A Shop Perspective: All Things Ski & Snowboard
Hi, and welcome to our blog section! Here you'll see notes, discussions, and explanations about various subjects in the ski/snowboard industry. If there's ever a subject you'd like us to tackle, or have questions about, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org! And awaaaaayyyyy we go!
Feb 5, 2020: Just Go For It!
Between work, school, and family commitments, and the fact that we live in Ontario, we don't often get bluebird skies and fluffy pow days. We usually get grey days and granular snow. But why should that stop us? We're skiers and snowboarders, and we love what we do. Just because the snow on your front lawn looks ugly doesn't mean your local resort hasn't been making & grooming snow whenever they can, in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Thanks to new snowmaking tech, the resorts can make more snow, faster, so you're able to get out and enjoy the sport you love, regardless of what mother nature has given. Get out there, create your own fun, and make the best of it! We have a short season in Ontario, so you may as well have a blast when you can!
Dec 13, 2019: Trusting Online Reviews?
These days, there are a million and one ski & snowboard sites, publications, and channels that are all vying for your attention. How do you figure out what gear is best for you in such a sea of information? Conflicting reviews are everywhere. Forums are full of people arguing about whether product A is better than B or not. The fact of the matter is that it can be nearly impossible to get a true indication of a product without having to sift through a whole lot of paid advertising, influencing, bias, etc. Who can you turn to? Friends and family that have used the same or similar gear would be a good start. They won't steer you wrong. Beyond that, queue your friendly neighbourhood shop! Small, specialized, independent retailers (like us, and many other shops across the country) spend a lot of time and energy on buying the right products for their customers. We have the opportunity to demo a huge range of gear, work with excellent brands and sales reps that help guide us through their catalogs, and ultimately we spend our time on the shop floor talking to customers and getting a sense of what works for them. We provide ranges of products from trusted manufacturers so that we can provide the best on-hill experiences for our customers. Independent retailers are hands-on in all aspects, not just determining profit margins or bulk discount buying. So, if you have questions, direct them to your local shop. If they carry the products you're interested in, they'll give you straight answers about them. If they don't, they'll let you know why, and what would be a potential alternative. At the end of the day, you, the consumer, are what matters most to small retailers so it's in our best interest to ensure you're given the best information possible. Stop by your local shop to see just what you've been missing!
Nov 6, 2019: Why Should I Invest in a Good Baselayer?
Picture this: you've shelled out a pretty penny for a new jacket & pants, and are ready to hit the slopes. You get up in the morning, throw on your long johns, tshirt, your favourite hoodie, and then your fancy new gear. After about an hour of skiing/riding, you're a sweaty, cold mess and that feeling just doesn't go away all day. Sound familiar? It's because you neglected the very first part of your outerwear system - the baselayer! The goal of all baselayers is to move moisture (sweat) away from your skin and pass it through the material as vapor. If that moisture gets caught and doesn't move, you stay wet, and as a result, cold. Water transfers heat at least 25x faster than air, so that means it can pull heat from your body at an alarming rate. Your trusty old cotton socks/long johns/shirts are your biggest enemy here. Cotton acts as a sponge - it'll soak up moisture and retain it, getting soggier as the day goes on. Proper performance baselayers are often a polyester material, sometimes with wool blended in for added warmth. These fibers, both natural and synthetic, are excellent at transferring moisture away from your skin and through the fabric. Your fancy new jacket and pants will continue that movement of moisture, and voila! You're dry! So there you have it - what you wear under your jacket and pants is as important, if not more important than the outerwear. Get a quality baselayer that fits properly (making contact with the skin - not too baggy), and go enjoy whatever mother nature throws at you!
Oct 21, 2019: Does it Matter What Snowboard Bindings I Get?
The short answer is YES! The long answer is YEEESSSSSSSSSS! Snowboard bindings play a crucial part in the way your board will ride and react. They're the link between your feet and your board. Bindings transfer energy, dampen vibration, and work to center your feet over the board. When choosing a binding, don't simply pick the coolest colour on the wall. Talk with your salesperson about the type of riding you do, what you like about your current bindings, what you don't like about them, and what you want your board to ride like. All manufacturers have a range of bindings with soft to stiff baseplates & highbacks, designed for all types of riding from park jibbing to big mountain ripping. Softer flexes will allow you more freedom of movement for presses, tweaks, and a surfy feel. Stiffer bindings provide quick power transmission and response for hard carving at speed. There are a multitude of baseplate/highback/strap combos out there, so having a good idea of what you like to do will help shrink the wall and point you in the direction of the right binding for you. Once you've nailed down the binding model, you'll need to ensure you get the proper size for your boot. Bring your boots when buying bindings to take all the guesswork out of the process. A proper fit will have very little lateral space in the baseplate at the forefoot, toe support just past the balls of your feet, a secure hold on the heel of the boot, and the straps centered on the instep and toe. Thankfully, all quality manufacturers make a range of binding sizes, with plenty of adjustment options to dial in the correct fit. We carry a wide range of models & sizes from some of the industry's best and most trusted brands to ensure you have the right binding for your needs, and ultimately, a big smile on your face when you're out riding. Stop by and see what's right for you!
Oct 1, 2019: Snowboard Camber Profiles
A snowboard is a snowboard is a snowboard, right? How wrong you are! In today's marketplace, it seems like there are as many camber profiles as there are riders. Knowing the differences, and which ones will suit your riding, will make your days on the snow exponentially more enjoyable. Not sure what camber means? Back in the old days, boards only came with one profile: full camber. It's how skis were shaped, and as a result, how boards were shaped as well. It's that curvature from tip to tail that raises the board up off the snow, almost looking like a bridge. Some years ago, companies began changing the camber to allow for a different feel on snow. Reverse camber, flat camber, rocker, hybrid rocker, camrock, all exist out there now. It may seem too technical but really things can be boiled down fairly simply. More camber provides more pop/rebound, and an increase in edge grip. Flat profiles or reverse camber allow for more maneuverability/presses/butters. Hybrid camber, camrock, or others of the sort, are essentially a mix of camber profiles. Usually you get camber between the feet for grip and stability, and flat/rocker towards the tips for float and maneuverability. When choosing a board, you should let your salesperson know what sort of riding you prefer, your level of experience, and what you want the board to do. Camber profiles are never set in stone, as there are many factors to consider, but dialing in the right profile for you will make you love your days on snow more than ever. Stop by and let us help pick the right board for you!
Sept 13, 2019: Goggle Purchasing Simplified
Time for new goggles? Feeling overwhelmed by the vast number of choices on the market? We're here to help. Knowing the basics of frames & lenses will help you better choose what will fit your needs this coming season, and we're happy to steer you in the right direction. Let's get started! There are many factors to consider when choosing a goggle: riding conditions, natural/artificial light conditions, budget, lens changing systems, colour & style, glasses compatibility, etc. The most important of all these is the lighting & riding conditions you expect to be in. If you tend to only go out on bluebird mornings, there are lenses for that. If you're a night rider, there are lenses for that. If you're out primarily in flat light, or changing conditions, there are lenses for that too. Essentially what you need the lens to do is filter light in such a way that you get sharper contrast & definition. Having contrast helps spot irregularities in the snow so you can be prepared for ruts, bumps, chunks, etc. Every manufacturer has their own technology for doing so, but the aim is always the same. The same can be said of distortion. Ideally, you shouldn't see wavy lights or any other distorted features, and again, companies have tech to address such things. Matching your lens or lenses to the conditions you'll be in will make your time on the hill far safer, and more enjoyable. The absolute best thing to do when buying goggles is determine the conditions you'll primarily be in, and try as many pairs as you can within your budget. You'll often find that there's one goggle that will rise above the rest, and voila! It's also never a bad idea to try the goggles with the helmet you'll be wearing, to ensure as seamless a fit as you can. Avoid that frozen forehead! Feel free to come by the shop, and find out what's going to work best for you. "See" you soon! - J
Sept 6, 2019: What's the Best Boot?
There are a million and one boots out there on the market, for both skiers and snowboarders alike, and though we all may have our personal favourite brands or models, there's no one answer to the age old question, "what's the best boot?". The easiest answer we give when asked this, is "the one that fits you best, and does what you need it to". Meaning, the boot fits the unique shape of your foot and allows you to perform on the hill in the manner that you are trying to achieve. A "good" boot isn't necessarily the most expensive on the wall. If you're a novice, casual skier for example, a high end race boot is not the best boot for you, no matter how fancy it looks on the wall or on a world cup podium. Your salesperson/bootfitter should ALWAYS be asking you questions about your riding, experience, and desired outcomes before handing you some options to try on. The hard truth of the matter is that very few boots will fit you perfectly out of the box. If that happens, go buy a lottery ticket immediately. For most of us, there is some form of customization that is required, because each of us has a different foot shape with different needs. It may be a simple liner heating to relieve some pressure or adding foam for heel stabilization, to canting and leveling adjustments, to shell molding, and everywhere in between. We carry a wide range of ski and snowboard boots from top brands in the industry for just this reason, and have spent years fitting all types of feet for all types of situations. No one boot is the "best", so stop in and pick our brains about what might be right for you, and then try on as many models as you can. With the best boot for YOU, your feet will thank you and you'll be able to take your skiing/snowboarding to that next level. Until next time! - J
Aug 30, 2019: Buying Used Skis
This is the most exciting time of the year for us ski & snowboard fanatics. We've been waiting for what seems like an eternity for all the new products to hit the shelves and websites. Not everyone can afford the shiniest, newest models though, so the used market starts to pick up steam at this point in the season. Where it's possible to find some really good deals on used gear, the majority of items being sold online are actually better off avoided like the plague. When it comes to skis, there's a major hurdle when buying used: binding indemnification. Every year, binding manufacturers provide service shops with a list of their bindings that they consider to be ok for use. As the years go on, certain models drop off these lists, and the manufacturers will no longer back them in the case of a failure or breakage. Also, most reputable shops will not service or make any adjustments to these non-indemnified bindings, in order to avoid potential liabilities.
So, if you buy a set of skis online or from a friend for what seems like a steal, buyer beware. We get many customers each season that bring in their recently purchased skis only to find out they can't have them adjusted to fit their boots, and have ultimately wasted their money. Here at the store, we sell used skis on consignment, and verify the binding indemnification when we bring them in as well as at the start of each new season, to ensure no one gets a potentially unsafe/unsupported binding. We will not resell anything that is not indemnified, or in excessively worn condition. We hope this helps give you a bit of food for thought, and are happy to help when it's time to purchase your next new or used set of skis. See you soon! - J