New Winter Toys
Last week I made it by the SnowSports trade show in Denver and met with manufacturers of skis, snowboards, snowshoes, outerwear, and accessories to take a look at the innovations hitting the market later this year. In our new Alaska Tested Tough program, we'll be testing out (winter and summer) outdoor sports and travel gear for our readers and awarding the best of the best in each issue of the magazine. So, beyond the eye candy (the blinding sheen of board decks and ski boots) I found a few interesting things to look for in 2014:
1) Helly Hansen is working on a boot for -100 degree temperatures. Given the mild temperatures we've had this year in Alaska, we'll have to get a bit colder to put this one through its paces.
2) Tubbs Snowshoes is introducing a couple of new models with the BOA fit system built into it. If you've ever wrestled with getting your boot into or out of a snowshoe or been frustrated with slipping out of them mid-stride, you'll appreciate the ability to twist a dial to get the fit as tight as you want, along with a quick release to get back out of them.
3) Burton showed me a jacket called the Chill Hero which converts into an emergency blanket when turned inside-out. Perfect for backcountry enthusiasts.
4) GoPro, the original helmet cam makers, have not only improved the quality of the camera with the Hero3+ black edition, but they've also upgraded ease of use. It's tough when the GoPro is on a helmet or long stick (dropped down to shoot a whale at eye-level from a cruise boat) to know if you're really getting the shot you want. Now, there's an app for that. You can hold your smartphone and see what the camera is shooting, making any adjustments on the fly.
Look for more info on these and other great products for mountain fun in our upcoming issues.