DECEMBER 11, 2013
THE BEST OF MEN'S SKIS, SNOWBOARDS AND APPAREL FOR THE 13/14 SEASON
BY: STEVE HARTMAN
In this skis.com podcast, Steve sits down with Jenna, Julie and Brigitte to discuss the hottest trends and best sellers so far in snowboards, skis and apparel.
STEVE: Hello and welcome to another Summit Sports Podcast for skis.com and snowboards.com. I'm Steve and on this Summit Sports podcast episode we're going to sit down with our snowboard buyer, our ski buyer and our apparel buyer and discuss what are some of those best sellers in those respective categories for men. Let's start off with snowboards. For snowboards we go to our snowboard buyer, Jenna, who starts off by telling us what some of the hot selling boards of the season has been so far.
JENNA: So, the Burton Custom X is doing really well for us. It usually does but we've seen a lot of early sales with it and it's pretty much always the go-to board for that hard-charging guy who's looking fort the response that camber gives you. It's stiffer, it's more responsive, it's lighter than its regular Custom counterpart and nothing's really changed on it from last year but it just remains kind of that go-to board top-of-the-line board from Burton. The graphics' really sweet this year though; they've got windows that show you kind of what the core looks like and you can actually see some of the carbon. They did a real nice job on that this year.
STEVE: So, it's a very trustworthy board that's been around for a while.
JENNA: It has. And the price is up there, I'm not going to lie, it comes in at $650 retail but it's got a lot of bells and whistles and it really is for that top performing guy.
STEVE: Excellent. And what about bindings? What's good in bindings?
JENNA: We've seen a lot of early movement on the Gnu bindings so Gnu offers a convenience, well all their bindings are basically a convenience binding, sort of similar to what you would find in a K2 Cinch – basically you pop down the highback and slide your boot in and then you pop the higback back up, you kind of pop a latch on the ankle strap and you're kind of ready to go so instead of sitting there screwing around with the straps on your bindings, it's convenient, it's easy, it's sort of a different take on a convenience binding and gives you a lot of the properties and the performance value of having an individual traditional strap binding so I already tried to reorder some of these because we've been selling through them and Gnu's actually sold out of them so if you want to get them fast.
STEVE: Okay. Finally, you can't have a board and you can't have bindings and you can't go snowboarding without boots. What kind of boots are really selling well this year?
JENNA: Well, Steve, the Burton Rampart Boots are doing really well. It's actually the lightest boot in Burton's line up. It's a traditional lace up boot and it's really the ideal boot for your freestyle guy who's looking to not spend over 200 bucks. It comes in at $199 and there's no break-in period, it has a great out-of-the-box fit and it's got what's called a Crossbone Upper Cuff which actually gives you plenty of flexibility while still giving you plenty of lateral support so it's really, it's the ideal boot for the freestyle guy and the Pow Blue is actually the color that we just can't keep in stock so it's like a light blue and navy kind of combo.
STEVE: So for a quick recap on those best sellers, Jenna is really seeing the Burton Custom X Snowboard move, many of the Gnu bindings are beginning to sell out and the Burton Rampart Snowboard Boots are proving to be very popular. Also, while you're on snowboards.com check out the pre-made snowboard packages created to help take the guesswork out of matching the right board to binding and then to boot. Now, let's talk with Steve the Ski-E-O and ski buyer for skis.com on some of the best-selling skis for men this season.
STEVE K: The Line Sick Day 95 has been a really nice seller this year. The hottest ski this year, the hottest company this year, has been Blizzard. Both their Bonafide and their Cochise models have been very well received, we've sold a ton of those. And then the new Rosi Soul 7 which is their new 105 waisted ski with the sort of hollow tip on it has also been a nice surprise this year as well in terms of brand new skis for the first year. And then in terms of models that have been around awhile: the Rosi Experience Series which is five different skis in the line, still on its 3rd year continues to be really strong. A surprise to me is the Volkl Mantra, just that ski has been around forever and still has checked out really nice this year as well and those pretty much probably the top ones this year.
STEVE: What do you feel, what's the reason people are attracted to those Blizzard models?
STEVE K: Blizzard has made a really good ski for a good skier, someone who's tough, who wants a ski that's burly, who used to typically go for a Volkl ski are now sort of finding that Blizzard's making a similar and, in some cases, a little more desirable product.
STEVE: are selling these skis fairly well and fairly early. Do you think the run on skis has to do with the early cold weather that we go this year?
STEVE K: No, not really. I think that there's some pent up demand. I think a lot of people didn't buy skis last year and then maybe even they didn't go skiing as much because the snow was there but it was late so I think this year people are just ready to go out and get some new stuff and get out there and ski.
STEVE: Let's talk ski boots. What's the ski boot you see this year that's a real high performer?
STEVE K: Dalbello, they do have a new boot called the Panterra. Dalbello was famous for their Krypton series which was a very high end, very tight-fitting boot; a 98 last, which a lot of people who don't have that narrow of a foot have wanted to ski in but they just couldn't fit into that narrow last so Dalbello came out with this boot line called Panterra this year which is basically the Krypton design in a slightly wider last and that's been very popular as well but Dalbello boots sell really well from top to bottom. They're probably one of the best fitting boots. It's all Dalbello does is basically make boots unlike many of the other companies which do boots and skis and bindings, it's all they do.
STEVE: Now there was a binding you wanted to mention as well. So, tell us about it.
STEVE K: There's kind of a semi-new entrance into the binding category. It's called a Knee binding. It's been a round now, I would say this is probably the 3rd or 4th year for it, it's a little bit on the pricey side but it's a really specific binding for people who are concerned about their knees or have knee problems, it's a much more, it's a safer binding, it has more release points to it and it's finally starting to get some steam and we actually gotten a lot orders for them early in the season whereas previous years it wasn't until mid-season that we started seeing some action on those so I think they're gaining in popularity a lot.
STEVE K: Recapping the skis that Steve mentioned we have the Line Sick Day 95, the Blizzard Bonafide and Cochise, the Rossignol Soul 7, the Volkl Mantra and finally the Rossignol Experience Series which is in its third year and still going strong. Now, all these skis are advanced to expert level skis except for theRossignol Experience which goes from intermediate to advanced levels. Just like with our snowboards, we have pre-made ski packages available on skis.com so check those out and find the right ski, boot and binding combo to match your skill level and experience.
STEVE: So, now that you have your skis or your snowboard, let's find out what some of the best-selling apparel has been this season from our clothing buyer, Brigitte.
BRIGITTE: Well, if we want to start in men's, I have to say, by far, in our men's jacket collection, the Spyder Leader jacket is number 1.
STEVE: So, what makes it number 1? Why is it the best?
BRIGITTE: It's the best because it has so many different colors to choose from. I believe there's like 8. It's a pretty mid-priced coat isn't, you know, an opening price-point but it's not expensive. And the design is good so having all those factors weighed in, we just sell that coat hands down the most out of all of them.
STEVE: And we tend to sell Spyder Leader jackets quite a bit over the years, it's pretty popular.
BRIGITTE: It is. They've really nailed the fit down and it's just a jacket that people, once they buy it, they don't mind buying it the next year. They might change up the design but as far as all the bells and whistles you're looking for in a ski jacket, it has it all.
STEVE: Okay. Any other jackets that are doing really well this year?
BRIGITTE: Yeah, I would have to say the Obermeyer Charger jacket. Now this jacket; what's so great about it, it has a really high breathability and also high waterproofing. It's 20 mm. So, that alone makes it a very nice coat but more than that is that it comes in talls which Obermeyer is the only brand that I know of that does a tall coat for men and we get a big following of that because there's a void in the market for it.
STEVE: Okay, so people who are six feet and above have a choice now.
BRIGITTE: Yes, they do! Which is nice.
STEVE: Tell me about Mammut.
BRIGITTE: Mammut is a new brand that we introduced on skis.com and it's more technical but we have those technical skiers out there. There's this 1 jacket called the Norwood Pro and it's Gore-Tex and its 3-layer and we sold many so far just because it has what that technical skier is looking for.
STEVE: And what generally is a technical skier? How is that different from just your average skier?
BRIGITTE: They're the ones that are more doing backcountry, going off-piste and exploring a lot more of the mountain than your normal...
STEVE: So, they don't just go up the chairlift and then head down the trail?
BRIGITTE: No, they're a little bit more extreme but they need to have a little bit more into what they wear because they might be in colder weather and they just need more durability.
STEVE: They're not as close to the lodge or warming shack.
STEVE: Other than jackets you mentioned there were some pants that you wanted to make us aware of that were selling really well.
BRIGITTE: With Spyder, they've done a good job with the Dare Pant and again, with lengths in this pant, you have short, regular or long so there's an option for everyone plus it comes in different colors and it has suspenders that you can remove and it's also very stretchy so it's very comfortable and I think it's a good go-to pant for guys. And with snowboard, 686 has had this in their line forever, but it consistently is number one, is the 686 Original Cargo Pant which that also comes in lots of colors but the unique thing about this pant is it has a removable inside lining which is like a fleece lining, it's like 250 grams and so when you're really cold you can attach it inside your pant but for the guys that don't want any lining inside their pant, you can take it out. So, it's kind of like a 3-in-1 pant for guys.
STEVE: Okay, and that you said that was consistently best-selling for 686 throughout the years, right?
BRIGITTE: For sure.
STEVE: So there you have it. Check out some of the hottest ski and snowboard gear out there and see what's selling hot in jackets and pants at skis.com and snowboards.com. I'd like to thank Steve, Jenna and Brigitte for coming onto the Summit Sports Podcast to share the best-sellers for skis, snowboards and apparel and thank you for listening to another Summit Sports Podcast for skis.com and snowboards.com.