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Ski Review Process

HortonHorton Posts: 30,586 Administrator
edited June 2012 in Reviews
Last year I was able to review 5 or 6 skis. This year I am almost done with my second review. I get a lot of comments about why it takes so long and why I insist on doing it the way I do it. If you want to understand the how and why read on. If you just want the darn S2 review – I swear I want it done more than you do.

The first thing the looms over my head is the possible impact of a review. Skis now cost an average of $1400. If I write something that impacts the sales of 100 skis that means I impacted $140,000 worth of business for the ski companies. 30,000 people visited last month BallOfSpray so I think it would be pretty easy to impact hundreds of skis sales. I take that seriously. I must be ready to stand behind anything I write.

Step # 1: I have to ski on a ski long enough to get out of any sort of honeymoon stage. The honeymoon stage is the first few rides on any new ski where whatever the ski does best is more apparent then what it does bad. Classic example is two skis that came out a few years ago that both had amazing Off Side turns but after a while I realized that I had traded other important attributes for a massive 1 ball.

Step #2: Define what I have to do differently on this ski verses other skis. Examples: Do I have to be more patient at exit of Off Side or perhaps will this ski let me be super impatient exiting Off Side without punishing me. Does this ski require that my handle control be extra good or does it get wide no matter what? How does that ski make me feel? Does it make me feel rushed or frantic? And so on…

Step # 3: I have to figure out how to describe what I feel. The goal is to paint a picture so you have an idea how the ski will work for you. I firmly believe there is no single best ski but there is a best ski for every skier. Descriptions like “It Rocks” does not help but saying a ski requires a lot of front foot pressure (or not) at On Side should help you choose a ski.

In the end you the skier need to try skis whenever you can. My goal is to give you an idea about what may or may not work for you.

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Comments

  • skidawgskidawg Posts: 3,420 Mega Baller
    Always takin shots at poor MS
    NWA....Heaven on earth!
  • HortonHorton Posts: 30,586 Administrator
    Learned from you

    Support BallOfSpray by supporting the companies that support BallOfSpray

    Barts★ Connelly ★ DBSkis ★ Denali ★ Goode ★ Follow ★ Hobe Lake ★ MasterCraft ★ Masterline ★ 

    McClintock's ★ Performance Ski and Surf ★ Reflex ★ Radar ★ Rodics OffCourseStokes

  • ForrestGumpForrestGump Posts: 6,220
    MS = target
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,066 Mega Baller
    @Horton I think people just like the reviews. I don't get a chance to ride different skis so I have to live vicariously through other people. I do appreciate the fact that you take it seriously and realize the impact a review can have.
    Mark Shaffer
  • crashmancrashman Posts: 722 Crazy Baller
    thanks for the work you do and the critical reviews. Are your reviews based on only your own personal experience or do you have a panel of "experts"?
    slalom addiction triggering irrational behavior
  • bogboybogboy Posts: 699 Solid Baller
    Horton: thank you for your time and hard work. We enjoy reading about different skis, and ski information in general. In the end we are responsible to do our own do diligence, and make our own decisions about our passion.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 30,586 Administrator
    @crashman
    It this point it is "mostly" just me. When I can I have other skiers ride the skis so I can watch and get their comments. When I started doing this we did big weekends with a lot of skiers and skis. It was a lot of fun but the reviews were really not as good as what I do now.

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    McClintock's ★ Performance Ski and Surf ★ Reflex ★ Radar ★ Rodics OffCourseStokes

  • WishWish Posts: 8,269 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @Horton. There is absolutely nothing like your reviews out there. The reviews are thorough and unbiased, making it much easier to select a ski that may work without going through them all. It is obvious you choose your words very carefully. That is a good thing. I agree with you 100% in that there is not a perfect ski but perhaps a perfect for any given skier. Your write-ups reflect that perfectly. I had so much fun and learned a ton last year testing a bunch of skies trying to find a stick. Was able to ride them for a couple weeks each. All of them different, all of them having positives and negatives. Riding them is the easy part. Putting all that down on paper ....priceless.

    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • HortonHorton Posts: 30,586 Administrator
    I will confess that this darn S2 is a bitch to write about because I really ski well on it. The text is roughed out and now I need to fill in some blanks and try to keep it from sounding like a darn love fest.

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  • RynoRyno Posts: 252 Baller
    How often in the process of a review are you upping the speed to 58kph? Or are the reviews you write more suited to 55kph skiiers?
    I only have that thought, given the selling point of the S2 is a ski designed to best suit 55 kph.

    I purchased my Sans Rival almost solely based on your review, and have been more than happy with the performance of the ski (at 58kph).
    Reviews like yours are invaluable for me, as in Australia it is almost impossible to demo the majority of high end skis before you buy. Most of the top companies (Sans Rival, Razor, AM etc) won't sell enough product over here to justify having a distributor, so you have to take a leap of faith by purchasing it from overseas and hope it lives up to the hype. If by the luck of the gods your local dealer does have the ski you want to try, as they sell so few of the top models, most dealers would be very reluctant to let you demo the ski, as they don't want to be stuck with a second hand ski they can't move on.
    Ryan McGill - South Coast, New South Wales, Australia
  • HortonHorton Posts: 30,586 Administrator
    @Ryno I screw around at 36mph a little but honestly the Ballers are mostly 55k skiers.

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    McClintock's ★ Performance Ski and Surf ★ Reflex ★ Radar ★ Rodics OffCourseStokes

  • DirtDirt Posts: 1,683 Open or Level 9 Skier
    I agree with the process
    Ride ski a bunch of sets
    Write review
    Ship ski to me rather than put it on a shelf
    I refuse to return it


    Just ride them half as many sets
    I learned everything I know not to do from Horton
    Boody
  • The_MSThe_MS Posts: 6,148 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    Look, a ski works or it dont. If it Rocks, thats all I need to know. When Horton makes up all the crap about front foot bla bla bla or counter rotate bla bla bla, that means that the ski sucks. If he says it rocks, I will try it.
    Shut up and ski
  • HortonHorton Posts: 30,586 Administrator
    MS = Blunt Instrument & Hen Slayer

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    McClintock's ★ Performance Ski and Surf ★ Reflex ★ Radar ★ Rodics OffCourseStokes

  • Razorskier1Razorskier1 Posts: 3,425 Mega Baller
    So it appears that it IS Horton's fault that MS can't find the right ski! @Horton, just send @MS a private message telling him "it rocks". The rest of us will ignore it and wait for the real review.
    Jim Ross
  • HortonHorton Posts: 30,586 Administrator
    I talked to @MS today. He needs the A2 that @Dirt stole from me.

    Support BallOfSpray by supporting the companies that support BallOfSpray

    Barts★ Connelly ★ DBSkis ★ Denali ★ Goode ★ Follow ★ Hobe Lake ★ MasterCraft ★ Masterline ★ 

    McClintock's ★ Performance Ski and Surf ★ Reflex ★ Radar ★ Rodics OffCourseStokes

  • skidawgskidawg Posts: 3,420 Mega Baller
    Good luck getting that back, dirt is On fire!
    NWA....Heaven on earth!
  • ForrestGumpForrestGump Posts: 6,220
    @Dirt says that anyone who tries to take that A2 from him will get a Rodney King type beat down.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • HortonHorton Posts: 30,586 Administrator
    I am pretty sure @Dirt was the one who sold Rodney the PCP that day

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  • jhughesjhughes Posts: 1,100 Mega Baller
    Great topic. I've put some thought into this recently so the timing is perfect.

    When I buy a new... anything (and I'm a gear-junkie- love gear) I expect it to be better than what I had right away. If it's a new set of irons or a putter or driver in golf, I expect to see pretty much instant results in order to spend the money on that piece of equipment. In photography, when I put down that 1300.00 for an "L" telephoto lens I expect (and am amazed by) the resultant improvement in my exposures in contrast and sharpness. If I purchase a high-end guitar I'm instantly amazed by how much better it sounds and feels and plays than the guitar it's replacing, and so on. If a guitar feels and sounds like crap at the store while I'm playing it for 5 minutes, I'm not going to buy it hoping that with some tweaks and time it'll be better. Same with snow skis, fishing gear, power tools, etc.- you name the hobby and better gear generally feels better right away.

    As such, can't a ski just feel good or bad out of the box with factory settings? Do we have to tweak and learn the ski before making a judgement on it? I'm starting to think that the next ski I drop 1000+ dollars on had better feel miraculously better than what I'm riding, and SOON after the purchase! The season is short and time in the course is precious for most of us. We can't spend days tweaking and getting used to a ski and I'm thinking perhaps "speed dating" skis might be better. Give me the factory settings, let me take it for a spin, then it's either better or worse. If I spend 5 sets getting used to the ski, then decide whether I like it or not, how much of that decision is based on changes I've made to my skiing to make the ski work or the other way around? In other words, does exhaustive testing taint the purity of the review? I've certainly gotten used to a new ski, then found it impossible to ski on what used to be a favorite old ski. The variable when that happens is me, the tester!

    Just throwing thoughts out here for discussion's sake. I think water skis, due to their adjustability, various binding setups, and various skiing styles and habits are VERY hard to test objectively so I certainly appreciate and respect the effort. Just wondering if there are diminishing returns in repeated trials.
    Horton
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,066 Mega Baller
    @jhughes I agree with the way you think. When I used to play a lot of golf I felt that way about golf clubs I wanted it to feel better right away not have a learning curve. When I bought my last new ski an A1 it was better in my first set than what I had been skiing on. I haven't had the opportunity to try another ski since then.
    Mark Shaffer
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