2015 Women’s All Mountain Ski Comparison

Don’t you just hate it when you walk into a ski shop or browse your favorite ski forum and you get a bunch of men telling you what you should or shouldn’t be skiing on? How would they even know? While some of the best all mountain skis in the men’s category range from 90-100mm underfoot, the bulk of women’s skis sit in this 80-90mm range.

It’s important to remember that picking a ski really depends on the skier, the type of terrain they typically ski, and the personal preferences of that skier. While the trend to go wider has made an impact on the ski industry as a whole, the need to talk about the narrower skis, not only for Eastern and Midwestern skiers but the westerners alike, is still important.

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5 Reasons Why You Should Get Your Skis Tuned & Waxed Now!

Some people go seasons without tuning or waxing their skis, and out on the slopes it shows, even if they don’t know any better. Getting a fresh tune and wax at Start Haus is one of the best things you can do to get your season started off right. Here’s why:

1) Well tuned skis are easier and more fun to ski. You’re legs are probably a little rusty, don’t add to first day frustrations with rusty edges or sticky bases. It takes us all a few runs to get our snow legs back, and if your skis aren’t running smoothly on funky early season snow or your edges aren’t biting on those man-made icy patches, you’re more likely to throw in the towel and go into the lodge for drinks.

2) Ski bases dry out all summer long. You didn’t put storage wax on at the end of last season like we told you to, did you? If your bases are getting discolored, white or chalky looking, they’re drying out. Dried out bases also shrink, affecting the tune of your ski too. It’s not the end of the world, but they’ll run really poorly – so get them in for a proper hot scrape and wax at Start Haus to really get wax down into the material and the tune fixed.

3) Edges get dinged and can rust in storage. Storage wax can also help protect metal from moisture, so if you skipped that step, chances are your edges won’t be ready for prime-time out of the gate. Getting a tune by the pros at Start Haus ensures they will run smooth so you won’t catch awkwardly or skid unexpectedly your first day out.

4) Don’t forget about last season’s damage you swore you’d take care of over the summer. Don’t let scratches or core shots in your base keep you from making first chair. Get the repairs you need done by the best technicians in the business.

5) If you were a good skier and did have us put on storage wax, don’t forget to take it off. That glopped on wax that was doing your bases so much good won’t do you any good if you don’t get a good scrape and brush. We’ll make sure you’ve got the perfect shiny finish on your bases so they run smooth and fast.


Shop Start Haus for Small Business Saturday (Great Gift Ideas Inside)

Save a little of your holiday shopping after Black Friday (or skip the insanity all together) and shop with small, local businesses like Start Haus on Saturday, Nov. 29. We’re here to help you find the perfect gifts for all the skiers in your life.

And if you shop with your American Express, you get money back too! See details here.

Along with our huge selection of skis, boots, binding, helmets, goggles, gloves, clothing and more, we also have gift certificates. A gift certificate is a great way to get someone special a top-quality tune to get them set up for the season, a custom set of footbeds for the perfect fit or whatever they need as the ski season gets going.

Here’s a list of great gift options from Start Haus to get you going:

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Wide Daily Drivers for the West: 100-110mm Ski Comparison – Sierra Jim

Starting a few years back, there was a significant trend among good skiers – particularly out west, to go wider and wider with everyday skis. These skis became more common, as did rocker – and pretty soon we were seeing skiers on the hill with 110-120mm wide skis on non-powder days. You’d here tips flapping and turns skidding – and for the most part, people were having fun. But technically proficient skiers quickly found they weren’t really the best choice for hard or rough snow.

Now, as we head into the 2015 season, we find the trend mentioned above has started to reverse pretty significantly and many ski widths have started to come down out of the 120+ range. The fact that out west, we have now gone a couple of seasons without significant snowfall is no doubt one of the reasons for this. Another reason might be that the ski makers and skiers in general have figured out that for the skier with a decided soft snow bias and “one ski quiver” appetite, these mid 100s are pretty darned good. For sure, some skiers will still be very happy with wider skis than these for everyday use, and a lot of skiers will settle back to the 98-100mm range. These skis in the 102-110mm range have a more decided soft snow bias than the 98-100’s, but they do a much better job than “powder skis” when it has been some time since the last snowfall. It’s also fair to say that it is a pretty rare powder day that one of these skis isn’t wide enough to handle things.

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All Mountain Ski Quiver Killer Comparison – Sierra Jim

There is a trend these days to say that the plus-or-minus 98mm skis are the perfect ski width for everyone in the west, and that is not necessarily the case. It’s important to remember that trends sometimes fail to recognize the skiers’ capabilities and their preferences.

There are plenty of skiers out west that are well suited by frontside skis and a lot more (maybe even most) that are best suited by the roughly 88mm skis. Naturally a quiver of skis is the best of all and more is always better. Where the 98mm ski fits in is for the skier with one ski, roughly a 50/50 priority towards packed vs. soft snow usage, and the capabilities to ski that terrain.

The 98mm ski can also fit very nicely as the middle ski in a three ski quiver for the west and could well be the wide ski for an eastern or Midwestern skier who doesn’t really need a specialized ski for deep snow.

As always, this category is loaded with talent and also with differences. The differences can range from relatively dramatic to very subtle, the differences are almost never about the width. The 5mm width difference from the narrowest to the widest of the skis we’ll review here are not definitive. Some of the skis in this category have been modified recently either in flex or in shape or in both for a little more bias toward softer snow while others maintain a roughly equal terrain and snow bias.

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2015 Blizzard X-Power 810TI Review (Video)

The 2015 Blizzard XPower 810TI is a new carving ski from Blizzard, designed for serious front side performance. Our testers were able to get on it early last winter, and were universally impressed.


Phil praised the ski for both having a tenacious grip and the ability to work various turn shapes, making it both powerful and versatile. We headed to Northstar first, putting the 174 cm length through the paces on a firm day that slowly softened as the sun went to work.

Warming up with medium radius turns, the Blizzard XPower 810TI wasn’t punishing, popping back and forth with ease. But as soon as the speed picked up and the radius opened up, the ski started to display some real power, rewarding serious technique and a willingness to push hard. Really hard.

So while it’s easy to initiate a turn on this ski, and it doesn’t punish you at slower speeds, it really rewards powerful skiers most. On our spectrum from quick, finesse skis to stiff, powerful skis – it’s definitely on the power end of the spectrum.

The binding system worked well, as expected, using the IQ system Blizzard has developed over the last few years.

All in all, this is one of the more impressive frontside skis we’ve tested for 2015, a powerful carver that dares the skier to find its speed limit, if that sounds interesting to you, give us a call, shoot us an email, or swing by the shop to learn more.


Thule Roundtrip Ski Bag & Boot Bag Review (Video)

For ski racers and traveling skiers, a good ski bag and boot bag are key, whether you’re flying, driving or just dragging a lot of gear to the bottom of the slope. Thule stepped up in a big way this year with their new bag line, ranging from backpacks to bike bags, but we’re really impressed with the Thule Roundtrip Ski Bag and Thule Roundtrip Boot Bag in particular.

This is something easier shown than told, so we had Stan take us through the new bags in this video:

These are really well designed bags on their own, with stand-out features like the hard goggle case on the boot bag and the internal and external compression straps on the ski bag, but the fact that the two toggle together really makes the whole setup stand apart.

All the pockets and organization makes it so much easier to make sure you have everything you need for a day or a week+ of skiing without fumbling around or losing essential items at the bottom of a big duffel.

To learn more, go to our Thule page here, give us a call, shoot us an email or swing by the shop.


Bootfitter’s Notes: Injection Foam Liners

Foam liners are a performance upgrade to stock liners that are 100% custom fit to the athlete’s foot.

In this video we take you through the foaming process the Start Haus way.

Our owner and head boot fitting guru Jim Schaffner shows the proper steps for a successful foaming method from foot preparation to foam injection start to finish.

Foam liners are a solution for saving a shell that doesn’t have too much wear but has a liner that is packed out, or for those with truly low volume feet that need the boot tighter, like Alexis whose feet star in this video.

Foam liners last quite a bit longer than a stock liner and ski terrifically from a performance stand point. The kits we use at the Start Haus are firm enough for a great skiing experience and creates a nice tight environment, but is not so stiff it’s painful or lumpy.

If you have a number of painful bony spots on your feet foam can be a great solution as well. We would start by punching out the boot in those spots and in the foam injection process the liner conforms to both the shell and the foot, holding the foot in place and allowing the bony spot to relax into the punch.


Bootfitter’s Notes: K2 Minaret 100 Women’s Boot

The K2 Minaret 100 is a new women’s backcountry ski boot, based on the new-last-year K2 Pinnacle design, which has been a testers’ favorite at Start Haus in the beefy backcountry boot category.


Our testers got into the Minaret at Mt. Bachelor, Oregon for the America’s Best Bootfitters annual boot test, and were similarly impressed with the women’s iteration. K2 spent a lot of time on boot fit when re-entering the boot world, and it shows – the lower in particular has a lot of anatomic shape that worked well for our testers.

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Sizing Race Skis for Junior Ski Racers

We’ve been getting a lot of questions recently on how to properly size junior race skis – both gs and sl – for junior ski racers, so we put together this video guide to help out:

If you’re trying to decide from home, use a measuring tape to hit those heights to figure out the closest ski length for your young racer. Still having trouble? Swing by the shop, give us a call or shoot us an email and our experts will advise.