By David Schissler – In the spirit of full disclosure, I have to tell you I love Rodgers Ski & Sport in Lincoln, NH. Whenever I visit Loon Mountain I make a point of stopping by their store. Why? The store has two large floors of gear and carries merchandise deeply into some of the best brand lines in hardware and clothing. It’s easily one of the top shops in New England.

Every August, Rodgers takes its shop on the road and for about two weeks pitches its tent in my hometown of Yarmouth, MA on Cape Cod. The logistics are considerable. Rodgers uses a 40’ trailer truck and 3 vans to stock the tent and still makes frequent trips back and forth from Lincoln and Yarmouth to refresh inventory. They actually made a point of bringing down several pairs and models of Full Tilt women’s boots for my wife Ann to try.

The shop is owned by Helen and David Rodgers and managed by John Sacco. These people are seasoned veterans of the ski business. We had fun discussing the history of some products such as how the Raichle Flexon ski boot was so well designed back in the ‘70s that it’s still being made by Full Tilt today. It’s caught on with freestylers and I believe it’s currently Bode Miller’s boot of choice. Thanks to Rodger’s the “Soul Sister” model is now Ann’s boot of choice.

A few minutes after we arrived Helen asked me “Want to see my yacht?” Being a boater I took the bait. She reached for her phone and pulled up pictures of her “yacht”. I had to laugh when I saw shots of a brand new Montana ski tuning machine! Helen probably could have a yacht for what it cost.

I asked Helen what’s the biggest problem Rodgers has as a specialty ski and boarder shop today. Without hesitation she said “showrooming”. That’s the practice of going to a store, trying on merchandise, and then going online to buy it from someone else, often for less. That’s the beauty of the summer tent sale! Your likely to get online pricing from a reputable shop and walk away with your gear. Don’t abuse your local shop. Sure, you may find better deals online but you will never replace the expertise, the ability to try things on, or the peace of mind you get from knowing a quality retailer that will stand by what it sells. Good luck getting warranty service etc. from a manufacturer when you buy online.

Nearly all of the equipment is left over from last season but it’s brand new. Last year’s high performance demos are an excellent deal. Since they cost $40 to $50 a day to ride very few have a mark on them and they’re selling at half price or less. My nephew found a pair of Atomic all mountain skis and bindings that looked like no one ever stepped into them for only $300!

Ski shops need to move this inventory to recoup the cash and make room for the new products arriving very soon for this coming season. I asked Helen what happens to the items that remain after this tent sale. She said, “Whatever is left over will go back to Lincoln and we’ll have our annual tent sale there. Anything left after that goes to an outlet location we have in Lincoln.” I didn’t know about this store but intend to check it out early this season. I’ve seen some pretty good equipment go unused. You never know what gems you may come upon.