A community-based sports store to make your life in the mountains amazing

A community-based sports store to make your life in the mountains amazing in The Elk Valley

Mark and Beth Gallup

If you are visiting Fernie or if you live here permanently, you want to do more than just look at the view. Many of us are seeking an outdoor adventure, wanting to experience all the Elk Valley has to offer in and out of ski season.  Whether it’s biking in the summer, hiking in the fall, or skiing in the winter, there is gear that you must have to ensure your adventure in the Rockies is complete. The Guide’s Hut on Second Avenue has you covered, so you can ride Fernie’s classic single track trails, hike up the Three Sisters, or ski the back country in comfort and style.

Before owning the store, Mark and Beth Gallop headed to the Guides Hut whenever they needed to gear up for a camping trip, a backcountry tour or a spin on one of the local biking trails. They said it was a welcome place to visit, take a break and talk about where they’d been and what they were doing next. “It was more than a place to shop, it was a meeting place for fellow adventurers who were en route to the next trail run, mountain hike or back country skiing tour,” they said.

“We are friends with the original owners Heinz Weixelbaum and Judy McMahon and one day at a wedding they asked us whether we would be interested in buying the store,” said Beth. Mark, who spent years on the road as an action sports photographer, was ready for a mountain change so they took the leap over to the business side of playing in June last year.

Gallup is recognized world-wide for his sports and lifestyle photography. He was assigned to cover snowboarding events at the Winter Olympics and has been Helly Hanson’s main photographer in recent years, creating images for their snowboard and ski apparel. After 25 years of capturing athletes in action, Mark was more than ready to embark on a new venture and spend more time in the mountains he loves.

“We were excited to make a good thing even better,” said Mark. “A community-based sports store full of mountain bikes, skis, camping and climbing gear plus top name clothing brands to make your life in the mountains amazing,”

Beth is the behind-the-scenes partner, but armed with an MBA and her experience as a shareholder and Vice President of the Island Lake Lodge for five years, she was confident they could make it work.  Beth said their store is unique because they specialize in providing top quality gear used for back country skiing and snowboarding tours.

She said there is currently a waiting list for split boards, specifically designed for use in the back country. “We depend on the local business, because the people in the community are here all year round.  When we took over last year there was already a good local clientele base,” she said.

“We take pride in being the authorized dealers of everything we sell. This is significant because we are able to offer the best customer service and we act as an intermediary party with the company. We are personally obligated and able to deal with any issues regarding warranties and repairs.”

“Service is a big part of The Guide’s Hut experience. We have two of the best certified bike and ski techs in the East Kootenays. Alain Vidal is our head tech and will keep your gear in top shape.”

Beth said she enjoys the social side of owning a store in town and the constant interaction with people. “Locals come in and tell us where they saw a cougar and which mountain bike trails to avoid because it’s wet.  We pass the information on so like a mountain hut anywhere, it is a place to stop and talk to fellow adventurers before continuing on your way,” she said.

Every Thursday night you can catch Mark at the Guides Hut as he meets with new and old friends to head up the mountain for a group mountain bike ride.

He greets you with a genuine smile and says, “Next time you are downtown, stop by and say hello. See what is new, and tell us about your latest adventure. We love the mountains and we want to back you for every foot stomp, pedal push and powder turn!”

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