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Otto Ski Shop Owner Retires After 40 Year Career

By Kelly Romo

Otto Ski Shop Owner Retires After 40 Year Career

For nearly four decades. Otto’s Ski Shop, perched conveniently along Highway 26, is more than just a retail store — it’s a testament to tradition, family heritage, and the enduring spirit of Nordic skiing. As Andreanne Rode prepares to close this chapter and retire, she reflects on a journey deeply intertwined with personal milestones, community connections, and a relentless passion for the sport.
Otto’s Ski Shop’s origins trace back to Norway, where Otto and Agathe “Gagga” Rode lived and breathed cross-country skiing. For the Rodes, skiing wasn’t merely a recreational activity but a way of life and a means of navigating their snow-covered homeland. When they immigrated to the United States, this passion crossed the ocean with them, eventually finding a new home in Sandy, Oregon.
Andreanne’s journey with cross-country skiing and Otto’s Ski Shop began in an unexpected and poignant way. While living in California, she met Kjell, Otto’s son. A visit to Sandy soon followed, where they planned to spend time with Otto. Tragically, the day after their meeting, Otto passed away from a heart attack. Despite the sorrowful circumstances, Andreanne and Kjell decided to honor his legacy. They unpacked the stored ski equipment and Scandinavian imports, opening the shop on Thanksgiving Day in 1984. She and Kjell were married at Timberline, their daughter was born, and the shop became an integral part of their family life.
For the past twenty years, Andreanne has been the sole proprietor of Otto’s Ski Shop. This period not only marked the growth of the business but also significant personal milestones. Running the shop as a woman in a male-dominated industry presented unique challenges. In the beginning, Andreanne often felt at a disadvantage. Men would prefer advice from another man, even though she had become quite experienced. She learned to navigate these hurdles with resilience, eventually earning the respect and loyalty of her customers. Over the years, the demographics of her clientele evolved. What started as a family-oriented activity gained popularity among college students, athletes, and young women. Andreanne noticed a shift as more female customers began visiting the shop, empowered and independent with their own money. Over half of her customers became women, alone or in groups, eager to embrace the sport.
Andreanne’s commitment to Otto’s Ski Shop and the Sandy community has been unwavering. Her deep involvement extended beyond just running a business. She donated to local causes and engaged in community events, believing it is “Better to give than to receive.” This philosophy fostered strong customer relationships and enriched her personal life. To aspiring entrepreneurs in the outdoor sports industry, Andreanne offers sage advice to stay passionate and personally connected with your customers. The relationships you build are the cornerstone of success.
Andreanne is most proud to have been able to support her family through this wonderful business. Raising her daughter in the community and seeing her become a successful nurse has been incredibly fulfilling. As she prepares to retire, Andreanne is excited to explore new passions. Gardening and travel top her list, especially traveling with her grandchildren. Volunteering locally in Sandy and in Portland is also on her agenda, continuing her tradition of community involvement.
The closure of Otto’s Ski Shop marks the end of an era. Andreanne’s dedication and personal touch have left an indelible mark. She hopes to stay connected to the skiing world through volunteer work with ski programs for underprivileged children. As she bids Otto’s Ski Shop farewell, Andreanne extends her heartfelt thanks to the community and friends who have supported her. “Your love and affection have inspired me every day. Though the shop is closing, my gratitude and connection to this community will never fade.”
For the Rode family and the many loyal customers, Otto’s Ski Shop has always symbolized a profound love for skiing, the beauty of community, and the enduring spirit of adventure. As Andreanne steps into retirement, Otto’s Ski Shop is still for sale. She is looking for a new owner to continue its legacy. If you have a passion for Nordic skiing and want to be part of the Sandy community, this could be your chance. Interested buyers should contact Andreanne at 503-668-5947 to learn more about this opportunity.

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