It is important to me to be able to stoke people out as often as possible. ~ Bernie Tomassetti | Manager, PowderTools Board Shop
An Office with a View
It started in 1988 at a Steamboat ski shop called Sport Stalker (it goes by Christy Sports today), when Johan Malkowski convinced Sport Stalker into letting him have a small corner of the rental shop to display some snowboards. In just a few short years, Stalker Snowboards quickly outgrew the space and opened its own location in 1993, officially changing the name to PowderTools Board Shop.
Now located at the base of Steamboat Springs in Gondola Square, the shop overlooks the mountain year-round, providing a well-deserved view to the guys who literally put snowboarding on the map for the region.
The PowderTools Difference
In one sentence: PowderTools is the only true snowboard specialty shop in Steamboat, Colorado. With a complete snowboard-only retail, rental, demo, and repair facility, owner/manager Bernie Tomassetti’s goal is to offer the best service and carry the best brands: “If we don’t got it, you don’t want it,” he jokes.
But the emphasis on the customer experience is unparalleled:
There is nothing like setting up a customer on a demo and going through the whole process of making sure they are on the best gear for them when they decide to buy. I would rather spend three days working with someone so everything is right than just push gear on them. Snowboarding is all about the love and I want everyone who walks through my doors to love snowboarding as much as myself and my staff.
PowderTools also maintains the largest rental/demo fleet in town, offering every snowboard in the fleet for sale in the shop (bindings included). And do you need boots? It’s very common for a pair of new boots to come with a beer on the couch by the fireplace while they’re heat-molded.
The PowderTools Crew
The crew at PowderTools consists of Tomassetti’s right-hand man Vince Bazile, Isaiah Martin, Ryan Han, Gerard “Subway” Fox, and others. Vince is Colorado-raised badass and the dedicated shop guinea pig (if you want to know how sketchy a jump, log slide, gap, or whatever it is, look no further than “Guinea Vinnie”). Just don’t let him borrow your sled, he blew up three sleds in three days one season.
And the rest of the 13 crew members has cajones and skills as well.
But perhaps most importantly, the staff at PowderTools gets to snowboard seven days a week.
“I give them four hour shred breaks everyday,” says Tomassetti. “And all season we pool all of our tip money so we can take a long weekend snowboard trip together.”
The King of the Shop
The PowderTools crew goes hard and the 16/17 season saw the inagural “King of the Shop” challenge weekend, where the winner got bragging rights, $100 in scratch off tickets, and a mean hangover. The list of challenges included:
- Thrasher’s King of the Road
- Hit a jump with pants around ankles
- Eat 5 hotdogs in 5 minutes
- And much, much more.
Who Rides PowderTools
The PowderTools team is a stack of heavy-hitters, including U.S. Team riders Matt Ladley, Taylor Gold, Arielle Gold, Nik Baden, Mick Dierdorff, and Maddy “Mad Dog” Schaffrick, along with about 20 other local groms.
Tomassetti considers every team athlete to be a member of the family. In fact, the entire team (except for Ladley, who arrived at age 10) are Steamboat locals, born and raised. It’s these roots that keep the riders coming into the shop to hang out and get to know other local riders on a personal level (when they aren’t on tour winning X-games or Dew Tours).
The RIDE Connection
As the “kid from Philly who likes to talk,” Tomassetti had this to say about the RIDE connection:
Shawn Penrod and Stan Kosmider (regional RIDE sales Reps) were the catalyst for everything. They would come into the shop and force-feed me any kind of booze they could find. And they gave me my first free snowboard setup. After that, I was selling a ton of RIDE and winning national sales contests that I didn’t even know about.
Then around 2007, I was added to the Development Team and got to work closely with the entire engineering and in-house crew. There aren’t many people who can say that they get to help develop their own gear and test it on snow every day.
But the most special thing RIDE ever did was make me was a pair of gold boots back in 2012. Those boots are now hanging on my wall like a pair of boxing gloves after winning a heavyweight title. I am extremely honored.
RIDE is not just a brand to me, it’s become my family and a way of life. Whether it’s the support I get from my incredible reps Nate Love and Eric Frazier or the in-house crew: Big Jim, Brandon, Treu, Stefan, Chilton, Sasser, Tanner, Cathy, and last but not least Kendra, Old School, and Smooches; we always have a great time no matter what. Knowing that the brand is run by extremely passionate snowboarders is huge.
The Steamboat Snowboard Scene
PowderTools is heavily involved in the local snowboard community, most notably the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (SSWSC) which is the snowboard program that develops all of the team athletes.
PowderTools also puts on contests, like its own Slash & Burn Banked Slalom, that host hundreds of riders every season.
Bernie Tomassetti is also involved with the Colorado Mountain College’s Ski & Snowboard Business program that instructs passionate snowboarders on being successful in the industry.
“You never have to ride alone here,” says Tomassetti. Adding that the scene in Steamboat is all about pow:
We have some of the best snow in the world and a ton of backcountry in our backyard. You can leave the shop at noon, get on your sled, go pow surfing on the Aesmo and be back by 4, no problem. Steamboat is a very special place.