Donate a Coat & You Could Win a $250 Gift Card.

Alpine Shop's One Warm Coat Drive
Coats and sweaters line Alpine Shop’s conference room during the 2010 One Warm Coat Drive.

In just the past five years, Alpine Shop customers have donated over 6000 coats to help those in need in our St Louis and Columbia communities during the winter. We’re asking for your help once again this year as Alpine Shop kicks off it’s eighth annual One Warm Coat Drive on Wednesday, October 23, 2013.

How It Works

From Wed., Oct. 23 through Sunday, November 10, we’ll accept clean, gently-used coats, jackets and sweaters at each and every Alpine Shop location.

  • For each coat or sweater donated you will get one entry into a drawing for one of four $250 Alpine Shop Gift Cards.
  • You will also receive a $10 off coupon to Alpine Shop for your total donation. Meaning, not only do you get to do a good deed, but for once you’ll get double rewarded for doing it!

NOTE: Alpine Shop will only give away one coupon to each customer during the coat drive no matter how many different times you donate. However, each item donated will still earn one entry into the gift card drawing. 

How to Donate

Alpine Shop has made donating simple. Just bring your clean, gently used coats, jackets and sweaters to any Alpine Shop location. Bring your coats inside the store and check them in with one of the store’s outfitters to make sure you receive your coupon and get entered into the drawing. Then, Alpine Shop and One Warm Coat take care of the rest. Donated coats will be split among organizations in St. Louis, including: Sunshine Ministries, St. Patrick Center, Coats for Kids and Edgewood Children’s Center. In Columbia, all coats will go the Salvation Army.

Donate Unsold Swap Coats, as Well

Once again, we’re also giving Swap participants the opportunity to join in the giving, as well. If a coat or jacket you entered into this year’s Winter Swap (October 18–21) didn’t sell, you can choose to donate those goods into the One Warm Coat Drive and receive your coupon! When you pick up your swap credit and unsold items following the Swap, simply tell the friendly Alpine Shop outfitter working with you that you want to participate in the One Warm Coat Drive and they’ll take care of it for you.

Help Make a Difference

Here’s a little bit of what your donations have meant to the St. Patrick Center in St Louis.

Thanks again for thinking of SPC for your One Warm Coat Drive. The 300 coats we received were distributed immediately. Case Managers were able to support their clients and families as were people in the community in need. All of the coats were distributed within 2 days of receiving. It was especially gratifying with the quality (gently used) coats that clients received.

Thanks again to you and your customers for your support of our clients and community.

Gene Smith
St. Patrick Center

About One Warm Coat

One Warm Coat is a national non-profit organization that supports and encourages coat drives. It helps individuals, groups, companies and organizations across the country collect coats and deliver them to local agencies that distribute the coats free to people in need. More than one million coats have been provided to those in need at no cost since its inception in 1992.

Celebrate National S’mores Day with Osprey at Alpine Shop

Celebrate National S’mores Day on Saturday, August 10 in Kirkwood, as Alpine Shop becomes Osprey’s 13th Pro Shop in the nation. We’ll have a fire out front to roast your own s’mores as well as refreshments of the adult variety on hand to help make this a true celebration. And it’s all free to you!

Headquartered in Cortez, Colo., Osprey has helped pioneer the custom-fit backpack for customers of all sizes and shapes.

The party will start at noon and continue until 5 pm with Osprey giveaways every hour on the hour. Prizes include

Osprey Volt 75 Pack
This Osprey Volt 75 Pack is one of the giveaways during the Saturday, August 10 Party to celebrate National S’mores Day and the new Osprey Pro Shop at Alpine Shop Kirkwood

an Osprey Volt 75 Pack and a Viva 65 Pack, both valued at $200 each. All told, we’ll be giving away over $500 worth of prizes throughout the day.

No purchase is necessary. Just come by and have some fun with us and Osprey.

What’s the Best Boat for You? You Can Paddle Day is Saturday, May 4

We took two of Alpine Shop‘s best paddlers out to Simpson Park in St. Louis County to test their opinions on what is the best light touring kayak for the St Louis area. Mike Morin and Jake Parr – both Shop managers and certified ACA instructors do their best to tell you which boat they prefer and why.

Mike prefers the Jackson Journey due to it’s comfortable seat, ample cargo space and displacement style hull. Jake prefers the Wilderness Systems Tsunami 145 because of its speed, it’s hard-chine hull and comfy cockpit.

Which boat is best for you? It could be either kayak, or perhaps a completely different boat. The point is, until you paddle it, you can’t know for sure. That’s why we have events throughout the spring and summer like our You Can Paddle Day on Saturday, May 4, 2013, and our demo days throughout the rest of the season.

You wouldn’t buy a car without driving it. Don’t buy a boat without paddling it first. We’re the only company in the area with such a wide range of boats – whitewater kayaks, touring kayaks, rec kayaks, canoes and even Stand Up Paddle Boards – that offers test paddles to its customers.

Come find out why we’re the best paddle store in the St Louis area.

Bike Bargains Begin This Week at Alpine Shop

bike-specials-04103Spring has finally sprung here in the Midwest. That means the bike shops in our Kirkwood location and in our brand new O’Fallon, Ill., location have kicked into high gear.

Not only does our Spring Swap begin on Friday in Kirkwood and Columbia, Mo., but we also have some big promotions going on from our two main bicycle brands: Specialized and Trek.

Specialized – Only Available for Purchase in Kirkwood

If you’re interested in one of Specialized’s road bikes, take advantage of up to $400 off MSRP on a 2013 Roubaix or Tarmac or up to $500 off a 2013 Ruby as part of Specialized’s Spring Classics Sale Event. This promotion is going on now through Monday, April 22 and features great prices on brand new models – not last year’s clearance models.

You can take a look at some of our current stock of Specialized road bikes online at

Trek- Only Available for Purchase in O’Fallon, IL

Our newest brand, Trek, is offering two Factory Demos this coming weekend, April 13-14. On Saturday, April 13, join us in Castlewood State Park and ride all the new 2013 models to find out which bike is for you. On Sunday, the demo moves to the Lost Valley Trails in Weldon Springs Wildlife Area (Hamburg, Mo.).

If you find a bike you like this weekend, you can save up to $150 with incentives for Trek Days and Demo Days specials.

19th Winter Swap Success Even Against Cardinals

Running an event like Alpine Shop’s Winter Swap involves coordinating hundreds of people over thousands of hours of planning and execution. What we can’t control, though, are those lovable little birds-on-bat, St Louis’ own baseball Cardinals. For the second time in a year, our home town’s favorite boys of summer have thrown an unexpected – but absolutely welcomed – monkey wrench into our plans.

When David Freese homered in the 11th inning to send the 2011 World Series to a game 7, our Women’s Ski and Snowboard Weekend kickoff party (the second weekend of our 18th Swap event) had to be cancelled after we had more than three quarters of our registered attendees cancel on us following the most exciting playoff game in major league baseball history. And, all of this happened just before midnight on a Thursday night. With Jeannie Thoren – our keynote speaker – scheduled to fly in the next morning from Chicago, we had to make the call based on what we know about St Louis. You see, St Louis in October belongs to the Cardinals. We had no chance. And let me tell you, our store was deserted- as was every other retail outlet in the Lou –  on Friday, Oct. 28, 2011. Thankfully, Jeannie was able to change her flight plans for free and we didn’t waste anyone’s time as the Cardinals won their 10th World Series Championship that night.

19th Annual Winter Swap
The tent fills quickly with customers as the 19th Annual Winter Swap begins at Alpine Shop Kirkwood.

Fast forward 358 days from there to Friday, Oct. 19 and the start of our 19th Annual Swap. This time we’re faced with Game 5 of the National League Championship Series – a clinch game for the Cardinals. But after all the hours we put into a Swap, there was no chance for us to cancel this event. Thankfully, we found St Louis still loves Swap no matter what else is going on. After helping us get things started with a rousing rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” (video to come), more than 400 people have walked through our doors just an hour into this year’s event. At $5 a person to enter, that means we have already raised over $2000 to donate to the Disabled Athletes Sports Association – the organization long-time benefactor Gateway Disabled Ski Program became a part of last year.

So, our thanks to St Louis and to everyone who has come out with us tonight to make our 19th Annual Winter Swap kick-off so successful.

Find the Best Adventures Near You with Alpine Shop & RootsRated

Outdoor guide site RootsRated is set to launch in partnership with Grassroots Outdoor Alliance retailer Alpine Shop this week to provide locals and visitors to the St. Louis area with a highly usable guide for discovering local experts’ favorite places for outdoor recreation.

RootsRated is, simply put, an outdoor travel guide. Ever find yourself traveling to a city, wondering where you can rock climb or trail run when you get there? Are you new to your area, or looking to try a new sport? With RootsRated, the best local outdoor experiences are at your fingertips.

This is “expertly-curated” information, which means our local experts have selected their favorite spots for you. You won’t have to wade through dozens of options before making a choice; the 5 or 10 best local spots are right there, so you can pick one and get out there. If you need a piece of gear before heading out, you’ll be able to connect with Grassroots Outdoor Alliance retailers in that region — the same experts who’ve provided the content.

Here’s what Alpine Shop Marketing Director Todd Oswald had to say about the project:

“We’re already a hub of local knowledge for trails, paddling routes, and crags in the St Louis and Columbia regions. RootsRated will give us an innovative way to become the digital hub as well. We’re looking forward to giving our customers another resource to help them get outside themselves.”

RootsRated is going to empower adventurous people to find the most memorable experiences; this platform is the perfect resource for those in search of authentic local knowledge. Find your favorite local places to go and things to do with


5 Reasons to Buy Your Next Bike from Alpine Shop

The most important thing to remember when buying a new bike is this: Buying a bike is not like buying a television or a stereo. All bikes, no matter if you purchase yours from Alpine Shop or some other store, are shipped un-assembled in boxes to the store. What happens after that box arrives depends on the store you purchase your bike from.

The Staff of the Bike Shop at Alpine Shop
Do you know who built your bike? One of these fine technicians at Alpine Shop did if you purchased your bike from us.

1. Do you know who built your bike?

If you buy your brand new bike from a mass market chain store, your bike will be built buy someone back in the warehouse who may or may not have any experience putting bikes together. He may have a pedal wrench to make sure your pedals are firmly attached to the bike – or he may not. She may know the correct way to make sure your wheel’s tubes aren’t pinched – and prone to blow out – when she installs the tires, or she might not.

If you buy your new bike from Alpine Shop, your bike will be built by one of our bike shop technicians whose only job is to build and fix bikes. These people know what they are doing. Not only that, but they will also customize the bike for you before you ever leave the shop. Our techs will take various body part measurements that translate into a starting point for every moveable part on the bike. From there, they work with you to find out what position provides you with the most comfort and the most power.

As even Consumer Reports states in their Bike Buying Guide published in January 2012:
Find a good bike shop
You’ll pay more, but we think you’re more likely to be satisfied. Bikes from big-box stores might not be properly assembled or well matched to your body. If you don’t like the pedals or seat on a particular model, some bike shops will swap components at little or no cost.

2. Every pound added to the bike is another pound you have to pedal

The lighter a bike is, the easier it is for you get it moving. Take a look at the weight of the bike you’re looking to buy (if the mass market store will even provide it for you). Ask yourself if you really want to pedal an extra seven or eight pounds up the first hill you encounter.

3. You get what you pay for

It might seem like a good deal at the store, but what about when you actually use it? Mass market bikes have cheaper construction all around, from the frame to the components like the shifters, the tires, the handlebars, even the seat post. The biggest quality issue, and possibly most important one, is your brakes. Not only do many of the least expensive bikes have brakes that hardly work to begin with, if you’re brakes are installed wrong, even the best ones won’t work properly.

Even our lowest priced bikes will have higher quality parts than what you can find at the big box stores. And the true measure of value isn’t how much you spend, but how much you enjoy riding the bike.

Again from Consumer Reports:
Avoid cheap bikes, except for very casual use

Inexpensive bikes selling for less than $200 from brands such as Huffy, Mongoose, Roadmaster, and Schwinn may seem like good deals, but we advise spending $300 or more, if your budget allows. Why? Because you’ll get a lot more bike for your buck.

Mass-market bikes have cheaper construction than higher-priced bikes and can weigh seven or eight pounds more. They come in only one size, so you’re not likely to get a great fit. And mass merchants can’t match bike shops for quality of assembly, expert advice, and service.

Adults should consider inexpensive bikes from a department store only for the most casual use, and stick with a front-suspension model, which is likely to be better than an inexpensive full-suspension bike.

4. Support and Service

Simply put, bikes are complex, mechanical pieces of equipment exposed constantly to dirt, water, oil, potholes and just plain bad roads. More than likely, your bike will have some sort of issue come up while you own it. If you purchase your bike from a  discount chain, don’t expect them to be able to fix the problem. Their only option may be to replace the bike, if they’ll even do that. But do you really want a new bike that may have the exact same problem as the bike you just brought back?

Our bike techs work to make sure that your bike – you know, the bike you’ve worked to set up just the way you like, that you’re used to and trust – will be fixed to not only your standards but to our standards. Alpine Shop also offers free maintenance on every new bike we sell.

5. We want you to know what you’re doing

We don’t assume when you come to talk to us that you’re an expert cyclist. We don’t assume that you’ll understand everything we can tell you about a bike. That you’ll know the difference between disc brakes and rim brakes. That’s why we make hours of instruction available to you at our Kirkwood location for everything from changing your tire to the basics of maintaining your bike at your home. We’re not just in business to sell bikes. Our mission is to see “Generations Transformed by Discovery Outdoors.” What that means to us is we want your time on the trails or on the roads to be a potentially life-altering activity. We want you to discover that you can do things you never thought possible. And then come back and tell us all about it.

Come visit the Bike Shop at Alpine Shop Kirkwood. Discover what makes us different. And why buying a bike from us just makes more sense.

Summer Camping Near St. Louis, Missouri

Tent Camping

If you enjoy the summer heat, then you’ll love camping at the nearby parks in Missouri during the hottest times of the year. You can take shelter in a shady wooded campground, feel the cool misty air evaporating from spring-fed streams and rivers, or take a swim. There are several great state campgrounds within a few hours drive from St. Louis.

For those who prefer a staycation, one of the closest campgrounds to St. Louis can be found at Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park. Babler park has some great hiking trails and plenty of open picnic areas for large groups of people. If you enjoy horseback riding there is also a 6 mile trail for the equestrian.

Driving north brings you to Mark Twain State Park and Mark Twain Birthplace State Historic Site. The campsites are located near Mark Twain Lake where you can paddle and fish. If you like American history, you can learn about life in the 1800s with tours of Civil War battlefields and the birthplaces of Harry S. Truman and Mark Twain.

About an hour and a half drive southeast of St. Louis is Hawn State Park. There are backpacking trails where you can hike along Pickle Creek and set up camp in the woods. If you are quiet and observant you will find wildlife throughout the park. There is also an orienteering course to challenge your navigation skills with a compass.

An hour’s drive southwest of St. Louis will take you to Meramec State Park where you can camp, paddle, fish, and explore caves. There are several caves within the park that you can explore on your own or you can take a guided tour of Fisher Cave. Fisher Cave has some impressive formations including 30 foot tall columns and cave-dwelling wildlife.

Farther southwest of St. Louis brings you to the popular Johnson Shut-Ins State Park. You can camp near the shut-ins and swim and hike the nearby geological wonders. The shut-ins are pools of water in the igneous and sedimentary boulders connected to the Black River. The park staff at the visitor center will explain the geology of the area and is a great place for children to learn about natural hydraulics.

The five camping areas listed above are a small sampling of what is available to you in Missouri. There are at least 40 Missouri state campgrounds where you can have a variety of outdoor camping experiences. You can research those campgrounds on the Missouri State Parks website.

It’s important to be prepared for any camping or backpacking trip. Alpine Shop has a great backpacking checklist that you can use for shopping and packing. Check out the following list for essential camping items from Alpine Shop:

Water containers to carry pre-filtered water

Water treatment products for natural water sources

Stoves for cooking outdoors


Sleeping bags



GPS devices and compasses

First Aid safety and repair


Make everyday an adventure with Alpine Shop and get outside yourself!

The Continued Effort to Create Missouri’s Premiere Trail

This weekend, Alpine Shop and the Ozark Trail Association will host their ninth annual Mega Event on the Ozark Trail.

Many of us at Alpine Shop can still remember John Roth, the OTA’s founder, walking into the upstairs offices at our old Webster Groves store in 2002 and 2003, discussing plans for his vision of the OT and the organization he was founding.

2003 Alpine Shop and OTA Ad
Alpine Shop's 2003 Advertisement in our Spring Swap Guide introducing the Ozark Trail and the OT to its customers.

Alpine Shop helped design the first maps the OTA gave out. We helped introduce the OTA in a full-page ad in our 2003 Spring Swap Guide when almost no one knew what the Ozark Trail was, let alone an organization created with the sole purpose of finishing its creation and maintaining it.

Alpine Shop used its first Patagonia environmental grant to support the OTA in 2004 in a presentation during the intermission of the Banff Mountain Film Festival. At that festival, we announced and recruited the first of what would become the Spring OTA Mega Event. Throughout the years, the Mega Events have grown bigger and now include working with many of the Shop’s brands to come up with more than $12,000 in give-aways, auction items and donations each and every year.

For some multinational business that might not sound like a lot, but we’re a local business. “Local” is a vital part of our DNA. We do everything we can to transform our little slice of world here in the Midwest into a better place. Alpine Shop’s vision states that we strive for “Generations Transformed by Discovery Outdoors.” We believe that experiencing the outdoors fundamentally changes each and every one of us.

This is why the OTA is so dear to Alpine Shop. It’s a part of our creed to be a “Local Business Helping Local Organizations Transform Our World.” What better example of that is there than our relationship with the OTA? By transforming the Ozark Trail into the premiere trail throughout Missouri, the OTA has provided the perfect opportunity for generations of Missourians to transform their lives in the local beauty of the Ozarks.

So, this weekend, as nearly 200 people work to complete another section of the Ozark Trail, we send out and open invitation for a new generation to transform themselves in the discovery of this gem right in our own backyard.

Top 20 Outdoor Family Destinations Near St. Louis and Columbia, Missouri

Family Adventures Outdoors

St. Louis and Columbia are amazing locations for outdoor adventures with your children. With our two cities as your base camp, you have access to miles upon miles of wilderness featuring trails, rivers, springs, caves, forests, bluffs, rock formations, waterfalls and more. Set your sights within just two hours of our metro areas and we have more opportunities than we can possibly tell you here. Best of all, many of these locations are absolutely free for your family for a day visit. A camping trip may cost you as little as $10 for the night.

Each of the areas we have listed below have the potential to provide your children (and you) with experiences that will last a lifetime. We may not have the dramatic mountain silhouettes of the Rockies or the crashing waves of the ocean; but we do have the beauty of the Ozark Mountains, spring-fed rivers that run stunningly, perfectly clear and a vast system of caves that appeal to every child. Best of all, because of our Midwestern geography, most of our outdoor destinations are surprisingly kid-friendly.

So if you’re looking for some ideas for a new adventure for you and your kids, we’ve included a list of our top choices below. Some are nearby. Some are further away. But all of them offer families a chance to have fun and experience the great outdoors.

Camping Adventures

Meramec State Park, Sullivan, MO – The absolute gem for camping and outdoor adventures for kids. Trails, beaches on the river, and over 75 caves and numerous springs.
Onondaga Cave State Park, Leasburg, MO – Camping, cave tours, canoeing. Great place for a long weekend.
Silver Mines Recreation Area, Fredericktown, MO – One of Missouri’s unknown wonders. Explore an old dam. Watch whitewater kayakers make their way through the St. Francis River rapids. The Missouri Whitewater Championships are held upstream of this location each March.

Hiking & Exploring Adventures

Rockwoods Reservation, Eureka, MO – Trails for hikers of all ages and skill levels as well as wildlife exhibits. Plenty of picnic grounds and fields for group meals.
Powder Valley Nature Center, Kirkwood, MO – Easy to get to, incredible nature center, easy trails. Great local asset.
Amidon Conservation Area near Fredericktown, MO – The Castor River Shut-ins here is one of Missouri’s best play spots for kids both young and old. (Shhhh! It’s a secret!)
Pickle Springs Natural Area near Farmington, MO – Short length, incredible rock formations, fun for everybody!
Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, Columbia, MO –  Diverse trail network for hiking or mountain biking, or plenty of space for a nice weather picnic as well. And for a true adventure, explore Devil’s Icebox on a park-led tour.

Paddling Adventures

Simpson Lake County Park, Valley Park, MO – A local, hidden gem just off Highway 141. Bring a bird guidebook, a canoe and fishing poles.
Meramec River, Consider launching your boat near Steelville, Leasburg or Sullivan for best water quality and natural beauty. Besides the Missouri and the Mississippi, probably the most recognized river in the area – and the easiest to access.
Huzzah Creek, Leasburg, MO – (Hoo-za) More advanced young paddlers can take off on their own sit-on-top kayaks (rented through numerous outfitters) on this gorgeous clearwater gem which drains into the Meramec near Leasburg, MO
Missouri River, West and South of Columbia, MO – Experience the same river Lewis and Clark explored; offers great opportunities for experienced paddlers.

Rock Climbing Adventures

Okay, we’re cheating on some of these here. Some aren’t really outdoors. They’re climbing gyms. But, the skills learned here could very well lead to the ability to tackle the real rock walls of the area.
Center of Clayton Climbing Gym – Clatyon, MO – Geared towards kids more than any other gym in St. Louis.
Upper Limits Climbing Gym – St. Louis, MO – Best overall climbing gym in the area.
Capen Park – Columbia, MO – Close to campus and featuring some good top roping and sport routes.
University of Missouri – Columbia Climbing Wall – Columbia, MO – Open to University Students and Staff

Biking Adventures

Grant’s Trail in South County, St. Louis – Flat, easy, and even at its most crowded is still enjoyable. And now the trail starts almost in our Kirkwood store’s backyard!
Katy Trail, beginning in St. Charles, MO – One-day trips to week-long adventures on 235 miles of bike trail between St. Charles and Clinton, MO.
Lost Valley Trail in the Weldon Springs Conservation Area in St. Charles – Fabulous for  both hiking and biking with clear creeks and miles of wooded, flat trails.
Forest Park, St. Louis, MO – Local, with a myriad of opportunities for other activities.
MKT Trail, Columbia, MO – Another rails to trails project, but runs right through Columbia for some easy, family-friendly riding.