The annual winter outdoor industry trade show took place last week in Salt Lake. The Wasatch Range has a habit of delivering less than legendary ski conditions during the event, and this year was no exception. A long dry spell leading up to the show offered hardpack demo day snow, and the subsequent warm storms during the week pegged the avalanche hazard to high for the remainder of the week. If you enjoy looking at avalanche photos and video, the Utah Avalanche Center’s current conditions page has loads of images and vids of the ongoing avalanche cycle in the Wasatch Mountains. It’s worth a peek.
On the new backcountry ski gear front, there’s lots of news. Although I’d be hard pressed to pick out a single product innovation that topped the list, there are loads of new lightweight four-buckle AT boots, plenty of good looking (and wide) new skis and some new telemark bindings worth mentioning. Airbag packs are the buzz of the avalanche safety world, and both BCA and Ortovox showed new beacons that are expected to be available in October 2012.
I’ll skip right to my favorite category, backcountry skis (I’ll get to other gear in the next post). Light and wide is the buzz here. Here are a few highlights:
G3 Empire: 153/127/139; Lengths: 183, 177; Weight: 4.3 kg / 9.5 lb; Rocker: tip & tail, semi cap construction (similar style women’s ski called the Cake: 138/110/128
Black Diamond Carbon Megawatt: 147/120/126; Lengths: 178, 188; Weight: 4 kg / 9 lb; Rocker: tip & tail
Voile Buster: Don’t have full specs on this one yet – it’s 118 underfoot and will replace the Drifter. It uses sidewall construction and is still in development, but it had a cool look.
Dynafit Huascaran: 136/115/125; Lengths: 177, 186, 191, 196; Weight: 3.6 kg / 7.9 lb; Rocker: tip & tail
K2 BackDrop: 142/112/131; Lengths: 181, 174; Weight: Similar to Coomback; Rocker: tip
DPS Wailer 99: 126/99/110; Lengths: 168, 176, 184, 192; Weight: 3.6 kg / 7.9 lb; Rocker: tip & tail
La Sportiva Lo5: 125/95/115; Lengths: 168, 178, 188; Weight: 2.9 kg / 6.4 lb; Rocker: tip
BD Revert: 120/95/108; Lengths: 165, 173, 181, 189; Weight: 3.3 kg / 7.25 lbs; Rocker: tip & tail; Sidewall construction.
You can check out a variety of backcountry skis at evo.com