Our Story

Alpenglow Sports is an original California Mountain Shop that has been providing locals and visitors with inspiration, local knowledge and the best gear to enjoy the great outdoors since 1973. Based in Tahoe City, we take pride in being community, socially and environmentally responsible to ensure Lake Tahoe stays one of the best places to play, visit, and live in California.

Our humble beginnings

Since 1973

Alpenglow Sports was founded in Truckee, CA in 1973. We started with two friends that loved the mountains and didn't want real jobs. To make rent, we agreed to split the original shop with a leatherworker and friend. The Hide Side & Alpenglow Sports shop was founded to provide the community with durable outdoor gear and custom leather goods.

Do you recognize the building? It still stands today!

Bringing gear to the mountains

Original Mountain Shop

In 1974, a mountain shop actually IN the mountains was almost unheard of. Most California gear shops were around Berkley, CA and focused on outfitting the Sierra Club. Alpenglow started as one of the original mountain shops and was the first to bring The North Face, Sierra Designs, and other early outdoor brands to mountain communities directly. In our very first year, 1973-1974, we sold every single piece of outdoor gear before Christmas day. We popped bottles, celebrated, and cemented our position as Tahoe's core mountain shop.

Putting down roots

Home in Tahoe City

In 1979, Don Fyfe moved the business to Tahoe City and focused the shop on outdoor gear for all four seasons. While this was a huge expansion for us, we again could barely afford rent and agreed to split the shop with another outdoor retailer. This was an era when new sports were reaching the US and we focused on mastering the sports ourselves and educating our community.

Fastest on two feet

Running with our community

Running experienced its largest period of growth in the 1980s. The staff at Alpenglow sports rode that wave, becoming marathoners and ultramarathoners while supporting the growing running community in Tahoe City and Truckee. We created the Alpenglow News to teach our community all the things that we were learning.

Running shoes were rapidly advancing and Alpenglow Sports was the first to stock new technologies as they became available. Today, Alpenglow Sports is dedicated to trail running and remains the only speciality run shop in the area. Our footwear buyer admits to having, "a bit of a sneaker problem," which means that Alpenglow Sports stocks an incredible selection of the highest-performance running shoes on the market.

Knocking down walls

Expanding yet again

Things started to click as we expanded into more winter and summer sports. We bought the shop next door and combined the storefronts into one large shop under the Alpenglow Sports banner. If you look closely, you can still find two front doors and clear remnants of the dividing wall that was torn down. This expansion is the exact same floorplan that the shop inhabits today. We are so stoked to continue our care of this historic space.

Bringing Nordic to Tahoe

Early Nordic Pioneers

Nordic Skiing wasn't something you easily pick up in the 70s and 80s. Alpenglow Sports starting flying in experts from Scandinavia to teach us about their new gliding and striding sports. We quickly became a hub for the discipline and continue to be the local leader in classic, skate, and metal-edge touring. We helped lay down some of the first groomed tracks at Royal Gorge, paving the way for cross country's explosive growth.

Today, Tahoe is blessed with three incredible Nordic centers between Tahoe City and Truckee. You can find the Alpenglow Staff skating fresh cord most mornings. The Alpenglow 10/20K Freestyle is the premier nordic race in the area. We'll see you out there next year!

Alpenglow goes vertical

Leading the Sierra Climbing Culture

When Dave Nettle joined Alpenglow Sports in 1985, climbing was still a tiny, counter-culture sport existing on the fringes. Dave unified the Alpenglow team around climbing as the next big thing. Our staff started to earn first accents all through the Sierra and did so with cutting edge gear and techniques. Alpenglow Sports became a leader in climbing just as the sport grew in popularity. Today, Alpenglow Sports honors that heritage with a commitment to climbing gear, climbing culture, and staff that send! Come by with your climbing questions!

Everest '87

Cool shirt, right?

Honestly we just want you to see this shirt that we made. We're thinking about doing another run of the China Everest 1987 tee that you see Dave and rest of the team wearing here. Should we?

More broadly, mountain climbing exploded onto the world scene and we quickly worked to grow our mountaineering experience. Our staff honed our skills in the Eastern Sierra and we soon had climbed peaks on all seven continents. Today we stock everything you need to attack steep snow and vertical ice.

Stepping into the backcountry

Putting Backcountry Skiing on the Map

In the early 1990's, backcountry ski gear was incredibly limited. We had one good three-buckle boot and a few scaled backcountry skis with hardly an edge on them. Again, the Alpenglow Sports team stepped out anticipating a surge in backcountry exploration. We started bringing in early Dynafit gear and pushing it to it's limits. We found some incredible skiing close by in Tahoe and in the greater Sierra.

Today, the Alpenglow Sports team earns our turns every day and can be found setting skin tracks and talking ski and splitboard gear wherever good snow and great adventures are found.

What's our secret sauce?

Usage-based expertise

Alpenglow really hit our stride when we cemented our philosophy and committed to always stand apart. The formula for us was "usage-based expertise." Out goal was to hire experienced staff and build a culture of experimentation and exploration that kept us on the bleeding edge.

We needed to know how products performed and couldn't rely on marketing materials and brand promises. We took our gear into the backcountry and put it to the test. We uphold this culture today. When you come to buy a ski, the person you're buying it from has likely skied every ski on the wall.

Welcome to the modern era

Alpenglow Sports Today

A few of the ski bums that turned into usage-based experts are still with us today. In the mid 90s and early 2000's our culture captivated a few key employees who continue to devote their energy to the shop and what we do here.

Only at Alpenglow Sports can you walk through the door and chat with someone who has been here for 20+ years. Our experienced staff and the culture they've created continues to inspire Tahoe's bright and bold athletes and adventurers to contribute what they can to a culture that's bigger than them.

Keeping it in the family

Our new owner

Long time employee Brendan Madigan purchased Alpenglow Sports in 2011. I'll let him take it from here:

"As Alpenglow’s second-ever owner, I feel a tremendous responsibility to give back to the local mountain community that has sustained the shop since 1979. I lead Alpenglow’s community-centric business model and everything I and the staff do is meant to honor this long-standing commitment."

Learn More About Alpenglow Sports

Meet the Staff

View all
Meet Quinn

Meet Quinn

Hi, I’m Quinn I grew up on the North shore of Lake Tahoe and am an avid pursuer of type 2 fun, mostly in the form of XC skiing, trail running and mountai...

Meet Cooper

Meet Cooper

Hi, I'm Cooper I’ve recently moved back to Tahoe after four years of College on the east coast. I’m an avid mountain biker, trail runner, cross country s...

Meet Liz

Meet Liz

Hi, I'm Liz! I’m a runner, skier and Hueco’s mom. I hold down the back of house here at Alpenglow Sports, so while you may not always see me when you com...

Visit Us

We are lakeside in Tahoe City. We have been in the same building for almost 50 years and we are not going anywhere!

415 N. Lake Blvd.
Tahoe City, CA 96145

Mon-Fri: 10am-6pm
Sat-Sun: 9am-6pm