El Niño or not, new gear can make any ski condition memorable. While you’re out enjoying this season’s skis, manufacturers have been hard at work thinking about the future and ways to enhance your skiing experience. They’re already debuting next year’s skis (as in 2017), hosting media events, manning booths at the nationally attended Snow Show in Denver, Colorado, as well as educating their reps and ski shop hardgoods buyers.
Though not available until near the same time as the OnTheSnow Ski Buyers' Guide launches (around Labor Day), here’s a sneak peak at what to expect in next year’s fleet of skis.
1. Lose Weight, Not Performance
This season, you may own a pair of skis that are made with materials that have high strength-to-weight characteristics like carbon that shaves weight without loosing performance. That trend continues for 2016/2017, and innovations in materials and construction allow manufacturers to make ski models even lighter—yet more stable—than their predecessors.
In fact, new offerings are helping to change the connotation that “light” means “watered down” or lower performance. Industry people understand that it’s not a detriment to introduce weight-reducing technology outside of just the women-specific models (where this technology has been making real strides) because manufacturers now see that men too can benefit from making skiing movements easier and less fatigue inducing.
Noteworthy examples include...
• Blizzard’s use of uni-directional carbon fiber in Carbon Flipcore construction, which reduces weight by 15 percent while increasing stability.
• Völkl continues with 3D Ridge Technology, which pulls weight to the middle of the ski while creating a thin ski profile over the edges for grip and agility.
• Rossignol features Carbon Alloy Matrix in skis such as the updated 7 series—used for the quality of carbon fiber for elasticity and dampness.
• Fischer’s Air Tec Ti and Carbon Nose technology include lightweight carbon in the tip along with milled wood core for weight reduction.
• Salomon uses carbon as well as strategically milled out cores for weight savings.
• Head continues to use Graphene in combination with other lightweight materials, which don’t skimp on performance.
• Nordica uses lightweight Balsa wood for shock absorption characteristics.