Outdoor Retailer 2015 — Full Of Good Stuff

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | January 22, 2015      

This year’s Outdoor Retail Winter Market is another wild and wonderful gear fest. Positive energy, friendly collegial vibe, booths packed with beautiful products.

Our schedule is full with meetings that continually run over the allotted 30 minute time slots. Companies are designing more gear that works for the backcountry so they engage us with passionate conversations about light weight, high tech stuff. While most of what we’ve seen is not hugely innovative, there is definitely a focus on fine tuning features to make highly functioning, quality gear.

Fischer PROFOIL, a truly waterproof climbing skin.

Fischer PROFOIL, a truly waterproof climbing skin.

I know I just said that most products don’t seem hugely innovative. Perhaps Fischer will prove me wrong with their new PROFOIL climbing skin. Made from PE, PROFOIL’s waterproof material prevents water absorption to eliminate weight gain while ascending which will possibly make it lighter at the end of the day than a conventional skin. Scales with special channels are designed to enhance glide in the uphill stride while providing “permanent grip in all conditions.” MSRP $275, available fall 2015.

Pattern designed for grip and glide.

Pattern designed for grip and glide.

Speaking of weight and water, BCA consulted with experts to study the proportional effect of the snow that piles on skis while ski touring. The finding: one pound of snow on the foot/ski translates to four pounds of weight in a backpack. The result: Scepter Pole Grip. The flat topped grip lets you scrape snow off your top sheet to eliminate weight when breaking trail. Utility hook on the front enables easy mode changes on bindings, and straps are easily removed when desired. It’s lighter than a typical dual density grip because it’s cored out in multiple places. Scepter Carbon Alum (carbon shaft, aluminum upper) weighs 235g, MSRP $120. BCA Scepter Aluminum 250g, MSRP $80. Available fall 2015.

BCA produces the most elegant grip scraper I've seen.

BCA produces the most elegant grip scraper I’ve seen.

G3’s new climbing skin attachments offer 16cm of length adjustability allowing you to use your skins on a variety of ski lengths, maybe every ski in your quiver. The new clip shown below pops on easily, even with gloves. The camming clip will still be available as well.

Beautiful design of G3's new tail clip.

Beautiful design of G3’s new tail clip.

DPS launches Tour1 specifically designed for the backcountry. It is lighter than Pure3, competing in weight with the lighter backcountry touring skis on the market. Tour1 strives to offer superior torsional stiffness, edge grip and dampening via a proprietary new Tour1 specific aerospace carbon laminate. Available fall 2015.

Wailer 112RP2, Wailer 99, Cassiar 95.

Wailer 112RP2, Wailer 99, Cassiar 95.

DPS Tour1 core, full cap textured polyamide top, narrow profile Rockwell 48 edges, prepreg carbon/glass laminate, balsa core, hard World Cup race base.

DPS Tour1 core, full cap textured polyamide top, narrow profile Rockwell 48 edges, prepreg carbon/glass laminate, balsa core, hard World Cup race base.

Weight comparison as stated by DPS:

Wailer 112RP
Dimensions 141/112/128
Available lengths: 168, 178, 184, 190cm

  • Pure3 @ 184cm, 1830g
  • Tour1 @ 184cm, 1550g
  • .
    Wailer 99
    Dimensions 125/99/111
    Available lengths: 168, 176, 184, 192cm

  • Pure3 @ 184cm, 1665g
  • Tour1 @ 184cm, 1410g
  • .
    Cassiar 95
    Dimensions 129/95/116
    Available lengths: 168cm (Tour1 only), 178, 185

  • Pure3 @ 178cm, 1600g
  • Tour1 @ 178cm, 1375g
  • .
    Stay tuned, more cool stuff to come.


    Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


    45 Responses to “Outdoor Retailer 2015 — Full Of Good Stuff”

    1. Pablo January 23rd, 2015 4:36 am

      And the question is….will profoil grip as good as an actual skin on steep terrain or hard snow???

    2. etto January 23rd, 2015 6:52 am

      Looking forward to indepth testing by wildsnow of this new Fischer skin tech. As one of Lou’s predictions it must be high on the list 🙂

    3. Jürgen January 23rd, 2015 7:07 am

      Fischers Profoil shows 3 sections – two of them taking care of edge grip. I assume them to only fit on certain ski models – correct ?

    4. Lisa Dawson January 23rd, 2015 7:33 am

      Pablo, we’re looking forward to field testing. If the PROFOIL is exceptional, we’ll definitely report. Fischer claims that you’ll glide faster due to a better lift to drag ratio due to the low friction coefficient of the base material — and glide will be lengthened by up to 20%. Our skin tracks in Colorado are often steep and icy, good for thorough testing when we get samples.

    5. Lou Dawson 2 January 23rd, 2015 7:49 am

      I have my doubts that Profoil will be much better than fishscale pattern base. But I’d love to be wrong. As I’ve said, this is the year of the skins (or perhaps next year, actually), just keep watching, more cool stuff is coming. Personally, I think less weight and also water saturation resistance are more important than increased glide. But more glide is indeed a factor when skis get wider. Lou

    6. Mike January 23rd, 2015 7:55 am

      I like the BCA pole grip idea, (Voile only did it over a decade ago with their split board pole). I wish they’d ditch the pole straps, but add a small hook for clipping them to your pack (split board reference).

    7. Pablo January 23rd, 2015 7:57 am

      I’ll be waiting till then Lisa!

      Other question about Porfoil is how it deals when stepping on rocks. Skin hair deals well with this, but I think that plastic will crush and flatten under presure if stepping on rock.
      I suppose that Profoil’s grip depends on how sharp the scales are.
      It must be a very hard plastic to prevent wearing out.

    8. Buck January 23rd, 2015 8:03 am

      Mike – “I wish they’d ditch the pole straps”

      article – “straps are easily removed when desired” ?

    9. Pablo January 23rd, 2015 8:04 am

      I agree with you Lou.

      Brands must work on improving the actual problems of skins:
      – water saturation (glops, weight, adherence to skis)
      – Weight (and Bulk!!)
      – Ease of take-off
      – adherence to skis.

      I don’t think neither, glide nor grip, are problems with current skins technologies.

    10. Lisa Dawson January 23rd, 2015 8:18 am

      Jürgen, PROFOIL will be available only for Transalp series and Ranger series for 15/16.

    11. Greg January 23rd, 2015 8:19 am

      Anyone remember Voile Snake Skins. They did not absorb water. They did not glide either. At all.

      I would definitely buy skins that are lighter and less bulky. You can now get a fat ski that weighs about half of what a ski that size did a few years ago, but the skin still weighs the same.

    12. Lou Dawson 2 January 23rd, 2015 8:21 am

      Funny, I was just having a discussion with someone in the industry about design philosophy and how sometimes companies seem to come up with solutions to problems that don’t exist, while the super successful products almost always are very solid solutions to real problems. For example, if you could produce a skin that was pretty much the same traction and glide as what’s already out there, and just reduce the weight and bulk noticeable, that would be a clear winner. Or, do what Contour did and just improve the glue, pretty much leaving everything else as is (with small tweaks). Winner again. You guys as consumers can cut through the bull by asking a simple question of any new product: “does this solve or improve on a SPECIFIC problem I’m having with my existing gear?” If not, watch your wallet. Only clear exception to this is if two products are somewhat equal, then price makes the winner. Lou

    13. Lisa Dawson January 23rd, 2015 8:21 am

      Mike, the pole straps do clip off so you don’t have to use them if you don’t want to. We’ll pass along your suggestion regarding pack attachment hook. Thanks!

    14. Jeremy January 23rd, 2015 8:33 am

      I like the look of the new G3 tail clip, but is it any lighter than the existing twin top connector? It also looks like the tail strap has been re-profiled, so it will it work with existing skins?

      For poles with removable straps, take a look at the G3 Via series. They have a clip on easy remove/easy replace strap, so you don’t have to remove the straps before you good out. They also have 2 potential clip on points. The handle is also designed with a strong shaped lip for flipping binding toes/heels.

    15. Erik Erikson January 23rd, 2015 8:36 am

      Profoil looks interesting, but following another blogpost here bout´the marker king pin problems, I wonder if Fisher tested it extensively enough to really have enough data about wear (like Pablo mentioned) or the behaviour on different kinds of snow.
      Actually this is a general question I have as a person who has no insight in the industrie: Is there really that much pressure in the market that a brand HAS to start selling a product without taking the time for long term testing (maybe I should have posted this in the “Marker” blog post, but anyway)??
      Profoil again: Maybe it will turn out to be a specialized product which you only grab when glide is your main concern and you do not expect rock contact.

    16. Max January 23rd, 2015 8:42 am

      Any weight numbers for DPS Tour1?

    17. Lou Dawson 2 January 23rd, 2015 8:44 am

      Erik, I think a lot of the pressure is self created, but yes it’s a small market without a lot of “cushion” for taking time with product development. Yet there are so many other sectors that are like that, and rush things to market resulting in recalls and such. Seems to happen all the time, automobiles, baby blankets, whatever… I’m sensitive to it in the tech binding industry because it’s gotten to be a sort of joke. It’s like, how would you feel if every time you bought a set of tires over the last 20 years you’d have to go back to the tire shop 3 weeks later and have them swapped for a non defective set, assuming you didn’t find out about the defect while you were on the motorway!? Marker is just another in a long line of these things, unfortunately this happened when mine and many other reader’s patience is wearing thin. Lou

    18. Lisa Dawson January 23rd, 2015 8:46 am

      Max, catalog weigh for Tour1 is a couple of hundred grams lighter than the Pure. I edited the post to list the stated posts.

    19. Pablo January 23rd, 2015 8:51 am

      Erik I’m sure pressure is high.
      The market it’so fast that if you don’t make a move other will do.

      I think Fischer has a long time experience on making scales skisoles as a leader on nordic skiing market. But maybe they don’t think about how rought will be the real mountain and how hard backcountry skiers play all backcountry gear.

      Sometimes I think how something so little an weighless as a Dynafit speed binding dont break more often. Or these new race skis around 700g…They’re really strong if you think on how ligth they are.

    20. Erik Erikson January 23rd, 2015 9:04 am

      Lou and Pablo, just thought that the damage you do to your brand when a new product fails sticks in the minds of consumers so the advantage of beeing fast is exceeded by that bad image in a negative way. But maybe most consumers don´t even take notice of such fails cause they are not interested in the topic in detail (maybe even dont read “wildsnow…” 😉 .
      But for sure new gear you really rely on concerning safety (like a binding) should be tested more extensively before it hits the market than for example a new skin

      But anyway one has to say. Thanks to the early adopters, who reveal possible flaws! To be honest, I by myself always only buy stuff thats proved itself over years.

    21. Peter January 23rd, 2015 10:32 am

      in those DPS Tour cores; you say they’re balsa, but it looks like there may be 3 different materials in there. There’s something tan, something gray, and then 5 really skinny layers. Are the skinny layers continuous sheets of fiberglass compartmentalizing bunches of balsa?
      It’s also really interesting to me that the layers are not symmetrical about the “center” skinny layer

      Can you ask for more details on what the different layers are?

    22. jbo January 23rd, 2015 11:55 am

      Jürgen – Yes, the scale skins won’t work on race skis. The angled pattern on the side is necessary for grip and would be trimmed off (at least in the current pattern width).

    23. Adrian January 23rd, 2015 12:27 pm

      There’s still room in my quiver for a Lotus 120 Tour1 or would that be the Powderworks edition.

    24. Michael January 23rd, 2015 12:46 pm

      wow those edges look super thin on the Tour1 skis. I know they’re going with skinnier edges to save weight, but those look paper thin. Maybe it’s just the perspective however…

    25. Lenka K. January 23rd, 2015 1:50 pm

      Hi Lou,

      I’m absolutely with you on this one and am really glad that you bring up the point so openly. Maybe the manufacturers will take notice if “opinion leaders” start rambling about prematurely marketed products, and amend their ways?

      In the meantime, I’m never buying a product that has been on the market for less than two seasons …

      Lenka K.

    26. Dimitri January 23rd, 2015 2:54 pm

      If everyone had that approach then these groundbreaking products would never see proper production. Someone has to be first through the breach..

    27. Lenka K. January 23rd, 2015 3:44 pm


      Sorry, but I have to disagree. We’re not talking about Fritz Barthel and his Geniusblitz in his garage, but about big companies with appropriate budgets. If Marker had put all the energy and money spent on marketing Kingpin into proper and extensive testing, they would have been able to solve the problem in pre-production, rather than using unsuspecting customers as testers, who not only do not have to get paid, but actually PAY for testing an unfinished product. Wow, what a concept! And the fact that many (most???) a rando company works in the same way does not make to concept acceptable.

      So kudos to you for playing this game along, but thanks, no thanks! 🙂

      Lenka K.

    28. See January 23rd, 2015 8:03 pm

      Hi Peter. I don’t know the answers to your questions, but I expect that core is something like Baltek vbc, (not that that sheds much light on the matter).

    29. Lee Lau January 23rd, 2015 8:39 pm

      Lots of people, including “opinion – leaders”, “mavens” etc say things like never ever pay money for first generation alpine touring bindings but the consumers, like lemmings heading for the nearest cliffs just say oooooh look shiny things and buy buy buy. Lou or I or anyone else can beat the drums as loud as we want but it will predictably fall mostly on deaf ears. And the industry knows it.

      To keep it topical, at least if a skin fails it won’t kill you.

    30. bjorn naylor January 23rd, 2015 10:45 pm

      its all about cash flow

    31. Frame January 24th, 2015 2:48 am

      Isn’t the kingpin issue more about the production process of the retail binding once it got past pre-production testing? That is they tested the thing for a few years, got certified, then turned it over to the mass production process so they could supply the retail market and had the problem (imagine the outrage if a large company was selling handfuls of bindings as they made them in their R&D workshop, why can’t we get our shiny new bindings?).

      Fair argument to say they should have tested again with the retail version.
      Whilst Marker could have handled the issue and replacement of toe pieces better, I’m assuming they hadn’t had the pin issue until after they completed testing and it was a change in how the toes are made.

      There is some assumptions in what I wrote however.

    32. Dimitri January 24th, 2015 2:54 am

      That was the wording I got from marker distribution (marketing guy) over here.

      “This issue arose from the transition from pre-production test/demo to commercial factory production. ”

      It seems they were aware of thwis quite early on. Having had the time to redesign, retool and run enough new toe units. My question is why not a statement and full recall from them earlier..

    33. Frame January 24th, 2015 2:56 am

      err just saw Lou’s post on another thread after writing the above. A stronger view on the fix.

    34. Frame January 24th, 2015 2:58 am

      Dimitry, that is a fair point, well said

    35. Lou Dawson 2 January 24th, 2015 3:53 am

      The term is “corporate inertia.” It’s not exactly easy in a big business to quickly implement things like informal recall programs. But… if you read the Consumer Product Safety Commission literature you’ll see that the speed and style of recalls is very much an issue. I know nothing about what the “standard” for this is. Marker could have actually acted very quickly by the current standards, or they could have been slow. No idea. Main thing now is that it’s done, we know the problem and we know the solution. Thankfully it’s very few bindings. Lou

    36. Lisa Dawson January 25th, 2015 12:25 pm

      Michael, I checked with the folks at DPS and the Tour1 has a full width base, same as Pure3. The edge is 2mmx1.7mm. Super-light backcountry skis by other brands are typically 1.7mmx1.7mm.

    37. Lisa Dawson January 25th, 2015 12:30 pm

      Peter, the grain of the balsa is alternating: base to top sheet, and tip to tail. The skinny layers are flax. The balsa and flax compo makes the core appropriately durable for skiing.

      While the core is cool, it’s an OEM product bought from a supplier that many ski manufacturers use.

    38. Lisa Dawson January 25th, 2015 12:45 pm

      Jeremy, they didn’t have a scale at the G3 booth so we couldn’t weight the clips. If there’s a weight difference, it’s minimal. The advantage of the new tail clip is that it’s all stainless steel so it will be more durable than plastic parts, especially on rocky terrain. It also has three contact points that grip the strap which should reduce the stress on the strap and reduce strap hole damage.

      The new tail clip will be on G3 Alpinist LT skin, which is a lighter, sleeker skin available fall 2015. Clips can be purchased separately too.

      All G3 straps have standardized hole spacing so tail attachments can be mixed and matched.

    39. Michael January 25th, 2015 1:28 pm

      Thanks Lisa. Sounds like a nice option for a lightweight pow touring ski (the 112 that is).

    40. Eric Steig January 25th, 2015 1:33 pm

      I’m pretty intrigued by the Fischer skins. They look like a slap-on no wax base, which is pretty innovative! Fischer has always had the best no-wax bases on their skis. There are some pretty subtle things going on with snow crystals that most of the “fish scale” style grips don’t work very well with — the Fischer’sm with straight-across patterns, generally do. The skins look like they’ve borrowed heavily from Fischers 50+ years of experience with this.

      I bet they won’t be quite right in their first iteration, and in particular I bet they won’t climb as well as traditional skins — but I’ll bet they will glide much better.

    41. Ziggy January 25th, 2015 5:32 pm

      “Remember Snake Skins?”

      I used them. They weren’t a world away from real fake skins. They had some adjustment to the glide acc to tension. Low tension and firm snow got some glide. They were cheap and no maintenance and could be abused. Only drawback was compromised edge grip.

    42. See January 25th, 2015 10:21 pm

      Lisa Dawson wrote “(t)he skinny layers are flax.” Flax composites are said to be more damp than glass or carbon, so it looks to me like internal flax stringers vs. external abs sidewalls in the great touring ski damper competition (that few people other than myself and Peter probably find interesting).

    43. Peter January 26th, 2015 9:01 am

      Lisa, thanks for the information, really helpful!

      and See, ha! you’re right. I just spent over an hour reading about flax composites online and trying to find property comparisons with ABS and fiberglass.

      Theoretically, a Cap-construction ski can be made lighter for the same torsional stiffness, so losing the ABS sidewalls should be a benefit if there’s a alternative for damping. But, I’ve never seen it happen in a real product. We’ll soon find out, cool times.

    44. See January 26th, 2015 6:16 pm

      Did a little reading myself and… well, the plot thickens.

      This would appear to be the core in the DPS tours: http://www.bcomp.ch/31-0-bCores.html

      What’s inside BD touring skis is a bit of a mystery. BD specifies “ultralight engineered wood,” and a lot of retailers etc. say paulownia, but then there’s this: http://www.playnaturallysmart.org/2014/02/03/black-diamond-super-light-freetouring-ski-wins-an-ispo-award/#more-741 (apparently another Bcomp site). My guess is that some of the BD cores are balsa/flax and they have chosen to go with sidewalls as well, so flax may not be the holy grail for lightweight damping.

      Interestingly, according to the DPS website, “DPS’ roots go back to 2003, when Stephan Drake co-founded DB Skis (Drake-Boinay) with Swiss partner, Cyrille Boinay.” “cYrille” Boinay is the head of Business Development & Administration of Bcomp.

    45. Peter January 27th, 2015 5:48 am

      Cool stuff See! Thanks!

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  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

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