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 gear.

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.

2014 Highlights:

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 snow sports 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 next year

SIA 2014

Rossignol Skis at SIA 2014

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 with a width of 72-85 mm 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 ride a wider ski. For example, Blizzard who has been a leader in the flat ski market will be adding a 78 mm. flat ski to their lineup for next year. Previously they started at 88 mm.

The other thing hot this year was boots

SIA 2014

Tecnica Boots at SIA 2014

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-molded outer shell on the new Hawx boots for next year.

Exciting new brands

SIA 2014

Icelantic Skis at SIA 2014

While most of our time was spent seeing the major brands like Rossignol and Salomon, we also checked out some very cool niche brands. They include SKILOGIK, Faction, Icelantic, StokliLiberty, and more.

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 inlaid 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.