Skiing or Snowboarding on a Budget? Look No Further

Anyone who skis or boards a lot can tell you that much of the initial expense comes with the equipment.  You can’t just hit a mountain in any old clothes.  It’s too cold and you are too likely to get wet from snow if you aren’t prepared.  That makes for one miserable trip.

So how can enjoy skiing or snowboarding without breaking the bank?

1.) Don’t buy the latest and greatest gear.  It’s great to buy gear as soon as it comes out, but you are much more likely to find past season gear on sale.  For example, at the time of this posting, we have a pair of 2007 Rossignol skis for $244.93.  If you get a pass for any resort, you could easily save money by buying these skis instead of renting each day.  2009 skis will all cost much more than this.

2.) Subscribe to our newsletter to find out when the sales hit.  If you always know when there are sales, you won’t have to worry about missing out on getting your favorite gear for the price you want.  Just go to our website to the bottom righthand corner.  You will get $10 off a purchase of $75 or more just for signing up.

In an economic pinch, we sometimes have to make sacrifices.  Making smart decisions about the gear you buy can make skiing or boarding a more affordable, fun vacation for you and your family.

Sun & Ski Sports Announces Baggage Bail-Out $50 Rebate

Offer Available Through Mar. 31, 2009

Houston, TX — Nov. 26, 2008 — With the 2008-09 winter ski and snowboarding trips fast approaching, Sun & Ski Sports has announced the store’s first-ever “Baggage Bail-Out” rebate to help assuage concerns over the airline industry’s new checked baggage fees. The Houston-based outdoor adventure sports outfitter will offer its customers a $50 rebate on purchases of new snow skis or snowboards, with proof of minimum purchase from Sun & Ski and current travel voucher and lift ticket from a snowbound destination.

The “Baggage Bail-Out” promotion is good through March 31, 2009.

“Basically we’ll pick up one round-trip tab for our customers’ checked bags when they purchase their winter sports gear at Sun & Ski Sports and go skiing or snowboarding this season,” explained Sun & Ski Sports CEO Barry Goldware. The rebate will be in the form of a $50 Sun & Ski Sports gift card.

In today’s market, the standard fee for a second checked bag, such as for snow skis or snowboards, is $25 per trip. The fee applies to the purchase of economy tickets for travel anywhere in the U.S. and Canada.

Sun & Ski Sports carries such ski gear lines as K2, Volki and Nordica and Rossignol, and snowboards by Burton, Ride and K2.

There are five Sun & Ski Sports stores in the Houston area; three in the Dallas area; and one each in Austin; San Antonio, Miami, Atlanta, Charlotte, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Cincinnati and Nashville. The company owns three Ski Chalet stores in Arlington, VA, Chantilly, VA and Gaithersburg, MD, and a Ski Stop store in Plainview, NY. Its interactive e-commerce websites (www.sunandski.com and www.skichalet.com) boast more than 3,500 specialty products representing 100 brands.

For information, contact the headquarters’ office (281) 340-5000, ext. 167; online customer support 1-866-786-3869 or go to the web, www.sunandski.com.

Why It’s Important to Update Your Straight Skis

You update your hair style.  You don’t use the first blocky cell phone that ever came on the market.  Your new car has more features, gets better gas mileage, and is more comfortable than the one you drove 15 years ago.

So why use the same skis for decades on end?

Between 1980 and 2000, skis underwent a dramatic change.  Once relegated to World Cup skiers, the parabolic, shaped or ‘carve’ ski became available to the public.

Shaped like an hourglass—fat at the tip and tail, and narrow in the middle—carve skis boast ‘sidecut’ to varying degrees. The greater the ‘cut’ or curve in the side of the ski, the tighter a circle it will turn when tipped on edge. And thanks to the stability which meatier planks give the skier, they can be a lot shorter, making it even easier to turn. Carve skis can improve your balance, make turning easier, introduce you to true carving, and simplify your style.

When you step your feet further apart, and let the edges of both skis sit on the snow, you achieve double the edge control when it comes to steering and braking. Add to this the natural curve of the sidecut, and the skis are practically pointing the way around each turn for you, making speed control and turn initiation even easier.

This wider athletic stance gives you a greater balance base, and also allows you more room to tip the skis, biting the metal edges into the snow where they give you grip on the mountain, and speed you around an arc. When you tip them far enough that the skis don’t skid anymore, but ride on the rails, you are carving.

One would think skiing would get easier with the introduction of the parabolic ski.  However, since this introduction, slopes are actually harder now.  A shorter turn radius means the moguls are tighter and deeper, making them even more difficult for even the skilled straight-ski contestant to descend. Habits built on straight skis like stepping or ‘christie-ing’ around a turn cost you control. With increased stability and steering control, carve skis really are a safer option for your knees. Lastly, you will find the bindings which come with newer skis promise vast improvements and an increase in safety over older models.  In essence, you are handicapping yourself by not updating your equipment to match the challenges of today’s terrain.

To check out the latest 2009 Rossignol, K2, Volkl, Nordica, and Salomon skis, please visit our website.

Choosing the Right Length for Your Snowboard

Snowboards shouldn’t be picked on cool graphics alone. Choosing the right size snowboard is often the difference between flying down the mountain and falling down the mountain. Among the many factors that should be considered when purchasing a snowboard is your weight.

The length of the snowboard is the most important factor when it comes to shopping for snowboards. In general terms, the heavier the rider, the longer the board needs to be. This is because heavy riders invariably apply more board pressure during turns. The added length provides the additional support that these boarders need. If a heavy rider buys a board that is too short, he or she will run the risk of washing out during turns.

Lighter riders require shorter boards because they are easier to maneuver. A board that is too long will be difficult for light riders to turn. For similar reasons, lightweight boarders should look to purchase a more flexible board as well. In contrast, a stiffer snowboard offers the additional strength required for heavier riders.

So what exactly is too long for a light rider and too short for a heavy rider? If you are of average weight for your height, a general rule of thumb is that the snowboard should reach between your chin and nose when stood on its end. If you are heavyset, you’ll want the board to extend above the nose. Lighter riders will likely feel more comfortable on a board that reaches between the chin and collar bone.

To assist in the buying process, many manufacturers include height and weight recommendations for each snowboard they produce. Adult snowboards range in size from approximately 140 cm to 168 cm. Here is a general recommendation for size based on weight:

Snowboard Sizing Chart

Remember these are just guidelines and other factors such as riding style and skill level will also play a factor when picking the right snowboard. Check out our boards from Burton, Flow, Forum, K2, Nitro, and Ride.  If you are unclear on which board is right for you, feel free to give us a call at 866-786-3869.

Preparing for Cold Weather When You Are Cycling

There’s no reason to stop riding when it gets cold.  Ron at Sun & Ski Austin discusses how to manage when the temperature cools down:

The Pros Showed Up Big at “Rock the Cradle for Johnny Romano”

We were a proud sponsor this weekend at “Rock the Cradle for Johnny Romano”.  Pros such as Rune Glifberg, Dave Duncan, and Lance Childers showed up big at Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark this weekend.  We hope everyone had a good time, and that the event offered the Romano family both financial and moral support.

We snapped some great photos of the event, which you can find in our Flickr account.  We also set up a Flickr Group, which pools together all the photos from the event.  If you took pictures, feel free to upload them here so you can share with your friends who couldn’t make it out.  All of our photos are protected by the Creative Commons license, which allows you to use them in any way as long as you attribute them back to Sun & Ski Sports.

We also created a sweet music video in honor of the event.  You can find that here.

Many thanks to all who showed, volunteered, or skated at Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark this weekend.

Stefan Rothe, a Professional Cycling Coach, Discusses Training in the Off-Season

It’s really easy to get lost in the delicious food and hectic pace of the holidays. However, it’s never fun to get back to the cycling season and realizing you aren’t ready for the races you’d plan to sign up for. Stefan Rothe, a professional cycling coach and seasoned cycling competitor, was kind enough to join me to discuss what you can do to stay focused in the off-season:

If you’d like to get Stefan’s professional help to take your racing to the next level, you can find more information at his website. Stefan lives in Austin, Texas.