Scarpa North America Blog

Tag Archives: SCARPA Retailer

Retailer Shout Out: Ski AK

Feb. 25th 2014


Specialty ski shops exist for a reason: They balance the best and most-respected products with the best possible service, creating an experience the customer will rely on forever. The new archetype for this kind of shop is Ski AK. The 1000-square-foot space is located in the historic Spenard district of Anchorage, and is the go-to for skiers of all creeds—beginners to pros, ski teams to backcountry.

Owner Fred Parke is a retired investment manager who never lost a passion for skiing. Growing up in southern California, he learned how to edge on his home hill of Mammoth. Since moving to Anchorage, he’s been able to create a lifestyle that allows him to stay close to the mountains. And his shop is the proof.

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Retailer Shout Out: Ute Mountaineer

Dec. 27th 2013


In the late 70s, Bob Wade, a geology major at the University of Colorado, followed his climbing mentor into the tumultuous world of outdoor retail. Bob Culp owned Boulder Mountaineer, a core climbing shop, and the two went on several trips together. While on a climbing trip to the Roaring Fork in blooming Aspen, Colorado, they saw promise for an outdoor store for the growing community. So, like any auspicious venture, they opened their new outdoor shop in April 1977, which happened to be right after the worst season in resort history — there were bare slopes in January — but they knew if the shop could succeed then, it could succeed anytime. “No one had money after that winter,” remembered Wade.

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Retailer Shout Outs: Mountain Equipment Co-op

Sep. 3rd 2013

All success stories begin with a single idea. For Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), the inspiration came from six University of Vancouver students who were tired of not being able to access good alpine climbing gear. “The idea came from the same primordial soup as REI,” said current Chief Product Manager Jeff Crook. They rallied together, creating a small hub for climbers to get the quality gear they needed with low markup and democratic principles. In 1971, their original shop was a hole in the wall. It was “a rustic ghetto,” commented Crook. “It was a gritty undertaking to say the least.” But, it allowed the area’s climbers to get the quality hard goods they needed. It was a shop that was proverbially “run by climbers for climbers.”

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Retailer Store Shout Outs: Nordic Barn

Jan. 15th 2013

Nordic Barn

In 1992, Don Allen operated a small hiking guide business at the Top Notch Resort in Stowe, Vermont. In winters, the small room was the ski shop for the resort, a spin off from the hotel for guests to rent equipment. When the hotel didn’t want the shop anymore, Don leased the room and the Nordic Barn was born.

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SCARPA Retailer of the Month: Neptune Mountaineering

Sep. 20th 2012

Anyone who’s ever stepped into Neptune Mountaineering knows that they’ve entered not just an outdoor shop, but also a bastion to mountaineering and adventure. Founded in 1973, Gary Neptune originally opened his doors to help skiers and climbers fix their boots. Since then Neptune, which is right down the road from SCARPA North America headquarters in Boulder, Colo., has become one of the most celebrated hubs for all forms of alpinism, climbing, skiing and backcountry travel.

Gary Neptune himself is an accomplished climber and skier with ascents and descents throughout the world. His staff is of that cloth too. Along with his employees, Neptune’s combined knowledge and experience is encyclopedic, and customers get nothing short of bona fide beta and info when it comes to the performance of a jacket, the durability of a shoe, or the nuances of a particular route in the Karakorum.

Store Manager James Fulton, who himself has spent time guiding in the Himalaya, marvels at the store’s recycling talent. “A few workers have gone on to write guidebooks that we now sell in the store,” he says. “The resumés that continually come through the door are impressive.” That authenticity is a virtue to their customers, and like good climbing partners, their relationships are built by an implicit trust.

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