ISPO 2012: There and back again (Trends, ABS and Freeride Maps)

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It was 6 am at the Bischofshoffen highway exit parking lot. A car was already waiting. It was time to head to Munich. it was time for the ISPO. There had been a considerable amount of speculation going around lately as to where the industry would be heading this year. With the recent economical worries, luxury sports like skiing and snowboarding becoming more expensive, lift-ticket prices going only up and further up and a general sense of uncertainty the future seemed bleak. With standard trends like snowboarding and freeskiing posting “only” single digit growth the industry was starting to dip. 

Expecting the regular crop of millions of combinations from colors, rocker constructions and designs we were in for a surprise. As it turned out this year it was all about lightweight and outdoor. In fact, as it seems the biggest trends for 2012/2013 as foreseen by the industry and properly fostered with adequate marketing will be:

  • Outdoor – coz everyone suddenly discovered walking
  • Touring – yes no more lifts just you and the mountains
  • Lightweight – everything from carbon fiber to 118g bindings
  • Binding technology – throw the old stuff away and in with the new
  • Boots – again improvement in weight with carbon fiber and other elusive high tech materials
  • Gimmicks – HUDs for your goggles, wristbands ect. 
  • Beacons – High tech GPS/Iridium based tracking and pointing
  • Airbags – Everyone is high on ABS and Snowpulse
  • Powder skis – everyone has a pair even the JIB-centric companies…

In the coming days I will be taking a little bit of a deeper look into the current trends. So be sure to check back regularly for more updates on the cool stuff. 

But lets get right to the point and start off with something light:

Dakine now ABS

Avalanche safety is one of the more important things every freerider should care about. With awareness finally setting in, the riders are finally starting to think of that more too. That of course is good news for ABS and Snowpulse. Since the introduction of the system by ABS at what now seems IONs ago, there are really only two viable players in the market right now. We all know them. ABS and the Snowpulse system. Now as I personally am more of a ABS guy I was very happy when Katja form ABS told me that the modular system would now be available with adapters from various other bag producing partners. Except for The North Face all the systems will be compatible with ABSes standard base. So for all you Dakine lovers we might see a ABS Compatible HeliPro at the next ISPO. As for now there is only gonna be one model thou. Of course it wouldn`t be competition if there weren’t two players so on the other side of the pond we also have Snowpulse partnering up with SCOTT. As for the difference in systems it remains the same as it was. ABS uses two cushions while Snowpulse uses one that is easily rechargeable, while ABS still requires the annual “free of charge” canister swap. 

Another addition for ABS are removable back-protector plates made by Komprendell. They should negate your need for a full body protector making it a little bit more comfortable yet still safe.  Call me old school but It`d still stick with a separate one on this front.

Weather the safty trend continues and translates into sales remains to be seen. With more and more people venturing off into the Backcountry safty, most definitively, will be one of the top priorities, and that holds well for both ABS and Snowpulse. 
Dakine, The North Face, EVOC
 and Salewa are just a
 few of the new ABS partners
Scott with Snowpulse

Mapping the Terrain

Totti Lingott
Mr. Freeride Maps 
While walking around the booths we also meet up with Mr. Freeride Maps Totti Lingott. The project has been ongoing and already features a ton of maps for territories in Austria, Switzerland, France and Italy. So if you are heading anyhere in these countries and have no guide or are to badass to get one, at least get the map for a bit of pre-planing :P.
We also talked about the possibility of a Slovenian version for our two powder resorts Vogel and Kanin. Lets se if we can get that off the ground. 
Another thing currently released is the updated POWDERGUIDE book. It contains a ton of tours for the Alps so that it never becomes dull and helps you find your way and navigate nasty terrain. Think of it as the Guide to the coastal mountains only for the alps.
Last but not least with the trend going towards safety we have the POWDERGUIDE for Avalanche and BC safty. A handy book for you all to revive the lost knowledge of your avalanche safety theory with new data and techniques to help keep you alive in nasty situations.  
If you can`t find the map and the books in your Slovenian bookstore you can get them directly here.
Well so much to get us started. Next thing on the “to do” list was to visit Pipes, where Mr. Marcus Eck showed us there new gadgets… more on that in the next post.
PS: While walking around we also bumped into our friends Bine Žalohar and Matevž Maček from the Untouched project. Bine was already all and about after surgery a few weeks back, so I think he is gonna be on his skies in no time 😛 
Maček checking out a nice new
Black Dimond boot… not for
snowboard thou 😛
Bine already in action a few weeks
after surgery

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