Ski goggles… Don’t leave home without them!

gogglesOne of the most important items of equipment to purchase before going skiing is a good set of skiing goggles.

It does not matter what level of skiing you are at, from first time beginner to professional racer, a set of goggles is essential for many reasons. There are a wide variety of models available that have a range of prices, to suit all budgets. Typically, you can spend between $30 to $200

The differences in pricing mostly reflect the goggles lenses and the added benefits more expensive lenses would offer.

Why do we need to wear ski goggles?
There are two main reasons why we wear ski goggles:
The first is protection from the wind and the cold on our eyes when we are travelling at speed and the second is to protect the eyes from the sun.
There is another reason, which is of course fashion, and like all accessories some it is not an essential consideration but certainly one that many people take seriously.wind exposure

Higher priced goggles might offer more anti fogging abilities, lenses that are made from materials that allow more clarity of vision and also anti scratch properties. All ski goggle lenses should have 100% UV (ultra violet) sunlight protection.

Ski goggle lenses are also designed for different weather conditions.
Some lenses are designed for bright sunlight whilst others are designed for foggy or cloudy (white out) conditions. Professional skiers will have several sets of goggles to use for whatever weather conditions they face. It is also sometimes possible to have inter-changeable lenses on your goggles, although as it is the lenses that make up the bulk of the cost, it is just as effective to buy a second set of goggles and wear them according to the weather at the time.

As a beginner or recreational skier who can understandably only justify one set of goggles, I would recommend lenses for cloudy, foggy and white out conditions. (A white out is when it’s difficult to determine the difference between the cloud and the snow, therefore creating a feeling of disorientation). These lenses will enhance the contrast and help to minimize the impact of white out conditions. When the weather is sunny then you can wear sunglasses instead of your goggles, so you have goggles for bad weather, and sunglasses for good (sunny) weather.main picture

I have come across many recreational skiers who dislike wearing goggles and therefore always wear sunglasses for the following reasons: They feel uncomfortable, their face gets too hot, they think they look stupid, they prefer sunglasses as they think they look better in them.
The downsides to wearing sunglasses even on a sunny day are that it might still be very cold and your eyes can water/start to freeze up, the wind gets in your eyes, they can fall off too easily if not properly adjusted.

Personally I do wear sunglasses on sunny days, especially if teaching, mainly for some of the reasons I have given above! But, if skiing at anything approaching high speed, I would rather wear goggles with clear lenses on a sunny day then wear sunglasses. Also, they are not uncomfortable to wear, especially today as the manufacturing technology has improved.

If you are skiing in deep powder snow, always wear goggles, do not wear sunglasses, whatever the weather. If you fall, you will either lose your sunglasses in deep snow or they will get wet on the inside and you won’t be able to clear them until you get indoors.pic 1

Goggles can also ‘fog up’. This can be a common problem, especially with beginners. This generally happens when moisture forms on the inside of the lens due to overheating or water/snow entering the goggles. Once snow gets onto the lenses, either inside or outside, it can be difficult to stop the goggles from fogging up. The best solution is to try and prevent any snow or water getting on the lenses, but it is often easier said than done if you fall over in the snow or it is snowing. You should carry a good lens cloth with you and if the goggles do fog up, try and use covered type ski lift, where you will have time to dry them off. If you don’t have that facility and you really have problems with vision, it would be best to find a restaurant or other indoor area once in a while to dry the goggles off.

More expensive lenses can certainly help prevent fogging up but in my experience; if the weather conditions are humid and wet then all goggles will fog up at some point. It’s just part of the skiing experience. The best advice is just to keep them as dry as possible.

 

Tips For A Perfect Ski Boot Fit!

ski boot blog Ski boots are the most important piece of equipment because they provide the direct   connection between your body and your ski. The movement of the ski boot controls the ski movement. A sloppy boot fit will allow the foot to move around in the boot rather than moving the ski. This will make it very difficult to start and complete turns. It will make controlling the ski very difficult and tiring since it will require more muscular control from the foot and leg to force the ski to go where you need it to go. Some people compensate for a sloppy fit by cranking down the buckles as tight as they will go. This may cut off circulation to the foot allowing your foot to get very cold while skiing. A properly fitted boot will allow you to control your skis, keep your feet warm and will not  rub your feet anywhere.

So let’s get down to what you really want to know: How can I get the correct boot for me?

Your goal for new ski boots should be to get boots which are comfortable, which support your foot properly, and allow you to have an even pressure distribution across your foot. For the majority of people there is a boot out there that will work for your foot shape and your skiing ability without having to get a custom boot. However don’t expect to walk into a ski shop and walk out 20 minutes later with a new pair of boots that feel as good as your favorite sneakers. The liner of ski boots compresses once you have worn it for a while so you won’t get a good feel for the boot until you have worn it around for several minutes. Take the boot off and put it on again and see how it feels after another few minutes wearing the boot. Don’t rush this purchase: a poor fitting ski boot will affect your ability to advance in skiing and may be extremely painful to wear.

You probably have several questions about the best way to go about getting the right boots. Let’s do this in steps:

Step one: Find the Correct Size

There are a few key things to look for in a ski boot. The first and most important is getting the right size boot. Ski boots are sold in Mondo sizes which is a universal sizing system based on the actual length of your foot. When trying on boots you will find that while standing your toes will most likely touch the front of the boot. Once you flex forward in an athletic skiing posture your heel will move back in the boot and your toes will move back away from the front of the boot. You should be able to wiggle your toes in this position.

size_chart_ski-boots

Step two:

Find the correct width boot

Determine your width: narrow, average or wide. This is probably the easiest thing to do. Almost everyone knows what width their foot is. If you don’t know, you are most likely a medium or average width. Different boot manufacturers may run more narrow or wider and a good fitter or a little bit of internet research will let you know which brands to start looking at. To start with know that narrow boots typically run from 98mm to 102mm wide, normal from 100-104mm and wide is anything over 104mm.

Your boots should feel snug but there should not be any pressure points or hot spots. A boot fitter may be able to adjust the boot to eliminate a single pressure point but if you have several pressure points try a different boot.

ski-boot-foot-measurements

Step three:

Determine what type of skier you are.

Beginner or recreational skier – You are either new to skiing, ski casually or just ski a few times of year and you stick to mostly green runs. Alternatively you may just want the most comfortable boot you can find and performance is not important to you.

Intermediate – You ski mostly blue runs with the occasional black run or mogul run. You are comfortable with some speed or you ski several times of year. A lot of people will be in this category.

Advanced – You ski anywhere on almost anything. You ski fast and aggressively.

skier-typev2

Once you determine your level you will know which type of boot to look for: beginner, intermediate or advanced. The main difference between a beginner/comfort boot and intermediate boots is how stiff the boot is or the flex of the boot. The less aggressive skier you are the softer the boot should be. There will be other considerations like your height, weight and athletic ability. If you are very tall or heavier than average you will want to get the next level boot.

When you try ski boots on you should stand in them and flex your knees forward pressing your shins against the front of the boots. See how much you can flex the boots and remember when you are on a ski slope it will be harder than when you are standing in the store. So if it is difficult to push forward at the store you most likely won’t be able to do it on skis. Don’t try to buy a more advanced boot than your current level. A boot that is too stiff will cause you to develop bad skiing habits like skiing with your weight back.

Stop by your local Sun & Ski store to get a thorough ski boot fit. Our experts are here to make sure you get the most out of your precious time on the slopes!!

 

Article by Cody Kidd

6 Offseason Tips for Triathletes

Sun & Ski Triathlon

Though triathlon is indeed “a” sport, triathletes must be able to do the three sports (swimming, cycling and running) in a manner that gets them across the finish line in the least amount of time. As a triathlete, you may or may not be aiming for a spot on the podium but you probably want to be fast—your personal definition of fast.

In order to be a fast triathlete you need to train like a triathlete, even in the offseason. You need to train for the demands of the sport of triathlon. Your winter or offseason training needs to compliment your training in the competitive season.

Here are six strategies for your offseason training to help you be a better triathlete when race season rolls around.

1) Optimize the number of workout sessions or your workout frequency.

If you have a single-sport history, say swimming as an example, more than likely you swam six days per week and sometimes you swam twice per day. If you try to apply that template to cycling and running for your triathlon plan, aiming for six sessions per sport per week, is a sure recipe for injury or overtraining issues.

Triathletes should aim to do two to three workout sessions per sport, per week. This means you will swim two to three times, bike two to three times, and run two to three times. If you are new to the sport, or it is your offseason, one or two workouts per sport each week is a great start.

As you gain experience, get closer to race season, and increase your triathlon performance aspirations, there may be times when you have four weekly workout sessions in one, or more, of the sports.

2) Strength train for triathlon, not body building.

There are differing opinions on the value of weight training in the offseason. I think most triathletes gain value by adding strength training to their offseason program. The value is increased power output on the bike, reducing the likelihood of injuries by correcting muscular imbalances and working on core body strength and stability.

In the weight room, focus on multiple-muscle movements that complement the sport of triathlon. Minimize the exercises that isolate a particular muscle.

3) Plan fast workouts.

It doesn’t matter if you’re doing six workout sessions per week or nine; plan to go fast in some of them. Your body needs the stress of fast workouts—and recovery—in order to make gains.

In the offseason, make the fast segments of your workouts short with long recovery intervals. Miracle intervals on an indoor trainer are a good example of this principle or the speedy segments can be just simple 20-second accelerations. Because the fast segments are very short and you can keep the number of repeats low, you can include some speedy segments in nearly all of your workouts.

I will say there are some coaches that make the offseason completely aerobic—no efforts above the aerobic level, whatsoever. I am not one of those coaches and I believe keeping some fast training in your routine in the offseason is critical.

4) Remove threshold intervals in the offseason.

Though you should keep some fast segments in your training for most of the year, do not keep flogging yourself with the same old lactate threshold workouts year-round. Repeating high-intensity workouts day in and day out leads to boredom, risk of injury and certainly a plateau in performance.

When do you begin to add threshold training back into the fold? The answer depends on your short term and long term goals.

5) Plan key workouts.

Make your “hard” workouts count towards performance increases. These hard sessions should be considered key workouts. A key workout can work on improving your speed, endurance or in some cases both. Depending on what you’re doing in the weight room, a key session may be a strength session in the offseason.

A good rule of thumb is to limit your key workouts to between two and four per week—total in all sports.

6) Consider a single-sport focus in the offseason.

If your swim is your weak link in your races, try swimming four or five days per week. Keep your swimming and cycling workouts easy and limit them to only one or two per week. If cycling is your weak link, try adding a weekly group ride as one of your key workouts. If running is your weak link, add one more run session per week, but keep an eye on injury indicators.

In all cases of single-sport focus, consider spending four to six months training for a single-sport event (a swim meet, a cycling event or a running race) while keeping the other sports maintained at a minimum level.

With some key changes to your training routine and consistency in the offseason, you will be a better—and faster—triathlete next season.

 

Article by Gale Bernhardt