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Whats in-store for winter 2021!
Last week, Owner/General Manager Mark Hall & weekday Floor Manager Caleb Brown headed up to Calgary for the ASRA (Alberta Sports Rep Association) show - where most outdoor sports brands send their reps to meet with buyers from local stores like GearHub, and showcase what's new for next winter.
The ASRA show is a place where the industry gets a sneak peek of what's coming down the pipe, and we've put together the highlights to share with you!
K2 has updated its hugely successful new Mindbender lineup with mind-bending new graphics - check them out in the picture to the right! Click here to learn more about the K2 Mindbender collection.
K2 has also added the first kids’ hybrid freeride touring boot to their lineup. The tech-compatible Mindbender Team Jr boot comes with a shorter cuff to accommodate shorter legs, but still has all the lightweight performance features of the grownup Mindbender touring boots, right down to the alloy walk mode latch. For its incredible versatility, the Mindbender Team Jr boot was awarded ISPO Snowsports award in the Ski Alpine Boots category for 2020!
Also new from K2 for next winter is the all-black 140 flex Recon Pro boot, which K2 has dubbed, “the powerful performance boot you’ve been waiting for.” They have also added a stiffer, all-black, 120-flex option to their Anthem line called the Anthem Pro.
For next winter K2 has also upgraded their boots across the board with new liners to improve and refine comfort and fit.
But the big buzz around K2 this year is about their newest ski, The Reckoner. A playful twin-rocker ski built with K2’s Carbon Spectral Braid technology that has worked so well in the Mindbender C collection, the reckoner comes in 3 waist widths: 122, 112 & 102.
Pictured left, Mark is holding the Reckoner 122, which clocks in as K2’s girthiest 2020 ski, as well as K2’s skinniest ski of the year, the 244 mogul ski.
The Reckoner marks the end of the K2 Catamaran model, but with its wider waist and a playful profile, we’re confident this ski will have you even more stoked!
Lastly, it’s worth noting that K2 has introduced MIPS to some of their helmets for 2021, for added protection.
Big changes across the board from Blizzard for 2021. They have revamped some of their best selling all-mountain freeride skis, including the Black Pearl 88s (the world’s top selling ski for the past 3 years!) the Brahma 88, and the all-new Bonafide 97 and Black Pearl 97. With this lineup, Blizzard is introducing a brand new core construction called TrueBlend, which uses a variety of wood blends to create a smoother, more balanced flex that will allow riders to ski confidently through changing conditions.
Blizzard has also revived the cult-classic Cochise 106 for 2021, re-engineering it to deliver a similar experience as the original did, but with an even higher level of maneuverability and performance.
For next winter, Blizzard is also overhauling the Spur, calling the new Spur “the ultimate powder ski for all.” The new Spur is a more approachable and playful ski that will make the intermediate skiers just as happy as the advanced riders.
Blizzard has also tightened up sidecuts throughout their lineup for tighter turn radiuses, and added more sizes to most of their lines.
Nordica seems to be operating on the “don’t mess with a good thing” principle with their 2021 skis. For the most part they have made only small changes to their award-winning Enforcer, Santa And and Astral lines - minor updates like new tip construction, and some material tweaks.
The biggest changes for 2021 were the new widths Nordica added to their Santa Ana lineup, where they have swapped the Santa Ana 100 for two new skis: the Santa Ana 98 & Santa Ana 104 Free. Nordica’s Enforcer offering also got a slight revamp, with the all-new Enforcer 94 replacing the Enforcer 93. We’re stoked to bring these new models to Fernie next winter!
But the big news from Nordica this year is all about the boots: specifically their all-new Nordica HF (“hands-free”) rear entry boots were blowing minds at ASRA and have already earned them the 2020 ISPO award for the Ski Alpine Boots category!
Rear-entry ski boots are not a new idea, with the first ones appearing in the early 1970s. They quickly caught on, with companies like Lange and Soloman producing their own rear-entry models. A young Marc Girardelli even won World Cup races in rear-entry ski boots! The concept died off in the 1990s, as rear-entry boots of the time struggled to keep up performance-wise with the conventional ski boot that we know today.
With the HF ski boot, Nordica puts rear-entry squarely back in the running. While they aren’t ever going to be the stiffest boots on the market, a 110 flex means that the HF boots are certainly not the softest boots out there either. These boots are truly “hands free” with a latch that can be locked with your foot, and unlocked with a ski pole, with no bending over required! By combining the incomparable comfort and convenience of rear-entry with the latest performance boot technology, Nordica has created a truly remarkable boot that we can’t wait to try!
New and exciting this from Marker for 2021 is the all-new Duke PT 12 & 16 bindings.
The much anticipated new PT model has a toe-piece that can be flipped up or even removed completely, with tech pins underneath for skinning up.
At the top, the toe piece is added back on, transitioning the binding back into a step-in alpine-style binding for the down. Removing the toe piece means that 300g can be in your pack instead of on your ski for the uphill! We're super excited to try these out.
For winter 20/21, Flylow continues to expand their ever popular offerings.
We’re particularly excited about the new bib options that are coming out next winter. In the Men’s lineup, they have added two new bib pants - the new Tannen bib which they describe as feeling “like your grandpa’s favourite suspender pants,” without the high coverage feel of full bibs, and the new Snowman bib, an insulated option for the guy who wants to be extra toasty.
In the Women’s lineup Flylow has added the Moxie bib, with more of a relaxed straight leg fit, a “tomboy vibe” and lower rising coverage, meanwhile the popular lightweight/touring Siren bibs have undergone a major upgrade, and will now be made of 30k waterproof rated eVent fabric, giving them the highest waterproof rating of any upcoming Flylow bib!
Of course we’re excited to see all the favourite Flylow gloves return, as well as a few new offerings - the all-new extra warm Super Glove and Super Mitten, with long cuffs and primaloft insulation to keep your hands toasty warm, and a new lightweight and breathable DB Glove which will be perfect for backcountry touring and spring skiing.
As always, we were impressed with Flylow’s natural colour palette choices. Next year brings another great selection of understated earth tones - think subtle tans, moss greens, muddy brick reds and burnt ochres across the board, with some dusky pinks, purple-tone greys, and light teals mixed in for the women’s lineup.
For next winter, Bolle has expanded its choices with the top-of-the-line Phantom+ lens, with its industry-leading optical clarity. Expect this awesome lens on even more models for 2021!
They have also rolled out an amazing new quick-change magnetic lens called the Nevada Neo, which comes with two lens options, allowing the wearer to quickly adapt to changing light conditions. The Neo features a proprietary lens locking mechanism called the Eyelatch, that locks the lens securely in place.
We’re also stoked about the upcoming integrated kids helmet/goggle visor. Retailing at $149, this is great value for a kids combo setup, it means that parents never forget to bring the goggles, and it has been tested and approved by Mark’s son Kale!
We’re expanding our heated product selection from Thermic for next winter, with more heated gloves and socks. We’re also excited to introduce their all-new heated vest, which features 5 heating areas evenly spread across the back and torso for all-over core warmth. The vest is compatible with any external power bank, with the plug conveniently located in the pocket.
Therm-ic is also rolling out a free heat control app that allows you to connect your Therm-ic products to your phone for precision temperature control.
We’re excited to be expanding our offering from this awesome Canadian brand for winter 2020-21! You can expect more selection of their great quality winter activewear staples.
We’re super excited to be adding this awesome mountain brand to our lineup! Established in the 70s by two university students out in the field on a school glaciology project in Alaska's Juneau Icefield, Marmot is known for having its roots in innovation, and was even one of the earliest adopters of GoreTex fabrics in the 1970s!
This year there’s a lot of buzz around Marmot’s new patent-pending WarmCube technology - and for good reason! Possibly the biggest innovation in insulation since baffles, the WarmCube system replaces traditional baffle strips with small cubes filled with down. The structured cubes keep the fill in place, while the air channels between the cubes provide extra insulation and warmth.
Marmot has gone a step farther by strategically combining WarmCube down layers with exterior Pertex over a synthetic insulation layer, and the result is incredibly warm insulation on the inside with synthetic wet protection on the outside. Truly the best of both worlds.
WarmCube tech has earned Marmot ISPO Gold awards in the Outdoor Insulated category two years in a row - first for their 800-fill down West Rib Parka in 2019, and now for their new WarmCube Featherless Hoody in 2020.
Marmot has also incorporated the WarmCube system into a sleeping bag this year, the WarmCube Gallatin 20, which was also awarded ISPO Gold this year in the Sleeping Bag category. The Gallatin features WarmCube down strips in the chest and footbox as well as a durable Pertex shell and synthetic insulation layer. We’ll be adding Marmot tents and sleeping bags to our outdoor selection this summer, as well as the warm-cube sleeping bags as they become available later in the year.
New tech aside, we were particularly impressed by Marmot’s high quality kids’ gear - they have kids outerwear with all the features you would expect from top-end adult gear. Fernie kids who spend just as much time outside (and often more!) as the adults will be stoked to have a gear option that can keep up with their activities! We’re most excited about Marmot's insulated, waterproof, seam taped kid’s Rosco bib - awesome value and quality, and we can’t wait to stock it!
Although it may be new to GearHub, Devold of Norway is actually one of the world's oldest outdoor companies, and has been creating innovative wool products since 1853.
But don't let their age fool you, this brand is known for being at the forefront of Merino innovation, and have even developed an ISPO award-winning wind and water resistant outer-layer made entirely of merino wool!
Yes, you read that right - Devold has figured out a way to make a wind-proof, water-resistant 100% merino fabric by stretching ultra fine merino fibers into a tight weave, and then water treating them to shrink them even tighter, so that wind and water can't get through! They also experimented with the melting point of Merino wool to fully seam seal the jacket using heat levels just below the burning point of the wool. The Trollkyrkja jacket might be the craziest thing we saw at ASRA, and we're excited to see this next step in the evolution of Merino technical apparel.
While Devold offers a wide range of high quality merino baselayers, active wear and casual clothing, one particular garment caught our eye at ASRA: a 2-in-1 reversible merino baselayer system called “Tuvegga Sport Air.”
Worn one way, it offers the high breathability of a 190 weight baselayer, worn the other way it has 3D fabric construction that provides the warmth and insulation of a 250 weight baselayer, so you get two in one and can even change up your insulation with changing temps throughout the day! This innovative concept earned Devold another ISPO award in 2018.
We’re excited to expand our premium glove selection with Hestra! This family-run Swedish glove business has been putting hands first since 1936. They have a great variety of high quality, super durable men’s and women’s pieces made from premium materials including leather, wool, G-loft and Gore.
We’re particularly excited about their staple Leather Fall Line glove, and their Freeride cZone Mitt (pictured) which is their first snowboard-centric glove, co-designed with PSIA team member and Vail Snowboard instructor Chris Rogers. Both the Fall line Mitt and the Freeride cZone mitt were awarded Editor’s Picks in the 2019/2020 Feeskier Magazine Winter Buyer’s Guide, although the cZone mitt was previously only available in the states.
We also saw some great value synthetic 3-finger lobster mitts at the show as well as some high-quality kids options that we’re excited to bring to Fernie!
A champion of innovative fabrics, Swedish brand Craft has built its legacy producing technical garments for Nordic climates. Their claim that they “have kindred climates and share kindred sporting cultures with Canada” is evident in the technical gear that is equally suitable for Fernie as it is in Sweden.
In particular, we were impressed by their innovative new softshell biking pants (fatbikers take note!). The Women’s “Escape” model and Men’s “Lite” model are windproof and water-repellant (10k WP), with a soft brushed inside for extra warmth and comfort. Thoughtful features like articulated knees, durable fabric at the crotch, and reflective details make this the ultimate winter cycling pant!
Although we already have Le Bent in-store, we put it under “new brands” because it has only been available at GearHub recently.
Specializing in socks and baselayers, Le Bent combines Merino with Bamboo in an innovative signature blend that is as breathable as it is comfortable. We’re already getting great feedback from staff and customers alike!
A particular favourite is the “Le Send” sock, the first sock ever designed specifically for backcountry ski touring. It’s named for big-mountain freeskier Cody Townsend, who collaborated with Le Bent to design a ski sock that is warmer, drier and more secure in the boot. This last goal is achieved through a clever use of silicone strips on the heel, to stop the heel from lifting and rubbing on the ascent, a pet peeve of Townsend's before he made this sock.
We are very excited to expand and upgrade our snowboard rental fleet to include complete splitboard rental packages from K2 starting next winter season. We’ll have K2 Marauders available to rent in a variety of sizes, along with one or two other K2 splitboard options.
Let us know what you think! What are you stoked about for next winter? Leave a comment below!
February 2, 2020