Denver's Colorado Convention Center, where the Snowsports Industries of America's SNOW Show takes place, is an enormous space that is occupied from wall to wall by vendors with every product imaginable for skiers on display. This show is where retail store buyers order the products they will carry next year. There's everything from big stuff like cars and tuning machines to small stuff like lip gloss and ski wax. Clothing and snowboarding have their own shopping districts, but for us anyway, skis and boots are the Main Event. We expect there to be plenty of discussion, articles and reviews on 2014 skis and boots in the coming weeks. This article calls out some of the other neat stuff for skiers that will be available next year -- and some that's available right now. Just click on the links for buying information.
Price: $399 and $299
Zeal's flagship product enhances the ski experience by integrating the camera into the ski goggle so you can take pictures and video from your eye view. The camera takes 1080p video (including slow motion) and 12 megapixel still photos from a 170 degree wide camera lens with an exclusive viewfinder in the control screen. The lens is spherical, optical-quality, anti-fog-infused, and dual-vented. The dark lens is standard but you can get an inter-changeable clear lens for $50 retail. One size only. There's also a $299 version without slow motion and the viewfinder.
Hookease, Wedgease and Harness
Prices: $59.99, $39.99, $39.99
Hookease is a nifty gadget that enables the parent or instructor to help train the movements of skiing safely and comfortably for both teacher and learner. The tips of the ski poles click into the universal pole adaptor which hooks onto the part that attaches to the tail of the ski so the instructor can guide the student's skis with the poles. Rotating the poles helps to tip the skis on and off their edges. The Wedgease has a slick clamping system and the Harness has a little knapsack for a kid's necessaries and enough elastic in the leashes to absorb the shock of sudden stops.
These boots are designed by Denny Hanson, the visionary who brought us the rear-entry Hanson Boot that inspired the Best-Thread-Ever at EpicSki. The new design melds the comfort of a snowboard boot with a rigid open chassis for lateral support and a flex arm at the back of the boot for performance. A boa reel system laces the inner boot with retractable dual zone cables that allow even wrapping around the leg and instep of the foot where fit is really critical in a boot. When this boot was originally introduced to the market there was resistance due to its higher price point and the preconception that that simply adding a chassis to a snowboard boot doesn't equate to a high performing alpine boot. In the meantime, prices have come down, more models are available, and reviews from early adopters have been enthusiastic. If your foot is "special," this might be the boot for you!
On the all-new 7 Series for men and women for 2014.
The honeycomb construction of the Rossignol air tip is reinforced with ABS for durability and torsional rigidity. This design, which is all-new and patented, gives structural integrity to the ski while reducing its swing weight by nearly 30%. This combined with a longer, more progressive rocker minimizes the distracting tip flop of many rockered ski designs while making the skis more maneuverable, light and playful. The result is "a revolutionary fusion of rocker, sidecut, stability, maneuverability, and reduction in weight."
With uClear helmet communications, you can stay connected to your ski buddy, listen to music, and take cell phone calls. In fact, the full-duplex intercom can connect up to 10 skiers. The microphone is voice-activated, so once you turn the system on, you don't have to touch it again until you turn it off except to adjust the volume, which is done with a finger tap. The system uses noise-canceling technology so the audio pickup is exceptionally clear, even on windy days. It's easy to install in most helmets and simple to use. Not all skiers are keen to do business on the slopes nor do they need to organize 10 people at a time, but you wouldn't believe how handy it is organizing two people skiing together! You can let your buddy know when you're going to explore another part of the run and decide where to meet back up while you're skiing, so you're not wasting time waiting for each other or feeling like you're stuck going the same route when maybe you would like to go somewhere else. The outcome is more runs, greater harmony and happier skiing! The product will be a real game-changer for professional instructors, because the instructor's voice can be heard inside the student's helmet while skiing. Studies show that people learn motor skills fastest when they can get feedback during their performance. This is very exciting technology for private lessons.
If you are looking for a warm glove that you can wear while using your cell phone, the Generator Series from Gordini was created for you! The gloves use a proprietary thermoplastic rubber that is injected-molded to make it flexible and durable on the fingers and palms that makes these gloves very grippy, and underneath are strategically placed pads of another proprietary material that provides shock-absorption to cushion the wrists and palms and protect them from injury and fatigue. The glove has But it's the touch-sensitive material on the upper pad of the first finger that mimics the electrical charge of human skin that makes it possible to use a touch screen as if you weren't wearing a glove at all. These gloves are fleece-lined, have full silk insulation, curved Gunn-cut seams for ergonomic fit, are fully waterproof, and are available in four styles (the Tech-Lite is pictured).
Balance boards have been around for as long as I can remember, and although they may have been overshadowed by more modern contraptions favored by serious skiers over the years, they're still around and they still provide an outstanding ski-specific workout. Dollar for dollar, pound for pound, and square inch for square inch, balance boards outperform Nordic Track, Bowflex, and any other machine you can name. The Vew-Do Company believes this so strongly that they will not only refund your money if you're not fully satisfied with your purchase in 30 days, but they will include another 10% for your trouble. The boards also come with a full one-year warranty. They are beautifully constructed of maple hardwood and birch and come in several types and models from beginner to performance level. The rocks are precision turned from a solid piece of hard maple. The subdecks and rails are made of hard plastic. Although each board comes with a rock specifically designed for it, and you can buy additional rocks for different levels of ability and for doing tricks. Check out these videos to learn more!
Teko makes intelligent socks intelligently. Their motto is, "Best socks on the planet. Best socks for the planet." Their goal, not yet achieved, is to have a fully sustainable product. To that end they use merino wool as the core yarn with recycled synthetic yarns to create a knit that improves durability for longer life along with properties that enable faster drying, comfort, and fit. Bio-mechanical experts who study how he foot works advise product designers to create socks that fit the unique anatomy of the foot while enhancing performance. What is performance in a sock, you might ask? It's what enables your feet to stay dry, free of blisters and hot spots, and cushioned no matter how hard you push the envelope. The company stands behind its products with a 100% lifetime guarantee.