The Return of Winter

With storm windows opening up and some systems lining up (albeit small ones) now is the time to dust off that all-mountain quiver!  Storms are rolling in through the 10 day forecast window and Start Haus is stoke level is increasing with every day!  Keep an eye on these storms- they might dump more and they might dump less.  Keep doing those snow dances!

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Presidents Week Sale!!!

With early spring skiing, we’ve decided to roll out early spring deals.  This week only we’re celebrating President’s Week by offering 50% OFF skis, bindings when purchased with a ski, goggles, helmets, & speed suits!

Race skis are currently 20% OFF in store only.  (Race bindings are not on sale.)

If you can’t make it in, buy it online!  Apply the coupon SKI50NOW in your cart!  (50% OFF sale does not apply to existing discounted items or race skis).


The Best MTB Tires for Tahoe

With somewhere north of one million tread patterns, casings, rubber compounds and sizes, picking the right set of tires for your mountain bike can be a little daunting. It boils down to where you ride, how you ride and what you enjoy.

First, let’s take a look at where. Here in the Truckee-Tahoe area, we predominantly have loose soil, decomposed granite, sand and dust (and more rocks) to make traction challenging, with the occasional after-thunderstorm hero dirt and granite slabs thrown in. Generally, that makes more aggressive tires the choice for our region.

How you ride boils down to technique and speed – some tires work better under an aggressive, more advanced rider that commits to a turn, while others give a little more wiggle room for those still figuring things out.

What you enjoy is personal preference, something you’ll work out over time. Do you like a fast-rolling rear tire to make climbing easier? Or do you want locked-in traction for railing corners?

Let’s take a look at some of our top picks for the region.

Maxxis Minion DHF

The Name DHF came from the tire’s origin, downhill tire, front. Now considered a gold standard for aggressive all-around tires, many Tahoe riders have used it both front and rear.

Large, blocky cornering knobs down each side separated from ramped center knobs offer some of the best cornering traction around – but the gap between the shoulder knobs and center require that the bike be leaned over to get ahold of that traction. Don’t commit to a corner and the tire can get drifty.

Rolling resistance is about average for an aggressive tire, and the 2.3 feels narrow on a modern trail bike. This makes the 2.5 a great option for those who have room. As with all Maxxis tires, the DHF’s rubber balances grip and durability, and tough “Double Down” sidewalls are available for those who are prone to slashing tires on sharp rocks, while EXO saves some weight.

The DHF is still the go-to front tire for many Tahoe-area riders, and is available in widths from 2.3 to 2.8 to cover all bike types from standard to “plus.”

Maxxis Minion DHR II

Building off of the DHF, the DHR II was meant as a rear tire with broader, paddle-shaped center knobs that give better pedaling traction uphill and braking traction downhill. Many have adopted the DHR II as a front tire where it doesn’t require quite the same lean-angle to get good cornering traction, but it gives up some of the ultimate bite of the DHF. (Don’t even think about the first generation DHR. Just put it out of your mind).

The DHR II offers better braking but also sacrifices some cornering grip when you’re at the limit. Available up to a 2.8 inch width for ultimate plus-bike traction, this is a great aggressive rear tire when traction is a top priority.

Maxxis High Roller II

An old-school classic with more widely-spaced tread than either Minion, the High Roller can dig into loose, soft trail surfaces in the right hands, or get a little loose in others. The wide spacing makes these tires shed mud well, so if you’re making trips down the hill in the winter, this can be a great choice.

Available in 2.3 and 2.4 inch widths.

WTB Vigilante

Like the Minion, the Vigilante is an aggressive tire with widely spaced blocky knobs designed to dig into the soil for tons of traction. But where the Minion leaves a gap between cornering knobs and the center, the Vigilante has “transition knobs” in that space. In practice, that means more consistent traction at a variety of lean angles, but it gives up top-end traction at the tire’s limits while cornering.

Great in really soft soil and with tons of braking power, the Vigilante comes in a fast rolling or high grip compound (go high grip or fast if running in the front, fast rolling in the rear), and a tough casing (that’s really, really tough) or light casing (that’s more prone to cuts in rough conditions).

WTB Breakout

With a round profile and aggressive knobs more closely spaced together, the Breakout has become something of a cult favorite as a rear tire. Without the square edge of a Minion or Magic Mary, it doesn’t have quite the full-tilt cornering bite of the most aggressive tires, but has gobs of traction in dry and loose conditions at lesser angles. Despite its grippyness, it rolls quickly, and its heavy-duty casing and higher volume make it a great choice for a burly rear tire that won’t slow you down on the climbs.

WTB Trail Boss

Lots of smaller knobs stacked closer together make this one of the smoother, faster rolling tires in the bunch. Great for those who don’t need as much high-speed traction and want low resistance rolling down the trail – it pairs well as a rear tire with a more aggressive front tire.
Available in a 3.0 width, the Trail Boss is also a great plus tire both front and rear.

So which tire is for you? Part-time downhillers with a season pass at Northstar are best served by the tougher endure oriented casing- otherwise our true DH bikes are going to be wire bead and 2-ply sidewalls.

Aggressive trail riders will love the reliable Minions, both DHF and DHR II. The can get a little more speed on climbs with a Nobby Nic or Trail Boss in the back, or really reduce rolling resistance with the Rock Razor.

More tentative riders venturing into challenging terrain will get consistent, dependable traction from the Vigilante, Breakout or the Hans Dampf, and more XC-oriented riders who still want to get around in Tahoe’s unique soil will want to look at the Trail Boss or Noby Nic front and rear.

So what do we ride on our trail bikes? We’ll go with the DHF 2.5 EXO and the WTB Vigilante tough (speaking of which, don’t be afraid to mix brands when the combo is right). Come by Start Haus and talk to one of our experts – we’ll find the right tires for you.


The Importance of Mouth Guards

Small but Mighty: Mouth Guards for Skiing

A mouth guard is one of the least expensive pieces of ski gear you can buy, and it not only protects your teeth — it can also help prevent concussions. Start Haus in Truckee carries both UA ArmourShield™ Mouthguard and UA Braces Mouthguard for wear over braces.

The mouth guard trend is increasing on the slopes, both for racers and freestyle. The US Ski Team recommends mouth guards for their SL racers not only for protecting teeth from getting cracked when hit by a pole, but for their effectiveness in concussion prevention. Mouth guards are strongly recommended for any level, but particularly for younger racers because as less-skilled athletes, the probability that something can happen is higher.

Many concussions are caused by the force of the jaw banging into the upper mouth. Mouth guards prevent bone-on-bone contact, dramatically absorbing the blow from a fall. And we’re seeing more mouth guards in the freestyle parks too. Dental work is not only miserable but expensive.

Under Armour’s mouth guards are latex-free, made with ArmourShield™ technology, to provide patented Bite Flex™ and ArmourPlate™ to provide higher-impact protection to teeth, jaws, and gums. The ArmourPlate™ insert delivers improved protection while Bite Flex™ absorbs energy on impact. The ArmourFit technology provides a dentist-like fit, chew resistance, and allows you to talk and breathe easily. They are made in the U.S., meet NFHS rules, have a convertible strap/strapless tether, and come with a $32,000 dental warranty. Try to find something with that much protection and technology packed into a small, inexpensive package. Or just come in and get one and check out more protective gear available at Start Haus.

Check out the ArmourShield here.


Spring Sales NOW

With these conditions, Spring sales are rolling out early!  These deals are too hot to post online, so swing by the shop and check it out!  Select helmets, skis, race skis, and speed suits- up to 25% OFF!

Sale ends when it ends.  Give us a call for a quote and we can set up a coupon to use online!  Don’t miss out- the selection is good, and the sale starts now!


Get The Best Out of Skiing with the Right Boot Fit

Last week we talked about the value of custom footbeds – but that’s just one component of a custom boot fit.

Custom-fit ski boots are the biggest improvement any skier can make through equipment – it gives precise yet comfortable control over the ski while reducing fatigue and even helping with circulation and cold feet.

Too many skiers have boots that are too big or loose, the liners packed out and their feet swimming inside, making for an unpredictable, uncomfortable and fatiguing day on the slope. On the other side of the spectrum, some think the price of performance is discomfort, with boots too tight and not properly fitted, often resulting in serious pain.

True custom ski boot fitting is what Start Haus’s reputation was built on. Google us and you’ll find articles in Skiing Magazine about our boot fitter’s work. And what our boot fitters can do goes well beyond the typical liner warm up in an easy-bake oven – our experts form the plastic of the boot itself to your feet.

That fitting goes beyond comfort – punching and grinding plastic to accommodate the unique shape of your feet – to canting and alignment, which aligns the center of your knee to the center of the boot for superior biomechanics.

Our boot fitters can also alter the performance characteristics of the boot through changing flex, stance and adding on items like Booster Straps.

After that, manipulating the liner of the boot lets our fitter further fine-tune the boot, or they can be replaced with a variety of custom liners made from different materials to uniquely suite your needs.

All that work adds up to a ski boot that’s not only customized to your foot and to your body, but to how you ski. The impact this can have on your experience on the hill can’t be understated. To set up an appointment, give us a call today.


Where to Bike All Year

Mountain Biking All Year: You Know You Want To

Ski to Ride.  Wait... Ride to Ski?

Ski to Ride. Wait… Ride to Ski?

Living and playing in Tahoe is all about getting outside. You don’t need fat tires to mountain bike this winter – sweet, tacky singletrack in the foothills is just 45 minutes away. Or head east and get a good ride in, all-you-can-eat sushi, then tackle your Reno errands. For extreme “cross-training” you can double down – ski in the morning and then bike until sunset. Start Haus in Truckee has the gear and expert bike mechanics to help you get out there. Grab your friends and your cooler and head down the hill for the day. Or take advantage of off-season lodging rates and take your posse to ride in the Santa Cruz or Marin.

Nevada City, CA

Just a 45 minute drive west of Truckee you’ll find warmer temps and great trails. You can access three of the trails easily by parking near the Harmony Ridge Market on Hwy 20 and hopping on the Pioneer Trail. The Pioneer Trail is 15.5 miles of flowy trails with rollers and some optional lines with berms and kickers. It’s an intermediate trail you could bring a kid or a beginner on and they’d do fine: the grade is gradual but there are some short technical root patches. Pioneer runs parallel to Hwy 20 and is marked with directional and forestry logo signs. There is also trailhead parking at White Cloud, Equestrian overlook, Skillman, and the Alpha Omega Vista. You can add on a descent from the Pioneer Trail by taking Scotts Flat Lake Trail, starting across the street and east from Harmony Ridge Market. Scotts Flat Lake Trail takes you down to the lake with perfect flow – twisty banked turns, tabletop kickers, and log and rock ride options. The 5.1 miles of singletrack trail is smooth with very few technical sections, but watch out – riders and hikers ascend it for an out and back, or you can follow Scotts Flat Road back up to Hwy 20 for a more gradual loop. Many also combine a Pioneer or Scott’s Flat ride with a lap or three of the Hoot Trail. The Hoot Trail lives up to its name: it has insanely fun and flowy banked switchbacks and optional jumps. But it doesn’t last long, only 1.3 miles of the 4 mile loop is singletrack, the rest is getting there (turn left 1/2 mile east of Harmony Ridge Market on the Pioneer Trail) and then a fire road climb back to the market.


Start Haus master mechanic Gregg Stone on the Hoot Trail

If you’re looking for a long advanced/technical ride, park at the trailhead by Poorman Creek to ride The South Yuba Trail. This trail offers legit, narrow and rocky singletrack winding through thick forest. It’s about 9 miles long and includes steep and rocky grades. There is another portion of The South Yuba Trail from Edwards Crossing to Purdon Crossing that is 4.4 miles of steep, narrow, and technical, offering great views of the South Yuba’s steep canyon.

Auburn, CA


Heather Benson rides the Confluence Trail

About an hour west of Truckee you’ll find a lot more great trails in Auburn. For the popular intermediate rated Foresthill Divide trail, park in the Western Parking Area of Auburn State Recreation Area. Stay to the right at the “T” in the trail for a 4.5 mile singletrack ascent (with a couple of downhills thrown in for fun) that loops back down. Or take a left at the “T” to go directly to the Connector Trail, fast, narrow singletrack that connects with the Culvert Trail – a full out downhill race track with high berms and jumps. The Culvert is meant for advanced riders: be prepared to catch a lot of air. The Connector is also a 7.5 mile link with the Confluence Trail. Although the Confluence starts with fire road, the trail quickly narrows to singletrack. The trail can be narrow in places and with breathtaking views high above the American River. This trail and the Clementine Loop aren’t for beginners or anyone afraid of heights.

Peavine, Reno

About 45 minutes drive east of Truckee is a network of 22.6 miles of 95% singletrack trails in Keystone Canyon Non-Motorized Recreation Area in North Reno, Nevada. You can park at Rancho San Rafael and take the fun, flowy 2.6 mile Rancho Connector Trail to connect with 10 other trails, including The Halo Trail and Crispy Bacon Trail loop with stunning views and a fun descent with some rock obstacles. These are great intermediate trails, but check the wind forecast – if it’s a little bit windy in Reno it will be way too windy at Peavine. Go somewhere else. Also avoid moisture – if it has rained in the past week, don’t go. The soil in Keystone Canyon is red clay. If the mud makes contact with your bike, it will not only ruin your ride; it will ruin your bike. Seriously. If it’s dry otherwise and you see a mud puddle – ride around it. Back to the good – great singletrack and great change-up from forest. You’re 45 minutes from Tahoe and you can experience awesome desert scape and Reno city views. Then grab Pho and still have time to impress your partner by coming home with all of your Home Depot and Costco shopping taken care of.

These are just a few of the nearby trails that are accessible this winter. For more info and to map out your connections, try community supported and also



Introducing Suspension Rebuilding!

Suspension Works at Start Haus

Here at Start Haus we’ve assembled some of the most knowledgeable and experienced mechanics in Northern California. With a range of disciplines and specialties, there is nothing that our bike crew can’t do.  We’ve invested thousands of dollars in tooling to increase our capability to perform both air and damper service on front and rear suspension.

So what makes our rebuilds different? We’re not just going to drop your lowers and throw on some new dust seals.  We fully disassemble your equipment, replace all seals, recharge the nitrogen when applicable, and reassemble to factory specs.  We’re an authorized Fox, RockShox and Giant dealer and use original equipment parts and fluids whenever possible. This is a complete service, just like what the manufacturer would do.

We offer full service rebuilds on just about all Fox, Rockshox rear shocks and forks, plus many brands of dropper posts.  Save money with a rebuild and with any luck you gear will perform better that it did when new.

Forks- Full service rebuilds on most forks $80-150
Shocks- Full service rebuilds on most shocks $50-150
Droppers- Full service rebuilds on most droppers $90-125

Learn what we can do for you.  Give us a call at 530-582-5781 or drop us a line for a quote here.


Praise for the THULE RoundTrip

Are you like a garage sale when trying to get your gear together in the lodge or your car, arriving at your next Mountain Collective resort? The Thule RoundTrip Boot Backpack organizes and protects your gear and is a game changing backpack for racers. Thule’s Boot Backpack allows you to comfortably carry two pairs of skis (where other packs fall short) and poles, along with other gear and of course, your boots. Come into Start Haus in Truckee and check it out.

This pack is constructed with typical Thule toughness for skiers on the go. Transport boots in the bag’s rear-loading compartment, which is also great for boot storage. You don’t have to worry about trapped water;   grommets allow water to escape through the bottom of the bag. By flipping down the back panel door to use as a standing mat, you can conveniently change in and out of boots in any location. Two-way access into the top or front of the bag allows for efficient packing and gear access.

You can tell by the detail of its features that Thule’s Boot Backpack designers are seasoned on the slopes and tuned into skiers’ needs. Protect your goggles, sunglasses, cellphone and other fragile gear in a large, heat-molded and crush-proof SafeZone compartment. You can store jackets, gloves, and other accessories in the bag’s two spacious side pockets (you can add a lock to prevent theft).

Easily attach skis, board, poles, helmet or outerwear using external lash webbing. Padded shoulder straps and multiple grab handles make the bag easy to transport. The pack’s heavy duty tarpaulin bottom provides added protection. The RoundTrip Backpack is also compatible with other Thule bags; you can quickly connect the pack to any Thule RoundTrip rolling ski and snowboard bags using built-in attachment loops. Make your ski life easier – come in to Start Haus and talk to our friendly staff.

Check out the bag here.