Buying ski gear for the first time can seem like a daunting task. Here we offer some help and advice to make the process as easy as possible.
If you need to buy new equipment for your course we generally recommend that you purchase it in resort. Having said that, if you are coming for 2 weeks or less then it may be worth arriving with equipment to ensure you get maximum time on snow. If you are wanting to buy a particular product in a particular colour etc. it might be worth buying in advance to as local stores have everything one needs but not every range of every brand in every variable.
If you're joining us for longer than 2 weeks and are looking for some support with your purchase then buying in resort is likely to be best for you as you'll get the best advice - specific to local conditions, you'll be covered by the local warranty if anything breaks, you'll make friends with the locals, and lastly, you won't have to travel with it on your outbound trip. Additionally, in many of the shops, Nonstoppers will receive a discount of usually around 10-15%.
Here's some handy equipment adivce from Jens Mendes, our Ski Technical director in Fernie
In short, we would recommend the following:
Ski Type: All Mountain Ski - so you don’t compromise your enjoyment or ability.
Length: between your nose and the top of your head – shorter is always easier though!
Width underfoot Banff: 65 – 85mm
Width underfoot Fernie: 80 – 90m – so you can turn when you want! (if you're on the MTM, Ready to Heli or Patrol courses you can go a little wider)
Radius: 16 – 20m – so your turns are smooth and look amazing!
You will often see 3 numbers set out like this: 131-75-112. These numbers are the width (in millimetres) of the sidecut of the ski, near the tip – underfoot – near the tail.
If you plan on cat skiing or heli skiing, we do recommend using a wide rental ski as this makes turning in the powder much easier! We can help arrange this once you are in resort.
We strongly recommend you purchase ski boots in Canada from a specialist in the resort you are training at. Unlike skis, boots can be modified to be very specific to the individual. The fit of the boot is imperative and can mean the difference between success and failure on the course. You can never completely tell if the fit is right when trying a boot on in a shop. It is not until you have used a boot a few times that you can feel the imperfections in the fit. There are many things that can be done to a boot to make it fit better and these adjustments are usually free from the shop you purchased the boots from. A large percentage of people will require some form of boot work before they are completely fitted and comfortable. If they don't work out first time, the shop you've bought them from will happily reshape them for free...a lot easier if you purchased them in Canada than your home town!
As with skis, and boots - the locals know what works best in the conditions you'll be skiing in. They'll know what waterproofing vs. insulation you'll be most comfortable in. Make sure you learn the ‘lingo’ when buying outerwear as things like insulation and waterproofing are very important points to consider.
We look forward to speaking with you.