Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"You can never own the snow but you can sure try as hard as you want to tame it."

Welcome to Cottam's Ski Shop in Santa Fe!

Now in it's fifth year open in Santa Fe, the Cottam family expanded out of their two shops in Taos and onto to the Ski Santa Fe mountain. It is located eight miles up Artist Rd. right in Hyde Memorial State Park. The building is historical and rented out for only the winter months for the Cottam's Ski Shop.

Because of the history and location of the building, and because it is only rented out in the winter months (summer months are mainly for weddings) all the equipment and gear is set up and taken down at the beginning and end of the snow season.

Above:  When we first got to the shop is was an empty building heated up only by the sun; which is close to it at nearly 7,000 feet. After loads and loads from trucks and the rental storages back in town, this is how we started. A few weeks of the weather getting chillier and boxes being taken down and bruises from ski boots, there was finally a shop right before Thanksgiving. The building is narrow, long, stoned, with concrete floors. There is a large firepit with the biggest fire I have seen. Outside there is a concrete patio with an outdoor firepit and a beautifuly large sledding hill right out the almost floor to ceiling windows. It is small and quaint and beautiful and fits the location perfectly. Tucked up in the trees and no noise from the city, when the cold comes in it is an experience of it's own to be working inside, with the fire roaring, the hot chocolate stirring, and the snow flakes falling softly.

Above:  The shop is all together! It took six of us weeks to get everything up and running. The hanging items and walls are up all without making a single hole in the building (the park rangers are protective of their building.)

The reason I am putting this process on my blog is because it does have everything to do with design work and especially organization in tight spaces. The funcionality of this shop is critical to getting costomers in and out of the door quickly so they may get some shred time in. Of course over the years they have all done a fabulous job putting things where they need to go and building the things that would help make it all flow right. There are new things and proceedures every year. I am here only for this season, so I am taking in and offering as much as I can.

I get to have part of my creative side come out with this job, and that makes me very happy. I can make  price signs, direction signs, dress manicans, set up displays and more! I love that part of the job.

I also love being able to talk about the weather, the snow, how to strap in a snowboard, offer tips that I know, learn about skis, cross-country skis, blades, and snowshoeing. Stomp pads, waxing, edging, boots, new gear, Burton rep meetings, Giro, Solomon, POC, Spy, Colombia, Volcom, Neff, Roxy... LOVE all of it!

Q & A with some of the staff at Cottam's:

Cooper Beacon - age 21, Taos, NM
Ski or snowboard: Ski, 18+ years
Time in Santa Fe: 5 years 
Years at Cottam's: 1st year
Favorite part of the job: Quality of the gear and the people
Benifits of this job: Being able to work and ski
Fave cold-weather drink: Hot mocha
Fave part of the shop: The clothing section and snacks. And the sled hill in our back yeard

Bonnie Holladay - age 28, Colorado Springs, CO
Ski or snowboard: Sledding since I was 4!
Time in Santa Fe: 3 months
Before this job: Fire fighter, National Park Service
Worst part of job so far: Cold building when there is no heat 
Favorite part of job: Awesome co-workers and costomers. And the beautiful building
Looking forward to the season: Because I have not been on skis since I was 18, ready to get back on the horse
Fave cold-weather drink: Hot chocolate

Curly O'Connor - age 49 & 10/12ths, New Zealand
Time in Santa Fe: 8 years
Years at Cottam's: 2 years
Worst part of the job: Calling, sorting boots just to have mixed-matches (pisses me off)
Favorite part of the job: Seeing people come back from having so much fun
Fave cold-drink: Hot black tea with milk and sugar
Will people enjoy the shop the way it is set up?: I believe so, it's hard to direct people sometimes when it is jammed packed, but flows pretty well otherwise

Such a blessing in many ways to be a part of this process and the ski culture of Santa Fe, NM. Thanks, Lyndsay Cottam for the opportunity and for sharing this experience. Love & Light to you and your family. 

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