Stance Backcountry Socks – Review

Start from the bottom up! That old saying “a house is only as good as the foundations” might not seem appropriate to skiing; but have you given your sock choice much thought recently?

Here in Colorado many of the mountain resorts have stopped the gondola wheels spinning, because Spring has sprung. For some of us the need for gondolas and chair lifts has long been gone, the deep powder days have come to an end, and the desire for ski touring has been getting stronger by the day. With clear skies, and an ever settling snow pack, the long days in the skin tracks are become a daily ritual – 4am trail head starts by head lamp and t-shirt hikes out; are how we spend the days.


With clear skies, and an ever settling snow pack, the long days in the skin tracks are become a daily ritual. Photograph Joe

With the Spring sun the days might start cold, but they soon warm up. And as for all the great things ski boots bring to the slopes, breathability certainly isn’t one of them. Consequently I was pretty excited to try out Stance’s new super light weight, super breathable Backountry Ultra-Light Sock, and see what they could do for my feet. Out of the pack these socks feel light and thin, very thin, and initially I thought Stance might have gone to far – and it would feel like I was putting my bare foot into my ski boot. That being said, and “you don’t know until you try”, I pulled them on and took them for a test on my pre-work skin up Vail Mountain. Straight away any concerns disappeared; because my feet felt great, and comfortable, in my Dalbello Lupo boots. My feet stayed warm, the arch support hugged my foot, and the gradual compression kept my legs feeling fresh – although I hope that was partly down to my fitness, not just the socks!

With the initial test out of the way, it was time to really put the socks through their paces. The planned route would be a twelve mile round trip, gaining a vertical height of 1400m (4600ft), and descending the south couloir of East Partner in the Gore Range, Colorado. Again, starting by headlamp in the early hours of the morning, the socks preformed excellently keeping my feet warm and comfortable for the first few miles of hiking. Once on the skis, and skins, everything still felt great. The thin slight compression-nature of the sock gives a great feeling that your foot is well held, and not moving around inside the sock or boot. The temperature regulation was good, which became more evident the longer the day went on and everything started to warm up. I have previously felt that once my feet get hot the socks can rub and create sores; this was not the case and I felt great all the way up and down. The trip, with its varied terrain, was more like an alpine ascent to the summit – including skinning, boot packing, and ice climbing in crampons – which took approximately eight hours; and I can truly say it’s the most comfortable my feet have felt all season. Don’t get me wrong I was super happy to get my ski boots off at the end!


The trip, with its varied terrain, was more like an alpine ascent to the summit – including skinning, boot packing, and ice climbing in crampons – which took approximately eight hours. Photograph Joe

Stance has produced a full range of ‘360 Feel’ snow socks ranging from ‘All Mountain’ poly blend to the performance driven ‘Backcountry Ultra-Light’ merino wool blend. Whichever category you put yourself in I’m confident you will not be disappointed; and I’d seriously recommended heading to the Pro Shop, and checking out their Stance range of ski and snowboard socks, ready to dial in your ski kit for next season.

Please note for the 2019/2020 season the Stance sock range will be called, for either ski or snowboard: Performance, Merino Blend, and Ultra-Light
Merino Blend.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Smith Optics I/OX Snow Goggles Review

It’s been almost two years since the beautiful partnership with my Smith’s sunglasses began and I couldn’t have asked for a better pair. We’ve been all over the world together from the likes of far East Asia to the busy bustling cities of Europe. 

However, as great as my sunnies are, they’re no match for alpine skiing conditions, which is why I’ve upgraded to the big guns. Tallington Lakes were kind enough to let me test out a pair of Smith I/OX snow goggles as I embarked on my adventure to the French Alps. When I first opened the box a bright smile was looking back at me, it was my own reflection cast from the pristine conditioned ‘ChromaPop’ lenses.

I’ve been skiing now for the best part of twenty years and I’ll be honest, I’ve never really invested too much into my snow goggles. Comparing my old pair to these I/OX goggles, it’s clear to see there’s no competition. It’s like trading in your old banger of a car, that’s just about managed to get you from point A to point B; for a souped up, all singing, all dancing teched out super car!

If I knew it wasn’t impossible, I would have placed a bet that Tallington Lakes had rigged the weather system in order to really allow me to test these goggles. In the one week I was there, I encountered harsh snow blizzards, gale force winds, torrential rain, depressingly overcast to extreme dazzling sunshine without a cloud in sight.

These I/OX goggles come equipped with two different lenses in order to combat the diverse weather you can clearly come across whilst in the mountains. Do not fear though, unlike other interchangeable lenses where it feels as if you are solving a rubix cube for hours, the lens swapping process here is very straight forward.

The first lens provided is the ‘ChromaPop Sun Platinum Mirror’ with a VLT (Visual Light Transmittance) of 13%. In English, it means only 13% of light passes through the lens. 13%?! I’ll do the maths for you, that means your eyes are shielded against a whopping 87% of all light particles trying to shine through. You will be correct in thinking, that’s an astronomical amount of light being blocked – however what you need to realise, is the UV rays from the sun are more powerful when you’re stood on top of a mountain. Those rays are then reflected from the snow which create the super annoying blinding-glare effect. Therefore a 13% VLT rating truly is a remarkable feat and not only does it work, it works brilliantly. I never once felt myself squinting from the sun glare. The goggles allowed me to easily pick out my turns in order to avoid the treacherous trees and murderous moguls.


The first lens provided is the ‘ChromaPop Sun Platinum Mirror’ with a VLT (Visual Light Transmittance) of 13%.

For extreme low light conditions, such as the total white out blizzard I unfortunately ended up in, Smith have designed the ‘ChromaPop Storm Rose Flash’ with a VLT rating of 50%. If you’ve ever been unlucky enough to ski in a white out, you will remember the dreaded feeling of being lost, lonely and confused as you vision becomes extremely impaired. You’ll remember trying to pick out those piste pole markers you took for granted as you attempt to safely escape the mountain – the skiers and snowboarders who were only a few feet away completely disappear and all you end up saying on repeat is “I can’t see a thing in these goggles”. Sound familiar?

Without those low light lens on, I think I’d still be stuck on that mountain top.

An important issue with snow goggles is the potential fogging up of the lenses. This can be due to a number of different reasons from the change in air temperature to difference in altitude to simply the hot panting breath you produce when working your legs overtime to get those turns in.

Thankfully Smith have countered all these problems by installing an incredible feature called the ‘AirEvac’. It allows for a constant air flow in order to reduce the risk of foggy goggles. On top of this amazing feature, the Smith lenses are equipped with 5x anti-fog inner lenses which provide five times the fog absorption compared to anything else on the market!

I’m a wimp when it comes to the cold so I always wear my neck-warmer around my face and over my nose to stay warm. Therefore every time I breathe out, the hot air rises and attempts to pierce through my goggles defences. If I were in my ‘old banger’ goggles I surely would have fogged up and skied off a cliff. These goggles didn’t even slightly fog up once during my entire week!  

The extra-large spherical lens of the I/OX allows unparalleled peripheral vision which is absolutely vital when you’re skiing on a busy slope surrounded by potential collisions.

To top everything off, the goggles are perfectly designed to fit comfortably on your face whilst attaching easily to the back of your helmet.

With the weather forecast ahead still predicting a huge amount of snow this season, it’s not too late to book another ski adventure. I cannot recommend these ski goggles enough – imagine a ski holiday in ultra coloured HD, it’s there and yours for the taking!

Check out our selection of Smith Optics snow goggles, here.

Adam (Ski Instructor and Water Ski/Wakeboard Boat Driver))

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Q&A With GB’s Sam Turnbull

Our Chief Instructor Lotti had a chance to put some question to GB snowboarder Sam Turnbull:

Q1) What’s your perfect breakfast to set you up for a big day on the mountain?

My go to breakfast before a big day on the mountain is a sausage, bacon & egg sandwich, followed by fruit and some porridge if I’m really hungry.

Q2) What’s your favourite song to ride to?

Surprisingly I don’t actually listen to music while I ride. But If I need that little bit of motivation and drive my usual go to is AC/DC , Camo & Krooked or a cheeky bit of Jess Glynne on the way up the mountain.

Q3) What’s the most epic moment of your snowboarding career, so far?

There’s has been so many epic moments throughout my career from landing a trick for the first time to winning contests it’s hard to choose.  I think the best thing about my career though is the opportunity I’ve had to travel the world and experience things not many people have had the chance to do.

Q4) How do you think dry-slopes influences the snow industry, and do they have a place on the ‘big scene’?

I think that the dry slope has massively influenced the snow industry and has helped the scene grow to what it is today, I believe it also gives the younger generation a platform to start from and to showcase their skills and not have to spend excessive amounts of money travelling to the mountains to train. It definitely has a place on the big scene, I mean some of the best UK skiers & snowboarders have all grow up riding the dry slope including myself.

Q5) What’s your favourite mountain day, hot park laps or powder days?

As much as I love Powder days it’s got to be Park Laps for me.

Q6) What’s your favourite set up: board, bindings and boots; and why?

My snowboard I ride is the Space Echo 154, it’s such a good all round board from smashing out park laps to cruising the deep powder of the back country.  For my boots I ride the Judge boots because they do exactly what i need them to do, they are a super comfy for riding and hold my foot and heel down nicely when cruising around the mountain and doing what I do.  And Salomon defender bindings as I’ve ridden these for years and have never faulted me yet, they seem to last forever.

Thanks Sam

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Ski Touring – What Gear is Best For You?

Ski touring can mean different things to different people – depending on the desires of those participating. According to Google dictionary, the defining features include ‘skiing across open country, walking uphill on skis as well as skiing downhill’. With this in mind; there are multiple options of how you can spend your day ski touring – depending on your own priorities. Many people use ski touring as a means of fitness. Some are captivated by the ability ski touring gives you to escape the crowded slopes and travel into the wilderness. Meanwhile, others use ski touring as an effective method of transport on the snow, ultimately to get to a destination. This destination could be anything from a mountain hut, to a line you have been dreaming about skiing for years, or even the finish line of a race. Therefore, to answer your questions of what gear is best; first you will need to prioritise your own ski touring desires.

There are two extremes within the ski touring world. At one end of the spectrum you have the lightest skis and minimal pin bindings, combined with extremely lightweight, soft boots. And at the other end there is the freeride setup, which uses heavier and fatter powder skis, with a more performance binding and stiffer boots. The lightweight setup is perfect for those hungry to push their limits on the ascent; by beating time records, increasing their distances, or simply for anyone wanting to make walking uphill on snow as effortless as possible. This is a good option for endurance ski tours, such as multi-day or hut-to-hut trips where you need to save your energy. Plus, for ski tour racing the lighter the gear the better. On the contrary, the heavier setup is designed for those really prioritising the decent and wanting to charge down a line with the best equipment for exactly that. This freeride setup tends to be used for shorter ski tours due to its weight, but what it does best is allow you to ‘earn your turns’ in most snow conditions, especially fresh powder. Also this setup is perfect for side country access skiing, where you may need a short walk to get to a line or even just to skin out from the bottom.


When choosing what gear to buy, there will always be compromises to make, but with technology constantly improving, those compromises seem to keep getting smaller and smaller.

However great each of these setups are for their purpose, choosing between them will subsequently mean compromising the ascent or decent. For example, super lightweight skis with pin bindings are not going to give you as much control or float in powder as a fatter, stiffer setup. On the other hand, climbing up with heavy gear will naturally slow you down and use up more energy. This limits the distance you can travel in a certain amount of time, and time is a critical factor when travelling in the mountains. Therefore, if you are looking to enjoy all aspects of ski touring, you may want something a bit more ‘middle ground’.

When choosing what gear to buy, there will always be compromises to make, but with technology constantly improving, those compromises seem to keep getting smaller and smaller. In fact Atomic (and Salomon) have released a brand-new binding, which is the ‘first compromise-free binding’. Whereas before you had to make a big decision of pin or freeride touring bindings, now the Atomic Shift binding perfectly combines the two systems. The many benefits include being lighter under foot for each step you climb, being securely locked in for charging the decent and importantly being able to release if you crash. Plus having brakes make transitions slightly less worrying when taking your skis off; unlike many pin setups which do not have such luxuries. These bindings are compatible with all Multi Norm Certified soles on the market today: Gripwalk ISO 9523, WTR ISO 9523 and Touring Norm ISO 9523 ski boots when in ski mode, as well as most ‘pin binding’ touring boots. The only sole not compatible with the Shift binding is the Non Touring Norm sole. Fundamentally, this makes tehn the ultimate all-round ski touring binding currently on the market.


The Atomic Backland skis are a great example of a versatile, lightweight ski, which can handle a range of conditions and terrain.

Touring skis are also closing the gap between what’s good going up and what’s good skiing down. The Atomic Backland skis are a great example of a versatile, lightweight ski, which can handle a range of conditions and terrain. Their ultra-light wood core and carbon backbone make climbing a doddle, while their HRZN tech tips, cap sidewall and all-mountain rocker increase float and give great edge control for ripping through the powder, crud or on piste. Furthermore, Atomic have an extensive range of their Backland skis, which include women specific models, and range from 65 to 107 under foot to cater for everyone’s needs. For the ultimate balance of up-and-down the women’s Backland 85 and the men’s Backland 95 are perfect. Combine these skis with the Atomic Shift binding and you will be well on your way to the perfect all-mountain touring setup.

To top it off, ski touring boots keep getting lighter, stronger and stiffer for you to really make the most of your time on the snow. If you are looking for a boot that can really do it all, look no further than the trusty Atomics, to complete your own ultimate touring setup. For both men and women the Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD is the perfect balance between a freeride boot and a touring boot. With the pin system and lightweight shell ready for cruisey ascents, and a stiff flex for shredding at speed, you can enjoy one pair of boots for all your mountain adventures.

To top it off, ski touring boots keep getting lighter, stronger and stiffer for you to really make the most of your time on the snow.

And its not just me that thinks that; here’s what On The Snow have to say about the Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD ski boots!

So, hopefully you will have a broader understanding of the different meanings of ski touring, and have a better idea of what will ‘tickle-your-fancy’ in the mountains. If you are at each end of the spectrum and want to push yourself in either the ascent or the decent, then size and weight are both critical factors when buying gear. If you see yourself as an all-mountain ski tourer, you will seek the perfect balance with the least compromises. The aforementioned Atomic setup (Backland skis, Shift bindings and Hawx Ultra XTD boots) will provide you with comfort, control and enjoyment in all aspects of ski touring.

Also this set-up is perfect for those new to ski touring, because it’s very user friendly and great value for money. So, if you are looking for one pair of boots and one pair of skis with bindings that you can truly take anywhere and have a good time, this is for you!

Finally, when ski touring in the backcountry, choosing your gear is only the beginning of all the important decisions to be made. Take no unnecessary risks and be snow avalanche aware; but most importantly have fun and enjoy the freedom!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Cutting Ski Touring Skins

Cutting ski touring skins can be on of the biggest nightmares when getting a touring set up dialed; especially if you have a little OCD like myself and want a perfectly symmetrical skin cut.

After cutting my first skins, a set of Marker Universal, and a buddy’s Black Diamond Ascension; I can say with out a doubt G3 make it far easier and less stressful! The skins themselves are not only one of the best on the market but the attention they have put into the cutting process sets them in a league if their own!

So you may have seen or know how to trim skins by cutting one side, then move the skin over – guessing the amount of edge to reveal – then cut again. I don’t know about you but I feel this a rather inaccurate method!

What G3 have created is a trimming tool that lifts the skin off the base, spaces the cutting blade just the right depth in from the edge, and trims the skin all in one pass. So with this process there is no need to move the skin and try match up the edges; simply attach the skin centred on the ski and cut both edges – brilliant!

g3 skin with cutter
What G3 have created is a trimming tool that lifts the skin off the base, spaces the cutting blade just the right depth in from the edge, and trims the ski all in one pass.

So once trimmed it was ‘in-at-the-deep-end’ with a skin up to the Birthday Chute – a 1.2 km, 30-45 degree couloir in the Colorado Rockies. The skins preformed faultlessly with excellent grip in the steep kick turns and a super easy transition in gusting winds on the summit. The light weight cheat sheet and stuff sack kept the skins in great condition, to re-attach for the skin out. On previous trips I’ve had issues with glues not sticking and icing over; but not this time! So if your in the market for some new skins this winter season stop by the Pro Shop and check out G3 skins – you won’t be left disappointed.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Superfeet Flex Footbed Review

Us snowboarders are picky creatures! We demand to look cool, but we also like being comfortable doing so.

So being comfy while I ride is a must. Yet being slightly flat footed has proven a tricky burden when finding snowboard boots that I find  both comfy, and perform. That was however until Tallington Lakes introduced me to the Flex footbeds by the clever folk at Superfeet.

superfeet flex footbeds
For a more natural snowboard feel the Flex footbeds are softer and therefore more flexible and comfier underfoot.

For a more natural snowboard feel the Flex footbeds are softer and therefore more flexible and comfier underfoot. Plus, in the past I’ve found standard footbeds, and the green Superfeet footbeds, have an aggressive arch; so the Flex is ideal for foot support without any interference with my funny shaped feet. Unlike other footbeds, in the Superfeet line-up, the Flex liners only feature the rigid support in the heel which provides excellent support without being too tough underfoot – perfect for snowboarders.

As well as reducing foot fatigue, the Flex liners feature Moisturewick™ to ensure your feet don’t get swampy or smelly- ideal for those longer days of riding. One thing to bear in mind though, they do take a ‘pretty minute’ to break in! Stick with it though; once they’re worn in you won’t regret it.

So, in my opinion, the Superfeet Flex footbed is a perfect compromise for feel, comfort and support for snowboard boots. Please note people’s feet are different; so the time the benefits are felt may vary.

Matt (Snowboard instructor)

Tallington Lakes Pro Shop offer a full ski and snowboard boot fitting service. Please call 01778 381154 to book an appointment.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Seasonaire – Off To Work In The Mountains

Thinking of doing a ski/snowboard season this winter? Or have already signed up and getting super excited? This article will give you everything you need to know to help make the most of your time on the slopes. 

Firstly ski seasons are for everyone, not just for experienced skiers. Whether you ski, snowboard or are completely new to snowy mountain sports, there is truly something for everyone. In resort there are endless ways to fill your free time, as well as skiing and snowboarding. Activities range from husky rides to paragliding; or wining and dining in town to simply catching some rays in a deck chair. Being surrounded by like minded people and stunning mountain views, you will be hooked to seasonaire life in no time. 

Wondering what to take? Here is a winter season checklist with all the essentials you’ll need…

Technical Clothing

When planning a trip to the mountains for a whole winter it is essential to have the right gear. Getting cold or wet on the slopes can easily turn a super fun day into a shivering nightmare. So if you are going to spend money on only one thing I would definitely suggest treating yourself to some good technical outerwear. To keep yourself dry, it’s a good idea to buy snow jacket and pants which are minimum 10k waterproof and breathability. 20k is preferable to guarantee yourself a dry day even in really wet conditions, but this higher tech gear will no doubt have a higher price point. Keeping warm is also a necessity for mountain life. For this you can buy a highly insulated jacket and be super toasty year round. Although, the potential down side to only having a thick jacket is you could be too hot and sweaty riding in spring. For many seasonaires with limited funds, buying multiple jackets for different temperatures is not often an option. Therefore if you buy a thinner jacket you have the option to layer up in the depths of winter (mid layers and down jackets are great for this) or simply wear a t-shirt/baselayer underneath for warm spring days. This type of jacket will also be more suitable for when you are back in the UK, giving you more use out of it, therefore better value for money.

There are many snow brands which do great outerwear. A standout brand is Picture Organic Clothing. They have something for everyone, whether you ski or snowboard. Their bold asymmetrical designs perfectly match mountain life, their most technical wear ‘Expedition Line’ is mostly 20k waterproof and breathability, and more importantly they are eco-friendly. Incredibly their entire range is made from a minimum of 50% recycled plastic bottles, they have a mid layer which is completely biodegrable and all of their products are PFC free. They also have an ‘Adventure Line’ which has a lower price point and is perfectly suited for seasonaire life, with a more streetwear design. What more could you ask for?

Ski and Snowboard Boots 

After buying good technical wear, boots are definitely the next thing to consider. Comfort whilst riding is vital to get maximum enjoyment out of your day. There is nothing worse than having to cut your day short due to being in pain from poorly fitting boots. Snowboarders tend to have less problems with this, but it is a known issue with skiers. When buying boots, comfort and a good fit should definitely be priority over colour and style. But with many brands making different sizes and styles you should easily be able to find the perfect boots for you; however we suggest going to a proper boot fitter. Also the bonus of buying your own is most shops will do custom refits if the boots become uncomfortable. Plus you won’t have to wear some old stinky rentals. 

Skis and Snowboard

When you have the potential to ski or snowboard most days of the week for five whole months, having your own equipment is a huge bonus. By working with knowledgable shop staff before you leave for the mountains you can find a ski or snowboard to suit your own personal needs. Whether that’s park riding, backcountry skiing, shredding powder or if you want something that’s perfect for carving on the pistes. Having good equipment can really help improve your skills, style and even take you to new places. If you are unsure what exactly you want, a good all-mountain variant will take you comfortably off-piste, in the park and glide nicely on groomed pistes.

If you do buy your own skis/board my advice would be to get a ski lock, especially in bigger more well-known resorts, theft unfortunately isn’t unheard of. 

Helmet Goggles and Gloves

Helmets are not just for kids. Helmets are obviously for safety and designed for everyone of all ages and abilities. Further benefits include keeping your head dry and warm. Also for cruising at speed, helmets are a more secure option rather than losing your bobble hat in the wind. The good news, as well, is helmets have become more fashionable with new google-helmet style combinations. 

Goggles are essential if you want to ski or snowboard in all conditions. Most come with changeable lens to adapt for low-light snowy days and bright sunny days. It’s worth spending a bit more on a good pair to avoid misting up. A good tip is to try on your goggles and helmet together in the shop before purchase, as with all the different shapes and sizes around, its good to see if they fit or look good together. 

A good quality pair of gloves or mitts again is a must. To keep going until the chairlift closes you will need warm and dry fingers. Mitts tend to be warmer if you are a cold person and gloves tend to have more dexterity. For snowboarders who tend to touch the snow a lot, highly waterproof gloves will be your friend. 

Other Essentials

Specifically designed ski snowboard socks are where it’s at. They may seem pricey at times but a cotton sock will be round your ankles in no time and blisters are no fun at all. For something you will wear everyday you will definitely get your money’s worth.

Baselayers are great for wicking moisture away from the skin, to the outer clothing, to help keep you warm and dry. Its the foundation of the essential layering system that will keep you warm, comfortable and dry on the mountain.

Durable Water Repellent (DWR) hoody. Great for park riding on sunny Spring days, the coating make them water-resistant (or hydrophobic). And you’ll look cool!

A sensible pair of footwear will be your everyday friend for town life i.e waterproof with good grip.

A beanie or bobble hat again will be an everyday item for walking between pubs or for lunch stops on the slopes.

When you are not wearing goggles you should be wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes (snowblindness is a real thing!).

Lastly you will want decent bags for all your gear. Ski snowboard bags with wheels are great for convenience but remember they add a lot of weight if you are ever thinking of taking them on a plane. They are also more bulky so will take up more space in your staff accommodation (which are not always the most spacious rooms). Dakine bags are perfect.

There are specialist items to think about. If you’re thinking lots of park time, some additional protection such as pads or back protectors; and if yo’re thinking back country avalanche kit – but know how to use it because its useless otherwise. We recommend attending practice courses!

Now is the time to get excited with winter on our doorstep!

So head to a professional ski snowboard shop, make sure to try on all the gear and get a feel for comfort and size. Remember to think practical as well as style. Then you will be well on your way to an incredible winter season.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Alpine Skiing – Sort Your Kit Out!

As a ski instructor, I recommend that ski lessons should be factored into your ski holiday. Ski lessons aren’t just for beginners and can help everyone to get the most from their holiday, whatever their goals.

However, some things are even more fundamental than the technique or tactics that instructors can pass on – equipment.

Along with your physical capabilities, the equipment you use will determine what you can achieve on the slopes, and how much fun you will have whilst trying. Equipment includes clothing and protection, but in this piece we’ll just look at ski hardwear.

The Most Important Bits- Boots

Keen skiers need their own boots. Once you are cruising the blues, you should be looking to buy your own ski boots. Good deals can be found online, but great boot fitters cannot work remotely. Uncomfortable boots can ruin your day – trust me.

A good boot fitter will match your foot shape to a particular boot (not all boots are the same shape on the inside). If there are any further modifications needed to accommodate your feet, then the boot fitter will be able to re-shape the inside of the boot to make them comfortable, they may also recommend a footbed which can help to keep the foot comfortable. If you suffer from very cold feet, then heated insoles are possible.

A good boot fitter will also match your skiing ability and power to the flex of the boot. An off piste boot will have different forward flex, lateral flex, delta angle, forward lean and insulation levels to piste boots. Balancing all of this can be tricky, that’s why we use boot fitters.

The Flash Bits – Skis

Pick a pair of skis for what you do, rather than what you dream of doing. If you’re doing something exceptional, you can hire something different.

Piste skis need to be stable on their edges. Fat skis don’t do this, and can create some awkward leverage on the boot and the lower leg.

Pure piste skis will be 70 mm wide underfoot, and off piste skis over about 100mm. Anything in between is a compromise. If you want skis to perform well in powder and grip hard on the piste, you need two pairs of skis.

The Forgotten Bits – Poles

Poles aren’t as important as boots or skis, but they’re still important. Without covering all the possibilities, here are my top tips:

Fat baskets for deep snow
Longer poles for skiing steep and deep
Grippy handles, not shiny ones
Shorter poles for freestyle
Stiff, not bendy

Photographs Giles LewisFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Vans Encore Snowboard Boots – Review

Want to know what’s great about the Vans Encore snowboard boots and what’s not so good about these boots. Well take a ride with Ollie, our snowboard ambassador, as he explains how they felt, smelt and dealt after he wore them for the first time to ride ‘park’ for a three-day session.

Buying Snowboard Boots 

Buying snowboard boots for riders of my age (12) is pretty difficult. You’re in that ‘in between’ size where youth boots are too small and men’s boots are too big…. aarrhh! This means that the range of snowboard boot options is pretty limited; and considering women’s boots becomes a necessity. I’m measured as a 4.5 (UK size) and I’ll explain what that meant for the Vans Encore later on.

Purpose made kids snowboard boots are not an option for me anymore and if you’re in this situation, relax and read on because there are boots out there that will fit your feet and your style.

Vans Encore Snowboard Boots

Riding Level: Beginner to Expert
Flex: Soft to Medium
Inner Liner: Flex Liner with no ‘break-in’ delay and go straight to comfort
Lacing Type: BOA Coiler a spring loaded BOA to ‘crank’ them tight without pinch
Footbed: V2 – UltraCush Lite a foam designed for comfort with less weight
Price: £199

These are super comfy boots straight out of the box (see above) with an easy to use inner web harness and outer BOA system. They are lightweight and responsive and, because they’re Vans, look totally sick. They are at the upper end in terms of price but they’re packed full of tech that makes them a good buy. They do fit a little small so although I am measured as a UK size 4.5, had to buy the UK size 7 (US 9.5) even the UK 6 was too small! So would always suggest visiting a store and boot fitting specialist.

vans women's encore snowboard boot
The classic Vans styling makes these boots look super sick. Kind of what you’d expect from such a great street style brand.

Boot Comfort

These boots are very snug and comfortably tight. Compared to other boots I’ve had in the past, these ones definitely feel better when I’m on my snowboard and when I’m walking about off the slope. They felt great straight out of the box (see above) as they were really comfy and weren’t stiff at all. I rode with them for three days straight away with no pinching or cramping and they are pretty lightweight too. I did feel the seam from the inner digging into my toe a bit, but this wasn’t that bad and didn’t make it uncomfortable. These boots never come loose at all and provide a lot of structure for your feet. Based on all the factors of comfort, I’d rate them as a 5 out of 5!

Boot Performance

One of the problem areas for snowboard boots is how they transfer the movement of your feet through your bindings and into the board. The soft to medium flex of the Vans Encore make that feeling just right. I felt that my feet were connected very well with my snowboard and this made turn initiation and putting the power down feel just right. They have just the right amount of flex to allow you to jib and ride freestyle with good movement and feel. The BOA fastening system is by far the easiest and tightest system out there. Once I’ve done them up, there is absolutely no heel movement and they hold feet really well. The inner is a standard draw-string system that makes it simple to fasten comfortably tight. Based on all the performance factors, I’d rate them as a 4 out of 5.

Boot Style

The classic Vans styling makes these boots look super sick. Kind of what you’d expect from such a great street style brand. The simple black and white colours of my boots go together really but I didn’t like blue and yellow on the inner draw-string. I think these straps would be better off being white or black to match the rest of the boot. Based on all the style factors, I’d rate them as a 4 out of 5.

Conclusion

Overall, I’d rate the Vans Women’s Encore snowboard boots as a 4.5 out of 5 and I’d definitely recommend these boots for young riders. They are pretty rad! I’ve rated the boots in different aspects so I’ll take the best and worst factors from each area.

Boot Comfort:
Best – Really fluffy and soft on the inside
Worst – Inner seam sometime digs into toes

Boot Performance:
Best – Really tight and keeps your foot in place
Worst – None

Boot Style:
Best – Typical VANS Styling and colour scheme
Worst – Colour choice on the inner draw-string

Thanks OllieFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Mystic Stone 3mm 2mm Long Arm Shorty Wetsuit Review

Sadly it’s reached that time of the year where the sun sets far too early, and the wind chill sends shivers down your spine. Most sensible people are sipping on a hot chocolate, tucked up in their blanket, and enjoying being curled up with ‘Rover’ – the cuddly golden retriever. Unfortunately, I am not most people and I’m certainly not sensible. That’s why you’ll normally find me covered from head to toe in goosebumps, with dark blue lips, as the cold water slowly creeps over me wakeboarding.

Its time for a wetsuit! Or translated into water sport terms, it’s ‘Shorty Season’.

A shorty is a wetsuit which is exactly as it sounds – ‘a shortened wetsuit’. Short arm and short legs. But there is another, which has long arms and short legs; which is perfect in the Summer/Autumn months for all water sports including: kite-surfing, jet skiing, kayaking, sailing, water skiing and, my chosen sport of, wakeboarding.

Mystic Stone 3mm 2mm Long Arm Shorty Wetsuit

To our delight, Tallington Lakes Pro Shop kindly provided one of these wetsuits to the Water Ski and Wakeboard School to review; and this is what we think.

I’ve always been a keen fan of Mystic because I really admire the style of their products; and the Stone wetsuit certainly doesn’t disappoint. It is very aesthetically pleasing to the eye; the colours and patterns, of this wetsuit, blend extremely well together. If you were buying a wetsuit simply on fashion, you could easily strut this down the catwalk with pride. Remember, when you look good – you feel good!

According to Mystic it “creates products that push riders further, allowing them to break all existing boundaries and take action watersports to a whole new level

water skier wearing mystic wetsuit
This wetsuit is very aesthetically pleasing to the eye; the colours and patterns, of this wetsuit, blend extremely well together. If you were buying a wetsuit simply on fashion, you could easily strut this down the catwalk with pride.

If you’ve ever worn a wetsuit in the past, you will understand the pain and time consuming misery that can occur each, and every time, you have to put one on or take off. RIP to all the body hair that has been violently removed during this process. Thankfully the guys at Mystic must have heard our screams and have produced a neoprene which is highly flexible. They call it M-Flex which stands for high quality neoprene with an awesome stretch ratio” Not only does this allow the wetsuit to fit like a glove, it also allows you to slip in and out of it with ease. But more importantly your body hair stays in tack.

As well as M-flex, the wetsuit comes fully equipped with Polar Lining Fabric. This inside layer provides the comfort and thermal insulation making sure you are nice and toasty – who needs ‘Rover’ anyway.

In terms of aiding performance, the flexibility of the neoprene acts as a heat blanket that boosts riders confidence. This is due to the extra layer of protection it provides. This wetsuit is suitable for all ranges of capability whether you are a complete novice or a seasoned professional.

The best thing about this wetsuit is the fact you’re not restricted in your movements- which is always considered a negative when wearing a wetsuit. I would highly recommend this wetsuit to anyone who fears the cold this Autumn.

Tallington Lakes Pro Shop have a good selection of Mystic wetsuits; and excellent staff to ensure you get the right fit!  

 

   

     

 

   

 Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather