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HEAD is the new Atomic? - Page 2

post #31 of 41
When it comes to race skis that the general public can purchase, I've always been under the impression that the Stockli is perhaps the closest thing to what's actaully being skied by their athletes on the WC. May not be identical, but darn close. I'm sure that they press some special runs of WC skis, as it's a tiny factory. A few years ago, something like a total of 4000 skis were brought into the U.S. annually, for sale. I wonder if all of Head's podium success will translate to non-race ski sales here and abroad? Oviously great for the brand recognition. Would be even better if we had more of them shown on NBC. Actually, since the coverage is so limited on NBC, it might be working in their favor. Some ski brands are getting almost no air time.
post #32 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by quant2325 View Post

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXxspoiler alert


Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
 Two more podiums in the SL today for HEAD.  HEAD and Stockli (Maze's two Silvers, the Super G top 10's and Ski-Cross Golds and podiums) are having a great Olympics.


 
Thats an awesome little trick you did there.
post #33 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muleski View Post

When it comes to race skis that the general public can purchase, I've always been under the impression that the Stockli is perhaps the closest thing to what's actaully being skied by their athletes on the WC. May not be identical, but darn close. I'm sure that they press some special runs of WC skis, as it's a tiny factory. A few years ago, something like a total of 4000 skis were brought into the U.S. annually, for sale. I wonder if all of Head's podium success will translate to non-race ski sales here and abroad? Oviously great for the brand recognition. Would be even better if we had more of them shown on NBC. Actually, since the coverage is so limited on NBC, it might be working in their favor. Some ski brands are getting almost no air time.

Muleski,

I agree with you.  HEAD is so big they get a lot of cross-selling for their other sport equipment and clothing everytime a skier shows the bottom of their skis after a run.  Kinda like NIKE with Tiger.  Great brand recognition.  It just means to me that a ski shop salesman will find it easier to sell a HEAD product because the customer will remember that Bode or Lindsey skis HEAD.

To the best of my knowledge, the Laser FIS series from Stockli is the same as what is used on the WC.  I think (but am not certain) that they add some titinal to the FIS to stiffen them a bit more than the regular GS (sure seels that way). The tails are obviously different between the two. I skied both the FIS and non-FIS GS models (the come in slightly different lengths).  From my experience, the FIS is good for only what it is intended.  The non-FIS model is much more forgiving in terms of changing the radius of the turns and skiing it more slowly. The regular model is still stiffer than the average "race" ski out there.  I don't know any dealer in the US with the FIS model, but there must be some.

I got the FIS 180's in the women's radius (roughly 22m) that I use for early morning fast skiing, just to feel good again before switching skis before skiing with the wife and/or kids.  Every year I take them down a NASTAR or two just to prove I can still get through some gates and still beat the pants off a particular friend.  They have the typical WC set-up with the Atomic Race bindings used by Maze, Jerman, etc.  IMO the trouble with Stockli, other than brand recognition, is that they make skis for a particular purpose and that is what they are great for. The people doing the magazine ski tests are looking for "versatile" skis, so Stockli must go with their cult-like following in the USA.  That doesn't do much good for ski shops that now need more volume and better margins.  HEAD, with all their money and brand recognition, can now build a massive dealer network to sell their dead rock star  twin tips or whatever the public wants to buy off of their WC name recognition. 
post #34 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by quant2325 View Post




Muleski,

I agree with you.  HEAD is so big they get a lot of cross-selling for their other sport equipment and clothing everytime a skier shows the bottom of their skis after a run.  Kinda like NIKE with Tiger.  Great brand recognition.  It just means to me that a ski shop salesman will find it easier to sell a HEAD product because the customer will remember that Bode or Lindsey skis HEAD.

To the best of my knowledge, the Laser FIS series from Stockli is the same as what is used on the WC.  I think (but am not certain) that they add some titinal to the FIS to stiffen them a bit more than the regular GS (sure seels that way). The tails are obviously different between the two. I skied both the FIS and non-FIS GS models (the come in slightly different lengths).  From my experience, the FIS is good for only what it is intended.  The non-FIS model is much more forgiving in terms of changing the radius of the turns and skiing it more slowly. The regular model is still stiffer than the average "race" ski out there.  I don't know any dealer in the US with the FIS model, but there must be some.

I got the FIS 180's in the women's radius (roughly 22m) that I use for early morning fast skiing, just to feel good again before switching skis before skiing with the wife and/or kids.  Every year I take them down a NASTAR or two just to prove I can still get through some gates and still beat the pants off a particular friend.  They have the typical WC set-up with the Atomic Race bindings used by Maze, Jerman, etc.  IMO the trouble with Stockli, other than brand recognition, is that they make skis for a particular purpose and that is what they are great for. The people doing the magazine ski tests are looking for "versatile" skis, so Stockli must go with their cult-like following in the USA.  That doesn't do much good for ski shops that now need more volume and better margins.  HEAD, with all their money and brand recognition, can now build a massive dealer network to sell their dead rock star  twin tips or whatever the public wants to buy off of their WC name recognition. 

Stockli does make some versatile skis such as laser SC, Stormrider XL, Rotor, etc. The problems are that many find them too stiff, they are not cheap, and they do not come as a package with bindings. I love their skis.
 
The Scot Schmidts are incredible skis if you can handle them. My personal favorite. They are fast and bombproof and just blast thru crud and chop like its not there but they do not like to go slow. You need speed to get them on edge. Its like a 89mm GS ski. Stockli's edge hold is second to none. They do make plenty of forgiving skis as well like the ones I mentioned above.
post #35 of 41
Volkl still has a large presence in the Central Region but the delamination problems with their SL Racetigers has definitely hurt sales.  Atomic & Volkl are still the most widely seen at races, Rossignol is in decline, Blizzard & Head on the upswing.

One of the unfortunate things about ski racing is the importance of having the right equipment.  Most companies make an excellent product.  There is no one best race ski or boot for everyone.  The key is finding the equipment that matches the racer.  I have been guilty of brand loyalty in the past - partly motivated by interchangeable plates & bindings if everyone in the house is on the same brand - which is a huge bonus when things break and there is a race tomorrow!  After witnessing first hand how racers can drop their points huge when they find the ski or boot that clicks with their style and gives them that extra boost of confidence, I am becoming brand agnostic. 

Demo, demo, demo, every chance you get.  Take a few training runs on a friend's or team mate's skis.  Forget the name on the top sheet and buy what makes your racer (or yourself) smile.
post #36 of 41
Very good points. And I'll throw out another. We're conditioned, from the time we are J6's that we need to ski on the same brand of SL, GS, and later speed skis. Obviously, everybody you see on the WC is under a specific contract, and is using skis from a manufacturer in their nation's pool. On the EC, many have contracts, and the rest have deals for comp'd equipment. As you move down the rungs, more and more racers are paying a lot of money for their stuff. This is true today even with some very good, high level skiers, skiing a full FIS and NorAm schedule. More often than in the past, they are paying a lot for what they want and need. Not all, bit more.

Hey Bode and LV are on Head. Ted's a Rossi guy. Jit's on Fischer.......that's what we see.

So if you're paying {which most are}, why not seek the best SL ski, and the best GS ski, and if you're skiing speed, the fastest speed skis you can find?  There's nothing to say it can't be the right formula. It can in particular be the right thing for juniors. but, you rarely see it done. It's very, very important with boots. Notice that Jimmy Cochran, a longtime Volkl/Tecnica skier switched to Fischer boots as soon as he wasn't contractually required to be on Tecnica? Just one example. Yet it's amazing how many folks buy the "bundle" for their kids.

I know a very good guy who dropped his points from about the 50 range to the high teens a few years ago skiing on Elan SL, Fischer GS, Rossi SG, Atomic DH skis, Nordica boots for tech, Lange for speed. That's an extreme, but no reason at all, if you're paying, why you can't mix it up. You very rarely see it, though.

I think that part of the reason is that it's not that easy to demo race skis. Some programs have spring demo days, or test days for their kids. At the older ages, it's hard, and of course you want to test them against the clock, etc. That's very hard to do the right way. Some skis feel great, and time not so great. A lot's in the head though, so if it feels good, it can often turn into fast times later on.

Elan may be a great example for the "split" of brand. A few years ago, they had a tremendous SL ski for the J3 age group, and just awful GS skis {IMO}. I saw a lot of kids on the SL, struggling with the GS. Also saw some kids killing it on the SL, and killing it in GS on another brand of ski.  Most of the kids really want to conform, and ski one brand. Bode does it. There are some coaches who are really dialed into this, but not that many. It's easier to deal with one rep, one company, etc. Sometimes it's easier to have almost all of his/her athletes on one brand. That's never made sense to me, as they are all different.

Worth a thought, I think. You'll be bucking the trend, but it might yield results.
post #37 of 41
It is difficult to find race ski demo opportunities.  Mount Hood Summer Camp is a small fortune - great for testing equipment but I question the benefit in terms of skills development.  Is a week of training in June followed by a 5 month hiatus really that beneficial?  Thanksgiving Camp makes more sense to me.

We've had some reps come to ski practice in the past and provide demos for the athletes to test out.  I don't understand why all the reps don't try to visit every race club in their area at least once a year and get people on their product...
post #38 of 41
When one "tests" equipment at Hood, it's virtually impossible to truly test it. You try it out. It's better than nothing. But the fact is that for a lot of people, what can feel good can time real slow. And Palmer Glacier's surface is rarely the type of snow that most race mid season. I've had my kids test skis for the following season about this time of year, and even that's been really hard to pull off. Coaches begging reps for product they really don't have, in order to try it out, etc. If you don't have an interested rep, and a legitimate chance of making a change, it's even harder. It's a very imperfect process. I know more and more good guys buying, switching, etc,, blind. Know one guy who's about a 25 pt, GS skier who made a switch that way...never having skied on the new skis, and I don't think it's gone too well. I know another who did the same, and it worked out very well. In both cases these guys got team pool stock, the really good stuff. And they paid for it. Unfortunately race products, race reps, etc. are not on the top of most companies food chains these days. I know some guys who have had impossible issues with getting broken skis replaced over the past few weeks. Reps telling them there are no more skis in the country, etc.  What are they supposed to do?  I think, if possible, the best thing to do with "testing" to try to borrow some skis for a good day of training, mid season, and try to compare with what you're on. That's hard to do, as well.  I don't sense that a lot of reps have a demo fleet, but I  have, over the years seen some of the harder working reps drop off a half dozen pairs for a week or so of trial with junior programs.
post #39 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muleski View Post

Very good points. And I'll throw out another. We're conditioned, from the time we are J6's that we need to ski on the same brand of SL, GS, and later speed skis. Obviously, everybody you see on the WC is under a specific contract, and is using skis from a manufacturer in their nation's pool. On the EC, many have contracts, and the rest have deals for comp'd equipment. As you move down the rungs, more and more racers are paying a lot of money for their stuff. This is true today even with some very good, high level skiers, skiing a full FIS and NorAm schedule. More often than in the past, they are paying a lot for what they want and need. Not all, bit more.

Hey Bode and LV are on Head. Ted's a Rossi guy. Jit's on Fischer.......that's what we see.

So if you're paying {which most are}, why not seek the best SL ski, and the best GS ski, and if you're skiing speed, the fastest speed skis you can find?  There's nothing to say it can't be the right formula. It can in particular be the right thing for juniors. but, you rarely see it done. It's very, very important with boots. Notice that Jimmy Cochran, a longtime Volkl/Tecnica skier switched to Fischer boots as soon as he wasn't contractually required to be on Tecnica? Just one example. Yet it's amazing how many folks buy the "bundle" for their kids.

I know a very good guy who dropped his points from about the 50 range to the high teens a few years ago skiing on Elan SL, Fischer GS, Rossi SG, Atomic DH skis, Nordica boots for tech, Lange for speed. That's an extreme, but no reason at all, if you're paying, why you can't mix it up. You very rarely see it, though.

I think that part of the reason is that it's not that easy to demo race skis. Some programs have spring demo days, or test days for their kids. At the older ages, it's hard, and of course you want to test them against the clock, etc. That's very hard to do the right way. Some skis feel great, and time not so great. A lot's in the head though, so if it feels good, it can often turn into fast times later on.

Elan may be a great example for the "split" of brand. A few years ago, they had a tremendous SL ski for the J3 age group, and just awful GS skis {IMO}. I saw a lot of kids on the SL, struggling with the GS. Also saw some kids killing it on the SL, and killing it in GS on another brand of ski.  Most of the kids really want to conform, and ski one brand. Bode does it. There are some coaches who are really dialed into this, but not that many. It's easier to deal with one rep, one company, etc. Sometimes it's easier to have almost all of his/her athletes on one brand. That's never made sense to me, as they are all different.

Worth a thought, I think. You'll be bucking the trend, but it might yield results.

Hey!!  Finally I am doing something right with my racing.  I am actually ahead of the curve here and have taken it to the next level with different brands even for the same event

In the true spirit of Masters racing - and scouring for deals!

Salomon/Nordica  (and now a pair of Atomics sitting to try!) for SL
Fischer/Blizzard for GS
Atomic for SG & DH (oh, and i almost forgot the Rossi DHs)
Boots - Nordica

Binders - Tyrolia (in the different brand variants)/Salomon/Atomic

And yes, I have been know to ski 2 different brands even in the same race!  At a Sl at Squaw at teh start of the year skied Nordica in teh 1st run when snow was real hard and switched to Salomon when it softened up in the 2nd run!!
post #40 of 41
Equipment
Men's super G, Kvitfjell, Norway, March 7, 2010
Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Guay, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2 Reichelt, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
3 Svindal, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
3 Gruenenfelder, Stoeckli/Atomic/Atomic
5 Scheiber, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
6 Walchhofer, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
7 Janka, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
8 Jaerbyn, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
9 Innerhofer, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
9 Gorza, Fischer//Fischer
(Salomon is Atomic with rebranding)

Yup, Head dominated.
Edited by Betaracer - 3/7/10 at 9:37pm
post #41 of 41
Thanks for that news.  CBC will be showing the race later today at 2:30 EST.  I'll be sure to watch; I like seeing Canadians win.  It's a good thing I don't mind spoilers.
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