Top Ski Shops of the World


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

Editor’s Note: Okay, shopping is nigh — time for us here at WildSnow HQ to carry hod for the brick and mortar. To that end, we bring our famous “Top Ski Shops” post to the front page. All, if you see any shop links that are defunct let us know in the comment. Likewise, add a shop if you’ve got good beta.

There are some things you just can't do at backcountry.com -- like this airbag deploy party at Cripple Creek Backcountry, Carbondale Colorado.

This thread should be about the shops that all of you, our esteemed WildSnow readers, have EXPERIENCED to be good. Shop owners, industry reps and employees, go ahead and post but please don’t use this thread for free advertising. This is intended to be an honest assessment by your customers and potential customers.

I’ll admit we’ve bashed ski shops now and then here. But with good reason, as I hear seemingly endless stories of botched shop work. Nonetheless, GOOD SKI SHOPS EXIST and here is the place to list them.

We’re talking shops that can handle things such as mounting Dynafit bindings and remembering the brake retainer clip, or repairing a stripped screw hole, or giving you solid real advice about what ski/binding/boot combo would work for your planned style. Mainly, we’re talking shops where you can simply go with confidence for any need in backcountry skiing, and shops that if they do mess up (no one is perfect), own their flubs and make them right without you having to contact WildSnow to try and figure things out.

(For the record, this post first published August 2010)

Comments

237 Responses to “Top Ski Shops of the World”

  1. Paul Beiser November 24th, 2010 10:56 am

    Neptune Mountaineering, been going there 20+ years, always rely on them. Just was there recently and it was one of the few places that had spare G3 cables. I just wish they were in Fort Collins :-).

  2. Jonathan Shefftz November 24th, 2010 10:59 am

    Northeast backcountry ski shops are generally dominated by tele, with the AT subset dominated by Diamir. At the other end of the spectrum, many alpine downhill shops are starting to dabble in AT a bit via Marker bindings.
    That said, for Northeast shops that are of interest to WildSnow readers (i.e., should know how to mount Dynafit bindings – or G3 Onyx/Ruby – and that carry more than just a couple or so “Tech”-compatible boots), I’m pretty sure these are the top choices, with locations corresponding to northern NY, VT, and NH (respectively)
    http://Mountaineer.com
    http://GearX.com
    http://www.RaggedMountain.com
    Also, in northern NH, the EMS store near Mount Washington:
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/North-Conway-NH/Eastern-Mountain-Sports-EMS-North-Conway/181999738415
    … has been stepping it up somewhat in recent years. Maybe the EMS in Burlington VT too, but would need to verify that.
    Northern ME has http://www.AlpenglowGear.com which is affiliated with (owned by?) an internationally certified mountain guide. In Northern NY, http://HighPeaksCyclery.com used to have some sort of special Dynafit designation, but it was revoked, so no idea what they’re like these days.
    Further south, central VT has http://www.MtnTravelers.com which is mainly tele, but does stock some Tech-compatible boots, and the owner, although a die-hard telemarker, does try to stay informed about AT gear. The other two more southerly dealers in NY and NH respectively are http://www.HighAdventuresBP.com and http://www.FireOnTheMtn.com although I don’t know much about them.
    The Dynafit dealer locator includes some other EMS and REI locations, but they tend to have pretty much nothing in stock and only very limited experience.

  3. Ptor November 24th, 2010 11:04 am

    Alpin Garaget in Stockholm

  4. Matt November 24th, 2010 11:05 am

    Backcountry ski shops in Calgary begin and end with MEC as far as I know. Which is a pretty good place to be, good selection, reasonable prices, and my dynafits mounted there remain attached to my skis. My only complaint is that it can be hit or miss finding knowledgable staff. (Though they do have some very experienced staff.)

    So I suppose they could be top, but kind of by default

  5. Jeff Miller November 24th, 2010 11:09 am

    Marmot Mountain Works, Bellevue, Wa. They are a Dynafit Competency Center, but also just a good old fashoned high end mountaineering store.

  6. Oscar November 24th, 2010 11:16 am

    Ptor, can’t say alpingarget fulfill ANY of those criterias. And that’s from one who’s got a ton of gear from them over the years. OMG!! They sell most boots in the world – don’t you realize what their main objective is then? Make those ladies and old bankers come in year after year to jump in a pair of boots that are too big (yet comfy that first homiday) and force them to come back next year since their other ones cramp – theyve packed out.

    Also the same store that says dynafit is good for weeklong expeditions but suck to ski with.

  7. Brian November 24th, 2010 11:16 am

    Pro Ski Service in Seattle

  8. kevin November 24th, 2010 11:17 am

    if you miss your connecting flight in Minneapolis/St. Paul and need to burn time, head over to Midwest Mountaineering and their “estate sale” like attic business Thrifty Outfitters – just had mounts done at Midwest for Dynafit & Fritschi set-ups, both look bueno. While you’re waiting for your mounts the repair gurus upstairs at Thrifty can get your weary gear in shape for more adventure or assist with custom gear mods that’ll look like they came from the factory. Thrifty also gets their hands on samples, liquidations, prototypes, all sorts of wacky stuff and marks it to move.

  9. Josh Briggs November 24th, 2010 11:18 am

    Backcountry ski shops in the Calgary area DO NOT begin and end with MEC. A few suggestions:

    Lou’s Performance Skiing Center– probably the best in Calgary for dynafit, bootfitting and ski balancing knowledge. Check out the “Articles” section of his website for lots of good info.

    Vertical Addiction– Located in Canmore, a very knowledgeable place to buy backcountry gear.

    Gear Up– Also located in Canmore, best place for rentals and ski mounting / tuning. Lots of dynafit experience.

  10. Shredgar November 24th, 2010 11:25 am

    Wasatch Touring (since 1972, Hi Charlie & Dwight!) & Wild Rose (Hi Tim & Tom!) take good care of me in SLC UT.

  11. Ziff November 24th, 2010 11:27 am

    Brian Preston at MEC in Vancouver is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to any binding mount, but especially Dynafit. His attention to detail is astounding!

  12. Greg Louie November 24th, 2010 11:28 am

    I’m a DIY mounter, tuner and repairman, so I tend to shop mostly online. Strangely enough, my regular online sources are three of the four US Dynafit Competence Centers, plus Telemark-Pyrenees (also a CC).

    If I need a brick-and-mortar shop in the Seattle area I usually head to one of the three already mentioned, Marmot Mt. Works, or either of the Pro Skis. One more I like is Second Ascent in Ballard.

    It only takes one or two good people to make a small shop “competent” – but you need to make sure those people are dealing with your gear.

  13. Aaron November 24th, 2010 11:37 am

    The 5th Season in Mt Shasta

  14. Lou November 24th, 2010 11:41 am

    Thanks you guys, good stuff, keep it coming. Greg has a good point in that a big part of getting good work done is the people that do it. I’m sure shops with good management have a system whereby not just any hacker touches your skis, so that’s something to look for.

  15. miles November 24th, 2010 11:47 am

    The Escape Route in Whistler (there’s also one in Squamish but it isn’t as geared toward skiing). Ask for Alex. He’s an amazing resource for everything Dynafit and anything else you need.

  16. Ryan November 24th, 2010 12:11 pm

    I like Second Ascent in Seattle as well, particularly as we are on a budget. We have two pairs of dynafits being mounted there at this moment with last years model skis and boots. The staff all have their own areas of expertise and aren’t afraid to tell you when you need to talk to someone else in the store to get the straight dope… they also stock only backcountry/xc ski gear and have a good (and constantly turning over) selection of used, blemished or discontinued gear at good prices.

  17. Steve Steiner November 24th, 2010 12:21 pm

    I am a big fan of my local shop in Durango, CO: Pine Needle Mountaineering. The quality of products is excellent, and the staff is very knowledgeable and friendly.

  18. Simon M. November 24th, 2010 12:33 pm

    In Calgary I would go to Mountain Bike City (silly name – great shop) before MEC. I’ve also gone to Lou’s, the owner did master research about bindings and boots and some other performance ski related subjects – don’t care for the science at Lou’s, but they do have very good tech’s and seem to have every mounting jig under the sun…

    Just my 2 cents.

  19. Lee November 24th, 2010 12:33 pm

    Second vote for Telemark Pyrenees. Neil and his team are extremely helpful in all things ski, especially AT and Telemark.

  20. Caleb Wray November 24th, 2010 12:34 pm

    Bentgate in Golden, CO. They have always been good to me, my boots, and my dynafits. And none of the” big league” attitude that I have gotten at some other places.

  21. jim lamb November 24th, 2010 12:34 pm

    The Mountain Shop in Portland Oregon. Their website sucks but, they have the goods and are a great shop with good service/advice.

  22. Christian November 24th, 2010 12:35 pm

    Alpinequest in Edwards, CO. Mounts with confidence.

  23. Brian November 24th, 2010 12:40 pm

    Larry’s Bootfitting in Boulder. Great selection, knows how to mold the liners and fit the boots. Will tweek as necessary if you have any issues after buying the boot.

  24. ryan November 24th, 2010 12:59 pm

    Double Diamond Ski Shop in Vail.

  25. Omr November 24th, 2010 1:02 pm

    BD Store, SLC, or my garage with Wildsnow tutorials in hand.

  26. Christian November 24th, 2010 1:58 pm

    In Noway I would say VPG in Oppdal is the one to beat. In Oslo Raa sport in Oslo is also on the list. Telemark-Pyrenees is great.

  27. verslant November 24th, 2010 2:00 pm

    Wilderness sports – Dillon, CO

  28. Tyler November 24th, 2010 1:00 pm

    I second 5th Season near Mt. Shasta, especially for boot fitting…Leif is awesome.
    Online, I have had great experiences with http://www.mountaingear.com
    for the last 12 years.

  29. Greg Louie November 24th, 2010 2:19 pm

    Seems like the cream rises to the top via consensus opinion.

    I usually stop in at 5th Season, Mountain Shop, and Escape Route when I’m in town just to look around and shoot the breeze. Sometimes I even buy something. Based on conversations with staff at these shops, I’d gladly trust them to work on my skis.

    Another one that comes to mind is Mountain Gear in Spokane.

    Also Coquoz in Chamonix, one of the few places I’ve been where they actually have a fair-sized fleet of Dynafit-mounted rentals.

  30. Jeff November 24th, 2010 2:56 pm

    I with Greg as a DYIer

    I believe the Bent Gate is the best of the bunch along the FFR.

  31. Jaume November 24th, 2010 3:51 pm

    Viladomat, in the Pyrenees (Andorra)

  32. Chuck November 24th, 2010 4:10 pm

    Any recommendations in the Roaring Fork Valley besides the ‘Wildsnow” headquarters?

  33. Lee Lau November 24th, 2010 4:49 pm

    Third vote for Escape Route in Whistler and shout out to Alex

  34. Doug Goodwin November 24th, 2010 4:52 pm

    Bootdoctors in Taos- very competent staff, can do all sorts of custom boot work, ski mounting, excellent tuners, friendly. – One of the few shops that knows what a hot box is and still uses it. Hand tuning expertise-custom beveling…

  35. Murray November 24th, 2010 6:01 pm

    Add my vote to those already cast for:

    1) 5th Season in Shasta
    2) Telemark-Pyrenees (for online advice, sales and service)
    3) Brian Preston at the Vancouver MEC
    4) Snell’s in Chamonix

  36. Caleb November 24th, 2010 6:30 pm

    Anyone have Tahoe recommendations? Or, any top-notch shops south of Shasta?

  37. ellen November 24th, 2010 6:32 pm

    Mountain Outfitters in Breckenridge. They do know dynafit products better than most – it’s huge in Summit County – but also great variety of the best in mountaineering soft goods…

  38. Ben C November 24th, 2010 6:45 pm

    North East:

    The Mountaineer in Keene Valley. Can’t recommend these guys highly enough. They spent countless hours with me talking the pros and cons of the lines they carried, and helped me find the boot and ski that was right for me. Gave me a great deal and did a great Dynafit mount. They then spent another hour plus a few months later reforming my liners- no cost of course. Absolutely no snob/dirtbag factor at all, only enthusiasm, experience, and knowledge.

    It’s easy and cheap to shop on the web but I enjoy spending my money here.

  39. Ben C November 24th, 2010 6:47 pm

    Lou, there’s something wrong with your spam filter. I typed in “ice” and it didn’t load. Am I missing something? …

  40. KDog November 24th, 2010 7:12 pm

    I am a DIY’er for binding mounts and minor tuning/waxing. Boots seem to be the area that requires the most competency for me personally.

    In Bend, Oregon it’s Mark Elling at Mt. Bachelor ski area or his own biz in the off season, Mercury Mobile Performance. He is a Certified Pedorthist and an Instructor for Masterfit University, the national school for ski boot fitters.

    He has changed skiing for me, as I now know what a real, performance oriented boot fit feels like. I can’t go back to my old ways of sloppy, “I can compensate for poor fit” style of skiing. He has built two pairs of foot beds and blown the shells of 4 pairs of boots so far.

    I’ll work on my skis, but Mark works on my boots!

  41. josh streblow November 24th, 2010 7:44 pm

    Hey what about Bristlecone Mountain Sports in Basalt, CO. Lots of experience on all types of mounts, they have not had any complaints on any ski that was mounted there.

  42. Mark November 24th, 2010 8:29 pm

    Any Denver recommendations?

  43. Chuck Tolton November 24th, 2010 8:30 pm

    Wilderness Sports, Dillon, CO is a superb specialty shop offering exceptional service, support, and expertise. Eric, Jackson, Tory, Josh, Toby, Junior, et al have all bases covered. A singularly unique resource in this area and in this day and age. Check it out.

  44. Doug Goodwin November 24th, 2010 8:43 pm

    The ski techs at Bristlecone in Basalt, CO are spot on with an emphasis on expert precision. Always knowledgeable and friendly!

  45. jeff brown November 24th, 2010 9:06 pm

    1) Snell Sports – Chamonix (for just about anything ski related)
    2) Stamos Sports Argentiere (for just about anything ski related and for fixing base messes)
    3) Cosmos bootworks – Truckee (for very happy feet) No ski stuff.
    4) Marmot Mtn Works, Berkeley (good folks that do a great job!)
    5) BD store SLC (good folks and good at more than ski stuff)
    6) Wasatch Touring SLC (good for ski related stuff)
    7) The only ski Shop in La Fouly, Switzerland (wnat to see the future? check this small shop out!)

    These are listed in no particular order. Have depended on all of them over many years (but not as many years as Lou!)

  46. Fernando Pereira November 24th, 2010 9:21 pm

    1) The Backcountry, Truckee. Excellent gear recommendations and repair work; good boot fitting.
    2) Marmot Mountain Works, Berkeley. Good gear selection and recommendations, excellent boot fitting.

    Both have done Dynafit sales, mounting, and repair work that I have been very happy with. I select between them depending on convenience (I live in the Bay Area and ski mostly in North Tahoe) and what gear they have in stock at what prices.

  47. Caleb November 24th, 2010 10:34 pm

    Rocky Mountain Outfitter,Kalispell MT. I dont see how a shop could get better.

  48. Jack Wolfe November 24th, 2010 10:35 pm

    Lou – Great discussion. Mountain Outfitters in Breckenridge owns me. Not only all the latest and best backcountry stuff, but also soft goods. They really know their s*@$,…(stuff). My wife also will tell you that she is not intimidated going into the shop which is a testament to their staff. No ego, just performance. Their staff has the experience of having been caught in avalanches, won national randonee races and well, just dog ski. Besides, they are one of the top Dynafit shops in the country. Thanks for your facilitating the discussion.

  49. Bard November 24th, 2010 10:59 pm

    Another vote for Wasatch Touring in SLC. It’s nice to put those spendy new boards and Dynafits into the hands of somebody you trust.

  50. Rik November 25th, 2010 1:00 am

    +1 for Bent Gate in Golden. CO and Mountain Outfitters in Breckenridge, CO.

    in Denver, CO I like The Wilderness Exchange. Around the corner from REI.

  51. Jeff November 25th, 2010 1:18 am

    Mark @ ROAM in Nelson, BC.

  52. Gringo November 25th, 2010 7:30 am

    I’ll give a shout out to Yostmark in Driggs. They have been a resource for the Teton core for quite some time now.

  53. Dave B. November 25th, 2010 8:24 am

    What Ben C said about the Mountaineer in Keene Valley, NY. It takes me over 2 1/2 hours to drive there, but I wouldn’t go anywhere else. Absolutely awesome customer service and knowledge.

  54. Jim Moss November 25th, 2010 9:54 am

    Neptune Mountaineering in Boulder Colorado. Bent Gate in Golden Colorado. None better in the world.

  55. Alex R November 25th, 2010 9:59 am

    Add another vote for Snell Sports in Chamonix!

  56. Lou November 25th, 2010 10:02 am

    This is great. Skian, you like?

  57. Matt November 25th, 2010 10:50 am

    In Anchorage, World Cup Ski (biased because I work there). AMH will do you right too.

    (Editor’s note: We are not impressed by shops being recommended by employees, and even got a report of a bad mount done by the World Cup Ski in Girdwood, so buyer beware on this one.)

  58. Shawn M. November 25th, 2010 10:52 am

    Long live Sabbatini’s in Aspen!

    +1 Bent Gate in Golden

  59. Lou November 25th, 2010 10:57 am

    Shawn, does Sabbatini’s have someone who can troubleshoot tech bindings?

  60. Matt November 25th, 2010 11:05 am

    I’ve heard good things about Lou’s in Calgary, but I didn’t know they had backcountry gear. I’ll have to check them out.

  61. Derek N. November 25th, 2010 11:06 am

    Skinny Skis in Jackson without a doubt

  62. Dave g November 25th, 2010 11:12 am

    Oregon Mountain Community Portland OR http://www.e-omc.com

    Feathered Friends Seattle WA (not perhaps a ski shop but you need to stay warm when doing so! :)) http://www.featheredfriends.com

  63. Lou November 25th, 2010 11:18 am

    Hey you guys, for cred, please share what the shop helped you with that convinced you they’re worth a top rating. Some of this just sounds like people shouting out their friends…

  64. Snowvan November 25th, 2010 11:37 am

    MEC in Vancouver has by far the best selection and staff of any shop I’ve seen. They only sell backcountry equipment and they quite litterally sell almost every single option that exists. Their ski techs are the best in the industry and insanely anal when it comes to tech mounts. Staff are not pushy and seem to genuinely care about what they sell.

  65. Jay November 25th, 2010 11:55 am

    AMH and World Cup in AK
    Good work Matt!

  66. Macharza November 25th, 2010 12:10 pm

    Ski Service, Helsinki, Finland
    Escape Route, Whistler, BC
    Rapie, Hakuba, Japan

    These are listed in no particular order

  67. Dave J November 25th, 2010 12:46 pm

    A BIG +1 for Mountain Bike City in Calgary.

    MEC cannot be on the list as they are not full service (no boot puncing/grinding, no ski tune grinders in stores).

  68. Skian November 25th, 2010 1:01 pm

    Nuff said! Thanks Lou!
    This is where Wild Snow readers shine!

    “Get outside have some fun and enjoy the backcountry!”

  69. greig November 25th, 2010 1:11 pm

    I think the shop in La Fouly in Switzerland below the Grand Lui is called Zanskar Sports and is supercool. In Europe add Telemark Pyrenees for service and Conrad Sports for price. I had wonderful help/service from Bent Gate after a product failure (G3 skis), and they couldn’t have been more helpful.
    In home sweet home (Scotland), Mountain Spirit in Aviemore rules.

  70. Lee Lau November 25th, 2010 1:21 pm

    In line with what Lou said, I endorse Escape Route because:

    1, They tailor advice to what you need. Not what they have in stock and are trying to unload

    2. The staff use the gear and have lots of field experience. But they don’t let their biases colour their advice. They try really hard to listen to what you want.

    3. They have quite a bit of stock (that’s the achilles heel of smaller shops – its expensive keeping that inventory). Not a knock on other shops but ER seems to be able to keep quite a bit of inventory so you actually see, touch, smell the shiny new gear.

    4. Prices are reasonable. They don’t gouge. For example, they try to price-match the big boy of outdoor retail – MEC

    5. Finally they are realisticly honest. To take a ludicrous example, they won’t sell a 1 day a year 250 lb big boned guy a set of Scarpa F1s, scholler skin suit and rando race skis.

    I freely disclose that I am an Escape Route fanboy

  71. Lou November 25th, 2010 1:32 pm

    Yeah you guys, our definition of “Top Shop” is about EXPERT SERVICE, they need to be able to fit boots, tune skis, fix weird binding problems…

  72. Greg Louie November 25th, 2010 1:36 pm

    On the other hand, Lee, that 250 lb. big boned guy is gonna lose weight in a hurry once he tries on that skinsuit.

    Marmot Mt. Works in Bellevue once took a new pair of Dynafits off the shelf to strip off a baseplate for me and get me out the door in half an hour rather than send the part back to Salewa and make me wait. Beyond the call of duty.

  73. Oli C November 25th, 2010 1:37 pm

    Intersport Schneider in Altenmarkt, Austria (the same town where atomic ski’s are made) were very helpful when my scarpa spirit 4′s where coming out of my new dynafits. they called scarpa and dynafit for me, gave me a coffee, and everyone smiled. not your average intersport. austrian family run!

    aux vieux campeur in strasbourg, france had mounted them about 10mm too long

    however aux viuex campeur in albertville, Savoie, France mounted my fritshci freerides with no problems to report.

  74. Rand November 25th, 2010 1:45 pm

    Pine Needle Mountaineering in Durango gets my pick!

    Also
    Elephants Perch in ID
    Skinny Skis in Jackson
    Mtn Outfitters in Breck
    Ute Mountaineer in Aspen

  75. Skian November 25th, 2010 3:04 pm

    Hmm? This could Leeds to a top boot fitters in the country thread? Maybe as some shops only specialize in Bootfitting. As we know boot fitting is an art of it’s own.

  76. Kris November 25th, 2010 3:47 pm

    I know this isn’t a shop-bashing post, so I’ll just say I have had multiple bad experiences at Mountain Bike City and leave it at that.

  77. Tyson November 25th, 2010 3:54 pm

    Alpenglow Sports, Tahoe City, CA.

    A small local shop with super friendly, experienced, and modest staff that are in the skin track pretty much everyday. These guys most likely ski more days than anyone on here.

  78. Skian November 25th, 2010 3:56 pm

    Best shops please. Keep horror stories on another thread. Thanks

  79. Jack November 25th, 2010 4:34 pm

    Girdwood Ski and Cyclery for bootfitting

  80. AJ November 25th, 2010 5:42 pm

    in Germany RIAP Sport

  81. Drew Stuntz November 25th, 2010 7:03 pm

    Backcountry experience in Durango, CO. Over any other shop in the Durango area.

  82. WJ November 25th, 2010 8:32 pm

    MEC in Vancouver.

  83. Jimbo November 25th, 2010 10:03 pm

    Pineneedle in Durango has committed skiers,
    BC Experience is especially good for climbers.

  84. Thom Mackris November 25th, 2010 11:07 pm

    I second Larry’s Bootfitting in Boulder (http://www.larrybootfitting.com/). The website is sorely in need of a refresh, do don’t go by the product lineup there.

    From memory, their boot line includes Dynafit, Scarpa, BD, Garmont, Dalbello, and Solomon (perhaps others).

    At a minimum, their bindings cover Dynafit, Marker, and G3.

    Neptune and Bent Gate are fine, but Larry is a boot fitter extraordinaire, and knows his stuff about Dynafits.

    I have to wonder about this whole Dynafit Competency Center thing. My sense is that sales volume plays into this as much as competency does. Not to dismiss the qualifications of these competency centers, but my point is, to not overlook someone who hasn’t achieved this disinction.

    Cheers,
    Thom

  85. SquakMtn November 25th, 2010 11:47 pm

    I have to give a strong recommendation for Pro Ski Service in North Bend. Martin Volken and his team run a great shop. The have the goods and they make things right when they go wrong. For example, I purchased a new pair of Head Monster 95′s. Turned out the length they recommended skied waaay too short. They made good and swapped me for a longer pair of different skis that fit my style much better.

  86. Dave g November 26th, 2010 9:08 am

    “Hey you guys, for cred, please share what the shop helped you with that convinced you they’re worth a top rating. Some of this just sounds like people shouting out their friends…”

    My reason to list Oregon mt community in Portland, or…

    I started my bc skiing with them. First rentals, then onto purchases for AT gear, skis, boots, bindings, over the yrs. Have made two full AT gear purchases from OMC in past 10 yrs

    Staff has the gear and knows how to fit it and dial it in. Working with them right now to fit some Intuition Liners onto my very packed out Mega Rides!

    As for feathered friends, it’s got the ‘old world’ outdoor shop that I grew UO with; not the big box store feel. Not to mention their bomber gear.

  87. Lou November 26th, 2010 9:48 am

    Dave, does Feathered Friends sell and service AT skiing gear? I like their clothing, had no idea they had a full service ski shop…?

  88. onyourleft November 26th, 2010 11:54 am

    Mammoth Mountaineering – Mammoth Lakes, CA

  89. Layne November 26th, 2010 1:09 pm

    Pro Ski in Seattle & North Bend, WA, one of the best ski, and ski mountianeering shops in the Pac NW.

  90. Starky November 26th, 2010 5:58 pm

    I second Mammoth Mountaineering, just was in there the other day and tried on some dynafit tlt 5 boots.

  91. Runningclouds November 26th, 2010 7:21 pm

    Add my vote for MEC in Vancouver and especially to Brian. He always gives me a thorough advice, straight goods, no marketing bullshit. His craftsmanship is great too. Couple that with MEC warranty and this is one shop that I am happy to go back over and over.

    The only thing that I don’t like about MEC is that they often run out of ski stuff in February and March. By April the remaining snow sport stuff is off in a corner. If you lose or break something during the volcano ski season you might be out of luck. To be fair this criticism can be levelled against other shops too, I guess not many people keep skiing past Easter.

  92. turner November 27th, 2010 10:23 am

    Hey Lou, great thread. (At least three of the shops that I frequent are listed.)

    If this info were tabulated, it would be a great resource for a traveling skier with gear issues to find a shop which can help to solve his/her problem.

    Would also be useful to find a shop, for example, in a new area after moving, or for someone just getting into the sport to find a gear guru close to home.

    It would be convenient to look up a geographical area and see which shop(s) people are recommending, and what they have to say about them.

    It would be a bit of work to tabulate, format, etc., but could become a valuable resource, and I can imagine it could drive traffic to the site.

  93. Lou November 27th, 2010 10:32 am

    Turner, interesting idea but remember that much of this is personal opinion. Valid, but placing this all in nicely designed table and keeping it updated would be a bit too formal in my view and imply we had some sort of objective testing and standards for scoring the “top shops.” Easy enough to just get on here and read the thread. I was thinking of listing the shops at the bottom of the blog post, but then I’d have to keep it updated or it would just be yet more out-of-date web content, of which there is all too much lurking out there…

  94. Alpinist November 27th, 2010 2:21 pm

    Brent Hansen at Ski Tek in Ketchum is probably one of the best boot fitters and ski specialists in the west…makes custom inserts that have allowed me to go farther in my climbing or ski boots – results have been excellent.

    For AT gear, check out Berg sports and talk to Svein – these guys are excellent technicians and have a real depth of knowledge and selection.

    Either are worth the drive…

    Don’t forget John and Drew at the Glacier Ski Shop – an experience to go into the shop and lots of great knowledge.

  95. VTJoe November 27th, 2010 4:50 pm

    Outdoor Gear Exchange and the Skirack both in Burlington

    Solid crew through thick and thin these guys both hold it down and can mount to your little hearts desires!

    No questions asked and great vibes.

  96. Craig November 27th, 2010 6:21 pm

    Best boot fitter and custom insert maker I’ve seen is Bret Hansen from Ski Tek in Ketchum – made me a set of inserts for my climbing boots and they are fantastic. Same for ski boots – great ski technicians also.

    In Eugene, OR, talk to Svein at Berg’s Ski Shop – they rock with AT mounting and helping understand the differences in gear.

    Don’t forget Glacier Ski Shop on the way to Mt. Baker – talk to John or Drew. backcountry skiing is what they live for with “Secret Mountain” getting the dawn patrol when it has fresh powder

  97. honkey November 27th, 2010 8:35 pm

    Great thread! While I refuse to give my shop and staff a very biased pat on the back, I will give a shout out to some folks in the business who I truly respect.

    Mtn Travelers in Rutland, VT is the shop that took me from a recreational ski addict to a fully committed junkie. Pete, Joann, and their staff are die-hards and their enthusiasm is infectious.

    Bob at Telluride Boot Doctors is a wealth of knowledge and I’d refer anyone on the north side of the San Juans his way. (and hopefully he would send his southern san juan friends our way….)

    And while I can’t say I know any of the staff at Bent Gate in Golden all that well, I applaud them for standing up against the army of REIs and CO Ski & Golfs in the front range and being a real specialty store.

    Lastly I got to meet the new owner of the Mtn Shop in Fort Collins last year and he seemed like he was taking that shop in the right direction (I’m miserable w/ names, sorry buddy). Any comments on how they’re doing these days?

  98. Dan November 28th, 2010 9:39 am

    I am not surprised to see Neptune listed here, but I’d prefer to drive 30 minutes to Bent Gate before going to Neptune. I know that there are some nice knowledgeable people at Neptune, but there’s a reason the phrase “Neptude” has been coined. And not only do you sometimes get attitude there; sometimes that attitude comes from people who don’t actually know what they are talking about.

    So my answer is Bent Gate in Golden, or Larry’s Bootfitting in Boulder.

  99. ski4ever November 28th, 2010 10:09 am

    one of my favourite….in a wonderful spot to : http://www.cham3s.com/uk/accueil.asp

  100. Lou November 28th, 2010 10:17 am

    Who gonna make it 100 comments? The shop they list should give them a free boot fitting!

  101. Gerhard kirchmair November 28th, 2010 10:36 am

    In Austria: Pelé Sport in schwaz

  102. Jonathan Shefftz November 28th, 2010 10:39 am

    “Outdoor Gear Exchange and the Skirack both in Burlington”
    - OGE, yes (of course), but Ski Rack, no: only Tech-compatible boots are BD Factor/Shiva, BD Prime/Swift, Garmont Radium (only 3 sizes), plus a single leftover pair of F3. Given that OGE is so close by, that does not merit WildSnow mention as a great ski shop.

  103. Lou November 28th, 2010 11:19 am

    Gerhard got to 100!

    And yeah, as Jonathan mentions, come on you guys. Just because you like the guys in a ski shop doesn’t make it a top shop for backcountry skiing. Such shops need to have some depth in their inventory so a customer can check out the options.

  104. lotzatrax November 28th, 2010 11:25 am

    Mountain Equipment Co-op in Vancouver. Free boot fittings with every boot purchase and free binding mount with the purchase of two ski related items. They’ll do custom boot fittings for very cheap even if you haven’t bought anything from them. Staff really take the time — my boot fit experience took over 2 hours. The guy there took his time with me, answered all my questions and really knew his stuff. They are not pushy at all and have an amazing selection. Stock is the best I’ve seen so long as you go there during the season proper. They fixed an old TLT setup I got used for free. Had the parts there and everything. Fixed one of my old Megarides for free too. They might be a big chain but the staff are more like a small dedicated shop. They only sell backcountry–no downhill. I like that.

  105. skian November 28th, 2010 11:57 am

    Agreed, only if they are PRO not BRO. Or if that’s the case I want to put in a plug for Rueben’s Burger Bistro in Boulder best Belgium selection in town. Hey does that mean we are back down to 99?

  106. Lou November 28th, 2010 12:45 pm

    Wow, MEC sounds like the place! A 2 hour boot fit, that’s excellent, mine take me 10 to 12 hours per pair of boots.

  107. Hans November 28th, 2010 3:38 pm

    In Germany Sport Conrad, in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Penzberg
    http://www.sport-conrad.com

  108. Robert lee November 28th, 2010 4:21 pm

    2nd for sport conrad
    ordered my gear from them ,
    very helpful

  109. Anton November 28th, 2010 8:36 pm

    I second the MEC in Vancouver.

    Unrelated Question for Lou: do you know of any backcountry skiing around the Washington DC area? I’m moving there for work. Any clubs or organizations you can point me to? I know the mountains are much smaller and the pow not as plentiful as here on the coast, but I’m desperate and willing to settle for less! cheers Lou.

  110. Lou November 29th, 2010 6:56 am

    Hi Anton, that’s one area I really don’t know well. Anyone else?

  111. Jonathan Shefftz November 29th, 2010 8:03 am

    Ouch, from Vancouver to MASH (Mid-Altantic Ski Hell). For bc, Dolly Sods Wilderness is your best (only?) bet, which can be accessed via White Grass, an xc ski area that encompasses a defunct downhill area (with the trails still maintained, along with glades).
    And if you’re desperate enough to succumb to lift-served skiing, Whitetail is about an hour and half drive.
    Also, although Meathead films are generally close to unwatchable, their latest “effort” — Work It Out — has hilarious footage of skiing in DC.

  112. Joe November 30th, 2010 10:34 am

    Mt. Outfitters in Breck is my go-to shop.

  113. Gord B November 30th, 2010 1:55 pm

    Bryan Preston at MEC Vancouver knows more about bindings than most of us know about our spouses. His workmanship and attention to detail is nothing short of brilliant.

    In terms of boot fitting my vote would have to be for Crystal at Intuition Sports, also in Vancouver. Her knowledge of liners, willingness to experiment and seemingly endless patience is truly an asset to the local ski community.

  114. denny November 30th, 2010 11:22 pm

    Adam and the crew at Pro Ski Service in Seattle hooked me up with a great pair of skis for the back country this year. Their shop is not huge but they have what you need and can offer customer service without all of the attitude you find in many shops.

    Plus there is a big dog running around the joint. Go Pro Ski Services.

  115. JimmyAwesome December 1st, 2010 12:21 pm

    I have to second the Bryan Preston at MEC Vancouver. His knowledge as a ski tech is astounding and despite a huge workload he always takes the time to discuss and issues, products (new and old), & any other tech stuff.

    I might add that boot fitting experience at this store can be hit and miss – most staff are awesome though – best to find someone through a referral.

  116. Lee Lau December 1st, 2010 1:33 pm

    Although they are not a shop, I second the vote for Crystal at Intuition Sports. She is ridiculously patient. Rob and her can reel off details about the liners that I can’t imagine anyone remembering. Customer service second – to – none

  117. tob December 1st, 2010 9:01 pm

    Backcountry Essentials in Bellingham is a great shop. Small, knowledgeable staff and good management make for great service!
    Lou, Feathered Friends does sell and service AT gear. Just got my Pulse firmware updated there.

  118. Lynden Don December 2nd, 2010 3:19 am

    On your way to Mt. Baker, stop for great service at the Glacier Ski Shop. Drew and John Adams are backcountry fanatics. Tele or Rondo they have both well covered.

  119. jpw December 2nd, 2010 10:00 am

    another vote for Adam & Pro Ski Service in Seattle

  120. Eva Hagen December 3rd, 2010 9:10 am

    Riap Sport in Bad Reichenhall: They have a lot of “top of the line” innovations, great service. http://www.riapsport.de

    Mountainoutfitters in Breckenridge, Co great service, Tim does an excellent job mounting bindings.

    Sport am Platz in Canazei Italy
    Rock and Roll Sports in Gunnison, Co

  121. Friends of Berthoud Pass December 3rd, 2010 10:39 pm

    Bent Gate Mountaineering in Golden, Colo. is an excellent shop, with a worldwide reputation for excellence. The people and culture is what really makes BGM special. Get to know them and you’ve got quality friends for life.

  122. craig December 4th, 2010 4:49 pm

    Bentgate is by far the best I have been to. They have been tweaking my skis, my bindings, and even fitting my boots for years. When I first moved to Denver I was turned off by Neptune and the “Neptude”. It was clear that the attitude was a front for the lack of knowledge (especially in things not climbing related). I used to go to Larry’s for my boots but I have since had quality concerns with some of his staff.

    For me it is Bentgate, one stop shop for everything. All the knowledge without the attitude.

  123. Jack15T December 5th, 2010 1:11 pm

    I can understand some of the feelings about Neptune, but for Boot fitting the best I have found is Chuck that works out of Neptune. I don’t believe he is employed by Neptune but he does boot fitting out of their store. You should set up an appointment with him as he doesn’t keep regular hours there, just call the store for his contact info. He took my feet from bloody to comfy which enabled me to do an eight day tour in Europe with no problems. It made my whole trip.

  124. Lou December 6th, 2010 6:03 pm

    Due to recent report of yet another bad Dynafit mount, let me make some suggestions that can go on the record here for those of you looking to get your Dynafits mounted:

    1. When at the shop, ask to speak with the exact person who will be mounting your bindings.
    2. Ask him about how many Dynafit bindings he has mounted, and when he last mounted any.
    3. Ask if the shop has a Dynafit jig that’s in good condition.
    4. Try to get a glimpse of their workbench. If it looks like WWIII, think twice.

    Make your decision about having the shop do the work based on answers to above questions. I’m getting the impression that many customers just expect a shop to do good work because it is a ski shop. Would you do that with your automobile? Just drop if off anywhere without asking any questions? Heck, I could go buy a car today that cost less than some of the Dynafit binding/ski/boot setups some of you guys are rocking.

    Lou

  125. Kevin P December 6th, 2010 9:34 pm

    Per the recent comments on mounting Dynafits: why does the plastic part base of the comfort TLT-ST toe piece have the screws threaded into it?? Any reason why I shouldn’t have drilled those holes wider?

    here’s my scenario: last season. 4months after original shop mounting: toe piece ripped off the ski (taking top sheet and core with it… large crash ensuing). investigation of the other ski showed de-lamination between the core and top-weave. (ski consits of base- glass weave- wood core – glass weave, top sheet- Palmer P04 skiis).

    resulting repair includes: through holes, T-nut type inserts, and machine screws.

    And, so- the real question is: is the failure due to poor ski manufacture or poor mounting?

    -Kevin

  126. Lou December 6th, 2010 9:41 pm

    Kevin, we always drill those holes so the screw lightly threads in. As far as I know, they’re the way they are so challenged shop employees that are not on our Top Shops list will not make the mistake of using the front screws in the rear, and the rear in the front.

    And yes, without drilling out the holes you run the risk of the screws “double threading” when you insert them in the ski, which can cause the front plate to stay lifted up off the ski, and also cause you to use excessive force while tightening the screws.

    As for your delam, hard to say what the root cause was. I’d have to have mounted the skis AND seen them after to know for sure. But excessive tightening of the screws to battle double threading could have had something to do with it.

    I guess I should check and see if my DIY mounting instructions mention drilling out the toe plate holes. If not, I’ll add that in.

  127. Kevin P December 6th, 2010 9:50 pm

    Step 11 – yep you do mention the drilling out the holes.

    I ended up drilling them so that I could slide in the #10-24 machine screws. (very similar OD to the standard screws

  128. Mark W December 6th, 2010 9:59 pm

    Drilling out toe plate holes? Dang, that’s a simple bit of genius! I’ve grumbled over how much effort is required to get the toe screws all the way tight many times (with Dynafits). And yeah, the toe versus heel screws can be a problem. I transferred some Dynafit bindings recently for a guy whose old TLT Speeds had one heel screw up front on the previous mount. Not good. During the binding transfer process I also learned that Speed toe screws are considerably shorter than their Vertical brethren, so I had to order spares from Dynafit. They gladly sent me the proper screws and the mount was done well. Taking time to be critically observant and looking at every step in the mounting process with a discriminating, keen eye can go a long way toward a quality job.

  129. dave downing December 6th, 2010 11:40 pm

    One of my favorite things about our move to Whitefish is our local shop, The White Room. They have an amazing selection of backcountry and freeride gear, from twin tips to Dynafits. The shop is filled with great culture, always willing to talk about turns and give straight forward advice. And my new Dynafit mount was spot on, with perfectly lined up heel pins:)

  130. Lou December 7th, 2010 7:40 am

    Excellent points Mark!

    Kevin, shew, I thought I might have missed that step in the how-to.

    Dave, nice to hear of good craftsmanship and good vibe. A core shop is most certainly something we’re missing here in the Carbondale/Glenwood area. The folks at Bristlecone up in Basalt are nice and incredibly good buyers and gear experts, but I miss the small shop where you walk in and smell ski wax, and the stack of demos leaning on the front counter threatens to fall on your head, and the guy ringing you up has a pair of gloves on with cut off fingers because he’s in the middle of hand tuning a pair of skis….and the wood fired stove in the book section is stoked and waiting… yeah, I’m a dreamer.

  131. Kelly December 7th, 2010 2:45 pm

    Another vote for PROSKI Service in Seattle. Owner Adam Justin is really a pleasure to work with, super friendly, has an excellent selection of BC skis, gear and accessories and is very knowledgeable about everything in his shop. I took my skis in to be mounted with a new pair of FT12′s and was extremenly pleased with the quick and friendly service and perfect mount – and without the attititude I’ve found in other shops. The shop is a BC candy store – Five stars and highly recommended……

  132. Patrick December 7th, 2010 11:48 pm

    Mtn Equipment Coo-op (MEC) is absolutely not a chain. It’s a co-op — that is, it’s owned by its customers. No wonder we all get great service. I recently returned my 3-yr-old Megaride boot liners (after about 50 days skiing). They replaced them and heat-formed new ones for me, all for free. Always get good service at MEC. And I get good tech advice if I call ahead and make an appointment with a specialist. TMEC stands behind everything it sells, 100% in my 38 years of being a member of MEC.

  133. dave December 8th, 2010 9:32 pm

    like Jack Wolfe, ellen (November 24th), rand (Nov 25), joe (nov 30) i use mountain outfitters in breckenridge. great people, great dog.

  134. Lou December 8th, 2010 9:59 pm

    Dave, I’ve heard of shops where a dog could have done better work than the shop employees. To have both on hand, and held up for good work, is exceptional and duly noted (grin).

  135. Pablo December 9th, 2010 8:00 am

    For European readers or if you travel to the pyrenees. There’s a very wellknowed shop here in Spain.

    Barrabes is the most important alpinism shop in spain.
    They have several shops around the country and even a e-shop at http://www.barrabes.com.
    Dont have too much ski stuff but a good selection. Their mothershop (placed in Benasque, home of the highest peak in Pyrenees 3.404m) is nice and friendly, full of mountain stuff and with professional employees that advice you well and works good on the skis.

  136. Lou December 9th, 2010 8:05 am

    Gracias Pablo

  137. skian January 26th, 2011 9:53 am

    Lift house is not a dealer currently for Dynafit. FYI :)

  138. Lou January 26th, 2011 10:19 am

    Indeed, please Tom and all, this is supposed to be a resource for top ski shops, for backcountry skiing. I’m going to redact that post. Please post about full service ski shops on this thread. Thanks, Lou

  139. tom February 3rd, 2011 7:39 am

    wow, you would have thought that i was spewing profanity on your website to have my comment removed. i was under the impression this was an open forum for your readers opinions. i’ve gone to other backcountry ski shops in salt lake but never found one that i was happy with (arrogant, undereducated know it alls pushing a product for the commission) i’ve gone to eric at the lifthouse and always gotten great boot fitting as well as honest, unbiased advice on backcountry equipment.
    i’m think i’m done reading your website. i don’t really need anyone telling me what my opinion should be.

  140. skian February 3rd, 2011 7:45 am

    Tom hold on. The thread is best Dynafit shops. That’s all. Your comment was about a quality shop they just don’t Sell Dynafit. Dude Lou censors my Scottish butt all the time when things get heated. That’s his job as a fireman.

  141. Lou February 3rd, 2011 8:22 am

    Yep, we’re trying to keep this post and comment thread specific to full service ski shops, which sell tech binding systems and backcountry gear. I’m not sure what Tom means by “open forum,” but we do try to keep some of our comment threads from drifting. If I have to remove a comment now and then to help with that, then so be it. I suppose if anyone wants an “open forum” they can go over to TGR, they have rules over there, but it’s really hard to break them. That said, it’s interesting that supposedly permissive TGR finds it necessary to post their rules as a sticky post at the top of their forum… Smoke and mirrors?

  142. John February 21st, 2011 2:42 pm

    Teton Mountaineering -Jackson WY. Hands down the best backcountry ski shop in Jackson!

  143. silvano August 24th, 2011 8:43 am

    Wilderness sports – Dillon, CO
    &
    Mountainplanet Livigno Italy

  144. Andrew August 24th, 2011 9:06 am

    I’ll have to 3rd or 4th the mountaineer, excellent service, selection, and just all around good folks up there in Keene Valley. They know their stuff inside and out. Only drawback I’ve found is that they’re 2 hours away from me and their stock tends to skew towards the ski mountaineer/long slog XCD set vs yo-yoing powder laps but that’s more of a function of where they’re located.(ie you wouldn’t walk into Alta and ask why their rental shop doesn’t stock snowboards)

    High Adventure is GREAT. Daryl and crew are amazing, yes their selection on site isn’t as spectacular as you’d find at a shop closer to the mountains but unlike the great majority of shops in the northeast if you walk in the door and ask about a Dynafit/Onyx/Duke etc they know what you’re talking about.

    Ski wise they’re more biased towards the sidecountry/pow touring market but they’ve carried Karhu Guides and Dynafit Seven Summits which Johnathan S would quantify as uber fat but for me thats pretty skinny ;-)

    Their selections of AT boots has expanded and now they’re carrying everything from the TLT 5 all the way through the Titan. Obviously they’re not going to have the full run of sizes in the TLT Carbons as that’s a specialty item around here but for a flatland ski shop I’ll put their product knowledge up against ANYONE. They have a dynafit jig on site and actually know how to use it. In short if you’re in the So VT > Capital NY > Western Mass area there really isn’t a better shop around without driving all the way to the hills

  145. Sarah August 24th, 2011 9:37 am

    I like Berg’s Ski & Snowboard Shop in Eugene, OR. They have mounted my bindings and fit my boots for more than 20 years, and I always enjoy going into the shop. They typically have all of the latest tech bindings, and are good boot fitters. Additionally, the last time I went to buy a pair of AT bindings, the guys at the shop had thoroughly reefed on each type of binding on the hill before choosing to sell them at the shop. Nice to have someone be honest with you about the pros and cons of each binding!

  146. Steve August 24th, 2011 10:07 am

    Ditto for Marmot. They have been selling AT gear since 1984 and always have the cool, obscure products.

  147. Jeff August 24th, 2011 10:52 am

    Larrys Bootfitting in Boulder and Bent Gate in Golden.

  148. Bob August 24th, 2011 11:43 am

    It’s been listed in one of the previous comments but wanted to let you know that Fire On The Mountain in Dover, NH has been stepping up it’s AT offerings and commitment to this growing sport in the Northeast. They have been with Dynafit for 3 years and will be offering skis and packs this year in addition to boots and bindings. Other AT lines are Scarpa, Black Diamond, Fritschi, Kastle, Voile and Marker. They also have most of the “sidecountry” products from K2, Volkl and Tecnica. The techs get an annual certification and training session from the NE rep for Dynafit. Special orders are welcome.

    http://www.fireonthemtn.com

  149. Lou August 24th, 2011 11:49 am

    Good additions you guys, thanks! I was psyched to bring this post up to the top for a while this morning. The local shops are key and deserve attention.

  150. Alex August 24th, 2011 12:31 pm

    Mountain Outfitters in Breck has been helping out the dynafit community of summit county as a dynafit competence center and is doing a killer job. The staff is great and they can help you out with anything related to our beloved sport. I cant even start to list all the work ive had done well there.

  151. Kim August 24th, 2011 10:53 pm

    For Dynafit/backcountry assistance and advice – Mountain Outfitters in Breckenridge, Colorado. I have found them always very happy to share their knowledge and assist in anyway possible.

    Online – Telemark-Pyrenees.

    For the best tuning service and advice (especially snowboards) – Mono Cera in Dillon, Colorado. Ryan is a fantastic guy and provided me with advice and assistance that could never be purchased!

  152. Dave P. August 25th, 2011 1:32 am

    Girdwood Ski and Cyclery in the Chugach. Jim is a great guy and he’ll take care of you.

  153. JHoover August 25th, 2011 4:08 am

    SKI CENTER of Washington, DC. Though not near any real terrain, they service the migrant Washingtonian that invariably has a strong base of hardcore skiers from all over the world. Above all other shops I have experienced in 1st class resorts / ski towns of Jackson, Tahoe and The Cottonwood Canyons, they truly bring it to a new level. The combination of years of experience, commitment to product knowledge and focus on pairing the skier with the right gear from the beginning, and the staffs willingness for the (sometimes many) repeated visits it can take to get boot fit perfectly dialed in – bottom line is they understand what it means to be comfortable, balanced and ready to rip in the pow and strive to get you to that envied sweet spot.

    Ask for 1 of the 2 Brian’s and they will point you in the right direction w/in the shop.

    All that and a gear selection the rivals any in the US, they are by far my shop of choice. Very informative website and smooth online ordering process – skicenter.com.

  154. Lou August 25th, 2011 6:12 am

    JHoover, how backcountry skiing oriented is SKI CENTER? It appears they have Dynafit as a brand they carry, but we’d like to know how they do with providing knowledgeable employees, tech binding mounting, that sort of thing. Please let us know. Thanks, Lou

  155. Zoran August 25th, 2011 1:41 pm

    I also vote for Brian Preston at the Vancouver MEC

  156. Joe August 25th, 2011 7:21 pm

    podium ski service, park city, ut… best ski tuning, and yeah mounts/ repairs. they only do service work. small crew there including a few previous world cup techs.

  157. Sam August 26th, 2011 9:38 pm

    Cosmo’s Custom Footwerks in Truckee for excellent boot fitting!!!

    I live in San Francisco and Marmot Mtn Works in Berkeley has done a TERRIBLE job fitting boots for me. They don’t have boot stretching equipment and have sold me boots that are both too big and too small.

    Now I go straight to Truckee and see Cosmo!

  158. Simon August 28th, 2011 7:14 am

    For the stock they carry for the rando racer:

    1. Sport Amplatz, Canazei, Italy.

    2. Reve de Cime, Annecy

    3. Au vieux campeur, Albertville

  159. Randonnee August 28th, 2011 4:18 pm

    Pro Ski, North Bend WA. If only they had a shop in Leavenworth…I drive to North Bend Pro Ski to get their competent advice and mounting!

  160. JHoover August 29th, 2011 6:07 am

    Lou, from my experience, Ski Center has been on the cutting edge of boot fitting and ski balance positioning for years. They are race bred so understand that the optimal cant, forward lean, mounting position etc varies widely from person to person and equipment to equipment. The key staff are not people who are getting into the industry but have committed a lifetime to it.

    Bode Miller has a history w/ them, and we all know how he views fit and equipment progression…

  161. Lou August 29th, 2011 6:20 am

    Sounds good J, thanks!

  162. Lou August 29th, 2011 12:34 pm

    I deleted last shop that posted, they appeared to be a spammer. Notice to spammers, don’t even try, we watch.

  163. Ian W September 14th, 2011 7:01 pm

    When I’m in Whistler my favourite backcountry shop is excess backcountry. Small local shop that have some excellent staff, all of which are experienced ski and boot techs and they have some world class gear. more ofthen than not I’ve found them to be cheaper than MEC.

  164. France September 15th, 2011 5:54 am

    The Freeride store at Méribel (France) do an absolutely fantastic job!

  165. Harrison November 17th, 2011 1:01 pm

    The Village Ski and Sport in Lincoln, NH- The best independent shop for tele and AT gear I have found in New Hampshire- as previously mentioned, they might not have the largest selection, but their mount/tune/repair skills are as good as it gets. If I was to buy a new rig today, I might purchase the boards at IME in North Conway and have Village Ski do my mount.

  166. Jonathan Shefftz November 18th, 2011 7:54 pm

    Pleased to report that Basecamp Outfitters has really stepped it up a notch (or two, or three) for this season. Mike Miller was a pioneer in backcountry ski gear, even patenting a brilliantly designed cable add-on for the NNN binding (thereby achieving a zero lifted weight resistance-free pivot for tele skiing), which BD had to take legal action to invalidate to move forward with its own binding line-up.
    In recent years Basecamp Outfitters has become rather sidetracked with NTN, but for this season, the “Tech”-compatible boot offering is quite respectable, running the gamut from TLT5 to Delirium. Tech binding selection is more basic, but I think that makes complete sense.
    Surprisingly, much of what has been driving all this is parents of kids in the local alpine race programs. Instead of buying a lift ticket just to watch their kids race, or slow shoeing up, they’ve realized they can now skin up to the watch the race, and get in some skiing too. Now let’s just hope to we don’t have a Jackson Hole redux East Coast style…

  167. Jonathan Shefftz November 18th, 2011 7:56 pm

    Oops, location, forgot to mention that: Basecamp Outfitters is at the base of the famed Killington access road. (Also right on the AT, so lots of their summer business is resupplying through hikers. And has its own extensive groomed nordic ski trail network. So very big shop for xc race too.)

  168. Christine M. January 11th, 2012 3:01 pm

    Good selection of backcountry and cross country ski gear with knowledgeable employees.

  169. Christine M. January 11th, 2012 3:03 pm

    Oops, forgot to mention the name of the shop: Skinny Skis in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. :-)

  170. andre fijlt May 9th, 2012 11:40 am

    I have just done my 6th season in Chamonix, it’s a bit of a bubble, the type of skiing and terain means the shops are all way ahead interms of the BC stuff i’ve seen around the world.
    So in terms of range pretty much everystore in Cham has awsome BC kit.
    However there are a couple of real gems.
    Sole Boot and Ski Lab gets my vote for best store, infact that i have ever been to.
    Amazing range and service, bootfitting and binding mounting only, plus terminal ski repairs.
    As alreadt mentiond, Snell Sports, not the best for service and help, but the sheer size and range of the store is incrediable.

  171. A. Nousaine October 15th, 2012 10:16 am

    Surprised to notice that no one has mentioned the Start Haus in Truckee, CA. While they generally specialize in resort oriented equipment, their staff is also quite knowledgeable about backcountry setups. Being one of the top Tahoe area ski shops for aspiring ski racers, they really know their stuff and will stand behind their work. This is where I go for all my boot, binding, ski repair and maintenance needs.

  172. Lou Dawson November 21st, 2012 7:17 am

    Nousaine, do they have a full set of Dynafit mounting equipment, including jigs?

  173. A. Nousaine November 21st, 2012 9:23 am

    The Start Haus is a certified Dynafit dealer. They sell both the Dynafit Vertical and Radical series and have a full set of Dynafit mounting equipment, including jigs. They recently mounted my Dynafit Radical STs on a pair of K2 Backups. The interesting part was that the Dynafits had 130 mm brake and the ski had an 82 mm waist width. To get around this, I purchased a pair of the 92 mm Vertical ST brakes from backcountry.com, then had the Start Haus staff swap the brake arms. The challenge was that we had to use the brake AFD plate from the 130 mm brakes, so the solution was to use only the brake arms from the 92mm brake set. I was out on these skis last weekend and the functionality was flawless. They did a great job with the custom fix.

  174. Lou Dawson November 21st, 2012 9:53 am

    Nousaine, those guys sound like IT

  175. A. Nousaine November 21st, 2012 3:18 pm

    Just realized after reading your post on Craig Dostie’s contributions to backcountry journalism that he was, in fact, the gentleman who helped me out with my gear selection and customization at the Start Haus.

  176. IceAxe November 21st, 2012 4:13 pm

    Los Angeles area California – After going through a huge ordeal with REI the only place I found in the LA area that mounts Dynafit bindings is Sport Chalet in La Canada. They did a good job on my base/edges/wax tune too :)

  177. Layne November 21st, 2012 4:36 pm

    Pro Ski Service in Seattle/North Bend, they have been one of the oldest dealers of Dynafit in the area, much knowledge from shop personnel and owner of NB shop, Martin Volken.

  178. John November 21st, 2012 4:37 pm

    Larry’s Bootfitting in Boulder, CO and Bent Gate in Golden, CO–both are the best of the best!!

  179. satisfied-swede November 21st, 2012 5:04 pm

    skidsport in Åre, Sweden
    awseome service and the best know-how in sweden, they are all dedicated skiers

  180. PGyr November 21st, 2012 7:08 pm

    Wilson Backcountry in Wilson, Wyoming provides continuity of knowledgeable competent staff from year to year in a way the larger more commercial shops in Jackson do not. (sorry TM and Skinny Skis). The dude mounting your skis didn’t move here two years ago and now knows it all. The shop at the base of the pass offers core competence in boot fitting, Dyanafit mounts, and great personalized service.

  181. Monty November 21st, 2012 7:21 pm

    Awesome info everyone. Here’s my best choices for Vancouver area:

    Liners: I’ll echo Crystal at Intuition is the best.
    Skis: Escape Route (Whistler) and Syd at Destination in North Van (although he’s only there once a week if you’re lucky).
    Ski repair and binding mount: Vancouver Ski & Board.

  182. Chris Simmons November 30th, 2012 7:16 am

    Pro Ski & Mountain Services in North Bend, WA. A small shop with a lot of know-how. Mike and KC are the two year-round guys at the shop along with the owner, Martin Volken. Their ski, boot, and binding selection prioritizes backcountry over resort – they carry the full Dynafit line, Plum, Marker and Salomon. Mike is a master boot fitter, KC is a bench tech guru. Like Lou asked in his OP, these guys can mount your Dynafit bindings, make serious repairs when they’re necessary, and help you get over the new-boot fitting hurdle. And when they’ve messed it up they’ll take whatever measures necessary to remedy their mistakes. I’ve been getting my gear from here and worked on here for 12 years. This is the shop recommend to my friends, family and clients without any reservation. Unless they’re snowboarders – Pro Ski doesn’t touch that. ;)

    For full disclosure: I’m an employee of Martin Volken’s other business, Pro Guiding Service. Our office space is inside the shop, so I see this crew on a regular basis.

    And for what its worth: Pro Ski North Bend and Pro Ski Seattle are under separate ownership. Years ago Martin sold his Seattle store to the then manager, Adam. They worked out a deal that allowed Adam to keep the name, and they also do a great job.

    We’ve just launched a new joint website, offering online purchases. Check it out at ProGuiding.com.

  183. Paul Simon December 5th, 2012 6:17 pm

    And another vote (3rd on this page) for sport-conrad in Penzberg, Germany. Besides the reasonable price tags they also have a brilliant customer service.

  184. Christian Stalder February 11th, 2013 4:31 pm

    I like the advice above and agree with most of the recommendations.
    I would have to say that Summit Sport in whistler is an awesome shop to go to whether it be for service, rentals or retail they are a knowledgeable long term local shop in Whistler

  185. Chet Roe September 3rd, 2013 8:44 am

    Lee Kinney, and the other staff at the Custom Foot in Denver, CO….outstanding, for AT, Tele and other boots, but not ski or bindings stuff….only boots + boot “stuff”

  186. Lou Dawson September 3rd, 2013 9:15 am

    Thanks Chet.

    And a shout out to our own local specialty shop just a few blocks from WildSnow HQ: Cripple Creek Backcountry.

  187. Koen September 3rd, 2013 9:16 am

    Germany, Riap sport in Bad Reichenhall.
    Top of the line and competition gear at reasonable prices.

  188. Ai@ce September 3rd, 2013 9:35 am

    http://www.sport-conrad.com/

    http://www.telemark-pyrenees.com/

    and, obviously snell sport in Chamonix: http://www.cham3s.com/

    also the vieux campeur in Albertville there’s a good choice even if less than previous

  189. Lou Dawson September 3rd, 2013 9:58 am

    Ai, does Telemark Pyrenees have a brick & mortar full service ski shop, that you have experience with in person?

    Let me know. I thought they were just an etailer… and this thread is not for etailers.

    Lou

  190. Barry September 3rd, 2013 10:03 am

    Pro Guiding in N Bend State. Never been there but if Martin Volken is involved it must be a serious shop!

    http://www.proguiding.com/proski/proski-landing

    and our local shop

    http://www.alpinequestsports.com/

    Here in Edwards CO!

  191. SteveR September 3rd, 2013 10:09 am

    In the UK – The Piste Office / Jon’s Ski Tuning.

    One of very few places over here with a depth of experience in mounting Dynafit bindings.

    Jon’s an enthusiast, and was really helpful in helping me sort out an incompatibility problem between a pair of BD Shivas and some Marker Barons.

  192. slcdawg September 3rd, 2013 10:22 am

    Bent Gate in Golden is the best of the CO Front Range shops. I’ve had great boot fitting experiences at Larry’s in Boulder.

    In SLC, gotta give a shout out to Wild Rose and Wasatch Touring!

  193. Tuck September 3rd, 2013 10:37 am

    Nordic Barn in Stowe has a decent selection of equipment, not as much as GearX in Burlington, but if you’re not in Burlington… Nice folks, bought my wife’s rig and my Garmont (RIP) boots there a few seasons back.

    http://nordicbarnvt.com/

    For bootfitting in VT (or New England) Racestock Sports in Waterbury has to be experienced to be believed: PJ is a former Lange World Cup boot fitter, and he’s a genius when it comes to boot fitting. Your heart will skip a beat when he proceed to powersaw your brand-new boots, but when you put them on your feet and they’re perfect, you’ll be a convert. Reservations are a must, and PJ has the best customer service I’ve experienced in the business (my first job was working in a ski shop). You’ll see his sticker on many of the racer’s and ski patrol’s boot in northern VT, and he does fine work on backcountry boots, although his focus is racing. I’ve always been skeptical about boot-fitters, but a stop at PJs at the beginning of the season for my kids’ boots is now mandatory.

    Oh, and allocate some extra time to look at many of the signed posters and signatures on the walls from skiiers you’ve seen in the Olympics…

    http://www.racestocksports.com/

  194. Shawn M September 3rd, 2013 11:10 am

    Edge Works in Denver for Dynafit mounting. Tunes are really good too.
    Small city shop w/ some bibs and bobs of BC stuff (shovels probes etc).

  195. Lou Dawson September 3rd, 2013 12:07 pm

    You guys are keeping me hopping here. Know that my spam filter blocks comments with more than one link. No problem with legit links, it’s just that it’ll take me a bit of time to pull your comment out of the moderation holding tank. Sorry about that, such is life on the web… Lou

  196. Andy M September 3rd, 2013 12:40 pm

    California Ski Company in Berkeley, CA did a great job mounting a pair of Dynafit Radical ST for me this spring. Turnaround time was about 1 week as they were busy at the time. I know they also offer boot fitting, and seemed to offer a fair selection of BC gear, including boots, bindings, and a whole slew of fat powder skis. From what I understand, they hired up a few of Marmot Mountain Work’s Berkeley techs after that shop closed down last year (RIP).

    I also recently bought a pair of Scarpa Maestrale RS on sale at Helm of Sun Valley in San Mateo, CA. The owner of the shop BC skis himself, did a nice job talking me through sizing, confirming that the Maestrale was probably the best shape boot for my frankenfeet, and molding my boots (although I obviously haven’t skied them yet). They carry a decent selection of Dynafit boots and bindings, a few Scarpas, but no Black Diamonds. Oh and they sell at least one style Intuition liner, although I can’t recall which. Ski selection seemed limited and more oriented towards resort / freeride, but this was in August.

  197. Joe September 3rd, 2013 12:53 pm

    @Tuck I have to agree with you on Race Stock in Waterbury. I had my first ski boots fit there for my 16th birthday present. (Only to sadly grow out of them!)I remember fondly the trip there and the time in PJ’s plastic wizard shop.

    Thus far he has been the only bootfitter I’ve seen first hand to pack a boot shell full of snow, wait a bit, and then try the fit. Truly eliminating those “phantom” issues when boot fitting.

  198. mitch September 3rd, 2013 12:58 pm

    I highly recommend blacksheepsports.
    They have a brick & mortar shop in downtown munich and are specialized on backcountry skiing. Nice and friendly stuff with good knowledge.
    A huge plus is their decent selection of handmade freeride skis and related stuff such as boots, avalanche gear and of course clothing.
    They are also running an online shop: http://www.blacksheepsports.de

  199. Wilkie September 3rd, 2013 2:29 pm

    Don’t want to hate, but some of these comments are more than just a different opinion. Munich, for example, has a lot of great shops with many years of backcountry experience, a wide selection, and the full range of products offered by companies dedicated to human powered ascents. Basecamp falls into this category and Sport Conrad in Garmisch or Penzberg is a well stocked and knowledgeable outfit with both backcountry and in bounds gear. Well known for the cheapest hardware prices in Europe as well. Both are great, professional shops I have used for years and had only positive experiences with.

  200. Ed September 3rd, 2013 7:40 pm

    Sanglard Ski shop – Chamonix and Argentière
    In Chamonix there was a lady named Amanda that fit me a set of Dynafit boots and, well, if she’s available for marriage! The whole shop is full of folks that really really know their stuff!

  201. msulkers September 3rd, 2013 9:09 pm

    Another shout out for Escape Route Whistler, although Alex can more often be found at ER Squamish.

    The store continues to support its customers with a wide selection of gear and very personal attention. As well, when something goes wrong (as it often does when one gets lots of touring in) they go way out of their way to support customers as soon as possible, even at times supplying new gear to get one back out the door and into the snow.

    With warranty issues, they use a personal touch, and I’ve had great experiences with their ability to work with the various warranty programs for all of their products, even those they no longer carry.

  202. SteveinPC September 3rd, 2013 9:58 pm

    Well, a shop on this list had to have some work re-done by White Pine in Park City for me about a year ago. My one Dynafit story is this: I skied my K2 Shuskans (thank you Wild Snow for the review) at PCMR after having some brakes installed. After a funky fall on-piste, one ski popped off and took off down a run without the brake engaging one bit. Amazingly, a German party at the bottom of the run caught the ski, and amazingly knew what Dynafit bindings were, and told me the brake wasn’t working and was no good. White Pine replaced them, and no issues since!

  203. mtnrunner2 September 3rd, 2013 11:51 pm

    Larry’s in Boulder is great if you can make it through the throng of groupies and win a few microseconds of The Great Sensei’s time. I gave up after two visits.

    But then again, half the time I forget and ski with them unbuckled and in walk mode, so what do I know.

  204. Massimo September 4th, 2013 2:30 am

    Maybe, it could be great opening a tread for Euros shop only… just because it’s not easy to find them in this so long list.

  205. stephen September 4th, 2013 6:31 am

    Lou, some of us live nowhere near anyone with any depth of (AT) gear, and are thus dependent on online suppliers. It’s thus useful to know who is helpful, whether or not they may have a physical location nearby, or at all. My vote goes to Telemark-Pyrenees who have special ordered spare parts for me more than once; I was unable to obtain these anywhere else whether online or from a physical shop.

    IME they have been both helpful and knowledgeable, their prices are reasonable, they are competent at binding fitting, and they are good at responding to communications. This may all be irrelevant to those who live near a shop with both stock and knowledgeable staff but not all of us do…

  206. Lou Dawson September 4th, 2013 7:24 am

    Stephen, point taken but this thread is for brick & mortar shops only. Please everyone honor that and don’t drift this excellent comment thread.

    Lou

  207. Lou Dawson September 4th, 2013 7:29 am

    As for a separate thread covering the best European shops, we’ll consider that, but meanwhile if you suggest a Euro located shop please use the word “Europe” in the comment and it’ll be easily searchable with browser search function.

  208. powbanger September 4th, 2013 9:20 am

    Here are a few shops I have had some great experiences with.
    Larry’s in Boulder does a great job on boots. call and schedule an appointment if you want to ensure Larry works on your boot.
    Bent Gate is awesome as well.
    Ski Haus in Steamboat, Alpineer in Crested Butte, Pine Needle in Durango, Mtn Outfitters in Breckenridge.

  209. Stephen A September 4th, 2013 9:58 am

    here in tahoe we’re blessed with a plethora of great ski shops, but for my money two stand head and shoulders above the rest.

    Start Haus in Truckee is not only the best bootfitter in tahoe, they’re the best bootfitter in california. they handle everybody from pros to weekenders, and have an unmatched wealth of technical experience.

    Alpenglow Sports in Tahoe City is the single best source for everything backcountry. they’re a small shop staffed (and owned) by a collection of super-knowledgable, unpretentious locals who are just stoked on backcountry skiing, mountaineering, and life in general. they put in a ton of days in the backcountry every season and will happily dispense no-nonsense advice about what gear works and what doesn’t. highly recommended.

  210. armada dude September 4th, 2013 10:06 am

    Bluebird store is small but great freeskiing shop in Finland. They can handle mounting bindings like mfd alltimes without any jig.

  211. Steve September 4th, 2013 10:08 am

    Goat’s Beard in Mazama, WA
    Marmot and Pro Ski in WA
    Wilson Backcountry in WY
    Neptune in CO
    Glacier Ski Shop in Glacier WA
    Mountain Shop in OR

  212. Greg September 4th, 2013 10:20 am

    I recommend Telemark Down both as a brick & mortar (locations in CT and NH) and web operation. As the name suggests they specialize in telemark gear, but they also carry Fritschi and Dynafit gear. They have a wide selection of older model skis at really good prices. The owners, the Fey Brothers, are the new US distributors for Crispi AT and telemark boots.

    I also agree with previous comments that Village Ski and Sport in Lincoln, NH is a top-notch operation. A friend lost a cuff rivet and they helped him replace it for free, even though he bought the boots elsewhere.

  213. Wilson September 4th, 2013 2:50 pm

    I haven’t seen a mention for Mountain Chalet in Colorado Springs. I’ve had great service from them in the past.

  214. Charlie September 4th, 2013 6:50 pm

    At least as a hiking/scrambling store, another vote for Mountain Chalet. No experience with their ski work. Been going there for decades for resupply in summertime. Friendly and knowledgeable.

  215. Chamonix September 4th, 2013 8:09 pm

    I want to add, EMS in Burlington, Vermont. Paul, the manager has mounted up 4 pairs of NTN, both Freeride and Freedoms for me, though I don’t know if he has jigs for these.
    He has also mounted up my Dynafit Verticals. He does have the jigs for both the Verticals, and the Radicals.

    If I make an appointment in advance , for mid week I can hang out at Barnes & Noble next door, while he mounts them up in an hour, or two! That way I don’t miss too much skiing at Jay Peak.

    Thanks, Paul

  216. JeffP September 4th, 2013 10:05 pm

    For your skinny ski needs Boulder Nordic Sport in Boulder, CO (also in Portland, ME) is bar none the best nordic shop in the nation. They now carry a fair bit of ski-mo gear from Trab Race Aero World Cups to Dynafit Manaslu’s as well as skinny ski BC touring equipment. If you need your skate or classic skis ground, tuned or hand-selected this is where to do it! http://www.bouldernordicsport.com

  217. Peter September 5th, 2013 7:11 am

    Basecamp in Munich, Germany

  218. Tim September 5th, 2013 11:01 am

    I’m surprised nobody’s mentioned the Guide’s Hut in Fernie, BC. Great shop recommended by local friends, has never disappointed.

    http://www.theguideshut.ca/

  219. Pedro September 6th, 2013 10:12 am

    Eskimo Ski Shop in Littleton, CO. One of the last of the Mom & Pop shops. Great tunes for a good price and very nice people.

  220. Lou Dawson September 6th, 2013 10:28 am

    Pedro, do they sell any tech binding brands? Thanks, Lou

  221. stephen September 6th, 2013 10:48 am

    Lou said:

    “As for a separate thread covering the best European shops, we’ll consider that, but meanwhile if you suggest a Euro located shop please use the word “Europe” in the comment and it’ll be easily searchable with browser search function.”

    For us in the Southern Hemisphere especially, the location of the shop/supplier is often irrelevant – what matters is who can and will supply things, a special hassle with small parts. While parts may in theory be available in the US (i.e., from wholesalers or importers) in practice they usually do not ship outside North America, and others either don’t carry parts or don’t respond to enquiries.

    If anyone can suggest shops who are helpful, knowledgeable and who might respond to small part requests that could be extremely useful.

  222. Lou Dawson September 6th, 2013 10:50 am

    Stephen, how does Dynafit/Salewa themselves do with this? I know that here in Canada/US the Salewa NA branch is very helpful with parts and pieces. ‘best, Lou

  223. Pedro September 6th, 2013 10:56 am

    Hey Lou,

    Eskimo doesn’t sell much BC or real high-end gear, but Frank has been in business for decades and is an honest man. He specializes in family and season rentals. He has a great guy named Mike running his shop; Mike has been tuning a long, long time and does great work. They are the type of ski shop we all used to go to before the corporate box-store takeover.

    Pedro

  224. stephen September 6th, 2013 11:02 am

    ^ I haven’t personally needed any Dynafit small parts, but they are generally available from T-P in any case, so no reason for me to try Salewa NA; I suspect they would most likely refer me to somebody on another continent anyway.

    FWIW, I have tried contacting Scarpa USA (and Scarpa Europe), and the US guys at least replied, but wouldn’t ship internationally; the local agents have few or no spares and special orders are not possible. Things are similar with Salomon, and no doubt others.

    It’s usually easier and more likely to be successful to source things online than it is to obtain spares locally for many things. Alpine boots and bindings may well be a different story, but I don’t have any of those.

  225. Lou Dawson September 6th, 2013 1:13 pm

    That’s great Pedro, but everyone, please notice this is a thread for shops that are full-service for backcountry skiers. Lou

  226. Tom September 6th, 2013 6:54 pm

    Another vote for Nordic barn in stowe vt. Don knows everything at and tele with an awesome selection of bindings and skis and boots and even a few dynafit set-ups to take out for a test spin. OGE/gearx has everything under the sun for stock but i’ve seen people come into nordic barn with gear bought in burlington not knowing how to use it or set to the right din and they’ve been able to set them up and send them on their way! Thats service… And sitting around the wood fireplace cant be beat while waiting for a mount!

  227. Bill September 7th, 2013 10:15 am

    Mountain Outfitters in Breckenridge, CO. Awesome little shop that has everything for the back country. Pretty cool staff that knows their stuff too.

  228. Jon September 8th, 2013 10:12 pm

    Great to see Mountain Chalet (Colorado Springs) getting some recent attention. Was in there on Friday of last week chatting with the staff about a new pair of skins. Really helpful, really honest.

  229. TimD November 12th, 2013 1:42 pm

    Wasatch Touring in Salt Lake City, Utah – There is a guy named Lou that knows your skis better than you know them.

  230. Billy November 17th, 2013 6:02 pm

    I don’t think I have enough thumbs to give Calgary MEC the number of thumbs down for they mounting job they did on my Radicals/Zenoxide 105.

    After picking up the skis yesterday, I tried to putting the TLT5s onto the bindings to check the pin clearance and noticed that the heal wasn’t aligning properly with the pins. Further inspection and measurements on the toe piece shows that it was a 3+mm off center from the ski!

  231. Billy November 17th, 2013 6:09 pm

    One more thing, MEC Calgary also mounted my boot center over the recommended factory point when I clearly asked them to mount it 1.5cm and was even written on their service order sheet. And to add insult to injury, they managed to make a mess on the top sheet with their permanent marker.

    I will never go back to MEC for another ski mount – even if it was free.

  232. Lou Dawson November 17th, 2013 9:21 pm

    Sorry to hear that Billy. Let us know how they resolve things for you. It’s only fair to make that public as well. Lou

  233. Billy November 19th, 2013 12:13 pm

    Hi Lou,

    Just a quick update on the situation. I called MEC and they asked me to bring the skis back so they can take a look at it. Their ski service manager looked at the skis soon after he got in the next day and discovered the following:

    1) The bindings were definitely mounted further back than they were suppose to (1.5cm fwd)
    2) The toe piece were actually drilled correctly on the jig but it was offset due to some misalignment of the toe piece when they screwed the toe piece in

    So what MEC is doing is as follows, they have offered to:
    1) Plug the existing holes and remount the bindings forward as specified ASAP (same day as when the shop manager looked at it)
    2) Provide a modest in-store gift certificate to compensate for the situation (i.e. delay, marked up top sheet, and extra holes in the ski)

    Note, I haven’t picked up the skis yet so the quality of the mounting job is yet to be seen.

  234. Lou Dawson November 19th, 2013 12:36 pm

    Sounds ok, but really they should just pay for a new pair of skis. If it was your car and they drilled through the dashboard accidentally, you think you’d take it back with a plug in it? No, you’d want a new dashboard.

    Or, a $400 gift certificate which costs them $200 due to markups.

    Lesson for you and all re alignment: When mounting tech bindings, the expert will mount heels first, then leave screws in toe snug and push boot heel from side to side till the boot heel fitting aligns with the heel unit pins, then gradually tighten screws while re-checking. This is detailed in our mounting how-tos here at WildSnow.com

    Lou

  235. Billy November 19th, 2013 12:43 pm

    Lou, the gift certificate was a lot less than $400. I didn’t want to give out numbers but since you mentioned it, based on my phone conversation with the manager, I’m pretty sure he said $80.

    I agree that, what MEC really should have done is just replace my skis with a new pair but I just wasn’t in the mood to push them on this. That being said, the next time I need a new mount, I won’t be going back to MEC. I’ve had pretty good experiences with Felix’s Ski Service in Calgary and had 2 pairs of skis mounted there without issues. Felix’s price is definitely higher then MEC but going forward, I would much rather pay an extra $25-30 knowing that the job will be done properly [the first time] rather than having to deal with all these headaches.

  236. Billy Balz December 6th, 2013 11:58 am

    Hi Lou-

    You are an inspiration to this 47Yr old who has skied 42 years but just started AT two years ago. Love your website and your writing.

    Allspeed in Portland, Maine should be on this list…all backcountry focused and they sell Black Crows skis if anyone’s looking for those stateside, and mountain bikes for summer

  237. Bob March 19th, 2014 10:17 am

    California Ski Company in Berkeley. Paul is the Dynafit guy there. Owner Greg also very good. Recommend for AT boot fitting and ski repair. I mount my own skis, but friends have used them and had good results. Paul knows what he is doing.

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