Meeting Mike Olson of Mervin Manufacturing was definitely a trip highlight. The guy is a mad scientist of the highest order! I asked him what was new in the world of Lib Tech and he immediately whipped out this crazy mono-ski with three snowboard bindings. The third binding is behind the first two and holds a bike seat for sit-down mono-skiing. Also note the new GNU 'Backdoor' bindings he is advertising. The 'Backdoor' work like a Flow binding in that you flip down the highback to put your foot in but they have regular sized straps.
Backcountry Access debuted their long awaited 'Float 30' avalanche air bag pack. The 'Float' pack holds a 115 liter air bag that deploys using the shoulder mounted pull cord. With the air bag on your back you exponentially improve your chances of staying on the surface of a slide. The bag inflates using a 2700 psi compressed air cylinder that must be refilled after every use and must be empty if you want to fly with it. With a bag weight of seven pounds and a price tag of $699 this pack won't be for everyone, but you can bet plenty of big mountain skiers will be snatching these up. Air bags have been on the market in Europe for a few years and have a 98% success rate.
The other avalanche air bag pack at the show was by ABS. This new model has two 75 liter airbags that come out of a pocket on each side of the pack.
Does the avalanche air bag seem a little overkill for your game? Well then maybe this Snoop Dogg bandana by Neff looks like a protection piece more your style. All I gotta say about this is that unless your packing enough heat to stuff a blunt on command you best not f@%k with this face mask. Nickel baggers don't dare front on this legendary countenance.
Couple grams too short to rock the Doggfather mask? Neff's got you covered with the 'Lego' man mask. The mouthpiece looks perfect sized for incognito pinner puffin'…
Nobis had the coolest beanies at the show no doubt. Exquisite detailing, luscious yarns, and stellar craftsmenship highlighted all the hats on display by this Canadian hat maker. Nobis hats don't come cheap but as we all know…pimpin ain't easy. Look for Nobis at Atlas and Plumpjack in the Village at Squaw.
In other head gear news, Bern introduced three new carbon fiber helmets including a Jeremy Jones pro model. If your familiar with the Bern Macon, Watts and Baker helmets the carbon fiber versions are identical in shape and size but offer ridiculous weight savings. All of Bern's carbon helmets have removable liners and can be upgraded with audio earpads.
Trew Gear showed off a sick lineup of new outerwear designs in some really nice colorways. Judging from the show traffic checking out this collection you can expect to see a lot more Trew kits on the slopes in coming seasons.
One more sneak peak at the new Moment outerwear. If you didn't catch it already, the Reno ski manufacturer will debut kits designed by Ethan Miller of Aeryx/Predator fame for 10/11.
Another indy apparel maker showing promise was Burgess Custom out of Jackson Hole. Burgess's pants and fitted caps were especially rad featuring nice embroidery and clean patchwork style.
Dakine's 'Re-Gen' collection looked pretty sweet. All of the pieces are made from 100% recycled plastic bottles and the buckles are made from reground plastic. The print pattern mimics the wood of a Douglas Fir and the tech pack and glove are also the signature model of skier Mark Abma.
Basecamp had some new school packs on display including the 'Straightjacket' which is a vest style pack worn by several skiers on the Freeski World Tour. The compact front and back pockets even out the pack weight over your center of gravity.
Can't say Manic Bindings looked like the 'Future of Snowboarding', but their supposed performance might perk the interest of some tenderfoot freeriders. They are made by a California guy who bruised his heel in the Riveria park at Squaw and offer customizable cushioning to battle the shock of flat landings and board chatter. Decked out in titanium and magnesium hardware the Manic are lighter than they look and supposedly you can pre-load the shocks and spring off similar to jumping a full-suspension mountain bike – an ollie booster.
Hope you enjoyed the SIA show reports. Look out for most of these products on the shelves in Fall 2010.