Last week I attended the SIA show in Denver. I’ve been to several “Outdoor Retailer” sporting goods trade shows, but this was my first SIA show. About 1/5th the size of the OR show, the SIA show focused only on winter sporting goods; Snowboarding, Skiing, Backcountry gear, Nordic gear.
The trade show follows a similar format to the OR show, several days of trade show expo, followed by a couple days of “on the snow demo” at Winter Park Resort. About 900 brands were present at the show, displaying all their new gear for this season, and while the sheer quantity of gear was overwhelming, when I broke the expo floor into market segments (snowboarding, skiing, backcountry, etc…), it was much more manageable to make my way around from booth to booth to learn about all the new gear that interested me most (mainly downhill and backcountry ski gear).
I did make it into several outerwear booths as well, including Adidas Outdoors, Arc’Teryx, Patagonia, and Mammut, just so I could check out their new Gore-Tex Active Shell pieces, some of which were available now, while some would be available next fall. If you’re curious about Gore-Tex Active Shell, check out my earlier review on that. This was so quite different again than what I did on my recent desert road trip, but to be honest, along with running, skiing is at the top of my list!
While the Arc’Teryx, Patagonia, and Mammut pieces were certainly cool, the more surprising, or enlightening (?) brand was Adidas Outdoor. WAY different than what you may expect from the soccer and football company, Adidas Outdoor is an offshoot brand under the Adidas umbrella that launched their first pieces last fall. Fresh on the market, you’ll only be able to find their gear at specialty outdoor retailers as opposed to the big box stores where you’re likely accustomed to finding Adidas gear as I always use for my running. I’m most excited about their Gore-Tex Active-Shell pieces, super high breathability, waterproof, guaranteed for life, and packed with features you won’t find in most Active-Shell pieces from other brands (like pockets!).
Another super innovative piece of gear I saw at the show came from Voile’. You’re probably familiar with Voile’ as creators of some of the first split board backcountry snowboards, and shovels, avalanche probes, and other backcountry gear that I used on the TransRockies Challenge. the 6-day run, last year. A few years back, Voile’ debuted one of the most unique pairs of skis I’ve ever seen. A high end downhill all mountain ski bread with a waxless nordic cross-country ski.
A full feature downhill ski combined with the fish-scale traction patch underfoot you’d see in a cross-country ski. Ideal as a telemark ski for a ski-patroller or anyone else that wants the ability to go from downhill skiing to instantly climbing without the added step of putting skins on the skis. Although you can’t climb as steep of slopes as you could with skins, the ability to rapidly transition to climbing is invaluable to some people. You won’t be able to put your hands on a pair of these skis till next fall as this year’s lot is already sold out across the US, but when they do become available again, don’t expect them to stay on the shelves very long. See also this post about my Maine Bucket List (probably better for some summer’s days).
After the trade show, I attended one of the outdoor demo days at Winter Park Resort where I was able to try out several new pairs of skis that will be available next winter. My favorites came from the company DPS. Launched in 2005, DPS is one of the many modern boutique ski companies, but what makes them unique is their cutting-edge carbon fiber based skis. Super light underfoot, performance is uncompromised. I skied a couple variants of the Whaler ski, both in a 99 and 105 underfoot, and while the 105 handled like your typical all-mountain powder ski on soft snow, I was surprised how well it carved on the hardpack. I can’t wait to give them another go someday; perhaps I’ve found my new backcountry ski!!! So that was a great week, but I can’t wait as well to take part in the GrizzlyMan & Black Bear Challenge Adventure Race in April in Montana. That’s going to be fun as well!!!