WildSnow gives us the low-down on gear at OR Winter Show

Another year of innovation, new products, and a whole lot of fun at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City, Utah. The WildSnow crew is rolling deep this year. We have seen a number of noteworthy innovations from day 1, specifically from Black Diamond, Petzl, Dynafit, Suunto, and other brands worth mentioning. If you, WildSnow readers, have specific info you’re looking for, leave a comment so we can check on brands and gear of interest throughout the show.

Dynafit ski lineup for 2017-2018 has a much more integrated look.
In terms of looks and naming, Dynafit heavily reworked their entire line of skis for next year. They are organized into 4 categories: “race” skimo skis (standard skinny skimo sticks), “speed” (stiffer high performance skinnier skis), “tour” skis (softer, more forgiving skis)”, and “free” skis (wider, slightly stiffer performance skis). They’ve also done away wih the often unpronounceable and somewhat arbitrary mountain names (Huascaran?), and are switching to simple names based on ski width (e.g. Tour 96, Tour 88, etc.) Much simpler than their previous line up, which wasn’t organized very well, and was a bit confusing what skis were meant for what type of skiing.
(They’ve also added a fifth category, or subcategory they’re calling “Speedfit.” More on that as well as new Dynafit boots and bindings as we continue our coverage.)
Some of the skis are brand new, and some are simply modified from pre-existing models. As far as I know, all skis are changed at least slightly. For example, last years Chugach is this years Beast 108, the ski is the same shape but the construction is slightly lighter, to save 200 grams.
The new “Free” line looks good, basically expanding on their Chugach ski, which was a excellent ski. The “Speed” touring line is particularly interesting, they are stiff, skinny skis that don’t seem to compromise too much on performance to cut weight (unlike many narrow waist touring skis out there). Sounds perfect for spring steep skiing in the PNW .
Black Diamond – skis, gloves, climbing gear, and technical wear
Black Diamond continues to innovate and offer improvements for their core products for Fall 2017. Standout items on the ski side of things (as we are a ski blog and everything) include a new line of skis called the “Route” series. These are meant to come in as a comparable ski to the Helio series in terms of performance. They will be offered in an 88, 95, and 105 underfoot and a poplar core and fiberglass construction. It appears that with the lack of sacrifice on performance, there will also be a smaller hit to the bank account with MSRP around $690. Win win.

BD’s new Route Series aims to bridge the gap between performance and price.
BD is also offering a new ski mountaineering ice axe, called the Swift. It is a similar profile as the current Venom axes, but with a redesigned adjustable grip (in fact, many of the BD axes have this grip) and an aluminum head and pick (non-removable).

BD’s new Swift ski mountaineering axe with a newly designed adjustable grip.

BD’s couloir harness with new ice clipper attachment – sweet!

A new line of waterproof headlamps, as so eloquently displayed in this waterfall contraption.

Of course, for all you aspiring or current parents – it’s time to get your little one in the vertical world this full body harness.
Another addition to BD’s climbing scene are BD Ropes, available in a variety of diameters and single color strands. We’d imagine these are re-branded from one of the established rope companies out there, with a bit of special BD sauce added. Anyone know the score on that?
Petzl – Redesigned Sirocco, Sumtec, and headlamps

The new Sirocco helmet is sure to be a pleaser
Petzl has redesigned their previously groundbreaking Sirocco helmet (thank goodness!). I personally resisted purchasing the original Sirocco because of the bright orange color. Now, the Sirocco is not only visually appealing, but also lower profile! The addition of the plastic insert on the top of the helmet adds about 15 grams, but is balanced out with a lower profile shape and a smoother surface for sliding a hood on and off.

Petzl has a new SumTec option that has a redesigned adjustable grip, and a replaceable (and more aggressive) pick.

New for Fall 2017 is Petzl’s version of a lightweight ski mountaineering axe; the Gully. Looks sweet!

Have a harness that doesn’t have ice-clipper compatible sleeves? Petzl releases the “Caritool Evo”, which can attach to any harness to allow the ease of carrying ice-screws.

Petzl redesigned their headlamp lines to improve weight-saving, and offer a rechargeable battery pack.
XtraTuf– redesigned boots for the winter enthusiast

XtraTuf old style boot on the right and their new model, Legacy 2.0 on the left.
We all know a friend who is committed to the XtraTuf cult, and well, we’ve been on the verge of conversion for awhile ourselves. XtraTuf is new to Outdoor Retailer, but not to the outdoor footwear scene. I’ve got tons of friends (both Alaskans, and Alaskan wannabe’s) who wear XtraTuf’s religiously for fishing, hiking, loading gear off oar rigs in the Grand Canyon. I’ve never owned a pair myself, but I’ve always been envious of people who have, especially in the right circumstances. XtraTuf is coming out with several new boot lines for the Fall of 2017.
The Legacy 2.0 is a completely redesigned boot with added protection in the ankle, shin, and additional fabric for comfort in the cuff. Along with this the profile of the boot has changed in order to accommodate larger calves and to increase the overall comfort.

In addition to the profile redesign, the sole and grip has been redesigned to increase traction and durability.

Although this is currently available, the XtraTuf Elite boot is my favorite.
Suunto – Spartan Sport Wrist HR and watches full of features
WildSnow hasn’t covered Suunto watches much, but the brand has been producing some quality products in recent years. Spring of 2017 is no different. The big new product coming out is the Suunto Spartan Wrist HR.

The Spartan Wrist HR has a built in, and apparently amazingly accurate, heart rate monitor into this low-profile feature – packed watch (it’s really hard to just call it a watch with all of the features it holds).

The Spartan Ultra Wrist HR has a heart rate sensor on the underside of the watch. These devices are truly amazing with what they can do. We look forward to covering more of them on WildSnow.
The new Suunto Spartan watch has 80 pre-programmed activity modes, GPS capability, and statistics monitoring programs that seem to make it a quality training partner for any activity. We especially like the GPS tracking feature for ski touring that creates a highlight video of your route on a Google Earth overlay (this feature is part of several of Suunto’s models). Suunto watch models that have altimeter and barometers features are ideal ski touring companions (and any mountain adventure) for a number of reasons; such as navigation, weather tracking, and training purposes.

Various designs of the Suunto Spartan Ultra.
Check back for more from OR Winter Market 2017 as we continue to explore what’s new for 2017 and beyond!

 

Source: Outdoor Retailer 2017 — Dynafit, Black Diamond, Petzl, Suunto and more! – THE Backcountry Ski Touring Blog

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