Tom and Nancy Burnham: Fond memories
October 14, 2009
It was great to hear about Rod and the Ski Haus (“Ski Haus turns 40,” Oct. 9 Steamboat Today). It brought back fond memories of the early years of the shop and ski area.
When Rod purchased the business, he was attending CSU. Gene, his dad, hired me to manage the shop during its first two years, when Rod was attending school. It was a fun and exciting time.
The Ski Haus was the first legitimate competition for the Werners’ ski shop. We held a massive sale to rid us of the old inventory we received from the original shop in downtown. Truckloads of ancient ski equipment were sold at bargain prices, and locals loved it. It was the first real ski sale in Steamboat.
My wife, Nancy, was pregnant and helping get the shop open that first fall when she went into labor Nov. 19. Jean Russell told us Nancy should get to the hospital. I was busy with all the details, so I told her to drive home and pack some things, and I’d come and get her as time allowed. The phone rang in short time, and I was on my way. Ted was born at 12:10 a.m. Nov. 20. That was 40 years ago.
At the end of two years, I asked Gene for a raise so I could support my new family. Income and profit did not allow that to happen. My 60-hour weeks were one reason I had asked for an increase of my $800 a month salary. Gene’s answer was something I never forgot. He said, “If you were a good manager, you should get the job done in 40 hours.” His sharp business sense has certainly passed on to Rod as shown by the success of the shop.
Rod stepped up to take over the business in an impressive way. I developed my construction business and watched Ski Haus develop and grow. It was a great time to be in Steamboat. We try to stop by and see Rod when we return for visits.
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Steamboat and Ski Haus certainly have a special, warm place in our hearts.