You have to hand it to skiing entrepreneurs for never giving up. Every season there is new ground-breaking technology and innovation that either revolutionizes the industry, or disappears like the hundreds of other fads that have come and gone in past decades. Some inventions simply boggle the mind as to how they can possibly serve any practical purpose.
From the ingenious to the weird, here are the best -- and the worst -- ski inventions we’ve seen so far this year.
The Bests: Smart Ski Airbag
French tech startup Inemotion has taken the concept of avalanche airbags one step further with the Smart Ski Airbag. This device is worn as a vest and senses loss of balance during a crash to inflate a safety cushion around the skier’s back, chest, abdomen, hips and neck. It’s already been IFSA approved currently only available for ski racers, but this wearable safety device will likely soon be refined for freeskiing as well.
The Bests: Abom Fog-free Goggles
Every skier know that foggy goggles can quickly ruin your powder day. Solutions in the past have stemmed the buildup of fog with chemical lens coatings and battery-powered fans, but no product has quite reached fog-free classification until now. The Abom goggles work by powering a heat conductive film between the inner and outer lens, thereby eliminating any fog within 60 seconds.
The Bests: Carv Ski Wearable
While this product won’t replace the learning experience of a human ski instructor, having a device to provide constant feedback on your form will make more skiers better, quicker. The Carv Ski Wearable senses pressure on a special insole inside the ski boot and combines that with data from an external accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer. The skier then receives real-time updates through their connected headphones advising them on shifts in stance and balance.
The Worsts: Backcountry Snowblades
Backcountry may be the fastest growing segment of the ski industry, but not with equipment like this. Crossblades are basically backcountry snowblades that can easily switch between tour and ski mode. While the setup may be incredibly light, how exactly are you to enjoy descending a powder slope with skis this long? Perhaps it’s aimed at the niche of backcountry snowshoers looking for more exhilarating descents.
The Worsts: Ski Buggy
One look at this Transformer-like suit of boards and edges and you can see how there’s likely one person in the entire world who wants to ski down a slope like this. Its inventor, Jean-Yves Blondeau (AKA Rollerman) traded the wheels for the sliding planks on this incredible sliding suit. Probably not available at your local ski resort next winter. Enough said.
The Worsts: Skis for ridiculously rich peopleNot really an invention, but deserves to be on this list purely for its price tag. If you had $50,000 to spend on skiing, what would you buy? Our bet would be a heliski trip for you and your friends. But if you really wanted to stand out on the slopes you could purchase a pair of Foil Oro-Nero skis, complete with an 8,000-year-old bog oak core and 14-karat gold plated bindings. Comes with custom poles and team of body guards to make sure people don’t step on your skis in the lift line.
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