A Tip for Skiers

Actually two tips. Maybe best stated as Twin Tips.

Avie’s Ski / Sports has a Twin Tip ski set up guaranteed to bring a smile. Ski, bindings, mounting and adjustment — $499.

Choose between a pair of Armada ARV twins, Nordica Soul Rider 84 twins, or Volkl Bash 81 twins. Pair your choice with a set of Marker Squire 10 bindings and you are ready to hit the slopes with some new fun sticks.

Why twins? Do you play in the park? Love the quiet of the woods? How about just like to get goofy and ski backwards, just for the fun of it? That’s why twins. They make being off piste that much more fun. And face, if you play in the park, or aspire to be a park rat, you simply gotta have twin tips.

So here is a way to get that pair of twin tips you have been pondering over. ARV — go anywhere do anything. Soul Rider — slays the groomers as well park play. Bash — light and poppy for the dedicated park rat.

Stop in to Avie’s and check out the twin tip deal. It’s a steal. But it is limited to inventory in stock, so the longer you procrastinate the fewer options you might have.

Oh yeah — don’t forget to bring along a ski boot. The Avie’s certified technician will need that to mount and adjust those new Marker Squire 10 ski bindings to your boot.

Ripping into the Ski Season

Avie’s Ski / Sports has a great opportunity—for both men and women—to rip into some brand new ski gear for the upcoming season. Avie’s “Ripper Package” point you in the right direction to rip up the slopes this season. Here’s the deal.

For this deal — men or women — you get a choice of Nordica Unleashed 90 or Volkl Revolt 86 ski. Once you decide which of those two are most desirable — not an easy choice — Avie’s will mount — at NO COST — a pair of Marker Squire 10 bindings onto the skis and adjust them for your ski boots. Yes, free mounting and adjustment.

Nordica Unleashed 90 — you guessed right, 90 mm at the waist — are a set of lightweight, yet stable sticks designed for wherever you point them. With full camber underneath the binding Unleashed 90 are lively and poppy. In other words, a lot fun and easy into and out of turns. A bit of rocker in the tips is like steering assist to get into and out turns quick and easy. Does that make them fun in the woods? Oh yeah! And with a 90 mm waist, they will do pretty will on those days when the light and fluffy is falling from the sky.

Volkl Revolt 86 — yeah, 86 mm at the waist — is a true twin tip that is designed for playing in the park, but not so much that it isn’t comfortable on the groomers. Having rocker in both tip and tail, these sticks are super “turny” and nimble. Because they are so very nimble, Revolt 86 will be sheer bliss in the bumps and in the woods.

Oops, almost forgot the price! $569.95 for skis and bindings. And don’t forget, mounting and adjustment is included.

This one is a tough choice because both are such excellent and fun skis! If you tend towards playing in the park, or if the woods are your thing, you won’t be unhappy with Revolt. If you tend a bit more towards the groomers with lots of forays into the woods the Unleashed will keep you smiling.

Sizes in both skis are limited to existing inventory at Avie’s Ski / Sports, so stop by soon and check out this ripping ski package deal. The season of white is not so far away—the snow guns are blazing on Superstar at Killington—so get that new gear now while the getting is good.

A Blazing Opportunity

Avie’s Ski / Sports has a great opportunity—for both men and women—to get into some brand new ski gear for the upcoming season. This gear will be sure to help you blaze down the groomers—or woods or bumps—because you will be clicked into a pair of Volkl Blaze 86 skis. Here’s the deal.

Women — Pick your desired length of Volkl Blaze 86W ski. This is a system ski, so the integrated binding is already attached to the ski. No need to fret about a binding selection. For a new pair of ski boots, find your size in either a Roxa R-Fit 85W or Tecnica Mach Sport 75W HV.

Men — Pick your desired length of Volkl Blaze 86 skis. Just like for the ladies, no need to fret about a binding selection since these are a system ski setup. Instead, fret over the new pair of ski boots. Pick from either a Roxa R-Fit 90 or Tecnica Mach Sport 90 HV.

Once we find your desired length ski, an Avie’s boot fitter will help match your feet to a perfect fitting boot. Then an Avie’s certified technician will adjust the ski binding for your new boots for free. Yes, that’s included in the price. All this for under $950.

Volkl Blaze skis are lightweight, poppy, all around fun skis. The 86 mm waist makes them incredibly good all around the mountain and in all conditions. Light and springy enough to bump the bumps and dodge trees in the woods. But they still have the stuff to lay down tracks on the groomers. The 3D radius technology makes these skis—despite their width—incredibly turn-worthy, even in short, tight turns. Big fun no matter where you take them.

Sizes in both skis and boots are limited to existing inventory at Avie’s Ski / Sports, so stop by soon and check out the blazing Blaze ski package deal. The season of white is not so far away, so get that new gear now while the getting is good.

Open Monday October 10

Just a reminder that Avie’s Ski / Sports is open today, Monday October 10, from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Ski, snowboards, boots and more all in stock for the upcoming season.

Season lease? Ready for you when you walk in the door.

Lease to buy? Of course; lots for you to choose from.

Stop in, browse the big selection.

Spring Clean Up

Spring has sprung. Days are longer and temperatures are climbing. Flowers are popping through and tree and shrub buds are swelling. And yes, the snow is melting.

While that does not mean that the ski and ride season is over with, it does mean that it is winding down. If you are, for whatever reason, already at the end of your ski and ride season, then it is time to do a couple very simple tasks to ensure that next winter your gear is ready to go.

The thing you do not want to do is simply chuck your boots and skis or snowboard into a closet, basement, attic, or whatever lonely space you chuck your gear into. They will be very sad come next winter. They will look like the image on the right side up above. Rust will form, ski or deck base will get a whitish, sickly color, and boots will be disfigured and maybe even kinda smelly.

If you want to avoid all that—and your gear looks like the image on the left up above—here are a few things to do that will keep a smile on your winter toys.

GOOD

Lightly buckle your boots so they keep their shape. Take a damp rag and wipe the outsides and the metals buckles to remove dirt. Do the same with your skis or snowboard. Put them in a space that is NOT subject to lots of humidity. In other words, a dry, airy space.

BETTER

Do everything under GOOD, plus the following. Pull the liner out of your boots and be sure it is allowed to completely dry and air out. After a day or two of freedom, put the boots back together and store them as above. Take your skis or snowboard to Avie’s Ski / Sports and have them do “The Works.” This will sharpen the edges, recondition the base and repair any major cuts and gouges, and put on a coat of wax. Put them in a dry spot for the summer and next season you are ready to go.

BEST

Do all the above, plus the following. While you have your boot liners pulled out, give them a spray with a deodorizing, non-scented boot/shoe product. This will keep them nice and fresh. Once they air out for a few days, put the boots together and store them in a dry spot. Bring your skis or snowboard to Avie’s Ski / Sports and ask for them to be “Summerized.” We do The Works as above, but iron on a coat of wax and leave it there. That wax protects the base as well as soaks into the base so that any wax applied after lasts that much longer. Put your skis or snowboard away for the summer. Come fall bring them back to Avie’s and we scrape off the wax and then brush the base out to a beautiful luster. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Sure, you can do nothing and chuck your gear into that convenient dank, dark hole for the summer. Yes, Avie’s can resuscitate your skis or snowboard come fall. But at a price to your gear—we have to use a pretty heavy hand to remove deeply embedded rust and to restore a base that is heavily oxidized. That heavy handed method removes a couple years of life from your gear. Sorry, but we cannot “de-stinkify” boots.

If you have relatively new gear, or gear that you really like, consider treating it to an Avie’s “Spa Day” at the end of the season. That gear gave you it’s all and put a smile on your face all season long. Giving it a nice tune up before letting it relax for the summer is a very, very nice way to pay-if-forward.

Okemo Snow Day

Okemo Trio

The only thing more fun than getting out onto the slopes is getting out onto the slopes with family and friends. I got that opportunity yesterday as I hit the slopes with my daughter Allison and her grand man Jake. There we are, above, on the first lift up and away from the lodge.

It’s snowing. It’s 28 degrees. I’m on a ski lift. I’m with family. What could better? Not much.

Conditions were pretty incredible overall. There was 2-3 inches of fresh fluffy stuff on top of the trails. While not a real “powder day” the fresh stuff made for making some nice turns. And it made it feel fresh and wintry.

To top it off, they had snow making guns blasting full force on a couple of trails. Those trails were necessary connectors between summit and lower mountain areas, so it’s nice to see that they want to preserve access for as long as possible. Thumbs up Okemo on that one!

Temperature Inversion?

It snowed most of the morning, with a break for a splash of sunshine followed by more snow. Unlike most typical days where it starts colds and warms up, it started warm (28 degrees) and then the temperature dropped throughout the day. And the wind picked up from a gentle breeze in the morning to a gusty full out wind by afternoon. Blowing fluffy snow, especially at the summit, made for intermittent near white out conditions.

Despite it being weird that it got colder as time when on, the day was a blast. The crowds were non-existent and the fresh snow made for almost perfect ski and ride conditions. And ski and ride we did. Jackson Gore was probably our favorite place. Practically no one was there. We made several top-to-bottom runs where we saw maybe another one or two people on the trail.

While there were a few places, as the day wore on, that glacier ice poked through, those patches were easy to avoid. The fresh snow lumped up in the middle and spread out along the sides. Pure fun regardless where skis pointed.

Bottom line? Go have some fun on the slopes. Conditions are good to great.

Slopes Update

I was able to hit Okemo yesterday, and I figured I would share some info on conditions coming into the holiday week.

It was a brisk 8 degrees at the base when people started catching the lift from the lodge to get on the slopes. Fortunately there was no wind so despite the low temperature, it really didn’t feel bone-rattling cold. I got a bit panicky because there was a good sized cluster of people around the lift. But it was because they didn’t load anyone until 9:00AM sharp for some reason.

The crowd dispersed quickly, and the line to the summit 6-pack wasn’t really a line and so I was at the summit in good time. I made a run down to the Solstice area lift to warm up the muscles, then proceeded over to Jackson Gore. Last visit I didn’t get over there so I made it a point this time.

Trail conditions were good overall. Nice firm groomers made up most everything that I put my skis over. There were a few spots on Tuckered Out in Jackson Gore that were scraped clean, despite it being before 10AM. I couldn’t figure that out, but most all of the trail was covered otherwise. Lower Limelight was in great shape, and allowed for a nice carving run all the way to the new 6-pack (no bubble) lift.

I hit the scraped clean effect again on Sapphire, a very popular trail. There was some loose snow on trail edges, so I stayed to the edge, but there were no usual lumps of scraped up snow in the middle of the trail. It was almost as if the groomer pushed the snow off to somewhere else. In other words, no corduroy on that trail! Very strange indeed. I did not revisit Sapphire.

Snow making was in progress in a couple of places, and there were huge snow whales just waiting to get groomed out and make a nice coating to ski and ride on. But not during my visit. My guess is that the grooming team will leave the whales alone until after the warm spell passes by.

While it is impossible to label conditions “great” this season because of the lack of snow, given the amount of natural snow ski resorts in much of New England have had available, conditions were pretty darn good. There were spots in several trails where bare earth poked through, but that was only here and there and not really of big consequence.

Given the warmth visiting us today, overnight and into tomorrow, it will be interesting to see how the slopes hold together. I won’t mention the “R” word, which will only add to the snow removal process.

The bottom line will be wait and see. What is really needed is three, back-to-back storms that dump a foot of snow or more on the hills of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. And then let it stay cold. Not bone-rattling cold. But cold enough to keep the snow through the end of March, at least.

That’s my wish for this season. I am just getting my legs back into ski-shape. And I am just getting my mojo back as I get comfortable with a new pair of skis. I would love to see the ski and ride season hang in there for another month so that I can really get to having some serious fun on the groomers.

So, nothing real exciting to provide. It’s a wait and see game at this point to determine how this warm spell plays out and what havoc may be reaped.

On a final note, I picked up a pair of Auclair Traverse gloves for this season. My other pair of gloves got packed out and were worthless. Despite the cold conditions Wednesday morning, the Traverse gloves kept my hands warm the entire time. I get cold hands relatively easily, so I was very pleased at how these gloves performed. If you want warm gloves—as warm as mittens almost—check out Auclair Traverse.

Okemo Opener

A too hectic life of late has kept me from getting onto the slopes. Yeah, there was a day or two I could have made my way north, but the thought of first day out being in -10 degree conditions was less than appealing. If I were already there on a multi-day trip I would certainly hit the mountain. But purposefully drive 3+ hours for that kind of exposure? Not so much.

But I got to Okemo just this past Wednesday. It was one of those wonderful days of sun, zero wind except for a zephyr breeze on the summit, and temperatures in the low to mid-20s to start the day. Ideal is the word that comes to mind.

Conditions were good. The snow was firm, frozen granular corduroy from top to bottom to start the day. As the morning progressed the snow softened at the bottom, progressing upwards as the minutes ticked past. By my last run—about noonish—things were still firm up top, but getting pretty soft back at base.

There were a number of trails that were open, but not groomed and with not much cover. It was obvious no snow-making had taken place on those trails. And maybe won’t this season. The year got off to a very warm, snowless start, and I can imagine that choices had to made in laying down man-made snow when conditions allowed that to happen. Regardless, there was enough terrain open to keep me pretty happy.

My one regret was not making my way to the Jackson Gore area. Only one trail top-to-bottom had been open over there since Day 1 and while I like that one trail just fine, it wasn’t worth the run over there for just that. But as I was leaving I heard that ski patrol had opened several other trails mid-morning. Oh well, next time.

Last season I only got out a couple times. I was pretty hesitant about how this aging body would respond. But I was pleasantly pleased that I skied without break for 3 hours before the quads started really complaining and the legs feeling shaky enough to let me know it was time to quit.

All in all, a very worthwhile trip. It was wonderful to sit on a ski lift once again, and chat with happy, smiling people sharing tips about where they had been and what trails they liked. It was great to hear whoops of joy coming from a trail behind the trees, and to hear the clicking and scratching of skis running over frozen surfaces once again. Everything else just melts away as the serenity of the slopes creeps in and pushes a big smile onto faces.

While sad not to see 100% terrain open, given what ski resorts have had to deal with this season, I was impressed. It was weird to leave Westerly area with snow piled high on the sides of the road, and to get into central Massachusetts and lower Vermont and have almost no snow on the sides of the roads. Hopefully the storm heading this way today and into tomorrow will leave the northern tier of New England under a heavy blanket of white, fluffy stuff.

I was using some new gear this first trip out, and I’ll tell you about in coming posts. Hopefully I get north again in the coming week. Maybe see you out there. If not, be safe. And get out there and enjoy the snow.

See You In 22

Avie’s Ski / Sports will be closed Saturday, January 1, 2022 — New Year’s Day.

The shop will re-open Sunday, January 2nd at noon.

Everyone at Avie’s Ski / Sports wishes you a safe, healthy, and fun start to 2022.

Indemnified?

You walk into Avie’s Ski / Sports. A big smile on your face. You tell a story about the pair of skis you got for an incredible price at a local ski swap. A few minutes later the smile is gone. Replaced by a quizzical, skeptical look. Maybe an angry stare. Definitely one of frustration. You just heard the phrase “not indemnified” from one of the staff.

In easy terms, indemnified means that someone can be held responsible for compensation or loss in the event of some form of accident or failure. For a ski binding, this would mean the binding manufacturer.

Just What Is The Issue?

Let’s use the image of the binding here as an example. It clearly looks old, though it may not be. It most certainly is not in like new condition. Rust, oxidation, and dirt are obvious.

Metals and plastics make up ski bindings. Both are long lasting, but neither is eternal. Springs and levers, tensioning rods and screws. These make the binding function. A certified technician sets those springs and levers and rods to release the skier under certain circumstances based on skier age, weight, height, ability, and boot length. Rust, oxidation, dirt. All play into how well the binding will function, despite proper adjustment to manufacturer specifications.

The issue is that the manufacturer has no way of knowing how people take care of their equipment. Some do and some don’t. Most skiers really don’t give ski bindings much thought. They are viewed as part of the ski. And they are, but as a separate entity with a distinct purpose—keep the skier locked onto the ski; let the boot free as required. At the end of the day and end of the season the average skier stands the skis up in a corner of the garage or basement. Done till next season.

Binding Longevity

After a certain length of time the manufacturer will no longer indemnify—or hold themselves responsible—for a given ski binding. The manufacturer has a pretty good idea of how the metals and plastics in the binding will degrade over time given “normal use.” Lack of maintenance and/or environmental conditions (e.g., damp basement) hasten the rate of degradation away from “normal.” Manufacturers no doubt err on the side of caution when determining age for indemnification to cease. As they should.

So you walk into a ski shop, skis in one hand a ski boot in the other. You tell your happy tale and say you want the bindings adjusted to the boot. In return you hear, “We can’t work on the binding. It’s no longer indemnified.” You’re miffed. Even if at a bargain price you gave away dollars for something that cannot be used as anticipated. You can buy and install new bindings for a couple hundred bucks, but now your bargain is no longer the bargain you had in mind.

Sometimes people get angry when they hear we won’t adjust the bindings. Some get downright belligerent. Conspiracy theories are rolled out. “Dirty crooks” and sometimes much less nice things are said. Despite the tirade, we will not adjust the bindings.

For some reason with ski bindings people think they are indestructible. They look simple enough. And beefy enough. They ought to last forever. And they may indeed last forever. But they may not function as expected—or as desired.

Risk Rules

How about this example. You are going bungee jumping. The manufacturer says the big rubber band that keeps you from splatting on the landscape below are indemnified for 500 jumps. Are you going to be willing to be tethered to that bungee cord beyond the 500 rated jumps? Maybe if you were number 501, but how about at 520? 550? 600? Me? I would definitely wait for the new rubber band to be installed.

Technically, a ski shop could adjust non-indemnified bindings. Doing so would mean the shop accepts responsibility should anything go amiss during their use. Yes, the shop could have a lawyer draw up waivers to be signed so that responsibility is mitigated. But there is already a small mountain of paper work attached to every ski rental or lease, binding adjustment or mounting.

And we could predict the outcome of any lawsuit. It’s a real no-brainer. I can hear the judge saying, “Really? You are adjusting ski bindings that the manufacturer says may not be reliable? Seriously? The Court rules in favor of the plaintiff.” The gavel whacks the bench. Case closed.

Ski binding indemnification. It’s not a scam. Or a conspiracy. It’s about safety of the skier. Really. Stuff gets old. Plastics get brittle. Metals fatigue. Moving parts don’t move so good anymore.

Have A Plan

Ski shop employees do not get any satisfaction from having to tell customers—in as nice a way as possible—that their great ski gear bargain isn’t. And the worst part is, for that customer, they almost never can return the unusable gear for a refund. It’s a no-win situation in almost all directions (the seller of the skis does gain benefit).

Does that mean that you shouldn’t buy used ski gear? Of course not. But if the bindings on the skis look pretty beat up and old then be skeptical. If the bindings are more than 7 or 8 years old, even if in really good visual condition, you may want to think twice. In either case the binding may indeed work fine. But if no ski shop will adjust them, then it’s a moot point.

Your best bet is finding out if the bindings are indemnified before laying out any cash. How do you do that? Easy.

Build a relationship with a local ski shop if you don’t already have one. Buy stuff there. Have your gear tuned there. Ask them where you might find some bargains to keep the kids (and yourself) playing in the snow. Ask that if you do find a pair of used skis if they mind a call to determine if they are indemnified. It is very likely they will be happy to help.

In Conclusion…

Once you have your plan in place and find that great ski bargain, be prepared to get some specific information about the binding. You will need to provide the shop with the manufacturer and the model name and number of the binding. If the bindings are so worn that you cannot tell who made them or what model they are, don’t bother with the call. Walk away from the purchase. Or buy the skis and take your chances. But don’t berate the folks at the ski shop for your decision if you hear the phrase “not indemnified.”

We understand that skiing is an expensive sport. We sympathize with families trying to afford gear and lift ticket prices, and we realize cost is a huge barrier to entry to and continuing enjoyment of the sport. So please do look for good, used gear. But do so smartly.

Follow the above advice and you maybe can rewrite the opening lines of this article so that the smile never leaves your face. That really will be a happy ending. And a win-win for all.


If you want to learn a bit more about ski bindings see the Avie’s “Skier Need to Know—Bindings” page.