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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Thursday, October 1, 2015

SKi Mo update..

Stolen from an email this morning but good overall view I think..

"Welcome to our second annual season preview, this time featuring the 2015/16 ski season.  While many skiers and industry players are still recovering from the hangover of a record low snow year throughout much of the west, optimistic folks and east coasters are eagerly anticipating another great season.  October came fast this year and we will use the first day, the second anniversary of our opening, to look ahead and see what’s in store (literally and figuratively).
New ski gear
Race bindings adjust to you
While Dynafit was the first to make a race-weight binding with an adjustable release (Speed Superlite), others are now following suit.  Kreuzspitze offers a new GT binding, an ultralight machination that has fully adjustable lateral and vertical release values.  Plum is blurring the lines between touring bindings and race bindings with the new WEPA, a binding happily lodged between proven race models and the Guide binding.  Not only can you adjust the release of the WEPA, you can also adjust the heel to multiple boot lengths.  Even Ski Trab has focused significant energy on making race bindings with safer release/retention characteristics.  We may look back on this season as the year it officially became OK to tour without training wheels.
It’s not just race bindings that are seeing attention paid to release mechanics.  Coterminous with the above improvements to ultralight bindings, major touring models are being certified by TÜV.  The new Radical 2.0 series from Dynafit consists of multiple models with official paperwork, joining the previously anointed (but much heavier) Beast.  Combined with the Marker line of half-tech bindings, it’s officially a DIN party.  While this is certainly a welcome development for fans of uphill travel, it’s a good time to point out that certification to DIN standards does not change the biomechanical release profile of lateral-heel release bindings.  See our article on WildSnow to visualize the difference between these and standard alpine bindings.  Oddly, the makers of the tech binding with a release profile most similar to alpine bindings (the Vipec) haven’t yet paid the certification overlords to make you feel safer via rubber stamp.  So keep in mind it may not be best to choose based on paperwork alone.
Color blindness
While we don’t typically report on fashion trends, some of the palette changes this season are screaming for attention.  Most notably, Dynafit is seriously overcorrecting from several years of neutral-colored race skis, bindings, boots, and clothing.  New pastel colors not only differentiate from previous models, but also from left and right skis and bindings.  Other hue migrations can be seen in updated CAMP packs, Millet clothing, and many of the new bindings mentioned above.  It’s becoming easier to choose all your gear based on style if, like us, you’re just in it to look good (new readers: yes, that was sarcasm).
In the software world, updating a major version number (before the decimal point) typically signifies a major leap in architecture, feature list, or consumer readiness.  Of course, there are a few bad apples that use versioning primarily as a means of extracting money from existing customers in the form of upgrades.  The jury is still out on which type of apples exist in the ski industry, but more and more are appending version numbers to their gear.  The Dynafit Superlite 2.0 is significantly different from its predecessor, arguably enough to warrant a different name altogether.  While sawing them in half reveals some construction changes, La Sportiva’s new 2.0 skis look and feel a lot like 2014/15 models.  On the flip side, the Spitfire 2.0 boot could be a game changer for fast and light touring.  We recommend taking the new versioning systems with a grain of salt; let’s just hope there are free downloads of any 2.1 versions with importa nt bug fixes."

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