Winter 2018 Gear Trends: Alpine Skis
Alpine skis find the right mix to make every day on the slopes a great one.
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Alpine ski retailers across the country, located in both mountain towns and urban settings, are experiencing a renaissance of the all-mountain mid-fat ski (90 to 100mm at the waist). These daily drivers have become the bread and butter for consumers and retailers. “It’s been consistent,” notes Bryan Heil of Christy Sports.in Boulder, Colorado.
“Three to four years ago people were said to be going narrower—a rebound from super-fat skis—but most skis purchased these days have waists around 100mm,” Heil says.
One ski to rule all snow? Not so fast. Customers are increasingly looking for specialty skis to meet the conditions where they live. Ski shops in New England say customers are opting for slalom skis and front-side carvers—narrower-waisted skis that excel on groomers—to complement their daily driver when conditions are firm.
Mean while, Western shops note strong sales in fat powder boards to com plement the all-mountain skis their customers already have.
“Some people are hesitant to have two pairs of skis,” says Michael Strachan of Cole Sport in Park City, Utah, “But those who are moving here are buying multiple skis: an 80mm- to 90mm-waisted daily driver and a fat powder ski.”
Gear Trends: Winter 2018
1. The AtomicVantage 107 Ti
The AtomicVantage 107 Ti ($900) is built on a thin wood core with titanal laminates, which provides a lightweight setup that’s strong and stable in hard snow.A beveled surface near the tip of the ski and along the base allows for easy flotation in powder and the ability to change turn shapes in mixed conditions
2. The Blizzard Sheeva 9
Blizzard adds the Sheeva 9 (148-172cm, $600), a women’s version of the new Rustler 9, to its expanding freeride line. At 92mm underfoot, the Sheeva 9uses less rocker and more camber than other Rustler models for stability in shallower snow. A titanal laminate provides underfoot stiffness for great carving, but torsional rigidity tapers toward the tip and tail—providing an easy entry and exit to turns.
3. The Black Crows Skis Corvus
Chamonix, France-based Black Crows Skis is steadily gaining recognition in the U.S. The flagship model, the Corvus ($850), gets a transformation for 2018. The 107mm-waisted powder ski changes to a reverse camber with titanal plates and a stiff flex underfoot that’s forgiving in the tip and tail.
4. The Elan Ripstick
Elan’s top-selling ski in North America, the Ripstick, gets a carbon makeover. For 2018/19 Elan offers Black Edition skis in select models—the Ripstick ($900), Amphibio, and women’s Delight. Carbon wraps around the wood core of the versatile 96mm-waisted ski and covers the top sheet for an external finish, providing a lightweight and less abrasive ride than typical carbon constructions.
5. The Line Pandora 104
To revamp its Pandora Collection, Line worked with influential female skiers like Hadley Hammer to improve performance across a wide range of snow conditions. The TGR athlete and big-mountain charger names versatility as the most important aspect of the Pandora 104 ($750). “You’re never skiing the same conditions all day and season long,” she says. “The Pandora 104 can handle it all.”
6. The Head Kore 99
For 2018/19, Head is expanding its Kore line—a lightweight karuba wood construction that’s laminated with carbon and graphene composites for rigidity—into the Kore 99 ($800). Available in lengths ranging from 162 to 189cm, it provides alpine charging characteristics, like strong and stable edge hold, in a nimble package.
7. The Rossignol Hero Elite Plus Ti
The Hero Elite Plus Ti ($TBD) from Rossignol is designed for those who love bending a ski deep into an arc. At 78mm underfoot, the profile and flex of the ski optimize control through the turn, a feature Rossignol calls Line Control Technology. The tech is intended to eliminate counter-flexing for maximum stability and optimized trajectory through the turn.
This article was originally published in our 2018 pre-show issue of The Daily.