and they have storage and access to a warm, dry, well lit and completely decked-
out facility where they can take care of their gear. They still need their own basic
tools, but most of the expensive stuff — benches, irons, vises, lighting, file guides,
etc — is already there. There’s also a community store where members can buy
consumables such as wax, files, diamonds and P-tex.
And it’s not just the workspace that is the draw, either — the 5B Garage has a
lounge, full entertainment system, and a place to hang out and rest sore muscles
after a session of ripping powder or bashing gates.
The concept is pretty simple, and is partially rooted in the economic crisis that
has ripped apart much of the country and that has sent people seeking cheap rent.
Baukol says that he was looking for a way to maximize his investment in space,
equipment, tooling and machinery as a founder of 5B skis, a small boutique ski
brand. Friends were also looking for a way to keep up their gear without having
to drop it off at the shop every day, which rapidly becomes unaffordable for many.
Baukol is able to rent a mixed-use space on the main road to the ski hill for about
50 cents a square foot, including utilities. This allows him to offer a yearly member-
ship for as little as $200 — quite a bargain if you think about the savings in shared
equipment. It’s an even bigger bargain if you consider the cost of bicycle service
tools, which make even the most decked-out ski tuning box seem like a deal.
The enthusiastic Baukol leads the 5B Garage community, making sure that every-
one does their fair share of cleaning; he brings people together on larger projects.
For example, next year Baukol is planning have a $50 member surcharge in order
to purchase a Snow Glide or TriOne edge tool for members to use. And it’s not just
grizzled old ski veterans that use the Garage — you just might see freestyle ath-
letes such as national star Tai Barrymore working on skis, or boarders and nordic
Based on my personal observation, this concept doesn’t threaten traditional ski
shop business at all — if anything, local shops see more people buying stone-
grinds and miscellaneous tuning tools as a result.
The 5B Garage offers eight benches, ski mounting jigs, a walk-in hot-box room,
sofas, chairs, an entertainment system, satellite music and all the local ski commu-
nity vibe you can handle. “It’s a formula that could work in many other places,” says
Baukol, and he is hoping that nordic, alpine, freestyle, and masters competitors
choose to make it their tuning home base when they visit Sun Valley for competi-
tions, as well.
The lounge: all the
local ski community
vibe you can handle.