I am finding a ton of really bad misinformation regarding the properties of various materials when it comes to ski construction. From the skibuilder forum to Folsom Skis's website and more, I see claims about materials that are literally the opposite of what's truth. How much actual materials engineering goes into most ski design and how much is purely driven by economics and trial-and-error? I know a lot of companies talk about experimenting with shapes and layups, sending a few prototypes with their employees and riders to the mountains to get feedback. But to me, "poppy" "stable" "torsionally rigid" and "durable" mean pretty much nothing as everyone has a different qualitative scale.
I am interested in hard, empirically determined numbers. I want to see the coefficient of friction of Durasurf 4001 compared to Isosport 4400 in laboratory testing before being sent to the variable mountain. Why does every company put carbon fiber stringers on TOP of their cores instead of the bottom, where it would show its strengths far better? (I know some do both). How much would the elastic modulus and shear strength change by using 100% recycled fiberglass mat for a binding retention layer? Why ABS sidewalls when PET is easier to work with and ABS is only better at high temps... obviously not the operating environment of skis? I've heard basalt fibers may be an eco-friendly alternative to carbon fiber, but how is the compressive and transverse strength? How do different sidecuts affect the flexibility of different regions on the ski?
It doesn't seem like many ski companies release any numbers that answer these kinds of questions. Yes, their methods and designs probably must retain some secrecy for competitive reasons, but do many companies even KNOW the answer to these questions? I think the wide variety of performance and durability when it comes to skis answers that. Some do care about quantitative data. Some only consider one number, the price tag. What are some things that ski companies definitely test before sending their skis into the wild for real-world testing? Why do some companies clearly not care about creating a truly engineered product?