Christy Sports The Ridge Report
A Blog About Everything Skiing & Snowboarding in Colorado & Utah
ski socks and cat on feet

We’re not here to convince you socks in general are important. If you can read and you don’t already feel that way, we’re certainly not going to change your mind! But we can guarantee that before slipping your foot into a ski or snowboard boot to hit the slopes, you’re going to want a sock- and not just any sock- adorning your tootsies. Here are a few reasons you should invest in ski-specific socks and how to choose the right pair!

Why Socks Matter on the Slopes

Your boot is designed for them.

Try on a ski or snowboard boot without a sock and you’ll most likely agree- boots are just not comfortable sans socks. Multiply that discomfort by all the hours you’re about to spend shredding. Just trust us, wear a sock with your ski or snowboard boot.

They keep you warm.

This may be a no-brainer but socks are a crucial layer of insulation. The feet regulate much of our body temperature. Like our hands, they have a large surface area as well as specialized blood vessels which can be opened up to pass high volumes of blood through them and therefore offload heat quickly when required. When not required, the blood vessels are constricted. Feet also don’t have much muscle (and muscle=heat) which means that they cool down much more than other regions of the body. So cover those tootsies up!

Choosing the Right Ski Sock

The right sock fit in your boot plays a huge role on your comfort going down runs. This is so important, in fact, that we recommend choosing your sock before even seeking out a new boot and trying said sock on inside each boot to ensure a match made in boot fit heaven.

Fit

First, you’ll want to choose a snug fit, but not so snug it interferes with circulation. A snug fit will prevent the sock from moving around and bunching up which often leads to blisters. If you’re shopping a ski sock brand that offers sizing and are in between sizes, it’s always better to go smaller. Most socks are designed for “men” or “women” but this is only due to the width and instep fit. Womens’ socks tend to have a narrower footbed and heel and offer more support around the arch. There should be minimal to no difference in warmth and cushioning.

Material

There are a couple of good options when it comes to the material of your ski socks. Merino wool is a material that retains its warmth when wet and is naturally odor resistant. Wool also breathes more easily and is known for its ability to wick moisture away from your skin, ensuring your feet stay dry & warm.

Synthetic blends such as nylon-polyester are becoming increasingly popular, especially as an alternative for people who are allergic to wool or have skin sensitivities. Synthetic yarn typically features fibers that trap warmth as well as wick moisture away, giving the material many of the characteristics naturally found in wool. Most synthetics also come with an antimicrobial coating for odor control. Whether you choose wool or a synthetic blend, when it comes to cotton, just say NO. Cotton is unable to wick moisture like wool and merino, leaving your feet vulnerable to wetness, cold, and blisters.

Thickness

A thicker sock does not necessarily constitute a warmer sock. Socks that are too thick can restrict circulation, your body’s nature-made mechanism for staying warm. With advancements in sock technology, a thinner sock can pack a lot of warmth and keep your blood flowing. In the same vein as thickness is cushioning. Ski socks can range from no cushioning to heavy cushioning, and the “just right” amount of padding for you will really depend on personal preference as well as environment. Pro skiers, for example, may opt for little to no cushioning because aggressive boots have a tighter fit and these individuals tend to like to feel the terrain beneath them. Snowboarders sometimes opt for a thicker sock because some snowboarding boots fit more loosely than ski boots.

Note: if you are prone to blisters, make sure there are no seems no matter which level of cushioning you prefer.

Ski Socks vs Snowboard Socks: What’s the Difference?

Ski Socks

Generally ski socks are thinner than snowboard socks so they can easily pair with tighter-fitting ski boots without bunching up. They are also often longer to ensure that they extend beyond the ski boot for a comfortable fit and protection for your shins.

Snowboard Socks

Snowboard socks tend to be a little bit thicker and have more padding than ski socks because snowboard boots don’t fit as tight as ski boots do. Therefore, snowboard socks are thicker to fill in the empty space in snowboard boots and maintain insulating properties, keeping your feet warmer in a looser-fitting boot.

Shop ski & snowboard socks at Christy Sports.

Old ski bindings

Whether you are a skier or snowboarder, your bindings are the second most important investment you will make. You will want to take care of your bindings to avoid frequent and expensive replacement. While each has its own set of maintenance and care to follow, here are a few tips from Christy Sports to help you make your bindings last longer.

Ski Bindings

Ski bindings are the performance link between your boots and your skis. For your safety, they release you from the ski when pressure exerted on them exceeds the release settings. Bindings, then, are perhaps the most important piece of equipment to regularly replace. Bindings have a lot of moving pieces that can wear out, resulting in a poor connection between the skier and their skis, not to mention the dangers of not releasing or pre-releasing.

When should I replace my ski bindings?

Each season the ski industry releases a list of “indemnified bindings” that are still covered by manufacturers. This means there are actually bindings each year that, according to the manufacturers, cannot be skied anymore due to safety issues. While it might sound like a trick to get you to buy new bindings, it’s really intended to keep skiers safe. If you think your bindings might be too old, stop by any of our Christy Sports locations and our certified techs are happy to help you determine if they are still indemnified.

Bindings also simply wear out. Just as ski boots must pass a visual inspection by a certified tech when you have your bindings torque tested to ASTM standards (American Society for Testing and Materials), bindings must also pass a visual inspection. If anything is broken or missing on your bindings they will not pass visual inspection. For example, if your AFD is scratched up and worn down, your bindings will not pass visual inspection.

This all comes down to safety once again. Broken and worn out bindings will not function properly, which means your bindings might not release when they should or might pre-release, both of which can cause serious injury. If your bindings are this old, chances are they are either not on the indemnified list and cannot legally be adjusted by a ski tech, or are simply in unsafe working condition.

There are, of course, additional factors that can play into needing new equipment. Perhaps you just bought ski boots with Grip Walk soles and your bindings don’t support multiple sole types (many bindings even just over 2-3 years old will not), then it’s time for new bindings. Multiple binding mounts to your skis are also a factor. Different bindings use different hole patterns, which can sometimes conflict with each other. So, be strategic about your re-mounts as your bindings may not be able to be set where you need them to ski safely.

What about snowboard bindings?

Unlike ski bindings, snowboard bindings do not need to make an “indemnified” list to determine their replacement. Rather, snowboard bindings tend to be the longest lasting piece of equipment you will own, as long as taken care of properly.

Snowboard binding technology doesn’t change much from season to season – at least not recently. With the smallest amount of regular maintenance, your bindings can last for years. The only time you really need to replace your bindings is if they start to crack or break. But of course, you can always decide to upgrade to the latest style or technology!


Skier or rider, if you have any doubts as to if your bindings need to be replaced, before the season kicks off, pop in at any of our Christy Sports locations and our certified techs are happy to help determine what’s best for you. Ride safely out there!

a tree in the snow

The Sustainability Trend

The ski industry is deeply dependent on the health of our environment. Thankfully, the outdoor industry continues to address the broader trend of sustainability. We’ve seen Colorado ski resorts make pledges to take better care of our environment, and ski and snowboard retail brands are also hopping on board. Some amazing brands are creating top-notch gear with Mother Nature front of mind.

6 Ski & Snowboard Brands Leading the Sustainability Charge

Salomon Skis/ Snowboards

Salomon has adopted an environmental responsibility policy called Play Minded that includes “protecting the playground,” our environment. The objectives of this policy include reducing their carbon emissions by 20% as well as reducing the environmental impact of all of their products. The brand preaches “The outdoor is our playground. If we are to continue playing, we all have to protect it.” Salomon’s goal is to build progressive solutions that will reduce the company’s environmental impact.

Shop Salomon Skis

Shop Salomon Snowboards

Patagonia

Back in 2010 Patagiona helped to form the Sustainable Apparel Coallition which now includes 49 members, collectively representing nearly a third of all clothing and footwear sold on the planet. The Coallition’s aim? “An apparel industry that produces no unnecessary environmental harm and has a positive impact on the people and communities associated with its activities.” It’s safe to say Patagonia has been an innovator and a big player in the sustainability game, using materials like TENCEL®, a branded lyocell fiber that comes from the pulp of trees that are grown on sustainably run farms and REFIBRA™ lyocell, a fabric made from 80% wood/20% recycled cotton scraps.

Shop Patagonia

Liberty Skis

The innovators at Liberty Skis manufacture their products with the goal of using eco-friendly materials in their designs, like their bamboo laminate core. Their focus on the environment certainly doesn’t take away from designing skis that perform well and cater to skiers of all experience levels.

Shop Liberty Skis

Arbor Snowboards

Not a skier? Your gear can still support Planet Earth! Arbor is a snowboard brand that focuses on selling eco-friendly products. Arbor Collective sources sustainable bamboo and wood for all its boards. Arbor’s stylish and cutting-edge boards appeal to the masses, allowing them to spread a “green” message throughout the industry and offer shredders everywhere some sick board options to shred on.

Shop Arbor Snowboards

PrAna

The brand may be best known for yoga garb, but they create clothes for “whatever form of moving meditation you choose”, including skiing. We love using their well-made and eco-friendly products as mid layers when hitting the slopes or enjoying après. PrAna has been a vocal leader in the sustainability movement from the get-go, creating “clothing for positive change.” The brand is challenging consumers to start asking questions about their clothes in the same way they ask about the food they eat, and they can help fundamentally change the way clothing is made.

Shop PrAna Clothing

Picture Organic

Picture products are made from 100% recycled, organic or responsibly sourced materials and the brand is consistently finding new ways to make their products more sustainable. Picture believes that fighting against climate change is our responsibility, but that doesn’t get in the way of them producing high-quality and stylish products. From materials used, to production, to shipping & packaging, sustainability is deeply ingrained in their company culture. So is producing some awesome outfits for out on the slopes.

Shop Picture Organic

If we want to keep playing in the mountains, (which we definitely do) we have to respect our environment. Ready to hop on the sustainability train? Shop these awesome brands following the sustainability trend in the ski industry at Christy Sports.

old beat up skis

Ski technology is constantly changing – sometimes even from season to season. This certainly makes it a challenge deciding when exactly to replace your skis. Visually, your skis look to be in good shape, but are they really? After all, the most important investment you will make in this sport is not your boots or poles, not your bindings, but your skis – that’s why it’s called skiing. 

Never fear, Christy Sports is here to help! Here are some tips to consider to assist you in making that big investment decision:

Skis’ Lifespan

Skis can last a long time if well-cared for and stored correctly during the offseason. While there is no set amount of ski days before a pair is worn out, for the average skier, a set of skis will typically hold up between 100-125 days on the slopes. It depends on the ski, the skier, and the terrain he or she is skiing. More aggressive skiers often find their skis have an even shorter lifespan, and they are also more likely to blow out the skis’ edges on rocks or rails. 

Once skis have hit their life span, the core of the ski begins to lose its natural integrity and energy – and no one wants their skis to feel lifeless underneath their feet. 

Signs You’re Due for New Skis

Cracked Sidewalls, Missing Edges, Worn Bases

Ski edges and base materials only have a certain amount of life thanks to both wear and tear of skiing, and tuning. Each time your skis are tuned, the techs are inevitably taking material away. This does not mean you should refrain from tuning your skis on a regular basis! Besides, even if you’re not getting your skis tuned frequently, the simple act of skiing wears down your edges. There comes a point when the edges are so thin that it’s definitely time to replace your skis. 

Similarly, the base of your skis is just as susceptible as your edges, especially if you’re having frequent belt and stone grind tunes performed. You will wear through that base material rather quickly. Another factor to look out for is damage. While damage is often repairable, an abundant amount of core shots in the base of a ski or cracked edges from sliding rails or hitting rocks means it’s probably time to replace your skis. 

Cracked sidewalls? This will drastically reduce edge grip, not to mention allow moisture to seep into the core of the ski – a BIG NO-NO when it comes to ski maintenance.

Multiple Ski Binding Mounts

​If your skis have been mounted multiple times, it might be time for a new pair. Most ski tech experts say a ski can be drilled and mounted up to three times before it starts to ruin its torsional stiffness (internal torque) and structural integrity. In other words, if your skis begin to look like a piece of Swiss cheese underneath your bindings, that’s a sign it could be time to replace them.

Not only do multiple mounts hurt structural integrity, but moisture will inevitably find its way into the ski. Also, different bindings use different hole patterns, which sometimes can conflict with each other. So, be strategic about your re-mounts or you may be unnecessarily shortening the life of your skis. Just because a ski can be mounted three times, doesn’t mean you’ll be able to ski safely or have the bindings where you want them set. 

General Wear and Tear

Are you finding it hard to hold an edge on firm snow even after a fresh tune? If so, then your skis could be wearing out from the inside! The wood core that’s found in the center of most skis will start to break down ever so slightly the more you ski on them, and the epoxy that holds the ski together will eventually start to give. This is probably the biggest gray area when it comes to replacing skis, but if you feel like your skis aren’t performing the way they used to, you’re probably right, and it’s probably time for a new set. 

Ski Technology Life Cycle

Advancements in ski technology happen at an exponential rate, especially these days. Within the past 10 years alone, there have been huge improvements in ski design and construction. While the average lifespan of skis remains fairly unchanged in the last five years, the most current skis come with new technology that has drastically affected their ability, meaning you can get more out of them over the course of their life.

​Every five years or so, a new technology comes along that considerably improves the ability of skis. First it was shaped skis, then fat skis, next was the addition of rocker. Now, the trend is making skis lighter without losing any power. Skis produced within this five-year threshold are still using modern shapes and technology, and are fine for even the strongest of skiers. 

Once your skis get past the 5-10 year mark, they are still considered modern, but you may not be getting the most out of their performance or are forced to work harder than you should to get the same level of performance. Now, if you’re one of those skiers who is out there on rear entry boots and straight skis with pointed tips (yes, that stuff is still finding its way to the mountains), it’s time to improve both your skiing performance and enjoyment on the hill by replacing your gear.

Skiing is supposed to be fun – not work. While it’s nice to save money by keeping your gear for multiple seasons, don’t let it ruin your enjoyment and, more importantly, don’t let it put you in unnecessary danger. Sometimes it’s worth upgrading to a more current design and construction just to maximize the “fun” factor. If you’re in the market for new skis at the lowest prices of the season, be sure to check out our Powder Daze sale!


2019 Powder Daze Sale Locations:

Steamboat Ski Sale

Dates: 8/16/19-8/25/19

Location: Meadows Tennis Center Parking Lot off Mt Werner Road

West Vail Ski Sale

Dates: 8/16/19-8/25/19

Location: 2161 N Frontage Road West, Unit 1

Denver Ski Sale

Dates: 8/23/19-9/3/19

Location: 8601 West Cross Dr. Littleton, CO 80123

Dillon Ski Sale

Dates: 8/23/19-9/2/19

Location: 817 Hwy 6 Dillon, CO 80435

Online Ski Sale

Dates: 8/14/19-9/3/19

Location: www.store.christysports.com

Your Ski Helmet Won't Last Forever

Head, noggin, skull, cranium. No matter what you call it, the part of your anatomy that protects your brain is worth protecting. We’re happy to say that most skiers these days agree. According to the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) 83% of skiers and boarders now rock helmets compared with just 25% in the 2002-2003 season. So why are savvy skiers and boarders choosing to strap on a helmet? In addition to reducing the severity of head injuries, wearing a helmet while skiing and snowboarding will help:

  • Hold your goggles in place
  • Protect from the elements
  • Keep your head warm
  • Set a good example for young skiers and boarders

But how long will your ski helmet last? The short answer: not forever. That’s right, helmets expire. The inner shell deteriorates over time due to exposure to different elements, even your noggin sweat. In addition, your helmet can only sustain a single impact before the protection it provides is compromised. If you have a hard fall involving your dome and your helmet sustains even the most minor of dents or cracks, it’s time to shop for a new helmet.

Visually check your helmet often, (as often as every time you hit the slopes) it only takes a second. Even if you haven’t been subjected to any nasty spills and don’t see any noticeable damage, we recommend replacing your lid at least every six years. You may not be able to see the damage, so why risk it when it comes to your cranium? Of course, before you even worry about the number of seasons spent with your helmet, make sure you start with one that fits correctly. If you’re not sure which size is the prize, head into a local Christy Sports and let one of our pros help protect your head.

We’ll see you out there! (hopefully rocking a helmet)

How long do ski helmets last?

Atomic Skis at Christy Sports

Atomic is an Austrian company that has been manufacturing skis, and manufacturing them well, for over 50 years. Since Atomic only makes skis and not snowboards, the brand can truly focus on the art of their craft.

Craig Peterson, seasoned Ski Hardgoods buyer for Christy Sports, weighs in on Atomic and the brand’s value to Christy Sports. “Our relationship with Atomic is very good. I’ve been to the factory in Austria and most of the skis are made right there, in a beautiful valley with a ski area just 20 minutes away.”

Craig talks about how Atomic is authentic and innovative, with new models and ground-breaking materials to make the skis lighter and more stable. The brand offers a good balance between quality men’s skis and women’s skis.

We had the chance to sit down with Atomic’s Mike Macquarrie, or MAQ as many in the industry call him, to talk about the brand and their relationship with Christy Sports.

Mike “MAQ” Macquarrie on Atomic & Christy Sports:

  1. What attracted Atomic to Christy Sports?

My experience with Christy Sports has always been amazing. I have a great relationship with the employees, from corporate to the shop guys and girls. Christy Sports has the same feel as a mom and pop shop even with over 40 locations. The kids on the floor are passionate; the managers are involved, as a small entity would be. I could walk across the street to a mom and pop ski shop and wouldn’t even feel I was treated with as much value as at Christy Sports. The company is very hands on and helpful but with many locations.

  1. What benefit did Atomic observe through partnering with Christy Sports?

Ten years ago when walked into Christy Sports and then to a big competitor, I observed that both have buying power but Christy Sports has a hands-on team atmosphere like walking into a small retailer. With expansion there is still that mom and pop feel which is super important in this world. Employees truly care about steering the customer to the right product for their needs. The shop employees are very inviting and knowledgeable, and the shop layouts are great. I can confidently try new product in the stores and the shop employees can embrace it and sell it to the customers who will benefit from it.

  1. What, uniquely, does Atomic offer to their fans and retailers?

Atomic is rich in heritage and the Austrian culture has been heavy into skiing since the beginning of the sport. We ARE skiing- the brand is passionate and the brand’s employees are all passionate skiers. Since we are authentic just to the sport of skiing we can touch every type of skier. Atomic pushes the envelope on making the sport better with new design and is not afraid to bring something to market that might be edgy.

  1. What, in your eyes, does Christy Sports offer to their customers that other retailers do not?

People price shop and chances are they can find a good deal anywhere. When you move beyond price what’s the next important thing when shopping for outdoor products? How do you maintain your customer base? Christy Sports employees do a really good job from assisting with clothing to fitting a boot, it’s the sales interaction and that’s why people shop at Christy’s. That positive experience travels via word of mouth. Whether you’re in Cherry Creek, Snowmass, or Deer Valley, you walk into the same personal treatment.

 

 

5 Steps to Boot Fitting with Christy Sports

A great boot fitting is essential for skiing throughout the winter season. Being warm and comfortable on the slopes will allow you to enjoy your sport longer, perform better, and improve quicker. The right ski boot for you can make or break the entire experience. This complex journey to find the perfect boot fit doesn’t need to be travelled alone. Follow our five steps to a great boot fit below and let our expert boot fitters at any of our Christy Sports rental shops help, and you will be well on your way!

  1. Choose a Specialty Boot Shop

Where you shop for ski boots does matter! Your ski boots are the most important and most complex pieces of winter sports gear you may ever purchase. Not only should boots match your skill level, but they must also match your foot and leg shape. You want this “feel” to be right the first time.

That’s why we recommend visiting a specialty shop that has an in-depth inventory of boot stock, experienced boot fitters, and a complete cross section of tools to analyze and adapt boots for that perfect fit and performance to your particular feet and needs. Buying your boots and having them fitted from a shop such as Christy Sports assures you the boot techs have received the best training and expertise available to help you make the right choice.

  1.  Communicate With Your Boot Fitter

When it comes to proper ski boot fitting, be sure you have good communication between you and your boot tech. Is the boot fitter genuinely listening to you? Pay attention to the right questions that should be asked:

  • What type of skier are you? Cautious, Moderate, or Aggressive?
  • Where do you typically ski and how often do you ski?
  • What boot fitting issues have you had in the past? Or currently have?
  • Do you have any medical issues or other problems with your feet or movement?
  • What are your skiing goals? etc.

Addressing these questions and concerns and working one-on-one with a certified boot tech will help you narrow down your choices when searching for that perfect boot fit.

  1. Create an In-Store Foot Profile

This is probably the most important step in the boot fitting process. Your boot tech should measure and analyze both of your foot sizes (surprisingly, your left and right foot may be different!) in length, width, arch length, instep height, and calf volume. Some factors a boot tech will consider when creating your foot profile include:

  • Shape:  Your foot shape is just as important as size. Are your feet ballet dancer’s feet or “Fred Flintstone” feet? Never fear – there is a boot for every shaped foot.
  • Flexibility:  How flexible are your ankles, mid-foot, and balls of your feet?
  • Variations:  A good boot tech will consider specific issues such as bunions, calluses, or injuries.
  • CANT Analysis:  Also known as “boot alignment,” your boot fitter should have the tools and knowledge to measure your personal alignment and make adjustments to your ski boots to improve your performance. Typically, a cant adjustment is either a boot grind or shim between the sole and chassis of the boot. For example, if you stand knock kneed or bow legged when in your boots, your range of motion to one side or another is limited, resulting in lack of power or difficulty linking turns or over torqueing the ski, making it difficult to glide smoothly. Or, maybe you’ve simply plateaued and your skiing is just not advancing – time to check your alignment. You will be amazed at the improvement in your skiing with canting. It can open up whole new possibilities on the hill!
  1. Try, Compare, Choose

Buying ski boots is a process not to be rushed through. A plastic boot shell will not mold to your foot’s shape and subtle nuances, even if you wear it all day, every day, for 25 years, so take your time to make the right choice. Even with the guidance of a certified boot tech, you should still plan on trying on a variety of different brands, models, and sizes.

Ideally, the boot tech will narrow down your options to the best few styles that match the characteristics of your foot and your skiing ability and style. When you feel you have found a gem, leave the boots on your feet and walk around the shop for 10 or 15 minutes, flexing repeatedly to seat the foot and start the foam’s compressing. Be patient and don’t judge the boots until they are buckled up and you flex forward. The boot will seem tight up front – REMEMBER – the liner will compress over time. It’s better to start with a close-fitting boot than later try to make a boot smaller. Simulate skiing by working the boots forward and side-to-side. It may take 3-4 minutes to begin to get the feel of the boot. As you are “working” the boots, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is the boot snug and does it provide a contained uniform grip of your foot?
  • Are there any pressure points?
  • Does the flex feel uniform and consistent?
  • Do you feel your foot moving around?
  • Does the boot feel too stiff, too soft, or just right?

(the boot fitter will also help address this as “in the shop vs on the hill” can be slightly different)

You may need to try on two different model boots at the same time, or different sizes of the same model. Keep in mind, these are NOT your comfy slippers or casual shoes.

  1. Customize

You have chosen the best ski boots for you, and now it’s time to customize! Checkout some of these great additions to personally customize your boots and make them even better:

  • Liners:  Most contemporary ski boots have heat moldable inner boots or liners.
  • Shell:  Many boots now have a moldable shell.
  • Footbeds:  Footbeds are essential for both a great boot fit and to ski well. They keep your feet from moving and causing discomfort, even injury! Footbeds hold the foot in a fixed position, so if the boot tech needs to change the shell shape to match your unique foot shape, he or she is not chasing a moving target.
  • Shell Alterations: If you have dramatic unique high points, the boot fitter should be able to make shell alterations to accommodate even the most unusual foot variations. Stretches, padding or grinds for bunions, or big ankles, or high insteps should all be included in a full boot fit if needed. Our Christy Sports boot fitters’ experience and expertise will have you happy and skiing better than ever.
  • The “Little Extras”: It’s the little things like mini alterations, heel lifts, adjusting buckles, and cuff angles, as needed that will ensure you are dialed in and the boots truly match your feet. All ski boots offer various micro adjustments to further customize them for your “feet” happiness.

So, pop into to any of our Christy Sports rental shops and have our experienced boot techs analyze your feet and help to narrow down your choices to find that perfect boot fit!

Nine 2018/2019 Ski and Snowboard Clothing Trends

Clothing tech trends eb and flow out on the slopes just as in everyday life. Whether your goal is looking sharp as you fly down runs or staying warm and hydrated on the lift, fashion or function, we’re here to keep you in the know out on the snow. We sat down with our entire softgoods buying department, those responsible for choosing with clothing Christy Sports sells, to find out some of the latest ski and snowboard clothing trends in the interests of both fashion and function. Here’s what you’ll likely be seeing out on the mountain this season. (and might want to be a part of yourself!)

Ski and Snowboard Clothing Trends this Season

  1. Spyder Goes GORE-TEX

If jacket fabrics made up the animal kingdom, GORE-TEX would be King of the Jungle. Sturdy, waterproof, and breathable, GORE-TEX garments are equipped to handle any weather conditions that blow their way. GORE-TEX even boasts a “guaranteed to keep you dry” promise. This trend didn’t crawl past Spyder, one of the leading ski outerwear companies. They’re making sure this season’s products can tackle wind, rain, and physical activity. Spyder is also one of the few brands to include GORE-TEX in clothing for the kiddos this ski season.

Girl skiing in the Spyder Lola Jacket.

Spyder Lola Jacket

Shop Spyder Jackets for: 

Women

Men

Boys

Girls

Meet Our Clothing Buyers:

 

Kristin Pappas is in charge of buying all the kids’ winter outerwear for Christy Sports. She grew up in the mountains of Colorado and has stayed in the home she loves. Kristin has worked for Christy Sports since 2011 and loves “sharing the winter stoke” with others who never get tired of snow. When not researching the latest softgoods trends in the ski industry, you can find Kristin tele-skiing, alpine skiing, trail running, and hiking with her pup.

 

  1. Primary Colors

Remember that color wheel from elementary school art? It’s making its way onto the slopes via outfitting skiers and snowboarders. That’s right, primary colors will be painting the mountain red, blue, yellow, and yellow this season. (With yellow being en ESPECIALLY popular color for the men.) We like primary colors, but at the very least, sporting these hues is a great way not to lose your buddies on a run.

Primary colors in ski clothing

  1. Ski and Snowboard Clothing Unite

While sometimes on the mountain it can feel like there’s a “skier vs. snowboarder” mentality, that’s not the case when it comes to their closets, with skiers and boarders agreeing on great brands that produce high- quality outerwear for their sport of choice. There is more and more overlap between what could be considered a “ski” clothing brand and what brands primarily outfit boarders. It seems snowsport enthusiasts of all kinds just want quality clothing at an attainable price.

Meet Our Clothing Buyers:

 

Cynthia Henry is the ladies’ ski outerwear and casual wear buyer for Christy Sports. Born in Southern California, Cynthia has resided in Colorado for over 20 years enjoying the mountains and taking advantage of the highly accessible winter sports, her favorites being tele-skiing and snowboarding. She loves that no matter what part of the industry calls to you, we are all tied together by snow!

 

  1. Staying Hydrated- 686 Hydrastash

Dry mouth on the lift is one way to dash those mountain views. 686 wants you to stop planning your route back down to the lodge for that tiny plastic cup of water and start getting pumped for your upcoming run. That’s why they created the Hydrastash, a jacket that stores up to 750 ml of water right in the powder skirt. Unlike your typical on-mountain hydration technology, the Hydrastash bladder is designed to be noticeably unnoticeable, distributing weight equally around the rider’s waist. Finish that with the smallest micro valve system on the market for seamless sipping and you have yourself a great way to combat dehydration through run after run.

Shop hydration for men

Shop hydration for ladies

  1. Far From Floral

Ladies- we don’t ALL want flowers and cheetah prints painting our pants and jackets this season, am I right? While prints and fur are certainly in (and cute), they aren’t for everyone. Snowboard clothing brands are designing slope-side looks that air more on the side of “tomboy” then you might typically find in the ladies section of your local ski shop, like the 686 Meadow Jacket or the Burton Prowess Jacket. Tackle runs in YOUR style.

Ladies 686 Meadow Jacket in the snow.

686 Meadow Jacket

Meet Our Clothing Buyers: 

 

Amandine O’Winter is the snowboard clothing buyer as well as the softgoods coordinator for Christy Sports. She has been in Colorado since age 8 and has worked for Christy Sports for over 9 years full-time. She loves to play in the snow, both on skis and a snowboard, and enjoys working in an industry that breeds so many people with a passion for the outdoors.

 

  1. Bibs, bibs, bibs

Boys and girls, bibs are back! Lucky for skiers and snowboarders alike, bibs have made their way from the 80’s and 90’s back to battling it out with pants. Bibs provide additional warmth with an extra insulated layer at your core and effortlessly slick snow style. Bibs can keep you warm and dry while being put to work. Need to hit the loo in between runs? Not to worry, ski apparel brands are outfitting most of their bibs with long exterior zippers for ease of entry and painless removal. 

Flylow Firebird Ski Bib for Men.

Flylow Firebird Bib

  1. Street to Slope

More and more shoppers are looking for one jacket to both conquer the mountain on powder days and conquer the office commute on a Monday morning. Enter jackets that are both fashionable for walking around town and functional for hitting the slopes. More and more brands are working to create outerwear that can transition seamlessly from street to slope and vice versa, so you can purchase one piece that does it all. 

Meet Our Clothing Buyers: 

 

Joan Deck is the merchandise manager for all apparel and focuses her efforts specifically on Men’s apparel. Joan is from New England and came to Colorado after college to “take a year off.” It’s pretty easy to see why she’s been in Colorado for over 31 years and with Christy Sports for over 28, considering she loves to ski. In the winter, Joan loves alpine and nordic skiing, as well as exploring the mountains via snowshoes. She has two teenage daughters who also enjoy playing in the mountains. All of the wonderful people she’s met in the ski industry and her love for the outdoors have kept her coming back for more!

New trends in skiing for the 2018-2019 season.

Craig Peterson is the Ski Buyer for Christy Sports and its acquisitions. That means he decides what skis make it in the Christy quiver for our customers to choose from… No small feat for over 60 stores. Craig has a consistent eye on industry trends and an ear dedicated to feedback from store managers and those working on the ground. That’s why the question, “Craig, what the heck is going on with skis these days?” Yields a fruitful answer.

Craig is immersed daily in the happenings of the ski industry, and can recite the top-selling skis and cutting-edge trends in his sleep. Every Fall, Craig meets with the VP’s and sales managers of most of the major ski manufacturers to preview the next season’s models and make decisions around which will be the focus of that season’s entire model line. This means Craig always has to be one step (or year) ahead of the ski consumer.

When the season is up and running, Craig keeps a pulse on what’s flying off the shelves and what models seem to be gathering dust instead of powder. This will influence the following season’s buys and give our customers the creme de la creme of choices for their quiver.


An experienced veteran in the ski industry, here are the top ski trends he is seeing in the 18/19 ski season.

This Year’s Top Ski Trends

  1. More Narrow Waist Widths

Man skiing down mountainThe average waist width of men’s all mountain skis is now in the ballpark of 90 to 98mm, with women’s trending between waist widths of 82 and 90 mm. Skis with narrower widths are easier to maneuver in varying conditions, from packed powder to firm snow. Typically a narrower ski is quicker and easier to turn and will hold the edge much better. Having a wider ski as backup for those perfectly powdery days (102 to 116mm waist with) is optimal, but having one ski that can tackle the whole mountain is a convenient cost-saver.

Skis like the new Volkl Mantra M5, named the top all mountain freeride ski for the 2018/19 season by Outside Magazine, are decreasing in width to allow for easier edging. The Mantra, in particular, was slimmed down from a 100 mm waist width to a 96 mm width.  

  1. Lighter Skis

Lighter weight boots and skis serve to reduce fatigue and increase time spent out on the mountain. Lighter skis not only curb burnout, but also allow the skier to ski in varying snow conditions throughout the day, from powder to crud. Keep in mind that lighter is not always better, and the lack of weight must be tempered with sturdy materials that dampen vibrations.

Ski brands employ many different materials in their skis to reach the desired weight. Rossignol uses honeycomb in the tip and tail, you can even see the hexagonal pattern when you hold a Rossi ski up to the light. When producing their revolutionary KORE skis, HEAD replaced a traditional top sheet with a polyester fleece to strip the skis of anything that “could drag you down.”

  1. Less Tip and Tail Rocker

Another continuing trend in skis over the last two or three years has been reducing the amount of tip and tail rocker built into skis. Skis with less rocker perform better in all conditions. This hasn’t made rocker obsolete by any stretch of the imagination. It simply shows the industry’s recoil from a trend that was perhaps a little “overdone” for a stretch of time.  


Craig gets to take a peek at the latest and greatest the ski industry has to offer before the average Joe each year. It’s safe to say when you see his face light up about his new ski buys for the season, however, that this privilege has not left him jaded. Here are some products he’s stoked about in the 18/19 season.

This Year’s Top Ski Picks

  1. HEAD KORE skis

When Craig first tested out the KORE line for himself, he knew they’d be a hit. With the addition of new 99m waist width model, this line screams versatility. The idea behind HEAD’s KORE family of skis was to remove any unnecessary weight for a more enjoyable skiing experience. Exit your run-of-the-mill topsheet and instead top this bad boy with a lighter polyester fleece. Add a Graphene fused tip and tail for a reduction and redistribution of weight. Then, sprinkle in a little shock absorbing Koroyd for control, along with a triaxle weave of its carbon layer for responsiveness and edge hold. That’s your perfect recipe for a ski that’s revolutionary to its core.

  1. Blizzard Black Pearl 88

Craig was stoked to bring the Blizzard Black Pearl 88 Ski back to our stores and website this fall. The Black Pearl was once again the top selling ski in the country as well as at Christy Sports and will continue to awe this season as one of the most versatile women’s skis on the market. The Black Pearl 88 is a rare gem indeed, crowned The Best All Mountain Frontside ski for Women by Outside Mag because it “flat out rips.” With a light wood core, a rocker-camber-rocker profile, and Carbon Flipcore W.S.D technology, a rockered ski production process that incorporates a unidirectional carbon frame onto the core, the Black Pearl boasts great performance and an easy feel.

  1. Volkl M5 Mantra

The Volkl Mantra M5 Skis were just crowned the top all-mountain freeride skis for the 2019 season but Outside Magazine. Often labeled an “iconic” ski in the industry, it was the first of it’s kind to truly master all conditions on the mountain. Craig noted this was a top performer last year as well. So what’s new? A novel way of arranging the metal layers called the Titinal Frame for superior dampening technology and a significant weight reduction. Ladies, you weren’t left out of this cutting-edge technology. Check out the Mantra’s companion women’s model, The Secret.


Craig brings his passion for skiing into his everyday job and it shows, his office decorated in numerous signed skis and gear, and photos taken with industry leaders and top athletes. He’s been a player in the buying game for over 25 years. That’s why when he tells us he’s excited about a new product or emerging technology, we take the opportunity to hop on a demo as soon as the flakes fly.

Stay tuned for more reviews of this season’s skis, snowboards, gear, and softgoods! 

FAQ: Can I Rent Ski Clothing?

Our guests know we offer ski and snowboard rentals, but we are often asked about the rest of the package – the pieces that keep you warm out on the mountain. The right ski or snowboard clothing can make or break your day on the slopes, but it shouldn’t break the bank. Whether you are a first-time skier or rider, a large family planning a ski trip with the kiddos, or simply don’t want to haul a suitcase full of winter clothing, renting affordable, yet quality ski/snowboard apparel may be an option.

There are, however, a few things to consider when doing so. Renting ski/snowboard clothing and accessories has both pros and cons over buying. Below are some of our recommendations

What is the Value of Purchasing vs. Renting Ski Clothing?

When you purchase your own softgoods (jackets, pants, base layers, gloves, etc.), that’s exactly what they become – your very own, yours to keep. That means you have the freedom to choose your own personal fit and style, rather than being stuck with whatever apparel the rental shop may provide. You can also keep this clothing and wear it from season to season, for as long as you would like. In addition, there are many items that are not available to rent, nor would you want to rent these items such as socks, hats, and thermal underwear base layers. So, you will need to buy and pack these items anyway.

Often times, while you may be able to rent ski/snowboard apparel for a fraction of the cost of buying, the quality of that clothing may be less that what you want and need. This is especially true in more extreme alpine weather conditions, or for the avid skier/rider who needs better protection against the elements. Having proper quality winter clothing is particularly important for small children, who feel the extremes of cold temperatures much faster than adults. It can mean the difference between your child enjoying his/her time on the slopes or collapsed on the snow bank in a puddle of tears. Not to mention, many retailers offer warranties on all their gear – hard and softgoods.

If packing extra clothing is a concern – no worries – many soft goods brands have already considered this travel obstacle. These days, outerwear companies are becoming more consumer-friendly and designing products that are compact and/or collapsible like Patagonia’s Nanopuff jackets and pants. Made of PrimaLoft Gold Insulation, these items are lightweight and collapsible, yet warm and both wind and waterproof. Purchasing apparel made of this type of material will certainly save space in your suitcase and make packing for your ski trip much easier.

On the other hand, if your luggage is truly stuffed to the brim, renting clothing does allow you to pack less, not mention save on extra bag fees with the airline.

What Type of Skier / Snowboarder Are You?

There are definitely several variables to consider when deciding whether to purchase or rent ski/snowboard clothing. Among them are determining what type of skier or rider you are and how often you will ski or ride. Avid, hard-core skiers and riders who are out there crushing the slopes several weeks a season will definitely want to purchase their own gear – everything from apparel to their own skis and boards. For economical and practical purposes, it just makes sense.

For those who only ski or ride one week or one to two weekends per season, then renting apparel may be more cost effective – especially if you live somewhere warm and don’t need cold weather gear. If you are a first-time skier/rider and you don’t own any gear yet, and are uncertain if the sport is your cup of tea, you may consider renting as an option. If you have young children, they will grow out of any clothing you buy for them by next season. Renting certainly saves time, hassle, and of course, money spent shopping for winter clothing each year, especially if you are not ready to make the investment.

What About Purchasing Second-Hand / Gently Worn Clothing?

An alternative to buying brand new or renting your winter threads, is the option of purchasing gently used clothing from second-hand thrift or consignment stores such as Recycle Sports. Or, find a local ski swap in town that sells gently worn gear and clothing. These are all great options for the first-time or casual skier/rider and for families with children who are constantly growing out of both clothing and equipment. Again, keep in mind quality and value when deciding if this is the best option for your circumstance.

You can also check out ski/snowboard shop sales both in early season and also at the end of the season. Often, the best time to buy both clothing and equipment is either just before the slopes open from September to late October, or at the end of season, April to mid-May. Christy Sports’ Powder Daze sale kicks off at the end of August each year and is a great option for purchasing discounted ski clothing and gear.

 Can I Rent Ski Clothing From Christy Sports?

If your ski/snowboard trip includes Steamboat Springs, then your best bet for winter clothing rentals is our very own Central Park Plaza Christy Sports. Uniquely, this is our only location that rents ski and snowboard clothing. Christy Sports here rents mainly ski/snowboard pants and jackets for both adults and children, and offers a discount when you rent both pants and jackets together vs. separately. As a bonus, Christy Sports also has a full rental fleet of skis and snowboards for all ages and ability levels. Not to mention, a large retail store to purchase any other items and accessories you will need.


Ultimately, the cost of ski equipment and clothing will vary based on how frequently you ski or snowboard, and how you get your gear – buy new or used, rent, or even borrow. Before making any decisions on outfitting you and your family this winter, simply take into consideration the cost and value of ownership, how often you will use the gear, transportation, laundry, and storage. Different skiers/snowboarders have different needs and there is an ideal solution for every type. Just do the math!

Whatever option you choose, not to worry, if you forget something, or the airline loses your luggage, or you simply decide lugging your equipment cross country is not for you, any of our Christy Sports locations can save the day!  Most locations offer both rental and retail shops, where you have the ease and convenience of renting equipment, as well as purchasing any clothing that may have been left behind.

Ski Boots For Wide Calves

The great thing about people is that we are all different, but this does present some issues for skiers, especially when it comes to ski boot fitting. One of the most common complaints I hear from people looking for new ski boots is that they’ve never been able to find a comfortable boot because they have wide calves, so they just accept that they will have to cope with hot spots and other pain while skiing. If you have the same mindset, abandon those negative thoughts, because there are few different ways to accommodate athletic calves.

Start by looking for a boot with a short cuff and consider getting a custom insole with a heel lift to bring the shaft of the leg slightly out of the boot. This will allow the boots to make contact with the lower leg and narrower part of the calves, enhancing fit and comfort.

You should also consider adding a custom liner that fits into any shell and can be molded by a professional to accommodate any extra room. Although custom insoles and liners are great solutions for issues with fit, it really helps to start with the right boot. It is strongly advised that you consult with a knowledgeable boot-fitter to ensure that you are getting the best recommendations for your anatomy. In case you don’t have the ability to meet with an expert at Christy Sports, here are few models to start your boot search with:

Men’s Ski Boots for Wide Calves:

 

Women’s Ski Boots for Wide Calves:

These models are by no means a cure-all, but we’ve found them to be a good starting point in our shops. If the fit of your ski boots has been an issue in the past, visit a shop and get fit by a professional. At Christy Sports, we guarantee every boot we fit in our shops. This includes any molding, liners, parts, and labor. Have you found solutions for boot fit issues? Help fellow skiers by sharing them in the comments below.

Christy Sports Powder Daze Sale

“Will summer ever end?” isn’t something most people ask. If this thought crosses your mind regularly, it’s because you’re one of us. You prefer altitude to sea level, snowpants to boardshorts and a goggle tan to an even one. You dream of slashing through beautiful white powder when it’s 90 degrees, and have definitely been guilty of cranking the A/C to remember how right your winter getup feels. You won’t have to abuse your thermostat for much longer, old man winter is on his way back. Until then, there is a twelve-day respite from your summertime sadness. The Christy Sports Powder Daze Sale gives winter its moment in the sun. (Don’t worry, we have A/C too.)

Maybe you’re one of the many new residents moving to Denver every month on the premise of snowfall measured in feet rather than inches. Maybe you’re a Colorado native that knows these Rocky Mountains better than your own siblings. Or maybe you fall somewhere in the middle. Whether you fall into one of these groups, or another one entirely, Powder Daze has something for everyone.

If you’re new to the Colorado snowsports scene, you might be looking to pick up snowboard or ski gear at a bargain price. And you’re in luck; Powder Daze has gear marked down to the extreme. I’m talking up to 70% off top of the line equipment! If this isn’t your first rodeo and the state of your equipment proves it, maybe you’re looking to talk to an expert that is up on all the latest tech. At Powder Daze, you’ll be surrounded by them. Our team is made up of folks just like you; who live to ski and snowboard, and know the gear they sell because they use it every chance they get. If your set up is already dialed for next year, drop in for the atmosphere and to talk shop with some of the most passionate skiers and riders in The Rockies.

Regardless of where you fall on a scale of “I’m new to town” to “I’ve been skiing these mountain since before they had names,” you’re going to need a ski pass. Powder Daze has got you covered here too. The likes of Copper, Winter Park, Steamboat, A-Basin and many more will be onsite to hook it up with their best deals of the season. See the full list of resorts and exclusive deals here.

If you’re one of us, I would highly suggest jumping on the Christy Sports’ email list. I’m not saying there’s an early access V.I.P. event or anything, but…you’ll never know if you aren’t on the list. Sign up here; you’ll be glad you did. If you don’t want to miss a minute of the action, give us a follow on your favorite social media. All our posts will be tagged with #PowderDaze, and if you want to share an exceptional find or story with us, yours should be too.

The Details

Who: Christy Sports and You

What: Deals you have to see to believe! Skis, snowboards, outerwear, accessories and passes marked up to 70% off

Where: Christy Sports Event Center – 8601 W Cross Drive Littleton, CO 80123

When: August 28th – September 8th, 10am-8pm

Why: Great deals, great people, good vibes.

P.S. If you can’t make it to Powder Daze in Denver or the other two locations (Dillon|Steamboat), you can still capitalize on the great deals by shopping the sale online beginning August 19, 2015.