Without a doubt, local shops often have the best knowledge and secrets about any area. In Nelson, BC, Tribute Boardshop offers great style, equipment, and advice to anyone who asks for it. We’ve recently caught up with shop owner and former mountain guide, Shane Johnsen, to ask about the business, the local vibe, and backcountry safety.

Can you describe the local style and vibe in Nelson?
Nelson is very laid back. People take riding extremely seriously out here and there are some of the best riders you will find anywhere. They just don’t have interest in the media and the hype. They just have interest in being riders.

How long have you been in business?
Tribute – six years. I ran a previous store, and saw that a boutique style store would be more appealing to me than a run of the mill shop, so we did it.

Because Nelson is such a mecca for backcountry lodges, with Baldface and Snowwater both close by, do you find you get a lot of out-of-town visitors throughout the winter?
Oh, absolutely. It brings in a lot of business in the winter. It’s really good on that level.

Do you guys sell many split boards and backcountry equipment?
Oh yeah, huge amount of split boards. I would say here that it is probably more popular than anywhere in BC. I move a lot of split boards.

Does Tribute sell skis as well?
We do a little bit. Mervin has their skis, so I do the Libs, and a couple of other brands.

Do you sell a lot of skis?
Oh, yeah definitely. We do fringe brands, some of the smaller independent companies that focus on free skiing, and they do OK.

When do the locals start to get noticeably excited about snow and winter?
It’s early here. Sometimes even in August. I have all my shipments come very early. We get it as soon as we can, because by the middle of August it’s on.

When does the season usually start, and end?
Usually, on a good year, last week of November you can start hitting the backcountry. And the guys this year were riding well into the first week of May. We’ve got Kokanee Glacier too, so you could probably head up there and shred right now if you wanted to.

How big is your snow team?
Yeah, we’ve got a pretty good team. We’re usually sitting around 10-12 riders. And these guys are all very high caliber riders, there just not interested in Whistler and trying to make it. It’s just a different vibe out here.

Any local advice for visitors?
When it comes to backcountry, definitely pop by and see us, or visit the Canadian Avalanche Association website. Definitely really important to get the local knowledge of what’s going on with snow stability around here, and not to head out without any information. That’s really important. We seem to have a couple of those incidences each year, where people go off, or see some tracks and follow them. People definitely have to smarten up a bit out there. The website is great avalanche.ca.  And make sure to visit Whitewater. They have done a lot of improvements up there recently and its getting pretty good up there.  

If you’re in the Nelson area, check out Tribute Boardshop and get some good gear and local knowledge at the same time.
Call 250 352 7722, or click here for more info on Tribute.

Tribute stoked full for the winter season. Photo Credit: Tribute Boardshop