The SIA (Snowsports Industries of America) Snow Show, held every winter in Denver, is a gear geek’s dream. Over 900 snowsports brands come together to show their latest and greatest products for the coming year. Skis, boots and bindings are always a hot topic, and lots of innovation should make every skier and rider salivate for what’s to come in 2012/2013.
Manufacturers add some amount of rocker to most skis in their line for 2012/2013, which is a good move since sales nearly doubled for reverse and mixed camber skis early this season. Rocker is not just for wide skis anymore: Rocker adds all-mountain performance to skis traditionally thought of as carving skis and also makes skis more maneuverable and easier to turn, helping skiers of all abilities.
Almost a third of all skis sold last season (and the season before) were women-specific skis. Next year manufacturers introduce new wider-waisted models for women, which hooks into a non-gender specific trend of sidecountry skiing. New technology has made wide skis easier to use in both powder and hard snow so manufacturers feel that women will be looking to add a second pair of skis with waists 90 mm and above.
New molds for ski boots and hike-ski features change the game for boots in 2012/2013. Boot manufacturers had to pick up the development pace to keep up with rapidly changing ski technology. This means a shift toward an emphasis on lateral stiffness (instead of fore/aft) and a more upright stance. Also, many boot manufactures will introduce or add new models with a hike-ski mode. This typically includes some mechanism or built-in design that allows for greater cuff mobility for hiking, but that locks the upper and lower cuffs together for downhill performance. These boots also tend to include ease-of-use features like rubber soles, which help skiers hike more comfortably as well as walk in icy parking lots.
To compliment the new trend in ski boots, binding manufacturers continue to offer bindings or introduce models that favor back- or sidecountry skiing, allowing skiers to free their heels and also lock down for alpine performance.
Related Photos: New Gear at SIA
Here is some gear to get excited about for 2012/2013:
Dynastar Cham 107
Dynastar’s new Cham series of freeride skis, lead by the Cham 107, are designed for the modern skier looking for a ski that floats, cruises through crud and carves. The Cham 107 features Dynastar’s Levitation Profile, or a five–point sidecut ski design (130-137-107-122-98 mm) with a reverse sidecut at the tip and tail, long tip rocker, camber underfoot and a flat pintail.
Nordica Hell’s Belles
Available flat or with EVO binding set; $799 or $1,099 with set
Nordica’s new women’s collection has five new models including the expert-level Hell’s Belles (132-90-118), designed with Nordica’s early rise camROCK technology and women’s WI-Core technology, which reduces the weight of the full wood core by 25 percent, making the ski light and lively.
Lange XT 130
Aligned with the trend of high performance boots that are easier to hike in, the Lange XT 130 has a no-nonsense 130 flex, Lange’s Control Fit, Natural Stance and mono-injected shell, but also adds grip soles, lightweight components and their new Power V-Lock system. This technology allows the boot cuff to articulate for range-of-motion while climbing, but locks in for downhill performance. When flexing forward, the upper cuff engages the Power V-Lock, locking upper cuff into the lower cuff.
The Salomon Guardian 16
Aggressive skiers will appreciate this new backcountry binding’s 80-mm wide platform, designed for greater power transmission and responsiveness edge-to-edge. Uphill junkies will like the Low Profile Chassis with a low stand height for greater stability. Both, however, may enjoy the Hike & Ride Switch, which changes easily from the climbing bar to skiing position with the flip of your ski pole.