Steamboat shops stock skis, snowboards cut for comfort
November 21, 2010
Steamboat Springs — The great wave of rocker and camber shaping hasn't left the ski and snowboard market for the 2010-11 equipment.
The technologies, which defined development for the past several years, have begun to morph, however. The result, according to local shops stocked with arsenals of the newest and greatest in snow sport tech, is a bevy of options. Some are better for the powder, some are better for the park and some are better for the corduroy. All, though, promise performance that enthusiasts will eat up, and many are on display in Part 2 of the Outdoors page's winter gear guide.
Boards that won't break
In Steamboat Springs, snowboard development has continued on multiple fronts. This season is the first without local boarding shop The Click, which closed its Central Park Plaza location in spring.
Plenty of options remain at other shops, however, and still more have rushed to fill the void.
Powder Tools, at the base of Steamboat Ski Area, has been selling snowboards all along.
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Atop the list at that shop is the K2 Fastplant, $465, a board more suited for the park and pipes thanks to its tough bamboo core — that's BAMbooya in K2 lingo.
"That core makes it really hard to break. It will hold up to a lot of pressure," Jake Jarvis said. "Bamboo is definitely a recent trend. It's real light and snappy, and it gives you a lot of pop, which is something you're looking for, especially if you're a freestyle guy."
The Ride DH 2.5, $465, meanwhile, offers park style for the all-mountain rider with rocker and camber moldings.
"It's a great board for the kid who treats the whole mountain as a park," Trevor Burman said. "It's really versatile."
If Powder Tools is a fixture on the scene, Ski Haus is diving into the fray this year in The Click's absence.
The shop, previously more often associated with serious ski and general outdoors gear, added K2 and Jones snowboards to the Burton and Salomon lines it has carried in the past.
"There's opportunity for growth in the snowboard market," Ski Haus' Pete Normand said. "We're hoping to fill that gap."
Jones is a line created by big-mountain star Jeremy Jones. The Flagship, selling for $499 at Ski Haus, is one of the line's top performers. It looks simple, even old-fashioned — but not dated — with a plain wooden-looking top sheet void of the wild decorations found on other makers' boards. There's little simple about The Flagship, however.
"It's just great for powder," Normand said.
Blunter tips and tails and a unique rocker layout help riders cut through deep powder and keep their front and rear tips out of the muck.
"This is for a blower day, the day you're out looking for the best powder you can find," Normand said.
The Jones Mountain Twin, $449, is more appropriate for all-mountain riding, and a range of K2 boards new to the shop cater to male and female riders of varying skills.
Some new, some old
Some new stylings are all the rage in this winter's skis, too. The employees at Fleischer Sport in the retail section at One Steamboat Place were just as excited about a lime green blast from the past, however.
The Head Peak 88s have been a staple of skiing for years, and a few innovations have helped keep them at the top of the industry.
A stable ski popular with giant slalom racers, the new model features a small, beveled-out section near each tip.
It doesn't seem like much, but it helps make the Peak 88 ideal for those still picking up the finer points of screaming down a mountain.
"Rocker is the new technology, but a lot of people who come out here from Florida for vacation say, 'I'm not good enough for that,'" Fleischer's Torre Saterstrom said. "This ski feels like a good, stable ski underfoot, but that beveled-out section makes the tip a lot softer so it can get up and over some of that crud.
"It skis like a rocker, but it's a traditional shape, and that makes it a lot more consumer-friendly ski."
Fleischer, which also sells and demos Armada, Atomic, Blizzard and other high-end skis and snowboards, retails the Peak 88s for $879.
John Kole at One Stop Ski Shop, who also sells Armada and Atomic skis, pointed to the Atomic Access as one of the best all-mountain options available.
"It's probably one of the best out there," Kole said. "It gets great flotation in powder, has the side cut to turn on hard pack and with this advanced rocker is easier to turn."
The brilliant yellow Access sells at One Stop for $440.
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