The nice outdoor: Mountain Recreation gives gear, equipment and leases

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Jill and Jason Auld are the couple behind Grass Valley’s Mountain Recreation at 491 E. Main St.
Photo: Elias Funez

They say if you do something you love it will never feel like a job.

For Jill and Jason Auld, they are among the lucky ones who managed to turn their passion into a successful business. As the owners of Mountain Recreation in Grass Valley, the couple can indulge their lifelong passion for skiing, backpacking, hiking and just enjoying the great outdoors.

“We lived in Tahoe and Jill was a teacher and we decided to move back to Grass Valley,” Jason said. “I was working a construction job and Jill got this hard-to-get teaching job in Grass Valley and it was just totally random; it appeared in the newspaper: ‘sports store for sale’

“So we looked at it and never looked back. Next we’ll buy this store.”

Mountain Recreation is currently gearing up for the colder months and has begun displaying some of its winter gear including skis and snowboards.
Photo: Elias Funez

Admittedly, the Aulds had no retail experience when they first opened, but insights have been gained over time.

“To be honest, neither of us had worked in retail or knew what we were getting into,” Jill said. “But we grew up in this community, we enjoy doing all the things that we promote and publish.”

“I think the outdoor stuff we’re into was the eye candy or the appeal of the store,” explained Jason. “We were ski bums in Tahoe for five or seven years. I think that was the attraction, these outdoor activities. It was total head immersion at first.”

Though owning the store takes most of their time, the Aulds still strive to keep doing the things they love and that originally inspired them.

Mountain Recreation offers many quality hiking and backpacking items that are necessary for the serious outdoor enthusiast.
Photo: Elias Funez

“We have three kids and we raised our kids to enjoy all these things like backpacking, skiing and all of that,” Jill said. “But we definitely have less time. If you own your own business, you come here often.”

Jason agreed.

“We’re still in that environment where you always think about backpacking or skiing, so we still did that. In the beginning we were so focused. We didn’t know what we were doing, just focusing on keeping the business going consumed us.”

NOT JUST OUTDOORS

Mountain Recreation has been in business for 22 years offering a range of products for the outdoor enthusiast. However, they’re quick to point out that their line of products isn’t strictly for the outdoorsy type.

“I do all the soft goods,” Jill said, “so the clothes and accessories. I love that part; to go to the shows and bring a lot of cool things to town and let people find them. That’s my favorite part for me.”

Garments are also for sale at Grass Valley’s Mountain Recreation, with all styles hand-picked by the Aulds.
Photo: Elias Funez

Women’s clothing takes up a sizeable portion of the store and carries brands such as Roxy and O’Neil, among others.

The couple also pride themselves on their rental services. They offer alpine skis, cross-country skis, snowboards and snowshoes. Stand-up paddleboards and kayaks in the summer. They run a kiosk on Scotts Flat Lake during the summer where you can try out boards and kayaks direct from the store’s fleet.

Jill said, “In the winter we offer a youth season ski package for kids to come in and rent their gear for the entire season for $129. And it’s for the local families. They can come back and swap it out if something doesn’t work or their feet have grown. It’s a great program for parents because it’s not a cheap sport to participate in, but it helps a lot.”

They also offer full-service ski and snowboard tuning and repair.

“We’re often compared to REI, but we’re not trying to be a REI,” said Jason.

“We’re unique in that the material we offer is quite unique in this space,” added Jill. “People find things here that they don’t find in many places in the city.

“We feel pressured to make everyone happy. We are not REI; We are smaller but we do our best to bring what people need into the community. “

Mountain Recreation is located at 491 E. Main St. in Grass Valley. For more information, visit http://www.mtnrec.com or call 530-477-8006.

For items to help you enjoy your summer in the Sierra, check out Mountain Recreation in Grass Valley, including gear for wakeboarding, kayaking, and stand-up paddle boarding.
Photo: Elias Funez

Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer at The Union. She can be reached at [email protected]