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Ski testing in France?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Having missed the Oktobertest and in need(!) of new skis, OH is keen to find a proper ski test (rather than just what the local shops have) somewhere near the Grand Massif. It looks as if there is a Ski Force Winter Tour, but it doesn't hit the GM and appears to be only the first weekend of the season in various places, where we'd hope for something in January.

I tripped over the Dynastar test centre on their website, but the page has had a 404 error for several weeks now. And that would only be one brand.

Am I missing something, or is there simply nothing going on?
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I am not aware of any such thing locally.

Didnít the PSB used to coincide with ski testing?

Whatís wrong with local offerings?
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@under a new name, local shops always have their favourites rather than a proper mix. Oktobertest would have been ideal.......
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@sj1608, why us that necessarily a problem? Also more than one lical shop...
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@under a new name, because most shops stock a limited range. Have you ever been to an Oktobertest to understand just what it offers?
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http://www.avoriaz.com/en/events/rock-on-ultimate
Dates are wrong, it's called a snowboard tour but there appears to be skis as well and it's not too far from the GM. Thought you might like to know about it at least. No idea what it's like.
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@Timc, thanks for that. If there's snow we'll be in GM by that time, so could make it.
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@sj1608, yeah sure, but...
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@sj1608, Au Vieux Campeur do ski test days but they're not well publicised. I got invited to one at (I think) La Clusaz by the Albertville store a couple of seasons ago but couldn't make it. Would be worth contacting the Sallanches store to ask if they have any planned nearer the GM. https://www.auvieuxcampeur.fr/boutiques/Sallanches
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under a new name wrote:
I am not aware of any such thing locally.

Didnít the PSB used to coincide with ski testing?.......


Yes. I chose my present skis at one.
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@Raceplate, thanks for that. I always forget about Vieux Campeur, even though they are close to us, and had no idea they did ski test days.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@sj1608, duh, I have been to a PSB. I'm still kind of unsure what your need are. We did some pretty extensive testing last season, but constrained - if that's the case - to the bro in law's shop. We still had 5 models (of ski) to play with. Bizarrely, despite being of similar height, build and ability, the wif and I totally disagreed on skis...
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@under a new name, 5 different skis is nothing like the range that Admin lines up for Oktobertest. Until we'd done an Oktobertest it wolud never have occurred to me that it was worth trying so many different ones.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
It's gratifying that the OktoberTest is being seen as the reference against which ski-tests should be measured Cool
We have done and I try to do ski tests at the PSB and the EoSB but boy is it difficult to get the necessary people/resources lined up for them.

Whitedot are by far the most reliable at getting kit to us. Swiss Tim of Kneissl does a good job but battles to actually get models from the factory.

Fortunately Spyderjon of the Piste Office is getting behind the EoSB. As a retailer who buys stuff off them directly, the brands listen to him more than me so each year he's persuading more brands to line him up skis to bring out. Even when they don't have a full test-fleet, chucking us half a dozen pairs each allows us to put a half decent line-up together.

When the EoSB ties up with Ellis Brigham taking kit out to their staff test at the end of the season, they bring, sometimes as many as 80 pairs along which makes for a really varied selection.

UK retailers just can't spare time in December to support the PSB though.

It seems axiomatic that putting skis on the feet of enthusiastic skiers would be a good way to generate interest but unless you can actually point to direct sales, it's hard to persuade many of the brands to put any effort into it. It has even crossed my mind that we should start retailing skis through snowHeads purely as a means to generate the clout we need to get demo skis for tests rolling eyes

It's taken a while but a good few of the brands have got the hang of the fact that the OktoberTest is a good gig. Even so some, having ventured into the forum for once, were panicking that only 20-30 snowHeads were signed up Shocked I explained that a month ahead of the date, having 20-30 people committed to a Saturday night was a very healthy place to be - but you can see my point wrt how useful it is if people hit the buttons early snowHead
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@admin, we were really sorry we couldn't make it this year, having found it so useful before. Would be very happy to buy skis through Snowheads if that helped you get enough clout to do ski tests at bashes.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Laughing yes, I expect quite a few would be happy to buy skis here but ideally I'd prefer to leave the retail gig to others.
Spyderjon taking a more active interest in the tests has certainly proved beneficial.
If we could only find some way to make it worthwhile for him to bunk off 'normal' work for 2 or 3 of his busiest days of the year in December!! Confused
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The Ski Force Winter Tour is very good for trying out a lot of different skis - but yes, always early in the season, and limited resorts.

If you're in a resort while the Freeride World Tour is there, there is free ski testing over the weekend too, generally with quite a few different brands - though of course all mountain and offpiste biased. I first came across Whitedot because of the FWT in Verbier, and I've bought skis from another brand after testing them at the FWT in Chamonix.

Black crows also sponsor a weekend in Cham, with of course ski testing of their own brand.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Quote:

worth trying so many different ones


@sj1608, Did you not just find it confusing? We were pretty targeted on what we were trying to achieve, i.e. replace defunct VŲlkl Mantras, ideally with something that did the same sort of job. The only skis we didn't try, that I had in mind were the Nordica Enforcers, Kastle's equivalent and something from Black Crows (we could have put more effort in on the last one).

But 5 models in different sizes and beginning to lose patience with the process. Would argue that testing more than one or two skis in a day is not so worthwhile - mind you, it too 100m on the Elans to know immediately they weren't up to the task.
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The ski testing at Avoriaz last year was great, all the manufacturers were there, with every model of ski. There was no waiting around, you just wandered up to a tent, told them what you wanted and were off skiing again within 5 mins. I was surprised by how quiet it was. I'm going again this year, flying out for the weekend on Easyjet for £40 return and with free ski hire all w/e it makes for a cheap 2 days skiing.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@under a new name, no, far from confusing. The process of trying very quickly gets you focused on what works and what doesn't. And it's way more efficient than having to keep going back to a shop, where you have to keep waiting around for the next ones. At Oktobertest everything is lined up to make sure you're off the snow for the minimum time.
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@sj1608, I am going to gareeably disagree Happy while we had a lot of fun years ago at one of the early PSBs which coincided with a big test on the LDA glacier, if I had been looking for new skis it wouldn't have been much of an advantage. In this particular situation.

But it was fun... and we did try lots of things...

I just am unconvinced that having a whole load of different things is helpful, .. . if you know broadly what sort of thing you're looking for.
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@under a new name, happy to agreeably disagree! Smile
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Oh you two! Don't you know this is the internet: have you learned nothing from the Brexit thread? You should be TYPING IN CAPITALS and mispellin sw34r words by now.
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Quote:

have you learned nothing from Brexit?



Has anyone? Twisted Evil
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But we're REAL Snowheads (there, a few capitals!) so know there's no point in disagreeing properly. Laughing Laughing
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snowHead snowHead
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
admin wrote:

Spyderjon taking a more active interest in the tests has certainly proved beneficial.
If we could only find some way to make it worthwhile for him to bunk off 'normal' work for 2 or 3 of his busiest days of the year in December!! Confused


Would it not make more sense to do it at the end of the season, when everyone is otherwise just working out how much discount to add to their remaining stock? 99% of the distributors have demos of next season's skis by the SIGB test in March (could even try piggy backing on to that?). Ellis Brigham did that in Ischgl last April, which worked out perfectly with snow, and there was a similar snowboard event at Kaunertal Glacier just after too.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Oh I know! The theory makes perfect sense @clarky999 - now you just need to persuade the brands of that logic.

IME everything is set in stone making things completely unfeasible... until it isn't.
It's taken a few years but my first attempts at the OktoberTest struggled to get enough skis to even cater for the people we had coming. "It's just too early for us, we can't get any demos by then" from one side and, "Sorry mate, our demos will be long gone: they all need to be off at the retailers by then" from the other.
...and yet, if Ellis Brigham call the test, it's never too early or late.
A couple of years ago, we were left so short by a couple of last minute can't-do-it-after-all's that I thought I was going to have to cancel the Manchester one at 2 or 3 day's notice! Shocked
Steve@ellisbrigham saved the day, lending us EB skis and persuading a couple of brands to do the same.

Fast fwd a couple of years, with 150+ coming out and trying 6-700 pairs of skis each year: this time, everyone's schedules just seemed to fit OktoberTest. Hopefully it is now becoming one of those fixed points in space and time that starts to influence the location of other events around it. "Yeah dude, we need them here the weekend before for the OktoberTest" and "We can let you have them the weekend after the OktoberTest"... hopefully Little Angel

Now... how do we get them to support the PSB and the EoSB similarly?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@admin, Might help if you could make the brands aware of the Snowheads rules 1 and 3. It may make them realise quite how active Snowheads are at buying skis.
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That is a very good point @Timc, and though said in jest, there might indeed be something along those lines that we could do to quantify the collective snowHeads' gear-habit in an brand-impressing manner.

While we're here, and on this topic, I have literally just confirmed dates for next year's OktoberTest.
Hemel snowCentre: Sat 6th Oktober
Manchester Chill Factore: Sun 7th Oktober
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 Poster: A snowHead
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@admin, it's in the calendar! Although we may have resolved the skis for OH by then........... rolling eyes
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Yes but according to the rules, n+1 comes into play and your situation, in all practical terms, will be exactly the same.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@admin, yes, but our ski locker will be even fuller, which eventually means you get to needing n-1 Madeye-Smiley
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Or you need n+1 ski lockers.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I've mentioned on SHs before-but we have been going to Zermatt for about the last 8 years now for 2-3 nights to test the latest skis organised by the Swiss Ski Organisation. You buy a package via the tourist office which includes a hotel or apartment, lift pass and ski testing.They run it from October to the end of November. They do it in Saas Fee too. All the big brands are there in abundance and it's really well set up at the lift station at the foot of the glacier at 2700m. By the end of November, there are usually enough pistes open to get you over to the Italian side (cheaper lunches!). Admittedly, its not the cheapest place to stay (and the bank balance hasn't been helped by the post trip consequential ski purchases either!) . Good fun though and the relatively limited on piste options are made up for by swapping and trying out all manner of skis.
We're off again next weekend-can't wait. It's snowing there at the moment and looks like it'll be really cold by next weekend


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Tue 7-11-17 21:02; edited 1 time in total
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@under a new name, you're fairly long in the tooth in skier-years so you probably have a much clearer picture than most people of the skis you want before you start.
For many people at OktoberTest each year, it's a revelation that different skis can feel so different to each other. It's often a ski-epiphany for them to learn the hows and whys of that. Their past experience is being given whatever the shop each year says is suitable for them and then spending a week getting used to them - and thinking it all feels strange because they haven't skied for a year and/or they're 'just not very good'.
Some people get really into it, try quite a few pairs and then focus on certain ones to A/B more closely.
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@admin, yep, totally get that. And totally think your work to get broad tests working is a very good thing Happy.
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aww! Blush
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We went to Avoriaz for the ski test today. Original plan was to go Friday, but roads were not in good enough condition to drive from Les Carroz. Friday would have been better for actually skiing as Avoriaz was absolutely rammed today.

Virtually all the brands were there, including some rather expensive-looking ones that were offering to customise your skis....and they didn't mean by putting on a different binding. rolling eyes Only brand that OH had wanted to test and wasn't there was Kneissl. There was no problem trying anything that he wanted, they all seemed to have plenty of skis despite there being so many people.

It was pretty intense, but there was no way he could have tested such a broad range of offerings by going to a single ski shop. We'd definitely do it again if in the market for skis, but not just as a 'let's go and test some skis for the fun of it'. And it wasn't as friendly as Oktoberfest, so we may well darken @admin's door again next year . snowHead

Lowlight of the day was two French gentlemen of advanced years skiing in shorts and gaiters, with a rather unseemly amount of (slightly blue) flesh on display. Confused
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Yes we were in Avoriaz for the test yesterday too. All rather straightforward and very much worthwhile!
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