Indies: It’s still Davids versus Goliaths, micros versus megas, except now some of the little guys aren’t so little, and the Goliaths ignore them at growing peril. For example: Armada. Though still indie in spirit, it sells more skis in the U.S. than many mainstream brands. Now other indies, many competing on price, are making big gains as well. Among them, Reno–based Moment and Salt Lake City–based Surface. Colorado’s Icelantic has built a cult around its graphics. Most indies still do modest sales, and the quality of the product varies widely. There are skis that our testers think could hold their own against the big guys. Others, no way. Again this year, we invited the indies to a test of their own. Some brands to watch: Wagner, G3, Fat-ypus, and Movement, along with Moment and Icelantic. Look for more coverage in later issues and on skimag.com. —J.C.
Made In The USA: For many indies, Asian factories made life possible. But life’s not easy when your production line is a world away. RAMP Skis, which sells directly to consumers, just opened a factory in Park City, joining other indies hoping to make more skis in the U.S. (and several that already do). The advantage is obvious: Test a prototype in the morning; tweak it back at the shop in the afternoon. —J.C.