When it comes to skis, good-natured all-rounders dominate – all-mountain skis that run well on any snow, says the head of the independent ski test “Carving 2000” to the star. But two years of Covid and now the Ukraine war are leaving their mark on the industry.
After the Covid years now the Ukraine war? This is another burden for the ski industry, says Heinrich Sklorz, ski instructor and head of the independent ski test “Carving 2000”. At least skiers can go back on the slopes – but customers are still holding back when it comes to “booking” – and also when buying skis.
Nevertheless, prices in the top segment are “through the roof”, according to Sklorz. 1200 and also 1400 euros are called for. This is partly due to new and complex materials such as Titanal, a mix of carbon and titanium with aluminium.
But price increases, general inflation and delivery problems are putting the entire industry under pressure. “In the catalog and on the web you see many models that I know cannot be built at all.”
scarcity of material
Companies have difficulties in getting the necessary material for this. About the wood cores. Some of this wood also came from Siberia. Even if you have kept your suppliers from other regions, the price has increased due to the shortage. “I just got off the phone with a company that makes these wooden cores for ski manufacturers. They say they will give up this sector, it’s no longer worth it for them. It’s become incredibly difficult with the material and the logistics.”
The pace of innovation has also slowed noticeably. “I can see that the models have been renamed or the skins have changed, but the core is the same.” The actual value of a ski lies in the layer structure and the material used. “From the outside you can’t tell what’s inside the ski. But that makes the difference between 200 and 600 euros. Not the decor.”
Sometimes not even the optics were changed. “That’s the ski from last year.” According to Sklorz, this is not a noticeable disadvantage for the customer. “These are good skis.” But you can see the pressure on the industry.
One for all
The “All Mountain Ski” dominates the market. “It’s a good choice for most skiers. It’s light, uncomplicated, spins naturally and performs well on mixed snow.” “You can ski on the piste, but the all-mountain ski also glides over deep snow. This is a ski that basically satisfies all target groups.” In addition, the all-mountain skis are in the middle price segment. “You don’t have to spend 1,400 euros there, you can get around 400 – 500 euros.” These all-rounders determine what is on offer.
The all-round area is becoming sportier overall than it was two or three years ago. “The ski construction is dominated by a light inner core, the sidewall gives the ski more grip.” Skis for specialized applications can no longer be found in many shops. The best models are presented in the independent ski test “Carving 2000”. Sklorz doesn’t think much of blind buying online. The customer should be guided by test results. “That’s why we’re doing it. But first he should try the ski in the ski resort and then buy it and not the other way around.”
Sklorz recommends tailor-made skis for ambitious skiers. “The smaller companies offer custom-made skis.” They are perfectly matched to weight and ability and are truly custom-made.”
Tours light are trendy
In addition to skis for downhill skiing, the demand for touring skis has increased in recent years. They are not made for the lift, but for the skier to make the ascent with their own strength. “It’s becoming more and more. Not necessarily because it’s such a big tour. People climb up along the piste or on a catwalk and then ski down again in the ski area.” Instead of the adventure of a big tour, touring ski light. “It’s also fun that way. You save the cost of the ski pass. In addition, there is the sport and training factor and the feeling of climbing the mountains. You’re doing something.”
The test team extensively tested and evaluated the novelties of the season. The decision becomes easier because the team has assigned the skis to the respective types of skiers. If you can classify your own preferences, strengths and weaknesses, it is easy to find a recommendation for the perfect ski.
You can find the entire ski test with detailed reviews of all tested skis under this link.
You can download the test as a PDF magazine here.