Gear refinements come to smaller categories.
Snowshoes are where the major innovations lie for next season, with one company in particular (Crescent Moon) moving the bar in terms of materials. “Our patent-pending design is the most innovative thing in snowshoes since the aluminum frame,” says Jake Thamm, Crescent Moon president, of his new All-Foam Sports Snowshoe. “The lightweight feel will have a broader customer reach and will introduce a whole new segment of users to snowshoeing.”
Broadening the market reach is also on the mind of Voilé. Through market research, they found splitboard riders are typically young and with limited expendable income. David Grissom, Voile’s sales and marketing manager, says, “We thought it was peculiar that with all the splitboard brand choices out there, sales of our ‘Do It Yourself Split Kit’ are still growing.” So they’ve brought a price point splitboard to market, targeting those younger riders getting into the sport for the first time.
Andrew Sturtz, spokesperson for Madshus, explains that the Propulsion Ski is going after the classic disciplined cross-country skier looking to maximize his or her speed. It has an even distribution of pressure points across a stiff camber profile. This technology makes the experience way more fun, since “it provides more powerful accelerations, better glide, and higher top speed.”
The Voilé Spartan ($550) is a no-frills splitboard with an aspen wood core and smooth flex. The early rise in the nose and tail provides easy maneuvering. The Voilé Speed Rail Splitboard Binding ($350) adjusts from touring to descending mode with a simple aluminum rail slide mechanism (no clips or pins required).
The Madshus Nano Carbon Race 100UHM pole ($295) employs an Ultra High Modulus Carbon shaft and heat-moldable strap designed to fit any hand. The Velcro on the strap borrows high adhesion strength from the footwear industry, allowing it to hold firm when you’re moving fast.
Leki’s Aergonlite 2 Lady Vertical ($129) is the company’s first women’s-specific backcountry pole. The Trigger Vertical system lets you click in and out of the pole via the wrist strap (like a ski binding), providing variable grip adjustments without removing
The All-Foam Sports Snowshoe ($149) from Crescent Moon uses dual-density EVA to form a rockered deck with tire tread-like lugs for bite. The top is curved to provide a comfortable feel on hard and rough surfaces. The hook-and-loop binding system is secure, easy to use, widely adjustable, and comfortable.
The Madshus Propulsion Ski ($775) is designed to maintain momentum and speed in the classic Nordic track. Its tip splay is engineered to optimize the pressure zones, either for cold hard snow or to float in soft, wet conditions.