It’s always exciting to get a sneak peak of anything but my favorite “behind the scenes” look is always at the SIA Snow Show. Held in Denver in mid-winter, Snowsports Industries of America puts on a huge shindig. It’s a love fest of creative booths that feature over 900 brands of everything having to do with snowsports—from skis, boards and apparel down to socks and lip balm. For four days, industry folks gather to talk about or check out new technology, innovation and really cool stuff that will be hitting stores next season. 

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Arc'teryx unveiled their new Keibo jacket featuring N80p-X for next season.

The snowsports apparel industry sees some interesting innovations for next season, particularly with waterproof breathable jackets. We’ve come a long way from the noisy and stiff hardshell jacket of yesterday. New technology allows manufacturers to use softer fabrics with stretch that are also waterproof and breathable. Gore-Tex works with numerous companies, such as Burton, Mammut, Marmot, Patagonia, Quiksilver and Volcom. Another company Gore-Tex works with, Arc’teryx, will unveil N80p-X—a scientific-sounding name for a durable, high-density fabric with a water repellent surface. Gore-Tex Pro 3-layer fabrication is water and windproof, breathable and abrasion resistant and appears in new Oakley outerwear.  Outdoor Research’s sidecountry-focused line includes a new four-way stretch softshell fabric with waterproof Gore-Tex construction. Other companies like The North Face, Mountain Hardwear and Flylow are developing their own proprietary waterproof/breathable technology for ski and snowboard outewear.

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OR's new Vanguard jacket is made for the sidecountry—featuring four-way stretch and waterproof Gore-Tex.

Puffy jacket enthusiasts will be happy to know that feathers get a lot of attention for 2012/2013. Many companies are offering new waterproof down jackets. Powderhorn, for example, has a new four-way stretch Gore-Tex shell exterior and down fill interior. Along with new water-repellent Quix Down technology, KJUS also offers lightweight down jackets with a unique take—a transparent shell with colorful dyed down feathers inside.

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The new KJUS Lava jacket will blend form and function to headline their 2013/2013 line.

Even though the economy hasn’t fully recovered, sustainable stories continue to be important selling points in apparel. That means that companies are looking for ways to cut costs and waste. Burton recently announced a collaboration with Mountain Dew called the Green Mountain Project. The GMP features outerwear made from fabrics created by recycled plastic bottles—a huge contributor to landfill waste. Other companies such as Obermeyer, Homeschool Snowboarding and Adidas outdoor continue to use innovative fabrics such as the coconut-based Cocona, or in the case of NILS, TENCEL, made from wood pulp. Scott uses PrimaLoft Eco insulation—made out of post-consumer recycled material—in select outerwear. Patagonia continues to be a leader in this field, dedicated to reducing their carbon footprint with programs like the recycling Common Threads Initiative, 1 Percent for the Planet as well as Bluesign Standard, which reduces waste as well as the use of harmful fabric dyes and finishes.

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Burton's Eleanor Jacket is part of their new Green Mountain Project—using fabrics created from plastic bottles.

As far as color palettes and style trends go, designers have packed their lines full of both bright colors and earth tones. For men and women, brightly-colored pants paired with more neutral colored jackets are hot for next season. Prized for its mobility and freedom of movement, four-way stretch material continues to be a hot trend for alpine apparel, but next season some snowboard apparel companies such as Volcom, 686 and Rossignol Apparel embrace four-way stretch fabrics too. Military, streetwear and workwear influences are huge next season, most noticeably in snowboard apparel, where less baggy and more fitted becomes the new motto.

Related Photos: New Gear at SIA

SIA Gallery Related Content

Check out shots from the 2012 SIA Show