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The proliferation of new skiing and snow-boarding technology means you now have hundreds of equipment and outerwear brands to consider. The dizzying pace of advancement makes for yet more choices to factor into your trip, but there are some particular products that warrant your attention. Nearly 18,000 visitors met with snow sport retailers and suppliers in Denver this past January to showcase the latest innovations in winter sports. The 31st annual SnowSports Indus-tries America (SIA) show saw hundreds of innova-tions in equipment, but here are the breakout products sure to enhance your group ski trip.
More than 40 years after the debut of the Gore-Tex jacket, a small Colorado-based company is bringing breathable and water-resistant outerwear into the 21st century. The primary innovation of Gore-Tex—creating a membrane with holes too small for water to enter but large enough for sweat to exit—is often hampered by surrounding the membrane with bulky layers. Voormi’s new technique removes these layers and instead micro-threads the membrane through a knitting machine, resulting in a single-layer textile that’s lighter than any previous winter sport jacket. Wind-proof, moisture-wicking and stylish, the “breathable wool” jacket is being cited as the future of winter sport outerwear.
Has your group ever had an otherwise perfect day on the slopes stymied by thick fog or low-hanging clouds? Attendees at SIA this year were intrigued by Abom’s new class of goggles, which are the first to feature active anti-fog technology. While most eyewear uses tints to decrease sunshine and glare, they often leave vision murky in moisture, and you need to constantly adjust vents or continuously wipe your panes to see the mountain. Abom eliminates this problem by placing an invisible heat-conductive film be-tween a two-part lens, where the entire pane is heated by an internal, rechargeable bat-tery. In addition, the goggles are made of polycarbonate anti-scratch coating and feature memory knit straps ideal for helmets, so they can withstand rugged days of backcountry skiing in addition to fog. The lenses come in eight different colors and designs.
A snowshoe circuit is a great way to explore a resort’s otherwise inaccessible areas and give underserved muscles a workout. However, equipment can sometimes be bulky, sinking into powder and sticking to packed snow. After seven years of tinkering, Crescent Moon has finally released its EVA All-Foam Snowshoe, an idea so simple it’s a small wonder no other manufacturer has attempted it. The shoe takes cues from distance running by stacking layers of ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) and stretching them to a rocker shape that encourages forward momentum. The result is a snowshoe that weighs less than two pounds and glides over all terrain, with hard cleats perfect for additional grip.
Cross-country bindings can often be bulky and uncomfortable, making navigation difficult and adding pressure to shins and ankles. Fischer’s new Turnamic brand is unprecedented in its lightness and ease of use. Composed of cutting-edge polymers, its groves allow for the binding to slide onto a ski plate without tools, and the track is adjustable to match the aggression of your technique. A combination of high-impact plastics and joints embedded into the toe slot allow for easy boot lock, and the ball-hinge attachment allows skiers to adjust their stance based on their individual style and comfort level. Best of all, the joint’s position transfers pressure from the boot to the ski itself, significantly minimizing pressure on feet and ankles.
Every snowboarder has certainly experienced a wet backside or awkward adjustment session while their skiing partners wait downhill. The sport’s largest inconvenience—a lack of snap-in bindings— was remedied this winter when Burton unveiled its new step-in prototype. Thanks to years of experimentation and advancements in 3D printer technology, the industry leader has developed bindings that require no hunching or sitting down, and they include levers for easy release. Two cleats on the toes and one cleat on the heel keep the boot locked in, and an ankle strap built into the boot can be adjusted with a small dial. While the technology is currently available on only Burton models, this breakthrough is quickly being copied by other brands and will surely be seen as soon as next winter.
Miserable afternoons in the cold with exhausted hand warmers will be a faint memory after members of your group install a Torch Universal Coat Heater, which seamlessly fits inside your winter jacket. Durable Velcro patches are stuck onto your coat’s inner lining, allowing the battery-powered heater to warm the designated part of your torso. The device will regulate your body temperature, relax muscles and keep your core warm for five hours on a single charge, and re-applicable Velcro bands mean your group can share in the heat. With four temperature settings, it will keep you toasty in all conditions, so kiss your saggy hand warmers goodbye.