“It’s sad for local skiers, sadder still for the staff of the shop, many of whom worked there for over a decade”

by Prince Of Petworth February 1, 2016 at 4:00 pm 12 Comments

skicenter closing
4300 Fordham Road, NW via Ski Center

Ed. Note: This follows the closure of Hudson Trail Outfitters last December.

A reader reports:

“Ski Center, DC’s only specialty winter sports store and one of the top ski boot fitters in the USA, is shutting its doors. Official note here:

It has been my pleasure to continue the business that my parents started in 1959. After working here for 38 years, I am ready to retire, and looking forward to findng someone else to carry on.

We are starting a Retirement Sale Tuesday, February 2nd at 11am. We will be closed Monday, February 1st to prepare.

Please come in and take advantage of all the great prices during our Retirement Sale. Everything is on sale and must go. Clothing, equipment, and accessories. Brands like Atomic, Canada Goose, Fischer, Head, Kjus, Lange, The North Face, Obermeyer, Rossignol, Salomon, Spyder, and Volkl are all at incredible prices. Sorry, limited bootfitting and no leases during the first few days of the sale.

Growing up with and managing Ski Center has been a rewarding experience for me and I know I will miss it greatly. Our family has been extremely fortunate to attract and retain such an extraordinary group of committed employees, whose passion and knowledge were instrumental in building and maintaining the business. Many have stayed for so long and made personal sacrifices to build our reputation as one of the country’s leading ski shops. They have given our business a sense of community and soul, which has become rare in business. Over the past five and a half decades, Ski Center has become a Washington institution.

Ski Center also could never have succeeded without such an enthusiastic and loyal customer base. The friendship and support we have received over the last 50+ years from all of our customers has meant so much to everyone here. Thank you for giving us your business, and sharing with us your passion for the sport we all love. We truly couldn’t have done it without you.

It has been a great run.

Stuart Kahane

Closed Monday, February 1
Sale starts Tuesday, February 2 at 11 am.
4300 Fordham Road, NW

Store Hours:
Monday – Thursday, 11-8
Friday 11-7
Saturday 10-5:30
Sunday 11-5

This is really devastating news for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts in the greater DC area. Ski Center’s staff knows the ins and outs of every product they sell, as well as many they don’t sell. Their knowledge, especially of high-performance, racing, big mountain, and alpine touring equipment was second to none east of the Mississippi. Their boot fitting services are held in high regard by skiers worldwide – they are the place to go for skiers with hard-to-fit feet. They also were the only shop many local skiers would trust with tuning and repairs of their beloved skis.

And now the place is calling it a day. It’s sad for local skiers, sadder still for the staff of the shop, many of whom worked there for over a decade.”

  • Trinidaddy

    Word is they’re not closing, just changing owners. It will continue to exist, except maybe under a different name, etc.

    • Skier

      From my understanding they are looking for a buyer, but have been unable to find one so far. They’re liquidating in the event that they continue to be unable to find a buyer.

      • Exactly. They’ve been looking for a buyer for a while now. There have been no takers, which is a shame. No other shop within 75 miles of DC has the depth and breadth of knowledge regarding skiing and snowboarding. No, Ski Center couldn’t compete with the commodity buying power of Ski Chalet or Sun & Ski, but the value added by qualified, knowledgeable staff and great service during and after purchase is something that the big boxes have never done.

        Ski Center lost a good deal of sales in clothing, skis, bindings, and accessories to the Internet (e.g. Amazon and large online retailers like Backcountry), which is a reality facing many specialty retailers. Things like ski boots are really tough to sell online due to fit and performance issues, an area where Ski Center always shines. When you buy boots at Ski Center, they will set you up with the right boot, fit it to your foot and leg alignment, and back up your purchase for years after. Try getting that from the commodity box stores or an online retailer – it just doesn’t happen.

        I’m hoping that some of the staff bands together to revive part or all of the shop close to DC.

  • U neighbor

    I’m confused… are they closing and liquidating? Or is Stuart just retiring and cashing out the inventory before new ownership takes over? I hope the place sticks around, the staff is amazing.

  • Snake

    This is terrible news! Ski Center is the best, most fun ski shop I have ever known. You really have to care about skiing to work at a shop south of Mason-Dixon, and the staff at Ski Center really cared about skiing. The institutional knowledge about skiing, ski equipment and bootfitting that they developed over the decades is unsurpassed, can’t be replicated, and for the most part isn’t written down anywhere.

    Where else can you get boots custom fitted, canted and plated, custom footbeds made and installed, then get your skis Brianstanced(c) and mounted just right (including with quiverkillers, if you want) using the Campbell Dynamic Balancing System? You can probably count the number of shops that really compete at this level on one hand. What a loss.

    • Wow, I was just thinking yesterday that I like skiing and should get some of my own skis, I’ve skied twice, and then I saw this news and thought maybe I should take advantage of the sale, but now that I can’t comprehend any of your second paragraph, I think going here might be overkill for a total beginner.

      • Snake

        Nah, go and check them out! Beginner or expert, the correct number of skis to own is always N+1, where N = the number of skis you currently own. They’ll def. get you squared away.

        • anonymous

          Do you know if they sell splitboards?

        • So you’re saying I should buy one ski?

  • Kirk

    Hello my name is Kirk
    I do work at Ski Center
    The owner is retiring
    The inventory is being sold , during a sale , but not ” “liquidated”
    The owner is accepting qualified offers to buy the Ski Center , and wants a new owner who will retain management and the core values of what his family and staff have built for 5 decades .
    We are all hopeful and realistic that when one door closes it allows for other doors to open
    We too love skiing and riding …. We hope to be involved in that pursuit for some time to come .
    Service manager
    Ski Center

    • Thank you, Kirk. It’s still sad that no buyer is yet in place.

    • A ski once a year

      What about a go find me page by the employees?


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