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The polarizing factor........ - Page 3

post #61 of 70

  Only the skier with superb innate athleticism can ski anything very well.  The rest of us need skis that are "right" for us.

 

As skis in any model line are made longer they are also made stiffer.  That certainly complicates any review or demo.  For example, my 170 cm carvers and 188 cm powder skis are each just right for me.  By the way, both are one size below the max offered in each line (Head SuperShapes and Dynastar Mythic Riders).  Some ski model lines are made to "ski short" and some are made to "ski long."

 

While there are probably no bad skis, there certainly are skis that are difficult to ski in certain circumstances or unsuited to certain skiers with their particular skiing style, strength, speed, technique, etc.

 

I have no idea why some skis feel right to me.  My 170 cm Head iSuperShapes wood core with sandwich construction and my 170 cm Head Xenon Xi 7.0 cap construction skis feel very similar and I like both a lot (the Supershapes have more pop on rebound and grip ice better; the Xenons have a bigger sweet spot and carve clean or skid very easily).  The Xenons were under $350 pro price with bindings and are my usual every day skis except in deep snow or very hard pack.  I don't care what the construction of the ski is...sandwich or cap, wood or no wood, I just care what feels good on my feet.

 

I really like Peter Keelty's www.realskiers.com/ $20 subscription site ski reviews where he rates skis for different skiing styles (carving or skidding), bumps, powder, etc., and seems to have the best reviews I've seen.  I've done well using Peter's reviews to make up a demo list, and even to pick the skis I'll buy and end up liking a lot. 

 

It may be that some of the polarization of different skis relates to that ski model's ability to be less versatile...well suited to certain conditions or skier styles and less well suited to other conditions or styles.  Other ski models are more versatile and get either ho-hum reviews for skis that are decent for almost anything but not great for anything, or for skis that are great just about everywhere.

 

 

post #62 of 70

I agree with you wholeheartedly about Starbucks, but it is a fact, not opinion, that the general population in the US would think that Starbucks makes the best coffee they know of and that was my point. I don't mean to say that Volkl was a pile of crap but like you said decent product (like Trek), tons of marketing, pro sponsorship = tons of polarization; just like Starbucks. As far as coffee goes, I am fond of Cafe Vita in Seattle and Coffee Doma over here in Spovegas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post

 

 

 

yeah, but everyone knows that Starbucks blows.  Nobody walking into Coffeehouse NW, Albina Press, or Barista (Portland shops) is going to bother comparing their cappuccino to a Starbucks crappuccino down the street: it would be like trying to draw a comparison between the Maserati dealership and the guy selling used 1986 Chevelle's across town, and most people are not that dense, thankfully.  I wouldn't compare Volkl to Starbucks, as Volkl does put out some good skis, where as Starbucks only knows 2 things:  how to burn a somewhat decent bean to a crisp, and how to combat the falling quality (and resultant lack of sales) with marketing, hoping the customer is too stupid to notice that the product sucks.  I don't think Volkl is at that level yet, their skis still seems solid.  I kind of look at them as the Trek of the skiing world: decent product, lots of marketing, favored by the masses, scorned by the passionate participants.  Neither the favored status nor the scorn is particularly warranted.  Go to the weightweenies forum and see how popular the Trek Madone is; most of those riders won't touch that bike with a 10-foot pole. But, every other bike you see at a cyclo sportif ride here in the US is a Trek; most of those "weekend warriors" probably don't post on weightweenies, the same as most Volkl skiers don't post here.    


 

post #63 of 70

What ever happen to the days when your choice was, what manufacturer do you like, than do you want a GS or SL? 

 

The problem today is it is all too confusing, race, carver, mid-fat, all mountain, fat all mountain, powder, park, etc.  Like some peoples search for the perfect diet pill that will let you to loose weight without exercising, people today are unfortunately looking for the ski that can ski anything on autopilot.  I think everyone should learn how to ski properly first before they start looking for shortcuts. 

post #64 of 70

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy View Post

 

  Only the skier with superb innate athleticism can ski anything very well. Don't see this. Maybe only those of us with superb innate athleticism can be World Cup skiers. But IMO many pretty normal people, no gene for superbness, can get to a level where they can ski anything well (which is a short definition of expert) The rest of us need skis that are "right" for us. But aren't many skis "right" for each of us? I can think of a bunch that work for me, and I'm no great shakes as a skier. 

 

As skis in any model line are made longer they are also made stiffer. Sometimes with the very longest length, but usually just the opposite. Skier219, Mudfoot, and others have written about this. You have to consider weight per unit of surface area. 

 

I really like Peter Keelty's www.realskiers.com/ $20 subscription site ski reviews where he rates skis for different skiing styles (carving or skidding), bumps, powder, etc., and seems to have the best reviews I've seen. Good site overall, but IMO Keelty is unabashedly biased toward some brands, against others, seems to overestimate the difficulty of many skis, and has never met a ski over 100 mm that he considers versatile or easy to ski. 

 

It may be that some of the polarization of different skis relates to that ski model's ability to be less versatile...well suited to certain conditions or skier styles and less well suited to other conditions or styles.  Other ski models are more versatile and get either ho-hum reviews for skis that are decent for almost anything but not great for anything, or for skis that are great just about everywhere. Interesting idea. Less focused will be less polarizing.  

 

 

 

post #65 of 70

beyond,

 

I'm confused...

 

Help me Rhonda...

post #66 of 70

If you mean by me, hey join the line. 

 

If you mean the last para of softsnowguy, I liked it as meaning less focused = more versatile = less polarizing. But his first sentence there could mean the opposite.  And then there's the fact that you can't get much less focused than midfat K2's, which seem to be really polarizing on Epic. (My personal preference being for a limited thermonuclear strike on production facilities, which would harm no one since zombie skis must be made by zombies.) 

 

If you mean Rhonda, you could always segue to "In My Room," which is what you did when Rhonda said she had a headache. 

 

 

post #67 of 70

Keep in mind SJ's premise is about reviews, not about sales. And what is it about many skis that either avoids or induces polarizing reviews.   To me his "balance" theory holds water.

 

 And while demoing skis is somewhat limited to what skis are on the hill, most people would demo a ski (and possibly buy/review ) a ski that they are somewhat interested in.  If you weigh 225+, you might pass on the Wateas,  If you weight in at 155, you might pass on Stockli's.  If you like a stiff, hard charging Volkl, you might demo/review/buy the AC50.    So we need to consider who demos what as part of the big picture.

 

As a frontside ONLY ski, i think my RX8s are in line with Jim's premise:  soft enough for bumps, but stiff enough for carving.  Does a lot of things fairly well, but does very litte "best in class"   But the only  way I could see someone with nothing positive to say about it would be someone who skis very very fast all the time and wants more top end.  And such a person would probably get a full blown SL ski

 

 

If we randomly assigned skis to skier and then got those reviews, it would almost certainly be different.

 

 

post #68 of 70

If you assume that over a decent population of reviewers you'll avoid major brand biases, skis that get lots of polarized reviews would generally be skis that are "extreme" in some way.  Could be high or low (absolute) stiffness, a high or low ratio of longitudinal/torsional stiffness, or something else in the construction or performance.  A ski that is more "balanced" in most/many ways will not get many very bad reviews (but maybe not many very good ones either.)

 

I'm one of those people who doesn't like most Volkl skis.  I hate Salomon X-Wings too.  Nothing to do with the branding.  I had a lot of trouble initiating turns cleanly on them.  Other people seem to love the same skis, and it doesn't really seem to be a beginner/expert distinction.  Probably something more to do with how you initiate and/or shape turns, or usage of different skills.

 

Contrast with K2.  While K2s (at least front-side K2s) tend to get a cool reception among "expert" skiers, you won't find very many extremely negative reviews of them.  The Apache Recon is a great all-around ski for an intermediate skier; it just doesn't really stand out in any category.

post #69 of 70

Good stuff.  I like the Starbuck analogy, it also brings to mind the many similar discussions about wine.

 

If I buy $10 wine and nobody's heard of it but I like it and I am happy with it what do I care about other wines?  Ignorance is bliss?  Or is happiness bliss? Or are the happy ignorant?  Wow, I'm so confused...

 

Luckily every Tom, Dick, and Harry who come back from Napa are gonna set me straight and lecture me on this great wine that I should try (For the record lately I have been drinking Benzinger because I appreciate the biodynamic process, but that's another story...also I generally ski volkls but thats yet another story).

 

Same thing with coffee, skiing, cars...etc.  I think I have class and that I am happy with what I have but my neighbors set me straight and are there to put me in my place because they just came back from somewhere and they know better...boy, I just love catching up with them.

 

Reminds one of Marx' theory of false consciousness or for that matter Freud's or Plato's theory of the happy consciousness.  Can we think that we are happy and satisfied and be deluded?

 

Of course. Have you read the Tramdock support group thread recently?  We are all looking for more skis and gear...because we think it will make us happier...maybe it will.

post #70 of 70

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by docbrad66 View Post

...To me his "balance" theory holds water....

I'm beginning to think that flex balance is good for all-mountain/big-mountain skis, but bad for ski's that you want to mainly use in powder.  In fact I'd argue that this pursuit of balance ("rails on groomers, floats like a butterfly") is what has contributed to "width inflation".   Over the last say 10 years the width of an all-whatever ski has grown from 70mm to 100mm+.  And every year that a wider all-whatever ski garnered praise the powder ski that was only a bit wider was dropped from the line in favor of an even wider ski...and on it went....

 

While there's been super-wide powder skis out there for sometime now...  What this has done is forced the skis that handle powder real well to be pushed up in width to the point that the only powder-oriented skis are those "I own a pair for the Bugaboos" porkers (I'm exaggerating a bit here...). And rather than offering powder noodles (in less than snowboard widths) now they have to throw in the flat-camber or hybrid-rockering stuff all for this noble pursuit of versatility (no I'm not a Luddite and some form of a rockered ski is in my future - not that I have a choice if I want to ski powder with the ease that I could with old noodley).

 

Point being my old 90mm "so damp they're dead" Chubbs and Jerry & AK "noodle" Launchers skied powder as well as or better than my "balanced flex, rails the groomers" Goats without the added hassle of an additional 15mm of width.  To me the good old days ain't the "pick a brand, then pick a GS or SL" days but the days when powder skis looked like skis!  Uh...not that I want to give up my W84's (and they they do make owning a 90mm powder ski a bit redundant...guess I'd then be willing to live with a noodley 100mm powder ski...or maybe a 105mm tip rockered ski....).


Edited by ski-ra - 4/10/2009 at 01:33 am GMT
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