Play It Again Sports’s owner, Jackie Bauter, is a veteran of the sports-and-fitness industry since 1993. With his trained eye, Bauter curates a selection of new sports equipment to meet his customers’ needs within their price range. In addition to carrying new equipment for activities such as aquatic sports, soccer, baseball, skiing, and hockey. The store also rounds up home fitness equipment such as treadmills and elliptical trainers. Play It Again Sports buys customers’ gently used, brand-name equipment for cash, store credit, or a handful of magic beans, which the store resells it for about half the original price.
Mini Mountain helps people of all ages experience the thrill of outdoor extreme sports, even if they can't be outside. Thanks to the training center's unique downhill treadmill-like machine, visitors can ski and snowboard year-round—they just happen to be indoors. The wide, sloping treadmill features a smooth surface and runs on a perpetual uphill loop, mimicking the sensation of gliding down a snowy slope. Private lessons help students master their maneuvers and turns, relying on guidance from professional instructors and the same rental gear they'd use on real slopes.
But the students sometimes still venture outdoors—those who complete enough indoor work are eligible to join the small-group skiing lessons that explore the Summit at Snoqualmie. And rock-climbing day camps travel to various nearby cliffs, so students can work on improving their climbing skills and beating mountain goats at staring contests.
Though it has winter in its name and boasts lessons in both nordic and downhill skiing, Leavenworth Winter Sports Club gives outdoor sports enthusiasts a reason to explore its sprawling grounds throughout the year. Called a “sportsmen’s mecca” by Club's President of the Board of Directors, Damian Browne, the trails date back to 1928, when people would flock to the club's ski-jumping hill to watch skiers soar through the air and high-five bald eagles as they began their descent. Visitors can strap on snowshoes to navigate the Waterfront Park path or lace up a pair of skates and pirouette across the Leavenworth Ice Rink. The area's ski trails double as hiking and biking trails during the summer months, and a golf course invites guests to work on their short game once the snows melt to reveal manicured greens.
Within a 2,000-square-foot shop, Backdrop Sports maintains and sells equipment that can turn the area’s roads and backcountry into outdoor playgrounds. Ready to fix up rides that tackle snow, dirt, or asphalt, the crew of experienced technicians performs tune-ups that help to renew skis and snowboards and improve gear performance. Leaving no detail untouched, they tune skis and snowboards by hand, waxing and grinding bases before giving each board a much-needed hug. Paying similar attention to bicycles, mechanics tighten, adjust, and lubricate everything bikes need to operate smoothly on challenging trails. The staff also can build custom bikes, cut new splitboards, and help customers navigate the store's stock of men’s and women’s apparel, mountain bikes, and snowboards.
In 1960, Sally Strand, a Northshore District High School science teacher, had a dream of sharing her love of skiing with her students. This led her to start the program that would eventually become Mohan Skiing & Boarding. Today, the non-profit ski school services six school districts with lessons, leadership training, and scholarships for any youngsters hoping to learn to ski. Led by veteran skiing gurus Rob Stimmel and John Mohan, the academy’s staff leads instructional expeditions on the snow-swathed slopes of Snoqualmie Summit Central, teaching students of all ages how to carve through powder, zoom down steeps, and use giant icicles as makeshift ski poles. Guests can schedule a private lesson for one-on-one instruction or register for one of their weekly group sessions, which range from weekend lessons for tykes ages 3–5 and Thursday executive ski sessions for adult alpinists.
Nestled next to the rolling terrain of Mt. Rainier National Park, Crystal Mountain caters to snow people with acres of downhill escapades. The mountain welcomes snow-slingers and extreme gondola-riders with a jib park and a multitude of trails that are suitable mostly for intermediate and advanced skiers and boarders. Expert plank-gliders can make good on their bravado by scaling advanced trails like Sunnyside and Snorting Elk, rugged descents into pools of frozen spätzle. A one-day ski ticket grants alpine riders daytime access to the downhill runs of Crystal Mountain from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the late-spring season (April 21 to June 12).