Riding a cash cow down the slopes | VailDaily.com

Riding a cash cow down the slopes

Kent Roberg/New Media Editor

Let’s face facts; although both skiing and snowboarding require snow, there is a radical difference between the decision to ride skis or a board.

Like almost anything else, ultimately it comes down to money. Anyone living in or visiting a resort this winter understands how expensive goods and services have become. I hate to admit it but I recently paid $4 for a 12-ounce bottle of juice at one of Vail’s on-mountain restaurants.

The price is the same whether you are skiing or snowboarding, local or visitor.

The wealthy, upper-class, Kennedy-esque image of skiers is alive and well while snowboarders and snowboarding gear all kinda looks the same. You can’t really tell from a distance how much money a snowboarder has spent on his or her setup. Most snowboarders couldn’t care less, anyway. Skiers, however, do not seem to share the same attitude.

Ski boots seem to change hot colors every year – one of the latest rages is the Lange Comp 120 that sells for around $675. A sporting, bright blue broadcasts status on and off the mountain. These boots cost more than my entire set up, which is by no means the bottom of the line.

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I got a few deals along the way so in an attempt to be slightly fair I called The Other Side Snowboard shop in Beaver Creek to get an idea of what it costs to get into a mid-range, intermediate set-up of board, boots and bindings.

Jimmy DeLong, owner of The Other Side, helped me get set up. The Other Side has a great reputation among locals and is by no means a bargain-basement type establishment. It’s where I would shop were money not a concern.

Boots range in price from $225 to $250 at the Other Side and the cheapest are the Burton Ruler. Burton has a reputation for standing behind its products. No matter what Burton product you purchase, if you encounter defects or failure they will do what it takes to remedy the situation.

Bindings range in price from $125 to $175. The Drake F40 is my choice and costs $140 and this is almost double what I paid for my Burton Mission bindings a few years back. A brand new board will run $350 to $500 in Jimmy’s shop. He recommended the Niedecker Mountain as a good intermediate stick. It costs $349.

Over all, Jimmy estimates a lower end set up from his store will average $500 and a more intermediate one around $750 all for about the same price as those bright blue, super stylie Lang Comp 120 super-comfy ski boots.

Now you’re set up with good intermediate equipment to start snowboarding while saving some money for gas and lift tickets. A good, strong rider can make anything look impressive on the mountain. Remember: it’s not a fashion show and you have no friends on a powder day.

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