Shep’s Annual PreSeason Snow Sports Sale

We’re ready for winter! PreSeason Sale is your first shot at all the new merchandise at DISCOUNTED prices! Stop in for the latest and greatest skis and snowboards, boots, bindings, poles, accessories, and more. It’s all here and it’s all ready for you.

For the entire month of September, you’ll get:

  • Lowest Prices of the Season on brand new ski & snowboard gear
  • Up to 20% off brand new sportswear, outerwear, footwear and winter accessories when you spin our discount wheel at the register 
  • Up to 50% off spring & summer merchandise in our clearance center upstairs

PreSeason sale is the kickoff to the snow season at Shep’s. You don’t want to miss it! If you’re itching for snow, if you like to be the first to know, or if you’re in the mood to get your ducks in a row for the winter, we’ll see you in September.

2015-16 Ski & Snowboard Demo @ Granite Peak

Curious what’s coming next? Dying to get the first look at next year’s skis & snowboards? Join us at Granite Peak on Saturday, February 28th and do just that! Chat with reps from the industry’s biggest brands and test the goods that are coming out next winter! 2015-16 gear will be available, including free ride skis, race skis, cruisers, snowboards, and even goggles!

Try as much as you can between 9am-3pm at Granite Peak. We just ask for a one-time $5 donation to be put toward local ski & snowboard programs. Register in the Lower Chalet.

Mark your calendar & get pumped up! We can’t wait to see you there.

15/16 Skis

Sneak Peak: 2016 Ski and Snowboard Staff Picks!

This past month members of our shop crew got the chance to go to Afton Alps and demo the 2016 ski and snowboard lineups. They each took a look at the new product, and pegged different aspects that stood out to each of them. Each of their notes on the new product lineups are as follows.

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2016 Skis

Sep’s Notes:

It’s always hard to pick a favorite ski in today’s offerings – technology has come so far and nearly every ski performs great.  That said, I did test a few that seemed to perform at a level above the rest.  Before I share though, a little about me.  I’m just shy of 6’0, weight 145 pounds, and ski very aggressively.  I prefer medium radius turns to short ones and primarily stick the groomers.  That out of the way, here are my top picks:

Overall favorite ski:  Salomon MTN 95, tested length 177.  If I could only buy one ski next year, this would be it.  It’s light but stable, wide but quick in the turns, and carves extremely well.  This was one of only three skis that made me laugh out loud with enjoyment.

Best sub $500 ski: Salomon X-Drive 80, tested length 177.  We carried this in the store this season, and it’s returning unchanged for 15/16.  Still, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this ski all day long.  While it’s great for cranking up the speed, what I loved about it is it’s versatility: fast, slow, long turns, tight turns – it simply does it all.  And it does it all really well.  (For a sub $500 ski!!!)  Unlike last year with no real contenders though, Head’s new Natural Instinct gave the Salomon a run for it’s money at $449.  Minus top end speed stability, it performed wonderfully and was a joy to ski.

Race ski recap:  Both Volkl and Head return for the following season unchanged, and like I mentioned last year, both are amazing race skis.  Torn between which to purchase?  Pick a color.  They’re both equally good.  I only give the nod to Head in the junior race department with their Worldcup iRace.  With sizes available down to 100cm, we love having a true race ski to offer our junior racers for their early racing development.

Women’s ski recap: While none of our women staffers came to the demo, we still made a point to ski as many women’s skis as we could.  Why?  We sell a lot of skis to women, and we want to provide the best advice and information to our women customers as well.  And let me tell you this straight away: women’s skis have come a long way!  Want something that simply rips? It’s out there.  Want something that practically skis itself?  Easy.  There are a ton of skis waiting for you.  So my favorites?  K2 nailed it with their new women’s skis, and the Luv Sick 80Ti is going to be a favorite for sure.  Super quick edge to edge, very easy to turn, stable, and light weight.  It’s really the perfect on piste ski.  For those looking for something even move versatile, the Nordica Belle to Belle skied great and would be a wonderful ski for that beginner to intermediate gal looking for one ski to do it all.  Head’s Joy line of skis continues to surprise me with great looks, low weight, and killer price, and I had a blast on their Absolut Joy.  Lastly, Volkl remains the ski to choose if carving is your thing.  Even their entry level Aurena carved a great turn at moderate speeds, and felt racey from turn to turn.  With nearly all the skis I tried, it was easy to forget I was skiing women’s specific models halfway through each run.  They’re that good!

Other favorites:  Without going into more detail other than saying they were a blast to ski (which usually means they carved really well, felt lively underfoot, didn’t have a speed limit, and would likely be very versatile in all conditions), I have to say these skis topped my list of favorites and very well may make their way into my ski arsenal next year:

-K2 Pinnacle 95
-Nordica Enforcer
-Armada E-Dollo (rename of this year’s El Dente)
-Head Instinct Ti
-Volkl 90Eight

Lastly, I was able to use a pair of Leki poles with the Trigger system during the demo, and while I always like how they worked when I tired them in our store display, I’ve never actually skied them. GAME CHANGER. They are without a doubt worth the money, and will really change the way you think about poles.

head

Brian’s notes:

(6’3″, 220 lbs, skis like his hair is on fire! Loves to be aggressive.)

Salomon MTN 95 184cm: Ski that has no limit. Extremely light carbon and wood built ski that pushes like a GS ski or slides right around like a fat powder ski. Absolutely fabulous. This ski had no limit and had no end. When I wanted to take fast quick turns it reacted, yet when I wanted to slow it down and slide my turns or even take slow long turns it did it all. Awesome looking snow camoish cosmetic and definitely a ski I recommend for anyone looking for that one ski quiver. Old or young, this ski will make skiing bring an even bigger smile to your face.

Head Monster 88 177cm: light easy cruising ski. This is the new all mountain ski that was spun off the old rev series skis. This ski gives you the stability of being a true groomer ski while acting and playing like a powder ski.

Head Instinct 83 184cm: This ski was the most like a “beer league” race ski. The ski will toss you and is very strong. The ski turned quick and held an edge like you would expect a race ski to do. The beauty of it all, though, is that it’s not a race ski, just an awesome groomer ski. Super cool looking cosmetic to this new ski as well.

Volkl RTM 84 177cm: Sleek new look for the RTM series this year. Volkl cut off lots of weight and added UVO plates to dampen the ski in the 84, 86. Ski (of course) is fast and quick and an absolute power house for that skier looking to take fast, hard turns.

K2 Pinnacle 95 184cm: K2 has a new look and a new shape, and it’s looking good. The cosmetics look awesome with the bright green top sheet you’re for sure going to be looking good out on the slopes. The weight felt balanced and the turn initiation was tight and quick. Great do-it-all versatile ski for anywhere from intermediate to far advanced level skiers.

Nordica NRGY 80 184cm: Ski is light and fast. Still the traditional 80 underfoot and completely rips just like a GS ski. Swing weight is fast and this ski will toss you around if you give it enough energy. Anyone with a race background who is now retired from racing, please jump on one of these!

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Tony’s notes:

(5’8″, 150 lbs, loves short, fat skis and making a ton of turns. His very favorite, though: tree skiing.)

Volkl RTM series-This series from Volkl now has a new shape and lighter design. These skis deliver precise edge control while still allowing you to explore the mountain. Volkl always makes some of the best skis out there.

Salomon MTN Explore 95-This brand new series of ski from Salomon is amazing, definitely a staff favorite. This ski is super lightweight, while still giving you the control needed to conquer the whole mountain. Can be used as a mountain charger or as a touring ski.

Head Monster 88/98/105-Head replaced the Rev series with the Instinct and Monster series of skis. The Monster, being the larger of the series, starts with the 88 waist and goes up to a 105. Ski handles nicely, giving nice easy turns while handling the crud and groomers. Great for intermediate to advance skiers looking for an all mountain ski.

Nordica NRGY Series. The Nordica NRGY series is still one of my favorite newly designed skis from all the companies. These skis can ski anywhere on the mountain, including the race course. Definitely try these out if you have the chance.

Volkl Racetiger and Salomon XMAX- looking for a “beer league” race ski or just some of the tightest turning skis on the hill, look no further. These skis will amaze even the most advanced skiers.

K2 Pinnacle Series- K2 has a new series of skis in the Pinnacle. These skis not only look good but ski great. Both the Pinnacle 95 and 105 skied hard, while being playful enough for the rest of the mountain.

Armada Edollo- the upgrade to the Al Dente, this ski looks good and is super soft in the tip, while still being a playful all mountain ski.

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Bob’s notes:

(5’11”, 155lbs, an ex-racer who skis like one.)

A new ski from Salomon, the MTN 95 was the hands-down favorite.The MTN 95 is extremely lightweight and at 95 underfoot it should provide excellent performance in the soft stuff. We tested this ski on hard-pack conditions where it held an edge as well as anything else that I’ve skied and had virtually no chatter.

My second favorite ski of the day was Volkl’s Racetiger SL. A very different animal from the Salomon, the Racetiger SL is a pure race ski. The Racetiger is quick, agile, and aggressive; you have to stay on top of them but as long as you do they will deliver you quickly and precisely from turn to turn.

Coming in third was the Volkl RTM 8.0. This is one of our entry level package skis and very little has changed from previous years. I was surprised at how well this ski held an edge and how aggressively it could carve. Upon completing a turn, this ski does not have as much pop its higher-performance brethren, but that makes it easier to handle for beginner to intermediate skiers.

On a side note, it was good to see that Salomon had not changed the Q-Lab except for the graphic; because why mess with perfection.

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2016 Snowboard

Josh and Jay’s Notes:

Lets be honest. Every snowboard company out there has some cool technology, but K2 continues to stand out with some unique new arrows for your quiver. While introducing some all new board shapes as they head into their 27th year of snowboarding, K2 is shaping (in more ways than one) the growth of snowboarding. With the 2015/16 season they are continuing to not only advance board technology, but shapes as well. No aspect of the mountain is overlooked as focus was put into a variety of areas from the pow to the park and of course with a variety of styles.

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There are two new faces this season in the CoolBean and the Carveair. Their shape may standout like a sore thumb in the lift lines, but your riding will standout ten-fold the whole way down the mountain. Both of these boards have been designed with powder in mind. Even with that said they have the ability to simply turn hard pack into a wonderland of hard carves, that after performed will have you scratching your head and asking yourself “did I just do that on a snowboard”. These boards are a step back to early days of snowboarding when all of the board shapes were created to maximize the surfy feel and weren’t the cookie cutter true twin that we are used to with today’s board line-ups. While they are a step back into the past they are also a giant leap into the future. These boards are a nod to the future of snowboarding as a sport and showcase just how far board shape can be pushed.

If you’re interested in trying out these new products “before they will be on the market”, come visit us at Granite Peak this upcoming Saturday.  Registration starts at 9:00 am in the main village (a $5 donation is requested with all proceeds going to support Wausau area youth ski programs).  Demos go out from 10:00am to 3:00pm.  Stop by, say hi, and ride something new!

Hip Gifts for Lovers of the Outdoors and Those Who Are Simply Hip

You have discerning taste and we do too.  We know you’re after thoughtfully designed, sourced and produced goods that make your life better while improving someone else’s too.  (American companies, with goods made in the USA a most of the time too!) What’s fresh, hip and trending now at Shep’s?  These and more:

Founded in the Pacific Northwest in 1993, KAVU has been around. Their wide range of men’s and women’s clothing, hats, bags, sunglasses, and accessories are crafted for what they call a KAVU Day – your version of the perfect outing, whatever it is that leaves you exhilarated and fully alive. Durability and comfort are a big part of it, of course.  But they know all about style, too, with outdoor-ready clothing that brilliantly blends function and fashion so you can rough it up all day, then wash out the trail grit and wear it to your favorite watering hole that night – and look good doing it.

In 1990, Kühl® introduced the Jacquard jacket, a signature Euro-styled Polartec® fleece top that featured the first – the original – innovative thumb-loop cuff system and lightweight underarm gussets for comfort and optimal climate control. This top gained cult status in the outdoor community and went on to win the Polartec® Apex Award. More awards and devotees would follow as Kühl® continued to pioneer and produce. Kühl® is independently owned and financed and its ideas are inspired by the founders’ intrepid lifestyle and those with whom they share it. Kühl® currently designs and manufactures top-selling pants, shirts, and more found in the best outdoor retailers nationwide.

Pendleton has a long, colorful history in their well known shirts and blankets.  You can see and feel the Pendleton passion for quality. See it in the intricate patterns of blankets inspired by Native American designs and legends. Feel it in the softness of the lightweight, luxurious 100% pure virgin wool clothing we produce. They’ve been a family-owned business for 150 years, and for 104 of those years they’ve been weaving world class woolens in their Northwest Mills. We like things that are Made in the USA.  You?

Remember the green bottle your dad or grandpa always carried on fishing trips or on his way to work? It probably had a few scratches on it, may have even been dropped once or twice, yet despite the abuse, it always kept coffee hot… for hours. That’s the legendary Stanley bottle.

Today, the Stanley brand offers a wide range of superior food and beverage gear that fuels your adventures from work to play. Committed to our core pillars of durability, relevance and heritage, just as we have been for the past 100 years, we build products that are built to last. Designed to outperform and outlast even in the toughest conditions, we’re dedicated to a simple promise, buy Stanley products, and get quality gear, built for life.

The Stanley brand is headquartered in Seattle, WA, home of Mt Rainier and the birthplace of Jimi Hendrix.  Surrounded by mountains, evergreens, and the Puget Sound, they live and breathe the outdoors and interlock passion for the environment and community in everything they do. Products are designed in Seattle, WA where research and development pioneers innovative designs. Globally distributed, Stanley products are ethically manufactured with partner factories in Asia.

To learn more about Stanley’s parent company, Seattle-based Pacific Market International (PMI), click here.

 

 

 

 

 

The extraordinary journey of two friends, Jim Stott and Jonathan King, who were waiters, cooks and avid gardeners, has captured the interest of many and the loyalty of every employee. From the beginning, the company was based on ideals born out of Maine: unspoiled beauty, wholesomeness, a sense of community. It is a testament to the art of preserve making and the growing public interest in wholesome, quality and tasty ingredients. “If you really produce a high quality item, you’ll be successful.” That’s the secret according to Jim and Jonathan.

The demand soon outpaced the production capacity of the small cottage kitchen, so they purchased an old 1700s barn in Kittery, Maine which they renovated to become the company’s “headquarters” for a short couple years before they moved to an even larger space in York and renovated an old community grocery store. A buzzer announced customers in the retail area of the facility. All day long it would clamor: “buzz, buzz, buzz,” while Jim and Jonathan were busy mixing and pouring ingredients out back, packing boxes, and answering phones. Then someone mentioned they should attend the Fancy Food Show in NYC. Having never been to New York City, they literally were two fish out of the [Maine] water when they made their first appearance at the 1995 Fancy Food Show — a tradeshow that attracts 1,100 exhibitors and 36,000 buyers, the Oscars of the specialty food industry. But low and behold, Stonewall Kitchen brought home an unprecedented award for first time attendees: Outstanding Jam for Roasted Garlic Onion Jam and a second highest honor award, for Outstanding Product Line. They left NYC with 500 orders from retailers across the country.

 

Chandler 4 Corners:   Chandler 4 Corners is about life… and life styles. Their hand-hooked wool pillows, rugs and furniture accent homes with items loved in a quick moment then destined to become honored heirlooms. Everyone at C4C lives the lifestyles portrayed in their designs: hike, ski, fish. They spend sunny afternoons on the lake, delight in families, dream of Santa, and of course, cherish dogs.  Celebrate the tender moment. Remember the past with a bit of nostalgia, but also a gigantic smile. Rejoice in the small, and the familiar.

Man Candles:  Masculine scents in recycled soup cans.  “Bacon” “Grandpa’s Pipe” “Sawdust” “Campfire” “Coffee” “Fresh Cut Grass”  Which to try first?  Man Cans was started in November of 2010 by then 13-year-old Hart Main based on a unique idea that came to him when his sister was selling candles for a school fundraiser.  The thought was “Why don’t people sell candles with scents that men like?”  Little did he know that an idea of selling man scented candles would lead to an opportunity to feed so many people.  The can was his choice for a container because he didn’t want a manly scented candle in a glass jar, just like everyone else was doing.   The company buys cans of soup which are donated to soup kitchens, washed and returned to be filled with the uniquely scented wax.  When you buy a Man Can you get a quality candle made of natural wax and you’re helping feed people who need a little extra help.

Trails Natural Soap:  Giving back is something we all can do.  So says the founder of Trails Natural Soap who created a line of products that not only nourish your skin with all natural vegan ingredients that are good enough to eat, your mind through the benefits of aromatic essential oils, but also our communities with 10% of their profits from each bar being donated to support a particular charity that bar has been specially handcrafted to honor.  The Appalachian Trail.  Susan G. Komen Foundation.  Hospice Foundation of America. Heifer International.  Crossfit for Hope.  The Girl Scouts of the USA.  And more.  Athletes (CrossFitters, Hikers, Runners, Bikers, Skiers, etc.) spend so much time eating right, supplementing bodies with protein shakes, amino acids, and fish oil, that we sometimes fail to realize the importance of treating our skin the same way.  Trails Natural takes care of your skin for you.  And campers – check out the Outside the Box- Bug & Outdoor Soap with Citronella, Eucalyptus, and Tea Tree oils to naturally repel bugs and make you smell great! 10% of the profits go to support Heifer International.   Soap for Hope, one bar at a time.

 

 

Staff Reviews: 2012-13 Equipment Preview

Last month, the boss took Shep’s managers went up to Afton to get on some of next year’s equipment. They came back excited about what the future holds in the ski and snowboard industry. They’re pumped about what they rode and what you’ll be buying and riding next year. Below you can find a few “reviews” about some of the new gear and find out what our guys’ favorites are. Feel free to stop into the store and chat about the new stuff – they’ll be happy to share their thoughts and even give you recommendations based on the performance you’re looking for.

 Tony

Fischer Hybrid 85- Ski has great control under foot, nice to have flexibility of riding rocker or camber on one set of skis at the flip of a switch.

Nordica Hell & Back Burner- Light and flexible ski that offers all day performance. Keeps a great edge on groomers.

Nordica El Paco- Another great twin tip ski from Nordica. Makes it easy to shred anywhere on the mountain.  Great flex on this ski.

K2 Velocity- Very responsive groomer ski. Rocker shape makes it easy to initiate turns even at high speeds.

Volkl Kink- New all mountain ski from Volkl, versatile for all over the mountain, rad graphics.

Tony’s Favorite: Volkl Werks

Definitely my favorite ski of the day. This ski could go through anything, yet it’s still lightweight enough to ski all day. Edge control on this ski is beautiful.

 Dane

Blizzard 8.0 Magnum TI- Ski had great edge hold, fast edge to edge ski.

Fischer 8.0 hybrid- 75mm under foot, felt like skiing a race ski.  Next year’s model is totally new, and allows you to switch between a raised rocker tip or cambered non rise tip.  It is like skiing two totally different skis with a flip of a switch.

Nordica Hell And Back Fuel & Hell and Back Avenger- Two different constructions on the skis, but both were a super fun ride. It’s hard to be dissatisfied with the performance of Nordica.

Rossi Experience 88- A ski that you could ski anywhere and not be disappointed.  It’s saying, “lets go experience the entire mountain and have a blast doing it.”

K2 Charger- An awesome frontside fast turning ski. With this ski, set it and forget it; the ski will do all the work.  Hold on because it will push you into the next turn! Feels like the ski is on rails.

Dane’s Favorite: Volkl Werks

It’s a brand new ski for 2012-2013.  It was the best ski I skied the entire day! Nothing this ski could not do; race course, short fast turns, long radius turns, bumps… all around the ski was unbelievable.  Volkl really knocked it out of the park with this one.

 Dan

K2 Happy Hour- Clean, basic solid colored graphic, softer flexing than last year’s board. Has a good all- mountain feel.

K2 Lifelike- A very predictable and enjoyable ride.

K2 Ultra Dream- Softer all-mountain/backcountry snowboard, unique camber profile, directional board, held an amazing edge, incredibly fun in softer snow.

Burton Root- Directional version of the Burton Nug, all-mountain board with an amazing feel under foot and held great edge considering the length (board is sized down about 10cm).

K2 Turbo Dream- Little brother to the Ultra Dream.

Dan’s Favorite: Tie between the K2 Ultra Dream and Burton Root

Both were all mountain boards, liked Root because it held the edge I expected but was extremely playful. Because it was sized down 10cm w/ slightly set back stance, I was able to throw it around and it held.  Ultra Dream was super buttery and plowed through softer crud, I can only imaging how it would ride on a powder day.  Also a very stable board.

Get excited for next year’s gear!