Category Archives: Reviews

2018 Norco Sight- In-Stock Now

Norco Sight 29 & 27.5: Two Top Tahoe Bike Contenders

The perfect Tahoe bike is something we can debate until we’re blue in the face – but for a bike that can take on our region’s gnarly terrain just as well as it can head out for an all-day epic on the Tahoe Rim Trail, the new Norco Sight is tough to beat.

Start off by picking the personality you’re looking for –29-inch wheels with great rollover and speed, or 27.5 for a more nimble ride perfect for those who prefer to pop off of little lips and rocks rather than plowing through them.

The 29er gets 130mm of well-controlled travel in the rear, 140mm up front. Enough to mash through the local rock garden, but without slowing you down on the climb. The 27.5 gets a little more with 140mm in back and 150mm in front – great for getting rowdy without dumbing down your favorite flow trail.

But geometry is what really defines the character of these bikes, and the Sight hits all the right angles and measurements on the head. The head tube angle backs off the crazy-slack trend to balance stability and maneuverability, while a steeper seat tube angle puts you in a better climbing position. The chainstays grow in proportion to reach as you go up in size, giving the bike incredible balance.

At Bike Magazine’s recent bike review roundup – the Bible of Bike, the Norco Sight ended up being not one, but two of the testers’ favorite out of a field of more than 30 bikes.

Jonathon Webber wrote: “They simply do everything extremely well, with absolutely no fuss. Set them to 30-percent sag and go ride. They’ll pedal, climb and descend anything you want, but both are most impressive due to their suspension performance on descents.”

And the ladies loved it too, with Lacy Kemp writing: “For the first time in my three-year tenure as a Bible tester, my favorite bike was an easy choice. The Norco Sight 27.5 was the clear winner. I could not stop riding this bike. It felt awesome on everything.”

Check out Bike Magazine’s video review of the 27.5:


And the 29r:


Swing by the Start Haus to throw a leg over the new Norco Sight and see if it’s the perfect Tahoe Bike 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.

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.

Geeking Out on the Greatness of Custom Footbeds

No skier daydreams about a sweet new pair of footbeds while watching the clock and clicking through ski websites on a Friday afternoon at the office. Well, maybe Jim Schaffner does, but that’s a different story.
Most people pour over magazine reviews of the latest carbon this or rockered that, gear of the year winners and that pair of powder skis that made the latest Internet edit look so cool.

But for most of us, wanting to make a real difference in performance and comfort on the mountain, a pair of custom footbeds might actually be the breakthrough we’re all looking for.

Book an appointment with a bootfitter at Start Haus and you’ll quickly find out that custom footbeds aren’t just about being comfy (although that certainly is one result), but about performance.

If you’re still skiing on stock insoles, pull one out of your boot. Odds are it’s a flat piece of foam doing next to nothing. Flat insoles make for flat feet, bones spread out and toes jammed against the end of the boot. Custom insoles lift and support the arch, align the bones and create a stable platform for you drive the ski properly.

Getting all those little bones in your feet properly aligned and supported has a “from the ground up” effect on your whole body.

The end result on the hill is not only more comfort, but also more precise control over your boot and ski (quicker turn initiation, more stability through crud, more sure-footed power when arcing a big GS turn), less fatigue on all the small balancing muscles and a better experience on the snow.

Common problems like pronation (ankle rolling inward) and supination (ankle rolling out) are also addressed with custom insoles.

While we tend to see the most dramatic results in stiff plastic ski boots, custom insoles are great for your daily shoes, hiking boots or bike shoes. Those same results of balancing all those little bones and muscles make a big difference in any pair of footwear.

Sidas Drop-In Footbeds

Sidas Drop-In Footbeds

Aftermarket insoles like Sidas at $50 dollars can make a difference for those who aren’t sure, but for those who really want to see an improvement, contact Start Haus to book an appointment today. Going through the process typically takes around 2 hours and costs $200.

Always best to make an appointment!

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.

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!