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Hot Gear for Next Year: 2 Top Ski Trends for 2017

12th January 2016 | Krista Crabtree, OnTheSnow Ski Test Director

The new fleet of Rossignol skis for 2017.

The new fleet of Rossignol skis for 2017.

Copyright: Krista Crabtree

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. 

A quiet tram moment as Jill prepares to pounce on all that powder.   - © Liam Doran

A quiet tram moment as Jill prepares to pounce on all that powder.

Copyright: Liam Doran

2. Thin It to Win It

Maybe manufacturers are seeing the writing on the wall in terms of unreliable snowpacks (think about New England’s tough early start to the current ski season), or maybe the industry is embracing the fact that most of our days are spent on groomers, but high-performance carving skis and narrower mid-fats (we call them all-mountain front skis) are getting lots of attention. Manufacturers are rolling out new narrower, carving models that are already popular in Europe. This season, 88–92 mm-waisted skis have been hot sellers, thought it’s still regional, as skiers in the west show interest in 98–108 mm underfoot for snow volume or backcountry skiing (where there are also a plethora of new models for next season).

For 2016/2017, look for new narrower collections as well as new waist width additions.

• Armada adds new waist widths to several categories and Line adds an 86-mm-waisted Supernatural to the otherwise fat collection.

• Atomic’s Vantage X line builds on Vantage technology including several new waist width choices.

• Dynastar’s Powerdrive technology focuses on a natural flex and edge grip in sub 90-mm waists.

• Fischer’s Curve series adds “curvy” sidecuts for carve-friendly characteristics, while Head’s carvy Supershapes can even be used for beer league racing.

• Blizzard’s new Quattro line adds an entire series of groomed snow high-performing skis to their offerings.

• K2’s Charger series have sub-80 waists, designed for hard snow performance.


Rossignol skis for 2017 - © Krista Crabtree
Tram ride anticipation - © Liam Doran
Dynastar Mythic 87 - © Dynastar
Blizzard's new Brahma - © Blizzard

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