We’re back from SIA Snow Show 2015! And boy did we see some cool stuff. The industry is innovating with new materials and designs, taking winter sports to the next level.
We’re going to cover softgoods and gadgets in this post. It will be photo-intensive. We’ll have more posts later this week to talk about snowboards and splitboards.
SIA is a great trade show. Everyone is welcoming and wears badges so you know their name. Like Cheers, but cheating. The Denver Convention Center played a great host, but has absolutely terrible coffee. We headed in.
Our time at the show was full of appointments with manufacturers. We didn’t have much down time. When we did, it was spent wandering the halls, looking for cool stuff. We found some!
We started the day with socks. Socks may seem like a trivial thing to worry about, but if your feet aren’t happy, you aren’t happy. Wigwam has been making socks in the USA for 110 years. We sat down with Wigwam to talk about the technology they include in their socks. Merino blends, hydrophilia and hydrophobia. Good stuff! Wigwam provided us with some socks to try out in various outdoor activities. We’ll have a writeup after some testing.
In our wanderings, we ran into Troy from the Fillmore Winterproof Pant Co. The company is based in Boulder and makes their products in Los Angeles. They have a proprietary waterproof/breathable membrane that they laminate onto just about anything – Poly/wool office pants fabric, Japanese denim..you name it. The pants are burly and stylish.
We also stopped by the Voormi booth, where they were displaying their line of Rocky Mountain wool-based clothing. Voormi makes base and mid-layers, but their Core Construction is what caught our eye (and everyone elses’!). They weave wool and synthetic fibers directly into their membrane instead of laminating it to a face fabric like everyone else. Voormi is based out of Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Even their DWR is impressive. Check this water beading off a wool mid-layer –
We took a look at some optics too.
More Colorado Companies innovating – Zeal Optics is based in Boulder. They’ve figured out how to make their sunglasses frames from cotton. Yes, the plant. Your t-shirt. We don’t know how, but we’ve arranged to get a closer look soon.
Zeal is also updating some of their goggle line. All of the goggles will be available with Zeal’s new AUTOMATICPLUS+ polarized, photochromatic lens – the only one in the industry. The lens can shift from 33% light transmission to 18% light transmission. They also launched a new women’s frame, the Luna.
Smith is in the middle of a rebranding. You’ll notice the logo is a bit different. Smith is maintaining their dominance in the high end optics and cranial protection (brain buckets) market, but is also offering some great products at lower price points. Above, you can see their new cylindrical lens goggles. They offer the same quality as other Smith goggles, but without the spherical lens, are more value priced.
Smith also introduced the Pivot Helmet. It offers MIPS (multi-impact protection) and other great safety features for $160.
Moving on to more ski-specific items, we took a look at Atomic’s new lineup.
Atomic launches their Backland series next season. The Backland Carbon (right) and Backland Carbon Light (left) are more touring-focused boots that can be used inbounds as well. They feature removeable tongues, thermo-moldablility, and a perforated liner designed to prevent swampy feet.
Salomon, Atomic’s sister company, is focusing more on the inbounds skier who wants to take a sidecountry lap sometimes. They introduced two new touring boots – the MTN Lab and the MTN Explore. Both offer more stiffness than the Atomic boot, along with thermo liners and 3D injected lower shells that add lateral stiffness. Notice the different lower buckle placement on the two boots.
Sticking with our backcountry focus, Arva was showing their new avalanche beacon, the EVO4. Triple antennas and a 40m range make this a great deal at $289.
We stopped by the Patagonia booth and were pleasantly surprised to see a new ski pack! The Snowdrifter will be available next fall in three sizes, 20L, 30L, and 40L. The packs tick all the feature boxes. We can’t wait to try one out.
Speaking of packs, High Sierra is diving head-first into the ski pack market with the new Symmetry series. They offer the pack in 12L, 18L, and 22L volumes and sell them for $69-$89 retail.
We also got to play with the Leatherman Tread that we wrote up a while back. Very cool to see one in person. Leatherman has updated the clasp so it no longer comes apart completely.
We also stopped by Arcade Belts (and have been wearing one non-stop ever since), but we’re going to do a separate post about them which will include Sean’s conversation with Cody Townsend, who sent the Ski Line of the Year.
Stay tuned for more.