Paul Oberin

The importance of ski demo days.

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The importance of ski demo days.

I was recently asked to fill in a questionnaire about the importance to me of attending the USA snow sports industry (SIA) demo days held at Winter park Colorado at a huge expense to the SIA.
Some were saying it was a junket, others like me thought it was well worthwhile.
I have been going to these SIA demo days for 3 years now as I still sell a lot of skis both in my shop and online, I also get asked often what ski would suit a persons requirements, both here and overseas.
My first attendance I was skiing on Head Supershape speed skis, which at the time I thought were as good as skis get, with conventional camber under foot and no rockered tip or tail.
I had heard that K2 were going to have every ski in the range for the following season with tip rocker, I was sceptical and thought why would anyone want a ski with tip rocker for use in Australia, after reluctantly demoing them I was convinced early rise tip rockered skis were the way of the future for skis, I contacted K2 Australia while overseas and promptly ordered quite a few, and that following season the K2 Rictor with early rise was my best selling ski, I also discovered just how good and exceptionally fast a set of Blizzard G force Pro skis were on that trip.
The next time I attended I had heard about the new Volkl RTM skis with no camber under foot, to me this made no sense at all, as skis have always had camber, I had already placed my order with Volkl and after some very strong persuasion by Nick my Volkl rep, I did order a few RTM skis, but put more emphasis onto the conventional cambered Volkl skis with early rise tip
I had two other staff members with me from Australia, so I made them test the RTM skis as I didnt want to waste my time testing skis that I thought wouldnt work all that well with no camber, I didnt see their run on the RTM skis, but they came back raving about them, so much that I just had to try them myself, now a year later all 3 of us own RTM 84 skis for our every day skis, the other staff members I had with me both ski race, and the last time they competed in the Age corporate races at Falls creek had the second fastest time on the day, beaten only by one of the ski instructors at Falls by a fraction of a second, so they are fairly good skiers , during that next season I was desperately trying to get more RTM skis from the Australian importer of Volkl, as I couldnt keep up with the demand.
The third time I went to Winter park, again I was interested in testing the new Volkl RTM 81 which is based on the ski I use myself the RTM84, I tested that and quite a range of skis that I will be selling in the shop and that I had on order already, including the new changed K2 Rictor.
Sitting around the lounge at the lodge on the first night listening and talking with other staff from the USA shops, I was most interested to hear everyone raving about the new Rossignol Soul 7 and Super 7 skis, as well as the ladies version called the Savory 7, from what I heard these were going to be the hottest selling skis next season in the USA, I thought even though they wont suit Australian conditions with a 106mm under foot and quite a decent amount of tip rocker, I must try them for suitability as a deep powder ski when on firm snow in a resort, again I was astounded to find these skis would be great in Australia even as an all round ski for all conditions, especially for those who do venture onto untracked fresh snow, such as Gotcha at Hotham and Golf course run at Thredbo, and for those who take skis with them to Japan, this is going to be the ski to own.
So from now on I am going to try to have an open mind and not rule out any ski for use in Australia, when I attend those demo days.
I read ski forums everyday, I see where people ask what ski should I get, 99% of the time people are suggesting last years skis that are now hard to buy, and are not even as good as the newer versions, this is because very few are fortunate to be able to test next seasons skis, so they keep on suggesting what they know is good from past seasons, my answer to the USA SIA, attending the demo days is essential to any shop owner and sales staff that is stocking a large range of skis and offering advice on what to use, I wonder what great ski I will find next time, it will be hard to be better than the Rossignol Soul 7 and the Volkl RTM 84, and of course the new K2 Rictor skis are better now than the original version that came out 3 years ago.

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