What Does WTF Stand For Anyway?

By Xan Marshland, FOW


"The WTF (What the Future) category collects futuristic projects... From quantum physics to nanotech to bio-engineering moonshots, this category pulls together all the amazing endeavors that make us excited about tomorrow."

- South by Southwest Innovation Awards

What Do We Make Of This?

Phase Series, MiDori bioWick, Alpine touring, Backcountry skis, WNDR Alpine, algae, backcountry, microalgae, biomanufacturing, freeride, freetouring, skiing, bcorp, bcorporation, algaltech, biobased, skitouring, ski touring, freeskiing, mountaineering, outdoors, mountains, nature, natural, sustainable, freeride skis, Split Boarding, splitboarding, splitboard, Backcountry Snowboarding, Snowboarding, Snowboards, Ski Kit, Ski Package, Best freeride ski, freeride ski, alpine touring, ski for alpine touring, mountaineering skis, ski mountaineering skis, ski touring, skitouring, local ski brand

A throwback to a brief foray into seasonal snowfall forecasting. We can't always predict the future, but we sure would like to shape it. FOW: Xan Marshland and Pep Fujas // Photo: Kevin Kinghorn (@kevinkinghorn)

First off, it's a gigantic honor to be considered amongst a selection of world-changing ideas and innovations that don't typically touch the canyons, ridges, and mountaintops we call home. 

We take pride in being recognized by tech and culture organizations outside skiing and snowboarding, because quite frankly, we want to share this technology beyond wintersports. How lucky are we as backcountry athletes to pioneer and refine a scientific discovery via the sports we love?

The Innovation Awards' WTF (What the Future) category captures what we're all about: coming up with wild ideas and creating something that you might not have expected, but you're sure to love. 

Why this Matters

It's easy to feel constrained to one industry, especially when your happy place is skinning and grinning in the high alpine.

But in reality, the way we innovate in this industry has big potential to affect other ones. Carbon fiber was initially available to consumers in tennis rackets. Now its weight reducing properties are reducing fuel consumption in commercial airplanes. 

Our approach to product innovation begins with microalgae - a renewable, biobased source of oil. We use that oil to make everything from the backcountry tools we stand on to the performance finishes in the apparel we wear. 

Countless industries are still reliant on petroleum. We'd like to impact all of them. 

On behalf of our love for the outdoors, our hope for future winters, and our love for infinitely renewable oil... let's head down to Texas!

- Xan Marshland, Algae Evangelist