Comparing Ski Jackets by Weight

Picking out a ski jacket can be a daunting task. There are so many brands and weights to choose from. You should pick your jacket based on the temperature and weather conditions for your trip. Here are your options:

1.) Softshell Jacket: Softshell jackets are water resistant but not waterproof. This means you could fall and not get wet in most instances, but it’s no guarantee. They are meant for warm weather skiing, which is just below freezing and above. These jackets are often worn off the slopes as well, since they look the least like performance jackets.

Here is an example of a softshell jacket.

2.) Shell Jackets: Shell jackets are waterproof but do not provide the insulation of heavier jackets. These are great for skiing or boarding in melting snow, since you can protect yourself from the wet snow without overheating.

Here is an example of a shell jacket.

3.) Snow Jackets: Most ski jackets come with both an outer shell and an inner layer that could be composed of wool or synthetic materials like Thinsulate. The majority of ski jackets fit in this category.

Here is an example of a standard snow jacket.

4.) Three-in-One Jackets: A three-in-one jacket, sometimes called a “Tri-Climate Jacket”, is a shell that has a removable fleece that snaps or zips in. You can wear just the shell, just the fleece, or both at the same time.

Here is an example of a three-in-one jacket.

If you have any questions about ski jackets, feel free to visit our ski jacket buying guide or call Sun and Ski at 866-786-3869.

My Experience with the Gore-Tex Mobile Weather Station

Getting hit by a massive storm is not fun. Fortunately through the marvels of modern science, we have Gore-Tex, a fabric that keeps the elements out but allows our perspiration to evaporate out. To demonstrate the effectiveness of Gore-Tex, I met with Jody, a representative at the Gore-Tex Mobile Weather Station. Check it out:

Please visit to check out Gore-Tex jackets, pants, and shoes to keep you dry.

How To Guide for Bicycle Lubrication

Bicycles are made up of many parts that work best and last longest when properly lubed. The diagram below shows the lube points for modern bicycles. And below, we explain what’s involved.

Lubricants And Grease

The lubricant used the most is a liquid lube, which we sell in small drip and spray containers. We recommend purchasing our cycling-specific lubes because they’re perfectly formulated for your two-wheeler. This matters because the typical all-around lubes sold at hardware stores are often too thick or too thin to lubricate your bike properly. And, they’ll usually leave an oily residue that can make a mess of your machine and clothing. Also, some products will attack the seals on bike components damaging your equipment.

Liquid lubes come in a wide and sometimes confusing variety. We can recommend one perfect for your bike and our riding conditions. You only need a small container and it’ll last for many rides.

Depending on how much you plan to work on your bike, you may want to pick up some grease, too. This is a thicker lube, about the consistency of Crisco shortening. We sell it in squeeze tubes.

You can’t see it, but grease is what’s inside the headset (steering mechanism), hubs, bottom bracket and pedals. There are bearings inside these components and they sit in a bed of grease that keeps them lubed and turning freely.

Because grease is thick and these systems are protected from the elements, it’s unlikely you’ll need to work on these parts. However, grease is also used to lubricate threads and parts that fit together, such as the seatpost and stem and the associated bolts. If you plan to work on these parts, it’s good to have some grease on hand.

Lubing Your Bike Part By Part

How often you lube your bike depends on how you use it. Ideally, the moving parts will always be lightly lubed. A dry, squeaking bike needs lube. A bike covered with grime means you’re using too much lube (or the wrong lube).

Applying lube is just a matter of dripping or spraying some on, operating the part to get the lube down inside, letting it sit for a bit for the lube to fully penetrate and then wiping off the excess.

Chain: lubricate the lower run of links (see diagram) as you pedal backwards with your hand until you’ve lightly coated the entire chain.

Brakes: lube the pivot points where the brake parts move against each other. If there’s a quick-release mechanism and/or adjustment barrel (sometimes on the brake lever; see diagram), lightly lube these, too (on the threads for the adjustment barrel). Do NOT get lube on the brake pads or rims!

Derailleurs: wet the pivot points on the derailleur bodies. And, for the rear, while the bike’s resting on its side, apply a little to the center of the derailleur pulleys. Lube the adjustment barrel, too.

Clipless pedals: apply lube if your shoes and pedals are creaking when you ride and/or it’s difficult to get in or out. Remember to remove your shoes before walking into the house so you don’t leave oily footprints across the carpet!

Cables: most brake and shift cables don’t require lube because they’re inside nylon-lined housing. If yours bind, however, you can add lube if your bike has split housing stops. These allow accessing the cables and lubing. It’s done by opening the brake quick release to create slack and then pulling slightly to free the housing from the frame stops. You can then slide the housing to get at the cable inside. For derailleurs, shift onto the largest cog or ring and then move the levers back without pedaling. This creates enough slack to get the housing out of the stops and lube the shift cables (if necessary, don’t forget to lube where the cables pass beneath the bottom bracket, too).

Suspension fork: double-check that your lube won’t harm nylon or rubber seals. If it’s safe, you can apply a few drops to the upper fork legs and push down on your handlebars a few times to compress the fork and work the lube past the seals. This will keep the fork’s action smooth.

If you have any further questions or need more detail, please visit one of our full service Bike Shops for further assistance!

Get Pummeled by a Storm and Still Stay Dry at the Gore-Tex Mobile Weather Station

For some storms, an umbrella or a wool coat just won’t cut it when it comes to keeping you dry.  For these types of storms, there is Gore-Tex.

Gore-Tex is a weather-proof, microporous fabric that comes with a “Keep You Dry Promise”.  Each microscopic pore is 20,000 times smaller than a bead of water.  This allows perspiration to evaporate out but does not allow moisture to get in.  Since Gore-Tex is also wind-proof, you can stay warm and dry through extreme conditions.

Gore-Tex is so sure you will stay dry in their clothing, they’ve decided to bring the storm to you.  The Gore-Tex Mobile Weather Station features the “Extreme Weather Chamber”, which produces rainfall up to 22 inches per hour and creates whipping winds up to speeds of 32 miles per hour.  Watch (or experience) Gore-Tex take a pounding without letting any water soak through.  Here are the details for the Mobile Weather Station’s visit to our Austin, Texas store:

What: The Gore-Tex Mobile Weather Station
When: September 25 from 11 AM-6 PM
Where: 2438 W Anderson Lane
Austin, TX

GORE has partnered with an important international charity, Soles4Souls, to ensure those in need have the most basic protection – a pair of shoes. We encourage you to donate a pair of new or gently used shoes when you come to experience the GORE Extreme Weather Chamber.

Check out the awesome Gore-Tex shoes, jackets, pants, and boots that Sun and Ski carries at our online store.

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.

Sun and Ski Sports is Donating 5% of Bike Sale Revenue in Memory of Dr. David Boyd

It isn’t too often you meet a person who offers as much to their community as Dr. David Boyd.  Dr. Boyd was a radiologist in the Houston area who recently passed away in a climbling accident in Colorado.  He was a great athlete and gave much of his time and energy to the biking community.  In addition to being the captain of the M.O.A.T. racing team, he frequently gave money to cyclists to go to college as well as cycling causes in Texas.

At the request of Dr. Boyd’s family, Sun and Ski is offering 5% of our Bike Blowout Sales to the David Boyd Memorial Fund for the BikeTexas Kids Kup. We ask that all of our customers consider making a donation in honor of Dr. Boyd as well.

The Principles of Layering

Imagine you got a killer deal to go to Aspen with some of your best friends.  You decide to get in amazing shape but decide that instead of bringing a warm jacket, some long underwear, and a quality fleece, you decide to bring a cotton t-shirt with a fleece you bought from Wal-Mart.

$2000 for the trip and you are now FREEZING.

Layering appropriately can mean the difference between enjoying your ski trip and wishing you were curled up in bed at home.  The three primary layers you should be concerned about are:

1.) Your Base Layer: Wicking away moisture from your body is important to keep you warm.  Since cotton is so absorbent, it is not good for your base layer.  Look for long underwear made from silk, wool, or any synthetic wicking fabric.

2.) Your Insulation Layer: Your middle layer’s purpose is to trap air next to your body.  A good option?  Polyester fleece, wool, or down.  Consider the conditions you will be in when choosing a weight for your fleece.

3.) The Shell Layer: The very outer layer protects you from any wind or water.  It should also be ventilated, since your own body’s perspiration can eventually make you cold.  Be sure to ask if your jacket is waterproof or water resistant.  A jacket that is completely waterproof is best for very cold or wet climates.

Not wanting to waste your ski trip being cold?  Sun and Ski sells  long underwear, fleeces, and snowboarding or ski jackets for just about any trip.

Just Say No to Skiing in Jeans

It’s not uncommon to see skiiers and snowboarders in jeans.  While you may feel warm walking around the streets of a ski town in jeans with long underwear underneath, it can ruin your trip on a mountain.

Staying warm is more than protecting yourself against cold temperatures.  If you are wet in 30 degree weather, you will feel colder than if you are dry in 15 degree weather.  Jeans do nothing to wick away moisture, so you can end up spending your entire trip cold and wet.  Not exactly an enjoyable way to spend a ski trip you spent hundreds of dollars on.

Most jeans also have to be tucked into your boots.  Putting your boots on tightly but in a comfortable manner will allow you to prevent bruising to your shins.  Tucking jeans into your boots will cause rubbing on your shins, which is uncomfortable and can lead to bruising after less than a day.

You spend money on the trip, why not spend money on gear that will make your trip better?  Sun and Ski has plenty of men’s and women’s ski pants that will keep you both warm and dry during your vacation.

Bike Manufacturers Expected to Increase Bike Prices 20%

Is it just a bad dream?  No, it is not.  The increased prices in raw materials as well as the higher prices for shipping will cause all 2009 bike brands to increase their prices 20%.   If you go to Sun and Ski in about one month, you will see consistently higher prices that were brought on by our manufacturers.

If you are looking for a great deal on a bike, we are having a bike blowout at all of our stores from September 18-September 28.  This is a great opportunity to get a bike at a low cost before the 2009 models come out.

Why is Sun and Ski such a great place to buy a bike? Used bikes and bikes from discount stores do not come with maintenance.  You can spend less money on the bike but more getting it taken care of.  Sun and Ski covers most major maintenance for the life of your bike, and even offers flat insurance.  A happy bike=a happy rider :D.

Looking to use your bike as a viable source of transportation?  Support our efforts to Get Green, Get Fit, Get a Bike by joining our Facebook group supporting the cause.

Non-Profit Sustrans Gets the UK Cycling Again

Exercise doesn’t have to consist of running on a treadmill (which I not-so-lovingly called “the gerbil wheel”) or counting down the minutes on the stationary bike.  Not only can exercise be fun, it can be a means for transportation.  Like a car or a plane, your body is a machine which is perfectly able to get you from point A to point B.

The non-profit Sustrans understands this and has taken great strides to create the National Cycling Network across the United Kingdom.  Since 1977, the organization has helped create 10,000 miles of bike routes across the UK.  Now, over 75% of Brits live less than two miles from a route.  If everyone in the UK (approximately 61 million people) just biked five miles a week instead of driving a car, the entire country would save 526,727,396 gallons of gas every single year.  That would allow someone getting 30 miles to the gallon to drive from New York to Los Angeles 5,267,2739 times.

If everyone in the U.S. (approximately 300 million people) biked five miles a week instead of driving, it would save 2,609,879,542 gallons of gas a year which would fuel 26,098,795 trips from New York to Los Angeles.

Take a look at what Sustrans is doing, and if you don’t already have one, get green, get fit, and get a bike today.  Sun and Ski has gearheads in Texas, Florida, Tennesee, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Georgia and Ohio who would love to see you riding a bike.

**stats would assume vehicle is getting 30 miles to the gallon.**