In 2001, Shane McConkey released what would largely be recognized as the first, mass production reverse camber ski in the Volant Spatula. Following its release– ski companies, media sources, and the mainstream in general crashed headlong into the new millennium with new energy, new perspectives, and perhaps most importantly– new gear.
So in order to put this mind-blowing decade into perspective– I’m going back to my first year in college (2006) in order to take a look at what have been the 5 most ground-shaking ski industry innovations since stepping into freshman orientation.
5 Innovations That Changed Skiing Forever [2006-2016]
In 2006, GoPro released its first ‘Digital Hero’ with maximum 10-second video capability.
Simply put, GoPro’s beginnings were as humble as they come. Fast forward to October of 2016 and GoPro releases its Hero 5 Black. Boasting 4k resolution, voice control, and stabilization technology that rids viewers of shaky footage, customers can buy studio quality cameras for just $399. However, what’s really captured the world’s attention is the seemingly endless stream of content that has flowed forth from GoPro’s $3 billion IPO.
Internet Ski Porn
As a newly literate 6 year-old, my only connection to the ‘ski world’ other than skiing itself was reading Powder Magazines in my dad’s bathroom. Those articles ultimately inspired dreams of skiing in places like Telluride, Jackson Hole, and Squaw Valley (2 of which I still need to ski).
Nowadays, the dream makers are far and wide– national and international. From our very own unofficialnetworks.com to NewSchoolers, and TGR forums— ski media has imploded and exploded, all in the past ten years. The big takeaway? Young skiers are still finding stoke in their dad’s bathroom but this time it’s on a tablet not in a magazine.
The Epic Pass
Perhaps the biggest game changer of the past decade has been Vail Resort’s unending conquest of the ski industry at-large.
Also Read: Vail Resorts By The Numbers
From its hostile acquisition of Park City to its purchase of Whistler Blackcomb this past year, Vail has both brought countless new skiers into the sport while alienating countless diehards who used to call one of Vail’s many holdings home. The reason for it all? To provide the best value ski pass in the world and it seems as though the public agrees. Vail sold 650,000 Epic Passes this past year alone.
While the Volant Spatula was the first fully reversed camber ski, the ski industry knew it had arrived when it saw Rossignol’s S7 for the first time.
Related: Top 5 Powder Skis | 2016-2017
The newly released ski combined camber and rocker, a progressive side cut, and a wide platform underfoot. While many crusty locals continue to claim this ski as the death knell for powder stashes far and wide, it was an unbelievable display of engineering and vision. The graphics on the other hand– downright horrendous.
While the first avalanche airbags were developed in the 90’s, it wasn’t until the past decade that they were considered mandatory avalanche safety equipment.
Since then, hundreds and maybe even thousands of people have survived avalanche incidents thanks to the newly accepted technology. While ABS was on the forefront of developing this technology, others including Black Diamond and even Arc’teryx have spun off creating fan-powered airbags and the like.