Tag Archives: Start Haus

Why Buy From Us: A Guide

There are many retailers out there, and we fully expect any potential customer to do their homework.  But its not just about the price, but everything else that comes with making a purchase.  We want every customer, new and old, to walk out the door with the same great feeling that drew us into this industry to begin with.  We don’t want the customer to be simply satisfied, we want then to be elated.  And we wont settle for anything less than that perfect experience.

So why should you buy gear from us?

The Staff:  Everyone one at Start Haus lives what they sell.  We all ride, ski, paddleboard, and live to do it.  We work where we play, and that’s no accident.  That passion blends right into the sales floor.  The experience we each have while enjoying the sports we love in the place we love keeps us on our A-game, not because we need to, but because we can’t help it!  This passion inevitably helps you, our customer, to make the right choice- not because we have a quota to meet, but because we know and love the gear we sell.

The Deal:  Beyond knowing you made the right purchase, a deal is icing on the cake!  Any bike purchased from Start Haus comes with a lifetime of adjustments.  That derailleur not shifting quite right?  We’ll adjust it for free.  Brakes not giving you quite the sensitivity you expect?  We’ll adjust it for free.  We’ll only ask you to pay when parts need to be replaced, or you are ready for the next upgrade.

On the day you buy the bike, we want you to be ready to ride, and that means 10% OFF any bike accessory on that same day.

The Service:  We don’t just service Giant Bikes, we’ll service anything you got!  The burner bike getting a little too gunked up?  We’ll fix it.  Your competition level DH bike need some love?  We’ll fix it.  We stand behind our industry certified mechanics, and wont gouge you just because we staff the best guys.  We want to be reasonable, just like you’d expect.  (Check out our full service menu here.)

We dare you to come by and experience what Start Haus has to offer.  You wont regret it!


Happy Holidays & Happy Snow, from the Start Haus Staff

Wishing you plenty of powder, tons of turns, no lift lines and a happy new year!



Alexis, bootfitting and sales.


Allison, warranty & special orders.


Brady, bootfitter


Collin, ski tuning


Doug, bootfitter


Jim Fowler, sales & ski tester


Greyson, web editor


James, bootfitter


Jared, sales


Jason, bootfitter


Krystal, bootfitter & sales


Phil, sales


Jim Schaffner, owner

And the rest of the crew.

5 Reasons Why You Should Get Your Skis Tuned & Waxed Now!

Some people go seasons without tuning or waxing their skis, and out on the slopes it shows, even if they don’t know any better. Getting a fresh tune and wax at Start Haus is one of the best things you can do to get your season started off right. Here’s why:

1) Well tuned skis are easier and more fun to ski. You’re legs are probably a little rusty, don’t add to first day frustrations with rusty edges or sticky bases. It takes us all a few runs to get our snow legs back, and if your skis aren’t running smoothly on funky early season snow or your edges aren’t biting on those man-made icy patches, you’re more likely to throw in the towel and go into the lodge for drinks.

2) Ski bases dry out all summer long. You didn’t put storage wax on at the end of last season like we told you to, did you? If your bases are getting discolored, white or chalky looking, they’re drying out. Dried out bases also shrink, affecting the tune of your ski too. It’s not the end of the world, but they’ll run really poorly – so get them in for a proper hot scrape and wax at Start Haus to really get wax down into the material and the tune fixed.

3) Edges get dinged and can rust in storage. Storage wax can also help protect metal from moisture, so if you skipped that step, chances are your edges won’t be ready for prime-time out of the gate. Getting a tune by the pros at Start Haus ensures they will run smooth so you won’t catch awkwardly or skid unexpectedly your first day out.

4) Don’t forget about last season’s damage you swore you’d take care of over the summer. Don’t let scratches or core shots in your base keep you from making first chair. Get the repairs you need done by the best technicians in the business.

5) If you were a good skier and did have us put on storage wax, don’t forget to take it off. That glopped on wax that was doing your bases so much good won’t do you any good if you don’t get a good scrape and brush. We’ll make sure you’ve got the perfect shiny finish on your bases so they run smooth and fast.

Start Haus Staff On Bikes – Video

In case you couldn’t tell, the Start Haus staff is really excited about becoming a bike shop in 2015. Really, really excited. We’re out riding a ton, hitting all the area trails, and getting a feel for the best in bike technology.

We’re not pros – not the fastest or going the biggest, but we’re passionate. Here’s how much we’re riding:

And where we’re riding:

We’re taking after work rides when the shop closes:

Taking on Tahoe area classics like Downieville:

And Mr. Toads Wild Ride:

We’ve been checking out some cool trails like Connector and Corral:

Riding just about anywhere we can get a bike:

We hope you’re excited too. Swing by and talk with us about bikes and rides, or keep an eye here on our blog for the latest and greatest, including more brand announcements like Giant Bicycles, more video and other news.


Free 2nd Day shipping for the Holidays!

It’s not too late to get that special somebody what they really want – we’re offering free 2nd Day UPS Shipping on all orders over $300!

So if you’ve got somebody on your list looking for a new pair of skis, the perfect pair of ski boots, the right set of ski bindings or any other piece of ski equipment, now’s your chance to make them happy. Or maybe you’ve been eying something in our ski outlet and want to buy yourself a little present – we won’t judge.

Just make sure to place your order by Thursday, 1 p.m. PST for the 2nd day shipping to get your package to you in time for Christmas.

Questions? Shoot us an email at Online@starthaus.com

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.

Longterm Review of the Rossignol S7, Nordica Patron and 2013 Helldorado

2 Years on the Rossignol S7:

As some folks may recall, I was on board with the Rossi S7 pretty early. I got a sample pair in the spring before the ski was in general release and then kept it in my quiver for the next two seasons. Initially, I was stunned by the quickness and maneuverability and I found it to be stupid easy to ski in trees and tight spots. Eventually, I skied it a bit more in wider, more open areas and in heavier snow and started to discover a few limitations. The S7 tends to get knocked around a bit in rough conditions and the narrow tail can tend to “wheelie” out from under the skier in a sharp downhill to flat transition. At first, I attributed those issues to the soft tip and tail and the rather abrupt rocker profile. The S7 also skis very short and I suspected that I was slightly undergunned on the 188. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that the tapered tip and tail profile also played a part. For all that, the S7 was and is a remarkable tool in untracked snow and in tight areas. As a benefit, the shape and stiff center allows the ski (at least the center potion of it) to rail fairly well on moderately firm packed conditions. During this time period, I also had a conventional cambered Huge Trouble and later the minimally rockered version of the Huge. On many powder days, I found myself starting the day on the S7 but eventually,  going back to the car for the less nimble, but more stable Dynastars.

All along, I wanted to combine the attributes of the two skis but never really found the exact answer I was looking for. When the Rossignol Super 7 came out, I tried that and it was a little more stable but really wasn’t the whole answer.  I liked all these skis a lot and had a great time on them but was always wondering about tip deflection in crud and that “wheelie” thing.  I have heard others complain about tip flappage at higher speeds on packed conditions and it’s true enough that these various S7 models can give you a fair bit of that. Honestly, that never bothered me a whole lot as I don’t care a ton about that within the context of what these skis are really for.

Here’s a comparison of the Rossignol S7, Rossignol Super 7 and Rossignol Squad 7:

Eventually, I decided to replace the S7 but this is a ski category that I personally don’t use all that often and hence, I don’t replace them at the drop of the hat. As time went on, I tested a lot of other 110+ skis, had a great time on most of them and never felt deprived when I went out on a deep snow day. Nevertheless, I really never found one that I wanted to buy for myself until the latter part of the spring 2011 testing season.  That was when I first tested the Nordica Patron and Unleashed Hell.

The 2011-12 Nordicas:

For the 2011-12 season, Nordica introduced these two powder skis that were made with the same dimensions but different constructions and graphics. The Patron is the flagship for the freeride market and is built with a conventional wood core and “scary Gaucho” graphics. The Unleashed is billed as a sidecountry /alpine model and has a light isocore stringer down the center of the core and a more adult oriented graphic. Both skis share the same shape and rocker profile which is a conventional low cambered center section with moderate tip and tail rocker sections and a moderate amount of rise at both extremities. The flex is very similar between the two versions and is relatively soft in the tip and tail with a firmer center section. The flex seems somewhat firmer in the 193 length vs. the 185.

When I first got on the Patron it was at Mammoth last year the conditions were not ideal for powder ski testing. There was a little wind blown new snow that had filled in over an older base that created pockets of soft snow between 8-12” interspersed with areas of wind packed powder and the older, rough base. Some of the groomers had good firm winter conditions. I skied a lot of new models of bigger skis that day and the S7 was still as good as any although there were some that minimized the tip deflection issue to an extent. Unfortunately some of those had no cambered section at all and that just doesn’t fit my preferences. The first of the Nordicas that took out was the Patron in 193 and as I made a long high speed traverse to get to my first off trail pass I noticed that it didn’t have the “greasy” feel underfoot of the non cambered skis. When I cut into the moderately steep face under chair 1 the tip of the Patron felt more solid than expected given the softish flex. Rolling into the first set of short to medium turns in the heavily mixed snow, the tip felt engaged and positive and the ski was very nimble for a 193. Near the bottom of the first pitch, I cut hard left into a long traverse that gave me some more vert as the hill fell away to the left. The second pass on this face was made in longer faster turns and the area was a little more scratchy in between the pockets of soft. The Patron again felt very stable and comfortable but was playful enough for me to bank it off of a sidehill at speed and back into the choppy stuff. When the terrain spit me back out onto the groomers I stopped for a moment to reflect. On this sidehill of rough snow mixed with soft pockets, the Patron had felt more seamless than the skis with abrupt rocker profiles and more solid underfoot than the skis with no camber. I was very danged impressed. On the run back to the bottom of chair 1 and then back across the area to the bottom of chair 2, I was able to test the Patron’s manners on the groomers. In all kinds of turn shapes, the Patron felt “longer” than the S7 and I attribute this to the wider tip and tail profiles. On a tip shape like the Patron, you can get enough engagement to quiet the ski down and minimize the flappage and that’s just not something you generally get with a ski that carries a lot of reverse taper at the extremeties.

There weren’t a lot of these skis available for long term testing last year and the few times that I had one at hand, the conditions weren’t right. I finally had a ski on hand at the right time for some deep snow late in the Epic 2011 season. This time around, I happened to have a 185 Unleashed at hand on a snowy day in March with 18” down overnight at Alpine Meadows. My typical test route at Alpine is to ride the Summit chair and hit the various shots off of peril ridge then traverse into the lower half of Sympathy face, followed by a long traverse out to Gunner’s knob near the bottom. This path usually gives me a variety of pitches and exposures and usually holds good snow a bit longer than the more popular routes off the top.  The Unleashed in 185 was really nimble and light feeling and felt just as floaty in the deeper snow and just as quick in tight spots as my 188 S7’s had. The difference was that the Unleashed felt more solid in the tip in the choppy spots and in abrupt transitions, the “wheelie” tendency was gone. This day sort of coalesced my supposition that the radically tapered tail of the Rossi was one of the bigger factors in the wheelie issue. The Unleashed/Patron don’t have that taper and while they really aren’t any stiffer, the tail is more stable. This day was the deciding factor that caused me to go for an Unleashed for the 2012 season as I had finally found a ski that was as much fun as the S7 but was more versatile on soft groomers and less prone to the tip deflection and wheelie issues. Since the Unleashed and Patron had felt nearly identical, I chose the Unleashed due to the more sedate Graphics.

Enter the 2012 season……………and no snow.


So along comes late November and the 2012 ski season. The gear corner in my place has a fresh pair of Bonafides, a Hell and Back and my new Unleashed Hell in 185. And there they stayed. There was so little snow that the 98-113mm skis were just not getting any use at all and the Unleashed wasn’t even mounted. Then came Christmas and then New Years……and my own skis sat. Off I went to SIA at the end of January and I was testing 2013’s……and my skis were sitting gathering dust.  I’d gotten the chance to see the 2013 Nordica collection in early fall and among other things, they were showing another new powder ski. This new model was to be called the Helldorado and it took the Enforcer build (wood/metal) and put it in the Patron/Unleashed mold. When we got to SIA, we got to get the whole story and see finished skis. The first thing I noticed was that the Helldorado was not as stiff nor as heavy as I thought it would be. The final graphic which is a semi matte black with sublimated tone on tone was very cool and pretty bad-azz looking. During our meetings in Denver Willy, Booker, (les grandes Fromagge at Nordica) arranged to send us a couple of pairs of Helldorados for a long term test as soon as possible.

The Helldorado shows it’s stuff:

Welllllllso…………….we got back from SIA and immediately jumped into ski testing mode. Given the conditions, we were sorta distracted by the new FA 84 EDT and skis of that ilk and we forgot about the Helldo for a while.  When they showed up, we immediately mounted up the 185 and 193 and got them prepped so that we could get them out as soon as conditions permitted. And then finally it snowed, and snowed, and then snowed some more. All through this miracle March and into early April, I’ve been able to back to back with the Nordica Helldorado and the Unleashed in 185 as well as some other skis in this range. I still liked the Unleashed better than I had my S7’s but I found that in some cases, I liked the Helldo even better. The differences are subtle but the Helldorado is simply more damp and stable than the Patron/Unleashed without sacrificing much in the maneuverability capability. In really tight spots, the Unleashed is quicker and more nimble especially at slower speeds. On the other hand, once the snow gets heavied out, the Helldo plows through the crud and feels more stable in rough stuff like slide debris. The Unleashed/Patron are more in the realm of “powder” skis while the Helldorado edges into the “Big Mountain” category. This distinction bears on the stability factor and the ability of the Helldorado to hammer rough conditions that would bounce lesser skis around.

Nordica does a remarkable job with this wood metal layup in skis like the Enforcer and this new Helldorado. While many metal bearing skis are really too stiff to be truly versatile in mixed snow, the Nordicas tend to hit that balance that I always talk about. Both the Helldo and our long favored Enforcer have the benefits of dampening and stability without being so planky that they just don’t flex in deep snow. They also seem to have hit a great mix of rocker and cambered sections giving the skier a solid feel underfoot along with the ease that you’d hope for. One other factor that seems to bear on the stability of the Helldorado is the rocker profile in the tip. The rise on the rockered section is subtley lower than on the Patron/Unleashed which in turn are both lower than the S7 (see the pic above). I think this allows the Nordicas to stay engaged better and hence have more stability while not giving up much of that ultra-short feel  that some other skis exhibit. For the tight tree slicer and dicer, or the skier looking for a medium speed powder ski,  I’d still pick the Patron/Unleashed. For the skier that wanted that light feel but a higher stability factor, I’d suggest those two in the 193 length. For the higher powered skier, and/or heavier snow in the west, the Helldorado gets the nod.

Shop 2013 Rossignol S7 Ski                                     Shop 2013 Nordica Helldorado Ski

Wax Call for Sugar Bowl GS 4-15-12

For Tahoe spring races, there are some consistent tricks for speed.  Our Spring snow changes from 1st run to second run; and there is dirt, oil, tree sap as well as pollen mixed into the snow.  We are also dealing with some dusting’s of new snow.  You will need to use some form of antistat to keep the dirt, oil and tree sap from adhering to your wax mix. Graphite plays a key role in the performance of your antistat thus why we also carry high fluoro graphite to use as an additive to any base wax.  The best is Start Haus Warm Antistat by Dominator or Dominator FG88 or SRB32.  These should be rubbed on the dry base before you iron your wax in.  It is also effective to mix these antistats with your overlay to help repel dirt.


  • Dominator – Race Zoom Old Snow/SRB32 or HF Pink/SRB32 50/50 Mix
  • Holmenkol – Hybrid Red/SRB32 50/50 Mix
  • Swix – LF8/SRB32 50/50 Mix
  • Toko – LF Red/SRB32 50/50 Mix
  • Note: Dominator SRB32= Start Haus Warm Old Snow


  • Holmenkol – Wet Speed Block
  • Swix – Turbo Block Wet
  • Toko – Red HelX or Jet Stream Red

Remember to brush out and re-apply antistat in between runs!!!

Kirkwood Banzai Recap

The Rahlves Banzai Tour kicked off this past weekend at Kirkwood Mountain Resort. There is no doubt
that this is the most exciting race series in the US today. The course was set by Daron Rahlves and it
showed; technical, fast and above all fun. This particular course ran from above tree line and then dove
off the Pop Chips air into the Snake Gully. The lack of snow only added to entertainment of the course,
with more features such as jumps and the necessity of technical skiing. This Banzai stop will certainly go
down as one of the more exciting stops of the series.

Day one at Kirkwood was all about qualifying to determine who the best skiers were. The course was
running fast to say the least and having the right tune was key. There were skiers from all different
disciplines of skiers within this competition be it big mountain, freestyle or race all of which proved to
have certain advantages. Topping the Men’s qualifying was Toby Lamar with a time of 1:27.55 followed
by Greg Lindsey at 1:28.05 and George Rodney at 1:28.75. Other competitors with experience on the
Banzai tour such as Marcus Caston and John Bochenek both qualified with respectable times in sixth and
eighth. In the Womens ski class we saw some of the best competition of the Kirkwood Banzai stop. This
class was stacked with competitors such as Tara Hines and Keely Kelleher both of which are ex US Ski
Team members with World Cup experience and Shannon Rahlves the returning Champion of the 2011
Banzai Series. Tara Hines led the women through qualifying with a time of 1:40.43 followed by Kelly
Kelleher at 1:42.64 and Shannon Rahlves with a time of 1:46.15. Both of these classes were stacked and
we knew heading in to the final day there would be some changes in the standings.

The final day arrived with perfect race conditions. Cold overnight conditions allowed for the course
to set up and smooth out, the competitors were anxiously awaiting the drop of the start gate. By the
time Mens Semi Finals hit the field was narrowed to the top eight competitors and a few of our top
qualifiers didn’t quite make it. The semi’s consisted of Toby Lamar, Justin Roach, Lucas Matelich, and
John Bochenek in the first heat. Within the second heat we saw George Rodney, Marcus Caston, Jesse
Maddex, and Travis Wolfe. Travis Wolfe had a controversial win to get in to the Semis when a judge
on course deemed that he had not made it through a gate and was disqualified. At this point Travis
received the first video review of the series, after Daron Rahlves review his disqualification was reversed
and he advance to the semis. On the other side of the brackets Womens Semi Finals were stacked with
competitors. Tara Hines, Hanna Jermstad, Shelly Robertson and Ally Keef were on the top bracket
and Keely Kelleher Shannon Rahlves, Amie Engerbretson and Caitlin Robb rounded out the semifinals
competitors for the women. The first heat of women went off without a glitch and then we had the
second heat. Keely Kelleher had the hole shot out of the gate when Caitlin Robb took a very aggressive
line and unintentionally impacted Keely at the first gate stopping both of them. At this point Shannon
Rahlves and Amie Engerbretson took full advantage of the situation until an equipment failure stopped
Engerbretson in her tracks. At this point Keely had fought back from her crash and was skiing with
determination and was able to pass Engerbretson, finishing up in second and advancing to the finals.
One of the most exciting heats we saw all day, until the finals.

The finals across the board were stacked from Men’s Snowboard to Women’s Ski. The Men’s Snowboard
final literally came down to the last foot of the course. Shaun Palmer, six time X-Games Champion, was

behind by at least half a second and I have literally never seen somebody pump so hard and accelerate
to narrow the margin to under a foot when Sylvian Ducros just edged out Shaun Palmer. Just as the
Men’s snowboard finished with a bang Women’s Ski was an awesome show of talent. We had Tara
Hines, Keely Kelleher, Shannon Rahlves and Shelly Robertson; all of which were well decorated skiers.
This was an extremely competitive run with Kelleher edging out the competition in the final turns to
defend her Kirkwood title. Finally we had the Men’s Ski final which had last year’s overall tour winner
and Red Bull Huttenralleye competitor Marcus Caston, last seasons Kirkwood Banzai winner John
Bochenek, Lucas Matelich and George Rodney. This heat all came down to fluidity. John Bochenek took full advatage of mistakes made by others and in turn he won.

The Rahlves Banzai Tour is becoming one of the most eventful race series in Lake Tahoe if not North
America. The fact is literally anyone can get off there couch and run this course and have a great time
doing it. The courses are set such that there are turns and aspects of the course that are difficult but
without that what fun would it be? If you are that guy or girl that is charging around the mountain, and
racing your friends there is literally no other event in North America that lets you test your ability. Did
I mention that there is an $80,000 purse this season? If that isn’t enough motivation to come out and
compete I don’t know what is. How about the fact that Red Bull is filming the stops and will be airing an
edit on NBC with the potential of being viewed by over 1 Million people? Time to try something new,
exciting and challenging sign up for the Alpine Banzai while you still can spots are limited and expected
to fill up!!!