These downhill skis, boots, bindings, and accessories will be cutting-edge when they hit the market next year.
Downhill skiing takes center stage at the Outdoor Retailer Snow Show. And few products generate the excitement of new skis, boots, bindings, and gear. These hardgoods take huge amounts of research and development to improve. So each year, brands tout their latest and greatest with the pride of a parent revealing their newborn to the world.
This ski gear grabbed our attention before the show. Note that we haven’t seen these products yet; we gleaned the following from product announcements. We’ll be examining these products over the coming weeks to learn more about them in real life.
Outdoor Retailer Winter 2020: Skis for 2021
Atomic Backland 107 W Skis
Expanding on the popular Backland backcountry skis, the line will now include a Women’s Backland 107. This women’s ski is 107 mm underfoot, with a tip designed for more flotation. Add a powder rocker camber profile, and the Women’s Backland 107 is a powder-charging backcountry ski. It weighs in at 1,450 g per ski so it won’t weigh you down on the up-track.
Line Skis BLADE
An entirely new model for Line Skis, the Blade and Blade W will “reignite the euphoria of the turn and leave only deep cut trenches in its wake and a shit-eating grin on your face.”
Focused Titanal across the ski width increases edge grip and torsional stability. Two independent Titanal pieces in the tail and tip add to the power and energy that can be harnessed exiting the turn. This carving ski looks like fun to rip on-piste and expands the brand’s offerings for those looking for a high-speed ripper.
MSRP: Men’s $900, women’s $800
Völkl BLAZE 106
The Völkl BLAZE 106 fits into the emerging category of lighter-weight, playful freeride skis. Völkl builds them for easy all-day handling in a wide variety of snow conditions.
The brand designed the flagship Blaze 106 from the ground up, with a new shape that combines a wide, 106mm waist with Völkl’s 3D Radius sidecut technology. It’s a unique setup with longer radii at the tip and tail and a tighter shape in the midbody, allowing the skier to switch from long arcs to short turns at will.
A hybrid wood core is light for maneuverability and quickness while maintaining edge grip. Under the binding, a Titanal center sheet provides some extra grip and solid binding screw retention.
Rossignol BLACKOPS Sender TI
While it sounds like a bit of marketing hyperbole, Rossignol flips the term “freeride” around for its new multicategory Ride Free line of skis, equipment, and apparel. But regardless of the naming structure, the new BLACKOPS line under the umbrella of Ride Free men’s and women’s skis looks like serious rippers coming to market this fall.
In particular, the BLACKOPS Sender TI (a hard-charging 106mm ski with a Titinal layer) recently won an award at ISPO in Germany for its progressive design. Beyond performance, the ski uses FSC- and PEFC-certified wood and other recycled materials for a more sustainable ride.
Dynafit Blacklight Pro Ski
Dynafit built the Blacklight Pro for professional ski-mountaineers. With a waist of 80 mm, a length of 165 mm, and weighing in at a featherweight 910 g, it’s a specialized high-mountain tool. The Blacklight Pro consists of Paulownia Race Core optimized for weight and stiffness.
The unidirectional carbon sheet creates a ski that will hold an edge in the firmest of conditions. A unique three-quarter skin and a new Pin-Skin attachment system shed weight while providing an improved attachment to from skin to ski. Look for this ski in fall 2020.
The iconic Bonafide line, long praised for its combination of technical performance and all-mountain versatility, has expanded. Now Blizzard introduces the Bonafide 97. This all-mountain ski should handle crud, hardpack, and powder on any given day.
The new TrueBlend Wood Core specifically targets the flex throughout the ski, with a softer tip and tail that keeps you nimble. Blizzard claims that denser wood underfoot “acts like a gas pedal, giving you the power and drive when you want to charge.”
Salomon Stance Ski Collection
The new STANCE ski offers a frontside cut combined with a full poplar wood core, full sandwich sidewall, and double TI construction for impressive edge grip. The metal twin frame allows releasing torsional stiffness in the tip and tail for maneuverability in varied terrain. And Salomon’s patented C/FX blend combines with the Titanal laminate to allow stability in all conditions.
The new Stance Collection includes three new men’s skis in 102, 96, and 90 underfoot sizes as well as two new women’s skis in 94 and 88 underfoot sizes.
DPS Skis Pagoda Tour 100 RP Ski
The lightweight Pagoda Tour construction aims to keep legs fresh on the uphill while giving a fun ride down. The tour-specific DPS Pagoda Tour 100 RP ski has a unique rocker profile optimized for the full range of backcountry conditions you might encounter.
DPS mates its proprietary new carbon laminate with a combination of ash and paulownia woods as well as a purpose-built, aerospace-grade foam. Thus a “special alchemy emerges,” the brand claims. The result is a distinct combination of power, energy, and dampness that rivals front-side-oriented skis at classic touring weights.
Faction La Machine Skis
Faction provided very few details on its new La Machine skis but pitched over the following intriguing soundbite: “Faction releases a backcountry pow-slayer with La Machine. Girthy and crazy-crazy-light, heli- and cat-skiing ops are already frothing over the idea of stocking their walls with La Machine. Lighter ski equals more energy in the legs equals longer days on the hill.”
We’ll bite — and look for more info at the show.
Icelantic Pro Collaborations
Denver-based ski-maker Icelantic collaborated with pro skiers, including Julian Carr and Amy David, on the release of its latest models, the men’s Saba (above, bottom) and women’s Nia (above, top). The Saba and Nia have Icelantic’s new “Reflective Rocker profile,” which the brand calls a full rocker profile that mirrors the sidecut radius.
The goal is to create a ski that’s both playful and surfy while skiing flat and still allowing the skier to engage the entire edge. Icelantic claims the Saba and Nia are stiff enough to minimize chatter while providing the skier a solid platform to stomp landings without wheeling out.
Weston Hatchet Pow Slayer
Yeah, yeah, it’s a snowboard. And a fine-looking one at that! The Weston Hatchet is a brand-new board for 2020-2021 and offers a directional twin pow deck for the freestyle-minded. Volume-shifted (short-fat) boards and quivering are rapidly growing trends in the snowboard space.
This series represents the pinnacle of that trend, offering riders the ultimate quiver decks for whatever the terrain or riding style. Colorado-based artist John Fellows designed the top sheets to tell the story of riding in Weston’s backyard of Minturn, Colorado, then traveling overseas to the mountains of Japan.
Ski Boots for 2021
Tecnica MACH1 MV 130 TD
Tecnica introduces the all-new Mach1 MV 130 TD. The brand claims that “T-Drive,” a carbon spine that marries the cuff to the shell, sets the boot apart. The spine controls this high-performance, all-mountain boot’s flex so you can ski with more power and precision in all types of snow, temperatures, and terrain.
Tecnica claims this seemingly small addition fundamentally changes the way a ski boot functions by altering how the cuff and shell interact, working as a control to regulate the degree to which the boot flexes when a skier applies pressure.
SCARPA F1 LT
At 990 g and 100 flex, the SCARPA F1 LT is the brand’s lightest alpine-touring boot. Optimized for ambitious traverses, technical ski-mountaineering descents, or long days maximizing powder laps, the F1 LT combines ultralight features of the Alien ski-mountaineering race boots with a more versatile, backcountry-oriented design.
A new upper cuff combines I-beam construction with ribs of carbon Grilamid to create lateral stability and downhill performance, without having to add thickness and weight to the entire cuff. And a friction-free ski/walk mechanism with 72 degrees of motion also helps ensure efficient touring.
Full Tilt Ascendant Approach
Full Tilt’s release of the Ascendant free touring boot in 2018 gave rear-entry boot aficionados a choice for backcountry missions. The newest iteration of the boot, the Ascendant Approach, introduces a new Pro Tongue Liner that’s Full Tilt’s highest-performing liner developed for maximum transfer power.
Ergonomic material cuts, smartly placed power reinforcement, Michelin outsole, and GripWalk combine for a versatile touring boot focused on downhill performance.
Marker Bindings New Duke PT 16
The Marker Duke PT 16 provides downhill performance with full safety release properties up to DIN 16. But switch to hiking mode, and skiers get the freedom of pintech attachments. A clear competitor to the Salomon SHIFT binding, the Duke PT 16 uses a removable toepiece (that saves 250 g of swing weight on the uphill) as its alpine-style attachment.
To switch to downhill mode, the toe housing clicks back onto the base plate. The binding is compatible with all boot sole types falling under the Alpine (ISO 5355), Touring (ISO 9523), or GripWalk (ISO 9523) norms.
MSRP: $825 (Duke PT 16), $725 (Duke PT 12)
Dynafit SUPERLITE 150 Binding
Dynafit launches the Superlite 150 binding, weighing in at 150 g. It has an aluminum construction and adjustable from DIN 4 to 13. Skiers and adjust forward release between 6 and 9 by swapping out the included springs. Optional adjustment plate and brakes allow you to set up this svelte binding for your needs.
Backcountry Access Tracker 4 Beacon
New for 2020, the Tracker 4 works much like its predecessor, the popular Tracker 3. However, it has a larger LED screen, ideal for bright, sunny days and use with polarized glasses. It also has a rubberized over-molded shell for durability.
Osprey Soelden Pro (Men’s) /Sopris Pro (Women’s) Avy Pack
Osprey’s gender-specific Soelden Pro Avy (men’s) and Sopris Pro Avy (women’s) Packs are technical backcountry packs equipped with the Alpride E1 Electronic Avalanche Airbag. The Alpride E1 supercapacitor technology provides light weight, ease of use, and can travel on airplanes, unlike big lithium batteries and compressed air tanks.
The take uses durable UHMWPE materials to keep this pack light. The design offers easy access to avalanche safety kit, dual-position helmet carry, a hip belt equipped with one side pocket and one side gear loop, and simple ski/snowboard carry.
Arva Flex Technology Reactor Avalanche Pack
Arva’s dual-airbag canister packs now allow you to create a backpack that best suits your purpose. Flex Technology gives you the freedom to choose the carrying capacity of your Arva Reactor Avalanche Airbag Backpack in just a few seconds based on your needs.
Using the Flex Frame, you can choose between a 24L, 32L, or 35L pack. Flex Technology doesn’t require any additional zippers, which means no additional weight, with the same comfortably carry that’s easy to use and will give you the peace of mind you need in the backcountry.
MSRP: $680 for Flex Frame and 24L Pack; Extra Pack sizes range from $99 to $150
Making its OR debut, the Zeal Beacon takes a page from the “physics behind structures like air traffic control towers,” according to the brand. The frame has a rimless frame design with upper and lower venting and triple-layer face foam.
By tilting the lens, it will kill all reflection coming in, and it sits much closer to your face than previous models. With a 10-degree lens angle, it significantly increases vertical peripheral vision. The lens uses a cylindrical polycarbonate lens, anti-fog coating, and a permashield hardcoat to prevent scratches.
The Zeal Beacon will be available in September 2020.
SPY’s new Marauder has the brand’s Deadbolt locking mechanism. Magnets guide the lens, which has two connection posts, into place. Then two locking levers, one on each side, slide down, securing the lens to the goggle. The result is a secure and immediate quick-change system.
Bollé Nevada NEO Goggle
Bollé introduces the Nevada NEO, another magnetic quick-change system. It has two lens options, allowing users to quickly adapt to changing weather conditions. The Nevada NEO has what Bollé calls the Eyelatch — a proprietary lens-locking system that secures the lens. Open it to change the lens and close it to lock it in place.
The NEO is available with Bollé’s top-of-the-line Phantom+ lens aimed at maximizing color definition and depth perception. The Phantom+ also includes a semi-polarized film that reduces distracting glare and enhances contrast to distinguish ice from snow. Bolle’s lens tint reaches 70% of its full activation within 20 seconds.
Giro Contour Goggles
Giro aims to give skiers its largest field of view yet with the Contour goggles. Called EXV+ (for Expansion View technology), the frame optimizes a massive spherical lens, providing peripheral vision and an unparalleled field of view.
Couple that with engineered venting, non-absorbant film, and VIVID lenses with Optics by ZEISS, and this interchangeable-lens goggle (magnets again!) looks like a solid contender.
Flaxta Episode Goggles
Flaxta’s Episode goggle has a spherical double lens from Zeiss. It claims that its Enlight lens technology filters light and boosts contrast to aid in reaction time. The Episode incorporates another magnetic lens-change system, which makes it quick and easy to swap lenses. Adaptive frame construction allows for an individual fit, and triple-layer face foam adds extra comfort.
Sweet Protection Looper MIPS
Sweet Protection launches the Looper MIPS. The Looper MIPS distills 15 years of expertise in building World Cup downhill helmets into a value-packed helmet designed for the recreational riders. It uses what the brand calls a Variable Elasticity shell. That means different parts of the shell have different levels of stiffness.
It also has Impact Shield shock-absorbing technology, which integrates seamlessly with the full line of Sweet Protection goggles. The helmet will be available in fall 2020.