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Ask the Local:

Bob Smith’s Wilderness House (1050 Commonwealth Ave, Boston) is my top choice for outdoor and ski equipment in Boston. They have a broad range of equipment-downhill, telemark and snowboarding-and all the accessories you need. They also have a great boot guy to help you get the perfect fit. As far as clothing, Wilderness House has a complete selection of Patagonia, North Face and all the other top brands. The only knock is that they only carry really good gear, so come prepared to drop some cash.

While you’re out there, you can go across the street to Eastern Mountain Sports (1041 Commonwealth Ave, Boston). EMS is an outdoor superstore, with a little bit of everything, including their own line of higher value clothing. Since they’re across the street from Wilderness House, it pays to cross the tracks to check prices before plunking down your plastic.

Ski Market (860 Commonwealth Ave, Boston) is pretty much your average sporting goods store-they have a huge selection of everything from bikes to tennis equipment to skiing equipment. The downside is that you might not get an expert in ski equipment when you go. They also offer Underground, downstairs, specifically for snowboarding gear.

Although the location is tough to get to, REI (279 Salem St, Reading) is a great store. This chain of membership-based outdoor equipment co-ops grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and the history comes through in what they carry, with a huge selection of serious camping and outdoor gear. Their selection of skiing/snowboarding gear is adequate, but the real highlight is the quality of the salespeople-they are really committed to helping you find the right gear. They also rent a broad range of winter equipment, including cross-country skis and snowshoes. For clothing, REI carries all the usual stuff from Patagonia et al., but they also have their own line of clothing-comparable quality for a much better price.

December 3, 2001
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