Time to get ready for snowkite season!
Once again, The Kiteboarder Magazine attended the Snowsports Industry Association Expo and on-snow demos in Colorado. Tkb ambassador James Brown and a group from Colorado’s snowkite posse give you a sneak peek of some new products and technology they think snowkiters will like this season.
- Sweet Protection Blaster MIPS Helmet
- Pret Cynic Helmet
- Bonx Headphone/Communication
- Elevity Headphone/Communication
- Envy Boots
- Dahu Boots
- Handout Gloves
- Crux Trailers
- Goggle Pal
- Dakine Poacher R.A.S. Vest
- Torch Coat Heater
- nuVent Gear Dryer
This helmet is stylish and low-profile so you don’t look like a bobble head. It’s lightweight, has great venting, a quick-adjust fit system, a removable/washable headliner and a traditional Fastex-style chin clip. It’s not the most comfortable feeling but you get good airflow with this design, so it’s a trade off for those of us that value a cool head. For safety, the brand incorporates the new industry high-standard MIPS protection.
The Blaster MIPS doesn’t have pockets in the ear pads for the Outdoor Tech Chips we love so much (headphones made to worn with helmets), but there’s just the right amount of space for the Chips to rest in the large inset. You just don’t get the benefit of a layer of fabric to keep the metal face of the Chips speakers away from your skin and to keep them more securely in place. But if you wear a balaclava you won’t feel the metal and the cord when tucked into the head liner should keep them from completely falling out. The brand said its possible that they will be coming out with replacement ear pads with a pocket at some point. Optionally, Outdoor Tech has their own universal ear pad holders called the K-Roo Pouch to hold the Chips.
The look and feel of this helmet is one of the best. The styling of the vent holes, bill, felt ear pads and rubbery shell make it one of our favorites. It also has ear pads designed for the Outdoor Tech Chips. Yay! It has a lightweight and strong polycarbonate shell with MIPS protection. The fit can be dialed in with their easy RCS fit system.
Bonx lets you listen to music and make phone calls, but what is unique is that you can talk with up to 10 people at a time. It works on 3G/4G/Wi-Fi and automatically reconnects if it loses signal.
The high-tech stuff: With voice activation you can start talking without touching a button but can also use push-to-talk mode like a walkie-talkie. It also uses machine learning to adapt to the sound environment or manually adjust the noise filter. It is designed to cut out wind noise, panting and nearby voices and is IPX5 waterproof rated. The downside is that you’d probably need to have a helmet without ear pads or at least removable ear pads, and your music is only coming in on one side. It’s worth considering that it’s probably safer to have one ear exposed if you are kiting around other people anyways though!
The Domio is a ‘puck’ that mounts to the outside of your helmet and turns your helmet into a speaker box through direct contact and vibration. We tried it—it works and sounds great! You can even take phone calls with the optional Whisper NC Mic, all while being able to hear your surroundings, unlike most other types of earbuds or headphones. It runs on Bluetooth, has an all-day battery and is water resistant.
Keep your eyes peeled for their upcoming Hearshot devices too. Their founder and team (including some kiteboarders) are testing both helmet-mountable and wearable versions that allow for up to 12 riders within 1,000 yards to talk/listen using 2-way voice communication—a great way to communicate with friends and really helpful for kiteboard lessons.
Why didn’t we think of this? Actually, we did! But these awesome folks actually did something about it. The Therma-Phone is a heat protective pouch that can keep your phone warm in the winter. You simply drop a glove heater in the pouch with your phone and it keeps your phone from dying in the cold. The pouch will also keep your phone from overheating in the summer.
Here’s another real ‘Why didn’t we think of that’ product. The concept is simple and brilliant. Use your regular snowboard boots for skiing. Step into the Envy frame and buckle up like a regular snowboard binding. Now you basically have a ski boot and can go skiing with the comfort and versatility of a snowboard boot.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to demo the Envy, but it is still worth a mention and we will definitely try them if they are at the next SIA show in January 2018.
Here is another snowboard boot–to–ski boot concept. Comparing the Envy Ski Frame listed above to the Dahu, the main differences with the Dahu are the included purpose-built Dahu liner/snowboard boot that fits perfectly inside the frame, and the more supportive ski boot style frame. While we were not able to demo the exact size needed and got some hot spots, we could see the benefits of this style of combination boot beyond the comfortable walkability. First, it is easier to get into than a regular ski boot. Second, the frame is similar to a ski boot so you get similar support. Third, the combination of a purpose-built liner/boot will give you a better overall tight fit and better control. If you have questions about it, just ask Jerome Josseran, famous snowkite skier and sponsored Dahu athlete.
These gloves have a zipper on the back of the hand that allows you to pull your fingers out. They could be handy for fiddling with your lines without dropping or setting your gloves down to get filled with snow. It happens. They also have a mitten version in case you prefer the extra warmth that they provide.
Crux is the ‘Transformer’ of compact camping trailers. We got to check it out and the list of tricked out features was impressive. The trailer itself has independent suspension and 25” of ground clearance. The tent is fully enclosed and has a euro-queen size memory foam mattress. On the outside a chef’s galley pulls out of the side. It comes with two solar panels, a 100A/H deep cycle battery and 1000-watt inverter with many 12v and 110v plugins and a GoalZero solar panel for recharging. It also has LED lighting all over the place and a standard slide-out drawer for a large cooler or fridge/freezer. We’re not done yet. There’s an 18-gallon water tank, 8 cu/feet of tool storage, slide out cargo drawers, sealed doors and stabilizer/leveling struts. Whew!
Feed your inner geek. The Goggle Pal is a heads-up display that you can attach to any goggle. It gives you tracking (speed, vertical, movement/spins), communication (find friends, message/call friends, record and share data) and ‘burn’ (track calories, time and distance). We didn’t get to test it out so we can’t really comment about its functionality, but wanted to give you a ‘heads up’ in case you get a chance to check it out.
Getting ‘Foggles’ is the worst. Air Hole looks like it may help alleviate fogged up goggles with a simple air hole where your mouth is. They have four different styles: tubes, face masks, balaclavas (not baklava, that’s a dessert) and hoods along with a good variety of sick designs to choose from.
This vest is pretty slick with its minimalist low-profile design that allows you to carry your beacon, shovel, probe, skins and a few other small items. You can strap your skis cross-ways to the back and it has the option to add a Mammut airbag system and/or a spine protector. We like to think of it as a full-wrap backpack that has convenient, accessible pockets in the front.
We are usually sweating during a good snowkite session, but as soon as we stop, the chill can creep in. This universal rechargeable heater can provide heat in any jacket. They come with adhesive backed Velcro pads that you attach to the inside of your jacket and the Torch sticks to the pads so it can be removed for charging or putting in a different jacket. This product would work best with a seat harness so the jacket and Torch sit above your harness and hook and make contact with your mid-section to keep you warm. If you wear a waist harness you’d need to have a jacket with a hole for the spreader bar hook so you can wear it over the harness, and make sure the placement doesn’t interfere with the harness. To truly feel the heat you’d have to take off your harness between sessions so it can make contact with your ribs and back.
Dry your boots and gloves between sessions. Both heated and air-only models are available. The heated version shown can be toggled between heat or air modes. It has a 180-minute timer with four arms that can be extended or retracted for different types of equipment.