Winter is upon us, and, just like that, so is Out There’s annual roundup of cool new gear from local winter sports gear shops. For 2023/24 we’re seeing a selection of hard goods, soft goods and accessories that is truly pushing the envelope when it comes to sustainability, innovation and aesthetics.
Here’s a look at some of the newest, hottest winter items that are already getting us stoked to see the snow fly at our favorite outdoor venues. Not only do we give you the scoop on the gear, but, more importantly, we’ll tell you where to get it from live humans at a brick-and-mortar outdoor gear store.
Owner Drew Harding has a ton of great skis and snowboards on the wall at his South Hill Spokane shop, but he’s especially excited about this year’s men’s and women’s Rustler and Sheeva 9 from Blizzard Skis.
“It’s got a 96mm waist, making it a great all-mountain ski for the Northwest. They’ve also completely re-designed it this year with a metal frame construction that offers a smoother flex and more versatility in powder and on hard snow. It’s an intermediate/advanced ski, but not super overpowering. It’s approachable, but still burly enough if you want to push it hard.”
Both skis are also available in a 10 and 11 series that offer wider waist dimensions for more off-piste adventures ($749).
Shred Sports, located on north Division, is one of Spokane’s premier winter sports outlets. With one of the largest selections of Dragon goggles in the region, shop tech Zane Darrington’s favorite for this year is the new NFX Mag.
“It’s a great all-around goggle that we stock in several color options. They stiffened up the frame and added their Mag design this year, which is an ultra-fast and super-secure Swiftlock Magnetics lens changing system that allows you to switch lenses for changing light conditions.”
All NFX goggles ($269) come with two different Luma lenses. One for overcast/low-light conditions and one for clearer days.
Rambleraven on Spokane’s Division Street hill is not only a great place to source used winter gear, but a great place to find new ski and snowboard equipment including backcountry options when you’re ready to venture outside the resort. Manager Wes Porter thinks that the Voile Revelator splitboard is a great place to start if you’re considering getting into backcountry snowboarding.
“It has some really awesome graphics. But, more importantly, it’s also an extremely light-weight board with universal binding mounts. The shape and sidecut are very user friendly and they are also manufactured at Voile’s environmentally friendly warehouse just outside of Salt Lake City.”
The Revelator series is offered in five different sizes ranging from 154-169cm ($749.00). Add a pair of skins and avalanche safety gear (beacon, shovel, and probe), and you’re ready to get after it.
Mark Beattie, shop manager for Fitness Fanatics, has been settling in with his crew at the shop’s relatively new location in Millwood (Spokane Valley) after decades on Trent Ave. As Spokane’s premiere cross-country ski supplier, he’s most thrilled with the new Solomon Escape 51 package.
“This is an entry level package that includes the Escape boot, Prolink bindings, and it also includes poles. It’s a great place to start if you want to get into the sport at a reasonable cost. They are wax-less skis, meaning that no grip wax is needed. Spray-on wax is all you will ever need.”
The Escape 51 ($350) is available in five different sizes ranging from 174-206cm. Check out the cool line up of toasty-warm retro Swix sweaters to complete the package while you’re there.
Two Wheeler & Ski Dealer
Living up to their name, Two Wheeler & Ski Dealer in Hayden, largely shifts from a bike to a backcountry and cross-country ski focus this time of year. In addition to Black Crow backcountry skis, Two Wheeler is primarily a supplier of Rossignol Nordic (trackless cross-country) equipment, which ski shop manager Pat Hutchins says changed the game with the introduction of its Nordic/backcountry Evo Off Trail-65 Positrack skis.
“These blue and red beauties offer a more new-school look that’s a little more akin to a hipper alpine ski,” adds Hutchins. It’s perfect for groomed Nordic tracks but is also built for off-track touring. The Evos also come with Control Step-in bindings that are field adjustable without tools to get more grip or more glide.
A set of Rossignol Evo OT-65 Positrack Nordic skis with the Control-Step-in bindings ($320) can be purchased as a package with boots and poles too. Total package pricing with added boots and poles varies depending on product choice.
Formerly Tri-State Outfitters, Sportsman’s in Coeur d’ Alene still offers all the same great brands and selection that Tri-State had. The snowshoe segment has grown in popularity in recent years, and Sportsman’s is leading the way with several options from industry leader Tubbs. Grant Bordner, action sport sales associate, is really hyped for the new Flex RDG.
“It’s a collaboration between Tubbs and Boa, bringing the well-known Boa technology to snowshoe bindings. Those micro adjustments make the fit so much better and getting in and out has never been easier. Tubbs has been around forever and they are always our top selling brand.”
The Flex RDG ($199.95) comes in either a 22” or 24” to suit a variety of user weights. The shop also carries a full range of Helly Hanson soft goods, guaranteed to keep you warm on the trail.
Hayden’s Ski Shack has been a staple of the region’s ski and snowboard scene since 1976. It’s hard to find a better selection or more knowledgeable staff in all of North Idaho. Of all the hardgoods they sell, helmets are perhaps one of the most important investments a consumer can make. The one standing out this year to shop tech Robert Hoskinson is the Smith Icon.
“Full hard plastic helmets (plastic covered ears) are seeing a resurgence amongst recreational skiers, where in the past they were primarily used in racing. The advantage is greater overall protection. Add to that MIPS technology (protection against rotational impacts), and you have the greatest level of protection you can get for your head.”
The Icon ($360) is available in small, medium or large. Ski Shack carries a full line of Smith helmets that now all feature the industry leading MIPS technology. //
Brad Naccarato is a Spokane-based freelance writer and has been an Out There Outdoors contributor for over a decade. Watching his children learn to play in the snow is his greatest reward of the season.