After I don’t know how many years of the Salt Palace convention center in Salt Lake City, the big North American outdoor sports trade show has moved to Denver, Colorado and we are delighted. The Denver convention center is a roomy, newish and attractive venue. Paid parking in a large nearby garage is plentiful. Light rail provides good access from various locals. Combining the ski show (SIA) and Outdoor Retailer seems to be working. We’ve actually not found much in terms of downsides, other than the continued attrition of who actually shows up and exhibits. For example it appears DeLorme and Garmin are missing in action (I wanted to chat them up due to our recent extended comment thread covering backcountry comms).
One of the innovative things at the Atomic booth is the Backland FR ski pole. The poles come apart and there’s a screwdriver bit at the end of the shaft. One pozi and one flat, for quick binding adjustments or gear repairs.
Atomic Backland FR features:
Skimo race rules changed recently and now junior racers can’t compete in carbon boots. It’s a safety precaution intended to prevent broken bones. La Sportiva’s new Racetron is all plastic, designed especially for junior racers and also appropriate for lighter folks who are looking for a fast, high-performance ski boot with a softer flex.
La Sportiva Racetron features:
While perusing all the fine pieces from La Sportiva’s Italian clothing designers, our eyes landed on a unique feature in the Axiom pant. Along the back waistband is a removable pad, sorta like a sweat band for the small of your back. If you have problems with swamp butt, this is the solution. Now you can work out like crazy and drench yourself in perspiration. Before joining friends for après, simply reach behind, remove the sweat guard and you’ll be fresh as a daisy. Our testers are eager to try it.
La Sportiva Axiom features:
Optic Nerve introduces a clever removable lens system. Lenses are attached by magnets in the frame. When the goggles fog or ice up, the lens is easily removed and replaced in a jiffy.
Optic Nerve San Juan / Southpaw features:
Over the years we’ve seen various start-ups go from an obscure table in the far regions to a legitimate booth on the showroom floor. It’s become a game with the WildSnow team to guess who will grow into a successful brand. My pick from day 1 is Ripclear.
Frustrated after scratching yet another pair of expensive goggles, two young men looked for a protective lens film, similar to the clear plastic often used to cover smart phone screens. After industry giants told them that it would be impossible to produce a curved film that would be optically perfect, they went to work. Ripclear is the result and it’s so revolutionary that their attorney was able to garner a broad patent because nothing similar previously existed.
Now for $30 you can buy a kit that contains 3 clear covers and everything you need to apply one to your shades. Co-founder Zach Hines claims one shield lasts about a year. It’s so scratch resistant that he doesn’t even bother using a goggle case anymore.
We’re impressed and I predict Ripclear will become the industry standard for protecting delicate surfaces.
Stay tuned. More to come!
WildSnow Girl, Lisa Dawson, is the luckiest girl in the world. Also known as Mrs. WildSnow.com, she tests whatever gear she wants. She gives the WildSnow family of websites the feminine voice.