Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Get Geared Up in City's Well-Stocked Ski Shops




Whether for a long-anticipated trip to the Alps or just an afternoon on a modest slope in Moscow, every skier needs equipment.


It's no secret that skiing success in part depends on equipment. Many manufacturers redesign or improve their gear every year. The choices in several Moscow stores are big enough to puzzle the beginner and impress the expert.


Which equipment to choose depends on many factors: the skier's experience and style of skiing, height, weight and, as usual, how much he can spend. However, experts have some rules.


In choosing skis, length is a priority. George Joubert, a French trainer and author, wrote: "The shorter the skis, the easier to control them. If you are sportive, mobile and fearless, take regular- or medium-length skis. For those who are cautious by nature, it's better to choose medium or compact skis."


Shorter skis will mean slower speeds, he wrote, suggesting the ideal is 10 to 15 centimeters taller than the skier.


Boots, too, should be chosen based on experience. Specialists say professional-style boots are too stiff and high for beginners. Beginner boots have inner boots and a walk-stand system to make the skier feel comfortable on and off the slope. When buying boots, specialists recommend trying them on at home and walking around for a few hours to make sure they fit properly.


"I always advise our clients to begin choosing the gear with the boots. The skier should feel comfortable in them. Besides, people usually buy boots for five or six years, while [they] change skis every two or three years," said Yelena, who would not provide her last name but works at Kant, one of Moscow's specialty ski shops.


Experts advise against saving money on bindings because they are important for safety. Kant, and two other stores, Skif and Extreme-Sport, will install bindings on skis for 60 to 100 rubles ($10 to $17).


Kant, located in a drab industrial area five minutes walk from Nagornaya metro station, is difficult to find but worth the effort. The store, just under the hill that can be seen from the metro, is a part of a sports club of the same name which owns four ski slopes nearby.


With more than 30 brands of skis, boots and bindings available, including models by Rossignol, Head, Tyrolia and Lange, the store also sells a wide variety of accessories.


One way to save money -- up to half the cost -- on equipment is to buy models a few years old.


"Of course, a beginner doesn't need the most modern equipment. He just couldn't be able to feel the difference. The gear, made five or six years ago will definitely do for him," said Yelena. "At our store an expert can find the most popular this season skis for 3,000 rubles ($500), when a decent set for a beginner, including skis, boots and bindings altogether, can be bought for about 2,000 rubles."


For children, the best selection is probably at Skif, at the Grebnoi Kanal, near the snowy plain of Krylatskoye in northwestern Moscow. You can find Atomic skis of all sizes with prices from 500 to 910 rubles; boots by Munari, Sanmarco, Salomon at 300 to 400 rubles; and more expensive boots by Tecnica.


For adults, Skif carries comparatively inexpensive Alpina boots and expensive professional skis by the Japanese manufacturer Mizuno, a sponsor of the Russian national team.


Despite its limited space, the Extreme-Sport store carries a hot selection of equipment for many sports. Friendly assistants, the majority of whom are devoted skiers and mountain-climbers, enthusiastically share their knowledge and experience.


In general, the prices are close to those in Kant and Skif. The store also stocks a good choice of clothes from Tresspass, Rossignol and Marmot.


All three stores have wide selections of bindings, ranging in price from 350 to 1500 rubles.


If you want used equipment, your best bet is the downhill ski market at the Velozavodsky bridge near Avtozavodskaya metro station and the second-hand store nearby.


The store has a good selection of used boots, selling children's boots for prices from 50 to 200 rubles. The collection of used skis is less impressive, although a pair of Dynamic Premium skis with Ess bindings was recently 750 rubles.


New equipment is also sold at the market. Prices are not much better than at the stores, but you can always bargain.


Kant, metro Nagornaya. Tel. 316-9577. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.


Skif, 2 Krylatskaya Ulitsa, metro: Krylatskoye. Tel.140-9539.Open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.


Extreme-Sport, 5/6 Ulitsa Sretenka, metro: Sukharevskaya. Tel. 923-7918. Open daily except Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.