Christy Sports The Ridge Report
A Blog About Everything Skiing & Snowboarding in Colorado & Utah
Tecnica Ski Boots

You skis boots should never ruin your day out on the slopes. Did you know many common complaints about ski boots can be remedied by knowledge of the proper way to put your boots on? Our Christy Sports boot fitters are happy to show you some methods and for those problems that just can’t be solved by rearranging the buckles, our team is standing by to troubleshoot so your time on the mountain is more enjoyable. Check out some of the top complaints we hear about ski boots and how they can be fixed:

Ski Boot Pain- The Top 5 Complaints

Tecnica Ski Boots

  1. Cold feet

Spending the day with your feet covered in snow is bound to bring a little chill to your toes right? While sub-freezing temperatures may be necessary for the perfect pow day, suffering from freezing feet are not. Still, cold feet are one of the most common complaints from skiers. The best remedy for cold feet is ensuring you have a properly fitting boot to optimize circulation. Boot warmers can also help keep your tootsies toasty in the cold of winter.

  1. Toes (Black Toe or 6th Toe)

Toes may be small but keeping them comfy in a ski boot is crucial to making the most of your day out there. Having an ill-fitting boot can put your toes in a bad position, causing you pain and perhaps one or two less toe nails. If you’re experience fleeting toe nails, the boot is most likely too big for your foot and is causing your toe to hit the end or you are compensating by lifting your toe up. If your boot is too narrow, it can lead to toe pain and poor circulation. But not too worry, an experienced boot fitter can punch out the toe box, widening it for a more optimal fit.

  1. Ankle/ Arch Support

We all want to feel supported, in life and in our ski boot. Not enough support in your boot can lead to a multitude of discomfort and pain. Often, a custom foot bed will solve support issues as they are sculpted to your exact foot, whether you have a high arch or flat feet. It’s impossible to create one ski boot that meets the support needs of every skier, which is why adding in a custom element is so helpful.

  1. Heel Lift (Moving around inside the boot)

It’s common for skiers to pick out a boot that “feels good” when they slip it on in the shop. But what is comfortable on a boot bench often isn’t the best fit for out on the mountain. Your ski boot shouldn’t fit like a slipper, but should snuggly hold your foot in place. Buying a boot that’s too roomy might spell out trouble later, as a lifting heel or a sloshing foot often leads to the other ailments mentioned. If the boot fits but the heel cup is too wide, your boot fitter can solve that with boot fitting aids such as a heel wedge.

  1. Acute pain points

A dull ache is common in a new ski boot as you are packing it out and breaking it in. But when a dull ache turns into a pain you can pinpoint, there may be a problem. The solution might be as simple as a wrinkle in your sock but could require a little more expertise. The boot your heart is telling you to choose may not be the one that’s actually best for you so it’s helpful to have a pro there to help guide your instincts.

A ski boot can make or break your bluebird day, you deserve to be comfortable and confident in your boot whether you’re a beginner just settling into your skis or have been shredding most of your life. Tecnica is a brand that’s all about providing skiers with great-fitting ski boots. Check it out!

Tecnica & a Great Boot Fit Go Foot-in-foot

Tecnica C.A.S.

Tecnica believes in producing ski boots with a great out-of-the-box fit. C.A.S. or Custom Adaptive Shape is Tecnica’s revolutionary new fit system created to cater to standard hotspots in everyone’s feet like ankle bones or the top of the foot. Tecnica stands behind a comfortable fit that doesn’t require sacrificing performance. Tecnica uses an anatomically shaped sell. A whaty what? That fancy lingo just means the shell inside of the boot is shaped to fit a human foot, preventing discomfort while you spend the day traversing the mountain. Which leads to more time traversing the mountain and less time inside the lodge with just your socks on.

We think you’ll discover a pretty fantastic fit in a Tecnica boot. But in case you require some adjustments C.A.S. offers more customization options than ever! Dimples on the shell offer easier customizing and a shape that holds better and for longer. The tiny dimples make the shell easier to heat and mold. Head into one of our Christy Sports locations to try on a Tecnica boot for yourself, or to ensure your Tecnica boot is a steller fit for your foot!

Product Spotlight: Tecnica’s Mach1 Ski Boot

The Mach1 is Tecnica’s all-mountain, high performance boot ready to tackle any terrain. The Tecnica Mach1 ski boot is the perfect boot for a skier who loves the feel of a performance boot but doesn’t want or need the full flex of a race boot. It’s a great choice for a less aggressive, all-mountain skier who doesn’t want to compromise on comfort or responsiveness.

Shop the Tecnica Mach1 now

Learn to Ski and Ride Month

Here at Christy Sports we celebrate skiing and riding every month of the year. (yes, even in the heat of summer) But come January, we celebrate a little extra for Learn to Ski and Ride Month. Whether you’ve been itching to try strapping your feet to skis/ a board or have friends and family who’ve never hit the slopes, this month we toast to bringing newcomers to the sport we love!

SO WHERE TO BEGIN?

A lesson is a great way to get down the basics of skiing or boarding and ease your way into the pow. Many resorts are offering affordable first-time lessons in the month of January. We recommend shopping around online to determine what resort has the best lesson package value to fit your needs!

In addition to offering lessons, most ski resorts have a “bunny slope,” or a ski run with a gentle incline used especially by novice skiers. Once you’ve hopped beyond the bunny hills in terms of ability level, it’s time to hit the green runs! From our friends at Colorado Ski Country USA, check out the most approachable trails for first-time shredders at a few of our favorite Colorado resorts:

BEST BEGINNER SKI TRAILS IN COLORADO:

ARAPAHOE BASIN

Know as “The Legend,” Arapahoe Basin is located just over Loveland Pass. While the ski area is comprised of only 7% “beginner” runs, that little green circle and some research can help steer novices in the right direction. At A-Basin, Wrangler is a run where beginners can enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the Continental Divide on an easy path from mid-mountain to the base area. You can also access other beginner trails like Chisholm Trail that take you through the forests a little lower on the mountain.

ASPEN SNOWMASS

At Aspen Snowmass, Buttermilk and Snowmass are the mountains with the most beginner terrain. On Snowmass, those just getting started can hit The Meadows at Elk Camp with a dedicated chairlift designed for skiers getting their feet under them and an approachable ski area for beginners. Head over to Buttermilk and check out Panda Peak, the best place to learn how to ski, especially for kids. The Hideout Kids’ Adventure Center can be found adjacent to Panda Peak, making for an enjoyable and easy experience for the kiddos.

COPPER MOUNTAIN

Copper is perhaps the most beginner-friendly mountain on our list with a quarter of the resort’s runs marked by that inviting green “beginner” circle. Copper Mountain’s Soliloquy is a long, gradual run winding down the west side of Copper’s naturally-divided terrain with room to spread out and some of the most incredible views on the mountain. A Colorado favorite, Copper Mountain should get a gold medal for beginner friendliness!

LOVELAND SKI AREA

We love Loveland. Rather than just giving beginners a couple of runs on which to practice, the ski area has dedicated a whole side of the mountain known as Loveland Valley to helping newcomers gain experience before hitting more advanced runs elsewhere on the Loveland slopes. Loveland Valley is a separate base area with its own lifts and wide-open, gentle slopes perfect for newcomers getting ready to try some turns. Located in the Loveland Valley off Lift 7 or the Magic Carpet, the runs All Smiles and Take Off both offer great terrain for beginners.

STEAMBOAT RESORT

Why Not start skiing at The Boat today? Why Not is a perfect run for skiers and riders who are ready to brave the mountain via Gondola. Gondolas are much easier to exit than your run-of-the-mill chairlift since you can simply step out. (Don’t forget to grab your gear!) The 3-mile green run meanders gently down the mountain to deliver skiers and boarders of all ability levels safely back to the base of Steamboat.

TELLURIDE SKI RESORT

Further south than the other resorts mentioned, Telluride offers unmatched beauty and breathtaking views of the San Juan Mountains. Nestled above 11,000ft, Telluride’s Ute Park offers beginner skiers and riders the opportunity to enjoy the mountains and high-alpine vistas normally reserved for advanced skiers. Once you grow bored of carving down the mountain, (which we doubt you will) Telluride has two beginner terrain parks featuring rollers and small jumps to spice things up – Ute Park is a beginner’s paradise.

WINTER PARK

Winter Park, like Copper, has a lot of options for newer shredders. Village Way is a nice n’ easy run that winds from the top down to the base. It’s also Winter Park’s longest run at 4.9 miles, so beginners can squeeze plenty of practice in by the time they reach the bottom for après.


CHRISTY SPORTS IS HERE TO HELP!

Christy Sports has shops at or on the way to all of these major Colorado ski resorts. Our employees live and breathe skiing and boarding and love welcoming newcomers to the mountain. Christy’s expert & knowledgeable staff is standing by to help you rent ski and snowboard gear, so you can put those green runs to the test before investing. While you’re at it, pick their brains on some of their favorite beginner runs! Click here to find a Christy Sports location that’s convenient for you. We’ll see you out there! And never forget- We were all new once!

And for more information on the best beginner ski trails in Colorado check out Colorado Ski Country USA’s Blog.

 

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!

Night skiing in Keystone.

We’ve all enjoyed an epic powder day on the slopes skiing or riding while wishing the day would never end. The ski lifts closing is the biggest bummer of the day. Never fear, Keystone Night Skiing is here to save (and extend) the day! Keystone having the longest ski days with the most lighted trails means your epic day doesn’t have to end when the day lifts do.

Whether you are new to Keystone or a seasoned veteran, you can enjoy the greatest number of skiable trails after the sun goes down. Throughout most of the season, many lifts – at both River Run and Peru Express – remain open until 8:00 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays so you can get in that many more rides down the mountain. Follow our guide here to enjoy the perfect night skiing experience.

Tips for Night Skiing in Keystone

  • Dress Appropriately: Keep in mind when the sun dips down behind the mountains, so do the temperatures and our intense Colorado sun is no longer around to keep you toasty. So, be sure to dress in warm layers from thermal base layers all the way to water proof and wind resistant jacket and pants.
  • Buddy System: Always ski or ride with a buddy when it gets dark and stay on the lighted trails. Having a friend or family member skiing / riding with you is not only more fun, but the “buddy system” is also the safest option at night.
  • Day Skiing vs. Night Skiing: Night skiing / riding is different than skiing / riding during the day. For starters, you will experience less lift lines and more of the mountain to yourself, allowing you to push your abilities further while enjoying a beautiful moonlit Colorado night out on the slopes. In the peace and quiet of the night, you can feel every turn, hear your skis or board connecting with the snow, and smell the fresh night air whipping around your face. Night skiing / riding allows you to experience the slopes in a whole new way and keep your epic day going!
  • More Than Night Skiing / Riding: Night skiing isn’t just for skiers and riders! Add to your after dark adventure and take a ride down the tubing hill. Keystone’s snow tubing hill at Adventure Point is open late as well. So take a couple of spins for some lighthearted fun between runs. For the kiddos, enjoy Kidtopia fireworks from the slopes every Saturday night. Or, simply relax and watch the sunset with friends at the Summit House – Keystone’s highest eating establishment. Take advantage of the views from here to watch the sun set over the Rockies before making a few more last tracks and calling it a day – or should we say, night.
  • Ski / Board Rentals: No gear? No problem! Our Snake River Keystone Christy Sports location offers ski and snowboard rentals for all ability levels, and is open late during night skiing hours. We highly recommend stopping by to grab your gear before 4 PM, to avoid the rush of folks returning their rental gear from the day. Avoid a gear pickup hiccup or be advised if you come in after 4, your wait will likely increase. The Snake River Christy Sports is located directly off Highway 6, near River Run Village and adjacent to the Snake River Saloon. Our friendly staff are considered the resident experts in ski and snowboard gear and making sure you are fitted properly before you hit the slopes – day or night.

Night skiing or riding at Keystone can be an experience of a lifetime, especially when you follow our tips here. And don’t forget to stop in and see the guys at our Snake River Christy Sports! The sun may set on Keystone, but you certainly don’t have to!

Photo: Denver Post

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! 

Ski Trip Travel Tips

One of my favorite parts of winter is our annual family ski trip.

While we ski most winter weekends (a definite perk of living in Colorado), spring break is when we venture further afield, if not afar, to sample new mountains and new resorts.

While planning a ski vacation should be fun, it also requires some work and attention to detail.

Today, we share some tips for planning your best winter getaway.

Dream

We all have lists of ski resorts we’d love to visit. We also have lists of favorite resorts we return to again and again.

When planning a ski vacation, you have to choose between the familiar and beloved and adventuring to a new destination.

Start with who will be going on the trip.

If children are coming, how old are they? Do you need services like childcare or ski school? While almost all resorts have dedicated programs for children, some, like Snowmass and Keystone, specialize in families.

If this is a girls’ trip, is it all about skiing or do you want shopping and spa, too? If skiing will be front and center, you might look into a women’s ski week or camp at somewhere like Alta.

While I’ve obviously never been on a guys’ ski trip, I hear it’s all about skiing, drinking and eating.

So here’s a question for the men: Do you want to be in the middle of the après action?  Or, would you be okay with a more remote resort like Snowbasin, Utah that has great skiing, but no lodging base or nightlife?

Next, ask yourself how many mountains you want to visit. Do you want to stay at one resort and really get to know it or hop between several resorts and sample them all?

In Colorado, this could mean choosing between a multi-mountain destinations like Summit County or picking a more isolated ski town like Telluride.

Make a list of what you want and use it to narrow down your options. Ask your friends for their suggestions and look online for ski resort reviews.

Best Tip for Choosing a Resort: If you have a season pass, check for reciprocal deals with other mountains. You may find that you can ski for free or at a significant discount. This makes choosing the “right” destination a no-brainer.

Plan

As with any vacation, you have to know how you’ll get there, where you’ll stay and what you’ll need to bring.

1. Getting There

While driving has some serious advantages (think bringing your own gear and having maximum flexibility), flying can take you anywhere.

Whether you fly or drive, factor in how much time you’re willing to spend in transit.

Do you want to fly into a city and ski the same day? Are you willing to rent a car or take ground transportation to the resort?

If time is a major consideration, look for resorts with nearby local airports. Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Whitefish, Montana come to mind.

Best Driving Tip: Be prepared for winter weather. The Colorado Traction Law now requires passenger cars to carry and use chains (or their equivalent) during some storm conditions.

No matter where you are, check the state department of transportation website or download an app to keep you updated.

Best Flying Tip: Ask the airlines if your skis and boots can fly for free. Rules vary with each carrier, but skis/snowboard and boots are free on United if packed in ski boot bags and ski bags.

If you pack your boots in a duffle bag, or your skis in a box, you’ll pay. Plus, you have to check both skis and boots. We tried to fly with just boots and got dinged.

2. Sleep and Eat

Resort websites often have links to extensive lodging and last-minute deals. But for some trips, renting a home through a service like VRBO might be better.

Make a list of what you need and want.

Do you need a kitchen? How many bedrooms and bathrooms? If you’re staying off-mountain is there a shuttle or public transportation? Are there slopeside or ski-in/ski-out options?

Best Lodging Tip: Check out lodging in nearby communities to save money. For example, stay in Basalt if Aspen is too pricey.

Or take an urban ski trip. Stay in Salt Lake City (the Salt Lake SuperPass scores discounts on tickets and lodging) and commute 30-40 minutes by car or bus to four world-class resorts.

3. Gear

We recommend taking your own boots if you can. But leaving skis/poles or snowboards at home can make life much easier (especially when you’re trying to fit everything and everyone into a rental car or SUV).

Best Gear Tip: Make your life easy with ski and snowboard rental delivery services like Door 2 Door from Christy Sports. Reserve everything you need online. When you arrive, a ski tech brings the equipment and fits it to you at your convenience.

Execute

Online planning is key to maximizing fun and limiting ski vacation hassle. Study resort websites to find out what activities and special events are available.

Save money by purchasing lift tickets in advance on resort websites or from vendors like Liftopia.

Also, reserve lessons, dining and other special events (perhaps snowshoeing, a snowcat dinner in a remote cabin, or a western family BBQ) in advance to avoid disappointment.

Best Overall Tip: Be flexible. While it’s good to plan ahead, don’t schedule every moment and be prepared for changes. It’s a vacation after all, not a marathon. Whether you’re traveling with friends or family, let everyone set their own pace and agenda.

Then reconvene each afternoon to share stories, photos and fun (with an emphasis on fun).

Enjoy!

 

Packing for a trip is difficult, but packing for a ski trip can be a daunting task. It can seem impossible to know what you will truly need to enjoy the mountains. Whether you are packing your own ski equipment or renting on arrival, skiing and snowboarding requires a lot of gear! If you are planning to travel to a mountain paradise during Spring Break, here is a list of essentials for spring skiing warm weather.

Outerwear:

Ski Jacket:  Pack a windproof, waterproof ski or snowboard shell jacket for spring .  If you are snowboarder, a longer snowboarding jacket will help to keep snow out.

Ski Pants: Make sure to pack waterproof, vented  ski or snowboard pants.

Long Underwear: Non-cotton base layers are recommended for under your jacket and other layers of insulation. Spring skiing weather can be unpredictable to plan for the right amount of layers.

Additional Insulation: Pack a down, synthetic, or fleece jacket or vest for under your ski jacket to provide extra warmth in addition to your shell jacket in case the weather happens to be a little colder. Spring weather can be a challenge being able to find the right balance between cold mornings and sunny afternoons!

Accessories:

Gloves: A good pair of waterproof, thick gloves is essential. Regular knitted gloves or mittens won’t cut it in the snow.

Neck Gaiter: Shield your neck and chin from cold and the sun!

Goggles: Help protect your eyes with ski and snowboard googles from the snow refection and choose a pair that has a venting system so they don’t fog up. Darker lens on googles tend to be best for sunny days.

Helmet:  A No Brainer! This is a crucial piece of mountain safety and your safety.  Just about everyone wears one these days. If you don’t own a helmet, you can rent one if needed.

Ski Socks: Different from your everyday socks. They are typically made of wool and designed to regulate body temperature and wick away sweat and moisture.

Winter Hat: A good winter hat or beanie will provide extra insulation and covers up your helmet hair so you can easily transition to the hot tub or après!

Sunscreen / Lip Balm: This is crucial when spending a day on the mountain especially in the springs at higher elevations where UV rays magnifies and reflects off the snow.  Goggle tans aren’t that cool when you look like Homer Simpson.

Gear:

Gather up your skis, snowboard, binding, poles and boots! Depending on where you are traveling to or for how long, might determine if you want to bring your own gear or rent ski and snowboard gear.

If you are planning to travel with your own gear, it’s vital to pack it in a padded ski and snowboarding travel bag to prevent damage or broken as they get tossed around during the journey.

Other Items You Might Need:

Sunglasses: They are great for when you’re sitting outside on a bluebird day or for walking around town.

Hand and Toe Warmers: When it’s a really cold day on the mountain, these can be a lifesaver.

Camera: Don’t forget the camera or GoPro! You won’t want to miss out on capturing those action shots.

First Aid Kit: A long day of skiing can make for some pain. It’s good to have a kit on-hand with Advil,  also for a possible hangover!

Oxygen: Altitude sickness can put a real damper in your vacation, so upon arrival purchase oxygen.  Traveling to higher altitudes can cause altitude sickness because lower oxygen levels. Boost Oxygen provides a great all-natural and safe solution! Stop by one of our retail locations to pick up 95% pure oxygen and feel better if the altitude hits you.

Boost Oxygen

Winter Clothing: Planning on staying at a resort for a couple days, will also require bringing warm winter clothing and snow boots for strolling around town to enjoy après ski and restaurants!

Packing for a ski vacation can be challenging, but hopefully with our list of essentials you can enjoy your time on the mountain and worry less about the items you might have forgotten.

Are you are ski vacation pro? Are there any items you would add to our list?

Skiing and Snowboarding's Hottest Couples

We all follow the latest news from celebrity couples like Kim and Kanye or Kate and Will, whether we want to or not, but what about the couples in our own world of skiing and snowboarding? Here are the hottest celeb couples in skiing and snowboarding couples:

Mark McMorris and Coco Ho1. Mark McMorris & Coco Ho

About Him: Mark is an 11 time X Games gold medalist, and an Olympic bronze medalist. He competes in snowboard slopestyle and big air and throws down every time. He hails from Canada and was the first person to land a backside triple cork 1440.

About Her: Coco has some distinctions of her own as well. As a professional surfer from Hawaii she has won countless awards and even had some film appearances. She and Mark can be seen on social media supporting each other at their competitions and shredding the mountains and the waves.

#PowerCouple

Bobby Brown and Nicole Gallen2. Bobby Brown & Nicole Gallen

About Him: Originally from Denver, CO and the first skier to win two gold medals at a single Winter X Games in slopestyle and big air, Bobby is known for his style. He also posts funny vine videos, check those out.

About Her: Nicole is a Colorado native from Telluride, CO, so you know she can mob on skis. One time, she took a fan photo of me and Bobby at Dew Tour, so yeah she’s super nice.

#SoPresh

Jamie Anderson and Tyler Nicholson3. Jamie Anderson & Tyler Nicholson

About Him: Tyler is an up and coming professional snowboard from Canada. Most recently, he got second place at the LAAX Open. Keep an eye out for him on the podiums.

About Her: Jamie Anderson is one of the most decorated female snowboarders in action sports. She’s never missed the podium at Winter X Games and won the first gold medal in slopestyle at the Winter Olympics in 2014. Jamie has been driving women’s snowboarding since she was a teenager and she’s not taking her foot off the gas anytime soon.

#DreamTeam

Chas Guldemond and Drea Guldemond4. Chas & Drea Guldemond

About Him: Charles ‘Chas’ Guldemond is a professional slopestyle snowboarder. He’s competed in pretty much every major event in snowboarding, and is one of the sports most seasoned riders.

About Her: Drea is a very passionate hair stylist (maybe the reason Paul Mitchell sponsors Chas?). You’ll notice her hair is always on point. She’s also the proud mama to Rocky Guldemond (Yes, after Rocky Balboa. How awesome is that!).

#FamSquad

Torin Yater-Wallace and Sarah Hendrickson5. Torin Yater-Wallace & Sarah Hendrickson

About Him: Torin is a pro freeskier from Aspen, CO. At the time, when he was 15, he was the third-youngest male competitor in X Games history and took silver in halfpipe.

About Her: No stranger to the podium herself, Sarah Hendrickson is a professional ski jumper and world champion from SLC.

#RelationshipGoals

Which pro ski and snowboard couples do you like to follow? Share with us in the comments.

Maybe you are new to the sport of skiing or you have been a ripper for years.  Either way, as with any sport, there is a certain lingo or language you have to master in addition to the actual fundamentals, in order to sound like you are in the know beyond being able to “walk the walk”.  More skiers and riders are jumping onboard each year leading to ‘ski speak’ phrases and terms being ever-changing.  Save yourself the trouble of embarrassment when talking with a local on the lift or in a random conversation après ski.

Below are some terms and sayings – some classics and others newer to the ski lingo list:

Après Ski: Literally speaking it means ‘after ski’, yet it refers to forms of entertainment and nightlife at a ski resort which can be just as eventful as a day of skiing.

Backcountry: Skiing outside the resort boundaries that is not patrolled or controlled for avalanche dangers.

Blue Bird Day: A beautiful, sunny day on the mountain with blue skies after an overnight snowfall – one that many consider a “perfect” day for skiing.

Bombing: Going extremely fast, often recklessly and out of control downhill with no regard for yourself or others.

Bunny Slope: A slope perfect for beginners to learn basic techniques.  Typically found at the base area of the mountain and accessible by a magic carpet or tow rope.

Champagne Powder™: Light, dry, smooth powder snow trademarked by Steamboat Resort.

Chutes: A steep and narrow section of snow between rocks. Definitely an expert-only run!

Corduroy: Resembling the fabric because of the grooves – it’s when the trail is recently groomed by either a snowcat or grooming machine.

Crud: Lumpy and hard snow conditions with slippery ice patches.

Dump: A slang term to describe a huge snowfall of fresh powder.

Death Cookies: Gravel like ice chunks that cover a run, waiting to catch your edge.

Earning Your Turns:  Skinning or hiking up a mountain and skiing down. Not riding a chairlift.

Eat Wood: When a skier or snowboarder comes face to face with a tree… Ouch, that has to hurt!

Face Shot: No, this is not a drinking game… It’s what happens when you’re in powder so deep that snow sprays you in the face each turn.  Icicle eyebrows anyone?!

First Tracks: Being the first to ski or ride the fresh powder before anyone else does. Bragging rights!

Flat Light: When dim light and gray skies make it difficult to see terrain change. Be careful of surprises.

French Fries: Skiing with your skis parallel to each other. Not pizza!

Freshies: Untouched and untracked powder. Skiing freshies is how we would all like to spend our day on the mountain!

Gaper: One who is new to the snow sport game and does not generally understand proper on-mountain manners, apparel or techniques.

Shred the Gnar: Derived from the word Gnarly… One who skis or rides challenging trails or conditions which are measured on a level of coolness, excitement and danger.

Grab: To hold on to a part or your snowboard or ski while being in the air.

In-bounds: The skiable terrain inside the boundaries of a mountain resort. Opposite of Out-of-bounds.

Jibb(-er,-ing): One who skis or rides across boxes, rails and other non-snow surface items.

Liftie: A slang term for one who operates the chairlift.

Magic Carpet: Conveyer-belt like surface lift… If you step onto this it will easily take you up the bunny hill slope.

Mashed Potatoes:  Heavy and wet snow.

Pizza: A termed used for teaching beginner skiers technique where skis are slanted at each other like a slice of pizza to snowplow down a slope. May also be known as a wedge.

Pow: A shortened use of the word powder… typically fresh, fallen powder.  A daily wish in the mountains and the perfect ski conditions!

Ripper: An impressive and accomplished skier or rider.

Skins: Straps of fabric attached to the bottom of skis to allow climbing uphill without slipping backwards.

Shredder: One who rides with advanced skill and is accomplished.

Traverse: Skiing or moving across a slope horizontally, instead of straight down to keep speed down on a steep incline.

Whiteout (adjective): When visibility is almost impossible; typically caused by heavy snowfall, fog, or flat light.

Yard Sale (verb): Resembling that of a yard sale. When a skier loses their ski equipment and gear including skis, poles, hat, gloves, etc.  Their gear is scattered across the slope… collecting all your items may be the worst part!

Feel like you are ready to ‘talk the talk’ with a local? Maybe or maybe not, but at least you can fake it ‘til you make it for now. While this is not the entire “ski-speak” dictionary, it’s a good place to start to be able to include terms into your vocabulary. The next time you find yourself caught in a conversation on the mountain with rippers, shredders and magic carpet riders, you’ll sound like a pro!

Did you have a favorite ski term? Or is there one you think we should add to the list? Share your favorite with us in the comments below.

Where to buy a ski condo in colorado

While the word vacation evokes palm trees and white sandy beaches in some minds, others flock to the vast mountains of Colorado for snow chasing and thrill-seeking.

Purchasing a ski condo in Colorado is not only glamorous and exciting, but also a massive milestone that provides a long-term investment strategy. Even if you’re not paying for your Colorado condo in all cash, loan restrictions since the housing market crash of 2008 are tighter than ever, so acquiring credit under today’s standards says a lot about one’s financial profile.

Whether you’re buying your vacation home with a mortgage or can afford to put down all-cash, determining a location that best fits your budget and lifestyle first is key. Colorado offers endless winter sporting opportunities across the state, but consider the following top cities, which vary in price, to purchase your real estate retreat.

Steamboat Springs

Buying a vacation condo in Steamboat Springs isn’t necessarily inexpensive, but won’t cost buyers millions, as compared to other opulent ski towns in Colorado. The average list price on homes for sale in Steamboat Springs was $790,008 for the first week of December. About two hours south sits the town of Breckenridge, where the average list price is slightly higher than Steamboat Springs at $903,204. Searching for condos in Breckenridge might be better suited for individuals with larger budgets and a desire for seclusion. The population in Breckenridge is just 4,648, compared to Steamboat Springs which has 12,100 residents as of 2013, according to the U.S. Census. Keep in mind, popular ski towns feel crowded during peak vacation and holiday seasons, and an abundance of visitors shifts the vibe severely.

Vail

Vail is one of the most popular destinations for skiing in the United States, and it’s lodging and mountain pass prices reflect its unparalleled popularity. According to Vail Daily, roughly 400,000 people purchased some sort of Vail Resorts’ pass in 2014 alone, totaling $200 million in revenue for the company. With so many vacationers flocking to Vail, the local real estate market is hot. List prices on homes for sale in Vail in early December were at an average of $2,867,488, pricing most house hunters out of the Vail market. If you’re looking for another upscale mountain town but can’t quite afford Vail, consider searching for condos in Avon, where the average list price is currently $1,566,184.

Crested Butte

Crested Butte is located in Gunnison County, a former coal mining town with a population of just 1,487. Crested Butte is only a 12-mile hike from Aspen via the famous West Maroon Pass, or alternatively, a 100-mile drive over the Elk Mountains. Although it’s located so close to Aspen, Crested Butte is much more affordable in terms of real estate. The average list price for homes in Aspen is $5,167,856, making it highly unaffordable for the typical buyer. On the other hand, the average listing price on homes and condos in Crested Butte is much lower at $534,386 – a more practical figure for the average American.

Dillon

Crave the Boulder lifestyle but can’t afford the price tag? Dillon is only an hour and a half drive southwest of Boulder, and is a great market for those searching for condos on a tighter budget. Plus, with Lake Dillon providing 26 miles of shoreline, the town offers boating and sailing in the summertime. The average listing price on Dillon homes for sale is currently $796,960, whereas the average list price on homes in Boulder is $1,115,019. Dillon is in close proximity to Copper Mountain, Keystone and Breckenridge to satisfy your snow sport needs in the wintertime, giving you the best of both worlds.

 

Once you’ve settled on a setting and closed on your condo, it’s time to deck out the interior of your new abode. Including warm accessories such as fur throws, knit pillows and nature-inspired décor mimics the atmosphere of a mountainside resort without compromising the aesthetic of the home. In fact, organic schemes mixed with clean, minimalist lines helps keep condos cozy but modern, so you achieve two looks simultaneously.

If you’re considering a remodel, or purchasing a contemporary home, incorporating rustic, lodge-like décor helps balance out rooms so interiors don’t feel overly cold or uninviting to guests and residents alike. And, since eclectic schemes mix many different styles, you’ll target a wide range of buyers in the future when it comes time to sell. You won’t have to worry about home staging or rearranging your current living situation to appeal to those interested in purchasing a ski condo in one of the aforementioned Colorado hot spots.

Tips For Teaching Kids How To Ski

The first time my husband and I took our three-year old son skiing, we made a rookie mistake. We thought we were prepared.

We put ski boots on his soft, tiny feet and let him march around the house. We popped a helmet and goggles onto his head and played “pretend” games. We watched videos of children skiing and talked about the fun we’d have together.

Being lifelong skiers, my husband and I smugly thought we had it nailed: We’d put him on snow. He’d love it. We’d ski together as a family.

Not surprisingly, things did not work out as we planned.

Getting him on snow was easy. He was game, but we were naive.

While the coat he was wearing was cute, it wasn’t warm. Soon, he was cold and unhappy. Not even hot chocolate could staunch his tears.

I was a full year before we got him on snow again.

This was just one of the lessons we learned when teaching our kids to ski.

Tip #1: Get the Right Gear

The next time we skied, our son wore a proper ski coat and pants. He also wore one pair of thin wool socks, polypro base layers and a fleece. We put mittens on his hands and had hand warmers at the ready.

Plus, since we rented skis and boots for him for the season, we knew the hardware was tuned, properly fit and ready to go. At the suggestion of our ski tech, we purchased an inexpensive bungee that clamps onto the ski tips to keep them from crossing or spreading too far apart.

This time, he was physically comfortable and ready for fun!

Tip #2: Focus On Fun

Sometimes, adults forget that kids are motivated by fun. The first few days on snow are not about learning technique. They are about happily spending time together and building a positive association with skiing or snowboarding.

Find a flat or nearly flat place to practice basic movement. Pull your child around with your ski poles. Encourage them to shuffle their skis and start sliding. Make up silly games and use funny noises. Laugh a lot. For like 30 minutes. Then take a break for hot chocolate.

When your child is ready to go back outside, get out there and play some more.

Don’t even bother putting on your ski boots and skis.

Tip #3: Take Lessons

When your child is ready for the next step, sign him or her up for a lesson. Group lessons are usually the most economical and enjoyable, since kids like being with other kids.

If you can, take a tour of the children’s center a day or two before the lesson. Point out other kids skiing with their instructors when you see them on the hill. Look at a resort map and find the magic carpet and ski school. Each of these things will help familiarize your child with the idea of lessons and build a sense of comfort.

Although you won’t be with your child during the lesson, let him or her know where you will be and what time you’ll be back for pick up. If you’re anxious, hide your concerns. Don’t give your child any reason to worry.

If your child has separation anxiety, talk to the instructor and come up with a game plan. Remember, they’ve seen it all before.

On the day of the lesson, arrive early so that you aren’t rushing. Introduce yourself and your child to the instructor and then leave. Although it’s oh-so-tempting, don’t “spy” on the lesson. Instead, click into your bindings, hop on the lift, and enjoy some adult skiing.

Just remember to be on time for pickup.

Tip #4: Reinforce What Has Been Taught

After the lesson, check in with the instructor and get a report.

Find out what was taught, where the child skied and specifically ask how you can reinforce what your child just learned.

To minimize confusion, learn and use the same terminology as the ski school. Get recommendations on what runs and trails to try. And find out what level lesson to sign up for the next time.

Tip #5: Keep Your Eyes On The Prize

According to Kevin Jordan, the Children’s Coordinator at Snowmass, one of the biggest mistakes parents make is taking a child down a trail that is too difficult. As Kevin puts it, “This is a sure-fire way to regress, rather than reinforce, what your child has learned.”

Although it’s hard, parents need to have realistic expectations. Most kids aren’t going to grow up to be the next Ted Ligety or Mikaela Shiffrin. And that’s probably not your goal anyway.

So don’t push your kids too hard or too fast. Remember to laugh and play together. Create positive opportunities and experiences that will instill a love of skiing in your children.

Most of all, be patient and focus on fun. Before you know it, you and your kids will be skiing the same runs. And then one day, they’ll pass you by in a puff of powder and perfect turns down a steep line.

At that point, your job is done. Now you just have to keep up.

 

Enjoy!

Christy Sports is the presenting sponsor of the Colorado Ski Country USA 5th and 6th Grade Passport Program. With this pass, 5th graders ski free (and can get a free 1st-time lesson and rental) at 20 member resorts. 6th graders ski at each of these resorts for a one-time fee of $99. It’s the best deal in Colorado for skiing families!

 Also, January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, with great deals on children’s lessons at resorts throughout Colorado and Utah. For more information, find your resort on the LSSM webpage.

The Ladd Boys

We love supporting local talent at Christy Sports. Recently we got to catch up with The Ladd Boys, Noah (16), Dylan (14), and Connor (12), after they won a rail jam in Denver, CO for a little Q & A.

Q: How long have you been skiing & competing?

Noah: I’ve been skiing since I was 1 1/2

Dylan & Connor: We’ve been skiing since we were 3, and have been competing for 4 years.

Q: What’s your favorite mountain?

The Ladd Boys (TLB): For skiing park, Breckenridge, but for big mountain, Taos.

Q: What’s your favorite part about skiing?

Noah: Powder.

Dylan: Being alone, freeness, flying through the air.

Connor: Same [as as Noah and Dylan].

Q: Do you push each other to progress?

TLB: YES

Dylan: Especially on trampolines. Sometimes we’re critical of each other.

Noah: We prefer to ski together.

Q: Are you from Colorado?

Noah: We’re from Lakewood, CO, but Winter Park is our home mountain.

Q: Did your parents get you into skiing or did you find it on your own?

TLB: Mostly our parents, but we wanted to start riding park.

Q: What’s your favorite trick?

Noah: Cork 720

Dylan: Dub Flat 720

Connor: Misty 1080

Q: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Connor: Happy

Noah: Happy and maybe an engineer.

Dylan: Happy and maybe a pro skier.

Q: What’s the best part about skiing with your brothers?

Noah: Being able to hang out, relax, and equally enjoy the same sport.

Q: Who’s your favorite skier?

Noah: Tom Wallisch or Banks Gilberti

Dylan: Banks Gilberti and David Wise

Connor: David Wise and Banks Gilberti

Q: What skis are you guys rocking this year?

Noah: Salomon Rocker 2

Dylan: K2 Domain

Connor: Volkl Step

 

Check out The Ladd Boys’ season edits…

Connor, 12

Dylan, 14

Noah, 16