So there is some magical machine that takes the cores, attaches the edge, attaches the base, attaches the sidewall, lays up the skis, puts the fiberglass and other various layers and sets it in the press? Then this magical machine takes the presses ski and cuts the excess material out?
Almost every manufacturer makes their skis by hand, on some level. They don't just dump "ski ingredients" into some kinda machine a ski pops out. And even the "truly handmade" skis need some machining process, like a press. There are hand processes and machine processes required to make every ski.
The issue really comes down to the selecting the best materials, processes, and engineering. Just because some guy made a ski in his garage doesn't make it awesome. Does it make it unique? Yes. But not every unique thing is a good thing. I've seen some utterly horrible handmade "boutique" skis (just flip a ski on its side and look down the edge from tip to tail and you'll see what I mean- if it's all wavy and shit it will suck. a lot.) and I've seen some amazing skis from "big manufacturers". It's why a lot of smaller companies (like Armada) have a larger company
(like Atomic) press their skis. Ski companies that have been pressing
skis since 1950 usually know a thing or two about how to make a ski. That said I've seen awesome boutique skis and shitty skis from big manufacturers. Again, it always comes down to material selection, processes, and engineering. Not all wood cores are created equal, not all top sheets are created equal, etc.
I understand your point, and it is nice to think of something made by hand. But almost every ski made in the world is done mostly by hand. As for cores, I would much rather a very nice and expensive machine cut out the core to exact precision and have a computerized machine cut the profile so that you get the exact flex and dimensions that are needed. I don't know if any smaller indy companies do this part by hand, but there is no way that someone could profile and cut the cores to the same precision as a CNC machine, or whatever they use to make the cores. It's not like shaping a surf board for a custom shape. And yeah, I know a little about how skis are made. Not an expert by any means though.