Winter Quiver Guide – What’s New for 2019
August 28, 2018 / By: Tor Linzee
Can you feel a slight chill in the air? Okay so maybe it is still pretty warm in your locale, but ski season is fast approaching. Many ski resorts in the Rockies are aiming for an early November opening day. Whether you’re a true gearhead with a shrine in your home for your skis or boards or a grab-and-go type, you still want the best equipment available to maximize your time on the slopes. Let’s examine a few new trends in the ski and snowboard industry for the 2018/2019 season
Ski Trends for 2019
Performance Frontside skis are becoming the norm. Frontside skis have a narrow waist, translating to less than 80mm underfoot. These are aggressive performance skis designed to make big carved turns and are great for carving up the groomers. Frontside skis have always been much more popular in Europe than North America but as we are all dealing with more dry cycles more manmade snow the narrow skis are making a comeback. In the early season when only a few top-to-bottom groomers are open you’ll be happy to have a narrower ski in your quiver to really get after the corduroy.
This is hardly a new trend in the ski industry, but there is a continued push to shed weight in both skis and ski boots. What is new is the theory that instead of removing material from existing models, the gear should be built light in the first place. Carbon is key. The use of carbon is going to increase big time, a high strength-to-weight ratio makes carbon an ideal material for skis and snowboards. Carbon has been around in the ski industry for a long time but going forward you are going to see it used much more strategically. Rossignol will expand on its Carbon Alloy Matrix, and Atomic will feature Tank Mesh Carbon
Versatility is key
It’s important to stress if you are going to venture into the backcountry or even the side country of your favorite resort to be educated about avalanche safety. A common saying is “know before you go”: know the avalanche forecast, know how to read and interpret that forecast as it pertains to where you are going to ski that day and know how to use rescue equipment. Practice using that rescue equipment as much as possible.
Okay, safety spiel over. Gear that can take you into the backcountry is becoming increasingly more popular. This means bindings that are certified for alpine turns and offer the mobility to go touring. Salomon and Atomic both offer Shift bindings, designed with both alpine and touring capability so they can be skied with either alpine or touring boots.
Snowboard Trends for 2019
The snowboard industry is buzzing again. Still riding high from a stellar showing at the 2018 Winter Olympics, snowboarding is back in the spotlight. With this added attention there are sure to be some tech innovations coming down the pipeline for the 2018/2019 season. A few of them are a bit surprising, too.
Camber Dominant Boards Making a Comeback
The Camber (flat or traditional shaped) vs Rocker (banana shaped) debate will continue for years to come; it is a truly subjective debate and really boils down to personal preference and what suits your riding style best. Rocker and rocker hybrid designs dominated the market for years, but camber shapes are making a comeback. For 2019, you will start to see a lot of camber-dominant designs hit the market, whether traditional camber or a camber + early rise shape. Look for a lot more camber in companies’ 2019 product lines.
Short Boards/Fat Boards are Here to Stay
Companies will still be making the “quiver killer” boards that can handle just about anything you throw at them. The highly-specialized powder boards, slush boards and fat boards are here to stay. These unique shapes are fun and nimble when you ride them in the conditions they are designed for. They can change the way you ride and can make a pow day even that much better.
All Around Boards, Functional Boards
While the above trend of specialized shapes will continue, the industry has finally realized that most snowboarders do a bit of everything. Snowboarders want a board that can handle riding groomers within the resort, or riding rocky steeps in the side country, a board that is poppy on jumps and stable when sliding a few rails. Previously you would see very freestyle-specific boards or stiff aggressive big mountain boards. In 2019 we will still see those specialized shapes, but most companies are thinning out those product lines and offering a versatile all-around board.
Whether you ski or ride you should be getting excited about the upcoming season! Stay healthy, keep that leg strength up, and if you’re in the market for some new gear the 2019 offerings are sure to help your turns to the next level.