Every year at the end of January myself and my team of buyers for Skis.com and Snowboards.com head out to Denver for the annual SIA show (Snowsports Industry Association) to see all of next years lines. This year was no exception. Ten of us spent 4 days at the show and then 7 of us went up to Copper Mountain to test many of the skis we were looking to buy for next year.
While this was probably around my 18th time attending this trade show this year was different. After two really bad years in a row for the snowsports industry the mood this year was very notably up beat and attendance also seemed much higher than normal. The manufactures were very excited to show off their new products for next year and thrilled that they were pretty much sold out of inventory for this season.
There are some great new skis coming out for next year. The trend of flat skis gaining in popularity over system skis is still continuing but the difference this year was that many of the brands are making some narrower models. Previously skis that were 72-85 mm width were usually system skis and flat skis were usually wider than that. Many of the brands for next year have introduced flat skis in the 78-85 mm with. While I don’t see the trend towards wider skis changing, the brands have recognized that people skiing on hard pack type snow conditions also want to be able to consider flat skis as an option without having to ski on a wider ski. For example, Blizzard who has been a leader in the flat ski market will be adding a 78mm flat ski to their lineup for next year. Previously they started at 88mm.
The other thing hot this year was a lot of boot manufactures are creating new ways to allow their boots to be better fitting. Nordica has added cork to their liner, Tecnica has added a moldable, punchable, and grindable plastic like material around the ankle and heel, and Atomic has joined Salomon with a custom moldable outer shell on the new Hawk boots for next year.
While most of our time was spent seeing the major brands (Rossignol, Salomon, Volkl, Atomic, K2, Line, Armada and more) we also checked out some very cool niche brands. They include SKILOGIK, Moment, DPS, Faction, Icelantic, Stokli, 4FRNT, RMU (Rocky Mountain Underground),Liberty, and ON3P. The one I was most excited about was excited about was SKILOGIK. They are some of the most beautiful skis I have seen with top sheets of all wood inlayed graphics. We plan on carrying them next year. I will write more about them in a future post.
The next step was to head up to Copper Mountain to test the new skis to see if they were really as good as the Manufactures boasted. See my next post for my opinions and experiences on many of the brand new models we tested.
Check out the gallery to get a glimpse of some of the things we saw while we were there.