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Alpine Attic: Ellicottville’s Vintage Ski Spot 

With an impressive collection of vintage skis and paraphernalia, owner Terry Norton now selling at two locations  

Collecting vintage skis isn’t a job. It’s a way of life. 

For the past 40 years, Alpine Attic owner Terry Norton has scoured the east coast for hidden gems from skiing’s Golden Age. From garage and estate sales to shuttered ski shops, from the vastness of the Internet to the least likely places, his love and dedication for collecting stems from a lifetime of skiing. 

“I started collecting in the early 1980s,” Norton said. “Growing up working in my aunt and uncle’s ski shop — The Red Door — opened my eyes to how much good stuff was out there. In 1980, the Winter Olympics were in Lake Placid, and my aunt had a lot of Olympic-themed stuff — posters, patches, etc. After she told me she planned to throw it all away, I took it. The journey kind of started there.

Traveling to the far corners of the east coast looking for vintage skis has led Terry to stop at various garage sales, estate sales, ski shops and department stores. Along the way, he bartered, traded, bought and sold a fluctuating collection of vintage skis, ski boots, ice skates, snowshoes and more. 

“The collection constantly changes,” he said. “It’s not like someone is mass producing vintage skis. I’ve got to keep my ear to the ground for fresh inventory. I call it the thrill of the hunt — looking in the corners and stopping at places you might not think of. That’s where the good stuff usually is.” 

One trip sticks out in particular. In 1995, on his way through Lake Placid, Terry noticed a ski shop that looked like it had been closed for a few years. Finding a number on the door, he pulled out his cell phone (the first one he owned!) and called, figuring it would lead to a dead end. To his delight, a woman answered, and he would later drive off with vintage Olympic skis, posters and much more. 

Terry kept collecting, adding bits and pieces each year before setting up a tent at Ellicottville’s Fall Festival in 2008. Floored by the number of interested people who stopped to chat, he realized he was on to something. Alpine Attic was born. 

Originally, he put his collection in Ameri-Can. After it closed, he wanted to continue showcasing, so struck a deal with both the Ellicottville Country Store (Ashford Junction) and upstairs at Dekdebrun’s Apex Boot Store to showcase and sell. 

“It will be around the same floor space,” he said. “And there will be very similar products of the collection in both places. I might have more skis and ski-oriented things at Dekebrun’s, but it’s always changing.”

Alpine Attic’s collection boasts paraphernalia from a bygone era of skiing. Like a pair of all-wooden, never-drilled Rossignol skis from the 50s, just as they were coming to the United States. “M-Olympique — Made in France — you’ll be hard pressed to find these anywhere else.”

“When people used to shop for their skis at department stores, Macy’s would put their logo on the skis. Skis like these — and the matching poles — are very rare. I’m lucky to have found these.”

The products aren’t just old skis, however. Alpine Attic also has snowshoes, old ski posters, photographs of Ellicottville before it was as we know it now, and skis Terry has transformed into wine racks — complete with iron cast from the Amish. 

“You look at an old pair of skis and I see a work of art, something that’s desirable to hang over the fireplace. It’s not for everybody, but a lot of people gravitate towards it. Some people collect cars, or motorcycles, or stamps. I collect skis.” 

For more on Alpine Attic, head to www.thealpineattic.com. Browse Terry’s inventory at the Ellicottville Country Store, 4 miles east of the village, or upstairs at Dekdebrun’s Apex Boot Store, located on Ellicottville’s main drag. You can also view items and reach out to Terry by searching his Facebook page (@ellicottvillealpineattic) or call 716-704-6162.