From magnetic skis to augmented-reality apps, brands congregated to launch products at the Outdoor Retailer Snow Show 2019. Our team spent a week in Denver evaluating products to find the best to-be-released products for winter 2019-2020. The following 10 caught our eye as some of the most innovative, and the “best in show.”
Ross Snow Tech Snow Bindings
In the world of backcountry snowboarding, there are really only two options. Boarders can splitboard, an option that requires a special board and bindings. Or you can snowshoe and carry a solid board on your back. But with this option, you still need to attach your snowshoes to your back for the ride down.
Ross Snow Tech displayed a completely innovative binding at the OR Show, one that detaches from the board and unfolds to perform as a snowshoe. Then, when you get to the top, fold it back together, strap it to your board, and ride down. Ross Snow Tech calls its first binding the Convert, which weighs 3.5 pounds apiece. The brand is new but expects production next winter season for $600.
NexOptic DoubleTake Binoculars
The NexOptic DoubleTake completely reimagines binoculars, and the result is a product that redefines the category. NexOptic’s patented and patent-pending Blade Optics technology puts the power of a telescope in a rugged handheld device.
By utilizing dual lenses, one wide-field and one narrow-field, DoubleTake makes finding, focusing, and zooming in on objects quick and easy. It digitally supports 4K video, 12-megapixel photos, and audio with an SD card slot option. But, most interestingly, the large screen allows people to view the magnified view together and even share the view on smartphones via Bluetooth. Users can also wirelessly share their media and display screen with smartphones.
The North Face FUTURELIGHT
When an outdoors juggernaut like The North Face gets excited, it usually means big things. Few new product introductions make waves like FUTURELIGHT. The new waterproof-breathable membrane makes bold claims of breathability while maintaining waterproof characteristics. The key differentiator here is that The North Face said it can now “tune” the breathability in its FUTURELIGHT garments to meet the demands of various activities.
Few people outside The North Face athletes and team have used it yet, so our fingers are crossed. See details in our article ‘FUTURELIGHT Promises Unheard-Of Breathability for 2019.’
G3 FINDr Skis
These magnetic G3 FINDr skis grabbed a lot of attention at the show. It’s a simple concept that could simplify ski transport, particularly on bootpacks. The magnetic contact points on the FINDr holds them together for hiking. It’s a clever, simple idea that enhances an already awesome backcountry ski.
We did ask G3 about compatibility with avalanche beacons. After researching with beacon manufacturers, the brand assured us that the magnetic edges will have no greater interference than typical metal edges or magnets in handheld radios.
Head to the beach with a 12-pack of cold ones and some lunch knowing that this gas station cooler won’t outlive your great grandkids. Igloo quietly launched a huge innovation at this year’s Snow Show with the ReCool disposable cooler, made with biodegradable materials. It’s not going to outperform your rotomolded beast, but it’s not supposed to.
The ReCool aims to “dispose” of single-use styrofoam coolers and replace them with ReCools. The brand said the cooler will keep ice for hours, won’t wet through, and can hold up to 75 pounds. Best of all, it will break down and go back to its inert components. Look for it at gas stations, convenience stores, and REI this summer for $10.
Smith 4D MAG Goggles
Stand at the edge of your next big drop and look down unencumbered. Smith folded the bottom edge of the lens in its 4D MAG Goggles to give riders greater vision. The brand claims its BirdsEye Vision (the fold) increases your field of view by 25 percent.
Picture looking down and seeing only a tiny bit of your goggles. It was pretty sweet to use in person at the show, and we’ve yet to see goggles integrate this tech to the bottom of the lens. The 4D MAG from Smith is available in fall 2019.
Nite Ize Runoff Bags with TRU Zip
Waterproof bags are nothing new, but NiteIze released the Runoff collection for another reason: the zipper. TRU Zip technology represents the industry’s first toothless, waterproof zipper. Using the same extrusion methods behind the brand’s Gear Ties, the TRU Zip is airtight, resists snagging your gear, and repairs itself. If the zipper ever runs off track, just pull it back and then reseal — there are no teeth to worry about.
Mountain Hardwear App
Try a tent before buying it by setting it up in your living room, getting inside, and filling it with other gear like sleeping bags and packs. Only this time, do all that from your smart device!
Mountain Hardwear unveiled the next leap in online shopping with a proprietary augmented reality app that allows users to see true-to-size gear in an immersive environment. The brand worked in partnership with Transparent House, a creative agency, to develop the app.
Select a piece of Mountain Hardwear gear, then from your phone rotate it, walk around it, even get into it to see its features and size. Plus, users can make in-app purchases from home, and retailers can also use the tech to show customers and convert in-store purchases.
reDEW8 Zero Cotton Jeans
More than 1 billion pairs of denim jeans fly off the shelves every year. And with them, brands chug trillions of gallons of water for processing. At this year’s Snow Show, reDEW8 took a big swing at rationing that water by developing the Zero Cotton line: blue jeans that look, wear, and feel like the real thing but use nearly 2,000 fewer gallons of water per pair to make. The secret? Zero Cotton jeans are made of wood pulp, a design reDEW8 has spent years perfecting.
Flaxta Aware Impact Sensor
Companies have made great strides to mitigate concussions through innovations in helmet design. But this year, Flaxta, a freshman brand at Outdoor Retailer, unveiled a product that could help medical professionals assess head injuries after a fall. The Aware Impact Sensor lives in Flaxta helmets and pairs with the wearer’s phone.
During a fall, the sensor will measure the linear and rotational force, as well as the location of an impact. It will then rate the impact for severity on a scale of 1-3 and save the info in the user’s app. While it stops short of assessing the likelihood of a concussion, the tech could help doctors understand the type of impact and injury that occurred long after the event.