As one decade closes, here’s who’s on the vanguard of the next. Two brands—one new, one suddenly rejuvenated—that we think you'll be hearing more of in the coming years.
Blizzard This Austrian brand turned it around so fast it gave us whiplash. We’re told a cabal of smart Völkl veterans jumped ship and took over anemic Blizzard. We believe it. Blizzard’s test entries went from laughable (anyone remember Tendon technology?) to laudable—first with a select few IQ interface models like the Magnum 7.6 (see page 105), now with benchmark offerings like the G-Force Supersonic in almost every category. It’s still a minor player, but we don’t see how it can remain so for long.
Line Yes, Line is now owned by the same corporation that owns K2 and Völkl. A troubling trend, but also a measure of its success. It’s the original indy brand, founded by a kid named Jason Levinthal, who transitioned it as the new-school movement took hold. It continues to make inroads, not just because of K2’s marketing muscle, but because its product skis well, like the Prophet 100, surprise darling of our powder test, and the Afterbang, a park-specific twin that takes its cues from skateboard construction.