This season, like most others, sees a steady evolution of ski hardware development with the key trends being the continual waistline spread of skis, and options for true multi-function ski boots.
Let’s take a look at these statements one at a time.
Yes, just like the nation, skis are on a steady trend to have a broader waistline. Not to deal with the extra weight they have to carry, but rather to open up the adaptability of one ski to do a greater number of roles. Even a few years ago, an all-mountain ski designed for piste and occasional powder would have a waist measurement of 76-78mm underfoot. I remember about 12 years ago an instructor asking me where I thought I was going when I turned up with my 78mm Rossignol Bandit B2s for a piste lesson. Now that width is nothing, and our most popular all-rounder for the general skier is 80mm; in fact it is the skinniest unisex ski we stock!
This season sees possibly the new norm; the Salomon QST 99 (£400) from the new QST line, favours the skier more likely to choose their resort by off-piste potential rather than ‘corduroy cruising’. That said, I skied them briefly on piste and found them good fun on longer turns, but maybe a bit of a fight if you like a slalom ski!
Getting the most out of your skis also means choosing the right binding, if it doesn't come with a pre-mounted rail option. The QST ski range will be great with a standard binding for all lift-access terrain, but if you want more options pair them with a set of Guardian bindings to give yourself the ability to skin uphill and find the untouched white stuff, or take off on a short tour, yet have a binding that feels rock solid and responsive when back on the piste.
Possibly even more interesting are the new Salomon Women's QST 90 (£300) and Salomon Men's QST 120 (£340) boots which, due to their weight and huge range in ‘walk mode’, makes them a tempting option especially for the price. They come set up for piste, but can be configured for touring and pin bindings with an optional change of sole unit. They ski just like a normal downhill boot, but weigh the same as a boot designed to do the Haute Route.
Sometimes innovation is pointless, if not married to basic principles and selected to do the right job, which basically means no matter what the hype, make sure you choose the right tool for the job. This is why there are boots in our range which may not have changed for a few years in design, but are still up there with the best in class to provide the fit and performance that is needed to do the job well. Some Lange boots for instance may fall into this category, but as we are hearing from our customers, without their fit options they would not have improved their skiing and comfort on the slopes nearly as much. Call in and let us help you select the best weapons to tackle the slopes this winter.
12 December 2016 by John Owens
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