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

Skier Rewind

They remembered! The muscles. The legs. The arms. The torso. They all remembered how to get down the slope intact. Gracefully. I had a Skier Rewind, and it was a good one.

I returned to Mount Snow today for that second round of “muscle torture.” Last week at Mount Snow, my first time out for the season, they didn’t remember how to ski very well. While not performing quite as bad as a rank beginner, it felt like it after darting down the slopes on race skis at the end of last season.

It was 3 degrees at the base when I arrived at 8:30 AM. And there was a thermal inversion. That means the summit was clear but the base was choked in a cloud. It was a fluffy cloud. So it was okay. Just weird. But there wasn’t a hint of wind and not a cloud to be seen. Except that one snuggled up at the base.

In other words, it was a near perfect ski day

All the new snow has been man made. At 3 degrees that snow was hard and fast. And it stayed that way. Maybe that was the queue my skier muscles needed. 

After the first run, I could just feel that it was right. 100% correct. An A Plus. And because everything else clicked into place, the Volkl skis thought they were race skis. They cornered sharp and didn’t let go. I had a blast all morning long. 

While there was still limited terrain available, there was quite a bit to pick from. There were snow guns firing on a couple of trails. After one run through them that iced over the goggles I stayed on those without. I liked the hard and fast corduroy. It was too sweet to ignore. 

I could only stay for a long morning. Which was probably enough because I was beginning to feel the adrenaline ebb and the muscle fatigue ramp up. If I had all day I probably would have taken a breather then hit the snow again. And it probably wouldn’t have been as phenomenal as the morning.

I left on a high note. A really high, high note. Which of course makes me want to do it all again tomorrow. Despite the fact that I absolutely know that I can’t. But I still want to. Skiing sometimes makes me revert to an impudent 8 year old that wants what he wants, and wants it right now!

As a grown up, there are realities to deal with

Today however, was a banner day. It was a day as great as the late season days last year when I professed my love to a pair of race skis. Today, I have what I call the “skiing duck” feeling. Anything bad coming along is going to roll off me like water off a duck. Bliss. Euphoria. Cloud Nine. Rapture. Ecstasy. Take your pick. They all describe the feeling left behind after my day on the slopes at Mount Snow.

So do yourself a favor. Cheat and ditch work. Or whatever responsibilities you have. Let someone else deal with them for a day. Steal yourself away to slopes covered in snow. Rejoice in the click and clack of skis running over the hard and fast snow. Laugh at the “Whoops” that you hear from those sliding down below the chair as you return to the summit. Breath in deep of the crisp, cleansing air of the high New England peaks. 

Because if you do this, the following day you will meet all those pesky responsibilities with a huge smile plastered on your face. And that can never, ever, be a bad thing.

For me? The following day? I wanna go back. With the race skis…

AlanD

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

Mount Snow Debut

The urge to ski has been powerful this late fall. The ton of snow that fell in Vermont and New Hampshire in late November made that urge, well, more urgent. 

But life got in the way until this past Thursday, December 6th. I left the house at 5:15 AM and was on the slopes at Mount Snow in Vermont at 9:00 AM when they started sending eager skiers and riders to the summit. 

I won’t sugar coat the conditions. They were not great. But then again they weren’t horrible either. It was early season ski conditions in New England. 

Talking to many of the regular “geezer squad,” as they tended to call themselves, I heard a lot of “You shoulda been here last week.” And while I “shoulda,” I unfortunately “couldn’ta.”

What I can say, is that it felt absolutely wonderful to be out on the mountain feeling the force of gravity yank me downhill on a pair of skis. The top half of the mountain was under blizzard conditions. Snow guns were roaring full blast everywhere you looked. And it was snowing. And it was windy. Visibility at ground level was challenging at times. Snow “whales” materialized from the swirling white chaos here, there, and everywhere. 

I lapped “Ridge” multiple times, stretching out the quads and waiting for muscle memory to kick in and take better control of the skis. They didn’t seem to be remembering much.

In the swirling blizzard at the summit I took a wrong turn onto an ungroomed trail. Which I quickly regretted. But I survived the frozen lumps and bumps and spots of wind blow barren ice. All good, but more tiring.

As my legs were feeling the sting, it being first time out for the season, I figured I better dial it back a bit and relax. So I started lapping “Long John,” just letting the quads cool down and letting the muscles do what they know how to do if left to their own devices. And they began to remember what to do.

No, I never went to see what was open on the North Face. My legs weren’t quite ready for that adventure. It’s early in the season. No sense getting stupid and pushing the boundaries. No yet anyway. Later in the season that will happen.

While conditions for my seasonal debut on the slopes were less than ideal, it was great to be back on a chair lift chatting with like minded folk out playing in the snow. It was great to hear the click and swish of skis riding over snow, crust, and ice. And it was great to see the landscape covered in white once again.

It was less than great when I got out of bed Friday morning. My quads quickly and forcefully reminded me of what I did the day before. But that’s the price that must  be paid. And I gladly pay it each and every season. That pain is the gateway to a season of fun in the snow.

Next time, “the day after” muscle burn will be a bit less. And by mid-January that won’t even be a memory. Except on those days when the boundaries get pushed. 

For me, the 2019 ski season is now in play. I hope to make my next “muscle torture” event this coming week. Before the muscle recovers too much. That just extends the break in period.

I hope your ski and ride season has started as well. If not, the slopes are ready for you. Judging by the extent of snowmaking going on, and the number of whales ready to spread across the slopes, things should be in good shape for the weekend. And beyond.

We have some consistent cold in the forecast, with a bit of snow here and there along the way. Get your gear together. Stop in at Avie’s Ski / Sports to pick up what you need to get you going. Then go. 

Hope to see you on the slopes.

AlanD

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

Ski Trip “sniagraB”

Ski Trip “sniagraB?” That’s Bargains spelled backwards. That’s Ted’s way of highlighting a super deal. And the Avie’s Ski and Ride Bus Trips for 2019 are indeed a super “sniagraB.”

For 2019, the Avie’s Ski / Sports price for trips to Vermont and New Hampshire ski resorts is $99.95.  Can you believe that?

Ski and Ride for $99.95

Not only is an Avie’s Ski / Sports Ski and Ride Trip a great bargain, it’s lots of fun. Most importantly, the trips are family oriented. Quiet on the ride up. Until we get near the mountain and the excitement builds. Quiet on the ride back. Once the chatter about how great the day was dies down and the movie begins. Quieter still as people nod off after a long day of fun on the slopes. 

Transportation is included in that price?

You betcha! Price includes your lift ticket. Price includes a ride to and from the ski resort.  On a nice comfortable motor coach. Avie’s staff even deliver the lift ticket to you. It doesn’t get much better than that. It’s a phenomenal bargain because for the cost of a lift ticket—or less in many cases—you get a lift ticket and a ride to and from the ski resort destination. 

All you need to do is have fun

Check out the Ski and Ride Trip page on the Avie’s Ski / Sports website. Pick a bunch of dates and ski resorts you want to get to. Mark them on your calendar. Then get ready to have fun.

Ski and Ride Trips make great Seasonal Gifts

What’s more fun that going on an Avie’s Ski / Sports bus trip? Bringing someone along with you.

Stop in to Avie’s Ski / Sports and pick up a gift certificate for one or more—we suggest more—Ski and Ride Trips. They make great gifts. And great stocking stuffers. All the recipient need do is stop in at Avie’s, present the gift certificate and select the trips they want to be on.

Want the best deal for your Ski and Ride Trip? Get yourself on one of the Wednesday trips. That means you most likely ski onto the chair lift. A “long line at the lift” might mean a half-dozen people in front of you.

Ski resorts can be pretty lonely places mid-week

Whether you go mid-week or weekend, Avie’s Ski / Sports Ski and Ride Trips are a fun-filled, phenomenal adventure. Great bargain. Great fun.

Hope to see you on the Avie’s Ski / Sports bus headed north.

AlanD

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

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

Bretton Woods Jr Pass—FREE

Just a reminder to all of you who are considering the purchase of a seasonal lease ski or snowboard package for this season. Bretton Woods Jr Pass is FREE.

IF you have a skier or snowboarder age 12 or under, and purchase a seasonal lease at Avie’s Ski / Sports, you can get a FREE junior pass to Bretton Woods ski resort in New Hampshire. 

This is a phenomenal opportunity to get your youngsters on the slopes at a major New England ski resort, for FREE. That’s a pretty good deal anyway you look at it. As parent of the youngster, you get to purchase a Bretton Woods adult season pass at pre-season pricing. Also a pretty good deal.

But, the offer is only good for seasonal lease packages purchased at Avie’s Ski / Sports BEFORE December 17, 2018.

Sounds far away, but isn’t. And once the holiday hysteria settles in, it gets closer faster! 

If this great offers sound interesting, click THIS LINK to get more detail.

SWIX Tuning Clinic

Mark your calendars! Avie’s Ski / Sports will be having Bruce Diehl from SWIX coming to the shop on Thursday, December 13th at 6:00 PM. Bruce will be running a SWIX tuning clinic for Avie’s ski and snowboard customers.

If you have been thinking about tuning your own skis or snowboard, now is the time to put your thinking into action. Mark your calendar with the date and time above. 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
  • Using the SWIX Eco Pro Tuner
  • Cleaning the ski base
  • Applying prep/conditioning wax
  • Choosing and applying the proper “wax of the day”
  • Proper scraping technique
  • Hand and roto-brushing 

New England Skiers Need To Be “In Tune”

Here in New England, having sharp edges is a real necessity. Much of our time on the slopes sees crusty, hard pack, and even icy surface conditions. Sharp edges set at the correct angle will help your ski or snowboard bite into the snow surface. Bruce Diehl will demonstrate during the SWIX tuning clinic how to get your edges in shape to handle the often harsh New England conditions.

Too many times I see ski and snowboard bottoms that look like the image on the right. They should look like the image on the left. It’s a shame. Skis and snowboards without wax just don’t slide well. What’s the purpose in that?

Bruce Diehl will demonstrate how to properly clean the base and apply a conditioning wax. The base is then ready to accept a wax designed for a given range of temperatures. Sound complicated? Not really. Especially after Bruce walks us through the SWIX line of “designer” waxes and their proper use and application.

Waxing Is Critical 

During the SWIX tuning clinic, Bruce will show how to remove the wax properly by scraping. That will be followed by a demonstration of how to buff the base—using a hand brush and when using a roto-brush tool—to a super slick, super fast finish.

Waxing is critical. 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!

So be sure to get to Bruce Diehl’s tuning clinic. It’s at Avie’s Ski / Sports. It’s FREE.

Thursday December 13th at 6:00 PM. 

Plan on the SWIX tuning clinic to last for about an hour or so. Actual length will depend on how many questions get posed as Bruce Diehl from SWIX works through the process of tuning a ski or snowboard to perfection. 

To help us gauge interest and get the shop set up to accommodate those that plan to attend, please RSVP to: tuningshop@aviesskisport.com  You may want to also check out Avie’s Ski / Sports Do-It-Yourself web page on ski and snowboard maintenance as a primer to the SWIX tuning clinic.

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

See you there.

AlanD