Category Archives: Gear Knowledge

Ready For Winter!?

This summer I built a woodshed

Though not considered winter snow sports, our next door neighbor built the Taj Mahal of chicken coops last season. Complete with multi-colored lighting, flowers, and other enticing egg-laying decor. Secretly, I think the Taj Mahal coop is equipped with air conditioning and a home theater. The chickens love it, and lay dozens upon dozens of eggs. And then for no apparent reason, egg production slowed. 

I thought it might be the rusty chain link fence surrounding my wood pile. It did look pretty shabby all of a sudden. The ripped and tattered blue tarp on top didn’t add much either. Maybe the horrid sight depressed the hens.

I did need wood for the coming winter. So I decided to upgrade rusty fence for a classy and classic lean-to-style woodshed. I hoped that would put “The Girls,” as neighbor Lisa refers to them, back on the nest.

The Shed—Taj Mahal chicken coop in background

The new shed looks great with the Taj Mahal chicken coop in the background. And it looks better still with a couple cords of split, seasoned hardwood in it. 

I’m  about  set  for  winter.                 Are  you?

Farmer’s Almanac is saying that for New England, expect snow. And lots of it. Their predictions are for greater amounts of snow than is usual. They are also predicting that significant snow will be seen by, and in, December. To be sure the snow sticks around, Farmer’s predicts colder than normal temperatures throughout the season. This is a great prediction for all us winter snow sports enthusiasts. 

Oh yeah, I’m all for that!

It would be great to get in a half dozen or more days of skiing before Santa slides down the chimney. And I would be thrilled to see abundant snow continue all the way through until late March. I’ll even wish for the below normal cold. Provided that doesn’t mean the marrow-freezing cold we experienced last season between end of December and mid-January. That kind of cold put the damper on winter snow sports. It was so cold even ski lifts became belligerent, with many refusing to spin! No thank you. Keep that kind of cold up at the North Pole for the reindeer to enjoy.

So, are you ready? Ha ha. I know you aren’t. Temperatures have been floating into the 90s, even along the shore. So I know the only cold you are thinking about is the rapidly melting ice diluting your Dell’s.

The days however, have grown noticeably shorter. And the sun, while still hot, doesn’t carry the same fiery intensity it did a month ago. Yellow school buses have replaced out-of-state license plates. But the most telling change, is the morning bird song having been replaced by the evening chorus now provided by the End of Summer Insect Ensemble.

Winter snow sports enthusiasts take note!

This is not a cause for sadness! New ski and ride gear is beginning to show up at Avie’s Ski / Sports. While still in boxes, it won’t be long before the new “winter crop” of The North Face, Smartwool, and other apparel hangs from the racks. A rainbow will splash across the walls of the shop, made by the colors of this years bounty of new skis and snowboards, boots and poles.

While still it’s too early in the fall season to not stop in and pick up a new stand up paddle board—fall is perfect paddling weather—it’s not too early to start thinking about ski and ride season.

And this winter, there will be much to explore at Avie’s

Expect to see some twin tips and race skis available. There will be new brands, as well as the tried and true. While it’s always exciting to ogle the new skis and boards of the season, the real change up will be found in the ski boot section. Recent changes throughout the industry will be bringing along some great opportunities for your feet, especially those of you with wider feet.

AlanD

Stay tuned to the Avie’s Ski / Sports Blog page as we help you prep for  the upcoming season. New gear. New brands. New styles. And a new ski boot universe.

Oh yeah, the shed upgrade was well received. “The Girls” are back to filling the Taj Mahal to overflowing. 

New Skis Visit Avie’s

It’s tourist season here in the Westerly area. So it makes sense that Meier Skis came to visit while on vacation.

Meier skis play on a theme of the wild west during the gold rush days. Titles like Quickdraw, High Noon, Double Barrel, and Calamity Jane grace the Meier ski line. While the names may be whimsical, the skis are not.

Meier Skis are hand crafted in Denver, Colorado. But these are not your ordinary factory skis. Meier skis are all about sustainability. The skis are wood core from locally, sustainably harvested Colorado trees. The glues that hold the wood laminates together are distilled from pine and vegetable oils—no petrochemicals involved. Even the ink used in the top sheet graphics is non-toxic.

So if you want a pair of skis that keep your carbon footprint as teensy as possible, a set of Meier skis just might be something you want to consider. But how do they ski you ask?

Like I said, they just stopped by on their vacation here in the east. Ted convinced several pair to hang around at Avie’s Ski/Sports until the snow flies. In the meantime, you may want to stop by the shop and meet some of these interesting, good looking skis. While I don’t know and can’t say how they ski—because I haven’t yet had the opportunity to jump on and try them out—have to admit I like what I see. And more importantly, I like what I feel. The three pair I will introduce all have a certain solid but playful feel to them. Being solid wood core, I expected a lot  less rigidity than the skis express.

So I am quite intrigued by these western visitors. And I look forward to an opportunity to take them out for a few laps on the slopes. But let me introduce them to you.

Quickdraw is a men’s frontside carver. Made for the groomers, but with the lightweight wood core I am guessing these sticks would be a fun run in the woods. At 88 mm in the waist, they would float powder fairly well is my guess, making them an all mountain kind of ski.

Calamity Jane is a ski for the ladies. This ski has a wide shovel and a narrow waist—78 mm. That combination makes it look like it will be powder-capable, but the tip design says carve-worthy. This ski has woods, powder, groomers written all over it. The super lightness, because of the wood core, leads me to believe you can ski this hard all day and your legs will never say “enough already!”

The Bangtail has captured by attention quite strongly. This narrow-waisted set of sticks—73 mm—has a look about it that says “fast!” This past season I spent a lot of slope time on a narrow-waisted set of race-style skis, and I can’t remember when I had more fun on a ski. Sure, “fat” skis on a powder day. But you can’t beat “skinny” on the groomers.

The Meier trio of skis visiting Avie’s Ski/Sport are all designed with a bit of rocker in the tip (Calamity Jane has a bit of tail rocker as well) but with traditional camber underfoot. Camber underfoot means a lot of “pop” in the ski. That means to me, lots of fun and liveliness. Camber helps quick, lively transitions side-to-side in the turns. I think these will all be fun skis.

And I think you will find them intriguing. I know I do. The graphics are bright and cheery. The skis themselves are light but not at all wimpy. Let’s just say they present themselves well. And the folks at Meier Skis also present well. Sustainable and eco-friendly. That’s a great business model.

If you are in the area, stop by and meet the new skis in town. You may find out that you want to be the one to introduce them to east coast skiing.

Time to Stow It

While Killington is still open with a couple of trails off the Superstar lift, most of us are now getting our summer time play gear ready for action. I’ve tuned up my road cycle and mountain bike, and am chasing the spiders out of the kayaks.

But I haven’t forgotten my winter toys, and neither should you. Now is the time to “summerize” your ski and ride gear. Don’t wait until November when the edges are caked with rust, the bindings infested with spiders, and the bases looking like they were whitewashed. Bleah!

The easiest way to keep your gear in tip-top shape is to bring your skis or your board to Avie’s and ask to have them “summerized.” That means a full tune up—we repair and grind the base, sharpen the edges, and then lay a thick coat of wax over the base and rub wax all along the edges. This will keep the base fresh and not allow it to oxidize, or the edges to rust.

Yes, your ski or board base can “rust,” though it is referred to as “oxidized.” Ozone and other atmospheric chemicals attack the dry base, bleaching it out and making it have a chalky, powdery feel. And that’s not good. The base no longer holds wax very well, and more friction is created meaning you go ssssllllooooooooooowwweeerrrr on the slopes. And really, who wants to do that?

If you want to keep your boots in good shape, clean the liner. Pull it out of the boot, remove the footbed / insole and clean it with cold water that has a little bit of anti-bacterial soap dissolved in it. Swish it around real good then rinse extra good with cold water. Put them somewhere where they can completely dry. Outside is great if its a nice day. Once completely dry add a dash of foot powder, if you want, then put them back into the boots and loosely buckle them up so the shell keeps its shape.

And don’t forget jackets and pants. Launder them as per instruction on the tag that you never bother to look at, sewn into a seam somewhere on the inside. Most outerwear that is waterproof or water repellent needs to be cleaned and dried in order to refresh and maintain its water repelling properties. Read the tag. Follow the instructions. Its easy.

Now you will be all set for next season. Once the temperature tumbles bring your “summarized” gear to Avie’s and we will scrape off the summer wax, hand brush the base to a nice shine, and send you on your way for some fun in the white stuff.

Have questions? Want to learn how to wax and sharpen? Send an email to tuningshop@aviesskisport.com as we are always ready and willing to assist.

Reindeer Skis?

You can bet that post-Christmas, Santa’s team of reindeer will be chilling out in the woods after an exhausting night of deliveries. And who wouldn’t like to see Santa’s reindeer?

Well, if you want to go look, here are three pair of skis that will take you for that adventure between the trees. One is a tried and true pair of sticks, and the other two are new to the market this season.

The tried and true reindeer hunter is Volkl Kendo. The two newbies are Volkl Kanjo and Blizzard Brahma CA. Each of these is light in weight and have lots of “pop.” These qualities make them excellent skis to take off trail for some adventure.

Year after year I ski Volkl Kendo and just don’t get sick of them. They carve. They are fun in the bumps. They float powder. They nimbly make their way between the trees. Kendo is just an amazing ski.

Then along comes Volkl Kanjo new for 2018. At first blush I thought Kanjo was just Kendo with less width. But I was wrong. Kanjo is a bit lighter, and with a lot more “pop” underfoot. They carve the groomers just fine. But they love the bumps and lumps. And because they are so light and so nimble they are just a blast among the trees. Kanjo was a standout among all the new skis for 2018 that I got to try out at the On Snow Demo. I give Kanjo a double thumbs up.

Blizzard Brahma has been a “go to” ski for someone who plays all around the mountain. But Brahma has a bit of an attitude because of all the metal stiffeners it carries. Blizzard took all that made Brahma a great ski, but left out the metal and replaced it with carbon fiber. The result? One super light, fast responding, awesomely fun pair of sticks. You might forget you have skis underfoot they are so light. And because of that, they literally dance you through the trees.

So, if you want to go on a hunt for Santa’s reindeer team the day after Christmas, you may want to consider picking up one the skis I mention above. If you love the adventure found between the trees, and if you really want a chance to find those sneaky reindeer, these are your best bet.

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas. And happy reindeer hunting.

 

AlanD

Santa’s Picks

This past February I got to have a second Christmas. I got to go to the On Snow Demo in Vermont and try out all the skis that are now out and about for sale this ski season.

Now that the snow is falling up north and the bull wheels are hauling lifts to the tops of ski mountains, I got to thinking about all the skis I tried out. A few things boiled up to the surface that I thought I would pass along. …more

Tuning Clinic This Saturday

Just a reminder that this Saturday, the 9th of December, Avie’s Ski/Sport is offering a

FREE

Ski and Snowboard Tuning Clinic

Now, right at the start of the season, is a great time to learn how to tune your skis or snowboard. You save money. You have some fun. You keep your gear in shape. You rip the slopes faster, better, faster.

Any questions or to let me know you plan on attending, email me at tuningshop@aviesskisport.com

Looking forward to seeing you Saturday.

 

AlanD

Ticket to RIDE

RIDE snowboards continues it’s legacy of great gear for riding the mountain, with a few tweaks and revamps to make 2018 season RIDE snowboards, boots, and bindings even better.

Like many, if not most ski and snowboard manufacturers for 2018, RIDE has messed around with carbon fiber technology. Most of the snowboards produced by RIDE for this season are not brand new, but instead are upgrades to existing gear with carbon. Using carbon fiber technology allows for the removal of weight while maintaining stiffness. This of course makes for a more lively deck while not giving up ability to tip into and hold turns. …more

Nordica in November

It is so very exciting to tap into my web browser every morning and, using the “snow spy cams” at various New England ski mountains, take in the beautiful sight of landscapes growing from green and brown to lovely, lovely, whiteness!! It is, other than actually being on the slopes, the best way for me to start a day. I have a great view of lower Narragansett Bay from my office, but it doesn’t rate with the flash of excitement that comes with seeing a snow covered ski slope.

But I digress. The past few posts have taken a look at this season’s crop of skis and boards from Capita, Blizzard, and Volkl. This post takes a look at Nordica, and the next will focus on RIDE snowboards. …more

First Frost

It was great to wake up this morning and see a nice heavy coat of frost. It has snowed a couple of times up north. Ski areas are working snow guns overnight as they begin to build up the base we will ski and ride on this season. Killington and Sunday River have lifts spinning taking eager beavers up for some early season turns.

If you haven’t turned thoughts towards skiing and riding, this ought to help you get focused. Last post focused on What’s New from Blizzard and Tecnica, and the one before that on new Capita, Union, and thirtytwo snowboard gear. Check those out if you missed them, but first read on as we check in on Volkl and Dalbello. …more