DENVER, CO – After the dust settled from the massive Outdoor Retailers trade show at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, we put together a list of 2019 skis, boots, and bindings. Here are several new products that are very exciting for the 2018/2019 skis season.
2019 SKI BINDINGS
The SHIFT Binding from Salomon and Atomic is an industry Game Changer, it skis powerfully on the decent, yet performs well in touring mode without any sacrifice in performance. The SHIFT Binding works with any standard DIN Certified Ski Boot. If you have a ski boot with Tech inserts the SHIFT Binding also is able to be used for ski touring.
2019 Ski Boots
For 2019 K2, Rossignol and Salomon all have ski boots with integrated heated liners, some of these models can even be controlled with your phone via Bluetooth.
Atomic redesigned their popular Atomic Hawx Prime 100mm lasted boot. They made the boot lighter and made some fit adjustments to the toe box. Atomic took technology they introduced last year in the Hawx Ultra line and applied it to the Hawx Prime.
Dalbello introduced the Dalbello Sport a 100mm tradition 4 buckle boot, with a reinforced spine to deliver energy.
Dynafit introduces the HOJI Pro Model Boot, which is lightweight and powerful. Sure to be a must-have for the big mountain crowd.
Full Tilt got into the Uphill game and with the Ascendant Boot. A 102mm boot that’s great for people with a wider foot. The Ascendant even comes with Tech Inserts.
K2 introduces the RECON Low Volume Ski Boot for 2019.
Salomon redesigned their low Volume boot as well, the latest model is called the S-MAX Boot. New for 2019 is the addition of Carbon to the boots for power and energy.
Nordica hit a home run with their new low Volume Promachine ski boot, everyone was impressed with how well it skied.
Tecnica redesigned their Light Weight Touring Boot the Zero G, and also introduced the FIREBIRD which is their new low Volume Race Boot.
Armada revamped their ARV line of skis by Beefing up the Sidewall materials, graphics are again this year by Madsteez so the ARV family has a consist vibe, and the Skis rip.
Blizzard added the Rustler 9 to their Freeride skis, last year the Rustler 10 and 11 were hits and it makes sense to offer a narrower version as well.
Dynastar has a new pro model for Richard Permin called the PROTO it is 118 under foot and comes in a 186 and the ski is a hard charging SOB designed for big mountain skiing and Powder.
Volkl totally redesigned the Mantra, it is now called the M5 and it 96mm underfoot and has a rocker, camber, rocker profile and uses a titanium frame to give the ski stability where it needs it.
By Nick Siriano:
It didn’t take long on these sticks to know that RMU has discovered something great. For a boutique brand, I was expecting compromised edge control at the SIA/WWSRA On-Snow Demo at Copper Mountain, an uber soft or an extra stiff flex, the turning radius of a water-ski, etc, the basic problems that arise when ski companies are just starting out. Not with this company, RMU delivered!
They came to SIA and said, “try our skis, ride our skis, feel the difference between our hand-built small batch bomber skis and the factory pop outs that Salomon, K2, and DPS are making.” Like I said they delivered and in every category! Fortunately, I had the chance to ride all their 2015 skis. They have some new shapes, flexes, and models that make their 2014 skis look like Rossignols.
I can’t tell you exactly what they have coming out but I can promise that when they do you better get a hold of them quick or they’ll be gone soon! Look out for their new 88 waisted all-mountain rippers, or they’re new 802 Project east coast designed bomber!
Founder Matt Cudmore says “If you surround yourself with really good people who believe in what you believe in, and you work really hard, you will succeed.” That is precisely what he did when he synthesized Meier Skis.
After starting out in a garage with a single ski press, Meier Skis has evolved into a small shop producing hundreds of pairs a year. They have an excellent team of incredibly knowledgeable and talented people working together to build one of the most sustainable brands.
As the pine beetle chews its way through the West, destroying thousands of trees, Meire Skis uses the wood the beetles left behind. They skis use 100% recycled pine and high alpine aspens. The wood is incredible light, and strong. I had a chance to hang out with one of the builders, Chris Dean, who set me up with a few pairs at the SIA demo. For a young brand, the skis were actually awesome. Super quick in the trees, poppy in the park, decent carvers on the steeps, and solid in the chop. My two favorites were the doc and the Johnny Ringo.
Here we have another hand-crafted ski out of the USA that is making a big dent in the industry. I think Jay-Z holla’d out the name of this brand back in his legendary “Big Pimping” song. It went something along the lines of “H to the OG.” Anyways, H2OG skis are bomb proof, big mountain rippers. These skis are not for the park rat hiking the pipe in the spring, they are for the big time speedster sending huge steep lines in AK.
I had a chance to ride the Kodiak a 120mm waisted powder ski that can handle it all, and it did!
2016 Skis, Boots and Bindings from SIA
By Kevin Krill:
My walk through the floor at the SnowSports Industries of America, SIA, was quick. Despite being the final day in Denver I was able to get a vibe for what was happening in the Industry. As a backcountry skier, I was engulfed in a brave new world of free heel fanatics.
The first thing I noticed was that almost every one of the big player Alpine Ski companies now has a way to walk into the woods without being locked down to lifts. The Alpine Touring market continues to grow and niche out into new categories of walking on skis.
Newest on the market is the Marker Kingpin. The Kingpin is a binding with a tech toe piece (think Dynafit pinchers) and a more traditional step-in heel with multiple release angles.
If you are agile enough, you don’t even have to click out of the binding to free the heel. Marker’s ski buddy, Volkl, continues to kill it with ripping and cutting-edge skis. I was immediately attracted to the V-Werks line that beckons big thighs and proper technique but also looked agile, light and, whoa, reverse camber. I needed to get these on the snow!
Voile, DPS, and G3 wowed me with their non-Rando-Race approach and focus on skiing and riding. Each has their own superlight setups but mostly wide boards for touring and carving of all kinds. Voile actually boasts the only USA made rando race ski out and according to the racers, it rips as a light race ski should. Voile’s other one hit wonder is the Vector. It is a wide underfoot turny bc ski with fish scales!
No skins needed for easy climbing to your favorite solo wiggle meadow. G3’s new Ion binding takes a few steps out of the transition to ski mode and they have taken skins to several new levels for skis and splitboards.
Fischer was the standout with a fast developing AT line of Vacuum Boots (a major breakthrough in the Alpine boot world), light and wide surfing skis, a full line of bindings for hiking and a randonee race ski that is in line with their mission of “real” European skis. If you have skied Fischers you know to be ready to ride them like you are a “real” skier. Chris showed me the whole line and then dropped the Dynafit bomb. Fischer will be branding Dynafit bindings and they will be available as a Fischer product.
This is great news for Fischer and Dynafit since the new AlpAttack rando race ski birth this fall. At 650 grams it is the lightest out. According to my buddies training for the2015 Elk Mountains Grand Traverse, the AlpAttack lives up to Fischer standards and skis superior to other heavier race skis out there. The aftershock was their new climbing skins. A P-tex skin with signature Crown pattern developed on the Nordic side. Fischers Tour line felt silly light and the 2015.16 Freeride line of Rangers simply had to be tried; space-age light and sleek with killer graphics. Get ready for carbon tips and wide body rippers.
A lot to see before noon. With a bag full of new business cards and a head full of skis I went to the on-snow demo at Copper Mountain. On the snowboard side of things, we gave out our first ever Editor’s Choice Awards on Day 1 of the SIA show. Be sure to leave a comment below with any 2016 ski reviews you would like to see us cover in the next few months. With all these reviews it’s best to read up online, and then go demo a pair before hitting the buy now button.
Would you buy a car without taking a test drive? Doubtful, so with skis and ski reviews be sure to search around.
By Jim Swanson:
WINTER PARK, CO – The SnowSports Industries America Ski Demo Days once again descended on the slopes of Winter Park Colorado for the annual on-snow demo days January 30th and 31st. This event is always full of hype and excitement and allows those that work in shops around the country to come and try equipment that will be seen on the slopes next year. Skis, snowboards, goggles, and countless other accessories are on hand for all to try. With pleasant weather and wide open slopes conditions could not have been better for testing.
Let me preface this review with I am not a professional skier, I am however a lifelong and passionate skier that knows a thing or two about what makes a ski worth buying. Secondly, if you are looking for a ski that is going to win that gold medal in at your local NASTAR course, you won’t find it here. It didn’t take long to see where the industry heading with their equipment for the upcoming year, straight to the backcountry. Wider skis that weigh less have become commonplace on the market and touring bindings that allow for quick and easy skinning are also popping up left and right. So what is right for you? Well, that is where I come in, I skied as many skis as I could and tried to put them all through a variety turns and speeds so you don’t have to.
Big Mountain Skis
So you have a buddy that has a snowmobile that is willing to drag you up the mountain and you don’t care what a ski weighs? Or you are one that still believes that lifts were installed for a reason, well then these skis are for you. These skis are a bit heavy for long skin treks but designed to rip the deep snow and still handle well on hard pack.
A re-designed Seth Morrison pro model, the K2 SideSeth was the first to be put to the test. They say that with age comes wisdom, I could argue that wisdom comes with experience. In Seth’s case he has both, and if you want a smart ski the SideSeth is it. Stiffer than the previous Obsethed and lacking the dramatic tail rocker, this ski felt more like a race ski at speed than a wide powder ski. Typical a K2 flex pattern made the skis was easy to move from edge to edge, but unlike the Obsethed if you get behind on these skis they will run on you.
The Rossignol’s popular S-7 has a new big brother, the Squad 7. With many of the same characteristics that are found in the S-7 the Squad 7 has less tip rocker and a flatter tail making it a much better ride back to the chair. With more ski on the snow, the confidence of the skier in steeps and questionable conditions should also improve. The deep sidecut of the ski gives a nimble feel to the monster of a ski. For those of you that feel the need for speed at all times, the Squad 7 will deliver it without awkward flopping of the S-7.
Light Weight Skis
These skis missed the mark, these skis felt bulky, lifeless or just seemed like they could not do what they are designed to. The Black Diamond AMPerage is an “award-winning” ski that felt as though it was trying too hard to fit in, and the only award I can give it is the least favorite of the day. Hard to turn and skittish at speed. In the skis defense, it might be good in powder because of the wide body of the ski. Black Diamond claims that the ski performs well on packed snow and can be a one ski quiver if this is the only arrow in your quiver I challenge you to a duel.
Ski Logik Yeti was the next ski on the test list. A Breckenridge based company that is turning out some truly gorgeous skis (by way of China) has many skis that perform just as good as they look. This year’s new edition was the Yeti, a lightweight and active ski that could be underfoot on those long tours to your favorite stash. The testing conditions had an obvious effect on this ski, the hard-packed snow would not allow the radius of the ski to fully engage and as soon as the ski started working it would be bounced and needed to be reset. The turns in the softer snow showed that this ski could be an effective choice for those that want a little art to take with them into the backcountry.
A ski that has probably logged more hours in the backcountry than other ski is the Dynafit Stoke. the choice of now legendary skier Greg Hill who logged over 2 million vertical feet in on year, without a chairlift! This super lightweight ski was responsive at all speeds and held an edge even on the hardest snow. The only drawback to the ski is that it is set with inserts that only accept Dynafit bindings, this also means that your boot must also be compatible with the binding. If you are skiing a boot that fits the criteria then I highly recommend the Stoke as a great choice to get you to the goods.
Also in the ultra-light skis category is the DPS Wailer 112 Pure. Don’t scared that this ski weighs next to nothing, the performance that it delivers will crush you. A pure carbon fiber core allows for an even flex that puts the edge in contact with the snow from tip to tail while being stiff enough to hold at even the highest speeds on hard snow. Generous rocker at the tip can still be put down when carving groomers on the way back to the chair without the floppy sensation that is found in other skis of similar shape. If there is a downside to the ski it could be the cost, the construction, however, is bomber and this ski will stay in the quiver ( or replace it) for years. Save your pennies this offseason and treat yourself to the best ski I had underfoot all day.
So that’s it, get out there and ski. If you are in the market for new skis go out and buy them, you don’t have to wait until next year’s product hits the sales floor. Support the local shops in your area and ask their opinions on what ski is best for your area, ability, and desired style of skiing. Do your research online but buy at in stores, it’s the ‘local’ thing to do. Your turns will feel better if you do, enjoy the remainder of the season people and I will see you on the slopes.
By Jim Swanson:
WINTER PARK, CO – The ski world is at Winter Park. For any skier or snowboarder that shares the passion of knowing what the new trends will be in your sport, your world is at Winter Park Colorado. The Snowsports Industries America (SIA) on snow demo days are taking place at the resort again and retail buyers from ski shops across the country have converged to get a sneak peek and ride on next year’s gear. With all those buyers, the industry representatives are eager to get their product noticed and used.
With a city built of E-Z UP tents plastered with every ski and snowboard companies logo, it is easy for newcomers to get lost in the maze of equipment and people. My first stop was to the Rossini Ski tent for a ski review of the popular S7 Freeride, a wide ski that 110mm underfoot with a 140mm tip and 118mm tail and mounted with a Fritschi Freeride binding. With an entire tent of product there and freshly groomed run behind her, the representative couldn’t help but question my decision to start the day. With my racing days well behind me and knees that favor powder, wide skis are the skis that appeal to this skier.
After the first of countless laps on the Zephyr Express the S-7 did not disappoint. The full wood core vertical sidewalls, rocker tip and pined tail the ski still maintains a traditional camber under the foot the allows for great edge control. The ski was quick under foot in turn transitions and held strong on the less than soft early morning corduroy. The S-7 is available with or without a metal laminate that would help to further stabilize the ski at higher speeds. Staying with my powder seeking roots I opted for the nonmetal option. Though the S-7 was the first ski of the day it did not top the list but did find a home in the top five skis of the day.
The Zephyr and I both saw a few more skis that had their place in the market but lacked the life and responsiveness that this skier enjoys. The next ski that fit this bill was the Ski Logic Bombsquad (122mm waist), if the top sheet doesn’t make you want to buy it, the performance of the ski will. This lightweight wood and carbon core let the skier stay quick with big skis that would come in handy while seeking out those last few stashes tucked away in trees. With a stable but underfoot edge the ski did have some bounce on the harder snow but nothing the one should not expect from a ski this wide and light. So for the Bombsquad, take the trip to the chair for what it is and enjoy the powder lines that will be demolished by this ski. For those who are more comfortable with a narrow-waisted ski try the Rave, the best skinny of the day.
If you have been in the backcountry then Black Diamond is a brand that you are familiar with. The improved Verdict and Zealot with vertical walls, as opposed to the caped construction of years past, were a nice surprise to ski on. The Zealot is the wider of the two and carries a 110mm waist to the slopes. Early rise in the tip is not as dramatic as in the full rocker of other powder skis, this helps the Zealot put down a strong lengthy edge. Smooth turn transitions into a strong edge hold give the impression of a much narrower ski underfoot. While being one of the lighter skis of the day the Zealot skied like a much heavier ski than it is. This ski might just be the one that makes first tracks in many stashes in the backcountry next winter
Many of the skis will be the same next year and apart from a new top sheet the info that is out there currently will hold true for next season. A few skis that fit the bill for the more all mountain types would be the new Blizzard line featuring the names of PRCA bulls from years past, the Wednesday by Faction skis and K2 is still making forgiving all-mountain skis. Do your homework now if you are in the market for gear next year, these companies will be disbursing soon from Colorado and heading to mountains near you throughout the end of the season.