January 28, 2013 (Salt Lake City, UT) – The Outdoor Retailer Winter trade show was in Salt Lake City from Jan. 23-26 in full force. Hundreds of manufacturers from around the globe converged to show off their hottest winter gear for the upcoming 2013/2014 season. SkiTrax was there to catch a glimpse and provide highlights of some awesome new high tech products that the Nordic world will be dying to get their hands on.
The secret to Fischer’s new 2014 Speedmax skis lies in their construction. The entire ski is constructed separately from the base. It has long been known that high temperatures and pressure that are present in conventional ski pressing can damage the molecular structure of the base. Fischer worked hard to perfect their unique process of Cold Base Bonding. By bonding the base to the rest of the pre-constructed ski without heat, the Speedmax skis feature a base that is able to maintain the homogeneity of the original molecular structures. As a result, the base is able to accept more wax and features unrivaled gliding properties. The glue that bonds the base is also temperature neutral, so no matter what the temperature is, Fischer claims that the ski will maintain its flex profile. The Austria-based company hopes that these new skis will take more than a couple of athletes to the podium at the 2014 Olympic Games next year in Sochi.
Our visit to the Swix booth left us with a couple “wow” moments as the new Triac pole is in a class of its own. The pole is 20% stiffer than the previous model, while maintaining the same great swing weight. The pole features a triangular cross section and is set for a pre-launch at the upcoming World Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy before a launch to the public this fall. However, according to Product Manager Svein Pederson, a sample pair has already been out on the World Cup course after he let Petter Northug test a pair a month ago, and the Norwegian star refused to return them.
Swix has also come out with a brand new wax iron. If you thought the T71 iron Swix sold last year was thick, wait until you see the T70 – this is an extreme waxing iron. The 35mm plate can hold high stable temperatures that enable the wax tech to apply high purity fluoros without burning the base. At a $1,000 retail price, the iron should be used by those seeking waxing perfection, regardless of cost.
Swix has developed a great relationship with Gore-Tex for their glove line over the past two seasons and this year they integrated Gore-Tex into a new line of warm, windproof jackets.
The X-ium lineup has some big changes for the 2013/2014 season. Some changes in the camber profiles and pressure distribution on the glide zones are the major changes on the cold skis the S1 (skate) and C1 (classic). The big changes for the skate line come in the S3 where more tip splay and a softer profile will allow the tip to fly over slush, and give the skis a nice, buttery feel. They feature a translucent base with no carbon added. The base is a bit denser, and allows the factory to put in a more stable, deep structure that will hold up over time, and eliminate suction in slush. The classic world cup level line features five different skis. The C1 will run great on cold hardpack while the C2 is a bit softer and is a wider range traditional classic ski. The C2 R-Grip has a synthetic kick zone that has a hairy zone that isn’t very aggressive so hardwax can be overlayed when conditions permit. For warm classic skiing, Rossi offers a traditional warm C3 ski, and just like on the skate side, there’s an additional C3 version with a harder white base on the tip and tail, with a softer traditional black base in the kickzone to hold wax more effectively.
Alpina’s latest development comes in the form of the new ESK skate boot. The heel is a bit lower in the KSK Pro than in the traditional ESK. This works in conjunction with the new Rottefella Xcelerator bindings, to provide more force through the front of the foot, in addition to providing a more natural stance. The boot is a bit stiffer than in the past to provide a nice snappy feel. An improved lacing system and a removable cuff also provide the opportunity for a custom-style fit and feel.
Madshus’ new Super Nano boots, already seen on the feet of top biathletes Emil Hegle Svendsen and Ole Einar Bjorndalen, along with rising US star, Noah Hoffman, were another show stopper. The new Nanos are significantly lighter and stiffer than previous versions as Madshus utilized more carbon fiber while limiting the amount of extra plastic in the sole. We tried on the Super Nano in conjunction with their new Redline carbon skate ski, and it felt like there was nothing on our feet. The swing weight and light feel were unparalleled and Madshus says the advances in performance don’t compromise the new boot’s comfort or warmth. Built with a lower volume in the forefoot, the Super Nano feels a bit softer on the top of the foot, while providing great stability on the bottom – a great all-around bomber boot worth checking out.
Craft has improved upon their underwear lineup for 2014 with their new High Function models. The new line has improved on the seams with better fit adjustments compared to previous models.
One of the most exciting developments in the cross-country ski industry is the return of Karhu to the North American market. While Karhu never left the race scene in Scandinavia, they are making their return to North America in 2013/2014 featuring the skate 1.0 which is a high performance racing ski. The cold ski comes with a soft and stiff version as does the warm ski. We are really excited to get on the skis and see how they feel.
Karhu boots are based on the Rottefella sole and binding system. Due to the excellent vertical flex of the boot’s sole structure, kick power is transferred efficiently to deliver the maximum power to the forefoot and toes.
Karhu has further developed the fit, materials and skiing comfort of both their classical and skating ski boots. Light cuffs and other technical solutions will satisfy the needs of a demanding skier. The warm inner sock and flexible lace cover material possess water repellent properties.