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

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?

The calendar seems to be rushing towards the resort closing dates at an alarming rate.  While spring skiing conditions don’t get much better than they are right now, it seems like at the end of the day, I walk away from the resort a little bummed out.  No matter how much fun I had, one pervasive thought dampens my mood; the season is almost over.  Don’t fret though.  For those of you who aren’t ready to let the season go, there is hope.

2014_06_14_A-Basin_Dave-Camara_4

Image: Dave Camara – Arapahoe Basin

The Holdouts

Even though most resorts in Colorado and Utah shut down around the same time, places like A-Basin and Snowbird refuse to yield to the warming temperatures until the last possible moment.  It’s really refreshing to see a big, bold TBD on their calendars well after the lifts stop turning at the other resorts.  Plus, the longer their seasons go, the more festive things get.  From giant barbecues in the parking lot, to fun on-mountain events, these mountains and the die-hard skiers and riders who frequent them know how to wring every ounce of fun out of the season.

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Image: of Kat Via Flickr

Endless Winter

After the last resort shuts down in the West, rather than face a change in seasons, change your hemisphere instead.  Just hop on a plane and head over to New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, or Australia, and you can see where the snow went after it abandoned you in the States.   Whether chasing winter full time or just escaping the summer heat for one unforgettable ski trip, ripping around a mountain in August is a guaranteed way to satisfy the inner powder hound in you.

Earn Your Turns

Image: Emily-Jane Newbern

Image: Emily-Jane Newbern

For the purist, the adventure seeker, the endurance athlete, and for the folks who can’t afford a trip to New Zealand, hoofing it is your best option for late season turns.  The backcountry and side country in the Rock Mountains stay relatively good for months, allowing you to enjoy the snow even after the last of the holdout resorts call it quits for the year. Better still though, when the backcountry snow turns into a granular, pitted mess, you can always turn to the glaciers. A short drive from Denver and a short hike up a trail delivers you to a large snowfield called St Mary’s Glacier. Places like St Mary’s (and there are multiple gems like this all across the Rockies) are the perfect destination for midsummer turns. While strapping your gear to a backpack and heading into the hills is a fun and exciting way to keep the season alive, only experienced and prepared backcountry travelers should attempt it.

Don’t get me wrong, I love summer and all of the activities that warm weather affords, it’s just hard to let go of winter. So, in between runs, bike rides, camping trips, hikes, and barbecues, you will find me punctuating my summer with old ski movies, and the occasional trip up some remote snowfield with a snowboard strapped to my backpack.

If you know of any other ways to keep the ski season alive, let me know!

Most resorts have now posted, to my dismay, their closing dates. While I spend every night praying to the snow gods that these dates will be pushed back so I can add just a few more days to my tally, alas, I need to start preparing for the end of this sacred season. With a little over a month left to the season here in the Rockies, I have made a bucket list of things I think everyone should do before the lifts stop turning:

Get Some Sweet, Sweet Powder – If you’re a weekend warrior like myself, it can sometimes be difficult to reach your powder quota for the year because of the luck that is required for it to dump on a Saturday or Sunday. If you don’t have the flexibility to go ski whenever and wherever the snow falls, tell your boss right now (so they have fair warning) that the next time a storm comes through you’re not coming in because you’ve got the powder flu. Do whatever you need to do to get those first tracks one more time.

Go Night Skiing – There are few things I enjoy more than having the whole mountain to myself and not a single person in the lift line. Night skiing is easily the best kept secret of resort riding, because most people assume it’s going to be cold and windy, so almost no one goes. However, if you can catch the right conditions you’ll also catch the magic that is night skiing.

Dial In That Trick– Every season I have a new trick I want to learn, and every season I somehow get distracted by other things and fail to perfect that trick. Don’t let that happen to you this year. Use these last couple of ski days to work on that trick until you have it ingrained in your muscle memory so you can walk away from the season feeling like you progressed and can start next season where you left off.

Scare Yourself – One of things that make skiing and snowboarding so great is that there is always a way for you to push your limits. I thoroughly enjoy a good adrenaline rush after finishing a tight tree run or hitting a larger park feature than I normally would. So, if you haven’t gotten out of your comfort zone this season, do it now. Of course, be reasonable.  Don’t hurt yourself, but if you’ve been staring at that double black all season or a park feature you think you can tackle, now is the time.

Go with the friends you’ve been saying you’d go with all season – Throughout the season I run into old friends and meet new friends and we always end the conversation with, “We should ride together sometime” or “Let me know the next time you’re going up”.  Those words always turn into empty promises though, and I end up riding with the same people all season. Call up those other friends, plan to meet up, and make it happen. Avoid the empty promise cycle and you might even find a new best shred-friend.

Folks, the 2014-2015 ski season won’t last forever, and you will never get those precious ski days back, so get out there while there is still some season left! What’s on your end-of-season bucket list? Share in the comments below.

There are some telltale signs that winter is quickly approaching, and chief among them is the annual parade of new ski and snowboard movies.  Earlier and earlier each year, the top names in the ski movie biz are pushing their premiere’s out to a hungry public.  Pow Hounds and Park Rats alike partake in the festivities, leaving the movies with a sense of excitement and an undeniable desire for winter to hurry up and arrive.

If you didn’t make it to the shows this year but still want to check out the new flicks and get stoked for the upcoming winter, here are a few movies worth looking into:

MSP Films, Days Of My Youth

The Matchstick crew always delivers. Always.  However, Days Of My Youth does more than just deliver; this movie will blow your mind!  The story line is shaped and narrated by the writings of British Philosopher Alan Watts, which sounds a little strange, but actually adds a really cool aspect to the whole movie.  From the super beginner days all the way through a face meltingly intense chute, Days Of My Youth, brings every aspect of the perfect ski movie together, plus a little extra.  I don’t know if you can tell or not, but I loved this movie…

Unicorn Picnic, Pretty Faces

Finally, finally, finally, there is a movie out there that puts a sparkly spin on that played out saying, ‘you ski like a girl’.  In a Kickstarter campaign, Lindsay Dyer brought together a phenomenal group of the top female athletes, and for the first time in a full feature ski movie, no guys, no beards; just a gaggle of INCREDIBLE ladies skiing lines and dropping cliffs that will keep your eyes wide and your jaw on the floor.  Trust me, when the credits roll, you will either be glad you are a girl, or wish you could ski like one.

TGR, Almost Ablaze

First off, this movie just won the Film of the Year Award at the IF3 festival which is kind of a big deal, so if you don’t know what the IF3 is about, you should probably check it out.  Anyways, Almost Ablaze mixes it up in this film, showing impressive skiing (obviously) as well as trippy new ideas with some artsy videography.  This movie doesn’t waste much time with story lines, but instead uses all of its energy in shot after shot awesomeness.  Definitely worth owning!

TGR Presents Jeremy Jones’ Higher

WOW.  If you haven’t seen one of Jeremy Jones’ movies, let me tell you what not to expect.  You won’t see any tall T’s, oversized headphones, double corks, or handrails.  However, you won’t really miss all that stuff.  Instead, you get to see some seriously passionate people climbing and then riding some seriously intense lines.  In his final installment to the Deeper, Further, Higher trilogy, Jeremy Jones takes his snowboarding to entirely different heights, which almost seems impossible.  Watching what he and his crew are able to accomplish is impressive if you only look at the lines they are riding, but when you get to see the effort and determination it took to get to the top of those imposing lines….wow…just wow.

Yep, winter is coming.  Are you stoked yet?

Snowboard Tech Article

Every year snowboard companies come out with a bunch of new technologies for boards, boots, and bindings. For tech nerds, it can be difficult to decipher what’s just hype and what’s worth mentioning, especially as snowboards seem to get more intricate each season. So, I sat down with the all-knowing, Jake Jarvis, our snowboard buyer for Christy Sports to pick out a few technologies for 2014-2015 that are worth checking out.

Asymmetric Boards

The basic idea behind asymmetric snowboards is that the way we lean into our toe side and heal side is not symmetric, so therefore our sidecuts should not be symmetric. On an asymmetric snowboard there is no tip and tail, only a toe side and a heal side, so your bindings face the same way whether you are a regular or goofy rider.

Jake puts it like this, “The side cut of the heel edge is deeper to compensate for your body’s natural deficiencies. You get more angulation on your toe edge due to the way our knees and ankles bend, which allows for a tighter turn. By creating a deeper heel edge side cut it enables you to make tighter turns on the heel edge without the same board angulation that you get on your toe edge.”

Asymmetry has come and gone in board designs over the years but is evolving and making new appearances in more brands as more riders are looking for it.  If asymmetry is what you’ve been missing your whole shred-life, check out these 2014/2015 asymmetric snowboards:

Men’s:

YES The Greats Snowboard

YES The Greats Snowboard

Ride - Helix Snowboard

Ride – Helix Snowboard

Burton - Name Dropper Snowboard

Burton – Name Dropper

Burton Process Off-Axis

Burton Process Off-Axis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women’s:

Gnu - Velvet Gnuru

Gnu – Velvet Gnuru

Gnu - Ladies Choice

Gnu – Ladies Choice

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tongue Tension Systems

Tongue tensions systems are a game changing boot technology, available in a few brands. They utilize the boa cable system in a new way that helps lock down your heel. The cable actually comes over the ankle of the boot liner and pulls your heel securely to the back of the boot. This will help reduce heel lift when you’re taking deep toe side turns. Tongue tension systems are available in these boot models:

Men’s:

Ride - Lasso Snowboard Boot

Ride – Lasso Snowboard Boot

Ride - Fuse Snowboard Boot

Ride – Fuse Snowboard Boot

Thirty Two - Session Boot

Thirty Two – Session Boot

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women’s:

Thirty Two - Session Women's

Thirty Two – Session Women’s

Ride - Hera Snowboard Boot

Ride – Hera Snowboard Boot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burton Guard Rails

Guard Rails is a brand new sidewall technology that helps reduce chatter. It’s made from a sandwich of a layer of urethane and a poly carbonate spine to get the job done while reducing weight and increasing durability. If you’re in need of a smoother, cleaner ride while you’re blazing runs then look at the Antler and the Feelgood from Burton.

Men’s:

Burton - Antler Snowboard

Burton – Antler Snowboard

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women’s:

Burton - Feelgood Snowboard

Burton – Feelgood Snowboard