Backstage At Outdoor Retailer – Best New Gear For Winter 2014/2015

We recently made the TMS annual pilgrimage to Salt Lake City to check out the hot new trends and unique innovations coming down the pipes for the outdoor industry next season. We did the classic meet and greet. There were thousands of brands, purchasers and spectators to speak with. We did some research, taking lots of notes and pictures. We probably took too many of each, and now have to sift through it all. We went skiing and snowboarding at both Snowbird and Solitude. After all, sometimes a product run-down with a sales rep doesn’t cut it and you have to actually put equipment to use before deciding whether it’s appropriate for your customers.

We picked up countless product catalogs whenever a .pdf wasn’t available – What a waste of paper! We asked for promos and SWAG (Stuff We All Get). We heard “sorry” and “I can’t…” quite a bit. We also heard “yes” occasionally, and that always makes us smile. But most important, and the part you can most enjoy, is the information we gathered about the gear we plan to carry (or have since changed our minds about carrying) for fall 2014/winter 2015.

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We skied day and night prior to the show. Here, TMS-Owner Pam (left) starts the day with top-to-bottom skiing at Snowbird; The North Face athlete and photographer Kris Erickson (right) descends Snowbird with a flare in-hand during an apres-apres night-ski.

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TMS employee Adam was rejected at the gates of Alta Ski Area. “Excuse me, sir? You can’t snowboard at Alta.”

And now, on to the gear. This is just a teaser…there is SO MUCH MORE coming in and only so much we can tell you now.

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Volkl
 released their V-Werks Katana skis last year, a super lightweight all-mountain model ideal for both on and off-piste skiing. The V-Werks Katana uses vertical sidewalls and carbon fiber to reduce the weight of their original Katana by 15%. The upgraded version slays powder and holds an amazing edge on hardpack and rides stable at high speeds. The ski was so popular last year that Volkl is bringing it back with color options, in addition to improving their BMT skis, now 15% lighter and included in their line of V-Werks backcountry focused skis for 14-15.

dynafit-denali-skis-beast-st-ft-radical-bindings

The new Dynafit Denali skis, along with the 2.0 versions of the Radical FT 12 and Radical ST 10 bindings. Like the name entails, the Dynafit Denali was designed for Denali. It was tested by mountain guides on the Kahiltna Glacier in May of 2012. “The combination of weight, construction and materials makes this ski the perfect companion for long ascents and descents,” says Dynafit. “The dimensions and light weight are balanced optimally for performance on both the ascent and descent.” This ski is stiff and skis smoothly, carving very well in advanced terrain and performing excellently on steep, icy slopes.

As for the bindings, we all know the Radical reputation. Ski mountaineers and freeriders love and trust the light weight and top-tier performance of Dynafit Radical bindings.

 

venture-snowboards-2014-colors

Venture Snowboards gave their line of solid boards and splitboards a makeover.

Red = Red Mountain (SW CO)
Green = Pine Trees
Yellow = Aspen Leaves
Blue = Bluebird Days

We’re stoked on Venture splitboards and looking forward to carrying them next year! Venture covers all the bases with a full line of splitboards for everything from mellow pow and pillow lines to steep and slick no-fall-zones.

2014-voile-splitboard-collectionThe new lineup from Voile splitboards is looking good with a fresh paint of coat instead of last year’s wood-core look. Here’s their swallowtail (not sold at TMS), the Voile Artisan men’s and Artisan women’s boards, and the new Revelator and Revelator BC (with Scales). We’re stoked to see splitboarding gaining popularity so rapidly!
2014-voile-lightrail-bindings-skin-tail-clips-canted-pucksThe Voile Lightrail Binding is now offered in women’s colors (top left). Voile Universal Hardware (top right) is still the most common splitboarding hardware seen in the field, even with the latest pin-less technologies from Spark R&D. Using Canted Pucks that are tilted slightly inward (bottom left) increases your board’s response-time and decreases muscle fatigue. Starting Fall 2014, Voile will include their own Voile tail straps with splitboard climbing skins. Now you don’t have to order separately through another brand and pay double shipping!
voile-receptor-165-scales-splitboardThe Voile Revelator BC splitboard comes with scales so you can skin up and ride down without splitboard climbing skins. It’s an interesting concept, and a pretty niche design, but would be ideal for anyone who spends a lot of time touring. The scales are well-suited for long approaches, traverses and rolling hills when repeatedly adding and removing skins can become a hassle. I wouldn’t recommend them on slopes greater than 30-degrees, but they’re great on mellow terrain.
black-diamond-jetforce-airbag-battery-packBlack Diamond is releasing a battery-powered avalanche airbag backpack and the hype is building quickly. The Black Diamond Jetforce Pack holds a charge for up to two weeks and is ideal for hut trips and other multi-day tours when you may be required to deploy the airbags more than once. Caught in a small sluff slide but unsure if it will become dangerous? No worries! Go ahead and pull the trigger…you’ve got many more on reserve.The BD Jetforce airbags inflate within three seconds and maintain their volume (200 liters) for three minutes. The second two-thirds of this time is spent automatically refilling the pack in case of an accidental puncture. The weight of the system rides close to the back, and isn’t actually that heavy (28 L pack w/ system = 7.5 lbs). Stay tuned…we’ll have more beta about this Black Diamond avalanche airbag pack in the near future. Models to watch for include the Pilot 11 Jetforce, Saga 40 Jetforce and Halo 28 Jetforce packs.
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2014-arva-womens-packs

Arva Snow Safety Equipment makes packs that fit women better and boast serious fashion-sense (see right), backcountry shovels that dig more efficiently and weigh less, lightweight avalanche probes that are most compact and durable, and they offer all the features you’d expect from a top-notch safety equipment brand. Did you know the word “Arva” is synonymous with “beacon” in Europe?

The Arva Freerider 25 pack gets a face-lift for 2014-2015 with a separate storage bag for snow safety gear. Now you can keep your avy gear organized and easily accessible through the bottom of your backpack. Here’s an unedited video preview from the showroom floor:

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ABS backpacks also got a sweet makeover for 2014/2015. As a leader in avalanche airbag packs, the ABS Avalanche Airbag System has the most experience and the highest survival rate (97%) of any airbag company on the market. 2014-abs-45-5-backpackThe ABS Base Unit goes unchanged, since they’re so dialed already, besides a narrower profile (depth-wise) that keeps the weight closer to your body for easier skiing.

Watch for a neoprene stretch fabric in 18 and 24-liter ABS Zip-On packs that provides more space for longer shovel handles. ABS also incorporated their 40-liter and 55-liter bags into the ABS 45+5 airbag backpack (right), perfect for longer tours, mountain guides and connecting routes from hut-to-hut.

2014-mammut-eiger-collectionThe new Mammut Eiger collection, looking sleek and polished. Mammut clothing is designed for extreme use in harsh conditions and demanding terrain, and their Eiger line is for the top of the top. Next season’s outerwear is looking even better than last year…and we thought they’d already had their styles pretty fine-tuned!

Not only is Mammut men’s and women’s clothing functional and fashionable, but check out that sly little headlamp on the mannequin in the middle. Mammut headlamps are super lightweight and provide superior lighting for mountaineers. Still, they’re sleek and affordable so everybody has a need for one, not just those who play in the high-alpine rock gardens.

smith-helmets-2014Smith Optics has a full collection of new colors and styles in both their ski and snowboard helmets and ski and snowboard goggles. This yellow-on-yellow combo is just one sweet headwear outfit. The sneaky Amstel Light simply crept into the shot last-minute. We’re not exactly sure how that got there.

Smith is also unveiling the next generation of interchangeable lens goggles, the Smith I/O 7. If you thought it was easy to swap the lenses on the original I/O, you ain’t seen nothing yet. This video walks you through the process of changing Smith I/O 7 lenses:

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Helly Hansen has expanded their clothing line by 25% for 2014/2015! Their Lifa collection features 100% polypropylene fabric that breathes incredibly well on the inside, and it’s coming in two versions: Lifa Flow has a merino wool/polypro blend, and Lifa Active has a polyester/polypro blend. Their new C.I.S. piece is a 3-in-1 jacket with a with a removable inner-liner, and is compatible with all Helly Hansen C.I.S. pieces. HH is also dropping the Mission Stoke Jacket for next year, featuring H2 Flow along the back (circular spaces trap heat better and ventilate faster) and a new stretchy fabric in front that is ideal for freeriders. And an update to an already popular jacket, the Odin Insulator Shirt is now a reversible ski jacket and has a zipper rather than last year’s button-up front.

Here’s a short video preview of the Helly Hansen Supreme Jacket, a top-ranked piece for 2014/2015 with PrimaLoft Gold insulation: a blend of down and synthetic, giving you get the best of both worlds. Also, a four-way stretch liner and exterior go hand-in-hand when you need maximum mobility. Four-way stretch in solely the inner or outer doesn’t help much, but having it in both layers makes a world of a difference. Please excuse the poor color contrast in the video…our hand-held recorder was acting up.

camelbak-bottles-2014-2015

There are several new styles of CamelBak water bottles dropping this fall, including a new coffee mug called the CamelBak Forge, which is is supposedly excellent for adventurers of all sorts. The CamelBak Podium Chill insulated sports bottle (best for warmer months) gets a makeover for next year with a larger mouth piece to increase flow, and the CamelBak Eddy .75 (3/4-liter) is still expected to be their best-seller for the gym/office/car crowd. Live in the city but want fresh water to mimic your weekend getaways in the mountains? The CamelBak Groove Bottle with a built-in two-way filter works better than Brita filters to remove the funky chlorine/metal taste. All CamelBak reservoirs are dishwasher-safe and their glass and plastic bottles come standard with a lifetime warranty. 

 camelbak-kids-packs-2014

CamelBak kid’s packs like the Kicker, the CamelBak Skier (like a mini-Mule, a top-seller), the Scout pack (hiking pack with 50-oz reservoir) and the CamelBak Trail Blazer (15-liter backpack) haven’t changed much except for color options. Neither have CamelBak winter packs for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and winter hiking. The CamelBak Gamblr is ideal for sidecountry skiing since it’s sleek and slim enough to fit under a jacket yet also holds three liters of water so you don’t have to keep stopping to fill up at the lodge.

The CamelBak Scorpion has external helmet loops, space for storage and a 2-liter reservoir. CamelBak Zoid hydration packs are minimalist with only two pockets, but at $65 they’re the #1 seller in their class. The CamelBak Snowblast isn’t changing anything but color since it’s already so well designed, but now will come in Black, Dark Olive and Brindle. The CamelBak Bootlegger insulated hydration pack is sleek and stylish, meant to hold 1.5 liters of water with a low-profile perfect for donning under a jacket and riding chair lifts.



Adam Broderick manages the web content at Tahoe Mountain Sports. When he is not in the office, he tries his best to be in the field doing something awesome.


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