Gear 2017: The In­side Scoop

Gear lovers have plenty to look for­ward to next sea­son as ski and ac­ces­sory man­u­fac­tur­ers rolled out the red car­pet on their new lines dis­played at the Out­door Re­tailer Win­ter Mar­ket (OR) in Salt Lake City, Utah on Jan. 7-10 and at the Snows­ports In­dus­tri

SkiTrax - - Contents - by Katy De­mong

by Katy De­mong

Salomon

The huge buzz at the Salomon booth this year fo­cused mainly on its in­tro­duc­tion of the new Prolink boot and bind­ing sys­tem, a first-ever Nnn-com­pat­i­ble line from Salomon. For 2017, Salomon will of­fer its full range of boots – from the Es­cape Tour­ing boot to the S-lab Pro – in both Prolink- and Sns-sole op­tions. Early tests show the new sys­tem is a win­ner, with the Clas­sic sys­tem get­ting the strong­est re­views. Salomon will also have a new Prolink bind­ing line for sale in ev­ery­thing from a car­bon op­tion to an in­ex­pen­sive Tour­ing bind­ing. Prolink will use the same hole pat­tern as SNS, and re­tail­ers were happy to hear that all skis will come pre-drilled by Salomon to fa­cil­i­tate quicker mount­ing.

In other news, Salomon will ex­pand its Car­bon Skate fam­ily. The Car­bon Skate Lab will now be avail­able in a ded­i­cated wet-snow ski, the Car­bon Skate Lab Red. Rather than be­ing tem­per­a­ture-based, the skis' per­for­mance is de­pen­dent on how much hu­mid­ity is in the snow. Even if it's re­ally cold and hu­mid, this ski is in­cred­i­bly fast. It's also the same ski that Jessie Dig­gins used to win a sil­ver medal at last year's Nordic World Cham­pi­onships. The S-lab Skate fam­ily will add a dry-snow (blue) and wet-snow (red) of­fer­ing in ad­di­tion to the uni­ver­sal (yel­low). Salomon will also make life a lit­tle eas­ier for re­tail em­ploy­ees this com­ing sea­son by creat­ing a sticker unique to each in­di­vid­ual ski that in­di­cates the flex curve based on the ski's char­ac­ter­is­tics and the skier's ideal weight in ki­los and pounds. The S-lab Clas­sic ski has un­der­gone a big up­grade, now in­clud­ing more car­bon, a new hol­low tip and an en­tirely new cam­ber pro­file. The ul­tra­light ski has more ac­ces­si­ble kick and stays in the tracks with less ef­fort due to the softer, flex­i­ble tips. Salomon will also of­fer a full-car­bon Skate boot – the S-lab Skate Pro – which in­cludes both Prolink and SNS cleats in the box, so ath­letes can choose their pre­ferred bind­ing. New for 2017 is the SLAB Car­bon Kit Pole, fea­tur­ing ul­tra-mod­u­lus car­bon as well as a car­bon han­dle. This su­per-stiff light pole will re­tail at $225. The Equipe line adds the Equipe 60 pole fea­tur­ing high-per­for­mance 60% car­bon with a new grip that al­lows for one-handed pole re­moval. This is great for marathon ski­ing, biath­letes, par­ents or ski in­struc­tors who need to ditch their poles on the fly.

Fis­cher

For the 2016/2017 sea­son, Fis­cher has con­tin­ued to de­velop and im­prove its Speed­max boot, which has been widely adopted on the World Cup cir­cuit. The up­com­ing ver­sion is even lighter, and the big­gest im­prove­ment is a bet­ter in­ter­face with the bind­ing. Fis­cher has shaved down the dis-

tance be­tween the ski and the bind­ing to pro­vide a more nu­anced feel­ing in the sole. Brand-new for 2017 is its in­car­na­tion of the Speed­max boot for Clas­sic ski­ing. With the same seam­less car­bon-fi­bre mold­ing and min­i­mal­ist de­sign, the new full-car­bon Clas­sic boot of­fers a rolling flex over the toe and the de­sir­able qual­ity feath­er­ing that top skiers are look­ing for in the tracks. The in­cred­i­ble light­ness of the boot gives skiers the abil­ity to quickly power up their kick. If these boots look some­what fa­mil­iar, it could be be­cause Team U.S.A.'S So­phie Cald­well cruised to her Tour de Ski World Cup fourth-stage win in these very boots.

While the Speed­max ski line con­tin­ues mostly un­changed, there are new bind­ing op­tions avail­able – the same zero-set bind­ing from last year, now with ei­ther three or five de­grees of cam­ber.

Mad­shus

Mad­shus has a lot of ex­cit­ing de­vel­op­ments in its line-up for 2016-17, in­clud­ing the all-new Su­per Nano Clas­sic boot that de­buts with an all-car­bon sole that flexes for Clas­sic ski­ing. The one-piece base is tor­sion­ally stiff for sta­bil­ity, while main­tain­ing flex­i­bil­ity and spring to max­i­mize kick. It's also made no­table im­prove­ments with other top-tier boots. The Nano Car­bon Clas­sic has a new heel hold for bet­ter fit and to re­duce slip­page, and gets a graphic up­date for next sea­son. The Su­per Nano Skate boot is lighter for 2016, has a new look and a new seam-seal­ing process to make this top-of-the­line Skate boot even more wa­ter­proof. The top two ju­nior Race boots, the Nano JRR and Hy­per JRR, re­ceived graphic up­dates for 2016, giv­ing them the sim­i­lar sleek look of their adult Race-level coun­ter­parts. The en­tire line of wax­less Ex­plorer skis all re­ceived a new facelift as well – the skis were widened for more back­coun­try ac­cess, with the moun­tains on the top­sheet in­creas­ingly prom­i­nent. Take any of these light­weight fish-scale skis and head out your back door to the near­est back­coun­try, or, for the nar­rower skis in the Ex­plorer line, to groomed tracks any­where and you're ready to go. Mad­shus is adding two new skin-ski of­fer­ings to com­ple­ment its Ter­ra­sonic In­tel­li­grip Clas­sic skis re­leased last year. For 2017, it will have an en­try-level model (Ul­tra­sonic), a mid-level model (the Ter­ra­sonic) and a Race model (Nanosonic). While the Ter­ra­sonic re­mains un­changed aside from a graphic up­date, the Ul­tra­sonic and Nanosonic are brand-new, fea- tur­ing the same In­tel­li­grip skin con­struc­tion that saw wide ap­peal in the mar­ket this past sea­son.

Some good news for both re­tail­ers and con­sumers: Mad­shus is ex­pand­ing its em­power™ pro­gram to en­com­pass a larger se­lec­tion of skis. The em­power™ is a pow­er­ful re­tail tool that cor­re­lates an RFID chip in the base plate of the ski to a se­rial num­ber, al­low­ing shop em­ploy­ees to see what they have in store with­out sort­ing through the wall of skis. They can then match the cus­tomer's needs to what's in stock, com­plete with flex in­for­ma­tion, tar­get weight and cam­ber pro­file.

The cor­re­spond­ing app lets con­sumers track their skis via GPS, and pro­vides pur­chasers great data on wax and train­ing. Pre­vi­ously avail­able in only three ski mod­els, Mad­shus is ex­tend­ing this tech­nol­ogy fur­ther down the line this year. Fis­cher Speed­max Clas­sic boot

Ros­sig­nol

Ros­sig­nol has been busy adding much re­fine­ment to its top-of-the-line Skate skis. For 2017, its X-ium Pre­mium Skate skis, used on the World Cup, have longer glide sur­faces to re­duce fric­tion and glide even bet­ter. Ros­sig­nol will bring the same World Cup tech­nol­ogy to its pro­duc­tion skis by adding an ex­tra cen­time­tre of length and re­design­ing the tip with a longer ra­dius, which puts more ski on the snow. These changes help to dis­trib­ute the skier's weight over a larger area and re­duce hot spots. In ad­di­tion, sig­nif­i­cantly more ABS side­wall con­struc­tion has been added to the ski, which helps with edg­ing and cam­ber pro­file. These mi­nor tweaks add up to a big dif­fer­ence in its top-of-the-line ski that will be avail­able in a cold, uni­ver­sal and warm pro­file, as well as for soft and hard snow.

Ros­sig­nol will also make its X-ium WC Skate boot avail­able at re­tail this year. The boot is full car­bon, in­clud­ing the sole and heel counter, and has what al­most ap­pears to be a Clas­sic lower-boot de­sign, with just a Neo­prene sock and car­bon cuff around the an­kle. This makes the boot ex­tremely light, while al­low­ing for max­i­mum an­kle flex­ion. These boots will come in a bolder de­sign ver­sion than what is cur­rently be­ing raced on at the World Cup.

Also for 2016-2017, Ros­sig­nol will re­lease a women's-spe­cific-fit boot for both Skate and Clas­sic, the X-ium WC Skate FW and X-ium Clas­sic FW. While women on the World Cup cir­cuit have been us­ing these for a few sea­sons, the boots have not yet been of­fered at re­tail. The boots have a wider fore­foot and tighter heel that give the skier more grip in the back and more room in the in­step. Ros­sig­nol said that al­though quan­ti­ties will be lim­ited, the mar­ket is now sup­port­ing this kind of spe­cial­ized tech­nol­ogy.

Atomic

New for 2016, Atomic is of­fer­ing a full-car­bon-mono­coque Clas­sic ski, the Red­ster Car­bon Clas­sic, that weighs in at 800g and is its low­est pro­file ski ever. This beauty is of­fered in three styles: uni­ver­sal (yel­low), cold (blue) and warm or klis­ter (red). All of its World Cup se­ries skis will come with an in­di­vid­u­al­ized graph that's colour-coded based on tem­per­a­ture and skier-weight pro­files. This sticker sys­tem was de­vel­oped by Atomic, and will be rolled out this com­ing sea­son with Salomon, as both brands are owned by Amer Sports. Along­side Salomon's launch of Nnn-com­pat­i­ble Prolink op­tions for 2017, Atomic will of­fer Prolink bind­ings as well as SNS for Clas­sic and Combi boots, and only the SNS op­tion for Skate boots. Atomic also has a brand-new car­bon Clas­sic boot, the Red­ster World­cup Clas­sic, that is Prolink-com­pat­i­ble. The boot fea­tures a car­bon heel counter, ad­justable heel strap and thermo-mold­able liner. New for the ju­nior racer is the Red­ster Sk­in­tec Jr. This is the first ju­nior ski to fea­ture Sk­in­tec tech­nol­ogy, and is great for the par­ent who wants a race-wor­thy ski that uses the same base as Atomic's top-of-the-line car­bon Clas­sic ski. Now ju­niors can have rac­ing-pro­file ski with­out need­ing a chem­istry de­gree to hit their wax. Atomic's tour­ing ver­sion of the Sk­in­tec ski, the Mo­tion 52 Grip, is easy to ski at 52mm wide and have come down in price to just $200 per pair.

Swix

The big story from Swix this year is a new gen­er­a­tion of Triac pole for 2016 – the Triac 2.5. Swix is ex­cited about the new and im­proved ver­sion of the trade­marked tri­an­gu­lar pole that it first in­tro­duced in 2010. This pole was in­tro­duced to the World Cup scene this sea­son for Swix-spon­sored ath­letes. It's 7% stiffer and 6% lighter than the pre­vi­ous model and has up­dated graph­ics. Higher qual­ity car­bon and im­proved car­bon lay­er­ing are what make this pole lighter and stiffer. This third gen­er­a­tion of Swix's top-of-the-line pole will cost ap­prox­i­mately $450.

One Way

The Premio 9.5 Skate ski serves to bridge the dis­par­ity in per­for­mance and price be­tween One Way's Premio 9 Skate and the Pre- mio 10 HD. The 9.5 achieves this by in­cor­po­rat­ing World Cup tech­nol­ogy such as the Premio rac­ing base with its uni­ver­sal stone grind and car­bon lam­i­nate for sta­bil­ity and power trans­fer, but skips some of the HD'S bells and whis­tles such as the hon­ey­comb core, so you can have a per­for­mance ski with­out break­ing the bank.

It's hard to imag­ine that top-end ski poles can get much lighter. Per­haps the dis­cov­ery of vast he­lium re­serves in Tan­za­nia is in­spir­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers, as One Way's new Premio SLG 10 shaft, which uses its Su­per Light Di­a­mond Car­bon with a ti­ta­nium in­sert, weighs less than 50g per me­tre and is about as light as you can get. The new pole will fea­ture an up­dated strap de­sign that pro­vides a lighter, more pre­cise and com­fort­able fit. Al­ready tested on the World Cup cir­cuit for dura­bil­ity, the new One Way Premio SLG 10 prom­ises to be a win­ner.

Start

Start is of­fer­ing a num­ber of new poles this year, start­ing with the topend Race. The 100% high-mod­u­lus car­bon-fi­bre shaft is su­per-light­weight, stiff and strong. The aero­dy­namic Race bas­ket prom­ises to grab the snow and help trans­mit en­ergy in the right di­rec­tion. A light and com­fort­able cork grip and an er­gonom­i­cally de­signed strap round out the fea­tures of this su­per pole.

Start's Win­ner of­fers many great fea­tures in a rea­son­ably priced pole, be­gin­ning with a 17mm-di­am­e­ter HS car­bon shaft for dura­bil­ity and stiff­ness. Its han­dle is Start's Race Cork model with its Fit Race strap. The bas­ket is larger, which is bet­ter for those who don't al­ways ski on ul­tra-hard-packed race trails.

The Start Lop­pet is de­signed for skiers who pre­fer func­tion­al­ity, dura­bil­ity and a great price. The shaft di­am­e­ter is 17mm and it is made with durable HS car­bon com­pos­ite. This pole comes with a Start's Mas­ter Cork han­dle and Fit Race strap. The bas­ket is an 8mm Race bas­ket.

Bjorn Daehlie

Cel­e­brat­ing its 20th an­niver­sary in 2016, Bjorn Daehlie has re­vi­tal­ized its brand with a new logo and many new styles as it works to en­com­pass the en­tire Nordic life­style.

One of the train­ing pieces it is es­pe­cially ex­cited about is the Di­vide jacket, which has a stream­lined per­for­mance fit, con­tour­ing in the arms and a full stretch back for high breatha­bil­ity.

As the of­fi­cial spon­sor of the Nor­we­gian Ski Fed­er­a­tion, Bjorn Daehlie has also come out with its brand-new Na­tions jacket – Team

Nor­way's jacket. The In­tent is the re­tail ver­sion of the Na­tions jacket, and is a high-ac­tiv­ity train­ing piece with lots of breatha­bil­ity, stretch and ar­tic­u­lated arms for a com­fort­able fit.

Bjorn Daehlie has re­designed all of its pants for 2016. The Ter­mi­nate is closer to a pair of tights than a warm-up pant, but with more pro­tec­tion. This light­weight train­ing piece has soft­shell wind pan­els for the knee and up­per leg, while the rest is stretchy.

The Win­ner pant has been up­dated with lighter weight ma­te­rial and a wind­block mi­crofi­bre front and stretch back. This half-zip pant is easy to get on and off over boots.

The Mo­ti­va­tion train­ing pant fea­tures three-way stretch soft­shell on the front and a breath­able stretch on the back, as well as ar­tic­u­lated knees for a great fit.

Its new high-per­for­mance base­lay­ers in­clude the Dry top with polypropy­lene on the in­side and polyester on the out­side, which helps pull mois­ture away from the body. The Com­pete top is 100% mi­cro-polypropy­lene and has hol­low fi­bres that help in­su­late while pro­vid­ing max­i­mum breatha­bil­ity. It also has a 100% Merino-wool per­for­mance base­layer – the Half-zip Train­ing Wool.

Bliz

The big story from the Swedish per­for­mance-eye­wear com­pany is that its prices will all be go­ing down ap­prox­i­mately 10-15% – mu­sic to any­one's ears. Bliz is also sweet­en­ing the pot on one of its most pop­u­lar prod­ucts - the Proflip gog­gle.

The Proflip sits far­ther off the face for fog-free vi­sion and flips up and out of the way, mak­ing it an es­pe­cially great choice for biath­letes. These gog­gles will now come with three lenses in­stead of two: a clear lens, low­light lens and sunny-day lens in one kit.

Bliz is es­pe­cially known for its pho­tochro­matic Ul­tra Lens Science (ULS) lens that goes from vir­tu­ally clear to block­ing 85% of light on the sun­ni­est days. Most im­por­tantly for win­ter sports, the lenses tran­si­tion back to clear smoothly and rapidly even in the cold­est weather. For 2016, Bliz is rolling the ULS lens into more of its eye­wear. Con­tin­u­ing its trend of af­ford­able per­for­mance eye­wear, Bliz prod­ucts start at just $45.

Craft

An of­fi­cial spon­sor of the U.S. Nordic Ski Team, Craft has al­ready in­te­grated ath­lete's feed­back into its 2017 pro­duc­tion. When Craft learned that ski team mem­bers were not wear­ing base­lay­ers un­der their rac­ing suits be­cause they were just too hot, Craft re­sponded by launch­ing a new line of high-per­for­mance base­lay­ers – Ac­tive Ex­treme 2.0. This line is lighter and has bet­ter mois­ture trans­porta­tion and cool­ing abil­i­ties than the first gen­er­a­tion. Pro­pri­etary Cool­max air-fi­bre tech­nol­ogy trans­ports mois­ture away from the body and reg­u­late tem­per­a­ture. Base­layer tops also fea­ture Body Mesh un­der the arms for still more ven­ti­la­tion. New Ac­tive Ex­treme 2.0 pieces will also be avail­able in high-vis­i­bil­ity prints and short-sleeve op­tions.

Craft has also re­designed its pop­u­lar ac­tive-out­er­wear Storm tights and Storm jacket, which now fea­ture a wind­proof four-way stretch front and a breath­able back.

For more ca­sual base­lay­ers, Craft has a new Com­fort Wool line that's a 50-50 Merino wool-polyester blend. This wool base­layer stands out from the com­pe­ti­tion for two rea­sons: it's seam­less, and Craft has spun the fab­ric so that the polyester sits on the in­side next to the skin, while the wool is on the out­side for max­i­mum com­fort. Avail­able in a zip-mock, the piece will re­tail for just $80.

Craft has also launched an Ac­tive Com­fort se­ries that re­places the Be Ac­tive Clas­sic line it started mak­ing 40 years ago. The new se­ries fea­tures 100% syn­thetic ma­te­ri­als (not Ly­cra) and a polyester/polyamide seam­less blend with mesh ven­ti­la­tion zones.

Julbo

Julbo has a few new things for Nordic skiers up its sleeve. The Aero are su­perlight sun­glasses weigh­ing in at only 58gm, with pho­tochromic lenses that go from zero to dark in 28 sec­onds. The Aero fea­tures a full one­piece lens, avail­able in ei­ther Ze­bra Light best for eastern con­di­tions, or Ze­bra, which pro­vides more sun pro­tec­tion and are great in western or sunny-ski con­di­tions. If they look fa­mil­iar, it might be be­cause U.S. Team mem­ber Noah Hoff­man reg­u­larly races in these glasses.

Also new for 2017 is the Ze­phyr, a smaller ver­sion of its pop­u­lar Breeze model. It fits any face with its fully pli­able ear­pieces and a wrap-around de­sign. They're also great for cy­cling and roller­ski­ing, as these glasses don't get in the way of a hel­met and on long runs you can ad­just them to sit away from your face, avoid­ing pres­sure on your tem­ples.

An op­tion that biath­letes will love is the Sniper. With French biath­lete Martin Four­cade con­tribut­ing to its de­sign, the Sniper fea­tures a wide pho­tochromic shield that can eas­ily be raised for shoot­ing in the range. The Sniper is avail­able in Ze­bra or Ze­bra Light lenses. These glasses have great ven­ti­la­tion, an er­gonomic de­sign and will run you ap­prox­i­mately $150.

Toko

New for 2017 Toko is its Nordic Klis­ter­spray Base Green. It is the same for­mu­la­tion as its Binder Klis­ter Base Green. With a bu­tane car­rier, it sprays on for fast, thin and durable ap­pli­ca­tion.

Toko has made im­prove­ments to its Ex­press work­bench in that it is more sta­ble and at a lower price point of $135.

The Arc­tic Split mitt has been sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved with a wind-blocker ma­te­rial in place of the ny­lon rip­stop on the back of the hand. The im­proved Toko glove is now warmer and comes in two colours – a new Win­ter War­rior and black – avail­able for $40.

Toko is also adding a new de­signer print to its line, a play off the sig­na­ture styles of such pop­u­lar brands as Louis Vuit­ton or Coach, and will de­but in the in­su­lated drink belt, Ly­cra hat and buff.

Salomon Prolink Car­bon SK bind­ing Salomon Prolink S-lab Pro boot Salomon Car­bon Skate Lab skis

(l) Mad­shus Nanosonic In­tel­li­grip Clas­sic skis (r) Ros­sig­nol X-ium Pre­mium Skate skis Salomon S-lab Car­bon Kit ski pole

Ros­sig­nol X-ium WC Skate boot

Mad­shus Su­per Nano Clas­sic boot

Start Race pole

Atomic Red­ster Car­bon Clas­sic ski Swix Triac 2.5 pole One Way Premio SLG 10 pole

Craft Ac­tive Ex­treme 2.0 base­layer

Bjorn Daehlie Di­vide jacket

Julbo Aero sun­glasses

Bliz Proflip gog­gle

Toko Nordic Klis­ter­Spray Base Green

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