Looking out of the box for new kit. Day 2 at ISPO

I was asked the other day if I would go and have a look at a new product that a friend was involved with. Then they shook their head and said “Oh I forget, you just deal with racing.” How wrong this person was. At Lake Louise earlier this winter, a training run was cancelled due to fresh snow and fog. Many of the racers went back to the hotel, grabbed their fat skis and went off powder skiing. Racers do not just stick to the piste and the roped off areas, strange as it may seem but the back country, the off piste and all mountain is where you will find the likes of Ted Ligety et al if the race or training run is canned. Time to look out the box for what the competitive winter sports market could be using. …

FatMaps was the product I was being asked to go and look at and with the sad news last month of two American racers being killed powder skiing by an avalanche, this new product, launched today to the general public, is an awesome piece of kit that gives incredible insight into the terrain you are looking at skiing, comments from others and if you look closely enough you can see the tracks that others have made. Register quick as they have some great offers for those that get in early. And if you are planning on going to Tignes for the British Champs at the end of March, download the app and when you are overawed by the racing and want something different, use the app to see where the best powder can be head. From £4.99 a resort, this is a great app for the mobile phone.

Accessing your kit from your backpack without tieing yourself in knots and hitting those around you in the lift queue can also be a nightmare. The revolutionary Wolffe Pack backpack is something to look at. The pack can stay on your back but with a pull of a conveniently placed toggle, the back pack part drops down on rope and you can swing it round to your front on either side. No need to take the back pack off at all.

With the news that Helly Hansen have signed up the ESF, the French Ski School network, to use their clothing from next winter, the clever chaps there will have put their jackets, baselayers and ski kit in the shop window big time. Having used the baselayers for the last few years, we definitely endorse them for keeping warm in the cold days when waiting beside the slopes! If your local ski shop is not stocking them, you should ask why!

Last year the stand out product at ISPO was the Orange Fox drill bit. Well the clever people there have now improved on the ket used to tighten poles into the ground. With a smart belt attachment the lightweight key will sit snuggly by your side coaches without bruising the leg each time it bangs into you. Lightweight and strong!

On day one we looked at some of the great new skis and boot combos out there. Did you know that Britain also has its own ski out there? Whitedot have been around for a few years now and their Preacher range would suit the coach that wants a pair of versatile skis that can do some piste skiing, some powder and will also not put a strain on the legs when slipping the course. The Whitedot Preacher comes in two forms, the normal and the new Carbonlite. Fitted with a range of bindings and also able to used for touring, this is the ski for the coach that wants to explore the mountains away from the race piste as well.

After winning a Gold and Silver at Vail Beaver Creek, Anna Fenninger’s helmet and eyewear providers, Bolle also have some great new kit out for next season. The Leopard Design she is using this year will be available next year so check out the design (as seen on the current front cover of Racer Ready) and start using the same brand that Dave Ryding is also using!

What shall we be looking at next?

More information:

Fat Map

Wolffe Pack

Orange Fox


Helly Hansen

Bolle Eyewear