If you ask anyone from the Eastern U.S. ski racing scene who has the best tune in New England, countless people are bound to say, “Graham at Edgewise.”
Sadly for racers in the Northeast, Graham and Mila Lonetto have decided to close up shop for good after 14 years of business at the foot of Mount Mansfield in Stowe, Vermont.
Providing a wide range of race-specific services like high-end grinding, waxing, and tuning, including a full retail shop, the team at Edgewise has been responsible for keeping numerous racer’s skis in tip-top shape, week in and week out on race courses across the country.
Graham and Mila moved from Utah to Vermont in 2000 and opened Edgewise in 2003 after Graham served a stint as a U.S. Ski Team technician.
“It just seemed like there was an opportunity for a ski racing specific store because where I had been in the East, I hadn’t really seen that before,” he said. “We kind of took a chance that there was a market for it.”
Edgewise started small as a one-man operation that consisted of Graham and a small stone grinder offering tuning services in Stowe. Over the years, Graham and Mila slowly added a retail component to the business. By the end of the business’ run, Edgewise employed over a dozen people and grew into one of the most successful premier specialty race shops in North America.
“It turns out there is a market,” he laughed. “Fourteen years into it, it’s a pretty intense business. There’s a lot of detail and a lot of work to make sure you do it right. … My wife and I both were really just looking to make a change and do some different things.”
After initially putting the business on the market about six months ago, they realized it could be a tough sell considering that many large clubs and academies are now offering ski tuning services of their own. The couple entertained several offers before eventually deciding to close up shop.
“We’re both ready to move on,” he added. “We’re in a good spot financially with a healthy, successful store and we were able to shut down without any debt. It was just a good time for us to stop. … Frankly, the market has changed a ton since we opened the store in 2003. The ski academy component is a bigger competitor and I can see the writing on the wall that over time our bigger customers, these bigger academies, will eventually take on a ski tuning aspect of their own which doesn’t bode well for us over the next 10 years.”
Graham added that another factor in their decision is wanting to spend more time with their now seven-year-old daughter.
Looking towards the future, the Mt. Mansfield Ski Club (MMSC) will take over the shop and will offer their own in-house ski tuning services to members in future seasons.
“I’m on the board at the club so I’m going to help oversee it and make sure things are done correctly and make sure that we have a good tuning situation up there,” he said. “That’s going to be taking place over the next month or so.”
“I’m looking forward to some new stuff,” he continued. “I think I’m going to do some race consulting and focus on some private coaching service support and equipment testing here and there. Also looking at doing some consulting for other shops and train their staff to the Edgewise level of procedures and things like that.”
Edgewise will be open June 1-10 from 12-5 p.m. in order to liquidate its inventory. With prices slashed below wholesale on many items, now might be the perfect time to stop in, say goodbye, and pick up some sweet new gear. The shop will also take orders by phone at 802.253.8883 for anyone outside of the area who is looking to make purchases.
“We thank you, the ski racing community near and far, for all the support you have given us,” the couple said in a farewell email sent to customers. “We want to also thank publicly our amazing staff, without whom Edgewise would never be what it has become.”
Photo from the Edgewise Elite Ski Service Facebook page