Tips Up

The 16 Best Ski and Snowboard Shops in America


February 6, 2019 Sports and Outdoors : Sports By

Before online buying guides and two-day shipping, the local ski shop was where you’d go to pick up anything from boots to hand warmers. But ski shops weren’t, and still aren’t, just stores; they’re the crossroads where brands and skiers connect, a haven where local knowledge is provided and a campfire where stories from the mountains, some of them exaggerated, are shared.

Ski equipment is complicated too, and the Internet is still an inadequate substitute for the knowledge available at brick-and-mortars. Shop employees — even those who self-identify as bums and dirtbags — know everything about ski gear. They can find the perfect pair of boots for your feet and guide you through the complexities of ski shapes and constructions (which you can try multiple pairs of before settling on a purchase).

For traveling skiers, shops are indispensable base camps that provide intel and equipment, and for local skiers, they’re focal points upon which the entire winter sports community converges.

Editor’s Note: All of the shops on this list are unique and great, but we know that we’re still missing out on some of the best. Tell us about your favorite ski and snowboard shop by dropping us a line at outdoor@gearpatrol.com.


Table of Contents
Alpenglow Sports — Tahoe City, CA
RMU — Breckenridge, CO
Cripple Creek Backountry — Carbondale/Vail/Aspen, CO
Buzz’s Boards — Vail, CO
Peter Glenn — Multiple Locations, FL/GA/VA
The Waxroom — Ketchum, ID
The Ski Monster — Boston, MA
Bob Skinner’s Ski and Sports — Newbury, NH
Paragon Sports — New York, NY
The Mountaineer — Keene Valley, NY
Crows Feet Commons — Bend, OR
Tactics — Eugene, OR
The Boot Pro — Ludlow, VT
The Startingate — Bondville, VT
Evo — Seattle, WA, Portland, OR, Denver, CO
Nomad Sports Shop/The Mudroom — Teton Village, WY

Alpenglow Sports

Tahoe City, CA: Ever since Brendan Madigan purchased Alpenglow Sports in 2011, he’s worked to make it not just a retailer of outdoor gear for all seasons but a veritable community hub. He’s succeeded. Alpenglow hosts events year-round, from speaker series that feature pro athletes such as Caroline Gleich to outdoor movie premiers to hands-on demo days to its biannual Mountain Festival. Alpenglow’s winter Mountain Festival is more than a week of guide skiing, avalanche safety courses, ski tuning classes and much more.

415 North Lake Blvd | (530) 583-6917

Rocky Mountain Underground

Breckenridge, CO: You won’t find a wide selection of ski brands at this small shop; that’s because Rocky Mountain Underground, or RMU for short, is a ski brand. The company began in a garage and has since spilled out of those confines and onto Breckenridge’s Main Street. In addition to the company’s skis, you’ll find outerwear, avalanche gear and a full-service bar that picks up for après and thrums into the night.

114 South Main St. | (970) 771-2121

Cripple Creek Backcountry

Carbondale/Vail/Aspen, CO: Co-owners Doug Stenclik and Randy Young maintain a philosophy that resorts are training grounds; the main event occurs on the peaks far from chairlifts, where the only way to get to the top is to climb. Cripple Creek embodies that mindset by providing a full range of backcountry equipment designed equally for ascents and descents. Skis from Black Diamond share wall space with splitboards by Jones, along with planks from many other brands, and all the accessories to make them go up as well as down.

582 CO-133 | (970) 510-0450

Buzz’s Boards

Vail, CO: Before Vail allowed snowboards, Buzz’s Boards began selling them. Founded by Buzz Schleper in 1982, it’s known by locals and visitors to Vail as the place to go to find top-of-the-line gear to demo and super-friendly staff. With over 20 shops in Vail, it can be difficult to know where to go, but with affordable prices, this shop has created a name for itself. Swing by for ski, snowboard, snowmobile and bike rentals, as well as any repairs on skis, boards and bindings.

302 Gore Creek Drive | (970) 476-3320

Peter Glenn

Multiple Locations, FL/GA/VA: Skiing and snowboarding are dependent on geography. But even though snow doesn’t exist everywhere in the country, shops that service the communities of enthusiasts do. With locations in Florida, Georgia and Virginia, Peter Glenn has helped see to that. The store’s roots are in Vermont (where it no longer operates), and it has succeeded in bringing mountain town quality to areas where flurries are rare at best.

Multiple Locations | (800) 818-0946

The Waxroom

Ketchum, ID: The Waxroom is smaller than most of the other shops on this list. It’s more of a workshop than a store, and the master craftsman at work here is Curtis Bacca, a World Cup-level wax technician. Bacca has been pivotal in aiding athletes to obtain gold medals in races across the world and brings his skill to the local community of Sun Valley. While most shops relegate the tuning bench to an out-of-sight back room, Bacca chooses to make it the focus of the shop; at The Waxroom, tuning skis and snowboards is treated as a craft, not just a service.

131 2nd St. | (208) 726-7595

The Ski Monster

Boston, MA: The Ski Monster began as a website, but it wasn’t long before its founders realized a need for a real-world presence. Boston may not immediately seem like the ideal location for a ski shop, but the city is only a few hours away from some of New England’s best mountains, like Stratton, Killington, Loon, Waterville Valley and others, as well as the famed Tuckerman Ravine. (Plus, the TD Garden, where you can catch a Celtics game while your skis are getting tuned, is just around the corner.)

60 Canal St. | (617) 227-7770

Bob Skinner’s Ski and Sports

Newbury, NH: There’s no way to talk about Bob Skinner’s without talking about Frank MacConnell, the store’s proprietor since 1985. MacConnell is a former member of the US Ski Team and a certified Master Boot Fitter. His deep knowledge of the sport is apparent in the equipment available at the store and in the tuning service provided. Drop his name to any Mt. Sunapee local and they’re more than likely to refer to him as a “legend.”

1411 NH-103 | (603) 763-2303
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Paragon Sports

New York, NY: The Big Apple doesn’t have many local ski hills nearby (other than often-frequented Hunter Mountain), but it is a few hours’ drive from Vermont’s famed resorts, and a flight away from anywhere else in the world. Skiers live in New York too, and if you’re in need of a new pair of boots, skis or a fresh tune, this is the place to go.

867 Broadway | (212) 255-8889

The Mountaineer

Keene Valley, NY: This family-operated sporting goods shop opened in 1975 and has been serving the greater Adirondacks region ever since. (The Mountaineer’s bandana has been to the top of each of the Adirondacks’ 46 high peaks, as well as the Seven Summits.) It sells outdoor equipment for all types of outdoor activities — from hiking and camping to fly fishing and ice climbing — but is notable as one of the region’s few purveyors of backcountry skiing gear.

1866 NY-76 Scenic | (518) 576-2281

Crows Feet Commons

Bend, OR: On the banks of the Deschutes River in downtown Bend is Crows Feet Commons, a ski shop that summers as a bike retailer. But it isn’t just products from DPS, Black Crows and 4FRNT that make this store a draw — it’s a continually rotating beer list and premium coffee from Stumptown (brewed in a La Marzocco espresso machine), which make it an ideal location to hang.

875 NW Brooks St. | (541) 728-0066

Tactics

Eugene, OR: While Eugene, OR is more commonly known as Track Town, USA, there’s a store where snowboarders and skateboarders will find their crew. Since 1999, Tactics has worked tirelessly to stoke the people of Oregon. The independently owned and operated shop dropped its base directly in between the ocean and the Cascade mountains, so there’s no shortage of outdoor activities to be had. Shop skate and snowboard gear, alongside clothing and accessories. Whether you need a new Burton base layer, Union bindings or a 686 jacket, Tactics sells over 300 different brands. The friendly staff earns rave reviews online for their stellar selection of decks, shoes and hardware.

375 W 4th Ave. | (541) 349-0087

The Boot Pro

Ludlow, VT: Situated at the bottom of the mountain access road, Boot Pro was founded by an area local named Shon Racicot, who grew up working in ski shops. Boot Pro recently doubled its size and is the go-to resource not only for racing equipment but also touring gear, which is less common on the East Coast as it is out west.

44 Pond St. | (802) 228-2776

The Startingate

Bondville, VT: A quarter mile from Vermont’s ninth-tallest mountain, and one of the southernmost ski resorts in the state, Stratton, is The Startingate. The store has been family run for four decades and fuels the local race community with curated goods from brands you won’t find at the shops directly at the base of the mountain, including Atomic, Fischer and Mons Royale.

1011 VT-30 | (802) 297-1213

Evo

Seattle, WA, Portland, OR, Denver, CO: Evo is all actions sports: skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, surfing, skateboarding — and on and on. Despite that the company does most of its business online, Evo has three destination-worthy stores in Seattle, Portland and Denver. Its flagship Seattle location houses a skatepark in the basement, and all of the stores function as community spaces for art exhibitions, fundraisers, film premiers and more.

Seattle: 3500 Stone Way N | (206) 973-4470
Portland: 200 SE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. | (503) 972-5850
Denver: 860 Broadway | (303) 831-7228

Nomad Sports Shop/The Mudroom

Teton Village, WY: These two affiliated shops are the last privately-owned establishments in Teton Village, the town that lies at the base of one of North America’s best-known ski resorts, Jackson Hole. They’re both run by Gov Carrigan, a local legend and the former manager of the now-shuttered Pepi Stiegler Sports. Both shops offer top-notch service — from pro-quality tuning to expert boot fitting — in an atmosphere that might be misconstrued as luxury if the local staff weren’t so approachable. Plus, they have a curation of goods from brands you won’t find in any other shop in town.

3255 Village Dr. | (307) 733-6838
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