Having a tough time conjuring up what gifts to purchase for people on your holiday gift list this year? Have no fear. This year, The Daily did reconnaissance on several local businesses and gives two thumbs up to each of the following fine establishments for all of your holiday shopping needs.
Fremont Vintage Mall (Fremont)
Vintage aviation uniforms and cowboy boots line the walls, while guitars and fashion accessories from decades ago bring forgotten eras back to life. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trading cards and PEZ dispensers bring back memories of when your most important concern was if you finished your homework before watching Nickelodeon.
“The Fremont Vintage Mall is a gem,” sales associate Stephanie Oster said. “It’s just a really cool, fun place to explore … It’s always changing, that’s the best part about it.”
There’s also old paintings, old boy scout uniforms, Tom Petty posters, and they even have presents for pets. Posters, records, and flannels are everywhere.
“This next week, a lot of our vendors are going to start bringing in more Christmas items,” Oster said. “We have a lot of knickknacks for stocking stuffers, white elephant gifts; all sorts of stuff.”
The Fremont Vintage Mall will remain open until 8 p.m. during the last two weeks before Christmas to accommodate shoppers and students who have class or part time jobs.
“One of the best parts of this job is hearing the stories at the register of what people are buying things for,” Oster said. “Lots of people make cool little things. Like they’ll get Scrabble pieces in their friends’ names, buy cards, or put together packages for them.”
“The atmosphere here fuels creativity a little bit,” she said.
Archie McPhee (Wallingford)
Founded by businessman Mark Pahlow, Archie McPhee proudly proclaims on its Facebook page to have been confusing Seattle since 1983. For this article, the most appropriate question to ask is, what doesn’t Archie McPhee have?
Looking for a high altitude G-suit to bestow to your better half? Archie has you covered. Is a gorilla costume on the top of your favorite Sasquatch lover’s wish list? Archie has those, too. There’s also a wide array of disguises, librarian action figures, participation awards, world’s best teenagers awards, trophies for literally everything, and tote bags honoring the infamous Wallingford Beast.
They’ve also got plenty of Krampus-themed gifts for the people on your naughty list.
The store racks are lined with a wide array of all types of wonders. There are socks for every occasion: Bigfoot socks, socks for antisocial people, rubber chicken socks, and even socks in tribute of the late Nikola Tesla.
Names and photos of visiting adoring fans like David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, Dave Matthews and Elliott Smith, and Bill Nye and Tonya Harding can be seen on Archie’s wall of fame. The friendly customer service staff is more than willing to answer any questions you have, or help you find the perfect present for someone truly special in your life.
Archie McPhee is located in Wallingford on N 45th St.
Easy Street Records (West Seattle)
Located in West Seattle, Easy Street Records could also double as a school of rock because of the many areas of the store dedicated to rock and roll history, including David Bowie, Pearl Jam, and Jack White’s Third Man Records. But Easy Street Records offers much more than that.
“We have everything that a record store should have for Christmas shopping,” sales associate Ben Fisher said. “We have CDs, LPs, cassettes, books, and attire. Everything a music lover might want or need.”
In addition to their large, eclectic collection of new and used music, Easy Street also sells turntables and accessories. For the music lover in your life without a turntable, Fisher suggested that the holidays are a great time to get them one.
Easy Street also carries a large catalog of Christmas and holiday-themed CDs and LPs. Among the albums on Fisher’s holiday playlist are “Barenaked for the Holidays” by the Barenaked Ladies, “Christmas Is 4 Ever” by Bootsy Collins, “One Christmas at a Time” by John Roderick and Jonathan Coulton, and the several Christmas albums put out by Johnny Cash.
Easy Street is also home to a bar and café that offers a menu full of music-themed goodies like the “Frances Farmer French Toast” and the “Johnny Cash Special.”
“I don’t know if UW students are old enough,” Fisher said. “But you can also get a beer from the bar and go through the CD and LP racks. That’s a pretty nice option to have.”
Pike Place Market (Downtown)
I rarely visit Pike Place to shop for myself, but when all else fails, it is an excellent place to buy holiday gifts and souvenirs. Founded in 1907, Pike Place has hundreds of shops and stands owned by local farmers and artisans selling everything from comic books to handmade clothing, jewelry, collectibles, and beyond.
If you can stand the crowds for a little bit, Pike Place surely has something for everyone on your shopping list. The feeling of community there, despite the literal boatloads of tourists browsing its aisles, is refreshing.
Pike Place is not only a great place to shop, but also a perfect way to spend a rainy weekend afternoon. During your shopping trip, enjoy some hot cider from a street vendor, or grab a bowl of savory clam chowder from Pike Place Chowder.
Reach contributing writer Sean Harding
The winter forecast is in, and the predictions are stoked with a chance of pow. Last winter saw the UW shut its doors for a snow day, but what’s in store this year for those ready to hit the slopes?
Don’t get your hopes up for record-setting snowfalls; La Niña only guarantees a weather abnormality, not necessarily heavy pow. Luckily for us, this year the Canadian Rockies are expected to have above average precipitation, and the Pacific Northwest should be on par with snow levels we’ve seen in the past. That means at least one powder day is all but guaranteed.
If all else fails, sit back and live vicariously through athletes in the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympic games. Big air snowboarding was recently added to the roster, allowing viewers to watch competitors flip their way to victory, or the hospital.
Can’t make it to South Korea and hate being a couch potato? No worries, there are lots of local ways to get your annual dose of pow.
Closest to Seattle is The Summit at Snoqualmie, often referred to as “Sno-crummie” for its low elevation and high percentage of slush and rain. The Summit however, is a classic for those looking for a quick, hour-long trip into the mountains. Boasting a huge park scene and four base areas, there’s a variety of terrain suitable for any level of skier or boarder. You take a chance skiing at The Summit, because even if the weather forecasts snow, it often dumps rain. Shred here for a “sticky quicky,” not a long satisfying day of trails. Hidden gems include “Ditch” and some rare but accessible off-piste powder.
Crystal Mountain and Stevens Pass
Two hours out, and for a fuller day of gnar, are Crystal Mountain and Stevens Pass. While Crystal boasts the largest square footage of on-trail terrain in the state, Stevens is known to have a local, less touristy vibe. While both have moderate parks, Stevens reigns supreme with its mandatory park education program.
Crystal is well-known for hosting big mountain competitions, with access to backcountry and long trail runs. It’s also heavily tourist-oriented, meaning expensive food, full parking lots on busy days, and easy runs all the way from the top. The lines go quick though and on a bluebird (sunny) day you can clearly see Mount Rainier. Don’t pay for the gondola and prepare for a long day of exploration.
Stevens also has its fair share of backcountry, and tends to be less skied-out. Take a ride on the back side for groomers underneath power lines that literally buzz as you turn beneath them. There’s nothing like that familiar hum of technology!
Mount Baker and White Pass
Even farther out are Mount Baker and White Pass. Baker is popular due to its close proximity to Western Washington University, and White is heavily community-based, consisting almost entirely of families who’ve been shredding for years. Hit up Baker with your Bellingham buddies or road trip to White for a satisfying day of fast skiing and great views.
If you’re feeling adventurous or like to drive, Whistler Blackcomb is the gem of nearby resorts. Without traffic, the car ride to Canada only takes around four hours. Get up bright and early for a 3:30 AM departure and you’ll make it through Vancouver before rush hour AND make first gondola. Although Whistler is a large, heavily trafficked and expensive place to visit, they offer student season passes that pay for themselves in only four days. For any regular shredder, this is a deal. For the first timer, pay for the experience of riding the Peak2Peak and then take advantage of the lower drinking age to grab poutine and a cold Canadian beer.
For students, funding a trip to the snow is often an issue. Lift tickets can cost upwards of $100 a day, not to mention gas, food, and having the right equipment.
Luckily, most resorts understand and provide student discounts on passes and rentals. Stevens, Whistler, Snoqualmie, and Baker provide college season passes and lift tickets, while Crystal unofficially gives discounts on day passes.
On campus, there are plenty of resources to get you connected with other shredders and even provide the gear you might lack.
For the more casual or experienced shredder, consider joining Husky Snow Club. They operate a one-time fee rideshare system that operates mainly through their Facebook page and connects you with other people driving up to the mountains on any given day.
Many local institutions like Evo, Sturtevants, REI, and second hand stores sell and rent gear, while UW’s gear garage provides rentable avalanche equipment. When going into the backcountry or anywhere off trail, this is a must-have. Sometimes the possibility of deep pow makes us forget about safety. It’s important to be prepared and responsible. Wear a helmet, never ride alone, and know your limits.
Getting ready to watch Lindsey Vonn, Mikaela Shiffrin, and Shaun White go for Olympic gold this winter means there’s sure to be no shortage of stoke on the hills. Whether you’re just starting out, watching from afar, or getting ready to send cliffs, make sure to take advantage of this year’s presumed pow.
Reach writer Samantha Bushman