Beth Fallon, store owner, and Bill O’Sullivan, store manager, can outfit skiers and snow boarders from beginners to experts at Ski Barn, 2990 Brunswick, Lawrenceville, just north of Franklin Corner Road. Photo by Chris Sturgis.

By Chris Sturgis

Beth Fallon is one of five reasons her parents, Dick and Carol Fallon, opened the group of Ski Barn stores, including the one on U.S. 1 in Lawrenceville.

“They had five kids who loved skiing,” she said in a recent interview.

Her father had a small carpentry and construction business in northern New Jersey, but the workload declined seriously during the winter. So, he converted his construction to the first Ski Barn. It was in Little Falls, which was later replaced by a Paramus store. That was November 1971.

Now, Ski Barn has stores four stores, including Totowa and Eatontown, with a fifth to open in Wayne this month.

Fallon, still a skier, and Lawrenceville store manager Bill O’Sullivan, a skier and snowboarder, say the Ski Barns are the kind of stores they like as customers.

The Lawrenceville store is 16,000 square feet and sells a wide variety of equipment and clothing in every price range, including the high-tech gear and high-fashion ski wear.

“We meet everybody’s needs,” Fallon said.

Some of the brands they carry are Bonfire, Burton, Analog, Oakley, Peuterey, Salomon, Ride, Rome, Rossignol, K-2 Skis, Volkl, Nordica, Dynastar, Arbor, Kjus, Orage, Eider, Postcard, Northface, Bogner, Hell is for Heroes and Helly Hansen.

The Ski Barns also pride themselves on providing excellent service. Often times, bindings can be mounted or adjusted on skis while you wait. All store employees are snow sport enthusiasts, not commissioned sales people. To ensure the greatest comfort and safety, all the employees are trained by the Masterfit University Boot Fitter Training Centers.

Families with growing children should look into Ski Barn’s the seasonal lease program, Fallon said. The equipment is often of better quality than what is available at the resort rentals. Bringing skis with you saves time waiting in line. The leases also come with $300 in lift tickets, she said.

Next year, the same child can come back and lease the skis, boots, poles, and clothing in the next size, she said.

Ski Barn also carries bicycling equipment and accessories and patio furniture for the summer months, but for some skiing is 12-month sport. “If you’re willing to travel, you can ski any time of the year,” Fallon said.

Most local skiers stay on the East Coast, gliding down the famed slopes of Vermont, Killington and Stratton, or staying closer to home, at New Jersey’s Mountain Creek, New York’s Hunter Mountain or Pennsylvania’s Blue Mountain.

Others will venture as far as the American west, Europe and South America. Ski Barn also runs bus trips to ski areas through Banchi Outdoor Adventures.

O’Sullivan, a Lawrence native, said he started skiing at age 5, but switched to snowboarding when he was 12. “You feel like you’re surfing the mountain,” he said.

Fallon said skiing is a good family activity. “As kids get older, they start losing interest in family vacations, but they still like skiing,” she said.

Fallon said adults who never learned to ski as children shouldn’t hesitate to give it a try. After all, her mother and father didn’t try it until they were in their forties, and didn’t give it up until they were in their seventies.

For more information, visit the store, 2990 Brunswick Pike (U.S. 1), Lawrenceville, NJ, 08648, or call (609) 530-1666 or go online to the store Web site, skibarn.com.