Traffic is slow, but spirits are high in Salt Lake City at the gear hoedown known as Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, a.k.a. Winter OR. There's something about bookending a trade show with ski or boarding sessions in the Wasatch that gives the winter show a happy little glow—snow is the salve that tempers just about everything. And even with economic calamity across the country, there's a very tangible sense of optimism: After eight years of crimes against nature, the industry the depends on environmental stewardship is hopeful, even joyful, at the arrival of a new administration.
Yeah, yeah, yeah—what about gear? Well, the Salt Palace is calling to me, lots of stuff to see, so I gotta make this quick. Here's a few things to remember: Dynafit has reengineered its alpine touring boots to add a lot more support for the descent…K2 folded its telemark ski program into its alpine program, reflecting the reality that barriers are breaking down and skis are so versatile they can be used for almost anything…Outdoor Research is working on new clothing line that bridges resort and backcountry—sidecountry or slackcountry, we can call it…Mountain Hardwear has a new heated jacket that in addition to cranking out the heat can also power anything that charges with a USB…and, finally, I can't wait to try Saucony's new trail running shoe, the Razor, built with ultra-breathable waterproof eVent fabric and a super-sticky Vibram tread. If only this Salt Lake rain would turn to snow and I could get a mucky, cold, wet test run.