Thursday, February 22, 2007

Testing and Demo of New Skis for 07/08

On Snow demos - Keystone Colorado Feb --- 2007

The winter ski and snowboard season is just really getting started when the process begins to reveal the next years product line. It all begins at the SIA - Snowsports Industries of America - annual trade show in Las Vegas in January. This year's kick off event was January 22 at The Mandalay Bay. The annual show has it all - parties, scantily clad models drawing attention to the new gear, clothing and must have accessories. Once you have spent 3 - 4 days looking at the new gear, drinking and gambling, it is off to mountains for round two which is the On Snow demos and testing.

This is where the work assignment gets good. This year's Western Regional show was held in Keystone Resort in Colorado. Conditions were perfect for testing skis and snowboards. The past week had seen some new snow to freshen up the surface and we now had blue skies and sunshine for solid conditions. The beauty of this task is that there is so much good and great product being made by all the ski and snowboard companies.

It is difficult to go wrong if you match features and performance with what kind of terrain you are skiing and riding with your ability level. Make sure you pick the right model for what you will be skiing. My plan was to ski as many skis in 2 days as possible and get a feel for what brands and models were moving up and who was falling short. We all have our biases and this needs to taken into account as we pick winners and losers.

In addition to my testing, the listed conclusions here were based upon the sentiments of the team of product testers from Retails Concepts and others who I spent the several days with skiing and testing skis.

The two big winners by all accounts were Volkl and K2. All of us skied many skis in each of the lines. My personal favorite was the K2 line and specifically the Radical in a 174. This is a new version of the Apache model for next year and was responsive, stable and easy to turn in all conditions. The new Volkl Tiger Shark also made a huge impression and comes with the caveat, you better stay on this ski and be ready to ski it aggressively, or it will take you for a ride. This ski is not for the feint of heart.

The loser and biggest disappointment was from the Salomon collection. I tried 4 different models and they all were dead and simply did not ski well. No fluidity, not very stable and quite the disappointment.

Pleasant surprises and products/brands that appear to be making a move in the market were from Elan and Head. The Elan line with Magma technology was a fun, liveley and responsive ski. I will look to add this model in the Magma 12 to my quiver for next season.

Another pleasant and unexpected surprise was a new ski introduced by Palmer snowboards. The all mountain freeride ski was fun and will perform well in broken snow and powder. The tip has nice float and the ski as a whole was very fluid in hard and variable snow.

Dynastar - The Legend line and the 8800 were also winners. Rossignol skis also had a good buzz going. This is encouraging as the former power house has lost significant market share over the last 5 - 7 years. The skis were skiing well and it appears that Rossi may be on the way back.

On the boot side I tested one boot company - Dalbello. Boy was this a nice fitting and performing boot. They had purchased the Raichle technology and patents and have introduced this in their new boot line. I will be skiing the Dalbello Rampage next year.

My closing comment is - make sure you get to a demo day next year and test before you buy. Not only does it help you select just the right gear, it is an awful lot of fun.

Book Direct and save at these Lodges in the Mountains

The following is a spotlight on lodges currently offering Mountain Sports Club members discounts on direct booked lodging reservations. Check out the savings up to 50% off.

Mountain Resorts Inc - Steamboat Springs
Bristol Hotel - Steamboat Springs
Storm Meadows - Steamboat Springs
The Ranch at Steamboat - Steamboat Springs
Colorado Resort Services - Steamboat Springs
Summit Cove - Keystone
Apex Condominiums - Vail
Apex Holiday Inn - Vail
Big Horn Rentals - Frisco
Hotel Frisco - Frisco
Summit Mountain Rentals - Frisco
Frisco Mountain Rentals - Frisco
Mtn Managers - Frisco
Circle R Motel - Salida near Monarch
Red Rooster Inn - Glenwood Springs, close Sunlight and Aspen areas.

New Hampshire
Nordic Inn Condominiums - Lincoln near Loon Mountain

Alpenhof Lodge - Jackson Hole

Prospector Square - Park City

Cortina Inn & Resort - Killington
Ramada Inn Suites - Rutland

New York
Scribner Hollow Lodge - Hunter

British Columbia - Canada
Crystal Lodge - Whistler/Blackcomb

Additional lodges and packages options are available using the Mountain Sports Club Travel Desk - Book lodging, cars, airfare and complete packages at a discount. Choose from over 1400 properties and most major destinations. Members receive monthly promotion code for additional savings when booking through the Mountain Sports Club Travel desk.

Boulder Colorado 02.22.07 Last updated 03.07.07

Monday, February 19, 2007

Pennsylvania Areas and Top Colorado Resorts extend offers

Ski season has took quite a while to kick in around the country, but is now here for the balance of the season. Mountain Sports Club members continue to recieve more and more offers to encourage them to visit more areas for skiing and snowboarding this winter. In the last week we have added these 5 new resorts:

There are now over 50 resorts offering discounts on lift tickets for our members. Be sure to register for your premium membership and save this season and next. Special promotional offer only $5.95 for the membership when using the promotion code - Blog07.

Look here for a complete and current list of all ski and snowboard resorts offering discounts on lift tickets.

Direct book lodging discounts available at these properties.