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Finding REAL REVIEWS is harder and harder for skis,snowboards, and gear. Opinions??

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Ok been doing a little deal searching trying to help both a skier friend get back on mountain and expand another Boarders equipment for best price. Used a Few years, Almost new to NEW. Ebay to craigslist. After finding things in the right price range, years made, claimed quality and usage go to look them up and you are lucky to find 5-10 people reviews on many items. most time I find 2 or less reviews. The snow market is Soooooooo flooded with different companies and lines all making close to same things that all I mostly find is regurgitated company shit most times both in video reviews and magazine reviews. Guess flooded market isn't the worst in life just hard to pick the right things. If its new new forget about reviews I found out. 2 years or more doesn't seem to change much. companies are so moving on to new things every year that reviews don't build it seems. Lucky if you can even find more then one or two of the same things on mountain being ridden on lift line or on mountain.
 

Edd

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There are certainly ski models with staying power; the Volkl Mantra comes to mind. You'll find many reviews on a ski like that. But it all depends what you're looking for.


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Were looking originally at some Volkl ac30's and volkl unlimited for ski friend ended up connecting with a person for different skis. 2009/2010 Rossignol Zenith z11's. for $200 seemed alright 4year old skis cost $900 plus new. for a non trick and carving only skis I thought they would be good. Hard to find a great used ski for $200. they offerend weird ability to alter ski performance. Stick with the stiff adjustment friend was told and he should like the skis alot. they ran for 4 years. Mated them with New Nordica Hell and back h2 boots for friend for sale steal of $350. originally $500-600 for boots in beginning of year (Thank you end of season sales and price matching). He is x-black level skier. dragged him back for first time in 5 plus years, needless to say I got the bug back in him. :)
 
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fluid164

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Check out Blister Gear Review ... They rock.


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drjeff

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I think that some of the challenge is that nowadays, way more so than in the past, there are just so many "good" skis out there, that the real differences between them often have more to do with your own particular skiing style and terrain preference than what make and model ski your on
 

dlague

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I find gear reviews by those who have purchased a product are much better than the testers reports. Sometimes reading a testers report, I find them to be politically correct. That might be so they can test them year after year. I have rarely seen a negative review unless it is written by someone who purchased a product.

I have a tendency to look at the technical make up of the ski or board in my decisions looking at construction, side cut, dimensions, target market, width, weight (if available) and so on. That combined with any report or purchaser review generally helps in deciding.
 

fluid164

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Blister is totally unbiased. Check it out.you'll see.

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VTKilarney

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You hit on a raw nerve. It seems now that nearly all of the reviews that come up with a Google search are bloggers who want free products and click-through advertising revenue. I read a blog just last night that had a section of the blog soliciting free products in exchange for promotion of that product. Of course they say that their review will be "unbiased", but everyone knows the game. The blogger knows that one or two "unbiased" reviews will quickly cut off their gravy train. So guess what tends to be said...
 
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Thankfully I am not going totally insane with the paid sponsor crap reviews. It really is that hard to find serious reviews that aren't being politically biased to the product. They are mostly reading a script. In some of the video reviews you can play a few in order and they say the same things that is how you know they are repeating what they are told. I look forward to a major magazine or site saying this product is no good, it breaks, not good even though it says well made (AKA piece of shit don't buy). In last few years almost nothing negatives in reviews.
 

C-Rex

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The best way to pick new skis or a board is to go demo a few models. Write down the specs on what you demo and then use those to find similar skis/boards with the features you want. Many indie ski and board companies buy their stuff from bigger companies and just put their own graphics on them. For instance, Sierra Snowboards are mostly burton decks with sierra graphics. So if graphics aren't important to you, you can save a lot of money by going that direction. Check out Trusnow.com for some great snowboard deals. As was said above, if you look at the technical aspects like length, width, sidecut, camber, etc. you'll find that boards and skis with similar specs will feel nearly identical. The only difference being construction, and there you often get what you pay for.

I don't know what kind of rider your friend is, but I am in love the Lib Tech/Gnu line up. They have some really innovative stuff. I have a '14 Travis Rice Pro Horsepower and it's freaking amazing. Of course, it's pretty expensive at $700 retail but I got mine for $380 thanks to a mismarked pricetag at a local shop. It has rocker between the bindings and fairly agressive camber outside the bindings. The result is a board with plenty of pop and killer edge hold, but the rocker makes it playful and more forgiving when it comes to catching edges. The magnetraction edges grip ice and hardpack like nothing else. I have way more confidence on icy stuff with this board than anything else I've ridden.
 

dlague

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I find gear reviews by those who have purchased a product are much better than the testers reports. Sometimes reading a testers report, I find them to be politically correct. That might be so they can test them year after year. I have rarely seen a negative review unless it is written by someone who purchased a product.

You hit on a raw nerve. It seems now that nearly all of the reviews that come up with a Google search are bloggers who want free products and click-through advertising revenue. I read a blog just last night that had a section of the blog soliciting free products in exchange for promotion of that product. Of course they say that their review will be "unbiased", but everyone knows the game. The blogger knows that one or two "unbiased" reviews will quickly cut off their gravy train. So guess what tends to be said...

My point exactly - with more detail! :beer:
 
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After finding skis for friend, For a boarder that is hard when you don't ski. I personally am stalking a GNU 2014 metal guru now? I for the last 5 years have been riding a K2 Cambered board (mid level board)? I have progressed to all levels. Blacks, trees, some jumps. Looking to try a newer hybrid/rockered. Saw a few good deals out there on this board for end of season. Board was originally $450 or so and can get it now NEW for $300. A few people have$250-$200 ones barely used. Anyone try this board.
 

C-Rex

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After finding skis for friend, For a boarder that is hard when you don't ski. I personally am stalking a GNU 2014 metal guru now? I for the last 5 years have been riding a K2 Cambered board (mid level board)? I have progressed to all levels. Blacks, trees, some jumps. Looking to try a newer hybrid/rockered. Saw a few good deals out there on this board for end of season. Board was originally $450 or so and can get it now NEW for $300. A few people have$250-$200 ones barely used. Anyone try this board.

It's similar to my T.Rice, just has less agressive camber tip and tail. That'll make it more floaty in powder, and more playful and forgiving to catching an edge but it might not hold an edge as well, when carving hard, and might not have as much snap to it. Depends on what length you go for too. I say go for it. I'm sure you'll love it.
 

snowcreamandsyrup

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Hi VTKilarney, and thanks for your post and for reading. I'm Ashley, one of the (two) writers for Snow Cream and Syrup, and I am de-lurking now because I wanted to address your very legitimate concerns -

We completely agree with you that sponsored content and reviews are a tricky/frustrating area for blogs. If the blogger is being paid for a "positive" review, then the information is completely meaningless to readers. For example: I read a blog whose author claims to be Paleo, but also promotes a brand of cheese and recently visited Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream factory (dairy is not on the Paleo diet). I'm not sure what that means.

My husband and I discussed the issue related to our blog, and agreed that we wanted to take the approach of honest and very thorough, detailed reviews instead of getting on the “gravy train” that you so correctly refer to. We read blogs/websites/reviews/Consumer Reports a lot before we buy anything, and it can be difficult to pick through the various articles. While part of the goal of starting the blog was to do that and yes, hopefully make money from it (we have ads, you may have noticed), we chose the path of honesty.

And yes - the gravy train does get cut off. I’ve read about that happening to other bloggers who are sponsored by big companies like Brooks, etc. I just got a pair of (free) sunglasses from Under Armour that I am writing a very negative review for because they fog up every time I use them. (My very ugly but functional $5 shades from Walmart actually performed better.)

I love Under Armour clothes, and that would effectively end any chance of getting something from them for free to review. But you know what? If I’m suggesting someone should pay $90 for sunglasses, I sure as heck should be willing to do so myself! And because of that, I feel that it’s better to be honest. I can always spend my own money on their clothes if I like them so much. We would rather work with companies who are confident enough in their product to not be scared off by that.

Re-reading our “work with us” statement, I think you have a very legitimate point. While I did state that we only want to give “honest” reviews, it is buried in the midst of a paragraph that basically says, “please send us stuff to review.” While that is part of the goal of the blog (to review things), it doesn’t reflect the entire goal of being honest and a useful resource to the readers, and therefore has been changed to be much clearer. I’ll post the original below, just to be upfront about the changes for those who didn’t see it before the change. I'm glad you called it to our attention (after having to swallow my pride a little bit).

Also - were we to receive anything for free, especially in exchange for a review, we are legally required to disclose that information (as are all bloggers). I realize this doesn’t always happen so we try to be as clear as possible. Feel free to ask if we’re not. Most bloggers are more than willing to be honest about those relationships.

I actually took a look at some of our other reviews, and was amused to note that the most positive reviews on the site are for products I bought and paid for with my own money unrelated to the blog, or received in a giveaway of some sort (Scott shoes, Da Vinci Body Board); most of the items I've received specifically in exchange for a blog review have negative comments. For example, I said the MASH Up DVD had poor packaging and that the nutrition guide inside was "misleading" and poorly formatted, for one. To this company's credit, they read the review, and still offered another DVD in the series for me to review. Surprisingly, not all companies are just fishing for free advertising. I declined, but it's just interesting to see the inner workings of the blog/company relationship.

One exception would be Ignite Naturals, whose samples I did really like and subsequently paid my own money for, but I'm currently experiencing very frustrating customer service with an order and considering ending my relationship with the company as an ambassador, since it would be unethical to promote a company I have problems with.

Just FYI: As far as skiing related items, the ski resorts have no idea who we are and we pay for our own lift tickets (hence the amount of discount information on the site). The only thing we got for free were lift tickets to Burke, and we won those in a contest from SkiVermont.com. Since skiing is an all-day and frequently expensive activity, we try to be very honest about any negatives we can find, but as you all know, ski resorts are just very different:

Mt Snow's grooming: http://snowcreamandsyrup.com/mount-snow-a-review/
Okemo's lack of beginner and truly advanced trails: http://snowcreamandsyrup.com/okemo-a-review/
Killington's trail maintenance and difficult navigation (Esp for beginners): http://snowcreamandsyrup.com/killington-a-review/
Burke’s remoteness and limited amenities mid mountain: http://snowcreamandsyrup.com/q-burke-a-review/

Our goal is to write about the many activities here in New England with helpful information. We are more than happy to answer any specific questions about anything on the site - if you feel like we're overly positive, or want more information about a particular discount or product, or you hate the layout (I do too, actually). Please feel free to email us at snowcreamandsyrup@gmail.com or reply here.

(I see you also found our ski discounts post, hope that helps you out! We’ve enjoyed skiing the deals this season.)

Ashley | Snow Cream and Syrup

---

Here is what was originally on our "work with us" page:

If you are a brand manager, social media manager, or advertiser who would be a good fit for our blog, we would love to hear from you.
We feel our blog has a unique advantage in that it is the voice of not one, but two active and enthusiastic social media influences - male and female. While we reserve the right to be selective about the products we endorse, when we agree to work with you, you will get an honest but very thorough and high-quality review of your product.
Our goal is to present meaningful information to consumers, whether that information is sponsored content or not. If that method is a good fit for your brand, we'd love to work with you.
Contact us as snowcreamandsyrup (at) gmail (dot) com for more information and a media kit. Hope to hear from you soon!
@snowcreamNsyrup
facebook.com/snowcreamandsyrup


It now reads:
The goal of Snow Cream and Syrup is to present meaningful information to consumers, especially in the area of outdoor sports, fitness, winter sports, and any related fields. We want to focus on only publishing honest and very thorough reviews, and we only work with companies we are genuinely interested in, or who would be a good fit for our blog's audience. Our goal is to benefit the consumer with firsthand information.
If you are interested in partnering with us for an honest, detailed review of your product or service, let us know.
Contact us ... etc.
 
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Thanks for the info. Most likely gonna jump on the Metal guru board for the price of close to $200 should be a good value. Also get to lend board to train Nephew on how to snowboard next season. My current board is 5 years old but in good shape but it is showing wear with few minor repairs.
 

Edd

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Blister is totally unbiased. Check it out.you'll see.

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Just discovered them a couple of months ago. They seem to review wider skis in general unless I've missed something. They are good reads and don't feel bought out.



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bobbutts

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I think that some of the challenge is that nowadays, way more so than in the past, there are just so many "good" skis out there, that the real differences between them often have more to do with your own particular skiing style and terrain preference than what make and model ski your on
Agree.
As someone who totally stopped skiing for most of the period from 1998-2007 I was blown away by the quality of the ultra-cheap k2 public enemy skis I got in 07 in every category except speed. Got some new cheap twin tips last season that are much stiffer, so not as quite as versatile, but more stable. I've done some demo days and liked pretty much everything I tried for different reasons. Vastly different feel is available for different specialties.
It's a good time to get a quiver if you have the cash.
 

abc

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I think that some of the challenge is that nowadays, way more so than in the past, there are just so many "good" skis out there, that the real differences between them often have more to do with your own particular skiing style and terrain preference than what make and model ski your on
I wasn't too serious of a skier back in the straight ski days. I only owned one pair of skis, purchased without demo. I'm curious comparing the range of function/feel of today's skis vs. those from the pre-shaped-ski days.

While many of today's skis ski rather similarly, there're also quite many that are specialized for certain conditions (notably, "powder" skis that are unstable on firm snow). Are there such a big performance difference in the old-style skis?

The reason I ask is, while many of today's skis are quite versatile, it's equally important to pick out those that aren't! After all, that's why anybody is even bothering with ski reviews, right?
 
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