Best Ski Boutiques – Gorsuch

Best Ski Boutiques – Gorsuch – All That Glimmers
Gorsuch’s golden touch is a 50-year love affair with mountain living
By Jenn Weede
Images courtesy of the Gorsuch family

Is a missed gold medal worth a lifetime of golden living ?

As Gorsuch celebrated its golden anniversary last year, it’s clear that the detour from Olympic ski racers to luxury retailers has proven priceless for the Gorsuch family—and the customers they serve.

Neither Renie Cox nor David Gorsuch stood on the podium after competing in the Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley in February 1960, but skiing had already changed their lives. Both Cox and Gorsuch came from humble backgrounds. Her parents were a school principal and teacher in ãupstate New York. His father was a mining engineer. Skiing was their ticket to see the world. Ski the world they did. Both competed professionally throughout Europe and the US. The couple married soon after the ‘60 Olympics, then moved to Gunnison, CO, where David studied at Western State College and worked as mountain manager for Crested Butte Mountain. Renie taught first grade. They focused their attention on having a qfamily, but like the gold medal, children eluded them. Finally, the doctor said, “Get a dog. Start a business. Do something else… you probably won’t have kids.”

So the Gorsuchs adopted a dog and started a business tuning skis in their dorm room. One day a customer broke one of Renie’s personal possessions—a Hummel figurine. She got upset and declared: “If we’re gonna do this, we’re gonna do this where we don’t have to do it in our room—and we’re going to make some money”. From that broken Hummel, the first Gorsuch store was born in an old gas station on Main Street in Gunnison.glimmer_4

“As fate would have it, the minute they started the store my mom found out she was pregnant with me,” says John Gorsuch. “My brother Jeff was born 11 months after me.” (Third son Davey later completed the family.) The best way to handle a dog, two babies and a new business? More. More family. More stores. Renie’s sister, Judy Conn, moved out to Colorado to help Renie—she’s been part of the family business ever since. David and Renie opened a second store on Main Street in Crested Butte, but since they couldn’t afford to buy merchandise for both stores, they’d pack a Volkswagen bus with the goods and would haul it between the two stores every weekend. “It was a time when people who’d see skis on a passing car would honk their horn,” remembers John. “There was a real camaraderie among mountain people.”

Then Dr. Zhivago changed the course of that bus. During intermission of that iconic film, John McBride convinced David and Renie to relocate to the Clock Tower Building he’d built in Vail. Gorsuch opened shop there in 1966, seeking new brands and developing an eclectic mix of products to compete with the existing stores. Renie and Judy ventured to New York City to shop fashion brands. They imported European labels. Says John: “They started with a blank slate.”

Today the whole Gorsuch family runs the business. David is the big‑picture guy. Renie is the brand maven. John heads up merchandising and online sales and marketing. Jeff is the Aspen extension of Gorsuch, and directs the new hospitality division. Davey’s specialty is hard goods, along with running the family ranch in southern Colorado. “I’m blessed to work with my folks and brothers at my side,” John says. “It really is the whole family that makes Gorsuch as multifaceted as it is.”

That love for the mountains and sharing it with others has paid off. Today you’ll find Gorsuch stores in Vail, Beaver Creek, Aspen, Snowmass, and Keystone, CO, each with a touch of haute hominess. But if you’re nowhere near the Colorado Rockies, fret not. Fur-trimmed Frauenschuh parkas, Bogner insulated ski jeans, Cutler and Gross shades, and Hampton swim shorts for the hot tub are all at your fingertips via gorsuch.com and print catalogs.

The 100-page book of sumptuous fashion photography shot by Bernhard Donaubauer started as an off-season pamphlet 37 years ago. Today it reaches 2.9 million readers from August through April, and includes a 32-page getaway section for travel to tropical destinations. In it, signature ski brands Jet Set, Kjus, Frauenschuh, Bogner, and Moncler meet fashion finds from across the globe. Get great denim from 7 for All Mankind, silk peasant blouses from Chloe, cashmere sweaters from Iris von Armin, velvet heels from Bottega Veneta, and a Rebecca Minkoff handbag, and you’re dressed for town.

Labels such as Robert Comstock, Alp-n‑Rock and Brunello Cucinelli put the mountain in your man. Sumptuous riding jackets like Meindl’s deerskin suede, handmade sweaters from Wolkenstricker, and Susanne Spatt dirndls are the cornerstone of trachten—the “town‑and‑country clothes” that define Gorsuch.

Increasingly, you’ll find Gorsuch’s own label on classic styles. Working with partners like White + Warren, Gorsuch is focusing more attention on offering staples like embroidered button-down shirts, cashmere sweaters, and leggings at more affordable prices under its own name. “It’s a mix of high-low,” says John. “So many people say, ‘I love your stuff, but I could never afford this.’ We want them to say, ‘I can’t believe I got this from Gorsuch!’”glimmer_1

More in-store surprises include a mink carry‑all bag from Norway, Mackenzie-Childs checkerboard cake carriers, hand-painted Austrian shooting targets, a Mongolian lamb footstool, Côtes-du-Rhône grape trough, and MoMA artist Ferenc Berko’s iconic photograph of Stein Eriksen soaring through the air upside‑down. There are thousands of ways to take the mountain home with you, from the buffalo plaid and red stag antler Huntley chair, to the elk, bear or fox silver salt and pepper shakers, to the Gmundner snowman cookie jar. If you ask, few would be surprised if they’d fill it with homemade cookies.

You expect to find premier skis, boots, helmets, goggles—everything you need to hit the slopes. And you will. Plus top-of-the-line demo skis with an in-store barista to make your espresso just how you like it while your skis are personally dialed in for the day’s conditions, exclusive Ertlrenz custom sensomatic insoles, an on‑site Italian tailor, and an apple for your ride up the gondola. Or get everything you need right where you’re staying without missing first chair: Gorsuch now has hotel stores in Aspen, Beaver Creek, and Vail.

Sure beats schlepping their wares in the VW bus to church bazaars all summer, which is what David did in the early days. But that do‑whatever‑it‑takes attitude remains, and is why Gorsuch has remained a go-to resource for mountain luxury for 50 years. Two dogs, three kids, six grandchildren, and eight stores later, it seems the missed opportunity of 1960 was really a golden opportunity for generations—and counting.

WWW.GORSUCH.COM

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