Don’t get caught on the slopes unprepared, check out our interactive packing list

Planning your winter sports trip can be tricky, did you bring the goggles? How about the ski lock? Your friends and Sun & Ski have developed the perfect solution that will prevent you from being on the slopes unprepared: the ultimate interactive packing list.

Available on the home page or on it’s dedicated page, the ski and snowboard packing list is divided into four categories: apparel (e.g. jackets, sweaters); essentials (e.g. thermals, socks, googles); luggage; comfort (e.g. ski locks, after gloves, footbeds); and equipment (e.g. skis, boots, poles, bindings). Additionally, users can read helpful tips and print out their list.

The packing list also allows customers to locate which items they may be missing to the products on the Sun & Ski site.  Sun & Ski carries such ski gear lines as K2, Volkl and Nordica and Rossignol, and snowboard gear from Burton, Ride and K2.  If you are visiting one of our stores, print the list out and allow our team of experts to guide to answer your questions.

And while you’re on the site, don’t forget take advantage of our holiday sales.

As always, let us know what you think in the comments or on Twitter (@SunandSki)

SnowPackingList

Enjoy Spring Skiing

You can enjoy winter sports into the early spring if you have the right gear and accessories. Some useful items for spring skiing include:

-Sunblock. You should wear sunblock on your face for winter skiing, too, but the brighter spring sun is more likely to burn your nose, your lips, and the skin around your eyes. Look for sweat-resistant sunblocks in stick form that you can tuck into a jacket pocket for easy reapplication.

-Glove and boot dryers. Spring skiing can be a wetter experience than winter skiing. You may not need foot warmers, but consider using glove and boot dryers after an early spring day of skiing or snowboarding.

-Lighter layers. For early spring skiing, you can leave your heavy ski jacket at home and pack a lighter weight jacket or a fleece. Vests are also great options for spring skiing or snowboarding. To keep your ears warm, a moisture-wicking earband can be a great alternative to a hat.

Yakima Recall for Quickback 2 and Quickback 3

Yakima has announced a recall on their most recent trunk-mounted bike racks, the Quickback 2 and Quickback 3. There seems to be a defect in the adjustable knobs that needs to be replaced if you purchased your rack with a manufacturing date prior to April 9, 2009.

Here’s the quick version on how Yakima is handling the recall:

  • If the consumer owns a Quickback 2, they can choose either a new Quickback 2 and a $25 check or a King Joe 2 and a $50 check.
  • If the consumer owns a Quickback 3, they can choose either a new Quickback 3 and a $25 check or a King Joe 3 and a $50 check.

Once the consumer fills out their info online, they will be sent a packet containing an envelope; they will remove both red adjustment knobs from the Quickback and send them back to us as proof of ownership and to show the rack has been disabled. Once we have received the packet, a new order will be processed and a check request will be submitted.

For more information, please visit the Yakima recall website.
http://www.yakima.com/quickbackrecall/

Selecting the Right Winter-Weather Accessories

Often times when you hear the word “accessory,” it’s meant as an afterthought. But winter-weather accessories are not optional. In fact, accessories are critical gear that make you look and feel good.

Still, shopping for winter clothing and accessories can seem a bit overwhelming. New fabrics and insulations are constantly changing, and the latest lingo (you’ll learn what a neck gaiter is below) can be intimidating. But there’s no need to worry. Our winter-weather accessories guide makes shopping for versatile winter apparel easy and easy-to-understand.

Accessorize

Headwear: Up to 60 percent of your body’s heat can escape from an uncovered head, so wearing a hat, headband or helmet is essential when it’s cold. (Tip: If you wear a hat, you may be able to wear one less layer on your body.) There are thousands of styles of hats and headbands, usually made from fleece or wool. Many have non-itch liners. In a continuing trend, several manufacturers also feature organic cotton, hemp and natural dyes in their headwear lines. Helmets are becoming very popular, too. Not only do they protect your head from bumps, but they also keep your head warm. A fleece neck gaiter (like a collar) or facemask is a must-have on cold winter days.

Sunglasses and goggles: Sunglasses do much more than make you look cool. They also protect your eyes from damaging solar radiation. Snow, or any other reflective surface, makes ultraviolet (UV) rays stronger, while increased altitude also magnifies the danger. Several manufacturers have developed products for women featuring retro styling with high-tech materials to properly fit a women’s face without sliding. Likewise, many companies have women’s products with a portion of the proceeds benefiting non-profit organizations such as Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Boarding for Breast Cancer. For men, look for large-framed, fashion forward sunglasses in new color hues offering the maximum in eye protection. Finally, on flat-light days or when it’s snowing, goggles are vital. They protect your eyes and special lens colors increase the contrast so you can properly discern terrain features.

Gloves and mittens: Look for gloves and mittens that use waterproof, breathable fabrics. Those with Gore-Tex and leather, featured throughout this year’s collections are particularly good at keeping hands warm and dry. Mittens, in general, are warmer than gloves, but offer less dexterity. Also, consider the type of activity you’ll be doing. Snowboarding gloves and mittens often have a reinforced palm because of extra wear from adjusting bindings and balancing on the snow. Some snowboarding gloves and mittens also have built-in wrist guards that are excellent for novice snowboarders. Cross-country skiing gloves tend to be lighter-weight for extra movement and better absorption.

Socks: One pair of lightweight or medium-weight socks works best for skiing, snowboarding or snowshoeing. Socks are made from a variety of materials, including polyester, silk, wool and nylon. Some socks have wicking properties similar to long underwear, meaning your feet will stay dry and comfortable.

An easy solution to selecting the right winter-weather accessories, visit your local specialty retailer and talk with the experts.

Content courtesy of SnowSports Industries America | SIA and snowlink.com.

First Time Buying Winter Apparel

Before You Buy:
Questions beginning skiers and boarders should ask before buying

So, you’ve decided to hit the slopes for the first time, but you don’t have any real idea what you need? Don’t despair. Today’s dizzying array of ski and snowboarding options even can confound the pros. The trick is to keep it simple by focusing on the core elements you’ll need mountainside, no matter what your level of skill or experience level.

Things to think about: warmth, weather and wear & tear

Warmth: Although it may seem obvious, one important question to ask a salesperson about apparel is whether it’s warm? Moreover, is it wind and waterproof? This is especially important for first-timer skiers who will undoubtedly spend a lot of time falling down in the snow. This goes double for beginning snowboarders, who don’t have the luxury of poles to help mitigate spills on hands, feet and all-fours.

Wind & Water: Speaking of hands and feet, don’t forget the importance of keeping your extremities warm. When you’re browsing through the retail aisles, be sure to ask about a garment’s waterproof & wicking ability (the action of drawing moisture away from your body, which is critical in cold weather). For instance, socks made out of cotton, which absorbs moisture, are a great choice for the gym, but horrible for the slopes. However, garments that feature Gore-Tex are always a good option. Again, tell your salesperson where you’re going and what you’ll be doing, so together you can select the right pieces for your trip.

All Types of Terrain: Ask yourself, how does the terrain at my destination impact my experience and buying options? For instance, if you’re planning to ski in the eastern United States, a salesperson should direct you to apparel that has significant waterproofing capabilities, as conditions are often wetter in the East than the powder-predominant Western slopes.

All Day Insulation: If you haven’t considered it, ask yourself how you can ensure all-day insulation? (Layering is the answer you’re looking for.) A good salesperson will help you evaluate layering options, from fiber choice to fabric weight grade, so that your final purchases will be well suited for your particular activity and locale.

Renting vs. Buying: Should I buy or rent my gear? For beginners, the answer to that question is usually, rent gear. Buying skis, boots and poles is generally not a good idea for first-timers. The better bet is to rent: either from a local retailer (if they offer the service) or through the resort where you’ll be staying. Renting allows you to check out different products without committing to any one brand. If you’re determined to buy, boots are your most important purchase; buying a properly fitted pair of boots is key to a pleasant experience on the snow.

Finally, a note about fashion. If snow apparel has one fashion rule, it’s that there are no rules, which can be a bit confounding for newbies looking to fit in. Once a garment meets your specific requirements for usage (are you skiing or snowboarding?) and terrain (powder vs. ice), it’s up to you to select a style that suits your personality. In the past decade, fashion has truly found a place on the slopes with everything from urban-inspired silhouettes to feminine tailoring and luxury details. One fashion edict that doesn’t translate from the catwalks to the lifts is the notion that you must suffer for your style. On the mountain, function reigns supreme. If a jacket or pair of pants looks good, but is too loose or tight fitting, ditch it and opt for apparel with better maneuverability. That way, when you’re feeling good, you’ll always be looking good.

Another simple way to get your questions answered is to visit your local Sun & Ski Sports or call us at our online store to get expert advice and guidance.

Content courtesy of SnowSports Industries America | SIA and snowlink.com.

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.

Ski Season is Here! Arapahoe Basin and Loveland are Now Open

Making Snow at A-Basin
Making Snow at A-Basin

Stop dreaming and start hitting the slopes.  Arapahoe Basin and Loveland officially opened today at 8:30 am MST.  Check out A-Basin’s mountain cam to check out the snow.

Now’s a great time to get great deals on tons of 2008 gear.  We are also getting a lot of our 2009 gear in, so be sure to check in before your next trip.

Plan a Day Trip

Now that you’ve decided to embrace winter by learning to ski or snowboard, choosing a resort, getting there and finding your way around are your first challenges. Here’s what you should know before your first day trip.

Choosing a Resort

Go online. The Website skisnowboard.com gives subjective reviews and pertinent information for all major resorts in North America. Look for those with strong first-timer ratings. Then browse individual resort sites for specifics or call with questions. Large resorts with separate beginner slopes and dedicated learning areas with slow lifts like Copper Mountain’s Union Creek in Colorado and Mount Sunapee’s South Peak in New Hampshire are ideal for novices. So are smaller areas where all runs funnel to a single base with one main lodge. These day areas are less intimidating with fewer people, less walking and no confusion as to where to go for rentals, lessons and lunch. Go with a friend who skis.

Choosing the Lesson

Don’t even think of not taking a lesson, or worse, letting your friend, spouse or cousin teach you. While online, search for Learn-to-Ski/Snowboard packages. Each package usually includes a two- or three-hour lesson, rental equipment for the day and, if appropriate, a lift ticket. The newest trends are lesson packages for families to learn together, such as “Family First Trails” in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire and Family Adventure Clinics (level 2 and above) in Crested Butte, Colorado. Save time by booking your lesson and downloading release forms online.

Driving

Make sure your car is equipped for winter travel and that the driver has the skills for driving on ice and snow. While it may be balmy in the city, storms can begin swirling in the mountains without notice.

Parking

Most large resorts have free outer parking lots with shuttles to the base area or pay-parking close in. But close is a relative term. Generally, there’s a fair amount of walking involved getting from the car to the slopes. Sometimes you’ll find drop-off points – a good option for first-timers who want to get started on the rental process while a friend parks the car.

Walking to the Lodge

If you bring equipment, don’t walk in ski boots. You likely are not used to them yet, and you can slip easily on ice and snow. Carry your boots to lockers where you can store your stuff and gear up. Boot bags are handy for hauling and storing boots, gloves, googles, helmet, hat, hand warmers and extra clothing.

A Day at the Resort

Once at the base area, look for signs directing you to Skier Services, where you’ll find everything from rental and retail shops to ski-and-ride school to lift ticket windows. Or ask a uniformed resort “ambassador” for directions. Here’s where you’ll begin your first day. After your lesson, practice a bit but don’t overdue it. Above all, relax, take it all in and have fun – talk to other skiers and snowboarders; watch them on the hill; begin the transformation…

Content courtesy of SnowSports Industries America | SIA and snowlink.com.

Packing For A Snow Sports Vacation

How to Pack for a Ski Trip

You only need to put in a little thought and time before you rush off to a winter sports vacation. Here are our suggestions based on many years of mountain resort travel:

Pack garments that protect your body, especially your fingers and toes, against cold, wind, and precipitation according to the climate you are visiting. Snow in the northeast, for example, is wetter than in the Rockies, and temps in Canada are colder than in California. A facemask is rarely needed in Colorado, but you may want it in Vermont. Check resorts’ websites for weather and snow reports.

Take clothes you can layer.

Underwear of polypropylene or other synthetic fibers that wick away perspiration. Don’t wear cotton next to your skin. When it absorbs perspiration, it stays wet. Then when you decrease activity (i.e. ride the lift), you get chilled. You can wash out long underwear at night, and it’ll usually be dry by morning, thanks to modern fabrics.

  • A light shirt or turtleneck to wear over the underwear. (Bring two or three.)
  • A wool sweater or fleece for insulation and warmth.
  • The outer layer – jacket and pants or a one-piece suit. Be sure they are wind- and water-resistant and that they “breathe,” allowing perspiration and excess heat to escape through the fabric.
  • One lightweight and one heavy parka to allow for changing weather. Pack the thinner one, wear the bulky one. Pack more than one outfit for a multi-day trip only if you have room.

Accessories: Hat or helmet (a helmet not only protects your head but keeps your body warm), goggles, sunglasses on a strap, neck warmer, gloves or mittens, a thin pair of “liner” gloves, heat packs for your hands and feet, face mask or balaclava and sunscreen with a high SPF number.

Socks. Bring several thin pairs that aren’t cotton.

Equipment. Check our article on airline baggage requirements. You may want to ship your gear ahead on sportsexpress.com or forget it entirely and rent ahead at rentskis.com.

Clothes to wear at night. Resort restaurants (and especially night clubs) can be very warm. Pack lightweight tops, then layer with fleece vests or sweaters and a fairly heavy parka for walking outside.

After-ski/snowboard shoes. If you’re planning a dogsled ride or snowshoe excursion, call ahead to see if the company provides heavy boots. If not, you’ll need them. You’ll also want warm shoes with good tread and a hat and gloves for village walking.

Toiletries. Pack them in a zip-lock bag. Don’t forget prescription meds and pain-relievers. Know the airline carry-on liquids rule. Check your lodge’s website to see if it has in-room hair dryers.

Cash, credit cards, ATM card, health insurance card, passport (check travel.state.gov for country requirements), car insurance card (for renting) cell phone and charger, and phone numbers for resort.

Optional items:

  • A bathing suit for the spa. Tuck in a pair of flip-flops for walking to and from your room.
  • Work-out clothes and shoes.
  • Camera/extra batteries
  • Knee or back brace.
  • Backpack
Content courtesy of SnowSports Industries America | SIA and snowlink.com.

Get Schooled on the Mountain

Preparation Equals Chaos Free Kids’ School Experience

Now I don’t know about most people, but for me, just taking a 4- and a 1-year old to the grocery store can be a daunting expedition. So when I was preparing to bring them on their first snow sports vacation I was truly overwhelmed. Used to be my husband and I would throw our gear in the car and go. End of story. But now we had to think about equipment for the 4 year old, daycare for the one year old, keeping them warm, dry and happy and dealing with nap schedules and general crankiness (probably ours more than theirs). I decided that advance preparation was my only weapon in what was sure to be an interesting adventure.

Will Hansen, Director of Sugarbush Resort’s Adventure Learning Center, agreed. He said that one of the best things parents can do to prepare is to log onto the resort’s website in your early planning stages. “Most resorts have ways to make the kids’ ski/snowboard school process smoother and easier. Before you even leave home you can fill out the necessary paperwork to register for ski and snowboard school. We also have a first timers’ area on our site that gives advice about proper clothing, gear, nutrition and hydration.”

We arrived at Sugarbush just after lunch, so the first move we made was to visit the Adventure Learning Center and sign Katie up for school in advance. If we waited until the next morning, I knew it would simply add to the chaos. Next we took her to the rental shop to get her skis and boots. At that time of day we were the only ones in the shop so everyone was helping her and telling her how much fun she’d have. Now we were set for the next day’s chaotic arrival at ski school.

“On the big day, getting there early is key,” says Hansen. “Most schools start at 10 but you can arrive as early as 8:15. The kids can play games and do artwork and you can get an early start to your day on the mountain.” Hansen also notes that the early arrival allows kids to get to know their coach and to feel more comfortable.

“The other really important thing to do is make sure that you’re clear about what your goals are for your kids’ ski/snowboard school experience,” Hansen says. “If you really want your child to advance quickly, you might find that private lessons would give you more bang for your buck.” In addition, he says you should talk to your child and find out what his or her expectations are. “You may need to explain to them that they won’t be going to the top of the mountain on their first day.”

After ski school, many parents want to take their kids out on the slopes and have them show what they’ve learned. Hansen advises that parents should talk to the child’s coach and get a feel for what they’ve achieved and what they can handle. I actually have memories of my mother dragging me up the poma lift on my first day after ski school and me forgetting everything I’d learned on the way down. I took out the lift operator at the bottom – the humiliation lives on to this day.

Needless to say, I was careful to assess where Katie was at when I picked her up. She was, in fact, so tired that we barely made it to the waffle house at the base of the chairlift. I figured rewarding her with a chocolate drowned Belgian waffle while sitting in the snow was teaching her an important lesson about skiing. That, for us, it’s all about family, fun, snow, sunshine and celebrating a great day on the slopes with an après-ski treat.

Four Simple Steps to Chaos Free Kids’ Ski Lessons

1. Make sure your child has appropriate layers with ski/snowboard pants, jacket, layering pieces, gloves, goggles/sunglasses, hand warmers, socks, etc. This seems more daunting than it is; so just stop by your local retailer to get the checklist of what your child will need to have a fun experience on the slopes.

2. Once you arrive at the resort, find the Learning Centers or Ski Schools and sign your child up for lessons.

3. Stop by the rental shop to have your kids fitted for boots, skis or snowboards and a helmet.

4. Take your child to school!

Now, you can enjoy your own free time on the slopes, getting a few runs in before picking your child up from lessons and prepared to listen to your child tell you all about how much fun they had.

Content courtesy of SnowSports Industries America | SIA and snowlink.com.