Stopped by the Ski Chalet in Arlington yesterday. Frankly, with a bit of nostalgia as I hadn't been in a Ski Chalet since before Katrina, which was also the time when the Ski Chalet stores almost disappeared. Since then, I moved back to DC, have more time, reformatted my personal life, and decided to stop by as I have an insatiable itch for at least a new ski outfit and accessories and a pair of new skis.
Kelly Knight is still there, now managing several of the stores which now are owned by a Texas concern. Other than having more "corporate" image, the place was still the same friendly place I remembered in 2002. They still don't have the 2009 lineup on the shelves, so I "shelved" my desire to purchase a new set of Volkls AC-50s or the new Grizzly for this year. Unfortunately, Snowshoe went on an exclusivity deal with Head and that means Snowshoe loses about $40K in sales from my family who is Volkl-addicted and everyone gets a new set every year. I will wait for the October Dilly in Chantilly or see when their new stuff hits the shelves.
Then the clothing lines. Their men's line was reduced a bit, but still contains pretty much the entire Spyder Legend line with the upscale and stylish Vail, Zermatt, Chamonix, Verbier etc. models that feature the three-way stretch and incredible warmth and breathability features. North Face, Mountain Hardwear, and Obermeyer were also on the shelves. The only high-end manufacturers missing were Patagonia and Prada, but there's Georgetown for Patagonia, and if you need Prada ski gear, you obviously have the resources to travel to Aspen to shop there.
Their repair facilities are still producing the same results, with the additional feature that they have designed a better credentialing plan to train their employees in all facets of ski repair and maintenance.
After six years of absence, I felt as if I was back home. Best wishes to them.
"Unfortunately, Snowshoe went on an exclusivity deal with Head and that means Snowshoe loses about $40K in sales from my family who is Volkl-addicted and everyone gets a new set every year."
You should give the Heads a try. I find them to be some of the most incredibly capable skis in any conditions: the i.Monsters and Supershapes are top-notch - worth a try, for sure!
Thanks. I would/will give Heads a try, just not from Snowshoe. For a retailer to tell me that I must buy a particular brand of ski, is to me the ultimate in disrespect to the customer. Someone accused me of being a difficult customer before, and I may be. But I'm also very reasonable.
However, I am the customer, it is MY money, and the merchant will do what I want him/her to do, not the other way. Pressuring me to accept what the merchant thinks I need to buy is the easiest way for me to take my money somewhere else.
Unfortunately, lbotta, the retailer in this instance may have significant incentive from the distributor to disregard singleton purchaser objections.