The Best of Summer Outdoor Retailer 2018

We scouted Denver's Summer OR for up-and-coming all-season gear for skiers.

Since the Summer Outdoor Retailer (OR) trade show was hosted just a stone’s throw from SKI Magazine’s offices in Colorado, we decided to take a field trip to the annual event to check out what’s hitting the market in spring and summer 2019 that skiers will want to get their hands on. TBH, we felt a little out of place around the likes of incredible climbers Alex Honnold and Emily Harrington, plus there weren’t any new skis to gawk at, but we still found a good amount of stuff that any skier/gear junkie will appreciate.

The best of Outdoor Retailer, Summer 2018

Fjällräven Bergtagen 38


The Swedish brand Fjällräven is preparing to release their first dedicated ski and mountaineering pack next spring. This technical pack features a lightweight removable birch wood frame to provide structure, and is made with Fjällräven’s new Bergshell fabric, 100 percent recycled yet extremely durable rip-stop nylon. With an ice axe attachment, A-frame ski carry option, and an avalanche equipment compartment, the pack is ready for any skiing and mountaineering adventure you have in mind. The pack even includes easy-to-use toggles so users aren’t forced to remove their gloves to access the inside. The company plans to launch the pack this coming spring with two different sizes for $240.  – Alex Cullen

DPS Phantom Cure Stations


One of the biggest products to arrive for the ’18/’19 ski season is DPS Phantom (you can read our review here.) Until now, the application process of this one-application wax took some time and required sunlight (not great for those trying to bake their skis in the PNW or on the East Coast). As a work-around, DPS created Phantom Cure Stations for ski shops to use when installing the lubricant. With calibrated UV lights, the time to apply Phantom in a Cure Station is only about one hour instead of a minimum of three in the sun. Shops will be offered Phantom Cure Stations based on their initial order of Phantom, but you might expedite the process by going to your local shop now and asking that they get one. – Jon Jay

Ultimate Direction SCRAM Pack


Ultimate Direction is a company known mostly for running vests and accessories, but they also happen to make really versatile SkiMo packs that have more options than many traditional backcountry ski packs. Their latest innovation, the SCRAM, is technically made for long rock scrambles, but comes with a removable ski carry system and ice axe loops for fast and light spring and summer ski missions that might involve moving over dirt, rock, and snow efficiently. SCRAM is an acronym for “Scramble, Climb, Run, and More,” but I convinced the company that it should stand for “Ski, Climb, Run, And More,” since scrambling is a more fun, less technical type of climbing anyways. Look for this one next spring. — Jon Jay

Flylow Ski Bum Sun Hat


Flylow’s Ski Bum Trucker Hats have been popular among shredders for seasons, but this year, the company aims for a new look. After working through multiple ideas, inspiration struck through simplicity: ski bums are still ski bums in the summer, so why change the logo? Flylow’s new Ski Bum Sun Hat is perfect for off-season days at the beach, or downing a few après ski PBRs and looking damn good while doing it. Get yours next spring. – Alex Cullen

Cusa Tea Spiced Chai


Instant tea might seem a little gimmicky (can’t you just use a tea bag?) but I’ve used it and it’s amazing: Just rip open a packet, pour the tea granules into hot water, stir and enjoy. There are no concerns about proper steeping time and no nasty, moist tea bag to carry around when you finish your cup. The new Spice Chai flavor in particular hits the nail on the head. What’s better than the taste of Cusa Tea? It was founded by an avid backcountry skier. Enough said. This is another great OR find you don’t need trade show credentials to try in advance; it’s available now for $10. – Jon Jay

AT, PCT, and CDT-themed Buffs

Courtesy of Grace Schmidt

In Spring 2019, Buff will release three newly designed neck covers themed around the Appalachian Trail (AT), Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), and Continental Divide Trail (CDT). Though these patterns aren’t featured on winter-specific warm and fuzzy winter Buffs, they will be featured on Buff’s new Coolnet UV+ pieces for ultimate sun protection during toasty days of spring skiing. The brand’s four way stretch-tech debuted this summer will be updated with new technologies for the 2019 season, like being made from 100 percent recycled plastic. So whether you’ve hiked all three thru-trails or just want to rep your home state, the new Buff designs are something to be stoked about.  – Alex Cullen

SunSki Tortoise Forest Treeline


Not only has the up-and-coming sunglasses company SunSki mastered modern style, but their glasses are protective, affordable, and environmentally-friendly. Their polarized sunnies are made from recycled plastic and designed specifically for spring skiing. This past spring, Sunski’s Treeline Sunglasses were incredibly popular in the company’s home city of San Francisco, and they plan to release two new additions to the family in early 2019. Like the Tortoise Forest Treeline (pictured), the two new models will feature magnetic side shields that can be easily removed to go from skinning up glaciers to après ski on the town. The glasses have a unique, fashionable look with fun details, like morse code embedded into the side shields. – Alex Cullen

Read our review of the original SunSki Treeline here. 

Suunto 9 Watch


Suunto continues to dial in the details of their smartwatch sport tracker to do so much more than tell time. Advancing on the SKI Gear of the Year Spartan Sport HR Baro, the Suunto 9 has improved battery intelligence, giving you an accurate idea of how long the battery will last before starting an activity. It also features FusedTrack technology, which accounts for both GPS and body metric data to deliver a more accurate distance reading while conserving battery life. And you can order it now for $599, rather than wait until next spring like a lot of the toys in this gallery. – Jon Jay

Saxx Volt Underwear

Saxx Volt Underwear

I’m a huge fan of Saxx, especially their Blacksheep Long Johns. Naturally, I’m really excited about their new Volt line for next spring, which is made for the times you can’t really justify wearing exercise undies (like their Kinetic short) but you’re still going to have an active day at work, traveling, or a long day of hustling from meeting to meeting on a trade show floor. The super soft mesh breathes well and has some anti-stink tech built in, plus the unique material makes for super fun party prints, like rainbows and Belgian beers. The Volt also features a life-changing Ballpark Pouch, which is standard for all Saxx products and is very much worth the hype. – Jon Jay

Minus 33 Dual Temple Sunglass System

Courtsy of Grace Schmidt

What better way to test the durability of sunglasses than bungee jumping? That’s just what Minus 33 did with their new sunnies, which stayed put on the athlete’s face throughout the entire bungee experience. The glasses feature a retractable dual-temple system that keeps them from moving around on your face, even during your most active days. The polarized sunglasses are about to be released in the United States for the first time this fall and are perfect eye protection for high-intensity days on the ski slopes. – Alex Cullen

Patagonia Capilene Air Baselayers


In just a few short weeks, Patagonia will release their warmest base layer yet. The Capilene Air uses exploded yarn to trap dead air space against your skin, holding in heat while simultaneously releasing moisture. The fabric is 51 percent merino wool and 49 percent polyester, making it both warm and comfortable against bare skin. Patagonia will also be releasing Capilene Air Bottoms as well as a men’s version of the Capilene Air with the cut made slightly tighter in order to adapt to the male body, which tends to run a bit warmer. – Alex Cullen

Shār Trail Mix

Shar trail mix

Trail mix should be super simple, which is why it can be disappointing when you get a bag containing lots of added sugar. So I’m happy to report that shār is as simple as it comes, and is extra yummy too. All nine products in the bag are sourced from the U.S.A., and are gluten free, organic, vegan, and paleo to boot. The company was founded by a former professional skier, and they give 20 percent of their profits to The Conservation Alliance. Did I mention shār is delicious? It’s also already available, so skip the wait and get a bag now. – Jon Jay

SOLE Laguna Flip Flop


If you’ve never gone from ski boots to flip flops after a day of spring skiing, you don’t know what you’re missing. Flip flops are also becoming practically “business casual” in mountain towns all over the U.S., so you might as well get a pair that looks good and is made sustainably. The SOLE Laguna flip flops are made from 100 percent recycled cork through the ReCORK program, just like SOLE’s performance footbeds that go great with ski boots. The flip flops are 100 percent vegan and come in varying thickness levels for different feet and support needs. The Lagunas are also treated with plenty of anti-funk technology, so they would be a great gift for any coworker that wears sandals to work when your nose knows they shouldn’t. – Jon Jay 

JBL Waterproof Bluetooth Speakers and Headphones


Last year, SKI ran a round up of Bluetooth speakers, and the entire editorial staff wanted to keep the JBL Flip 4 because it sounds great and is 100 percent waterproof. JBL is taking it to the next step by waterproofing all of its outdoor products and headphones, including the large and in-charge Xtreme 2 (pictured, $300). On top of that, the brand has a new line of headphones made in collaboration with Under Armour and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, so you can get strong before ski season while listening to music just like The Rock. – Jon Jay

Balega Enduro Socks with V-Tech


Having properly fitting socks can really elevate your pre-season training rituals. From running to biking to SKI’s Online Fitness Course, the Balega Enduro Socks with V-Tech will make any time spent on your feet more enjoyable. With a perfect contour around the arch, these socks are my go-to for short trail runs and indoor workouts as I get ready for the coming ski season. The Enduro offers three different cut styles in a variety of colors, and the company helps generate sustainable employment in both the U.S. and South Africa. You can order some now for $13-$14 a pair. – Jon Jay

Thule Round Trip Duffel and Snowpack Rack


Thule has recently released a few key products and will be debuting even more in the coming year to make ski travel a breeze. The Thule RoundTrip Snowsports duffel keeps travelers organized while saving ample trunk space. This large-sized duffel bag features oversized side pockets for boot storage, and the pockets have a drainage system to keep the bag clean from parking lot mud. Additionally, the popular, low-profile Thule Snowpack ski rack will soon be available in black. The Snowpack is a versatile family option because it features an adaptor to prevent bindings from clashing, and the adaptor can adjust the height of the rack in case you need to toss in a snowboard among skis. – Leah Curtis

Want to see the winter stuff from Winter Outdoor Retailer 2018? Here you go.