Author Archives: Alan Desbonnet

RIDE PIGS ARRIVE

A RIDE PIG was birthed a couple of years ago — WARPIG. This snowboard was designed in such a way that riders could select a slight shorter, more maneuverable board but not lose any of the great qualities in the RIDE line of snowboards.

WARPIG, needless to say, was a HUGE hit on the slopes. So much so that the following year RIDE added TWINPIG and MTNPIG boards to the line up.

They were a HUGER hit. So HUGE that demand outstripped supply. Those that failed to grab a little piggy early in the season, got no piggy at all. All those “piggy less” riders had to suffer a year on the slopes with their old decks.

THESE LITTLE PIGGY’S WENT TO AVIE’S

Yes, the 2019-2020 RIDE “PIGS” have arrived at Avie’s Ski / Sports. If you went “pigless” last season, here is your best chance to change your fate for the coming season. Get to Avie’s Ski / Sports and grab a PIG before all the little piggy’s are gone once again.

Is it too early to think about playing in the snow? NEVER!

If you want to RIDE A PIG this winter, now is the time to pick up the bacon.

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A Daddle Paddle?

Still wondering about a Father’s Day gift for that extra special dad? Don’t sweat it; you got this covered.

Swing by Avie’s Ski / Sports and pick out a great BIC paddle board or surf board. There are hard decks and soft decks, in both paddle and surf boards, all in several lengths. Whether dad is just starting out or is an old pro, one of these BIC boards will put a huge smile on his face.

Avie’s Ski / Sports is open today, Father’s Day, from noon to 5:00 PM. Stop in and check out what could be the best Father’s Day gift ever.

As extra incentive, there is NO SALES TAX on surf and paddle boards sold in Rhode Island. And Avie’s just happens to be in Westerly, RI so you save a few bucks! No harm in that!

And just so you know, BIC is located just across the RI border in Massachusetts. So if perchance you don’t see the length, style, or color of the BIC board you want, Avie’s can get it and get it fast.

There’s no down side to a BIC paddle or surf board for dad. Summer is here. Give dad a reason to get out on the water and have some fun in the sun and the surf.

Check out Avies’ Ski / Sports. Open Sundays Noon to Five.

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Summer Hours at Avie’s Ski / Sports

Just a reminder that we are now on Summer Hours at Avie’s Ski / Sports! The shop will now be open Sunday from noon until 5:00 PM.

You now have another shopping day available at the store which, once again, was voted in the Westerly Sun Reader’s Choice Award as #1 Sporting Goods Store.

Summer apparel, sandals, flip flops, sunglasses, stand-up-paddle and surf gear have replaced skis, snowboards and winter clothing. Stop by and check out the new brands available this season.

As always, Avie’s is your “Go to” for tennis and scuba gear.

And a few reminders:

  • If you still have Seasonal Lease gear — BRING IT TO THE SHOP! We need to refurbish them for use again next season and like to have all that done by June. If you already brought seasonal lease gear back — THANK YOU!!
  • If you haven’t yet had your gear tuned at seasons end, now is the time to do so before the summer humidity settles in. Do It Yourself or bring it to Avie’s and have it “Summerized.”
  • The Tuning Shop will close for the season in early June, so any tune ups or gear maintenance needs to arrive at the shop now!

Avie’s will be CLOSED on Monday May 27th in honor of Memorial Day.

From then through Labor Day however, Summer Hours are in play at Avie’s Ski / Sports!

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Final Turns

This coming weekend marks the closing date for final turns at many of the ski areas to our north. Not all, but most.

Bromely is already closed, as are most if not all of the smaller, more southerly ski areas.

Okemo, Stratton, Mount Snow, Loon, and Bretton Woods are all slated to stop operations this Sunday, the 14th of April.

Stowe and Sunday River have planned closing dates of Sunday, April 21st. Smugglers Notch the same, but not open weekdays next week, just open for closing weekend.

Sugarbush closed Mount Ellen already, leaving Lincoln Peak open, and hasn’t posted an official closing date, but there are hints of being open into early May if skiable conditions persist.

Killington and Sugarloaf are, as we know, open well into May, conditions permitting. Killington has some major on-slope events planned on weekends right into May. And with the depth of snow they have piled up on Superstar, you can be sure they will have that trail open deep into May.

Bottom line is, if you want to get in a few more turns on your favorite ski mountain, you better plan to get out there soon. Really soon.

And after you take that final slide down the mountainside, be sure to bring your skis or snowboard into Avie’s Ski / Sports for a final tune of the year. That final nicety will keep your skis or snowboard in fine shape through the summer, ensuring that you are set to ski or ride when that first lift spins next winter.

Sure, you can chuck your gear in the closet, or a dark corner of the garage or basement, but you won’t like what you see next fall. Do the smart thing — have your gear tuned at end of the season.

Better still, if you value your skis or snowboard, have Avie’s “summerize” them. The coating of wax saturates the base as it is applied with a hot waxing iron. The dividend this pays next season is that your skis or board holds wax better, longer. Meaning you beat friction for longer, meaning you slide along faster.

The transition to summer is happening right now at Avie’s. But there is still time to shop for winter gear. Stop in and check things out. You may find some bargains.

The curtain of cold falls with a grand “Ta-Da” closing this act in our annual seasonal play. When the curtain lifts, spring is here and summer not far ahead. Time to chase the spiders out of the kayaks, get some new tennis balls, find that paddle board paddle and leash, and get out and have some fun in the sun and warmth.

Enjoy!

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Snow Season Wrap Up

The 2019 ski and ride season turned out pretty good overall. The season got off to a wonderful start with a very snowy November and December. I got out on the slopes 5 times before the Christmas holiday rolled around. That was a very nice start to the season.

January and February, like they always do, brought along spates of bone-biting cold, splashes of warmth, and sporadic snow events all laced together with your run-of-the-mill winter weather. There did seem to be an overabundance of high winds this past season, with too many days when lift service to mountain summits was either restricted or curtailed.

Unlike last year, this March did not grace us with mega-snow storm after mega-snow storm. Snow did fall, enough keep things freshened up, but not enough to really dress the slopes off in white like March of 2018.

And so the season winds down. Ski mountains are shuttering all but the main lodges, turning off the power to lifts not servicing the main face, and shrinking open trail counts daily. It’s not over yet, but the season is most definitely on the wind down.

Season’s End “To Do”

If, for you, the season of playing in the snow is over, now is the time to do a few things that can make your return to the season of snow later this year vastly better. Here is the list:

SKIS/SNOWBOARDS

Bring your skis or snowboards to Avie’s Ski / Sports for a tune up. Get the edges sharp, the base refreshed, and a coat of wax applied. Ask for “The Works” when you bring them into Avie’s.

Better still, ask for your skis or board to be “Summerized.” You get The Works, but we apply a thicker coat of wax to seal the base so it stays pristine, and holds wax better next season. Bring your gear back in the fall. We scrape off the wax and buff the base to a super slick, super shiny finish. If you love your gear, and want your gear to love you, Summerize.

Store skis and snowboards in a dry area with some decent air circulation. Don’t toss them in a corner of the garage or your cellar. Chances are that when you grab them next season, they will be full of rust and oxidization. Not only does it look nasty, it is ruining your gear.

Sure, Avie’s can remove the rust and oxidization, but we often have remove a lot of base material and/or metal from the edges. Both significantly reduce the lifespan of your skis or snowboard, and may affect performance characteristics.

BOOTS

Take those ski or ride boots out of the closet where you tossed them. Pull out the liners and remove the foot bed. Mix up a bucket of cool water and a very little bit of unscented soap, then plunge in the liners and work the soapy water around really good. Rinse multiple times to get rid of all the soap, then leave somewhere with good air circulation to completely dry. This will keep the liners fresh and clean.

DO NOT put boot liners in the dryer!! Heat moldable boot liners—which is most all that are on the market today—will shrink significantly. Only put them in the dryer if you want new booties for your doggie.

Liner already “stinky?” Use an anti-bacterial soap. When completely dry, spray with a deodorizing shoe spray (there are several on the shelves at your favorite drug store), and let dry for a day or two.

After cleaning the liners and reassembling the boots, buckle or lace them loosely. This will help keep the shape of the outer shell intact so that when you slip into them next, they fit the same.

SKI JACKETS & PANTS

Take your ski jacket and ski pants, and put them through a wash cycle. Be sure to read the tag inside the garment first, and follow the directions. If your jacket or pants are waterproof, properly washing and drying them will refresh the waterproofing.

And I repeat, read and follow instructions on the garment tag—to the letter. Some garments, for instance, will lose their waterproofing if washed/dried using fabric softener/dryer sheets.

Seasonal Lease Packages

If you have a Seasonal Lease package from Avie’s Ski / Sports, we do ask that you bring all the equipment back to the shop at your earliest convenience. We need to clean up and service hundreds of pairs of skis and many, many snowboards, so we appreciate your returning them early. It’s our goal to get “winter” out of our system by closing the tuning shop before Memorial Day rolls around.

Not Ready to Call It Quits?

That’s great! We love die-hards! We do suggest however, that you bring in your skis or board for a quick wax job. With the snow softening up and getting super wet, having a coat of wax will help reduce the jolt you experience hitting those really wet patches on the trail. And the wax helps make the skis or board less “sticky,” giving you a better ride down the slopes.

If you wax your own skis or board, now is the time to stop in at Avie’s Ski / Sports and pick up a bar of SWIX “yellow” wax. It will make you slide along so much better during those lovely spring days on the slopes.

Avie’s Ski / Sports will be making the transition from winter to summer over the coming month. Stop in and look for some deals and steals on winter gear. If you buy it, we don’t have to move it to it’s summer home!

Regardless where, or how…..Enjoy Spring!

AlanD

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Stratton + Stratospheric = Strattonspheric!

I decided to make a run up to Stratton this morning. I’m glad I did. It was Strattonspheric. That means it was other-worldly good. Outta-this-world good.

Sight Seeing?

Look at the picture, taken from the summit near the top of the new Snow Bowl lift. I think that’s proof enough that my decision was a good one. A really good one.

That’s Bromely Ski area center right. Way off in the distance, not really noticeable in the image here on the webpage, unfortunately, you could see the snow-capped twin summits of Camel’s Hump. Stowe off behind that—I think. That’s how crystal clear a day it was.

Okay, so you give me a high-five for a great day of sightseeing in Vermont. What you really want to know is — How was the skiing?

OMG Awesome!

It was phenomenal. Stratospheric even. Despite it being clear and sunny, it was cold. In the teens at the summit and mid-twenties at the base. And it stayed cold. With a breeze that wasn’t quite a wind. The snow stayed firm-and-fast on the upper mountain, with lower mountain trails softening up just a bit. Not so much as to be sloppy or “grabby.” Just nicely soft.

The snow they received over this past weekend gave the mountain operations folks a chance to make a major “reset” on the trails. The St. Patrick’s Day Avie’s bus trip to Okemo experienced “groomed variable surfaces,” which translates to “chopped ice.” Not that those conditions were bad, they were actually quite good. But the snow today at Stratton was delicious, good old packed-powder. It was spectacular.

Grizzy—a Double-Diamond to the left off the Ursa lift, was fully groomed top-to-bottom. First time I had seen it groomed this season. It was spectacularly fun. Multiple times. As was Polar Bear, Black Bear, Tamarack, Standard, Spruce, Drifter, Sunrise Supertrail, and Down’easter. To name a few.

Time to Act Is NOW!

Bottom line is that conditions are incredibly good right now to the north in ski country. Take advantage of it. Read this, then call in sick for tomorrow. Go skiing or riding. It will be worth the effort. You won’t regret a moment.

Some warmth creeps in towards the end of the week, which will make for some good spring skiing and riding, for sure. But if you like your snow-covered slopes to be firm-and-fast, go tomorrow. Leave tonight if you can so you can’t change your mind.

Yes, the ski and ride season is winding down. Resorts will be reducing access day-by-day, and trail counts will dwindle. All the more reason to get out there one more time. Or two. Maybe three?

It’s on my agenda. Maybe see you out there.

AlanD
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Loon Mountain — Last Trip

This Sunday, March 24th, is the official last trip of the Avie’s Ski / Sports Ski & Ride Bus Trip season. And that final bus is going to Loon Mountain in New Hampshire.

Right now, Friday morning, it is snowing at Loon. Snowing hard. In fact, they are expecting 5-8 inches of snow up there before it ends tomorrow morning. Then it stays cold through Saturday, meaning not much of it melts.

Sunday however, sees the temperature slide up into the mid-40s. And sunny.

That means some sweet, soft, buttery turns at Loon. Yes, spring skiing at it’s best. Nice fresh snow and nice warm sun.

The trip to Loon is a definite “Go!” There are some seats left, but given the predicted conditions, empty seats may fill quickly.

Get to Avie’s and get signed up for that trip! The last chance, last trip this season! Sad but true.

Fresh snow — Spring skiing

$99.95

LOON MOUNTAIN, NH

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St. Patrick’s Day White

47 skiers and riders embarked on a bus from Avie’s Ski / Sports on Sunday March 17th—St. Patrick’s Day. It was also Avie’s Customer Appreciation Day. The bus went to Okemo. Ted and all the Avie’s shop employees were onboard for this special trip.

While there was no corned beef and cabbage, Ted had plenty of coffee and donuts to go around. Everyone was well fed and well caffeinated when the bus arrived at Okemo. While St. Patrick’s Day is known as a day of green, this one was white. As the bus pulled into the lot at Okemo, it was snowing. Hard enough so that you couldn’t see the upper mountain.

On the mountain, conditions were firm and fast throughout the morning. Okemo, true to its claim to fame, did an incredible job grooming the slopes. Recovery from the two previous days of temperatures nearly into the 60s was incredible. Everywhere on the mountain snow coverage was good to great. Great was found on most of the main mountain face trails.

The sun popped out in the afternoon and warmed things up a bit. This made for some nice soft turns, especially along lower mountain trails. The sun, the light breeze, and the soft snow was a reminder that spring is nearby.

All in all it was a great day on the slopes at Okemo. Skiers and riders had a fun time in the early morning snow and chill, and in the warm afternoon sunshine. Inside the lodge a leprechaun was greeting Avie’s skiers and riders at lunch. At days end, tired skiers and riders relaxed around the fire pit, swapping stories about the days adventures.

But alas the day closed and the group followed it’s leprechaun leader back to bus for the trip south.

Big smiles were everywhere. The great day on the slopes was followed by the leprechaun giving out some St. Patrick’s Day cheer. Drink koozies, warm knit hats—some with pompoms—T-shirts, goggles, and more. The leprechaun made what seemed like endless trips up and down the aisle of the bus bearing gifts. Clementines, cookies, string cheese, and more.

Finally the onboard movies flickered onto the screen, and everyone settled in to chill and relax for the last part of the ride back to Waterford and then Westerly. It was a long day, but a great day.

Usually the Customer Appreciation Day Trip is the last ski and ride bus trip leaving Avie’s Ski / Sports for the season. But not this year. There is one more opportunity to get on the bus from Avie’s. The final trip, Sunday March 24th, heads to Loon Mountain in New Hampshire. Seats are still available, so stop in and sign up if you want a day of fun on the slopes.

Ski country to our north is still covered in white. But it won’t last forever. Get out and enjoy that white stuff before it turns to water!!

AlanD
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Killington Greets Avie’s

Thirty patrons of Avie’s Ski / Sports ventured forth to Killington ski resort yesterday, Wednesday March 13th, for a bit of skiing and riding. And it was quite a day!

Upon arrival, 153 of 155 trails were open for skiers and riders. That’s an impressive amount of territory to play in. If you can’t find something to suit your fancy in that array of trails, time to think about partaking in a different sport.

Winds were light to non-existent, and the sun wanted to play hide and seek. Then it just decided to hide, at least until early afternoon. Temperatures were in the high 20s in the morning, jumping into the low 30s early afternoon. It was warm enough where you didn’t get cold, and cold enough where you didn’t get hot. Pretty much perfect in other words.

Conditions ran what I consider the typical New England gauntlet for this time of year. Firm and fast early, with those trails that were groomed having some nice crunchy corduroy ribs to sink an edge into. As the day progressed and warmed, the snow softened. Particularly in those areas that were in the sun when it poked through for a mid-day visit. Late in the day, since the sun went back into hiding, most surfaces refroze, providing for some fast last runs.

Overall, conditions were ideal. Fantastic even. And that was quite evident on the faces of the 30 Avie’s skiers and riders as they made their way off slope and onto the bus for the return trip. All smiles. No grumbles—other than wishing it didn’t have to end.

Snow conditions up in ski country continue to be incredible. While northern New England has not seen—at least not yet—the major March dumps of white stuff experienced last year, they have received multiple smaller but significant snowfall events. No bare spots, not many icy patches, and still a ton of snow on the trails and in the woods. It’s mid-March and most ski areas are, or nearly, 100% open!

The bottom line is—get out there and enjoy these incredible conditions while they continue. There is still lots of skiing and riding left, but we are indeed on the “downhill slope home” for this season.

Avie’s Ski / Sports has it’s well loved—and for good reason—Customer Appreciation Trip taking place this Sunday, March 17, heading to Okemo. Ted comes along and brings all kinds of ski and snowboard “bling” to give away. All of it interesting and all of it useful in some way or another. All the Avie’s staff are also along. Coffee and donuts for the ride up. Snacks and water for the ride home. All in all it’s a really fun time.

And there is still space available for the March 17 trip to Okemo. But those seats will not stay empty for long, so don’t dawdle too long over deciding to go or not. The weather looks to be in the twenties on Sunday the 17th, and Okemo is famed for their incredible groomers. Looks to be a good day for ripping up some corduroy!!

Join Ted, I, and the rest of the Avie’s Ski / Sports staff for a day of fun.

See you this Sunday.

AlanD
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Okemo — Firm and Fast

Allison and I stopped in at Okemo on our way back south. The day before at Killington had been epic. Three to four inches of powder in the morning, following by dumping snow all afternoon that led to late day “fresh tracks.”

How could Okemo beat that? We weren’t sure, but we were not disappointed.

The morning started out cold, about 5 degrees at the base lodge. But the sky was aquiline blue with nary a cloud to be seen. Just a hint of a breeze tickled the trees at the summit.

We scooted over to Jackson Gore to start the day. The run down Blue Moon to the lift warmed up the muscles. Then a drop down Quantum Leap under the lift made for an exhilarating start. Allison’s goal for the day was to break the 40 mph mark. That happened on Quantum Leap and her day was off to an even better start. Mission accomplished!

We hit all the trails at Jackson Gore, then picked our way back toward the main face, hitting all the trails in the Solitude area on the way. Chief, World Cup, and several others flew by under us as we hit the main face of the resort.

The day stayed cold but sunny, and the slopes stayed firm and fast.

Conditions were totally different than the day before at Killington. But in a very positive way. Okemo was 100% open, all 121 trails ready for skiers and riders. Most trails were groomed up in the exquisite style for which Okemo is famed. The firm base under the beautiful corduroy stripes made for delicious carving.

And carve we did. My feet were nested in Dalbello DS 130 boots, which were clicked into my Volkl RTM 84s. They are a beautiful couple. Carving—at any speed—is done with confidence, fearlessly, and with great joy. Allison was strapped onto her new Ride Saturday deck, carving her way down the slopes with ease and grace.

Our only regret was that the day had to end. Conditions up north in ski country are about as good as it gets. So get out and get some of those goods!

This Sunday, March 10th, the Avie’s Ski and Ride Trip heads to Okemo. You can have the chance to get out and lay down some carves, dodge trees, slide rails, and bounce some bumps. It’s all there and waiting for you. Don’t let great snow conditions slip through your fingers.

And don’t forget—Wednesday March 13th Avie’s heads to Killington. If you’ve not been to Killington on a weekday when the rest of humanity is at work or school, you are missing one of life’s great pleasures.

Conditions are great. Right now. Enjoy!

Alan & Allie D
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