Archive for category Sports

Folsom Custom Skis

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With hundreds of name brand skis to choose from, why would you need custom skis? This was a question I was asked on a regular basis while working at a ski shop this past winter in Aspen. Our ski wall was an impressive line-up featuring the latest offerings from Volkl, Dynastar, Atomic, K2, Kastle, Head and Armada. These were all brands that have been skied on for years, tried and tested, with big R&D money behind them and sponsored athletes to tout their products. They were all easy sells to the thousands of tourists and locals alike.

Next to this shiny wall of mass-produced skis was a small kiosk featuring Wagner Custom Skis. Customers were drawn to the bright computer screen which featured flashy examples of the all Wagner Skis you could create. They were always intrigued by the concept but as soon as I would mention the base price of $1,700 and the fact that you could not fondle the actual skis until you bought them, they would turn right back to the name brand ski wall. Most customers wanted you to tell them what ski they needed. They didn’t have the time or the knowledge to figure out what dimensions or exact length of ski they needed. They wanted a ski that was already built and sitting there for them to demo and buy site-on-scene.

Wagner tried to solve this issue by producing a few samples for customers to demo to get a feel for what Wagner could offer them. There was one huge problem with how this all played out. Their skis were junk. None of the employees at the shop could warm up to them. They sent us a mid-fat that felt lifeless and unstable. Then the sent us a Gotama type shape that was too stiff with edges that we could never really tune right. Finally at the end of the season they sent us a 110mm waisted powder ski with a tip rocker. It looked great but it skied just like the rest of them, lifeless and uninspiring.

So how was I supposed to push a $1,700 ski that didn’t work. Most every name brand ski on the wall was better performing, and they cost a fraction of the Wagners. At the end of the winter it was no surprise we hadn’t sold any Wagners.

After the season ended, I was pretty skeptical about custom skis. I was pretty happy with most of the name brand skis I had been on and had good experiences with various boutique ski companies such as Praxis and PMGear.

UntitledThen I met one of the guys from Folsom who was up from Boulder with the Trew crew on their RV tour. What they offer is similar to Wagner, but is less expensive, has a better build quality and you don’t have to be an engineer to pick your ideal pair.

Folsom skis are custom but only in the areas that matter. They already have pre-determined shapes for you to choose from, with different length offerings for each shape. Once you pick a shape and length you can pick your flex and camber. Flex and camber are the key reasons why I would buy a custom ski. Since they already have great shapes in place, all you need to do is explain to them what type of skier you are and you can pick a flex and camber that matches. How many times have you been on a ski that you liked but wished it was a tad stiffer or had a little less camber? I know it has happened to me countless times while demoing skis. Folsom lets you dial down the ski that is right for you, without complicating the process like Wagner. The last step is graphics. You can choose from their pre-designed options or get crazy and go fully custom like the Aspen Highlands Ski Patrol is doing for next season. All in all, their custom process is short and easy and you will have your skis within two weeks. Personally I also like supporting the local company building their stuff here in the U.S. Even German company, Volkl has gone to China with their manufacturing and the quality has suffered. Add to this a cost that starts around $1,000 (or $700 less than Wagner) and you have a winner.

Look for this company to grow and make a name for themselves in the ski industry in the coming years.

To find out more about this company and view all their skis, check out their website at: http://www.folsomcustomskis.com/

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All Photos courtesy of Folsom

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My Love Affair With Northwave Bike Shoes (& Paola Pezzo): 12 Years and 2 Pairs Later…

Maybe it’s because i’m half Italian, but it seems like I have a penchant for Italian products. Whether we are talking about cars, fashion or food, Italians know a little something about style and flavor. Although not too Italian sounding, Northwave is a prime example of a high quality and oh so stylish Italian company.

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Most people do not fret too much over the purchase of bike shoes, worrying more about the key components of their bikes instead. However, just like ski boots that connect the skier to the ski, bike shoes connect the biker to the bike so the purchase of shoes shouldn’t be taken too lightly. Although fellow Italian company Sidi seems to dominate the bike shoe world, I have chosen another, smaller Italian company to obsess about.

My obsession started back in the mid 90s when I was an aspiring young mountain bike racer. Back then the competitive side of mountain biking was very small, making it easy to rub elbows with the pros. One pro in particular, Paolo Pezzo caught my attention and after she signed my race number at the NORBA championships at Mt. Snow in 1995; I was smitten. A year later she took home the Gold medal in the first ever mountain bike event at the Atlanta summer olympics. She did so in controversial style, taking heat from officials and the public alike for unzipping her jersey a little too much. As you can see in the picture below, her outfit and unzipping of the jersey are very tasteful in my opinion. Many young men had baywatch posters on their walls in the mid 90s but I had Paola with her unzipped jersey in all her Gold medal glory.

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Other than her great outfit that day, I noticed her bold red, white and green shoes and knew I had to have them. It took awhile to track them down stateside and I had to settle on orange, but I was soon rocking some Northwaves just like Paola.

Flash forward12 years and what do you know, I still had the same orange Northwaves and they were still in one piece. Over those 12 years they had seen a lot of use and held up remarkably well. Even though they still worked, they looked a little worn and sad so they needed to be replaced. As a replacement I went right back to Northwave and went with their top of the line Aerlite S.B.S. shoes.

After a couple months in my new Northwaves, I am happy. Although I don’t remember what my first pair felt like when they were new, i’m pretty sure the latest generation of Northwaves maintain the same quality. The latest model boasts some fancy new features such as the rachet closure system that creates a nice snug fit. Although not everyone has a foot that will fit perfectly in a Northwave, I urge you to look at them as a replacement for your Sidis or other mass produced bike shoe. You will appreciate their Italian style and quality and who knows, your next pair might just last 12 years like mine did.

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For more info about Northwave visit: http://www.northwave.com/

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Patrick Chewing

Last night while watching TV, I was reminded why this Snicker commercial is so awesome. There is not much to explain other than the fact that Patrick Ewing is the man and this Snickers ad campaign is mighty clever.  This commercial is so random and brilliant, its hard not to laugh. “Ooops!”

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LIVESTRONG: Bikes With A Mission

I recently saw a Twitter post from Lance Armstrong @lancearmstrong about his partnership with Trek, Nike and his Livestrong foundation for Stages, a bike art collaboration to benefit his foundation. Combine great bikes, world class artists and a great cause and you have another great example of the good work being done by Lance and the Livestrong Project. The public will be able to bid on these one of a kind bikes this fall. How much do you think these works of art will bring in for the foundation?

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Here is a description of the project from their Website :

What is Stages?

Trek is proud to support STAGES, a celebration of human potential, inspired by Lance and dedicated to the fight against cancer. Trek, The Lance Armstrong Foundation, Nike, and the most influential artists of a generation have teamed up to produce a unique collection of bicycles and art without peer.

The Exhibition opens at the Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin in Paris before traveling to the United States this fall. All work is available for purchase with proceeds directly benefiting the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

The Collaboration

Trek has a rich tradition of partnering with Lance Armstrong to outfit him with custom-painted bikes, starting with the “Sabreline” Project One bike Lance briefly rode during the 2002 Tour de France. For the rest of his career — and even after retirement — Lance has more or less ridden Project One painted bikes. That’s why after he announced his intention to return to professional cycling in 2009, it was natural for Trek’s Creative Group to begin working on a new set of custom-painted bikes for Lance. During a conversation with Trek’s President John Burke, Lance discussed the importance of the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Campaign and his desire to link the best Contemporary Artists working today with Trek in an effort to raise awareness and generate funds to benefit LIVESTRONG.

Trek responded by providing each selected artist with consultation to describe fabrication possibilities based on Trek’s custom-formulated coatings. The artists were briefed on traditional paint and airbrush techniques as well as masking and decal options in order to pick the methods best suited for each design. Each Bicycle was uniquely handled — some frames were decorated strictly with paint, some required extensive decal work, while others hybridized production techniques and pushed the envelope of aesthetic possibility on a bicycle.

The end results speak for themselves — beautiful bikes with a mission.

To learn more visit: http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/stages/

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TREW Gear: “Why Can’t Technical Outerwear Look Rad?”

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Although It is only July, Its not too early to plug a great new Ski and Snowboard outerwear company. Trew, is a new company started by two brothers and a life long friend of theirs who are looking to take outerwear to the next level. Based out of Hood River, Oregon, they have created a line based on the fundamental question: “Why can’t technical outerwear look rad?”

Their goal is to design “outerwear that combines the technology of mountaineering shells with the comfort necessary for a full day on the mountain”. In short, they are making great looking, comfortable outerwear that can compete with the likes of Patagonia and Arc’Teryx in a younger and hipper package.

What sets Trew apart from the rest of the outerwear scene are their colors and their logo. For their first season, they did not start with a tame color pallet but turned the volume up high with purples, oranges and teals. They offer a ton of different color combos so whether you want a straight black suit or blue top with purple bottom, you can mix and match their jackets and pants to find a style the suits you.

Their logo is the other thing that is turning heads. A simple thumbs up is easy to recognize and promotes a positive vibe. I have had dozens of people stop me in my Trew gear to comment on the logo, from park rats to grandmas, it seems like it is a hit with all.

Talking about their logo, if you lived in a ski town this season and have not seen their logo or their huge RV around town, you must have been sleeping. The Trew crew went on a season long RV tour across the west last season to promote their 09/10 line. With a trailer full of hoodies, hats and other schwag, they hit the streets to promote grassroots style. From what I have seen and heard it was a great success. Here in Aspen, I see Trew gear on locals every day, and their official line hasn’t even hit the store yet!

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So check out their 09/10 line now so you can be one of the first on your mountain next season to rock some Trew gear.

www.trewgear.com

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