I was skiing some backcountry today with a friend who until now has more or less only ever skied on Atomic Giant Slalom anvils. Today he used some fat rockered Black Diamonds for the first time and the improvement in his riding ability in pow was, unsurprisingly, remarkable.
Rockered skis are now fairly ubiquitous. Even pure piste skis such as those made by K2 and Volkl have some form of rocker and the ability of ski companies to dial in much more specific forms of flex with things like carbon fibre, metal, honeycomb tips etc. makes for a much more specified and ultimately easier ride.
Put simply, have equipment innovations caused the standard of technical skiing ability in general to deteriorate? The best point of comparison for this is the way in which everybody relies so heavily on GPS that nobody knows how to read a map anymore... Will developments in technology allow us to become worse skiers whilst still skiing the same terrain?
When you see old footage of people like Plake and Scott Schmidt tearing it up on 195 girders, or more recently, early films of skiers like Seth Morrison, T-Hall and Candide destroying the BC on un-rockered skis, it makes me wonder if those of us lucky enough to have always skied the deep stuff on rockered skis could ever learn to do it on old equipment.
tldr: do rocker and other design innovations allow us to be worse technical skiers and get away with it?