Last week, we shared the most innovative outdoor products coming out of Winter OR (Outdoor Retailer), America's biggest trade show for the Mother Nature-loving set. This week we jump across the pond to ISPO, which is essentially the European version. ISPO stands for Internationale Fachmesse für Sportartikel und Sportmode, if you're curious.
ISPO's judges just anointed a bunch of new and upcoming snow sports, outdoor, fitness and urban products as Gold Winners, more than 40 in total. But even amongst that noteworthy group, a select few really stand out for creative thinking, the kind of stuff that could make your next trip to the mountains more epic than ever before. We culled the honorees and curated these five to throw on your own personal shortlist.
Whether you are driving or flying, one of skiing’s biggest headaches is lugging a giant bag around. Imagine how much easier things would be if your skis were literally half the size. That’s the thinking behind the new Elan Voyager, the first-ever foldable all-mountain ski. Double it over to pack efficiently alongside its binding and poles in the travel-size transport bag. When you get to the slopes, unfold and get out there: a four-axis system joins the ski at the middle, enabling it to perform, Elan claims, just as precisely and playfully as a traditional ski.
The whole setup launches this month for about $1,800.
Ortovox Diract Voice
Avalanche transceivers, or beacons, are crucial safety tools for navigating backcountry terrain in the winter. If a group member gets buried in an avalanche, beacons allow others to locate them as quickly as possible. The way they do that is remarkably straightforward, typically with loud beeps and an arrow or numbers on a small screen. Ortovox's Diract Voice adds verbal instructions — as one searches, the beacon guides the process with commands like "keep left," "keep right" and "go down to the snow surface." The commands are in line with avalanche rescue training techniques but having a little machine remind you what to do when has the potential to make searches easier and save lives. Here's hoping it comes with settings for different accents.
The beacon comes out in September for $380. A voiceless version will also be available for $320.
Out of Electra Goggles
Out of's Electra goggles make a case for never swapping your lenses on the mountain, regardless of light conditions. They do it with a solar-sensitive chip embedded in the forehead that senses whether it's sunny or overcast and adjusts the lens tint accordingly. Only one other goggle has this capability, POC's Cornea Solar Switch. Hopefully, a little competition will push the tech into more frames and lenses — and maybe bring the price down.
The Electra clocks in at €429, or roughly $516 as of this writing.
People come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and a lot of us don’t fit the arbitrary measurements. Addressing that problem in the winter sports space is Advenate. Not unlike getting a custom suit from a brand like Indochino, this online product configurator lets you choose your winter kit’s pockets, length, equipment, color and cut. It’s then made to measure using high-performance Schoeller fabrics, and your one-of-a-kind apparel arrives in a couple of weeks.
The service launches in October, with the jacket costing around $700 and the pants going for a bit under $600.
Salewa Ortles Couloir Boot
Mountaineering boots are hefty. They have to be, to provide the support, warmth and grip needed for venturing above 20,000 feet. Salewa is moving the baseline with the Ortles Couloir, though. The boot weighs 725 grams (roughly 26 ounces), while others start in the 800s. To de-bulk, Salewa uses a 30 percent lighter outsole and a pivoting carbon fiber exoskeleton that gives the fabric upper support while remaining as minimal as possible. The design is strikingly sleek and not a little futuristic — we wouldn't be surprised to see Timothée Chalamet rocking a pair in the upcoming Dune movie.
Coming in September 2021, the boot will go for $1,000.