Keeping it All in The Family…
Kevin Kinne started skiing when he was 6 years old in 1971, his dad Walt who was an avid skier took him out of school when he was in second grade for a half day of skiing and the madness began. Since that day, he has been a Season Pass Holder at Red Lodge Mountain for the past 37 years. Scott Kinne's initiation started even earlier, at the age of 4 in 1963, his dad Walt, set up a ski training system incorporating a picnic table and a series of shaved hay bails, need we say more, Scott was launched into the ski business before he even started school.
As most things do, the skiing industry peaked in the 1970's and started losing momentum as its brethren aged. It wasn't until the 1990's that those who skied still skied but those who didn't started snowboarding called the "new" generation. Kevin, with his eye for a challenge, forever looking for powder that could be poached and a truly innate 6th sense for the latest wave switched teams, he began to board. This young, new, hot, controversial scene was not immediately accepted by the skiing culture to the extent Kevin was run off for just being a "boarder". Yes, that's right, run off the mountain for riding a snowboard, it makes for great copy because it is almost unbelievable. However, what was controversial within the snow industry turned out to be a successful endeavor for Scott, Kevin and The Ski Station.
We all know, being related doesn't always mean you are on the same piece of sheet music but in the Kinne case it does. Scott being 5 years older was off to college, getting a degree in you guessed it…skiing, no it was not on the college curriculum but it was on Scott's agenda while Kevin was trading out hard goods in exchange for tuning ski's before he was even old enough to work. After college Scott went to work for the Ski Tipi in Billings as the manager running all facets of the business operations. Kevin followed at the Ski Tipi as the shop hand doing everything from boot fitting, binding adjustments, sales and service. Scott made a strategic career move and accepted a bigger management job at Terry Peak Ski & Sport-Billings location, which was more of a year around business.
Kevin left the Ski Tipi, after high school during the height of the electronics boom working for the Sound Room, meanwhile, Terry Peak Ski & Sport had made some business decisions that put them in a position to sell their business in Red Lodge. Scott received the letter from Terry Peak head office soliciting buyers for the recently opened ski rental business located in Red Lodge at the Pony Express. Scott casually, and unknowingly initiated what is now known as The Ski Station. Kevin took the letter, secured financing and officially opened The Ski Station in 1985 in Red Lodge, MT at the mere age of 19 starting solely as a rental and service center with a few accessories to sell.
Scott moved over to Kings Mountain Shop in Billings, again as management then in 1988, Scott made another and final career move, he joined Kevin in The Ski Station and opened the Billing's location two years later primarily focusing on the snowboard industry. The Ski Station at the time was the only game in town. If there was a board going down the hill The Ski Station sold it. This lock on the market lasted for almost five years. Then as life would have it things changed. Kevin became a dad, the birth of Karver Allen Kinne began on June 20th, 1998. And with bless-full changes comes a switch in priorities, Karver became the number one priority and dictated Kevin's agenda. Boarding everyday was put on the back burner, however, with the gracious help of his mom and dad, Walt & Shirley Kinne, he was still able to oversee the Red Lodge store while he and Scott worked the Billings location. During the next ten years, the industry evolved again when the technology applied to snowboards, was applied to the ski, the pendulum that has swung so far to boarders was now meeting a happy medium as a result skiing became hot again, boarding had found a place in history and both had found a run to a profitable future.