‘Best In Show’ Gear Awards (part I) From Outdoor Retailer Trade Show

La Sportiva Vapor Nano Ski — A lot of light backcountry skis are poised to hit the market. But at the show this one stood apart because of its “carbon nanotube” ingredients, sourced and produced in the USA. The Vapor Nano weighs just 2.65 pounds in 180cm length and uses a new construction process that results in excellent torsional rigidity.

One tester said it was the best ski he rode all day at a demo, which was held on hard, icy conditions at Solitude Mountain; not bad for a backcountry stick. The Vapor Nano is 103mm underfoot and comes at a premium price. $1,200; available fall 2014

Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.