Snow is coming!

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!

Last Chance Camping Trip

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!

Vermont colors

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!

About Ski Tests

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 (


Tahoe got the second snowstorm of the season this week. As of mid day yesterday, Truckee had 5-7 inches with more to come last night and through Friday. The Snow Cam at Kirkwood looks awesome. I’m liking it! Vermont got a good storm too and I will be in Stowe a week from now for the wedding of an old friend and ski buddy. That will be interesting. We may have to poach a Stowe ski run on Rock Skis just for kicks!

A Great Season is Upon Us!

The Oak trees shedded their acorns early. The squirrels stored acorns liked mad. South America had record snow. Now Tahoe has gotten their second snow of the year and it’s only October 5th. It’s feeling epic! Events coming up are the Cal Ski and Snowboard club sale the night of Oct. 17 and a big advertised sale for the last 3 weekends in October. I just spent 5 days at a BBQ cookoff event in Texas and am ready to turn all my efforts towards skiing as much as possible. If things go well, we will be skiing on my birthday (Haloween). Almost there! Tonight I am typing with my ski boots on…

New Skis

I have finaly made my decision of what skis to buy. I have a pair of Head IGS skis and a pair of Fisher Atua (96mm). As you can see i have only one pair of skis left before i can say i have a full quiver. My choices were the Stockli stormrider XXL, the Fisher Watea 84, and the Head M78. The Stormrider was just too expensive for me even though it probubly skis the best out of all of them. The Fisher is just a little too light and i already have a great pair of skis that are light and “hikeable”. So my decision is …..the Head M78. It is stable at the top speeds (last year i clocked 69.4 mph on their predecesor M82) but still smooth and soft enough to ski slow with my son (love that intelligence). It has a waist of 78mm so it is truly a 50/50 ski so i know that in any condition i will love this ski.
Now, what bindings should i choose. I have narrowed my choices to the Marker Jester (love that wider foot print), Tyrolia HD14 (love the railflex) or the Salamon 914 (Love the driver toe and the light weight). Help!!! I’m never gonna sleep.

Extending the Sale

Well, I realized that when I sent out our direct mailer for the “tent sale” that I used an older mail list by mistake. That means over 2000 customers didn’t get the sale notice. In some ways it is good in that it explains why people seemed to be unaware that we were back from our summer break and open on weekends now. What to do about it? I have decided to send a second version out with new dates for those that previously missed out. Unfortunately this means that the conversion of the store for a parking lot sale and then reorganizing and repricing all the merchandise will have to be redone one more time. I leave for Texas on Thursday for a long weekend so much of the work falls on others. Once again I find myself grateful for competant co-workers. Anyway, if you are reading this it means you can get the clearance prices through October! In season pricing will commence in November. Around here ithe vibe is growing strong. Ski season is near. You can feel it in the air. Tahoe got snow last week and it rained here. It feels and smells like fall and I am exited to get out there and do it up on the slopes!

Always trying to be really ready

So the big sale is over and the numbers were OK, but not great. Consequently I was ready to unwind and take a few days off this week. Steve was also painting the outside of our building, so access is a bit limited and I’m in the way. Therefore I took off Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday is a work day but I am in Sacto for a meeting all day. Thursday night on the way home I stopped by Todd’s place to enjoy some tasty BBQ with his family, some friends, and Todd’s parents. All real nice. I like Todds parents. They are like he and Ashley. Good examples of Mid American values. Todd’s Dad and I teased him about Michigan’s football season. Ah, the simple pleasures. Anyway, on the way home I decide to drop by the shop for a “walk through” to survey the needs before the weekend. Crap, I think as I walk through the store- I’m in for a few rough days. About 100 Dalbello boots (actually 96 pairs I think) had arrived. There were some other stragglers to be received. That will wait till Saturday. Giro may show with 80-100 helmets tomorrow as well. The invoice has shown up, so product usually follows pretty quickly. I have 9 clothing racks to strip of their (largely unsold) items that were outside for the sale. This means finding a home on the wall for 36 new clothing waterfalls (9 racks x four sides each). As I am surmising this scenario playing out on the walls, I realize that most of the new clothing upstairs needs size rings put on them. They have been received but “hidden” during the closeout sale. Now they will take their proud places under the bright lights. But first they need size rings. OK, got that written down, now what else to ad to the list. Away into storage must go the tent, tables, 4-way racks, baskets and other items we use for a tent sale. Since we are so heavy with new merchandise, they will have to wait to go upstairs back in the dungeon. I would have to move too much stuff, and I would get extremely dirty and dusty, so this will have to wait. For now items will have to be creatively stashed. Spatially challenged we certainly are. Particularly at this time of year. I scope out the boot back stock boot area and wonder where in the h___ the Dalbello’s are going to fit on the already overloaded shelves. That won’t happen until at least Saturday afternoon, so quick mental notes and move on. Special orders and all paperwork were cleared out on Monday so that is good. So a long day tomorrow. Pull down all sale signage. Put all clothing onto the walls. Stash all the sale paraphernalia. Clean up in general and put all receiving in the back for Martin and John to deal with on Saturday between customers. Off to home and bed.

And ya know, that’s kinda how it worked. We got it basically done although the store is not “dialed”. Sold some skis to a nice guy. Picked up the next to last pair of Monster iM72’s. One more pair left and one more iM75 and then it is officially the end of an era. Blake Y stopped to drop off his boots and wants a ski. I’m going to check the closeouts and see if I can come up with a good hardpack specialty stick that will have incredible edge hold for him. He will pay what it takes, but there may be a smokin’ deal on a Fischer SC, a Head Supershape, or an Elan Ripstick. I think any of these would work. John ordered a Stockli Stormrider DP in 174 today. I asked about him giving up on his beloved Head Mojo 90’s (he sold his last spring) and it turns out he already had put that order in too. Wow. In about three years Johns quiver has gotten really modern. He started out so “old school”. Now he will have both a 90mm and a 95mm waisted ski in his quiver. Good for him. It will be really interesting to see which he skis more this year (ie- which is the “winner” as they are pretty much for the same snow conditions). Oh, and Becky called. She had both her new Campy Chorus equipped custom Trek road bike and her Gary Fisher Sugar mountain bike stolen off her roof rack. That sucks! She is doing a mullti day ride down the pacific coast next week with some friends and will have to take the old Bianchi.

So overall a bit more burden on me today with no Todd, no Martin, and John on crutches. No Todd as with his parents here he was given the week off. No Martin because I don’t want him to have to do much heavy manual labor. John is not allowed to help lift as he still cannot put weight on his knee, but heh, I’m up to it! Tomorrow may or may not be busy but John and Martin are working and on Sunday we add Rebecca as well. We will get through this weekend and by next Saturday the store will look like a designer showroom!

Oh yeah- the paint job on the building turned out bright orange! Not quite what I ordered and the landlord will re-do it if I insist- but I don’t know. People will definitely see us! Plus the Piano store guy next door hates it and that may be a reason all by itself! I will have to see what the staff and customers think. If they notice and comment (good or bad) I think it stays. If they don’t notice, I may ask for a change. Ugly that serves no purpose is not what I want…