I’m not a ski gear person. My equipment is pretty old and I’m OK with that. I’m a little old too.
I do have a new pair of ski pants, thanks to my wife’s generous Christmas present, but my parka is almost as old as my youngest child in college, (though a new zipper last year made it like new), my skis are almost a decade old and — well, you get the point.
But I do get curious about what is trendy these days when I stop at ski shops to get my older skis tuned.
Richard Hill, sales associate at The Sport’s Page ski shop in Queensbury, told me last week that heated socks were kind of the rage this year. It was the first thing that popped into his head when I asked.
“The most sought-after thing I’ve seen people ask about,” he said of the battery-powered socks that cost between $200 and $300. “Despite the price, it’s surprising how many people want them.”
And he said snowboard sales, which dropped in recent years with a resurgence of ski sales, “have come back this year.”
Bruce Lundgren, at Queensbury’s Fall Line Ski Shop, said he too noticed people buying items to warm up feet, like boot warmers, but that was earlier in the season when we had a really cold stretch. Beyond that, he said he hasn’t seen any real trends, but said his tuning shop has been busy.
West Mountain co-owner Spencer Montgomery said he’s noticing helmets becoming trendy now and are selling better.
“They got the ones with the visors now and they’ve become a decorative feature,” he said.
At Alpine Sport Shop in Saratoga Springs, Julia Lee said various gear from “Ski The East” has been very popular, from T-shirts and jackets to water bottles.
“And bib ski pants are coming back in a big way. People like the comfort of more coverage,” said Lee, whose family has owned the shop for years.
Lee also mentioned that magnetic lens goggles are becoming really popular, allowing riders to change lenses much easier.
Queensbury’s Inside Edge Ski and Bike caters a little more to Nordic skiers and sales associate Brady Swanson said the store is selling “a lot of classic and touring skis to get out in Cole’s Woods.” He said the store is also seeing a lot of interest in Irididium ski packages that start at $215 for the ski, binding and pole.
As for popular types of skis, Hill, from Sports Page, said shorter, wider all-mountain skis like my Rossignol Experience model that burst onto the scene about eight years ago, have really yet to be perfected and have remained super popular.
“They’ve been a perennial favorite” for a number of years, Hill said.
Fire on Mountain
Queensbury’s West Mountain Ski Center is hosting its annual Fire on the Mountain bash Friday, and the timing of this week’s snow storm couldn’t have been better.
The event features a torch-light parade down the mountain, fireworks and live music by the Audio Stars.
Montgomery said it’s one of the biggest nights of the winter, and parking will be offered at the Northwest lot with shuttle service.
“We’ve got 3,600 people interested in going on FB,” he said Tuesday.
Despite a potentially rainy forecast for earlier in the day Friday, Montgomery said it looks like it will clear out for the evening festivities.
“But it looks like clear sailing for the next week after Friday,” he said, adding that President’s Week is a big deal for ski areas.
I have skied at West probably seven or eight times this season and I continue to be extremely impressed with the terrain, even after rain. I went Saturday and was blown away by the corduroy. The investment there surely has paid off regarding snow quality and terrain offerings. I hear that comment a lot these days.