Onion River Sports closing...

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Woodserson

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Onion River Sports closing...

Postby Woodserson » Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:33 am

Goddammit. A big supplier and cheerleader of XC, XCD, and Tele gear in New England, not to mention a bullish proponent of muscles over motors.

I have always received fantastic knowledgeable help at both the physical store and the online one. A big :cry: bummer.


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Re: Onion River Sports closing...

Postby connyro » Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:42 am

That sucks. I've used them for online purchase of many ski related items over the last several years. My dad used to take me there when I was a kid for XC related gear. Bummer.

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Johnny

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Re: Onion River Sports closing...

Postby Johnny » Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:09 pm

That's terribly sad... Everyone knew ORS around here...

I think it's saying a lot about the state of XCD... It's not just ORS, we do not see much BC XC gear in stores anymore. While it was all about outdoors in the 90's and 00's, the mass now thinks that XCD is simply using fat AT skis with T4's at alpine ski resorts. XC gear is for cross-country skiing, something less and less popular here in the Northeast. For XCD, the trend is now plastic and fatties in regular downhill trails. No more approach, no more trail breaking, no more bushwacking... Even for backyard skiing and touring, people are now using T4 boots and Kom/Vector style fatties!!! The sport was totally different 18 years ago...

The truth is that XC is still alive, and plastic telemark is alive, but that blurry space in between, real XCD and BC XC like we knew it for the last century, is indeed dead and rotting... Actually, that is not 100% true. The crowds are moving... I see the previous XCD skiers getting old and using plastics and fatties or moving to AT, and I see younger people, not coming from the alpine world, experimenting with leathers and skinnies... But yeah, only a minority are doing so... Sadly, not enough to justify having brick and mortar stores anymore... :cry:
/...\ Peace, Love, Telemark and Tofu /...\
"And if you like to risk your neck, we'll boom down Sutton in old Quebec..."

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Re: Onion River Sports closing...

Postby Cannatonic » Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:25 pm

very sorry to see them go! It's very difficult to make money as a small business these days. Ski shops in New England are practically an extinct species. I also blame the marketing of skiing and winter sports as something exclusively for wealthy people.

But general hostility to small business is very strong in our economy, we basically lost the small ski areas because of liability laws and the insurance industry. Most municipalities seem very hostile to small businesses involving skiing or anything else.

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lilcliffy

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Re: Onion River Sports closing...

Postby lilcliffy » Wed Nov 29, 2017 3:36 pm

Very sorry to learn of this as well...

I have ordered little from them over the years- but I have greatly enjoyed and benefitted from their passionate promotion of Nordic touring- and, especially their videos of gear overviews. Hard to learn much from pictures, but their videos were especially helpful.

As far as the decline in the "sport" of Nordic touring...I am not sure exactly when or why it happened, but two generations ago Nordic touring was very much a part of rural culture here in the Maritimes. One would be hard-pressed to find an old barn or shed that doesn't have their Grandparents' generation of touring skis and poles...

In Eastern Canada Nordic skiers are now very few and they are primarily performance/fitness orientated track XC skiers.

The people that used to tour through the woods and visit their neighbors and family on skis are now blasting around on snowmobiles.

New Brunswick has the highest poverty rate in Canada- but, ironically New Brunswickers spend more per capita on snowmobiles and other all-terrain vehicles, than any other province...

So- I am not saying that poverty doesn't have something to do with it- I personally know people whose ATV/snowmobile is nicer than their house- but, our rural CULTURE has fundamentally changed.

Nordic ski touring used to be part of our culture, now it is reduced to an elite performance-oriented sport.
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

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hrishi

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Re: Onion River Sports closing...

Postby hrishi » Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:51 pm

EDIT: I mistook this for ORS Cross Country Skis Direct! Newbie :oops:

I am very new to skiing, but I really got a lot out of their youtube videos comparing different backcountry gear. The Q and As on their website were also super helpful as they also mentioned the rationale for recommending a particular gear. Over the summer I must have visited their website like 50 times!
I also feel a bit guilty - my wife and I were planning to buy the entire equipment from ORS, but with good, used gear so cheaply available, I decided to go with a used rig.

I feel modern snowshoes are also to be blamed for the decrease in nordic backcountry skiing, as they can be used for very similar purposes. When I started winter hiking 2-3 years back, nobody recommended skis to me, just snowshoes. Its only after snowshoeing some long big hikes that I realized how inefficient they are for winter travel. I normally consider myself resourceful at finding stuff on the internet, but I had a hard time imagining and finding information on an alternative. (Most people assume skiing down big mountains = skiing down big, 50 degrees slopes, which is not what I had in mind.) Anyway, once I knew that there was a term for what to look for -XCD, nordic backcountry- then I suddenly found a wealth of information dispersed across the internet, including this forum. I feel a bit of PR and branding nordic backcountry for 'winter hiking' (as opposed to skiing) might attract a lot of snowshoers. And offerings such as Altai Hoks would also help in giving snowshoers a 'taste' of skiing.

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Woodserson

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Re: Onion River Sports closing...

Postby Woodserson » Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:09 pm

ORS owns Cross Country Skis Direct...

phoenix

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Re: Onion River Sports closing...

Postby phoenix » Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:52 pm

A bit of a shock, and sad news. An iconic shop, in a great town.

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Johnny

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Re: Onion River Sports closing...

Postby Johnny » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:49 am

lilcliffy wrote:New Brunswick has the highest poverty rate in Canada-

Really? Maybe I should go live over there then... Maybe I would feel like I belong... 8-)

lilcliffy wrote:but, ironically New Brunswickers spend more per capita on snowmobiles and other all-terrain vehicles, than any other province...

QC must come in the second position... 10k$ snowmobiles are everywhere here...!

hrishi wrote:I feel modern snowshoes are also to be blamed for the decrease in nordic backcountry skiing, as they can be used for very similar purposes. When I started winter hiking 2-3 years back, nobody recommended skis to me, just snowshoes. And offerings such as Altai Hoks would also help in giving snowshoers a 'taste' of skiing.


This is a very interesting point of view... The government bought tons and tons of Hoks to rent at all the national parks here in Canada. I think the whole outdoor world is getting more and more geriatric... People use expensive high-tech snowshoes to walk on flat and packed hiking trails. And they need 5 different layers of the latest synthetic wool to do so or else they die. They are using plastic boots in the woods! They are using plastic boots on Hoks... They need "off-piste trails" to do backcountry "skiing". They are now closing schools 2 days in advance when they forecast only 1cm of snow...

Most sports stores around here do not carry XC gear anymore... But they all have Hoks for sale. Why rent or buy cross-country skis and kill yourself when you can just walk in the woods on Hoks and follow the trend? I think you are right Hrishi, Hoks are probably responsible, to a certain extent, for the death of nordic skiing...

But yeah, on the other hand, you are also right: They might help new people to get into skiing... I know people without any XC background who bought Hoks with universal bindings and are now buying pins after getting that first taste of tele skiing... But of course they are buying T4s cause that's what everybody is doing and they are way too busy to learn anything new... Oh well...
/...\ Peace, Love, Telemark and Tofu /...\
"And if you like to risk your neck, we'll boom down Sutton in old Quebec..."

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lilcliffy

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Re: Onion River Sports closing...

Postby lilcliffy » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:25 pm

hrishi wrote:I feel a bit of PR and branding nordic backcountry for 'winter hiking' (as opposed to skiing) might attract a lot of snowshoers. And offerings such as Altai Hoks would also help in giving snowshoers a 'taste' of skiing.


This is a very good point.

Although I have a passion for downhill skiing- my primary passion is winter hiking/trekking on skis - AKA Nordic touring. Somehow skiing has become predominantly associated with downhill skiing at resorts.

Winter hiking/trekking on skis is WAAY more efficient and FUN than on snowshoes. I particularly like doing Hok-gliding laps around my snowshoe-trudging students. The Hok is a ski.

There's a local legend here in New Brunswick and Northern Maine (who share the same culture and history BTW- both not only share the same Aboriginal culture and language but, were also part of Acadia).

The legend is that resident Maliseet, Acadian and Metis dismissed the skis that Scandinavian immigrants brought with them. The snowshoers challenged the Nordic skies to a race- you can guess the result!

The invention of ski came much later than the submersion of the Beringia...

The snowshoe still has its place- for sure- but imagine what Native Americans must have thought when they saw the first Nordic skier in action!
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry


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