January is an ideal time to shop for gear before everything's picked over, and you'll find post-holiday sales galore like the New Year's one going on at Christy Sports. We headed over to their shop in Boulder to suss up what's new in gear this season and fill some holes in our gear inventory. In our quest to visit all 22 ski areas on my son's Fifth Grade Passport, I needed to ensure our goods were worthy of lasting 66 days on the slopes.
HARD GOODS: to rent or buy?
While I've been a skier and snowboarder, I haven't snowboarded since I became a mom in 2006. Like a lot of parents, I thought teaching my son to ski first was a natural first step. After living here for six years, he's now better than me on skis. As part of my 2018 new year's resolutions, I'm determined to get back out on a snowboard and show my fifth grader his mom's still got it.
To date, it's made sense to rent hard goods for my son (who's in the 99th percentile for height). For rentals, Christy's selection ranges from sport, premium or demo. You can rent by the day or by the season. We opted for a seasonal demo package(the nicest) for ski equipment as we're advanced skiers. If your child grows over the season, you can swap out sizes. And Christy's also allows you to swap from skis to board in the same season.
For adults new to the sport or perhaps haven't dusted off their old gear since parenthood, I recommend buying your own boots and enlist the help of a good boot fitter for the right fit. An upgraded insole like DFPs makes all the difference in comfort. Most boots (ski and snowboarding) can be heat-form molded to your foot. With middle age has come foot issues for me. I developed Morton's Neuroma (a nerve condition that causes throbbing pain when my toes are confined) on my left foot and was sure I'd be looking at having to buy new wider boots since last season I couldn't buckle my toe buckles. I was pleased to hear my two-year old boots have at least a few more seasons left in them. The boot fitter heated up my left boot, expanded the toe box and saved me from having to buy (and break in) a new pair.
We also want to snowboard this year. I haven't ridden since my pre-parenting days. My son, Ames has only boarded once. Remembering what a game changer buying my own gear made back when I was learning (circa 1995), we opted to get our very own snowboarding gear this season. Unlike skiing, there are more variables on a snowboard in foot stance-which foot you ride forward, regular (left) or goofy (right) foot forward. And, then there's the degree in which each foot is positioned on the board which can vary by the kind of riding you like to do and your level of experience. By keeping those variables constant, it can accelerate the learning curve.
Gear, like technology, evolves quickly from year to year. In snowboarding terms, I haven't strapped a snowboard on since a flip-phone equivalent. Christy Sports, Snowboard Supervisor, Eddie Roy, filled me in on the big changes since the late 90s. Boards are lighter, people tend to ride a shorter length, there's talk of camber and flex. Bindings are easier to get in and out of even with gloves on. And boots feel similar to how I remember them a decade + ago (way more comfy than ski boots which I knew would make my left foot happy) with added things to pull, crank and tuck inside for a more precise amount of snugness.
After trying on all the snowboarding boots on Christy's wall, the Salomon boot fit my foot best. To not overcomplicate things, we netted out with Salomon packages for boots, board and bindings for the both of us.