Welcome to our 3rd* Annual BLISTER Awards roundup from SIA.
If you are a particularly sharp BLISTER reader, you might be thinking to yourself, Wait a minute. There was a 2nd BLISTER Awards?
There was. We just never got around to polishing it up and publishing it, because these things take forever, and we were scrambling to catch a plane to Japan with a million pairs of skis and boots and packs and everything else.
(Maybe someday, the 2nd Annual BLISTER Awards will make its way around the Internet like an underground bootleg, the equivalent of Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes, or Danger Mouse’s The Grey Album. That will probably happen, right?)
So this is the 3rd* BLISTER Awards, and we might drop a few 2nd BLISTER Awards references in here just so you don’t have to wait forever for that bootleg.
Also, this year’s Awards went a bit long, so we’re presenting them in several installments. Enjoy the first.
In the 1st BLISTER Awards, I wrote that, “If gear is your thing, then SIA is Heaven.”
For year number three, I’d put it this way:
If you are a manufacturer of anything related to snow sports, then SIA is Hell.
Seriously, these poor ski and snowboard and outerwear manufacturers. It’s a brutal show and PR schedule (first Outdoor Retailers in SLC, then SIA in Denver, then ISPO in Munich). Pulling off the logistics of all this—and for three different shows—is something you should be glad that you don’t have to do. We raise our glass to everyone involved in this ultra-marathon.
Also, just like the last two years, we once again skipped the SIA On Snow Demo. While the On Snow Demo makes a lot of sense for retailers who need to try to decide quickly which skis and boards they will and won’t carry next season, it’s still a lousy format for actually reviewing skis and boards. You get one or two runs, then you have to move on to the next one.
If our reviews have shown you anything, then hopefully by now you’d be extremely wary of anyone who would claim to know much of anything about a ski after only two runs on it. It’s not enough time to play with mount points. It’s not enough time to determine whether it’s the tune or the ski that you don’t like. It’s not enough time to adjust to this particular ski vs. that particular ski you just got done with.
It can be interesting to hop on a bunch of skis or boards in a given day, just don’t try to fool yourself or others into thinking that you can make significant pronouncements or hand out meaningful awards after one or two runs.
(And yes, this is how most of the review world still works.)
All right, without further ado, here is Part I of our spectacularly subjective musings about some things we saw at SIA.