Every January, the buyers at Alpenglow Sports are lucky enough to attend the bi-annual Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City, UT. The gear on hand is for the winter of 2012-13, and it’s always a treat to check out what is new, cool, and trend-setting It’s cool to have a jump on this new equipment, and we’re stoked to share it with the passionate readers of Unofficialsquaw.com
Between an on-snow demo at Solitude and two days of hammering out meetings with all the top companies in the industry, Alpenglow Sports brings you quick sneak peeks on some notable items in the pipe for next winter.
Ready to check some sexy-light, fast and interesting gear for winter 2012? More photos are available on our Alpenglow Facebook page.
DPS is still perfecting the revolutionary Spoon (157-148-150), and we were totally fired up to see it in person. The base is convex, the design extra-terrestrial, and the company super niche and core. It has 630mm tip rocker, 560mm tail rocker, and seeks to explore the new variables of ski design: cleats, paddles, and the intricate relationships between flex, sidecut and rocker. Basically, a convex base translates into “crazy levels of slarviness and creativity.” The third iteration looks to fine tune sidecut and cleats, and is “poised to be the new zenith for surfing pow.” By their own admission, “welcome to the future.”
We were also extremely impressed by the ski-ability of the Wailer 112 Pure, a carbon construction that would make an ideal Squaw or backcountry ski. The Wailer comes in a 99, 105, and 112 waist and two layups: 1) Pure: carbon/nano, and 2) Hybrid: fiberglass, carbon, bamboo.
The Pure, while significantly more expensive, offered extremely advanced ripping. DPS calls their Pure construction the most advanced and highest performance skis on earth. Having said this, the Hybrid is no slouch, and comes in at a more attainable price. Alpenglow Sports will have both layups next winter, and we will also conduct a gear review for Unofficialsquaw.com.
The Wailer 112 Pure (141-112-128) combines loose and early planing feel of a fully rockered ski with aggressive sidecut and slight camber underfoot. It’s a quiver of one bar none.
Dynafit is off to the races again with their new Eric Hjorleifson-inspired Vulcan. While expensive, this boot is well worth the expense due to its 60 degrees of cuff articulation, 7-pound weight, and stiff carbon cuff yielding a 125 flex. The Vulcan shell is a marked departure from the traditional use of Pebax – the Vulcan is Polyurethane, making it easier to punch/grind. It is safe to say that other boot manufacturers will be chasing Dynafit for quite some time. $1000 will be worth every penny.
Dynafit also ups the ante with their 114mm-waisted, 8.1 pound Huscaran. Constructed of an ultralight paulowonia core, beech and bamboo stringers, and fiberglass/carbon lamination, this ski looks to be another game changer from the German ski touring company. It has “scoop” rocker, or “smooth and consistent increasing radius to the tip, giving exceptionally harmonic stability in turns during frontal impact.” Also of note is the removal of their inserts so that other bindings can be mounted. $770
Currently, Tecnica has a solid offering for alpine touring in their Cochise, albeit a tad heavy. The Cochise 130 Pro is local hero Dr. Robb Gaffney’s boot of choice with a heavy-duty 130 alpine flex, 7-pound weight, solid cuff articulation, interchangeable soles and a 98mm last. $750
Blizzard has always made great skis. Their line up is particular attractive for 2012-13 with great graphics, colors, and Arne Backstrom-inspired performance. Their ski construction is completely unique and yields a ski tailor-made for Tahoe ripping. The backcountry model which intrigued us the most was the 98mm waisted Kabookie, weighing in at 8 pounds.
In honor of the one-and-only Doug Coombs, K2 has designed a great series of graphics for the ever-popular 102mm-waisted Coomback. The all-mountain model will showcase three location-based themes: Jackson (shown above), La Grave, and Valdez. Leave it up to K2 to come up with consistently hip graphics. They have also created a 112mm-waisted backcountry version of the Coomback, deemed the Backdrop. This looks to be a great size for our maritime snow pack, has a 23 meter radius and weighs in at 8 pounds (174).
For all you tele-skiers out there, TwentyTwo Designs has created yet another amazing resort binding, the Vice. Employing the successful Axl Design, they’ve incorporated a 3mm toe ramp to reduce rocker-launch, while maintaining the best telemark performance outside of the NTN binding. This resort binding will eventually kill the long-celebrated Hammerhead, although the proven binder does continue for 2012-13.
Black Diamond overhauls the graphics on their Efficiency line and adds a few models, including the carbon fiber Megawatt, a stellar powder-pig. The 125mm-waisted, 9 pound 5 ounce backcountry powder board has always been our go to storm day ski. With it’s 45cm of tip rocker, traditional camber and flat tail, the Megawatt is a big winner. The Megawatt is shown at far right and will retail for $879.
La Sportiva introduced their ski models to the U.S. market for the 2011-12 season, but they’ve added two nice editions for winter 2012-13. The Lo5 is a 95mm-waisted 6.2 pound ski that will function as a nice ski-mountaineering or spring corn ski, while the Hang 5, a 117mm-waisted powder board, was fun at the on-snow demo at Solitude.
Backcountry ski/snowboard leaders Voile have added a nice graphic overhaul to the popular 112mm-waisted Charger (8 pounds). They have also created a new fatty the 120+mm Filabuster. Also of note is a fish-scaled version of the Charger for lightweight backcountry touring and a new splitboard, the Artisan. Voile has entered into a partnership with well-known niche snowboard brand Sentury. The future should be bright for their split models.
German avalanche beacon technology progresses even more for winter 2012-13. Ortovox enhances the antenna functionality of the popular S1+, resulting in a greater range in best-case search scenario. Also new is the Zoom, which is basically a detuned, less-expensive 3+ for $249.
Smith has joined forces with Recon to bring a pretty exciting innovation to the goggle world. They only had two working models and it’s still pretty hush-hush (i.e. no photos), but they’ve integrated a small GPS-fed computer screen into the bottom right side of the goggle. This screen shows vertical, speed, elevation, and where your friends are on the mountain. It also plays music and has integrated trail maps of major resorts worldwide. Pretty rad. Shown in Photo #15 is the I/OX, a larger version of their popular I/O.
The Garmont Cosmos is an awesome addition to the lightweight, four-buckle touring boots that actually ski well. At a reported 125 flex, a last width of 103.5, 60 degrees of cuff articulation, two forward lean positions of 11.5 and 13 degrees, the Cosmos looks to be a winner. The shell is Grilamid making it able to hold a punch and/or grind.
Scarpa takes their tour-proven Maestrale and stiffens it up for higher end performance with their Maestrale RS. The buckles are big and easy to use, the cuff articulation is greater than 40 degrees, and the weight comes in around 7 pounds.
The ever-popular Marker Tour remains the same for next winter but gets a smooth cosmetic change to black, red, and white.
The Marker Duke gets a serious upgrade for winter 2012-13. The new Duke EPF (Extended Power Frame) is bigger, better, and 28% wider. The screw pattern is 10mm wider than the previous Duke, yielding “unbelievable power transmission.” The climbing wires maintain the same 7 and 13 degrees rise. The hike/ride lever remains underfoot and the entire interface still moves back 4cm for better balance and easy kick turns. The weight is predictable at 6.1 pounds.
Ski Logic has some rad graphics in their ski lineup. We’re pretty fired up to test some of their fat models as they are light, aggressive, and have a semi-local Tahoe vibe. Models that we will put to the test are the Piton, Howitzer, and Rock Star. Plus, anything with skulls is just too rad not to include.
As admitted ski equipment junkies, it is with great anticipation that we await our circuit of annual January trade shows. Even with the amazing arsenal of backcountry equipment currently on the market, there is without a doubt, always something new and exciting to feast your eyes on for the next season. The stoke meter always tops out when we get to see new toys.
Currently, we’re fresh off a two-day trip to Sacramento and will head to the big Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City, UT next week. This is the first installment that will focus on several new and exciting products from these shows. The goal is to give the quick and dirty and follow it by an in-the-field test later this season, if it ever freaking snows.
With side-country skiing and riding absolutely booming in popularity, we knew it would only be a matter of time before the big alpine companies brought product to the table. Marker, with their ever-popular Duke, Baron, and Tour models, initiated the process and has been highly influential in the evolution of the sport. With the Guardian 16 for winter 2012-13, Salomon has followed suite and has brought a solid offering to the mix.
Skiers from strong alpine backgrounds can display a large dose of skepticism when it comes to the performance and durability of traditional backcountry bindings. And for some, this concern is valid. The current state of affairs for many side and backcountry riders is a desire for a binding that looks, acts, and performs like their tried-and-true resort binding. For these rippers, performance of the binding is the single most important feature. Weight and tour-ability are sacrificed for complete focus on the descent.
Salomon states the Guardian 16 is their “proven downhill perform(er) combined with convenient hike and ride technology.” The toe unit, shown in Photos #2 and 3 displays the girth and muscle of a traditional alpine binding, showcasing a 7-16 DIN. It possesses a 80mm toe unit width and a 26mm rise (to base plate). Additionally, the toe has a flat nose for 90-degree pivot, the result “optimal climbing capability.” Like any step-in backcountry binding, the toe height is adjustable to capacitate bindings of different toe heights/shapes.
The underfoot component of the Guardian 16 exhibits strengthened rigidity in order to “improve edge-to-edge power transmission. It is clean, light, strong, and looks to be the area of the binding with the least amount of surface area for potential icing.
The greatest departure from other step-in backcountry bindings is the Guardian’s heel assembly unit. Shown in Photo #6, we can see an oversized platform a la the Marker Duke, a low profile chassis and the hike/ride switch.
Photo #7 shows the binding in low-rise climbing mode, while Photo #8 the hi-rise mode.
In testing the ease of use of the hike/ride switch (Photo #9), Salomon seems to have created a new interchange that will allow the user seamless movement between ski and tour modes. This is a direct departure from the Marker design that requires the user to remove their boot from the binding. The hike/ride lever is slightly spring-loaded and seems to be easy to use with a pole tip.
Photo #10 shows the teeth on the underside of the heel unit that retract when the hike/ride switch is manipulated. The user then moves the climbing riser over onto the teeth track, shown in Photo #7, which eliminates any potential clicking or rubbing. When the user is ready to ski, the process is reversed.
Photos #11 and 12 both show more detail of the underfoot component of the Guardian’s heel unit. Photo #11 shows the hike/ride switch, the climbing wire, and the adjustable componentry that act to either release or lock the binding into place. Photo #12 exhibits the base plate that has visible female receptors that consequently lock the binding into place for the descent.
All in all, the Salomon Guardian 16 looks to be a pretty sick binding that could give Marker a run for their money. Atomic will offer an identical binding with a slightly different color-way, which is identical to the Guardian 16 and manufactured by Salomon under a licensing agreement.
The binding comes with either a 100 or 115mm brake option, possesses a 7-16 DIN, an boot sole length adjustment of 55mm, and is 26mm high. The weight is a burly 1480g per ½ pair, or 6.5lbs for the entire rig. While this is heavy for us nerdy Dynafit folks, we’re convinced that this binding will be extremely well received.
Initial concerns that come to mind are the longevity of the spring load on the hike/ride switch, the degree of icing that so much plastic could create, and the structural integrity of the locking mechanism that holds the binding in place during descent. However, the proof is in the pudding and we’ll be eager to put these to the test when Salomon sends a pair our way. Stay tuned!
If you haven’t had a chance to check out the 2011 – 2012 Outside Magazine Buyer’s Guide you should! It’s riddled with goodies from Black Diamond which isn’t a big surprise, if you haven’t skied any of their boots or skis definitely check them out. On the front cover the ever popular Verdict skis. For some page shots and to see more of Black Diamond’s stoke check out the Black Diamond Journal. Want to get your hands on some of these goods and you’re in Tahoe? Stop by Alpenglow.
Cruisin’ the web the other day I came across Trail Run Magazine that comes to us from Australasia. So where the heck is that? Well we’re talking about Australia, New Zealand, and the surrounding islands. It’s always fun to check out other country’s views on the sports we all love. They’ve got different terrain and conditions to tackle than we do, different philosophies on training and gear, cool new events, and obviously new and different places to visit!
It looks to be in its early stages as of now so there isn’t a lot of info on the web page itself but you can download the first two editions of the magazine for free. I downloaded to PDF edition #1 and #2 and briefly paged through them, the photos are excellent and a great looking layout. I’ll admit I didn’t have time to read anything yet unfortunately but am looking forward to it!
It appears they are hoping to expand it to a hard copy version as well. If you missed the links above click HERE to see what trail running is all about in New Zealand and Australia!