The Snowsports Industries of America (SIA) tradeshow is an eclectic mix of mainstream downhill brands and companies that are really pushing the limit of backcountry skiing and snowboarding.
There are numerous new technologies and updated designs for next year. Many of these brands we did not cover at Outdoor Retailer, and as usual I am looking at this as a backcountry splitboarder.
ThirtyTwo — New touring inspired boot design in collaboration with Jeremy Jones.
Karakoram: New for this current season is their redesigned binding and interface system. The Prime system includes a simpler and lighter interface, a redesigned attachment system, and a unique heel riser component.
Karakoram will also be introducing a new ankle strap design that looks to be significantly more supportive and form-fitting (available fall 2015).
Spark R & D: Next year Spark will expand on their “hardboot” adapter components by bringing back a hardboot specific binding. Don’t stop reading too soon skiers; there is more than a hint of Dynafit technology in here.
Jones Snowboards: There are a number of new designs and additions to the Jones line-up for next year. They will do away with wrap-around edges, and metal plates in the tip and tail. To replace this will be tail notches for a new skin attachment system, thus making things lighter and more durable.
On the Solution split, a new top sheet construction will be incorporated – derived from castor beans; said to be stronger, lighter, and more eco-conscious. Jones will also be introducing a new board for the backcountry, the Aviator Split – a full camber, directional twin, with a beveled section of base just before the tip and tail to prevent edge catching (called 3D Power Camber).
POC –- Spherical lens design.
A common trend is incorporating a walk-mode function into boot designs and making them more crampon compatible for technical ascents.
Fitwell — Redesigned liner and power strap
Deeluxe — New walk-mode design
K2 — New boot versions for the Kwicker system.
Of course, these tradeshows will always feature totally new designs. It’s always interesting to see what adaptations people are thinking up.
Solomon – a 4 piece splitboard
Generally speaking, if I had to decide what the overall trend of snowboard designs are for the coming year, it would be the surf-inspired swallow tail designs. Just about every company has a powder-specific board. I had the opportunity to demo a couple of these boards at the On-Snow Demo day, and despite the lack of bottomless Japan-style powder, these shapes are absolutely amazing carve boards. Needless to say, tons of fun!
Jonathan Cooper (“Coop”) grew up in the Pacific Northwest and has been playing in the mountains since he was a teenager. This was about the same time he made the fateful decision to strap a snowboard to his feet, which has led to a lifelong pursuit of powdery turns. Professionally speaking, he has facilitated many circles of students with Northwest Outward Bound School while leading mountaineering expeditions. During the winter months he can be found chasing snow, and passing on his passion for education and the backcountry through teaching avalanche education for AIARE in southwest Colorado. Similarly, his passion for wilderness medicine has led him to instruct for the Wilderness Medicine Training Center. In the end, all of this experience has merely been training for his contributions to the almighty WildSnow.com.