A few highlights from the Outdoor Retailer show floor.
|First stop, get the doctrine on BD’s new boots. Here, Black Diamond PR guy Penn Newhard takes us through the line. They’ve got three AT boots. Factor is the heavy duty version, with “Method” being the softer boot which is also available in a women’s lasted version called “Shiva.” That’s old news now. The interesting part is we are told they’ll indeed have lighter weight AT boots 12 months from now. As the present line is quite nice, we’re looking forward to the less weighty versions.|
|I swear, BD colors their skis so they’ll look good on their rack at the OR show. Two new skis this year. Megawatt is a huge monster with reverse camber tip and tail, while the Guru is Megawatt’s opposite image, being a tiny Euro plank for traditionalists. As mentioned in previous blog, Louie tested the Megawatt and found it quite effective, albeit perhaps too floaty at times.|
|We liked these. Flipgripz, Shoes with fold-away street crampons. You just flip out and rotate the fitting on the sole, and walk ice with confidence. Reverse and you won’t ruin your mom’s house floor.|
|A trip over to Zeal yielded their lightweight frameless sunglasses. Euro style?|
|This water bottle from Hydrapak is innovative. You load the smaller cartridge with athletic gel, then depending on how you open the top with your teeth you have your choice of gel or water.|
|Backcountry Access showed a Naxo NX22 that’s pretty much the same binding as last year, only with the addition of a second set of legs under the foot, configured in a wider stance. This is said to make the binding more torsionally rigid. We feel that might be the case in alpine mode, but what about when you’re touring and trying to control the ski with your heel up? Won’t make any difference for that. Torsional is an issue for many skiers, but let’s just let that sleeping dog continue to snooze for now…
Really, in my opinion BCA is largely about beacons, specifically the famous Tracker. They’re showing the new Tracker 2, with features such as “real time” signal (you don’t get pauses in the readings as you search), an improved search mode switch, and joy, a slightly thinner profile. Available next winter after extensive testing.
I also liked what BCA is doing with their shovels. They continue to sell some of the lightest and most nicely designed aluminum shovels on the market, even going to the point of anodizing rather than painting as doing so saves about an ounce of weight. Their “companion” has a blade specifically shaped for shear and compression tests. It’s no longer sold with an integrated probe stored in the handle, but one could be installed in the fixed length version.
|We did a quick visit to Garmont for a glance at their new overlap cuff beef boots. Our take after we meet with Garmont tomorrow.|
|Are we in Vegas or Utah? You be the judge.|