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Best Of 2012: Place to Buy Skis

Lining the walls of The Ski Shop are decades' worth of old ski boots, labeled by date. You can start back in the days when boots looked like modified, leather walking shoes, and move through the introduction of buckles and plastic. This trip sort of echoes the history of The Ski Shop itself, which just celebrated its 60-year anniversary. The Uhl family bought The Ski Shop in the '80s, and son Rick Uhl took over in 2002. Rick added snowboards — much to the dismay of his father, Wolfgang — but otherwise, he kept the business almost exactly the same. It's still the type of store where a family can walk in, and leave entirely outfitted for a day on the slopes. "I hear every day that we seem to ask the right questions to get people in the right gear," says Rick. "Once we get the equipment right once, they keep coming back." The shop is filled with trusted classics like Obermeyer, Smith, Rossignol and Solomon. Uhl says he approaches each brand as a "10-year investment," continuing to stock only products he knows will stick around, and steering clear of "boutique brands." So what's to come in the next 60 years? "I see my two kids running the store, with their kids running around underneath, and them coming to visit me at my ski condo in Vail," says Uhl, with a smile. — Celine Wright

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