Despite the grand size, panache, and dash of the Outdoor Retailer show, sometimes it’s the small innovations on display that catch my eye. Sure, bindings and boots are getting lighter, and skis for the American market are getting wider than ever.
But whether you use wider planks, or mid-fats, or even skinnier race skis, one occurrence tends to plague all ski widths: snow accumulation on the topside of the skis. No doubt there is a bit of irony to be found in buying expensive, lightweight gear, then watching heavy snow accumulate on the surface of the skis, adding unwanted weight.
Snow accumulates, and you’re right to ‘YIKES!’ Easily an extra pound per foot. Irritating, especially for those who try hard to travel lightly.
For those riding heavier, wider, and somewhat cheaper planks, the problem is worse – even more Continue reading ‘K2 Snowphobic Topsheet Wax’
Days like today, tomorrow, and the next really test one’s commitment levels. The first snows of the season to potentially offer up low angle powder turns (high angle turns could be suicide, considering the snowpack) or powder-on-groomer turns – without a massive number of rocks – are on offer. The only question that remains is “Go to Outdoor Retailer as planned, or skip out and get some of that pow that’s been so rare this season?”
For perhaps the first time in its history, the Winter 2012 Outdoor Retailer Show’s arrival coincided with the arrival of the first large snow storm of the year. High in the mountains, bombs went off at ski areas conducting control work, avalanches rolled down, and powder rabid hordes waited in line for the lifts to fire up.
Meanwhile, in the city, any Continue reading ‘Outdoor Retailer Returns’
Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2011 has come to Salt Lake City this week. On tap are the usual assortment of outdoor gear solutions for active people. Many of those who have ever dreamed up a product or service to suit an outdoor oriented need present their products or ideas to buyers and retailers at the OR Show. The gear ranges the gamut, but if it will somehow improve your outdoor experience, it’s likely you’ll find it being represented here.
Pots of gold at the end of a double rainbow above the Salt Palace Convention Center, home of Outdoor Retailer Summer 2011? Perhaps. The OR show brings around $40 million dollars of economic boost to Utah annually. Photo by Todd Allain.
From tiny to established, Continue reading ‘Outdoor Retailer Summer 2011′
Baffin – for those unfamiliar with this Canadian company – makes gear for cold weather. Really cold weather, which is why they’ve gone with the ‘Polar Proven’ slogan to represent their brand. That, and the fact that the company president, Paul Hubner, has traveled to both the South and North Poles in Baffin gear to test it, and prove that the stuff works to insulate one from the most harsh of environments. With boots available that insulate to temperatures of -148F, it’s hard to find a cold temperature on the planet that Baffin cannot protect your feet against.
While Baffin has been making well proven footwear for about 25 years, their entry into clothing and apparel is a new step for the company. They’ve got baselayers, accessories such as hats, gloves, and balaclava’s, as well as some soft shell outerwear, to compliment their massive, polar style expedition outer layers.
Zipping down the pow with warm hands, courtesy of Baffin.
Since meeting Baffin’s Jeff Wellwood at the Outdoor Retailer Show Continue reading ‘Baffin Gauntlet Glove Review’
For those who aren’t up on their Italian, C.A.M.P. stands for ‘Construzione Articoli Montagna Premana’, which translates in English to, ‘Articles for Mountaineering Made in Premana.’ What company actually tells consumers where their stuff is made, in the company name, in this century? CAMP, that’s who. Premana is a small mountain town with only one road leading in or out. Begun by Nicolas Codega in 1889, this company has been manufacturing mountaineering equipment since day one, 122 years ago. It’s safe to say they’ve got a bit of history where mountains are concerned.
In keeping with the light is right philosophy, CAMP had their Dynafit compatible crampon on display at the Outdoor Retailer show. Dropping out the typical cam style locking heel piece, this new design instead uses two familiar (to any tech binding user) steel pins to lock the crampon onto the rear of the Dynafit compatible ski boot. The toe piece is still the familiar wire cage, and with flexible webbing between the toe and heel pieces, the entire unit folds down into a pretty small, and light, package.
The CAMP race 290 crampon in all its minimalist glory.
Billed as the lightest crampon available (again!), it felt as secure Continue reading ‘C.A.M.P. Dynafit Compatible Crampon’
Before I get into more detail on some of the gear present at the 2011 Winter Outdoor Retailer Show, I want to acknowledge that there’s more to this event than just gear, presentations, and the occasional party… These instances caught my attention, and deserve mention.
- Leave No Trace. Traveling the country 11 months out of the year to teach ethical planetary stewardship ideas can be a tough life, yet that’s exactly what two separate teams, comprised of Jason and Agata Ketterick, as well as Kate Bullock and Tracy Howard, find themselves doing. Eschewing the fancy Continue reading ‘Other Outdoor Retailer Highlights’