For the 2017-18 Winter Season, Alpine Shop has completely revamped our Ski and Snowboard Tune Shop, bringing in all-new tuning machines to make sure we can continue to give you the professional tunes you’ve come to expect from one of the top ski shops in the country.
Featuring a full complement of Wintersteiger machines dedicated to making it easier than ever to perfect the edge or bevel on your skis or board, Alpine Shop can handle any type of service your gear may need.
So what does that mean to you? Faster skis, better turns and more enjoyable days on the slopes.
Our trained technicians are ready to help you take advantage of what’s looking to be one of the best winter seasons in a long time – especially out west, where snow has already been falling in the Rockies for the past couple of weeks.
Drop in to our Kirkwood location with your gear and let us show you just how much fun you can have on the slopes this year. Or, drop off your skis or board at one of our other locations. We’ll take care of the transportation to our Kirkwood store at no charge to you.
“If we can make it work, I am so down for a suffer-fest!”
That’s the sentiment my good friend Robbie expressed when I talked to him last. We were talking about a tentative schedule for climbing Mt. Rainier in Washington. Robbie lives in Olympia, Washington, which is about an hour away from Seattle and Rainier. When he’s not at school in Olympia, he’s been working as a climbing ranger on Rainier. It’s a job he loves enough to volunteer for. When he does get paid, it is just a nice bonus.
Robbie is the one who introduced me to climbing during my sophomore year of college, near Wichita, Kansas. It immediately felt right, and I’ve been rock climbing religiously for the past five or so years. Rob, however, wasn’t content to just stay on the rock. He loves snow, mountains, ice and cold. This led him to move to Washington. I’ve never really gotten to experience the mountaineering side of the vertical world, and I’ve always been curious. I recently decided that there’s never been a better time to start than now!
With that in mind, Rob and I began tossing around ideas about me flying out to Seattle, gearing up, and bagging Rainier. It’s a mountain that sees approximately 5,000 summits every year. Most of these occur during the summer months, however, when the weather is more predictable. During the rest of the year, Rainier’s weather typically consists of either snow, or lots of snow. The average snowfall for Rainier is 635 inches, or over 53 feet, per year. This is what Robbie was talking about when he mentioned a suffer-fest. Sure, we could try for the top in the summer. But it’d be so much more impressive, difficult, and straining to do it in the winter! To be quite honest, a suffer-fest seems like it’s exactly what I need.
Single pitch sport climbing in the South is SO easy. There are incredibly difficult routes, yes, and I am frequently giving 100% of what I have at that moment that I’m on the wall, but in the end the car is 15 minutes away. I’ll have brats over the fire in the evening, maybe sip a warm beer, and get a nice shower in a couple of days when I’m home again. That wouldn’t be the case with a winter ascent of Rainier. We’d be hiking uphill for miles, for several days, with heavy packs, in potentially sub-zero weather, with LOTS of snow. It would be exhausting, draining, probably one of the harder things I’ve done in my life so far. And that sounds great to me right now. I think I need to push my comfort zone, in a way I haven’t done before.
Rob and I are still trying to figure out when might work for both of us to meet up for Rainier. We’ll probably need a week or longer, so that he can give me some tutoring on glacier and snow travel, avalanche conditions, the technical aspects of executing a multi-day ascent of a big mountain, and of course, maybe a week to do the actual climb. Rob’s schedule is always subject to change. He might be in Panama, or somewhere in South America, or in school. But if we can swing it, we’ll try and meet up, perhaps in February, and give it a shot. Hopefully the weather cooperates and allows us on the mountain, but if not, there are plenty of other things to climb in that corner of the world.
While planning ahead, I started picking up pieces of gear that I’ll need on Rainier. My first piece was the Arc’teryx Beta LT; it’s a nice, lightweight but durable, hardshell. It has pockets that are accessible even with a climbing harness on, which lends to its utility in the mountains. It’s a Gore-Tex Pro shell, so I’m not worried about getting wet or wind-blown. Last but not least, it looks pretty awesome too.
My next target is the Black Diamond CoEfficient Hoody. It’s a lightweight fleece that has a great hood meant to fit under a helmet. I’d use this as a layering piece, with some much heavier insulating pieces, on Rainier, but I think it’ll really shine on multi-pitch alpine climbing, where the intense cold isn’t quite as much of an issue, and when I’ll really want to be wearing a helmet. The hood is the best I’ve ever seen as far as fitting snugly underneath a climbing helmet.
I’ve got many more things to look for as well. Pants are an under-appreciated part of the whole “keeping warm” system. Everyone has tons of jackets, but how many pairs of cold weather pants do you have? Poor pants just got the short stick for not being as sexy as a new, awesome jacket.One pair of pants that is on my radar is the Arc’teryx Stingray Pant; Recco Reflector, Gore-Tex hardshell pant can do it all.The waterproof and breathable fabric will help keep you warm, dry, and comfortable. The Recco Reflector is an awesome spec that is important while in the mountains. In the event of an avalanche the Recco Reflector within the garment becomes visible to the Recco Detector (which are used by resorts and rescue teams) making it one of the best safety features aboard a trip of this nature.Underneath the Stingray Pants I’ll layer starting with a 260 weight Icebreaker Baselayer Legging and a pair of Patagonia Piton Pants. Both will be highly useful in staying super warm and comfortable!
I’ll also end up borrowing and renting some of the more specialized equipment, to save on some money. Eventually though, if I discover I like mountaineering and alpine climbing, I’ll save up and get everything I need in a piecemeal fashion.I really hope that Rob and I are able to work out a time to meet up and do something awesome. Nothing makes for better stories than the times that you were the most miserable. A suffer-fest is just what I need, and I have zero doubt that the experience of pushing my limits in that manner will be something I’ll be able to reminisce fondly of for many years to come.
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 www.rootsrated.com.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Grant’s Trailin 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.
For 17 years, Alpine Shop has always had two distinct Swap Celebrations: a Spring Swap dedicated to bikes, boats, camping gear and all warm-weather pursuits, and the Winter Swap devoted to all things done outside in the cold including skiing, snowboarding and playing in the snow. So for the 18th year, of course, we threw all of that out the window.
As of Monday, October 17 at 10 am, Alpine Shop Kirkwood and Columbia are ready to accept your used items into the Swap. Bring them in early to avoid the line. If you prefer to leave things until the last minute, please note that ALL used gear registration needs to be finished by 5 pm on Friday, Oct. 21. More than likely, this means you need to be in line at 4 pm at the latest to check-in your gear. As we continue to improve the Swap to make sure our lines don’t stretch back for hours on Friday night, that same technology has forced us to make some changes in how we do some things. Check-in is one of those things.
We’ll still open the tent at 7 pm on Friday night. We’ll still have people tailgating for the tent opening hours before then. You’ll still find the tent filled with great prices on used and clearance items. (Or, you’ll still see the money coming in from the items you’re selling!)
You will find a few changes inside our stores, however. All of our new-gear sales will begin when we open our doors first thing in the morning in Kirkwood, Chesterfield and Columbia (or on-line at alpineshop.com). If you’re just interested in new gear deals, you no longer have to wait until the 7 pm starting time anymore. Also, we’ll have Early Bird and Night Owl deals on new gear on both Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 22-23 and Sat. and Sun., Oct. 29-30. You can find those limited time specials on page 3 of our on-line new-gear sale catalog here.
Used gear sales are open in Kirkwood and Columbia on Friday, Oct. 21 from 7 pm–11 pm; Sat., Oct. 22 from 9 am—9 pm and Sun., Oct. 23 from 11 am—6 pm.
Dads – Get your kids outside this Father’s Day and you could win a part of a $500 jackpot in Alpine Shop gift cards. The challenge is simple: we’re inviting all Dads to bring their families outside to play. Take a picture of you with them outside. Post it on our facebook page by midnight, Sunday, June 19, 2011. We’ll select random winners from all of our Dad photos on Monday, June 20.
Studies continue to show the need for Dads (and Moms) to bring their little ones outside, to get them back in touch with mother nature. Books have been written about it. States across our nation are actively trying to figure out ways to get kids off the couch and back outside, including Missouri. So Dads, while we encourage you to take a hike in a nearby park, to get out in canoe or kayak, or even to ride your bike; really, we just hope you’ll breathe some non-air-conditioned air for at least a little while to celebrate your Father’s Day. If you need some ideas for a Dad’s Day adventure, we’re happy to provide you a few of our favorite family-friendly escapes at the bottom of this article.
As we did for our Mother’s Day contest, we will accept photos from the past for those Dads who can not be with your family – or vice versa.
And for those of you looking for some last minute Father’s Day gifts, Alpine Shop has a huge selection of presents perfect for any outdoor-loving Dad.
As promised, here are some great kid-friendly adventures in and within 2 hours of St. Louis. Get to it, Dad!
Hiking and 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!)
Johnson’s Shut-ins State Park near Lesterville, Mo. (and the Ozark Trail that runs through it) – One of Missouri’s most popular state parks. If you come on a weekend during the summer, prepare for crowds at Mother Nature’s waterpark.
Pickle Springs Natural Area near Farmington, Mo. – Short length, incredible rock formations, fun for everybody!
Meramec State Park, Sullivan, Mo. – The absolute gem for camping and outdoor adventures for families. 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.
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 put-ins 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..
Grant’s Trail in South County, St. Louis – Flat, easy, and even at its most crowded is still enjoyable.
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.
Happy Father’s Day to all of our adventure-loving Dads!