It’s not ALL about the skis.
As much as we love to nerd out on new skis, all the other gear is pretty essential too. There’s plenty of exciting new ski gear for 2023, that aren’t actually skis. Boots connect you to your skis, bindings keep you locked in, and everything else keeps you warm, dry, and cozy for a full day. Check out our staff’s top picks for new gear this coming year to round out your kit.
K2 Dispatch + Flex Boots
The Dispatch is K2’s new, lightweight touring boot collection. They compliment the new Dispatch skis (which we are also very stoked about, but that’s for another time). The lineup includes the Dispatch (1550 grams), Dispatch LT (hitting a lighter weight at 1450), and Dispatch Pro (1530 grams). As for women’s, we get a Dispatch W and W LT. These boots are significantly lighter than the popular, hybrid style Mindbender boots (about 500-600 grams).
The Dispatch Pro features a boa liner you tighten similar to a lace up liner, to give you a snug fit and increase how responsive the boot feels. 60 degrees of range of motion gives you plenty of movement, and a solid walk mode system locks you into ski mode confidently before you drop in for your line. Matching the new skis, the goal of the Dispatch is to be relatively lightweight and maximize uphill efficiency for big missions, but be plenty sturdy enough for you to rip down the way you want.
K2 also introduces the new Flex collection. You may remember the news from early last season, Full Tilt (as a brand) is no more. Online forums and social media stressed: this meant no more killer three piece design boots and pizza boot boxes. Rest assured, K2 hasn’t messed with the structure or molds of those boots at all. We just get fresh names and a new paint job on all the boots, with the former Ascendant/Descendent becoming the “Diverge/Method”, the old First Chair becoming the “Revolver”.
Kastle K Boots
Kastle has been a high performance, high quality ski brand for decades. They started making skis nearly 100 years ago in 1924. If those aren’t ski experts, we don’t know who is. Now that they’ve got skis dialed, it’s time to make boots that will perform at the same level of those skis we know and love. The Kastle “K” boots offer two new race style boots, the K150R and K130R. If you aren’t a racer, have no fear. Kastle also offers the performance line, for us recreational folk. There is a K130P and K110P for men, and a women’s K120P and K100P (these go all the way down to a 22.5 mondo size). With a narrow fit and cam style power strap on each model, we’re sure to be impressed with how these ski.
Tecnica Zero G Peak Boot
The Tecnica Zero G boot has been a shop favorite for several seasons now for the balance between uphill efficiency and downhill stability. This year, Tecnica releases a new line of even lighter touring boots: the Zero G Peak. Hitting a much lighter weight at 960 grams, the Peak shaves off 400 grams (!) from the original Zero Gs.
The Zero G Peak features Tecnica’s C.A.S. customization system in line with other Tecnica boots for all your funky feet needs. The unique Power Frame, carbon co-injection, and a lightened up version of the successful walk mode system on the Zero G all works together to provide a great downhill ride despite the ultra light weight. After all, there is still skiing involved in ski mountaineering.
Salomon Strive Binding
For the last few years, it feels like binding developments have been consumed by progress in the alpine touring and backcountry scene (see the Salomon Shift and Marker Duke PT). Enter, the Salomon Strive—their new strictly downhill binding. The Strive offers a 14 and a 16 DIN option. As with the Salomon Shift, Atomic and Armada also offer the exact same binding construction, just in different colorways.
The Strive combines lightweight construction (nearly the same weight as a Shift at 980 grams per foot) with a low profile and minimal, 5mm ramp angle. The Strive also boasts a large elastic travel range in the toe at 47mm, which provides greater suspension and evens the ride out when hitting rough terrain. So what does it all add up to? A smooth ride, greater power transfer, and more intuitive “snow feel” while skiing, all in a light weight package.
Flylow Baker Perm Bib
If you were to count how many staffers at Powder7 owned the Baker Bib, you’d lose count faster than Winter Park getting skied out on a powder day. The Baker Bib has been a top pick for shop employees for years now. Its mega durable, impressively functional (pockets where you need them but not where you don’t), and, in typical Flylow fashion, very cool style. For the 2023 season, Flylow raises the bar and introduces the Baker Perm Bib.
The Perm Bib uses their new, recycled Intuitive Perm HD fabric. The Perm fabric maximizes durability, waterproofing, and ultimately greater breathability than the regular Baker Bib. No longer will your bibs feel like a sauna on the skin track or chasing friends down a bump line. Lightweight touring pants are sweet for high output activities, but often lack the durability and longevity of resort oriented gear.
POC Nexal Clarity Goggles
We’re big fans of POC gear at the shop for their slick look and best in class protection. POC keeps stepping it up with the new Nexal Clarity goggles. The Nexal goggles feature external frame outriggers, which allow the goggles to have a closer fit to your helmet. Here at the shop, we’ve already noticed that the outriggers let the goggles sit more softly on your face and feel wicked comfy. Zygomatic bone covers (which in biology speak, are your upper cheekbones) sit just under the bottom of the goggle to add safety and warmth. Two birds, one stone. Not to mention, as with most googles we recommend these days, the Nexal features interchangeable lenses for different lighting. Check out the Nexal Mid if you have a smaller shaped face or prefer a smaller frame.
Hestra Fall Line Mitt
While this isn’t a completely new product for 2023, the Fall Line collection from Hestra gets an update this year. The Fall Line Mitt is our go to for balancing warmth and style. Hestra uses high quality leather to keep your paws protected from the elements, and a Velcro closure system on the wrist to make sure no powder sneaks inside. With an updated look and color for this coming season, we’re all looking for a little upgrade.