Best Excuse to Chug in Public

Thanks to Ballard's Second Ascent, which specializes in used high-end outdoor clothing and gear, you don't have to drop a ton of coin to fit in with the Northwest crowd. The six-year-old store's staffers are discriminating about the condition and brand of what they'll buy and sell, which results in premium stuff (lots of Patagonia, Arc'teryx, the North Face, et al.) offered at wholesale prices. Approximately half of the store's inventory is used, priced at least 50 percent off retail; new manufacturer closeouts comprise another quarter of the items, discounted between 25 percent and 50 percent, and the rest is brand-new. Also impressive is the breadth of the offerings—the store sells clothing and equipment for just about every outdoor activity save downhill skiing. For the best selection, manager Chad Willems suggests dropping in at the end of summer and winter. According to Willems, this year is the year of the pack. "We have more used and new and quality packs than ever before," he says. "We're looking really good now." And so will you after visiting Second Ascent.—Huan Hsu 5209 Ballard Ave. N.W., 545-8810,

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