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A new lease on the ski season

Paul Raymore
Photo by Josh Miller/Sierra Sun John Spaich of Head North discusses the strategy of his new business.
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Parents frustrated with the expense of trying to keep growing kids in high-end ski racing gear year after year might want to get to know Jon and Sandi Spaich.The Truckee couple’s experience with their own ski racer kids – Mackenzie, 10, and Jonathan, 7 – inspired them to open Head North, a new ski shop focused primarily on providing true race ski/boot/binding packages in a lease program.”The concept that I wanted to approach with Head and Tyrolia skis and bindings was to do a junior race shop featuring race skis and high-performance skis that kids usually can’t get out of a lease program,” Jon Spaich said. “Then we combined it with demos [for kids and adults].”Purchasing all of the equipment needed for a child’s racing season can quickly become a huge financial commitment, with the retail price of all the gear a kid will need during a season often topping $700. And it’s not a one-time investment as those costs recur year after year as growing feet and bodies require different sizes.For years parents have dealt with this issue with elaborate networks of hand-me-down racing equipment from older siblings, cousins or friends to the smaller kids on the slopes. It’s a system that works, but not perfectly.

That’s why Spaich hopes that parents will be happy to have another option in Head North’s lease program.”Our emphasis is trying to make it more affordable for parents to keep their kids in racing. Both of my kids race, and it just got expensive if you buy new stuff every year and they outgrow it,” he said.”Instead of spending $285 on a brand new pair of skis, you can lease skis, bindings and a four-buckle race boot for the juniors for $259 or $329 with a higher-end boot.”For that price, kids get top-of-the-line equipment made with the same materials and construction techniques that Head puts into its adult race skis. And this way, Spaich said, if a child outgrows a boot mid-season, for example, the store will work out an exchange for one that fits properly.To get the kids ready for the upcoming season and figure out how much product he will have to order, Head North is holding a Season Lease Open House starting Friday afternoon and running through Sunday.”Parents can come in with their kids, get them fitted in boots and pick out the skis they want for the race year. Then at that point they pay for the lease, we order the skis, and hopefully by December if we have snow they can pick up their skis and be ready for the race season,” Spaich said.

A full service ski shopWhile his race equipment leasing program is what Spaich hopes will help differentiate Head North from other Truckee-Tahoe ski shops, the store also carries a full line of Head skis and snowboards designed for adults, as well as boots, bindings, poles and all the other accessories needed for a day on the slopes available for purchase or demo.Head North will carry a full line of racing suits for kids of all ages and sizes, racing and freeride helmets, poles, pole and shin guards and training shorts, as well as a wide selection of twin-tip, mid-fat, powder and race skis in adult sizes.Throw in a 10 percent discount on all retail items for Truckee and Tahoe City locals, as well as Far West and Tahoe League racers, and Spaich hopes he and Sandi have found a winning business strategy that will help out some local parents and their kids at the same time.

In the off-season Spaich plans to convert the store into a sporting goods shop carrying gear for sports such as soccer, football, baseball. He is open to any suggestions as to what kind of equipment is needed but hard to find in the area for those types of sports.”We’re going to try to keep people from having to go down to Reno,” he said. “We’re going to try to price everything competitively with Reno and then we offer 10 percent off for all Truckee residents.”Even though the store has only been officially open for one week now, Spaich said that the community’s interest has been high and he expects a large turnout for the Season Lease Open House going on this weekend.Head North is located at 11429 Donner Pass Road in Truckee (in the Wild Cherries shopping center). They can be reached by calling (530) 587-2524 or on the Web at http://www.headnorthsports.com.Season Lease Open House will run Friday, Oct. 15 from 6 9 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 16 from 9 a.m. 9 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 17 from 9 a.m. 5 p.m. If you can’t make it to lease night you can call and make special arrangements before the end of October.


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