By Indrek Kongats

Ellicottville’s own Holiday Valley has been voted one of the top ski resorts in the East. With such high praise, a visit to their Mountain Ski Shops does not disappoint—these two shops, located near the Main Lodge and inside Yodeler Lodge, are exactly what you would expect from a first class resort.

Holiday Valley Mountain Shops carry everything that a skier and snowboarder could possibly need or require for an enjoyable day on the slopes. Mountain Shop manager Karl Kirshner has put together a tremendous product line that only someone with many years of ski industry experience and indepth knowledge of the sport could have.

For the visiting skier and snowboarder, the Holiday Valley Mountain Shops carry all of the critical accessories, clothing and protective gear that you may have accidentally left at home, such as outerwear, goggles, helmets, gloves or mittens.

For the savvy shopper, the shops have the latest new and exciting ski and snowboard fashion lines. According to Kirshner, “We have the most diverse product lines in the area! Stop in to check us out. During the winter season, both shops are open seven days per week and the shop at the base area is open evenings.”

The knowledgeable staff makes shopping at the Holiday Valley Mountains Shops an enjoyable experience. They even have gift cards available from $25 to $500 that can be applied to any combination of items including lift tickets, lessons, food, lodging or items in the Mountain Shop.

Here are some of the great product lines that they carry:  Burton, Roxy, Quiksilver, 686 and DNA, North Face, Descente/DNA, Marker, Eider, Obermeyer, Nils, DaKine, Scott, Fera and more. The Mountain Shops carry an exclusive line of Zimtstern clothing, warm sweaters and fleece from Hot Chili Outerwear, Meister and Icewear. In the accessory department that includes back packs, gloves, goggles, sunglasses and helmets, they carry  DaKine, Oakley, Smith, Scott, Zeal and Gordini, Giro and Smith, Turtle Fur, Scott, Quiksilver, Roxy,  Burton, Hot Chilis, Swany and Hot Fingers. Additionally, and most importantly for parents of young aspiring skiers and snowboarders, the shops have a great variety and assortment of clothing in youth sizes.

According to Kirshner, “Our mission at the Mountain Shops is that we want to earn your loyalty by being competitively fair, friendly, knowledgeable, and by treating you to an exceptional shopping experience.”

The Mountain Shop (located near the Main/Creekside Lodges) hours are Monday through Thursday until 8:30 p.m., and Friday/Saturday until 10 p.m. The Yodeler Mountain Shop is open Sunday through Thursday until 5 p.m., and Friday/Saturday until 7 p.m. When the ski shops in town are closed for the evening, it’s good to know that if you are still in need of something for the following day they are open late!

Although equipment rental isn’t part of the Mountain Shops operation, it is available and located nearby in the main lodge and you definitely can’t beat the convenience of renting equipment right at the slopes. The Rental Shop and High Performance Tuning Center are located on the lower level of the Holiday Valley Lodge. Their standard ski rentals include Elan and Rossignol skis and Dalbello boots and they offer Burton snowboards and boots, they also rent helmets and poles. It is very important to note that their rental equipment is top of the line and kept in tip top shape, replaced every three years and maintained by their own tuning center— nothing worse than renting poorly maintained equipment and ruining your hard-earned day on the slopes!

The High Performance Shop carries a selection of all-mountain, free riding, women’s, mogul and race shaped skis, including Atomic, Elan, Rossignol, Head, Salomon and Blizzard. The shop is also the site for ski/board tuning and repair so customers can leave their skis or boards to be tuned up overnight, ready for that fresh snow in the morning! Snowshoes and cross country equipment complete with boots and poles are also available to rent from the High Performance Shop as well. For the skier’s convenience, the rental hours coincide with four and eight hour tickets.

If you happen to be Canadian and are getting hammered with a 30 percent exchange rate (that is not in your favor), take a big sigh of relief when you walk through the doors of Holiday Valley. This week, through Jan. 8, the Canadian dollar is being accepted at par during Canadian Friendship week. Although the Canadian dollar at par applies only to purchases for lift tickets and rental equipment, the money that you are saving will go a long way in either of their two great Mountain Shops located next to the Holiday Valley Main Lodge and in the Yodeler Lodge. Don’t forget to ask for Karl Kirshner—he’ll take good care of you!