Category Archives: Gear Knowledge

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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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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Dalbello Krypton vs. Dalbello DS

The title sounds like a cyber-style remake of a “Rocky” movie, or the next sequel to one of the many super hero type movies out there. But it’s not that far fetched. And more importantly, it’s about skiing.

Last fall I had a post titled “Ski Boots—Year of the Boot.” In that post I made mention that I would get out another post about differences between 3-buckle cabrio and 4-buckle overlap boots. So here is that post.

So you better understand the starting point, both boots were used pretty much “out-of-the-box.” The liners in the Krypton Pro boots were heat fitted. I did not heat fit the DS 130 boots because they felt great right out of the box. In each boot the factory provided footbed was replaced with a Sidas 3Feet custom footbed, sold at Avie’s Ski / Sports.

The History

For the past few seasons I have been skiing in a pair of Dalbello Krypton Pro 130 boots. These are a 3-buckle cabrio boot with a 130 flex rating. They are very snug fitting, high performing boots.

Cabrio style ski boots have 3 buckles, making for very easy foot entry, and exit. It is almost as easy as slipping into a regular pair of shoes. Seriously. No grunting or groaning or twisting and turning of the foot to try and jam it into the boot. Pull apart the liner and in the foot goes.

But this year Dalbello came out with the new DS line of boots, whose design is taken right off the mechanical drawings for their DSR race boots. The Avie’s sales rep for Dalbello, Scott Heald, took us through how DS boots are put together from different injection molds to add stiffness while reducing weight. Scott had been skiing in Krypton Pro 130s and made the jump into DS 130s. So I figured I would try the same, see what I thought, then pass that along to you.

The Contenders

Krypton Pro 130 is a 3-buckle, cabrio-style, freeride, 98 mm last (width) ski boot. The boots are stiff, narrow, and high performance. They provide progressive flex as the tongue of the boot is pressured by the skier. The progressive flex allows the skier a great deal of finesse in how power is applied to the ski. The boot and liner are also designed to be more impact absorbing. These are great assets for those playing in the park, the bumps, and the woods.

DS 130 is a 4-buckle, overlap-style, 100 mm last (width) ski boot. They are a stiff, high performance boot designed after the Dalbello DSR race boot. That little bit of extra width provides for a little bit more comfort. Power transmission to the ski is nearly immediate, and precise. These are great assets for corduroy carving control freaks who want a bit more comfort than that provided by traditional race boots.

In The Shop

Entry | Exit

The first difference I noticed is that the DS 130 boots, like all 4-buckle overlap boots, were way less fun to get my feet into. I admit I was a bit out of practice after sliding my foot oh-so-sweetly into that pair of Krypton Pro boots for the past few years. Round One—ease of entry and exit—definitely goes to the Krypton Pro. Hand downs, no questions asked. Not even a close comparison.

Fit | Comfort

Once in the DS 130, the fit is quite nice. The newly redesigned liners are plush and comfortable. Despite the extra 2 mm of width—which I thought might be too much space—the boot fit incredibly well. I always had just a bit too little room in the toe box of the Krypton Pro boots, especially for my left foot, which is a bit bigger than my right foot. It’s not that Krypton Pro is uncomfortable, but they are not comfortable. The DS 130 fit was quite comfortable. That made up for the struggle to get into them. Round Two—comfort without any fitting—goes to the DS 130 boot.

Heel Hold | Positioning

While the DS 130 boots were very, very comfortable—no worries about keeping them on all day long—I did wonder if that extra 2 mm would be too much once clamped in and I was flexing into the front of the boot and tongue. But once I clamped down and adjusted the micro-adjusting buckles for a snug fit, I found my heel to be nestled nicely in the heel pocket of the boot. When I flexed forward and tried to lift my heel, it felt no different than the response in the Krypton Pro boots. Round Three—foot position and heel hold down—was a tie.

Standing around in the lodge or living room or ski shop in a pair of ski boots is a bit different than having them out on the slopes and clicked into a pair of bindings attached to skis. So off I went with the Dalbello DS 130 boots to the slopes to give them a workout.

On The Slopes

I have skied the DS 130 boots a couple times now. Each session was on my “go to” Volkl RTM 84 skis so that I had a good reference point for comparison to the Krypton Pro 130 boots. I skied on beginner, intermediate and expert trails. In all instances a big focus was on carving, and how the boots would make the skis respond and perform. That’s how I normally play on the slopes, so it makes for a fair comparison. Conditions were typical New England conditions—packed powder groomers that had hard crust underneath, with patches of ice here and there on the trail.

On slope, a first, and quite noticeable difference was that the DS boots put me up over the skis more so than the Krypton Pro boots. This is likely due to the slightly different forward lean characteristics of each of the boots. The stance puts the skier in a more positive position for controlling the skis quickly and powerfully, as a ski racer would want and need.

Ski Control

There is a distinct and definite difference in how the boots make the skis respond. Krypton Pro 130 gives a more subtle command to the skis to respond, reducing that subtlety in a progressive fashion as pressure into the front of the boot is increased. DS 130 produced more or less immediate response from the skis when pressure was applied. Increased pressure to the front of the boot pushed more power into the response of the ski, but in a very immediate way with the DS 130 boots.

Krypton Pro 130 allowed for a bit of relaxation; I could get in the “back seat” a bit and not have the skis decide they could have their own way. Not so with the DS 130 boots; there was a definite “tipping point.” When I backed off, relaxing just a bit too much in my stance over the skis, control was diminished, and quickly.

I thought I could carve a ski pretty good in my Dalbello Krypton Pro 130 boots. And I could. But not nearly as well as when my feet were slipped into the Dalbello DS 130 boots. The 4-buckle overlap style boots gave complete and immediate control so I could tip the ski and bury the edge into the snow quickly and with great power. In the Krypton Pro 130 boots, tipping the skis into the snow was a slower, more progressive action that ended in a carve, but one that was not nearly as forceful and complete as from the DS 130 boots.

The Winner

Krypton Pro 130 is a winner because of their ease of entry and exit, and because of their progressive flex nature. They allow me to totally control, with a great degree of finesse, how I want to power the skis.

DS 130 is a winner because of their greater width and comfort, and for their ability to power the ski the way I want immediately and forcefully.

So which boot wins Round Four—Control? Each boot handles control in a rather different fashion, so it would depend on any individual skier to make that judgement. That’s a good thing because it gives skiers some interesting options.

You can already see the endpoint of this debate—there is no single “winner.” Because the contest really isn’t equal. The winner will be whatever boot style best fits your style of skiing. But how might you decide which boot style—cabrio or overlap—is the best for you?

What’s Best For You?

Check out Avie’s Ski / Sport website page for ski boots: “Skier Need To Know—Boots.” This page will help you think through and then find the ski boot that might be best for you.

Which Is Best For Me?

After all this, what’s best for me? Honestly, I don’t know. I have worn the Krypton Pro 130 boots for several seasons, and so they feel like an extension of my legs at this point. Not so for DS 130 because I have only skied them a few times. So I know I need more time in them to really get a feel for how they behave, and how I get along with that behavior, in a broader range of conditions.

I love the snug fit of the Krypton Pro boots, and the easy going but highly responsive nature they show across the mountain, in all conditions. I adore the ease of entry and exit. But they are not what I would call a “comfortable” ski boot.

I love the comfort provided by the DS 130 boots. And I adore their ability to quickly and powerfully drive the skis into deep, graceful, powerful carves. They leave me speechless in that department. But I am not a fan of putting them on, or taking them off. But once the feet are in them, oh such comfort!

I am going to keep the DS 130 boots close by, and use them as much as possible over the remainder of the season. I am very much looking forward to clicking them into my Blizzard Quattro RS race skis. That ought to be a match make in heaven. But I don’t intend on making planters out of the Krypton Pro 130 boots. I plan to take them out here and there to refresh my memory, and to compare.

But my feet sure do love that comfortable feeling…

AlanD

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Lovin’ Loon

Went to bed Tuesday night and it was snowing hard. Woke up Wednesday morning to 5 or 6-inches of fresh white stuff on the ground. Fortunately, the bed was in Lincoln, NH. About 2 miles away from the lifts at Loon Mountain. I had the feeling it was going to be a pretty good day.

Temperature in the morning was about 30 degrees. By the end of the first two runs I had every zipper unzipped that could be unzipped. Well, almost every. We didn’t want to get too risqué on the slopes.

The conditions the day before were great, and the addition of fresh snow made things just perfect. The mountain ops team left a few trails ungroomed. Most trails however, had a nice mix of options. Groomed corduroy was striped down one-half to two-thirds the width of the trail, the remainder was ungroomed. So you could play on either surface. Or both if you wanted to dash in and out along their intersection. I thought that was a really nice touch.

A group of “ski testers” from Avie’s were at Loon, testing skis. And then of course there was Matt, the lone “snowboard tester.” But he wasn’t complaining. In fact, he had a huge grin on his face every single time we crossed paths on the slopes.

On Tuesday, later in the afternoon, I clicked my boots into a pair of new for next year Nordica Soul Rider 87 twin tips. I stayed on those skis for the rest of the day. They were amazing skis. Light, fun, turny, lots of “pop.” Just plain old big time fun.

The Soul Rider 87s took me down the edges of the trails. As it often does late in the day, the edges of the trails are where the snow has piled up. The Soul Rider 87s had me doing super twisty-turny-tight cuts and carves. It was a blast. I couldn’t believe how playful the Soul Rider twins were.

At the same time though, they were serious skis. When we went out to the center part of the trail, onto the ice and crust that was scraped clean of snow, I expected them to slide and chatter their way across. But they didn’t. The edges bit in and held in carves across the ice. Wow!

The down side of all those tight, twisty-turny carves was a black toenail at days end. It was painful to get my foot into my ski boots the next morning. Very painful. But, we were at “Demo Days” where all the manufacturers are there with gear to try. So I left my boots in the car and went to Dalbello to try out the newly redesigned Panterra ski boots. They had the Panterra 120 in my size, so I slipped into a pair.

Demo Days dealer tents at Loon Mountain.

The first thing I noticed was that the boots were significantly lighter than previous models. And I do mean significantly lighter. Like maybe a third lighter. Another unique feature of the redesign is that the new Panterra has an adjustable last from 100 to 102 mm. Last is the width of the boot, if you forgot. I liked that adjustable width feature a lot.

My Dalbello Krypton 130s are a 98 mm last, so the Panterra boots gave my hurting left toe a bit more room. And because they are adjustable width, I let that toe box be a bit wider than the right foot, which I snugged up more tightly. The result were boots that I could ski in without being tormented by the injured toe.

And the Panterra 120 boots were very nice to ski. They sport a 4-buckle cabrio design, so there is a nice progressive range of flex and response to the skis. That was particularly nice when jumping back and forth between the groomed and ungroomed parts of the ski runs. Back off a bit in the powder, and drive into the boots harder on the groomers. They worked really well and I give them a big “thumbs up.”

Panterra 120 also comes with the new GripWalk system. This was my first experience with GripWalk on the slopes. Yes, they do make walking in ski boots more natural, and the grippy soles were actually quite nice outside on the snow covered walkways. In fact, they were nice inside as well. The grippy soles never once felt slippery on wet concrete or tiles. They were a bit harder to clip into the ski bindings. But the ski tech at Nordica (yes, I clicked into Soul Rider 87 again—I couldn’t resist, they were too much fun) said that would vary with the fit of boot to binding, and that once the GripWalk pads broke in a bit more, they would slide in more easily. So I would give GripWalk a “thumbs up” as well.

The really big news, for right now however, is not about gear for next season.

The BIG NEWS is that with the new snowfall up north conditions are really, really good. Bordering on great.

Temps look to stay on the cold side up north, which will hold the snow. And it looks like they may get a few small-scale snow events. Just enough to keep things topped off. Just enough to keep the groomers consisting of beautiful packed-powder corduroy stripes.

So get out and ski. Get out and ride. Go this weekend. There is still some room on the Avie’s Ski & Ride trip headed to Okemo in Vermont this Sunday, February 17th.

If you can—and I highly endorse this—break away on a weekday. Avie’s has a trip to Loon Mountain slated for Wednesday February 20th. I can tell you, first hand, conditions are pretty sweet up there in Lincoln, NH right now.

Don’t think about going on one of the Avie’s Ski & Ride trips. Just go.

AlanD
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Ski Helmet Brain Trust

Many years ago I would look down from the chair lift and wonder how those folks could stand to wear a helmet. That form of head protection was just beginning to rise in popularity. A ski helmet brain trust movement was taking shape. But I wasn’t a part of it.

I understood the head protection part. But I assumed that helmets were hot, constricting, and uncomfortable. And they just seemed weird out on the slopes. I just couldn’t see my way to laying out money for a “hard hat” to wear on the slopes. My wool cap was just fine thank you very much.

Then my daughter Allison started snowboarding. On one of our first trips out she took a flip and whacked her head. She was wearing a helmet so she was fine. And I was glad she was wearing a helmet. Kids really should.

Children, as they should, challenge authority.

But then she started giving me the “hairy eyeballs” about her having to wear a helmet while I didn’t. How was that fair? Why was my brain less important? And then came the questions. And challenges. If I didn’t have to wear a helmet, why did she? Why was I such a hypocrite?

I did believe helmets were a good idea for kids. Proven right by Allison whacking her head. I just didn’t see why adults needed a helmet. But I had a choice. Continue to get serious push back on her wearing a helmet when I didn’t, or change my ways to silence the onslaught.

I changed my ways. Got a helmet. Wore the helmet.

And I found, quite quickly, that I liked it. It was really warm, not hot. Where wind cut through the wool cap, it couldn’t with a helmet. It wasn’t constricting either. Just nice and snug. And actually, it was quite comfortable. 

I found that the air flow pattern built into the helmet helped keep goggles from fogging. That was a really nice benefit! We all have experienced frost on the inside of goggles, knowing that the only fix was time in the lodge to thaw and dry them out. Wearing a helmet however, kept fogging to a minimum, if it happened at all.

I put a couple of brewery stickers on the helmet to give it a bit of personalized panache. Secretly, I was quite pleased with the new head gear.

Accidents happen

Then one day at Killington, over on Bear Mountain, I came up to a quick stop at a fork where the trail split. I wanted to check with my brother to see which way he wanted to go. But seconds after I stopped I found myself on the ground.

He was looking ahead and didn’t see me pull up short. He crashed. Into me. Into my head. Helmet-to-helmet. I was fine. Because of the helmet. Without the helmet, who knows? It may not have been so lucky an outcome. Thank you Allison.

There have been a few times on chair lifts when the safety bar coming over from the rear has rapped me in the back of the head. Especially the Snowshed chair at Killington. The helmet took those whacks. None of them were skull-breakers, but they sure wouldn’t have been pleasant. Killington seems to have something against me. Or is trying to knock sense into me.

Helmets are ubiquitous 

Today you see few people on the slopes not wearing a helmet. And when I see those few, I wonder why. The benefits of wearing a helmet far outweigh the negatives. At least on my ledger sheet. I’ve got a few notations in the plus column to bear that out.

Helmets on the market today are phenomenal. Light in weight. Vented with adjustable vents so you can precisely apply climate control to the noggin. And they pair with goggles to keep them fog-free on almost all occasions.

Personally, I like the quiet of the slopes. The click and swish of skis over snow, crust and ice, to me are a soothing symphony. Many helmets however, come with ear flaps that accept speakers so you can plug in and tune out, should you so desire. And many skiers and riders do. 

New technologies offer great head protection

The past few seasons have seen a new internal “honeycomb” fabrication that is much improved for absorbing the shock associated with a whack to the skull. Many helmets on the market that have the honeycomb internal structure rebound after an initial hit, ready to absorb a second impact, and more, should they occur. Not such a bad thing.

Given the benefits associated with helmets—warmth, goggle fog prevention, tunes, and head protection—why would you not wear one? 

Marker and Triple Eight helmets available at Avie’s

Triple Eight helmets offer a minimalist, just want the basics, approach. But they provide head protection at industry standards. Helmets by Triple Eight are for those wanting a simplest approach to head protection. If you want the least expensive approach, Triple Eight helmets deserve a look. As one nod to “frills,” Triple Eight offers an audio version for those who want to plug in and tune out.

Marker has a more expansive array of helmet offerings. From the top of the line Phoenix MAP to the no frills Clark, there is something for everyone. Even those wanting the “plug in, tune out” option. 

“MAP” helmets by Marker are those that contain the honeycomb-style internal structure that can handle multiple impacts. If you are looking for the ultimate in skull protection, look for the “MAP” designation on the Marker helmet. 

Lightweight Carbon Fiber

If you seek the lightest of weight, find the Marker Phoenix Carbon MAP. I swear, if you put on this helmet and leave the chin strap undone, it may just float off your head while just standing there. Seriously light in weight.

Granted, Phoenix Carbon MAP is a bit pricey. But if you want a helmet you will forget you are wearing, while still giving the ultimate in protection, Phoenix Carbon MAP is it. Given that it will last nearly forever—provided you don’t run it over with the car or truck—it’s a pretty good investment.

On the slopes, wearing a helmet gives me warmth, fog free goggles, and head protection. In the lodge, it’s my carry-all. Face mask, neck gaiter, and gloves all fit right into the helmet nicely. No trail of dropped gear behind me! 

Spring Skiing

One fine spring skiing day I decided to leave the helmet behind. It was warm and I figured it would be more fun to ski in a wool cap. Like in the old days.

I put on the wool cap. It just felt weird.

The wool cap went back in my pack. I pulled out the helmet and nestled it onto my head. I opened the air vents fully, and walked out to the chair lift. 

AlanD
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Ski Tuning with SWIX — December 13

Just a reminder that Avie’s Ski / Sports will be hosting Bruce Diehl from SWIX this Thursday, December 13th at 6:00 PM, for a tuning clinic.

Hear from SWIX—the folks that make ski and snowboard tuning tools and wax—how to keep your gear in tiptop shape.  

If you have been thinking about tuning your own skis or snowboard, this Thursday is the day to turn thought into action.

The SWIX tuning clinic will take place at Avie’s Ski / Sports at 100 Main Street in Westerly, RI.

The SWIX Tuning Clinic is FREE

Bruce Diehl from SWIX will demonstrate the following tuning tasks:

  • Shaping, sharpening, and maintaining edges
  • Cleaning the base
  • Choosing and applying the proper wax
  • Proper scraping technique
  • Hand and roto-brushing

Waxing Is Critical 

During the SWIX tuning clinic, Bruce will show how to apply wax, then remove it properly by scraping. That will be followed by a demonstration of how to buff the base to a super slick, super fast finish. When you see me go flying by you on a flatter section of the ski slope, it’s not because I’m such a wonderful skier. It’s because I’m such a wonderful ski waxer! Wax makes a huuuuuuuge difference!

For those who attend the clinic, Avie’s Ski / Sports will offer 20% discount on SWIX tuning tools and supplies directly following the clinic. 

Thursday December 13th at 6:00 PM. 

See you there.

AlanD
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RIDE Snowboards

RIDE snowboards are a staple on the slopes. There is good reason for that—RIDE makes some pretty awesome products and is a leader in the industry.

The Boot

For instance, RIDE makes the liner for each boot in its line specifically for that boot, even to the half-sizes. That means you get incredible fit for your foot size right out of the box. But wait! There’s more!

The Liner

Did you know that RIDE snowboarding boots come with Intuition™ liners? And did you know that Intuition™ liners are made from THE most heat retaining foam on the market? Intuition™ liners are also fully heat moldable. It all boils down to this—you get really great fit right out of the box. You can have Avie’s Ski / Sports heat mold the boots—it’s a FREE service—for a super custom fit to your foot. You get to hit the slopes in a ultra-warm, ultra-fit snowboard boot.

The BOA™

A unique feature of RIDE snowboard boots it the “tongue-tied” BOA™ lacing mechanism. This side mounted BOA™ wheel locks down your heel into the boot. This seemingly simple action puts you in total control over the snowboard.

The more snuggly your foot is nestled into the boot, and the better your heel is locked down into the rear pocket, the better control you have over your snowboard. That means better carves, deeper slashes, tighter turns, spins, and flips. This is a hallmark of RIDE boots.

The Boards

RIDE snowboards and bindings follow the same path of greatness as RIDE boots. Blends of wood, metal, and carbon produce a line of snowboards that go anywhere and everywhere. And do everything.

On RIDE high performing boards, 3 or 5 carbon inlays at tip and tail provide incredible strength. Carbon fiber strips run the length of the outer edge of the board, stiffening things up for incredible edging and stability. 

The Slime

Slimewalls that is. RIDE uses urethane on the sidewalls of their snowboards rather than traditional ABS plastic. Why? Because urethane is more pliable, even in New England deep-freeze temperatures. So you get a more progressive flex over the length of the board. The urethane Slimewalls are also shock absorbing, so you get jarred just a bit less when hitting rails in the park. 

It’s all these nuances that RIDE inserts into their gear that makes such a difference on the hill. Durable, classy, high performing. These are Class A descriptors of RIDE snowboarding equipment.

The PIGS

A couple years ago RIDE debuted the “PIG” snowboard—WARPIG. It was a huge hit. But RIDE wasn’t very careful and PIG boards were breeding in dark corners of the warehouse. Now, a whole bunch of little piggies have made their way onto the market this season.

Wider. Weirder. Wonderfuller.

  • WARPIG—Go anywhere. Crush anything.
  • TWINPIG—Ride switch. Spin in the park.
  • MTNPIG—Loves it fast and steep.

These PIGS don’t wallow. They cruise, crush, carve, and cavort. The RIDE reps say step down a few centimeters in board length from your normal if you really want to bring out the charms these PIGS have to offer. Check out these pigs. Get piggish.

RIDE a PIG

The Bindings

To finish things off, RIDE bindings are now equipped with urethane straps. Impervious to cold, they bend regardless the ridiculous temperatures you decide to play outside in on the mountain. New larger buckling mechanisms take up the slack faster. And they are all metal so they won’t break. Binding chassis’ are also metal. Power transferred from the boot to the board is not lost as it would be in a plastic chassis. RIDE knows their stuff. They give you the goods.

That’s it. And it’s a lot. Nearly everything has been upgraded by RIDE in some form or fashion for the 2019 season. For seasoned riders looking for a new deck, the PIG series of boards is “oinking” for you to take a look. I’m not a snowboarder, but if I was, I would be looking for a PIG.

AlanD
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Ski Scene 2019

The ski scene for 2019 is an exciting one. A shift from “big & fat” skis is underway. Though the big-fats aren’t actually going away. They just are not a focal point for the upcoming season. 

And that’s a good thing for us Eastern skiers. Sure, we get powder days. And for those lucky few who live next door to a ski area, and have the opportunity to take advantage of those powder days, big and fat skis should be on-hand. 

But for most of us who frequent Avie’s Ski / Sports, we find ourselves confronted with groomed slopes. Which is not such a bad thing. But it does mean that big and fat skis aren’t really a “go to” ski. Of course you can ski them on the groomers. But it’s not the forte for powder skis.

What appears to be a trend throughout the industry for 2019 is a focus on slimmer models of some of the big-fat skis. Another trend is taking these medium-width skis and making them a bit more “carve worthy.” And last, though hardly least, is a resurgence of full camber race skis.

True “All-Mountain” ski choices are appearing

I own a pair of Nordica NRGy 90 skis, so I will use them as an example. The NRGy 90s are light, have lots of “pop” in them, and are just wide enough to float powder pretty good. Not great, but pretty good as long as the fluff isn’t really deep.

Nordica changed them to the Navigator series a season or two ago. The major change was redistribution of the titanal mesh, modifying it to provide a bit more pop without reducing stiffness. The Navigator series also offered new widths and new top sheet graphics. 

For 2019, Nordica altered the side cut a bit, so that the ski carves a bit better on the groomers. I jumped on several pair of Navigator skis as an Avie’s Ski Tester, and liked what I found. The newly designed Navigator skis retained all the fun characteristics that I like in the NRGy series—light and lively, powder float-worthy. But, they tipped easier into the groomers and carved a bit better. And that’s a really nice characteristic. Especially for Eastern skiers.

Other ski brands that you will find at Avie’s Ski / Sports—Armada, Blizzard, and Volkl, are messing around similarly with their ski models. Volkl Kendo and Mantra have been retooled a bit, and Kanjo hit the market as a new intermediate width ski last season. Blizzard came out with the Rustler series. Armada was already in this mode, but their new Tracer series of skis fits this same pattern of improved carving ability. 

A “One-Ski-Quiver” Is Possible

With these changes, a true “One-Ski” that does it all on the mountain is a near reality. There are and always will be some trade offs, but by and large some of the new all-mountain skis get “one-ski” within reach.

One of my favorites as an Avies’ Ski Tester this past season was the Blizzard Rustler 9. While this ski is 92 mm at the waist, they ski quite easily. Even on the groomers. In fact, they carve quite nicely. And because they are wide, they float pretty well in powder, which is helped along by the bit of tip rocker Blizzard designed into them. And they bash late day crud without hesitation.

Volkl Kanjo and Kendo are similar, but not clones. Both play well all over the mountain. Kanjo is a bit thinner at the waist than Kendo, making it a bit more fun overall on the groomers. Both are great choices for a “one ski” approach.

And let’s not forget Armada, who offers the Victa and Victus ski series. These skis provide some really fine all mountain performance for a very reasonable price. I have skied the Victus several times, and they are just great skis from start to finish. Light, fun, grippy, and stable. What else might you want?

Or Meier Calamity Jane or Quick Draw. While neither has yet been tested by an Avie’s Ski Tester, both have all the makings of what should be great all mountain skis. We will confirm once we take them north for a bit of play on the slopes.

More Camber for Carving

Carving skis, while not radically changing this season, are overall seeing a bit of reduction in rocker application. That means a resurgence of more camber in the design. Camber underfoot leads to a more playful ski with more “pop” in and out of the turns. Tip rocker continues to be prevalent, making the skis a bit easier to tip into turns. It also gives them a bit of extra “crud busting” power, which is nice late day when the groomers are all a big heaped up, chopped up, smeared up mess. 

Another interesting trend seems to be an emergence of race skis. It’s obvious that if you race, then you really would like a race ski. But what if you don’t race? Race skis, no surprise, are outstanding carving skis. Full camber makes these not only great carvers, but great fun carvers! But the emergence of new race ski models is not targeted at World Cup athletes. They are targeted at your average skier that loves to carve the groomers.

Last season I picked up a pair of Blizzard Quattro RS race skis to see what they were all about. See my recent BLOG post titled: “Race Ski.” All I will say here is that if you really love to carve the groomers, and aren’t afraid of a bit of speed, you definitely need to look into a pair of race skis. Avie’s Ski / Sports has several pair of Blizzard Firebird Race Ti skis in stock. There is even a pair available to try out as a High-Performance Demo Rental. Check them out, they don’t disappoint.

2019 is a season of change

The 2019 season sees a big swing in ski boots—check out the recentBLOG post “Ski Boots—Year of the Boot” for the full story. 

The 2019 season sees some subtle but substantial shifts in ski design. A bit of a roll back in the Big & Fat category. A new focus on “carve-worthy” skis designed to be more fun on the groomers. An emergence of race skis for those who truly love the art of carving. And maybe a bit of speed.

This change is great for Eastern skiers

All in all, 2019 is a winning season for skiers. Especially Eastern skiers. The emphasis on better carving, and a boost in application of traditional camber, both mean more fun on the groomers. Look for  that “one ski” that plays in the woods but still carves. You just might find it this year.

Whether you need boots or skis, or both. Or need neither but would like an upgrade, 2019 is a great year to take action. The innovations making their way to skiers is phenomenal. Check out the “Skier Need to Know” web pages for SKIS and BOOTS. You may find them helpful in thinking through your choices in a pair of new boots or skis.  

Stop by Avie’s Ski / Sports and check out the 2019 ski and boot offerings. Let us help you into a new pair of boots or skis that will “light up” your time on the slopes.

Hope to see you soon.

AlanD
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Ski Boots—Year of the Boot

Ski boots are critical gear. And this ski season should be known as the Year of the Boot. Why? Because this year marks a watershed of change in ski boot design.  

This season, when you walk into Avie’s Ski / Sports to check out new ski boots, you will find several pleasant changes. The first is that most boot manufacturers have pulled together their boots into a single “family.” For instance, Nordica now has three variations of boots under the “machine” family name. Previously they had 3 or 4 different boot models with different names and differing attributes.

Using Nordica again as an example, they have Pro Machine, Speed Machine, and Sport Machine. Each boot style is modeled after their Dobermann race boot. Each boot style differs in boot last, or width in common terms.

Pro Machine is the narrowest boot, and comes in a variety of flex options. Pro Machine is also “tricked out” with the most bells and whistles focused on high performance for transferring power from skier leg to the ski through the boot. 

Speed Machine is a medium width boot, also coming in a variety of flex options. This boot is slightly more comfort-oriented, but in the stiffer flex models, still a highly performance-oriented ski boot. 

Sport Machine is a wide boot, with a variety of flex options, but oriented very much towards comfort. But again, in higher flex value models, the boots offer plenty of performance for those with wider feet. 

The other brand boots you will find at Avie’s Ski / Sports, Dalbello and Tecnica for instance, have followed the same basic pattern for their ski boot lines. A single family of boots, modeled after their brand race boot, with various styles reflecting boot width. Each boot-width series has a variety of flex values offering a range of performance and comfort options to skiers.

So what’s the big deal about this?

The “Big Deal” is that it makes much more sense from both consumer and boot-fitter perspectives:

  • Boots are grouped under a family heading, in consideration of fit and performance options, is both more logical, and easier. 
  • Boot-brand “families” have been designed based on race boots, so all are highly performance-oriented. More so than ever before.
  • Each brand-family is lighter in weight, making them much less clunky when clomping around.
  • Skiers with wider feet have real options for performance-oriented boots, and at lighter weight than ever before.
  • Prices have remained relatively stable, despite significant upgrades in performance, design, and reduced weight.

A Good Year To Boot Shop

The bottom line is that it is a great year to shop for ski boots. Never before in my experience has there been such a significant change in ski boot availability and performance at an industry-wide scale. 

This Avie’s Ski Tester could only say “Wow,” “Incredible,” and “Amazing,” as I  stepped into and tried out several boot brand families. I liked the the level of comfort found in the Dalbello DS ski boots so much, I bought a pair. In the ultra-high performance DS 130, the toe box offers just enough room to be comfortable, but at no loss in performance characteristics. The boot feels molded to my foot, but with just a bit of wriggle room for the toes.

I had the opportunity to ski in a pair of Dalbello DS 130, Nordica Pro Machine 130, and Tecnica Mach 120 LV ski boots. While each had their nuances, I can definitely say each was amazing. So much lighter in weight than in previous boot models, and so very performance oriented. I ended up in a pair of Dalbello DS 130 boots because that particular brand and model provided a best fit for my feet. Performance was outstanding in all three brands tested. So was overall comfort.

I have skied in a pair of Dalbello Krypton 130 3-buckle cabrio-design boots for years. So I am interested to see how the Dalbello DS 130 4-buckle overlap design boots perform relative to the Kryton boots. Once I get on the slopes a few times and have a chance to compare them, I’ll get back to you with my thoughts. Keep an eye on the Avie’s Ski / Sports BLOG. Sometime in late January most likely. That should give me a bit of time to do a fair comparison.

All the boots have liners that are heat-moldable. Some—and I think this will soon be an industry-wide standard—have heat-moldable shells to facilitate boot-fitting for those with more “difficult” feet.

If you have been considering new ski boots, 2019 is a great year to take action. The options are just amazing. Of all the new gear and changes in the industry this year, ski boots are at the top of the heap. At least in my opinion.

Boots are the heart and soul of your ski gear outfit. They are the “transformers” that move energy from your legs to the skis. If you want to improve your skiing, new boots are the first upgrade to consider. Not skis. Ski boots do the steering. Skis simply respond accordingly. Think of boots as the rack-and-pinion gearing. Skis as the tires.

I suggest you take a look at the Avie’s Ski / Sports web page titled “Skier Need To Know—Boots.”

Just click the link. You will find some good information about ski boots, and how to think through what will be a best option for you for new boots. There is a lot to consider, but it’s not confusing when broken down into logical blocks. We help you find that logic on the “Need To Know” pages of the Avie’s Ski / Sports website.

There is a “Skier Need To Know—Skis” page to help you think through new skis. Check that out as well if you are thinking of buying a whole package of ski boots and skis. 

Take a look at the “Need To Know” pages. Stop into Avie’s Ski / Sports and check out the ski boots. And maybe some skis. Talk to Avie’s staff. Let us help you find that perfect pair of boots, and skis.

Hope to see you soon.

AlanD
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