Covid-19 Information and Current Operations

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Alpine Touring Gear Overview

Dec 2, 2020 11:07:54 AM

(1) Dawn patrol hike up snowmobile track before the lifts start running on an eight-inch powder day. Photo Credit: Soren Feola. (2) Touring allows for some late ski days, including May in Bolton when this photo of Caroline was taken.

So you’ve decided to get into alpine touring this winter? Not only will this allow you to skip the lift lines and earn your turns, but also gives you an opportunity to explore the Vermont outdoors! Due to COVID-19 limitations at ski resorts, alpine touring can also help limit crowding.

We know it can be a bit daunting to find the right equipment to get out there, and the options of what to buy seems endless, but we are here to help! There are three categories to this blog post: first-time touring, frequent touring, and the elite alpinists out there. Although this will in no way be an exhaustive list, we hope this will be a good jumping off point! Just note that we have seen an increase in demand for alpine touring gear this season. Supply can be limited as well as shipment delays. Some gear recommended below might be out of stock, but please check in with us to see if we expect more or can find another option for you.

As a reminder, any time you are heading into the backcountry, educate yourself first, bring a trusted friend who is also knowledgeable, get the right avalanche gear (and know how to use it). Avalanches do occur in Vermont. If you are new to touring, check out ski resorts as a first step to get used to touring. Not all ski resorts allow uphill travel, so head to their website first and learn and follow the rules.

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Comments | Posted in Product Features and Reviews Expert Tips Downhill Skiing Backcountry By Soren Feola and Caroline Dunbar

Doug Stewart fits a downhill ski boot. Photo Credit: Zach Walbridge.

Ask any veteran skier if their ski boots are important, or if they affect their skiing, I would not be surprised if most said “yeah, of course.” As someone who has spent my entire life on skis and the last few decades helping people ski better, I’m here to make sure you understand just how important your boots are to your ski day.

Based on this idea, I repeatedly tell customers, your boots are 10 times more important than your skis. This also applies to cross country skiing and snowboarding. Our goal is to get you in the right gear the first time around.

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Exploring Vermont via bike. Photo Credit: Zach Walbridge.

With COVID-19 safety guidelines and travel restrictions, winter is looking very different this year in Vermont. Since not many people can travel and are staying home, there's been a huge uptick in people venturing outside and discovering what their backyard has to offer. Outdoor activity is a great way to get exercise, de-stress and spend time with your household. More people getting outside is great news! However, the influx is a concern because of the strain on natural resources. Services such as ski resorts and search and rescue will also be effected. With this resource guide, our goal is to provide some ideas to getting you outside in a new way, while offering other options for people to check out, in order to spread people out in any given area.

Since we already know that ski resort offerings such as lodging and chair capacity will be limited this season, it might not be the year to hit the resorts every weekend like you are used to (click here to read up on the guidelines). It will, however be a great opportunity to try a new winter activity such as cross country skiing, backcountry touring, snowshoeing and winter hiking.

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Cooper skiing at Sleepy Hollow Ski Center, Vermont. Photo Credit: Zach Walbridge.

If you’ve been following the news in the Nordic world, there has been a lot of confusion regarding Fluorinated Waxes. Are they banned or not?

We learned of the upcoming ban from FIS council last year and then just a few weeks ago, learned the ban had been postponed until next season. However, to add to the confusion, we just learned that even if a venue does not allow fluoros on their ski trails, they still cannot ban fluoros for an FIS sanctioned / qualifying race. The logic is that FIS cannot put restrictions on their races as a whole - due to not having the right equipment to test for flouros (yet). We all know that fluoros make your skis faster, although bad for the environment; but if one venue does not allow them, the playing field is not level between races at different venues.

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Testing out the Nordica Enforcers at the Pico Ski Demo. Photo Credit: Molly Cournoyer.

Earlier this year in January, some Skirack staff took a field trip to the Pico Mountain Ski Resort Downhill Ski and Snowboard Demo Event. It was a fun and exciting day because we got to test out downhill skis from our favorite ski brands.

After testing each ski, not only were we able to give our ski buyer feedback to help make buying decisions, but we were able to learn how each ski performed so we can help our Skirack customers find the perfect ski for them.

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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. To start out, you can opt to keep your current skis and add a touring binding and boot combo. A lighter ski will make the uphills a little less strenuous, but that is up to you.

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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

Preseason Skiing...and then Mountain Biking

Here at Skirack there’s not much that gets us more stoked than skis and winter – I guess you could say it comes with the name. We’ve been selling skis for 5 decades! In recent years, another growing outdoor sport has begun to capture our attention too. If you frequent the shop over summer, you’ve probably noticed our ever growing collection of mountain bikes on the second floor.

Mountain biking is the largest growing summer sport in the northeast and naturally Skirack employees are leading the charge. From events, trail building, group rides, and races - to say we’ve fully embraced Vermont bike culture would be an understatement.

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Comments | Posted in News Bicycling Downhill Skiing Backcountry By Charlie Kahn

Meet Brad Tasik

Apr 24, 2019 10:20:56 AM

Meet Brad Tasik

Hometown: Wyckoff, NJ

Years of Experience: 10+ years of Mountain Bike Racing, 2 years of mechanic experience

Certifications and Awards: STU (Sram Technical University), “Best laugh”- 8th grade Superlatives

Outside Interests and Hobbies: Mountain Biking, Skiing, Rock Climbing

Favorite Gear: Santa Cruz Nomad because it gets you to the top and allows you to rally on the downs.

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Meet Kelsey Campbell

Feb 18, 2019 3:58:26 PM

Meet Kelsey Campbell

Hometown: East Longmeadow, MA

Years of Experience: I have been skiing since I was 3 and snowboarding since age 8. I have 3 years experience in softgoods. At Skirack, I specialized in alpine softgoods, helmets & goggles, and running shoes.

Certifications and Awards: Masterfit Associates Plus, Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Outside Interests and Hobbies: Kayaking, surfing, hiking, skiing, snowboarding, biking, stand-up paddle boarding, reading and practicing my Spanish and German.

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