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Shaking Up the Ski Industry

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
A major exhibition in America by manufacturers and suppliers has recently taken place in (of all places) Las Vegas. And the point of this article from the Denver Post is that the newer smaller manufacturers are setting the pace in many areas of equipment design, manufacture and marketing.
Today, a cadre of young, mutinous skiers has forged almost a dozen new U.S.-based ski companies offering twin tips, super-fats, radical designs and a whole new approach to designing, making and selling skis.

"The big companies want to satisfy all consumers," said pro skier Matt Sterbenz, the 26-year-old co-founder of 4Frnt ski, made in Truckee, Calif. "We don't care about everyone. We are expert freeriders and if the big guys want to battle on the expert, freeride front, they've got an uphill battle."

But the big boys are still very much in evidence. Here are the 'vibrant' coloured K2 Phat Luvs which have been mentioned a few times recently here. Seems they are the biggest selling womens' ski in USA.

And more news of the Online Designed Ski which we have also featured on snowHeads
Pat Keane, a cackling Tahoe-area writer who answers to "Splat," probably is at the farthest edge of the ski-making revolution. Two years ago he polled his pals online, asking them for the specs of their dream ski. Then he built it himself. The result: the Bro Model, a 188-centimeter stick (125 millimeters at the tip, 99 mm underfoot and 114 mm at the tail) with an aspen and fir core and super-wide edges built in a snowboard factory near Lake Tahoe.

"This is the future business model. No, seriously, some dude just told me that," said Keane, whose business card reads "Chief Dirtbag" of his company PM Gear. "I let the customers design the skis, design the graphic and let them do all the marketing."

Is this phenomenon of new, tiny, upstart equipment suppliers unique to US or do snowHeads know of any current European equivalents? Or even some blasts from the past who made an impact before vanishing.
Any comments on the Bro dimensions? I'm no expert but that sounds like a monster ski to me.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Ian, the SIA in Vegas is THE trade show for the US.

As for the Maggots ski, it was conceived and designed before their forum, run by Powder Magazine, had a bit of an MO day (here's how I remember it...)
1. The magazine appointed new staff to oversee the forum.
2. These staff were concerned that people on the forum sometimes said negative things about their advertisers.
3. Suddenly threads and posts started to disappear (see point 2)
4. Advertising increased - they started to use pop-ups.
5. One of the new staff decided one day to publicly display the IP address of every poster (and you could see these without logging on). (This was rectified eventually)
6. Most (All?) of the historical threads were deleted.
7. TGR stepped in, and invited the Maggots to use their website and forum.
(This might not be quite the right order, but roughly is)

Before the Bro model came out, the previous year the Maggots had secured deals with a shop (can't rememer which), where they could pre-order one particular model of powder ski - I think it was a Volkl Gotama, along with accessories (gloves, etc), and used their buying power - i.e. if 50 of them were to order the ski, then they all got a good discount.
After that, they had the idea of designing their own ski.
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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?

SIA in Vegas is THE trade show for the US.
I know Foxy but I just thought it weird that they hold it in the desert rolling eyes No chance for a bit of demoing there. The article does admit it's a bit of a boozy do..... probably just too big an event to hold it in any ski resort.
The "something different" vibe was epidemic at the annual Snowsports Industries America trade show in Las Vegas last month, a four-day bartering bacchanal with 750 snow brands vying to be the hippest as the nation's ski shop owners hunt for the next big thing and order their wares for next season.

TVM for the info about the online activities.
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
kuwait_ian, I can see your point but strangely enough there is a Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard resort at Mount Charleston about 60 miles from Vegas.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
kuwait_ian wrote:

Is this phenomenon of new, tiny, upstart equipment suppliers unique to US or do snowHeads know of any current European equivalents?

No and yes Smile And it's not a new thing either.

Keeping with the subject, has the ISPO link been posted here before ?
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Ski manufacture has always been a mixture of brand-owned factories producing skis under their own brand, and sub-contracted manufacture (sometimes from the same factories) for smaller brands.
Some ski factories are happy to support fledgling brands by making relatively small runs of specialised skis.
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