Your Local Retail Shop: Cripple Creek Backcountry

Our Local Retail Shop Series highlights local gear shops and tells their stories. We chat with shop owners to find out what makes their shop unique and how they serve their local communities. 

Shop Name: Cripple Creek Backcountry

Location: Fremont, Seattle, WA

Store Manager: Michael Warner

Cripple Creek Backcountry was founded in Carbondale, CO and has a strong focus on backcountry skiing and splitboarding. They’ve been sharing their passion for uphill touring for over ten years, have expanded to five locations in Colorado, and just opened a new shop in the Fremont area in Seattle, WA. Not only does Cripple Creek sell everything you need for your backcountry adventures, they also offer education courses, guiding services, gear tune-ups, and custom boot fittings. We had the opportunity to chat with Michael Warner, the Seattle shop’s manager, about the new Seattle shop and what’s unique about Cripple Creek.

What’s the story behind Cripple Creek?

The founders of Cripple Creek, Randy Young and Doug Stenclik, met in Boulder, CO and decided one day they needed to go try this ski touring thing and the rest is history. At Cripple Creek, we actively work to give people access to the backcountry by helping them obtain the necessary gear to be safe and make the right decisions in the backcountry.

In addition to founding the store together, Doug and Randy host the Totally Deep Podcast. Pretty awesome because most people in the industry love listening to it. 

What got you started in the outdoor industry? 

I started in the outdoor industry because I was always being asked for trip advice and to take people outdoors. It’s far more satisfying than selling team sports gear because I’d rarely be meeting the end user. I love hearing people’s trip plans and how great a trip was because we got them the gear they needed, which sometimes isn’t the gear they originally thought they would need.

What type of customer do you cater to?

We cater to individuals and families looking to get into backcountry skiing. We can help people get the right gear as well as point them in the right direction for finding the guiding outfit that meets their needs as well.  

What are some of your most popular products?

Splitboarding gear has come a long way and now that it is highly functional we are seeing growth on that side of the sport. Skiing is a larger piece of the pie, and we love helping people select the right binding, boot, and ski for the missions they are looking to accomplish.

If a pro were to come into your shop, how would you prefer they shop?

We’d prefer if pros were upfront and told us they could buy their gear on pro deal at the beginning of the interaction with store staff. No matter what, we’d treat every customer the exact same. Knowing someone has a pro deal with certain brands lets us know the deals they have access to, but also allows us to educate them on brands they may not know about yet.

If you’re in the Seattle area, we highly recommend stopping by Cripple Creek to check out the new digs! Pass along the code OPL10 to any friends or family to use in-person at the Cripple Creek Seattle store to get 10% off new and current gear (excludes Splitboards, Splitboard Bindings, and Airbag packs). Code cannot be combined with other discounts. One per customer. Code discount ends 1/10/22. Contact Michael for more info: [email protected].

About the Gear Tester

Outdoor Prolink Pro

Kelly Knauf is on the marketing team at Outdoor Prolink. When she’s not doing handstands, you’ll find Kelly camping, snowboarding, and grooving on the dance floor.

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