We got our greedy little paws on the hottest new winter gear for serious on-slope testing.
1. Rossignol Super 7
This big brother of Rossi’s popular S7 came out last season but sold out in no time—for good reason. The Super 7 (145-117-127) took it up a notch. Featuring a layer of strong, supple titanal, the tip-and-tail rockered ski is even beefier and more responsive inbounds than the S7 but has not lost its ego-boosting powder float.
2. Black Diamond AMPerage
This is one versatile ski for soft snow. It’s 115 mm underfoot so it certainly floats the soft stuff, but with 21 meters of turn radius, it can also whip around in trees and even cruise the groomers—the ideal do-it-all board.
3. Jones Hovercraft Split
Snowboarding film star Jeremy Jones designed the Hoverctaft to ride with a lot more versatility, especially in powder, than the usual 156-cm board. Spilt capability makes it a backcountry mountaineering tool that’s still got the guts of a freestyle ride.
4. Zeal Transcend
Tracking speed, altitude and other vitals as you cruise downhill, these are some serious geek goggles. Simply take a glance down at the lower right corner of the lens where a display screen tracks all that data. Even better, when you head home, you can download and analyze your ski session the same way you would with a running or cycling workout.
5. Nordica Firearrow F1
While ski design has changed radically over the past decade, getting ridiculously fat and shorter, boots are still built with the mindset of driving drive thin, old-school boards. The Firearrow, however, allows for more ankle articulation for lateral control—just the ticket when you need to make adjustments on skis that are over 100 mm underfoot. Carbon fiber construciton keeps it light.
6. Outdoor Research Ambit
It’s nearly impossible to operate a smart phone on the slopes while wearing ski gloves, but the fingers of the Ambit use Touch Tec leather, a nanotechnology that makes it so that the material will operate a touch screen just as adroitly as if it were bare skin.
7. Columbia Circuit Breaker Softshell
This soft shell jacket contains a built-in, electronic heating system. Simply press a button and it starts to warm you up at three different temperature settings, yet, it’s still light and breathable enough for athletic skiing and skinning. It’s a tad bulky with two battery packs that take up a bit of space in the chest, but that inconvenience is worth it for the pleasure of heat on demand.
8. Backcountry Access Float 18
BCA’s newest avalanche bag, which works by giving a skier trapped in a slide enough bouyancy to rocket to the surface, was designed for the sidecountry. The 18-liter pack is low-profile enough for the resort, while still offering the technology found in larger, heavier bags.