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.

Blogs from a Boot Fitter – Introduction

As a Master Certified  Boot Fitter with many years in the industry, it is both an honor and my pleasure to be a new contributor to the Sun & Ski Sports Blog. Throughout the coming months, I will be addressing a variety of topics of interest in my field. Whether your are a skier or snowboarder, man or woman, newbie or veteran, I am certain that there will be something to help you improve your experience on the slopes.  

My Mission – To share all that I’ve learned over the years, to make the wintersports experience enjoyable for all and most important to preserve and increase the number of people participating in our winter sports.

While my list of topics is quite large, I will be more than happy to respond to any questions you may have. Please feel free to post your question/comment at any time.  I will do my best to address them all in a timely manner.  In the meantime, here is your first assignment – find your gearbag, pull out those boots and try them on. Ask yourself  one simple question – Do I really like everything about my boots?  If the answer is ‘yes’, then start looking forward to a great 2011 season. If the answer is ‘no’, then your quest to an enjoyable boot fitting experience has just begun.

Stay tuned…

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.

Shaun White Wins Second Consecutive Superpipe Gold

Shaun White sneaks past Kevin Pearce by 1 point to claim gold and become the first ever rider to win consecutively in Superpipe. Shaun is not as dominate as he once was, and it’s not because he’s fading. The talent of fellow riders like Kevin Pearce are putting the pressure on as the sport continues to grow in popularity.

The event was nothing short of dramatic with controversy as ESPN announcer Richards said on live TV that Shaun didn’t deserve to win. Shaun of course took the comments in stride… “I don’t know. I mean, it’s competition, it’s judging. Kevin rode amazing tonight, and I felt like I rode really well, and we kind of leave it up to those guys [judges] to know what they’re doing.”

Based solely on technical merit White was the winner, it’s the style points that make the judging more difficult. Either way, it was quite a performance by both riders and an exciting evening.

The final superpipe breakdown
1. Shaun White
2. Kevin Pearce
3. Antti Autti
4. Elijah Teter
5. Mason Aguirre
6. Steve Fisher
7. Andy Finch
8. Louie Vito

Getting in Shape for Your Ski Trip

Skiing is a lot more fun when you are in shape. You are less likely to get hurt, can go longer, and will be able to handle more challenging runs. It’s important to understand what key muscles you will be using while you ski.

Since skiing is a downhill activity, your quadriceps (the muscles in the front of your upper leg) maintain much of the control. It is important to maintain quad strength as it will prevent you from injuring your knees and keep you stable as you go down a run. This is especially important for women, as women are more inclined to get knee injuries. Women’s Health recommends squats for strengthening quadriceps. Lunges are also good for strengthening your quads. If you have access to a gym, a quadricep curl machine (which requires you to sit in a chair and lift your feet from a 90 degree angle to a zero degree one) are great at isolating these muscles.

Your gluteus maximus muscles (or your butt, if you aren’t too technical) are the strongest muscles in your body. For most physical activity, your glutes are your power source. Skiing is no exception. Have strong glutes will give you both power and control as you ski. Plies are good for glutes, and squats and lunges again are great for these muscles. A bosu ball provides an extra challenge for your squat and will improve your balance, which is key to skiing.

Inner Thigh:
Your gracilis muscle controls your inner thigh. Strengthening your inner thigh will help you control your speed when you traverse and will give you stability. Side squats are good for this. You can also get ankle weights and do inner leg lifts to isolate this muscle.

It’s also key to be in good aerobic shape when you ski. Skiing is aerobic anyway, and the altitude makes the air thinner, which makes breathing more difficult. Getting at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity at least three times a week is a good starting point.

**Remember, this post is a basic guideline and does not substitute for 1.) seeing your doctor to see if you are fit for these exercises and 2.) seeing a professional trainer who can evaluate your personal fitness level.**

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.

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.

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

Does Bulk Keep You Warm?

Some people may think that a bulky coat keeps you warm.  While some bulky fabrics like wool and down do prove to be very warm, technology over the past 30 years has made big strides to eliminate bulk while still keeping out the cold.

What are just a few technologies that help you stay mobile while also keeping you warm:

1.) Many polyesters such as those seen in Hot Chilly’s or Thermotech use technology borrowed from running apparel to wick away moisture.  Your body’s sweat can keep you cold, so it is key that this base layer wicks away moisture without letting cool air in.

2.) Polartec: Polartec is a tight knit form of fleece that is used by anyone from professional athletes to the military.  It has three different weights to choose from.  The colder the temperature, the bulkier the fleece you should get.

1.) Thinsulate: Thinsulate uses microfibers to create a tighter knit fabric rather than a bulkier one.  Thinsulate traps air close to the body, allowing one’s own body heat to be retained inside.  It is generally used in jackets but it prevalent in other forms of clothing as well.

Being able to move freely is important while skiing and snowboarding, so be aware that you don’t have to sacrifice comfort to be warm.

Too Soon for Snowboarding and Ski Clothes? It’s Not Too Soon for Snow.

It’s official. A foot of snow touched down in Colorado in mid-August. Early snows generally indicate that the season should be full of snow, and last year proved no exception. The 2007-2008 season saw record snowfalls in many areas.

It’s almost September, so it’s not too early to start planning for your next ski or snowboarding trip. Here are the opening dates for some of your favorite ski resorts:
Breckenridge: November 7
Winter Park: November 15
Vail: November 21
Aspen and Snowmass: November 27
Park City: November 21
Big Sky: November 27

Good gear can make skiing or boarding a lot more fun, so we’ve got some new snowboards, snowboard gear, ski gear, and warm clothes to get you ready for the 2008-2009 season.