John Kole, of One Stop Ski Shop, stretches out the Banshee Bungee in his downtown Steamboat Springs store. Kole said he saw the device at an industry show in Denver and had to have it. Starting at $159, it can launch skiers and snowboarders into rails or kickers without needing a hill or something motorized to drag them along.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

John Kole, of One Stop Ski Shop, stretches out the Banshee Bungee in his downtown Steamboat Springs store. Kole said he saw the device at an industry show in Denver and had to have it. Starting at $159, it can launch skiers and snowboarders into rails or kickers without needing a hill or something motorized to drag them along.

New boots, bindings top the crop of snow sport equipment

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The Apex Ski Boot, in two pieces, right, $1,295 at One Stop Ski Shop, has a tough carbon outer frame that encases a walking boot also can be used for snowboarding. The Atomic Live Fit boot, upside down on DryGuy rack, $629, is extra wide with expandable side panels to fit all skiers. The DryGuy Widebody Boot and Glove Dryer, $90, can help keep boots and gloves warm before cold mornings and prolong the life of that equipment by drying out areas that otherwise would stay damp even after being left inside overnight.

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Powder Tools in Steamboat Springs stocks plenty of new snowboard boot and binding options. The Ride Insano Focus Boa, $280, left, is comfortable and adjustable. The Ride Nitrane Contraband binding, middle, $235, has one latch, making for easy-in, easy-out access desired by terrain park riders. The Salomon Relay Pro binding, $255, features a loose fit popular with powder riders.

— Innovation isn’t dead when it comes to the ski and snowboard industry. A quick browse through any local gear shop will prove as much. New skis are designed to float in powder better than any before and still carve down a wide run of choppy snow. Cutting-edge snowboards bring to that crowd what powder skis did for skiers years ago.

Constant improvement to gloves, helmets and other equipment — some that winter sports enthusiasts don’t yet know they need — promise to provide safer days, more comfort and more fun.

This is the first of a two-story Outdoors page series on the new crop of winter gear.

First up: the softgoods.

Warmed up

John Kole at One Stop Ski Shop is happy to show off his shop’s latest skis, its most innovative boots and even an expandable ski pole that’s easier to use than some past versions. But he was quick to suggest one thing he said every skier and snowboarder could greatly benefit from, one thing that could extend the life of those expensive boots and make a cold morning a little more habitable.

“The most important thing about boot care is getting a dry, warm boot,” Kole said. “Most people don’t dry them.”

Bringing a pair of boots inside from a cold car for the night often isn’t enough to effectively and entirely dry them out, Kole explained.

“Moisture in the boot will collect in the toe area, and if you don’t dry them out, your feet won’t be really warm because you can’t warm the boot up once you get out into the cold weather,” Kole said. “If you don’t dry it, the boots will wear out more quickly. The best way to take care of them is to dry them all the way each night.”

When it comes to boot warmers — many of which also incorporate glove-warming mechanisms — there are plenty of options.

The DryGuy Thermanator boot and shoe dryer can handle two pairs of boots at the same time and costs $60. The Widebody Boot and Glove Dryer from the same manufacturer runs $90.

A DryGuy AC/DC kit that drops down into a boot and is cigarette lighter compatible costs $25. Similar options cost as much as $50, some of which include glove-drying options, as well.

Boots, bindings, bungees

It may make sense to keep those boots in tip-top condition because in the skiing and snowboarding worlds, great leaps have come that promise more comfort and better days on the snow.

The Ride Insano Focus Boa, a $280 boot from Powder Tools at the base of the ski area in Steamboat Springs, packs some of the best that snowboarding boots have to offer.

“They use Intuition liners. It’s really heat moldable, and it’s one of the liners that’s effective for reheat molding,” Powder Tools’ Trevor Burman said. “A lot of people who are looking to buy boots for three or four years, it can re-expand it and stay comfortable.”

The boots feature the Steamboat-invented Boa Focus system to tighten for a custom fit.

Powder Tools also is featuring a number of snowboard bindings, something different for every type of rider.

The Salomon Relay Pro binding offers a looser fit and a “surfy, skateboard feel” for $255.

“The Relay has a soft heel cup, and that allows you more lateral roll without any pressure points. It’s the most comfortable binding I’ve ever ridden,” Jake Jarvis, of Powder Tools, said.

Meanwhile, the Ride Nitrane Contraband binding ties everything together in one strap, meaning riders can pop on and off of their boards with one quick swipe of the hand.

The Nitrane Contraband sells for $235.

“It tends to be real good with the park rat kid who wants to be in and out of the binding fast,” Burman said. “It also has a lot of side-to-side movement and is real popular with guys who like to ride rails.”

Ski boots, too, have morphed to offer more comfort.

The Apex Ski Boot, at One Stop Ski Shop for $1,295, boasts options skiers never have had. A carbon frame offers the lightweight support for downhill skiing found in many boots, but in the Apex, that frame can be detached from a walking boot. The dreaded long hikes in unforgiving ski boots become much easier in the walking boot, which can even be fastened into snowboard bindings.

Speaking in his shop Thurs­day, Kole turned from a wall of boots for something more fun. He didn’t go far, settling quickly on the Banshee Bungee, which looks more like a water ski rope most outdoors enthusiasts would have packed away by the time the first snow falls.

“It’s great, though,” Kole said.

A water ski handle connects to a bungee cord, which can be tied to a tree or a post. A skier or boarder can either pull the cord back alone, or have it handed over by a friend. He or she then can point, straighten up and go for the ride, being catapulted by the bungee up a snow bank, over a kicker, on top of a rail.

“You secure to something stable, pull back and it can launch you at 35 miles per hour,” Kole said. “You can build jumps or rails on flat surfaces. You don’t need a hill or something to pull you. It’s a great, inexpensive way to have a lot of fun.”

The Banshee Bungee is available at One Stop Ski Shop for $159 for a 10-foot rope and $239 for 20 feet.

Comments

Chad Fleischer 3 years, 10 months ago

Fleischer Sport is owned and operated by Two Time Steamboat Alpine Skiing Olympian Chad Fleischer has a lot to offer as well in terms of what is new and exciting for the 2010/11 season. Lets start with our own magazine that discusses all the improvements in technology made to skis for the 2010/11 season. Not many people out there know that almost all skis are old school now with the early rise and rocker, rocker/camber, etc technology. Speaking of boots being dry. How about the fact that Fleischer Sport is the only shop in Steamboat to offer boot dryers to non renting guests for $5 per night on the Snowell boot drying system in the store. The store has $60,000 in boot dryers alone! Fleischer Sport has over 40 different models of skis to demo, more than anyone else in town! How about the Tecnica Air Shell for technology? A ski boot with a airliner between the shell and the liner that inflates with air to do the following: keep your feet warmer(air does that) and to fill in any voids in the ski boot so when the buckles get buckled there are no pressure points just a good, solid fit. Atomic Live Fit boots? Two buckels, not four and they have neoprene inserts in the sixth tow region and inside big toe region for the perfect fit without having to get a bunch of boot work performed. Fleischersport.com has the magazine you can view electronically and is Steamboat's only ski/ride specific magazine. There is a lot more out there and if you want to know about most of it check out the magazine that includes ski tips from Phil Mahre and Chad Fleischer too. Better yet come by Fleischer Sport and ask Chad yourself I would be happy to talk with you!

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nodrog56 3 years, 10 months ago

One Stop Ski Shop, best shop in town! If you want boots that fit, go see John, Pete and Sean and you will get the best customer service to boot (ha, ha, ha)! See you soon guys!

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brian ferguson 3 years, 10 months ago

rate yourself #1 ski shop in town in your own magazine....funny

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brian ferguson 3 years, 10 months ago

I think there are some other buisnesses in his magazine that were rated #1 ...and they arent even open for buisness yet.

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lessworkmoreskiing 3 years, 10 months ago

Wow Chad, nice comment. Way to plug your shop under One Stop's article; I can tell you guys must be the best shop in town. The articles in your mag were awesome by you for you. WEAK Chad

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lessworkmoreskiing 3 years, 10 months ago

Wow Chad, nice comment. Way to plug your shop under One Stop's article; I can tell you guys must be the best shop in town. The articles in your mag were awesome by you for you.

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