ISPO wrapped up this evening, and we were there to check out some of the product that will be coming your way in 2011. Of course this being the world’s biggest snow sports show there was really too much new stuff for us to be able to preview everything, however we did get to grips with the essentials, and by the essentials we mean the skis.
Overall ski companies seem to be further embracing the rocker revolution, with every company now having at the least a rockered tip on one of their skis, and plenty of companies rockering a majority of their freestyle, freeride, and even all-mountain range. So if there is anyone out there who thought rocker technology was just a passing phase they should probably find a hat and start eating it about now. Other than this there is definitely a push towrd the backcountry this year, with more and more wider skis finding their way into ranges. Also mainstream companies seem to be looking toward the tourer now as well, with a focus on lighterweight skis. The other main change this year was the abundance of colour walking around the stands, maybe this is a backlash to the otherwise gloomy global outlook at the moment, but whatever the reason we like it.
In the ski boot department there seems to be a similar push toward the backcountry skier, and again, in particular the tourer. Of course companies like Black Diamond and Scarpa have been making boots for this market for ever and this year they have lighter and stronger options, but we were genuinely surprised to see some of the more mainstream brands focusing their attention on the freeride and touring market. It looks like leading the way is Salomon, with their Quest Pro boot. The idea with this bit of footwear is that you have a boot that is comfortable on the hike/skin up and at the same time reliable and effective on the way down. This isn’t aimed at the hardcore skin skier, and if you are doing th Haute Route it might be wise to look for something a bit more specific, but for someone (like for example myself) who tends to hike/skin about a little to find the fresh stash, but still likes to charge on the way down, this could be a life changer. With interchangeable rubbery grip soles, this is a good boot to be wearing if you’re clambering around rock faces, and with a tour/ski mode this really could be the future of freeride boots. For freestyle the most exciting boot (certainly to look at anyway) was in the form of the Wallisch pro model, with its fat tongue, this boot not only skis well (from what we’ve heard) but also increase your park kudos.
Anyway, obviously none of you are really reading any of this, as you are probably all looking at the glossy photos instead, so I’m just going to shut up and let you continue. We’ll let you know if any of this stuff actually works after the ski test later in the season.
So in rough alphabetical order here’s a look at some of next year kit, with comments where possible.