The 2011 SIA Snow which debuted in Denver provided a coveted glimpse to buyers and media into what’s next in snow sports gear and apparel. With hundreds of exhibitors and countless products, here are a few standouts that provide innovative solutions to challenges big and small in snow sports.
Goggle Protection– It’s always pleasantly surprising when you have a hard-to-fill need and find a company that who fills it. I’d been looking for goggle protection that was a civilian equivalent to military-style dust covers the troops use for their goggles. You can only endure banging your expensive goggles against something so many times before you say enough is enough. Luckily Gheek does exactly that. They make protective covers for your goggles while you’re wearing them on a helmet. They feature a couple of convenient ways to attach them to your goggles, a built-in microfiber cleaning cloth on the interior, come in a number of styles, and are customizable with logos. They also protect the goggles better than bags because they keep the strap from rubbing the lens. Gheeks will be available by the 2011-12 ski season. (www.thegheek.com)
Traction for Ski Boots– Yaktrax unveiled SkiTrax designed specifically for walking the snow in ski boots. In addition to providing traction, the SkiTrax also promotes natural walking motion with its “role sole” design. They fit on all Alpine boots and protect from wear and tear. Made of resilient materials, they also conveniently fold and fit into a pocket. It’s the latest addition to their line which include the Walker, Pro, and XTR. I used the Pro during the 2011 SIA On-Snow Demo/Ski-Ride Fest in Winter Park, Colorado, and I can say they perform above and beyond what’s advertised. (www.yaktrax.com)
Ski Poles– Leki introduced new backcountry ski poles for women. The Aergonlite II Crystal Speedlock is designed to adjusted for an individual’s preferences and the dynamic conditions of the backcountry. They feature two 16/14 mm Ultralite shaft sections adjustable to 94-140 cm, with the new Speedlock external locking system- the most secure locking system on the market. The poles also feature a smaller contour grip for smaller hands, with a foam grip extension for adjusting hand position as needed. They come with a Snowflake basket and a new retro Bandit basket for less float. (www.leki.com)
Weatherproofing – Mountain Hardwear debuted their new Dry.Q Snowear line for Fall 2011. The technology is featured in three product lines providing different features specific to weather conditions and activity. The Dry.Q Core line has the basic features of waterproof protection and breathability. The Dry.Q Active series adds the Dry.Q technology to lightweight stretch fabrics used in their activewear. The Dry.Q Elite series prevents internal moisture with it’s air-permeable membrane, controlling temperature as well. Dry.Q is a new addition to their array of weatherproofing technologies which include OutDry technology found in their line of gloves, which are also waterproof and breathable. I put their Dragon’s Claw Glove featuring OutDry to the test at the SIA On-Snow Demo/Ski-Ride Fest. In sub-zero temperatures, and with snow in the lining, my hands and fingers stayed warm. Good stuff. (www.mountainhardwear.com)
Snow Safety– The North Face made headway in technology in their Fall 2011 line. Their new Powder Guide Vest, originally designed for ski patrollers, has new load carrying features to eliminate the need for a backpack. The vest can carry skis, snowboards, shovels, and other backcountry equipment. The vest also feature a Recco rescue reflector for avalanche rescue. Also new for 2011 is a “Snow Safety Checklist” inner label, which provides a quick reference for consumers on how to prepare for the backcountry. The label appears on select products in the Summit Series and Cryptic collection. The North face manufactures its products with a strong emphasis on sustainability, becoming a member of Bluesign technologies in 2008, and earning bluesign certification for select products in their Fall 2011 line. (www.thenorthface.com)
If you attended the SIA Snow Show, what were your favorites? Share it here.