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Posts Tagged ‘best skis of 2014’

Best Skis of 2014: New Skis & Winter Gear Demo At Alpine Meadows

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

This post was a group effort from three hard-chargin’ TMS employees: Dave, the owner, F.O.H. sales rep Ryan, and Adam, a punk snowboarder. Collectively, we spent two consecutive days at Alpine Meadows ripping around on new skis, boots, bindings and a splitboard that are set to release next winter. A few products were reviewed by more than one tester and not all reviews are fully positive, but we thought you should hear each valid perspective so we included everything below in raw, uncut form. Here’s what we thought of the new winter ski equipment you can expect to see soon from your favorite brands.

k2 pinnacle 130

K2 Pinnacle 130 (Dave)

I started the day with the K2 Pinnacle 130 boots on my feet and a pair of K2 Annex 108s in the 174 length attached to those. I was excited to try K2’s new boots as there has been a lot of press around them lately and K2 themselves are very excited to have a full boot and ski line for the first time in a long time. First things first, from appearances, you can tell K2 has really polished the look on these boots and unlike some other lines, they match up nicely with their skis. Not that cosmetics matter that much to me, but it is unbelievable to see some companies match up new boots with their new skis and have them just be the ugliest of colors that go together. Okay, back to the important things: a translucent bottom shell allow you to see right through to your Intuition liners on the inside and the size and shape of the buckles makes them very easy to manage. I particularly like the K2 Powerbuckle, which is the top “power strap/buckle combination”. It was designed to offer a larger range of motion than you get with most buckles. This makes touring more efficient yet still offers the power and stability you need to ride hard and fast with confidence. Unlike most other “sidecountry”-marketed boots these days, K2 has integrated the Dynafit toe tech fittings into their boots and therefore there is no need for two types of soles. Swapping soles is no longer an issue, simply because you don’t have to do it. I like this a lot because it will help bring the price down as you don’t need multiple soles, and it will be easier to go from a backcountry Dynafit setup to a resort-oriented alpine setup. All in all, I think K2 has a winner here and you will for sure see these on our shelves for the 2013-2014 season.

K2 Annex 108 (Dave)

After many years, K2 has decided to redesign their “sidecountry” line and has done away with the perennial favorite, the Sidestash, and replaced it with the Annex 108. There is also an Annex 98 (formerly the Hardside) and an Annex 118 (formerly the Sideseth). I was a big fan of the Sidestash so I decided to give the Annex a try. I was not disappointed. The Annex 108 skis perform just like the I remember the Sidestash skiing, but it has a little more rocker in the tip and more of a kick-tail for maneuverability in the rear. Skiing mostly on groomed runs, this ski held an edge great and did not waffle or bounce at high speeds. All in all, a great ski that will definitely be part of our selection next year.

salomon Q105 ski

Salomon Q105 (Dave)

Salomon has also updated their wildly popular and best-selling Rocker line, plus split it up a bit. Next year, expect to see
the Q-series of skis billed more as Salomon’s backcountry setup with the Rocker2 staying in the line as the frontcountry setup. The Rocker2 108 was one of our most popular skis this year, so I decided to ski the Q105, which is mimicked after the Rocker 108m but with less rocker, especially in the tail. I think this is going to be an excellent soft snow ski, as it did chatter quite a bit on the hard pack and groomed surfaces I was trying it on. While the Rocker2 really does excel in a wider variety of conditions, the lighter weight of the Q105 skis will make it a contender in the backcountry market.

technica cochise pro light 130

Technica Cochise Pro Light 130 (Dave)

This will be one of the newest boot additions to our wall for the 13-14 season. I didn’t know much about this boot before trying it out, but was pleasantly surprised. The stiffness in ski-mode is great and really (more…)

Outdoor Retailer: New Winter Outdoor Gear For 2013 And 2014

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

To start things off with a bang, The North Face put up almost two hundred of their product dealers at the Cliff Lodge and hosted an on-snow fun day at Snowbird Resort. Some of the TMS crew got to shred around the mountain on the new skis for 2013/2014 and talk winter sports with pro athletes and other retailers. There was a crazy inversion in Salt Lake City, so the temperatures in the city were barely above zero while up in the mountains they were in the mid-thirties.

Outdoor Retailer Snowbird

Look closely at this map of Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Can you believe how many different booths were set up for the show? They’re all outdoor gear companies unique in their own way, and it was easy to get lost! Thankfully we had access to a useful Outdoor Retailer smart phone app, or we never would have made a meeting on time.

Outdoor Retailer Map


We spent our days at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market with packed schedules, meeting with sales reps from more companies than we could keep track of. We were pumped to learn about all the cool new outdoor sports gear for 2014 (spring) and 2013 (fall). I’ll give you a sneak peek into some of the high-performance outdoor sporting equipment that we’re excited to carry soon at Tahoe Mountain Sports.

Voile The North Face Kuhl Black Diamond























The new Voile Splitboards are looking mighty fine! We’re excited to partner with Voile, and look forward to carrying a variety of splitboards and splitboard accessories for the ‘013/’014 season. The boards pictured above are the Voile Palindrome and the Voile Artisan, and the binding is the Voile Lightrail binding…light, comfortable and practical.

The North Face waterproof synthetic jackets were a big hit. The one pictured above is 800-fill down, and we’re really diggin’ the bright yellow.

Kuhl Mountain Clothing came up with a Kuhl denim jean. Kuhl Riot Denim PantThey’re calling it the Kuhl Riot, and it looks super comfortable, it’s articulated in all the right places, and it’s more stylish than the jeans you see from most other outdoor apparel companies. Here’s a quick video about the Kuhl Riot denim pant.

Black Diamond 2013/2014: Their ski line has been completely remodeled with full sidewall construction on every ski, offering more control and better edge control on varied terrain.
2013/2014 Black Diamond Touring Skis: Black Diamond Stigma, Black Diamond Crescent, Black Diamond Aspect.
2013/2014 Black Diamond All Mountain Skis: Black Diamond Verdict Skis and Black Diamond Zealot.
2013/2014 Black Diamond FreeTour Skis: Black Diamond Convert, Black Diamond Revert.
We’ll have more information soon about the 2013/2014 Black Diamond skis we’ll be carrying next season.

The Fritschi Zenith 12 was also a big hit, and you’ll be seeing it in early 2014 after it goes through an extensive production process. The picture above is an early-stage model and the plastic you see is only a mold. The real thing is gonna knock your socks off (so keep your boots super tight)!

Here’s a close-up shot of The North Face waterproof synthetic insulation. They’re calling it ThermoBall, and the concept seems righteous. The North Face Flash Dry 2014 products are still a force to be reckoned with, but waterproof down jackets are also going to be spectacular and we can’t wait to get them in stock. Be on the lookout for both a men’s and women’s ThermoBall hoodie, ThermoBall full zip, and women’s ThermoBall vest. Shoot, they’ll even have a Thermoball bootie to keep feet dry and warm in cold, wet conditions!

The North Face Thermo Ball


The 2014 K2 skis are looking pretty flippin’ sweet! They’re lightweight, backcountry-savvy and come in a variety of shapes and sizes for varied conditions / skier preferences. Take note of the skin-clip tips for securing custom pre-cut K2 skins and the new top-sheet graphics. K2 touring skis, K2 backcountry skis and K2 sidecountry skis. You can take these puppies anywhere!

2014 K2 skis

Click image to visit our K2 page.

K2 is also upgrading their splitboard line. The 2014 K2 Splitboard line features their recent classic, the K2 Panoramic split, but they’ve added a female version. The K2 Northern Lite has a slightly more maneuverable shape, and also has slots that make it compatible with the new K2 Kwicker step-in splitboard setup. What’s that? The return of the click-in binding? Yep, you heard correctly. K2 is bringing back the user-friendly step-ins, and even skiers who have never boarded admit to how quick and simple the switch-over is. K2 is calling it the “lightest, fastest splitboard system in the world”. The K2 Ultra Split is like the K2 Ultra Dream, an aptly titled snowboard, only the split version has been fine-tuned for top-performance.

K2 Splitboards & K2 Shax

The K2 Kwicker boot is stiff and relatively lightweight, features a BOA lacing system that pulls your foot back and locks you into the heel-cup, and clicks into the Kwicker binding with ease. Okay, I realized I left you hanging. You’re probably wondering what the heck that is in the top-right image. It’s the K2 Shax – a shovel / ice ax combo, and it’s ultalight and packs down small. The ax-head is removable so you can switch it out for a regular shovel handle and store the ax-head in the brain of your pack. Save yourself the trouble of lugging around an extra ice-ax. The K2 Shax is a backcountry dream-come-true.

Marker Helmets

Check out the new Marker ski helmets. Not only are they durable and comfortable (they use the same interior padding used in motocross pads and in many orthopedic products – a new partnership with Ortema), but they feature a magnetized buckle so they’re much easier to fasten with gloves or cold hands. Keep your eyes peeled for the Marker Otis helmet, the Marker Ampire, Marker Consort women’s and men’s helmets, and the Marker Kojak / Kojo kids helmets. Marker goggles are also coming with full force, and they’re even offering a Marker kids goggle that comes with a full mirror double lens and in a batch of sweet color schemes.

Here’s a quick overview of the new Marker helmet line:

The new Marker ski bindings, made in Penzberg, Germany, have undergone a wonderful makeover. The 2014 Marker Baron is wider and lighter, the 2014 Marker Tour F12 is 28% (10 mm) wider, and the 2014 Tour F10 is unchanged – because it’s already so awesome. Want a non-climbing alpine binding that works with AT boots? You want the Marker Lord, that you can transfer from ski to ski! And to top it off, how about a Marker Freeride kids binding with a 70-mm brake? As for the 2013/2014 Volkl skis, the 2014 Nunateq only underwent a top-sheet makeover. The Volkl Inuk 177 is super-light, the Volkl Powder 2 with a 124 mm width underfoot is really surfy in powder, and the Volkl V-Werks is the new version of the Katana, with full carbon fiber and a wood core with air channels. It comes with skin-clip tips and skins that are cut to fit it’s specific shape. The Volkl Freeride ski also only got a graphic makeover, but there is a new women’s Volkl Yumi that comes with an 83-mm waist and is super lightweight.

Marker Bindings 2014

Click image to visit our Marker page.

Volkl Skis 2014

Click image to visit our Volkl page.














Alright, are you ready for this? The new Boreas backpacks are going to be pretty darn nifty. Especially this Boreas interchangeable pack – the Boreas Bootlegger – the frame will work with a variety of Boreas packs, so you can use your Boreas daypacks and your overnight packs with the same Boreas frame. They’re calling it the “Russian doll of daypacks”.

Boreas Bootlegger Pack


We had to (jokingly) pressure the Snow Peak reps to send us more Snow Peak cookware as soon as possible. We can’t keep the stuff on our shelves very long, so we were excited to see what they’ve got coming up next.

Snow Peak gear 2014Snow Peak gear 2014

















We couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw the new line of 2013/2014 Hestra Gloves. They got colorful! Hestra gloves are known for their dexterity, flexibility and grip. It’s cool to see a brand so devoted to quality craftsmanship add such an assortment of color schemes to their product line.

Hestra Gloves 2014

The new ABS backpacks (Airbag Backpack System) have also been redesigned with extra fashion in addition to their already superior function. We got our friend Desiree to blow off an ABS cartridge at the booth, and she seemed a bit shocked with how fast they inflate.

avalanche airbag backpacks 2014

Click image to visit our ABS Avalanche Airbag Backpack page.

Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of the 2014 Pieps transceivers (avalanche beacons), but I’ll tell you this: The new 2014 DSP Pro features a fourth antennae and the power and rapid-fire signal of the Pieps Vector, it switches pulse signals when an interference occurs, and you can scan and mark four burial victims. The 2014 Pieps DSP Pro beacon ($375) was designed for the more frequent backcountry traveler.  The DSP Tour is being replaced with the 2014 Pieps DSP Sport for the less avy-savvy adventurer, and it will retail at $275. The Pieps Sport transceiver uses the same signal as the DSP Pro transceiver, it comes in a new carry-pouch that is easier to access and fits more comfortably, and it allows you to mark a single burial victim before moving on to find another. Expect a mid-October 2013 delivery on the new Pieps beacons.

Mammut cartridge refillMammut airbag pack refill
















We got a hands-on demo of how to refill Mammut airbag cartridges. Yes, we can do it in our shop for you. If you’re in the Tahoe area and need a Mammut cartridge refill, come in to Tahoe Mountain Sports and we’ll hook you up.


CamelBak Packs 2014

The new line of CamelBak hydration packs get better and better each year. From CamelBak ski packs to bike packs and hiking daypacks, they’ve got you covered – and hydrated via a sip hose that reaches over your shoulder. Drink on-the-go so you don’t have to stop until you’re ready.

As an added bonus, Dave got to hang out with top-tier alpine climber Conrad Anker and Adam got to chill with free-solo pioneer Alex Honnold. That was, and still is, super freakin’ awesome.

Dave Polivy and Conrad AnkerAdam Broderick and Alex Honnold
















Here’s a cool parting shot to leave you with:

Outdoor Retailer Salt Palace

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