Twin Cities XC ski stores!
November 4, 2011 11:48 AM   Subscribe

I'm in the Twin Cities, and I see a number of great-sounding ski stores in my area: Sisu Nordic, Hoigaard's, Midwest Mountaineering, Hopkins Ski and Cycle, and more. Can anyone help me suss out exactly what makes each store unique? I want to buy skate skis and equipment, both local and new, so help me out. Also, are there any good ski forums for the area?
posted by cothebadger to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total)
When I was (admittadly miserable) on my high school xc ski team, the go-to shop was finnsisu. They are all fanatics overther.

beware of being oversold on equipment. xc skiing is one of the most gearophile hobbies around and they will upsell you in a minute, and you'll be thanking them as they do it. They're that good.
posted by Think_Long at 12:05 PM on November 4, 2011

Most stores will carry a couple brands each so you'll have to visit a few stores to see all the brands. Buy the boots that fit. Everything else is inter-changeable andc don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
posted by fshgrl at 12:20 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Midwest Mountaineering has an upstairs closeout store called Thrifty Outfitters with heavily discounted stuff, well worth a visit.
posted by look busy at 12:40 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

The site to be in the know about the Twin Cities XC Ski world is Skinny Ski. No real forum per se, but it has user posted trail reports when we actually have some snow.

I love Finn Sisu for gearing up, but Hoigaard's can be pretty good too. Midwest Mountaineering is a favorite camping store of mine and I really love their winter expo. If you dare venture out to Long Lake, Gear West is a good bet.
posted by advicepig at 1:00 PM on November 4, 2011

Hoigaards hooked me up with cheap end of season storage waxing ($5?) when all the other stores just wanted to charge me the regular waxing fee. That was nice. They also host ski wax clinics (Gear West did an all-women one that I really wanted to go to), which can help you decide if you want to wax your own skis and how to. Also, last year they had a ton of randomly-sized ski boots on mega super sale, and I was so sad that they did not work out with my feet (it would have been the best deal ever).

I've bought most of my ski stuff on sale from Midwest Mountaineering (expo is coming up!). A couple weeks ago I got a sweet pair of clearance xc ski pants upstairs in Thrifty Outfitters, and they are turning out to be awesome for biking as well.

The couple times I've gone to Finnsisu the place has been completely, utterly mobbed by high school skiiers and their parents.

Last year there was a big swap meet at Dunwoody College around the time of the Midwest Mountaineering winter expo, so keep your eyes open for that. You can snag some sweet deals on Craigslist as well if you know what you're looking for - there are a lot of parents trying to sell their kids' ski gear after they go to college or quit the high school team. I got an old pair of waxless classic skis and poles off Craigslist for $20, which helped me get into the sport.

The ski trail updates on Skinny Ski crack me up (old dudes bragging about their mileage in their trail conditions comments - last year some bragged about skiing shirtless in April), but that site is super helpful. I check it pretty much every day in the winter. If you don't know how to skate ski and want to learn (it is hard), you can sign up for local training groups. I took 5 weeks of lessons with a group I found on the Skinny Ski website, and I can't tell you how much that helped.
posted by Maarika at 3:14 PM on November 4, 2011

Oh, and keep REI in mind (not necessarily local, but a coop). I seem to remember them having more classic than skate stuff, but I've had amazing luck there for winter athletic clothing.
posted by Maarika at 3:16 PM on November 4, 2011

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