Ute Mountaineer Mission Statement
The Ute Mountaineer is a family owned and operated store that has served the
Aspen community since 1977. We sell only the highest quality and value goods available in
the outdoor industry. We carry what we know and use. Our goal is to be the best outdoor
specialty store and online retailer in the industry. We endeavor to have the best-educated
employees and make their lives better through their association with the Ute. Likewise, we
strive to enrich the community we work in through our participation in and support of community events and outdoor
educational programs. We want to share our passion for the outdoors with our customers and develop partnerships
with other outdoor stores, vendors and organizations that also represent this ideal.
Ute History and Philosophy
By Bob Wade, Owner
The idea for the Ute was born in Boulder, Colorado. As a geology major at the University of Colorado,
climbing allowed, both in the mountains and on the crags, the ultimately
intimacy with rocks! While in school, I worked
for one of the great visionaries in climbing and the climbing business, Bob Culp, who owned the Boulder Mountaineer. After
college (recuperating from a climbing injury), while running a small general store on the
North shore of Kauai, Bob contacted me with an offer to join him in opening a shop in Aspen - something we had
daydreamed about while climbing together in Europe the previous summer. So with Bob providing most of the
finances and wisdom and I providing elbow grease and youthful naiveté, the Boulder Mountaineer in
Aspen opened. In order to afford the high rents (in 1976, it's all relative!), we took an office space downstairs
next to what is now Su Casa.
We opened our doors on
April Fools day 1977 just as Aspen was closing out its worst ski season in history.
Needless to say, word on the street was that we wouldn't make it. But we were small and lived frugally. Volunteering
our time and expertise to help Aspen Public School outdoor programs
helped our credibility and created goodwill for us. The local climbing community was very
gracious in accepting us 'outsiders'. We moved to our location on
the mall across from Wagner Park back in 1980. In pre-mall days this was the home of the old bus and taxi station in town.
Our last move to our current location in the Elks building was in 2010. Our
location was the home of the Aspen Post Office in the 40's and 50's and Tom's
Market in the 60's and 70's - a great heritage to a place we hope to
call home for a
Since those early days our philosophy has come from two main roots. First, we want to know
our customer, to do the detective work required to learn what their interests and needs are so that we can connect that person with just
the right piece of gear or clothing. We want our customers to be psyched by the product we helped them pick out long after the purchase, not thinking ‘how the heck did they talk me into
that?'. Our second tenet
is to be true to who we are. Our byline, “The people who know and use the gear they sell”, says it all; if we don't have knowledge of or a passion for something,
it is not going to be in
the store. Living in the mountains gives us, literally, a day-to-day familiarity with the products we sell. We even have a "pay to
play" program for our employees; we pay them
to get outside so their advice to you about the products that we sell and the places to go in the Aspen backcountry is
rock solid. We have grown our space since the 80's but we hope that you will continue to find the Ute tightly merchandised and homey.
In 1984 we approached the City of Aspen about running a cross-country ski center in the Pro
Shop at the Aspen Golf Course (which wasn't being used in the
winter). I was, at the time, on the board of the Aspen Snowmass Nordic Council and with
the inspiration of Craig Ward, we were expanding and connecting the ski trails in the Aspen and Snowmass area. The city
put it out to bid, and we ended up in the Nordic business. My wife to be,
Ruth Baxter, ran it that first year using her knowledge of skiing from eight years on the US Nordic Ski Team. We both
were doing a lot of Nordic racing at that time and it was fun to
share our passion with a bunch of our friends in Aspen. In 2002 we took over the Snowmass Cross-country center.
With over 60 kilometers of free ski trails in the Roaring Fork valley, this is a must-do activity in the area.
By the way, if you've got a good store close to home then we encourage you to patronize it. We like to see independent small
businesses stay strong and we also think that it is important that whenever possible, you keep your sales tax
revenues in your hometown, and that you
recycle your dollars in your community as well. We're all about creating community and think you should be, too.
That's it about us; we hope this gives you an idea of whom you are doing business with.
Ute Community Involvement
By Bob Wade, Owner
At the Ute we realize that success does not come in a vacuum, regardless of
how hard we work. The partnership with our customers and our community creates our
success. So we believe in giving back to the community who has supported us.
Our favorite way to do this is by giving our time. But we can't do
everything, so when we can't give time, we give
money to charities run by people who run their non-profits with a passion. The areas that excite us most are youth, environment and athletics.
Events are close to the heart of the Ute. For example, we started the Golden Leaf Half
Marathon 30 years ago; it's almost as old as the Ute. The Golden Leaf is a trail run from
Snowmass to Aspen during the colorful fall season. It really epitomizes many of the things that turn us on: beauty,
exertion and doing something fun in the out-of-doors with friends. We also put on
America's Uphill, a race 3200 feet up Aspen Mountain, a spring rite for Aspen locals. The Owl Creek Chase is a USSA, FIS certified race for Nordic skiing, an
old passion of both my wife's and mine. Our
latest addition is the Winter Wild, a winter adventure race that combines the skills
involved with climbing, skiing, rappelling and avalanche safety. In the past few years we have partnered with the City
of Aspen in running these events. We admire their vision in keeping Aspen an exciting place to live and visit.
We also like to bring educational or
entertaining events to the Ute. The "Best of Banff" film festival is an incredible evening of
mountain-related films. We host events with elite climbers and locals who have summited the highest peaks in the world, and we hold avalanche
transceiver trainings. They are all a great way to get our friends in the community together.
So that is a bit about who we are and how we work; again, we depend on the community for success and we give back when we can.
FAX it to the Ute
Mountaineer. Read the
Our Store section of
our website to see if
the Ute Mountaineer
could be the place for
Mountaineer is always
We are fully staffed
right now, but we keep
applications on file in
case we have an
unexpected opening. If
you are interested, you
can download an
here and email it to:
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