Category Archives: Equipment

The Classics: TLD A1 & A2 Helmets Reviewed

Troy Lee Designs A1 & A2 Mountain Biking Helmets: Superior Protection and Style

Still have the same bike helmet you bought when you first started riding? With greater awareness of the long-term damaging effects of concussions, bike helmet design has improved industry wide: helmets are no longer designed just to prevent skull fractures. One improvement is Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS), a revolutionary technology that lets the helmet slide relative to the head, adding more protection against rotational violence to the brain caused by angled impacts. Troy Lee Designs feels that MIPS is so important to prevent concussions that they no longer make helmets without it. Come into Start Haus in Truckee and check out our full line of bike helmets, including the A1 and A2 helmets by Troy Lee Design.

The Classic A1 by Troy Lee is an aggressive all-mountain half shell helmet that has been a mountain biking industry leader for more than a decade. Known for being the most comfortable helmet on the market, the A1 has a superior liner, providing protection and all day wear ability whatever the terrain. With its race-inspired design, the Troy Lee A1 features a distinctive style, with eye-catching modern design and graphics. The A1 features:

  • Reinforced polycarbonate shell in-molded with the EPS liner extends down the sides and back of the head for maximum protection and durability
  • MIPS brain protection system, reduces rotational forces to the brain
  • Eight pressurized intake passages draw in cool air for maximum ventilation
  • Eight rear vacuum vortex outlets help exhaust and draw heat from head
  • Triple position adjustable retention system allows customized fit for various eyewear, head shape and riding styles
  • Single piece, ultra plush, removable and washable comfort liner made of anti-microbial moisture wicking material for a dry, comfortable feel
  • Full spectrum adjustable moto inspired visor with anodized aluminum hardware

The Troy Lee A2 is new for 2018, building on all the award-winning features of the A1 with added protection and improved ventilation. The A2 is the first helmet in its class to combine EPP (for slow speed impacts) and EPS (for high speed impacts), setting a new benchmark for mountain bike helmets and redefining mountain bike safety, style, comfort, and ventilation. The A2 features:

  • Huge air intakes – 25% larger than A1 – connected to massive exhaust ports through deep internal channels provide powerful cooling efficiency
  • Updated X-Static® pure silver comfort liner with more material for comfort delivers high performance odor protection and quick-dry moisture wicking
  • MIPS brain protection system. reduces rotational forces to the brain
  • Dual-density EPS co-molded with EPP for state-of-the-art impact energy management at low and high crash speeds, and everything in between
  • 16% more EPS+EPP in the frontal lobe and raised EPS splines provide more protection in the common impact zones
  • Aerospace filament-reinforced polycarbonate shell
  • Break-away anodized aluminum visor screws
  • Rear stabilizer fit system with flexible, slimline arms, including 3-position front and rear locations for a custom fit
  • Expanded field of view works with both goggles and glasses
  • Adjustable strap dividers for a perfect fit every time

Stop by Start Haus and talk to our bike experts and check out helmets and more biking gear to enhance your experience on the trails.


Miracle March Update- Still Have Great Skis on Sale!

Winter is holding steady in Tahoe, with 12+ feet of new snow so far in “Miracle March” and resorts are extending their seasons. Start Haus in Truckee’s winter blow out sale is still going on as well, with sweet deals on-top-of-the-line skis. Here are some that you could still snag:


Dynastar Legend Women’s X84 We get it, life is busy and when you can hit the slopes, you want to grab a reliable ski and go. For “one-quiver” skiers, the Legend X84 is an all mountain ski that can cover all terrain with confidence. The X84 is made with Dynastar’s newest Powerdrive Free construction, delivering great response, power and control. Touted as a comfortable ski with great response, Dynastar’s Legend X84 has the torsional stiffness and edge grip needed for high performance on firm snow and is also very versatile with its 5-point sidecut and tip and tail rocker. The X84 has a full wood core with 100% fiber sandwich construction and ABS sidewall to drive energy more efficiently to the edge of the ski for increased edge grip and dynamic ski control.  On sale for $359.97!


Atomic Vantage 85– If you’re looking for a zippy, all-mountain ski for ripping on groomers and an occasional dip into the park, the Atomic Vantage 85 is your ski. The narrowest ski in Atomic’s All Mountain collection, this ski does a little bit of everything. It is lightweight with great edge hold and a flatter tail and more directional shape than Vantage skis in previous years. Its healthy rocker in the tip and tail allows lightning fast turns and effortless lines. The Vantage 85 features extra thick sidewall blocks to suppress vibration and transmit power and hardened steel edges for a strong edge grip.  On sale for $239.99!


Head Monster 88– The Monster 88 is a ski for all-mountain skiers who love to charge. Stiff and performance oriented, the Monster 88 rewards skiers who push it, providing unparalleled stability for deeply carving into powerful arcs at top speed. Described as “a beast,” the Monster 88 boasts an old school design of metal-reinforced wood. If you’re an advanced skier looking for a beefy, edgy hard charger built for speed, this is your ski.  On sale for $419!

With fresh snow, spring skiing in Tahoe is going to be all-time this year. Stop into Start Haus to check out the great deals on these skis and more performance skis and winter gear.

See a pair of skis or a helmet you like? Try the code SKI40NOW during checkout!

Völkl Early Releases! 2019 Mantra M5 and Women’s Secret

Tahoe’s “Miracle March” has skiers celebrating and calling in sick to work. Start Haus got another great score in March – an early release of the new version of Volkl’s iconic ski, the M5 Mantra and the women’s 2019 Völkl Secret.

The Mantra has been an innovative leader in all mountain skis since it first hit shops in 2005, earning a loyal following that has held strong for more than a dozen years among competition that rushed to add metal to their all mountain skis. The Mantra’s composition of Titanial sandwiching with a solid wood core inspired a whole new segment of 90-100mm waist width category skis.

But with the M5 (named for the 5th generation of the Mantra), Volkl is raising the bar again by heavily modifying the first layer of Titanal, resulting in a lighter ski with the same Mantra chargeability. The M5 brings back the traditional camber underfoot, with a rocker/camber/rocker profile. There is a full sheet of Titanal underneath the wood core, but the first layer only has Titanal in U-shaped forks in the tip and tail, which Völkl calls the Titanal Frame. They also decreased the waist width from 100 to 96 and gave it a shorter turn radius (19.8m radius in the 177cm length). Völkl engineers also added carbon in the tip of the shovel, adding rigidity and sharpness turn to turn.

The Mantra M5 and the narrower Secret (the women’s version that replaces the Aura) still have a full sidewall and sandwich construction, providing Völkl’s signature stability. The skis are available in the same lengths, ranging from 170 cm up to 191 cm.

Early testers have nothing but love for the Mantra M5. According to SKI Magazine, “The Mantra M5 provides an unmatched combination of stability, smoothness and, more so than ever before, liveliness that made it incredibly fun to ski in all types of snow conditions.”

Swing by the shop to check them out!


New Gear Alert! Salomon to Reinvent BC

Salomon Shift – Shaking Up Backcountry Bindings

For a long time now, backcountry skiers had a fundamental choice to make: the lightest, most efficient binding design for going uphill, or the best performing, safest for going downhill.

Tech bindings, pioneered by Dynafit, are light and efficient, using toe pins to rotate with each stride in the skin track. Frame bindings, like Marker’s venerable Duke, skied like a real alpine binding but are heavy, and stay attached to your foot while in walk mode, meaning you lift the binding with each stride.

Salomon’s new S/Lab Shift binding, available at Start Haus next fall, promises to deliver the best of both worlds for the first time. Sure, the Marker Kingpin gave the touring function of a tech toe and the skiing prowess of a alpine heal, but the S/Lab takes it a step farther, giving alpine toe piece performance to complete the package.

Basically, a new mechanism lets you seamlessly swap between a tech toe and an alpine toe while on the hill. It’s easier to see than to explain:

What does this mean? It means you get the most efficient binding while touring, and the safest, highest performance setup on the descent. Beyond the backcountry, this becomes a serious option for those who want one ski/binding setup for both the resort and out of bounds.

The details:

  • DIN: 6-13
  • Elastic travel: 47mm (same as the gold standard alpine binding STH2)
  • Weight: 1.7 kg per pair (3.74 lbs)
  • Brakes: 90-120mm in 10mm increments
  • Climbing aids: 2 and 10 degrees

We anticipate these flying off the shelves this fall, so sign up for our email list to be the first to know when they arrive!

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.

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.

Focus on Performance with Leki Race Gloves

Numb fingers can ruin a day on the mountain – especially if you spend time waiting at the top and your finish time is on the line. Start Haus in Truckee carries top of the line ski gloves for racers and anyone who is looking for ultimate performance and comfort. Leki’s Trigger S system features a glove-integrated strap to click your poles in and out faster with more comfort than ever – used by racers across the globe, including Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin at the World Cup.

Race gloves and mittens provide extra protection for knuckles and fingers, so hitting a gate doesn’t bash your hands. Glove wearers favor the dexterity of gloves while mitt users believe that keeping your fingers together provides maximum warmth and that you don’t need individual fingers to control your poles. The only thing experts agree on is that it’s up to what you/your racer is comfortable with. And that the most important factor in extremely cold temps is keeping your hands as dry as possible, so breathability is key. Leki ski gloves and mitts are made with a combination of Hydrophobic Goatskin leather and high end technical fabrics for extreme warmth, durability and breathability. Here are a couple of picks that will keep your hands comfortable so you can focus on racing at your highest level.

Leki GTX

Leki World Cup Race Coach Flex S GTX & GTX Jr.

Leki’s World Cup Race Coach Flex S GTX delivers masterly designed detail solutions and excellent performance. Their unique ergonomically pre-shaped fingers offer superior fit. GORE-TEX®, Thinsulate and soft inner fleece with their patented Makes Dry lining offer the best protection against cold and dampness. Flex EVA panels in the fingers and wrist area round off the racing model. The Integrated Trigger S system allows lightning-fast and direct clicking into and out of the pole safety binding.

Leki WC Ti Mitt

Leki World Cup Race TI S Mitten Speed System

For the coldest days on the mountain, many competitive racers use Leki’s World Cup Race TI S Mitten. It features an advanced race fit grip and pre-curved finger styling, allowing for enhanced pole grip as well as a flex cuff. These mitts provide excellent knuckle and finger padding as well as long padded gauntlet protection in the gates. The heavy duty wristlet provides a good, tight fit.

Check Out the Best FrontSide Carvers

Skiers have been enjoying a 30″ base at Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows, Sugar Bowl and Mt. Rose (36″) since Thanksgiving, and Northstar and Boreal have been cranking out more. After the initial powder honeymoon, the cold lows have kept the slopes in great shape with very fun, almost like spring-like skiing with sunny skies and mid-50s days. The dawn patrol expert groomers in their snow cats practice their art, turning out meticulously groomed runs. While powder hounds eagerly check the forecast, these “packed powder” conditions are what groomer lovers relish.

Whether you’re a racer or like to carve down the hill at lightning speeds, Start Haus in Truckee carries the top race and carving skis for maximum fun on the groomers. Three of our highest rated front side carvers are Head Worldcup Rebels i.Speed, Head i.Supershape Rally and Kastle MX74 skis.

2018 SuperShape iSpeed

Head World Cup Rebels i.Speed

The i.Speed is one of the fastest race skis available, armed with the stiffness and heft for expert-level carving. This true camber race ski delivers explosive acceleration and precision handling. According to Head, the i.Speed “delivers race speed to experienced skiers too rebellious to compete.” The i.Speed’s race-like performance is ideal for skiers who love speeding down groomers while precision carving in long arcs on packed snow. This ski is fast and stable and loaded with award-winning technological features, which is Head’s forte. Howard Head, the company’s founder, was an aeronautical engineer and American recreational skier and the first designer to successfully combine metal and plastics in ski design. The i.Speed features a mega-speedy race-structured UHM C base, terrain-sensitive Intelligence Technology, Rebel Camber, and Head’s exclusive power-packed and hand built graphene World Cup Cap Construction.

2018 SuperShape iRally

Head Supershape i.Rally

Looking for a versatile carver that provides maximum fun? The Supershape i.Rally from Head was designed for intermediate to advanced relatively aggressive skiers who love to carve. As with all Head skis, the ski’s technology keeps it at the top of the quiver. Made with centered graphene, the i.Rally is on the lighter side but delivers superior control, power and balance. It excels for tight turns at at high speeds. Made with hand built World Cup Construction, this ski guarantees perfect hold and carvability. The iRally can go from side stashes to groomers and back, but it really shines on hard packed snow. This all-around recreational carver features energy enhancing KERS and the Rocker, Radius and Rebound of ERA 3.0 S.

2018 Kastle MX74

Kastle MX74

The Kastle MX74 was created for on-piste skiers looking for an adaptable ski that always delivers stability and precision. Earning great reviews for edge hold, responsiveness, turn shape variability, carving pleasure and stability, the MX47 is designed for advanced to expert level skiers who love to make a well-arced turn. With a new, innovative sidecut, HOLLOWTECH 2.0 and race-inspired sandwich construction, Kastle touts the MX74 as the most dynamic all-mountain ski in their line. It’s also a ski that you can immediately feel comfortable on. The MX series has been on the market as a top seller for 5 years with little design changes, but for 2018 Kastle modified all of their MX skis to bring the contact point closer to the middle of the ski for both the tip and tail, providing a tighter turning radius.

Come by Start Haus and talk to our expert staff about the best ski to match your carving style.

POC: Protect Yourself on the Slopes

Protect Yourself on the Slopes: POC SPIN Helmets, Clarity Lenses & POC Layer at Start Haus

Can you believe that ski helmets have only been widely used for less than a decade? Ski helmets were first required for downhill ski racing right here in Tahoe at the 1960 Olympics at Squaw Valley U.S.A., following the death of Canadian downhiller John Semmelink at Garmisch in 1959. Then it took more than three decades and the deaths of Michael Kennedy, Sonny Bono and Natalia Richardson from head trauma before ski helmets started becoming mainstream on the slopes in 2010. Ski helmets have evolved incredibly in design and protection since their start in leather then repurposed moto sports helmets. POC has emerged as a leader in the field for innovation and safety for gravity sports. Start Haus in Truckee, California carries POC SPIN helmets, Clarity goggles and POC Layer with innovative technology that deliver a distinct edge in safety, winning top SIA awards for 2017-2018.


S.P.I.N. Tech may sound familiar – used by Marvel’s heroes in The Avengers, S.P.I.N. (Super-Power-Inhibiting Nanobots) Technology removed super powers from their enemies. In reality, POC’s SPIN technology was developed by scientists and engineers to counter the effects of oblique impacts on the brain for ski racers and everyone who gets after it on the slopes (SPIN: Shear Panel INside).

The most common type of fall results in an angled, or oblique, impact with a surface which can lead to a rotation of the helmet and head. The force required to cause serious head injury is much lower from an oblique impact than from a linear impact, so improving protection against angled falls is vital. SPIN pads are constructed to be able to shear in any direction under any force, so they work to enhance protection of the brain by allowing the helmet to move relative to the head upon impact.

POC has incorporated SPIN pads into 5 different existing helmet models, providing an extra layer of protection without altering the fit and comfort of their helmets. The pads sit directly against the wearer’s head, replacing traditional foam pads.




The POC Artic SL SPIN helmet features a breakthrough design specifically for slalom racers. The Artic SL SPIN features the unique detachable and adjustable Maxilla break away chin guard, which can be fixed or set to break away at varying impact levels, designed to minimize any potential injury to the neck or face.

Artic SL

Artic SL

Clarity Lenses

POC Clarity lenses are another safety innovation for 2017-2018, offering a new level of optical performance for skiers and riders. Developed with industry leaders Zeiss Vision Sunlens, these lenses are designed to enhance vision by significantly improving contrast and light in three conditions: sunny, partly sunny and overcast. POC Clarity goggles are designed for all day, all mountain performance and POC Clarity Comp are tuned to meet the needs of competition skiers with light frequency profiles which have been maximized for use in intense short term periods typically associated with ski racing.

Clarity Lens

Clarity Lens


Another innovative and award-winning new product for ski racers is the POC Layer. Protecting your skin may not be something you think about unless you know someone who has come in contact with a sharp edge, but when that happens, it can be catastrophic. From young racers to professionals, when razor sharp ski edges collide with bodies the cuts and abrasions can result in season-ending injuries and lasting pain. POC Layer is designed to be sleek and impenetrable, protecting the skier from lacerations without encumbering movement. (And you just might look more like a super hero in it.)

Layer Base

Layer Base

Resorts are opening in Lake Tahoe, California and we’ve got fresh snow. Stop into Start Haus in Truckee and talk to our expert, friendly staff and check out equipment that can improve your days on the mountain, whether you are racing or shredding with friends and family.

Check out the full selection here.



Summer Prep for Race Training

Every year around late July and early August we get our annual influx of ski racers heading to the whiter pastures of the Andes and Southern Alps. Others are heading up to the summer camps of Mount Hood. This presents a good opportunity to take a look at your gear and see if it’s still up to the task. Have you outgrown your boots? How many holes are acceptable in race gloves? How about socks? What are the condition of my ski boots and skis?

We all have heard time and again that your boots are the most important article of gear- which is certainly true for ski racers. It’s hard to race when you’re hobbled in pain, or if your canting is catawampus. Summer camps are a great place to dial in gear and work on techniques or work on overcoming bad habits.

The following is a list of things we see and think are great items to be looking into at summer camps.

Ski Boots

If you’re in the same boots as the previous season approach the obvious questions first. Have you outgrown your boots? If yes obviously shop for some new ones, if not take a look at them and examine their condition. If you’ve been in your boots one entire race season odds are your liner is shot. If you’re anything like the vast majority of the racing population your toe and heel plates are also on the endangered species list.

To be brutally honest we really feel like at the Far West racing level race boots only last one year. Yes even at the U10 U12 level- perhaps especially at the U10 U12 level. The fact is those lucky kids spend and extraordinary amount of time in their boots, it’s fairly obvious by looking at them that their simply worn out. Remember, with the amount of days in them the liner is packed out and the material inside simply isn’t holding the foot the way it should. That being said, it makes total sense with a growing kid to wait until the last possible second to spring for a new pair of boots, which is generally somewhere around the month of November.

For the older kids summer is a great time to play with canting. Canting is planning the sole of the ski boot to match the natural stance of the athlete, particularly the relation of the center of the knee to the center of the ski boot. Some of the tell-tale signs that an athlete needs canting is that one turn is significantly better, i.e. left footers are always better than the right or vise versa. Another symptom would be excessive A-framing or cheating one knee over in the turn excessively. Coaches will often have a few methods to play with to determine if canting is necessary.


There are a few things one can do to prepare skis for the season. If you’re lucky enough to pick up a new pair of speed skis, hot boxing them is a great idea. A couple of cycles in the hotbox will ensure that the bases are super fast and ready to rip. Remember: the more you ski a speed ski in the faster they will be. If an athlete were so inclined she could play with changing edge angles the off-season would be the time to do it.

Coaches in the Lake Tahoe area do a great job of determining what edge angles they would like their athlete’s skis tuned to. Likewise, Tahoe coaches have a handle on what lifts they would like between the bindings and ski. For example max height or some variation of ramp angle is generally prescribed. If you were unsure of edge bevels or ramp angle, summer camps would be a great place to try some variations. ***Disclaimer*** Ski bindings are a major safety issue. Only certified experts should be working on ski bindings.

In summation the point is if you’re going to play with gear, the summer camps is one of the best times to do it rather than mid season when you’re doing your best to get on the podium. Most importantly summer ski camps should be fun! Don’t ever forget that while you may take racing seriously, it also one of the most fun things in the world to do! Yes train hard, but remember to make the most of it and have a ton of fun.