Vail Today: Lighter ski boots featured at annual trade show (video)
Editor’s note: This is part two of a six-part series on the latest and greatest finds at the Outdoor Retailer and Snowsports Industries America (SIA) Snow Show held in Denver in January. This trade show represents suppliers of consumer outdoor sports with constituents in the retailer, rep and resort communities.
Lighter ski boots? Yes, please!
Heavy equipment can bog you down, not only on the slopes but on the chair lift as well. At this year’s Outdoor Retailer and Ski Industries America Snow Show, we saw more ski boot companies utilizing materials that will provide a lighter ski boot while still maintaining its performance.
“If you’ve been following Head for the last few years, you’ve seen the progression towards making lightweight, performance-based products,” said Andrew Couperthwait, alpine products manager for Head Tyrolia.
Head started using Graphene, a Nobel prize-winning material, in its skis a few years ago. Graphene is the strongest, lightest and thinnest material known to mankind. It’s lighter than wood or metal, yet harder than diamonds and steel.
Now they are using Graphene in their ski boots. “Graphene gives us some performance traits that you normally don’t find in a thin-walled, lightweight boot. Most importantly, it really dampens the plastic, so when you get out on snow you really feel that shock absorption that you normally only feel from a think-walled, performance-based boot,” said Couperthwait.
What you’ll also feel is a lighter boot. “This boot weighs in at just over 1540 grams or a little over three pounds,” said Couperthwait. “So this is a touring-weight boot in an all-mountain, 100 millimeter last.”
Head also utilizes Liquid Fit Customization, where the boot can be injected with paraffin material to make the heel fit more precisely in the heel pocket. “If you talk to boot fitters, one of the biggest challenges is making the heel more precise and this allows you to do that,” Couperthwait said.
The Head ski company has always been looking for better ways to do things. In 1947, Howard Head, an aeronautical engineer, went skiing for the first time and he was not impressed with the equipment. He worked at creating prototype after prototype and over 70 years later you’ll find Head equipment used by some of the best skiers in the world.
But you don’t have to be a professional skier to enjoy the benefits of these technological advancements; you can try these lighter ski boots next fall when they hit your local ski shop.