Over the next few weeks Brennan Lagasse will share some of the companies and pieces of gear that stood out the most over the course of attending the 2012 Outdoor Retailer Trade Show. This installment looks at five necessary snow sliding categories-skis, boots, bindings, snowboards, and poles. 5 Unofficial Picks from the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show | Skis, Boots, Bindings, Snowboards and Poles | Unofficial Networks

5 Unofficial Picks from the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show | Skis, Boots, Bindings, Snowboards and Poles

5 Unofficial Picks from the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show | Skis, Boots, Bindings, Snowboards and Poles

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5 Unofficial Picks from the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show | Skis, Boots, Bindings, Snowboards and Poles

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The Outdoor Retailer (OR) Trade Show is an annual event held in Salt Lake City, UT each winter. It’s more of an intimate gear junky gathering than its big brother, SnowSports Industries America (SIA), which commonly takes place in Denver, CO several days later. There’s more gear to check out at OR than one could possibly imagine. Over the next few weeks I’ll share some of the companies and pieces of gear that stood out the most over the course of attending the 2012 convention. This installment looks at five necessary snow sliding categories-skis, boots, bindings, snowboards, poles- with a breakdown of a few pieces of gear you’ll be stoked to get your hands on for 2012-2013.

1. Skis-DPS-The Spoon

While there were several skis that looked really fun at this year’s OR put simply, the DPS Spoon looks like the deep powder tool for 2012-2013. Having first met the DPS crew in Haines some years ago I’ve been fascinated by the companies growth as they’ve maintained a similar trajectory to try and create the best powder slaying skis on the planet year after year. While I have not had the fortune to test any DPS skis as I’m commonly drawn to spending time on Praxis offerings whenever possible, the buzz for DPS and especially “The Spoon” is undeniable. At the DPS booth during OR I was told there is a long waiting list for the ski, and this particular model is actually version #3 based on modifications made in testing over the past few years. Look for DPS skis at Alpenglow Sports next season as they plan to be the only shop in Tahoe to carry the brand. For the best breakdown on the DPS Spoon and its crazy cleat system seen here,

check out this youtube video.

2. Boots-Garmont-Cosmos

Backcountry ski manufacturers continue to refine their products to try and attain the elusive quality of being both durable and lightweight without compromising performance. For 2012-2013 look out for the Garmont Cosmos. The easiest way to explain the boot is it’s a meshing of the highly regarded ski mountaineering boot, the Garmont Radium, with the super lightweight Garmont Masterlite. Garmont is known for making comfortable AT ski boots that perform, and also highlight a bigger toe box than most other competitors.

I look forward to testing these boots when they become available as the potential for a stiffer Masterlite and a lighter Radium type AT boot is exactly the recipe myself and many other backcountry skiers are looking for. Here’s a rundown on the specs for the boot, which should be available next winter:

MSRP $699
Shell = Grilamid
Flex = 125 AT
Last Width (at 27.5) =103.5mm
Cuff rotation =60
Liner = EZ Fit PowerLite
Closure = Men’s 4 Magnesium Lite Buckles + Power Strap Adjustable Spoiler
Weight = 1450 gr (size 27.5)
Sizes= Men’s 25 – 31.5
Forward lean = 11.5°, 13°+ free for walking
System: ISO Touring (UNI) TECH*

3. Snowboards-Jones-The Solution (Carbon Fiber Splitboard, pic#1) and Woman’s Specific Mothership (pic #2)

I make no claims about understanding the full craft of snowboarding since I’m a skier. However, as a surfer it’s impossible to watch someone like Jeremy Jones fire the rowdiest line, down to the mellowest backcountry powder pitch, and not get completely fired up on his smooth, impeccable style. Jeremy has diverse ability that has been illuminated in just about every way possible through the snowboarding world. With a tight crew working for and with his Jones Snowboard company many friends continue to champion his boards and innovations in equipment. At OR this year I was impressed to stop by the booth and check out a new carbon fiber splitboard known as “The Solution”. I’d say the #1 complaint from my splitboarding backcountry partners continues to be the overall weight of their setup. This looks to be an answer for next season, or perhaps a solution to this problem. Beyond “The Solution” the woman’s specific “Mothership” board also looked to one-up the competition and provide female rippers and aspiring shredders out there with a board perfectly suited to the unique attributes of lady snowboarders.

4. Bindings-Multiple-Lightweight and Heavy Duty 

Light Option: Even though Dynafit’s patent ran out allowing competitors to jump into the tech binding world there still hasn’t been a much of a reason to switch brands. The La Sportiva RT Tech binding, which was new to the market last year, continues to look like the best competitor.

With claims of being as bomber as the Dynafit option, but only weighing in at 175 grams a binding, a full-on testing will be the true decider. However, the potential is certainly there for the RT to be a viable option in the light and fast category.

Heavier Option: Marker has made modifications to their popular AT binding series and will offer a new Tour model for next year (seen above). The design of the Tour will be almost  the same, but there are a bunch of tweaks in the newer model to make the binding stiffer and more accommodating to various boot sizes in the toe. One big issue with Marker AT bindings has been icing, and to answer the numerous complaints Marker’s received about this issue they have replaced metal pieces more prone to icing with plastic.

Atomic is also offering an AT binding next year, but it’s coproduced with Salomon and is essentially the same binding as “The Guardian”. Check out a solid look at the Guardian here.

5. Poles-Leki-Tour Vario 

Is there really all that many things about poles to impress the consumer? The answer is undoubtedly yes! While you can easily use $5 rental poles to get most any job done, like a lot of ski equipment poles have also been undergoing a renaissance in evolution towards being stronger and lighter tools. The trick with poles, from a backcountry skier’s standpoint, is how the pole flows while skinning, and stands up to stress while skiing. Personally, I also like to think that my poles can be useful in the backcountry, but stand up to inbounds demands at the resort. The Leki Tour Vario looks to be a perfect addition to any backcountry skier’s quiver. The poles are easy to adjust for skinning, booting, and skiing, are cost effective when compared to other top-of-the-line poles, and come with a two year warranty.


 

 

 

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