A jacket with embedded electronics, self-tinting goggles and customizable ski boots are among the products you’ll discover in this second installment on gear trends in skiing and snowboarding for the ’08/’09 season.
Custom-fit footwear: Boots molded to mimic the anatomical idiosyncrasies of human feet are a common upgrade offered at ski shops, including customizable footbeds and boot liners that form to fit from calves to toes. But Salomon steps it up with the Falcon Custom Shell Pro, a $925 top-end boot that has a moldable outer shell, allowing a shop to create a personalized fit by shaping the boots’ hard outer plastic to fit your foot.
Clear vision: Zeal Optics has caught skiers’ eyes with its Detonator goggles ($200, www.zealoptics.com ). Polarized lens changes tint automatically as per available light, going dark when the sun is bright to almost clear at night. Smith’s I/O goggle ($160, www.smithoptics.com ) have an interchangeable lens and a rimless design, letting you click and switch out lens style and type in an instant.
Tech-Wear: Electronics embedded in outerwear is a trend seen from jackets to the headphone-equipped helmets now ubiquitous in terrain parks around the country. Rossignol adds a high-tech altimeter watch into the cuff of its Chrona Meteo Jacket, an $800 shell with a watertight insert made to fit the watch face. Users can click and adjust the watch, which has an oversized display for easy reading, to track altitude and vertical drop skied on the slopes over the course of a day.
Alpinist Influence: Backcountry terrain is a big trend at mountain resorts in the West, where dozens of areas have opened gates to give lift access to unpatrolled acres. Gear has evolved to cater to this new set of adventurers, from jackets with built-in avalanche beacons to bindings that convert for uphill travel:
•Rossignol’s $295 Harness Pant, a breathable and waterproof bottom shell, adds an alpinist touch by incorporating a climbing harness stitched around the belt area in case a skier needs to rope up while accessing steep outback terrain.
•Black Diamond’s Factor boot ($729.99, www.bdel.com ) has a switchable sole so skiers can click into downhill bindings or their alpine-touring setup before heading into the wild.