Truckee tune-up business delivers skis right to your door
Special to the Sun
TRUCKEE, Calif. — The onset of football season, the changing of the leaves, and the early darkness brought on by daylight saving time are all signs summer has come to an end.
But if you live in a ski town like Truckee-Tahoe, the change in seasons is a welcome reminder that it’s time to switch out the garage gear from summer to winter sports, which means it’s also time for a tune-up.
That’s where Jason McHone comes in – right to your front door, to be exact.
McHone, owner and operator of Tahoe Tune-Up, will pick your gear up, take it to his shop in Truckee, tune it to your specific needs, and return the equipment within that same day, or by the next morning at the latest.
“It’s really satisfying when I bring something in that’s really busted up and I can fix it up and return it right back to people, and they’re just amazed,” McHone said while giving a tour recently of his immaculate repair garage in Truckee.
‘FEELING OF SATISFACTION’
The blue-eyed, blonde-haired repairman said he loves working with his hands, and that there’s no better feeling than returning a thrashed ski or snowboard back to its original, rideable form.
His technique is predominately handcrafted, giving him more control over each customer’s needs and specifications, while a computerized tuning system would not.
“I recommend people get their skis and boards tuned a couple times a year, and to wax every three or four times they go out, depending on the snow and the length of time they’re out there for,” he said. “There’s a great feeling of satisfaction that I get from doing this.”
Growing up in Vermont, McHone was raised in a skier family. He credits his passion for snow sports to his parents, who encouraged him to pursue his dreams by chasing the winter from Vermont to Colorado and on to Tahoe, where he finally found the perfect mountain town to call home.
“I’ve been in Tahoe for about 12 years and have the advantage of being in the repair industry for most of that time, which is great because I’ve got a lot of resources that I can turn to — that’s why you shouldn’t burn any bridges in Tahoe,” McHone said with a chuckle.
GIVING BACK TO LOCALS
Last winter was McHone’s first time working as his own boss, but the sparse snow conditions didn’t set the tone high for the tune-up business.
But that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, McHone said.
“Of course we want it to dump, but I got to get my feet wet last year with the business side of things – taxes, permits, figuring out where to spend my money on marketing, that sort of thing – so it was kind of nice to ease into the process,” he said, while keeping a positive attitude and smiling.
It also helped having a number of mentors McHone could turn to when he found himself lost in the technical jargon and mounds of paperwork he had to sift through to get the ball rolling.
This year, he’s looking to take his business to the next level by reaching out to ski team coaches, increasing clientele through word-of-mouth marketing and by giving back to the locals – both in discount coupons and through donations.
“My prices are lower than a lot of my competitors, but I still try to take it a step further for the locals by giving them the great deals because they’re the ones who are going to keep coming back and who will tell other folks about me,” McHone said.
BRIGHT FUTURE AHEAD
As the seasons shift into the winter and the first few snowstorms start rolling through, McHone said he’s optimistic about this year’s success both in terms of his business and with the snowfall.
With a locals’ coupon out on newsstands and word of the shop spreading around town, McHone is fine-tuning for an influx of business.
“I’m nervous in the fact that I don’t really know what’s going to happen because we don’t have a crystal ball that can predict the future for us, but I really like working for myself and I’ve had great feedback from everybody I’ve been working with so far,” McHone said.
Jenny Goldsmith is a North Tahoe-based freelance writer and a former reporter for the Sierra Sun newspaper. Have an idea for a merchant to feature? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.