Teched-out In Colorado
After a six-year trip up the road to Aspen, the Western Winter Sports Representatives Association’s (WWSRA) on-snow demo returned to Copper Mountain this February 6¿8. The event, which is put on by the sales reps who make up the WWSRA, marks the first showing of next year’s boards, boots, bindings, and accessories in the Rockies, and the plethora of retailers who flocked to the Summit County resort from around the state were definitely stoked on the offerings.
“Everybody’s getting so dialed in,” said Jeff Hoyle, owner of North Shore snowboard shop in Colorado Springs. “There’s really nothing negative I can say about anybody’s product.” Like a lot of the retailers, Hoyle was super stoked on Nitro’s new line, especially its boards. “The Supernatural is the best board I’ve ridden, it’s like a potato chip¿it’s so light and poppy.”
“Nitro’s whole line is rocking,” said Dave Schuling, owner of Telluride Slope Style. He was also impressed with some of Burton’s new line, including the Dominant, a jib-specific deck with suoped-up, extra-hard P-tex next to the rails. Another hot new addition to the Burton line this year is the Rush, a wider all-mountain board. “It’s as quick as a freestyle board and lighter than any other all-mountain I’ve ever ridden,” said Jack Spelman, assistant manager at Polar Revolution in Copper Mountain. “What I’ve noticed is everyone manufacturers seems to be getting their boards stronger and lighter. They’re adding carbon all over the place, and freestyle boards definitely seem stiffer this year.”
Palmer boards were also creating quite a stir among many retailers. “The Palmers were quite a pleasant surprise,” remarked Skip Marcotte, manager of Vail Snowboard Supply. “I haven’t spent too much time on them in the past, but I really like the way they’re riding.”
Other favorable shout outs went to local-brand Unity, Salomon, Sims¿which has a whole new line for next year¿Ride, B-Line, and Lib Tech, which seems to be toughening up its product.
Nitro also stole the binding podium with their new Venom model. The binding is fully adjustable, down to the toe ramp, which can be customized for both height and length. Other hot bindings at the show included Ride and Drake, who have both worked on bringing down the weight and upping the support offered. “The Ride Team bindings for next year rock!” said Hoyle, who was having a hard time putting down the pair he was demoing.
Drake, which sold out of bindings for this year, looks forward to a repeat performance next year. “The bindings have had an overwhelmingly good response both at the Stratton on-snow and here at Copper,” said Johan Malkoski, sales manager for Drake, Northwave, and Bakoda. Burton, Sims, and Tech Nine have also put together some fairly popular bindings for ’02.
Vans definitely made the biggest stir at the show with their new Boa Closure System. The system incorporates a titanium wire, instead of a lace, that is tightened by turning a dial at the top of the tongue. This allows a rider to tighten the entire boot with a minimum of effort. “They’re super comfy,” said Kyle Mullins, backshop manager for Ski And Bow Rack of Pagosa Springs.
“I think they’ll go over really well with women, people with narrow feet, and guys who have to have the newest techie gadgets,” said Hoyle. Other hot boots at the show included DC’s pump boots, Salomon’s single-pull lacing system, and Northwave’s flashy new models.
With 67 snowboard and ski reps in attendance, the show seems to have been a big success, and WWSRA looks forward to returning to Copper next year.¿Michael T. Lewis