Last week, we had the pleasure of hanging out in the Great Lakes State for the annual Midwest Rep Association’s Test Fest at Boyne Mountain Resort. During the week we tested and filmed over 600 skis and snowboards in an effort to best understand where the industry is going. For those of you who’ve never attended a testing week, it’s essentially an onslaught of all the latest technology, apparel, beer, accessories, and fun. As a company, we try and get as many of our employees on new gear as possible, so we loaded up the trucks and sent a huge crew out for all the festivities. Here’s a snapshot of what’s to come.
The 17/18 season is going to be a big one for the ski industry. We’re seeing more new technology and products than we have in a long time. Specifically, the new Salomon XDR line was pretty impressive. They’re using CFX Superfiber that makes them surprisingly light, strong and enjoyable. The new 3D Glass feature from Volkl is enhancing their performance by lightening the weight underfoot but increasing stiffness in the torsion of the ski making these an all-around easier ride.
Internally, we’re excited to announce that we’re going to pick up a couple brands we haven’t carried in a while including Liberty, Faction, and Black Crows as well as a smattering of A/T Gear from Salomon and Atomic.
Last year we saw a huge shift in the industry moving toward asymmetrical and surf style snowboards. If you haven’t had the opportunity to ride these yet you need to update your gear ASAP. This year, the trend continues and has refined itself a bit. Highlights from the week included the Rossignol Sushi XV, a wildly shaped directional board that craves deep powder and speed. Marhar came at us with the Halfbreed, one of the staff favorites, that’s incredibly responsive, playful, and fun. We should note the entire Marhar line got stellar reviews this year. New to the market is Dinosaurs Will Die, a brand coming to the park scene that’s making major waves and got nearly 5 stars across the board. Another notable change is the recognition of split boarding as a future branch of the sport. Those of us who live and breathe in the backcountry understand the benefits and longevity that splitboarding represents and its now finally hitting the designers tables too. We saw boards and graphics that are designed to be ridden either as a single board or split up for those backcountry enthusiasts. We saw some huge promise from the Neversummer Funslinger and Prototype II for the All Mountain Freestyle category, as well as, the Ride Timeless with its famous metal topsheet for those of you looking to charge some serious speed.