Switchback Sports brings new name, same level of service
One Stop Ski Shop switched things up this spring by changing its name, after doubling the space of its 11th Street store.
Owner Patrick Fannon said the new name, Switchback Sports, will not change the businesses’ commitment to providing great service, quality equipment and the same high-level boot fitting that built the shop’s reputation.
“The goal is to be a place that people come to, and they know that they’re going to get a great value, whether they’re renting something or buying something,” said Fannon, who purchased the store in fall 2019 from John Kole, who was looking to step back from the retail business he had run for 39 years.
Kole got his start in the ski industry selling skis and offering indoor ski clinics with his father near the boardwalk in New Jersey. He was drawn to Steamboat Springs by an opportunity to open a ski shop with Olympian Billy Kidd in 1982. But Kidd never opened a shop, so Kole opened his own, running it out of a small closet in the lobby of the Subalpine Condominiums.
Over the years that shop grew, Kole changed its name to One Stop Ski Shop and ran it out of several locations.
“I’m not as sad as I thought I would be, but I do have some remorse,” Kole said of selling the business. “I’m really glad to put it in the hands of people like Patrick and Will that have been doing a great job at it and have the financial backing to do what (they’re) doing is really great.”
Kole, who stayed on to work as staff last winter, said he is proud the shop was able to build a solid reputation in a ski town like Steamboat. He fondly remembered his supporters, including longtime employee Pete Dawson and Ram Hawley, who volunteered to help out with in both the summer and winter months.
“We paid (Hawley) in bourbon, which was great,” Kole joked.
Kole will continue on staff as a brand ambassador and to help bring the same high-level boot fitting service to all customers.
New owner Fannon owns similar ski shops in Park City, Utah, for several years and is excited to add the Steamboat location.
“When you live in a ski town, you realize every activity in ski town is really expensive … all the stuff that we love to do costs a lot of money,” Fannon said. “We wanted to create a platform that makes these things accessible to the beginner outdoor enthusiast and for the families that are trying to live in these towns. So the premise is that we sell new, and we sell gently used equipment.”
Most of the used inventory at Switchback Sports comes from their own rental fleet and deals with other ski and bike shops for their rental equipment. Switchback also goes to the manufacturers to buy overstocked equipment.
Switchback has plenty of new stock to offer, with skis from Atomic, Head, Rossignol, Armada and Volkl and bikes from Cannondale, Marin and Kona. The shop has everything needed to equip a skier, snowboarder or biker from head to toe.
The shop services skis, snowboards and bikes, and offers a 24-hour turnaround. It also has skis and snowboards available for rent as well as a full fleet of 30 bikes and electric bikes. The shop will also be renting tubes in the summer.
The Steamboat location will be run by general manager Will Mowris, who has experience in the outdoor industry and brings a wealth of knowledge in both skiing and biking.
“I’ve been in the outdoor industry for close to 20 years now, mostly in the ski industry,” Mowris said. “I have a pretty diverse background, and I’ve worked with some tier one companies; I was a freestyle park coach for a long time, but I wanted to get more involved in the industry.”
Switchback Sports is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends. Fannon said he expects the shop’s hours to expand in the next two weeks as tubing opens up and business picks up for the summer.
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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