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Interesting Observation Proves Demoing Skis is better than Reviews + It Generates Sales

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I had an interesting observation this weekend while skiing Stevens Pass,WA.  

I hopped on a chair lift with 2 complete strangers. We were all guys, roughly the same age (late 40's +).  One of the guys was skiing on Icelantic Shamans.  I looked over and asked "how do you like those ? I tried them when Icelantic came here for a free demo day about a month ago, and I just couldn't get comfortable on them".  

The guy said "I demoed them the same day, and as soon as I started skiing on them, I absolutely loved them and went out and bought them the next day".  

The other guy on the lift looked down at my skis (K2 Apache Outlaws) and said "I demoed  your Outlaws, and hated them, than I demoed these (pointing down to his skis) Dynastars (don't remember the model) and I absolutely loved them, they're great.  I went out and bought a pair the next day".  

Than I said "yeah, at the demo day a few weeks back, I demoed a new pair of Fischer Watea 94's, absolutely loved them, and I went out and bought a pair the next day".

I was not at all in the market for new skis when I demoed and subsequently purchased the Wateas, and I don't think the other guys were in the market either when they fell in love with the demos and purchased their skis.

Now, to the 2 points of this observation:

1) Each of us would write a positive review of the skis we liked and purchased.  If any of us purchased any of these skis based on the other guy's review, we would have been extremely disappointed with our purchase.  Not that there's anything wrong with the review, I enjoy writing and reading reviews; however, it would have been the wrong ski for me. The only way to truly find the right ski for you is ultimately to demo, demo demo !

2) Certainly in my case, and I think may be true for the other 2 guys, we were not in the market for skis when the resort, manufacturers reps, and a local ski shop sponsored and put on a FREE DEMO DAY. That FREE demo day is what lead all three of us on that one chair lift this weekend to make a  purchase of a new pair of skis.  I'm sure there were many others also.  So, for all you 'industry' guys that read this - definitely keep putting on FREE demo days - they do generate sales that you otherwise would not have had.  In fact, I purchased 3 pairs of skis in the past 2 seasons, all because of demo days......and my son demoed a snowboard that he absolutely loved and may be getting next Christmas !
post #2 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by ILOJ View Post

I had an interesting observation this weekend while skiing Stevens Pass,WA.  

I hopped on a chair lift with 2 complete strangers. We were all guys, roughly the same age (late 40's +).  One of the guys was skiing on Icelantic Shamans.  I looked over and asked "how do you like those ? I tried them when Icelantic came here for a free demo day about a month ago, and I just couldn't get comfortable on them".  

The guy said "I demoed them the same day, and as soon as I started skiing on them, I absolutely loved them and went out and bought them the next day".  

The other guy on the lift looked down at my skis (K2 Apache Outlaws) and said "I demoed  your Outlaws, and hated them, than I demoed these (pointing down to his skis) Dynastars (don't remember the model) and I absolutely loved them, they're great.  I went out and bought a pair the next day".  

Than I said "yeah, at the demo day a few weeks back, I demoed a new pair of Fischer Watea 94's, absolutely loved them, and I went out and bought a pair the next day".

I was not at all in the market for new skis when I demoed and subsequently purchased the Wateas, and I don't think the other guys were in the market either when they fell in love with the demos and purchased their skis.

Now, to the 2 points of this observation:

1) Each of us would write a positive review of the skis we liked and purchased.  If any of us purchased any of these skis based on the other guy's review, we would have been extremely disappointed with our purchase.  Not that there's anything wrong with the review, I enjoy writing and reading reviews; however, it would have been the wrong ski for me. The only way to truly find the right ski for you is ultimately to demo, demo demo !

2) Certainly in my case, and I think may be true for the other 2 guys, we were not in the market for skis when the resort, manufacturers reps, and a local ski shop sponsored and put on a FREE DEMO DAY. That FREE demo day is what lead all three of us on that one chair lift this weekend to make a  purchase of a new pair of skis.  I'm sure there were many others also.  So, for all you 'industry' guys that read this - definitely keep putting on FREE demo days - they do generate sales that you otherwise would not have had.  In fact, I purchased 3 pairs of skis in the past 2 seasons, all because of demo days......and my son demoed a snowboard that he absolutely loved and may be getting next Christmas !

If the skis are good they will sell themselves, with that said most skis are relativitly good these days. 

although some skis arent good at what people think they are good at and some skis are way better at somethings than people will ever give them credit for.
post #3 of 8
I was getting Footbeds made at Fanatyko at Whistler, and asked Kevin what's the hot ticket on the rack was for how and what I like to ski.

Answer - demo the ObSETHed.

Soooo - the day after my brand new ObSETHed's were on my feet and I was howling through damp early season pow. I (and my son) liked them enough that I now have two pairs - one lives in Utah and the other at Whistler, along with way too much other stuff.

Demo is the only way to choose, particularly if you have a quiver
post #4 of 8
I agree with the OP, but unless you are a season pass holder it is unlikely that you will take the time and go through the hassle of demoing skis after paying a $sh*load for a lift ticket.  My experiences demoing at "demo days" have generally not been good.  They do not have the skis I want in the lengths I want to try, so I end up on something that is inappropriate just because I can try it for free, or I blow a good part of the day waiting to get on the skis I'd like to try.  As far as trying two different skis on the same day for comparison, it is not likely.

My wife and I have had the best luck with shops at a base area that take the rental fee off the purchase price.  You do not have to hassle with a demo crowd, and they will generally let you try several skis for the one rental price.  Take a pair out for a few runs, come back and get on another model.  If you find something you like the rental fee is part of the price.  If not, you still got to try 3 or 4 pair of top line skis, and at least you know what you do not want.
post #5 of 8
I think that demo is the way to go for sure, but for reasons other than noted here so far.

If you are going to rely on reviews (here or elsewhere) you need to know who the skier who reviewed them was (or at least how they ski) and what they were expecting to use the ski for.

The use of each ski these days are getting pretty specific.  While someone who loves to rip groomers and get their hip to the hill may love something in the mid 60s width underfoot, odds are no one will like that ski in 4' of new powder, and conversly imagine someone ripping groomers on something 110 underfoot.  Especially in the instance where you get a review from some recreational skier on the hill, you are talking to somebody who is a one or two trick pony skiing "their usual turn" on "their usual terrain" who may or may not have the right piece of equipment underfoot. (Let's not even get into the issue of a proper tune)  You should not expect to get accurate (or even close to accurate) reviews.

I was plesantly surprised last year when I demoed 6 different models in the 75-85 underfoot range and only after reviewing and ranking each went to the Sept issue of one of the major ski magazines and found their testers found EXACTLY the results I did.  The folks doing the testing were pros and used each ski for what it was designed then went to areas where each skis performance would expect to be somewhat questionable to find the limits of each.  Their results vs mine told me several things, but most of all told me I could read those reviews and narrow my choices (for specific use) to one or two skis for a given use I intended. That's just me.....and it works because I do a lot of the same type skiing that the testers do. 

I just returned from my last trip of the season with a new (lightly used) pair of boards that are right around 100 underfoot.  What did I do....I read the Sept issue of that same magazine and picked the top two pairs in the desired catagory and bought the one that was the cheaper of the two (by  $ 450).  Didn't bother to ski them before purchase. Why ?  Simple.  The first time I get them out, I'll make the adjustment in the first run, if I need to, change my skiing to fit them, and enjoy the rest of the day.  If you think the guys on the chairlift can do that....trust their review.  If not.....go demo !
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
 I was plesantly surprised last year when I demoed 6 different models in the 75-85 underfoot range and only after reviewing and ranking each went to the Sept issue of one of the major ski magazines and found their testers found EXACTLY the results I did
...... I was surprised to find the same thing this past season also.  At the end of the 08-09 season, I demoed 09-10 skis and picked my 2 favorite skis.  When the gear review issue cam out in 2 ski mags, both rated the skis that I liked the best at the top of the list.  But, that's not always the case - the skis I just bought a few weeks ago  - I haven't seen any reviews in the mags.  I think reviews are a great starting point, but nothing compares to actually demoing.  One of the problems I have with the magazine reviews is that most of the testers / reviewers are ex world cup racers and the like.  The majority of the people on the mountain that are buying skis aren't even close to the ability of most of the testers. Reviews and comments from EpicSki are great because they come from a variety of skiers, and all levels of ability.
post #7 of 8
While I do not disagree with the OP, what you have to be cautious of, when you are demoing, because you are demoing the tune as much as the ski. What you have here on Epic that you don't have from your typical magazine reviews is that you can talk and communicate with the person who demoed/reviewed the ski. On Epic, you also have people here who test nearly EVERY ski that is being offered, so you can talk to people like a SierraJim, Dawg, Whiteroom or even myself who can help you pick the best ski for you since we have skied almost everything that is being offered. We know the nuances of each ski and can help guide you towards the best ski for you. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

Modified from City Slickers (although the skis mentioned are a few years old...)

Phil: What do you think? What would be the perfect ski for this run? 
Trekchick: Hot Rod Eliminator? 
Phil: No. If it was Stowe, right on the money, but this? Atomic Snoop Daddy. 
Finn: What's going on? 
Trekchick: Phil can pick out the exact right ski for any condition. Go ahead. Challenge him. 
Finn: Challenge him? 
Phil: Go on. 
Finn: Jackson Hole. 
Phil: Volkl Mantra. Don't waste my time. 
[Flings pole at Finn as if he throws down the gauntlet
Phil: Come on. Push me. 
Finn: Steamboat. 
Phil: Bumps? 
Finn: Trees. 
Phil: I'm with you. 
Finn: Aspen Grove. 18" of fresh. 
Phil: Head Mojo. 
PhilTrekchick: WOOF!
 

Edited by Philpug - 4/19/10 at 9:32pm
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
can help you pick the best ski for you since we have skied almost everything that is being offered. We know the nuances of each ski and can help guide you towards the best ski for you.

.....fair enough; next season I'll let you guys ask me all the questions you need to, let each of you recommend the right ski for me, than I'll find the skis to demo and let you know what I think. If you're right, than I guess I may be buying another pair of skis.
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