Posted: Fri Oct 14, 2005 5:10 pm Post subject: Igneous Skis: Where's the real review?
I read the review on this site regarding Igneous skis and have a few problems with it. For those cyclists out there: When was the last time you saw a review of a Kona next to or in the same category of a review of a custom Davidson? There are several reasons these skis are costly: They are made with the very best materials money can buy for skis. Those bases are the same as what comes out of the race rooms for world cup race skis. That fiberglass is not the cheap knock-off seconds that go into your K2s. That maple is clear-verticle garain strips that extent through the entire length of the ski. i.e; No check, no knots, no staples, no segments. The layup is wet, meaning the components are saturated with wet glue prior to pressing, not put together with glue impregnated fiberglass in the hopes that it spreads and keeps the ski together. i.e; no delams=no bent skis. I have several pairs, one of which has close to 300 days on them. They still ski like new. These are bomber! And they are made FOR YOU AND HOW YOU SKI! THEY ARE CUSTOM! NOT OFF OF THE SHELF! Find me a custom hand made anything for what off the shelf costs anywhere.
These skis are also beautiful pieces of art. These are made by craftsmen and artists and skiers, not Chinese kids who have no idea what it is they are constructing.
Joined: 07 Dec 2004 Posts: 921 Location: Vacationland
Posted: Fri Oct 14, 2005 7:11 pm Post subject:
For starters, there's a review of the Iggy FFF here. To my eye, that review mentions some of the same construction features you point out (though your post does describe them in better detail).
The review continues:
Dr. Telemark wrote:
If there were an illustrated dictionary of skiing related words and phrases, a photo of the Igneous FFFs would undoubtedly appear next to the term "ultimate quiver ski," for that is precisely what they are...
The FFFs deliver a shape made in heaven for these powder connoisseurs. We found the Iggys to be a superb ride in the fluff. No, they were better than that, but mere words cannot describe the pleasure to be found on these skis in deep powder. Floating up and down and arcing smooth turns in that natural, flowing, effortless sort of way. And all that mass makes for outstanding stability.
In the longer lengths tele-ers looking to launch big airs would loves these boards, both for stomping landings and for their great soft snow performance.
The FFFs were much better in soft bumps. Their extreme stability in a short length (for us) were a real pleasure. Surprisingly quick edge to edge and easy to throw around, they made short work of every soft bump field we took them down. With so much of the turn being made while unweighted the lack of sidecut went unnoticed. They were truly a blast in soft to medium bumps, and that was easily the biggest surprise of this test.
Now, lest I be seen as a blind defender of Mitch &c, there is another paragraph that I skipped above. Here it is:
Firm snow is another matter altogether. As skis keep growing in width, we've been wondering when the upper limit might be reached for an all-around fat ski. With their 97mm waist, Karhu's Jak proved that a really fat tele ski could serve nicely as an all-mountain, all conditions (nearly) one pair quiver. So how much more fat could we go before giving up a fair measure of versatility? Well, with these FFFs we would seem to have found the answer: a 118 waist might be too much. Getting an edge in on firm snow was just this side of impossible. With the severely limited sidecut, when we did manage to get them to bite they didn't want to turn, not at all. And remember the bad old days when tele skis would just let go on decent medium-firm snow for no apparent reason? These skis tooks us back there a few times. We'd all but forgotten that special hip-slamming feeling!
... For the first time ever we are giving a pair of skis a sort of split decision, two tips way up for powder and soft snow, and two tips way down for firm snow.
The worst "insult" I can draw from the above is that two people thought that at 118mm in the waist, the Igneous FFF was too fat and shapeless to carve ice. Since the review was of the FFF and not the FGS, it's true that perceptive readers like yourself might be left wondering whether the 116-88-104 FGS wouldn't handle better on hardpack.
What about the G3 Reverend, the other ski reviewed on the same page? "Hardpack? Well, that's not really what the Rev is all about, but like some other the top of the line way-fat skis, they do a pretty decent job with a little feathering at the end of the turn and with big boots." With a 93mm waist -- 25mm narrower -- it makes some sense that they'd perform better on ice, right?
Where am I coming from? Maine. My fattest skis (which were waaay fat around here when I got them) have an 88mm waist, like the FGS. My preferred skis in most conditions have a 64mm waist. Knowing that, should I buy the FFFs to rip it up at my local lift-serve night-skiing spot? According to the review, "no" -- and they present sound-seeming logic for why.
If you're referring to the comments on the price, to me it's a reality. Would I have fun behind the wheel of a Ferrari? Absolutely. I couldn't afford one, though, and it'd get all dinged up on the dirt roads I frequent. So I drive a Hyundai, and have a good time at it. Come to Maine, and I'll take you for a drive to the local ice sheet.
Edit to add: Montet202, if you have experience with Iggys, why don't you write a review for us? That's one of the features of this site: we can all share something, whether profound or inane. Know anything about the FGS?
Posted: Fri Oct 14, 2005 7:43 pm Post subject: I'll try to make myself more clear...
Sorry, I didn't explain myself clearly enough. The review as far as to how the FFF skied was fine. Is it worth the $$$? YES. I am addressing that issue that I don't feel was explained. Most skis are constructed with time and cost in mind: cheap components, sheap labor, and methods that allow for fewer steps and less labor involved. The result is a ski that will not last an entire season for anyone who puts a lot of days in every year. For a ten day a year skier that is fine. For those who spend 50-100 or more you are buying several pairs per year to have good reliable skis under your feet. The cost issue for these skis in this case makes them a great bargain seeing how they will last several of hard years by the most agressive skier. If you are a weekend warrior I don't recomend them. This is a true race room ski that is delivered tuned, waxed and ready to ride.
The other point is that these are custom (key word: custom) skis. This is a new concept in the ski industry. As far as I know they are the only manufacturer that builds a custom ski. This is an age old concept in the cycling industry. In cylcling there is no comparison between a custom bike and a production bike. You're comparing apples and oranges. This is an important point that I don't feel was impressed upon.
As for the fat GS...I have spent several years skiing both the Fat GS and the Fat Fall Line as my staple skis for both alpine and tele. Both are great skiing skis. By far the most lively and responsive I have skied, and I have been on most skis on the market at one time or another. The FGS is simmilar to the original Bandit III and is probably Iggy's best all mountain ski. However, I do not spend much time on hardpack and thus ski the FFL most of the time. E-Mail Adam Sherman and he will spent the time to help you find what will work best for the way you ski, where you ski, and what you want out of your planks.
The cost of a Farrari is 100K, we're talking about a few hundred bucks that you will wind up spending next year and then some.
As for Maine...Don't get me wrong I appreciate the skill that ice builds, in fact one of the original builders and the graphics designers at Igneous as well as one of the most tallented skiers I have met comes from Sunday River, but I have skied in the East and would rather spend my ski trips at home where the ice is a bit less dense, falls more often and tends to be a lot deeper. Come out west, though, and I'll show you how to ski with a snorkel.
Adam Sherman is a great guy, he actually gave me some very good personal advice early in this site's history, so on some level I even consider him to be a friend. As the author of the review Montet mentions, let me reiterate: those skis were a lot of fun, and we have no doubts whatsoever about the quality of their construction, but comparing them to a Ferrari doesn't seem to accurate to us. For one thing, Ferrari's cars aren't just well made, they are technological marvels. Ferrari's tend to utilize the most modern materials in innovative ways to build very high-tech, high-performance car.
On the other hand, the igneous skis, while built strong, are really very traditional in their design and in the methods used in their construction.... they are basically just "wet layups," as such their are limits to what a designer can do to push their performance beyond the limitations imposed by basic construction approach. This is a critical concept that needs to be understood when considering really fat skis such as the FFFs. We found the FFFs to indeed be a lot of fun, but also that their extreme width limited their versatility (not just on ice, that's being kind, good firm snow, think windpack, isn't much fun on them either) . We think that's the biggest story here, since many of us have been wondering for years how fat "too fat" would be.... we felt we may have found the answer in the FFFs, at least as far as a traditionally made, wet layup ski is concerned.
The "handmade" aspect always makes me chuckle. I've visited various kinds of ski factories. The smallest was heated by a pot belly stove in a corner and had two layup stations and one press. Lost of handwork going on there. A mid-size factory I visited (Karhu, in Quebec) wasn't much different though, except for a lot more stations and presses... and automated core shaping machines. A third factory I once toured was huge, with two shifts of workers turning out as many as 2,000 Burton snowboards per week. Again, the basic process was very similar, just on a far larger scale. A worker lays wet strips of fiberglass over a core resting atop a p-tex base with metal edges crimped on. A top sheet is laid over the finished sandwich, the mold is closed up and the whole thing is placed in the heated press. After it comes out it the excess glass is trimmed off on a band saw, the edges are ground and the bases prepped and waxed. Inspection and touchup, followed by shrink wrapping.
Big factory/little factory... plenty of handwork either way. More automated processes are both good and bad. You may lose some of the "human touch" but gain consistency. Either can be marketed as an advantage, of course!
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