Telluride Daily Planet | By: Justin Criado, Senior Staff Writer
Friday, November 4, 2016
Wagner Custom Skis is taking it to a new level. After a decade in Placerville, the ski shop will be moving to Mountain Village by the end of the month.
“We’re stepping up our game,” employee Heidi Lauterbach said. “It’s the next logical step for the business.” The new space will be bigger and offers more opportunity to interact with the shop’s clientele, Lauterbach said. “(Customers) could come in to the shop and test (the skis),” Lauterbach said. “We’ll be closer to foot traffic.” The custom ski shop started as a small operation with five to six employees in 2006, and has grown each year, she said, with upwards of 20 employees currently.
The sole mission of the company is to provide a quality custom ski to skiers of all interest and skill levels, Lauterbach said. “The whole process, it all starts with the skier,” Lauterbach said. Customers first fill out an extensive questionnaire that covers everything from basic personal information to skier behavior and terrain optimization. A phone consultation with a designer follows, and the customer is sent several email updates with pictures throughout the process.
“It’s a very personal process,” Lauterbach said. “(Sending customers pictures) make it like they’re there every step of the way.” She said orders have come in from all over the world, including several places in Europe and Asia, evidence of the loyal customer base the company has built over the years. “Having a real high customer experience is something we pride ourselves on,” Lauterbach said. “Most of our clients are returning customers.”
She explained that word of mouth has been the biggest factor in the business’ growth. “It’s people talking to their friends and telling them about our skis,” Lauterbach said.
Last month, the company was mentioned in a Chicago Tribune article, which highlighted attractions in Telluride and Mountain Village. The article encouraged visitors to take the shop tour. Social media also is a way of reaching a broader base. Wagner’s video about the use of technology in business is a finalist for an AT&T Small Business Video Contest. One of six finalists, the business is the only winter sport shop in contention for the $20,000 grand prize. The video, filmed by Brett Schreckengost, highlights the business’ mission and process. To view the video and vote, visit the company’s official Facebook page. The company’s video had 690 votes as of press time. Votes will be taken until Nov. 15.
For more information, about getting a pair of custom skis visit the official website at www.wagnerskis.com.