Despite meager winter snowfall for much of the western U.S., snow-focused winter activities continue to make up a significant and growing portion of adventure content on Outdoor Project. Backcountry skiing and split-boarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding are all outdoor pastimes the Outdoor Project community holds near and dear.
Winter activities are fairly gear intensive when compared to what's often required for summer outdoor outings. Sure, you may need a sturdy pair of hiking boots and a backpack for summer fun, but inherent to winter are the elements that necessitate using extra gear for getting around on snow, equipment for avalanche safety, and additional layers of clothing for warmth. With all these winter product needs, companies in the outdoor industry are constantly innovating and releasing the latest models of winter-related gear and equipment. One of the best ways to keep tabs on what's new is by attending the Outdoor Retailer (OR) winter tradeshow held each January in Salt Lake City. A few of us at Outdoor Project headed out to OR Winter Market to do just that.
While interesting new winter products are coming out for all types of snow-bound activities, the pastime that seems to be taking the winter outdoor product market by storm in terms of product-focus, media attention, innovation, and investment is backcountry skiing. A remarkable change from just a few years ago, it now seems that almost every ski, binding, and boot manufacturer has channeled serious investment into the release of a lightweight alpine touring (AT) model. For multiple reasons, from the growing cost of skiing in lift-served resorts to the desire for fresh tracks and solitary winter exploration, brands in the outdoor industry are seeing and anticipating continued growth in the backcountry skiing market. For both the occasional sidecountry skier and committed backcountry enthusiast, there have never been more options out there.
Here are a few of our backcountry skiing product takeaways coming out of OR:
We're excited to see the innovations that make all of our toys that much lighter, safer, durable, and more sustainable. Gear is constantly evolving, and we're looking forward to seeing what the summer season has in store. Have favorite products or brands of your own? Share your experiences in the comments below.