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.

, , , ,

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!

, , , , ,

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.

, , , , , ,

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)

It’s a New Year, Make a Plan!

It’s a new year, start a bucket list of objectives for the year. here are a few ideas:

1- Spend at least one day skiing first chair to last chair. Many of us start to get a bit jaded with skiing all day, we ski the ‘good conditions’ at the start of the day but leave early. Stick around till the closing bell, or if you have a hard time getting to the hill early make it a point to try for first chair by getting to the lifts before they start to spin.

2- Chase a storm. Watch the weather and try to be at ‘ground zero’ for at least one powder day this year by using your wits instead of blind luck.

3- Call in sick from a chairlift, this pairs perfectly with #2.

4- Go on a road trip. This works well with #2 and #3, try skiing the same storm as it moves across state lines, say a day skiing Southern Vermont then a day in Maine during a Nor’easter.

5- Ski at a small ski area, they still exist and they offer more than just cheap tickets, they help ‘keep it real’. Better yet, go back to the place you learned to ski at, at the very least you’ll appreciate what bigger mountains have to offer.

6- Ski in a foreign country. Sure, Canada counts, but every skier should experience skiing on a different continent. We can help with this one, the Chamonix trip will be happening again this spring!



7- Earn your turns. Spend a day ski touring, it’s great exercise and a wonderful way to feel connected to your environment in winter.

8- Ski in inclement weather. I’m guilty of shutting it down when the weather goes south… or just staying home, don’t do it. Skiing is fun when the conditions are challenging, there are no crowds and you spent that money on Gore-tex for a reason, right?



9- Learn a trick. Skiing is about showing off a little, embrace that about the sport.



10- Take a lesson. We all can get better at something, or, at many resorts skiing with an instructor means NO LIFT LINES. What is that worth on a powder day?

11- Ski by yourself. Skiing solo can lead to meeting new people on the lift as well as finding new lines you might miss if your with more people not skiing at your own pace.

12- Ski with a pack. Skiing is a social sport, it’s at it’s very best when the sun is shining, the snow is soft and there is a group of friends to enjoy it with. Show of that trick you learned earlier in the season!

These are a few ideas, what else should be on a Skier’s List?

Human Powered

This is how true core skiers get to the mountain…  Wait, isn’t there a shuttle?

Human Powered from Three Peaks Media on Vimeo.



Saint Michaels College 2013 Jib Fest

Our friends at Saint Michaels College in Winooski recently held their annual Jib Fest rail jam.  Our own Sam Davies from Three Peaks Media was there to capture all the action.  Pretty impressive build and setup for a college rail jam – well done SMC!

See you on the slopes!

Skiershop’s 2013/14 Season Tune Package

Tomorrow marks the official opening of our local mountain, Stowe Mountain Resort.  Every season this time of year we get a lot of the classic, last minute, “need-my-skis-for-opening-day” tunes, so we decided it was a perfect time to announce our new season tune package!


Stowe Mountain Resort making snow on its flagship trail, Liftline



For $150 we will tune your skis all season long!  What’s new about that, you may ask?  For the first time ever we’re allowing you to include multiple pairs of skis!  That’s right, even if you have a garage full of skis, we can keep them all tuned up for you for just $150!  You’ll be able to bring in one pair of skis per week and can change it up as much as you’d like.  Need 3 pairs tuned at once?  No problem, you just have to give up your tunes for the following 2 weeks.


Stowe Mountain Resort sends out the groomers to prepare for opening day


For all you mountain bikers, we have another special announcement to make.  Anyone who comes in to sign up for a season tune package this season will receive a FREE mountain bike tune!  That’s a $45 value for free!  We know how nice it is to have your bike all tuned up and ready for the next season, so we want to make it as easy as possible for all our customers.  We’ll make sure when the snow melts you have a seamless transition to your other favorite activity.  Make sure to take advantage of this special offer while you can, it’s ONLY good in NOVEMBER!

See you on the hill!

Skiershop at the Champlain College Rail Jam

Skiershop was recently invited to judge the Champlain College Rail Jam in Burlington.  It was the perfect event to get everyone excited for winter, and all the studious collegiate gentlemen were throwing down!  Nordica athlete Christian Franchino walked away with the win for skiers with an impressive display of technical tricks.  Check out some pictures of the action courtesy of Champlain College!


See you on the hill!

Skiershop Pro Team Gear Preview – Noah Ranallo

Curious about what gear the pros are using?  We’ll be running a series of posts highlighting Skiershop.com athletes and the gear that they choose to ski on.  With so many brands and so many types of skis coming through our doors, it’s extremely interesting to see who chooses what and why.

First up is Noah Ranallo, big mountain skier extraordinaire (at least we’re confident he will be someday).  Noah has been making his mark on the Ski the East Freeride Tour for the past few years, bagging multiple podiums and regularly taking the Cliff Huckstable Big Air Award, given to the skier who goes the biggest.

We took notice and put Noah on our team immediately.  With multiple team members on the Freeride World Tour we knew Noah would be a perfect fit and would put him in an environment that would allow him to continue building his career as a freeride skier.  Faction Skis followed suit, grabbing Noah and putting skis on his feet before someone else could.  Check out Noah’s gear in the photo below, and keep an eye out for him charging down a steep slope near you!

Skiershop athlete Noah Ranallo poses with his gear setup for the 13/14 season






, , , , , ,