In Tahoe during the 70’s, if you were a serious skier or mountain person you had a pair of Vuarnet Cat Eye Sunglasses. Vuarnet was the coolest skiing accessory around, ski bums would save up every dollar they had just so they could rock a pair of Vuarnet Cat Eye Sunglasses on the slopes of Squaw Valley. Vuarnet has come a long way since then, and after nearly twenty years, Vuarnet is coming back to the United States, and Granite Chief is proud to be one of the few retailers with these iconic sunglasses.

Vuarnet’s appeal began right here in Tahoe when Jean Vuarnet won the gold medal in Downhill at the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley. Shortly after, Jean Vuarnet and optician Roger Pouilloux launched the iconic Vuarnet Sunglasses brand. Everyone in Tahoe went nuts for the sunglasses, and if you were anybody, you had a pair. “It’s going to be a Vuarnet Day” was the phrase coined by a local Tahoe radio station to describe a bluebird day for skiing. Vuarnet has a long and celebrated history with its roots deep in Tahoe, and this winter Granite Chief is proud to bring back Vuarnet Sunglasses for those Vuarnet days this season.

Besides being some of the coolest sunglasses on the mountain, Vuarnet sunglasses are constructed to the highest quality. One of only three manufactures in the world that make their trade mark mineral glass lenses, the clarity of the lenses is unparalleled. The mineral lens provides perfect optical quality with zero distortion and a high level of transparency. The lenses are also very resistant to scratches, along with strong shock resistant construction. With the highest quality lenses, the highest level construction, and a history deeply rooted right here in Tahoe, Vuarnet is sure to impress this season on the mountain.

Pick up some Vuarnet Sunglasses HERE


We all have one of those guys in the family who is an absolute nut about skiing. He’s the guy who spends countless hours scraping and brushing his skis to get that perfect glossy bottom; and hours polishing his edges to get those perfect carving arches. So, for the family of that guy, I have put together a list of things that every ski fanatic needs, and they all happen to fit conveniently in a stocking! First up we have the perfect little Travel Iron from Wend. Every ski bum knows how painful it is to ski on slow and sticky skis, but when you have the Wend Travel Iron, there are no more excuses for not being able to keep up with the group. The Wend Travel Iron comes in a compact travel bag for the ultimate convenience, and includes a small block of Universal Wend Wax so they’ll be ready to wax up those skis get up on the slopes. The handle of the Wend Travel Iron is detachable and can clip onto the front of the iron when not in use, making it compact and easy to store. The Wend Travel Iron measures just over 6” in length, making this guy small, light, and perfect for travel. So stop by the shop and pick up the Wend Travel Iron, and you’ll have the first piece you need to create the perfect stocking stuffer package.


The next item on the list is the FK 3100 Multi Base & Edge Beveler. This tool is perfect for getting that edge just right for any snow condition, whether the snow is super soft, firm, or icy. The great thing about this tool is that you can tune your base and side edge while setting the angles by simply adjusting a dial on the side of the tool. The angles offered on the tool range from 0-5 degrees, in steps of 0.5 degree increments, to make sure they can get the exact results they wanted for that edge. When you purchase the FK 3100 Multi Base & Edge Belever, included in the box is a 70mm medium ski file, so they can get straight to tuning those skis. Plus, this bad boy works on both skis and snowboards, so any snow lover can benefit from this little pocket sized Beveler.


Next, we have a pocket sized wax that’s great for all those speed freaks. Here at the Chief we carry many different types of wax that’s use varies depending on the temperature and water content of the snow. However, since around this time of year we usually have cold and somewhat dry snow, the conditions are great for one of our favorite waxes, Swix’s CH8 High Performance Glide Wax. This wax is very versatile and works great for Tahoe snow, making it a great option for to use nearly all season long. We carry Swix Ch8 Wax in the 60g block and also the 180g block. But when it comes to stuffing those stocking, as well as the Wend Travel Iron’s carrying case, the 60g block is the perfect size.


Now that we have covered Edges, Irons, and Waxes we now need to talk about Scrapers. You NEED a scraper if you’re going to do anything good to your skis. We carry a bunch of Swix scrapers which are a necessity if you’re going to do any sort of hot waxing to your skis. A scraper is also the perfect little nik-nak to put in those stockings.


Lastly, every self tuner will need a brush for polishing up their skis after they scrape off the wax. This is one of the more important steps there are when it comes to prepping your skis for the slopes. When it’s time to get polishing, there are many different types of brushes you can use ranging from Brass to Nylon to Horse hair brushes. When it’s time to get brushing, to get the best results, these brushes can be used in order from most abrasive to least. However, if you’re only going to have one brush, the best single brush for all around use would be the horse hair brush. This brush gets skis nice and polished so they’ll be ready for rippin’!


So when you’re stuck on goods to get for stuffing those stockings, remember, these are a few items that every skier should have, and they all make perfect little gifts that will make any ski perfectionist stoked! So come on down to The Chief and pick up your stocking stuffer tuning kit for that ski fanatic in your family!!



-By Jesse Cassidy

So you just got a new pair of skis, you’re stoked, the only thing is you don’t know where to have them mounted. Lucky for you, most ski companies these days mark on the ski where they recommend you mount it based on extensive testing in different mounting locations for different skiers. But what if you don’t want some guy from Blizzard or Rossignol telling you where to mount your skis, you want them mounted for your style of skiing, not everyone else’s. That’s where Granite Chief comes in; our staff of knowledgeable ski technicians will be able to help you decide the perfect mounting location for your skis.

When deciding on the mounting location of your skis, the most important thing to consider is what type of skiing you will be doing, along with considering the type of skiing you will be partaking in is the type of ski you are mounting. Mounting location for a park ski is vastly different from that of a powder ski. A general rule of thumb is to mount closer to true center on a ski for rails and jumps, and to move back to traditional for more powder and all mountain skis.

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-By Lee Crouch

A number of years ago when I lived and worked in the Sierra Nevada backcountry of Kings Canyon National Park, I can remember several times getting a good chuckle at the expense of some young greenhorn who would show up at the trailhead in sandals, shorts, and a bag of trail mix, claiming he was going to live off the land. We were always pretty sure that he’d be safe and sound by nightfall back in the relative safety of his apartment, wondering if the beautiful California beaches might be more to his liking.

Now as I saunter down the trail with my Luci Inflatable Solar Lantern in one pocket and my Pocket Rocket Stove in the other, I find myself wondering if I might be presenting a similar spectacle.

Now that age has removed me from that group of young people who seem to be able to skip down the trail with a 60 – 70 pound pack while whistling a happy tune, technology has intervened in a timely fashion with some ultra-light products that should serve to extend my years in the backcountry.

The Luci Lantern provides a remarkable amount of light, is almost non-breakable, and weighs about 3 ounces. This doesn’t include the weight of the batteries because, of course, there are no batteries. As long as one remembers to affix it to the top of one’s pack, it will easily recharge during your hiking time. Even if you’re in stormy weather it will last for several days on just one charge. It has three different lighting modes: a dimmer light for a longer burn time, a brighter light when desired, and a flashing light if you’d like to convert your camp into a disco. (It might also come in handy as an emergency flasher.)

The Pocket Rocket is the smallest stove I have ever seen. While it may not be the ideal stove for an Everest expedition, it’s just about perfect for an ultralight trip or any backpack trip where your pack weight is important. Weighing just over 3 ounces, it claims to be able to boil a liter of water in 3 minutes and 30 seconds. I would assume this test was performed near sea level and one should adjust one’s expectations to one’s altitude. It has no wind guard, so it’s imperative to place it down into some rocks or use one’s pack to help block the wind. It may not be the most stable stove you’ve ever cooked on, but using a little extra caution is certainly a worthwhile trade off for the compactness and the light weight.

Purchase the Luci Inflatable Solar Lantern HERE.

Purchase the Pocket Rocket Stove HERE.