It looks like Colorado is on Ullr’s good side this year, and the early ski season is shaping up to be pure white. We’ve already seen great skiing and riding conditions throughout November and December, so, if you’re not in the mountains, get here! And when you’ve gotten here, poke your head into a local ski shop before you hit the slopes. Get ready: I’m going to fill you in on why this should become a part of your ski day routine.

There is no better place than a ski shop to feel the buzz of a mountain town. They’re the focal point of every ski town because it’s where locals go to catch up on insider mountain news and visitors go to get equipment and establish ties with the community. Plus, you never know who you’ll bump into. It could be anyone from the old guard; the ones that founded the ski area and scoped the runs in the pioneer days of skiing before grooming and chairlifts. Or you could meet one of the new schoolers; the young kids who are hucking themselves in the park or ripping up the racecourse, basically the ones you’ll likely see in the next Olympics. These people go in and out of ski shops on a regular basis for a couple basic reasons: to keep their gear maintained and get the pulse of the community. To immerse yourself in the culture of skiing and to really get stoked on your trip this year, there’s no better way to kick off your visit than by talking snow at a shop. It’s a part of the culture that you won’t want to miss out on.

There are a few reasons that people tend to miss this great opportunity to tap into the local knowledge base, but believe me; none of these excuses are worth it.

I get it. It’s been a long drive. Perhaps even a stuffy flight before that. You just want to jump to the après ski scene – before you’ve even skied – by relaxing in the hot tub with a cold one. Instead, when you roll into town, the first thing you need to do is get the scoop. What’s the snow like? Where’s it thin and where’s it loaded? When’s the new terrain going to open? Where can you get some grub that is delicious but not overpriced?  Where are the cheapest parking lots? And, most importantly, where can you find the best breakfast burrito? These are all crucial pieces of intel, and without each piece, your first day on the hill may not meet its true potential.

By stopping in at a local ski and snowboard shop, you give yourself a chance to understand the culture and get the insider info on where to go, both on the mountain and off. The folks at a true local shop will let you know where to fuel up in the morning, where to replenish midday, and the areas to check out around the mountain that will be right for you. The number of interactions you make with people in a ski shop will surprise you, and probably lead to some quality lasting relationships. You’ll meet fellow visitors, ski bums, patrollers, ski techs, ski pioneers, free-skiers, racers and locals.

There’s no better way to get the local down low. You don’t even have to stress about finding the best shop, because Christy Sports has locations all over Colorado and Utah. They’ve been around forever and the employees are genuinely happy about sharing their passions with others. So, whether you’re a ski town local, weekend warrior, or vacationer; get to know the guys and gals at the local ski shop. It’ll certainly pay off.

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