Nestled at the base of the north end of Blue Mountain Resort, you will find Rick’s Pro Shop owned and operated by Brody Nickels. The shop, which has just undergone a recent expansion to double its size to over 3000 square feet, offers everything you need to stay warm, comfortable, and safe when you are out on the slopes.
Whether you are a seasoned pro on the slopes or just learning, you’ll find all the major recognizable brands like Rossignol, Lange, Dynastar, Nordica, Fischer, and Elan to choose from, and Brody and his team can help you select the right gear for performance or leisure.
Nickels was born and raised in Sauble Beach, then his family moved to Meaford when he was a teen. “I remember coming into the shop to get some gear, and after chatting with the owner, Rick Sim, he offered me a part-time job after school and on weekends,” recalls Brody.
“Aside from gear, we also offer basic ski tunes, race tunes, ski service and custom boot fitting. Rick taught me how to hand tune skis, he was a hand tuner at Georgian Peaks and learned to hand tune before integrating machines into the process, but we still hand finish at the end because it allows you to check every detail and adjust as needed based on what the individual ski style is of the customer. It’s years of knowing your customers and their level and style of skiing that makes the difference,” explains Brody. “We highly recommend a custom boot fitting because it adds the next level of comfort and can make a significant difference in terms of how enjoyable your day on the slopes will be. A custom boot fitting matches your foot to the boot and enables better stability, performance, and comfort.”
The location of Rick’s Pro Shop is no accident. Karl Zotter, the original owner of the shop back in 1962, chose the location because it was right along the same road that skiers arriving at the C.N.R. Craigleith Station would take to get to the slopes. Karl Zotter came to Blue Mountain from Austria in 1953 and managed Jozo’s ski shop before opening Zotter’s Ski Shop. The shop was subsequently owned and operated by Rick Sim, who operated the business until his passing in 2012. With the help of his parents, Nickels bought the business from the estate when he was 17 years old, and he’s been running the shop ever since.
If you’re thinking about taking up skiing or boarding but want to ‘try before you buy,’ you can rent gear, even helmets, through their rental program and if you have kids, you can take advantage of their half-back program. On-line shopping is also available and Rick’s offers free local delivery or free shipping on orders over $100.
Ski tip: Watch for their big tent sales on Canada Day weekend and Thanksgiving weekend. “It’s a bit of a reunion for us. We get to see our customers and catch up with them after not seeing them for months. It’s fun and they can snag great deals at our tent sales,” says Brody.