The other day, I was reading the labels on my dogs' food [doesn't everyone?] and I vaguely remember that, several years ago, K2 and/or some other ski company had decided to outsource its production to China. Now, with the recent scandals of leaded toys, tainted dog food, fish, and vitamins and who knows what else, I kinda wonder about the quality of Chinese manufactured skis. I recall discussing the issue with a knowledgeable friend at the time of the K2 announcement and his comment was 'if you have no idea of skiing, how can you manufacture a decent ski?'
This is somewhat analogous to Rolls Royce/Bentley mechanics being required to drive their own, don't you think?
Seriously, I do not expect the Chinese to do original design and testing work, that is the job of the parent company. So is setting up appropriate quality controls.
Kind of a straw issue, really. I'd worry more about generic mouthwash or minty flavoured flossing picks.
Now, and this is NOT specifically related to Chinese manufacture, cutting the production cost of any ski product also means the tendency to avoid finishing costs after the ski looks like what is printed in the sales literature.
Thus value-added details like precise base flattening, sidewall trimming, structuring, accurate flex-matching, accurate beveling and edge finish, and that first saturating wax coat are essentially loss items for the ski co, except perhaps for halo skis that get a lot of magazine ink.
Therefore, unless one is prepared to do that work oneself, outsourcing to wherever
means that much more need for careful picking of the shop or venue one buys from. If you can't check for (or don't wish to risk the cost of) uncured epoxy and wavy bases and indifferently moulded sidewalls, pick a shop that will.
So the questions is ... does anybody have Chinese manufactured skis?
I have skied on recent Volkls and K2s (and recent Karhus, don't know where they were built) and should have a pair of Bluehouses delivered shortly. I liked some, didn't others, but have had no reason to form an opinion of their quality based on where they were made.
And ... what do the companies that manufacture all or part of their skis in Asia indicate as country of origin?
My Ogasakas say 'Made in Japan'. The ones that are made of Canadian maple wood do not bother to say so on the top sheets.