Ski season is upon us!
Whether you're looking to spring for the latest super-gear or just get the kids cheap season rentals, there is no shortage of local options for buying gear on and around Mount Hood. The independent shops listed below are scrapping it out with Internet discounters and big-box giants, and they are eager for your business. I'll start with the options in Metro Portland, then list the shops from Mount Hood to Hood River.
Next Adventure on Portland's east side is Portland's alternative outdoor store, with excellent selection and prices. It has new snowboard and skiing gear and apparel upstairs and a lively and random selection of used stuff downstairs, along with a lively rental and tuning business. They also have 7 master boot-fitters on staff. 426 SE. Grand Ave. Portland, OR. 97214, 503-233-0706
Sublimity Snow & Skate is owned by local boarders Stephanie McGilvra and Ryan Simon, who opened in Beaverton in 1999 to compete with the box stores that dominate the suburbs. They specialize in high-end snowboards, apparel and accessories. 12404 SW Broadway St. Beaverton, OR. 97005, 503-643-0919
REI is, well, REI: Serious selection for gear and apparel, deep staff knowledge, and a cranking rental business. They have four stores in Metro Portland:
The U.S. Outdoor Store in downtown Portland has excellent variety for snowboarders and skiers, with tons of brand choices in every category and no-interest six-month payment plans. 219 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97205, 503-223-5937
Gorge Performance is a year round surf (the earth) shop and has been catering to snowboarders since 1983 with the top brands and a knowledgeable staff. They sell snowboards, surfboards, skateboards, SUPs and windsurfing and kiteboarding equipment. 7400 SW Macadam, Portland, OR 97219, 503-246-6646
evo opened a store in Portland's Central Eastside in the fall of 2014. They have refurbished the old Salvation Army building on MLK Way and are hosting events and offering full tuning services as well. 200 SE MLK Jr Blvd, Portland, OR 97214, 866-386-1590
The Mountain Shop is the place to go for backcountry expertise, Alpine and Nordic touring and telemarking gear. They've been around since 1937 and their employees are fonts of mountain wisdom. 1510 NE 37th Avenue Portland, OR 97232, 503-288-6768
Oregon Mountain Community is another excellent Portland option for backcountry gear. 2975 NE Sandy Blvd. Portland, OR 97232, 503-227-1038
Hillcrest Ski & Sports has a knowledgeable staff and a wide selection of skis and snowboards, with racing boards as well as fat skis. Just off Highway 26 in Gresham. 2506 SE Burnside Rd. Gresham, OR 97080, 503.665.4455
Otto’s Ski Shop in Sandy is a laid-back establishment that specializes in cross country skiing and snowshoeing, as well as mountain biking in summer. 38716 Pioneer Blvd. Sandy, OR 97055, 503-668-5947
Meadowlark Ski and Snowboard in Sandy targets riders who want to rent but don't want to wait in line. You can reserve your gear online and pick it up on your way up to the mountain. 38858 Pioneer Boulevard, Sandy, OR 97055, 503-668-8173
Valian’s Ski Shop is a Government Camp institution, run by Bud and Betsy Valian. Bud Valian has been in Govy since the 1950s, and Valian's has been a Govy fixture since 1984. A lot of deep knowledge, especially in racing and advanced ski tuning. Government Camp Loop Road, OR 97028, 503-272-3525
Mountainology opened in Rhododendron in 2013 with a mission to compete on price and value with tons of rental gear and an enthusiastic shop crew. They have made solid connections with the Mt. Hood community in just a few years. 73265 Hwy. 26, Rhododendron, 503-564-9156
Mt. Hood Skibowl rents skis and boards, and sells clothing and accessories.
Timberline also rents gear and sells extras.
Mt. Hood Meadows demos and sells the latest gear at its High Performance Center, with clothes and accessories next door at Outer Limits Sports.
Mt. Hood Alpine Racing Center in Parkdale and owner Bob Olsen have a good rep within the racing community for gear, racing suits, tuning and expertise. 541-346-4464. Between 2nd and 3rd on Oak St., right in the middle of downtown Hood River. Winter: 6520 HWY 35 Mt. Hood, OR 97041, Summer: 88786 E. Government Camp Loop Road, OR 97028, 541-352-7000, Cell: (541) 399-2382,
Mt. Hood Sales in Parkdale has a large selection of used Nordic equipment, including boots, poles, bindings and skis, and a growing collection of new gear.
Doug's Hood River on Oak in downtown Hood River carries full lines of both Alpine and Nordic equipment and clothing. 101 Oak St., Hood River, OR 97031. 541-
2nd Wind Sports in Hood River is a windsurfing and kiteboarding destination first, but they also sell skis and snowboards, with some pretty good mark-downs. Corner of 2nd and State Street, 202 State St. Hood River, OR 97031, 541-386-4464
If you like having 22 local and independent ski and snowboard shops to choose from from Portland to Hood River, then by all means support these guys by spending locally. They are struggling for survival in an increasingly digital world, and they are cultural gathering places worth supporting and preserving.