several of the same style.
post #12 of 24
Thanks Walt
post #13 of 24
Are Demo Days Worthless


Yes, stay away, that way there will be more demos for the rest of us.
post #14 of 24
The problem with a lot of demo days are they're early in the season. So you may get a good demo of ice carvers, you don't get to "demo" the condition you want to use your bump skis or powder skis or even crud busters.

Couple that with not able to find my length, I don't bother any more.

If I want to demo, I pay to do so. But I've had good luck buying without demoing so I won't even bother with THAT in the future.
post #15 of 24
It takes me a good day to really get to know a ski, but only one run to show up its weaknesses and its strengths. Demo days are worthwhile.
post #16 of 24
I agree that first impressions are good when doing demos, but then again, I have tried several skis that didn't reveal their full talents until I skied them in a wider range of conditions over a longer period of time. Makes me wonder how many demos get the short shrift based only on first impressions.
post #17 of 24
Demo days are good in theory.....I do agree a lot of time is spent waiting and one can rarely get the size desired....unless one waits longer. "sorry dude" "we only brought one pr of those and they're out, don't expect them back for about 2 hrs"


Demo in a shop.....that sells the stuff. Nice.
post #18 of 24
I've found that the major ski magazines are worthless and demo days are the only way to find the best ski for you. Once you go to a good demo day, you'll never shop for skis the same way again. Till last weekend's demo day (demoed 8 skis), I'd never been on a Blizzard ski...skied two of them and was amazed at the performance. They don't seem to get much press, so I'd of never known how sweet some of their higher end skis are. Yes things like the ski tune, conditions and ski length can matter, but you have to take those things into consideration before ruling out a ski.
post #19 of 24
Blizzards were a great deal 10 yrs ago before people started hearing about them....damm the marketing division.
post #20 of 24
Demoing is the only way to know what you like. I must have demoed (including a few rentals) 20 pairs last year, and there are some great skis, and some real dogs out there. When I hear about someone being loyal to some brand, all I can say is you need to demo more. Virtually every brand has some gems and some stinkers, and the only way to find out is to try.

Sometimes the ones I want to try are out, so I have to try something else that I hadn't figured on, and some of my best finds (and worst ones too), has been on demos that I hadn't figured on trying.

Depends on the area as well. If you're at some glorified berm you'll only be able to get a small portion of it's capabilities tested. If you're somewhere real (think WB's late season demo tents ), and then you can find out what the ski can do.

My experience on Blizzard 2 seasons ago at Steamboat was that it was one of the most pathetic things I've ever had on my feet, and even some Salomons felt better immediately afterward(!). I tried another pair of Blizzards (against my strong wishes) last season, and it was pretty good. If I hadn't demo'd them all my opinion would be heavily skewed.
post #21 of 24
Thread Starter 
When I started this post I saw that someone in the review section had reviewed 21 skis in one demo day and then wrote reveiws. Crazy...

I stop going to demo day for several reasons. Its hard to get the hot new skis you want to try, much less get the size you want. The conditions early in the season suck and you are limited to where you can test them. I want at least half a day on a ski to take it through it courses. It just easier to find a good shop and ask them to let you demo several pairs of skis in one day. You can avoid all the downsides to demo days this way.
post #22 of 24
Why not all of the above?

Stop by on demo days on the mountain, and if they have something you'd like to try, do it, if not move on.

Swap skiis with a friend. Especially easy if their boot sole is the same. I've done this several times.

Demo from a shop to get exactly what you want to try. A good relationship with a knowledgeable shop is worthwhile.

Read online reviews. I do have to say that I have only heard 2 reviews in the liftline. "I love 'em" is #1, followed by "I like 'em". Apparently there are no bad skiis.

Buy cheap on ebay, sell it if you don't like it. Last year's graphics or overproduction goes for very inexpensive sometimes.

However you do it, there is no better way to find which skiis you like than trying them out. You'll also find that many skiis are too close to call. And a skier that demos 3 pairs only once every 6 years when they buy a pair won't have the perspective that a skier that demos a dozen a year and owns a quiver.
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Moose View Post

Swap skiis with a friend. Especially easy if their boot sole is the same. I've done this several times.

Demo from a shop to get exactly what you want to try. A good relationship with a knowledgeable shop is worthwhile.
You can even compound the effect.

Both of you demo AND swap skis.

Last year during a race camp, I skied with a group in which five of us all had essentially the same boot sole length. You can swap back and forth after a few turns. Nothing tells you the differences in skis better and faster than skiing, stopping, swapping, and skiing. The comparisons are instantly obvious.

I helped move quite a few pairs of Heads that way last year.
post #24 of 24
Demo days can be very informative.

Variables: Tuning and conditions. I've been doing demos in one form or another for longer than I care to admit.

More useful are on the hill demos that are specific to the type of ski and conditions. As an example - Last year I was at Squaw during a pretty big dump of nice snow. I happened to be looking for a ski that would be useful in these conditions so I took the opportunity to go into Gold Coast and give them some money that allowed me to make laps on everything they had in their demo fleet for those specific conditions. I'd guess I tried 8 different pair. Specific information for specific conditions.

Did exactly the same thing a couple of weeks later on a day when the snow was firm targeting the appropriate skis.
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