Ski Gear Predictions for the Next Decade (Ep.82)


  • Thoughts on our last episode (2:25)
  • Our gear predictions (17:25)
  • Gear w/ the most room for improvement (34:30)
  • What gear will actually change most? (44:16)
  • Gear that will change the least (50:26)
  • “Women-specific” products? (52:26)
  • Wildest predictions (55:10)

Last week we talked about the best ski gear of the past decade, so now it’s time to make our predictions about what gear will look like 10 years from now? What product categories have the most room for improvement? What ski gear will actually change the most? What gear will change the least? And what are our wildest gear predictions for where gear could be in 10 years?

We discuss all of this and more in a roundtable discussion with me, Kristin Sinnott, Paul Forward, Luke Koppa, and Sam Shaheen.

Ski Gear Predictions for the Next Decade (Ep.82), BLISTER
Jonathan Ellsworth overlooking Crested Butte, CO.

19 comments on “Ski Gear Predictions for the Next Decade (Ep.82)”

  1. SKI BOOTS Alpine do every thing ski boot with weight under 3kg less boucles more cables or dyneema, and more cabrio and rear entry

    SKIS verticals laminates on wood cores maked with fibers and non Newtonieun epoxy ;-) who change the flex of the ski and give a dampl feeling with ligtness

  2. Sounds like this is what’s going to happen in the next 10 years:
    – Paul Forward will review Anton Skis ( and rear-entry boots
    – Jonathan will then convince Hoji to re-build the Salomon Pilot system onto the Blister Pro. Of course, Jonathan will suggest using with alpine bindings, but Hoji will end up doing it with tech bindings
    – Luke will find Stephan Drake and re-reinvent the ski boot (he probably has some non-compete), ski helmets, and body armor (to help Luke learn new tricks)
    – Sam will start a new clothing company, “Local Descent,” making locally-sourced, highly-breathable, electric-lined apparel
    – Base materials will advance where an electric current changes the structure to add/remove scales for better use uphill. However, this will be very environmentally intensive. So people will need to choose between these skis and skis made from more sustainable materials (which according to the predictions will be marginally better than skis today but you need to use skins)
    – Ski goggles will get rid of the dedicated lens systems but go too far the options for tints will be X-Pro and Valencia
    – Ski poles, alpine bindings, and skis won’t change (the last prediction is curious considering this is Blister…?)

      • Nobody’s mentioned a leap ahead in knee braces? I think there would be statistics supporting that. It would be in the self interest of the hills and manufacturers too.
        The Ikon pass could get on board with a sesh at the brace fitters.

  3. I absolutely love that the photo for this episode is Jonathan surveying his domain in a boot/ski combo that weighs about 17.2lbs per foot. This points to THE trend for the next decade. Squats. Do more of them.

    In all seriousness, we see this in every industry. Mountain bikes are reaching peak geometry and everyone agrees that as long as the bike is efficient going up and forgiving going down, 30lbs is okay. Ski gear is similarly reaching a peak weight, peak flex, homogenized mass ideal. Outliers like that Raptor 140 RS or Scarpa Alien on either end will continue to exist. But that 120 flex, one boot to do it all ideal WILL drive the boot industry going forward.

    That ideal will exist in skis too to a lesser degree. Good luck swinging a dead cat and not hitting a 95-105mm, rocker/camber/rocker, 1800g ski with a Shift (or similar technology) binding in lift lines and skin tracks the world over by 2029. Perfecting the homogenized ideals will become the new mission statement. Same as it has in mountain biking.

    I’ll say it again. Heavy ski gear isn’t dead, but it’s heading to its new house in Boca.

    Apart from that, I’ll predict a mass acceptance of triple layer anoraks as THE apparel trend for this new decade.

  4. ho ! nobody talks about exosquelleton with connection to dedicated ski boots for a better proprioception, balance and strengh ?

  5. Two areas for improvement over the next decade:

    1) Beacons get cheaper. A *lot* cheaper, and everyone winds up carrying one at all times. There was a lot of talk in this episode about them getting better. Sure, maybe they do. And maybe manufacturers get to keep the top price point the same by introducing ever-fancier models with ever-fancier screens and ever-cooler interfaces. But at the end of the day this is a gadget that performs a single, simple function and, more importantly, that the average person isn’t going to get to ‘enjoy’ on a daily basis. I’m not sure there are that many people out there saying “gosh I wish I had a higher performance beacon”. But I’ll bet there are a *ton* of people who could be convinced that they ought to carry one at all times if they cost $50 instead of $350. Over the past couple decades we went from nobody wearing a helmet in bounds to everyone wearing a helmet in bounds. At some point, it just became obvious that no reasonable parent would let their kid on the hill without one. I think if beacons get cheap enough the same thing will happen there. It’ll just be a no brainer. Maybe ski areas start to require them and as you get on your first lift of the day you need to show a working beacon with your lift ticket. Bottom line: the value for money in beacons has gone nowhere for too long, and I don’t think it gets resolved by having beacons that have as many capabilities as an iPhone. I think we get the same functionality for between 10% and 20% of the price over the next 10 years, and as a result, they wind up in everyone’s kit.

    2) The shape of beginner skis (and beginner rental skis, in particular) gets less stupid. You guys have talked about this in a hundred different ways, but a hammerhead, flat tail, heavily cambered shape is just a bad idea for a first time skier, and probably also a bad idea for most people their first dozen times on skis, at least. And yet somehow the industry keeps cranking out their cheap, highest-volume, rental-fleet-targeted skis in those shapes. And rental shops keep buying them and putting people on them. That makes no sense. Who knows whether this plays out as the manufacturers changing their offerings or the folks in retail and rentals getting on board for a paradigm shift, but either way the hope/prediction is that you see a lot fewer people having a rough day on the wrong pair of skis at the start of their learning process.

  6. I would love to see the demise (or decline) of the boot fitter. It’s so hard to find a good one, and so time-consuming most people just don’t do it. Some kind of custom boot thing that is easy to do at home would be awesome. What about dodge custom ski boots? Or the Fischer Vacuum boot?
    Personally I could see a rise in custom and semi-custom skis. Yes you can get Parlor or Praxis or Folsom or whatever. But something from the big ski names sort of like Trek Project One. You choose a top sheet from a big list, and adjust flex etc. It’s really the custom topsheets on Parlors etc that give people wood. The Rossignol Bespoke (hate that word) Soul 7 program.
    I loved the term ‘aspirational’ for touring stuff.
    Magnetic skins would work? maybe heavy? I thought there was a touring ski with magnets now so you can keep them together without a ski strap, or maybe I imagined that.
    But a skin that engages with a tap of a button on the binding or on your wrist… oh boy that would be awesome for rolling terrain.
    Even better: an electric ski with a little motor in it that gets you uphill like an e-bike? The retractable skin fibers go in and out in a pattern like a caterpillar, advancing you forward. an e-ski. and there will be debate and they will be marketed heavily and like $6000 and then banned and then not banned and yaddadadad…
    But that would be cool. Just standing there on the skin track like a magic carpet! Installed in custom topsheet soul 7. Call it “the soulsucker”.
    I think you guys overstate the whole avy bag thing. Even if they were cheap, how many avy bags are sold compared to Soul 7? You guys tour a bunch, but how many people do you see out touring compared with at the ski area? How many avy bags sold compared with ski poles?
    great episode. fun to listen to in the car to and from the hill.

  7. Well, those predictions seems to be self realising!
    Ghosts Apparel ( makes everything within 150km of the main factory with the best available “eco” materials. Could be interesting to review their gear.
    Same goes for skis, Europe has a number of small companies making skis with close to 100% natural and/or recyclable materials (Hemp, flax, basalt fibre, wood of course) you could check out:,, and of course
    Ever thought of doing a deep dive into “Wooden skis”?
    Would love to hear your thoughts about these!

  8. Paul was talking about suspension for skis, especially in racing.

    Rossignol/Look has introduced Dynamic Line Control (DLC) some years ago for GS skis, although from current top WC athletes I’ve only noticed Tessa Worley using it regularly.

    DLC skis are also available for consumer purchase at around 2500 EUR for a pair (models:

    Here’s a one minute video on the tech:

    Calls for a Blister review, right?

  9. I’m a little late, just kept forgetting to hop on. I’ve really enjoyed these looks into the future on skis and bikes. One thing I wonder about for both is the influence of the future Chinese market. If it turns out to be even half as big as it looks like it has the potential to become, that’s a huge increase in the demand for higher quality products. Can Rossignol even build that many Soul 7’s? Is there a scarcity and then an increase in production that drives down cost to all consumers? Does somebody like Amer Sports develop a Chinese market separate from the traditional Western market with half-price QST/Shift equivalent? My friend bought a 800 fill down sleeping bag for $100 on Amazon from China, would’ve been $250-300 from a US based company. Yeah, maybe it’s not the same high level of quality, but it seems pretty solid and superlight.

    With beacons, it doesn’t seem like there’s really that much room for improvement to me. I’ve got the Barryvox S and it’s extremely capable and easy to use. I guess I could see gradual improvement in processor capability so they wouldn’t be quite so affected by the user swinging them wildly around instead of maintaining a consistent orientation. Really, what they need to figure out is the electronic interference problem, because telling people to stop using electronics around them is a non-starter.

    • I was also wondering about the Chinese market but from a different angle. Will the Chinese consumer be real after Beijing 2022?

  10. Great podcast, really fun to think about. You guys kind of touched on this with the electric snowmobiles and electronics and heated ski pants. But I think it’s totally possible we’ll see things like safety drones that maybe can follow backcountry skiers, or try and pre-trigger avys, or deploy and find those swept away and do short range evac, autonomous grooming, and maybe even kind of autonomous sleds that might pull or push people, and maybe starting to replace the ski lift. Or instead of having moving lift wires, they will be stationary with each chair having it’s own electric motors (or maybe just skis with motors). And just general electrification of everything, and solar powered everything. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of small ski resort startups at higher elevations too if the electric ski chair type thing comes to pass. Also I think we’ll see electric insulation be pretty standard in apparel and boots. Also hoverboards, definitely hoverboards (only kind of joking here) :)

    Also not sure if this will happen but something I’d like to see is just a general push towards major safety advances, like a binding standard (tech and dh) that makes it impossible to get knee injuries or a helmet that inflates and totally prevents concussions or spinal injuries. Or maybe computer aided avy prevention, just scan the slope and it tells you whether it will slide or something. All this stuff with the exception of hoverboards is possible now, just not at a cheap enough price or combined together so I think there’s a good chance people will do at least some of it.

  11. I would like to see the binding companies take a better look at making bindings that can be moved in small increments to dial in the ideal position on the ski. The general public doesn’t realize how important the position of the boot on the ski is. Marker had the Schizo on the market for years and quit selling it because they said it didn’t sell. I think they failed at educating the skiers about how important the placement was. I have skied on skis in the past that did not ski well at the general mounting point. Once I find the correct
    position on a particular ski, I leave it alone.

  12. My predictions:
    Sustainablity of soft and hard goods is going to be the next thing.
    Avy safety is going to improve a lot: phone apps are going to work in cooperation with beacons and drones making the search part much easier. The phone has the processing power, a small drone has speed to scan, combined they have an advantage over people with just beacons. Maybe your drone is even going to hover above you in censequential terrain.
    Due to changing weather patterns and fluctuations in yearly snowfall small European ski areas go bankrupt. Ikon pass systems are not going to tackle this problem because of local ownership.

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