Rocky Mountain Underground’s new downtown flagship revolves around the culture of the Breckenridge-based ski manufacturer’s founders. Which explains why, in addition to a retail showroom, there’s also a taproom.
For while fresh tracks and untouched lines figure prominently in most people’s daily priorities when it comes to living and working in a ski town, another is après-ski, that wonderful moment immediately after you’ve yanked your feet out of frozen boots and you take that first slug of a frothy pint, the perfect ending to yet another perfect day in paradise.
This, then, was the inspiration that led RMU to include a bar in their new store at 114 S Main St. The concept? A place where skiers could check out the latest gear and imbibe in a pint or two while talking shop and bonding with like-minded enthusiasts.
“We see it as a way to bring the company’s culture to people,” says Marketing Manager Jessie Unruh, adding that when it comes to company culture, “beer has been a big part of that.”
After all, RMU founder Mike Waesche built his first skis in a basement garage (the inspiration for the “underground” bit of the brand’s moniker) and often bartered early experiments for cases of the good stuff, a savvy transaction that kept his fridge stocked and had the added benefit of drawing friends and strangers alike to the workshop for the promise of a cold one and the chance to demo new gear.
By coupling retail operations with a lounge serving 15 craft beers on tap, Waesche hopes to replicate the laid-back ethos of the brand’s garage-based origins, albeit in a more upscale setting with a rough, honest patina courtesy of repurposed and recycled materials: old flooring was relocated to the ceiling and Breck Distillery barrel staves were used for interior trim. The 700-square-foot space (which can host up to 54 shoppers/revelers at a time) will be expanded next spring, when a dog-friendly patio is installed out back.
Just before the mid-November grand opening, Unruh already was looking forward to working the taps at ski-tuning workshops and other events. “We want to support the community,” she says. “We want to share our passion.” Which, if you are fluent in the local lingo, is a synonym of beer.