Sooo, I will admit I’m not a big fan of gear guides. I mean, I get them, instagram the cover to let people know I got them, and read them...but it’s Greek to me. When bro brahs talk about camber/underfoot/something ratios I yawn. Literally, out loud.
Each year most mags do a feature. Can you blame them? They get to ride and play with the new gear before anyone else, and then recommend it to you. It is a major part of the pre season stoke. New toys!
That part is fine. But those people writing about it, trying to convey knowledge and help the average buyer?
Right over my head. Lots of manufacturing specs, and language some of you know, but I haven’t had time to learn.
So if you feel the same, it’s ok. Pouring over those pages might not help you decide. So what do you do?
*I without hesitation trust the guys at Christy’s (ask for Charlie), Cole Sport (ask for Ryan Fray) and Jans. My friend Charlie gave us this tip: "If you are shopping for new gear on a budget, start with boots. Even if it chews up the majority of your budget, having that comfortable constant in a proper fitting ski boot makes all the difference." I couldn't agree more!
Locally we have fabulous shops that employ people like Ryan and Charlie, that speak the ski language. These guys have furthered my confidence, ability, and knowledge without making me learn the lingo.
Don’t ever hesitate to ask them a question. However, if they get too excited, they go toooooo fast. Don’t be afraid to ask them to slow down.
*Be true to yourself. Someone might say one type of boot is the only boot real men wear, but if your foot hurts, it’s not the boot for you. And that’s ok. The cheapest, oldest make and model might be what you really actually need.
*Go skiing. Demoing equipment when you come out here is brilliant. You don't buy a car without a test drive, right? Or, you wouldn't buy a car based on a review of someone else driving it, would you?
*Your goal is to have your gear “dialed in.” I thought I liked one pair of skis, until I skied my Rossignol s7s. They are perfect. I had a dumb helmet and goggles that totally didn’t fit my face, then I got the Smith IO goggles and Variant helmet. I am now DIALED IN.
*Go beyond the graphic. It is a particularly hard lesson for skiers to learn that the hottest, trendiest gear might not be waterproof, comfortable, or remotely the size of your head. It should fit and be functional. The cool factor has to be an afterthought.
*Be a type. You are one type of skier. You know it deep down inside. If you could only choose one more run for the rest of your life, what would it be? Buy equipment that suits that style.
You know what? Buying new ski gear should be the most fun thing you do all season. That new coat or pair of extra warm gloves might make your season. So don’t stress. Don’t get caught making a choice for the wrong reasons. Ski happy!
*Let it snow*