It’s that time of year again when all the companies gather to show off next years wares. What I’m aware of already will be posted over the next week in semi-daily installments. With any luck I’ll squeeze in some updates of relevant items that I unearth at the show.
In a nutshell interest in backcountry skiing continues to grow. All the major alpine ski companies are now offering products aimed at earning your turns, whether that is through an easy out-of-bounds detour from the lifts or a more committing week long traverse. This is reflected not only in lighter weight skis with skin notches in the tails and rocker in the nose, but also in nearly every alpine company now gearing up to provide boots with a walk mode and an AT binding with their brand on it.
From the core backcountry companies, the push is to appeal to the unconverted with beefier boots, burlier bindings, and fatter skis. The lines between freeriding and riding for free aren’t getting clearer, they’re getting fuzzier which only confirms that backcountry skiing isn’t a fringe part of the ski culture, it emanates from the roots of it.
In case that wasn’t evidence enough, consider that there will be at least a dozen brands of airbag packs for next year plus all the assorted gadgetry like GPS, altimeter watches, headlamps, adjustable ski poles and walkie talkies. About the only product category that isn’t exploding with innovation is climbing skins. With any luck there’s a surprise waiting in the corridors of this year’s Outdoor Retailer show going on from January 22-26. Check back for more details starting Monday the 21st.