Outdoor Retailer 2016 — Picture All The Goodies

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | January 17, 2016      

I love going to the Outdoor Retailer Show. The continual evolution of backcountry gear for both men and women is exciting to see. Sifting through products covering over half a million square feet of convention space is the task. Every year I try to improve my approach for dialing in on news that will be the most relevant to you as ski tourers.

This year I challenged myself to report on one thing from each meeting that is truly exceptional. I failed. As I sort thru my notes and photos, I just can’t narrow it down that much.

So, to wrap up my Outdoor Retailer Winter Show experience, I’m resorting to the Sears catalog approach. Here are some of the highlights. And, I could have gone on and on.

La Sportiva's new ski on the far left, the Vapor Float.

On the far left, La Sportiva’s new ski, the Vapor Float.

La Sportiva’s new plank is the Vapor Float. Made with the same construction as the Vapor Nano and Vapor Svelte, it’s fat but light — 117mm underfoot with stated weight of 1,400g per ski. MSRP, $1,200. We’ll have fun testing these!

Vapor Float specs for 178cm:

  • 140-117-129
  • Tip rocker 252mm
  • Tail rocker 210mm
  • Radius 26m
  • Camber 1.5mm
  • Women's Sparkle 2.0, Men's Spectre 2.0.

    Women’s Sparkle 2.0, Men’s Spectre 2.0.

    Spectre 2.0 and Sparkle 2.0 are compatible with TECH, AT & TR2 bindings.

    Spectre 2.0 and Sparkle 2.0 are compatible with TECH, AT & TR2 bindings.

    Spectre 2.0 and Sparkle 2.0 are 5% stiffer than the original 1.0 models, while providing 60 degrees of ankle rotation. Available fall 2016, MSRP $625

    Spectre 2.0 and Sparkle 2.0 specs:

  • Stated weight for men’s Spectre 2.0, size 27, 1/2 pair: 1445g, 3lbs, 2.97oz
  • Stated weight for women’s Sparkle 2.00, size 24, 1/2 pair: 1245g, 2lbs, 11.9oz
  • Shell & tongue: Grilamid
  • Cuff: Pebax
  • Vertebra: Carbon reinforced Grilamid
  • Liner: EZ Thermo Liner
  • Forward lean: 3 positions (12/14/16 degrees)
  • 4 buckles and optional power strap
  • Last width: 102.5
  • Flex: 115
  • Coop sportin the Prophet.

    Coop sportin Mountain Equipment’s Prophet jacket.

    We’re fans of Mountain Equipment. The mission of the British company is to provide top quality gear at reasonable prices and they pursue their goals relentlessly. So much so, one of their product engineers has the only PhD in the world specifically related to the structure, properties and use of down in outdoor equipment. “Dr. Down” spends his time optimizing down fill weights, densities and distribution to help give Mountain Equipment products the best thermal performance and compression recovery with minimum weight.

    Men's Trango puffy.

    Men’s Trango puffy.

    Mountain Equipment’s Trango men’s jacket has 700 fill of teflon treated down, a water resistant treatment that lasts longer after multiple washings. The outer shell is lightweight Helium 30. The jacket is box baffled in the body for warmth with stitched through construction in the arms and hood to make it lighter and more flexible. MSRP, $300.

    The Prophet Jacket features Gore-Tex Thermium. Pitched as a lightweight “highly water-resistant fabric” designed for insulating apparel. Marketed as added protection, without sacrificing pack-ability, and durability. The Prophet is seam-sealed and insulated with Primaloft Gold. It’s said to be water resistant, breathable, windproof and durable. Packs up small and weighs about half a kilo. MSRP, $350. Prophet pants available too.

    Women's Transition jacket,

    Women’s Transition jacket,

    Rachel is the green queen in Mountain Equipment’s women’s Transition jacket. Polarloft insulates the body and side panels are made of a wool blend for stretch. Lightweight nylon outer fabric makes it windproof while still breathable. Two zipped side pockets, one of which you can pack the jacket into.

    Men's Moreno fuzz layer.

    Men’s Moreno fuzz layer.

    The Moreno is a warm, shearling-style fleece jacket. I like it for it’s retro look. It’s super comfy and it will make you look good on the street or cuddled up with a book in a hut. 100% polyester, available fall 2016 for men and women.

    WildSnow favorites -- Darn Tough ski socks truly are darn tough.

    WildSnow favorites — Darn Tough ski socks truly are darn tough.

    Skiing is our life and we live in our ski socks. Honestly, Lou wears them 24/7. Look in his sock drawer and you’ll see one brand, one style — Darn Tough lightweight over-the-calf, black.

    During our meeting with Darn Tough, I was happy to learn the company is doing well and growing. This past year alone, overall sales have increased over 40%, and sales in the specialty ski segment increased more than 100%. They bought 60 new knitting machines and hired 115 new employees. All 235 employees are based in Vermont.

    Most know that Darn Tough socks are guaranteed for life. They’ll replace them even if your dog uses them as a chew toy. A tip I learned during our meeting: they recommend turning the socks inside out to dry at the end of the day. Do this and you can wear them 30 days straight, stink free.

    Hard man or mannequin?

    Hard man or mannequin?

    Meridian Line T-shirts sport vibrant colors and lovely sketches by our favorite artist adventurer, Jeremy Collins. On top of that there’s six recycled water bottles in each shirt and the fabric is surprisingly soft.

    Yeti's new cooler

    Hop on the Hopper but the zipper won’t burst.

    New from Yeti is the Hopper, a leakproof portable cooler. HydroLok zipper, also used in hazmat protective gear, seals it air and water tight. The tough shell fabric is waterproof and the inner liner is made from food-grade material. $400.

    Insulated Rambler bottles

    Insulated Rambler bottles by Yeti, progressive lip design with schnoz comfort in mind.

    Insulated Yeti Rambler bottles have an extra wide opening for ease with drinking and cleaning. Stainless steel with double wall construction. Comes in 18, 36, 64 oz. MSRP starts at $39. Available spring 2016.

    New glove design process by Outdoor Research uses 3D modeling to develop gloves with reduced bulk and improved fit, while maintaining superior warmth.

    New glove design process by Outdoor Research uses 3D modeling to develop gloves with reduced bulk and improved fit, while maintaining superior warmth.

    The new Lodestar Sensor glove by Outdoor Research.

    The new Lodestar Sensor glove by Outdoor Research.

    Outdoor Research Lodestar Sensor Glove is one we plan to test. The surprisingly lightweight glove has insulating Polartec high loft fabric on the back of the hand that wicks like fleece. Inside is cozy grid microfleece that complements the breathability of the outer fabric. The palm is pliable goat leather with touch-screen compatibility on finger tips. Made for recreation in colder temps, I think it will be quite nice for ski touring. My hip old Kinkos might have to stay in the cabin. Unisex sizing, $99.

    New Skyward jacket by Outdoor Research.

    New Skyward jacket by Outdoor Research. (We want that mouth watering photo of Shuksan!)

    Women's Skyward jacket.

    Women’s Skyward jacket.

    New for fall 2016 and designed for backcountry skiing and skinning is the “soft hardshell” Skyward jacket and pant. Outdoor Research’s AscentShell fabric is waterproof, breathable, and hem-to-bicep zippers gives you more venting when you need it on the skin track. Fully seam taped with helmet compatible wire-brimmed hood. Pants have zippered thigh vents, integfrated beascon paock and internal gaiters. Available for men and women, jacket $350; pants, $299.

    Kid's sleeping bag by Big Agnes.

    Kid’s sleeping bag by Big Agnes.

    I remember how impossible it was to find a good sleeping bag when Louie was little. One of Lou’s old bivvy half bags served the purpose and over the years it’s been used by many of our young friends. But now, Big Agnes fills the niche. They’re one of the few companies that make a expedition worthy kid’s sleeping bag. MSRP, $70.

    K2 backcountry skis have new graphics for fall 2016.

    K2 backcountry skis have new graphics for fall 2016.

    K2 continues to offer backcountry skis. The Coomba is the same as last year’s Coomback, but with new graphics. Wayback and Talkback have new topsheets as well.

    Coomba 114 specs:

  • Dimensions: 140/114/118
  • Sizes: 170, 177, 184
  • Radius: 23m
  • Stated weight: 1800g at 177
  • Coomba 104 specs:

  • Dimensions: 136/104/122
  • Sizes: 170, 177, 184
  • Radius: 23m
  • Stated weight: 1650g at 177
  • Wayback 96 specs:

  • Dimensions: 128/96/118
  • Sizes: 170, 177, 184
  • Radius: 21m
  • Stated weight: 1550g at 177
  • Wayback 88 specs:

  • Dimensions: 126/88/113
  • Sizes: 160, 167, 174, 181
  • Radius: 17m
  • Stated weight: 1275g at 177
  • The best part of the show is running into old friends.

    The best part of the show is running into old friends. Glen and Kimberly Plake are among the most gracious folks I know and they’re always full of infectious merriment.


    Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


    13 Responses to “Outdoor Retailer 2016 — Picture All The Goodies”

    1. Charlie Hagedorn January 17th, 2016 11:40 pm

      Does Trab make Sportiva’s skis? The skis to the right of the Vapor line are an interesting curiosity.

    2. Lou Dawson 2 January 18th, 2016 12:50 am

      Charlie, as far as I know the Vapor line is made in U.S. by Goode, while their other skis could very well be made by Trab. Probably no big secret, I’ll check if I get a chance. Lou

    3. Wookie January 18th, 2016 3:30 am

      Hey Lisa – do you know if La Sportiva is planning on ever releasing the Nano (and presumably some of the other models you show) in Europe?
      I looked all over until Lou clued me in that the are only offered in NA.

      They look like a great ski. I’d love to get some.

    4. Wookie January 18th, 2016 3:31 am

      forgot the followup

    5. jbo January 18th, 2016 9:33 am

      Charlie – Starting next season Sportiva will be selling a few branded versions of Trab skis.

    6. Lisa Dawson January 18th, 2016 10:44 am

      More info about LaSportiva’s partnership with Ski Trab:

      La Sportiva is now distributing Ski Trab’s TR2 binding.

      The Sportiva branded Ski Trab skis that we saw at Outdoor Retailer (photo above) will be available fall 2016 and will be on LaSportiva’s web site then.

    7. Lisa Dawson January 18th, 2016 10:52 am


      The Vapor line, made in North America, will not be distributed in Europe at this time. You would have to buy them from a North American retailer or directly from La Sportiva North America.

      A limited number of Vapor Floats will be available March 2016 with full release fall 2016.

    8. Zb January 18th, 2016 11:55 am

      So those v2.0 LS boots are compatible with the Trab binding without giving up tech/at? That’s a pretty big deal – good boost for the TR2 binding.

    9. Dane January 18th, 2016 1:12 pm

      Zb this years Spitfire, and Sideral already use those dual fittings. Now if only the Sideral would arrive at Skimo.co

    10. CB January 18th, 2016 1:15 pm

      Any word on the new k2 Coomba? Unchanged besides 10th anniversary topsheet? Thanks!

    11. Lisa Dawson January 20th, 2016 12:16 pm

      Yes, the K2 Coomba is the same as the Coomback but with new graphics. I added a photo.

    12. Frame January 21st, 2016 6:10 am

      Lisa, have you talked Plake into a guest blog / boot review? I see he’s changed boot supplier and whilst I don’t generally get caught up in the celeb thing… well it’s the hair and the laugh.

    13. AB November 7th, 2016 5:37 pm

      How burly is the fabric on the Skyward shell jacket? Is it a pretty burly, heavyweight fabric? (not talking overall weight of the piece. Some jackets can be heavyweight fabric and burly, but light overall).

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