Forecasting: The Snow Industry
A first look at some winter sports trends you’ll soon see.
El Niño snow is sending ski bums, adrenaline junkies, and winter sports enthusiasts out West, where in very recent years, destinations like Park City Mountain Resorts have seen millions of dollars of investments in technology and other enhancements. In the wake of these developments, as well as the SnowSports Industries America’s (SIA) annual Snow Show, we’re glimpsing the ski industry of the future.
To stay white, everyone’s going green.
Without snow, the snow industry wouldn't exist; hence, there is a renewed focus is on climate change. Winter accessories company Phunkshun Wear just announced a partnership with REPREVE, ensuring that all neck warmers and balaclavas in the 2017 collection will be made from recycled fibers. (Each product will save about 10 water bottles out of a landfill.) Eco-friendly Seirus also debuted solar-heated "SolarSphere" gloves and mitts, which use infrared heat from the sun to warm your hands.
Aspen Skiing Company aims to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent by 2020—the Sundeck restaurant on the top of Aspen mountain was one of the first LEED-certified buildings in the world. With a focus on renewable wind energy, 100 percent of Deer Valley Resorts’ snowcats, snow removal equipment, and on-mountain heavy equipment is also run on bio-diesel.
Goggles are becoming gadgets.
It’s not enough just to block the sun and the snow anymore. The Zeal HD2 goggle takes photos and video, too. The goggle also includes built-in WiFi so you can easily post your footage on the go.
Base layers will not be basic.
Outerwear may catch the eye, but SIA was packed with a showing of top-notch undergarments for everyone from the the alpine skier to the backwoods enthusiast. For the pro: POC Layer: soon-to-be-released base layers that are made, in part, with Dyneema fabric which feels soft but is up to 15 times stronger than steel. For the average Joe: MyPakage men’s performance-focused undies.
(Re)Introducing the ‘it’ boot.
Multitasking is king, which is what Apex was thinking when it introduced its modular ski boot system a few years back: The boots work for both skiing and snowboarding. This year, the company also re-designed, allowing wearers to adjust the forward lean of the boots, which means better performance. ($595 to $1,295; apexboots.com)
More flexible skis will reduce the learning curve.
Meet: U-Flex, top ski and snowboard manufacturer Elan's’s technology that allows boots and skis to be more bendable (about 25 percent more flexible, specifically) than average kids skis. Made from a softer plastic, these skis and boots make it easier to learn the ropes of the sport.