Category Archives: Industry news

Any new or interesting news from within the ski industry

Mountain culture in London

While in London last week I got a chance to peek around the annual London Ski and Snowboard show at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre. I got there as the doors opened on Wednesday, the first day of the show, and so missed out on the carnival-like festivities that typically characterise the event, but it did give me a chance to peruse the exhibits without having to elbow my way through the crowds.

As a recent iPhone convert, I was intrigued by the efforts made by a couple of British exhibitors to capitalise on the difficulty of operating touch-screen technology with gloves on. eGlove has a small range of gloves designed with conductive material in the index finger and thumb to facilitate touch-screen use. Without actual reviews supporting the technical capabilities of these gloves in extreme environments, and with the likes of Burton and North Face also producing similar-purpose gloves, leading the market may prove difficult. iPrint has a different, simpler take: their conductive adhesive strips attach to any glove and, at a couple of quid for a pair of stickers, provide a much more affordable solution. The unknown factor here is how long these adhesive strips can be used for before they fall off and need replacing.

But perhaps the best solution to this dilemma would be to leave our touch-screen crutch at home when we head into the mountains?

The highlight of my day was in fact a visit to the Royal Geographic Society in South Kensington. The Rivers of Ice: Vanishing Glaciers of the Himalaya exhibition is a thought-provoking and poignant piece of work produced by photographer and founder of GlacierWorks David Breashears. The exhibit is on until November 11th and is well worth making an effort for.

Since 2007 David Breashsears has made eight photographic expeditions to the Greater Himalaya region. Together with his team at GlacierWorks they have set out to recreate some of the classic photographs of the region taken in the early 1920s by Sir Edward Oliver Wheeler, George Mallory and Vittorio Sella.

The result is astounding, a collection of then and now images that illustrate the vast reduction in the world’s greatest vault of pure untapped water. Breashears attention to detail in retracing the footsteps of these early pioneers in the most inhospitable environment on the planet is captivating and stirring. If you’re in London, don’t miss this.

Snowpulse purchased by Herculean Swiss company Mammut

An interesting Swiss business acquisition that took place earlier this summer might not be hot-off-the-press news, but it’s worthy of a mention. Snowpulse, located in Martigny close to the freeriding mecca of Verbier, was purchased by mountaineering product giant Mammut Sports Group for an undisclosed amount on July 1st.

Snowpulse’s avalanche airbag system is already popular around the world. Its cannisters are filled with compressed dry air and can be refilled. The ABS technology (and in fact Mammut’s own Removable Airbag System packs) utilise nitrogen filled cannisters and cannot be refilled, and therefore need to be replaced once deployed. From what I gather the benefits are debatable: considering that most skiiers must board planes in order to get their back-country fixes and airlines have varying policies on carrying nitrogen-filled cannisters, it is certainly less expensive to fill a Snowpulse cannister once landed than to purchase a new ABS nitrogen cannister, but is it any more convenient having to source a location that will do the job at your destination?

Either way, air bag technology offers what’s widely regarded as the safest solutions to avalanche survival and that pro cannot be under-valued. Now that Snowpulse is 100% owned by the long-established Mammut, this Swiss product has the capacity to fully reach its potential. Exciting.