After 54 years, Porters Sports to close final Tahoe/Truckee location

Margaret Moran
Kyle Smith, manager and buyer for Porters Sports, helps a customer Wednesday morning in the Truckee store. After more than 50 years, the business will close once it sells its merchandise.
Margaret Moran / | Sierra Sun

TRUCKEE, Calif. — A longtime iconic Truckee/Tahoe winter gear shop is hanging up its skis for good.

After more than 50 years in business, Porters Sports Lake Tahoe is closing once it sells the remaining merchandise at its Truckee location at the Crossroads Shopping Center on Deerfield Drive.

“It’s a shame,” said Dave Wilderotter, owner of Tahoe Dave’s Skis & Boards. “… Porters is an iconic brand in Tahoe. It’s a shame that they have to do it, but it’s understandable with a season like this.”

While this winter’s lack of snow “put a nail in the coffin,” a dispute with a major vendor that resulted in severed ties was the main contributor, said Joshua Parker, vice president of marketing for Porters.

“We’re bummed … there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Joshua Parker
vice president of marketing, Porters

“We’re bummed, of course, but we understand it,” he said. “There’s nothing you can do about it.”

Porters was also well-known for its online store, which shut down on Tuesday, said Lars Ames, web developer for Porters.

“We’re a lot more independent than what was happening in this store, but because of our inventory levels and what we could buy for the store, that really dictated what we could do online,” he said.

To move the store’s remaining skis, poles, snowboards, outerwear and other inventory, Porters is holding a 40 percent-off, cash-only sale.

Also, with a $5 donation to the High Fives Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to raising money and awareness for winter athletes who have suffered a life-altering injury, merchandise will be discounted 50 percent.

“This was the place you came to,” said Heckler Hilken, a regular customer, while stopping into the store Wednesday morning. “… This was a hybrid shop for the most hardcore riders to your weekend gapers.”

Despite Porters’ closing, several local gear shops remain, include Tahoe Dave’s, Granite Chief and Totally Board, among others.

“There’s enough of us to fill the void, but it’s their employees and (owners) … who you can’t replace,” Wilderotter said.

Ames said about 10 to 12 employees will be impacted by Porters’ impending closure. As for what will happen with the space, it’s unknown, he said.

Truckee was the last remaining Porters’ location, with its Incline Village and Tahoe City stores closing in recent years.

Originally, Porters started in 1951 in Tahoe City when Warren Porter started a clothing and general retail store, before being converted into a ski shop in 1960, a month and a half before the Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley.

From 1960 to 2002, the Kahn family owned the business, with the Chapman family purchasing it in 2002.

“It’ll never be the same,” Hilken said. “Gone, but not forgotten.”

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