The SIA Snowsports show, where manufacturers unveil their latest creations for shop-buyers and journalists, starts tomorrow in Denver, Colorado. We’ll be there to scope out the most promising gear for next winter–everything from helmets and goggles to skis, boots and packs.
In anticipation of the greatest ski gear show on earth, we’ve been making a list of the launches we’re most excited about. Here’s a short peek at some of the gear we'll be gawking over. More to come.
Giro’s Combyn helmet is the first helmet that can take more than one hit and still be good as new. Instead of using standard issue EPS foam—the single impact, cooler-looking stuff that most helmets are made out of, the Combyn uses vinyl nitrile. It’s softer, and more flexible than EPS, as demonstrated in the photo above. Paired with a proprietary outer shell, originally designed to take the blunt impacts of 220 pound football players running headlong into each other, and roudy hockey players, it’s tough, hit after hit.
K2 Kwicker Splitboard System: Since snowboarding was invented, the snowboard binding interface has been pretty much the same—an exoskeleton style binding that holds the calf/Achilles of the boot, and wraps the toe. Since splitboards entered the scene, the switchover from skinning configuration to riding configuration has been awkward and time consuming, usually leaving the snowboarder's skiing friends waiting impatientely.
K2's Kwicker system is different. A fully integrated splitboard, boot, and binding, it’s the lightest and fastest splitboard system on the market. At four pounds it weighs less than a standard Voile splitboard with a traditional boot and binding. Kwicker uses a step-in binding based on the Voile puck and plate system combined with a the Stark boot, which comes with internal support that mimics the support of a traditional exoskeleton. Mounted on K2's UltraSplit board, it cuts binding transition time in half. $1,250 for board, bindings, boots, crampons, skins, and poles. k2skis.com
Scarpa Freedom SL: Another quiver-killing swapable alpine sole boot, Scarpa's Freedom SL preforms like a true alpine ski boot but works like a touring machine. Which it does at a remarkable three pounds, 13 ounces per boot. Unlike sole block boots, Scarpa molded a carbon fiber frame into the upper boot to increases stiffness and performance. Then it bolted the boot's carbon fiber frame with metal hardware through the sole bocks increasing the positive connection between boot and binding. The cuff has 27-degree rotation for comfortable touring. The swappable soles are compatible with any ski binding–from alpine to tech–in a design that improves strength and power. $769, scarpa.com
Fritchi Diamir Zenith 12: Fritchi’s Diamir Zenith 12 is a tech binding with an automatic toe release, similar to an alpine binding. It passes all the DIN certifications, which no other tech binding does. The toe has lateral movement, and heel slides forward and back to keep consistent release values even when the ski is flexed. You don't have to click out of the biding to switch from tour to ski mode. While in tour mode, your toe stil has a release setting–in other tech bindings your toe is locked in. Available January 2014. diamir.com
Dynafit Beest: Dynafit's new DIN 16 tech binding is the other binding making major waves before the show. The first tech biding rated for DIN16, the Beest maintains the light weight that makes skiers love Dynafit bindings. It has independent toe and heel pieces and no frame connecting them, so it doesn't cause a dead spot when you're flexing your ski. And now it has torsional rigidity equal to any full alpine binding. Where other tech fitting bindings pop open when the your toe shifts during hard impact, this one doesn’t. Much like an alpine binding, it re-centers your boot toe when the blow isn’t enough to eject you—critical for skiers who jump and huck. Available fall 2013, $1,000, and only 850 will be available in the U.S. dynafit.com.
Eagle Creek Morphus: Do the contents of your luggage seem to breed when you go on a trip, refusing to fit back in your bag when your rushing to get to the airport? Eagle Creek's Morphus has got your back. A single suitcase that zips into two full-sized bags, the Morphus can be rolled, backpacked, and carried in a variety of configurations. Sizes: 48 L, $395; 93 L, $470 eaglecreek.com