In this exclusive LoveToKnow interview, Ryan Orabone, founder of a lifestyle brand of ski apparel, shares tips about ski equipment you need to get started. If you're not a beginner, but haven't hit the slopes in a while, it'll help to know what you need to get back into it.
About Ryan Orabone
Ryan is an entrepreneur who would rather ski than anything else. His passion has always been skiing since he first started in the sixth grade. When he suffered a knee injury in high school, he feared his skiing days were over. Luckily, he was able to turn his expertise on the slopes into becoming an adaptive ski instructor in Ohio. This led him to the opportunity to join a ski team at Marist College, which paid for his tuition. Ryan now lives in New York City marketing his newest line of ski apparel and continuing his love of skiing.
Beginner Skiers: What You Need to Ski
LoveToKnow (LTK): How can someone mentally prepare to ski for the first time?
Ryan Orabone (RO): The first thing you need is a good attitude. You won't be carving on your edges or doing double black diamonds on day one; it takes time. Listen, observe, and don't get discouraged!
LTK: On average, how much do beginners need to pay for decent ski equipment?
RO: Bindings and boots won't cost you more than $300. Get a pair of skis that you can grow into. Beginners should start with an intermediate pair. Don't buy used boots if you can avoid it. Boots are the most important part of your set up. All your movement and transfer of energy start with your feet and if you have cold toes, you won't be happy.
LTK: What type of ski equipment will make skiing easier for a beginner?
RO: The shorter your skis are, the easier it will be to learn how to turn on them. Once you get the hang of carving on them, you can graduate to a longer set of skis. Longer skis provide stability at high speeds or in rough terrain.
LTK: What are the best brands of ski equipment and how much do they cost? What are some moderately priced ski equipment?
RO: It depends on whether you want race skis, mogul skis, or park skis. Most companies specialize in a particular type of ski. Fischer and Atomic are two ski manufacturers you will find on most Olympic skiers. For the top end set up, you are looking upwards of $1,000 to $1,400. K2, Solomon, and Rossignol are all companies that have a wide range of skis, from mogul skis, to park skis, to what most people will buy, all mountain skis. These skis range from $250 to $750. It all depends what you are looking for when it comes to a pair of skis.
Ski apparel also has to be of high quality. If you are cold and wet on the mountain, you won't be able to focus on how much fun you are having. When I first started skiing I was obsessed with North Face - but I couldn't afford the $500 price tag for the fleece jacket. I ended up buying the Columbia one instead and experienced the same warmth with all of the qualities the North Face brand has but paid $200 less. My pants are by Helly Hansen's and I've had them for ten years. When they get a rip, I just throw some duct tape on it. Once you hit that point, consider yourself a seasoned skier.
Purchase Ski Equipment Online
LTK: Which online sites do you recommend for ski equipment?
RO: My favorite is Levelninesports.com. I bought my skis off the site last season and they really do have great deals. If you want to look like a pro already, my company has innovative merchandise that we cater to the hard-core skiing crowd.
LTK: How can people lower their expense on ski equipment?
RO: Every ski shop in the world has sales at the end of each season and the beginning of each season. This is when you will get the best deals on equipment as they are unloading inventory to make room for the new stuff next year. Something else that makes these sales appealing is the opportunity you will have to get expert advice on what they have available for you.
LoveToKnow Ski would like to thank Ryan Orbone for taking the time to share his knowledge in this ski equipment for beginners interview.