Thursday, February 24, 2011

World’s Best Skiing: The Best Peaks, Resorts & Cities

World-class skiers come to the United States to explore our myriad mountains, terrains and slopes, but many of the world’s most popular skiing cities and resorts lie just north of, or across the pond from, the U.S.

Join us as we explore the world’s best skiing locales – from exotic European resorts to the thrilling slopes of our Northern neighbor!

1. Switzerland
Our neutral friend is anything but when it comes to skiing towns and resorts. The highly lauded Zermatt resort features over 195 miles of trails, not to mention designer boutiques, luxurious accommodations, and fantastic restaurants. This quintessential Alpine resort keeps its fairytale-like scenery thanks to strict zoning laws which prohibit buildings taller than 4 stories, and regulations against car ownership for everyone but doctors which means you may find yourself dashing through the snow in a horse drawn sleigh! Peaceful yet exhilarating, Zermatt consistently ranks within the top 3 for Switzerland’s best resorts. Also popular? St. Moritz, a historical resort town in the Engadine valley, has been a go-to escape for the glamorous for decades. The site of both the 1928 and 1948 Winter Olympics, St. Moritz has also thrice hosted the Alpine Skiing World Championships.

2. France

Chamonix-Mont Blanc is the ultimate name in luxurious French skiing resorts. Located by the eponymous Mt. Blanc, Europe’s highest mountain peak, Chamonix-Mont Blanc is nestled amongst Alpine peaks and features some of the best dining in Europe, as well as exquisite hotels and inns. Ready to hit the slopes or snowboard? A two-stage cable car will whisk you up to the peak at 10,745 feet where you have the option to descend via the rough runs of Point de Vie, or the Pylones. Enjoy some of the most stunning vistas in the world as you ride the cable-car to the tip of the steep and spiny Aiguille du Midi (Needle of Midday, so named for the way the sun sits directly over this spiked peak at noon). We recommend taking a guided exploration of the multitudinous chutes, snowfields, glaciers, and high bowls. Soak up some history while you explore the town – Chamonix hosted the first ever Winter Olympics in 1924!

3. Canada

Oh, Canada! With rugged slopes and steep drops, Canada is a skier’s haven. Whistler, British Columbia is world-renowned as one of the best places to ski and snowboard while Banff, Alberta has a reputation for having some of the most beautiful scenery and expansive trails. Quaint Mont Tremblant in Quebec is situated on the highest peak of the Laurentian mountain ridge and its villages feature cobble stone streets and colorful houses. Both Mont Tremblant and Whistler have the added bonus of being located only a few hours away from big cities – Montreal for the former and Vancouver for the latter. Clearly, Canada leads the pack with a variety of notable, popular ski resorts both on the Eastern and Western ends of the country! Whistler also features over 100 restaurants, catering to ever single palate.

4. Italy

Host to the 1956 winter Olympics, Cortina is one of Italy’s most stylish ski resorts while still offering some of the most brutal and exhilarating runs and trails. Situated near Venice, Cortina is neatly placed amidst the Dolomite mountains and is a popular escape for wealthy Italianos who come to sip espresso, lounge in the sun, and zip around in their Ferrarris. Join the glitterati on the 87 miles of groomed runs and enjoy the sights on one of their 52 lifts. Not ready to strap on your skis? Take advantage of their year round ice-skating rink, adapted from the Olympic rink built for the 1956 games. The city is bordered on all sides by teetering mountains, allowing for spectacular views from any part of the town!

Colorado Ski Shop is the online destination for ski and snowboard gear. Find supplies and apparel from LibTech, Salomon, K2 and many more for all your skiing or snowboarding needs. Browse our selection of ski binding, snowboard boots and other accessories to find the right gear for you!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Snowboarding Safety: Tips to Stay Safe on the Slopes

Snowboarding is one of the most thrilling winter sports, but like any extreme sport or activity, accidents and injuries can occur. From little slips to high impact crashes, snowboarding has caused its share of bumps and bruises, but we’re here to help! Our team of experienced snowboarders here at Colorado Ski Shop has put together some useful tips to keep you safe on the slopes while snowboarding!

Knee Protection:

Knees are the body’s “shocks” or “springs” and they absorb most of the impact in snowboarding. Few things are as excruciating as a knee injury, and serious knee injuries can permanent damage so minimize your chance of getting hurt with a pair knee pads. You can even use knee pads made for inline skating!

Other than sturdy protection, knee pads provide compression and warmth which will also help to minimize the chance of injury.

Tailbone Protection:

Typically when snowboarders fall they fall backwards, which means they fall on their lower back and tailbone.

Pick up a sturdy lower back brace with a hard shell exterior and soft inside to ensure support and protection when you snowboard. These back supports will absorb much of the impact of a fall and minimize any pain to you.

Ankle Protection:

Snowboarding places pressure on your ankles and calves, and since feet and ankles are strapped in there is no way to stop a fall by stepping out one foot to catch yourself. Many injuries occur because ankles are turned in or twisted in a fall, or because of a collision with an object.

Adding ankle protection to your snowboarding boots can seriously minimize the frequency and severity of your injuries. We recommend hard shell boots as they provide more ankle support, but beginners typically favor soft shell boots are they are more giving when it comes to movement and balance. Since soft shell boots are just that, they provide little ankle support during falls and collisions.

Head Protection:

Protecting your head while snowboarding is of utmost important so make sure to invest in a sturdy, quality helmet. Sure helmets aren’t exactly stylish or cool, but your mom was right when she told you to wear when one when you got your first bicycle!

Helmets are a non-negotiable. Even just falling into snow can cause serious head injuries, not to mention potential collisions with ice, rocks, trees, other snowboarders, and man-made structures. No matter your level, whether beginner or experienced snowboarder, it is crucial to wear a snowboard helmet. Keep in mind that even at a low speed, slipping and falling with impact to your head can be potentially serious.

Wrist Protection:

Wrist problems are the #1 most common injury for snowboarders, and beginners have 4x the chance of injuring their wrists than more experienced boarders.

When we fall, our instinct is to reach out a hand to catch us and prevent hurting other parts of the body. Since falling is the most common cause of injury in snowboarding, it’s no surprise that wrist injuries are as frequent as they are.

So how to avoid it? When you slip and fall, try not to catch your fall with your hands as this places all the impact on your wrists. Learn to fall on your elbows as they can sustain a much harder impact than wrists. Better yet, try to roll out of a fall as this will distribute the impact over a greater portion of your body.
Protect your wrists with wrist guards. Many ski and snowboarding gloves have built in wrist guard, ensuring both warmth and protection.

Falls are inevitable, pain is not. Remember to wear the necessary snowboarding protection, whether you are a novice or an expert.

Colorado Ski Shop is the online destination for ski and snowboard gear. Find supplies and apparel from LibTech, Salomon, K2 and many more for all your skiing or snowboarding needs. Browse our selection of ski binding, snowboard boots and other accessories to find the right gear for you!