Originally Posted by spindrift
Putting "competitor" at the top of the aggressiveness scale seems odd to me. While competitors are often "aggressive" in their environment, it is hard to map that to a broader reality. I know at least 3 or 4 people, not "competitors", who ski more "aggressively" in varied terrain & conditions than all but the most elite "competitors" in the country. It makes no sense to convolute the two.
IMO competitor or not is a completely different axis than aggressiveness.
Having a specific section for the reviewer to state their "biases" might not be a bad idea. For example, a couple of well regarded local reviewers here have carried a narrower, cambered ski bias quite strongly into the bast couple years. Great guys. But I consider their reviews of most rockered skis pretty useless due to the technique bias they bring over. If they made their technique and gear preferences clear, many might benefit (including folks with similar preferences who would know to stay away..). Likewise, I dumped non-rockered skis a few years ago -- my judgements about a conventional ski are a foregone conclusion... so knowing where I'm coming from just in terms of preference & philosophy helps calibrate any review I might write.
Competitor could be "big mountain" or "racing" competitor. Not saying that good skiers won't be competitors, but most all of the very best skiers I know either are/were racers or big-mountain competitors, at least on a local level. An alternative could be some sort of more specific rating or skill level. For example, if you can ski a double-black bump run at Mary Jane fluidly w/o stopping, you are probably a true expert, but much of that can be hard to quantify.
That is pretty easy to solve: just have the reviewers post video of themselves skiing. It will be much easier to see any technique bias in a video or MA. I try to do that as much as possible, so people know where I am coming from, what terrain I ski, and how that ski performed. Most, if not all, people are going to have some sort of preference based on technique; some skis are harder to drive than others, some require more skill than others, some are more forgiving than others, et cetera. This is what makes reviewing skis so much fun: one person's Porsche 911 Turbo could be another's Chevy Sprint. There are plenty of hacks that love benign, forgiving skis, and plenty of good skiers that won't ski anything but the most aggressive ski on the rack; it isn't a bias, but rather a performance issue. OTOH, highly skilled skiers are much less likely to hold specific biases based on technique (good ski technique is universal;allowing for individual factors, good skiing is good skiing), but skilled testers going to be likely to flesh out any differences based on what the ski is meant to do vs. what it isn't meant to do.
This is the real key to ski testing; knowing that each ski has a design idea in mind, and figuring out who and what that ski was designed for, vs. just discounting a ski because it doesn't meet the tester's version of an ideal ski. Probably less than 15% of the skis I have tested in the past year are skis I would like to own, but that hardly makes them bad skis; in fact, many are incredible skis, but not models that would really fit where and how I ski, or a need in my quiver.
If you are looking for ski-specific biases (something like "I ski at Whiteface and prefer narrower skis that hold well on ice"), then that should be pretty obvious when they post their quiver, which is one of the review components. When a guy like me posts their quiver (Kastle RX12, Blizzard magnum 8.1, Elan Apex, Kastle MX98, Kastle MX108, Dynastar Huge Rocker, Praxis Powder (on loan)), it really doesn't tell people much, except that I like skis and own a ski shop