Stated Ski Specs vs. Actual Ski Specs


If you’ve read through some of the Comments Sections of our reviews, you’ll have noticed that we get quite a few good questions and comments from our readers.

And we often find that a reader has brought to light an interesting point about the piece we’ve tested, or has raised a broader question that’s worth considering and discussing.

But some of these comments and questions can get buried deep down in a particular thread, so we’ve created this series to feature some of the conversations that are taking place around Blister.

This week, we’ll highlight a request made by Blister reader, Eric, in the Comments Section of our Dynastar Powertrack 89 review.

Eric writes:

A couple of questions–first, the measured dimensions [of the Powertrack 89] differ quite a bit from the stated dimensions. Is this some indication of quality control issues, changes made to design mid-run, something else? Also the weight difference ski to ski does seem to be noticeable, again, should we suspect some quality control issues?

Jonathan’s Reply:

In the case of the Powertrack 89, I definitely wouldn’t call the discrepancy in dimensions an issue of quality control. I should have said this in the review, but the Powertrack 89 looks and feels like a really well-finished, solidly-built ski. Nothing low-quality about it.

As for weight:

A difference of 19 grams is, effectively, no difference, and we see skis that differ by a lot more than 19 grams—see our other reviews.

We do, occasionally, see “0″ difference, and that’s an A+.

But 19 grams is definitely an A, and there is no chance that you’d notice those 19 grams on snow. We’re talking about, for example, a tiny additional amount of epoxy, coupled with a slightly thicker (less than 1mm) binding mat, etc.

For me personally, I no longer even bat an eye so long as the two skis are within 100 grams of each other. And the fact is, a difference of 150 grams (on, say, a ski that is ~186cm long and ~105mm or wider) is something that I highly doubt I would notice on snow.

Still, it’s always cool to get a pair of skis and they each weigh exactly the same, and it’s impossible not to admire that precision.

As for length:

And the fact that the “186cm” Powertrack 89 actually straight tape pulls at “185.4cm” ? That’s also definitely an A.

Lots of companies measure length differently—they’ll measure the entire material length of the bases, for example, before the ski is pressed. But we think that straight tape pulls from tip to tail are the most useful and telling way to measure, and we wish every company measured their skis this way.

Finally, there is the marketing department factor:

Marketing departments often have pretty different priorities and concerns than ski builders and engineers. So sometimes a company will decide that it would be easier to market and try to sell a ski at a particular length—or advertise the ski as having a particular set of dimensions—regardless of the actual length or dimensions of the ski.

I’d have an easier time being mad about that if I didn’t know first hand just how many people come with very fixed ideas about skis: e.g., if some people see that a ski is 100mm wide, they’ll rule it out, on principle, as being too wide. So a company might fudge and state that the ski is 98mm wide. Or some companies know that certain skiers like to ski long skis, when they’d actually be happier on something a bit shorter and a bit more manageable. So they’ll call a ski a “190”, when in fact, it measures much shorter.

For the record, the ski industry isn’t the only industry that works this way. Look at the electronics industry, for example, and the myriad of real-world bench tests vs. manufacturer specs on the battery life of phones, laptops, etc.

Still, we think you ought to be able to know what you’re actually buying, which is why at Blister we’re trying to make things a little less murky in the outdoor sports world.


6 comments on “Stated Ski Specs vs. Actual Ski Specs”

  1. thanks, Jonathan, my query was driven by a bad experience I had last year. I had new bindings mounted, at a very well thought of ski shop in the LCC area, on my new DPS Wailer 112 Pure. I was not happy with how I was skiing with them, and figured I just did not have enough game for them! Then I really started to pay attention and realized, “Heck, I am no pro skier, but I not this bad!” Something was up. I took them back and we realized that one of the bindings was mounted a good 2 cm off the mark, when compared with the other (the jib had slipped they said!) I was tempted to ask for them to give me a whole new set of skis, but they redrilled, etc and so forth, and then the skis, well, they were/are great! So, this made me think that if a pair of new skis do not have the same measurements as each other (regardless of how these fit the “stated” dimensions”, and you mount the skis relative to the factory mounting location, it would, in effect, be as if one is mounted ahead/behind the other. Would it be right to conclude that it is important that each ski in a pair has more or less the very same dimensions (length, widths, and so on) if for no other reason than they will then each have the same turning radius? Thanks for the quick and useful reply!

  2. Personally I don’t have much of an issue with a few millimeters/grams of variance between manufactures claims and the finished product. What annoys me is the constant marketing spin that a ski has tail rocker/ tapered tips or something of this like, when the ski clearly doesn’t. The dynastar Powertrack 89 is a perfect example, it has no tail rocker whatsoever and yet its marketed as a tip and tail rockered ski. In almost any other industry you wouldn’t be able to market a product with claims that are no way related to the product, but skiing seems to be the exception for some reason.

  3. One thing that bugs me is where a manufacturer claims that a ski is a women specific ski, specially designed for women when in reality it’s a shrink it and pink it job.

    Case in point, the 2015 Line Pandora, by all accounts an excellent powder ski but exactly the same ski as the men’s Line Sick Day 110, just available in a shorter length and with a different graphic. But Line chooses to market it as a ski designed specifically for women in their official marketing video.

    Not very clever in my opinion.

    • Why does this bother you? What do you think a “ski specifically designed for women” has that a shrunk down men’s version doesn’t? In fact, most girls that I know who ski well HATE that womens’ gear is often dumbed down and would vastly prefer a smaller men’s version.

  4. Hi Jonathan,

    this might be a bit off topic but your quote:

    “For the record, the ski industry isn’t the only industry that works this way. Look at the electronics industry, for example, and the myriad of real-world bench tests vs. manufacturer specs on the battery life of phones, laptops, etc.”

    Working my entire life in the professional audio business I can tell you that the stats they give you about your Hifi-System are often more than incorrect and also spectacularly unhelpful. Your speaker spec sheet shows a frequency response from 18Hz to 22KHz. Wow! Depending on how that data was collected your speaker still might have the worst frequency response there is – this data tells you exactly nothing. I saw a quite expensive microphone where the only actual spec was the given weight. Thanks, always needed a mic that’s exactly 567grams!

    I guess it’s quite easy and also tempting to fool around with specs when it’s about something expensive that you use for pleasure like your skis or hifi systems as it is highly subjective if you like it or you don’t. And so far there is no accurate measurement for pleasure…

    Anyway, it’s definitely a pleasure to study your website!
    All the best,

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