Get the Most Out of Ski Demo Day at HV Dec. 17

By Indrek Kongats

Holiday Valley is hosting the first ski and snowboard demo day of the season, and this is a great opportunity for anyone in the market for some new gear to try before you buy. The event starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 17 and goes until 3 p.m.

Several area ski shops will be represented, including The Boardroom, City Garage, Curly’s Snowboard Emporium, Dekdebrun’s and Mud Sweat and Gears.

Ski and snowboard brands include Burton, Salomon Snowboarding, Salomon Skis, Mervin Manufacturing (Lib Tech, GNU, Roxy, Bent Metal Binding Works), Atomic, Armada, Head, K2, Line, Elan, Liberty, Volkl, Apex Ski Boots, Rossignol, Dynastar, Nordica, Head, Fischerand Blizzard.

The way a Demo Day works for those newbies: for skiers, you need to have your own boots, your boots have to be modern— meaning boots— more than 18 years old may not meet current standards for sole shape and slipperiness and are probably worn out by this time anyway. They could also be incompatible with new and better binding technology. 

For snowboarders, make sure your boots aren’t held together with duct tape, and that’s about it.

Although the Demo Day is free, you will still need to have a credit card for deposits on the equipment that you’ll be demoing, and if you are under 18, have a parent with you— you’ll need their signature.

With all of the brands and models within those brands, do some research yourself so that you understand what a salesperson might be directing you towards. The best way to do this is pick up a ski or snowboard magazine that has the latest product reviews to help you narrow it down to one or two models. Ski Magazine states, “Because testing 15 or 20 different skis in a day is a bewildering experience to anyone who lacks experience.”

You will be asked some or all of these questions by the salesperson or technician: Are you an expert, intermediate or novice? Are you aggressive or laid back? Do you like to carve quick and tight slalom turns or prefer wide looping giant slalom turns? Do you want an all-mountain ski or board (do you even know what that means)? Are you planning a trip out west to find some deep powder? Do you like the pipe or moguls? How many times do you ski in a single season? When was the last time you purchased new equipment? Have definite and realistic answers to all of these probing questions and you will get the right product under your feet sooner than later.

Definitely don’t fall in love with the first ski or board that you try; try at least three and skiing two or three runs on each on different slopes.

Should I try long or short skis or boards? Don’t fool yourself—if you are a careful and cautious skier or boarder, then the shorter the better. The universal truth is that the length of your ski or board should be based upon your age, skiing or riding style, terrain, personal fitness and how frequently you get out on the slopes. Even at a more advanced level, such as in mogul and powder skiing, experts have found that shorter skis (150cm – 160cm for men and 146cm – 156cm for women) regardless of skier’s height and weight produced very positive results, mainly due to a greater confidence in their own abilities to control their equipment. They had better speed control, less fatigue, a greater sense of balance and the ability to ski more challenging off-piste terrain.

All mountain skis are not just for novices that can hop on nearly any one of these SUV- type skis or boards and have fun, particularly on easy-to-turn slopes. The intermediate and expert can handle any condition that the mountain will throw at them, including corduroy, ice, powder and spring time coarse, granular and wet piles of snow. This style of ski accounts for almost all recreational ski sales for skiers that stay out of the pipe, moguls and deep powder.

Skiers that have not purchased new equipment in the last 10 years need to get familiar with new ski technology and terms. For example, the greatest ski technology advances have been in degree of side cut and percentage of rocker in tips and tails. These two elements help you turn and control your skis, making skiing considerably easier and the skis incredibly responsive if ridden properly on their edges. If you haven’t taken any lessons recently, it would be a smart idea to find out from a ski instructor on how to get the most out of your new boards.

Once you have finished the demo and fallen in love for the second time in your life, (the first time as a teenager in high school), enjoy the beer testing après ski event, hosted by Southern Tier Brewing, also at Holiday Valley and open from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Unfortunately for those under 21, your parent’s signature won’t help you with this demo!