Snow Shopping

Looking for ways to spend your holiday gift money? Look no further than area snow shops.

After years of buying the wrong gifts (cat sweaters, depending on how you look at it), “crazy aunts” are left just giving nieces and nephews money.

Especially in this day and age, giving and receiving Visa gift cards, checks or simply cash has become the norm for many families. Here are a few places to spend your Christmas money on some new winter sport supplies:

• 1st Tracks Ski Shop, 1380 N.C. 105, Boone — (828) 264-7368, www.1sttracks.com.

• Alpine Ski Center, 3150 Tynecastle Highway, Banner Elk — (828) 898-9701; or 1005 Beech Mountain Parkway, Beech Mountain — (828) 387-9291, www.alpineskicenter.com

• Beech Meadows Ski Shop, 405 Beech Mountain Parkway, Beech Mountain — (828) 387-4777, www.beechmeadows.com

• Farmers Ski Shop, 140 Depot St., Boone — (828) 264-4565, www.facebook.com/pages/Farmers-Ski-Shop/175804238529

• Recess Ride Shop, 1158 N.C. 105, Boone — (828) 355-9013, www.recessrideshop.com.

• Ski Country Sports, 3149 Tynecastle Highway, Banner Elk —(828) 898-9786, www.skicountrysports.com

• Snow Toys, 1757 Tynecastle Highway, Banner Elk — (828) 898-4199, www.snowtoysnc.com

Each ski mountain also has its own ski shop complete with skis, snowboards, boots, bindings and other equipment for sale.

Buying the right winter sport gear can seem like a difficult endeavor, but the knowledgeable staff at each ski shop is willing to help.

Finding the right board for you depends on how much money you want to spend, your level of expertise and personal taste. Riders of different styles will also need different boards and skis.

This year, why not treat yourself to a new winter sport experience by trying out skiboards, which are essentially like really short, wide skis. Although they’ve suffered their fair share of criticism, these winter sport blades are being revived.

“A skiboard is a 94-centimeter ‘fat’ ski that is wider than traditional skis,” reads the Appalachian Ski Mountain website. “Skiboards are twintip skis, which allow for a greater degree of maneuverability than that offered by traditional alpine skis, and also allow the user to perform small radius turns with greater ease.”

Skiboards mix the sensation of skiing, snowboarding and skating, from what I’ve heard, but have quite a stigma for being hard to control. I’ve seen my fair share of skiboarders out on the mountain, and they’re not any worse than out-of-control snowboarders.

According to Appalachian Ski Mountain, skiboards are not recommended for beginner skiers. 

But hey, don’t take my word for it; try out some skiboards and let me know what you think! Skiboards are available for rent and for purchase at many area ski shops. What makes them ideal for skiers is that you can use the boots you already have, so you don’t have to go buying a whole new system.

I’d love to hear from fellow skiers and snowboarders. For questions, ideas and pro tips, send an email to erika@mountaintimes.com.

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