The Sun & Ski Cure for the Winter Time Blues

How are you supposed to switch gears from sunshine and wakeboarding to ice covered lakes? When summer ends, it can sometimes be hard to make the adjustmentto cooler weather.

Why not try investing your downtime into a new sport this winter?

Believe it or not, snowboarding can actually make you a better wakeboarder.The skills you can develop while snowboarding can translate to help improve your already impressive wakeboarding skills.

Some of the areas that snowboarding can help you improve include:

  • Strength – Snowboarding requires you to move in ways similar to wakeboarding. This means you will not lose all the progress you made over the summer.
  • Turning – Snowboarders shift their weight using their toes or heels, which differs from wakeboarding. However, if you can work to develop a strong snowboard turning technique, it will most likely improve turning when you wakeboard.
  • Focus – Just like wakeboarding, it’s essential to be aware of your surroundings when snowboarding. Maintaining this level of awareness all winter will help you stay alert when you start wakeboarding again.

If you do plan on hitting the slopes this winter season, you’re going to need the warmest snowboarding and skiing clothes. Shop for the top brands and you’ll be sure to start off in style. Here’s a list to get you started:

  • Men & Women’s snowboards
  • Men & Women’s skis
  • Men & Women’s Ski boots
  • Men & Women’s ski and snowboard jackets
  • Men & Women’s ski and snowboard pants
  • Ski Goggles

Invest in only the essential items and grow your wardrobe when you decide you’re going to stick with the sport. Shop Sun & Ski for a wide selection of name brands including The North Face, Spyder, Canada Goose, and more to get you started.

So many choices, so little time…

2011 Phoenix Air Shell
2011 Tecnica Phoenix Air Shell 90

Sorry for the delay in my postings. As I’m sure you’re aware, Mother Nature has given us a sneek preview here in the Northeast. With truckloads of 2011 product has been arriving daily and curious customers checking it all out, there’s been little time to write.

So, how about you? Have you paid a visit to your local ski shop and spoke to an ‘experienced’ boot-fitter? If so, I hope you asked all the right questions and had a pleasant experience. If not, the clock is ticking. It won’t be long before the mountains are open and you’ll still have your old boots to manage.

Whether you have or have yet to, here’s some things to consider when looking at the boot wall –

Just as there are many brands of skis, so are there for boots. Within each brand, there will be a multitude of models. Gone are the days when Lange was the ‘narrow’ boot brand and Salomon was the ‘wider’ boot brand. Each model of boot will represent a certain shape/volume of foot. Within that model, there will be a variety of ‘flex patterns’ specific to a skier’s ability, agression level & physical weight.

Confused, yet? Now you can see why it’s so important to find the right boot-fitter.  

Regardless of your foot shape and ability, nearly every brand of boot will have something for you. However, it may not be that the store chose to stock every model from every company. In fact, I can guarantee they did not – Nordica alone has 50 models of boots – men’s, women’s & kids; high performance, all-mountain, freeride/park & recreational; 98 to 104+mm last – and those are the ones they publish on their website. There are even more that aren’t listed. Multilpy that by Atomic, Dalbello, Full Tilt, Head, Lange, Rossignol, Salomon, Tecnica…well, you get the picture.

So, where does that leave you? Back in the hands of a qualified boot-fitter. Set that appointment and set aside the time to try on 2-3 pair of boots…MAXIMUM! This could mean up to an hour! You’ll be spending at least 15 minutes in each boot and there will likely be more time for ‘fitting’ of the boots – liner and/or shell heating, bucklet & cuff adjustments, insole fitting and possibly a liner stretch or two. This should help clarify the difference between a ‘boot-fitter’ and a ski boot salesperson.

Whether you are new to owning boots or this is your 10th pair, treat yourself to NEW skis socks upon your arrival. It is imperative that you fit the boot to the sock you’ll be wearing.  Just picking out socks can be a daunting task. In a nutshell, I prefer the Smartwool PHD brand – light weight for the performance fit or wider foot, medium weight for the average skier and narrower foot. Get at least two pair – one to start the day and a second pair for the afternoon. Dry feet are warm feet.

Get measured/evaluated properly. You should be measured four ways on a Brannock style measuring device – length, forefoot width, arch height and instep height. An experience boot fitter will also observe even more about your particular anatomy – leg, ankle and foot alignment…or lack there of. Don’t worry about the numbers, your shoe size will not come into play here. It’s all about the boot sizing. A snug fit will take shape of your foot. Along with the proper foot support from a quality footbed, the result will be relaxed muscles and maximum circulation = maximum warmth & performance.  A ‘comfy’ fit will become looser in no time =cold & tired feet on the mountain. Remember – this is an athletic sport, not a walk in the park….they won’t feel like your UGG’s.

The 2011 gear reviews can be a blessing and a curse for the retailer. It’s somewhat easy to pick out your next pair of skis based upon what you read. However, the boot is completely different. While customers often feel the desire to pick out their own boot based upon appearance, let the boot-fitter offer up suggestions after the evaluation. Doing so will save you a great deal of time and aggravation.  While the prices may be higher than you expected, don’t let that weigh in your decision. As we mentioned, ‘happy feet’ are what’s most important – let your feet make the final call. Trying on two different boots side by side will narrow down the selection. Take off the ‘loser’ and put on the third option, if one exsists. Since feet are often different in size, make sure  you try on both and stay in them for another 10-15 minutes – stand, flex and read a magazine…better yet, take a look at the ski wall and start planning that purchase.

All in all, a sound boot fitting experience should yield a pair of great fitting ski boots – one that will surely improve your skiing ability as well as your overall skiing experience.  Next time, we’ll discuss the importance of foot beds for every skier’s & boarder’s boots. Then again, you may have learned about them already from your boot-fitter.

Boot Fit Basics

2011 Dalbello Blender
2011 Dalbello Blender

Welcome back.

Hopefully by now you’ve had a chance to try on your boots. I’m guessing that you found there’s ‘room for improvement’. Most people would think that a tight fit is the problem when feet hurt. In fact, the one problem I see all too often is a boot that is TOO BIG. While everyone wants that little extra toe room, adding extra toe room often brings on other fit issues.  We’ll talk about that and other ailments in later segments.

For now, here’s your next assignment –

While the there’s plenty of time before the season starts and there are great bargains to be had, pack up your boots, socks and footbeds (if you have them). Find yourself a qualified boot technician make an appointment to get ‘fitted’.  Treat this as if you were going to the doctor’s office for a check up – experience matters. How do you know where to go? Ask! How do you know who has the experience? ASK!!! Just because someone works in a ski/snowboard shop and calls themself a ‘custom boot fitter’ DOES NOT make them an expert at fitting. Only years of experience gets someone a reputation in this industry.  While the more seasoned techs are usually around the resorts, that’s not a guarantee. You may just find you have someone right in your area. However, you may have to travel some to find the best. 

Expect some to spend some time with that person. I always like to schedule a full hour to do a proper evaluation of the skier, their feet, their present equipment and to have them try on some new product. You may only need half that time to realize what needs to be done. 

Be prepared for the unexpected. A good boot tech will fill you in on a great deal of information. If you get the ‘quick sell’, move on and find another shop. When you find the right one, you’ll know it!  More than likely the initial evaluation will be ‘on the house’. However, expect the better ones to charge for their time and materials – it will be a very worthwhile investment.

In the next segment, we’ll discuss the boot fit process in greater detail and point out some things you’ll need to get the season off on the ‘right foot’.  Until then, start searching.

Help Us Support World Bicycle Relief

We love riding our bikes at Sun & Ski Sports.  Cycling is a great way to get around and also a wonderful way to stay in shape without incurring much strain on your joints.  For some people though, cycling gets people to work, delivers medicine and goods, and allows people to have a better way of life.  World Bicycle Relief is an organization dedicated to giving bicycles to people in developing nations to help them get around.  From December 17th to December 31st, an angel supporter will match DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR up to $750,000 any donation you make to this great cause.  Let’s help World Bicycle Relief meet their goal of 23,000 bikes.  You can make a donation at their website and follow DoubleBikeMatch on Twitter for updates on the cause.

Many thanks to the marketing agency StaleLife for bringing this to our attention.

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.

Garmin Forerunner 405 – Never Get Lost While Cycling or Running Again

Having GPS is great in your car, but what about on your bike or on a run ? There is nothing more miserable than getting lost when you are running out of steam, especially if you get stuck in some hills.

Garmin, the maker of some of the best GPS system in the market, has come up with the ForeRunner 405 GPS Heart Rate Monitor watch. Sure, you can get your speed, distance and heart rate, but you can also get your location on a map to make sure you find all the great streets for your ride.

The Garmin ForeRunner 405 also allows you to challenge a virtual partner to make the most out of every ride and will integrate wirelessly with your PC.

Sun & Ski is happy to offer the Garmin ForeRunner 405 to our customers. Be sure to purchase yours before stock runs out.

How to Choose a Ski Length

It would be nice to have a magic formula for choosing a ski length. However, there are a lot of factors that come into play when choosing the right length ski for you.

Height:
There is a basic rule of thumb to measure how long your skis should be. A beginner should see the tip of the ski falls between his or her chin and mouth with the back tip on the ground. An intermediate skier’s skis should fall between the mouth and eyes. Any advanced skier’s ski would fall between their eyes and the top of the head. Here is a sizing chart that will give you a general idea of ski size range you should be looking at.

Snow Ski Sizing Chart:

Skiing Style:
If you turn a lot to maintain speed (as a beginner would do) or like doing tricks, a shorter ski is more your style. However, if you are an aggressive skier and like creating a lot of speed and traverse less frequently, a longer ski would be better.

Type of Terrain:
A long ski would be great for an experienced skier on steeps, but not great for tree skiing. Consider a pair of fatties in slushy snow or for tree skiing, especially if you are less skilled.

Remember, length is only one facet of a ski. Skis come in different shapes, widths as well as flexes according to their function. For more info, feel free to chat with one of our associates at www.sunandski.com.

Giro Atmos Road Cycling Helmet

Originally submitted at Sun & Ski Sports

The Atmos road bike helmet provides superior technology and is the leading style for riders like Armstrong, Petacchi and Freire. It is the best helmet for speed and the thrill of wide open roads.

Giro Atmos Bike Helmet

Great Helmet with Comfortable Fit

By skybox from Houston, TX on 1/16/2008
5out of 5

Sizing: Feels true to size

Pros: Comfortable Fit, Lightweight, Tough, Good Ventilation

Best Uses: Road Biking, Warm Weather, Short Rides, Commuting

Describe Yourself: Avid Cyclist

Love the Giro Atmos helmet… it’s by far the best helmet I’ve ever owned!

(legalese)

Rossignol Zenith Z3 Skis

The Rossignol Zenith Z3 Skis are the perfect fit for a good intermediate skier to the less aggressive advanced skier. It handles great on black runs on down, providing great shock dampening and good stiffness in carving. A perfect all-mountain ski that provides stability and versatility for the entire mountain. And, at a price point of just $399 with bindings from its original price of $829 its a deal that is hard to pass up.


Pros: Durable, Good Carving Ability, Good Grip, Great Flotation, Lightweight, Scratch Resistant, Smooth Ride

Best Uses: Downhill, Powder, Racing

Describe Yourself: Advanced Skier

Notes: Awesome ski. Good feel and minimum vibration.

Features

  • Vibration Absorbing System (VAS)
  • Tool-Free Integrated Ski Bindings
  • TPI2 Dualtec Integral Construction
  • Dimensions: 121/72/100mm
  • Turn Radius: 16.4m (@ 170cm)
  • Recommended Use: Advance skiers
  • Warranty: One Year
  • Skill Level: Intermediate – Advanced
  • Type of Ski: Mid-Fat
  • Gender: Mens
  • Integrated Binding System: Yes
  • What Binding is Included?: Axium 120
  • Construction Features: Dualtec Integral
  • Tail: Straight
  • Model Year: 2007
  • Skill Range: 3-5

More Information…