I usually ride on two boards. I skied most of my life, until I moved to Colorado, and then I took a few years to learn to snowboard. Both are incredibly fun.

Skiing is my first love, but I have a lot of affection for snowboarding as well. This year, I am in the market for a new board, and with the way the technology has advanced since I last rode (Bush and Gore were fighting over who would be president), I need to do some research.

When it comes to buying things like skis, snowboards and golf clubs, demos are a must. I mean, how else could I tell if I am love with the gear or not. And I MUST have love, even passion for the things I attach to my feet to slide on the snow. It's got to be an extension of my body.

There are a few options in trying out demo skis or boards.

Demo Days

Some resorts gather a bunch of retailers, manufacturers and reps from the companies, plop them all at the bottom of the hill for a day and allow you to go crazy. This way you can talk to all different kinds of pros, ride a few things and help to make your decision that way.

Outpost Sunsport is holding their Demo Days at Copper Mountain on Dec. 6, they'll have all kinds of different gear for you to try on one of Colorado's great mountains.

Keystone's Demo Days are Dec. 1 and 2 with RAMP Sports, Burton, and Never Summer.

General Demos

I doubt I am going to make either of those days, but I still must try before I buy. How else can I tell if I want a rocker/camber hybrid or not? The great news is that most outlets keep demos of their gear handy and send them out as rentals. Then, the price that you pay to rent them can go toward your purchase.

Take it with you, or demo from the base

I don't make these kinds of purchases very often, but when I do, I like to use locally owned shops when possible. Hey, they still have to give a great deal, but it's nice to support businesses like Outpost Sunsport that have been pumping money into our economy for decades. I'll be dropping about $60 per weekend to take a demo board with me to the mountains. I'll put it to the test and do it again the next weekend.

If you aren't from Fort Collins but will be demoing in the Rocky Mountains, Christy Sports may be the way to go. They have locations at the base of many mountains, so you could try a Burton Process at Breckenridge one day, then a Never Summer board at Keystone the next, and both rentals will go toward your purchase (some shops have limits on this, see them for details).

The thing I have to pay attention to is that I demo each one from the same retailer, because I want all the demo fees that I pay to go toward my purchase, so if I demoed one from Christy and another from Outpost, one of those fees won't be covered.