• Gathering Places - Chamonix Unlimited with evo and Black Crows
 
This year, we’re shining a light on those around us who share our mission to create community – the people, organizations and places that bring individuals together to create a vibrant culture and community around our sports and lifestyle.
 
 

A CHAMONIX LIKE YOU'VE NEVER SEEN IT BEFORE

How Black Crows Skis is turning the ski mountaineering capital of Chamonix, France, into a cultural gathering spot for skiing and music. Words by Megan Michelson.


In Chamonix, France, you can ride a fabled tram to the top of the Aiguille du Midi at 12,604 feet in elevation, where, upon exiting the ice tunnel, precipitous ski lines drop off the Mont Blanc massif and views of France, Italy, and Switzerland spread out before you. Chamonix is known as the birthplace of modern ski mountaineering, and now, it’s become an iconic gathering spot of a different kind, too.
 
Thanks to Chamonix-based ski company Black Crows, this picturesque French village is a growing epicenter of electronic music. In April, Black Crows will host its fourth annual Chamonix Unlimited Festival, a five-day celebration of electronic music and dance that draws thousands of fans to nine dazzling venues across the valley, with artists like Amelie Lens and Laurent Garnier turning the Aiguille du Midi into a summit party like no other and transforming the Plan Joran gondola station into a 2,500-person concert venue.
 
“In France and in the Alps, we used to have a very strong ski culture, in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. After that, we had so many big ski resorts, it became less about the culture,” says Camille Jaccoux, co-founder of Black Crows. “So as a ski brand, we wanted to bring more lifestyle back to skiing and of course, music and dancing. That’s just a part of life and it’s part of the DNA of our brand.”
 
This season’s Unlimited Festival takes place from April 4-8, 2018.  “The idea [for the festival] was really basic: having good fun with good friends at the end of the season,” says DJ and big-mountain skier Jose Lagarellos. “Then the party became bigger and bigger. It is what it is today: five days of music and skiing. It’s magic here in Chamonix.”
 
 
 
  
Black Crows got its start in Chamonix in 2006, with a prototype of a revolutionary ski called the Corvus 196. Now, their skis are sold all over the world. Jaccoux says they wanted to bring skiers together for a massive end-of-season party, but they also wanted to introduce new people to the world of skiing. “We knew if we wanted to do something like this, it had to be amazing, because this is Chamonix,” Jaccoux says. “People come from all over the world to ski here.”

Scroll through to learn more about Chamonix and other gathering places that continue to make the outdoor community thrive.

 
 
 

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La familia spotlight: the sports creel

A ski shop in Spokane has become a community hub in an unlikely ski town. Words by Megan Michelson.

  
Harry Larned and his wife, Liz, opened the Sports Creel, an outdoor gear store in Spokane, Washington, in 1954. Harry eventually passed the shop to his daughter Lin and her husband, Herb Genteman, but he continued coming into the store literally until the day he died at age 91.
 
Today, Herb’s son, Micah Genteman, and his wife, T.J., run the Sports Creel, the third generation to operate this family-owned business. “My dad is in his 70s now and he taught me everything I know,” says Micah, who’s 47. “I’ve literally spent my whole life in this shop. I’ve been learning tricks and skillsets here since I was a kid.”
 
Thanks to evo’s La Familia program, you can now order something online at evo.com and get it shipped to over two dozen independent retail partners — including the Sports Creel — for easy, local pick up. That way, if you need ski boots fitted or bindings mounted or you have additional questions on your gear, you’ll get the quality, in-person customer service you need, with the convenience of online shopping.
 
“It puts our store in front of far more eyeballs than we’d ever be able to generate on our own,” says Micah. “The end goal for us is always to provide the best service for our customers. It’s a good feeling knowing we can take care of our customers, whether it’s from our inventory or evo’s.”
 
Today, the Sports Creel has become a gathering spot for Spokane’s tight-knit community of skiers. The shop hosts rail jams, ski movie premieres, benefits for non-profit organizations, and events for local ski teams. “We’re one of those sleepy, sneaky ski towns,” Micah says about Spokane. “As the valley has evolved, so have we. Now we’re a ski shop 365 days a year.”