Free the Ski, Free the Skier With Customized Ski Tuning
by Josie Jay
Jan 05, 2006 | 189 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Now well into his second season, Dylan Baer is having nothing but success with his customer-oriented ski and snowboard tuning business. Free Range Tuning is all about getting the skier onto the mountain as quickly and conveniently as possible. Baer says the beauty of running a small tuning business is that he can cater to individual customer needs.

"When you call my phone you talk to me and we can discuss what the problem is with your skis," he says.

One of the unique services offered by Free Range Tuning is free pick-up and delivery of skis and snowboards in Telluride and Mountain Village, seven days a week. His pick-up and delivery is not only beneficial for the on-the-go local, but for the second homeowner as well.

"If you got here and your skis weren't ready yet, you need to call me," says Baer of visiting skiers. "If someone is coming in from out of town, I can pick up their skis before the customer gets to town. I've even had people ship their skis to me. With a small operation I can do whatever the customer wants. If your caretaker doesn't know about me, he should. My business simplifies life for the caretaker as well as the skier."

What makes Free Range Tuning different from other tuning services at large retail and rental stores in town is that, "I do all the work," says Baer. "There aren't seven guys in an assembly line, where it's easy to miss a step and guy A does a different tune than guy B."

Baer's attention to detail has not gone unnoticed by local skiers. "People are really psyched about my tune," he says. "I have ski instructors who can get a free tune somewhere else, but instead pay to have me tune their skis."

A full tune at Free Range Tuning runs $50 and an edge and debur, $25. "Since I'm such a small company, I can do anything you want," he adds, and will do specific tunes for certain types of skiers and boarders. "My tune is very skiable," meaning it works for a variety of styles, he adds. "Any customer can jump on it and love it."

Over the summer, Baer attended the Wintersteiger Tuning Clinic in Salt Lake City to learn about new tuning technology and products on the market. "I do all my edges by hand with a file, so I was looking for tips to make it better," he says. Wintersteiger was the first company to introduce a stone grinder for ski tuning, and Baer is the only shop in town using one.

A new service he's added this year is complete binding work, including mounting, adjustments and testing

Baer describes his business ethic as "environmentally conscious" and puts that ethic to work in his shop at the Society Turn business center.

"It's the little things that count," he says, that add up to an overall environmentally friendly business. "I purchase blocks of wind power. I don't use that many chemicals, and the ones I do use are biodegradable. I don't purchase produced rags – I get old T-shirts out of the freebox. Instead of buying a mass produced ski bench I built one from recycled lumber."

Baer, who hasn't had a day off since Thanksgiving, calls business "blindingly good," adding that time management is key to balancing work with play, and he makes sure to get in a lot of play time on the mountain. "I tune my own skis, so I know if something isn't right.

"All of my skis are done by me," which is possible, even with how busy he is, because "I'm not overwhelmed with rental returns" as many ski shops can be. "They may have a hundred sets of rentals to do before they get to a customer's skis."

Free Range Tuning also has two drop off locations for customers, Jagged Edge in Telluride, which now offers Line alpine skis and Karhu telemark skis, and Screamin' Doggies in Mountain Village, which has a digital orthotics set-up for custom boot and ski fitting. "It's a pressure pad that can measure gait and foot flexion and create a 3-D image," says Baer. "I don't think there's anything else like it on the Western Slope."

Baer and Free Range Tuning can be contacted at 708-0200 or freerangetuning@hotmail.com.
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