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2015 Blizzard!

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On Wednesday, New England began digging out of what was a wicked blizzard! The region was hit with nearly 3ft of snow and wind gusts up to 70 mph that caused major power outages and heavy damages in the area.

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The Governor has lifted a state travel ban but bitter cold temps still pose a threat and will likely slow down cleanup efforts in and around Boston. Power is still out for more than 15,000 customers leaving many shivering in the dark.

New Englanders were stunned by the incredible force and bitter cold caused by this storm. Snowplows are struggling to keep up with the tremendous ice and snow conditions.

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Meteorologists say the nor’easter strayed about 100 miles from its forecasted track. New York and New Jersey received 10 inches less than originally predicted.

Breck Trip Recap: Hunting for Pow Soul7 Style

After a quick weekend run out to Breckenridge from one of Sun & Ski’s Northeastern Outposts, our Woburn, MA store, I can safely say that the Rossignol Soul7 absolutely slayed it out there! 

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It wasn’t looking like we were in for much fresh snow, but ever fickle mother nature decided otherwise and laid down a good 6-10 inches of fresh Colorado Champagne Pow.  Conditions on the leeward sides and sheltered areas were straight butter and the Soul7’s really got to show their true colors from soft turns through trees, to some high speed lively open bowl rips, to cranking carves on the groomers and runouts, the Soul7’s were steadfast through and through!

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The best turns were had with a little bootpack up to the Windows (where the pictures in the trees are from), which was made all the easier with the fabulous walk mode the Dalbello Panterras offer not to mention the enhanced traction of the rubberized soles.  A bit of thin air created some huffing and puffing on the way up, but after a short breath or two we were good to go.  Fresh hero turns after swooping in on 2nd chair up Imperial while the sun was peeking out on the fully wind loaded bowl was definitely one of the major highlights and a good chance to open things up a bit more, glad I bought the skis long for sure!

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Camaraderie was high both in the on-hill bars and in-town, with many of Sun & Ski’s loyal customer base out and about for their holiday trips.  As a New Englander getting to meet more of our Texas customers out on the hill enjoying all the great gear our stores provide was awesome to see not too mention the smiles on many faces having fun on the hill!  Can’t wait to get back out to Colorado to chase some more pow and get after soe bigger terrain as more things open up!

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See you on the slopes!

-Reed

Nathan Zephyr Fire 100 – Gear Review

If you live anywhere in the world and you are a runner with no gym membership or you

loath the treadmill. There comes a time in the year where running in the daylight becomes a

luxury.

You basically have two choices. Run in the morning in the dark before work, or run in the

evening after work.  Two dangers are present with this solution. Being visible for vehicle traffic

to see you, and your ability to see obstacles in front of you.

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For the past few years I have been a fan of a head lamp.  Mainly for the convenience of

keeping my hands free.  I had tried some of the small lightweight flashlights, however to use

them I had to hold it at an uncomfortable angle to light the ground. Headlamps all have their

downfalls as well. The biggest is when running in a mist, the light reflects back into your eyes.

I have tried to combat this by wearing one as a belt. This is a good fix but it can be

uncomfortable. It does however get the light closer to the ground to give you better visibility.

 

A few weeks ago I found a great new innovative product that addressed all these issues.

The Nathan Zephyr Fire 100 handheld torch.

This 108 lumen flashlight is USB rechargeable with a integrated hand strap and a 24* down

angle.

It also has a emergency button that activates a high pitch beep and a red strobe light.

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When the flashlight is on it has a normal beam, high beam and a flashing forward strobe. I

have been using mine for about 2 weeks. I have noticed an earlier reaction from approaching

drivers. Not only do they pick up on my reflective vest and wrist bands. I activate the strobe

and they can identify me at a farther distance. The rear facing red strobe is always active

when the power is on as well.

It took me a few runs to get used to holding it but with the hand strap it just hangs in my

palm. I used it this week during a group run and the downward facing angle was perfect.  I

tripped over a speed bump recently with a headlamp. With the Fire I was able to see the

obstacle in plenty of time to adjust my stride. No more worries about the contours of the trail

or road. With a headlamp it is impossible to turn your head and talk without blinding your

running partner. Now I can keep my path lit and not worry about all the downfalls my

headlamp had. Changing functions from normal to bright and strobe are easy. I ran with thick

gloves and the button still worked flawless.

 

The fire comes in a 100 lumen and a 300 lumen. As of now Sun and Ski only stocks the 100.

We have it available in select stores or you can order on SunandSki.com

http://www.sunandski.com/Nathan_Zephyr_Fire_100_Hand_Torch_p/0339062531400.htm

 

For $45.00 it’s the best running accessory I have purchased in years.

 

Run Safe.

 

Bryan Hojo.

 

Let’s talk about ski tuning!

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How often should you have your skis or snowboard tuned?

 

Most advanced skiers have their gear tuned after 4 or 5 days of skiing. It is important for the edges to be sharp in order to maintain control. The base has to be waxed to allow for maximum speed. Intermediate skiers will probably want their skis tuned after 6 to 9 days on the slopes. Beginners might not demand the same performance as experts and intermediates and will likely have their gear tuned after 10 days of hitting the slopes. Keep in mind that conditions on the slopes do play a role in this. For example, fresh powder will not tear up your gear as much as hard packed icy conditions…

 

How will you know if your gear needs attention?

 

The easiest way to know if you need to go see a ski tech is if there are heavy gouges on the bottom. Also, check to see if the edges are rusty or burred. Carefully slide your finger down the edges to see if there is any damage. Maintaining smooth, waxed bases and sharp edges will definitely improve performance on the slopes.

 

When should I have my skis tuned?

 

The best time to have your gear tuned is probably after the ski season. By this time your skis will need some TLC and storing them during the summer is best if the edges are clean and the bases are waxed.

 

Should I tune my own skis?

 

People who live near the slopes often do take care of this on their own. Sharpening edges and waxing bases is not terribly difficult but grinding bases is nearly impossible without the proper machinery.

 

For a list of ski services click here:

Bit.ly/ski-tune bit.ly/ski-tune

 

by Jimmy Boyle

Ultra Running and Run Culture Texas

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By Jon Perz

I am about 4.5 weeks out from my first one Hundred mile foot race. I just started running just like every one else I would say. Running was a thing that someone could do anywhere all you needed was shoes and maybe a watch. It was something I did to aid my rock climbing. My story is much like most runners started with a 5k fun run to seeing what a 10k is like, then daring the half marathon distance Thanks to Mynette and Jimmy. Once I saw how the half marathon had it’s ups downs physically and emotionally to the finish line I was hooked. I have not looked back. The goal for the end of year was a full marathon. I happen to find a Trail marathon in Huntsville state park in Huntsville Texas in early Feb. I normally trained on the trails for that race with some running at terry Hershey, Memorial park and Allen parkway loops. I found my self getting really excited about it. I was still worried about the distance, no different than now.

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The definition of an Ultra Marathon is anything past 26.2 miles. The most common distances are 50k ( 31 miles ) , 60k (37.5 miles ) 50 miles , 100k ( 62 miles) and 100 miles. Some ultras are time based by who can do the most mileage in an allotted amount of time. Why would you want to do that in the first place? That is a good question. I have asked this question of my self. It is to prove that someone can do something that seems so big. I will admit that you there is a bit of enjoyment in the suffering and process that comes with the reward of a race that people believe is too far. Ultras have the same anxiousness, excitement and relief when approaching the finish line. Its no different that someone’s first 5k, 10k, half or even full marathon. All the doubts and fears are there in your head. The start line will come soon.

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If it was not for good friends, great trails and the Houston running community I would not be where I am today. Houston has a great run clubs either social or competitive. There are trail running groups like Houston area Trail Runners and Houston trail runners extreme. Along with other run clubs that cater to all runners, distances and goals. They are in no particular order Runners High running club, City Centre Run club, West End run club and Brian Oneil’s Run club, Katy fit, Kenyan way, Inflight running and cypress run club.

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This is where I have found most of my ultra friends. Some joined my journey a little later and others have helped guide me.

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Texas more importantly has more ultra runners than most Realize. I feel proud to say that Houston has plenty of trails, trail runners and races for all abilities / distances.

2015 “Bike U” is back at Sun & Ski – Westheimer!!!

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HOUSTON, TX —Sun & Ski will kick off cyclists’ training for the BP MS150 charity bike ride with its annual “Bike University” Open House Friday, January 23, 5–10 p.m. and Saturday, January 24, noon-6 p.m. at Sun & Ski in Houston, Texas.

The free event, open to the public, will feature customized bike fit sessions, cycling courses, clinics and hands-on demonstrations to enhance cyclists’ safety and overall bike riding experience.

“Whether you’re a longtime cyclist or brand new to the sport, Bike U provides the latest product information and safety, nutrition and maintenance clinics that help keep everyone safe on the road,” said Dale Mikulan, Sun & Ski merchandise manager-bikes, whose stores sell more bicycles in Houston than any other bike shop in the city.

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“Bike University” will feature close to thirty 30-minute presentations led by cycling, fitness and nutrition experts on road safety, maintenance, bike fit analysis, training, nutrition and women’s specific cycling clinics. The program will offer a detailed “on your bike” fit evaluation at the store’s customized fit station. Sun & Ski’s permanent fit station customizes the bike’s seat height, cockpit length and knee-to-pedal relationship to allow for the customer’s ultimate comfort and power on his or her bike, enabling them to ride further and faster while expending less energy.

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There will be cycling-oriented door prize give-aways every hour.

Instructors include representatives from such premier manufacturers as Marin Bicycles (Houston exclusive of Sun & Ski), Masi Bicycles, Orbea Bicycles, Raleigh Bicycles, Fuji Bicycles and Shimano; with cycling apparel by Pearl Izumi, Zoot and Canari Cyclewear; and accessories by Thule, Mavic, Continental Tires, Serfas, Easton, Bell, Giro, Blackburn, Shebeest, Clif,

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Find details about the event at:

bit.ly/2015-bike-u

Sun & Ski’s very own Bryan Hojnacki, great inspiration for a New Year!!

Bryan Hojnacki, 40, of Harrisburg is a husband, father, believer and committed runner.

But running has not always been part of Hojnacki’s life, especially the type he does today.

Hojnacki, an assistant store manager for Lowe’s came to terms with some health issues in 2007 that prompted him to take a new direction. He admits he was a self-proclaimed plump 230-pound dad with a caring wife, Viki, and a darling 5-year-old daughter Paisley.

His day of reckoning came when a friend of his daughter’s said, “Your daddy is fat!”

That was the final moment of his old life, Hojnacki said.

“In the beginning, everyone needs a starting point, a moment in their life to say, ‘Hey, you can’t live like this,'” said Hojnacki.

Hojnacki also has Meniere’s disease, a condition affecting the inner ear, which regulates balance and hearing. He has lost 90 percent of the hearing in his left ear. He was fitted with a hearing aid and continues to deal with a potential loss of hearing in his right ear.

The timing was right for Hojnacki to do something about his weight, he said. The Harrisburg branch of the YMCA had just opened, so in he went to work out.

“I went gung-ho, doing cardio and weights and attended spin classes and yoga. I was able to slim down quickly and keep physically active,” he said.

In spring 2008, Viki Hojnacki decided to start running 5-kilometer races with a friend. Despite not enjoying running, Bryan Hojnacki went with Viki to keep her company and support her new habit. After repeatedly stopping after a mile or two each run, he decided he still hated running.

But he didn’t give up. In spring 2009, Hojnacki tried running again.

“I decided to try and train for a 5k with the goal of running fast enough to beat my wife’s time by at least 5 minutes.

“This was all it took. I ran the race in 28 minutes. I felt great, and it was then that I got ‘the bug,'” said Hojnacki.

He poured himself into the sport, reading books, magazines, training guides and inspirational stories of runners. He made up his mind that if he could run six to eight miles, he should train for a half-marathon.

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By the beginning of May, he posted two goals on Facebook. The first was to run a half marathon by October 2009.

Hojnacki also decided that no one should just shoot for half of anything, so his second goal was to run a marathon by December 2009.

Hojnacki met both goals on time, running the full marathon at Charlotte’s Thunder Road Marathon in December 2009.

In early 2010, Hojnacki spelled out his New Year’s resolutions, which included joining a running group, improving his running times, inspiring others and running 40 miles by the time he was 40.

He joined University City Road Runners, where the members made him feel welcome, he said, offering advice and helping him keep his pace.

Hojnacki was now a muscular 180 pounds, and he continued to improve his times. As months passed, he realized he was getting closer to his last resolution.

He said he then made a deal with his body: “I will continue to push you to your limits. The brain continues to think up punishment beyond what you can endure. You have met every challenge full force, holding nothing back, but you do turn 40 this year and I have no intention on looking for a newer model; 1970 was a good year, but 2010 will be a better year,” said Hojnacki.

His goal: “40 B4 40.”

When the day of the test came – Oct. 9, 2010 – run, walk or crawl, Hojnacki was determined to make 40 miles. He had a few friends set up at different intervals to pace him and offer encouragement. Viki recruited other friends, who showed up with signs and water. His daughter told him, “You can do it, Daddy.”

At 6 in the morning, Hojnacki set out, armed with his GPS. A friend, Derrick Lashway, ran the first seven miles with him. Another friend, Emily Knudson from Empowered Personal Fitness in Harrisburg, joined him for the next 14 miles. At about mile 28, his wife and daughter met with him, bringing drinks and nutrition.

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But six miles later, he was alone, and his left foot was becoming incredibly painful, a problem that started from the many miles he covered. There were no friends, family or support people anywhere. Doubt crept in, and the run became a shuffle.

He said his only thought was, “How can I tell my daughter that I quit at mile 34?”

“As I approached the beginning of my last six miles, I looked up and there were my wife and daughter,” said Hojnacki. They both jumped into the race and were not about to let him quit. He said Viki told him, “Keep going, and keep moving.” His daughter said, “You can do it, Dad. You’re awesome.”

With three miles to go, the euphoric feeling of finishing such an enormous race filled Hojnacki. He arrived at the finish line with his family.

“My 9-year-old daughter ran farther than she ever dreamed of just to help me finish my goal,” he said. “And my wife still never gives up on me, no matter how crazy my dreams get,” said Hojnacki.

He continues to push the limits. This month, he accomplished the Idiot Run, a 20-mile mountain run in 23-degree weather with 60 others training for marathons.

Another goal for the year is to run 2,011 total miles by the end of the year.

And loftier yet, he is aiming to run a 100-mile 24-hour race in September at Hinson Lake.

He keeps setting goals.

by Michelle A. Ziner

2015 Fuji Altamira 1.1 – Gear Review

bike 1 Over the weekend I was lucky to get out on the new 2015 Altamira 1.1 road bike from Fuji! This is essentially the same bike that is ridden in the Pro Tour by Team NetApp-Endura. Fuji took full advantage of its pro racers’ knowledge, resulting in a frame that’s competitive at the highest levels. The tapered head tube and massive, oversized bottom bracket shell provide incredible stiffness under power, yet unlike many race bikes, it benefits from thoughtful details that enhance the all-day comfort. Its shapely carbon fiber construction keeps it feathery-light, and bears much of the responsibility for making the Altamira the race-rocket that it is. Being built up on a full Shimano Dura Ace 11 speed component group doesn’t hurt either!  Sun & Ski has been an authorized Fuji dealer for several seasons now and we are totally impressed with their incredible bicycles! bike4                      bike3 Fuji built its race-ready Altamira from a high-modulus C15 carbon fiber blend. This particular blend is capable of producing incredibly low tube weights that deliver a stiff yet compliant road feel. By working with professional riders, Fuji’s engineers were able to tweak the carbon tube shapes for an optimal, race-tuned feel. They kept the lower portion of the chassis stiff by mating the large down tube and chain stays to an oversized press-fit BB86 bottom bracket. The enlarged junction created an ultra-stiff pedaling platform, which, means an efficient transfer of power directly into your rear wheel. Fuji mated the massive down tube to a tapered top tube, enhancing steering precision. Slender seat stays smooth out the road feel, avoiding the harsh ride that sometimes characterizes frames of this caliber. The fork Fuji developed specifically for the Altamira was molded from a lightweight FC-330 carbon layup. Below its tapered carbon steerer, Fuji’s signature flared upper-blade fork design, which works to provide both front end rigidity and aerodynamics, flows down into the slender carbon dropouts. The Altamira frameset includes an Oval integrated headset. The carbon fiber dropouts feature a replaceable hanger, which allows for quick and easy replacement without damaging the whole frame. The frame is available in 6 sizes, allowing a wide range of fit for riders of all sizes. bike7

The bike is equipped head to toe with Oval Concepts components. Oval Concepts has worked with engineers and Formula One aerodynamicists to introduce ground-breaking technology that combines light weight with aerodynamics with durability. bike2bike6bike5 I loved my Saturday morning ride on my new Altamira and I hope you visit your local Sun & Ski to get fitted on yours soon!!

Ski goggles… Don’t leave home without them!

gogglesOne of the most important items of equipment to purchase before going skiing is a good set of skiing goggles.

It does not matter what level of skiing you are at, from first time beginner to professional racer, a set of goggles is essential for many reasons. There are a wide variety of models available that have a range of prices, to suit all budgets. Typically, you can spend between $30 to $200

The differences in pricing mostly reflect the goggles lenses and the added benefits more expensive lenses would offer.

Why do we need to wear ski goggles?
There are two main reasons why we wear ski goggles:
The first is protection from the wind and the cold on our eyes when we are travelling at speed and the second is to protect the eyes from the sun.
There is another reason, which is of course fashion, and like all accessories some it is not an essential consideration but certainly one that many people take seriously.wind exposure

Higher priced goggles might offer more anti fogging abilities, lenses that are made from materials that allow more clarity of vision and also anti scratch properties. All ski goggle lenses should have 100% UV (ultra violet) sunlight protection.

Ski goggle lenses are also designed for different weather conditions.
Some lenses are designed for bright sunlight whilst others are designed for foggy or cloudy (white out) conditions. Professional skiers will have several sets of goggles to use for whatever weather conditions they face. It is also sometimes possible to have inter-changeable lenses on your goggles, although as it is the lenses that make up the bulk of the cost, it is just as effective to buy a second set of goggles and wear them according to the weather at the time.

As a beginner or recreational skier who can understandably only justify one set of goggles, I would recommend lenses for cloudy, foggy and white out conditions. (A white out is when it’s difficult to determine the difference between the cloud and the snow, therefore creating a feeling of disorientation). These lenses will enhance the contrast and help to minimize the impact of white out conditions. When the weather is sunny then you can wear sunglasses instead of your goggles, so you have goggles for bad weather, and sunglasses for good (sunny) weather.main picture

I have come across many recreational skiers who dislike wearing goggles and therefore always wear sunglasses for the following reasons: They feel uncomfortable, their face gets too hot, they think they look stupid, they prefer sunglasses as they think they look better in them.
The downsides to wearing sunglasses even on a sunny day are that it might still be very cold and your eyes can water/start to freeze up, the wind gets in your eyes, they can fall off too easily if not properly adjusted.

Personally I do wear sunglasses on sunny days, especially if teaching, mainly for some of the reasons I have given above! But, if skiing at anything approaching high speed, I would rather wear goggles with clear lenses on a sunny day then wear sunglasses. Also, they are not uncomfortable to wear, especially today as the manufacturing technology has improved.

If you are skiing in deep powder snow, always wear goggles, do not wear sunglasses, whatever the weather. If you fall, you will either lose your sunglasses in deep snow or they will get wet on the inside and you won’t be able to clear them until you get indoors.pic 1

Goggles can also ‘fog up’. This can be a common problem, especially with beginners. This generally happens when moisture forms on the inside of the lens due to overheating or water/snow entering the goggles. Once snow gets onto the lenses, either inside or outside, it can be difficult to stop the goggles from fogging up. The best solution is to try and prevent any snow or water getting on the lenses, but it is often easier said than done if you fall over in the snow or it is snowing. You should carry a good lens cloth with you and if the goggles do fog up, try and use covered type ski lift, where you will have time to dry them off. If you don’t have that facility and you really have problems with vision, it would be best to find a restaurant or other indoor area once in a while to dry the goggles off.

More expensive lenses can certainly help prevent fogging up but in my experience; if the weather conditions are humid and wet then all goggles will fog up at some point. It’s just part of the skiing experience. The best advice is just to keep them as dry as possible.

 

Tips For A Perfect Ski Boot Fit!

ski boot blog Ski boots are the most important piece of equipment because they provide the direct   connection between your body and your ski. The movement of the ski boot controls the ski movement. A sloppy boot fit will allow the foot to move around in the boot rather than moving the ski. This will make it very difficult to start and complete turns. It will make controlling the ski very difficult and tiring since it will require more muscular control from the foot and leg to force the ski to go where you need it to go. Some people compensate for a sloppy fit by cranking down the buckles as tight as they will go. This may cut off circulation to the foot allowing your foot to get very cold while skiing. A properly fitted boot will allow you to control your skis, keep your feet warm and will not  rub your feet anywhere.

So let’s get down to what you really want to know: How can I get the correct boot for me?

Your goal for new ski boots should be to get boots which are comfortable, which support your foot properly, and allow you to have an even pressure distribution across your foot. For the majority of people there is a boot out there that will work for your foot shape and your skiing ability without having to get a custom boot. However don’t expect to walk into a ski shop and walk out 20 minutes later with a new pair of boots that feel as good as your favorite sneakers. The liner of ski boots compresses once you have worn it for a while so you won’t get a good feel for the boot until you have worn it around for several minutes. Take the boot off and put it on again and see how it feels after another few minutes wearing the boot. Don’t rush this purchase: a poor fitting ski boot will affect your ability to advance in skiing and may be extremely painful to wear.

You probably have several questions about the best way to go about getting the right boots. Let’s do this in steps:

Step one: Find the Correct Size

There are a few key things to look for in a ski boot. The first and most important is getting the right size boot. Ski boots are sold in Mondo sizes which is a universal sizing system based on the actual length of your foot. When trying on boots you will find that while standing your toes will most likely touch the front of the boot. Once you flex forward in an athletic skiing posture your heel will move back in the boot and your toes will move back away from the front of the boot. You should be able to wiggle your toes in this position.

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Step two:

Find the correct width boot

Determine your width: narrow, average or wide. This is probably the easiest thing to do. Almost everyone knows what width their foot is. If you don’t know, you are most likely a medium or average width. Different boot manufacturers may run more narrow or wider and a good fitter or a little bit of internet research will let you know which brands to start looking at. To start with know that narrow boots typically run from 98mm to 102mm wide, normal from 100-104mm and wide is anything over 104mm.

Your boots should feel snug but there should not be any pressure points or hot spots. A boot fitter may be able to adjust the boot to eliminate a single pressure point but if you have several pressure points try a different boot.

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Step three:

Determine what type of skier you are.

Beginner or recreational skier – You are either new to skiing, ski casually or just ski a few times of year and you stick to mostly green runs. Alternatively you may just want the most comfortable boot you can find and performance is not important to you.

Intermediate – You ski mostly blue runs with the occasional black run or mogul run. You are comfortable with some speed or you ski several times of year. A lot of people will be in this category.

Advanced – You ski anywhere on almost anything. You ski fast and aggressively.

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Once you determine your level you will know which type of boot to look for: beginner, intermediate or advanced. The main difference between a beginner/comfort boot and intermediate boots is how stiff the boot is or the flex of the boot. The less aggressive skier you are the softer the boot should be. There will be other considerations like your height, weight and athletic ability. If you are very tall or heavier than average you will want to get the next level boot.

When you try ski boots on you should stand in them and flex your knees forward pressing your shins against the front of the boots. See how much you can flex the boots and remember when you are on a ski slope it will be harder than when you are standing in the store. So if it is difficult to push forward at the store you most likely won’t be able to do it on skis. Don’t try to buy a more advanced boot than your current level. A boot that is too stiff will cause you to develop bad skiing habits like skiing with your weight back.

Stop by your local Sun & Ski store to get a thorough ski boot fit. Our experts are here to make sure you get the most out of your precious time on the slopes!!

 

Article by Cody Kidd