Just spent a week with Dave over at “Tamarack”:http://www.tamarackidaho.com/, this is a new resort that’s opened in Idaho. It is just three years old and they are still building it. We really lucked out on the snow there. Got 11 inches of powder one day and also had the great chance to learn from Carrie Cubbage who is just a top instructor and Dave is right, it is better than learning from a book. While there, we got a chance to sample some of the latest ski gear and trends including:
Photochromatic goggles. These have been available with glass lenses for years, but now they are coming out in plastic for sports. Most feature a 30% change in density which is just great. “Zeal”:http://zealoptics.com has had them for a few years and the “Detonator”:http://www.zealoptics.com/products.php?carXML=goggles&m=1&s=5 is their medium to large. It lists for $160, but you can find it on ebay for $124. I just read that “Bolle”:http://bolle.com also has a similar model called the Nova. I got the Detonator sight unseen, so I hope it fits. It works for larger faces. We use Oakley A-Frames today and they seem quite good.
Powder skis. I had a chance to demo a bunch of powder skis. I really like the K2 Apache Outlaw, it was the slimmest at an 88mm midwaist in the 168cm size. With all the powder we were getting it was terrific. It got a decent rating in Ski Magazine in this years test. Also tried the Salomon Gunn and the Fischer 92. The Fischer was a very soft ski and chatter quite a bit, while the Gunn was just massive and amazingly floaty. “Skiing”:http://www.skinet.com/skinet/gear/app/skifinder/detail/0,27058,ski_20071566,00.html?query=&qgender=Male&qlevel=3&qprefs=powder+crud&qmodelYear=07&qankle=&qtoefit=&qinstep=&qforefoot=&qmake=&returnLimit=all actually like a ski I didn’t try which is the Volkl Gotama, it is 105mm at the waist and come in 168 and 176 lengths with the shorter probably being right for me. Although twin tipped, its done really well on hard pack, crud and powder. “Epicski”:http://forums.epicski.com/forumdisplay.php?f=12 by the way has a really active forum on skis from afictionados. They note the 2008 Gotomas are different and probably a little less nice. Carrie by the way loves the Mantras as well which are 95 at the waist and more powder oriented rather than just being an all mountain.
iPod Helmet. “Skullcandy”:http://skullcandy.com did the first version of these. They have a wired helmet that lets you plug in an iPod and a cell phone. It actually fits in the earmuffs of a Giro helmet, either the Fuse or Nine.9. “Cnet”:http://reviews.cnet.com/Giro_Tune_Ups_II/4505-3505_7-30979134.html?tag=txt#more. They thought it was OK in terms of decent sound quality and the phone connection worked. The latest is the “Wireless Tuneup”:http://reviews.cnet.com/Giro_TuneUps_Wireless/4505-6468_7-32169557.html which actually is sold directly by “Giro”:http://giro.com it is actaully a bundle of the Ten Technology bluetooth attachment for an iPod and it also connects with bluetooth enabled headphones. The headphones worked well for the iPod connection, but for the phone it was more touch and go with the Treo 680. This is quite phone dependent and it is expesnive at $200 additional list plus the helmet. On the other hand, the entire Giro line supports it now. The lists are high, but “Mpire”:http://mpire.com/buyer/results.page?query=giro+fuse+ shows that ebay has them for $190 street price for the Giro Fuse plus wireless link