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

Before rocker, there was (and still is) camber . . . in the ski and snowboard world, that is.

Ski and snowboard technology has come a long way in the last decade. The biggest being the development of camber and rocker designs. Camber describes the shape of a traditional ski – the original shaped ski design since shaped ski technology in the early 1990s, courtesy of the sport of snowboarding. Rocker, also referred to as “early rise,” is more about how camber is shaped and manipulated from tip to tail in both skis and snowboards. It’s the happy medium between the two.

Camber Explained

Picture this: A ski or snowboard resting on a flat, hard surface with the base side down. The two contact points correlate to the widest parts of the shovel tip and tail. The section between these two points, called the “waist,” arcs upward. This built-in arc is the camber of the ski or snowboard. It’s also the skis’ / snowboard’s effective edge – section of ski / snowboard used to make a turn.

In skis, camber puts springiness and pop into a ski. It allows easy handling, responsive turning, powerful carving, and stability. With this ski shape, you have a longer effective edge, meaning a more stable and controlled ride when skiing. Plus, due to ample edge contact with the snow, camber gives a good grip on icy slopes, making it a popular choice when skiing groomed trails or on hard pack snow.

In snowboards, camber is the bend in shape, raising the middle of the snowboard slightly. This shape engages the tips of the snowboard, pressing the nose and tail edges into the snow, giving the rider a high level of control and locked-in edge hold on groomed snow. Camber snowboards float less in fresh snow than other shapes and tend to be more catchy and grabby.

Rocker Explained

Rocker technology is essentially the opposite of camber and is also known as reverse camber or negative camber. In skis, the side profile of a rockered ski resembles the upturned rails of an old-school rocking chair. On a flat surface, the midsection of a rockered ski rests on the ground while its tips and tails rise off the ground much earlier than on a cambered ski.

In snowboards, like camber, rocker is a bend in shape, but this time raising the nose and tail of the snowboard slightly. Rocker-shaped boards engage the nose and tail edges of the snowboard less and in return, give the rider higher maneuverability and float on top of heavy or deep snow. Rockered boards are a more forgiving ride because the tip and tail are engaged into the snow less, making the snowboard less catchy.

  • What Does Rocker Do?

  • Rocker offers skiers and riders alike several advantages including improved flotation in powder, greater maneuverability, and enhanced park experience. Early-rising tips help you stay on top of soft snow and keep those shovels out of the powder. Fully rockered skis and boards designed to stay afloat, have a shorter effective edge. Less edge contact with the snow permits easier initiation of turns. In skis, this allows the sidecut of the ski to be engaged more smoothly and easily.
  • Rocker technology also offers an enhanced park riding experience, making sliding rails and doing tricks easier. Skiers – keep in mind, not all park skis are rockered, but those that are tend to make sliding rails for skiers easier as well. There’s also less risk of catching an edge when trick skiing, especially when landing a trick.

What to Consider When Renting / Purchasing

What does this all mean when it comes to renting / purchasing skis and snowboards? Both camber and rocker affect the way a ski or snowboard performs in various conditions. As a result, different styles of skis and snowboards have been designed to meet different conditions. Here are helpful some tips:

  • Consider choosing skis and/or snowboards based on the terrain you will mostly being skiing / riding: powder, snow pack, icy conditions, groomers, or park riding.
  • Familiarize With Styles of Skis and Boards:
    • All Mountain: Designed for all mountain style skiing/riding, from ripping groomers to hunting powder hiding between the trees. You need a ski/board that has a solid amount of on edge control, but still has a great amount of float and agilness for getting through the deeper snow and tighter spaces.
    • Twin Tip / Park Riding / Freestyle: A rockered ski / board offers more contact space in the midsection so sliding rails is easier. It creates a more stable landing platform and reduces the chance of catching an edge. If you enjoy free style riding from jumps and jibs to tricks and spins, you want a ski/board with quite a forgiving amount of edge hold and maneuverability. Full rocker is going to be ideal for your style.
    • Alpine: Designed for Alpine or Free Carve style riding with high speeds and perfectly carved lines. Full camber is ideal for this style of riding as it provides the best control and precision.
    • Back Country / Deep Snow: Whether you are deep into the back country or just off the beaten trail, you want a ski / board that features a great deal of rocker throughout. Full rocker will get you through deeper snow with ease compared to full camber.

The best way to find out what kind of skis or snowboard is right for you, is to ride each style! Christy Sports offers an exceptional inventory of skis and snowboards in both our rental fleet and for purchase. Plus, check out our Demo Test program ( ) to find your perfect match and put two days of the cost of rental towards the purchase of that perfect ski or snowboard!

Stop by any of our Christy Sports locations and see for yourself. We’ll see you out there!

family on ski vacation

Planning a family ski vacation can feel a little overwhelming. From budgeting travel and lodging costs to packing the right gear and clothing to scheduling time off work and taking the kiddos of out school. Doing a little homework before you go can certainly save you time and money so you can focus on having a great trip with your family.

To Fly or To Drive?

When budgeting for a ski or snowboard trip, the first decision you need to make is whether to fly or drive. Both have advantages and disadvantages. If you choose to fly, airline tickets may be one of your bigger expenses. But there are ways to save by shopping airports and airlines, and ski free deals. You might be able to reduce the cost of flying, giving you extra money in your pocket for more family fun!

Shop Airline / Airport Deals

Shopping for the best airfare deals can sometimes feel like a game. When comparing airfares to the same destination, again, do your homework to make sure you know exactly what is included before you book. Most airlines and travel agencies give you 24 hours to cancel and re-book in case you should overlook a better deal elsewhere. Keep in mind, the least expensive airfare can turn out to be the most expensive by the time you select a seat, check a bag, or bring a carry on.

Also consider the airport you fly into. You’ll generally find more direct flights and budget-friendly choices when flying into larger central airports than into smaller airports closer to some destinations. While those airports might be closer, the flight cost may be significantly higher. Simply, it comes down to weighing out cost vs. convenience.

Save on Airline Baggage Costs

Researching additional baggage costs before your trip will definitely save you money. For example, check out things like airlines that offer free checked luggage, both a carry-on and personal item included in your ticket, and bundled deals if offered. Also consider reserving checked luggage and carry-ons at the time of booking your flight as prices may increase at the counter or at the gate.

Another time and money saver is to familiarize you with weight and measurement guidelines in advance. Weigh and measure bags at home using a bathroom scale and everyday household measuring tape.

Traveling with Your Equipment

Once you’ve decided how you want to travel, you will next need to decide if you want to travel with or without your ski/snowboard gear. If you have your own equipment and choose to bring it with you, you can pack your skis and/or snowboards, poles, boots, and helmets in bags designed for these items. If traveling by car, these bags can be stowed away either inside the vehicle or on racks on top.  If you’re flying and feel strongly about using your own gear, a hard ski / snowboard case is highly recommended to protect your skis and poles or snowboard.


Ski and snowboard bags are subject to the same set of rules as standard luggage across the board. These bags are not treated differently and are always a single piece of luggage, assuming they follow the airline’s individual, specific regulations. Typically, boot bags and ski/snowboard bags are considered “one” piece of luggage together, permitting the boot bag accompanies a pair of skis or snowboard and the bag contains boots only.

Another smart tip when packing is to fill your ski/snowboard bag to the max. While boot bags aren’t allowed to contain anything else, ski/snowboard bags are fair game for extra items. Pack as many little things in with your skis/snowboard as you can – hats, gloves, socks – all the small things that would bulk up a suitcase. If you pack your jacket in the ski bag instead of your suitcase, fill the pockets with the above items to take advantage of unused space. Leave the jacket pockets empty if you’re putting it in your suitcase, as filling the pockets will add bulk and prevent the jacket from flattening out.

Renting Equipment

You may choose to leave all your gear at home and rent once you arrive. Not to fear, Christy Sports provides top quality rental equipment and experienced rental techs to match all your ski and snowboard needs. We offer everything from the latest and greatest in skis and snowboards to our Premium, Sports, or All Mountain packages to a Basic ski or snowboard package for those just starting out.

And of course, our Junior ski/snowboard packages for the kiddos! Christy Sports’ kids rentals are designed to meet the changing needs of your children as they grow and become future enthusiast. In fact, Christy Sports offers a Kids Ski Free rental program, where for each adult rental of four days or more, a child’s rentals (ages 12 and under) are free.

In Store Rentals

Our in-store rental process with Christy Sports is super quick and easy. With the most dedicated and knowledgeable staff in the ski/snowboard industry, rest assured you will receive an unmatched ski or snowboard rental experience in any location representing the Christy Sports name. Stop in any of our rental locations across the country and let our expert techs show you just how simple and painless renting gear can be.

Door to Door Delivery Rentals

For even more convenience, Christy Sports offers Door To Door Ski Rental Delivery – the same unmatched quality equipment and customer service, but we bring the rental shop to you. D2D delivers the latest ski and snowboard rentals to your place of lodging at a convenient time for you. Our expert techs then personally fit your equipment to your specific needs.

When your vacation is complete, D2D will pick up your ski and snowboard equipment free of charge. Should you experience any problems with your rentals in between, our techs will respond immediately to resolve any issues.

With delivery service in Breckenridge, Aspen/Snowmass, Vail, Beaver Creek, Telluride, Crested Butte, Copper Mountain, Steamboat Springs, Keystone, and even in Sun Valley, Park City, and Jackson Hole, our goal is to get to know you personally while you are on vacation and make your future reservations easier. So, simply make a reservation with D2D, then sit back and relax while we arrange your delivery.

Whether you are looking to rent in store or prefer the convenience of rental delivery, let our friendly, experienced Christy Sports staff help you make the best of your ski/snowboard vacation.

Staying in Shape for Ski Season

When the flakes fly, nobody wants to hit their first run of the ski season huffing and puffing. That’s a quick way to lose cool points, man. But when the snow is gone and the last resort has closed its final runs, what’s a skier to do in order to stay in shred-shape and fend off injuries for the season to come? We have a few ideas.

Tips to Stay in Shape for Skiing

Hit the Gym

When the snow stops falling, continue to train your various muscle groups with a special focus on legs and core, advice that makes sense when you think about what muscles we tend to flex out on the mountain. Although, we still don’t recommend neglecting your upper body in case you have to dig yourself out of a tree well. In addition, cardio work to build stamina will help you with every aspect of your day out on the slopes, whether you’re skinning up to your favorite run or shuffling to the lodge for après.

Check out some moves from Outside Online to get you started on your off-season conditioning.

Disclaimer: We are not certified to provide personal training advice and you should always check with your doctor before starting any sort of workout regimen!

Try Yoga

Yoga isn’t just about getting in a good head space while you’re yearning for your favorite winter activity. (“close your eyes and imagine snow softly falling..”) Yoga is great for building flexibility and balance, two physical attributes crucial to skiing and snowboarding. In addition, practicing steady breath will make exerting yourself at altitude easier and many athletes claim keeping their bodies limber helps them to prevent injuries. So whether you join a yoga studio or start with short YouTube videos, hop on your mat and do some down dogs and tree poses. Namaste!

Adopt Warm-Weather Hobbies

With an abundance of sunshine in the summer months, don’t spend all your time conditioning in a gym. Step off the treadmill to soak up some vitamin D and take in the scenery. Even better, explore some activities at altitude like hiking or mountain biking to keep your lungs in tip top shape. Keep your connection with nature year-round and find summer activities that can take place on the exact slope sides you traverse down on skis during the chillier months. If you land on the right activity, you’ll stay in shape without even feeling like you’re trying!

Eat Healthy-ish

Less on-mountain expenditure should mean less of the après beers and cheese fries. We’re certainly not suggesting you swear off the craft beer for the summer as some of the best beer festivals take place in the warmer months. We’re just suggesting you follow that beer up with an apple every now and again. Good nutrition is key for keeping your body strong and healthy. While we are not nutritionists either, we are proponents of balance in all things, including diet. Fuel your body with healthy food but enjoy that cookie!

Keep Your Gear in Shape

This doesn’t mean putting your snowboard on a diet or signing your skis boots up for a workout class, but there are ways to make sure your gear is ready for next season. Skis and boards should be cleaned, waxed, and stored in a cool & dry spot. Ski and snowboard boots should also be cleaned, buckled up, and stored in an appropriate environment indoors. Keeping your gear in shape starts with not stuffing it in the corner of your garage with other knick knacks piled up on top.

Try the Red Rocks SnowShape Winter Series

Get ready to ride and slide with this 4-Saturday Red Rocks pre-season conditioning series specifically programmed for skiers, snowboarders and winter sports enthusiasts. Receive instruction from celebrity athletes and enjoy some social events thrown in for pre- and après ski fun! Moguls are really just Mother Nature’s stairs with snow on them, so sign up now and get ready for the chill in the air!

Sign Up Now


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


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!


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:



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.


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 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!


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.


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.


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, 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 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.


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

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.


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.


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.


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).



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.



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.

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

What Your Mountain Girl Really Wants for Valentine’s Day 


Written By: Emily Scott

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Your Mountain Guy Really Wants for Valentine’s Day


Written By: Mic Wilborn

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

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

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

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

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

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


The most overwhelming part about a shredcation is not knowing where to ski, what to do, or where to eat when you arrive. Luckily for us, it’s 2015, and although hoverboards haven’t become a viable mode of transportation, we do have access to the world’s information through smartphones. Here are a few of my favorite apps to help you make the most of your ski vacation:

Liftopia App1. Liftopia – Instead of paying full price for your lift tickets at the window, check Liftopia to see if there are any discounts or offers for the resort you’re visiting. Beware that you may have to purchase a few days in advance to get the deal, but sometimes you can get 50% off or more.

On The Snow App2. OnTheSnow – Want to find out which resort near you has the best snow conditions? OnTheSnow will give you the daily snow report for over 2,000 resorts worldwide to help you decide where you want to ski. It also lets you view trail maps, ski news, and live web cam feeds.

Trace Snow App3. Trace Snow – This app is loaded with cool features for the shredder that wants to track their day on the hill.  Record how many runs you’re taking, how many calories you’re burning, how fast you’re going, and how many miles of terrain you skied. Your GoPro can even sync with the app and track how high your jumps were. Most importantly, you can also add your friends to prove who shreds harder and share it on social media.

Yelp App4. Yelp – In case you’re not familiar with this popular review site, I’ve just introduced you to your new best friend. Yelp has customer reviews for just about everything. Need ski rentals? Check Yelp for the best ski rental shop near you. Looking for the best, cheapest place to grab a bite to eat? Check yelp for the highest rated restaurant with an average price per meal of $10 or less. Yelp has a great selection of filters that help you find the best of what you’re looking for wherever you go. Use it on your vacation to find the highest rated establishments so you never have to deal with poor customer service. Some places will even offer discounts if you “check-in” using the app.

Trip Advisor App5. Trip Advisor – Maybe everyone you’re traveling with doesn’t ski, or you’re wiped out from the day before and want to do something else. Check Trip Advisor for other local attractions to keep the gang entertained. Read tips from other travelers to see what they recommend for “Things to Do” in your vacation spot.

Skiing Fred App6. Ski/Snowboard Games – What better way to keep your stoke up than with some ski and snowboard games? If you’re flying or driving a long distance somewhere to ski, playing some ski games will keep you excited to hit the hill while you’re waiting to get there, and are more fun than reading a book or scrolling through Facebook. A few Christy Sports favorites are: MyTP Freeskiing 2, Skiing Fred, and FreshTracks Snowboarding.

What apps do you use for skiing and snowboarding? Have you tried any of these?

Getting out on the hill and skiing or riding is fun, right? Right! So it is understandable that skiing and snowboarding evolved into a lifelong passion for so many of us. For those of us that have kids, it’s equally understandable to want to pass that same passion on to them. Still operating under the premise that our chosen winter sports are fun; on any given day at any given resort, why can you always find an upset child accompanied by a harassed looking adult? Well that’s a head-scratch-er, but I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest it might be a combination of over-zealousness and lack of planning.

I get it; you want your kids to love the winter as much as you do, so with that in mind, I’ve put together a list of tips to help make those first days on the hill fun for the little ones who aren’t quite ready for ski school.

Christy_loveland2014_budd_1-39 PM 2CCBuy a Sled. Getting everything from the car to the base area can be a pain if you don’t have a cheap plastic sled and some bungee cords. Simply pile all of the gear into the sled, strap it down and tow it behind you. This also lets you carry one of the kiddos, preventing them from getting tired before they ever get on their skis or snowboard.  You can stash the sled somewhere at the base area and retrieve it for the return trip to the car.

Bring Their Shoes. Let them wear comfortable shoes from the car to the lift, and just put on the ski boots in the lodge right before the first run.

Dress Them Appropriately. Although it might be cold outside, overdressing your kids is as detrimental to your day as under-dressing them. Also, if you are hauling your kid up the hill all day, you will probably want to dress on the lighter side so you don’t get overheated.

Make Yourself Comfortable. Don’t wear your ski boots all day if you are going to spend most of your time walking up and down the beginner area. Instead wear comfy boots and bring your ski boots with you just in case.

Christy_loveland2014_budd_12-03 PM 2CCBe a Sherpa. Be as prepared for your little ripper as the most experienced Sherpa in Nepal. You should have plenty of snacks, water, sunscreen and extra layers with you just in case.  It’s also easier to sometimes just pick them up and carry them or push them back up the hill.  Consider it a bonus workout!

Mentally Prepare. Get ready to be patient and flexible. I know this seems like a no-brainer…but still, it’s worth repeating; be patient and flexible.

Make Good Terrain Choices. If it’s their first time skiing or snowboarding, don’t take them up the highest lift and just assume they’ll figure it out. I’ve seen that happen a few times, and it never works out well.

Take a Lot of Breaks. We all know that kids tire out pretty quickly, but it’s a surprisingly easy thing to forget when you’ve made the trek to the resort and are excited to finally see your kid on their skis or snowboard. Just let their attitude du jour dictate the pace of the day.

Trumpore_2014_Christys_-104CCHave Your Kid Wear a Helmet and Goggles. Even though they will probably go about 1mph, it’s always a good idea to start positive habits on the first day.  Helmets and goggles help keep them dry as well as protected and are available in different sizes and styles for kids of any age.


Be Realistic. Don’t plan on having the little ones on the snow from first chair to last chair. Even with plenty of breaks, they probably won’t spend more than a few hours on their skis.

Focus on the Fun, not the Technique. If they’re not having fun right away, it may be a fight to get them back up to the hill to learn about technique, so when you see them starting to lose interest, forget about the skis for a minute and play. Snowball fights, snow angels, and building snowmen are all free, fun and easy things to do in between magic carpet laps. Some resorts even have different activities like tubing, ice-skating, and zip lines which provide a great break for kids.

Rent Smart. Check out the kid’s ski free program at Christy Sports or check the availability of season rentals so you don’t break the bank on renting equipment for your kids.

Enroll Them in Lessons. After you’ve successfully introduced the fun of skiing or snowboarding to your little rippers, get them in a lesson. A good instructor will build on the foundation you’ve laid.

Remember that skiing and snowboarding is fun and focus on that. Your kids will pick up on your enthusiasm and after a while, they are going to want to head to the hills as much as you do. Pretty soon, you will be following them down the hill, watching them in the terrain park, and cringing at their GoPro footage. Those first few days on the hill are special though, so enjoy!

Christy_loveland2014_budd_11-49 AMCC

If you have any other hard won tips for skiing or riding with kids, please let me know!

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

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

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

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

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

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