We are only a few weeks away from the Outdoor Retailer Show in Denver, Co. Every day now we hear about some shiny new products been released in prevision of next Winter. Clearly the battle this year is on major players entering the touring binding market as well as the increasingly popular freeride touring segment.
After the Salomon Switch and some new stuff from Dynafit a few weeks ago, here are other pieces of equipment that you'll encounter on the skintrack next Winter.
Fischer's Ranger Free Boot Lineup
Many boots are competing directly against the popular Atomic Hawx and Salomon MTN Lab. Fischer is entering the market next year with a well thought-out product. From the 55 degree walk mode (decent for an alpine-feeling boot) to the ease walk-to-ski mode switch, the Fischer Ranger Free is well adapted to slack country and shorter days of backcountry skiing. What I like about that boot is the grilamid shell with a 99mm instep width. If it shares the same sort of last as their Travers kilo-touring boot, expect it to fit very well a lot of feet. The Grilamid shell will make it easily customizable to various foot shapes.
The weight isn't so bad. 1540 grams falls right into the same category as the La Sportiva Synchro, Salomon MTN Lab, Scarpa Maestrale RS and Atomic Hawx.
From what initial testers have said, the Ranger Free features a "real" alpine 130 flex. This should reassure all freeriders out there. Plug boot stiffness with uphill capabilities...
Walk mode should be easily repairable and should be more than beefy enough for most.
Now that all brands have their own version of the cliff-huckage freeride touring bindings, it seems like the lightweight binding segment is getting some attention again. Competition in this category is stiff with brands like ATK, Plum and Dynafit having produced some very reliable and functional bindings over the last few years (Black Diamond will likely be distributing or rebranding some ATK bindings next year).
G3 is coming with their own interpretation of "light and efficient" with the Zed. Weight will be around the same as a Dynafit Speed Radical binding without brake. There is a lightweight "removable" brake that will keep the weight down vs competitors. Downside of the brake is It won't be possible to remove or add it without removing the heel piece from the ski. Some good features include a flat ramp between the toe and the heel pieces (usually found on race bindings) and a 10mm spring-loaded travel at the heel. The first generation due to release next Fall will tell how durable of a product this will be. The Zed will be the lightest binding in G3's range for 2018-2019. More infos on Wildsnow's sponsored post.
Head's new freeride touring boot
Not much has been said yet about Head's new Kore boot. Announced weight should be around 1600 grams and there should be a 130 flex version as well as a few trickled down models. The 130 will feature Low tech inserts.
A new Scarpa Alien with a carbon cuff
After releasing the Alien RS last fall, it seems like Scrapa is updating the popular Alien 1.0 boot. We should have more details soon...
A new BD helio top sheet design as well as a new Helio 76 featuring a notch for tip skin attachments. Are lightweight skis starting to make a return on our side of the Atlantic?! Black Diamond skis are manufactured at the Blizzard factory in Austria, good read from Wildsnow (as well as more images on their website).
We are really excited to be at Outdoor Retailer and Snow Snow at the end of the month. Stay tuned!