January 31, 2013 (Salt Lake City, UT) – During the second half of the Outdoor Retailer Winter Tradeshow in Salt Lake City, SkiTrax focused on the apparel and accessory side of the Nordic world. The new product offerings brought some exciting product innovations as well as some improvements on old classics.
One of Auclair’s best developments was its improvements on a classic performance glove, the Finlander. This is an improved version of the glove that Billy Demong used to ski to Olympic gold in Vancouver. Auclair removed the piping on the top of the glove, and this provides a seamless transition between the glove and pole strap. The glove is also more wind resistant than previous models.
Auclair has developed a warmer ski glove called the Alex Races, named after Canadian Alex Harvey. The Alex Races features the same seamless upper as the Finlander, and provides a bit more warmth than other models. Auclair’s lineup is highlighted by its versatility. A new unnamed prototype light glove could be used for roller skiing, while a lobster claw glove named the Alaskan Crab can be used in temperatures well below 0 degrees (F).
Auclair’s most unique development for 2014 is a new glove cover that Velcro attaches over your existing gloves, and can be put on while the skier is attached to pole straps. This allows the skier to remove the glove after a warm-up, and prior to race.
Bjorn Daehlie Clothing
Bjorn Daehlie has a couple of new jackets that they are featuring for 2013/2014. The first is the new Cross jacket, which is the brand’s “do everything” jacket. It features many elements of Bjorn Daehlie clothing that we’ve seen in the past: stretch panels in the shoulders and under the arms for freedom of movement, and wind and water resistant fabric on the front and main panels for warmth. The new features are the reflective elements in the seams for reflectivity. The new Champion jacket is what the US Ski Team will wear next year. The Champion features the same safety/reflective features while providing more of a “racer’s fit”, and waterproof panels.
Sporthill will enter 2014 with more than a few great products. The Whistler jacket is a great light weight pick. Water proof up to 10,000mm of standing water, and windproof up to 40mph, this jacket would be a great pick for a wet and windy fall training day. The Callaghan pant, cut for both men and women, is gram for gram the warmest pant on the market. The pants are made from a woven polypropylene fabric that is slightly thicker than most but is probably the most comfortable pant around. If you are looking for a warm, breathable, comfortable pant that is windproof up to 37mph, look no farther than the Callaghan pant from Sporthill.
2XU is the official compression wear supplier of the US Ski Team. In the past, people have thought of the base layer as being simply thermal. Compression adds a new element to the base layer. Compression can do multiple things. It can improve posture, influence muscle containment, and influence circulation in particular muscle groups to improve performance. Significant amount of study has been done to determine the positive effects of compression in recovery. Many of the US Ski Team’s top athletes in both alpine and Nordic have used the compression socks for recovery and to promote circulation during long flights to feel rested and quick after a long day of travel. Of course fit is of the utmost importance, so remember to take care when sizing these compression products to ensure you get the perfect fit.
On the performance side, Leki’s new Strike Carbon pole is an improvement on its popular Shark line. While the Leki poles may be a bit heavier than other high-end brands, they have uncompromising durability, and are as stiff as anything on the market. The poles also feature great and improved grips with a new notch near the top of the grip to provide a more ergonomic fit. The line of gloves has also been built upon. The gloves feature an integrated trigger system so the transition between glove and ski grip in absolutely seamless. Leki is a great brand to pick for performance and functionality.
Thule has one new box that may catch the Nordic skier’s eye. The Sonic Alpine box for 2014 can accommodate skis up to 213cm long. It features an innovative dimpled design at the nose that has lowered the box’s drag coefficient by 10%. The box is also the lowest profile box that Thule has on the market, with a height profile of only 11in. The box comes in silver and black, and is a great looking box for any Nordic skier looking to stash their gear away from the harmful effects of salty roads.
Sugoi has added a number of products to their line. The company has traditionally had a summer, bike and running focus, but is making a strong move into the winter world this year. The line features a layering system with a number of high tech fabrics. The style is definitely reminiscent of the products that Sugoi has brought to the cycling world, but they bring a level of functionality that rivals all the usual cross country focused brands. Sugoi has also moved into accessories for cross country – everything from socks, hats and gloves, to Velcro ankle wraps to keep snow from getting into your boots. Sugoi is definitely a brand to check out for 2014.