One thing is for sure: Ski product innovation doesn’t like to sit still. Engineers and designers are continuously tinkering with great planks and boots to refine them into something better than before. More often than not, the evolution revolves around materials: Better plastics, woods, carbon, and proprietary materials that improve the feel and performance of ski equipment. But every few years, something new crops up seemingly from scratch, blindsiding skiers and making them wonder, “How did no one ever come up with this before?”
In early December of 2020, SKI’s editors were treated to a preview of some of next year’s coolest skis and ski boots in Vail and Aspen, Colo. We had to beg brands to let us feature the gear on these pages—gear that will be worth the wait when it is available at ski shops next autumn. Plus, there are plenty of other great products that we can’t even tell you about yet, so keep your eyes on SKI’s Gear Channel throughout the winter and spring for more 2021-2022 gear previews when embargo dates are lifted.
Tecnica Cochise 130
The all-new Cochise’s walk mode mechanism, dubbed the T.Ride, features a lockout switch that removes any play when the boot is in ski mode, but still maintains a comfortable 45-degree range of motion in walk mode to make touring and resort hikes comfortable. The boot also has thicker plastic on the interior of the boot compared to the exterior, which maximizes power transfer and optimizes control inbounds and out.
- Last: 99mm
- Flex: 130
Check out this season’s most exciting ski boots
Völkl M6 Mantra and Secret 96
The sixth generation of the Mantra and its women’s-specific counterpart, the Secret, gets Völkl’s 3D radius sidecut technology, which the brand has mastered in the Kendo and Blaze skis. More importantly, the brand has modified the amount of material built into each ski in the new Tailored Titanal Frame. Shorter skis get less metal and longer skis get more, adapting the feel of the ski to better match a specific skier’s size and height. Throw in a stunning Tailored Carbon Tip that keeps the ski lively at all speeds, and the Mantra and Secret are sure to win over even more fans with this new version.
M6 Mantra Details
- Lengths (cm): 163, 170, 177, 184, 191
- Dimensions (mm): 135-96-119
Secret 96 Details
- Lengths (cm): 149, 156, 163, 170
- Dimensions (mm): 135-96-119
Head Formula 130 RS
Head’s new all-mountain resort line, the Formula, is a thing of beauty. Fitting in between the race-performance Raptor and the supremely comfortable Nexo, the Formula uses all the tools that set Head apart—Liquid Fit liner, heat-moldable elements, great performance—and put them into 98mm and 100mm options that are ideal for recreational skiers who want a great out-of-the-box fit.
- Last: 98mm (RS) and 100mm
- Flex: 130
See 2021’s new ski boots
Black Diamond Impulse 96 and 104
The all-new Impulse line from Black Diamond replaces the freeride-oriented Boundary family for 2021-2022. With an all-poplar wood core and progressive, modern freeride designs, the Impulse comes alive in soft snow, which skiers with a centered stance will especially love. The 96 is an ideal option for those on the East Coast who want one ski to do it all, while those who ski soft snow in the West will be drawn to the playful, poppy 104 model. Thanks to a lightweight design, the Impulse line fits the bill for those looking for a one-ski option for resort and backcountry missions.
Impulse 104 Details
- Lengths (cm): 165, 172, 179, 186
- Dimensions (mm): 136-104-123
Kästle FX Ti Line
Austrian brand Kästle puts metal back into the FX unisex line this year, as well as three different types of wood in the core that keep the skis damp at speed and comfortable on edge in all conditions. The trippy, translucent Hollowtech 3.0 tip stands out in the liftline, but more importantly, it optimizes the skis’ swing weight, making it particularly easy to feather from edge to edge in choppy and powdery conditions. Those looking for excitement when skiing in soft snow will find what they are looking for on these next season.
FX96 Ti Details
- Lengths (cm):164, 172, 180, 188
- Dimensions (mm): 133-96-119
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