Gear

Outdoor Retailer Showstoppers 2019

Get the skinny on next season's coolest gear.

Last week, the annual Outdoor Retailer Snow Show took place in Denver, Colo. SKI’s staff was on the floor of the Colorado Convention Center peeping all of 2019/2020’s coolest gear. These were our picks for the SKI Magazine Showstopper award.

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The North Face FutureLight Technology

The North Face A-Cad Jacket
The North Face

The North Face thinks it has the answer to the ongoing debate between breathability and protection in big-mountain conditions. And that answer is FutureLight, the brand’s new technology debuting in seven jackets and five pants/bibs for 2019-20. It took TNF innovators two years to develop their own yarn, weaving process, lamination, and finishing technique, and the result, says TNF, is the most breathable, protective garments on the market, designed to perform at the highest level in the harshest of conditions. Heavily tested by TNF’s cadres of big-mountain athletes, FutureLight technology—shown here in the men’s A-Cad jacket—has been extremely well received. Color us intrigued.

K2 Mindbender Skis

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Photo courtesy of K2

K2 will replace the Pinnacle and wider Luv skis with the Mindbender line for men and the Mindbender Alliance for women. The new line up is seriously fun, and every model features a big step up in all-around performance.

Salomon S/PRO Ski boots

Salomon S-Pro 120
Photo courtesy of Salomon

Replacing the number one selling ski boot in 2017 and 2018 is a tall order, but Salomon is going to replace the X/PRO next season with the S/PRO and raise the bar for all-mountain utility boots. The S/PRO uses similar performance-enhancing, weight reducing tech as the S/MAX, but maintains the virtually universal fit and comfort of the X/PRO. These boots are the real deal for nearly every skier.

Elan Wingman Skis

Elan Wingman 86 CTi
Photo courtesy of Elan

The Slovenian brand’s new ski line fit the gap between the Ripstick and Amphibio family, making for super versatile, frontside oriented asymmetrical skis. They can handle a variety of turn shapes and speeds, making them ideal for frontside loving Mavericks.

Smith 4D MAG Goggle

Smith 4D MAG Goggle
Photo courtesy of Smith

This year Smith releases a new lens shape: BirdsEye Vision, a new shape that extends the curve of the lens below sightline to increase overall field of view by 25 percent compared to last season’s I/O MAG goggle. The 4D MAG still features Smith’s popular dual lens locking system and ChromaPop snow lens technology, available in 12 tints.

PrimaLoft Bio Technology

Houdini PrimaLoft Bio prototype
PrimaLoft

PrimaLoft debuts the first-ever 100 percent biodegradable synthetic insulation, designed to completely biodegrade in one year. (After it hits the landfill, not while you’re still wearing it…) How? They’ve basically coated each fiber with “food” that makes it more appealing to the naturally occurring microbes in the soil, breaking down the materials in a quick and clever manner. Kinda gross if you think too much about it, but PrimaLoft says it will be saving “tons” of microplastics from languishing for decades in landfills and oceans, so we can get over that pretty quickly. Look for PrimaLoft Bio in apparel from five brands in Fall 2020: Helly Hansen, Houdini (prototype of an anorak shown), L.L. Bean, Norrona, and Vaude.

Dakine Team Baron GORE-TEX Mitt

"Dakine Team Baron Gore-Tex Mitt"

Deadheads, you don’t have to slap a dancing bear sticker on your ski box or helmet anymore to show your true allegiance. Dakine just released the Benchetler x Grateful Dead Signature Series which includes a backcountry pack, urban backpack, and this Team Baron GORE-TEX Mitt, all highlighting iconic graphic elements of the Dead and Benchetler’s classic style. [MSRP $115]

Cocktail Caravan’s Lolita

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Cocktail Caravan is a Colorado-based mobile bartending service that can cater private parties and events anywhere in the state. The actual caravan, known as Lolita, did double duty at Outdoor Retailer as the official booth of The Voice, a trade-show magazine that is created in part by SKI’s sister title, SNEWS. All we have to say is that a trailer that converts to a bar is just about as cool as it gets.

Blizzard Zero G Collection

Blizzard Zero G family
Photo courtesy of Blizzard

Blizzard fully redesigned their backcountry line this year. By using what the brand is calling “Carbon Drive 2.0,” plus a paulownia wood core, the skis are lighter but maintain their signature, great performance. For the gram counters, each ski is 50 grams lighter than previous generations, and will still come in 85, 95, and 105mm waist-width options.

Nordica Cruise Ski Boots

Nordica Cruise 120
Photo courtesy of Nordica

The iconic boot brand redesigned their comfort line this year to be 20% lighter, 40% less bulky, and 100% more fun. With a 104mm last, Instep Volume Control, and an adjustable cuff, this boot can accommodate just about any foot we can think of, and make skiing more fun, too. [Nordica Cruse 120 MSRP: $500]

Strafe Aero Insulator Jacket

Strafe Aero Insulator Jacket
Strafe

The new Aero is stuffed with PrimaLoft Gold Cross Core with Aerogel, which was originally developed by NASA for use in spacesuits. That’s sayin’ something. This insulating piece is designed to give you the most warmth per pound of any mid-weight jacket on the market. Bonus that it’s super-lightweight and packs up into its own pocket for easy toting.

Nordica Santa Ana 88

Nordica Santa Ana 88
Photo courtesy of Nordica

The slimmed-down Santa Ana 88 can fit into a number of categories: a girthy carver, a slender all-mountain charger, and a pretty versatile backcountry ski thanks to its lightweight wood core. Don’t be fooled, however, this ski takes all of the horsepower of the Santa Ana family and packs it in a tighter package. [MSRP: $700]

POC Obex Backcountry SPIN Helmet

POC Obex SPIN Helmet with NFC Chip
Photo courtesy of POC

The new ISPO-award winning Obex Backcountry SPIN helmet takes its life-saving duties to the next level. The backcountry-specific helmet comes with a Near Field Communication (NFC) chip, which stores your details and medical profile. In case of injury or accident, first responders can retrieve that data via a smartphone should you be unresponsive.

G3 Minimist Skin Series

G3 Minimist Skins, Glide
Photo courtesy of G3

Available in G3’s tried and true Universal, Glide, and Speed series, each Minimist skin is up to 30 percent lighter than any other skin in its performance class. Minimalism doesn’t mean compromise either—the Minimist features a carbon fiber insert at the tip of each skin to create a directionally rigid platform that will help prevent snow creep. [MSRP $174-$214]

Porsche Design Elan Amphibio Ski

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Photo courtesy of Elan

This ski is the carve-centric Amphibio ski on carbon steroids. Featuring carbon body parts, a burly carbon binding plate, and Amphibio Truline Technology, this ski rails on groomed terrain and can handle very strong carve lovers. These black beauties are a step up in performance, but not for the weak.

Houdini Polartec Power Air Houdi

Houdini Polartec Power Air Houdi
Polartec

The Houdini Houdi launched last fall, but re-launches in February 2019 with Polartec’s newest technology: Power Air. Power Air aims to greatly reduce the natural shedding that comes with mid-layer garments by encapsulating the lofted fibers within a multilayer yarn construction. This process, says Polartec, reducing shedding by five times over traditionally made mid-layers. Swedish outdoor brand Houdini is the first to debut Power Air in its popular Houdi hoody, a slim-fit, highly breathable fleece mid-layer designed for active pursuits.

Zeal Portal XL

Zeal Portal XL Goggle
Photo courtesy of Zeal

Zeal may not have the fanciest new lens technology on the market, but man does the brand make steezy-looking goggles. The new Portal XL, like the name implies, is huge, and offers an accordingly large field of view. Featuring a spherical polycarbonate anti-fog lens, a rimless frame design that actually sits closer to the face than its predecessor (2018’s Portal), and three different lens collections (Optimum Polarized Automatic+, Optimum Polarized, and Optimum) to give you plenty of visibility options, the Portal XL covers all your bases.

Head Kore W Skis

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Next season, Head is taking the award winning formula of KOROYD, karuba, carbon and graphine of the KORE family and putting into skis with women-specific sidecuts and flex profiles. Needless to say, these are going to be a hot ticket for every freeride loving woman skier in the near future. [MSRP: $800]

Line Vision Skis

Line Vision 98
Photo courtesy of Line

The new lightweight, directional freeride touring skis from Line are surprisingly capable and fun to ski hard with. The secret is the ski’s Triple Hybrid Construction, or THC for short, which is now legal in several states and Canada without a prescription.

Scott Patrol E1 22 Backpack

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Scott took last season’s Backcountry Patrol pack with the Alpine E1 avalanche airbag system back to the drawing board to cut even more weight and bring us the new Patrol E1 22L Backpack, the lightest and lowest volume electronic avalanche pack on the market (720g lighter than any other electronic system, to be exact). And if you like the idea of lightweight but need more room for gear, check out the expedition-focused 40L pack, or find a happy medium in the 30L volume version.

Fritschi Xenic10

Fritschi Xenic10 binding
Photo courtesy of Black Diamond / Fritschi

Weighing in at 280 grams, this feather of a binding is built with what the brand is calling “progressive technology” that allows it to maintain high performance despite the ridiculously small weight. The futuristic design is certainly eye-catching, but we’re anxious to get it on snow to see how well it works.

SmartWool IntraKnit Baselayers

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Employing 3D technology to produce a whole garment without stitching—or waste, for that matter—SmartWool debuts a baselayer that fits like a glove and moves with you throughout all activities. The two new baselayers sets, available in Merino 200 with a blended yarn for more active pursuits and a 100-percent wool Merino 250 for colder days, each have body-mapped ventilation in areas that need it and extra terry-looped insulation in areas that don’t. The result is an innovative first layer that fits like—and behaves like—a second skin.

Chris Benchetler Limited Edition Grateful Dead Collaboration with Atomic, Dakine, and TGR

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Pro skier Chris Bentchetler has been working on with a few different brands for this project. He created a limited edition Grateful Dead Atomic Bentchetler 120 (only 200 will be made), Dakine Poacher pack, and a few other neat products with both brands. There’s also been hints of working with TGR and Warner Brothers on a future film project.

Helly Hansen Odin Mountain 3L Jacket and Bib

Hally Hansen Odin Mountain 3L Shell Jacket
Helly Hansen

Helly introduces a meaningful upgrade this season with the new microporous membrane used in the Odin Mountain 3L Shell Jacket and Bib. The material is ideal for backcountry and ski touring, as the membrane is designed to perform optimally in both colder and milder temperatures (read: unpredictable backcountry conditions). The new bib design eliminates the need to remove the shoulder straps, making, err, eliminating, a far easier endeavor, especially for the fairer sex.

Tecnica Mach1 LV

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For 2019/2020, Tecnica remade the beloved low-volume version of the Mach1, making the high-performance boot for skinny feet more anatomical and increasing the power-transmission on the inside of the boot. They also significantly improved the liner with putting in more of the brand’s C.A.S material on the instep and arch. All this plus reduced weight makes the classic ski boot better than ever.

Mammut Eigerjoch Light Insulated T-Shirt

Mammut Eigerjoch Insulated T-Shirt
Mammut

This innovative down T-shirt is a super-light and compressible layer in the backcountry and a keep-you-warm-where-it-matters component for everyday skiing. Weighing in at a scant 3.5 ounces and packed with the highest-quality goose down, the Eigerjoch sports a generous front half-sip for easy venting plus laser-cut underarm vents, and comes with a stow bag for easy toting.

Völkl Kendo

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Völkl took the Titanal frame that revolutionized the Mantra this season and put it in the Kendo for 2019/2020. They also added a 3-radius side cut that makes the ski easier to turn at slower speeds, but can still handle pedal-to-the-metal types of skiers.

Black Crows Ferox Freebird

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The French brand Black Crows will replace the Anima Freebird with the strikingly beautiful Ferox Freebird for 2019/2020. Weighing in at 3,600 grams per pair at the 181cm length, the secret sauce of this ski is its three dimensional semi cap construction that has a performance enhancing carbon fiber/fiberglass layer, putting more material over the edges of the ski, where it counts most.

Hestra Freeride CZone 3-Finger Glove

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Hestra tweaked their bestselling Fall Line 3-finger glove to better suit the needs of freeriders who find themselves in the white room more often than not. Featuring Hestra’s CZone membrane, a neoprene cuff with Velcro closure, Wolf Paw construction on the trigger finger, and Hestra’s notoriously weather-resistant and durable impregnated cowhide outer material, the Freeride CZone 3-Finger Glove delivers on all fronts.

Fischer Ranger One

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Fischer added to the Ranger family by making a more freeride/alpine specific boot that can still ski tour with ease. Made with the brands signature Vacuum plastic but featuring the unique walk mode mechanism under the top buckle and a 101mm last, the Fischer Ranger One is set to move up on the list of ski boots that can do it all.

Kari Traa Maske Sweater

Kari Traa Maske Sweater
Kari Traa

The adorable new Maske sweater isn’t necessarily groundbreaking as much as it is incredibly cute. Made from 100-percent Merino that’s warm, wicking, and naturally odor-free, the Maske also sports sweet details such as the buttons along the neckline and an on-trend nautical-stripe pattern that makes it perfect for pulling double-duty at the bar or the yoga studio. There’s also a matching baselayer tight.

Nordica Enforcer Free 104

Nordica_ENFORCER_FREE_104
Photo courtesy of Nordica

With tail rocker, extra width, and a carbon-reinforced chassis, Nordica took their award-winning Enforcer 100 and made the super playful-yet-chargable Enforcer Free 104. This ski is likely to win over anyone who might have been wary of the old-school flat tail of the 100, and makes the Enforcer family even more diverse and accommodating. [MSRP: $850]

Flaxta Exalted Helmet and Goggle

Flaxta exalted helmet and goggles

This brand-new goggle, helmet, and protection company makes its world debut at OR this year to introduce its first lineup of products, including the Exalted helmet—a model that comes with or without MIPS—and compatible goggles (spherical and cylindrical models available) featuring the brand’s own Enlight photochromic lens technology developed in partnership with Zeiss. Stay tuned for more details on this new Swedish brand and their Fall 2019 offerings.

Salomon QST Updates

Salomon QST 106
Photo courtesy of Salomon

For the brand’s signature freeride line, specifically the QST 92, QST 99, and QST 106, the brand is replacing the KOROYD tip insert with vibration-damping cork that smooths the ski out in choppy conditions. Throw in slightly adjusted rocker profiles, and the new QST family is just that much more better for more skiers.

Dalbello Panterra

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Dabello put their wide cabrio all-mountain ski boot on a diet, creating a slimmer, lighter, and aesthetically pleasing package while maintaining a cushy fit only achievable with a 3-part boot. Add in a 50-degree range of motion in walk-mode and pre-installed GripWalk soles, and the new Panterra becomes more user-friendly than ever.

Holden Down Hybrid Jogger

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Move over yoga pants, Holden has a new contender for go-to women’s bottoms. The Polartec fleece-lined and 700-fill insulated Down Hybrid Jogger—an ISPO 2019 winner—combines warmth with tech in a trendy jogger style that’s as at home on city streets as it is on ski-town sidewalks and under your shell pants on frigid days.

Rossignol Black Ops

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[INFORMATION REDACTED]

Marker Kingpin M-WERKS

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The binding brand put the Kingpin on a diet, making it a lean, mean, ski touring machine that doesn’t sacrifice performance on the downhill. With a carbon reinforcement in the toe and the heel, plus and updated “XXL Power Transmitter,” the brand has made a pretty sweet looking lightweight option for skiers who want one binding that can handle it all.

Kästle FX 96 HP

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The Austrian ski company redesigned steep skiing legend Chris Davenport’s pro-model for next season. They eliminated the metal laminates, and instead used a unique carbon laminate that charges like Titanal but with a lot less weight. A very versatile, do-anything ski.

Sole X UBB Jasper Wool Eco Chukka

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Sole and United By Blue are teaming up for a green collab shoe built from the tread up. The Sole X UBB Jasper Wool Eco Chukka combines a rice rubber outsole with SOLE’s new ReCORK recycled wine cork midsole and UBB’s BisonShield insulation. Using bison hair spares it from the landfill, repurposing it into a cool-in-the-summer, warm-in-the-winter insulation—thanks to the fiber’s natural temperature-regulating powers.

Marmot West Rib Parka

Marmot West Rib Parka
Marmot

Marmot debuts its new WarmCube technology with this hybrid down/synthetic jacket. The idea behind WarmCube is to employ 3D construction to conform to the curves of the body, thus trapping warm air as close to your skin as possible. An additional layer of 40-gram synthetic insulation seals the deal, bringing quite possibly one of the warmest coats you’ll ever wear.

Black Crows Orb

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The frontside-oriented Orb ski is born again. Black Crows took some of the heavy-duty metal out of the ski to form a Titanal “H” in the upper laminate, and readjusted the shape of the ski to make it easier to handle. The pinstripe graphics are also pretty aesthetically awesome.

Atomic Backland Pro Carbon Ski Boot

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Brands like La Sportiva, SCARPA, and Atomic are all having a “race to the bottom” when it comes to weight. But Atomic might have found the perfect formula with the Backland Pro Carbon for a super lightweight boot that can satisfy backcountry skiers who demand high performance. Throw in full Memory Fit fitting capabilities, and this boot can fit most feet with ease. We’re especially excited to get this in the skin track and on high mountains this spring/summer.

Sweet Protection Interstellar Goggle

Sweet Protection Interstellar Goggle and Switcher Helmet
Photo courtesy of Sweet Protection

This year the Norwegian brand best known for its helmets introduces its first goggle collection. The Interstellar goggle showcases the best of Sweet Protection’s new lens technology: Retina Illumination Grading to enhance low light conditions and boost contrast in high alpine terrain; GORE technology to optimize barometric pressure at different elevations and prevent optical distortion; and a carbon reinforced frame to make sure that lens stays in place at all times.

Rossignol AllTrack 130

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Rossignol decided to add a little bit of enhanced alpine performance to their do-it-all ski boot by adding a high performance liner and reinforcements throughout the shell to increase downhill performance. Yes, there’s a bit more weight, but the boot promises to make up for it in a big way with some smart improvements.

Fischer 86 GT

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Fischer’s new frontside recreation option has some great looking construction materials, including two sheets of Titanal and a woven reinforcing laminate that is noticeably tighter than what other brands have been using. Considering the cult-like following of The Curv GT, the 86 GT promise to take the best elements of that classic carver and make it just a little more inclusive for recreational skiers.

Hestra Wakayama Glove and Mitt

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Transition seamlessly from the slopes to town with the updated Wakayama Glove and the brand-new Wakayama Mitt. The longtime favorite glove gets an important upgrade this year: it’s now made from naturally tanned leathers, eliminating the environmentally unfriendly byproducts produced during the dying process. The new Wakayama Mitt also features a removable wool terry liner to make them even more versatile. Both the glove and mitt are part of Hestra’s Alpine Pro line, so they’re not just stylish, but hold their own in the elements.

Icelantic Mystic 107 Skis

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The Colorado brand’s Natural and Mystic series began a new generation of backcountry-specific skis, and it has been very successful. Icelantic is expanding their offerings with the Mystic 107, a wider option than the 97 that is made for ski tours in deep snow locales. The 2020 graphic, however, might be the best ski graphic of the show.

Lange LX Family

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The comfort family of Lange, the LX boots have wide lasts, cushy liners, and a high performance shell Lange-lovers expect. You don’t have to have a “Lange foot” to enjoy these boots all day, every day.

Picture Men’s Harvest Jacket and Bib

Picture Harvest Jacket
Picture

French outdoor apparel brand Picture introduces its first partially biodegradable membrane, called Pebax Renew, used in its Harvest Jacket and Bib. The 20K/20K membrane, made from castor oil, is the result of Picture’s commitment to moving away from fossil fuels to bio-based products. Castor seeds have been used in manufacturing since the 1950s and have been shown to produce membranes that are as waterproof, breathable, and durable as petroleum- and plastic-based membranes, but are far less harsh on the environment.

Scott Slight 93 W

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The Slight Series did better than ever in the 2019 SKI Test, and so it’s fitting that the brand would introduce a women’s version of the ski for 2020. Featuring the same elliptical core shape and aramid stringers as the men’s version, but in women’s specific shapes and sidecuts.

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