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Downhill skiing with kids can be challenging, but also very rewarding. Photo Credit: Rossignol.

Outdoor activities with kids in any weather can be challenging but also very rewarding. Cold, snow, rain, and wind can add another element to the mix. No matter the age of your kiddo, follow these general tips for a most positive outdoor experience. This article is focused on downhill skiing and snowboarding, but these tips can be applied to any cold weather activity. Our mission is to inspire a lifetime of outdoor activity and starting them off right is the best way to instill a love of nature at an early age.

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Winter sports gear (more specifically for backcountry skiing or backyard exploration) has been in demand like never before. Photo Credit: Zach Walbridge.

The Popularity of Cross Country Skiing + Backcountry Snowsports

Last winter, the outdoor community saw an unprecedented surge in winter outdoor activities. Between travel and ski resort restrictions, more people discovered or rediscovered snowsports as a way to get out of the house, get back into shape, or socialize while enjoying the outdoors.

As a direct result of this popularity, winter gear has been in demand like never before. Last winter, touring and backcountry cross country skis and equipment sold out, with few or no options for our buyers to reorder. We also saw an uptick for backcountry gear and snowshoes. Indoor bike trainers also increased in popularity as people preferred the flexibility of riding at home with their friends virtually. More recently, running shoes and clothing have seen supply issues due to production and shipping delays.

If this all sounds familiar, it should. We’re still experiencing the same demand and supply issues with finding a bike.

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Meet Max VanOrman

Aug 1, 2021 8:00:00 AM

Meet Max VanOrman

Hometown: Bloomfield, NY

Years of Experience: Bike, Snowboard and Run expertise

Outside Interests and Hobbies: I love mountain biking, writing music, fishing, hiking, and camping.

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Meet Doug Stewart

Jul 29, 2021 8:00:00 AM

Meet Doug Stewart

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Hometown: Silver Spring, MD

Years of Experience: Alpine boot fitter since 2001 and Certified Ski Instructor since 1994.

Certifications and Awards: PSIA-E Examiner Masterfit Certified Bootfitter

Outside Interests and Hobbies: Downhill Skiing, Star Wars, Rollerblading, and all things Elon Musk.

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1 Comments | Posted in Meet Our Staff Downhill Skiing By Doug Stewart

(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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1 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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Cross country ski racing at Craftsbury Outdoor Center in Vermont. Photo Credit: Dave Priganc.

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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