Christy Sports The Ridge Report
A Blog About Everything Skiing & Snowboarding in Colorado & Utah
Try something new in the New Year.

We’re probably used to New Year’s Resolutions that look something like this: buy a gym membership, (and use it) save more money, watch less TV, etc. What about taking a more snow-covered route with your resolution this year? If you typically stick to skiing and boarding, there are a plethora of powder-fueled activities you could be enjoying. While we support getting as many days in on the mountain as possible, why not set aside a couple to give these snow activities a go?

New Activities to Try in the Snow

Backcountry Skiing 

Backcountry skiing is a broad term to cover skiing or snowboarding that is in the mountains but not at a resort on groomed terrain. Let us start be saying the avalanche risk and lack of maintained terrain can make backcountry skiing or boarding extremely dangerous. Along with the exhilaration of discovering untouched pow comes the need to be educated and prepare yourself with the proper equipment. See our blog on preparing for backcountry to learn more.

Basic Gear Required: beacon, probe, shovel, pack, assessment tools, touring set up, avalung, airbags

Backcountry Skiing

Cross Country Skiing

XC skiing as it’s often abbreviated is done sans a chairlift and on less steep terrain than downhill skiing. Cross Country skiers traverse across snowy landscapes with skis that remain parallel as they kick and glide forward and back. XC Skiing doesn’t require mountains and can be a much more aerobically demanding activity than Alpine Skiing. It is also important to know that cross country skis differ from alpine skis and the two can not be used interchangeably for their respective activities. 

Basic Gear Required: cross country skis and bindings, ski boots, day pack

Cross Country Skiing Colorado


Perhaps you’d like a break from your skis/ board altogether, or are heading west with a group that doesn’t want to hop on a pair of skis or a snowboard. Snowshoeing is both a phenomenal workout and a way to explore a winter wonderland. Think of it like hiking in the snow, with shoes strapped to your feet that are wide for weight distribution to help you float over powder. Snowshoes can be rented near many resorts or purchased through Christy Sports

Basic Gear Required: Snowshoes

Snowshoeing in Colorado


Snow tubing is a great activity for the whole family and another one that doesn’t require any ski lessons! Think of it as sledding on an inflated inter tube. The low amount of friction between the snow and the tube can make for a swift ride and tons of fun. Most Colorado resorts feature a tubing hill and some, like Keystone and Steamboat Springs, even boast night skiing. Many ski shops including some of our Christy Sports locations offer tubes to rent. 

Basic Gear Required: A snow tube, warm clothing.

Tubing in Colorado

We love snow.The majesty of it floating from the sky, the winter wonderland it paints when caked in the trees. But our favorite part about fresh pow? Playing in it, of course! You can find us any given weekend (and some weekdays) enjoying the snow beneath our skis and boards. And while there is nothing quite like the feeling of flying down the mountain, playing in snow in any capacity is sure not make for a great 2019! So try something new in the New Year. 

With all the hype surrounding Valentine’s Day, we thought it would be interesting to offer you a guy’s and a girl’s perspective on great dates. So, we wrote a dual post giving you some non-traditional ideas for your mountain-loving sweetheart. Here is what we came up with:

What Your Mountain Girl Really Wants for Valentine’s Day 


Written By: Emily Scott

For the girl who owns more snow pants than dresses, a box of chocolates and some flowers for Valentine’s Day just doesn’t cut it. Girls that like to slide down snowy mountains crave adventure and adrenaline. So what do you get your Valentine that likes to play hard in the mountains? Nothing. You take her to do something that will get her heart pumping instead. Here are a few V-Day date ideas that will impress your mountain gal:

Guided Ice Climbing – If she’s never been ice climbing before, chances are she would dig it. It’s a challenging winter sport that the two of you can learn together. Go with a guide because they provide all of the equipment and show you the best spots to go, as well as make sure it’s an enjoyable experience for you both.

Sledding – Find a steep hill with plenty of snow, buy a sled, and you’ve got a recipe for a great date. This is a win because she’ll get to play in the snow and you can each bring out your inner child.

Snowmobiling – What’s more awesome than blazing powder trails on a motorized sled? She’ll be stoked. You can rent them for a few hours and go at your own pace or take a guided tour. Make sure you rent two though, because she will want to drive her own. None of that riding on the back nonsense.

Rock Climbing – Indoor or outdoor, this will be an awesome time. It’s also a great way to bond and build trust with your sweetheart as you take turns belaying and climbing. You can take a quick lesson if it’s your first time or you can try your hands at bouldering which doesn’t require ropes.

A Dog Sled Tour – It will be just like the Iditarod! Okay maybe it won’t, but it will still be a really unique experience. You can snuggle up with your Valentine on the sled while also having an adventure. It will definitely sweep her off her Sorels!

All of these dates could be followed by a quiet evening by the fire, watching ski/snowboard movies, and drinking hot chocolate, or let’s be honest, her favorite beer. Save the cliché gifts for another time, and make some memories with your betty this Valentine’s Day.

What Your Mountain Guy Really Wants for Valentine’s Day


Written By: Mic Wilborn

Come on ladies, we all know the truth.  Valentine’s Day isn’t for your guy; it’s for you.  Sure, there may one or two dudes out there that love February 14th but they don’t represent the majority.  All of that pressure to impress used to make me anxious.  Like a heartburn inducing, shortened breath, sweaty hands, panicky type of anxious.  Then I began dating an avid skier and things started to get better.  It turns out that a shared experience based on a common passion was better for both of us.  If you love adventure as much as your guy, here are a few date ideas you could surprise him with that he might actually get excited about.  

On-Mountain Dining- Regardless of the occasion, a perfect day for me includes snowboarding with my wife (that avid skier actually married me) and then having a slice of pizza while enjoying a few beers. Call me easy.  So, in order to set Valentine’s Day apart from all the others, schedule a sleigh-ride dinner to an on-mountain restaurant.    You will still get to ski or ride all day, but instead of the standard pizza/beer combo, you get to head back up the hill and enjoy a good meal together after the lifts stop turning. 

Night Snowshoe Hike- If you pick really mellow terrain that you are both comfortable with, the only thing you will have to worry about is whether or not the stars are hiding behind the clouds.  As an added surprise, pack a bag with some snacks, a blanket, candles, and a bottle of wine so when you find a cool spot; you can stop and have a mini picnic. 

Moonlit Backcountry Laps– If conditions are right and you are both experienced and prepared backcountry travelers, getting in  a few laps together under the moonlight is about as good as it gets.  Even if it’s an area you are both super familiar with, the mountains have a different vibe at night.  You can fit snacks and drinks in your pack for a surprise picnic at the summit, or leave them in the car and toast each other in a successful Valentine’s Day afterwards.  

I’d really like to provide you with a few more date ideas, but I’ve unfortunately drained my shallow pool of romantic notions. If you’re going to try to surprise your mountain-loving man (short of canceling Valentine’s Day altogether) the above three brainwaves might just be enough to make the day special for him; plus, you’ll have fun too!

If you have any other date ideas, share them with us in the comments below. We love hearing your stories!


Growing up, my poor mother knew that the best gifts for me were always snowboarding related, but knew nothing about snowboarding herself. So every year I would either wind up with a bunch of wool socks, or I would have to send her a detailed list of the specs, color, size, and other info to make sure she got the right item. Ultimately, this ruins all the surprise of Christmas morning. To make this holiday season easier for skiers, snowboarders, and their gift giving counterparts, here is a list of simple items that any powder hound would love to unwrap this year:

1. Boot Bag – Boot Bags
 are great for skiers or snowboarders. Winter sports require a lot of different pieces, and a boot bag is specifically designed to carry all of your shred accessories. Boot bags can fit boots, obviously, but also your helmet, goggles, gloves, socks, lenses, scarves, hats, hand warmers, and whatever other small items you may keep in your kit. For someone who gets 5 days on the mountain or 50 days on the mountain, a boot bag will make the ski gear shuffle a lot easier.

3001182000032. Base Layers – The right base layers are essential for an enjoyable day. If the person on your list currently layers with t-shirts, hoodies, and a variety of other bulky things to stay warm, buy them some base layers. If they already have some, buy them some more. You can never have enough options. If you’re not sure what they need, start with either a mid-weight or a heavy-weight layer for the colder days on mountain when the need for both comfort and warmth is critical. Men’s layers and Women’s layers come in a variety of styles that accommodate the après scene as well.

3920110000043. Neck Gaiter – As with base layers, I keep a range of neck gaiters and balaclavas in my kit for different weather conditions. Most days I just use a basic fleece gaiter, but on the colder and windy days where I have to protect my whole face, I want something that can get me through the day without getting iced up. Help your skier or snowboarder build their collection with either a light-weight gaiter or one with breathing vents for cold days.

Touch Screen Friendly Glove Liners


4. Touch Screen Friendly Glove Liners – For as little as these stocking stuffers cost, they are by far one of the best things to invest in for winter sports. I wear mine every single day on the mountain so I don’t have to worry about getting cold hands when I’m trying to call my friends or make an Instagram post on the lift.

Ski Wax Iron5. Tuning Accessories – Sometimes it’s hard to get skis and snowboards to the shop for a full tune, and everyone likes their equipment tuned differently. For the person that likes to DIY, tuning gear and accessories are great little extras for under the tree.  For beginners, start with an iron and a scraper. If they’re more advanced, look into some edging stones and other tools.

3400159020026. Heated Mittens – Heated mittens are a game changer for the gal or guy that suffers from chronic cold hand syndrome. Brands like Seirus and Hestra offer a few different styles with well concealed battery packs and on/off controls. Although they are an investment, heated mittens will allow people that get cold hands to stay on the mountain for much longer.

Sorel Winter Boot
7. Winter Boots 
– Taking off your ski and snowboard boots after a long day of burning turns is one of the best feelings in the world. Putting on a pair of comfortable, yet functional winter boots to après-ski is an equally good feeling. If the skier or snowboarder on your list spends a lot of time walking in snow, a pair of snow boots will make a great addition to their gear collection.

1330589000058. Glove and Boot Dryer –
Wet gloves and boots can be a real downer for someone spending a few days on the slopes. Without a boot dryer, they can take days to dry out and can start to develop a stench. Eliminate this problem by gifting a boot and glove dryer this year that will make back-to-back ski days a lot less damp.

1500212040029. Ski/Snowboard Socks – I know I said earlier that I didn’t like getting socks, but they do make a great stocking stuffer. Because of my mom’s endless sock giving, I have plenty of pairs to keep me stocked for long ski trips and multiple weekends before I have to do laundry, which is nice for the busy shredder.


10. Gift Card – If you’re not sure what to buy for the skier or snowboarder in your life, then play it safe and get them a gift card to Christy Sports where they can get the new gear they need to take their kit to the next level.



For more skier and snowboarder gift ideas, follow our “Holiday Gift Guide” board on Pinterest.