Avoid Frosted Fingers This Ski Season

You don’t want to feel your hands going numb halfway through your day on the slopes, so it’s important to find the right gloves or mittens for your skiing or snowboarding adventures. Consider these features when you browse the glove and mitten selections for the next ski season:

-Warmth: If you’re outside in midwinter in Colorado, you’ll probably want a pair of the warmest gloves or mittens you can find. Goose down is a good choice, or look for insulated materials such as Thermacore.

-Water resistance: There’s nothing worse than wet gloves. If water resistance is important to you, read the labels. Some ski and snowboarding gloves and mittens are wind resistant, so they will protect your hands from chilly winds, but they are not necessarily water resistant, too.

-Weight: Those super-warm gloves that felt great in January may be too much in March. Consider a lighter weight glove with a fleecy lining for spring skiing.

In case your hands start to tingle during a long day on the slopes, it’s not a bad idea to have some hand warmers handy. Tuck them into a pocket in your ski jacket so they will be ready when you need them.

Scope Out 2010 Snowboards

True snowboard enthusiasts are scoping out the Burton snowboards 2010 and other 2010 models while the August heat still reigns. But it’s worth doing some research ahead of time so you can find your best board for the season ahead.

Keep these board basics in mind as you peruse the offerings from Burton and your other favorite board makers:

– Do you want to focus on freestyle this season? If you’re looking for a board to help you tone your tricks and elevate your aerial moves, the specialized, flexible freestyle snowboards may be worth your money.

-Are you looking forward to making the most of all that your favorite mountain has to offer, from groomed trails to moguls to the terrain park, you might prefer a board that’s slightly longer and stiffer.

-Entering advance levels of alpine snowboarding? If you’re getting into racing or just getting more serious about your Alpine snowboarding, seek out specialized boards that meet your needs. A sidecut radius of 8 to 11 meters works well for slalom racing, but a larger radius is the better bet if you need more speed.

Get The Best Boot And Binding Combo

The purpose of snowboard bindings is to transfer energy from your body to your board as efficiently as possible. Not every boot works with every type of snowboard bindings, so it’s a good idea to buy your boots before buying your bindings. When you are looking for the right boot and binding combination, you have several options:

-Soft boots with strap on/flow-in bindings: Any soft boots work with these snowboard bindings, and this combination offers maximum maneuverability that makes it a popular choice for freestyle snowboarding.

-Hard boots with plate/lever bindings: This boot and binding combination offers the most control, which makes it a popular choice for freestyle carvers and any boarders doing high-speed turns.

-Soft or hard Step-in boots with step-in bindings: Step-in bindings require step-in boots. Although step-in systems make it quick and easy to hop on an off your board, you have fewer choices, and the step-in systems on the boots and bindings need to match.

Visit one of our ski shops for advice on choosing the right boot and binding combinations for your winter sports needs.

How to buy a Snowboard

So you are looking for your first snowboard; whether it is your first board or the 5th one in your quiver, nothing is quite has the same combination of excitement and being overwhelmed. There are so many choices out there, how do you know what boards will work for you? This blog entry is designed to make the decision process a little less over whelming and to just add to the excitement of your purchase.

There are a few questions you need to ask yourself when selecting a snowboard; what size boots/shoes do I wear, how much do I weigh, and what kind of riding do I want to do. Answer each one of these honestly and you are on your way to choosing the perfect board.

Snowboard Width

The first question to ask yourself is, “What size boots (or shoes) do I wear?” I understand that this may sound like putting the cart before the horse but there is nothing worse than getting totally stoked on a particular board, only to find out that it doesn’t come in a wide model. Most companies target their wide boards for riders whose feet are a size 11 or larger. Some boards are consider mid-wides and they are designed for that tweener 10-11 ½ rider (usually in freeride snowboards). Mid-wides are not quite narrow waisted and not quite a wide board.

If you get on a board that is too narrow (a size 12 on a narrow board), what happens is you get a lot of toe and heel drag. This will hinder the performance of the board, handicap the rider, and make for some pretty wicked spills.

If you get on a board that is too wide (a size 9 on a wide board), the board becomes too stable of a platform and causes the rider to have to over commit to get the board up on edge. Think of an ice skate tipping from one edge to the other, compared to if your shoes were nailed to a 3′ wide piece of plywood. To get the plywood to go up on its side, you would have to lean way over (using a lot more energy) before the opposite edge would come off of the ground, meanwhile it is almost effortless on the ice skate.

Snowboard Size

The second question is, “How much do I weigh?” This is a pretty simple and straight forward question that will get in the “size range.” Remember a board can only feel how much you weigh and not how tall you are (there are exceptions to this rule; short heavy guys and tall skinny guys). Every model of every brand will have a weight range for each size board (an generic size chart can be found here). For example, I weigh 160lbs. (size 8 boot) and I am looking at getting the new Burton Custom V-Rocker, the size chart tells me that I can ride the 151, 154, 156, 159, and 163…that is every size! How did that help? That is when we move on to the next question…

Style of Snowboard

Answering, “What kind/type of riding do I do?” will help you narrow down the board/brand’s size range. If the park is where you ride size down and fit yourself to the top of the weight range (151 or 154 Custom V-Rocker). If you are looking to do it all and kick it freestyle/all-mountain, stay in the middle of the weight range (156 or 159 Custom V-Rocker). Or if you are wanting to slaysh some big mountainy/freeride lines and have that extra float in the fresh, stay to the lower end of the weight range (163 Custom V-Rocker).

This is the hardest question to answer because of the “gray” areas, just remember: shorter equals less swing weight/more control at park speeds and longer equals more stability at speed/more float in powder.

Along with where you ride, the other factors that will help determine the size board that you get into will be is; board stiffness, level of riding, and height/weight anomalies. A stiffer board will handle speed better but it tougher to turn and manipulate at slow speeds and therefore can sometimes be ridden shorter. Novice riders can always benefit from having less swing weight or edge hold, a shorter board will help them learn board feel and turning. If you are tall and thin, you may consider sizing up just to balance out the amount of leverage that you will have on the board. Conversely if you are shorter and heavier, you may want to size down a touch so that the board is not too long and too hard to control.

7 Tips to Choosing the Proper Winter Jacket

So you’re planning a ski vacation with some friends. Plane tickets? Check. Hotel or cabin? Got it. Skis? Check. Winter jacket? Not so much.

If you’re in need of a new ski jacket for those brisk winds, deep snow and temps below zero, you should probably know what to look for.

  1. Find a winter jacket that protects you from all outdoor elements you may encounter: snow, wind and rain. There’s nothing worse than being at the top of a mountain with less-than-expected coverage for your body. Keep the winds and elements at bay with the proper winter apparel.
  2. Consider the thickness you will need in your winter jacket by what you wear underneath. If you’re wearing layers of long johns or sweaters/sweatshirts, you may not need the thickest winter jacket.
  3. Select a ski jacket that sits below your waist. You want to keep the snow that swooshes up from getting under your coat. So whether you choose a winter jacket with drawstring, elastic or buttons/snaps, you can be protected against the rising snow. (Be sure the cuffs are adjustable and have protection as well).
  4. Be mindful of the zipper. Yep, zippers are important, as they can provide a protective seal to keep out frigid winds, rain and snow.
  5. Make sure your ski jacket breathes. You’re going to be active all day, right? Get a winter jacket with a membrane that allows your perspiration to escape while insulating you from the frigid winter elements. The last thing you want is your sweat accumulating in the jacket, leaving you cold and wet.
  6. Check for chest pockets. Nowadays we typically carry around our cell phones everywhere we go. Even the ski slopes! Keep your phone, keys, wallet and emergency information inside your ski jacket.
  7. Select a winter jacket with removable hood and lower face protection. The face protection gives you an added guard against the strong winds.

Let us help you choose the perfect winter ski jacket for wintertime fun. Contact us today for more information about our winter jackets.

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.

Choosing Snowboard Bindings

Snowboarding is all about having complete control of your board. Bindings are an integral component in ensuring you can comfortably and easily turn the snowboard in a variety of snow and riding conditions. Before you head to your local snowboard shop to buy bindings, consider the following:

Pick Out Your Boots
Bindings typically come in three different sizes (small, medium and large). The right size for your setup is completely dependent on the size of your boots. As such, it is highly recommended that you select which boots you will be wearing before you buy the bindings. With boots on hand (or in foot) make sure that the bindings you are interested in allow easy entry for your boots and can easily be adjusted for a tight hold.

Types of Bindings
There are a few different types of bindings that offer varying degrees of convenience and performance. Strap binding and hybrid bindings are by far the most popular. The differences between each type are as follows:

Strap bindings: feature two straps that buckle over the top of the foot and ankle. A ratcheting design speeds up the strap-in process and ensures an effective hold.

Hybrid bindings: include a similar design as strap bindings, but instead use an ankle strap and non-adjustable forefoot sheet of fabric (called a yoke) combination. A hinged mechanism at the rear of the binding also assists in rear entry, making hybrid bindings more convenient than strap bindings.

Step-in bindings: allow riders to simply step into their bindings through the use of notched metal pieces found on each side of the binding. These pieces attach to similar notches found on the boots. These offer ultimate convenience, but due to a loss in board control, step-in bindings have failed to gain significant popularity.

Plate bindings: serve as a complement to hard snowboard boots used by downhill racers. Their superior support offers exceptional board control, and are therefore preferred by boarders who enjoy mountaineering or alpine touring.

Binding Stiffness
The final consideration in choosing snowboard bindings is stiffness. Softer bindings afford a greater amount of flexibility and maneuverability. As such, beginners and freestyle riders tend to prefer these bindings. Speed demons typically choose stiffer bindings, as they provide superior precision for high-speed carving.

If you need help choosing bindings for your snowboards, feel free to chat with a rep on our website or give us a call at 866-786-3869.

Choosing the Right Flex for Your Snowboard

Flex refers to the degree of stiffness or flexibility that a snowboard delivers. Since snowboard flex directly affects the rider’s ability to control the board in different snow and terrain conditions, it should be an important consideration when buying a snowboard. There are two types of flex associated with a snowboard:

  • Longitudinal flex: the flexibility of the board from nose to tail
  • Torsional flex: the stiffness of the board from toeside to heelside

In general, the more flexible a board, the easier it will be to maneuver. Snowboards with greater flex tend to make sharp turns easier. It is for this reason that many experts suggest a more flexible board for beginners. The improved control delivers easier turning, especially at slow speeds.

Freestyle riders often prefer flexible boards as well. This is because sharp turns and improved maneuverability are frequently needed to land tricks or hit an obstacle with precision. Superior longitudinal flex also provides the flexibility needed to execute popular tricks such as nose grinds and 5-0 grinds. Tricks such as these require the snowboarder to ride along the surface of an obstacle while balancing only on the nose or tail of the boar

The downside of flexible boards is their reduced ability to hold an edge. Because of this, stiffer snowboards deliver better stability and performance at high speeds. They are also ideal for groomed snow runs. As such, freeriders and speed demons often prefer a stiff snowboard over more flexible options.

Snowboarders who enjoy both open-mountain and freestyle riding typically compromise by choosing a medium-flex snowboard. It is for this reason than many intermediate boarders avoid the extremes and buy a snowboard that provides relatively good control under all snow and terrain conditions.

Beyond riding style, a snowboarder’s weight should also play a part when it comes to choosing the best type of board flexibility. Broadly speaking, the lighter the snowboarder, the more flexible the snowboard needs to be. This is because less hefty riders need to exert additional effort to initiate turns and maneuver their board.

If you have any questions about snowboarding, give our sales associates a call at 866-786-3869.

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.

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.