WORDS • THE EDITORS | PHOTOS • GABE ROVICK
Rejoice, skiers, because the OR Show 2018 is here. For the next few days, we’re going to bombard you with coverage of next year’s hottest ski and outdoor gear. And this year’s trade show is one you’ll want to pay very close attention to. As you may recall, an announcement came in May 2017 that the group behind Outdoor Retailer had purchased the SIA Snow Show; the result is the outdoor industry’s foremost trade show joining forces with skiing’s biggest show. I.e. the next few days are going to be MASSIVELY entertaining as we uncover new products, tech innovations and trends spanning the outdoor recreation realm.
The outdoor industry converges on the Colorado Convention Center between January 26-29, 2018. Photo courtesy of Visit Denver.
We understand there will be coverage coming at you from all angles this week, but breathe easy, because this page will serve as your one-stop-shop for rolling updates, spectacular photos, insightful videos and more. We’ve got our entire staff committed to the Colorado Convention Center, ensuring we won’t miss a beat. So, without further ado, let the good times roll…
Note: The majority of the products showcased at the OR Show 2018 will be available for purchase in the fall of 2018. Have any questions about the show? We’ll be manning “the Twitters” while perusing the show floor, so, tweet at us!
Trends to watch:
Freeskiing on the rise.
Each year, SnowSports Industries America (SIA) interviews tens of thousands of U.S. residents to gather data on the winter sports participant base. One key 2018 trend we’re seeing is: People just can’t stop, won’t stop freeskiing. SIA designates freeskiers as individuals who ski in, around and over natural features like trees, bumps, cliffs and chutes—as well as in terrain parks and halfpipes. Freeskiers themselves associate their skiing experiences with keywords like “freedom,” “adventure” and “fun.” According to SIA’s Market Intelligence Reports, the amount of skiers who identify as freeskiers has risen steadily over the past decade—jumping from 2.7 million in 2008 to 5.4 million today. That means nearly half of the 11.8 million downhill skiers in the U.S. identify as freeskiers.
Backcountry is booming.
In 2008-09, 1.2 million skiers participated in lift-accessed backcountry skiing, while 844,000 skied in “non-resort” backcountry zones. Today, those numbers are up to 3.2 million and 928,000, respectively—a significant leap. The trend in where people ski has had a direct influence on what people ski. The backcountry boom is driving the trend toward lighter equipment across all categories of downhill skiing, including alpine and freeski. An increasing number of resort and frontside-oriented skiers are opting for AT bindings and boots—it’s the cool new thing, on the one hand, and it’s also a direct reflection of skiers’ desire to shed heavy, bulky equipment for comfort and the sake of performance. This is one trend we’ll be exploring during the OR Show 2018.
Narrower skis, yes, please!
Carving-oriented skis are in. Most consumers are backing away from the fat, 120 mm-underfoot skis of yesteryear. Skis with a 90 mm to 100 mm waist width are the best sellers, per SIA data.
Synthetics vs. natural materials.
More consumers and companies are going toward natural materials and away from synthetics, which may have something to do with all the terrifying press around synthetic materials ending up in the oceans. It could also have to do with the millennial buying trend of experiential products that tell a story, rather than flashy, performance-oriented products. But the data is unequivocal: From baselayers to underwear to sports bras to socks to even outerwear, our future in ski clothing may be rooted in the past.
OR Show 2018 coverage begins officially on Thursday, January 25, 2018.
DAY 1 — January 25, 2018
The North Face
The North Face (TNF) is highlighting a collection for ’18-19 dubbed “The New Backcountry.” Inspired in part by the 2018 U.S. Freeskiing Olympic Team uniforms created by TNF, as well as the droves of skiers who are transferring the progressive style of terrain park shredding to the backcountry, the garments masterfully blend hip looks with exceptional function. Of the many pieces within The New Backcountry line, the Ceptor Jacket stands out (seriously, that’s bright!) as one that’s sure to resonate with FREESKIER readers. The DryVent 3L shell features bells and whistles galore, including a jacket-in-hood storage system; powder skirt with gripper elastic; two secure-zip chest pockets and hand pockets; media port; internal goggle pocket; underarm vents; ski pass pocket; jacket-to-pant integration; waterproof, exposed zips; and on, and on. The longer length in the back provides much-sought-after fl air, as well. From the chairlift to the skin track, from the park to the backcountry cliffs, this jacket is a winner through and through.
From alpine starts to all-day pursuits, the evolved Fuse Brigandine Jacket from The North Face’s Steep Series is designed for travel in the most demanding terrain in the world. It features an ergonomic fit that was designed around the body’s positions while skiing, hiking and climbing, and a new FuseForm/GORE-TEX® fabrication with pockets that integrate with bibs and midlayers.
The North Face was tasked with designing the U.S. Olympic Freeski Team’s competition uniforms back in 2014, when halfpipe and slopestyle skiing made their Olympic debut in Sochi, Russia. The mission then was to deliver not only top-tier technical performance but also to keep the athletes’ stylistic needs in mind, all while providing a cohesive look for all members of the team. The MO remained the same as TNF once again took on the challenge of producing Olympic apparel; with more than 60 pieces in the new collection, and competition outfits seen on display above, athletes can customize their look to fit both their fashion and function needs.
Alterra Mountain Company
Glen Plake and his wife Kimberly were on-hand at the Colorado Convention Center to represent Alterra Mountain Company’s new lift ticket offering, the Ikon Pass.
When a skier walks through the ski shop door and says he/she prioritizes “going full send” on big-mountain faces, in near-vertical couloirs and off larger than life cliffs, and also prefers a wider platform to do so, look no further than the Dictator 4.0, from Faction.
A 115 mm waist on the Dictator 4.0 is enough to charge through variable terrain and snow and provides a rock-solid base for landing airs and cliff drops. Hefty rocker and taper complement the width profile for a smooth, surfy ride. Dual Titanal inserts running the length of the ski provide remarkable power and edge hold and a lightweight poplar/paulownia core keeps the bulk down while providing dampening and spring. A dual radius sidecut provides both nimble and stable characteristics, and a directional, flat tail helps to power through turns. The Verbier-based ski maker hits yet another home run, here.
Working in collaboration with eyewear and goggle brand Dragon Alliance, Faction’s 18/19 Prodigy line of skis boast custom topsheets, a twin-tipped design and dual-radius shaping.
The updated Candide Thovex Signatures Series.
Icelantic’s Ben Anderson spreads the good word (and the good vibes) while sharing details on the Denver-based company’s Pioneer 109 ski.
Icelantic’s full 2018/19 lineup of freeride, all-mountain skis.
A close up of the Nomad 115 and its artwork.
The Mystic 97, seen above at right, is an all-new women’s specific backcountry touring ski that fills a gap in the market; the need for women’s specific backcountry touring skis is un-questionably on the rise yet the manufacturers’ response to this trend, on the whole, has been slow. By utilizing sustainably sourced, ultra-light “Ochroma” wood cores, Icelantic has achieved a ski that registers at a feather-light 1,349 g per ski. The Mystic 97 boasts tip and tail rocker with camber underfoot, allowing for easy pivoting maneuvers and also strong edge hold—the best-of-both-worlds scenario that most of today’s skiers covet. And don’t be fooled by the ski’s light character; it’s bomber as can be, backed by Icelantic’s line-wide, no-questions-asked three-year warranty. Note: Be on the lookout for Icelantic’s all-new Natural 101, a backcountry tool for the boys.
POC will implement its contrast- and light-boost-ing Clarity lenses into its entire goggle line for 2018-19, because people love it, obviously. In order to make the contrast and light enhancement less intense to the naked eye, POC utilizes a unique Spektris mirrored coating that optimizes the lenses for sunny, partly sunny and over-cast conditions.
POC implements its SPIN technology—specially built silicone “shearing pads” that protect skiers’ domes from rotational impacts—into its helmet for 2018-19.
Oakley’s PRIZM React goggles utilize the touch of a button to adjust the intensity of tinting on the lens, allowing you to quickly adapt to whatever Mother Nature throws your way.
Following the emerging trend of electrochromic lenses, SPY is introducing its ONE Lens technology into its award-winning Ace goggle. A SPY logo-shaped button on the strap allows the user to change the lens’ VLT based on outside conditions. With three tints—flat, mixed and sunny—and a respectable five to six hour battery life, the technology creates a lens nearly impervious to changing light conditions.
The incredibly useful and popular BC Link radio gets a facelift for 2018-19. The 2.0 has two watts of power which doubles its usable range, now up to six miles. The new microphone grill is built to block out snow and the on/off/channel dial utilizes a raised ridge to protect it from inadvertent switching. Fans of the original BC Link looking to upgrade will have their interest piqued by this second iteration, no doubt.
Ortovox took its celebrated, ultra-lightweight Avabag technology and implemented it in a brand new pack that’s meant for overnight excursions in the backcountry. With this bag, Ortovox focused on developing a multi-day pack that was, in the spirit of all things Avabag, lightweight with-out any compromise on safety; this beaut’ registers just 1,980 grams including the Avabag unit. To achieve this end, the pack’s exterior design is ultra-minimalistic, focusing solely on essential features such as ski carry systems and rope fas-teners, while keeping the safety necessities.
Colorado-based Liberty Skis has some exciting ski announcements in store for ’18-19 (like the addition of a 112-mm-waisted ski to the Origin line-up and the return of the award-winning Helix) yet none more awesome than the introduction of the all-new, frontside-centric V-Series, with available 76, 82 and 92 mm waist widths. These skis are designed around Liberty’s VMT (Vertical Metal Technology) core; engineers utilized vertical aluminum struts sandwiched between bamboo stringers in order to achieve coveted dampness and edge hold sans the weight of traditional, horizontal metal inserts. A full-length carbon lay-up provides even more energy return and torsional stiffness while providing yet another nod to weight savings. Rounding out the construction highlights, tip rocker boosts the float factor in soft snow conditions and spring steel mounting plates underfoot provide a resilient flex pattern. All told, it’s a mighty satisfying combination of performance and nimbleness for the most demanding resort skiers.
To produce its all-new helmet, the Cynic AT, Pret stripped its ever-popular Cynic helmet to the bare bones in an effort to attract backcountry enthusiasts who covet weight savings above all else. The brand modified the ear pads and liner in such a manner as to only use the minimum amount of material needed. A passive Level 1 venting system and carbon-plated ACT construction also put a premium on weight reduction, helping to achieve an estimated weight of 375 grams. In a nod to the go-getter spirit of skiers who will gravitate to-wards this helmet, Pret added adjustable head-lamp straps to accommodate nighttime travel.
Developed with athlete input and safety in mind, Pret’s Cynic X delivers style, safety and fit with MIPS technology. The Cynic X is also audio-ready, featuring Pret’s detachable Covert Ear Covers, and the added X-Static fabric keeps it smelling fresh even when you don’t.
Marker introduces the Alpinist binding for 2018/19. The Alpinist is Marker’s lightest touring binding to date, weighing in at 490 grams (!) per pair. The binding combines a pin-tech toe piece with a heel that offers both a fixed upward release and an adjustable lateral release (with a 15 mm range of adjustment, for reference). In addition, the Alpinist offers zero, five and nine degree climbing aid positions. This binding will be in high demand among consumers that covet weight savings above all else in their touring bindings, as well as those loyal to the Marker brand (wink-wink, it’s been the number one binding manufacturer in FREESKIER’s brand rankings for five straight years).
G3 Genuine Guide Gear
The all-new G3 SENDr 112 is here to fulfill the needs of big-mountain, backcountry rippers who demand a lightweight ski for long, uphill slogs that’ll also hold its own on the burliest of descents. At 112 mm underfoot—for skis of 174, 181, 188 and 195 in length—this ski packs plenty of punch for powder days. Poplar and paulownia wood in the core provide a balance of power and weight savings (3 lbs 12 oz @ 181). Meanwhile, four layers of carbon fiber woven in different orientations with two layers of Titanal ensure optimal torsional rigidity. Polyurethane sidewalls also translate to rock-solid durability.
G3’s line of ROAMr skis for 2018/19.
Dalbello Ski Boots
“Hey, I’m looking for a boot with superior warmth, comfort and weight savings, all packaged into a burly 130 flex boot.” “Awesome, let me guide you to the all-new Dalbello DS 130.” Indeed, Dalbello’s new DS Series follows the trend of lightweight constructions that don’t skimp on downhill capabilities. Dalbello’s designers began by constructing a “Power Cage” out of hard polyurethane material, giving the boot a strong foundation. A textured surface on both sides of the lower shell provides power transmission to the user while also allowing the designers to thin the shell material that isn’t directly part of the cage. This results in a low profile, lightweight yet mighty reliable ski boot. For further reinforcement, the DS 130 features an ABS plate in the cuff. And to boost warmth and comfort, Dalbello integrated insulation into the boot board. “Right this way, please, and here you’ll find Exhibit A.”
We were so excited about this new ski that we traveled all the way to the Völkl’s factory in Straubing, Germany, to observe its production from start to finish. The experience solidified our love for the ski. What sets this fifth generation Mantra apart from previous iterations? Most notably, the use of Titanal Frame Technology. Ex-plained: Völkl’s engineers utilized a 0.6 mm-thick Titanal framework under the ski’s sidewall, along the shovel and tail. The frame sheds weight com-pared to a typical metal plate. And because the same level of power transfer isn’t required in the waist of the ski, a thinner (0.3 mm) Titanal plate underfoot (so, three metal inserts, in total) provides retention for binding screws while also cutting more weight (because it’s thinner) and providing a soft fl ex profile, all while delivering the liveliness and stability skiers crave. The rocker-camber-rocker returns—albeit with slight tweaks—and carbon in the tips provides rockin’ torsional strength, sans bulk. All told, the Mantra has been a favorite since 2005 and it’s now lighter and more agile than ever. The hordes of Mantra fans out there won’t be able to contain themselves. A note for the ladies: The M5 Mantra has a sister model in the Secret, boasting the same engineering
All new offerings from Vermont’s very own Darn Tough will keep your feet warm, dry and comfortable with strategically-placed compression around the foot.
Yes, this ski is now one year old. And yes, this ski is still trending hotter than Miley Cyrus riding into a concert venue on a giant mechanical hot dog whilst sporting a skin-colored leotard. For the aggressive powder skiers out there, the Enforcer 110 is delightfully powerful and playful—just like its wildly-award-winning brethren, the Enforcer 100.
A poplar, beech and balsa wood core paired with carbon and two sheets of metal provide the perfect blend of weight savings with rip-ability. Even at 110 mm underfoot, this ski arcs with the best of ‘em; we assure you of this via (awesome) first-hand experience. Nordica’s design also dampens vibrations, so when skiers roar across variable terrain and chunder-like snow, the ride remains smooth as a Cadillac. Rounding out the construction highlights, hefty tip and tail rocker provide coveted float on the deepest of days. So, if you didn’t already know, now you know.
Leki’s Trigger S is a clever technology that allows you to vary your gripping position even when you’re clicked in. A Flexband integrated into the hand strap enables you to move freely, while the Trigger Loop keeps you connected to your pole. Like Trigger S, Trigger S Vertical releases upwards under tensile load.
More offerings from Leki heading into the 2018/19 season.
Made from super light, durable, fully waterproof and air-permeable three-layer eVent®fabric, backed by fully sealed seams and DWR treatment, Strafe’s bibs have users covered both inbounds and out, from chairlift rides to grueling skin-track slogs.
A synthetic/wool liner featured on Strafe’s latest midlayers maintains warmth and reduces stink.
A week before the OR Show 2018 kicked off, Quiksilver announced its latest partnership with skier Sammy Carlson, who will have a large hand in developing backcountry-oriented products.
The 4-way stretch of Quiksilver’s latest jacket truly shines when you’re in motion.
It’s no secret that skiers these days are looking for boots that are light, stiff and responsive, all at the same time. In this regard, K2 hits a home run with the Recon 130. The new boot utilizes K2’s Powerlite Shell, which combines TPU of four different thicknesses—stiff in the spine and chassis, softer over the instep and medium in the foot wrap—and strategic thicknesses of the shell wall to strike a winning balance of weight savings and stiffness. The resulting boot weighs in at a re-markable 1,650 grams (@ size 26.5) and packs a whole helluva lot of power, for those with the strength and skiing fortitude to match. Many skiers are in the market for this specific type of boot, and the new Recon will be an attractive offering for those same consumers who also believe the dampening and stability offered by an all-TPU boot trump those built with other materials.
Zeal’s Rail Lock quick-change lens system—two tracks in the frame that slide the lenses in and out—gets implemented into the brand’s first-ever cylindrical-lens goggle for 2018-19. In addition to easy lens swaps, it allows users to slide the lens up slightly while hiking or touring for a fog-free experience. Skiers craving the look of a cylindrical lens who also desire the premium features of most spherical offerings will develop hearts-for-eyes over the Hatchet. Have your cake and eat it, too.
The small/medium-sized Starwind combines unique anti-fog technology with an enhanced lens—the two features most coveted by FREESKIER readers when it comes to goggles. Its lens can be pulled slightly away from the frame, in-creasing airflow and preventing fogging, whether on the skin track or skiing vigorously inbounds. In addition, Julbo utilizes a photochromic lens that adapts to ever-changing light conditions on the mountain. Backcountry skiers with small to medium-sized faces may have their perfect match in the Starwind.
DAY 2 — January 26, 2018
Packs, bags and luggage for your every need, on full display at the Dakine booth.
Kastle ambassador and big-mountain skier Chris Davenport shows off the brand’s new MX99 ski.
One might think that a boot boasting tech inserts, wide range-of-motion walk modes and low weight with exceptional downhill power to the tune of a 130 flex is hardly attainable, yet the all-new Ranger Free 130, by Fischer, delivers. The Ranger Free’s integrated ski/walk mechanism allows for a 55-degree cuff rotation and the use of GripWalk soles makes traversing icy bootpacks and ridgelines a breeze. Fischer utilizes Grilamid in the construction for its high strength to weight ratio (the boot comes in at 1,540 g) while a minimalist yet customizable liner helps to shed extra grams, too.
For the skiers seeking a weapon with which to attack the mountain on any given day, regardless of what Mother Nature has in store, Fischer’s Ranger 102 FR (seen above in blue) is one to have. In short, this bad boy provides exceptional versatility for hardpack pillaging, cliff-drop stomping, off-piste chunder charging and everything in between, all while keeping weight savings at a premium. To achieve this end, Fischer mills both the beech/poplar wood core and the two Titanal laminates, reducing weight without sacrificing performance. Rest assured, the ski’s ingredients and sandwich sidewall construction lend themselves to ultra-stable, ultra-agile turning. Additionally, Fischer’s elliptical Aeroshape combined with rocker and a carbon nose (slim shovel with carbon in-lay) further prioritizes weight savings (2,000 g/ski @ 177 cm) while boosting swing weight and maneuverability in mixed-bag snow conditions. A twin tip design allows for forwards and backwards skiing, too.
FREESKIER’s Editor In Chief Henrik Lampert is all smiles wearing one of Gordini’s 2018/19 offerings.
One highlight from Chamonix-based Black Crows is a slick looking, high-performance line of outerwear meant withstand the toughest days in the mountains.
Black Crows has been steadily rising in popularity since its introduction into the U.S. market in 2017. Rest assured, this Chamonix, France-based ski manufacturer knows a thing or two about “big-mountain” skiing. The company’s iconic Corvus is designed to tackle the biggest, steepest lines around and it’s showing off a brand-new makeover for the ’18-19 season. Most notably, the ski now boasts reverse camber, allowing for easy pivoting and enhanced maneuverability in soft snow conditions (inspiration came from the reverse camber, award-winning Daemon which was new for 2017-18). Meanwhile, a lightweight yet snappy poplar core backed by two 120 cm-long, tapered Titanal plates ensures outstanding edging and power on the hardpack. Black Crows calls it “battle-ready,” and there’s no doubt that this ski has achieved a smooth balance that inspires confidence in all types of terrain—just what every big-mountain skier dreams of. The new iteration of the Corvus is also 500 g lighter than the last.
Powder hound Sammy Carlson poses with his signature Armada “Magic J” skis.
HEAD made a blue-whale-sized splash with the unveiling of its KORE line-up in 2017-18 (which included 93-, 105- and 117-mm-under-foot models) and the company is playing off of that success with the introduction of a brand-new 99 mm version—ideal for frontside skiers who desire a smidge’ more beef (compared to the 93) underfoot for cruddy-snow or off-piste skiing and perhaps not quite so much girth as that of the 105. There is zero doubt that the happy-medium KORE 99, complete with tip and tail rocker, will strike a perfect balance for a mess-load of skiers; that 98-102 mm range is, after all, the sweet spot for many skiers in the Western U.S. and regions that receive generous snowfall. As a quick refresher, the KORE skis are celebrated for being incredibly lightweight without compromising downhill performance. This end is achieved through the use of mind-numbingly light and poppy Karuba wood, complemented by Graphene, Koroyd and triaxial-woven carbon. One of our expert ski testers said about the KORE skis, “There’s zero nervous energy, the flex is absolutely perfect, they’re springy and fun, ideal for any day, any time.” Note: HEAD has also released a KORE 87 junior model for ’18-’19 (135, 144, 153, 162)
Providing a custom fit for every skier is Head’s latest innovation: Liquid Fit, which works by injecting a gel-like substance around the ankle to provide seamless support, fit and ultimate comfort.
Apex Ski Boots
Apex Ski Boots is reinventing the wheel via an ultra-comfortable, inner walking-boot that slips into a rigid, open-toe, carbon-reinforced chassis for a mix of insanely happy feet with ample performance on the ski hill. In other words, this offering provides the warmth and cozy feel of a snowboard boot with the power of a ski boot all at once. Two lacing Boa closure systems around the lower leg and instep keep the walking-boots snug while three buckles on the chassis lock up the whole system. And when it’s time to head to the après bar, just step out of your skis and leave the plastic chassis locked right into your bindings. If you’re the type of skier who can’t stand traditional alpine boots and have been craving a solution, hurry up and demo a pair. This boot might just change your outlook on skiing forever.
DPS sought to provide an answer to the downfalls of carbon fiber skis of the past. Enter: Alchemist. Carbon’s attractive attribute—a low mass with high strength—is also its weakness, as it can cause chattering at high speed in variable terrain. The new Alchemist design seeks to smooth out the ride. DPS sandwiched an aspen wood core between two layers of pure prepreg carbon fiber laminate, blended with its own proprietary dampening materials. The Wailer 112, in particular, boasts a comfortable 18-meter turn radius, versatile rocker-camber-rocker profile and a tapered, flatter sidecut at the edge contact points for a smooth ski in any type of condition.
New from DPS: Phantom—a one-time application, permanent base glide treatment that negates the need to wax your skis. We’ve tested it and there’s no denying it provides a new, unique benefit to skiers in an environmentally-friendly package. It’s definitely worth checking out
Sego Ski Co.
Turn the fun factor up to 11 with Sego’s Big Horn 96. The liveliness of this all-mountain ski is attributed to its a symmetrical rocker profile as well as a poplar wood core that’s snappy and provides a low swing weight. The playful nature of the Big Horn 96 is complemented by a directional sidecut profile, allowing it to lay down a serious carve and be ultra-quick edge-to-edge. Its versatile waist width allows you to shred any terrain, like that of the Tetons, for example—Sego’s multi-faceted testing ground. “A playful, poppy little demon,” said one tester about the Big Horn 96. “Carved darn well, too.” Another tester followed pro shredder Sander Hadley for a lap and “ended up popping over some s#it [he] definitely shouldn’t have,” but was pleased when the skis “ate it all up just fine.”
Sego Ski Co. is producing high-end, American-made planks in Victor, ID, just over the border from Jackson Hole, WY. For just a moment you can imagine the ski-makers putting their prototypes through the wringer across some of the best backcountry terrain and most formidable steeps in North America. It’s kind of a nice thought, isn’t it? Well, if that little daydream piqued your interest, so too will Sego’s Condor-Ti: a 108-mm-underfoot “adventure ski,” in the words of Sego, that’s designed specifically for big-mountain enthusiasts. This Bad Larry is constructed with lightweight, poppy aspen wood and burly maple, backed by Titanal reinforcement. Carbon in the tips and tails also provides torsional strength without bogging the ski down. The ski’s 26 m radius lends itself to large, swooping turns and a long effective edge, plus hefty camber, assist in this regard, as well. Rubber stringers keep the ride stable and chatter-free and a high-end polyamide topsheet provides some flair and protection from the elements.
Boost your game with Sego’s UP Pro 92, designed by pro skier Lynsey Dyer. The fruit of Dyer’s labor is a burly ski that caters to strong skiers and is adept at rocking all over the mountain. “So damn strong and poppy, yet plenty playful,” said one tester. “Really fun for shredding corn, bumps, hard pack and everything in between.” Built with a directional rocker profile and a camber zone underfoot, the UP Pro offers easy turn initiation, quick-turning maneuverability and high-speed stability. Dart between the trees, slice up the frontside, harvest corn-snow or take ‘em in the park—they’ll surely stand up to all of your adventures.
The ultra-light Speedguide 95 sheds over 200 g per ski off of Scott’s acclaimed Superguide 95, without sacrificing downhill performance. Indeed, at just 1,280 g per ski (@ 178) mobility is the keyword, here. Skiers, rest assured that you’ll be ripping with giant smiles plastered to your faces when it comes time to lock ‘em in and let gravity take over. In order to produce a ski that’s über light yet maintains torsional strength and liveliness for safe, confident descents, Scott utilizes lightweight paulownia wood in an elliptic construction, complemented by sandwich sidewalls and carbon and Kevlar laminates. Scott’s 3Dimension sidecut (which combines a tip and tail radius with a fl at line under foot) also provides a smooth balance of easy turn initiation and stability. The 95 mm waist width lends itself to nimble, playful skiing and the fun is enhanced by a new tip shape that is seen across Scott’s 2018-19 line-up; the new shape has proven to provide better edge hold, especially in steep terrain. As icing on the cake, the Speedguide 95 also features Scott’s unique, easy-to-use skin fixation system.
Ever hear of a skier bringing a backpack to the hill purely to hold a water bottle, yet they despise the pack for its bulk? Yeah, us too. Well, here’s a show-stopper for ya: Four years in the making, this patent-pending jacket boasts the world’s first built-in micro hydration system, providing skiers with unencumbered, hands free, on-demand access to water whilst ripping. That’s right, this jacket features a hidden 25 oz Hydrastash reservoir, integrated into the powder skirt. (While created and introduced by 686, Hydrastash will be positioned as a third party technology.) An “engineered body wrap fit” and special suspension straps allow the pouch to move with the user and also ensure its weight is supported. Alleviating any concerns of gimmick, the system boasts anti-slosh dams to prevent motion when fluid is low; the reservoir is guaranteed not to break under stress; it’s easily cleanable and fillable; it’s designed to prevent freezing; its Microbite valve is tiny yet effective; and it’s all BPA free. On the chairlift or in the backcountry, this system requires no adjustment and is comfortable against the body. Plus, the jacket fabric itself is 20K/15K waterproof/breathable with mechanical two-way stretch and DWR treatment. Furthermore, 80g of Polyfill insulation in the body, 60g in the sleeves and 40g in the hood provide coveted warmth.
After 70-plus years of crafting skis in the Euro-pean Alps, Elan remains resolute in its mission to promote “Always Good Times” in the mountains. For the freeski-centric consumers out there, Elan has refined its award-winning Ripstick and introduces the ski in a “Black Edition” for the ’18-19 season, seen above at right. The decidedly premium offering boasts a sleek, all-black topsheet backed by state-of-the-art carbon construction for a boost in both performance and appearance. You see, the chassis remains the same (Amphibio profile, Tubelight wood core, Vapor Tips, etc.) yet the Black Edition receives a carbon upgrade inside and out. In short, this top-notch all-mountain tool just got a whole lot hotter.
When Line unveiled its Pescado in 2016-17, it was one of the most talked about models among our readers (and frankly, our staff, too). That’s because 1) the ski looks frickin’ gorgeous at first glance, 2) it’s designed by Eric Pollard, one of most creative skiers of this generation and one of our sport’s living legends and 3) it provides dreamy good times for folks who frequent deep powder stashes. Well, let the chatter commence anew… Meet the Sakana, the all-new addition to the Pollard Collection. This ski is heavily inspired by the Pescado yet boasts a narrower turning radius and a versatile 105 mm waist width. Like the Pescado, the ski features a setback mounting point, elongated effective edge and a unique shape that encourages snappy turns, long, arcing turns and everything in between. For folks who view the mountain as their playground (and let’s be serious, who doesn’t?) the Sakana is one to have.
Rather than going the spherical or cylindrical lens-shape route, Dragon is utilizing a toric lens shape for the PXV (dubbed Panotech), all-new for 2018-19. In short, rather than being curved on both axes (spherical) or one axis (cylindrical), the lens utilizes a 5-by-.5 base curve, and varies between the two. This allows for a fantastic lateral field of vision while retaining the goggle’s compact dimensions; i.e. better “wrapping” and increased peripheral vision without a lens that bulges way out—a look that some skiers dislike. The PXV will be available with photochromic lenses and a plethora of beautiful strap options.
DAY 3 — January 27, 2018
Yes, the Enforcer skis are now one year old. And yes, these skis are still trending hotter than Miley Cyrus rid-ing into a concert venue on a giant mechanical hot dog whilst sporting a skin-colored leotard. For the aggressive powder skiers out there, the Enforcer 110 is delightfully powerful and playful—just like its wildly-award-winning brethren, the Enforcer 100. A poplar, beech and balsa wood core paired with carbon and two sheets of metal provide the perfect blend of weight savings with rip-ability. Even at 110 mm underfoot, this ski arcs with the best of ‘em; we assure you of this via (awesome) first-hand experience. Nordica’s design also dampens vibrations, so when skiers roar across variable terrain and chunder-like snow, the ride remains smooth as a Cadillac. Rounding out the construction highlights, hefty tip and tail rocker provide coveted float on the deepest of days. So, if you didn’t already know, now you know.
Tecnica’s updated Zero G touring boots focus on improving hiking efficiency. The brand achieves this end through an innovative, double-blocking cuff closure—akin to a pulley system—that self adjusts while moving uphill to allow for a comfortable range of motion. The boot also utilizes ultra-strong and ultra-light Grilamid material for a balance of stiffness and weight savings and features rockered Vibram soles for easy boot-packing and après-ing. The Zero G Tour is sure to catch the eyes of ski-touring lovers who are looking for top-of-the-line uphill efficiency backed by exceptional downhill power.
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