Barrington ski shop ready for heavy snow
Viking Ski Shop sales associate Tome Johnson, a Barrington resident, checks the fit of a pair of snowboarding boots on Inverness 12-year-old Jimmy Demichele. | Michelle LaVigne ~ Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 5, 2012 10:02AM
BARRINGTON — While heavy snows might snarl commutes, the staff at Barrington’s Viking Ski Shop are excited for the winter season.
Store manager Steve Olson and his staff share a passion for winter’s outdoor sports.
“Everyone that works here either skis or snowboards,” he said. “If you don’t know how to ski or snowboard, it’s hard to sell the products.”
Viking, located at 131 West Northwest Highway, offers a wide variety of skis and snowboarding equipment as well as a colorful array of winter outerwear.
“We’re known for our boot fitting,” said Olson, explaining that the staff at Viking has been trained to stretch a boot if necessary to make it contour to an individual’s foot.
“We make the boot accommodate the person,” he explained.
“These guys are very patient,” said Paul Belzow, a customer who was trying on ski boots. “I’ve been to a couple other places, but this place has everything.”
Olson, who has been at Viking for the last six years, said winter sports enthusiasts are still spending money on ski and snowboarding gear. He noted, however, that he has noticed some customers becoming more price conscious.
“We try to work with the price sensitive people and still provide them with quality,” he said.
Olson added that one item that’s become increasingly popular are snowshoes.
“A lot of people do that for exercise, he said.
Olson opened the Barrington store after a previous winter sports shop closed. He said November through February always is their busiest time.
“In the summer, we actually turn over to a patio store,” Olson explained.
Viking also has another location in Chicago.
Olson, who’s lived in Kildeer with his wife for 17 years, said he enjoys working in an industry that he enjoys.
“It’s fun to be part of a sport you like,” he said.
Olson said Viking also has a rental program that allows families to rent skis.