Category Archives: Reviews


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.


Product Highlight: Head Kore 105

Want a light ski but need hard-charging stability? Come into Start Haus in Truckee and check out Head’s Kore 105. The Kore 105 is an impressively light all mountain high performance ski. New for 2018, the Kore is getting rave reviews across the industry, including a rare unanimous top ranking among testers to nab POWDER Magazine’s Ski of the Year for 2018 and dubbed by POWDER editors as “the perfect ski.”

The Kore 105 is versatile to its core. Its Tip-Tail Rocker offers perfect buoyancy in the finest powder. The Kore delivers quick edge-to- edge transfer on open groomers, an incredibly smooth ride in all different snow conditions and turn shapes, and excellent stability for charging straight down the fall line. And the Kore’s light weight makes the ski accessible for skiers ranging from intermediate to expert levels.

The Kore achieves its light weight of ~1845 g per ski and stability with a construction of super-light Karuba wood combined with Graphene, Koroyd, and carbon fiber. The Kore 105 is a perfect combination of big and light, playful and fun. And what more could you want than fun from your days on the mountain? (Okay, maybe adventure, camaraderie and possibly winning.) Start Haus staff would love to show you the full line of Head and skis and get you set up to have the best days this winter.

Head’s Kore 105 Specs

  • Ski Construction:
  • Graphene-KOROYD-Carbon Sandwich
  • KARUBA Light Weight Wood Core
  • Topless Tech
  • Split Sidewalls
  • Structured diecut UHM C Base
  • Tip-Tail Rocker
  • Weight: ~1845 g – ~1847g per ski


  • Tip Width (mm) 135
  • Waist Width (mm) 105
  • Tail Width (mm) 125
  • Turning Radius (m) 8


An Ode to Smith

Ski helmets are lighter and safer than they were just a few years ago. Bolstered with better equipment and increased access, skiers continue to push their limits with speeds and terrain. Fortunately, helmet engineers have come up with more ways to protect skier’s brains. Start Haus in Truckee carries a wide selection of the best helmets on the market for vacation skiers to racers. Smith helmets, known for their light weight, style, and fit are a leader for their integrative helmet-goggle systems that provide exceptional performance, ventilation and comfort.

Smith‘s new helmet designs focus on four types of impact: low speed, high speed, rotational, and multiple-impact. And their helmets and goggles are designed to work and look better together. The AirEvac ventilation system in their helmets allows Smith goggles and helmets to function as one system, venting warm moist air away from the goggles, through the helmet climate control system and ultimately away from the head.


All of our Smith helmets provide superior protection, but if you want a helmet that has it all, the Smith Vantage MIPS Helmet has earned top reviews for its high quality, comfort and capability. It’s also one of the best-looking helmets on the mountain. The Vantage‘s 21 vents allow superior ventilation and easy customization with two separate sliders. Its unique hybrid shell combines the durability of a hard-shell on top with a light-weight in-mold construction below and a BOA dial adjuster to easily customize for the best fit.

Spend your transitions relishing the last run while getting ready for the next instead of drying your lenses and adjusting your goggles. Once you’ve found the perfect Smith helmet, Start Haus staff can help you pair it with the best goggles for your needs. Smith goggles have a longstanding reputation for delivering the ultimate in visibility and longevity. Smith’s IO goggles with ChromaPop earned Outside Magazine’s Gear of the Year award last year and for 2018 Squad XL received Outside’s nod as the best value for your wallet. Check out all the Smith goggle and lens options here.



Love for the Enforcer

Product Highlight: Nordica – Enforcer 100 Skis

Are you looking for an all mountain ski that cuts through snow like butter in varying conditions? Check out the Enforcer by Nordica at Start Haus in Truckee. Back this year after selling out quickly the past two years, the Enforcer delivers exceptional stability and power along with a smooth ride, solidifying its reputation as the go-to ski for those who embrace the entire mountain.

Proclaimed by Nordica as “the most versatile and advanced line of skis we’ve ever made,” the Enforcer raked in awards its first year off the line and continues on as the all mountain hard charging defending champion, earning Skiing Magazine’s Ski of the Year last year as well as Freeskier’s Editor’s Pick.

Designed for advanced to expert skiers, this ski shines blasting downhill making big GS turns and darting through trees. The Enforcer provides easy turn initiation, flotation, and maneuverability. Its rocker-camber-rocker profile and carbon-Titanium layers provide stability when ripping down off-trail and in less than ideal grooming conditions.

Our expert staff at Start Haus can give you the run down on Nordica and other top-of-the-line skis to help you make the most of your days on the mountain.

Nordica’s Enforcer 100 Specs

  • Ski Construction: Energy 2 Titanium
  • camRock: Blunt Nose Profile
  • Full ABS sidewall
  • Scratch resistant wood grain topfoil
  • Tail Protector
  • Size                                 169         177         185         193
  • Tip Width (mm)                133         133         133         133
  • Waist Width (mm)            100         100         100         100
  • Tail Width (mm)                 121         121         121         121
  • Turning Radius (m)           15.5        16.5        18.5        20.5

The acclaimed Enforcer 100 can be found here.




Why Buy a High-End Ski Glove?

Need a new pair of ski gloves? Choosing the right pair boosts your comfort, dexterity and confidence, keeping you out shredding even on the coldest days. Start Haus in Truckee carries a spectrum of choices, including top rated Hestra Alpine and Freestyle gloves, offering durability and flexibility for skiers who put high demands on their equipment. Hestra has been making gloves since 1936 and they are used and tested by the Swedish and Norwegian National Ski Teams.

Why go with a high-end glove? Even a 9-year-old can tell the difference. I thought my husband was crazy buying our daughter a pair of Hestra gloves her second year of ski racing. They were at least twice what I thought we should spend for something I was sure she would lose by her third race. The increased warmth, comfort and flexibility of the gloves were more than worth the cost. Those gloves were like armor to her. She didn’t complain about cold hands the entire season and she carefully tucked them inside her fluorescent pink, Julia Mancuso-signed helmet after each use. She proudly used them for two seasons and then we passed them on to another lucky kid and bought her a larger pair.

When purchasing new gloves, consider these criteria – waterproof, breathability, insulation, lining, fit and cuff length. Synthetic gloves tend to be more waterproof than leather, but leather provides a better grip, comfort and durability. Hestra’s top rated Heli Glove provides the best of both worlds with a hybrid synthetic/Gore-Tex and leather design in a gauntlet style glove. If you decide on leather gloves, be sure to regularly treat them with waterproofing wax or spray.

Breathability is key and insulation doesn’t have to be thick to be warm. The technology of high-end gloves is superior to big box-store brands. Good insulation allows vapor to pass through to the outer shell to keep your hands dry and warmer. High tech insulators are woven tighter, making them thinner and more comfortable while providing maximum warmth.

Unless you’re replacing a pair of gloves with a style you’re familiar with, trying on gloves is a step you shouldn’t skip. If your gloves are too big, they won’t provide the insulation and flexibility needed for hours out on the mountain. Cuff length is mostly personal preference, but your main concern is keeping the snow out of your gloves and jacket. Some jacket styles work well for a short wrist-length cuff to go under and some are meant for a longer style to go over. Come into Start Haus and talk to our friendly staff and see what gloves are best for you.


And check out our entire line of Ski Gloves here!


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.




Kastle FX95 HP In-Stock and in the Game

Product Highlight: Kästle FX95 HP


We’re excited to bring boutique brand Kästle (pronounced “kes-lee”) skis back to Start Haus. Kästle skis have been a leader in the market since 1924, reinvented 11 years ago by a group of professional ski racers, engineers and designers with a desire to build the best skis with the best materials possible.           .

With rave reviews across the industry, the Kästle FX95 HP earned a coveted Gear of the Year Award in 2016 for “Best Alpine Ski” from Outside Magazine, earning a perfect score of 5 for carving and 5 overall – praised as “the most adaptable all-mountain ski.”

An all mountain freeride ski for all terrain performance, the FX95 HP combines ski-ability with extra float. Designed for intermediate skiers to pros, this low camber, dual rise rocker features a camber tip and two titanal sheets for extra stability at high speeds, providing great power at mid-turn. The FX95 HP is the perfect ski to take you through variable terrain on the mountain and from fresh powder to spring corn.

With fresh dusting of snow in Tahoe, it’s time to think about getting your gear dialed. Come into Start Haus and check out the FX95 HP and more top-of-the-line skis in stock!

Kästle FX95 HP Specs


Tip      126 mm

Waist  95 mm

Tail     115 mm



157 cm          14,0 m           1640 g/Ski

165 cm          16,0 m           1810 g/Ski

173 cm          18,0 m           1970 g/Ski

181 cm          20,0 m           2140 g/Ski

189 cm          22,0 m           2310 g/Ski





A Review of the 2015 Giant Stance

For the 2015 season, Giant introduced a new bike to the trail mountain category.  The Stance differs from the Giant Trance on a couple different levels: first and foremost, the Stance has a different suspension platform called Flexpoint.  Flexpoint is a single pivot derivative that relies on the seat-stays flexing a bit to allow for the 4.7 inches of travel that the Stance offers.  The Flexpoint suspension platform on the Stance is both inexpensive for Giant to manufacture and doesn’t require Giant to pony up for any expensive patents.  The Trance trail bike differs in that it features Giant’s renowned Maestro suspension, which is a floating pivot point design, and costs quite a bit more to both manufacture and to sell than Flexpoint.

The Stance is offered in three models, the Stance 0, Stance 1, and Stance 2.  As with all Giant products, the higher the number the less expensive the bike. The Stance 2 comes in at an incredibly low $1470, the Stance 1 at $1905, and the Stance 0 at $2650.  At Start Haus we carry both the Stance 2 and Stance 1 models.

The Stance 1 features a solid Shimano Deore drivetrain with a Shimano XT rear derailleur.  The suspension is by RockShox and features a Recon Gold RL Solo Air with remote lockout and a Monarch R shock in the rear.  The Stance 2 at the starter price point has Shimano Alivio shifters a Shimano Altus front derailleur, Deore rear derailleur and Shimano M355 hydraulic disc brakes.  The suspension is a RockShox 30 Gold fork and RockShox Monarch R.

Sales for the Stance have been very successful. It’s obvious that there is a substantial market for price-point full suspension bikes that have great components.  And it rides great! If you’re thinking about your first full suspension bike or searching a trail bike on a budget you’ll want to check out the Giant Stance.  With almost 5 inches of travel the Stance can handle just about any terrain the mountain can throw at you.  For the price, the Stance will likely blow your mind on the way up and the way down.

Check out the bike here.


2015 Giant Stance 27.5 2: $1470. A great bike that wont break the bank.



Tecnica Nordica Side by Side

The Straight Dope on Ski Boot Liners

The heart of the boot story for the 2015 season has most certainly been advancements in ski boot liners.  Several manufacturers have spent significant research and development on creating liners that do three main things; ski well, fit comfortably out of the box, and resisting packing out (feeling too loose) too quickly.

The result of all the hard work is some interesting technology that is sure to trickle down through lines across the board and dictate design trajectories in the future.  First a short history lesson is in order; in the dark ages of boot design vague shell shapes and inferior liners were the obvious issues with performance and long term fit.  Foam injected liners became the primary solution; if you were a serious skier you had to have a serious liner, and spend some serious coin while you were at it.  Foam injected liners still exist and people still use them, however they are far less popular than in years past.

Stock liners have improved by leaps and bounds in the past decade; an injection molding process has replaced over padding and cutting away a material that is disturbingly similar to the material that is placed under a carpet before instillation.  The injection molded foam has far more anatomical shape than previous materials so it fits out of the box far better and will stand the test of time better than ever.

Two manufacturers, Tecnica and Nordica, are at the forefront of new manufacturing processes and materials for this 2014-15 season.  Tecnica produced a trick liner of a new material they are calling C.A.S. or Custom Adaptive Shape in their new model line the Mach1.  The C.A.S. foam is a dense material that fits well and offers great heel hold and shape, it can also be ground with a dremel or punched by a competent boot fitter if you need customization.   The C.A.S. foam has been such a success it is going to be featured several different models next season, and has really been a homerun in sales, and refits- we’ve seen almost none!

Not to be outdone, Nordica has produced a semi-custom liner using a material that is not at all new to the industry but has a proven track record with hundreds of World Cup victories and Olympic medals to its name.  Cork has been used in World Cup liners for quite some time and is the current standard for the elite level.  The cork is usually mixed with petroleum, which allows it to flow or move to the correct crevices.  On their popular NRGy series Nordica placed cork panels in the ankle and navicular area to give great control over the shell and again, a great fit out of the box.  The cork can be heated up for just a few minutes to dial in the fit of the boot, and has had great result from fitters and owners of the boot.

Liners have come a long way in the last decade; they ski far better and fit better than ever before.  More and more skiers are finding they don’t need to invest three to five hundred dollars in custom liners to get their desired fit and feel, and the breaking in process is less painful than ever.  The next few years I expect more research and development in ski boot liners and would expect more exciting innovation.