NOVEMBER 27, 2013
THE BEST OF WOMEN'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. I’m the host and today I have a few guests joining me to talk about the best of women’s ski and snowboard gear as well as clothing. From the best-sellers so far to the hottest items, you’ll learn what the top products of the 13/14 season will be and what’s performing best on the mountain.
Let’s start off with the women’s skis. Julie, one of our expert employees when it comes to skis, starts out.
JULIE: Some of my favorites. You know the Blizzard Black Pearl I actually purchased mine back in July, happy birthday to me. But those have been selling really well for us, really popular ski in the Blizzard collection.
STEVE: The Black Pearl uses Blizzard’s Flipcore 3D technology to give you a lively and stable ski. Rocker in the tip and the tail will give you smooth turn initiation, flotation in that light powder and a cleaner feel in the bumps and the crud. A layer of bamboo in the core adds a very lively but stable feel with every turn.
JULIE: The Rossignol Temptations are starting to pick up. There’s a whole collection of those: the 74, 76, 78 and those are great skis ranging all the way from the beginner to expert level so those are another one of my favorites.
STEVE: Is there something particular about the Temptation and why they’re selling so well?
JULIE: You know, it’s just a really smooth skiing piece of equipment. It really just makes it super, super easy to ski; very easy to initiate every turn. They’re really predictable and they’re great skis for pretty much every woman on the hill. Whether you’re a, you know, cautious or more timid skier or you want to push it a little bit more, it has a full range to be able to do it all.
STEVE: Have there been any other skis this year that you’ve been impressed by?
JULIE: Volkl Yumi. We’ve sold a few but I was really, really impressed with that ski when I tested it back in February. It is a ton of fun, I really can’t say enough about it.
STEVE: So, what kind of skier would get the most out of it?
JULIE: An intermediate to expert level skier can really ski that ski and take it all over the mountain and have a ton of fun on it.
STEVE: Steve: What else you got? Anything else?
JULIE: Another collection that I really like is the Nordica Belles Series. They have the Belle-to-Belle, the Wild Belle and the Hell’s Belles which are all great skis. I really did enjoy skiing those when we were up at the Test Fest show in February. They kind of all competition to each other, I guess for the most part, the Yumi kind of directly competes with the Belle-to-Belle. The Black Pearl is kind of along the same lines as the, you know, Wild Belles or Hell’s Belles.
STEVE: After skis, it’s only natural that we go to snowboards so that means Jenna, our snowboard buyer for snowboards.com, came in and talked to me about what some of the best-sellers are so far this year. So, Jenna, what are some of the best-selling snowboards?
JENNA: Right now we’re selling a lot of high end snowboard stuff, that’s usually the case early on. Generally the more experienced riders tend to know what they want and they want to get it before it’s gone. So that’s where we see a lot of those early sales. And it’s kind of all over the board right now but there are a few models that are doing especially well.
STEVE: You mentioned a little frustration when it came to women and buying snowboards. What was that?
JENNA: I’d really, personally, I’d love to see a lot of the higher end women’s stuff start to sell. I love boards like the B-Pro. I think it’s an amazing board for that intermediate to advanced level girl. It just provides so much stability and control and response and I honestly think it just makes you a better rider for having it and I think a lot of times, there’s all this amazing women’s tech out there, all this stuff that’s made specifically for us and I think women are a little bit intimidated by it and I think we as girls are a lot more likely to underestimate our skill than maybe a guy would be and because of that, I’m always seeing girls out there that are great riders that are just ripping down the hill but they’re on basic, cheap, entry-level boards and if they can get on some better product it would really improve they’re riding and take them to the next level. I have seen some movement in the Ride Fame which is also my kind of go-to binding which is great because that’s one thing that, you know, with women’s boards, boots and bindings, a lot of times people are willing to spend a little bit more on the binding, I’m sorry, I mean the boot and the board but they underestimate the value of the binding and it’s really key in transferring your energy to your board. The Fame’s really that awesome binding for the intermediate to advanced level girl who wants that extra performance and we are actually starting to see those sell pretty well so that’s exciting.
STEVE: Now, you say women tend to underestimate how well they are. So, you had told me that intermediate to advanced level is what you’re really looking for to kind of sell more of because you think the women out there are really underestimating themselves.
STEVE: What is, and I’m going to ask you this for beginner, intermediate and advanced, what does an intermediate to advanced level rider look like?
JENNA: What do they look like? So, an entry level girl is still, you know, still trying to learn how to turn. They’re mostly sliding their turns. They’re not really, truly carving. You know, they’re still kind of learning how to make it down the hill and that point what they want and, you know, what they find in an entry level board is something soft flexing. It’s forgiving, you know, the stiffer something is, the more responsive it is and that entry-level girl doesn’t want something that’s super responsive or something that’s going to make them catch an edge. They’re unsure of their movements so it makes it harder for them to progress. You know, as you move up, that girl gets a little bit more speed under her belt, she knows what she’s doing a little bit more and she wants to ride faster but if she’s still on that entry-level board, it’s going to chatter, it’s going to vibrate, it’s not going to hold its edge as well at higher speeds and...
STEVE: Probably make them a little bit more nervous because it chatters?
JENNA: Exactly. They don’t feel confident, they don’t feel in control so they don’t want to ride as fast. You get on something that’s in an intermediate level board, it’s a little bit stiffer, not too stiff, it’s not really going to control the rider rather than them controlling it but it’s going to actually hold its edge well, it’s going to hold up during higher speeds well, you know, the rider knows what they’re doing a little bit more at that point. After that, that girl is getting more aggressive. She really wants to carve hard on her board, she wants more out of it. Maybe she’s venturing into the park a little bit and wants more pop, wants more response. That’s when you kind of need to step up because you’re able to do what you want to do easier. You know, the board’s going to work with you, it’s going to allow you to, you know, get more pop off the snow; more pop and response in and out of turns. It’s going to hold its edge at high speeds whether you’re in hard pack snow or, it’s going to float better in deeper snow depending on the style of the board an that‘s just stuff that I think maybe women don’t realize is available for them and how much it would impact their riding.
STEVE: So, as a recap on those boards that Jenna recommended, there was the B-Pro by Gnu which does offer something called Magnatraction which gives women smooth, graceful turning in variable snow conditions while camber provided in the tip and tail provide stability and pop for landings and control in those crucial situations. The Gnu B-Pro snowboard is the perfect snowboard for that woman that truly wants one snowboard that can truly kill it in every single category.
The other item in Jenna’s get-em-while-we-still-got-em list is the Ride Fame Snowboard Bindings. They offer a Wedgie 2.5 footbed which puts you in a comfortable stance while also giving you that extra pop that you need to take all your tricks to the next level. There’s also the Slingback highback which is designed for the lady that demands freestyle flex and performance.
And now it’s time to take a look at the fashion side of snowboarding and skiing. For that, I brought in Brigitte, our apparel buyer. She’s going to sit down and tell us what some of the hot trends and best sellers are for skiers and snowboarders this year on the mountain
BRIGIITE: The North Face continues to hammer it out. The Inlux Jacket which is a $199 jacket, it’s our best selling piece, and I know why because it’s one of those jackets that you can wear from the street to the snow and it’s wear-able like anywhere you go. It’s also great-priced and it, they take pieces of what other pieces of their jackets, like the Ruby Rochelle Softshell, they put that fleece that’s in that softshell inside this jacket so the North Face has successes with certain pieces and then they’ll put the successes into other pieces so that jacket’s really warm, great priced and has done really well. And the same with the Boundary Insulate Jacket. I mean...
STEVE: The Triclimate Jacket.
BRIGIITE: TThe Triclimate…this jacket, they keep the name but change it up every year and this year, inside the jacket, they have more or less, it’s an Osito fleece which that’s our number one selling fleece and...
STEVE: I remember you mentioning that, I think, on a podcast we did.
BRIGIITE: Oh we did.
STEVE: The Osito fleece.
BRIGIITE: Okay, well that fleece is inside the boundary and you’re really getting a great deal because most women love the Osito and here it is, that’s interchangeable inside a ski coat so that’s pretty amazing.
STEVE: Yeah, want to go quickly back to the first one you mentioned for $199, that is a very inexpensive price for a ski jacket, isn’t it? And you get a lot out of it. You said that’s a good one, you can take from the street to the slopes?
STEVE: So, it’s gotta be very durable, I’m assuming...
BRIGIITE: It is.
STEVE: ...since if you’re wearing it almost everyday in the wintertime and then you can take it out.
BRIGIITE: Most definitely, and that jacket does have a powder skirt, it has inside pockets, it has all the features that you would need to be on the snow which is really important.
STEVE: That covers ski and snowboard jackets but what about ski and snowboard pants?
BRIGIITE: North Face makes a Low Rise Boot Cut Pant, it’s called the Freedom Pant. It’s insulated and they really have the fit nailed down with this because, you know, you try on your favorite jeans and you wear them the most all the time. Well, the same with when you’re skiing, you want something comfortable and the fit of this pant is kind of like a jean so even though it says low rise it’s not that low like when you’re showing your butt or anything but it’s definitely a fit that looks like a jean, it’s comfortable but made for the snow. The other one that I think is the best fit and also sells so well is the Obermeyer Malta Pant. The pant is a great price, it s usually $129-$139 and they really have the fit nailed down and they keep making it every year and this year they have it in a color that’s like an embossed titanium that would pretty much go with every jacket so I think this pant’s one to look out for.
STEVE: Finally, Brigitte had to share a company that she sees as an up-and-comer. One with jackets that you are sure to see grow in popularity in this year and beyond.
BRIGIITE: The brand that has really made the most impact on my floors, people are just coming in the stores and getting really hyped up about it: it’s called Kuhl. It’s spelled K-U-H-L and we just stated carrying it not too long ago but I’m telling you, the response we’re getting is just unbelievable. If you want to take a look at the Flight Jacket – it’s a fleece but it’s also very trendy and stylish and unique and very different to the market so I think this is a brand to watch out for and I can’t wait to see more of it come.
STEVE: I’d like to thank Brigitte, Jenna and Julie for coming on and talking about skis and snowboards and ski and snowboard apparel. For more information, to see product videos, to get a general idea of what’s out there and what’s trending hot, check out our websites: skis.com and snowboards.com. Thanks again for listening to the Summit Sports Podcast for skis.com and snowboards.com. Join us next time when we will discuss the most popular men’s snowboards, skis and apparel with the Ski-E-O Steve, our snowboard buyer Jenna and our apparel buyer Brigitte. Thanks for listening.