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ISPO 2018 Trends and reviews

10 February 2018

ISPO 2018 Trends and reviews for new products hitting the mountains next winter. These top innovations will change the way you look at the mountains for 2018. Snowsports enthusiasts are continually demanding better equipment that lets them push higher and further into the mountains with minimal effort, while protecting the environment they love so much. Mountain Air picks its top innovations from ISPO for 2018.

There was a buzz this year at ISPO, ski manufacturers have had a great season on the back of excellent conditions across the alps. The feeling is that there are exciting steps being taken in all the right directions. This will in time translate to increased investment in R&D and trickle down to users with exciting new products that help us to enjoy even more our time in the mountains.

In general, the biggest growth sector of the market is freeskiing. The number of skiers who identify as freeskiers in the U.S has risen steadily over the last 10 years —Rising from 2.7 million in 2008 to a massive 5.4 million currently. So nearly half of the 11.8 million downhill skiers in the U.S. identify as freeskiers (SIA Market research). If the American market acts as an indicator of trends across the pond, we should see a huge surge in developments in the technology we are most interested in. Onwards and upwards….


Skis / Board – This year’s ski trend is to move away from “fat” 120mm underfoot skis and back to more carving focused skis that will still hold an edge while on the piste, and allow you to tour for hours. The trend is moving back towards more generalist all mountain skis that allow backcountry access. This can be seen with the new Black Crow Camox Freebird, already one of our biggest sellers for the last few years. Next year it will be lighter while not losing its skiing capability, hopefully a dream come true for the person who wants a one ski quiver, touring in the morning and ripping the pistes in the afternoon.

Another interesting range is the K2 Wayback series, that has been designed here in the Alps with guides and athletes on peaks that you might be very familiar with here in Verbier. One of the key cogs in the design process was Hans Solmsson who is part of our guide program here in Mountain Air. So, this ski was designed with exactly the type of conditions you ski in everyday here in and around Verbier.

 

Bindings – More and more people are heading into the back country to get away from the crowds to find that fresh powder we all dream about. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation whether it’s the pin bindings or the pin boots that are driving this movement. But the results are clearly seen in the progression of the market, towards back country access. Mountain Air has always been a proud market leader in this area, so we are excited to see the progression of products such as the Salomon Shift MNC pin binding. The Salomon binding won an ISPO award despite Amer not exhibiting at the show. This binding hopes to bridge the gap between security of a regular alpine binding and the functionality of pin bindings. For those rippers who are looking to cover more ground in search of engaging lines.

Boots – Lighter, higher flex rating and more range of movement. The Freeski market grows year on year, and in the boot market this is especially evident. Skiers are requesting boots that will make it easier for the skier to gain those meters without compromising on the way down, directly in line with what the bindings manufacturers are doing. The plastics being used to create the next generation of boots are becoming lighter but also stiffer. Combine that with innovative new shapes, and you have a boot that keep you comfortable for the climb and skis like a traditional alpine boot for the way back down. Boots such as the Dynafit Hoji and the K2 Recon are great examples of the way the industry is going. Combining ease of use and performance.

Clothing – Textile innovations are driving the clothing market towards new higher performance fabrics that retain the moisture management and protective qualities while attempting the reduce the effect of the production on the natural environment. Continuing the work that Patagonia pioneered in the outdoor clothing industry and that companies such as Picture are now continuing. New blends of traditional natural fibres and modern tech weaves means materials are lighter, stronger more effective at protecting you from the elements whilst attempting to keep the cost to the environment at a minimum. Nature is also not only providing the fibres but also the inspiration for how the materials are being constructed. Manufacturers are mimicking nature but with modern synthetic products to create super high-performance garments.

Technology,

DPS Phantom permanent base, could usher in the dawn of a new era in ski servicing. If you can actually apply this one-time treatment to your skis and then never wax them again, it will save time, money and the planet. All things we are happy to hear at Mountain Air. Definitely one to watch out for.

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