I had the pleasure of attending the dealer 2020 On Snow demo convened at Pico Mountain in Vermont this past week. This consists of two days of trying out the new ski and ride gear that will hit the market next season. And an opportunity to familiarize oneself with existing product.
The bottom line is that we get to give you first-hand experience using the product, for real, on the snow. This includes boots, skis and snowboards, goggles, poles, helmets and other stuff. Despite being an awful lot of fun, it is a very educational experience.
For next season don’t expect to see any massive upheavals in the realm of skis and ski boots. Certainly there are a few new models that will hit the shelves and racks, and there will be some reconfiguration of existing skis and boots; and a few known models will be retired. Pretty much a typical new season in the Land of Ski Gear.
The Ski Boots
In the world of ski boots, expect to see a continuation of the trend in making ski boots better fitting. Also expect to see a continuation of the trend in providing more responsive boots that provide better control over the skis across all boot widths. Gone—thankfully—are the days when it was difficult to find performance-oriented ski boots for those with wider feet.
Do expect to find that traditional 4-buckle boots actually allow easier entry and exit of your foot. This year I am sliding my feet into the newly redesigned Dalbello DS 110 ski boot. I can honestly say that my feet slide into these boots—redesigned with a new opening that actually does work to facilitate ease-of-entry—about as easily as they did into my previous 3-buckle Cabrio-style boots. This is a definite win for all feet!!
And do expect to continue to see ski boots that are lighter. Rapidly receding are the days when ski boots literally felt like lead weights. Newer boots are phenomenally light in weight. Again, a win for all. Toss in GripWalk so that you can pretty much walk normally in ski boots, and life on the slopes and in the lodge is looking pretty darn good.
As with boots, don’t expect any sweeping changes in the world of skis. Some ski series will disappear, and a few new ones will be birthed. There is a trend towards seeing previously defined all-mountain skis take on many attributes of race skis. And there is a trend for making freestyle skis able to carve turns more easily. This is a good thing for those that love to sink a ski into carves all the way down the slope.
There also seems to be a trend towards redefining side cut, which determines turning radius and turning behavior of the ski. The trend is seeing side cut redefined in a way such that skis can readily take on a long, sweeping carve, then hop right to into a series of shorter, quicker turns. Sure, you can make any ski do this. But the new side cut technology facilitates the change so it is easier and more natural.
Conditions are actually pretty good up north. Granted, there isn’t an awful lot of snow in the woods, and not all trails are open due to thin cover where snow-making is minimal or not at all. Most trails have pretty good cover and are pretty much typical of New England ski slopes. Packed powder and loose granular surfaces with an occasional patch of glacier ice peeking through in heavily trafficked areas.
Fortunately that nasty, predicted precipitation beginning with “r” didn’t occur over this past weekend. A bit of mixed up weather passed through, but left temperatures cold enough to freshen things up with man-made snow. And continued flurries keep adding some natural fresh stuff, an inch or two at a time.
So get out and hit the slopes. The weather has been seasonal up to the north, though a bit on the warmer end of the scale. No bone-rattling cold like last January. So enjoy the somewhat moderate weather while you can. It’s New England. You know it won’t last.
In fact, threats of a Nor’easter are in the air for the coming weekend. I say bring it on, as long the type of precipitation does not contain the letter “r” I will be happy.
Super Bowl Sunday at Mount Snow
Just a reminder that if you want to get out on the slopes on Super Bowl Sunday—that’s this Sunday, February 2nd—then sign up for the Avie’s Ski & Ride trip headed to Mount Snow. Super Bowl Sunday is historically less crowded than your average Sunday on the slopes. And by early afternoon the crowd is so thin you might think it’s a weekday.
Get out and enjoy the slopes!!