Author Archives: jboyle

About jboyle

Husband, dad, mountain biker, road biker, triathlete and runner. Spent the last 17 years here at Sun & Ski, working for the greatest company on Earth!

Let’s Talk About Snowboards!

If you are thinking about picking up a new snowboard this spring, here are a few things you might want to consider…

Determine what type of riding you will be doing.

All Mountain, Free Style or Free Ride?

Will you be riding the park? Carving through powder? Are you just learning how to stay upright?? If so, you’ll be staying on the groomers. No matter what type of rider you are, you really need to know so you can make the right choice. There are different types of boards for different riding types…

board3  Photo: Justin L’Heureux

First, consider your budget.

Snowboards can go from $150 to $1000 bucks so it’s smart

A $1000 snowboard may offer some extremely high tech features such as a carbon fiber top sheet, and an aluminum honeycomb core but these may not be features that necessarily fit your riding style. Some expert some boarders ride boards that are in the $500 – $600 range because the boards features fit their riding style so decide what it is that you want to ride before you set a price you are willing to spend.

board2 Photo: Burton

How to choose the correct size board.

There are different factors that determine what size snowboard you should ride. Your height, weight, personal preferences and riding style are some of the key points that will tell you what size of snowboard will feel the best for you.

Advanced snowboarders choose what board size they ride based on the conditions and what terrain they will be riding for that day. A good rule of thumb for your first snowboard is to find one that when standing straight up, it comes to your chin…

In most cases, a person who is riding in the park would likely choose a shorter board than someone who is carving down the groomers.

board1 photo: Adam Moran

Reverse camber or regular?

Recently snowboard companies have started offering reverse camber snowboards and other types of the traditional snowboard shape. There isn’t one that is necessarily better but again, it depends on your riding style and personal preferences.

A park rider that rides mostly rails and jumps would likely go with the forgiving, soft feeling of a reverse camber board. Someone who likes to carve fast down the mountain might want a regular camber board that will offer you more edge control.

The best thing to do is come in to your local Sun & Ski and let one of our seasoned snowboard experts walk you through different scenarios. We will definitely get you on the board that suits you best!!

Sun & Ski Associate Spotlight – Colton Crallie

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History of bicycle racing:

I never intended to race bicycles. I got lucky and it found me. I played rugby for a span of 8 years. Starting in high school and ending as Division 1 level player. An injury forced me to start thinking about other outlets. My Best friend Chris had been working at a bike shop and he suggested I start riding.  So after much grumbling. I bought a bicycle and dedicated two years to commuting in order to lose weight and build proper fitness. During the course of those two years. I decided to race my bicycle. Only if I could start winning those races. I was lucky to  find a good coach and was able able to win the majority of my races in 2014 with the help of Betera Coaching.


Love of bikes:

My love of bikes began as a teenager riding road bikes with my father in Ohio. We started riding  on the road together.  In a way, it is a way we stay connected to him even though we are far apart. Bicycles are to me the perfect combination of human and machine. Training is a large part of my time on the bike. It is so similar to tuning a machine; Numbers and preparation. It’s amazing what  your body can do if you just give it a chance. I will never stop riding. My bike is my source of peace in a busy and messy world.


Prediction for the future:

I would like to combine my youth and fitness. Take them both and turn then into something special. I would like to race bicycles professionally specializing in criteriums.  As it stands now, I have spent the last two years preparing for this 2015 season and have many goals and barriers that I must accomplish in order to make my prediction a real thing. I’m lucky to have the support of the community,friends and family. On top of all those great things, I am also lucky enough to have the perfect job to help make this real. A place that supports bicycling at all levels but still supports those who want to take it a bit further.

Colton Crallie

2015 Blizzard!


On Wednesday, New England began digging out of what was a wicked blizzard! The region was hit with nearly 3ft of snow and wind gusts up to 70 mph that caused major power outages and heavy damages in the area.


The Governor has lifted a state travel ban but bitter cold temps still pose a threat and will likely slow down cleanup efforts in and around Boston. Power is still out for more than 15,000 customers leaving many shivering in the dark.

New Englanders were stunned by the incredible force and bitter cold caused by this storm. Snowplows are struggling to keep up with the tremendous ice and snow conditions.


Meteorologists say the nor’easter strayed about 100 miles from its forecasted track. New York and New Jersey received 10 inches less than originally predicted.

Breck Trip Recap: Hunting for Pow Soul7 Style

After a quick weekend run out to Breckenridge from one of Sun & Ski’s Northeastern Outposts, our Woburn, MA store, I can safely say that the Rossignol Soul7 absolutely slayed it out there! 


It wasn’t looking like we were in for much fresh snow, but ever fickle mother nature decided otherwise and laid down a good 6-10 inches of fresh Colorado Champagne Pow.  Conditions on the leeward sides and sheltered areas were straight butter and the Soul7’s really got to show their true colors from soft turns through trees, to some high speed lively open bowl rips, to cranking carves on the groomers and runouts, the Soul7’s were steadfast through and through!


The best turns were had with a little bootpack up to the Windows (where the pictures in the trees are from), which was made all the easier with the fabulous walk mode the Dalbello Panterras offer not to mention the enhanced traction of the rubberized soles.  A bit of thin air created some huffing and puffing on the way up, but after a short breath or two we were good to go.  Fresh hero turns after swooping in on 2nd chair up Imperial while the sun was peeking out on the fully wind loaded bowl was definitely one of the major highlights and a good chance to open things up a bit more, glad I bought the skis long for sure!


Camaraderie was high both in the on-hill bars and in-town, with many of Sun & Ski’s loyal customer base out and about for their holiday trips.  As a New Englander getting to meet more of our Texas customers out on the hill enjoying all the great gear our stores provide was awesome to see not too mention the smiles on many faces having fun on the hill!  Can’t wait to get back out to Colorado to chase some more pow and get after soe bigger terrain as more things open up!


See you on the slopes!


Nathan Zephyr Fire 100 – Gear Review

If you live anywhere in the world and you are a runner with no gym membership or you

loath the treadmill. There comes a time in the year where running in the daylight becomes a


You basically have two choices. Run in the morning in the dark before work, or run in the

evening after work.  Two dangers are present with this solution. Being visible for vehicle traffic

to see you, and your ability to see obstacles in front of you.

run pic

For the past few years I have been a fan of a head lamp.  Mainly for the convenience of

keeping my hands free.  I had tried some of the small lightweight flashlights, however to use

them I had to hold it at an uncomfortable angle to light the ground. Headlamps all have their

downfalls as well. The biggest is when running in a mist, the light reflects back into your eyes.

I have tried to combat this by wearing one as a belt. This is a good fix but it can be

uncomfortable. It does however get the light closer to the ground to give you better visibility.


A few weeks ago I found a great new innovative product that addressed all these issues.

The Nathan Zephyr Fire 100 handheld torch.

This 108 lumen flashlight is USB rechargeable with a integrated hand strap and a 24* down


It also has a emergency button that activates a high pitch beep and a red strobe light.

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When the flashlight is on it has a normal beam, high beam and a flashing forward strobe. I

have been using mine for about 2 weeks. I have noticed an earlier reaction from approaching

drivers. Not only do they pick up on my reflective vest and wrist bands. I activate the strobe

and they can identify me at a farther distance. The rear facing red strobe is always active

when the power is on as well.

It took me a few runs to get used to holding it but with the hand strap it just hangs in my

palm. I used it this week during a group run and the downward facing angle was perfect.  I

tripped over a speed bump recently with a headlamp. With the Fire I was able to see the

obstacle in plenty of time to adjust my stride. No more worries about the contours of the trail

or road. With a headlamp it is impossible to turn your head and talk without blinding your

running partner. Now I can keep my path lit and not worry about all the downfalls my

headlamp had. Changing functions from normal to bright and strobe are easy. I ran with thick

gloves and the button still worked flawless.


The fire comes in a 100 lumen and a 300 lumen. As of now Sun and Ski only stocks the 100.

We have it available in select stores or you can order on


For $45.00 it’s the best running accessory I have purchased in years.


Run Safe.


Bryan Hojo.


Let’s talk about ski tuning!


How often should you have your skis or snowboard tuned?

Most advanced skiers have their gear tuned after 4 or 5 days of skiing. It is important for the edges to be sharp in order to maintain control. The base has to be waxed to allow for maximum speed. Intermediate skiers will probably want their skis tuned after 6 to 9 days on the slopes. Beginners might not demand the same performance as experts and intermediates and will likely have their gear tuned after 10 days of hitting the slopes. Keep in mind that conditions on the slopes do play a role in this. For example, fresh powder will not tear up your gear as much as hard packed icy conditions…

How will you know if your gear needs attention?

The easiest way to know if you need to go see a ski tech is if there are heavy gouges on the bottom. Also, check to see if the edges are rusty or burred. Carefully slide your finger down the edges to see if there is any damage. Maintaining smooth, waxed bases and sharp edges will definitely improve performance on the slopes.

When should I have my skis tuned?

The best time to have your gear tuned is probably after the ski season. By this time your skis will need some TLC and storing them during the summer is best if the edges are clean and the bases are waxed.

Should I tune my own skis?

People who live near the slopes often do take care of this on their own. Sharpening edges and waxing bases is not terribly difficult but grinding bases is nearly impossible without the proper machinery.

For a list of ski services click here.

by Jimmy Boyle

Ultra Running and Run Culture Texas

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By Jon Perz

I am about 4.5 weeks out from my first one Hundred mile foot race. I just started running just like every one else I would say. Running was a thing that someone could do anywhere all you needed was shoes and maybe a watch. It was something I did to aid my rock climbing. My story is much like most runners started with a 5k fun run to seeing what a 10k is like, then daring the half marathon distance Thanks to Mynette and Jimmy. Once I saw how the half marathon had it’s ups downs physically and emotionally to the finish line I was hooked. I have not looked back. The goal for the end of year was a full marathon. I happen to find a Trail marathon in Huntsville state park in Huntsville Texas in early Feb. I normally trained on the trails for that race with some running at terry Hershey, Memorial park and Allen parkway loops. I found my self getting really excited about it. I was still worried about the distance, no different than now.


The definition of an Ultra Marathon is anything past 26.2 miles. The most common distances are 50k ( 31 miles ) , 60k (37.5 miles ) 50 miles , 100k ( 62 miles) and 100 miles. Some ultras are time based by who can do the most mileage in an allotted amount of time. Why would you want to do that in the first place? That is a good question. I have asked this question of my self. It is to prove that someone can do something that seems so big. I will admit that you there is a bit of enjoyment in the suffering and process that comes with the reward of a race that people believe is too far. Ultras have the same anxiousness, excitement and relief when approaching the finish line. Its no different that someone’s first 5k, 10k, half or even full marathon. All the doubts and fears are there in your head. The start line will come soon.

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If it was not for good friends, great trails and the Houston running community I would not be where I am today. Houston has a great run clubs either social or competitive. There are trail running groups like Houston area Trail Runners and Houston trail runners extreme. Along with other run clubs that cater to all runners, distances and goals. They are in no particular order Runners High running club, City Centre Run club, West End run club and Brian Oneil’s Run club, Katy fit, Kenyan way, Inflight running and cypress run club.

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This is where I have found most of my ultra friends. Some joined my journey a little later and others have helped guide me.

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Texas more importantly has more ultra runners than most Realize. I feel proud to say that Houston has plenty of trails, trail runners and races for all abilities / distances.

2015 “Bike U” is back at Sun & Ski – Westheimer!!!

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HOUSTON, TX —Sun & Ski will kick off cyclists’ training for the BP MS150 charity bike ride with its annual “Bike University” Open House Friday, January 23, 5–10 p.m. and Saturday, January 24, noon-6 p.m. at Sun & Ski in Houston, Texas.

The free event, open to the public, will feature customized bike fit sessions, cycling courses, clinics and hands-on demonstrations to enhance cyclists’ safety and overall bike riding experience.

“Whether you’re a longtime cyclist or brand new to the sport, Bike U provides the latest product information and safety, nutrition and maintenance clinics that help keep everyone safe on the road,” said Dale Mikulan, Sun & Ski merchandise manager-bikes, whose stores sell more bicycles in Houston than any other bike shop in the city.

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“Bike University” will feature close to thirty 30-minute presentations led by cycling, fitness and nutrition experts on road safety, maintenance, bike fit analysis, training, nutrition and women’s specific cycling clinics. The program will offer a detailed “on your bike” fit evaluation at the store’s customized fit station. Sun & Ski’s permanent fit station customizes the bike’s seat height, cockpit length and knee-to-pedal relationship to allow for the customer’s ultimate comfort and power on his or her bike, enabling them to ride further and faster while expending less energy.

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There will be cycling-oriented door prize give-aways every hour.

Instructors include representatives from such premier manufacturers as Marin Bicycles (Houston exclusive of Sun & Ski), Masi Bicycles, Orbea Bicycles, Raleigh Bicycles, Fuji Bicycles and Shimano; with cycling apparel by Pearl Izumi, Zoot and Canari Cyclewear; and accessories by Thule, Mavic, Continental Tires, Serfas, Easton, Bell, Giro, Blackburn, Shebeest, Clif,

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Sun & Ski’s very own Bryan Hojnacki, great inspiration for a New Year!!

Bryan Hojnacki, 40, of Harrisburg is a husband, father, believer and committed runner.

But running has not always been part of Hojnacki’s life, especially the type he does today.

Hojnacki, an assistant store manager for Lowe’s came to terms with some health issues in 2007 that prompted him to take a new direction. He admits he was a self-proclaimed plump 230-pound dad with a caring wife, Viki, and a darling 5-year-old daughter Paisley.

His day of reckoning came when a friend of his daughter’s said, “Your daddy is fat!”

That was the final moment of his old life, Hojnacki said.

“In the beginning, everyone needs a starting point, a moment in their life to say, ‘Hey, you can’t live like this,'” said Hojnacki.

Hojnacki also has Meniere’s disease, a condition affecting the inner ear, which regulates balance and hearing. He has lost 90 percent of the hearing in his left ear. He was fitted with a hearing aid and continues to deal with a potential loss of hearing in his right ear.

The timing was right for Hojnacki to do something about his weight, he said. The Harrisburg branch of the YMCA had just opened, so in he went to work out.

“I went gung-ho, doing cardio and weights and attended spin classes and yoga. I was able to slim down quickly and keep physically active,” he said.

In spring 2008, Viki Hojnacki decided to start running 5-kilometer races with a friend. Despite not enjoying running, Bryan Hojnacki went with Viki to keep her company and support her new habit. After repeatedly stopping after a mile or two each run, he decided he still hated running.

But he didn’t give up. In spring 2009, Hojnacki tried running again.

“I decided to try and train for a 5k with the goal of running fast enough to beat my wife’s time by at least 5 minutes.

“This was all it took. I ran the race in 28 minutes. I felt great, and it was then that I got ‘the bug,'” said Hojnacki.

He poured himself into the sport, reading books, magazines, training guides and inspirational stories of runners. He made up his mind that if he could run six to eight miles, he should train for a half-marathon.

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By the beginning of May, he posted two goals on Facebook. The first was to run a half marathon by October 2009.

Hojnacki also decided that no one should just shoot for half of anything, so his second goal was to run a marathon by December 2009.

Hojnacki met both goals on time, running the full marathon at Charlotte’s Thunder Road Marathon in December 2009.

In early 2010, Hojnacki spelled out his New Year’s resolutions, which included joining a running group, improving his running times, inspiring others and running 40 miles by the time he was 40.

He joined University City Road Runners, where the members made him feel welcome, he said, offering advice and helping him keep his pace.

Hojnacki was now a muscular 180 pounds, and he continued to improve his times. As months passed, he realized he was getting closer to his last resolution.

He said he then made a deal with his body: “I will continue to push you to your limits. The brain continues to think up punishment beyond what you can endure. You have met every challenge full force, holding nothing back, but you do turn 40 this year and I have no intention on looking for a newer model; 1970 was a good year, but 2010 will be a better year,” said Hojnacki.

His goal: “40 B4 40.”

When the day of the test came – Oct. 9, 2010 – run, walk or crawl, Hojnacki was determined to make 40 miles. He had a few friends set up at different intervals to pace him and offer encouragement. Viki recruited other friends, who showed up with signs and water. His daughter told him, “You can do it, Daddy.”

At 6 in the morning, Hojnacki set out, armed with his GPS. A friend, Derrick Lashway, ran the first seven miles with him. Another friend, Emily Knudson from Empowered Personal Fitness in Harrisburg, joined him for the next 14 miles. At about mile 28, his wife and daughter met with him, bringing drinks and nutrition.


But six miles later, he was alone, and his left foot was becoming incredibly painful, a problem that started from the many miles he covered. There were no friends, family or support people anywhere. Doubt crept in, and the run became a shuffle.

He said his only thought was, “How can I tell my daughter that I quit at mile 34?”

“As I approached the beginning of my last six miles, I looked up and there were my wife and daughter,” said Hojnacki. They both jumped into the race and were not about to let him quit. He said Viki told him, “Keep going, and keep moving.” His daughter said, “You can do it, Dad. You’re awesome.”

With three miles to go, the euphoric feeling of finishing such an enormous race filled Hojnacki. He arrived at the finish line with his family.

“My 9-year-old daughter ran farther than she ever dreamed of just to help me finish my goal,” he said. “And my wife still never gives up on me, no matter how crazy my dreams get,” said Hojnacki.

He continues to push the limits. This month, he accomplished the Idiot Run, a 20-mile mountain run in 23-degree weather with 60 others training for marathons.

Another goal for the year is to run 2,011 total miles by the end of the year.

And loftier yet, he is aiming to run a 100-mile 24-hour race in September at Hinson Lake.

He keeps setting goals.

by Michelle A. Ziner

2015 Fuji Altamira 1.1 – Gear Review

bike 1 Over the weekend I was lucky to get out on the new 2015 Altamira 1.1 road bike from Fuji! This is essentially the same bike that is ridden in the Pro Tour by Team NetApp-Endura. Fuji took full advantage of its pro racers’ knowledge, resulting in a frame that’s competitive at the highest levels. The tapered head tube and massive, oversized bottom bracket shell provide incredible stiffness under power, yet unlike many race bikes, it benefits from thoughtful details that enhance the all-day comfort. Its shapely carbon fiber construction keeps it feathery-light, and bears much of the responsibility for making the Altamira the race-rocket that it is. Being built up on a full Shimano Dura Ace 11 speed component group doesn’t hurt either!  Sun & Ski has been an authorized Fuji dealer for several seasons now and we are totally impressed with their incredible bicycles! bike4                      bike3 Fuji built its race-ready Altamira from a high-modulus C15 carbon fiber blend. This particular blend is capable of producing incredibly low tube weights that deliver a stiff yet compliant road feel. By working with professional riders, Fuji’s engineers were able to tweak the carbon tube shapes for an optimal, race-tuned feel. They kept the lower portion of the chassis stiff by mating the large down tube and chain stays to an oversized press-fit BB86 bottom bracket. The enlarged junction created an ultra-stiff pedaling platform, which, means an efficient transfer of power directly into your rear wheel. Fuji mated the massive down tube to a tapered top tube, enhancing steering precision. Slender seat stays smooth out the road feel, avoiding the harsh ride that sometimes characterizes frames of this caliber. The fork Fuji developed specifically for the Altamira was molded from a lightweight FC-330 carbon layup. Below its tapered carbon steerer, Fuji’s signature flared upper-blade fork design, which works to provide both front end rigidity and aerodynamics, flows down into the slender carbon dropouts. The Altamira frameset includes an Oval integrated headset. The carbon fiber dropouts feature a replaceable hanger, which allows for quick and easy replacement without damaging the whole frame. The frame is available in 6 sizes, allowing a wide range of fit for riders of all sizes. bike7

The bike is equipped head to toe with Oval Concepts components. Oval Concepts has worked with engineers and Formula One aerodynamicists to introduce ground-breaking technology that combines light weight with aerodynamics with durability. bike2bike6bike5 I loved my Saturday morning ride on my new Altamira and I hope you visit your local Sun & Ski to get fitted on yours soon!!