Last Friday we arrived in Denver to take a close look at next year’s snowboarding gear. It is now Saturday, February 9 and SIA (SnowSports Industries America) is over…Demo Days are over…Winter Park is over and we are stuck at DIA waiting to get back to the coast to partake in the awesome snow Nemo deposited all over New England. We’ve been so busy the last week that it has been impossible to get our blog posts turned out. Having no interweb connection at our place didn’t help and other than the obligatory real-time instagramming and face-tweeting, we’ve been running way behind in our duties. So let’s start with a snowboarding gear preview and a few thoughts on the SIA trade show in Denver.
This year the crowds seemed a little thinned and the vibe a little more laid back. A good amount of our time was spent listening to vendors explain their new product lines. All the while, we fitted, fondled, and fiddled with snowboard bindings, outerwear, base layers, gloves, mittens, and headwear. We hand-flexed just about every board we could get our hands on. We eyed-out camber/rocker profiles and critiqued the artwork that comprised the top sheet and base graphics. I was really struck with Arbor Snowboards new look for the Westmark, and especially their women’s model, the Swoon. They were both very stylish and intriguing. Other board graphics I loved were on the Niche Minx and the Dinosaurs Will Die (DWD) Maet (pictures above) base graphic.
On Saturday we had an epic work session with our Jones/Now/i.N.i rep Ian Feliney who also took us through the new products for Yes Snowboards, IFOUND headwear, and Celsius snowboard boots. The i.N.i Cooperative clothing company expanded their offerings greatly for 2014. I was blown away by the quality and attention to detail in these outerwear pieces. They had everything from detachable facemasks that tuck away inside the collar to stash pockets in the back of the jacket. Their shells and insulated jackets are incredibly high-end but also really affordable. Do you like waterproof sweatshirts you can use as a warm mid-layer? iNi has you covered. We are really looking forward to bring more of their product into the shop.
We’ve been talking a lot about splitboarding lately because that’s what we love to do. We even have an intro clinic coming up! So it’s a no brainer that we would be spending a lot of time checking out splitboard gear. We stopped by the Voile booth and got the low down on new Light Rails bindings including upgraded straps, ratchets and touring bracket.
The big surprise though was the Spark R&D Magneto binding with their new Tesla System that eliminates the need for a slider pin. It comes with a specialized touring bracket and the binding locks on to it by engaging the locking clasps underneath the toe ramp. To release, simply lift up the toe ramp and you’re out. Last year I got really excited about the Spark Edison binding but that model never materialized. They also integrated the climbing wires into the baseplate. They are super easy to pull down and collapse. And the new Sabretooth Crampons are lighter than the Mr. Chomps and easier to install and remove. It is readily apparent that the Magneto is a huge step forward in splitboarding technology.
And speaking of splitboarding we cannot leave out that we got to meet the man who revitalized the backcountry snowboard exploration- Jeremy Jones. Jeremy was really friendly and we talked about our favorite places to splitboard in New England and how it is such an addictive and awesome way to snowboard in the backcountry. The Jones line was revamped for 2014 and we got to see the whole thing, including the new 5.5 lbs. carbon split!
One of the reasons Neverbored carries Now Snowboard bindings is their innovative design that works ridiculously well for a great variety of riding styles. This year they’ve expanded their line to include an all-mountain/freeride binding called the Driver. The driver has a larger high-back that is stiffer directionally allowing for more support and energy transfer when railing hard down steep terrain. They have also added the Select model, which includes a very low lo-back (about a quarter the size of a normal high-back). Now bindings can be ridden with or without the high-back for a great freedom of movement or with the lo-back for a little more support. The lo-back will also be available as an accessory, which is great if you already have the IPO!
These are just a few of the many new things we found at SIA that will be coming out in 2014. If you have any questions about these products or anything else in the snowboarding industry email or call us. If we don’t have the answer we will get it, and get it to you promptly.