I gotta say that my demo day winner was the Stockli Stormrider XXL. One thing i always look for in a ski is that it is powerful. unfortunatly that means it is ussually heavy. this time i acttually found a very powerful ski that also skis fairly light. How you may ask. ISO core and Stockli. The ISO core is Stocklis answer to synthetic light weight skis. the ski hugs the ground like a race car with a big spoiler but is light in and out of the turn. At first i was a little apprehensive to take it, full speed throught the changing snow conditions of the day from soft and forgiveing to icy and fast, But the more i skied it, the more it showed me that it stays constitant through all of the conditions. It cuts through ice and hard pack smoothly and effortlessly, its unfaised by loose, skied out snow, but is still lively and energetic in and out of the turn. Stockli Stormrider XXL, two thumbs up from me!
We stayed both nights at Neil’s house on the North Shore as usual. Get up, make breakfast and off we go. Nine lift tickets on the business visa, drop off the keg at the Fischer tent, poach a great parking spot in the demo section, store the demo Stockli skis, boot up, score demo goggles, poles, a helmet, (whatever you want to try) from a vendor and ski all day. What a life.
All of our brands are skiing real well. Unfortunately, Head was a no show for this event. They are transitioning to a new sales rep and have basically botched the process from my point of view, including this demo situation. Head skis are very important to us and it was a real drag not having them there to compare. We have tested them enough to know the line intimately but the subtle nuances are discovered with even more time on them.
Fischer seemed to be the big winner this year. We always like the Fischer skis, but right now they are really peaking. Many potential new dealers were showing serious interest. Also, when I asked vendors what hardware they liked (outside of their own brand) the Fischer name was always part of the mix.
So both Head and Fischer are now skiing as well as any other brand out there. Both want to jump to the top and be “the next big thing”. Can either one of them do it? Every year we ski the “current big thing” and it is always at least a very competent ski. Often it is a fantastic ski, but not always. Always it is supplied by a company that has a great marketing department, fantastic advertising direction, killer graphics, solid and timely distribution, and a certain “buzz” about the company in general. Can either Head or Fischer be the next big thing? Time will tell. If they can do it I will be happy to go along for the ride. The skis are ready, however skis are not enough. It takes a company.
It’s been busy at the shop.
Friday we had a few staff training sessions. Brad, the Stockli rep, was awesome. He is still very fired up on the skis after all this time. They ski so great and now the word is spreading. We are certainly VERY impressed with the current line and Brad just added to the stoke. Lot’s of info about the manufacturing process, material specifics and the like. Really good stuff! Of course there was also lot’s of comparing notes with Brad and discussion about how we all feel about how the various models ski.
Nisei ski club was here Saturday night. As usual it is always great to have them come for their annual visit. John is a member and we have a lot of regulars who are in the club. This makes it very relaxed and informal. They brought the usual great food, and a short presentation was followed by quite a bit of shopping. A number of boot fits and several skis as well. Thanks Nisei!
Sunday I finalized a bid to pick up a bit of merchandise from a store that shut down a few years ago. Included are about 20 retro 80’s sweaters (who knows what we will do with these), some tools, and various other miscellaneous items. Most intriguing however is the arrival of a few dozen pairs of Raichle Flexons. All are new, and there are various models. Most key sizes have low numbers. I am psyched to play with them! We are doing great with the Dalbello Krypton boots and the Flexon is the boot that laid the foundation for the Krypton. It’s an interesting story and our head tech Martin Sulser plays a small role in it. But that’s for another time.
Off to San Diego Weds night and so I will miss “Black Friday” at the shop. Happy Turkey day to all and hopefully we will have resorts open this next weekend.
Oh yeah, Todd got braces!
Last week the weather was quite warm and balmy. It didn’t seem much like winter was here yet at all. Todd and I had an early morning archery round at Redwood Park and at 7:00 in the morning it was shirt sleeve weather. Now we are back to the way it should be. Snow is forcast for this weekend with more on the way next week. We are back on track! Many resorts have jumped on the “open by November 17th” bandwagon and we will be making turns VERY soon. Whoopee!
Happy 50th birthday Greg. Hope you had a great day.
Every year just before we open up during the week days we do a last chance camping trip. It usually involves bikes, hiking boots, golf clubs, or some other recreational gear, as well as the normal camping equipment. Last year was camping in the snow at 7500 feet altitude and mountain bike death rides that almost killed half my staff. This year was pretty much the same, but toned down so that I knew everyone would have fun and live to tell about it. So we headed to the Napa Valley to Bothe State Park. After bagging a 4000′ peak, a killer Annondale park singletrack fest and two full moon hikes(plus a little wine tasting) we made it back in great spirits. Highlites were a full moon hike to Bale Grist Mill. Operated from about 1850 on, the mill features a water wheel almost 40 feet tall. Awesome in the moonlight! Then on the way home we passed through “pioneers cemetery” which has graves dating to 1849. We came upon it after being under the tree canopy, and as we entered the meadow that the graveyard was in, the moonlight opened it up in front of us with bright light. Very surreal! Now it’s time to get ‘er done back at the shop!
Just got back from a 5 day trip to Vermont for the wedding of an old and dear friend. The whole family went. We used to go most years as Elizabeth’s best friend lived in Burlington. She doesn’t live there now. She lives in Kansas City. We don’t go to Kansas City. We like Vermont much better and we still have a handful of friends there. It had been 7-8 years since we had been to visit so it was good to catch up.
Some quick notes from the trip:
Fall leaf colors- I cannot overstate their beauty
Visited Stowe, Sugarbush and Mad River Glen. All show potential.
Ski ’em all! They are not really very far apart.
Burlington is Berkeley East.
The National Chain stores have hit Church Street 🙁
There is not a genuine hoagie in California.
There is no genuine Mexican food in Vermont.
Round barns are the ticket for fall weddings.
Great job Steve! Mindy rocks. We are very happy for you both.
I reccomend Bill Curley at Inverness Ski in Waitsfield if you need a shop there.
The Chrysler 300 is a true pimp mobile at affordable rental rates!
The Rockies and the Sierra both look white and delicious from above right now!
Every year at this time all the ski tests come out. Customers find them to be important. This is because they appear to be (and kind of are…) objective opinions from experts. The sales person at the shop is a sales person and will tell you what you want to hear. The objective expert is to be believed, For this reason I am always eager to dee the test results. Some tests are (we feel) bogus and filled with journalistic hyperboly. Some tests are better. A few are really good. We personaaly test every ski we sell and every ski we would consider selling. We also test pretty much every brand we compete against. We consider ourselves “professional ski testors”. Last year I skied over 75 different skis. All of us do this. It’s part of the job. That being said we are always curious to see what the tests say. This year as with most we feel validated. The brands we support and the ski models we chose did very well. A number of “ski of the year” picks and our new brand, Elan, had its bext results ever by far in the magazines.
All this being said let me say this: As “professional ski testers”, our job is to UNDERSTAND every ski we sell. This lets us match up the skier with just the right ski. Award winners are always good skis that a lot of skiers would love. The trick is to match the skier with the correct and perfect ski to give them the most enjoyment out of their ski day. I don’t want this to turn into a sales pitch, but this is what we take the most pride in. It is hard to find a lousy ski these days. Most are good to great compared to anything just a few years older. Putting you on just the right ski to put a smile on your face is the trick. After most ski sales as final and we gather up the hardware and carry it to the tech room we usually say to sombody “they are going to love this setup!”. That when it gets fun! By the way, the best ski test results (in my opinion) in a magazine are in SKI PRESS. The absolute best testing for consumers is available at www.realskiers.com (http://www.ts2003.com/)