Ski, snowboard, trips and gear reviews
Welcome to The Outdoors Lab! You are in the right place to get the latest news about ski and snowboard. Explore our main categories to get information about snow sports, resort recomendations, gear guides and safety education.
Ski is almost as old as humanity. Well, we don’t know exactly if is so old but ski history take us to the year 5000 B.C. where we can see hunters on their boards. Skiing was used as a way of transportation in that time.
From the middle of the 18th century up to this days the discipline has evolved a lot and it’s the best activity to do ever. We know that you feel like that too.
We can divide ski into three main disciplines with a couple of sub-disciplines under each. They differentiate from each other on the type of terrain, the skiing technique and the gear you use to practice it.
It’s the most common way of skiing that we can see nowadays. Alpine is a branch of Nordic skiing. It usually takes place on a piste or slope in a ski resort. The skier is taken to the top of the slope using the chairlifts proportioned by the resort. As the gear used to Alpine ski consist of fixed bindings it’s difficult to the skier to walk,that’s why we use the ski lift.
Alpine ski include backcountry ski, where the skier can use the lifts to access an area of the mountain and then walk to a fresh line using skins, touring bindings and boots. Most of the times we use wide skis because we are going to get deep into the powder.
We can include freestyle skiing in Alpine too, where the skier do tricks and jumps while going down. There are some resorts specialized on freestyle with big parks for this purpose. Freestylers use almost the same gear as regular downhill skiers but can incorporate twin tip skis to go backwards and have different boots.
We can have the same equipment and still do any of this great variants.
Nordic ski was first a way of transport between regions and then a winter sport. The main difference with Alpine is that in this case the terrain is flat. Some resorts have special slopes for the practice of nordic skiing. There are flat trails that go through all the resort with extensions that can be a lot of kilometers. Nordic skiers also use to go into the backcountry of the mountains. Ski jumping is a competitive practice included in the nordic discipline.
In terms of gear, nordic skis are flat and long, and the bindings are free at the heel. Skiers use poles to propel themselves forward.
Telemark is a mix of Alpine and Nordic skiing. The movement of the skier is downhill but the equipment is very similar to Nordic skis. The bindings are free at the heel. This discipline is based in it’s turning technique. As the skier have the boot attached to the binding only at the toe it allows him/her to raise the heel throughout the turn. This can be very difficult and require an excellent technique. So if you are looking for a big challenge go with telemark.
As the temperatures go down, the mountains start calling. You start to plan an epic snow trip with your best friends or maybe you are an experienced skier that want to transmit this passion to your kids. It’s a good moment to buy a brand new equipment if you don’t already have one, renew your old 10 season skis or complete with some missing gear.
Every year new models come to market and may or may not have significant changes that justify the spend. Here in The Outdoors Lab we are to help you choosing the best options. We based our recommendations first of all in years spend in the mountains, and then in what is the objective of your purchase. For example if you are going to spend 6 months hitting the backcountry we are going to suggest that you buy a top and complete equipment. If you are buying the first skis for your 7 year old kid we can recommend something good but economic. Probably he will be taller next year and you may need to change that pair of skis.
A basic equipment consists of a pair of skis attached to their bindings, a pair of boots, poles, ski goggles and helmet (safety first) and some winter clothes. There is a world of combinations possible with different purposes. You can learn a lot more in the specialized gear review sections. Navigate the web and learn about all the possibilities on the market.
Once the trip is decided and your brand new gear at home you have to decide where to go. There are really a lot of ski resorts, almost a resort for any type of person. There are places to start with the sport, familiar ones where the kids are entertained with activities or places with the best apres ski. There are trips and retreats to the most inhospital backcountry terrains with pro skiers as guides (we prefer this trips always!)
Keep reading this section for recommendations on summer skiing, cheap ski resorts, backcountry access resorts or parties in the middle of the mountain.
You can ski all year long if you want to, have the time to do it and can afford it. The only thing you need is to know is where to go at the right time. We strongly recommend that you don’t plan your trip a lot in advance because we can’t have precisions on how the slopes are going to be. You can take the decision a couple of weeks before the trip. The best advice is to read snow reports and decide based on the conditions. We always use Snow Forecast as our main source of snow conditions in the resorts of our interest, and the best is to have a good friend in the slopes to tell us if it’s worth it to go there.
If you do backcountry skiing you can extend the snow season by accessing on your own to higher peaks where the lifts don’t reach and probably have better snow accumulation. Please be aware that backcountry is dangerous so always have with you the right gear and don’t go outside alone. There are a lot of courses and camps where you can learn and refresh the outdoors best practices. Also you can know new like minded people and there are really fun.
Main world ski seasons and areas
In this big world we can divide the season in three main areas: 1) Winter skiing 2) Summer skiing 3) All year skiing.
In the winter skiing we have the early and late season areas, like Alaska and Canada and the regular season like all the rest of the US resorts, center European resorts like Andorra, France, Italy, Switzerland.
In the summer skiing you have great options to keep pushing your skils with a trip to Argentina or Chile in South America with the great Andes or going to Australia on New Zeland that have great options.
In the middle of this times you have some resorts that are with enough snow to ski all year long. Mainly this are glaciars. Because of the height of this terrains the cold temperatures are good enough to maintain skiable areas everytime. A lot of them are placed in europe. For example we can name Stubai and Solden in Austria, Tignes in France or Zermatt in Switzerland. In the US you can go to some summer camps in Mt. Hood, Oregon or if you like the extreme adventure you can go on a trip to Antartica.
For more details on resorts and trips check out the Skiing resorts section.
Do you like to see how the pros ski, what is the ultimate gear they are using or discover new terrains to plan your next trip? We too. This is the section of the web where we turn the lights off and turn the volume high. Enjoy the latest productions of the top ski crews. It’s almost like netflix and chill friday night. We, the ski bums like to see this kind of videos.
All the necessary info when looking to buy your next snowboard is here. Search different types of snowboards and compare them to buy smart and what best fits for your style of riding.