EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › What do you want in a gear review?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

What do you want in a gear review? - Page 2

post #31 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stranger View Post

Who tunes the demo skis and what tune is on them?


+1

Ski Canada says that they do not do any tuning on the demo skis supplied to them.  They rely on the suppliers to provide well-tuned skis, with edges & bases set to the configuration that the manufacturer recommends.

The claim is that this is is an attempt to avoid introducing a change that would negatively affect performance.  They let the supplier/manufacturer provide the ski with the configuration that the manufacturer believes is going to demonstrate their product in its best light.  In reality, this probably creates as much of a risk that some skis don't show their best performance if the factory tune is not well suited to the conditions &/or the tester.

As much as I like the Ski Canada reviews for some general guidelines, I think they would be more useful for comparisons if they applied standard tuning configurations to each of the categories tested.  Same goes for the other magazines.

If they can't standardize the tuning for their tests, I would at least like to know what the test models are set to.
post #32 of 45
The fact is that the tester (whether they are doing an organized test for a magazine or posters on this board) is really testing the tune as much as the ski.  If you want the manufacturers to participate, they should be the ones who put the tune on the skis, not a third party. The ski makers are just as worried about tester bias as we are about advertising $ buying test results.  You will not see the magazines taking over tuning.

In a perfect world, the tuning would be done by one team of highly qualified hand tuners, tuning to company specs.  Each tune would then be tested by ski company staff to make sure that there were no errors.  Then the whole lot would be turned over to the testers.  To keep the results as consistent as possible, the skis would be retuned between runs during the day of testing.  Skis that have been skied hard all day, lose performance by the end of the day.  Also, perfect early morning ski testing conditions turns into chopped up, inconsistent snow later in the day which will also affect test results.  Light and weather change during the course of a day yielding different results.  Even the best skiers legs lose some snap later in the day and skis that feel powerful and responsive in the AM get put into the balky category by afternoon. 

So the answer is that there is no perfect system and trying to improve on the current magazine test methods may be doable, but they end up being cost and time prohibitive.  The good news is that if you come across a ski that pops up in all the magazine tests, and gets consistently good comments on boards like this and TGR, then you can bet that it's one of the best on the market. 

It would also be useful to know if a particular company did not opt to participate in the magazine test.  Head doesn't show up in the Ski tests this year.  Did they just not participate or did they pull some skis out of a box without tuning them and put them on the hill, or did their product suddenly get a whole lot worse in one season?  There have been years when a leading brand or two have decided that they were not going to be part of the magazine ski test process.  The fact remains that for most skiers, the magazine tests are one of the most important measuring sticks at their disposal.  They offer a pretty simple way of sorting out the hundreds of models and making sense of the age-old "which ski for me" question.

The magazines are feeling the current freefall in print advertising that many (but certainly not all) magazines and newspapers are experiencing.  This forces them to cut back on editorial quantity and quality.  Sadly, when the economy rebounds, the ski publications will not see a return of ad pages from the industry advertisers.  The business has atrophied so badly that it can't afford to promote itself via vertical print advertising anymore.  For a shrinking niche sport like skiing, company web sites (most of which are pretty poor) and community forums such as this will be the go to sources for product information.
post #33 of 45
I seem to rembember in SSH's interview with Stu Campbell (which is still somewhere in the forums), Stu described the testing process he used to rate skis. He would recruit skiers based on their skiing skill and also the ability to describe specific characteristics of skies. I believe he did some blind testing also. After all the science he and his team put into testing, he described how the everday skier wouold join a testing session and, generally, could not appreciate how skies performed. Stu would have to coach them on technique and what to look for.

It's a totally subjective process for most of us. I'm just glad the equipment forums provide depth in reviews of skis by some knowledgeable people.
post #34 of 45
The podcast interview with Stu Campbell is here (scroll to bottom).
post #35 of 45
Thanks Nolo. When I have a quiet hour or so , I'll re-listen as Stu provides some great insights to our favorite sport!
post #36 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Living Proof View Post

I seem to rembember in SSH's interview with Stu Campbell (which is still somewhere in the forums), Stu described the testing process he used to rate skis. He would recruit skiers based on their skiing skill and also the ability to describe specific characteristics of skies. I believe he did some blind testing also. After all the science he and his team put into testing, he described how the everday skier wouold join a testing session and, generally, could not appreciate how skies performed. Stu would have to coach them on technique and what to look for.

It's a totally subjective process for most of us. I'm just glad the equipment forums provide depth in reviews of skis by some knowledgeable people.
I recall listening to that podcast, which I still have in my itunes, and thinking about what he said about the ski testers. 
Thanks for bringing that up.
post #37 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by choucas View Post

The fact is that the tester (whether they are doing an organized test for a magazine or posters on this board) is really testing the tune as much as the ski.  If you want the manufacturers to participate, they should be the ones who put the tune on the skis, not a third party. The ski makers are just as worried about tester bias as we are about advertising $ buying test results.  You will not see the magazines taking over tuning.

 

This is the dilemma...a standard tuning configuration within a ski category would make it easier to compare between brands, but if a given brand didn't get good reviews in that kind of test environment, I can understand that the manufacturer would not be happy.

 On the other hand, some manufacturers guess wrong at what the best tuning configuration should be for their products.  I've demo'd skis that the rep assured me were optimally tuned that I think would have shown better performance with a different setup. 

Leaving the ski prep to the manufacturer might be most preferable to the manufacturer, but I would at least like to know what their parameters are, so I can factor that information into the evaluation.

When we get brand reps or retailers bringing demo stock out for our race teams to try out, they tell us how the skis are set up, and this is useful information to have.
post #38 of 45

Under the tune category, mounting point is in many cases more important than bevel, etc. assuming the edges aren't jacked, so mention what line was used. 

As far as testers, one or more testers who are good skiers for the ski's intended use.  One or more testers who are just good overall skiers.  In addition to knowing the tester's backgrounds/weight etc., also specifically whether the testers have specifc injuries that affect likes/dislikes in skis, and also a description of their boots complete with mods.

 

Masked topsheet on skis. 

After initial impressions are collected, a critical "rethink" included in summary form in the review of both top abd bottom of barrel ratings, and after the rethink/retest summary of whether the ranking stayed the same, or not. 

Rather than getting the skis straight from manufacturers, getting them off the rack from a shop.  Not that anyone would ever send skis to a test that differed from what the consumer would get.

Finally, if a given ski does well in a category where it's not popular, a discussion of why it's not popular.  The answer will often be fashion -- "Bode's not on them anymore," etc. -- but as a fashionista I need to know.

 

 

 

post #39 of 45
Before anything else, it has to be remembered that people are increasingly buying skis online without demoing them first. So, the question is whether the review is aimed at a person making a short list of skis to demo or someone who is going to order something sight unseen.

Whether the latter (and I am in that category) is doing something stupid or not, it is that person who really needs a comprehensive, detailed, and vivid review. The people who have the time, access, money, etc to demo a lot don't particularly concern me.

1) I want to plug the reviews on sierraskis which I generally find to be well written and useful and reflect multiple real-world tests of a given ski.
2) Comprehensive reviews should explain each company's product line. Just looking at geometry these days can be very misleading and a review needs to explain what the company was aiming for.
3) Every tester should test at least the two lengths that are closest tot he recommendations for his/her build.
4) Get rid of most currently used useless categories like "big mountain." This is terrain and conditions that can be described pretty accurately without these terms.
5) There are only two ability categories that are used consistently and are understandable on their face: "beginner" and "professional." 'All the others, Intermediate" "advanced" even "expert" etc are so often vague and mean different things in different contexts that they are useless. The PSIA numbering system is also to broad and vague. What does this mean for a review - that whatever terms are used to describe abilty they need to be defined carefully and robustly.
post #40 of 45
Wow, you guys want to know what boots mods a tester has? Maybe you should find out what they had for breakfast also, or if they saw some boobs in the hot tub the night before.
post #41 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by shirk_007 View Post

Wow, you guys want to know what boots mods a tester has? Maybe you should find out what they had for breakfast also, or if they saw some boobs in the hot tub the night before.
 

One quick sentence, packed with info...if you want a meaningful review.  Otherwise the key info is really the topsheet graphics...personally I like the ones that have me singing "time for a cool change..." 
post #42 of 45
Here on epic over the years I have demoed a lot of different skis and have learned how my impressions measure up with other people's tastes. Lets say I think that my self and another epic reviewer share a taste for a specific type of skis. And then the next week that person posts raving about some new ski he just bought. You can be sure I will be trying it out ASAP.

That sort of information is lost when you take a grand average rating from 50 different people. Trying to find the "true rating" is answering a question that no one is asking. All I want to know is what is going to work for me.
post #43 of 45
 I have zero interest in the opinions of anyone who posts here concerning their impressions of skiing equipment.
post #44 of 45
I like the way that Ski Canada has done it in the past where they give a brief description of each tester with their specs & what which skis they liked. I have terrible time sorting out reviews because the majority of the reviewers are much heavier me (@135lbs). Obviously what works well for a 200lb skier isnt going to work well for me & visa versa.

A reviewer's comments who is similar size as me gives me a more accurate picture of what skis I might like.  At the end of the day, the reviews only serve to short list what I'm going to demo.
post #45 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by choucas View Post

It would also be useful to know if a particular company did not opt to participate in the magazine test.  Head doesn't show up in the Ski tests this year.  Did they just not participate or did they pull some skis out of a box without tuning them and put them on the hill, or did their product suddenly get a whole lot worse in one season?
The magazines are feeling the current freefall in print advertising that many (but certainly not all) magazines and newspapers are experiencing.  This forces them to cut back on editorial quantity and quality.  Sadly, when the economy rebounds, the ski publications will not see a return of ad pages from the industry advertisers.

Head has been noticeably absent for a number of years.  They do have a few in Powder, but this year's reviews don't seem to have any on-hill references, just the manufacturer blurbs.  I too wonder if that is deliberate on the part of Head or rather that none of their skis measure up?  Playing Devil's advocate, they do seem to be lacking any advertising in the SKI and SKIING issues.


Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post

 I have zero interest in the opinions of anyone who posts here concerning their impressions of skiing equipment.

Over 6,000 posts, and you don't care?  I find that hard to believe.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Gear Discussion
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › What do you want in a gear review?