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



TOPICS & TIMES:

  • 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.

Jonathan Ellsworth overlooking Crested Butte, CO.

10 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 (https://www.antongliders.com/) 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 (https://ghostsapparel.com/) 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: http://grownskis.com, https://www.earlybirdskis.ch, https://www.villacampa-pyrenees.com and of course http://rabbitontheroof.net/
    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: https://www.rossignol.com/int-en/catalogsearch/result/?q=dlc)

    Here’s a one minute video on the tech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRKo44FWvgU

    Calls for a Blister review, right?

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