Hit the slopes running with all the best equipment: Uli, Demo or REI?

Ani Svendsen

February break is approaching and whether your family is making the trek to Tahoe or flying remote, you are going to need to make sure your skis are ready to hit the slopes. In recent months, record-breaking snowfall in Tahoe has made for the snowiest winter since 1970 and the cold weather will continue in 2022. With the recent closure of fan-favorite ski shop, Any Mountain in the Corte Madera Plaza, meeting your skiing needs may seem difficult. However, there are still ski shops in Marin, each with its own special deals and gear. Whether you are looking for a ski tune-up at Uli, the most recent gear from Demo Sport, or advice from Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) on which slopes to hit, each has something to offer.


Uli Ski Shop

Uli Ski Shop is located on  Sir Francis Drake Blvd. in Kentfield and is in close proximity to Redwood. Established in 1972, Uli provides ski gear for the whole family, including boot fitting, the latest ski equipment and rentals for all your mountain adventures. When it comes to custom boot fitting, Uli specializes in shell and liner modifications, custom insoles, stance alignment and Thermo fit liners. The liners provide warmth and protection for feet, which is crucial to having a safe and enjoyable skiing experience. In contrast, Big Box retailers and larger chain establishments tend to sell boots that are too big. If the lining is not fit properly, it can cause serious damage to your feet. Customers do not have to worry about this at Uli’s because their boot fitters are trained in the anatomy and biomechanics of the foot in order to properly evaluate the correct boot for the customer’s foot shape. Along with specialized boot fitting, Uli delivers speedy ski and snowboard repairs. Customers can take their equipment in for a quick wax or a race tune-up and pick it up within the same day! Customers will also find great deals when it comes to rentals. The Performance Ski Package is priced at $70 and includes skis, boots and poles. If you are looking for a small family-owned ski shop with quality service, Uli is one of the best options. 


Demo Sports

Uli ski is not the only shop with many great deals on ski equipment and gear; Demo Sports, located in San Rafael, provides everything from waxing and tune-ups to gear and rentals. Providing a wide assortment of tune-ups, the Performance Ski Tune at Demo consists of base prep, stone grinding edge bevel, de-tune and hot wax. The Snowboard tune offers the same products for $10 cheaper. While at Demo, make sure to check out their wide selection of goggles that range from brands like Oakley to Smith.

Customers’ skis sit in the workshop at REI, waiting to be waxed and sharpened.


The last, but certainly not least when it comes to local ski shops, is REI. Located the closest to Redwood at the Town Center mall in Corte Madera, it offers similar services to Uli and Demo, only on a much larger scale. Due to its size and various locations, REI has a much greater selection of services than the others. REI provides rentals for camping supplies, backcountry skiing, cross country skiing as well as climbing and cycling gear. If you are an REI member, pricing for a one-night rental of backcountry skis is $60 and without the membership, it is $90. The store not only has a wide range of in-store shopping but also offers a wide variety of online services. REI’s website provides “How To” articles that provide detailed instructions on how to shape up your skis yourself. REI’s experts also have “staff picks” which allow their experienced employees to share with you their most used products and gear.

The REI in Town Center displays a board with the available products, costs and services offered inside the store.


Since December, Tahoe has gained 214 inches of fresh powder, and it would be a waste not to hit the mountains only because you lack the equipment to do so. REI, Uli and Demo can ensure this doesn’t happen because they have got it all — rentals, gear and more.