A Great Gift? A Replacement for Old Sweats

We all have those old sweats we’ve had for ten years that bring back memories.  Sweats are an okay way to stay warm, but they do not compare to the technology available to us today.  Fabrics like the Polartec available in The North Face products and water resistant fabrics such as Marmot’s M technology allow us to stay much warmer and are much more durable than those old sweats.

How do they do this?

1.) Tighter knit fabrics.  The wool used by companies like Obermeyer is more compact than the fiber you will see in cotton sweats.  This keeps your body warmth where it should be–in your body.

2.) Water resistance to the max.  Cotton ABSORBS water.  Cold is not always dry, so if you wear sweats and it rains or snows, cotton is not the fabric to be in.  Companies like Burton create clothes that are either water resistant or waterproof, keeping you warm in any kind of weather.

Your loved ones might not think to ask for a warm jacket or pants.  But whether they cycle, board, or just like being outside, when cold weather hits, they’ll appreciate the warmth.

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.

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.

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.

Check out the Tour de Donut Benefit for Make-a-Wish This Weekend

Shipley’s Donuts+Cycling 28 miles=Tour de Donut!

If your chances of winning the Tour de France waved bye bye long ago, do not fret. You still have a chance at winning the Tour de Donut. Sure it may not take you along the gorgeous French countryside, but you will be helping raise money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, which will make you feel better than putting on some old yellow jersey.

How does Shipley’s tie into cycling, you ask? For each donut you eat, you get seconds taken off your time. The trick is to not eat so many donuts that you can’t finish.

Here are the details:
THE WHAT: Sun and Ski Sports Tour de Donut
THE WHERE: The race begins at the Katy Mills Mall. You can find the route here.
THE WHEN: Sunday, November 2 at 8:00 am

There is also a 55 mile ride that will take place that is a recommended ride for preparing for the MS 150.

Find more registration info here, and please call Carl Foy with any questions at 281 340 5000 x145.

Be Ready for the Cycling Season by Preparing in the Off Season

Whether you’ve decided to enter the BP MS 150 for Team Sun & Ski or other races in your area, it’s easy to lose focus on your training during the winter months.  Stefan Rothe of Rothe Training in Austin, Texas offers the following tips in his blog to keep you focused so you start the cycling season right:

  1. You should review ’08 and see what you accomplished. That can be a number (i.e. your 40K Watts or time) or a placing (i.e. win at a specific race).
  2. You should know what you want to achieve in ’09. Specificity is key here, so the more in detail the better. I.e. raise LT Power by 20W; do a sub-56min 40KK; win a State Criterium Championship
  3. You need a plan on what to do in the next 3-4 months:
  • How long should I take off from riding? Or should I not?
  • How do I incorporate off-the-bike strength training with regular riding?
  • Will doing cyclocross races hurt me in my preparation for the next road season?
  • I like to run. What days of the week do should I do that?
  • Is intensity or volume more important in the month of October, November, and December?

The above figure shows an example of a monocyle as part of an Annual Training Plan. Note the phases of Transition, Preparation, and Competition and how volume and intensity varies. (from: Periodization: Theory and Methodology of Training. Tudor Bompa. Human Kinetcis Publishers. 1999)

This time of the year is also very good time to go and check your health by a health professional. A regular physical exam or a simple blood test at your doctor’s office could identify any small problems which you should know about before getting back into “training mode” again.

Getting a Threshold Test done is also highly recommended for this part of the season. You want to know where your performance is as of right now so you can train accordingly in the upcoming month. Knowing your threshold power or heart rate is crucial when following a structured training plan which is based on your individual training zones.

Want to make sure you are meeting your goals this off season instead of packing on the holiday pounds?  Track your calories, distance, heart rate and even distance and location with this awesome Garmin Forerunner 405 GPS Heart Rate Monitor.

Come out to “Rock the Cradle for Johnny Romano”

Sun and Ski was very dismayed when Johnny Romano, a local skater from Galveston, Texas lost his brave fight against leukemia.  Johnny was  very revered in the southeast Texas community for his skills as well as his generosity towards charities such as the Make a Wish Foundation.

To honor Johnny’s memory, Sun and Ski is sponsoring “Rock the Cradle for Johnny Romano”.  Help us rock the world’s biggest cradle and help raise money for the Romano family’s medical and now funeral expenses.

Here are the details:

Date and Time: November 9, 2008, noon-4 PM
Place: Lee and Joe Jamail Skate Park
Suggested Donation: $10 which will go to johnnykickscancer.org or a blood donation, which will occur onsite.

Please help us honor Johnny’s memory by coming out and supporting this great cause. If you can’t come out, consider donating money to the Romano family anyway at www.johnnykickscancer.com.