The annual Outdoor Retailer Trade Show (OR) took place in Salt Lake City last week. The show offers an opportunity to see what’s new for next season. Just about all of the backcountry ski related companies are there showing everything from skis and boots to packs, beacons, and socks. The Wasatch received some badly needed precipitation during the week sending the avalanche hazard to high and setting off a series of close calls in the backcountry. You can check out the currrent conditions page on the Utah Avalanche Center for a window into the conditions. There are some interesting shots of slides – check for entries dated 1/19-1/22 or newer.
As for interesting products at OR, the backcountry ski market is alive and well. There are a number of new touring minded skis from the likes of Dynafit, Voile, and Black Diamond. There are new beacons from Ortovox and Backcountry Access, new boots from Garmont, Black Diamond, Scarpa, and Dynafit, several new packs of interest, not to mention some good looking new softgoods for ski touring minded users.
Skis are always a point of main interest and between Black Diamond, Dynafit, and Voile, there are three new touring minded skis over 100mm wide underfoot, all with rockered or early rise tips. The new Voile Charger is modeled on their Drifter ski (120mm+ underfoot), but is narrower at 110mm underfoot (171cm). It was light and responsive at the demo, but handled the resort push piles with ease. It should be a standout in the powder touring category. Likewise the new Stoke from Dynafit (105mm underfoot) was also light and responsive with a rockered tip. The Stoke (named after Revelstoke, BC) was developed with the help of Revelstoke resident and all aorund ski touring fanatic, Greg Hill. Black Diamond also stepped in this year with six new skis all dedicated to the light touring market. The Drift was the standout ski in their line – 100mm underfoot and features an early rise tip, too. BD has a new micro-site dedicated to their new touring minded line. Like the Stoke and the Charger, the Drift was a lot of fun on hill at the demo day.
Here is a short slide show of the OR show visit. More on specific gear this week.