Buying The Right Ski Or Snowboard Helmet

Skiing and snowboarding can be full of hazards. You have your airtime, trees, cliffs, and of course, other mountain revelers. While many of us don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how to protect ourselves from these risks, it should be more than food for thought. Head and facial injuries are just some of the consequences of not wearing the proper equipment when on the hill. Even if you consider yourself a conservative rider, all skiers and riders can enjoy the benefits and warmth that a helmet provides. But where to start? Here are some tips for buying the right helmet.

Ski And Snowboard Helmet Components

Inner liner: This is typically made from EPS (expanded polystyrene) foam, the material that looks like Styrofoam®. It’s designed to absorb impact. A helmet is considered no good after a direct blow to it.

Shell: The shell, or outer layer of the helmet, is a rigid surface (typically high-impact plastic) that can help protect the head against sharp objects, knocks, and abrasions. It also helps spread impact energy over a larger portion of the helmet during a fall.

Certification: There’s a new buzzword in the helmet world, MIPS.  MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System and it is the current gold standard for helmets.

Ski / Snowboard Helmet Sizing and Fit

Measuring for your size: You can find your correct size by measuring your using a tape measure or come on down to the store and have one of our staff help you. To do it yourself, position the tape measure just above the ears and about 1″ above your eyebrows. Measure around the largest part of your head to determine the circumference of your head. The measurement will help you select from extra small, small, medium and large helmets.

Checking the fit: A good helmet should feel snug but not tight. If the helmet can rock back and forth, the fit is too loose. Shake your head from side-to-side. If the helmet shifts, try a smaller size, adjust the sizing mechanism or use thicker sizing pads. Push up the front and back edges. If they move, tighten the straps.

The helmet should be positioned low enough in the front to protect your forehead. It should sit level with its front edge no more than 1″ above the eyebrows. Finally, check to make sure there are no gaps between your head and the helmet lining. If there ae gaps, pads can be used to decrease them.

Chinstrap/buckle: The chinstrap needs to fit comfortably against the throat to reduce the chance it will come off. The strap should fit snugly but loose enough for you to not feel choked. Make sure to always fasten the strap before riding.

Now that you have your helmet picked out, you can add extra features such as audio, camera mounts, and warmer liners. There’s really no excuse for not protecting yo’ head!

10 New Year’s Resolutions To Improve Your Skiing

January 1st marks the first day of the year, and that’s a natural reason for committing to new beginnings. Rather than the usual attempt to save money or cut back on drinking, why not use this time to really make some self-improvements. From stretching after a day on the hill to eating properly – our suggested resolutions are ideal for anyone looking to improve their skiing or snowboarding.

Stretch

It’s simple, yoga can decrease your chances of injury. Even a short stretch routine can aid in prevention. So find a class or search for a video online, there’s really no excuses.

Improve Your Gear

At one point, your gear is going to be the limiting factor. Don’t fall victim to having to leave the mountain because you’re wet or goggles are fogged. Get gear that works and works for you all day long.

Take A Lesson

Yeah, yeah, we get it. Lessons aren’t really where you want to spend your free time. But if you are serious about improving your ski game, then taking a lesson is a sure fire way to get tips that will have you moving in a forward direction (literally). Bottom line, there’s no substitute for the impartial advice of someone who knows what they’re talking about.

Wake Up Early

After a night out, this is the last thing you probably want to hear. Waking up early will allow you to ride longer, get in more laps and get the best snow. No brainer right?

Eat Your Greens

A steady diet of Kraft Dinner isn’t going to provide enough (or any) nutrition for you to ride day in and day out. Think about adding some broccoli or spinach to that pasta dish.

Challenge Yourself

Now, we don’t mean go out and take risks but do go out and ride with better riders and on more challenging terrain.

Have Friends On A Pow Day

Keep your friends close and your ski buddies closer. Having a good friend that is always down to ride, even if it’s just groomers will help you log more hours and more days than if you are always flying solo.

Get Your Hike On

Not only can you access some incredible terrain but hiking or touring is a great way to get in shape. The better shape you’re in, the better your overall riding will be.

Tune Your Equipment

The last thing you want is to deal with a broken binding or rough edges on a powder day. Schedule in those regular tunes and perform regular maintenance!

Educate Yourself

Every one of us can learn more and should focus on learning something new every day. Take another avalanche course, learn how to tune your own skis, or get certified in first aid.

What’s So Great About Oakley PRIZM Lenses?

Goggles are crucial. You need them to navigate your way around the mountain and with the current technologies, that’s possible in virtually all conditions. You’ve probably seen or heard about the Oakley PRIZM lenses, but do you really know what it’s all about? Oakley has launched their PRIZM lenses with vision fine-tuning technology and they’re the talk of the town. But really, what’s so great about these PRIZM lenses anyway?

What is a PRIZM lense?

PRIZM is a new Oakley lens technology that fine-tunes vision for sport-specific environments. The lenses work to emphasize colors, specifically contrast, where the eye is most sensitive to detail, which in return, helps to enhance performance and safety. What’s more, this now happens through a wide range of light conditions whereas other goggles have specific lenses for certain light conditions. Even then, many of them don’t work as well as we need them to.

KEY BENEFITS OF OAKLEY PRIZM LENSES:

– Sharpens visual perception to help you see more clearly and react faster.
– Enhances color recognition to help you quickly spot what you need to see.
– Optimizes your ability to better see the important moving objects in your periphery.

How Do Oakley PRIZM Lenses Work?

Tons and tons of research but more specifically, the lenses provide unprecedented control of light transmission resulting in colors precisely tuned to maximize contrast and enhance visibility. This happens through the use of specially engineered lens tints. Basically, light that could interfere with vision is filtered out while emphasizing the colors that aid your brain creating a more precise visual understanding of the surrounding area. A simpler way of looking at this is in terms of contrast. Oakley achieved this innovation by utilizing “hyperspectral imaging,” a technique used by spy satellites that helps analyze light in real-world environments with levels of detail and precision that is previously un-heard of. What’s more, their design allows for increased peripheral vision.

Sport-Specific PRIZM Lenses

There are PRIZM lenses for all sports as well as daily wear (sunglasses). And for the eyewear to perform at the highest level, they have been tested until the cows come home. Oakley made sure that each sport specific eyewear had the capability to see the perfect colors in the environment that the sport is performed in. In each environment, the lenses enhance the colors you need to see for maximum sports performance and filter out the rest. The improved color contrasts leads to better vision and ultimately, performance.

Do you have more questions about what the Oakley PRIZM technology entails and how it can help you on the hill? Be sure to speak to one of our staff members!

How Long Should Gear Last

Being comfortable in your gear could be the difference between the best day ever and the worst. And sometimes, it takes time to work that beloved jacket or pants into the point of fitting you in all the right places. Now, those favorite ski boots or even long underwear may be nearing the end of its life and it could be sooner than you think. Just how long should gear last?

Ski Socks-Approximately 1 year depending on the brand

According to Smartwool, their socks should last a year if the washing directions and fit are properly executed.

Tips to prolong life:

  • Avoid wearing on the carpet.
  • Do not use fabric softener.

Helmet- 1 Impact

This is debatable but generally speaking, if you have taken an impact on your helmet, experts suggest it’s time for a new one. This is because most helmets are designed to only withstand a certain amount of force in order to perform optimally

Tips to prolong life:

  • Don’t crash on your head. Duh.
  • Store away from factors that can alter the effectiveness of the materials. This includes heat and extreme cold.

Outerwear- Anywhere from a season to a lifetime

How long your outerwear lasts depends on how often it is being used, how well you take care of it and the material that it is made out of. Current technologies can see Gortex jackets lasting years and years, even lifetimes in some cases.

Tips to prolong life:

  • Wash them. Really it’s okay. The sweat and beer will degrade the waterproofing faster than an occasion spin cycle.

Goggles- A really long time

Goggles can last a really long time but that really depends on the quality purchased and the level of care given to maintain them.

  • When you get snow in your goggles, don’t brush it off with a jacket sleeve or glove. Snow is made with abrasive ice crystals that can actually scratch the lenses. Use a special cloth.

Ski Gloves- A season

Your gloves take quite the beating and it can be hard to maintain the durability as well as the waterproofness of the fabric.

  • Hang dry them out after each use.

Most ski gear can last more than a season but the key is to take really good care of it. With these helpful tips, you should be able to prolong the life of some of your most beloved items. If you’re finding that some of your gear needs an upgrade, come to McCoo’s. We can help sort you out so you won’t have to live through another ‘breaking in’ period and can go right to into wearing the most comfortable gear ever!

 

How to Solve Cold Hands

We’ve all been there. It’s clear blue sky after a dumping of fresh snow and the temperature is well into the negative. You get on the chair and by the time you reach the top, your hands are so cold that they hurt. It’s an unfortunate reality of being on the hill but that doesn’t mean you have to let cold hands put a damper on your day.

When your body gets cold, it reduces blood to the extremities in an effort to keep vital organs warm and functioning. It’s a natural response and generally isn’t cause for concern but it can cut your day short or even cause damage if the temperatures are cold enough. Luckily, there are a number of things to do that can solve having cold hands on the mountain!

Stop It Before It Starts

Let’s get this straight- Once your hands are cold, there is no going back. Even the most expensive gloves can’t warm already cold hands. In order to prevent them from getting to that point, you have to nip heat loss in the butt! Hands lose heat fast because they have blood vessels close to the surface. Wearing a thin liner underneath your gloves will keep them toasty but be very careful with this option as it can compromise breathability- then your back at square one!

Protect Your Core

As mentioned, if your body gets cold then your hands are going to be the first victim. By preventing your core from feeling the freeze, you can reduce your chances of suffering from cold hands. A proper base layer and mid layer are crucial- heck, just layer and the insulation will do it’s job. Also, don’t forget the power of snacks. A fed body will have the fuel to fight the cold and the very act of digestion can give off energy.

Gloves

Gloves are the most obvious solution to keep the cool temperatures out and choosing the right ones for your needs can take it one step further. Here are a few things to take into consideration when purchasing protection for your frigid fingers:

  • Mittens are warmer than gloves but you sacrifice dexterity.
  • Down is the best insulator and is known for being light and breathable. However, synthetic insulation dries a lot faster and can be more cost effective.
  • One word: Gore-Tex. This is the Grade A of fabrics since it is both breathable and water proof!

No one likes cold hands and there are many options that can drastically improve your chances of making it through even the coldest of temperatures. Still not sure how to personally solve the age old problem of cold hands on the ski hill? Come in and speak to our staff, your digits will thank you!

 

Opening Day Checklist

Drumroll please…

The countdown has officially began to Whistler Blackcomb’s 2016/2017 opening day weekend!

Yes, we know it is very exciting, in fact, we can hardly contain ourselves but first thing is first: the nearing of opening day means that it’s time to assess your current winter gear. A beginning of the season assessment can prevent many annoying or even disastrous issues that may kill your good vibe on November 24th when the mountain opens. While you twiddle your thumbs in anticipation, take a peak at our opening day checklist to make sure your gear is ready for another season of fun.

Goggles

Everyone knows that not being able to see can instantly ruin your day. Have a peak at your current eye wear and make sure there are no scratches obstructing your vision and that they still have anti-fogging capabilities. Older goggles tend to not have the current technologies that help fight fog and light changes. Not sure if your’s pass the test? Include a back up pair in your pack on opening day.

McCoo’s Tip: Having problems with your goggle always fogging up? Keep moving!

Base Layer

Baby, it can get cold outside! Like real cold! Don’t cut your day short because you can’t brave the current weather conditions. Make sure that your current base layer is in good condition, free of tears and provides the necessary coverage to keep you warm and dry.  If you find a tear, patch it up, or just pop in to McCoo’s for the latest base and mid-layer technology.

McCoo’s Tip: The term “base layer” also includes your underwear (don’t worry, we got you covered).

Outerwear

Outerwear isn’t just for looking good. It’s your primary defence against mother nature. Thoroughly examine last year’s jacket and pants for zippers that aren’t working, tears and excessive wear in high movement areas such as the elbows and the bottom. If needed, apply a waterproof wash and don’t forget to empty the pockets. Reaching in and finding that sandwich from 2015 is great way to stop the ski stoke with an emergency hand wash.

McCoo’s Tip: Ask any of our staff members to help you determine what you may need in outwear, there is often more variables than you may think.

Gloves

Mittens and gloves may seem like they are easy to assess but in fact, the obvious holes that can lead to heat escaping are just the beginning. One of the biggest concerns is waterproofing. You can jump the gun and wear them out in the rain but this isn’t very practical. Bring them out on the first day and have a back up pair ready just in case they get soaked through on the first run.

McCoo’s Tip: Mittens are warmer than gloves but you sacrifice dexterity as a result.

Boots

After spending the summer season on the shelf, your ski boots might not feel like they once did on your seasoned winter feet. Stick those bad boys on and step into your bindings. Then take a peak at the current condition, are they in good shape? Are the buckles and soles in tacked? If you notice any loose pieces, damage or change in fit, take them to your local boot repair shop to get them tuned and ready to go.

McCoo’s Tip: Looking for a little assistance on ski boot fit? Bring them into our shop. Our seasoned staff members can help guide you to finding a solution.

Although it may seem like certain pieces of your set up are more crucial than others, there is no most important item of gear, they all play an essential role in keeping you on the hill and out of the lodge. Have some gear that didn’t make it through our opening day checklist? Stop by the shop, we can help you get ski season ready!

The Case for Buying Your Ski Gear In-Person

It’s hard to resist the appeal of shopping in your pajamas and making a purchase with just a few clicks, but we’re here to make the case that when it comes to buying your ski gear, bricks and mortar is still the way to go.

We’re not just saying that because we’re a bricks and mortar ski shop (although we will admit we’re a little biased). For most people, ski gear is a significant investment, so you don’t want to make your decisions lightly. Here’s why we think buying your gear in-person is still the way to go.

A Picture Isn’t Really Worth 1,000 Words

A picture of a product can tell you a lot, but it can’t tell you everything. It can’t tell you how that fabric will feel against your skin, and weather that button is going to rub up against you all day. It won’t always show you that there are hidden pockets inside a jacket, or it might forget to mention that those pants don’t come with a zippered vent.

In other words, there’s a lot you can discover by physically handling a piece of equipment. When you’re investing in new ski gear, you want to know what you’re getting before you drop your hard earned money on it. An in-person inspection is the best way to go.

You Can’t Fake Fit

You can take all the measurements you want and approximate your size as best as you can, but in the end, nothing compares to actually trying a piece on in real life. How else can you tell whether that new pair of goggles will fit snugly against your existing helmet? Or whether that jacket it long enough to cover your back when you lean over?

Compare and Contrast

If you’re not 100% sure you know what you want – say, you want a new pair of goggles but you aren’t sure what kind – it helps to be able to make in person comparisons. Holding a few different pairs in your hands and inspecting them up close will help you make sound, informed decisions about your purchase – and it’s easier than switched between tabs on your browser and trying to guess between features.

Save the Hassle

Making a purchase online seems easy, but it isn’t always the case. Say the piece you ordered doesn’t fit – now, you either have to trek to the post office (and Whistler only has one!) or you have to locate the nearest bricks and mortar version of the store you bought it from. If you pick up your new gear in a store and it doesn’t fit, no big deal: just put it down and try on another size.

Good Old Fashioned Social Interaction

The number one reason to stick to bricks and mortar is, without a doubt, the service. Whether you have questions about how something works, what a feature does, or what piece of gear best meats your style or goals, it helps to have a real, live person there to guide you through your purchase. Who knows – you might even learn about a new powder stash along the way.

McCoo’s has two great locations stocked to the nines with quality brands – come in for a visit and talk to our awesome staff!