By Caitlin Croft

As winter has arrived early, the air in Ellicottville is filled with that electric excitement of a new season. Avid snow-sport enthusiasts line the streets of our small village searching for that perfect piece to add to their collection.

The past two winters have been fabulous, and between mother nature and the snowmakers, nothing is stopping those who have the “need for speed” from hitting the slopes.

“We are very excited about our line of Alpine Touring Gear,” said Trey Clauss, manager of City Garage.

“This is a boot and binding that allows for uphill travel on your skis and a mighty good workout,” adds Patra Lowes, sister of the owner, Sean.

The binding will unlock at the heel, not to be confused with a Tele Ski, and you lock it to ski down.

“Early morning hike and turns – you cannot beat it,” Clauss said. This section of Alpine skiing that has caught on in our area just as the folks at City Garage thought.

“You have to use common sense though when touring up and obey the rules of the runs,” Lowes said. “Also, check with the resorts on what their policies are for Alpine Touring.” This concept is seriously cool, it brings the “earn your turns” to a whole new level.

The City Garage also carries many lines of products not available anywhere else in Ellicottville. I have a pair of gloves from them that I swear by, coaching long hours out on the hill my hands rarely get cold.

Aside from their usual assortment of cross-country skis and alpine skis, the City Garage has expanded their Atlas snowshoe line. They will also continue to rent snowshoes, Tele Skis and cross-country skis this year.

“The trails at Allegany State Park are a hidden gem,” Lowes said. “Just call or go to their website for more information as it is a quick drive and a slice of winter paradise.”

After catching up with a few of their long-time employees we had a great conversation on the benefits of buying local.

“When you buy online, on average you save one hundred dollars. But you forget about the shipping and what you will pay to have the skis mounted. After these costs are added in most times you are spending more without getting the main benefit of shopping local: Service,” Lowes said. “When your equipment breaks that you bought online what do you do? You take it to your local shop to be fixed. Our goal is when that happens, on your winter vacation, we want to get you back on the hill as fast as possible.”

“Our favorite part of this industry are the customers that walk in the door. We want you to feel like you are first in line for anything you need,” Clauss said.

City Garage is the one true ski shop in town as they only sell skis. But you can find anything from their newest line of Yeti coolers to all the gear you will need to, “look good in the ski line, we want you to stand out,” said Connor Callaghan. They also carry custom city garage onesies for the future shredder in your life.

The City Garage difference is their warm, friendly atmosphere; you notice it the second you step through the door. You know they will take care of all your ski needs. They also have one of the best custom boot fitters in the business, Tim Cummiskey. He will make sure your boots are fit perfectly to you and your style of skiing.

The City Garage, found at 5 Monroe St., is open Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information, visit www.citygarageskishop.com or find them on Facebook and Instagram.