Gear Predictions, 2024 (Ep.279)

On this week’s GEAR:30 podcast, Jonathan Ellsworth, Kara Williard, Justin Bobb, and Luke Koppa attempt to predict what’s “in” and what’s “out” when it comes to gear in 2024, what trends will be revived, what categories will see the most change, and they spin off into several other tangents.
Kara Williard skiing Big Chute at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, CO.

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Today, we’re following up last week’s episode, where we looked back at 2023’s “Gear Of The Year,” and we’re now looking forward to 2024. Jonathan Ellsworth, Kara Williard, Justin Bobb, and I attempt to predict what’s “in” and what’s “out,” what trends will be revived, what categories will see the most change, and we spin off into several other tangents.

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Ep. 278: Gear of the Year, 2023

2023 Gear Trends (2:26)
What’s “In” for 2024? (8:05)
What’s “Out” for 2024? (15:27)
What Trends are Coming Back? (25:55)
Categories to See the Most Change? (31:11)
Crashes & Close Calls (38:24)

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15 comments on “Gear Predictions, 2024 (Ep.279)”

  1. You guys stop hurting yourselves to promote blister plus we get it

    Let’s talk skis

    What’s up with heritage lab, so many interesting shapes being produced

    New blizzard line coming next year? Bonafide and Cochise going away? Is it just the Brahma 82/88 now like when head retired the monster 98/108 and kept the 83/88?

    Why is Rossi no longer making the sender squad available?

    What’s up with the Mantra M7 ski monster is flashing on insta?

    Are you guys going to review Carv? All I see is Carv ads.

  2. WOW. I just listened to your podcast as a new listener and I am stunned. Not only did you go on a tirade multiple times about “old people” and their opinions which is the VERY definition of ‘age-ism”, but let me quote you:

    “old people dying off its going to help racism be dead. Thats how this works. Good job younger people with fewer antiquated ideas of the past and human equality.”

    The generation dying off is the Greatest generation. They fought a world war, stopped genocide, went to the moon, overturned 200 years of history to establish civil rights and set the example for younger people to follow. You want these people to die off because you think this generation is less of all the “isms”? You dont have the guts to do what they did as a generation but only pretend you are doing better.

    Replace all of your “old people” with “jew”, “white”, “black” and you will see you are no better than the people you want to die off.

    What a sad heart you have.

    • Welcome to GEAR:30. Because you are new to the show, I understand your concern. If you listen to more than 1 or 2 episodes, you’ll quickly learn that we sometimes play the role of gadfly. We often joke. We’re occasionally irreverent. We’re quite often serious. We sometimes rant. And we often provoke.

      People who aren’t new to GEAR:30 will understand this. People who have read some of my favorite authors and books will understand this, too (see Thoreau’s Walden, Plato’s Socratic dialogues, Epictetus’ Discourses, the anecdotes of Diogenes the Cynic, etc.) Others won’t.

      In my case, I’m certainly not ageist — I’m pretty old myself. I’m against old ways of thinking that need to go. The vast majority of our listeners will understand that this was the real point. The rest was being provocative.

      Here’s to all of us – and everyone – growing old, doing so in good health, and being willing to reassess our principles, beliefs, and practices.

  3. Wrt womens’ ski lengths, I compeletely agree with the sentiment but not with the specific idea of needing to be >170 cm. I’ve ridden my wife’s 170 cm Secret 102s (old version with reddish-orange topsheets) and I think those can stand up to just about anybody. With that said she had to go unisex (178 cm Line Blade Optic 114) to get a suitable powder charger.

  4. Another remark about wide carving skis: I know that the Blister folks know this (because I’ve seen you write and talk about it), but taper and rocker, camber, and sidecut are at least as important for carving as width alone. A wide ski with a reasonably right sidecut (say, <=20 m), minimal taper, and shallow rocker (or "deeper and very low" rocker a la Volkl) will generally carve better than a narrower one that is deeply tapered and rockered and/or straight. When I've discussed this with people who rail against "wide" skis (Deb Armstrong comes to mind) they often seem to conflate all of these variables, i.e. they see students struggling to carve on wider skis that also happen to be deeply tapered/rockered, and they attribute everything to width.

    With that said, from working with my son I think that a narrower ski makes it easier to learn carving. I can rip trenches on all but the hardest snow on my 189 cm Fischer 107Tis, but I'm not sure I could have learned to do that if I hadn't started on narrower skis. I think that it takes more effort to roll a wider ski way up on edge, and IMO that promotes skidding while learning. I think that 80-ish mm skis are perfectly serviceable for learning carving, though (my son's carving skis are Disruption 78Cs, which I identified partially with help from Blister's reviews).

    • First paragraph: totally agree with you (as you already know). But thanks for taking the time to spell it all out again, in case people haven’t seen us spell it out.

      Second paragraph: also totally agree that narrower skis – with the right attributes – will be a better tool for learning how to carve. Lots of my statements (and I know you know this, Patrick, but for other people reading this) where I have defended wider skis for new skiers is that … I don’t make the mistake of assuming that people who are brand new to skiing are immediately trying to learn how to tip a ski on edge and carve the thing. Those are 2 different things, and I think some people forget that fact. And that creates a problem.

      • Thanks for the reply!

        wrt your second point, I totally agree and that’s why I said “learning carving” and not “learning to ski”. I think that to become a high-level skier you should learn to carve at some point, but that doesn’t mean it should be a consideration at the outset. FWIW my son was on his 4th or 5th “generation” of skis before we added a carving-oriented pair.

  5. Luke, you are not the only one who has the obsession with this lost product. Thanks to you, now I am in the obsessed club. If they are anything like my nano air hoodie which has been lived in and used for every imaginable activity for years, they must be amazing. I may have to start a standing eBay search.

    • IMO that call depends on what you’re doing and what else you have. I would also go all-mountain if I bought a ski in the 80 mm range, but that’s because I have a bunch of racing skis (both FIS and “cheater”) in the 65-mm range. I have no real use for an 80 mm carving ski.

      But if I didn’t have those racing skis I very well might go for an 80 mm carver. They’re really nice skis for what they’re built for IMO – they carve respectably on hard snow, but their extra area and reduced emphasis on torsional stiffness allows them to hold more consistently through piles of softer snow, where the racing skis can get unpredictable. Racing skis can be a bit of an adventure on end-of-day groomers for that reason.

  6. Sorry to hear about your extended recovery, Jonathan.

    Could the pole plants — especially on moguls — cause radial head displacement?

    On a separate note: Ice Coast skier here, that whole conversation with Parlor on 108-112mm skis for East Coast groomers really caught my attention. Staring at a cheap pair of used BMX105 wondering whether I shouldn’t try it out this year despite lack of snow ….

    • Thanks, KJ! And yes, it’s possible – even though I haven’t experienced a single moment of pain in the arm / elbow while skiing. The doctor & PT reminded me (willful ignorance on my part, probably – I just wanted to keep skiing!), that we aren’t dealing with a bunch of nerves here, so even if I’m not feeling any pain … that doesn’t mean that the bone is still healing up fine / not moving.

      So anyway, all good. We’re in the midst of a 48″ in storm as I write this, and I’m the sacrificial lamb for this one. Lots of friends saying yesterday was the best pow they’ve ever skied in CB. I’m happy for them, and the mountain is setting up spectacularly for the Blister Summit, where I will definitely be skiing again!

      Re: the BMX 105, I think the comments above are pretty instructive here. That BMX 105 will not be a better carver – on ice – than any number of the best ~65 – 84mm wide skis that are optimized for very firm groomers. But on softer groomers … or compared to some skinnier skis with lots of tip and or tail taper, etc … the BMX 105 could outperform some of them. And I can imagine dozens and dozens of skinnier skis where I would prefer to be on the BMX 105 off piste.

  7. Argh, that bites about missing that snowfall — and that’s coming from someone who has seen the few Northeast snowfalls this season get erased (and then some) by a torrential downpour!

    Maybe this is the inverse of Dauwalter’s focus, but on physical inaction. Gives you space to be creative — your forte! (60-page college essays n’ all).

    Thanks for the advice on the BMX105 (or any other 100mm+ skis) for hardpack carving. Probably explains why I’m still hunkered down on my Head Supershape e-Originals, with the Kastle MX78 in my back pocket (too fast for my kids and small mountain), at least until I can catch a dumping before it gets melted away.

    This is all relevant as I’m learning to carve with Carv as well — check out their FB group, it’s quite a wonderful resource period on carving technique — so I look forward to your experiences with that platform as well.

  8. As a snowboarder with picky and weird shaped feet who’s struggled for years customizing liners and struggling to straddle the line between tolerable level of comfort and performance +1 for exploring ZipFit or other options for customizable liners for softboots.

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