Monday, February 22, 2016

it's the era, the period, the bubble

Originally Posted by Hitman

I demoed the monster 88 a couple weeks ago at Alta and i absolutely loved the ski.

It's weird: great ski, but we haven't sold a single pair. Not even a phone call. What is Head's marketing doing?

If you read around the forums where people discuss ski gear, you find one consistent theme: "the guys at Blister said ________" -- and then a whole raft of praises duplicating what the Blister review said.

Meanwhile, a Blister review is all about the reviewer, and not at all about the ski. The reviewer tells us what expensive destination was the place of testing, which hallowed runs saw testing action, and then usually a remark or two about whether you can "throw them around" like skis are hand grenades or dirt clods in a dirt clod war among school kids. Generally a Blister review is like a blog post at a "mountain lifestyle" blog where the blogger is trying to impress you with his or her outdoorsiness and lifestyling superiority.

I haven't read a single Blister review that told me anything useful about a ski. But they are indeed great for lifestyling, for creating the image you want to present when standing in a lift line and people are checking out your skis just like you check out everyone else's skis to see if they are more core than you. Because really, it's about what image your skis present, and not whether the skis are a good match for your abilities.


A typical review at Blister will say a given ski is "better for intermediates and/or slow speeds," which is, in the modern lifestyling era, a kiss of death to those who read Blister for opinions to assimilate and then at proper times regurgitate.

A good skier can describe why a given ski doesn't work for him/her.  Saying "it folds up at speed" doesn't tell me anything but this:  you want us to think you are so fast and powerful that no ski is burly enough for your bad self. 

Folds at speed when doing what

That's something Blister reviews can't manage.  They're more about persuading you that if you want to look like a Mountain Badass, please imitate a Blister reviewer's statements about a ski.  They're more about building an image-based cult. 

This is the fallout of the facebook/twitter/instagram era:  it's more important to have a key catch-phrase or still image that depicts your lifestyle, than it is to be informative, knowledgeable (personally, as opposed to being able to mouth the hip phrases that are valued among the lifestylers), and possessed of subtle perceptions that can tell you, for example,

The skis are somewhat soft in the shovel, torsionally speaking, and you can't just get cooking at 45mph and then expect the shovel to guide you powerfully into a turn, nor can you count on the shovel to establish a solid arc mid-turn.  You have to ski them gently, not ham-fistedly.  If you do that they will support your goals.

I've watched skiers make fantastic turns at speed on skis which, in their time-currency, were branded and sold as early-intermediate skis.  Such demonstrations show a skier who is in tune with his/her skis, able to work them, and not make excuses about why he/she can't make them work.

What do you have to do with the skis to make them work?  Can you describe that, Blisterboys?

No, I didn't think so.

Intermediates, pretending to be experts, because they can say the right things that sound informed and wise, but which are backed by nothing substantial. 

It's all about the image.


If you're bothering to test a ski and then observe the ski's performance and then collect your thoughts and then write them up,

don't you think it's best if your review focuses on the ski, and what the ski requires of the skier,

rather than whether you are too badass for this particular ski?


Paul Behrer said...

It's consistent with sociopolitical discussion.

The progressive thinks non-progressives are dumb, stupid, and trying to take everyone back to when humans died at age 35 of innumerable mortal threats, with no technologies to let them own and sit within a car that drives itself, for example.

The progressive sees no value in anything outside what gives the public persona presentation as a progressive. Mouth the right words, support the right candidates, and most of all, piss and shit all over anyone who isn't mouthing those proper words or endorsing the obvious candidate.

Maybe Blister is for mountain lifestyle progressives?

Harold Caidagh said...

Doesn't seem like there's any maybes about it, Pablo.

Karl Franz Ochstradt said...

It's no better when you venture outside Blister. I'm posting a link to a thread at EpicSki where people are willing to offer all kinds of ignorance in response to an original inquiry:

1) Nobody's seen this person in person.
2) Wet footprints on newsprint don't tell anything about the problem described.
3) Nobody knows the fit of the person's boot, because (1).
4) The person's observed complaints have a lot to do with what you'd learn in (1).
5) If the medial malleolus is hammered initially (when foot settled and boot buckled) then either you have a collapsing foot (see pronation examples with prominence of MM when arch is unsupported), or a liner issue (which only is discernible upon (1)), or perhaps a mismatch of the foot with the shell's intended dimpling for the MM.

A long-time poster at Epic suggests a Booster strap to "stiffen the cuff." Now this is supreme ignorance at work right here! Boosters do not stiffen anything. A Booster will not fix a problem of MM interference with liner/shell, nor will it fix a collapsing foot that needs support from below.

Everyone's an expert, but nobody knows anything about what they're offering in "expert advice."

Paul Behrer said...

Similar coprolites from Spike Grieve at fucshiabike:

I've spent countless hours on nearly all of Ibis' mountain bikes, from the older Mojos to the new HD3, and from that first generation Ripley to the latest LS version, and I'd make a case that all of them feel sportier, livelier, and quicker handling than most other bikes of similar travel. That's not always ideal, and no, they don't sport the most progressive geometry, but that is also what can make them such great bikes for so many riders - they're useable, and they allow riders to get the most out of the trail.

So here we have Mike telling us that he's a badass, but most riders aren't. Don't forget to remember that Mike's more badass than you!

Paul Behrer said...

"I can take advantage of progressive geometry since I'm a badass. Most riders need old-school geometry because they ride slowly and nervously. Which I don't, clearly, because I can take full advantage of progressive geometry!"

said Mike Levy.

Twitcher Bunnyram said...

Look, we're just selling trinkets. We're not solving world hunger.

Our formula is simple: FIRST, we are the experts, and you readers are simpletons. SECOND, we don't remind you of that directly, because it may alienate you, so we pitch it as an undecided issue and let the flame wars commence for click-farming. THIRD, every change in MTB gear is progress, there are always ways to argue that change is progress, rather than positive change yielding discernible improvements being some semblance of progress. Clearly we're concerned with progress. FOURTH, our model generates massive clicks, which proves we're the experts. More clicks prove deep insider knowledge of an incomparable nature.

H.M. Lohmann said...

So what about the Monster 88 and Head's marketing efforts made you talk about Blister ski reviews, Chet?

Karl Franz Ochstradt said...

Not Chet, but I know where he's coming from.

Blister is selling skis.

And an image.

More specifically, it's selling an image associated with owning and having under your boots a particular ski or type of ski.

It doesn't do anything useful for me, but apparently lots of people buy their ski gear based on what image it will present when they show up at the ski hill with ABC boots on their feet and JKL skis. I guess I should be thankful Blister hasn't devolved so poorly as to pick a particular binding to name as essential for the typical Blister badass, because that might cause some serious internecine squabbles. Driver toe or Pivot heel? Flintlocks at 10 paces!

Head doesn't seem to be on Blister's radar. But Blister only discovered Fischer last year, even though Fischer's been making great skis forever. So, y'know, they have that going for them: depth of experience and wisdom. Blister does, I mean.

And apparently, if Blister isn't singing the ski's praises, it's not gonna move.

Must feel great to be Jonny Ellsworth, must be like being Jim Jones when he landed in Jonestown with his soon-to-sip-the-poison cultists.

Chet Redweld said...

In that EpicSki thread:

If the foot is everting when the boot gets buckled up, at what point does the tilt happen? Buckle from toe to cuff top in sequence. Is it the cuff against the tibia that distorts the foot?

Who has assessed the foot for support needs? What footbed is used? Did it raise the MM so that it's not falling into the shell dimple/liner pocket? Is there a stock throwaway footpad under a footbed?

If it's the cuff angle biting the tibia on the medial side, tip the cuff. If it can't tip then remove the rivets and install adjustable pivots. Let the cuff center around the leg.

Boosters -- they make the cuff/liner/leg more uniform and let the boot flex more as a unit rather than as a friction sandwich/jelly roll. My take is they make a boot flex smoother and don't give me any "boot got stiffer" sorts of qualified feedback at all. Not stiffer in fore flex, not in aft flex, not in lateral rigidity.

Maybe the term "stiffer" is misplaced here, just like it is in suspension forks when people say "stiffer fork" when they mean a more firm-in-compression fork. Stiffness in a fork is about torsion, deflection fore/aft and deflection side/side. "Firmness" is the proper concept for spring compression resistance.

snarkasaurus rex said...

What an arrogant dick. Who died and made you expert, Redweld?

Chet Redweld said...

I'm not claiming expert status, Dino. I'm offering real-world observations, which can be tested in a real setting. If they work for you, maybe they're useful.

You want to know my experience, it's a lifetime of buying, fitting, modifying and repairing ski boots, mounting bindings, adjusting bindings, choosing skis, trying skis as demos. Somewhere in there I worked in ski shops, several of them, and learned from people who knew more than I did. I also use the equipment, I ski, and have for many years, with lots of coaching from people who seem to know their stuff.

On bikes, I've ridden lots of bikes, on pavement and off, over my lifetime. Built a few frames after learning how to make them with the guidance of an experienced framebuillder and teacher. Assembled and repaired my own bikes forever. Even raced bikes once or twice, to little success. Rode lots of different places, different kinds of trails and trail surfaces.

Maybe the failure to create build and sell a Personal Brand is what you would claim is my truest demonstration of non-expert status. Absolutely, you'd be correct. Marketing hasn't ever been a drive I've possessed. Convincing someone to buy something isn't in my skillset or interests portfolio. Totally agree, I'm a failure when it comes to manipulating others toward buying what I have for sale.