The annual Masterfit Boot Test concluded after a 5-day ordeal in which some 35 volunteer testers donned 98 boot models and sallied outside to put them through their paces at Silver Mountain, Idaho.
A blank canvas in the Wasatch invites the skier to etch clean lines on its surface. (RealSkiers)
As the 2017/18 ski season shifts from bright anticipation to rapidly dimming memory, it’s time to look back and take stock of where we’ve been and what we’ve pondered in the past seven months. To this end, here are links to all the recent Revelations you may have missed, along with a skinny summary of its contents.
Try to be as specific as you can when describing yourself as a skier. (RealSkiers.com)
Thanks to the popularity of rating sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor, every retailer, restaurant and service provider in America is subject to appraisal by its customers. On the whole, this phenomenon is a positive development, even if human nature is such that many folks are more likely to rant about a negative experience than extol an exceptional one.
Scenes from a short seminar in buckle pressure. (RealSkiers.com)
After each bootfitting exercise, I spend a few moments ensuring that my freshly fitted customer understands the basic operation of his or her new footwear. Part of this brief operations overview is a lesson on buckle tension. You might think experienced skiers would know all about this; after all, many have been wearing 4-buckle boots for twenty seasons or more.
You'll find gear to put a smile on your face at the Vail Ski Swap. (Vail Ski and Snowboard Club)
As we’re preparing for ski and board season, it’s time to think about upgrading our gear or selling some of your old stuff, and fall ski swaps are a great way to make that happen.
When I orchestrated equipment reviews for Snow Country Magazine 25 years ago, all skis looked similar but the quality of the on-snow experience was all over the map.
T’is the season we in the ski evaluation racket look forward to all year, when we can take run after run on new ski after new ski, soaking in the sensations each ride imparts.
The New Year brings with it the opening of ski test season and the first public revelations of what new skis we’ll be putting through their paces in the weeks ahead. As RealSkiers.com prepares to peer into the future, we pause for a moment to revisit past trials and tribulations along the ski test trail.
The question most commonly asked by the new ski buyer, whether in person or via the Internet, is, to no one’s surprise, “What ski should I buy?” When this query is posed on line, the second most frequent question is, “Where should I buy it?”
The average American skier buys a new pair of skis every 8 to 10 years. For every gear junkie adding to his or her arsenal every other year there’s someone who, as far as the ski industry is concerned, goes dormant for over a decade.
Few skiers are as zealous as Masters and Citizen racers. When the editors at realskiers worked in product development for Salomon in the early 1980s, extensive consumer research led to the identification of three skier archetypes we’ll call Tourists, Players and Zealots.
Whenever a bootfitter slips what he or she knows to be the correct size on a prospective customer, it’s standard procedure to intone, “You will feel your toes at the end of the boot; please try not to panic,” or some such admonition.
In another sentence or two, we’re going to inform you that what ski brand you buy isn’t very important. We want to caution you in advance that this statement isn’t entirely true. It does indeed matter what brand you buy; it just doesn’t matter as much as a few other factors that need to be settled first.
Many skiers with 20 ski seasons or more of experience base their associations with each boot brand on their personal history, despite the fact that this history is most likely limited to three models, the last of which was purchased a decade ago.
Most skiers who aren’t professionally involved with the sport at the granular level cling to any number of misconceptions about equipment and technique. Just how some of these fallacies came to be embedded in the skiing public’s zeitgeist is unclear, but friends and family are the usual culprits when it comes to cementing bad ideas in place. To help you shed the shackles of ignorance, we hereby expose five fallacies that hinder pursuit of the quality ski experience.
Most Americans believe in self-improvement, believe that regardless of the chosen endeavor, one should strive to get better at it. As applied to skiing, this world-view implies that all skiers, from rank beginner to elite competitor, would like to ski better. Effective immediately, if possible.