It’s 10 pm and I’m just getting home from my first of two days at the 2008 Winter Outdoor Retailer Show. I’m down here looking at product for the store, as well as doing a little promoting of TetonAT.com and soliciting some new partnerships on the side. Some have been long in the making, and surprisingly, many offers seem to be around every corner. I am most proud of the new relationship I have cultivated with whom I feel has to be the leader in technical outdoor clothing…Arcteryx. So expect to see some logos from them, as well as others, popping up on the pages of TetonAT.com.
I’m pretty tired right now, but I just wanted to touch base on a few products out there that are new and kind of interesting…at least to me. Obviously the new AT and tele boots from BD are attracting a lot of interest and the new Megawatt ski is truly one of a kind in our industry. Some might be fooled to think that it is a reverse camber ski, but it is really more like a ski with a very long tip and minimal camber. It comes in one size, 188cm, yet in a way, it skis much more like a 140 or 150cm ski…due to its short contact length. I’ve skied a little bit on it already and it is really a hoot. It skis surprisingly well on harder surfaces also…as long as you have enough room to let them run. I’m psyched to get a pair mounted up with some Dynafits and have the open slopes of GTNP at my fingertips. I’m getting chills already.
Black Diamond also has some new AvaLung packs that will for sure be a hit. The Bandit is a small frontcountry/sidecountry pack and will be great for quick laps booting up Glory or short ventures out of the gates at The Village. I have one of these to play with this winter and I just need to get home and get skiing again to use it…can’t wait.
Over at the Dynafit booth, many hard charging enthusiasts will be happy to hear of the new Vertical FT12…with a DIN setting to 12. This is a smart move by Dynafit, since all the new AT boots out there are nearly as stiff as alpine boots. It also now creates a real distinction between the Vertical ST and FT models. I’ve seen a few Low Techs bindings on the race circuit already, but word is that all that were brought into the states were sold before they even got here. A sign of the increased growth in rando racing.
The new Manaslu ski will definitely be a favorite of the light is right crowd. It also has a “long tip”, like the Megawatt…but is not as drastic. It has pre-drilled holes to accept Dynafit bindings and skied really nicely at the demo. I’m not really sure how I feel about predrilled holes though. I’ve always felt a special moment with my skis when they are getting drilled for the first time…kind of like kissing RandoKitty for the first time.
Rumors of a new G3 AT binding lured me over to their booth early in the show, but nothing was being displayed quite yet. I didn’t push to hard for any more details. Something I thought was cool though was some long and narrow Alpinist skins. While they are made for nordic skis…kind of like a kicker-skin, I find these types of skins great for long approaches on flatter terrain and I have made a few of these myself over the years for long hauls to the north end of GTNP.
For those AT’ers who like to ski on F1s and F3s…AND use ski crampons, Scarpa has a handy new device that slides into the crampon attachment of the Dynafit binding to keep the bellows from flexing down on the ski. Fixed shims that you drill into the ski get in the way of ski crampons, so being able to remove it when the track gets slick is a great option. And if you haven’t ever tried ski crampons…you should…cuz they rock!
Most of the changes over at Suunto seemed to be cosmetic, with the exception of the T6 model. In the past, the training effect information was only accessible after-the-fact. Now it will be more like the other T-series watches and available ‘real-time”. For those in the dark, training effect acts as a coach and qualifies what kind of workout you are having, zone 1,2,3, etc, and very important to know if you are training get faster. Not only do you have to train hard…but you have to train smart and training effect helps you determine what your workout should be next. An updated chest monitor will also provide way more comfort than the older all plastic versions.
Ortovox had a nifty little avalanche tool, that worked as a way to record and remember the avalanche rick by dialing in the different aspects relating to it. It had an interesting slope meter built into it also. Honestly, I’m not exactly totally sure what was going on with all the dials…but it seems like a cool little gadget.
For those splitboarders out there, Atomic had a new offering. I’m not really sure what those guys look for in a splitboard…but I thought I’d post a couple pics for them to check out. I thought it was a little weird that Atomic, well known for it’s racing heritage, was getting into the splitboard market…but who am I to judge.
Anyway, I’m going to hit the hay now. I’m driving back to Jackson after the show on Thursday, so a long day ahead. Thank for reading!