So why would you want to have KERS in your skis? To go faster like an F1 car, or blast fellow skiers off the piste with a James Bond-like laser in your ski; I think not! It’s all to do with turning.
The skis have piezoelectric fibres which transform kinetic energy whilst skiing into electrical energy. This electrical energy is stored for when the skier is at the end of their turn, when the ski is at maximum flex, and released to stiffen the tail of the ski. This gives the skier extra ‘pop’ into their next carving turn.
Alpine skis should be bought with a goal in mind. Like a car, they are suitable for certain terrain. Looking for speed then you wouldn’t buy a Ford Focus, you would buy a Ferrari so don’t settle for second best when it comes to your skis.
Best All-Piste Ski…
Our instructor’s picked Saloman X Drive 8.0 FS 2015, £549.99. With the best bindings of the lot, and excellent technology with an integrated carbon rod, this is a clever ski that will see you high and dry on all surfaces. While at the steep end, its all-rounder nature makes it a cheaper alternative than buying multiple skis for different occasions. Rather than settling for second best, this all rounder is at the top of its game. This ski boasts a super light honeycomb/Koroyd insert at the tip ensuring decreased weight at the extremities and increased dampening, the result? Ease of manoeuvrability. With Integrated PTP provided by elastimer pads at the ends of the X-Chassis, as well as a full basalt layer, Salomon have ensured power is smoothly transferred to edges ensuring that vibrations are reduced. This ski also boasts a rocker stabilizer system which improves precision and steering while on-piste. Combined with the twin rocker all-terrain 2.0 system, this ski is able to adapt to whatever skiing condition you expose it to. The combination of technologies means this ski is light but stable, innovative and long-lasting; an awesome option for any confident skier.
Best Value Ski…
Then look no further than the K2 Rictor MX 12 All Mountain 2013/14 ski, ideal for intermediate to experts. Reduced from £564.99 to £282.49, this sale bargain proves that you don’t lose out on technology if you go for last season’s skis. With an all terrain rocker, this ski will ensure you feel at ease no matter what the surface, even at high speed. Their in-built dampening system which combines Mod suspension and Mod Monic (a solid zinc mass attached to the suspension) reduces vibration and increases ski control. K2’s choices of core materials are also crucial. The combination of Aspen and Paulownia wood ensures that this ski is quick, and when combined with metal laminate construction which surrounds this wooden core, the ski remains stable and stiff at speed. This ski is the epitome of versatile and high end performance yet at a snippet of the price.
Off-Piste Skiing For You?
Look no further than our window display where you will find the Line Sir Francis Bacon 2015 at £489.99. Wide, at 108mm, combined with Line’s 5 Cut Sidecut, this ski is designed to handle whatever the mountain throws at you; bring it on deep powder! Relatively stiff, it is ideal for experts who have the skills to ensure maximum power and control. With the cherry on the top being the Maple Marco Block Core, under the right feet this ski can handle the highest speeds and the most uneven of surfaces while maintaining stability at all times. Combine all this technology with the essential thicker and stronger base and edges and this ski is made to last season upon season; priceless!
The Opposite, Looking To Ski On-Piste?
Our Ferrari equivalent is the Head iSupershape Magnum Ski SW TFB 2015. While at £679.99 our most expensive offering, it is worth every penny. This ski is designed to maximize performance, with Head’s infamous ERA 3.0 technology but S, that’s right, this includes the ERA sports model, this ski is the sports car of the pack. ERA 3.0 technology is exclusive to Head, it ensures all-ability steering excellence, increased turning efficiency, and increased stability through the reduction of vibrations via their piezoelectric Intellifibers. Confused? Don’t be. Just know that that the additional S means that the magnum’s ERA technology has been supersized. Combine this ERA 3.0 S technology with a speed rocker, Head guarantees that every wannabe-racer is at the front of the field. These skis are for experts; a combination of expert technique and expert ability will ensure that you feel the benefits of this skis top-end technology. This is personified by the KERS inbuilt technology. The faster you go, the more you get out of these skis. KERS stands for kinetic energy recovery system. The energy stored from the vibrations is transferred down the length of the ski, the result? Additional power and acceleration through the increased rigidity in the tail upon turning leading to increased speed upon your next turn. Imagine putting your foot full throttle on the accelerator, KERS has that same affect but does it for you, the result: effortless speed. The icing on the cake is the Race Structured UHM C Base, a combination of the fastest base and finish which ensures high performance, high quality, high speed, and expert precision. This is our instructor’s dream ski!
Racing Not Your Thing? Instead You Freestyle?
Our instructor’s favourite is Line’s Afterbang Ski 2015 at £349.99. Unlike the other Line on our list, the Sir Francis Bacon, the Afterbang is suitable for intermediate to expert skiers. 10% lighter than its 2014 equivalent, 2015’s Afterbang offering retains its technical prowess and then some. Its integral Skate Deck Construction is enhanced through the addition of increased durability and a carbon Ollieband which creates a spring that freestyler’s dream about. Further, the ski boasts 3D Butter zone technology which means that the thinnest part of the ski remains in-front and behind the binding in order to increase control over pressure placement. All this with the added bonus of Line’s Fatty Base and Edges, the 30% increased overall thickness means these skis are durable and long-lasting, and with a rocker-free camber base, Line ensures maximum edge hold when on-piste.
Feeling Left Out Lady Skiers?
Head’s Women Absolut Joy Ski SLR 2015 is an excellent all mountain ski, and a steel at £429.99. Unless you are buying a ski that can suit both yourself and your partner, it is best to pick a woman specific ski. The women’s camber on the Absolut Joy means that the ski technology compensates for women’s smaller and less powerful frame and lower centre of gravity by ensuring that the waist of the board is further forward. As a result, unlike unisex skis, the weight is evenly distributed ensuring that maximum speed can be reached. Essentially these skis are high performance, and easier to handle. With the additional benefits which arise from the inclusion of their ERA 3.0 technology, Head is a brand not to be messed with.
If this article, full of technicalities has left you bewildered, after-all you were only looking for a beginner’s ski that you could easily control to avoid looking the fool on the slope, we have the ski for you. Welcome into your life the Atomic Nomad Smoke Ski+ XTO 10 Bindings 2015 at £374.99. All mountain versatility…check. Unisex…check. Bindings included (no need to read another technical website, the world of bindings is as complicated as skis)…check; you are on to a winner! And yet this ski can rival the technicality of the others featuring a metal laminate core, which increases power and reduces vibration, and ARC technology, a single central bind point which ensures natural flex. The Atomic Nomad is the epitome of smoothness, encourages accuracy, and ensures that the beginners among you feel at home on the slopes.
Got your jacket, bought some skis, time to accessorize the look? Your first port of call has to be snowpants. While colour is top of most people’s criteria, try to buy snow pants like you would a jacket, consider their technicality: how waterproof and breathable are they? Do they have a fitted gaiter? Are there air vents? Are they innovative or a safe bet?
Snow Pants For Your Bottom Half
While people often consider snow pants as an after-thought, you should treat your bottom half as being as important as your top half. While the insulation of a jacket is crucial, your core temperature will drop in an instant without it, the waterproof level of trousers is is the most important element. Imagine sitting on a ski lift and all you can think is how wet your bum is; far from ideal with a long day of skiing ahead of you!
To prevent indecision, and help you on your way to the perfect snow pant, here is our instructors’ top 5 from our current selection.
Burton’s Cargo Mid Snow Pants
Burton’s Cargo Black Mid Snow Pants, at £159.99 are a tailored technical pant. With a waterproof rating of 10,000mm, Fully Taped seams, and no insulation, these pants will keep you dry whatever the weather and with no insulation, they are pants suitable for every season. Add to this a mesh-lined test-I-cool vent system; these cargo pants are multifunctional and practical. Burton cargo pants are the most robust and durable while maintaining an excellent level of technical features.
Nike SB Ruskin Snow Pants
To invest in a classic pant which is expected to come to an end this season, head for a Nike SB Ruskin Brown, £147.99. With an adjustable stretch waist, side zip vents for breathability, interior cuffs with stretch binding and zip outer cuffs to enable quick changing and a custom fit, articulated knees for a natural range of movement, 10,000 waterproofing and breathability rating, fully lined, and full taped seams; this is a pant that just keeps on giving. Invest in an iconic snow pant that will see you through numerous seasons.
Picture Royale Snow Pant
Want to buy something evidently technical? Are you an eco-warrior? Picture is the brand for you, and their Royale Blue Snow Pant is the snow pant of choice. At £189.99, you will feel the burden of its technical features on your wallet, but they are worth every penny. While their critically taped seams are not for everyone, they still boast a crucial 10,000 waterproof and breathability rating, a powder skirt and connect to jacket system to ensure maximum comfort, warmth, and minimal snow entry points; features which will guarantee that you stay warm and toasty on the slopes. With venting zippers and a drawstring system, accessible from the pocket, which lifts the bottom ensuring easy changing, Picture has considered everything. These snow pants are for the gadget lover among you.
Salomon Response Snow Pant
Meanwhile, for a cheaper option, head to Salomon for their Response Black Snow Pant, £139.99. This is a no frills pant that is designed to be practical and affordable. With the standard 10,000 waterproof and breathability rating, fully taped seams, inner leg air vents, an internal fleece panel, knee articulation, and a powderskirt; this pant combines all the positives of the others at a fraction of the price. If you want a technically sound product that does what it says on the tin, this is for you.
An often overlooked, yet crucial bit of kit which will ensure maximum comfort on the slopes is a base layer. The addition of a base layer maximises the efficiency of your top layers ensuring that you feel the benefit of your jackets excellent breathability.
What Are Base Layers?
Designed to wick away sweat from your skin, base layers ensure that core body temperature is maintained. Base layers fall into two main categories, synthetic or merino wool; pick depending on whether your priority is to stay dry, or dry and warm. In synthetic base layers, moisture is moved through to the outer layers quickly through a process of capillary action, known as wicking. Meanwhile in merino layers, warmth distribution is maximised, yet wicking properties are reduced. Whichever you pick, ensure that base layers are tight to the skin to maximise their wicking abilities.
Base layers too expensive when you could just layer your average cotton t-shirt? Think again. Base layers are expensive for a reason. The layers of material, whether synthetic, merino wool or most recently bamboo, ensure effective wicking so, unlike cotton which holds sweat close to your skin keeping you clammy or cold, base layers wick away moisture preventing sweat from sitting on your skin. Investing in a good quality base layer ensures that all the more expensive bits of kit become more effective; a high breathability rating means nothing if the moisture does not reach the jacket. Lastly, without a base layer, optimum core body temperature will not effectively be maintained.
The First Base Layer Manufacturer?
Helly Hansen of course. Their introduction of base layer technology, in the form of LIFA, was revolutionary in the 1960’s and 70’s and led to them being awarded the Nobel Prize in 1963. LIFA refers to the specific yarn spun from polypropylene fibres, a fibre which keeps the skin dry and warm. And from LIFA’s simple origins, Helly Hansen have now adapted LIFA technology to provide cross purpose base layers which have a LIFA technology interior, and a merino wool exterior.
Since 1977, Burton have been industry leaders in the world of snowboarding producing brand new technology which has revolutionised the way people snowboard and how they can progress in their snowboarding.
Having spent the morning listening to how Burton are still working on their designs and new technology it didn’t take me long to realise that this company truly love snowboarding and are passionate about what they do and how they can share that passion all over the hill.
Looking at the new Burton range you can see that they’ve gone to great lengths to accommodate every rider on the mountain from beginners to guys that shred hard from first lift to last call. The new “CLASH” is the perfect way to discover the freedom of snowboarding and form a solid grounding for your newly formed love of the sport. With its new V-rocker and extruded base this board will allow you to create a solid, but forgiving platform so that you can learn to link your turns without having to worry about catching an edge. By giving this board a beveled edge Burton have produced a product that is a lot softer and easier to use as a ‘newby’ to the sport.
Burton have added a new type of technology they call “CRUISE CONTROL” which allows the board to track on the hill instead of sliding about making the rise of this board very forgiving for anyone just starting to establish a grounding. By making this board directional with a longer,wider nose and a tapered tail it will naturally make the board float across the snow. This unique board shape makes the ride all the more enjoyable and comfortable while making it easier to find the sweet spot where all the components come together.
If you’re looking for a board that will help you to progress from that late beginner stage all the way through intermediate up to advance, trick level, look no further than the “PROCESS”. This is Burton’s best selling board. With its “Flying V” board style and its “twin twin” architecture, this board is perfect for those guys starting to learn 180s and 360s as it can be ridden switch without a problem.
Burton have designed the ‘Process’ board so that even beginners don’t struggle with the basics by incorporating their new ‘Frostbite’ technology. ‘Frostbite’ technology means that the edge of the top sheet is slightly inset from the edge of the base ensuring that the board is more forgiving in the turns and the risk of catching an edge is eliminated. By manufacturing the top sheet this way they have managed to move the edge of the board back, meaning that the board can be put on more of an angle before the edges catch and a turn is initiated. These alterations were made as a result of the boards origins. Designed in Vermont,USA, an area known for its powder and deep snow conditions, Burton altered the ‘Process’ board accordingly. By adding a scooped tip and tail, the board has more float and flow through the powder and deep snow, and seamlessly flows over the top of the powder below.
The ‘Process’ board also has their ‘SQUEEZEBOX’ technology which is their patent pending technology, specifically created to allow for more pop and performance in the park and backcountry. To create this performance and pop, Burton manufactured this product with differing core thickness’. By producing a product this way it allows the rider to ‘energise’ a specific part of the board and create a springboard effect on the board. Further, this added technology makes the board a lot stiffer and more responsive enabling it to react to whatever the rider tells it to do; the board becomes an extension of your body.
When it comes to Burton’s top end Flagship boards the ‘Custom’ is where the pinnacle of technology and performance meet. Dependant on what sort of riding you will be doing there are two board style options available for this all mountain charger: The ‘Flying V’ or the ‘Camber’. Both boards are designed with a sintered WFO base which will allow the board to soak up all the wax and be able to retain that wax which makes this board ideal if you are heading out into the back country and re-waxing is not an option.
The ‘Custom’ has been designed will a full body carbon highlights system, From tip to tail the board has been covered in a matt of carbon strings. Burton are unique in the market by layering the carbon highlights on a 45 degree angle across the board. By doing this it allows any surface pressure from the rider to be spread from the bindings out to the edges and down the board, making the board stiffer and more responsive. This carbon string system also adds a lot of torsional strength and rigidity to the board.
Burton Snowboard Boots
Having a comfortable boot is probably the most important thing on the mountain and this years Burtons boots are certainly comfortable. With their practicality, comfort and supreme performance Burton have left the rest of the market on the beginner slope while they go and shred the powder. With their new 1-1 design feature of all Burtons boots they fit like a glove. This 1-1 technology means that the liner of the boot is the exact same size as the shell or outer layer of the boot ensuring that the boot is more responsive to any adjustments or movements from the rider. The 1-1 system also means that, unlike conventional boots, there is zero slide between the liner and the outer boot.
Burton have been working really hard to make some of the most comfortable boots on the market. All of the Burton boots this season have been designed with a ‘total comfort’ construction and ‘total warmth’ construction. Burton have added extra padding and sections to the boots in specific places to really hold the riders foot into the correct position which makes shredding super comfortable! The total warmth technology is a new development from Burton and the ‘Sleeping Bag’ technology has been added to all of Burtons boots. This new technology is a layer of reflective material that sits just under the inner sole of the boot, so as your foot heats up, the heat doesn’t get wasted and escape from the boot but is stored up and projected back into the boot. What this means is that on those really cold days when all your friends are saying their feet are cold, your ready to send it again.
For a boot that will do it all Burton’s Rampant is the ideal boot. With its lace or speed string options, total warmth and total comfort design this is a great boot that will give you ultimate support and comfort all over the mountain. With its added technology of “carbon stringer” technology across the ankle section, and the “Cross-bone” cuff and power up tongue this boot is really setting the benchmark in technology and fashion out on the slopes.
Burton Snowboard Bindings
The binding is the connection between rider and board, the middle man of snowboarding, so having something that you can rely on to perform day after day is essential. This is where Burton boots come in to their own with a series of bindings that offer everything you’ll want on the hill.
With its range of bindings Burton have really tried to reach out to every rider on the mountain. With the option of EST bindings or “disk” bindings, Burton have made their products available to everyone, whether you have a board with a binding channel or separate fixings the Burton bindings are still going to be a favourite in your search for the perfect binding.
Starting off with the “Mission”, this is Burtons go to binding from beginners to shredders. With its polyurethane high back and gel heel this binding is going to give you that immediate response and support that you’re going to need to push your riding into the next chute and up the next chairlift. It is a binding that with its 0 degree back plate and removed base plate will give you great feedback from the board and also present a really solid and reliable platform to direct the board from.
If your looking for a binding that is a little bit higher end and that will give you the professional feel and ride that you want, the Cartel is Burton’s premier binding, with a 90% flex in the back plate and B3 heat padding this binding will really make your riding feel like its being to the next level. The Cartel is very much a tailored binding that offers a stiffer ride style and a higher end quicker response. Not only is the Cartel a great riding binding but it is aesthetically pleasing to look at as well, with its wider straps and great colour scheme the Cartel is defiantly the binding of choice this season.
The snow glove or snow mitt debate is one of the many decisions you will have to face up to when buying your kit for this ski season. Trivial it may seem but vital nevertheless, I can’t imagine anything worse than cold fingers on a mountain!
Despite the same construction materials, the differences in shape are crucial. While gloves ensure mobility, mittens increase the warmth potential due to your fingers being in the same compartment. Here starts the catch 22 decision; warmth or mobility, obviously you want both so how to decide?
Mittens: reduced dexterity reduces versatility but if you get cold hands on the mountain, mitts are a no brainer.
Gloves: the established first choice of many skiers due to their exceptional mobility, they also have their faults; expect colder hands than mitts so be warned if your fingers are prone to getting a bit nippy.
Mitt or glove is fundamentally a personal preference but, whichever you pick, ensure that they are a good fit and are made of Gore-Tex where possible. The fact that the Salomon Women Force GTX Insulated gloves and mitts remain the most popular piste hand accessory, despite their elevated price, is thanks to the fact that they are made of Gore-Tex. These gloves and mitt are testament to the fact that Gore-Tex as an outer material is well worth the extra pounds, ensuring the best in breathability and waterproofing while on the slopes.
No matter which you pick, ensure that second to the type put the material at the fore and buy Gore-Tex if you can stretch your wallet a little further.
Oakley is renowned for their excellent technological heritage, extensive range, and high performance eyewear. Looking for a new snow goggle for this season? Consider the Oakley snow goggles which boast their new Prizm lens technology.
Prizm lenses are sport specific and work by dampening interfering light spectrums, as well as reducing the overall amount of total light. The result? Contours become clearer and sharper. Prizm technology is used across a wide variety of the Oakley sport specific glasses and goggles, the light spectrum is altered according to the sport in question.
Sound complicated? That’s because it is, hence 15 years of staged technological developments; the culmination being the 2014 release of Prizm. Take the white light which the slope reflects as an example. White light combines equal parts of the colour spectrum, yet our eye is particularly sensitive to the blue and orange light. Prizm filters the blue and orange light, enhancing them and thus ensuring that the rugged beauty of the slope is clearer; fantastic news for every skier/snowboarder. With Prizm technology, by tackling low-lighting and the dangers inherent in the natural contours of the mountainside, your reactions increase with your visual confidence ensuring that you become a safer and more effective rider.
Prizm ensures that the practical benefits of wearing goggles are maintained with the additional benefit of excellent vision. And if these are not factors which entice you, Prizm lenses are proven to reduce eye fatigue ensuring you are able to ski/snowboard as long as you want.
These lenses will revolutionise your experience on the slopes, as well as reinforcing Oakley’s brand reputation. Prizm means clarity, no fatigue, and photographic visuals which will keep you coming back to the snow for more. Oakley has conquered a 15 year struggle, finessing the untameable light wavelengths ensuring these lenses are the best on the market.