You’re Invited To Basin Sports Customer Appreciation Demo Day #2!
- Black Crows
The moguls are on the iconic Outer Limits, that get deeper as the days 150 competitors ski them, nestled between two large jumps and surrounded by the many who come in costume, ready to cheer and tailgate. Competitors ski a qualifying run where the top 16 women and 32 men progress to finals, a sudden-death dual format with the first person through the finish line progressing into the next round, all with big airs and underdog upsets. Killington is still a bastion of mogul skiing, a community who loves to celebrate a competition where anything can happen. To such an extent that when the mountain decided they wouldn’t host the rowdy event anymore in 2012, bumpers hosted it anyway and titled it the “Denial Cup.” The next year the event returned, and recently the mountain acknowledged those winners by engraving their names onto the trophy that sits in Bear Mountain’s base lodge.
It’s hard to think of another event that is more of Killington and espouses just how much we love skiing here. Whether you are tuning your skis, seeking out the seeded bumps on Wildfire, or picking out your best eye-turning outerwear, prep work for Saturday continues for many. If you are considering attending your first Bear Mountain Challenge, whether to ski it or to see it, you won’t be disappointed and you will really know that you arrived at the Big K, where mogul skiing is still very much alive, well, and celebrated.
We’re Ready To Shred, Are you?
This winter continues to provide lots of great skiing with a variety of conditions on different days. After a couple of warm days last week, Killington had a fun winter storm on Friday, leading to great powder days on Friday and Saturday. Temperatures have stayed below freezing since, making for good winter ski conditions. Today is a beautiful sunny day with temps in the high 20’s. The next couple of days look sunny and warmer each day. The snow should soften nicely.
I will have to admit that I ventured over to Outer Limits on Monday thinking it might have softened in the sun, but I was wrong. It hadn’t been groomed and was still firm. Today was soft on Wildfire and Bear Claw, particularly the lower sections. Pretty much anywhere that was groomed or had snow deposited by the wind over the weekend has pretty good packed powder conditions. The woods and natural snow trails are still skiing well, with a little bit of scratchiness. The groomers are good, with again an occasional scratchy spot.
Killington has made an amazing amount of snow on Superstar and the spine of snow can be seen from fairly far away. Hopefully we will have a nice long spring with a couple more months of skiing this year!
As the holidays of 2018 approached rumors started to swirl that K2 Skis had something psychedelic brewing. When our industry Demo Day rolled around and we had a chance to take out the Mindbenders we were blown away by their performance in a multitude of conditions. But the question we’ve been getting a lot is how it compares to the Black Pearl or Santa Ana (which we’ll do another review on). How does this rookie in the ski world compare to the best selling women’s ski ever? Well lets jump into is shall we. First we’ll go over each skis key features, then we’ll throw them head to head and let you decide who’s the winner.
K2 has been struggling to create a ski that worked well for most skier types. Not to say the pinnacle wasn’t a good ski, it just didn’t necessarily perform well in the many “all-Mountain” conditions. The K2 Mindbender is here as a replacement to the Pinnacle and Luv Series. Speaking of Luv series skis- The Alliance series was created as a replacement for that. Why the name change? The women at K2 wanted to create a ski series that better connected with their audience base and resonated with female skiers, so Alliance was born. Though there is a full line-up of waist width options for men and women, the 88 Ti is the best east coast all-mountain option (in our opinion. This would translate to 90 in the men’s version too). The Mindbender 88 Alliance Ti comes with an Aspen Veneer core for it’s wood construction. This is going to be like the 90, but the veneer and sandwiching of the core makes the 88 lighter and easier to turn. Then there’s the Titanal Y-Beam. Think of a tuning fork used to tune pianos. The Y-Beam looks like that, laid into the ski. It makes the Alliance stiff and reliable underfoot while allowing the tip to flex more easily. There’s a carbon spectral braid on top of all this construction which also helps to reduce chatter as well as help power imitation through turns. The sidewall is ABS which is a standard for most ski companies. In the alliance it is oversized. This translates to you can lay the ski all the way over. Want to go from making Slalom turns to jumping into a mogul field and bashing bumps? Yep, this ski is going to do that. Another honorable mention is that K2 has a 2 year warranty on their skis which is awesome!
The Blizzard Black Pearl 88 is undeniably the best selling women’s ski- ever. There’s a reason for that too. Virtually any female skier can take this ski out and have a good day on it. It’s going to do well at most All-Mountain conditions and since it’s not over powering and easy to turn ladies love it. But it’s what’s on the inside that counts right? The Black Pearl is a light ski, made with what Blizzard calls their Lite Wood Core. In the case of the Black Pearl 88, it’s a poplar beech core that’s sandwiched into the Carbon Flipcore WSD. W stands for women’s. No metal here, just good old wood and carbon. This makes the Black Pearl poppy and maneuverable across many conditions. We personally found them to carve exceptionally well too. The topsheet is a duratec composite which helps with scratch resistance. Sidewall will be the same as the Mindebender Alliance 88Ti, made with ABS Sidewall. Since there’s no metal in the Black Pearl so it retails at $600 vs $650 for the Mindbender.
Head to head you’re getting so skis that are similar, yet different. The Mindbender 88 in our opinion is for more aggressive skiers whereas the Black Pearl is focused on intermediate level skiers. Both the Black Pearl and Mindbender were great carvers and the Black Pearl made longer methodical turns whereas the Mindbender could get laid all the way over and make tight slalom like turns then transition into smooth GS style carves. The Mindbender wasn’t limited to a select level of turning. Whatever your style was it responded. In deeper snow, both felt similar and responded the same, nothing really changed here. Then moguls- This was a game changer between the two. To be honest the Black Pearl just felt sloppy in bumps. It could be my style of bump skiing, or the lack of metal in the ski, whatever the culprit the Black Pearls felt dead and confused on how to respond in bumps. The Mindbender was different. The Mindbender snaped through turns easily and launched you into the next bump almost like you intended to do. The Mindbenders are just fun- and as I’ve been saying around the shop are totally psychedelic.
So my final thoughts? Both skis are great skis. The Black Pearl seems to favor softer conditions and intermediate level skiers more. When the terrain got more aggressive the Black Pearl struggled to keep up. The Mindbender is definitely stiffer and more aggressive than the Black Pearl but that’s not to say a beginner could take it out and not have a good time. The Mindbender is flexible and would be a great ski for someone looking to progress their skills over a long period of time. The Black Pearl is predictable though and is a great value for an All- Mountain Ski that does everything okay.
|K2 Mindbender 88 Ti Alliance||Blizzard Black Pearl 88|
|Core||Wood: Aspen Venner||Lite Wood Core|
|Carbon||Carbon Spectral Braid||Carbon Flipcor WSD|
|Topsheet||Unsure (looks like Duratec)||Duratec|
|Sidewall||Oversized ABS||Full ABS Sidewall|
|Warranty||2 Year||1 Year|
* Obviously this Review is extremely biased and based upon my skiing style and the brutally odd East Coast Conditions. Hopefully, we’ll put together a video soon. If you like this head to head style review and want to see more let us know! If this was crap let us know! We are only human after all.
This has been one of those winters where if you don’t like the weather, just wait a day. I think we’ve had a bit of everything and then we’ve had more of everything. There have been many great powder days, some cold days, some sunny days and even some of those days with spring like conditions as well as a few, only a few, of those unmentionable conditions. Luckily there has been plenty of natural snow, providing a good base everywhere and cold temperatures for excellent machine made snow. This past weekend had new snow made on Outer Limits, among other trails, on Saturday and beautiful sunny skies on Sunday. Today was on the chilly side, with a bit of wind and gorgeous sunny skies. There was enough new natural snow last week as well as an additional 4-6 inches yesterday to provide fun woods and natural snow skiing. The groomed trails were also all in good shape, with an occasional scratchy spot where the wind had hit. Good natural snow was found on Snowdon off the 6 pack bubble chair, off the new Southridge chair, Skye Peak, K1 and Superstar. Cascade, Downdraft, Superstar, Wildfire, Needles Eye, Bunny Buster, to name a few, all provided good groomed skiing. Looks like another storm is headed our way Wednesday evening bringing more snow to the area!
Gone are the days of the standalone Nordica Enforcer. As we enter into the 19/20 winter season Nordica has not one, but 6 options to choose from- divided into the Enforcer and Enforcer Free Series. The Nordica Enforcer 104 offers up a new waist width with new technology that makes for a lighter, and snappier shred stick on the slopes. This new technology is only found in the 104 and 88- the newest waist additions, and we suspect the rest of the line will follow suit if the new technology is proven successful in these two skis.
So what makes the 104 so special? One difference between it and the 88 is that they have different shapes. The 104 is more freeride and will resemble a narrower Enforcer 110. The core is made up of Poplar, Beech and Balsa with 2 sheets of titanal for stiffness.
The biggest difference between predecessors and the latest 104 is that the wood core extends up and down the ski further and replaces some of the ABS Sidewall which has been slimmed down. This makes the ski more snappy and responsive on snow and less damp. Then there’s the carbon laminate that’s new. This makes the ski engage better on edge and gives you a little more “umpfh” and power that you’d normally loose on the original models.
Side by side next to the Enforcer 110, the Enforcer 104 is going to share rocker profile lines but be more slimming allowing for the ski to be more manageable in all conditions. Still though, slim rocker lines in Nordica Skis is still quite a bit of rocker compared to other 104 waisted skis in its class.
On Snow, the 104 is going to feel lighter and more manageable at speed. It’s still going to be incredibly stiff but maneuver better through deeper snow due to the new construction. The Carbon laminate is going to offer more stability at speed, less chatter, and more control through turns.
We are located on the East Coast, so having any ski wider than the Enforcer 104 will be seldom used, and may be overkill for most east coast powder days. But, if you want something wider, for spring skiing days or maybe you’re a west coast skier who needs a reliable daily driver the 104 is going to be a great option.
January 18 Update From Braatencast: Scroll down for older models.
Significant Snowstorm To Bury the Green Mountains This Weekend
The models continue to point to a significant snowstorm the Greens and while there are still some small details to work out, the consistency of the model guidance at this point is hard to ignore. It’s actually very impressive that this was modeled over a week out and despite some slight shifts here or there, it has largely held serve. If this works out in the end, it very well may be one of the best modeled storms I’ve seen in years.
This storm will be fast moving and quick hitting, with snow breaking out across VT late Saturday evening and becoming moderate to heavy snow overnight through Sunday morning. The models are speeding up the storm system, so most of the accumulating snow could be out of the area by late Sunday afternoon. Overall, we are looking at a quick 12-18 hour punch of snow that should drop a general 10-18″ of dry snow across the state with some local variance due to banding. Chances for mixing with sleet in S.VT seem to be quite diminished.
Normally with a storm having such sort residence time in our area wouldn’t have me forecasting amounts this high, but rich Gulf of Mexico moisture is going to have a battle royale over New England with a very cold arctic air mass. As the storm system tracks from the Ohio Valley to the southern New England coastline, strong southerly winds aloft will lift this rich moist air up and over the cold dome. This should produce a fluffy snow and for this forecast I went with snow ratios around 13-15:1.
Right now the southern stream energy is crossing the western United States and is becoming well sampled by the weather models. The remaining questions surround Arctic stream energy in northern Canada that still is in a data-sparse region. Certain models like the NAM have been tracking the storm further south over the past few runs because it is flatter with this energy, not letting it dig south like the ECMWF. The flatter that northern wave is, the less phasing and downstream pumping of heights, causing a flatter solution off the East Coast. This piece will need to be monitored.
While that arctic energy could cause a slightly further south track, I also think there could be a near-term tick north with the track in the final 12-24 hours once the Gulf of Mexico opens up for business. Often times with these, strong convection down south will release copious amounts of latent heat into the atmosphere and that can serve to pump the ridge a bit more ahead of the system. The models have a hard time handling that convection and that can often result in a brief near-term tick north with the surface low in a moist dynamic situation like this.
Overall, I’m going with a blend that would include 0.6″ (far NW VT) to 1.5″ (SVT) across the state though most locations will likely fall into a 0.8-1.3″ water range. Applying 13-15:1 ratios to that yields the shown snowfall. Now, this water may be a bit less than some model guidance but I still think with an open wave at the mid-levels preventing good easterly moisture transport that QPF amounts could end up slightly below current model values.
The other caveat will be mid-level banding as the models are showing good 700-850mb frontogenic forcing between the warm air coming in from the south and arctic air to the north. That battle zone looks to run from the southern Adirondacks through Killington area and into central NH/ME. That’s where we could see localized rates of 2-3″/hr and someone could rack up a lot of snow in a short period of time as that stronger banding punches the snow growth zone. Very fluffy snow can stack awfully quickly in those situations. I may need to amend the location of that band as the near term guidance continues to fine tune the location. Some models, like the ECMWF lift that band further north into C/N VT but climatology tells me it often sets up further south in VT in lows that track along the southern New England coastline.
After snow tapers off later Sunday afternoon, we’ll see off and on snow showers in the mountains into Monday with maybe another inch or two of accumulation but you won’t be able to find it. The winds are going to get fierce behind this storm on Sunday night and Monday with brutally cold temperatures. Mountain temperatures on Monday won’t sniff zero degrees and serious wind chills will be present in the upper mountain elevations. Dress warmly if planning to enjoy the powder and exercise patience with Lift Ops teams as those winds on Monday will likely be problematic.
Enjoy the storm and I’ll update as I feel is necessary.
As I left for work this morning my thermometer read 4 Degrees Fahrenheit. Yes, that’s cold- but after last seasons -20 everything feels warm. That being said, everyone has been chattering about this weekends storm. Rental reservations are up, hotel bookings are up, and the local’s are brushing the dust off their powder sticks. But what is really supposed to happen this weekend? Like most weather predictions it’s incredibly hard to predict storms like this. The fact of the matter is that we’ll see some snow. It could be 8″ it could be 18″ but it will be some sort of a powder day. So what are should we expect? I again reference Scott Braaten, Stowe Snow Report, and Weather Pattern Geek. Scott’s Braatencast on Facebook is a great reference for winter weather predictions.
An active week of weather is on tap for the Green Mountains, with the hype already building for a big MLK Weekend snowstorm. Prior to that we have a few smaller systems to contend with and a near term concern for some light icing in the mountains of central and northern Vermont tonight. I’ll break this post down by event, with discussion regarding the potential storm on Sunday saved for the end.
Today saw some light freezing drizzle across the northern Greens due to moisture trapped under an inversion just above the surface. The thick stratus deck produced a mix of light snow and light freezing drizzle, but from all accounts there was no impact to the snow surfaces except visibility was an issue this morning from goggles freezing up from the mist. We should see those conditions persist tonight and tomorrow morning in the high terrain until an arctic cold front moves through tomorrow afternoon. A light glaze is possible overnight inside the clouds that will reside above 2,000ft.
Tomorrow afternoon a decent arctic cold front will swing through towards the end of the ski day. With good surface convergence along the front coupled with upslope flow into the northern Green Mountains, a quick 1-3″ of snow is expected in snow squalls from Sugarbush to Jay Peak. Isolated amounts up to 4″ are possible in the highest elevations where any squall may linger. Winds will increase behind the front and it will get very cold for Thursday. In fact, Thursday will be the day to wear everything you’ve got as temperatures will stay below zero above 3,000ft with wind chills approaching -40F at times.
Another weak storm system will approach us Thursday night, bringing with it southwest flow aloft and warmer temperatures for Friday. The energy aloft driving this system is quite weak and the system will be moisture starved, but a fluffy 1-4″ snowfall looks like a decent bet on Friday morning across most of Vermont. Any remaining light snow showers should taper off by early Friday afternoon, followed by another shot of arctic air to start the weekend.
Saturday of MLK Weekend will see increasing clouds and cold temperatures, with highs in the single digits in the base areas and below zero at the summits. If heading to the mountains for the holiday weekend, dress warmly. It is late in the day on Saturday when things start to get interesting.
Now, I’ve seen a lot of mentions of possible accumulations already for the weekend but it is still 5 days away. That is an eternity in weather model land. If some models are even struggling with Friday’s weak storm system, how are they going to know what Sunday will do?
In fact, most of the players on the field responsible for the potential storm are still located over data sparse regions of the Pacific Ocean and northern Canada. The models right now are making a lot of “assumptions” based on satellite data. In my opinion it won’t be until Thursday when we really get a good feel for what will happen. By that point the energy involved will finally be adequately sampled and the models will have a much clearer picture of how this will shake out.
When talking about data sampling, it means that by that point the weather systems responsible for our storm will now be over portions of North America (such as the United States), passing over airports, radar sites, weather balloon launches, and even getting passed through by hundreds of commercial aircraft. All of those things collect data which then is fed into the supercomputers that the weather models run off of. The more complete a picture the models can get of the atmosphere at initialization, the more accurate the outcome will be. Right now the pieces of the puzzle are still over data sparse regions, so the models are making assumptions on variables that can have huge downstream effects.
Basically the bottom line is, there is great uncertainty in the sensible weather outcomes at this lead time. What is known is that a good sized storm is likely to form in the lee side of the Rockies, but where it tracks is still very much up for grabs.
The attached graphic includes the three possible tracks that seem most likely at this time. The furthest south track would include heavier snows in the Catskills, Berkshires and southern New England, with lighter snows north. The currently modeled track wants to cut the low pressure system near the south coast of New England or even inland a bit through southern New England. That would produce heavy snows for the Green Mountains and would likely also include at least some mixed precipitation into southern VT. The furthest north track would produce a snow to sleet/freezing rain type event across most of Vermont as warm air aloft punches northward.
My gut instinct is telling me most of Vermont will remain all snow and it will only be a question of how much. Very cold arctic air pressing down from the northwest should be enough to force this storm to track east and not over us. I’ve seen some comments tossing around very large amounts of snow, but this system looks to stay progressive as an open wave in the mid-levels. That would make widespread amounts of heavy accumulations (say 10-12″+) quite difficult to achieve in a fast moving system. The system will have copious amounts of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, but without a closed mid-level center moving underneath us, we wouldn’t get that easterly flow of moisture advection off the Atlantic. That should serve to keep expectations in check until this becomes clearer in a few days.
Like I stated earlier, I think by later Thursday we should have a pretty good idea of how this will pan out but there are still plenty of options on the table. In the end, snow seems more likely than not at this point in time and I’m cautiously optimistic that we can finally get a snow event to coincide with a holiday weekend on the slopes.
Written January 15, 2019
January 16th Update (Scott Braaten):
Decent shift south last night in the model Ensembles, better news for SVT/Berkshires/SNH. Still great snows up here though. The pressing cold from the NW is trying to shunt it south and east. It’ll be a battle…
If you don’t make it up for MLK Weekend, long term forecasts look good too. So the snow will be sticking around for a while. Just remember to layer up and be safe!
This year we’ve partnered with the Karr Group (Foundry, Pickle Barrel, Jax, Charity’s) as well as Lookout Tavern. Special thanks to both of them for supporting our business and our snow reports.
We’re Ready To Shred, Are you?
After a rather lackluster December it finally snowed here in Killington, Vermont and today’s Killington Snow Report shows it. Now right before I sat down to write this snow report, Killington Resort stated that they received 10″ of fairly optimistic snow. Having myself just been on the hill I’d say that yeah, that’s a rather optimistic total. It felt like more than 5″(as they reported this morning) but definitely less than 10″ based off the untracked places I ventured into. I started over on Superstar, my usual haunt just to see what the steeper slopes held. It seemed that grooming was done early yesterday on this pod and the base was firmer than anticipated. Light fluffy mashed potatoes, hiding layers of crunchy quesadilla. It seemed the steeper angle got skied off rather early so I decided to head over to Snowdon and see what the lower angle slopes had to offer. It’s funny for me to hear myself say, yeah let’s go lap Snowdown. Because only a year ago it seemed much less appealing. So I skated over to the 6-Pack and enjoyed the 4-minute lift ride up. Even on a delicious midweek powder day like today, there was no line at the 6-pack and I have yet to ride the lift with six people on it. So much for those nay, sayers who questioned the deterioration of terrain off my now newly favorite lift.
From here I pretty much spent the rest of my time skiing off Snowdown. By far the best snow I could find was off this chair and it kept filling back in after each run. Every run got better and better and it was hard for me to ski back to my car, it really was quite good. I opted to not ski the woods but our Snowboard Guru, Clarke did and when I caught up with him on the lift he said, “if you knew where to go the trees were quite good and that a lot of snow had moved in there from the wind.” We needed this, and after a depressing December it was great to ski some New England Powdah! I will say to those powder junkies arriving this weekend to dress warm. Undoubtingly the snow will be quite excellent this weekend but it will also be quite cold. We have heated mitts, gloves and all the accessories in between to keep you toasty this weekend. If you’re on the fence, go- trust us. It might be cold, but it will well be worth it. Hopefully, this snowy momentum continues through the weekend and into the rest of the month. Fingers Crossed.
This year we’ve partnered with the Karr Group as well as Lookout Tavern. Special thanks to both of them for supporting our business and our snow reports.
We’re Ready To Shred, Are you?
Sunny, H 38° / L 25°
Killington Snow Report, Before we headed out for turns we decided to try out the new Hotronic Light Compression Sock. Carol, one of our talented bootfitters helped us with that. Truthfully I have never used a sock that added a little compression while filling in small nooks in the boot. It also aided in the entry and exit making my life easier. Moreover, the sock actually made the boot warmer and more comfortable; truly amazing. The Skiing was great for what we’ve been given. Yesterday we received around 4 inches of snow which helped fill in the “should I really be skiing this” areas. Local Ktown resident Merisa Sherman even found some runs in the woods, albeit they were crunchy. But besides that the groomers were great. We stuck to Skye Peak to get those early morning rays. That early morning sun made this side of the mountain ski phenomenally. A few inches here and there has made for great packed powder and granulated groomers. This weekend looks to be good with moderate temps coupled with quite a bit of open terrain.
We’re Ready To Shred, Are you?