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LOCKDOWN Showdown Q&A

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I'm going utterly nuts, and quite honestly could do with some entertainment, you guys all seem to be able to offer that in spades. I've got too much energy left, and a fair amount of stock tbh.

There's alot of false news in and around here. So hopefully that will rear it's head here and we can dispel a few myths.

There are alot of regular questions that get asked in the shop, to get the ball rolling one of them or at least a point is.................

"I don't want to buy "brand"."

So, your brand fidelity or lack of should be addressed.

Firstly a brand is just a bank account, so should your MO be to not give a certain brand your money you need to be aware ......

Some brands are the same company, if you choose not to buy Salomon for example, purely on economics and image suitability, buying Atomic, Armada,Peak Performance, Sunnto and some others will simply do the same thing. Don't put off buying a suitable product based on these motives, or at least if you do, be consistent, across all their brands.

Tecnica, Nordica, Marker, Voelkl, Dalbello, Line, Fulltilt, K2, Blizzard are all managed in the same way; share manufacturing, staff, production, logistics, so these two "brand" examples give almost 60% of the total Market Share when you include their in-sourced production from micro/boutique brands.

Boots are interesting, the designers are few, they're not big into skiing, or as you may imagine, most have worked for all brands at some point, so the intellectual property is migrant.

Most of the mould manufacture is all done in the same small factory in Italy, it's a small cottage industry, with highly skilled workers, a Chinese group wanted to buy it, but bailed when they saw the little Italian Maestros polishing moulds with gold putty. Any boot that has a shiny surface has almost certainly been made in the moulds from this factory. Other finishes could come from a different way of cutting and finishing the moulds but most likely here. To my knowledge, only Amer group (Salomon and Atomic) make their own "blocks" at the moment, but this is all but ready to change with "multi part" moulds and crossover tooling technology.

Most of the actual manufacturer of the boots and logistics are in Montebelluna, Italy, they're probably having a hell of a problem right now, the Virus could all but close this town and change things forever.

The plastics are all from France, Germany or Switzerland, big chemical companies, oil refineries essentially. The ski boot business is a tiny client, so for the most part the plastics you use are designed and off a menu, the manufactures of ski boots can choose a plastic but not play with its bonding. Grilamid (Nylon 12) is a swiss plastic, has alot of tolerances and can be changed relatively easily to give the ski boot manufacturers a certain margin for change.

So for the most part, i'd say 70% of cases, your ski boots follow these three steps, your boots could be designed by any one or combination of people, all contracted at different times, to particular brands. Fundamental manufacturer is likely to be in Italy, and the materials could be French, Swiss or German.

So when you become loyal to the brand, what part of the brand story are you drawn too? Because I don't see much of any brand anywhere in that, apart from who finances the project, what you ultimately end up loyal to is either a brand image, or a process, and i'd say you're alot more consistent and happy when you follow the process. This means, that all brands make a mistake, and those that haven't will, it's like that, too be brand loyal is ridiculous, bad experiences are down to luck and too many parameters. Avoiding that brand might take the opportunity to have your mind changed and blown for another purchase.

We regularly see amazing stuff from brand "X" then a few years later with the process tweaked or outsourcing of research, see the very same brand come out with rubbish and have to stick with it for at least 3 seasons, i can think of evidence of this from every brand at least 3 times since i've been "Pottering".

Another reason for avoiding "Brand" is your foot shape.

"I don't have a "brand" shaped foot.

Now here, personally i f**king hate you, you have no idea how much. In my mind right now you are the biggest idiot i've ever met, i want to kill you and will try to quickly explain or remove you from the store. It's been used to death a bit for the last 25 Years.

So the ski boot, apart from a few weird concepts and we'll just ignore that bullshite, a ski boot is made on an injection mould, it's like making ice in a way, but imagine inside the cube is a smaller cube in the middle. Now these are expensive, made in Italy predominantly, but mean that a pair of boots have a defined shape. Each manufacturer has many different sets of moulds to make different shaped boots for different reasons. Now, if you can't figure out where this is going, hear this mast point. Car manufacturers make lots of different shaped and types of car, you could get into a renault van for example, hate it, but then get into it's luxury executive, wheeler dealer banker machine and love it, but the two things are completely different. So when we talk about ski boots being comfortable, imagine, thinking about if these different cars are comfortable, yes, one is awesome, but another is rubbish. Both from the same manufacturer, but when we focus on one aspect, comfort, the same company can provide you with both the worst and the best experience. So, please don't think that if a brand did/didn't work for your comfort (foot shape) that another model will/won't. It's simply insane to think about this any other way, and if at this point you're still not following, i'd suggest a high street ski store will be best suited to listen to your utter nonsense.


Please be mindful of your brand loyalty, ask yourself what it is your seeking, understand those points. If you want to buy Salomon because of Cody Townsend, please do, be please be aware that if that is the reason, then more technical and performance related issues may not be optimised, whatever level of skier you are.

If you have any questions or points regards kit you'd like to address give it a shot here, this could go on for months, i've got breath left in me.

Toofy Grin Toofy Grin Toofy Grin Toofy Grin Skullie
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Yes - to a point m'lud. But it also remains the case that the boot industry while it is getting better does limit choices for many skiers - e.g. if you have a seriously wide forefoot but normal or even skinny ankle there are a limited number of boots that are candidates especially if you want a performance boot etc. Because there are limits to the amount plastic can be ground or punched or stretched without compromosing the integrity of the boot.

And fitters don't in general have a limitless supply of brands and boots. I know good ones will choose and buy their stock carefully so they have most potential footshapes and use cases covered but when they are out of your size then its goodnight nurse (in general - I know some people are better positioned to get the rare units than others)

It's a problem of boots being a niche industry within a niche industry yet one where genuinely every single customer has unique needs.
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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?
2/10 Very poor rant Very Happy Rants should never include facts, the ranter should have no real expertise in the field, and you didn't manage to work Brexit in at all. If you'd ranted about nuclear physics (assuming you're not a nuclear physicist) it would be much better.

Factually, very interesting and useful tho.

Product aside, what about service levels associated with brands tho? Do you find some of them have a culture/behaviour that is easier/better to deal with? The service is where most of my brand loyalty comes from.
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You need to Login to know who's really who.
Sorry, I need to be really [lock-down] bored to read that length of post!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Frankly, the most important thing is colour. I never really got my head around those white Salomons you sold me, they showed the dirt something awful and got really grubby. If I hadn't acquired 0-Gs this winter I might have been tempted back to Salomon again, but only because they would have been a rather fetching blue. And matched my jacket and helmet, sort of.

I would really like a pair of those pink retro Langes, but you know, since the ZRs in 1985, I've never had Lange feet.
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@CH2O, you running low on weed? wink
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Ha! Your description of brands and those that follow them makes me think of the really hardcore football fans.

Different players, different managers, often different owners, but it's still 'My team!'.

I'll probably be in trouble now!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Tom Doc wrote:
Ha! Your description of brands and those that follow them makes me think of the really hardcore football fans.


Not really. Unless they move your team to another country.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Tom Doc wrote:
Ha! Your description of brands and those that follow them makes me think of the really hardcore football fans.

Different players, different managers, often different owners, but it's still 'My team!'.

I'll probably be in trouble now!


Not really but any bloke knows you can never trust a bloke who changes his football team. It's worse than him shagging your wife.
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
Mosha Marc wrote:
Tom Doc wrote:
Ha! Your description of brands and those that follow them makes me think of the really hardcore football fans.


Not really. Unless they move your team to another country.


Or to MK... Shocked
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Not much of a showdown when the protaganist posts then fecks off....
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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.
Mosha Marc wrote:
Tom Doc wrote:
Ha! Your description of brands and those that follow them makes me think of the really hardcore football fans.


Not really. Unless they move your team to another country.


I know, I know, I'm the odd one, not the fans!
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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
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
So what do you think about red rear entry ski boots for skiing in Ischgl next year, or should I go to Lech?
PS I‘ve seen some strange white ski boots with „head“ written on them, have you got any with „foot“ written on them?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
TLDR.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
The ski boot industry needs a long hard look at what it's doing. Buying boots that don't hurt or give blisters seems no better than betting on the flip of a coin, boot fitter or not. And I'm in the industry.

I can't think of another consumer purchase of the same value that requires the same amount of hassle and messing about. If I were racing trying to find the last few percent of performance then customisation is fine, but me and most people just want to buy the bloody things, take them on holiday and not have to think about them ever again.

God help a beginner to the sport, especially based in the UK.

It really should not be so hard.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@AndAnotherThing.., it’s OK, rear entry is back.

Spearheaded by Gay Sports in Praz-de-Lys ... Twisted Evil
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I cannet ever buy anything K2...a trigger effect I am afraid.


I used to work for a totally unrelated company called K2 Corporation and it was (by miles) the most miserable two years of my working life.
The two guys who ran it were total, utter C*NTS.
They ruined the lives and careers of others who stayed there...when I later heard that one of them had died I almost (but restrained myself) from punching the air in joy.

So sorry...no K2 for me
ski holidays     
 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?
under a new name wrote:
@AndAnotherThing.., it’s OK, rear entry is back.

Spearheaded by Gay Sports in Praz-de-Lys ... Twisted Evil


The irony...
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
It's not just me.

https://theskiinstructorpodcast.podbean.com/e/17-malcolm-erskine-the-british-ski-academy/

skip to the 50 minute mark.
snow conditions     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
Not much of a showdown when the protaganist posts then fecks off....


haha, not much to comment on to be honest.
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@CH2O, What do you see as the next evolution in boot design ? It's been a while since @under a new name's rear entry gave way to the current 4 buckle jobs.

The exoskeleton design don't seem to be gaining traction yet. Injection moulded short strand carbon fiber is appearing in vehicle manufacture (Alfa 4C and BMW cars and bikes) so materials are developing to allow that from a technical standpoint.

I also imagine that there may be some consumer resistance. Who wants change anyway ?
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@AndAnotherThing.., There are rear entry boots being introduced next winter.

The Dodge boot has a carbon fibre shell.
snow conditions     
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Quote:

What do you see as the next evolution in boot design ?


The quick "overly long seems a better term in hindsight." reply is that investment for the most part is to work with multi piece moulds, designing boots where the moulds are able to be pieced together depending on the function. Atomic do this so well at the moment. They have three alpine moulds that work perfectly as a selection for practically everyone that walks in. The plastics are TPU, so they become the shape we want, provided they are too small in some dimension to allow for reforming without generating volume unless required.

These three shells, all Hawx, Ultra, Prime, Magna are all great start points for most people. They now have modular moulds so some parts can be swapped prior to injection meaning minimal investment to create the XTD range. So within those 6 models, and a choice of 4/5 different flexes, (hahahahahaha, if you like),plus women's colours, Hawx and Hawx XTD you pretty much don't need anything else on your shelves, if you know how to cook and like playing with liners that is.

All the manufacturers will try to keep up, but they have to invest 100%, it's expensive and a very long process. This is all to the advantage of Amer, Salomon and Atomic, as they are completely autonomous from sketch on a beer mat to me flattening the boxes to take to them dump. However, we're now watching Salomon try to follow suit, it's so painful, they themselves are worried and it makes no sense to me.

Rental is rental, moulds and technology will be updated as the tools get worn out, this also covers what you're sold as beginner and intermediate boots.

Rear entry, i have no idea, we did the Atomic Savor, but as tool for selling boots, no one is interested. We'll perhaps put the Nordica HF into the range next year but only for certain reasons, not to present and sell as optimising fit or function, because it simply doesn't.

It's all about catch up, minimise the expense to catch up. Boots need walk functions, and tech fittings, it's people simply protecting themselves, future proofing, even those that have never heard of Touring want it, they've seen their phones turn into cameras so don't mind if their ski boots follow a similar trend. Those that don't want them again will be served by the modular moulds, and play 100-150 bucks less than the equipped touring version, a choice many take purely for convenience, and we can't stop that.

The investment seems most obvious down/up at the Ski Mo market. My god these damn trail runners, we want your money! All of the players are getting into this, this is where we/i am working most. Taking these lightweight boots and making them ski at the lowest weight is where all the clean/fresh investment is. Sorry, if that doesn't include you, and it certainly doesn't include me, but this is where the bets are being placed and games going on for the foreseeable. That said it's awesome fun, stripping this stuff down and building it all back up within 50gms. This is where Scarpa get a mention, the Alien and the F1 are both the best boots in their category bah no one. Salomon did ok, Dalbello have a great product next year, Tecnica et al are moving quickly, I fear for you Scarpa, i really do, everyone is eating away at your cake.

Other threats. 3D printing, scanning, "digitalisation". Utter Nonsense. Happy to answer questions on that, we're doing some stuff, but it's a very uncertain market, too many parameters.

So all in all, not much going on, and this whole virus thing will knock things back a good few years me thinks. The product out there is amazing, not all of it, and nearly all of it will fail at some point for someone. Simple is good, re inventing the wheel is tough, rear entry boots are a demonstration of how deeply the barrel can be scraped for no other reason to spark some kind of buying frenzy from you all.

If you want the holy grail, best get yourself a pair of Tecnica Zero G Pro, get them cooked right and you'll need nothing else. Sure a WC boot is a WC boot, and a Ski Mo boot is a Ski Mo boot, but combine these two things perfectly, with little or no compromise and voila, OG Mutha Feckers!!


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Thu 26-03-20 17:40; edited 1 time in total
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Quote:

The exoskeleton design don't seem to be gaining traction yet. Injection moulded short strand carbon fiber is appearing in vehicle manufacture (Alfa 4C and BMW cars and bikes) so materials are developing to allow that from a technical standpoint.


Indeed, and to be fair to these guys, Ski Mo boots are practically the same thing. If I were Dahu or Apex they would be my client base, the suicide vest squad.
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Quote:

I also imagine that there may be some consumer resistance. Who wants change anyway ?


Haha, that will be the marketing Mantra for the next few years for sure.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Quote:

The exoskeleton design don't seem to be gaining traction yet. Injection moulded short strand carbon fiber is appearing in vehicle manufacture (Alfa 4C and BMW cars and bikes) so materials are developing to allow that from a technical standpoint.


The Gen 1 Dynafit Vulcan what you mean?
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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.
@CH2O, we've been having this conversation (one boot to rule them all) for years now and I have to say I can't disagree. The 0G is pretty amazing.

If I won the lottery, I might find a new pair of race boots, you know, for those odd days, but it really would have to be money I (for which, read, Sophie) really didn't have any other use for.
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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
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
@CH2O, Is the Ski-Mo market really that big or just where the most tinkering is going on? Isn't it a niche of a niche? I accept locally in France and maybe Italy it is but it ain't a tourist volume thing unless either MAMILs are looking for winter kicks or millennials are looking to live their best lives by the speed they get up a snowy mountain to eat a smashed avocado
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Dave of the Marmottes, It's where the trail runners are going in the winter, trail running is utterly massive, and urban trail is about to explode. The ski business, the rich travelling for holidays and renting is almost smaller than the owner/athlete, there is no growth in that market to be had, just a good stream of income, present circumstances excepted. The Ski Mo market is very niche to a degree but trends make it worthy of the investment. Plus if the equipment skis well, why not have the functionality, again, read iPhone.
ski holidays     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
I think the key here is that more people get into "skiing" via Trail Running than do via recreational/touristic ways, the clients are more into their gear, they're already prepared, it's an absolute nightmare to be honest.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
It must be cool if Cody is doing it. wink


http://youtube.com/v/jaie_bBSI48
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Salomon are all In.
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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?
CH2O wrote:
Other threats. 3D printing, scanning, "digitalisation". Utter Nonsense. Happy to answer questions on that, we're doing some stuff, but it's a very uncertain market, too many parameters.


That's my business. It's hard to see 3d printed boots going main stream in the near future but technology and materials continue to improve. I can imagine a very high end niche custom boots but not mass production. There maybe the potential for some sort of 3d printed inserts to allow customisation in terms of fit, but hard to see it mass market for a long while.

That said some footwear manufacturers are working with manufacturers to produce lattice style soles and we see a reasonable number of enquiries from companies wanting to role out custom footbeds. The economics are sketchy.
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@AndAnotherThing.., I saw an article in a French ski magazine that said that one manufacturer had tried 3d printing the plug for injection moulding boots.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@rjs, Metal 3D-printing is an established method for injection mould tooling. One of the benefits being able to incorporate cooling channels. They still need finishing\polishing to get the surface finish. The main benefit is speed of production time over getting them made in traditional ways.

Using high temp 3d printed plastics as short run prototype tooling is also possible.
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@CH2O, Are the trail runners not already involved in ski mo though or are they a new influx of fresh blood/customers?
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@AndAnotherThing.., You wouldn't care about the surface finish of the plug, they were using the standard mould for the outer surface of the boot.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@AndAnotherThing.., the stumbling block is what position you hold the foot in to scan it, then digitally replicate it. There's the mobility of the foot to consider, within it's natural range of motion, which foot shape do you use?. All this is down to calibration, the sensitivity of the scanner and correct positioning, for the most part this will require an "operator" likely to be your bootfitter, there are simply too many parameters as i say. It's not something we need to worry about, it's a step before, the manufacturers will likely be there first, so any development there and we'll be forewarned.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@Mother hucker, given the inability to ski down that I see heading to the start of our local weekly 'uphill only' race then there is definitely an influx of relative 'non-skiers'...
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@rjs, I can see I need to my 'Boot manufacturing FAQs' Laughing

@CH2O, I guess that's the crux with boot buying full stop. Trying to get your squidgy dynamically changing lump of a foot flesh to sit happily in a rigid shell.
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