Face it, styles have changed. Materials have changed. Technologies have changed. Big, thick, bulky apparel is about as in-style as straight skis.
Wool That’s Smart
New materials are now available to make fabrics that are light, comfortable and moisture wicking. There are tried and true natural materials used to make fabrics that are warm—even when wet—cozy, and durable. And there are new technologies that take the best of old and new and blend it into something wonderful. Like Smartwool.
Smartwool starts with, of course, wool. Merino wool that is. Which is thinner and softer than regular old run-of-the-loom wool. Merino wool is naturally warm and moisture wicking.
Then the Merino wool gets smart. It gets blended with other various fibers and materials to make a final fabric that, like wool, is warm and moisture wicking. Because of the blend of space-age materials, the new fabric is extraordinarily durable. This unique blend of old and new is the very familiar apparel known as Smartwool.
With new technologies applied to dying and weaving processes, Smartwool fabrics come out even more colorful than they used to—and they stay that way.
Smartwool got its name of fame made with its’ incredible line of socks. Warm and plush, durable and moisture wicking, Smartwool socks set the standard for warm, comfortable feet. That great technology and innovation has fortunately made it into the world of winter recreation.
Come into the shop and you will find that Avie’s Ski / Sports has a huge selection of ski and snowboard socks. All are designed to complement todays high-tech ski and snowboard boot liners. If you are wearing big, bulky socks in your ski or snowboard boots, you need to go shopping!
Put your feet into a pair of Smartwool socks designed for skiing or snowboarding. They are thin! Your feet will be nice and warm because today’s boot liners are incredibly warm. You won’t slip and slide around in your boots like you do when wearing multiple pairs of socks. Wrap your feet in Smartwool and they will be warm!
Smartwool—remember, it’s pretty smart stuff—jumped from socks to the rest of the body. Slide your arms into the Smartwool Reversible Sherpa Vest. Be warm and wooly on the inside, then reverse it as you head to the lounge for a bit of après-ski relaxation.
Leggings under ski pants while on the slopes. Top them with a Quilt Skirt for a stop in the lodge, the drive home, or out to dinner. For men there are base layer tops and bottoms that make for a comfortable and warm day on the slopes. And while a quilt skirt may not be to your liking, there are sweater tops as a mid-layer and for après-ski.
Mid-layer tops like the women’s Asylum, and various ¼ zip styles can round out a very ski-worthy wardrobe. The ladies in the top photo are smiling. But they would be beaming if they were decked out in Smartwool.
Stop into Avie’s Ski / Sports and check out Smartwool. Step into a warm and cozy bottom layer. Slide into a wicking and warm top. Hit the slopes hard, then top off with a fresh Smartwool top for some well deserved relaxation.
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.
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Right now there are several pair of Blizzard Firebird Race Ti skis at Avie’s Ski / Sports. A lot of folks, myself included, don’t really think about getting race skis. If you don’t race, why bother thinking about getting a pair of race skis? I sure wouldn’t. But I did.
Here’s my race ski story
I have a pair of great carving skis—Volkl RTM 84—that are my “go to” sticks. They are great all over the mountain. But at 84 mm in the waist, I admit they are a bit tiring on busy days when lots and lots of sharp, tight turns are being made. In other words, they are a bit of pain on those slope-side days when it’s more like people dodging than skiing. Namely, weekends.
I have a pair of lighter, wood core skis—Nordica NRGy 90—that are pretty good on a powder day and great on the slopes when the corduroy is soft. But they aren’t so good on hard pack and because they are wider still, even more tiring on a busy day of people dodging.
So last year I was thinking about a new pair of skis. I wanted something a bit shorter in length and definitely narrower at the waist. I wanted something that would be good on the hard pack. They had to be able to make lots of sharp, fast turns. They had to be good at people dodging.
From Carver to Racer
I knew that meant carving skis. Shorter and narrower however than the Volkl RTM skis. I had skied a pair of Blizzard Quattro 8.4 Ti skis a couple of times, and was quite impressed and liked them a lot. So I was prepared to pick up a pair. Maybe 174 cm or so in length, and maybe 76 mm or 78 mm at the waist.
So I dropped into Avie’s Ski / Sports and told Ted about the new skis I was interested in getting. His response was, “Get a pair of race skis.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Full camber for more fun,” was the reply. “And they’re race skis.”
I just wanted something fun and easy to ski on busy days. I thought that race skis would be total overkill for what I wanted. I really had no intention of racing. I was skeptical.
But Ted has never really given me bad advice. At least so far as ski gear is concerned. So I considered what he suggested. But I still thought it was overkill to be on a pair of race skis simply for dodging people.
After some further thinking, I decided, what the heck. If I really didn’t like the race skis, I could sell them and go with my original idea for the Blizzard Quattro short and narrow option. So a pair of Blizzard Quattro RS skis were ordered—174 mm in length, 69 mm in the waist.
Smile A Mile
The skis arrived. I waxed them up nice and slick and headed to Okemo to give them a try. When I saw Ted the next day, he asked “How were they?” “Okay,” was my response.
Yeah, my first time out on the race skis was not the best. I had picked up some kind of bug and probably shouldn’t have gone skiing. But I did. Needless to say I got the kind of day on the slopes I deserved for being so stupid.
So I took the skinny little Quattro RS skis back to Okemo the following week when I was healed and hale. At the end of the day my face hurt. From smiling such a big smile. A smile as wide as a mile. For so many hours on end.
Skis On Steroids
The thing about skis designed to race, is that they’re designed to race. That means they perform in ways unbeknownst to normal mortal skis. They truly are skis on steroids.
For starters, the bindings are designed differently. They are beefier and shock absorbing. Yeah, spring-loaded to completely dampen out vibrations. That means little to no chatter. That means superb grip all the way through the turns. No matter how tight or how fast.
The ski itself has carbon fiber layers from tip-to-tail. Laid down bi-directionally so that the ski has lots of liveliness. And the skis handle the transmission of power from boot-to-ski instantaneously. What all that means is they are fast into and out of the turns. They bite deep and hold fast.
In true race ski styling, the Quattro RS is a full camber ski. No rocker in this pair of sticks.
It took one run to figure them out. And only one run. My short description is—Light and lively. Powerful and performing. Graceful and gratifying.
What it’s like to own race skis
It had a been a while since I had been on a pair of full camber skis. Rocker has been all the craze and I had forgotten how responsive full camber skis are in the turns. And with such a narrow ski, I honestly could not believe how fast they went into and out of turns. With the race-designed bindings, coupled with the carbon fiber inlays, there was no hint of chatter at the tips, and no slipping in the turns. None.
But a word of warning. They really don’t like to go slow. They turn at slow speeds, obviously. But they feel sluggish and weird. Not very responsive is an adequate descriptor. Dormant also does it. Once you get a bit of speed under them though, their mood changes completely. You need to be ready to let them run, and you need to have the ability as a skier to put them on edge.
With the Quattro RS skis connected to my ski boots, it didn’t matter where I went on the mountain. I do admit however, that they were most fun on the steeper slopes. At Okemo, Chief offered a really fun run. So I skied it run after run after run. On another day I skied every black diamond at Okemo—except mogul runs. The Quattro RS skis were pure joy on every single run.
The biggest difference I can state about skiing on race skis is this—Confidence. I love my Volkl RTMs. They are great skis. But there are times when I need to put on the brakes because I know they will slip in a turn. With the Quattro RS skis, once I had used them a couple times and knew how they responded underfoot, I never even considered that they would slip in a turn. And they didn’t.
I can honestly say that 2017 was the most fun I have had skiing in a while. The Blizzard Quattro RS skis made that happen. The feeling of standing at the top of a steep slope looking down over the ski tips, knowing that I could—and would—go down with grace and ease at high speed, was exhilarating.
Because the skis were fast and nimble, and because I didn’t have to fight them through turns, I didn’t get nearly as tired. So I could ski harder for longer periods of time. Which is a pretty good trade-off in my ledger book.
A Whole New View On People Dodging
I never did take out the Quattro RS skis on a weekend. Which is funny because that’s why I was in the market for a new pair of skis. I wanted something “turny” for those crowded weekend-day trips to the slopes. And I found that in the Blizzard Quattro RS skis. But I found myself driving up weekdays—skiing the day then driving home—so I could point them down slope and carve my way to the bottom. Unimpeded.
So I don’t really know how they are at people dodging. My guess though, is they will be pretty awesome. I am however, already thinking about mid-week trips where they get a chance at unbridled freedom on the slopes. They honestly are that much fun.
If you are in the market for a new pair of skis, and you love carving up the slopes, give race skis a bit of thought. Several pair of Blizzard Firebird Race Ti skis are hanging around Avie’s Ski / Sports waiting to introduce someone to a whole lot of fun.
Try Before You Buy
If you’re not sure about having a pair of super skinny sticks underfoot, you can grab a pair of Firebird “demo skis” at Avie’s and try them out. If, after a trial run with them, you love ’em—and you likely will—you can deduct the rental fee from the cost of the ski. That’s a pretty sweet deal.
I admit I never really gave race skis much thought. It was a mistake on my part, and I’m glad Ted pointed me in a good direction. So I am passing that tip along in hopes you might take heed and give race skis some thought. Better yet, just take them out on the slopes and let them help you decide.
There are lots of great skis at Avie’s Ski / Sports right now. Blizzard Firebird Race Ti is just one of many. If you are thinking about new skis or ski boots this season, check out the new “Skier Need To Know—Skis” and “Skier Need To Know—Boots” pages. These new Avie’s resources will help you think about what might be the BEST ski or ski boot for you.
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 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.
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.
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 what about ski maintenance?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org as we are always ready and willing to assist.
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