Be Prepared for the Winter Season with Gear from Aspen Ski and Board
Clothing for skiing and snowboarding is some of the most specialized outdoor clothing available. The clothing is usually layered with specialized fabrics from the base layer to the outer layer. These layers include a wind and waterproof jacket and pants on the outer layer, a thermal layer close to the skin, and one or more insulating layers in between.
The current trend in clothing for snow sports features un-insulated pant and coat shells, designed to be worn over an insulating layer. The clothing is offered in different styles, weights and colors that include a mesh lining designed to allow the skin to breathe, with the outermost layer treated to be waterproof.
The shells, base layers and socks are often made of synthetic materials such as nylon and polyester often referred to as technical fabrics. Commonly used fabrics include Antron, Supplex, Stunner, Tactel and Taslan with rugged synthetics such as Berguntal and Caprolan used in the high-abrasion areas.
Most technical ski and snowboard clothing fabrics are treated with a coating or laminate to make them waterproof as well as enabling the skin to breathe. These coatings and laminates have microscopic pores that are too small to let snow or rain in but allow moisture from the body to escape.
All ski clothing requires an insulating layer for warmth. The most common type of insulator is made of quick drying, durable synthetic fleece, this provides warmth without the extra bulk. These articles of clothing include pullovers, full-zip jackets and vests as well as thermals that combine fleece with stretch material. Down, which was the first insulation used in ski gear is soft, lightweight and durable.
Below you will find a complete list of clothing, their definitions and why their functionality is so important.
Base Layer: Unlike cotton, light weight technical materials are designed to draw moisture from the body maintaining warmer body temperatures in cold conditions.
Socks: A technical sock is made of specially blended fabrics that wick moisture away from the skin, leaving your feet dry and warm. Technical socks are also anatomically designed to enhance the overall boot fit as well. Wearing two pairs of socks will trap moisture in, get twisted inside your boot, cutting off circulation, leaving your feet cold!
Gloves/Mittens: Gloves and mittens should be waterproof and filled with insulation to keep hands dry and warm while skiing or boarding. Many ski clothing manufacturers offer high quality insulated hand wear without the bulk. Don’t be fooled by department store gloves which usually have no waterproofing.
Waterproof/Breathable Jacket and Pants: Waterproof and breathable materials keep moisture out and wick perspiration away from the body. Waterproof pants are the most important piece of clothing on the hill. Beginners tend to wear street pants to ski or board in, creating lower body temperatures and discomfort. Many jackets and pants offered in large sporting good stores offer little waterproofing and no breathability.
Goggles: High quality goggles keeps snow out of your eyes, helps protect your face from the wind and snow making while not distorting your vision. When a clear piece of plastic is bent then looked through, refraction is usually the result. Goggles should have 100% UVA and UVB protection, and a good goggle will enhance your vision resulting in better depth perception.
Helmet: It’s a no-brainer! Helmets are a personal choice, providing warmth and preventing head injuries. Generally, children involved in ski clubs are required to wear a helmet.
Bags: If you plan on traveling, purchase a bag to protect your skis or board. A bag is a must for any airline travel. Aspen Ski and Board offers a ski and boot combo set that is ideal for ski club bus trips for only $29.95.
Accessories: There are plenty of extras to enhance your comfort on the mountain! Wrist Guards, Neck Gators, Face Masks, Fleece or Middle Layering Piece. Wax & Tuning Supplies and Crash Pads (great for beginners or park riders).
Boa technology is here to stay
The above picture shows double boa which tightens both the upper and lower zones of the boot.
The above picture shows a single boa which only has one overall tightening system.
We have used laces to tie up our shoes and boots for centuries, but until recently no one had thought of a different method. Snowboard boots require snug and secure fastening to maximize the riding experience. Laces have the tendency to loosen within use, and also wear out fast throughout the season. The main alternative to laces is the Boa cable system, which has been met with much question in the industry.
Ride and K2 snowboard boots are featuring more Boa lace systems every year, and in my perspective this is a very good thing. Some of the popular styles include the K2 Raider Boa, and the K2 Maysis Boa. What Boa cable systems provide, is a consistent, even, and secure fastening of the boot every time with minimum effort. Standard laces many times require multiple attempts to establish that secure feeling needed for maximum control while riding, and if tightening is needed doing so on hill is nearly impossible.
Boa coils are able to be tightened while the riders boots remain in the bindings, allowing for even mid run adjustments. The strength and durability of these cables has been proven since their introduction with superior longevity over laces. With many boots featuring two or even three Boa coil tighteners there is no disputing that they provide better hold of the foot than any other method.
If you have a had troubles with getting your boots to provide a secure fit you must not be in a Boa boot. Stop into Aspen Ski and Board and try on a pair of Boa boots today. You will feel the difference immediately, and can be assured that the fit will last.
Article by Brian Kocak, Aspen Ski and Board
Buying vs. leasing ski equipment
At the start of every new ski season many skiers find themselves asking the same question, “Should I buy or lease my equipment this year?” The answer actually depends on many different factors including the skier’s age, experience level, how many times a year they ski, and their budget.
Both buying and leasing have their advantages and it depends on the individual as to which option works best for them. Let’s start by analyzing how age affects the buy/lease decision. When it comes to children’s ski equipment purchases many parents are hesitant to commit. “Jimmy’s grown 4 inches in the past month, and I am afraid he’ll grow out of his boots in a season.” This is completely reasonable. However, even with growing feet, purchasing is usually the best option for kids.
One option available to counteract the problem of growing feet is the junior trade-up program. A junior Ski package including skis, ski bindings, poles, and rear-entry ski boots can be purchased for $219.95. Eligibility for the trade-up program is determined by the child’s measurements. The really cool thing about this program is that every season you have the option of trading in your child’s equipment as they grow and need upgrades. For traded-in ski boots, skis, and ski bindings, $100 credit is applied to the next package purchase. $33 is applied for each individual traded-in package piece (skis, boots, bindings).
This program is very unique in that it offers parents a cheaper way to outfit their children with new ski equipment without feeling the remorse of having to pay full price for equipment every single season. Another good thing about the trade-up program is the option of keeping the equipment you do not wish to trade in to use as hand-me-downs for other children. Purchasing and owning your own equipment is usually the best option for a variety different reasons: your child gets the ski brand and color they like, you have the skis readily available whenever you want to go, and you don’t need to worry about returning your rented equipment at the end of the season.
Although it is not typically done for little kid’s purchase packages, many parents employ a lease/buy combo for their high-school-age students. By season leasing boots for $40 and purchasing skis and bindings, you can own your own equipment without costly ski boot purchases for growing feet. Leased boots can be quickly fitted to purchased skis by a release check ($12.95). A multitude of economical ski options is available for your children, so do not let the thought of expensive ski gear get in the way of your kid’s winter fun.
At the adult end of the spectrum, there is a helpful rule-of-thumb concerning ski equipment purchases. If you ski more than 5 days a season, it is more cost-effective to buy your own equipment. The reasoning for this is simply economical. In about 2 years you can have your skis paid for and will own and use them for at least another 3 years. In the 5 years that you have owned your skis, you now have avoided paying for a new ski lease season after season, which adds up quickly. Another advantage of owning your own equipment is never having to worry about the ski equipment’s quality. Almost always, rental and lease ski equipment is used and a few seasons old. However, with a season lease ski package an equipment tune-up is included in the deal, as opposed to the out-of-pocket expense that comes with tuning owned equipment.
Beginning adult skiers also often contemplate leasing their ski equipment. An adult season lease ski package costs $139.95 and includes shaped skis, front or rear-entry boots, bindings and poles. While adult skiers do not usually need to worry about outgrowing their gear, they do have other considerations such as experience level and budget. An adult beginner ski package including K2 Sabre skis, Tyrolia SL100 ski bindings, Nordica One45 ski boots, K2 Automatic ski poles, binding installation and tune-up can be purchased for just $389.95. This ski package is a great all-mountain, beginner purchase for anyone looking to have a fun, relaxed day on the slopes. This is obviously a better deal than leasing equipment for 5 years as it is cheaper, higher quality and, most importantly, owned by you.
When all is said and done, the answer to the buy/lease question depends entirely on the individual. Many factors should be considered when contemplating a ski purchase, but no matter whether you purchase or lease, you’ll have a great time on the slopes.
Aspen Ski and Board
10 Tips to Prepare for Ski Season
Winter is approaching us quicker than you think, I realize this is May but in just two short months Aspen Ski and Board will re-open again for another epic ski season to put in the books. Whether it's November 1st, or the day after the slopes close when you start dreaming about being on the mountain again, here are 10 tips that will help get your body and soul in shape for the upcoming ski and snowboard season.
1. Lunge, lunge and lunge some more
As much fun as it is to ski the greatest amount of vertical you have ever skied in one day, you are going to want to walk again. Lunges are a great way to get your skiing legs ready for those huge GS turns you’ll be ripping. Three sets of alternating lunges, three times a week is all you need to strengthen those stems of yours. This exercise targets your quads and will help keep you on the mountain longer for that record vertical.
2. Get your tunes ready for the slopes
Make yourself a rad playlist to go along with your bad self while you show that mountain who's boss. Make sure you choose something upbeat, this will help you to relax and enjoy your day with good ol' mother nature. Research has shown that music with an upbeat rhythm can reduce stress hormones by as much as 41%. So let go of school, work, or whatever it is that is stressing you out and slash some pow.
3. You don't have to be a ballerina, but stretch!
We all know the jingle, "knee bone connected to your thigh bone", but dem bones are also connected to ligaments and tendons that need some love. Stretching is the best way to avoid any injury. Focus on your hamstrings and your lower back, as these are the muscles that get worked the most. This will save you when you have that infamous yard sale we all have every season.
4. Steer clear of the food court
Don't even think about it! I know that 30% beef, 100% delicious burger at the Lodge looks amazing but opt for something a little less greasy and a little bit better for you. Eat a strong breakfast that includes fruit, protein and carbs. When you head out pack your pockets with a few snacks, things like trail mix and granola bars are great for boosting your energy. For lunch stick to something nutritious like a warm bowl of soup and a tuna sandwich or the old reliable PB&J. Now that you're done skiing you've earned your beer and burger!
5. Get your balance on
Practicing your balance and fine tuning smaller muscles will improve your performance and allow you to ski and ride with a more even flow. If you have the slight upper hand and are a rock climber, slack-line walker or Olympic gymnast during the off season, great! If you’re like the rest of us, here a couple of exercises to help you get your balance back. Stand behind something that you can hold onto, lift your right leg to the side about 12 inches (or as far as is comfortable) while keeping your back and both legs straight. Hold for several seconds and repeat with the opposite leg until you have done 10 on each side. Also you can walk in a straight line while placing the heel of one foot just in front of the toe of the other.
6. Prepare yourself
We all know there is a little bit of a price to pay with this beloved sport. Sometimes it is so brutally cold out there that you don’t even want to step outside and you look like the kid in The Christmas Story. Other times the clouds are spitting out a little mixture between snow and rain that I like to refer to as “snain.” To prepare yourself for all these little surprises, here are a few things you can do:
- Dress up in as many clothes as you can and then proceed to take them off because you have to go to the bathroom.
- Drive slowly for five hours - anywhere - as long as it's in some sort of storm and you're following an 18 wheeler.
- Fill a blender with ice, hit the pulse button and let the spray blast your face. Leave the ice on your face until it melts and drips into your clothes.
- Watch clips of George Bush’s presidential speeches to prepare you for the droves of Texans who flock to the resorts and manage to incorporate a giant belt buckle into an Eddie Bauer one-piece.
- Find the nearest ice rink and walk across the ice 20 times in your ski boots carrying two pairs of skis, bag and poles. Pretend you are looking for your car. Sporadically drop things.
- Clip a lift ticket to the zipper of your jacket and ride a motorcycle fast enough to make the ticket lacerate your face.
- Place a small but angular pebble in your shoes, line them with crushed ice, and then tighten a C-clamp around your toes. (If you are having any issues such as these, bring your boots into Aspen and we can eliminate them for you.)
Repeat all of these every weekend until it’s time for ski season.
7. Be confident
Unless you have topped out as an Olympic skier or snowboarder, there is always something to learn. This sport is endless and always has a way of amazing me each time I’m on the mountain. The most important thing to remember is to be confident in your ability. If you have that confidence, you can do anything. Focus mentally and visualize while you’re skiing making tighter turns, faster moguls, bigger air, flawless trees runs. These improvements will never happen if you don’t believe in yourself. There is absolutely no shame in taking a lesson, no matter what level skier or boarder you are. This is the chance to ski with an expert skier, someone who has been doing this their entire life and you might be surprised at how much you learn. We’re all out there to enjoy the sport and the great outdoors so no matter your age or your ability, remember to open your mind and have fun!
8. Can’t we all just get along?
Nose Ring? Meet Earmuff. They may never be slope soul mates but skiers and snowboarders are finally starting to get along. For a long time snowboarders have gotten the bad rep. They have been accused of causing accidents, blocking trails, tearing up snow and overall rebelling with their grunge style and punk attitude. It has become less of an issue, but the hostility between the two is still apparent. Every division of this sport should be respected and looked at with an open mind. We come from all different walks of life and have different ways of expressing ourselves. I encourage you this season, if you haven’t done so before, strap on a snowboard for a day if you’re a skier and do the opposite if you’re a snowboarder. Place yourself in someone else’s shoes for the day and try to appreciate the sport for what it is. You may have some fun trying something new. Need some gear? Come into Aspen, we have an awesome and convenient rental program. A one day ski rental is just $16.95 and a one day snowboard rental is $20.95.
9. Quick feet
Jumping rope isn’t just for school girls and Rocky anymore. Jumping rope is easy to incorporate into your daily routine and can burn up to 1000 calories per hour, making it one of the most efficient workouts possible. It tones the muscles in your entire body! It also optimizes cardiovascular conditioning and maximizes athletic skills by combining agility, coordination, timing, and endurance. Just 10 minutes of jumping at 120 RPM provides the same cardiovascular benefits as 30 minutes of jogging. This will help you initiate your turn with power while skiing, as well as get your legs and heart in shape for a long day of exercise.
10. In it for the long haul
Endurance is very important in this sport. Where is the fun in skiing if you’re whooped before 11am? Do anything that raises your heart rate for 30-60 minutes at least 3 times a week. Running, biking, circuit training or swimming are all great activities for this. If you would like to increase your workout, strap on an 8lb Texas belt buckle for a little extra challenge.
Now you’re ready to tackle this winter sport. Have a great summer everyone, I look forward to seeing you all this season! For more ski and snowboard related articles check out Aspen Ski and Board's Facebook and Blog Page.
-Audrey Lloyd- Aspen Ski and Board Shredding Betty!
It's Going To Be Another Star-Spangled Fourth Of July At Mammoth
Mammoth Mountain, California, will remain open for skiing and riding until July 4, 2011
Here we go again with good news. Mammoth Mountain plans to remain open - once again - for skiing and snowboarding until Independence Day. It's a bonus that's been offered four of the last seven seasons.
Here's why the 2011 season can be extended: Mammoth has a base depth of 15-20 feet of packed snow. That puts it among the top totals in the entire world. La Nina lived up to its expectation dumping record-breaking powder over Mammoth's 3,500 skiable acres. The snowfall officially ended California's draught that has lingered since 2008. Mammoth is currently at 157 percent of its seasonal average for precipitation.
More than a million skiers and riders have skied or snowboarded at the High Sierra resort so far this never-ending season and that number will keep growing until, well, the fireworks start glowing.
Those visiting late in the season during May and June are likely to get on the slopes early to get a half-day of skiing and riding in, then turn into the summer mode. Mammoth offers golfing, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, or playing in a mountain stream. To keep up with current ski and snowboard industry news updates become our friend on our Facebook page.
How to ski “Green”
Now I know that it seems impossible to mix “alpine skiing and snowboarding” with living “green”. People who go on trips to ski waste a lot more resources than you think. Here are some things that will help eliminate some harm to our land.
- Reduce transportation-related carbon emissions
- You can eliminate the distance you drive by skiing your local mountain when you can to save on gas.
- Always try to car pull when heading to the mountain, the fewer cars the better. It also saves you money, because you can split the gas costs.
- If you don’t live by a resort try and take a train, or a bus. They have much less of an impact rather than taking a plane.
- If you are going to fly then try and book with a environmentally friendly plane such as: Airbus A319, Boeing 787, or the slower but much more fuel efficient turboprop planes.
- Find a green ski area
- Almost everywhere now has some type of “green” effort to help show that they are doing their part to save the snow.
- The folks at the Ski Area Citizens Coalition (SACC) provide the most in-depth assessment of the environmental performance of their favorite resorts. But be aware that SACC’s grading system strongly penalizes ski area expansion while carbon emissions are weighted lightly.
- The voluntary, industry-sponsored NSAA’s database of ski areas highlights ski area environmental programs and practices.
- While you’re at the ski area, fill out customer comment cards or use email to let the ski resort you’re paying attention to their green efforts.
- Find a green hotel
- It takes a lot of energy to heat a hotel room, or a condo. Do your part and either keep the heat as low as possible, or use a natural burning fire.
- Avoid renting a car to drive to your hotel, us the local transportation, typically it is little or no cost.
- Find the goods where you’ve never looked before
- Great skiing or snowboarding is often found off the groomed slopes. Try snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing.
- Try backcountry skiing, it is natural snow that doesn’t need to be maintained by the groomers. Therefore there is no gas that needs to be used so less carbon emissions in the air. Now you can feel better about shredding the fresh powder, and you know it’s the “green” thing to do.
For more interesting news on how to stay green in the ski and snowboard world visit us on our Facebook
- Kellie VanBlarcom Staff Member Aspen Ski and Board
How to stay in Shape in between ski seasons
Even though its summer and most people are thinking about the beach and the 90 degree weather, winter’s right around the corner. One thing people don’t think about on the off season is how to keep your skiing legs in shape during the summer. Even if you are in excellent shape, the unique movements of skiing and snowboarding require a specific type of conditioning. Here are a few key focus points you want to think about when training to get ready for the ski season:
Audrey Lloyd at the Women's Half Marathon
- Balance- is mostly controlled by your core muscles. One specific area you want to work on a lot is your abdominal area. This would include crunches, leg lifts, and planks. Another good exercise would be one leg squats. This will allow your body to work the leg muscles while training your body to keep you balanced while doing so.
- Endurance- Most people think that lifting weights is enough for getting back in shape. Not for skiing or snowboarding. You want to be able to ski from 8am to 4 pm everyday on the hill you’re going to have to build up your endurance. Try and start out with something simple like 1 to 2 miles every other day. Then maybe work your way up to 3 to 4 miles every other day. Cycling is also another good way to build up endurance. Cycling is sometimes better than running because you get a nice breeze on those blistering summer days. Any type of cardio workout is good; swimming, roller blading, skating, fishing, and anything that you enjoy as long as your increasing your heart rate.
- Flexibility- The best thing you can do pre-season is to establish a stretching program. Focus on hip flexibility, hamstrings, and trunk limbering. Having good flexibility is going to help you with your coordination when alpine skiing.
- Speed- Your body needs to be able to react quickly to any situation when skiing or snowboarding. Ladder training is an excellent way to train for speed. Also, quick lateral movements can be integrated by using an item to jump over sideways from foot to foot while maintaining a balanced upper body.
The most important thing is get out there and get active. It’s summer the weathers nice and everyone is enjoying the outdoors. There is no reason not to start your pre-season program now. We look forward to seeing you soon, and we hope this information helps you focus on getting ready for this upcoming season. To get more incentive to keep in shape and ready for the ski and snowboard season check out our Aspen Ski and Board Blog and Facebook Page.
- Kellie VanBlarcom
Rocker Changed My Life….It Can Change Yours Too - Chad LeBeau
So what is all of this talk about rocker? Ahhh, a question I seem to be answering a few times day in the fabled ski section of Aspen Ski and Board. Rocker ski technology has become commonplace in almost every progressive ski design in the industry, and staying true to form its been welcomed and accepted as legit. I have always felt that embracing change within skiing only benefits the industry as a whole, and rocker is not different in that sense, but unlike system bindings, turned up tails, and funky monstrosities that are glued to top sheets claiming to be dampening devices, rocker can truly change the skiers’ experience on the very first run.
I remember my first run on a rockered ski, the Rossignol S3, at Alta Utah a few years ago, skiing two day old skied out snow below the baldy chutes, and I can attest it will not be a ski day I will ever forget. I skied better than I had in almost ten years, as my ability has long since peaked, and I felt alive ripping huge GS ski turns through the gnarliest crud with almost zero effort. Rocker truly changed my whole outlook on skiing ungroomed snow. I no longer needed sit so far in the back seat while skiing fresh powder that my toes turned black and blue, and my legs felt fresh even after a long afternoon shredding bowls and trees. I was skiing better than I ever had, working way less, and the only change I made was the skis. So when I’m asked about “this rocker stuff” I use my experience to describe the benefits, ski better, work less-- pretty simple. Of course there are over a dozen different kinds of rocker claimed by as many brands, and they all have their place in Aspen Ski and Board. Progression of the sport is super important to me, and the ski industry has taken a major step in providing skiers of all abilities the tools to up their game on any mountain. If you want to change your life, snag a pair of rockered skis suited to your skiing style, and you will undoubtedly become a better skier, and a better person for embracing change.
The Upcoming 2010 Season will ROCK - Ty Morris
By ROCK, I mean of course that ROCKer technology is officially legitimate. It has previously been a technology greeted by skepticism-if not sheer disregard-at how such a thing as reverse camber could possibly make skiing better. The practicality of a ski like the K2 Pontoon has been scrutinized in a one-quiver-makes-right market. Then manufacturers began tweaking rocker technology to cater to all varieties of skiing. Is it practical to get a pair of Salomon Czars when you do all of your skiing in the Midwest? Of course not. Until very recently, the decision that a rockered ski doesn’t suite all conditions riding was an open-and-shut case for passing it by in favor of a traditionally cambered on-piste ski. Not anymore.
With new skis like the K2 obSETHED, Salomon BBR Skis, Rossignol S3, and the completely revamped Volkl Gotama, the rocker phenomenon has transpired into a genuine construction feature sought after even by traditional skiers. Deep powder days are the stuff of tall tales, clinking beer glasses, and snow soaked clothing. Ski manufacturers have finally realized humanity’s genetic disposition towards whittling snow off the side of mountains. Why not just make us happy and build a ski that does it the best? So they did. The days of leaning back on your skis in deep snow to compensate your balance and that almost masochistic assault on your quads is a thing of the past. Rocker technology puts you on the top of the snow, allows your knees to stay over your toes, and assists in catch-free turns when the ski is on edge. In the end you’re making more turns with less effort-and let’s not kid ourselves my ego-conscious reader-that’s what technology is all about. Don’t be that crazy dude still clutching a thin pair of 210cm 2x4’s and proselytizing against change. Go rocker and just do what feels good. Come in to Aspen Ski and Board to satisfy your rocker curiosity by letting one of our experts answer all your questions!