Holy Fluff Batman!

It’s been snowing since yesterday afternoon and it still hasn’t let up! Cruising around this morning was a blast, despite the powder-hungry crowd. The mountain has gotten at least a 10 inches in the past 20 hours, which made for a day loaded with light, soft snow, perfect for laying down some big turns and finally allowing for some tree skiing.

The mountain should be outstanding for the next few days; the good conditions we’ve enjoyed all week are only going to get better after this snowy blessing of goodness. With more fluff in the forecast, Stowe is going to be where it’s at in the coming weeks.

We tried to take a couple pictures today, but it was snowing so hard that it was very difficult to see… Instead of taking the time to really get the shot, we decided to just keep skiing!

Haters Gonna Hate…

It’s time for the Olympics yet again and as per usual, the media has been loaded with Olympic hype. This year, however, most of the stories have been more focused on Big Bad Russia, rather than spreading love for Team USA. Everyone seems so caught up in hating Russia, that they’ve forgotten to get stoked to watch the United States kick some ass.

Media outlets across the US and Europe have been pumping out stories like 15 signs that Russia is not very ready for the Olympics,’ and Winter Olympics a showcase for one man: Vladimir Putin. In the weeks leading up to the games I read only two or three articles about the athletes, where as articles like the ones I just mentioned seemed to pop up every 20 minutes.

I was watching the opening ceremonies last night at a bar, chatting with this couple sitting next to me. They chuckled at the names of the countries they didn’t know, hooted when a member of the Austrian team fell down, and seemed offended when NBC reporter Matt Lauer announced that one of the athletes carrying the torch was, “involved in a relationship with Russian president Vladimir Putin.”

However the most bizarre thing I heard came after the fifth Olympic snowflake failed to convert into a ring. The young woman on my right turned to her fiancé and said, “I bet whoever was in charge of that is going to end up dead tonight. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if they already are.”

Have we really been force-fed so many negative images of Russia in weeks leading up to the 2014 Winter Games that we’ve come to assume that a person who made a mistake is going to be killed? While I’ll agree Putin is a narcissistic homophobe, I think that the flak he and his country have taken in last few weeks has been over the top and against everything the Games are supposed to represent.

Citing problems like “the Olympic flame went out 44 times,” and “there may be loose terrorists,” as reasons for why Russia is not ready to host the Olympics is absurd. That’s like saying it’s Russia’s fault that wind exists and there are bad people in the world…

The Olympic Spirit is supposed to be about “building a peaceful and better world… which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.”

We definitely haven’t seen that yet. Instead of focusing so much negative energy on Russia, let’s get some positive vibes going out to our athletes. As Tanner Hall once said, “HATERS= HAVING ANGER TOWARDS EVERYONE REACHING SUCCESS.” Is everyone just worried that Russia might put on a better show than we did in 2002? When it comes down to it, does it even really matter what country is hosting the games?

Now is not the time to take issue with Russian policy or its leader. For the next two weeks we should just focus on watching the best athletes in the world compete, then sit back and think, “How the f**k did he just do that?” These games are about coming together to celebrate incredible displays of talent and athleticism, not about politics. Let’s not revert to Red Scare era thoughts just because of where the Olympics are being held…

Sixty Seconds in Chamonix

Chamonix as seen through the eyes of professional ski guide and long time friend of Skiershop, Dean Decas. He joined us last year on our trip to France and showed everyone how it’s done.

Click the link to join Skiershop on this year’s trip to Chamonix! http://www.skiershop.com/chamonix-trip

SIA Denver- What does next season’s clothing look like?

One of the most interesting part of the SIA show every year is seeing what next years color pallet will look like. Clothing trends are a bit more volatile than ski technology, well I suppose ski graphics change every season also, but with clothing the aesthetics sort of are the product. So what’s next season look like? Let’s take a look.

Scott Outerwear

Scott Clothing

Trew, why yes, colors are a bit more subdued.

Trew. Notice the blue jacket to the lower left? You'll be seeing a whole lot more of that color way.

FlyLow, I really dig this. I can definitely see myself wearing this next season.

A bit more FlyLow. Note the slightly subdued pallet... and more blue!

Mammut, showing off their airbag pack also.

Mammut Women's freeride ensamble. Lookin' good.

This is a quick look at some of next season’s colors. Things are looking a bit ‘toned down’, a bit more subtle. I like it, what do you think?

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What We Use II

This week’s What We Use goes into skis, outerwear, and tips for keeping warm. We talked with Skiershop’s resident female bad-ass, Mar. She’ll give you insights into the gear she uses as she charges everything from gnarly backcountry lines to mellow groomers.

Q: How would you profile yourself as a skier?

A: I like to ski off-trail as much as I can, although this year that’s been pretty much impossible. I like to ski in the woods a lot, I like to ski bumps if I’m skiing on trail, but I also like to do off-resort touring. I’ve definitely gotten more into that over the last year or two. It’s nice to get away from the crowds a bit and get out there into the wild.

Q: What is your favorite ski and why?

A: My favorite ski right now is the ski that I own, which is the Blizzard Kabookie. I find that it’s very versatile; it does everything. I like to have a responsive and nimble ski, and the Kabookie is definitely both of those. It gives me the confidence to take lines through the trees that I might otherwise avoid. There are a few days where I’m out on the mountain and I think, ‘Gosh, I wish I had a different ski,’ but those days are few and far between. It’s fun, it’s pretty… not that that matters but it’s kind of a bonus to me! It makes me have a good time out there, and that’s what skiing is about.

Q: Since you like to get off the resort, do you like using an AT binding?

A: I do. I think there are sacrifices you have to make if you use an AT binding all the time, which currently I do, although I’d like to get away from that. I have the Tyrolia Adrenalin mounted on my Kabookies, which I really enjoy. With an AT binding you’re a lot higher up off the ski which makes going from edge to edge a bit more of a process, and it definitely adds weight to the ski. Also with a long, connected piece of material, you lose some of the ski’s flex pattern, although I think the Adrenalin gives the ski less of a dead spot under the binding. In an ideal world I’d have 10 pairs of skis all with different bindings. But if I’m on my skis and I have an opportunity to go do something that requires skins and AT bindings, I want to go do that. I don’t want to have to ski down, switch skis, and get back on the lift. I ski with a lot of people that don’t wait, so if I didn’t have an AT binding on my ski I’d end up getting left behind a lot.

Q: What do you look for in a boot?

A: Well, warmth for me is pretty much a non-issue because no matter what I do my feet are always cold. However I think that I’ve done the best I can to resolve that issue with the boot I’m skiing in now, the Dalbello Krypton women’s Kryzma. It’s got the Intuition I.D. liner, which has made a big difference for me. I love it. It’s warmer and it fits my foot well, since the whole thing is moldable. I really like the way the boot preforms. They Kryzma comes up higher on my calf than most women’s boots, which is great since I’m tall. This gives me a little more leverage and control over my skis. I like that they flex off the tongue as well as the progressive flex. You just don’t hit that stopping point when you’re really pushing the boot that you get with a traditional two-piece boot. I did put boot heaters in my boots for the first time this year. I feel like a little bit of a weenie… But at the same time it’s not so much for keeping my feet warm, it’s just to keep them from getting frostbite.

Q: How do you keep your legs warm?

A: I don’t (laughs). My legs are always cold when I’m skiing on trail, but I’m accepting of that. I wear long underwear underneath with a shell pant on top. My legs get hot when I’m skiing in the trees but then riding a lift back up they cool off. But I’d rather have a really breathable piece on the bottom to be able to get that heat and moisture off; because once you’re wet you’re screwed.

Q: As an aggressive skier, what do you do to keep your brain from being left on the slopes?

A: I wear a helmet. Every single time, and I never take it off. People think it’s a little dorky, but I really like having a helmet with a visor. Since I like skiing in the woods, I find that I can use the visor to deflect small branches which tends to help me keep my eyes open when I’m skiing through areas with lots of undergrowth… And keeping your eyes open when you’re skiing in the trees is usually a good idea!

Q: Gloves or mittens?

A: Gloves! I can’t STAND mittens! Mittens keep your hands so warm and are so appropriate for skiing in Vermont, but I can’t stand them. I don’t know why, I just really don’t like not having the dexterity. I feel really awkward in mittens. I really like the Mountain Hardwear Jalapeno glove, which unfortunately they don’t make for women… However, I can use a men’s small. They use DryQ which makes them super breathable, so you can hike in them and even if you’re sweating buckets, they’re still warm on the way down.

Q: What’s the most important part of your body to keep warm and how do you do it?

A: My hands. My core is pretty easy to warm back up, but when my hands get cold, they get cold fast, and when my hands get cold, I get grouchy. How do I keep them warm? I ski harder. I ski bumps if I’m skiing on trail or I ski trees if I’m able to. It’s so much more work and that keeps me a lot warmer.

Q: What is the most essential piece of Après ski-wear to own?

A: I think a good pair of Après footwear is the most important thing to have with you. I usually bring my Sorel boots, because they are very warm. When you take your ski boots off your feet are usually pretty thankful, and to put them in something really wonderful and warm and happy and fuzzy is very enjoyable. Besides skiing it’s usually the best part of my day!

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2014 SIA SnowShow Denver, CO

The Snow Sports Industry of America is gathered in Denver Colorado to show off what will soon become next season’s hottest gear. This is when ski shops around the country start to get a full picture of what trends are emerging in the snow sports world, what colors are hot, what ski technology is new and exciting, what product Glenn Plake is endorsing…

day one is over, day two is just about to start. Here are some shots of next years hard goods, boots, bindings and skis.

Doug Lewis Get’s the crowd pumped for Sochi

DPS, best looking booth again this year.

DPS Spoon Technology

 

Stockli Stormrider Series

Stockli Y Series and new Vario

Stockli frontside

Head Libra Women's line

Jeff and Julia discuss Supershapes

Head Freeride skis

Kastle Freestyle

Kastle MX Series

kastle FX Series

There is a lot more still to come… as soon as I have free time I’ll continue posting.

… and more:

Rossignol's 7 Series returns... yup, still awesome.

Rossignol's Experience Series gets reworked with technology from the 7 Series. All-Mountain with a touch more freeride for next season, new widths, new rocker profiles, hollow tips... their all new skis.Rossignol's Freestyle line.

Rossignol bindings, new dayglo colors and some cool new technology.

Blizzard, the bulls are still running at the front of the freeski herd. Some subdued new graphics and a couple new models. Why mess with success?

The new Tecnica Cochise boots. lots of new technology in these puppies.

 

New Volkl Mantra

Volkl 2015

Volkl is expanding their carbon footprint... light weight is very hip for 2015

Faction, looking good for next season

Faction Candide series, super clean

RMU is adding fiber to their diet, the new Carbon Apostle, under 8lbs per pair.

RMU has something special for us 'Right Coasters', the ski to the left is called the 802, you guessed it, designed for hard charging east coasters.

Nordica's Freeski line up, the graphics have been muted a bit... probably a good call.

Nordica has done a full redisgn on their all mountain skis, NRGy will be taking on the Blizzard Brahma and Bonafide. The consumer is sure to win in this battle.

Nordica's Michael Martini educating Jeff on 2015 product

Dalbello Lupo, Sean Petite's Pro Model returns

 

 

Freestyle skiers get the KR2 treatment in the new Il Moro, look for these next week in Sochi on the feet of park and pipe skiers

 

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What We Use I

Introducing a new section to the First Chair blog: “What We Use.” Here, Skiershop employees weigh in with their thoughts on the gear they use, as well as other helpful tips to get the most out of your day on the hill. For today’s What We Use, we talked with Skiershop vet, Mike Thomas.

Q: What is your favorite ski and why?

A: The Blizzard Bonafide. For skiing here at Stowe, it offers unparalleled versatility. It handles hard snow really well, but then it’s nimble and quick in the trees. I can ski it all over the mountain and I know it will respond well whether I’m carving a GS turn or cruising a bump run. Having camber under foot gives the ski great edge hold when it’s icy but the rocker in the tip and tail help you smear some turns when we get fresh snow.

Q: How do you feel about AT bindings vs. Alpine bindings? Do you have a preference?

A: I don’t like AT bindings. I don’t like the stack height off the ski and I think they eventually develop a little bit of play. I try to keep my AT skis AT skis and my alpine skis alpine skis. I understand when people want to have a setup that does both, you just need to understand the compromises your making. For skiing touring it’s a necessity, but for skiing lift access, I prefer not to make compromises. In terms of alpine bindings, I really like the Look Pivots and the Rossi FKS. They’re relatively light for how durable they are. The elastic travel, the retention, is incredible; they hold you in the ski very well, but do a good job releasing when you need them too. I find that I can use a lower DIN setting than most other bindings.

Q: What do you look for in boots when you’re thinking about getting a new pair?

A: Well I’m a boot fitter so my feet always hurt, like the story of the cobbler’s son. It can be really tough to find a balance between comfort and performance. I ski in a Dalbello Krypton now, and with the Intuition liner, they give warmth and comfort, as well as performance. I really like they way they grip my foot, but comfort isn’t always on the top of my list. The Intuition liner helps make the fit a little more comfortable, without sacrificing any of the performance.

Q: Gloves or mittens?

A: Gloves. I don’t like mittens. I unbuckle my boots pretty much every lift ride, so I need the dexterity that I just don’t get from a mitten. As far as gloves go, Hestra makes phenomenal product. I think that the quality of the leather they use and some of the little things they do, especially with the seams, is pretty cool. They do a great job keeping your hands warm and dry, even when you’re working up a sweat.

Q: What do you to to keep your face warm?

A: I grow a beard.

Q: What the most important part of your body to keep warm and how do you do it?

A: Keeping your core warm is so important because as long as it stays warm, it helps keep your extremities warm as well. Personally, I’m all about layering. I don’t like insulated jackets very much because I like to be able to tailor my outerwear to the particular day. As a result, I like the flexibility of a shell and being able to layer with a down jacket or other mid-layers underneath. When you’re actually skiing you generate a lot of heat and get sweaty as a result; this can make for some pretty cold chair rides. One of the ways I avoid this is by using extremely breathable outerwear. I’m wearing Mountain Hardwear clothes that feature their DRY.Q technology, which is probably the most breathable gear I’ve ever used.

Q: In terms of goggles, can I get one lens that will do it all, or do I really need to get different goggles for different days.

A: I think here in the East you can use a lowlight goggle, something that will boost contrast, for almost any day. However, it’s nice to have at least two lenses. Something like the Smith I/O is great because it’s so easy to switch between a Sensor and an Igniter lens. You can swap them out right in the parking lot in about 60 seconds.

Q: What is the most important article of clothing for any après ski event.

A: Pants. People that were their base layer to the bar: you look silly.

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Skiershop 2014 Chamonix Trip!

Skiershop's Mike Thomas on a Chamonix Powder Day

 

Looking for an incredible way to end your ski season?  There is still time to sign up for Skiershop’s trip to ski and ride in Chamonix, France this spring!  The dates are approaching and considering the mixed weather we’ve had this season in the Northeast, you can bet that we’re really looking forward to it!  We’re planning three 1-week sessions again this year – the first of which begins on Saturday, March 29, the second April 5th and third April 12th Our contacts in the Chamonix Valley just reported that the conditions are all time!  So it looks like we’re on track for another amazing trip.  We had an epic time with 6 fresh feet last year, and let’s not forget that every moment off the mountain can be just as memorable in downtown Chamonix.

2013 week one group enjoying an awesome day!

 

We’re getting a lot of interest in all three weeks for this April, and it’s time to get on board!  We’ll be bringing along a handful of local experts and friends.  Dean Decas, our intrepid guide and local liaison will be on-hand again to provide support and help find those secret stashes.  Skiershop’s Dan Burgess, Mike Thomas, Allarie Sullivan, all Chamonix veterans, are also slated to return.  Local Stowe legend, Chris Strong, will also be returning, and has recruited a few of his cohort.  With all those hooligans around you’ll surely be motivated to rip up the mountain and go big as everyone cheers each other on.

Dean and Adam enjoying the views

 

If you’ve ever wondered about skiing or riding in the Alps, this is the perfect opportunity to get in on the trip of a lifetime.  We take care of all the travel, lodging and guiding logistics.  Our connections run deep in Chamonix and the surrounding regions of Verbier, Switzerland and Courmeyeur, Italy.  Dean has been in Chamonix for the past 20 winters, Adam will be returning for his 7th year this spring, and our friends and guides are natives in the area.  With hookups like ours, a wicked good time is basically guaranteed.

Trip participant, Josh Phelps, pushing the limits

 

So don’t miss this opportunity to visit one of the most beautiful and exciting winter sports regions in the world.  with the unequaled skiing, mountaineering, and regional knowledge and experience of a crew that only Skiershop can assemble, it truly is a trip of a lifetime.

All smiles on a bluebird day in Chamonix!

 

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us anytime.  Our email and phone number are listed on our web site, http://www.skiershop.com.  More details on this year’s trip can be found at:  http://www.skiershop.com/chamonix-trip.  Now get pumped! Check out some of our amazing photos from last year in our Chamonix and Verbier albums on our facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/Skiershop/photos_albums.

We hope to see you soon!

Chamonix ianxiously awaits your return, Chris!

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Winter is BACK, come demo some skis.

Winter's back at the top of Vermont

MLK Weekend has signified a return to normal winter weather for Stowe. There are snowflakes in the short and extended forecast, so come try out some of the new generation of skis. The versatility of modern all-mountain skis is off the charts good, the lines between firm snow capable and soft snow fun have been erased, you can buy one ski that will put a smile on your face 95% of the time. We have demos from: Blizzard, Head, Liberty, Nordica, Kastle and Stockli.

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Finding Inspiration When The Condition Are not inspiring

Skiing is a weather dependent sport, we all know this. We east Coast skiers probably know this better than most! Sometimes Mother Nature just isn’t feeling nurturing and kind, sometimes she seems down right vindictive… but you know what? Skiing is still fun. Bad ski conditions make you stronger. A bad day skiing is better than a day at work. I could keep going, but check this out:

Here is a video made by a Johan Jonsson, a Swede who gets it, skiing is fun! (There are some cuss words in the vid, so maybe NSFW)