SIA Newsletter

Ski Country Shops | Banner Elk, NC

Ski Country Sports was established in 1983 by Bill and Susan Leonard in Banner Elk, North Carolina.

Bill’s love for skiing started during his sophomore year of college, when he was drafted into the Army. Instead of being sent to Vietnam, he was stationed to serve in Germany. While serving, he improved his skiing and became a ski patroller in Garmish, an armed forces recreations area. In the mountains, there were rental shows and several ski areas that serviced the troops based in Europe. After his time in the Army, he returned to Appalachian State University where he obtained a degree in Physical Education. He also interned at the Highlands in Aspen, CO for a semester. While in school, he recognized the need for a ski repair shop in the area. He would go to the local hotels and pick up skis that needed to be tuned. He would stay up late repairing them and then return them in the morning.

When customers enter into Ski Country Sports we hope they experience a homey feel. Bill and Susan have four wonderful children who were all raised at the store; who all enjoy skiing and love anything to do with winter. From the love of our family, we hope our customers can see how we want to keep families active in snow sports.

From our love of skiing we have helped start an Adult Race League for men and women in the area. It has given many of these adults the opportunity to get back into racing. Each year we have over 120 races. We also assist with SARA, Southern Area Racing Association, Bill is a USSA official. This helps keep us involved with the race teams at the local ski resorts. On a collegiate level, we help with functions for Appalachian State University Race Team, Lees McRae College Race Team, and Montana State University Ski Team.

Each year we look forward to our Spring Demo Day. It’s a day where customers, employees and area pro’s enjoy a day on the snow. We close all our stores and have a catered lunch on the slopes. It has been a great day that everyone looks forward to for over 15 years! We do this to show our appreciation to everyone that helps us be successful and in hopes of getting everyone excited for the next ski season.

Through all these different functions we have gotten to where we are today. When you walk through our doors we hope you get that fuzzy feeling that makes you want to show with us. We love what we do and we want to continue doing what we love. Think snow!