Originally Posted by liamcanada
Thanks for the input guys. The main reason i want to work in a shop is so that I can get the experience to tune my skis and mess with equipment to get the best configuration. Also, I really want to buy some telemark gear this year. Is this a good idea? Should I buy online or find a local reputable dealer?
Tuning skis really isn't all that hard. Sure, the shop will have some nice tools, but larger shops won't do a lot of hand tuning, and that's the skill you really want to learn. Make up a good tuning area, grab your skis, and go for it. Local shops and clubs might even have tuning workshops available to the public. Books? Some here: http://www.tognar.com/books_manuals_instruction_ski_snowboard_tuning_waxing_repair.html
There's also a thread here on epicski for 'new ski preparation' with youtube vids.
Telemark gear: depending where you are, it might not be hard at all to get a hold of excellent used gear. The Pacific Northwest is full of great used teley gear because so many are moving to AT. Telemarktips.com is a pretty good source of information when they aren't yelling at each other. Post over there and I'm sure you'll find someone in your locale that can help you out finding gear. Skis for teley, just mount up and use the same thing you've been using for alpine. If you spend any money at all, just like alpine, spend it on boots. Sure, at a shop you can do the pro deal which will save you some money, but you won't be making much to begin with. The best part is you might know a customer who's unloading like new gear for peanuts. While these two goals you have are great, working in a ski shop really isn't necessary. Again, if it's your goal to be in ski retail or related services, then find the best shop/bootfitter/tuner in your area to 'apprentice' with. Skis, boots, brands, etc... come and go. Hard skills and sales ability are what it's really about.