In an effort to be transparent with our valued customers, we wanted to offer a place for customers to ask our president questions about RAMP skis, snowboards, and longboards. If you have a question for Mike that you want addressed in his weekly blog, please email [email protected] and include "Ask Mike" in the subject line.
Hi friends of RAMP,
Summer is rolling along, lots of great bike rides, paddleboard sessions, even a mid June snowstorm last week! We get asked at almost every demo and event we do: What is the difference between the women's and men's versions of your skis and snowboards? For instance, what's different about the Chickadee versus the Woodpecker? The quick answer is the graphic. This often times surprises people, most times it makes the good girl skiers and riders smile.
The Industry found a way to communicate women's ski advantages that resonated well. It grabbed a hold of theories like use more ramp angle and forward binding positions to help women get more forward on their skis, use a sidecut that has the waist more forward for the same reason. The rational was that women have a lower center of gravity, need the help. I found that in 35 years of skiing with the best-in-the-world female skiers like Donna Weinbrecht and Picabo Street and the most ripping girls at their mountain is that they never ever liked these skis having women-specific features! Over the years I started to realize that it's not a male-female thing, it's a how-athletic-you-are thing. In racing, they were actually doing the opposite, putting a shim under the toe of girls' toe pieces so a smaller person could exert more leverage on the tip of the ski versus a bigger person—the opposite of all the women's feature dialogue!
So, knowing this, our position is if you are an advanced-expert skier, 5'8, 140 pounds, we design an optimum shape, width, radius, and flex for that person. It doesn't matter if it's a girl or a guy; an athletic person that size has a certain need and we design it for them. We know some companies would disagree and we respect every opinion. We can't however ignore the fact that about every time we ask an athletic strong girl skier about equipment she says, 'I want real skis, not watered down diet skis.' We do however appreciate graphics and communication better suited for us. So look at a Chickadee for instance and see what Polly Hopkins accomplished, our Art Director. It's a high speed work of art.
On shapes we do find some legitimate differences on are snowboards—in regard to foot size. For instance, we make a 157 in many of our models and a 158 wide. A girl who rides a 157 probably has smaller feet than a guy riding a 158w. The wider board works well with longer feet, more leverage to tip it over and less toe catch. In that respect, having different widths for people with bigger or smaller feet is totally legitimate technically.
At the end of the day we're not going to say a feature is better from a communication standpoint, only from a technical standpoint.
Thanks for listening. Let me know your thoughts. Comment below or email me questions ([email protected]). Be back next week.
Mike Kilchenstein, CESnow