Doing any shopping for ski gear? I’m getting hammered by retailers and manufacturers trying to get info out, some attempting to pull in business with deals and sales. Thought I’d serve up some tips.
Big one for some of you is a sale Dynafit has approved for their retailers. Get 20% off on skis and boots (starts November 1st but you can reserve). We linked to our partner Cripple Creek, a few blocks away from our publishing campus. We recommend them for this sort of thing due to the necessity of technical customer service. But of course shop any retailer of your choice.
On the avalanche beacon front, I just heard BCA has their Tracker 3 in retail. We like that little unit, check it out.
Gift searching for any “one lap” skiers in your life? For example, a fitness uphiller or a casual tourer who tends to re-skin at home? “Glueless” skins appear to be coming into their own now, with the bugs worked out. They’re still difficult to deal with in cold snowy conditions, making multiple laps a bit iffy sometimes. But they’re the perfect thing to eliminate the usual climbing skin hassles that seem like some sort of dark-ages technology. Like, for example, the fact that one visit to your shedding dog’s fur can ruin them. Hair is no problem for glueless skins. You can actually throw them in your backpack wrapped in a cardigan instead of a skin bag and they’d come out fine.
One of the glueless skin brands we’ve been testing is High Trails. But Gecko originated the concept and had many challenges; word is they’re rising from the ashes with something nice as well. For me, the most interesting of these skins is the Kohla, which appears to be more robust than the other ones, but we need more field testing (Volkl is rebranding the Kohla skins for their BMT skis; I’ve got a pair that’ll go into play real soon).
It is worth shouting out the etailers where you can get deals. Sierra Trading post is always a good bet. I just looked at their website. They’ve got a mountain of discounted name-brand ski touring boots, and a ski binding for $15.00!? Link below takes you to Sierra; use the discount code.
Don’t forget Backcountry.com. Yeah, I know they’re the Amazon of the outdoor world and thus some of you who Occupy Wall Street might want to Occupy SLC, but still, the online megastore does a good job. Both these companies help quite a bit with keeping WildSnow.com going by virtue of affiliate sales commissions — if you click through here on WildSnow. Thanks so much for doing so.
Remember that the Fritschi Vipec binding has several nice improvements, especially the adjustable toe pin having a lock to prevent accidental loosening. Vipec is interesting because the toe releases to the side in a way similar to alpine bindings. Making a god out of alpine bindings isn’t our business, but they do seem to function somewhat adequately. On the other hand, one has to wonder of the side release at the heel of most tech bindings might also have some advantages in terms of safety. I’m not holding my breath for the answers to all this, but interesting to ponder and debate.
Goal prime in the world of early adopter shopping is of course the Marker Kingpin ski touring binding. Show up at the trailhead with these and the girls or guys will be standing in line to join you for apre. They’re only selling a few Kingpins this winter. To get yours you need to work with a retailer. One guy I spoke with said he got help from a Marker dealer in Texas who ordered all of one pair.
Am I wrong about Kingpin being the ultimate early adoption score? Black Diamond Jetforce airbag rucksack might win that category. They’re only selling a few as well and they’ll go fast (only available through specialty retailers starting sometime in November or December; again, get on the list). Where does that leave you as an airbag shopper? Let me prop BCA. Their packs are reasonable weight, reasonable price, and even reasonable colors. And lest I be accused of advertiser bias, we also like the ABS airbag packs due to their zip-on configuration system. Also, don’t forget the cool Euro system we saw last winter at St. Anton, the Scott Alpride, word is it’ll be in North American retail soon.
Comments always appreciated, especially regarding airbag backpacks (and shopping suggestions)!
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.