Monday, February 26, 2007

New location, bomber secret sale

If you grew up in the 70s and 80s, and you were an alpine skier, you considered the Hoigaard's smokestack in St. Louis Park a kind of axis mundi. Mom and Dad drove and paid the bill, so you didn't realize Hoigaard's was the the most expensive, most elite, hardest-to-actually-find ski shop between Chicago and Jackson Hole. It was a treat you could count on—like Kokesh used to be for hockey players, Pierce for figure skaters, and the Malt Shop for everyone else.

So it's hard to believe Hoigaard's pulled up stakes and hung a shingle at The Miracle Mile, that dumpy little strip mall at Excelsior and Highway 100. Truth be told, the location is spitting distance from the old digs, but a much more direct route from any approach, and they've spiffed that mall up considerably. The new location feels smaller with lower ceilings; the place is more packed than ever with high-end gear from Spyder, Fischer, Atomic, Dale of Norway, and so on. And Hoigaard's now has respectable departments in nordic equipment, snowboarding, camping gear, and bicycles.

But our main interest at the moment is the deeply discounted winter gear. Especially the sleds. If you haven't looked lately, you'll be surprised at how the good-old tobaggan has been upscaled with space-age materials and designs. Our favorite, the Hammerhead Sled, looks like a NASA-grade Mars orbiter (that's it in the picture), and normally costs a stratospheric $350. But if you can play hookie for a day to get outside and enjoy this heart-warming 10-inch winter dump, caper on out to Hoigaard's and pick this baby up at half price, and then go hunt down a few flexible flyers on your favorite slope.

Hoigaard's,, Excelsior Boulevard at Highway 100

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