Just starting to think about skiing again (which is tough with temps in the mid 60's here in Bend, sun every day, and both the mountain biking and road riding being epic this time of year), but with any luck, snow will be upon us within a couple of months! The Halloween openings we used to get back in the day are never coming back, I am afraid....only 3 days below average temps so far in October, only 1 more day on the extended forecast. 27 above average temp days to 4 below average temp days doesn't give me great confidence about this winter, but I digress.
Anyways, back to skiing: what do you see as the most interesting sizes for new gear development for 2016? Seems like there are a lot of new or updated offerings across the board. Tons of new stuff in that "everyday Western" category around 95-100mm. Great new product in the 80-90mm range as well. Didn't ski any fresh snow last year, so I have little time on the 105mm+ offerings (aside from the Stockli SR107 and Kastle BMX105, both of which I loved). Exciting new frontside skis from Blizzard, Head, and a huge frontside line from Stockli, to name a few.
Is 2016 a rehash of old ideas and new graphics, or are skis still improving at a dramatic rate? My opinion is the latter: there are a lot of VERY good skis out there, more than I have ever seen previously. Most obviously, skis are getting lighter and friendlier, without giving up performance. A great example is the Blizzard Bonafide. Previously, this was a pretty beefy ski for guys like me: just stiffer than it needed to be, as it was targeting 190lb+ dudes. Now, it remains a lot of ski (and tough work in zipper line bumps) but definitely grew in sweet spot, can be pressured and de-cambered under a lighter yet skilled skier, resulting in more rebound, more user-friendliness, and overall, just a much improved ski. I could say the same about many of the new skis this year: lighter, easier to ski, yet with no loss in performance.
So, where is this all going? What categories will be the "ski du-jour" this year? Are we going back to the do-everything, assuming it doesn't snow too much 88mm? Enjoying the improved versatility of the new 105's and hoping for a snowy winter? A rebirth of interest in powerful, technical frontside ripping?