Howard Head started a "mainstream" USA brand, as did HART, HEXEL, K2, OLIN and others. They were all bought out, closed, merged, manufactured overseas, etc.
It is a worldwide economy now. Even if a ski was/were still manufactured here, the titinal, sintered bases, edges, core, etc. will likely come from foreign countries. So if I buy an Icelantic ski this year in Colorado (really cool tops), or a HEAD here or in Europe, I am buying a product that will financially help many countries. Where the tax on my purchase goes is another story.
What concerns me more than where something is made is the quality of the product. In the 1960's "Made in Japan" was an other name for "junk." Then they read Deming and Japanese quality kicked our ass for a while (the USA eventually caught up). Early skis from China had issues, and many still do (put a true bar on the base of the skis being sold today and see how flat the bottoms are). But some manufacturers will sell a quality product by letting the skis stay in the molds long enough, using better resins, tuning the bottoms better, etc. regardless of where the ski is manufactured. Stockli is one example of a company that puts out a premium quality product*, and the others can be just as good if they want to.
* The stuff they manufacture on site, not what is sub-contracted.
Edited by quant2325 - 10/15/10 at 6:25am
Originally Posted by Veloscente
I'm confused: has there ever been a "mainstream" US brand but K2 that is "familiar to everyone"?