Shop Talk: Willi’s Ski & Board on Ski Shops as Conduits and Founding Winter Divas

Ep. 224
Kristin Sinnott and Kara Williard caught up with Kjerstin Klein, co-owner of Willi’s Ski and Board. They dove into Kjerstin’s adventurous background as a model and sponsored snowboarder (among several other amazing things); and what it looked like for Kjerstin and her husband Greg to take on Willi’s and maintain it as a family-owned ski shop. Kjerstin explains how to successfully jump into a family business; techniques for how to stay innovative; what it means to truly grow the sport; why ski shops are “conduits” within the ecosystem that is the ski industry; and we learn a lot about the Winter Divas program, a women’s focus group that Kjerstin founded to grow women’s presence and leadership in the industry, plus a whole bunch more.TOPICS & TIMES: Kjerstin’s Background (4:18)Being a Model & Sponsored Snowboarder (9:31)Jumping into a family business (13:12)Staying Innovative (19:01)Advice for family-run small businesses (21:50)Ski shops as conduits (23:19)Families that ski together stay together (26:55)Women-specific gear taking shape (33:07)Winter Divas (49:40)Specialty Retail (1:01:40)Skiing Meets Our Basic Needs (1:04:54)RELATED LINKS:Ep. Sponsor + Exclusive Offer: Recommended Shop: Willi’s Ski and BoardBlister Summit Panel Video: Women in the Ski IndustryKjerstin's Music Video AppearanceEp.223: Blizzard-Tecnica’s Women2Women Program with Leslie Baker-Brown Ep.167: Willi’s Ski and Snowboard ShopsBlister Summit 2023 RegistrationOUR OTHER PODCASTSOff The CouchBlister PodcastBikes & Big Ideas CRAFTED

Blizzard-Tecnica's Women2Women Program with Leslie Baker-Brown

Ep. 223
Kristin Sinnott and Kara Williard talk with Blizzard-Tecnica’s Women2Women program founder and ski legend, Leslie Baker-Brown, about her background in ski racing, and her remarkable 32 years of work for Blizzard-Tecnica. They dive into the origins story of the W2W program, including how it spans beyond women-specific gear via community-building, scholarship programs, and more. Leslie explains Blizzard-Tecnica’s design process for women’s gear, including designing the #1 selling ski in the world; she talks about what it looks like to work with women through the iterative prototyping process; what gives her hope and inspiration for the future; and where we can still work to improve the industry.TOPICS & TIMES Leslie’s Background in Ski Racing (4:17)Competing for Middlebury (4:41)32 years with Tecnica! (7:45)Where women-specific gear started (9:35)How the idea of W2W was born (14:36)The Four Pillars (20:00)How W2W has Evolved (22:52)The #1 Ski in the World (27:22)Women-Specific Ski Boots (34:38)What’s hopeful and inspirational right now? (39:14)Where can the industry do better? (41:59)What We’re Celebrating (48:12)RELATED LINKS:Women2Women 2022 Scholarship Opportunities: US: W2W Hilaree Nelson ScholarshipCanada: English: W2W Hilaree Nelson ScholarshipCanada: French: W2W Hilaree Nelson ScholarshipBecome a Blister MemberBlister Summit 2023 RegistrationOUR OTHER PODCASTSOff The CouchBlister PodcastBikes & Big Ideas CRAFTED

Shop Talk: Celebrating 10 Years of Powder Hound in Girdwood, AK with Eric Helmbrecht

Ep. 222
Just in time for our Blister Recommended Shop, Powder Hound, to celebrate its 10-year business anniversary, Kara Williard chatted with the owner and founder, Eric Helmbrecht. They dove into a bunch of topics as a reflection of the 10 years Powder Hound has been a staple shop in Girdwood, AK, including how skis, boots, and bindings have progressed; the ways in which the industry has changed; what it looked like to be adaptable during a global pandemic; accomplishments they’re proud of; getting their start at the Palmer State Fair; what it feels like to ski on skis that are over 140 mm underfoot; snowboarding trends; and more.TOPICS & TIMES:AT Boots & 50/50 Boots (4:22)Weight Trends (8:55)Macro Industry Trends (16:15)Global Pandemics & Adaptability (23:40)Influx of Skiers and Industry Growth (25:07)Employment Challenges (28:36)Things you’re Proud of (31:14)Palmer State Fair (32:11)Year-Round Stable Shop (36:26)Season Lease Program (39:25)Fat Skis (44:00)Breathable & Waterproof Gear (46:12)Binding Improvements (48:56)Don’t Forget SNOWBOARDING! (50:50)RELATED LINKS:Our Blister Recommended Shop: Powder HoundEp.133: Shop Talk: Powder Hound, Girdwood, AKEp.41: Trends, Favorite Gear, and Most / Least Durable Products, with Eric Helmbrecht of Powder Hound AKEp. 17: Spring Skiing & Biking in AKBlister Summit 2023 Registration OUR OTHER PODCASTS:CRAFTED Bikes & Big IdeasOff The CouchBLISTER Podcast 

A Very Deep Dive on Bootfitting, Pt. 4: Big-Mountain Freeride Bootfitting with Fasa

Ep. 221
For the fourth installment of our Very Deep Dive on Bootfitting, we talked with Jake "Fasa" Nelson, who not only works at the Moment Ski Factory, but also happens to run one of the best bootfitting shops in the Reno area. Fasa runs us through what a “big-mountain freeride” approach to bootfitting looks like; how his background in running informs his understanding of feet and biomechanics, how to work with the unique preferences of athletes (and some of the insanity that athletes can tolerate); what it means to be a “tour guide” rather than a bootfitter; and much more.TOPICS AND TIMES Self-taught bootfitting & mentorship (1:59)Moment Factory Showroom & Store (4:58)Big-mountain freeride approach to bootfitting (8:18)Suspension and shock absorption in the system (14:03)Running vs. skiing (20:13)Feet are adaptive and can be trained (24:27)Custom Insoles (32:11)Fitting preferences for athletes (38:42)Circulation & gauging tolerance (45:42)Touring or 50/50 boots (53:06)Bootfitting is subjective (1:00:47)A tour guide, not a bootfitter (1:06:12)RELATED LINKS:A Very Deep Dive on Bootfitting, Pt 1: The BasicsA Very Deep Dive on Bootfitting, Pt. 2: Your Questions by Sam and KaraA Very Deep Dive on Bootfitting, Pt. 3: Stance Balancing with Pulse Boot LabsA Very Deep Dive on Ski BootsBecome a Blister Member / Get our Buyer’s GuideSubscribe to our Gear Giveaways & NewsletterOUR OTHER PODCASTS:CRAFTED Bikes & Big IdeasOff The CouchBLISTER Podcast 

Q&A with Hoji: Gear, Training, Mental Prep, the Blister Summit, & More

Ep. 220
Eric Hjorleifson is back on GEAR:30 to answer questions from our Blister Members about gear; his tinkering process; coming to the Blister Summit; how he trains for an upcoming season; mental preparation, and … we get some bonus questions from Markus Eder, too. (We also announce our new “Blister After Hours” sessions — that’s our working title — so learn about that and let us know if you have better ideas for what we ought to call the new show.)TOPICS & TIMES:Catching Up / Coming to the Blister Summit (3:34)What gear is going to change most in the next 10 years? (13:03)Our Alpine Bindings Test (16:19)What gear do people obsess over that doesn’t really matter? (18:19)How has your skiing changed as you’ve gotten older? (19:46)When are you moving to Austria? (27:26)Golden Alpine Holidays lodges (30:07)Touring binding priorities? (35:45)What would you like to design from scratch? (43:04)Mental Prep for something challenging? (46:14)The Bec des Rosses (55:31)Which element of your setup gets you the most excited to tinker with? (57:10)Bode Miller & Hoji on 3-piece boots (59:29)Training to perform at a high level? (1:11:37)Dumbest thing you've seen Markus Eder do? (1:20:28)What’s your process like for gear modification? (1:29:21)Do I really get to ski with Hoji at the Blister Summit? (1:44:02)What’s up next for you? (1:44:31)What We're Celebrating (1:47:11)RELATED LINKS:Become a Blister MemberBLISTER SUMMIT INFO & REGISTRATIONSubscribe to our Gear Giveaways & NewsletterOur Other Conversations with HojiBlister Summit Video: Hoji on the Updated 4FRNT HojiEp.141: Radical Pro, Hoji Hole & MoreEp.100: Skins, Michael Jordan, & Mono SkisEp.29: Hoji Free & 4FRNT RenegadeBlister Pod Ep. 75: Hoji on “HOJI”Ep.1: Hoji on the new Dynafit Hoji Boots