- We went to the 2020 Outdoor Retailer Snow Show in Denver, Colorado to get a firsthand look at upcoming gear from brands like Rossignol, Weston, Picture, and Smith.
- Thousands of new products debuted across the showroom floor, as those in attendance showcased everything from skis and snowboards to snow jackets and goggles.
- Here are our picks for the best ski and snowboard gear we saw at this year’s show.
Each January, the Outdoor Retailer Snow Show in Denver, Colorado lives up to its very on-brand name. The show gives brands a chance to showcase their current and upcoming winter-specific apparel and gear while also serving as a one-stop-shop for the latest hardgoods like skis and snowboards. Though much of the gear on display won’t be available to the public until the following winter, the show succeeds in building collective excitement over what’s to come.
The story was largely similar at this year’s edition of the Snow Show, with brands like K2 and Rossignol unveiling newly designed skis, while a company like Smith showed off its latest helmet technology. While the products on the floor varied in terms of style, purpose, and brand name, they all had one thing in common: making our time on the ski hill more enjoyable — whether that means carving up a double black diamond or just staying warm on the bunny hill.
After pacing through the many halls of the Denver Convention Center, we were able to narrow down the cream of the debuted crop.
Here are our picks for the best ski and snowboard gear we saw at Outdoor Retailer Snow Show 2020.
K2 Disruption ($899)
Dubbed the “race ski for non-racers,” the new K2 Disruption promises to be fast, light, and stable. Designed for use on groomed trails — rather than in the backcountry — this ski uses proprietary technology from K2 to dampen the chatter and smooth out the ride. Made to be aggressive and stiff, the Disruption aims to deliver thrills for skiers of all skill levels.
Rossignol Black Ops Sender TI ($799)
Rossignol went all in on its Black Ops line of skis in 2020, offering a completely new design that includes the top-end Sender TI. Built with the expert skier in mind, the Sender TI is fast, stable, and nimble. Stiff underfoot and designed to reduce vibration throughout, it’s designed to be the ride of choice for tackling big lines, both on the hill or in the backcountry. It even uses recycled materials that make it better for the planet, too.
Weston Pow Slayer Snowboards ($649)
Designed to be the most versatile snowboard on the hill, the Weston Pow Slayer comes in three varieties based on conditions and riding style. All versions feature a shorter, fatter design that provides more float and control in deep powder. Built for the freestyle rider, the Pow Slayer collection also features graphics from Colorado-based artist John Fellows, which helps further distinguish it from other boards.
Picture Demain Jacket ($500)
Ski jackets are a dime a dozen at Outdoor Retailer, so it takes something special to make one truly stand out. Picture, a company that makes organic clothing, managed to achieve that with the Demain, a jacket that uses bio-sourced polyester made from sugar cane and fabrics created from recycled water bottles. As if that wasn’t enough, the Demain is also completely PFC-free and doesn’t used industrial solvents in its manufacturing process. The result is an eco-friendly garment that’s still waterproof and breathable.
Smith Altus/Vida Helmet ($150/$180)
Smith’s new Altus and Vida helmet — for men and women, respectively — is the perfect example of a piece of gear that’s more than the sum of its parts. Weighing just 16 ounces, it isn’t the lightest helmet on the market but it’s surprisingly svelte and well-built. Designed to maximize fit and comfort, it uses Koroyd technology to provide an extremely high level of protection. Those looking for a bit more can upgrade to a MIPS version, as well. The standard model costs $150, while the upgraded MIPS edition sets you back $180, making either version an excellent all-around bargain.
Scarpa F1 LT Boot
If you’re looking for a lightweight and versatile touring boot, the new Scarpa F1 LT should be on your short list. Tipping the scales at just 2.2 pounds and offering a flex rating of 100, this boot handles everything from big backcountry lines to deep powder on a groomed hill. Stable and agile, the boot is made for fast descents but also features a mechanism that makes it easier to walk in when not on skis. The boots come equipped with the Boa lacing system that make it easy to dial in the right fit and they also feature Recco technology that aids in search and rescue operations.
Ortovox Haute Route Backpack ($180)
For 2020, Ortovox is updating its best-selling Haute Route ski pack, bringing a few new features to an already outstanding product. The latest version features a more comfortable and refined fit that includes a women’s specific model. Built to be lighter and more convenient, the bag includes a zipper on the back panel that provides access to the inside of the bag even while it carries your skis or snowboard. Other useful add-ons include a waterproof pocket for organizing avalanche safety gear and an ample amount of cargo space inside the pack itself.
Mountain Flow Eco Wax ($19)
Everyone knows that to get maximum performance out of your skis, you need to wax them from time-to-time. The problem is, the waxes we traditionally use are made from petroleum-based materials that are horrible for the environment. Enter Mountain Flow Eco Wax, which is a completely natural wax made from five different plant-based substances. The company says that its formula is proprietary but that all of its ingredients are natural and obtained in a sustainable fashion. Whether or not it functions as well as other waxes remains to be seen, but it’s a step forward for environmental protection.
Smith Wireless Audio System by Aleck ($130)
Smith partnered with the audio company Aleck to bring a new wireless audio system that allows skiers and snowboarders to stay in constant contact while on the hill. Designed to fit into any Smith helmet, the device connects with a smartphone to offer push-to-talk communications with individuals and groups, while also providing on-hill location tracking. The speakers can also play music or podcasts, are IPX-4 sweat- and water-resistant, and are highly durable. A wired version will also be available for $40.
Avametrix AvyScanner ($TBD)
Avalanches are amongst the biggest dangers for skiers and snowboarders, claiming as many as 150 lives on an annual basis. A new start-up called Avemetrix is looking to take the worry out of backcountry and resort skiing with a high-tech device designed to help backcountry athletes identify and avoid dangerous situations. The company’s AvyScanner uses radar and an AI-powered neural network to locate hazardous avalanche zones and alert skiers to the danger before they find themselves in trouble. The goal is to avoid triggering avalanches at all by locating safe lines to descend the mountain.
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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Picks team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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