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How Skis (or our perception of them) change over time

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

I saw a description of a Mythic Rider on a ski shop web site the other day that described it as "a little narrower than average for western resorts, but right on target for east coast snow".  I thought , WOW, to the best of my knowledge that ski hasn't changed a bit, except for graphics since it came out in 2008.  Back then it was touted as a western all mountain crudbuster of the highest order.  Not it is a little too narrow for that but is perfect for eastern snow.  Has the snow in the US changed that much in three years, or have the ski industry marketeers done their jobs too well?

post #2 of 28

Was it a web site for an east coast ski shop?

post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 

No, it was Level Nine in SLC.

post #4 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadrash View Post

I saw a description of a Mythic Rider on a ski shop web site the other day that described it as "a little narrower than average for western resorts, but right on target for east coast snow".  I thought , WOW, to the best of my knowledge that ski hasn't changed a bit, except for graphics since it came out in 2008.  Back then it was touted as a western all mountain crudbuster of the highest order.  Not it is a little too narrow for that but is perfect for eastern snow.  Has the snow in the US changed that much in three years, or have the ski industry marketeers done their jobs too well?


neither

 

its people and not the ski industry that deciding what we are skiing on. The snow hasnt change either.

 

The Mythic is really good mid fat, but IMO kinda of lack luster eastern ski.Blizzards 8.7 or or the Old Head IM88are alot more planted on hard pack. They may give up alittle in true powder but I feel both of them are nearly equal with the mythic in mixed condtion.

 

Out west its pretty good mini legend pro. its a western crud buster/bump ski for skier of the nearly highest level and those of the highest level that want something alittle more forgiving.

post #5 of 28

It's not just skis, I remember when the current Subaru Forester came out It was Motor Trends 'SUV of the Year" and won every comparison test. One year later it was finishing at the back of the pack in reviews. As good of a product can be, the bar does get moved. I remember when "fat skis were 80mm (Volkl Snowranger comes to mind) , again back to cars, a Civic is the size an Accord used to be, the C-Class is the size an E used to be, that E- is the size of an old S-class. 

 

I recall loving a ski and saying damn, "this is the best ski I have ever skied" then going back 2-3 year later and skiing the same ski and thinking "wow how did I ever even ski this board"..and this has been going on for 20 years ;). 

post #6 of 28

I had always wanted some Chubs so last year I bought some cheap on ebay. When I got them I realized the tips were significantly narrower than my everyday 4x4s! What was once the "King of the Fatties" now has about the same float as a front side carver. I'm always surprised that the folks skiing the most difficult terrain are frequently doing so on equipment that most of us would consider too short, too long or too narrow. Sometimes the world really changes. More often it's just the marketing or our perception that changes.

post #7 of 28

:refuses to buy into all-mountain rocker hype:

 

:is reminded of when old guys refused to by into shaped ski hype:

 

:feels old:

 

post #8 of 28

My theory is that change is incremental by nature.

 

Assume that the current ski lineups are the platonic ideal (obviously impossible, but bear with me).  Now think about what you were skiing 10 years ago.  Would you have been able to conceive the switch from what you were skiing 10 years ago to today's skis without an intermediary step?

 

That, and marketing, of course.

 

Cars are probably a very good analogy.  The other thing to remember is that just about every car made today is better in almost every objective way than the best cars made 40 years ago:  performance, safety, fuel efficiency, etc.  I'd argue that the same is the case here.

post #9 of 28

I skied about 40 days on a Mythic Rider this past winter.  I found it to be a great mid-fat and used it in a variety of conditions including powder.  I remember when it came out it had the great reputation, they aren't even making it this year.  I also had the Snow Ranger when it came out and skied on it for many seasons.  It was a truly revolutionary ski and I owned several pairs of 200s and still sometimes use my 190 Snow Ranger with the tele binding.  I can't even give those skis away anymore.  IMO some of it is hype, but the skis have gotten a lot better.  Some designs and ideas will prove to be a fad and others will last.  IMO super fat skis will fall out of favor with most recreational skiers as will the heavily rockered models.  I have been wrong before.  This year I'm pretty sure I will have a pair of S7 skis, so I guess I will find out.

post #10 of 28

The serrated edge of the Libtech NAS will take over the industry.  You heard it hear first.

post #11 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

It's not just skis, I remember when the current Subaru Forester came out It was Motor Trends 'SUV of the Year" and won every comparison test. One year later it was finishing at the back of the pack in reviews..... 


The current Forester at the back of the pack?   I haven't seen a review like that.  Could you post a link to one?
 

post #12 of 28

The expansion of ski design to wider waisted skis is huge for me. It coincided with increasing interest in off-piste skiing for strong skiers, with a delay of 5 - 10 years, Volkl Explosiv and
Snow Ranger some of the earliest designs. The Volkl G - 3 and 4 to popularize immensely. 

 

rocker and sh** not so much.

post #13 of 28

Back in 1997 Pontiac had an add campaign for their new Grand Prix with it's wider chassis that read "Wider is Better". I would see the massive banner every time I rode the Gondola at Loon Mountain back in NH. For the last 13 years I have watched this slogan come to life as skis have progressively gotten wider and wider (and shorter for that matter). I now sell skis and as I handle, test and ride all of the mid fats and powder boards I cant help but think of that banner back at Loon. I guess I would have to say that my perception has stayed relatively the same. Plus the move from NH to CO only made that slogan more true. Just a quick two cents.

Cheers.

post #14 of 28

Skis are like people--getting shorter and fatter with each passing year. 

post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiCollie1 View Post

Back in 1997 Pontiac had an add campaign for their new Grand Prix with it's wider chassis that read "Wider is Better". I would see the massive banner every time I rode the Gondola at Loon Mountain back in NH. For the last 13 years I have watched this slogan come to life as skis have progressively gotten wider and wider (and shorter for that matter). I now sell skis and as I handle, test and ride all of the mid fats and powder boards I cant help but think of that banner back at Loon. I guess I would have to say that my perception has stayed relatively the same. Plus the move from NH to CO only made that slogan more true. Just a quick two cents.

Cheers.



How'd that work out for Pontiac by the way?

post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylrwnzl View Post

Skis are like people--getting shorter and fatter with each passing year. 



I'm pretty sure the ceiling has been reached on how wide skis will go. I really don't know anyone besides small women who have any interest in short pow ski's. I know my local ski manufacturer had a hard time moving 171 pow ski's because not many people really want one that short.

post #17 of 28

How many people do you see skiing 200+ skis like they did 20 years ago.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ecimmortal View Post





I'm pretty sure the ceiling has been reached on how wide skis will go. I really don't know anyone besides small women who have any interest in short pow ski's. I know my local ski manufacturer had a hard time moving 171 pow ski's because not many people really want one that short.

post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylrwnzl View Post

How many people do you see skiing 200+ skis like they did 20 years ago.
 


 


Not a lot, but i know plenty that ski mid 190's.

 

Inversely 10 years ago weren't most people on shorter ski's? Now things seem to have gone back up, but to a happy medium.
 

post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylrwnzl View Post

Skis are like people--getting shorter and fatter with each passing year. 


Candidate for post of the month imo!

post #20 of 28

I think the ski industry is following a similar path to the one the tennis industry went down.

 

When graphite rackets really boomed, most people were using 85-90" frames that weighed 12 oz. These were considered big and light, because people were coming from wood frames that were 65" and 13-14 oz. But, as the years went by, rackets kept getting bigger and lighter, until companies were making ridiculously huge (130"), light (9 oz), and stiff frames.

 

Then, people realized that you can't serve particularly well with a 130" frame, and something weighing 9 oz won't offer any stability. So, people moved back from that extreme and have come to settle on 98-100" frames weighing around 11 oz (plenty of others are sold, but these are by far the most popular).

 

I think the ski industry is currently in the phase of testing the extremes. In a few years, most consumers will start to back down from the extremes and settle on more reasonable skis (which will still be much wider than what we were all on years ago). The most popular models will be within a small range of specs.

 

That's when you'll really see the industry's marketing kick in. All of a sudden, every ski will have magic materials and miracle technologies that make it the best thing since sliced bread, whereas last year's ski  (which had the same length, width, weight, and basic construction) will be deemed as outdated despite the fact that people wouldn't actually be able to tell the difference in blind tests.

 

If you want a taste of what the future has to offer, take a look at Head tennis rackets over the last 8 years. They've had LiquidMetal (though there's nothing liquid in the frame), Flexpoint (which was supposed to flex in a way that cups the ball, though it didn't), Microgel (superlight and superstrong material, though it only made up 1% or so of the frame and thus didn't make a difference), and Youtek (D3O material which gets stiffer the harder the impact; but again, only a tiny amount is used, so you can't actually feel anything like that). They've basically been selling the same graphite rackets for 8 years, but they keep telling everyone the new ones are somehow better, even though a blind test would show otherwise.

post #21 of 28


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FujativeOCR View Post

:refuses to buy into all-mountain rocker hype:

 

:is reminded of when old guys refused to by into shaped ski hype:

 

:feels old:

 

This is an awesome post.
 

post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by CerebralVortex View Post

When graphite rackets really boomed, most people were using 85-90" frames that weighed 12 oz. These were considered big and light, because people were coming from wood frames that were 65" and 13-14 oz. But, as the years went by, rackets kept getting bigger and lighter, until companies were making ridiculously huge (130"), light (9 oz), and stiff frames.

 

Then, people realized that you can't serve particularly well with a 130" frame, and something weighing 9 oz won't offer any stability. So, people moved back from that extreme and have come to settle on 98-100" frames weighing around 11 oz (plenty of others are sold, but these are by far the most popular).


CV, I posted something in a similar vein a while back. I've been thinking about equipment again, as I recently was browsing through a Habitat for Humanity second-hand store for some building materials when I came across this in a bin hiding amongst a bunch of old golf clubs...

 

Jack Kramer.JPG

 

I suspect many of you have fond memories of this oldie but goodie! $5, and in very good condition, so it's in my bag now, and I've been playing with it a bit when I get out. It's been an interesting experience.

 

As per your comments above it's a much smaller head, (ergo much smaller sweet spot), and relatively heavy. The biggest difference I've found hitting with it is it takes a lot more time to get around, so I have to really pay attention and prepare early, but if I do that and hit it clean an amazing ball comes off the strings. Nasty low, fast, penetrating slice, and surprisingly good topspin balls when I catch it just right - they look like floaters, but when they hit close to the baseline and explode up they are heavy! Pounding a really hard, flat ball has proven to be a challenge - if not hit just right it's headed for the back fence.

 

What I mainly have been using it for is the initial 10-15 minutes of "short court" warm up - really easy hitting with my partner in the service box - feeling the ball on the strings, brushing up on the ball to get topspin, gentle slice/feel shots, and some volleys back and forth. It's almost like swinging a bat with a doughnut, as when we then go to the baseline and I switch to my Wilson Pro Staff 6.0 95, (a dinosaur by today's standards), it feels incredibly easy to get around, very forgiving. In comparison cushy, and very, er, empowered.

 

There was a guy around here who won a USTA 4.5 tournament a few years ago playing with a wooden racket, and I love stories like that, but I don't have any plans to go back and play strictly with wood. I do think I will continue to use it as described above, and maybe occasionally try to play for an entire day with it just to see how it goes.

 

I wonder for some of the folks here who have been skiing through several generations of ski equipment if they have any type of similar experience when they do take their old gear out for some turns? Are there some good things about the older skis that jump out and stand on their own, and does skiing on them help magnify the benefits and capabilities of the newer gear when switching back to it?

post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by FujativeOCR View Post

:refuses to buy into all-mountain rocker hype:

 

:is reminded of when old guys refused to by into shaped ski hype:

 

:feels old:

 



refuses to embrace the cop-out of needing to buy a turn. you have no understanding of age, so best stuff it.

post #24 of 28

Regarding revolutionary designs and space age materials and hype and what not...how is Salomons Pro-Link and Pilot system coming along? 

post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post





refuses to embrace the cop-out of needing to buy a turn. you have no understanding of age, so best stuff it.


What?  It was true.  I know lots of old doods that took forever to switch out their Equipe 2s's, and Force 9's, and Course GS's and RD Coyote Bad Dogs in favor of these new "Ergo's", and "SCX's" and what have you.  Now it's the same thing all over again.  Rocker and Reverse Camber and Early rise are taking over, and I see myself being hesitant to buy into it.  Therefore, I remind myself of the old guys that wouldn't buy shaped skis.
 

post #26 of 28

Speaking of change over time, this is a good read...

 

ski equipment vs.ski technique a historical view of how we got here

post #27 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by FujativeOCR View Post

Regarding revolutionary designs and space age materials and hype and what not...how is Salomons Pro-Link and Pilot system coming along? 


http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/21619/ski-technology-gone-by-the-wayside

post #28 of 28


An even better read!  ;-)

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