SIA 2015: Gear Talk

Gabby Rainville


How many times have you heard that you just have to buy a product because it has the latest and greatest technology, maybe they claim it’ll even change your life. It probably won’t, but we wanted to highlight some new tech that caught our attention, that we think has some potential, or maybe was just downright different.

We also discuss the trends for camber profiles, binding upgrades, and more. This year was the year of fine tuning. We saw similar technology on the whole from the last few seasons, with some small tweaks and adjustments across the board. Several companies were using current technology more minimally, such as decreasing amounts of camber, using only rocker at the tip and tail, or more subtle versions of magnetraction.  On the whole, most companies were aiming for to create a line of boards for every riding type, less focus on just park or just backcountry, with the exception of Venture snowboards and other backcountry dedicated lines.



Camber profiles. Nothing new or huge here, but the old rocker versus camber debate seems to have been settled for the most part. Most companies were tending toward camber or flat between the feet with some rocker at the tip and tail. It all came down to millimeters at how far the camber reached, whether it was between the binding or outside. But the consensus was that some sort of zero or positive camber is needed in the middle to prevent the loose feel of rocker and to create more snap and responsiveness, with rocker or even base bevel from the contact points outward to be more forgiving and catch free. A few companies offered traditional camber options as well, but few had pure rocker.

 

The Rome Lo-Fi Rocker is one of their best selling boards for ladies. It is flat under foot with a rockered nose and tail for float and pressing. Photo: Kira Martinez.

DC using the camber between feet and rocket at tip or tail on their lineup.

The Burton Talent Scout is the choice for Chloe Kim, and has the camber in center responsiveness and flat areas outside the feet for pop and playfulness, with early rise at the tip and tail for catch-free feeling and float. A mellow transition back into camber. 

Sean Black talks about the Arbor Swoon, which comes in either rocker or a new camber option for 2016. It has Uprise Fenders on the System Camber that pulls the outside contact zones off the snow using 3 degree base bevel to give camber a more surfy and floaty feel. Photo. Kira Martinez.

 



Magentraction hasn’t gone away. We saw lots of versions of it, but generally companies have been making more mellow versions. This way you get some extra grip at the contact points, but it’s not too grabby.


Arbor’s Grip Tech creates extra grip at the heel and toe contact points when additional control is needed.

 

 


Damping. No it’s not called dampening. That seemed to be the big word during SIA for both boards and bindings. We saw increasing amounts of urethane being used to create damping for impact, and to reduce chatter and shock.

 

The base of this women’s binding from Union has foam all the way under foot for increased damping.

The most interesting example was the Rossignol Diva. A strip of Urethane around the outside is to designed to be forgiving when you run into chunder and helps absorb shock—and because it’s clear, when light hits it, it quite literally glows.

 

 


Binding highlights:

Burton. Burton is changing the ladder system with their Double Take Buckle technology, and we’re intrigued since ladders and ratchets have stayed the same for awhile on many bindings. Last year they introduced it on the Escapades, but this year they made some tweaks and added it to the Lexas as well. It’s meant to lock instantly, hold securely, and be catch-free so it doesn’t grab your pants. We’re looking forward to trying these out.


Notice the diagonal pattern on the ladders for the Lexas.  Photo: Kira Martinez.

Burton’s Flex Slider technology lets the ankle strap out and “fall out” so that it opens wider to strap in more easily. It’s also supposed to be stronger than a traditional slider, and comes with a lifetime warranty.  Photo: Kira Martinez.

 



Rome:
Rome’s new women’s binding, the Katana, highlights all of their latest improvements. Rome is using Underwrap Heel Hoop Technology, in which the heel cup wraps all the way under the binding to give you more leverage and to opitimize how the binding flexes. It’s meant to create a “correct” flex that give you power when you want and be tweakable when you want also. 


Rome Katana binding.  Photo: Kira Martinez.

Mini-discs are becoming more common. On the Katana, Rome has created an industry-leading low of 1.56% baseplate contact, which decreases dead spots between the binding and board significantly.

 


Goggle tech:
Instead of just creating easy to change lenses, Zeal is trying to eliminate the need to swap your lens out at all. Their new photochromatic lenses change color as light changes, supposedly taking around a minute to change. Although they aren’t the first company doing this, they’re the first company doing this with polarized lenses. The Luna goggles is made specifically for women this year and comes with this lens option.

 

After shining a light on the lens, you can see the darkened color spots on their photochromatic lens.  Photo: Kira Martinez.

  Zeal’s goggles for 2016.  Photo: Kira Martinez.

Posted by Gabby Rainville on 02/04/15



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