The best independent ski shops

For the past four decades, this indie ski shop has managed to hold its own against the big boys of the UK’s ski chains, making sure its brand recognition isn’t eroded by the larger chain’s celebrity connection.

John’s Shop & Ski, the last independent ski shop on the hill in Gleneagles (the resort’s new hotel was revealed earlier this year), is about as original as they come. The story goes that owner John Walsh and his parents discovered a couple of derelict “skis” in the grounds of the family chalet in Britain and, soon after, the enterprise was born.

This Thursday, John’s Shop, with its own-brand mountain range range of wax, is launching a new range called Alan Heaton which features a gold series of aerodynamic polyurethane parts designed specifically for skis.

Based in the Chamonix area for most of its history, John’s Shop only concentrates on Gleneagles and a handful of other domestic resorts and resorts, such as Snowfields in Cumbria and Whitfield near Dundee. These villages have long been dominated by the skis produced by the big chains but, thanks to John’s Shop, it is possible to ski there without necessarily giving these giants a massive boost.

Best brands John’s Shop stocks are the Austrian Lola, two brands from Austria (Gruenwerke and Evenbre CIL), Panasonic, Pellef on Salzburg’s mountain, Le Villina on Geneva’s mountain and the British Snow Ranger brand from Breckenridge, Colorado.

It also sells the Ted Cohen collection from Salzburg and a selection of products by Zak Verdi from St Moritz. It also offers different numbered Voucher packs for prices throughout the season.

The pricing at John’s Shop ranges from £39.95 for a pair of skis to £19.95 for a half length helmet and £13.95 for five pair of white corduroy gloves. Most ski equipment, including boots, is priced at under £100.


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