The new season is officially upon us, and now is the time when skiers and riders start to pay a little more attention to new product lines from their favorite manufacturers. Being in the market for a new pair of skis or a new board is difficult for the fact that there are so many different styles and shapes out there; how can you possibly try out every style you have in mind to make the best decision? Demo Days at Loveland solves this dilemma. It allows for the freedom to continuously try out new products on the mountain, all day, so you can come to the best decision about your favorite shape/style. Here is a little memoir fromColorado Ski Country USA’s public affairs managerPatrick Byrne on his experience from last years Loveland Demo Day.
Some time ago, I stopped buying new ski gear. It wasn’t a money issue; like most of the readers of this blog I know that skiers and snowboarders can visit early season events like Christy Sports Powder Daze and get fully equipped at a reasonable price.
It wasn’t because the gear I have is adequate; I reached the level of technical ability where only better equipment can take youto the next level as a skier manyyears ago. So why – against seemingly all logic – do I continue skiing on racing boots from 1996 and a pair of skis from 2002 that are almost useless on anything but groomers?
It might have something to do with the gear I rode while learning to ski. In the early 1990s shaped skis hadn’t quite hit the consumer market, or if they did they didn’t reach the relative backwaters of ski culture that is Washington, D.C., my home town. Mid-Atlantic conditions at the hillsofPennsylvania demanded thin skis and stiff boots to hold edges in icy conditions, and until you physically wore your gear down there wasn’t much in the way of innovation that would justify shelling out cash on new gear anyway.
Really, I should have cast those sentiments aside the moment I moved to Colorado in 1999. My very first day was at Loveland, it was November, and I didn’t know how to turn my pencil-thin skis in the intimidating Rocky Mountain powder (there was maybe six inches of it). But my boots fit really well, and I had developed a misplaced derision of the fancy shaped skis that allowed people to make better turns in tighter corridors with more control.
Fast forward to 2008, and this attitude led to real problems the first time I had no choice but to wear super-fat powder skis at Silverton. I went from a 95th+ percentile skier at Front Range resorts to maybe a 5th percentile skier in the steep, deep powder of southwest Colorado. I won’t even go into details, but they involve tree wells and a vague sense of humiliation. And despite all that, I still wasn’t ready to modernize my gear.
Now, I am ready. I’m ready because a few weeks ago I ventured up to Loveland again, but for a radically different experience: the annual Christy Sports Demo Day, the day when prospective gear buyers get up to speed on the best new equipment and actually ride it themselves.
The deal they offer at Demo Dayhas to be one of the best in the ski industry. For $60 (or just $45 if you already have lift access), you get:
If you’re serious about getting new gear, the Christy Sports Demo Day pays for itself and then some.
I was determined to try on at least one pair of skis from every manufacturer that was present. It turns out that this wasn’t really possible because it would have taken at least two days to sample a pair of skis from each booth, such was the variety of options. Snowboarders had an equally expansive choice of options as well.
In the end, I swapped my skis out after every run and managed eight runs on skis from seven different manufacturers, only one of whose skis I had ever worn before.
To put this into perspective: I started skiing 21 years ago, presently work in the ski industry, and had only ever worn six pairs of skis until Demo Day. In a single day, I more than doubled my experience of the diversity of lengths, widths, shapes, and construction of state-of-the-art skis. My knowledge of how modern skis are designed and constructed for certain terrain, conditions, and skier ability took an exponential leap forward thanks to the friendly and knowledgeable representatives, and I’m now much more informed and confident about which pair of skis to purchase next.It was like in sci-fi movies where people can become instant experts by downloading entire academic subjects into their brains in a matter of seconds.
Just like that… butcolder, and more fun.
As I expected, the sophistication and quality of new skis these days is quite remarkable. With about four inches of fresh powderand another six falling throughout the day, the snow was consistently softand was perfect for trying out all-mountain skis. I could really feel how the subtle differences in each pair of skis affected how fast they were, how easy they were to turn, and how well they rode on the snow. I could also tell that I would get more out of each pair of these skis with a 21st century pair of boots, but that’s a discussion for another day and another blog post.
It was obvious that different types of skiers would probably rank each pair differently, and I learned almost as much from chatting with other skiers on the chairlift as I did from the brand reps and Christy Sports staff. This underscores the value of being able to try lots of different skis. You can do this over the course of a season, but it’s so much more efficient (and cost-effective!) to go to the Christy Sports Demo Day and figure out the right pair for yourself. Demo day sold out this season, and really it should sell out every season in 15 minutes as if it was the hottest ticket in town. Because it might be.
In the meantime, you can always rent a variety of skis at Christy Sports, including the newest models from the best brands. Now learn from my mistake, branch out, and get the gear that will help you take the next step as a skier or snowboarder.
For more information about the 2015 Christy Sports Loveland Demo Day, visitwww.christysports.com/loveland-demo-day/.