the Kaestle experience is exactly my point. you didn't have to trust buzz, you could have trusted Kaestle, a big, solid vastly experienced company. I first bought their metal GS (Red) in 1963 as a junior racer, a hugely popular ski at the time.
Similar, I would buy a Kneissel without reading or demoing, just knowing Kneissel.
and no, I don't think an Indie can learn how to build a ski in 5 years (though a powder ski is the easiest to build, thus the indie focus on that class of ski, IMO.
Well, glad you know Kastle, because the Kastle's I bought the year after they started up were made by a different company (brand new), with different personnel (newly hired from other firms), in a different factory (Head's), than the Kaestles you recall from 1963. Only the name is the same. So much for vast experience...
Second point, agree with Spindrift; if you bought a new Kneissl (no second "e"), just because you know the name from 1960, you'd be in for a sad experience. They're now pretty much doing a Bogner, mainly tennis racquets and skis, all made in China, and the emphasis is on very conservative, even antiquated, designs that are pretty. Quality will remain to be seen.
Finally, folks who ski DPS, Armada, 4-FRNT, Prior, or PM Gear might beg to differ about whether these companies know how to build a ski. Yep, there's a learning curve. but from what I've watched, it's getting down to the small stuff by year 4 or 5, mainly cosmetics. Also, many excellent quality indie skis (Prior and Movement come to mind) are made by people who began years ago by making snowboards. So they well understand the process and design issues.
And as far as a powder ski being easiest to build, you've confusing structure (basic sandwich, easiest to built at low volumes or with simple presses) with function (your beloved Kaestles and Kneissl's were also sandwiches.) Indies could make carvers if they chose, but they understand that skiers marketing types call "early influencers" are mainly younger freeride and freestyle skiers. Who post more on TGR than here...