Originally Posted by spindrift
So, my best answer to the question: strictly shooting from the hip -- at least in the west, I'm guessing that so long as the skis have something resembling a reasonable edge that "tune" does not matter to the average skier on an average day...
What you are saying is true, sort of. The reason it is true is because most rec skis are tuned with a 1 degree base bevel. This accomodates the average skier who uses rotary motion to turn and uses his or her edges only to skid. In addition, skidders don't really care overly much about sharp edges because they don't know how to make their edges hold anyway. Which is a good thing because the average skier doesn't tune their skis.
However, that same skier would have great difficulty on a ski with a .5 degree base bevel because it will be much harder to skid without the edges trying to hook up. For an average skier, a .5 degree base bevel will feel grabby and hooky and it will be difficult for them to handle.
Like many of the other posters have mentioned, the simplest way to answer the question about the effects of base bevel is to try some different base bevels yourself. The difference between a .5 degree base bevel and a 1 degree base bevel is dramatic and instantly noticable regardless of your ability.
That is why tempers are somewhat high on this thread. To anyone who has actually experienced different base bevels, the notion that base bevels theoretically don't matter is asinine because we already know (emperically) that they do. In fact, if anyone needs a study, this thread is a good start. Everyone here who has actually experienced the effects of base beveling is a data point and it is useful to note that *nobody* who has this experience is saying that base bevels don't matter.
Challenging conventional wisdom when there is data to suggest that conventional wisdom is wrong is a well established tradition. However, challenging conventional wisdom simply because nobody has been able to provide an answer that *you* find satisfactory is simply arrogant. (This directed to anyone who hasn't personally experienced the effects of base bevelling, yet who wants to claim that it doesn't matter).