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What's New in Equipement....

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Reprinted from the NY Times...(see end for original date)

RUTH ROBINSON is a reporter for the Style section of The Times. By RUTH ROBINSON

It is entirely possible to survive this winter with equipment and clothing held over from previous ski seasons. There are, however, all manner of new developments that will make for higher performance, safer skiing, greater comfort and, let's face it, a better appearance on the slopes.
The trend in downhill skiing is toward longer skis, higher boots and more sophisticated bindings. Stretch pants are making a comeback. The hot fashion colors seem to be silver and gray, though bright pastels and berry shades are also popular.
Skis. Peter Ruschp, head of the Stowe Ski School in Vermont, for one, is happy to see the return of the longer ski. ''It's a more stable base to ski on,'' he says. ''Most skis now being sold are from 7 to 10 centimeters, about three to four inches, longer than those available five years ago. The short ski was introduced to make it easier for beginners to learn downhill techniques, but today fewer newcomers are taking up the sport.''
Howard Peterson, executive director of the competition division of the United States Ski Association, credits the return of the longer ski to the tremendous growth of interest in citizen and club races, which demand higher-performance skis. But aside from length, changes in skis are ''mostly cosmetic,'' according to Harry Vallin, owner of the Scandinavian Ski Shop in New York. Recreational skis, he says, range from $180 to $230 and high-performance models start at $220.
Boots. The new high boots, generally referred to as knee-highs, give extra leverage for greater edging power on a slope and eliminate shin bite. ''The knee-high boot helps people turn their skis with less work,'' says Travis Worth, national sales manager of Tecnica, which, along with Dolomite and Nordica, pioneered the concept last year. Nordica's high Polaris and Lady Polaris boots are both priced at $275.
This season's boots come in somber shades of gray as well as navy and black. Bright colors are out for the time being. One refinement is the memory buckle system, which allows a skier to increase circulation in the feet by unbuckling boots - while riding a chairlift, for example - and then rebuckle to the same setting automatically.
Bindings. Ski bindings have become safer, and the ski brake or ski stop (which prevents a ski from running downhill when it becomes detached from the foot) has won acceptance at ski resorts, according to industry representatives.
Geze is touting its SE3 as the ultimate in safety and performance. This model, featuring the first independently adjustable vertical toe release - crucial, the company says, in backward and tip-dragging falls - is also, at $225, the world's most expensive binding. Marker offers one with what it calls a Sensomatic heel that senses when the boot is released from the system and then automatically opens the heel unit for effortless re-entry. The M-40 binding incorporating this device is $132.
Mr. Ruschp of Stowe speaks of the new bindings as ''precision instruments,'' and indeed they are. Marker is expected to introduce an electronic binding next year that will weigh you, judge your skiing ability, test the snow conditions and eject you if the computer senses you are in trouble.
Fashion. ''You'll ski much better in a $300 Colmar parka,'' says Mr. Vallin, a twinkle in his eye. Colmar is certainly a name to reckon with in sleek downhill fashion, along with such manufacturers as Ellesse, Fila, Head and Bogner, whose four-way-stretch one-piece suit ($358) has a secure place year in and year out as the ''Brooks Brothers suit'' of skiing. While synthetic insulation is usual in skiwear, most manufacturers offer at least one down model.
The gaiters worn by the cross-country crowd to keep the snow out of their boots show up on the slopes purely as a fashion accent and serve no functional purpose. The ultimate in gaiters must be the quilted thigh-high type for women by Colmar that are suspended from the waist as though on a garter belt.
An alternative to the sophisticated look is the rugged ethos as exemplified by Mother Karen's functional line of pants, bibs and jackets in Powdercloth, a polyester/cotton blend available in 14 colors. New here is the use of Thinsulate, a thin light insulation. Bib overalls insulated with this material sell for around $130 in adult sizes, $72 in children's. Adult jackets are $115.
Gloves. There is some practicality in Grandoflex's fiber-filled model of white Clarino that can be thrown into the washing machine and which, at $29.95, is more reasonable than leather. An experimental glove by Saranac has Gore-Tex, which breathes, yet is waterproof between the leather outer shell and the insulation. It is being introduced by Recreational Equipment Inc. of Seattle.
So much for the needs of the 10.8 million Americans (by the latest estimate of the U.S. Ski Association) participating in downhill skiing. What about the 3.9 million who are into cross-country?
For them it is back to the basics, back to natural fibers like wool. ''The enthusiasm for racing stretch suits has slowed down,'' says James Wagner, manager of The Mountaineer in Keene Valley, N.Y., a shop specializing in cross-country gear. ''Wood skis have had it,'' he added; ''plastic is here to stay.''
Clothes. Cross-country skiers, less fashion-conscious than the downhill species, wear wool knickers, wool shirts, Scandinavian-style knee socks and sweaters. But there are some trends: polypropylene underwear, which keeps moisture away from the body, keeping the skier warm and dry; and outerwear of a synthetic pile that, like wool, retains its insulating properties when wet.
While corduroy knickers look smart, they also hold moisture and chill the wearer. The solution is a new laminate of polyester corduroy and Gore-Tex that gives the appearance of corduroy without the disadvantages. Knickers of this material in both men's and women's sizes sell for $59.95.
Nordic Boots and Bindings. Leather is still the norm, though there is a trend toward lighter insulated boots, which, while satisfactory for track skiing, may not be warm enough for back-country wear. The three-pin binding is standard and is used even for downhill skiing on cross-country skis, using the Telemark turn.
Sleds. Couples of the 80's, reluctant to give up their recreational life style when they have children, are taking the little ones along with them, pulled on sleds such as the Fiberglas Smithsleds manufactured by Patrick Smith of Golden, Colo., a former back-country guide and cross-country instructor. He also makes larger sleds for transporting gear. Small sleds suitable for one child cost $99.50; larger ones for gear, complete with cover, are $189. Mr. Smith has designed a special sled on which paraplegics can ''ski'' by poling themselves along ($329), using short poles for downhill sledding and longer ones for cross-country.

post #2 of 7
Berry stretch pants will be in style?

Yeeeeaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
"Boots. The new high boots, generally referred to as knee-highs, give extra leverage for greater edging power on a slope and eliminate shin bite. ''The knee-high boot helps people turn their skis with less work,''

Combined with these new short skis that do the same....watch out.
post #4 of 7
I started reading the article and thought "there was a thread recently about longer skis being the next big thing..."

Then I looked at the date on the article. You got me!
post #5 of 7
I was looking at Dolomite boots on ebay and somebody has the Secret Weapons , that look like they end at the base of the knee for sale. I want to say Stein Erickson endorsed that boot the year it came out.

I wonder how dated 2006 gear is going to look in 2025? What's next?
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
I had some "Secret Weapons" before my Nordica Polaris's
post #7 of 7
I had to get rid of my thigh-high quilted gaiters last season -- the garter belt finally lost its elastic -- but I still have my Mother Karens anorak. It's great for spring skiing.
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