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Free Your Heel, Free Your Mind

The City Garage renews the rad-factor of telemark skiing

February is here in Ellicottville, and what a wild winter we’ve had thus far. From dumps of powder, to ‘spring like conditions’, Mother Nature certainly continues to be her chemically imbalanced self in the Western New York region. Despite these inconsistencies, the village continues to entertain crowds of enthusiastic visitors, packing our restaurants, ski slopes and retailers. This month, we turn our focus to one of the most unique shops in town, The City Garage (located at 5 Monroe Street), to find out what’s new and intriguing in the world of specialty retail.

It’s no secret to those who know, that The City Garage has one of the most diverse product selections in town. Sure - they’ve got the basics in accessories and ski equipment you would expect in a ski shop, but they’ve also got a variety of items some would deem ‘off piste’ so to speak, which have been carefully selected by their credible, passionate staff. Over the last decade, the avid skiers who staff the shop have grown quite fond of telemark skiing, which has now become a focal point of the shop. So much so, they’ve gone as far as to deem February the ‘Unofficially Official Telemark Month’, which culminates with their 15th Annual Telestock event on Friday, February 24 from 9:00 - 3:00pm at Holiday Valley Resort.  If you’ve never been to a Telestock in the past, this event should without question make your ‘to-do’ list.  The crew from The City Garage sets up shop on the Champagne sundeck (adjacent to Yodeler Lodge), putting out their impressive telemark ski fleet with gear from 22 designs, Scarpa, Free Heel Life, and FlyLow.  Holiday Valley generously offers up discounted lift tickets for those participating in these free clinics and demos, and Dom’s Butcher Block will make sure those in attendance are well fed with the finest selection of meats around. For more information, you can give the shop a call at 716-699-2054 or visit holidayvalley.com.

Not quite ready for Telestock, or unsure if telemark skiing is for you? The City Garage has you covered, being the only shop in the village to offer telemark rentals. For $50, the shop will outfit you with everything you need to free your heel and free your mind. Recently, the shop has heavily invested in some of the best equipment on the market, including Scarpa boots, 22 designs bindings, and a variety of different skis.  The great thing about telemark skiing: the bindings can be mounted to any type of ski, ensuring you can put your own personalized touch on the setup. One of their preferred lines at the shop is the Pinnacle Series, by the pride of the pacific northwest, K2 skis. The Pinnacle series is comprised of three models, ranging in widths from an every day 95mm, to a powder specific 118mm.  With some new core technology, the Pinnacle offers a light touch attack to it, which equates to an enjoyable, fun, forgiving and easygoing ski that is still surprisingly stable. After all, skiing is supposed to be FUN, remember?

Speaking of fun, no trip to The City Garage would be complete without browsing their vast selection of interesting accessories, and things you didn’t know you needed before visiting.  Need a flask and shot glass set, thermos, or lunchbox? They’ve got just about any shape or size of stainless steel containers from Stanley. Worried your drinks won’t stay cold (or hot)? There’s an impressive display of coolers, coozies, chests, and cooler bags from Yeti, manufacturer of the highest quality coolers in the industry. Last but not least, you of course need to browse the racks of apparel and outerwear from Flylow, or outfit yourself with a hat, t-shirt, or sweatshirt proudly emblazoned with that iconic City Garage logo. Needless to say, it’s rare you leave the shop without a bag of goods you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else!

After reading this, there’s just one thing left to do - stop into The City Garage (open daily) where you’ll find a crew of like-minded individuals looking to get you dialed in.  Whether it’s bootfitting, a tune-up, or just to find out where the pow stashes are, they’re there to foster the stoke of the industry and point you in the right direction.  Want to keep in touch socially? You can ‘like’ their page on Facebook, or follow them on Instagram @thecitygarage. Until next time, see you in the lift line!