By Carlee Frank
Archaeological evidence –such as cave drawings –suggest skis were invented during the last Ice Age, and ski artifacts found in the 1960s dated to the Mesolithic period. First used to cross frozen wetlands during wintertime hunting, skiing evolved over the millennia and was adapted by the Norwegian military and eventually by the masses. Nowadays, there are nearly 10 million skiers and snowboarders in the United States. For the individuals living in the “snow belt” of Western New York, the Snowflake Ski Shop at Kissing Bridge Ski Resort has all of the snow gear you could need.
“I sell everything –you name it, I’ve got it. You want gloves, goggles, helmets, ski poles –because yours broke— skis, boards and bindings, I have it all,” Greg Bromley, owner of Snowflake Ski Shop, said.
Bromley, who also owns the flagship store in Lockport, NY, started working part-time in the ski shop 19 years ago and eventually purchased the business from the Wray family, the original owners.
Snowflake Ski Shop is in its eleventh season at Kissing Bridge, and while Bromley has only been in ownership of this location since May, he has been skiing at KB since he was 10 years old. Which, he said, is part of its appeal.
“It’s an old school, down home kind of resort,” Bromley said. “You see the same people year after year, and it has that home feeling.”
He mentioned that many of his customers also come back year after year. Especially at the Lockport location, which opened in 1971, he said grandparents come in with grandchildren first learning to ski.
For anyone wanting to own their own skis or snowboard, the Snowflake Ski Shop carries many popular brands, such as Nordica, Salomon and Capita. The shop also offers sharpening, waxing, tune ups, adjustments and much more.
“I’ve basically taken my Lockport store and I’ve condensed it down to the necessities that people need or commonly forget,” Bromley said.
The shop usually has monthly deals, events and sales, all of which are posted on their website and social media platforms. Currently, he is running Holiday Specials throughout the month of December.
Bromley said that while his favorite part of owning a business is the people he gets to meet and work with, he also loves the retail aspect of the store. He has a degree in business and marketing, and also studied sporting goods business.
He originally wanted to work in the ski manufacturing industry, but after working as a technology representative for a short while, he discovered it is a very tight niche community.
“Now I go home at the end of the day knowing that all of the hard work that I put in is well worth it because it’s my business,” Bromley said.
Bromley also said that he likes to give back to the community whenever he can. He donates to Ski Patrol basket raffles and to the annual Mercy Flight silent auction.
Bromley began skiing at the age of five and has a 17-month-old who, he said, is going to start skiing this winter. He hopes to keep the tradition alive in his family.
“I do it because I love the sport and I want to see it grow, and I hope other people feel the same way,” Bromley said. “Get the kids off the couch and get them out there and doing it.”
And for anyone too afraid to start, he said you can’t knock it until you try it.
Snowflake Ski Shop will open when Kissing Bridge does, on Friday. For more information, check out their website and Facebook page.