Dynastar's Grand Gamble

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Someone hands you $3,000. Do you spend it on: a) a snowmobile; b) a 1991 Cadillac DeVille on eBay, or c) one pair of skis? Dynastar bet last spring that at least 200 buyers worldwide would opt for the ski. The purchase does include the Avant Premiere No. 1 -- a modified version of its World Cup GS race ski, an integrated Look Pivot 8 binding, a carrying case, a three-year service package, a "Ski with the Champions" ski day (including skiing, lunch, and a free backpack), and a VIP Pass to Café Dynastar at the 2002 Olympics.

"We feel there's a certain consumer out there who's interested in exclusivity, and in owning a handcrafted, high-quality ski," says Charlie Adams, Dynastar's vice president of marketing. The idea was obviously well received, given that all 50 pairs available to U.S. retailers sold out in a matter of hours. But what kind of skier drops three grand on a pair of boards? After much prodding by our crack investigative reporting team, Adams reluctantly disclosed the secret: "They definitely have money."