Ski season is upon us!
Mountainology, the newest ski and snowboard shop on Mount Hood, is trying to establish itself as the best deal on the mountain for rentals and board tuning.
Mountainology co-owners Austin Headrick and Will Koons moved to Mount Hood from Harrisonburg, Virginia, where they attended James Madison University. They made the move over a couple of year with a crew of ski shop friends from Virginia who now live together in Brightwood, work together in Rhody and shred together on Mount Hood.
Their plan from the beginning was to set up a shop near Mount Hood, hoping to capitalize on the longest snow sports season in North America. They moved in with a load of merchandise they bought from their former boss and got to work renovating a former antique shop next to Mt. Hood Foods in Rhododendron. They redid the floors, picked up some nice apparel to sell from their local friends at INI Cooperative, set out a large selection of rental gear, built a tuning shop in back with some high-speed edge-sharpening machines, and opened for business as an early storm dumped two feet of snow on Mount Hood in October.
Of course, it has not snowed much since then, and the new shop has been struggling to find customers like most mountain businesses this season. But the 25-year-old Headrick does not seem worried. "We're making the best of what we've got," he says. "The season is what it is. Hopefully by year three or so there'll be a line out the door."
Headrick says the strategy for Mountainology is all about price. "We're the new guys, so we need to be the cheapest," he says. "We have the cheapest tuning and rental packages on the mountain."
Quick tunes at Mountainology, edges and wax, run $30. Rentals are $25 a day for for adults and $20 for kids. Year-long packages are $200 for adults, $125 for kids, good through May 31.
"Season rentals are something we're really going to push going forward," says Headrick. "It worked for us back east, and we think it will work here too."
It's getting a bit late in the season for that deal, but Headrick likes Mountainology's position going forward. "We're small, we're cheap, and we do good work," he says. "We're right where we want to be."
Here's a photo of shop employees Neil O'Dell (front) and Garrett Walicky (back) tuning up some boards in the back of the shop: