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Looking out to Camel's Hump after skinning up Mt. Mansfield. Photo Credit: Jake Whitlock.

Alright so your cool skier friends have finally convinced you to give Alpine Touring or “AT” for short, a go. So, what should you do first? Well if you don’t have a set up then the first thing you should do is go to Skirack at 85 Main St. in Burlington to get your gear.

1. Boot Fitting & Ski Selection:

Take time to sit down with a Skirack boot fitter and let them help you decide what boot is best for your foot. Keep an open mind when it comes to brands and models. Even though your friends may have recommended an awesome touring boot, it may not agree with your foot profile. Listen to the boot fitters’ suggestions and work with them to get your fit dialed in. We can also recommend a great ski and binding that best suits your skier type. Ideally, we would want to go with a lighter ski to make the uphills a little less strenuous but if you still want that hard charging heavy ski - it’s up to you!

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Peering out across Colorado mountains from Leadville, CO. Photo Credit: Nic MacCulloch.

I remember setting down my first ever skin track in the shadow of Sugarloaf Mountain, Maine. We rode the King Pine lift up to the ridge that connects over to Burnt Mountain via a trail called Golden Road. From here, we transitioned our splitboards into touring mode and set out along the ridgeline. This first transition for me was unlike anything my normal snowboarding career had prepared me for. Moving my bindings around. Applying skins to my splitboard?! Riding skis?! I probably spent a solid 20 minutes on this first “transition”. That was 5 years ago, and since then I have dialed in my transition time and general skills as a backcountry traveler.

Here are 6 areas of focus to help you get more confident and efficient as a splitboarder:

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Chloe and Sara take a break from (having fun) cross country skiing at Craftsbury Outdoor Center. Photo Credit: Zach Walbridge.

My job at the Skirack is to help you have fun doing things outdoors, and that is rewarding for me.

Yes, I’m a gearhead. I love the things I sell, and I always have, but I never lose sight of the fact that in the end, it’s not about the stuff. It’s about the experience you have outside playing with the stuff. If you have fun, and do it more and more, then I have done my job, and that feels good.

You can be a gearhead too, and many people do enjoy the buying part of the process. However, my advice is that before you go to purchase equipment, take the time to visualize that part of the overall experience that gives you the most satisfaction and fun, then set out to maximize that part.

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A view of Kumbhalgarh Fort (left) and a Tea Hike in Munnar (right). Photo Credit: Jon Kohn.

Last January my family and I spent 6 months living and traveling in India. My wife Abby is a South Asian Historian at the University of Vermont, was on sabbatical, sponsored by a Fulbright Scholarship. Accompanying us was my wife’s nephew Ross who would become like a big brother to our son Zachary. We lived in Mumbai where Zach attended kindergarten and Ross 10th grade at the American School. The weather in India varies by region, ranging from triple digits and humidity to snow and cold in the Himalayas. In Mumbai, the temperatures range from the 70’s to low 80’s in January progressively climbing toward the high 90’s with increasing humidity hitting 80% as the monsoons approached in mid-June.

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In 1969, twin brothers Zandy and John Wheeler, along with a group of UVM ski bums opened up a small town ski shop and called it "Skirack".

50 years has seen a lot of changes in gear - do you remember leather boots and straight skis? What about the day-glow days?

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Comments | Posted in News Videos History By Skirack

2020 Craftsbury Marathon Waxing Tips. Photo courtesy of Craftsbury Outdoor Center.

It is time for the Craftsbury Marathon! Arguably the biggest cross country ski marathon in the Northeast, this weekend's event is shaping up to be a great time with ample snow, moderate temperatures, and the outstanding grooming Craftsbury is so well-known for. Regardless of your race distance or experience level, you will want some great wax on your skis to make the most of the event. The wax tips below are based on products that Skirack carries in-store. Many staff are racers and waxers themselves and can help provide even more guidance for interested competitors.

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Derek finds powder in the woods at Bolton Valley. Photo Credit: Zach Walbridge.

Whether you are someone who spends their whole day lapping the park; or the dedicated split boarder heading out at first light exploring ever further from the resort area boundaries; we all are listening to something. With headphones on or just on the way to the mountain, we all need that little something to get us amped and ready to shred. We have assembled a play list from a bunch of our staff who snowboard to help get your day off to a great start. Our staff has some pretty diverse tastes and each pick is of the employee's own liking. The lyrics may not be suitable for all folks or tastes, but diversity in how we ride and what we listen to is what makes snowboarding so fun. This is just meant to possibly expand our customers own music libraries and create some conversation on what you’re listening to as well.

Feel free to put your own top five picks in the comments so we can all find something new to queue up for that next awesome powder day!

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Looking out over the Green Mountains after skinning up Mt. Mansfield on the Stowe side for sunrise. Photo Credit: Jake Whitlock.

The clock strikes 4:00 AM and I awake to the ding of my alarm. With eyes closed my hand swats and taps at my nightstand hoping to touch down upon the snooze button. Finally, after a few failed attempts and a spilt glass of water I force myself to get up. I look out the window into the darkness. The only light I can see is the dim street lamp shining down on the row of parked cars outside my house. A perfect, untouched, blanket of beautiful snow sits below my window. The feeling of dismay is replaced with excitement. I run to my closet to quickly throw on my base layers and bibs. I call my friend Forrest to see if he’s still “in” but am greeted by a voicemail. I try once more and this time I hear a very muffled “I’m up.”

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Comments | Posted in Downhill Skiing Backcountry By Jake Whitlock

Tips for Cold Weather City Running

Dec 31, 2019 2:44:00 PM

Emily gears up for a run along the Burlington, VT Waterfront. Photo Credit: Zach Walbridge.

I haven’t always been a runner, but it certainly feels as if it’s woven into my DNA. I’m not fast, my form could use some work, and I don’t run a lot of races. But I do know, when I don’t run, I’m not the best version of myself. The more I run, the more true that last statement is. Not only do I love it, but I need it. Last summer was my first consistent season of training, and compared to now, it was minimal. I started to increase my mileage and accomplished some goals I never thought were possible. I ran the Pemi Loop in a day (a popular 31.5 mile loop in White Mountains of New Hampshire) and after that I was absolutely hooked. It wasn’t even completing the loop that hooked me, it was the training. I thoroughly enjoyed training, pushing my limits, and seeing growth. Then we moved to Vermont, in the middle of November, and there was a foot and a half of snow on the ground. Long story short, my training fell apart.

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How to Select Cross Country Skis

Dec 30, 2019 4:42:00 PM

How to Select Cross Country Skis. Photo credit: Zach Walbridge.

Which cross country skis should I buy? This question has only become more difficult as more types of skis have been developed for every kind of skiing imaginable. Currently, Skirack carries 6 different categories of cross country skis. They are outlined below to help you get an idea for what you’re looking for.

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