New Snowboards, Wax & Bus Trips On Tap

We have all been waiting for snow. And we got it. But unfortunately in a melted physical format. But no worries!! Up north they got snow. And lots of it. A foot and more of the wonderful white stuff fell on ski slopes all the way from New York to Maine.

And we have been waiting for a few other things beside snow. Such as, snowboards from Capita, fluorocarbon wax from SWIX, and bus trips from Avie’s Ski / Sports.

Snowboard Arrivals

Capita snowboards have had a hard time getting to retail shops this season. But no longer. A shipment of Capita snowboards arrived at Avie’s Ski / Sports and are now available. If you have been waiting for Capita boards to arrive, wait no longer. And don’t wait too long because they probably won’t have a long shelf life.

Fluoro- Wax

SWIX has been having some difficulty getting fluorocarbon waxes out of Norway, where they are produced, and into the US. The policy log jam finally opened up and we expected SWIX LF waxes to arrive mid-January. But the US government is not open for business, which means that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can’t sign off on the permits that would allow the shipment to get to us eager New England ski and snowboard waxers.

So we found an alternate source, and expect some low fluoro- ski wax to arrive early this week. What’s the big deal? If you wax your own skis or snowboards, low fluoro- wax is the “go to” wax for New England conditions. New England snow is typically high in moisture content, and low fluoro- wax significantly improves glide in high humidity snow. Never used a fluoro- wax? You should. As soon as you make the switch you will notice that your skis, or snowboard, want “to go” is the only way to describe it.

Ski & Ride Loon

And then of course there are ski and ride bus trips hosted by Avie’s Ski / Sports. Next on tap is a trip to the great state of New Hampshire to ski and ride at Loon. Great price of $99.95 per person, which includes round trip travel on a coach bus and your lift ticket at Loon. To best ensure that the trip runs to Loon, sign up before mid-afternoon on Thursday of this week. Avie’s needs to commit to bus and driver Thursday afternoon, and if there are not enough people signed up to go, the trip will be cancelled. You can of course get on the trip if you sign up after Thursday. But you might be disappointed to find out there is nothing to sign up for because the trip was cancelled due to lack of interest. That’s a shame. If you are interested in skiing or riding at Loon, sign up earlier than later.

Wednesday Trip to Okemo

On Wednesday, January 30th, the first Avie’s Ski / Sports mid-week ski and ride trip heads to Okemo in Vermont. Do you want a day on the slopes where you can rip up the trails top-to-bottom without crowds? Do you want a day skiing or riding from top-to-bottom and going directly onto the lift back to the top? If you answered YES to either (or both) then you MUST be on the Wednesday trip to Okemo. Be sure to sign up for the Wednesday January 30 trip to Okemo by mid-day on Monday the 28th so we can ensure the trip runs.

New snow, snowboards, and wax. And some new ski and ride trips ready to bring you someplace fun. So you can play on the new snow with your new snowboard which is slicked up with new wax.

Sounds good to me. See you there.

AlanD

Fun Day at Stratton

The group from Avie’s Ski / Sports had a blast at Stratton on the January 13th trip north. Conditions were phenomenal. Temperatures stayed in the high teens, but without a breath of wind. Great temps for skiing and riding.

And the sky. Such a beautiful sky. Not a cloud to be seen anywhere. The only thing resembling a cloud were the snow-capped peaks of the Presidential Range in New Hampshire off in the distance to the east.

Ok, great weather. How were conditions?

Incredibly good. Most of the mountain was open, and most open trails were groomed. With no wind, the snow stayed on the trails. The only spot that got a bit nasty in the afternoon was Janeway Junction. Too much traffic always seems to make that spot get scraped to glacier status. But if you avoided that, the rest of the slopes were firm, fast, and snow covered.

The new lift in the Snow Bowl area of the resort is a fantastic addition. The trip back to the summit from the bottom of World Cup now takes about 5 minutes rather than the 15 or so minutes with the previous lift. Better still, few seemed to know it was there because there was never a line. So, you could avoid the long, slow runout back to the base area with a short hop back to the summit. Very nice addition.

Was it crowded?

Even more surprising were the crowds. Or lack thereof. Yes, it was busy, but the longest wait I had was at the Sunrise Express lift out of the Sun Bowl, where it took about 5 minutes to get on the lift. So there were fewer people on the trails than what I think of as “normal” for a Sunday.

And once the Patriot’s game started, the trails got even more lonely. For those that decided to forgo at least the start of the game, the skiing and riding throughout the afternoon was spectacular.

Starting to get the idea it was a great day? It was. Personally, I thought the snow in the Sun Bowl area was the best, and my favorite trails for the day were Sunrise Super Trail, skiers left as you get off the Sunrise Express chair, and Lower Downeaster, skiers right coming off the chair.

Last Run

Right at the end of the day, the Sunrise Express lift in the Sun Bowl experienced problems and was shut down for repairs. Fortunately they got everyone off before shutting it down. This left the Solstice lift running, which I hadn’t been on before. It is a sloooooooow lift, but when it’s the only lift, you take it. Fortunately I took it only once, for my last run of the day. I took Big Ben, a novice trail right off the Solstice lift, back to the Sun Bowl lodge. It’s a scenic, winding trail through the woods, experiencing a gentle grade. It pops out of the woods at the top of a big, broad slope leading past the tubing hill.

The sun had been on the slope earlier in the day, which was now in the shadows as the sun was setting. I tipped over the top of the long wide slope, quickly finding out that the sun must have slightly thawed the surface, which then froze over as the sun dipped behind the mountain. For a novice trail, I had a fast ride down the slope back to the lodge. Big carves across the face of the trail, all the way to the bottom, was a fantastic way to end the day.

I was tempted to jump on the lift for one more spin down Big Ben, but opted not. My quads were screaming from a fun afternoon of torture. I decided to let it end on a high note. My quads were very grateful for that decision.

The bus ride back to Westerly was particularly quiet. Everyone was what I call “blissfully exhausted” from a fun day on the snow.

Mount Snow on tap

This coming Sunday, the 20th of January, the Avie’s Ski / Sports trip heads back to Vermont to visit the slopes at Mount Snow. Same great price of $99.95. Be sure to sign up by early afternoon on Thursday the 17th to help ensure that the trip will run.

Sure, you can still sign up for the trip after Thursday. But you run a risk of two very bad things happening. First—too many people waited until after Thursday afternoon to sign up, and the trip was cancelled because we thought there wasn’t enough interest. Second—too many people did sign up before Thursday afternoon and there are no seats left on the bus. In the first case, everyone loses. In the second, there is a big number of winners, and one loser.

Don’t be a loser. Sign up before Thursday afternoon

Following Mount Snow Avie’s heads to Loon in New Hampshire on the 27th. On January 30th, a Wednesday, Avie’s Ski / Sports has the first mid-week trip of the season, heading to Okemo. I urge you to be on that bus. Mid-week skiing and riding cannot be beat. Sign up for this trip early so that we know there is enough interest.

Check out the full trip list.

AlanD

Stratton on January 13th

Vermont and New Hampshire are getting whacked with a nice blanket of that fluffy white stuff we call snow. This weekend—Sunday specifically—you can be at Stratton on January 13th.

The 5 to 7-inches of snow, maybe more locally on the mountain, will freshen things up quite nicely for our skiing and riding pleasures. Stratton is a fun mountain, with a variety of terrain for all ages and abilities. A brand new lift over in the Snow Bowl will give another opportunity to get to the summit without returning to the base village.

The best part of the trip, sponsored by Avie’s Ski / Sports in Westerly, Rhode Island, is the price.

$99.95 per person

That price includes a ride to and from Stratton, on a comfy coach bus. Get on the bus in the morning and relax for a few hours as someone else does the driving. Get to Stratton and ski and ride all day long. Get on the bus at the end of the day, exhausted from so much fun, and let someone else do the driving.

The price includes your lift ticket cost. If you were to drive all the way to Stratton on your own, then go to the ticket window and get your lift pass, you would experience at least three unpleasant things. First, you would have driven all that way to Stratton early in the morning instead of relaxing with friends and family. Second, you would pay MORE for the lift ticket than for the entire Avie’s Ski / Sports cost of the trip. Third, at the end of the day, tired and crabby from paying full price for a lift ticket, you have to drive all the way back home.

So, don’t go on the Avie’s Ski / Sports bus trip this Sunday, January 13th, to Stratton. Then you get the pleasure of driving 6 hours AND paying MORE for your lift ticket than if you joined the folks leaving from Avie’s. That sounds like a great deal for YOU.

But not for me. I will be on that bus leaving Avie’s Ski / Sports and headed to Stratton.

Decision to confirm the bus and driver for the trip to Stratton must be made by mid-afternoon Thursday.

That’s tomorrow. Tomorrow afternoon. If you want to go on this trip, you need to have your reservations in place before mid-afternoon tomorrow. If too few are signed up to go, then the trip gets canceled. That would be a sad thing. Sad indeed.

I look forward to seeing you Sunday morning at Avie’s Ski / Sports. Stratton awaits us!!

Skiing & Riding CAN’T Wait

Looks like the first Ski & Ride trip, headed to Okemo, is a no go for this Sunday. That’s a bummer because conditions are getting increasingly good. Yeah, we had a few flip-flops into some spells of nasty warmer conditions.

Look at the picture above? What do you see? You see “snow whales.” These are gigantic mounds of snow that the mountain ops snow makers create. They close trails and make snow whales. Then they push that mountain of snow around to make nice conditions to ski and ride on. That’s whats been going on up north the past few weeks.

We have a return to cold on tap. And some fresh snow has fallen up in the north country. With more predicted in the days to come. Granted, no major dumps in sight. But they will come. No doubt about that. They just never happen soon enough or often enough for us snow hounds.

Ski conditions are good and getting better. So all of us should be chomping at the bit, as the saying goes, to get out on the hill and let gravity have some fun with us. I know I am. But I don’t get to feed that need at Okemo this Sunday on an Avie’s Ski & Ride Trip. And that’s a bummer.

An Avie’s Ski / Sport Ski & Ride Trip is always fun. And cost effective. The price of a trip, which includes the ride—on a coach bus—to and from the ski area AND the full day lift ticket, costs less than the price of the lift ticket for the day at the resort. Participants have nothing to do except chill on the way up. Ski and ride like banshees until the bull-wheels stop spinning and the lifties wave you away. Chill on the return trip and take in a movie or two.

The thing is that decisions on “trip go or no-go” have to be made by Thursday mid afternoon. The bus company needs to confirm use of the bus and driver for the day. If, as seems to be the case sometimes, everyone thinking about going on the trip waits until Friday or Saturday, it’s too late. The sad decision to cancel the trip has already been made. Days earlier.

Owen, after hearing the trip was off.

Ted gets sad. I get sad. Owen gets sad and depressed. People walking in with big smiles on their faces ready to sign up for the trip Friday evening and Saturday morning leave with frowns. That’s a bummer.

If you are considering participation in an Avie’s Ski / Sports Ski & Ride Bus Trip, then you need to get to the store and commit to the trip before mid-day on Thursday. I figured this was worth saying because hey, how would you know otherwise?

Now you know.

Commit to Avie’s Ski & Ride trips by mid-day on Thursdays

At latest.

Next trip up north on bus from Avie’s Ski / Sports takes place on Sunday, January 13th. This trip goes to Stratton. If you are interested in this one, and you should be, get to Avie’s and sign up.

Do it now. Or tomorrow. Maybe even wait until Monday. But don’t wait until the last minute. Though if you do, that last minute should be Thursday the 10th at noon.

Share this far and wide. Especially with friends and family you know who do take part in the Ski & Ride trips from Avie’s Ski / Sports.

I hope to see you Sunday the 13th as we head to Vermont together to ski and ride at Stratton.

AlanD

Okemo On Sunday

It will officially be 2019 in a mere matter of hours. And it’s important to start off a new year with some good intentions. One of the intentions, in fact I would argue it to be the very best of intentions, should be to ski and ride.

This Sunday, January 6th, the first Sunday of 2019, you can go to Okemo to ski and ride.

Avie’s Ski / Sports has the first bus trip of the season headed to Vermont. And it will stop at Okemo. Today, New Year’s Eve Day, Okemo has 86 trails open to skiers and riders. Tonight they expect a few inches of snow to fall, and perhaps a few inches again this coming Saturday.

Start 2019 on good footing, and go skiing and go riding. Do it at Okemo with other Avie’s Ski / Sport skiers and riders.

The price for the trip to Okemo is a ridiculous $99.95. Window price for that ticket at Okemo is $106. You SAVE a few bucks on the lift ticket price AND you get a ride to and from the mountain. It sounds incredible, and it is.

Go skiing. Go riding. Go to Okemo. Sunday January 6th, 2019.

Avie’s Ski / Sports is closed on Tuesday, New Year’s Day.

Get to the shop today, or Wednesday as soon as you can to be sure to get your seat on the bus to Okemo.

Hope to see you Sunday. In the meantime, have a safe and wonderful ending of 2018 and start of 2019.

AlanD

Ski Sock Stuffers

There was a great turn out for the tuning clinic by Bruce Diehl from SWIX last week. And during the clinic he pointed out many things that would be excellent ski sock stuffers for a certainly holiday morning coming up next week. 

First off, a nice SWIX Diamond Stone would be great to find in the toe of a ski sock. As Bruce noted, using one at the end of every ski day to lightly buff and polish edges on skis and snowboards keeps them nice and sharp, and rust free. Sharp edges cannot be stressed strongly enough as important here in New England. The snow can be crusty and even downright hard at times. Sharp edges keep you on course.

Bruce showed how to use SWIX F4 Liquid Wax, which would be an absolutely ideal ski sock stuffer. This liquid wax is super easy to apply, so your skis or snowboard slide more easily over the snow. Give the F4 container a few good shakes. Smear the liquid wax all over the base. Give it a half minute to dry. Then brush it out with a few strokes, tip-to-tail, using a nylon SWIX brush (blue or white nylon brush is fine for this). That’s it! 

While F4 wax is not a long term replacement for a good hot wax—the best of course being a nice ironed in waxing—it is a great way to keep you moving gracefully (and quickly!) over the snow. And since when is that ever a bad thing? Never! According to Bruce Diehl, every skier and rider should have a SWIX F4 applicator in their boot bag. Avie’s Ski / Sports has a good supply of F4, so grab a few and drop them into every ski sock you see.

Sock-In-A-Sock

Avie’s Ski / Sports has lots of other great ski and ride related items that are small enough to be great ski sock stuffers. For instance—socks. Smartwool socks make great ski sock stuffers. What could be better than a sock-in-a-sock? Okay, maybe a sock and SWIX F4 in-a-sock. Avie’s has a big selection of Smartwool ski socks, snowboard socks, apres socks, hiking socks, and plain old warm socks. 

How about a nice, new pair of gloves? Northface, Kombi, Gordini and SWIX gloves are in abundance in all sizes and colors at Avie’s Ski / Sports. Like mittens better? I do on really cold days. Avie’s has them as well.

Know someone with a pretty face? Help them keep it that way with a nice CTR face mask. You will find CTR Adrenaline and Tempest series head and neck wear at Avie’s Ski / Sports. I have the Adrenaline Pro and I love it! Pull it all the way on and I have full face protection from even the nastiest of weather. Slip the face mask down and under the chin when it’s not so bad. Slide the hood down to be a neck gaiter when it’s nice out. Check out the CTR line, it’s awesome. And they will absolutely make great ski sock stuffers!

How about a new pair of goggles? They most assuredly will fit in as a ski sock stuffer. Gordini and Zeal goggles are available at Avie’s Ski / Sports. Too many styles, colors, and options to even begin to cover them here. But they definitely will fit in a sock. And will be much loved by the owner of that sock.

Trip-In-A-Sock

But let’s not forget the one ski sock stuffer that will please anyone and everyone, and you don’t have to take the heat for wrong color, wrong size, wrong style, wrong whatever. What is this magical ski sock stuffer? A Gift Certificate to Avie’s Ski / Sports. The recipient can use them for anything in the shop. Even, heaven forbid, something NOT ski related! That of course would be rare, but I suppose possible. And don’t forget that an Avie’s Gift Certificate can be used to get a seat on an Avie’s Ski / Sport Ski & Ride Trip. The first in on January 6th, to Okemo. Great gift. Think about it.

Skis-In-A-Sock

And if you really have someone special. I mean really, really special. Then consider this as the most amazing ski sock stuffer ever—a pair of skis. Yeah, a pair of skis. They will slip into a ski sock so very, very easily. Granted, it will only cover the tail of the ski up to the binding. But I think the recipient might overlook that issue. 

I am hoping to find some Avie’s Ski / Sports winter sports related item(s) in my ski sock. There ought to be a bit of room in between the lumps of coal. Maybe not enough room for a pair of skis. But maybe enough for some of that sweet SWIX F4…..

AlanD

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