When you’re out in the snow, sledding in the park or skiing down a mountain, there’s nothing worse than having snow seep through your jacket and down your long johns to make you feel even colder or to have your snowboard binding snap as you get off the lift.
It would seem that there are few shops in the city that cater to outdoorsmen and nature lovers. Luckily, they can be found. Eastern Mountain Sports on 36th and Chestnut streets is a three story mega mall of outdoor equipment selling gear for skiing, snowboarding, biking, camping, climbing and any other adventurous outdoor activity you can imagine. EMS has many high end products, such as North Face jackets priced at $200.
“North Face is our biggest seller, everybody loves their fleeces. They’re a reputable brand and stylish,” said Seth Kaeser, an EMS employee. “The Gore-Tex expedition jacket is a good jacket for a reasonable price of $150.”
EMS offers jackets with full layering systems. You can customize your jacket by buying jacket liners of different thicknesses or by purchasing a custom shell, which is perfect if you want to change the liner according to the temperature and condition of your winter activity.
It may be discouraging for a student to walk in a store and see equipment with prices in the triple digits, but the top floor of EMS has a clearance section with many items reduced by 40 percent. Plus, there are still post-holiday sales going on throughout the store.
To stay active while staying inside, indoor rock climbing is a good hobby. All together, indoor rock climbing shoes, a harness and a carabineer cost about $200. EMS has a climbing wall for customers to test equipment.
EMS also offers rentals for equipment, such as snowshoes and trekking poles for $15 a day. For those ready to embrace the cold, EMS customers can rent sleeping bags and tents for a winter camping weekend trip for $45 to $60.
Liberty Boards on Seventh and Chestnut streets is a smaller, more laid back shop specializing in snowboard and skate gear. The store also has a variety of clothes and accessories for sale.
“Our big brands right now are Burton, Helly Hansen and Volcom,” said Caitlin Myers, a Liberty Boards employee.
The store offers a large selection of outerwear, such as Volcom snowboard pants for $150. Last season’s clothes are discounted at 40 percent to 50 percent, and with the purchase of any winter jacket, the store gives customers a free lift ticket, valued at more than $30, to Blue Mountain Ski Resort.
Liberty Boards also sells snowboards, boots and board bindings. A new snowboard setup averages at a cost of about $600 to more than $1,000. Most students can’t afford to shell out this kind of money, but thankfully there are other options for used or cheap equipment.
Check out www.ebay.com, www.craigslist.com and specialty equipment Web sites such as www.boardzone.com. Beware of buying used gear, however.
While there are some amazing deals out there, some products are cheap simply because they are poor quality. The most important piece of equipment for boarding is the boots, which should be snug and comfy and always tried on for proper size.
Stu Jerue can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.