Like an early-forming lift line on a powder morning, skiers and riders can count on the snowsports industry to perpetually be in innovation mode. While not all technological tweaks to our favorite products year over year are monumental, consumers nonetheless can rely on ever-improving performance, comfort, style, and yes, sometimes even affordability. Who knows, sometimes the little tweaks unveiled in the fall might be heralded as the inflection point that ushered in groundbreaking change for years to come. Some of the products below might just revolutionize the way we enjoy winter in the mountains.
Peak by Bode Miller
Franconia, N.H. native and American skiing legend Bode Miller is on a quest to design the perfect, high-performance ski. With his new company’s limited lineup of six all-mountain and side-country ski models available in 2022-23, he’s hoping to convince the industry that he has, in fact, found the key.
Peak Ski Company – the direct-to-consumer platform Miller founded with ski industry veteran Andy Wirth – is utilizing Keyhole Technology to deliver what they say is a perfectly-balanced ski for every user in all lengths, with proper flex and accessible power built-in. The technology is an oval cutaway in the top layer of aluminum-titanium alloy, a “keyhole,” that Peak says allows for less sidecut in the wider models for easier turn initiation and the ability to alter turn shapes.
“If you change the rise or the rocker by a millimeter or two, you change how the ski engages at the initiation of a turn,” Miller said. “If you change that, then you need to compensate by adjusting the torsional rigidity of the ski underfoot. I learned years ago that a cutaway in front of the binding unlocks the torsional performance of a ski. We’ve integrated this feature, calling it Keyhole Technology, into all our skis and it has yielded great results.”
Peak by Bode Miller’s limited lineup for 2022-23 includes four frontside models in various waste widths; the Peak 88, 98, 104 and 110, as well as two high-performance sidecountry skis, Peak SC 98 and Peak SC 104.
Blizzard is introducing an all-new backcountry-oriented unisex line catering to “those of you who work late, rise early, climb hard, rip turns, and always pack a headlamp.” The Hustle collection combines features of Blizzard’s lightweight touring-oriented Zero G collection and the charging freeride Rustlers line, delivering what Blizzard claims is the sweet spot of performance-to-weight that can function as a touring ski for some or an every-day inbound setup for others.
Each ski in the line features Blizzard’s lightweight TrueBlend wood core and Carbon DRT (dynamic release technology) for dampening, stability and control. Models include Hustle 9 at 94 mm underfoot, Hustle 10 at 102/104 mm underfoot, and the Hustle 11 at 112/114/116 mm underfoot.
Specially-designed for steep and deep terrain, K2’s all-new Dispatch ski and boot series is modeled for those blower days when resort skiers will catch a ride to the top only to bypass the trail network to seek out their favorite off-piste stashes.
The skis – available in 101, 110 and 120 mm underfoot, feature longer turning radii than the Wayback line, and also feature a beefed-up Hex Beam Titanal laminate to boost power. A lighter ski may be the preferred choice for those earning their turns, but Dispatch is the clear choice for those who value downhill performance and security.
K2’s all-new touring-oriented Dispatch boots come in five separate models for men and women. The lightweight, ergonomic boot line is outfitted with Vibram Outsoles, a 60-degree range of motion walk mode, and the company’s new TourFit Pro BOA Liner.
Volkl is unveiling the new generations for three models of its popular all-mountain freeride category with Kendo 88, Kenja 88, and Mantra 102.
Each ski in the line is constructed with Tailored Carbon Tips – an integrated technology that allows for quick turn initiation in the front of the ski with a smooth transition to the rest of the ski. Also featured in each is a Tailored Titanal Frame, an upper layer that varies in width along the length of the ski to tailor the amount of damping and torsional stiffening to the skier’s body size.
One significant change in the Kendo 88 (and the women’s Kenja 88) compared to the previous model is a shorter turn radius, allowing for easier transition to tighter turns to awaken the ski’s liveliness and quickness. The updated Mantra, now available at 102 mm, also boasts a shorter turn radius along with 3D Radius Sidecut – which is three distinct radii in the sidecut to allow the skier to change turn shapes at will.
This season, Moosejaw debuts its affordable More Collection for Walmart, a performance outerwear line targeted to a broader audience. The men’s and women’s products include fabrics made with 100 percent recycled polyester and range in price from $60 to $134.
The women’s collection features six pieces: the cozy down insulator vest and jacket, the hooded parka and the hooded insulated jacket, and the hooded mid-length down jacket and insulated ski and snow pant. The men’s collection also includes six pieces: the down insulator vest and jacket, the hooded softshell jacket and hooded insulated jacket, and the hooded down parka and insulated ski and snow pant.
“Giving more people access to the outdoors is essential and it will not happen without creating products and programs that are more inclusive for a variety of customers,” said Kelli Patterson, vice president of marketing at Moosejaw. “This new initiative provides an inclusive range of sizing with pricing to match.”
Smith 4D MAG S
With BirdsEye Vision technology, which Smith says provides 25 percent more field of view, the 4D MAG takes the depth and clarity of on-slope vision to new heights. The goggles include interchangeable ChromaPop spherical lenses with TLT (Tapered Lens Technology) and Fog-X treatment. Look for the 4D MAG S this season, a lower-profile version designed for smaller faces.
Also this fall, Smith is discontinuing plastic waste across new packaging of its winter sports and eyewear products. This includes the removal of plastic windows on goggle boxes, polybags, and internal plastic protectors. All new retail boxes are now produced from post-consumer recycled cardboard.
MountainFLOW quick wax
Forget the irons and the scrapers and the worry about petroleum-based waxes. MountainFLOW’s quick wax products, available in cool (15-30 degrees) and warm (25-40 degrees) are easy to apply.
Simply rub into your base with the included applicator pad and buff with a cloth. All mountainFLOW products – which the company claims have tested to perform as well as petroleum-based waxes – are made from 100 percent plant-based ingredients, are biodegradable and non-toxic.
Button Ski Hanger
Fed up that your skis are perpetually falling over in your home or condo? Are those cumbersome ski storage products ineffective or in the way? The Button Ski Hanger strives to solve those problems. The patented storage system differs from many other products on the market because designers have seen that hanging skis by the tips don’t work in all applications, and may actually weaken some kinds of skis. They’ve also seen how slotted floor stands don’t work for all shapes of skis, especially our fat powder planks. With the Button Ski Hanger system, skis hang by the binding toe piece, making them compatible with all alpine ski bindings. “This means that the length, width, or shape of the skis doesn’t matter,” one of the company’s designers said. “Your fat powder skis can now be stored on the same ski rack as your narrower carving skis, your race skis, and your kids’ skis.” Look for the product on Amazon.com.
Cardo Systems, known as a leader in motorcycle communication devices, is bringing its award-winning, new Packtalk Outdoor communication system to the slopes for 2022-23. Packtalk Outdoor uses Dynamic Mesh Communication technology to allow groups of up to 15 skiers and riders to seamlessly communicate with each other, hands-free and on-the-go, without the need for an internet or cellular signal.
The flexible group intercom system has the ability to attach to a variety of helmets along with mounting solutions for backpacks and hydration pack straps, with a battery life of up to 10 hours in extreme temperatures.
“We’re stoked to release the new Packtalk Outdoor on the heels of receiving a Best in Show award at Outdoor Retailer, and just in time for the snow to start falling,” Cardo Systems director Bobby Ali said. “This is a true game-changer for winter sports and outdoor activities, and it’s the world’s best sports communicator.”