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.
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?
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.