Kelly's Blog: Quality Trumps Quantity

Saturday, December 8, 2012

n the 90’s I was a quantity consumer.  Probably because my kids were little and we made weekly trips to the store for diapers and formula.  As the kids got older the diaper and formula money went to “anything princess” and Lego’s.  I am happy to say that our family has moved into a more composed consumer mode where quality plays an important role.

For many, the holidays involve gift shopping so I thought I would share some of the quality brands that my staff and I recommend for a promised value.

When it comes to durability and comfort, Smartwool is top of the list.  I know most of you own Smartwool  socks  - aren’t they the best?   At our house we have two sock bins and when the socks come out of the dryer they are tossed in the bins.  There are socks that sink to the bottom of the bins and there are those that are plucked off the top immediately.  Smartwools are highly sought after and never stay in the bin for more than 48 hrs.  Smartwool socks last for years, even with the frequent use and washings.  Gift hint – if you have a hard-to-shop-for person buy a pair of Smartwools socks, take them out of the packaging and fill them with some candy and little stocking stuffers.  If this person is not a skier or if they have never tried Smartwool, they will remember you for years to come.  Something about Smartwool – it is love at first slip on!

If you haven’t purchased any Smartwool garments, I highly recommend it.  Over the years, I bought several base layers and they are my “go to” garments for the busy days.  They wick moisture, breathe, fit a woman and her curves and I throw them in the washer and dryer and they have held up for years – like 7 years.  And just because they say Smartwool, don’t think they feel like itchy wool on your skin.  There is no itch to be found.

I asked Karl, at Mount Snow Sports at the Grand, to recommend a product and his choice was the Smith IOX goggle.   These goggles are good looking, versatile and appropriately priced at $170. That may sound high but wait for the pitch.  What I love about this goggle is that they fit over most glasses and they come with two lenses, that are easy to change (yes, even I can do it.)  And let’s face it, in Vermont, there are some less than bluebird days. In fact, many days start off sunny and by the afternoon you are trying to deal with flat light.   Thanks Karl.  I am getting a pair of these!!!

Over at Backside I asked Justin and Billy to help me on my quest to find quality gifts for the younger and  hipper people on my list.  Justin showed me The Fix Skullcandy ear buds (how appropriately named.)  You can plug these into your smart phone and pause, skip, and adjust the volume on your playlist.  You can also answer your phone so you no longer have to ski around with your phone shoved in your helmet!  These run at $40 and have a lifetime warranty if you save your receipt.  Justin – you just sold a pair of these – I am hooked!

I was telling Billy that I needed to pick up a pair of Burton Party socks for my son.  They are the cushiest socks around, which is nice for all the park folks who could use a little extra cushion on their landings.  Billy showed me the Stance socks and told me not to rule them out because the price point was a little lower yet the graphics and cushiness (my word, not Billy’s) are just as strong.  So…I will grab a pair of those too!

Billy also reminded me that the best value going if you are looking for a new board or skis is to try “before you buy.”  A demo runs $50 and you can try several boards or skis.  If you decide to purchase a new set up, the $50 goes toward the price.  On Saturday, Dec 15th you can try for FREE, during our annual Demo Day.  Backside will host a Burton Demo - check in right in front of their shop.  To demo skis, check in at the Cape House on Main St.  Please bring your license and credit card for deposit.

And to add value, there are a few shop specials running this week:

The Cupola: Receive a FREE lift ticket with the purchase of a 2012/13 hard good.  Lift ticket is valid for any day during the 2012/13 ski season

Backside Snowboards: Take 20% off ANY helmet / goggle combo.

Mount Snow Sports @ The Grand:  Get $50 off 2012/13 skis or snowboard when you turn in your old ski/snowboard.

Cannot be combined with any other offers.

This Christmas I am lucky that I will be able to spend some time with family and friends, which is the greatest gift of the holidays.  Thanks to my dad for buying me a season pass each Christmas when I was growing up.  Those passes enabled me to spend my winters on the hill, falling in love with a sport that introduced me to my husband, provided me with a career, offered me a wholesome environment to raise my family and enabled me to live in a ski town where I have made lasting friendships.

So, tell me - what products are a "must have" when you are heading to the mountains?

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