4th Annual Blister Awards, SIA


Black Diamond

Black Diamond still isn’t doing any ski-specific outerwear; everything is climbing/mountaineering specific. They are now using Gore Pro for their hardshells. I would not recommend any hardshell they currently have for skiing, partly because of the climbing fits and lack of powder skirts, but also because of the use of aluminum zipper pulls. Hard, heavy zipper pulls can be an awesome way to chip a tooth in action sports.

They are, however, one of a few companies using new Primaloft Gold, a 70/30 synthetic down blend. This insulation is an interesting alternative to dry down options, and could be a great wet-weather insulation option. Retail prices are pretty dang high though, with the cheapest piece starting at $300 and going up to $1000.

Black Diamond Hot Forge jacket with Primaloft Gold, Blister Gear Review
Black Diamond Hot Forge jacket, with Primaloft Gold

La Sportiva

This is Sportiva’s 2nd year of apparel. The Thanos hybrid belay jacket is a cool piece—a very overfilled down jacket with 2L fabric on the yoke and shoulders. I have never seen a piece so overfilled with down.

La Sportiva Thanos, SIA, Blister Gear Review
La Sportiva Thanos


Fillimore makes interesting jean-style pants that are sewn in the USA. They are very affordable with a cool aesthetic—one of the best faux denim shell fabrics I have seen, it is actually cotton based, not synthetic.

Fillmore Pants, SIA, Blister Gear Review
Fillmore Pants


Leather Patch Branding – It’s literally everywhere. It was innovative and retro 3-4 years ago, now it is compulsory for any brand looking for street cred.

outerwear coverage, SIA, Blister Gear Review

So how can you tell if a trend is getting cliché? Check the style leaders. Holden Outerwear doesn’t have a leather patch in sight.

Marketing “The Story” of a Product – Nauseating. It seemed like every time I walked into a booth, I had a marketing guy saying “This product allows us tell a whole new story.” Or, “I love this new color story, it is so exotic.” As far as marketing jargon goes, I give this one a big thumbs down.

Distressed / Waxed Technical Fabrics – This one is somewhat analogous to the leather patches, a trend that was cool 3-4 years ago in streetwear. However, 3-4 years ago, these fabrics weren’t available for technical outerwear. Now you can get distressed or “waxed” fabrics from a slew of companies. My picks for those doing it the best? Burton and DC.

Distressed Burton Jacket, SIA coverage, Blister Gear Review
Distressed Burton Jacket

Ski Companies Failing to Innovate in 2L Outerwear – In the name of journalistic integrity, I have to acknowledge that the top innovator in the ski outerwear world from a style standpoint is … Saga. Although I fundamentally disagree with some of their design choices, they are doing it better than any other ski company.

Saga outerwear, Blister Gear Review
Saga: not playing it safe.


The Orage B-Dog is the only other innovative piece I saw from a ski company at the show.

Orage Bdog, Blister Gear Review
Orage Bdog

With snowboarding bringing such hard hitters as Analog and DC, skiing is seriously blowing it. Step up your game, Skiing. I know you can do better.

Design Refinement rather than Design Innovation – Without any big technology releases in outerwear, most companies are focusing on refining existing products. Gore Pro is becoming more prevalent, and although Neoshell is becoming more prevalent too, it is clear that Gore still carries a big stick—there are very few companies using both Gore hardshells and Neoshell, and it is a pretty safe bet that Gore’s licensing agreements have a whole lot to do with that.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for some actual reviews of some of this stuff…

11 comments on “4th Annual Blister Awards, SIA”

  1. blister, when are you guys going to review the volkl v-works katana? there is a paucity of good reviews out there of this ski and unfortunately, given the price, no one is demoing the skis. would love to hear your expert opinions, especially in comparison of the other light weight carbon ski, dps wailer 112. thanks for your consideration and keep up the great work that establishes your site as the most informative, thorough, usable ski review site on the web. rod

  2. I’ve been skiing the new 185cm Wailer 105 for the past two weeks. It’s a badass ski and definitely looking forward to the 191 version. PM Gear super stiffs and my Head m103s are a couple skis that flex about as stiff, but there isn’t much more out there that has flexed this stiff, for sure. A good alternative to the Cochise and Katana for those that want some camber – like myself (can’t stand the greasiness on edge transitions). Have fun guys!

  3. I realize there’s money to be made selling “technical” street-wear to a bunch of wanna bees, but what the f… has that got to do with skiing? Metal zipper sliders a hazard? Lamest outerwear summary ever.

  4. Have you guys seen anything different with next year’s cochise? I’ve seen different comments around the web. Blizzard claim to have added a tiny bit of camber and a little softer (in their words “friendly cochise”). Some people say there is a small camber, others say that’s just like the previous versions… what’s your take on the new(?) cochise?

      • Thank you Jonathan! That is what I last heard from TGR too. I’m really curious to check out the new cochise, really stoked on the “more friendly” cochise. Bummer there isn’t demos available matching the production ski.

  5. When will we get to hear about your take on Praxis’ GPO or the slightly tweaked Moment Belafonte? My curiousity has gotten the best of me and I’m giving you guys a bump. Can we get a Preview edition?

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