Tag Archives: start haus ski shop

Start Haus Ski News

Welcome to another week of our Tahoe Ski News blog post, where we share ski conditions, racing info, ski events, wax calls and ski deals every Friday.

Send your race, ski event or results to website@starthaus.com. with the headline: Tahoe Ski News to get them listed here each week.

Another dusting of cold smoke is on the ground and the skiing continues to be fantastic here in Tahoe – if you’re not here you’re missing out!

We’re excited to be nominated by Skiing Business for Most Knowledgeable Staff, Most Innovative, Best Backshop: Ski Tuning and Best Backshop: Bootfitting! We’ve taken wins in Best Backshop: Ski Tuning, best Backshop: Bootfitting, and Most Knowledgeable Staff in the past, so keep your fingers crossed for us.

In ski racing and competition news, Far West Skiing has Ski Cross coming up at Squaw Valley on January 12-13 and 19-20. U10/U12 Juniors will be racing at Sugar Bowl January 12-13. The Tahoe League Race Series is heading to Auburn Ski Club January 12-13. Far West Masters head to Sierra at Tahoe this weekend as well. At Northstar, the U.S. Revolution Tour brings halfpipe, slopestyle and cross events on January 13-18. USASA Rail Jam and Slopestyle are on tap at Boreal.

Wax calls for this weekend at Sugar Bowl: Holmenkol Beta Mix, Swix CH8, Toko Red, and Dominator Race Zoom.

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Start Haus’s 3rd Annual Labor Day Consignment Sale!!!

discount ski sale

August 31-Sept 3, 2012
Hours: 9:00-6:00

 How it works….

For the buyers:

Start Haus staff will be on hand to help you with purchases, we are here to serve you.  We will assist you with sizing and making sure the equipment is appropriate for your needs. If we don’t think it is the right item for you, we will let you know.

For the sellers:  

We will begin taking in your equipment on August 1st. Start Haus staff will help advise you on pricing for the gear you wish to sell.  We recommend that you price your equipment aggressively so it sells, of course you will have the final say on what price the ski equipment will sold for.  At the time of listing the items, you have the choice of either 100% store credit -or- 70% back to you in the form of a check.


Items accepted:


Race, Powder, All-mountain & Kids

(skis sell better tuned and with bindings)


Jackets, Shells, Speedsuits, Armor

(Clothing MUST be cleaned and in sellable condition)

 Items not accepted for resale:

Boots, Poles, Mid & Base layers, Goggles, Gloves & Helmets along with any items we wouldn’t sell to you.

 **Due to limited space**

Unsold items must be claimed by October 16th, 2011.

Unclaimed items will be donated.

Race Ski Testing 101

Spring is the time of the season that we begin testing skis and boots for the following season. Here are some key reasons why we stress testing now opposed to the summer time:

Snow: When testing products you should test it on a condition that is most similar to what you will be racing on during the season.  This all revolves around the feel of the ski or boot.  Depending on the condition you will find that there can be differences that will/can eventually add up to a time difference in the course and that can be the separation between you winning or losing.

Tune:  Having the ability to test multiple different brands of products with the exact same Start Haus tune.  This will result in you being eliminate the tune as being a variable in the test and making it easier for you to feel exactly how the ski feels.

Product:  Ultimately you are testing skis or boots to see if you are faster than other brands.  When you have the ability to test multiple different skis or boots in one day you are easily able to determine the differences between brands.  This is easy because the snow conditions are the same, tune is the same and now the only differences will be product.

These three key elements are all necessary components to an effective test and deciding which brand is the best performing ski or boot for the athlete.

Ski camps will be taking place over the next few weekends through the Squaw Valley Race Program and Sugar Bow Ski Team; both camps will be open to all other programs as well. If you have any inquiries regarding these camps please contact Start Haus at 530.582.5781 or comment here and we will be happy to assist you the best we can.

Build it Upside Down

Several years ago, a couple reps, company execs, and sponsored skiers were sitting around a dinner table celebrating the success of a new prototype that would revolutionize the way they made skis. The idea was born out of a frustration with rocker technology, which makes skis playful, but also instable and nervous. Ever the tinkering skier, Arne Backstrom proposed a solution that was simple, yet so profound, it should be written down in the ski book of Zen: Build the ski upside down.

Blizzard-Tecnica unveiled their upcoming 2012/2013 lineup for the first time in California and Nevada before an audience of Tahoe skiers and ski industry leaders at a launch party in Squaw Valley. Like last year’s line of Blizzard skis, next year’s models all embrace Flip Core technology, which was inspired by Backstrom and flips the ski’s wood core upside down so it naturally takes on a rocker shape. Incorporated in the Cochise to the Bodacious to an entire new line of woman’s big mountain skis and beyond — thirteen models in total for 2013 — the genius of Backstrom’s idea is that it can be applied to an entire line of skis, not just one pair. And on Tuesday night, there were many converts in the crowd who now believe in Flip Core.

“If I’m going to sell a product to a friend, I have to believe in it,” said Robb Gaffney, who first skied the Cochise prototype three years ago at Kirkwood, and now skis them nearly every time he goes out. “The first run, I believed it. The second run, I believed it more … He [Backstrom] knew what he was talking about.”

Ski writer Jackson Hogen noted that Blizzard isn’t just on the map, it’s leading the charge with its new technology. “They made it [Blizzard] the most important brand in skiing now, because it’s the reference brand,” Hogan said. “It’s all deserved because it’s product … These things aren’t pixie dust. There’s math involved.” Not just math, there was a curious person who was in tune with his equipment.

“A lot of it came down to this drive to understand how things worked,” said Ralph Backstrom, Arne’s younger brother.

Arne Backstrom was at the top of his skiing career when this idea came forward. And at that dinner table on that fortuitous night, the Blizzard-Tecnica crew was not only celebrating the success of the prototype, but also Backstrom’s skiing career. He had just won the first McConkey Cup and was filming with Matchstick and Warren Miller. It was that night that Stefano Mantegazza, Blizzard-Tecnica product director, proposed that the Bodacious become Backstrom’s signature pro model ski.

“It’s not a tribute,” said Clem Smith, sales rep for Blizzard-Tecnica, about the Bodacious. “This was always his deal. It wasn’t an afterthought.”

Backstrom passed away just as the first line of Flip Core skis went into production. Right before he left for Peru to ski the Cordillera Blanca, Backstrom signed his name five times — a true perfectionist — on a piece of paper that he left with Smith. That signature is now on every pair of Bodacious skis.

“Arne was a man of few words,” Smith said. “But when he spoke, everyone listened.”

New this year from Blizzard is a women’s big mountain line of Flip Core skis, including the aggressive Blizzard Dakota ski, which is the female version of the Cochise. Tecnica is also coming forward with another line of boots inspired by Backstrom’s infamous Frankenboot. The 2012/13 free mountain boots feature interchangeable soles, a walk mode, and can be skied aggressively in bounds or in the backcountry.

“It’s rare to see an athlete have this much inspiration in a global brand,” said Dana Greenwood, sales rep for Blizzard-Tecnica. “It’s got Squaw DNA … [Backstrom] knew it was a good idea, but he never would believe the impact worldwide that he would have.”

Helmets have a shelf life!!!

This article has been sitting in my queue for quite sometime however after receiving the sad news of Sarah Burke’s passing I felt this to be a wake up call for all of us spending time on the mountain.

Just as your old skis have lost their energy and edge, your ski helmet may have loosened up and have become unsafe.  It doesn’t take much for a helmet to lose its fit or protective qualities and depending on how old your helmet is, it may not have some of the important safety features we see today.

Within the recreational ski world we have seen huge improvements when it comes to helmet safety and technology.  Safety is ultimately the number one goal of wearing a helmet; I know it’s a big surprise that it’s not about making a fashion statement. For a helmet to be accepted into the US market the helmet must meet a certain level of criteria to be called a helmet. Some key factors are impact absorption, penetration resistance and rear head protection, all of which are imperative for you to be safe while skiing.  On the technology side of things, most helmets purchased today come with fit systems, ventilation and goggle integration. So what does this mean to you?  You now have the ability to not only ski safely but also wear a comfortable integrated helmet/goggle system.  This allows you to have your head protected without even noticing you are wearing a helmet, and in the meantime your goggles may even stop fogging up so easily.  This occurs because you will have increased ventilation through the goggle and a reduced level of precipitation that can get into your lenses.

So you drop your helmet on the ground is it still good??? Maybe….maybe not.  A helmet’s job is to break when impacted; they aren’t glass slippers so if you simply drop it from a low height you’re probably ok. But what if you fall and hit your head?  The helmet may look unaffected from the outside but there is a strong possibility that as a result of that impact your helmet is no longer safe and needs to be replaced.  The reason for this is that the helmet takes the impact of your head hitting something hard and then disperses that energy through its structure. The result is a fracture or break in the helmet rather than your head absorbing all that energy.  The good news is this greatly reduces the risk of head injury. The bad news is that it means the helmet is toast.  Now there is such a thing as a multiple impact helmet.  These helmets are made of materials that are designed to take more than one impact resulting in a structure that is capable of absorbing energy without it always breaking.  Does that mean that you can take a horrific crash and still use the helmet?  Possibly, but once again helmets are made to break, whether you are able to see the fracture or not there is a high probability that your helmet is no longer safe.

Ultimately it’s wise to use your good judgment and spend an extra $100-300 after a crash. It isn’t that much in the grand scheme of things and your head is extremely important. A safe helmet can make or break you and even at the slowest of speeds a life altering head injury can occur if you are not properly protected. I am absolutely positive that every one of you has a friend, family member or acquaintance that has suffered such an injury.  Don’t let that happen to you – protect your head!!!

With this in mind, here at Start Haus we are launching a new initiative. If you come in with your old helmet we will donate 25% of your helmet purchase to the Sarah Burke Fund from now through Valentines day 2012 to send Sarah’s family some love. High Fives will also be matching the first $1000 raised  (www.giveforward.com/sarahburke).

Kastle MX88 the Porsche 911 of the ski world

The MX 88 is the ski that single handedly built the formidable reputation of the Kastle brand. Some brands may have a ski model that become a hot seller for one year, but almost invariably, they feel the need to tinker with it and change success. Fortunately for all concerned,  Kastle does not work that way. The Kastle MX 88 has been the flagship of the collection since its inception, has not really changed at all and yet it still sells out early every year. There are some very good reasons for this with the primary one being the construction and feel that sets Kastle apart from other brands.

Most ski companies tout their technology and construction and of course they should. A lot of times the new “whiz bang” tech that is “going to change everything” is just smoke and mirrors. With Kastle it is a different program. Kastle utilizes design and construction techniques that give their skis a unique and highly desirable feel, they tune the build and flex for the target customer, put on a fairly simple elegant graphic and then……they leave it alone. It is a plan that works pretty well for them since the skis sell out early every year despite being some of the higher priced models on the market.

The MX 88 falls right in the middle of the width range for today’s all mountain skis. There are a lot of skis in this range of course with some being biased toward soft snow and some biased toward hard snow. Then again, there are some that have about an evenly weighted conditions bias and these tend to be the most versatile in our opinion. The Kastle MX 88 is among the very best in this width range on hard snow and yet, I tend to rank it with only a slight bias on the hard snow side. The reason that I give it only a slight bias toward hard snow is because despite being a fairly stiff ski, it is quite good in other conditions as well. Kastle manages this by producing a ski that is stiff enough torsionally and has such good dampening that it will hold on anything short of a watered down racecourse.  Yet for a ski with all that power it feels lighter and more nimble than one would expect and it is even reasonable in soft, mixed conditions. A combination that is grippy and powerful yet light and nimble at the same time has been one of those unobtanium deals in the ski industry but Kastle has managed it. The Kastle MX 88 will have many differing applications depending on where and how you ski. This is a ski that would make an awesome one ski quiver for any Eastern or Midwestern skier and could still be great fit for a Western guy that skis off trail a bit but doesn’t live there. This is a ski for someone with developed skills, and does require some strength and or speed to generate turn initiation. The MX 88 is not a ski that I would normally recommend for an intermediate skier.

Chris Davenport and the MX88 in action