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Gear West Staff

Here at Gear West, we live and breathe endurance sports. We've been through it all, from the nerves of the first 5k race ever to the thrill of "the perfect race" or the quiet contemplation of the long-slow-distance workout. No matter what stage you're at, we want to make sure that you're having more fun and success than you ever thought possible.

Meet the people who are waiting to provide you with the best gear, the knowledge to use it, and the confidence to enjoy it. See you on the trails....



  • Jan Guenther

    Jan Guenther

    Elite  (aging)  Athlete and Owner of Gear West  Ski & Run and Gear West Alpine & Casual.

    Already a successful store owner and athlete in both nordic skiing and triathlon, Jan moved to Minnesota and founded Gear West with her husband and former Swix and Fischer ski rep Brian Knutson, in 1991. Although GW started small, a commitment to excellent customer service, world cup level ski fit, and competitive pricing provided a bedrock for what is now the largest cross country ski retailer in the United States.

    Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Gear West also specializes in run, trail and spike shoes along with gait analysis. Gear West Alpine was in 2012 and sells downhill skis, snowboards, lacrosse, soccer, long boards and casual + ski clothing. makes up over a third of Gear West sales and ships product everywhere in the US. Gear West Bike & Tri was purchased by a former GW employee Kevin O’Connor and altogether the three stores create the GW specialty Sports Campus located only in Long Lake MN. Jan still integrates herself into every aspect of the business and basically works a lot (and trains a lot) because she still loves to race xc skis, triathlons and trail runs.

    Racing Highlights:

    • American Birkebeiner 2nd Place Overall Women
    • 5 Time Winner of the Mora Vassaloppet
    • Age Group Winner Ironman Hawaii 2003
    • Overall Women Winner 2008 Lake Minnetonka Triathlon
  • Brian Knutson

    Brian "BK" Knutson

    Brian has worked, raced and sold XC skis for over 35 years and probably knows more about XC skis and how they work than anyone else. He has flexed tested more skis than ANYONE in the industry. He began as a serious HS and Collegiate racer in the Midwest. Afterward, he traveled to Sweden to learn more about coaching, which eventually led him to coach for Montana State. Returning back to the Midwest, he started the ski business at BJ's Bike and Ski in the Minneapolis area and then moved on to work and sell for Fischer Skis and Swix wax.

    In 1993, Brian left Fischer and joined Jan at Gear West were they worked together to create what is now, the largest single XC ski store in the US. Not only do customers travel far distances to visit Gear West but they order product on-line. Gear West ships skis, run shoes and other related items all over the US and Canada.

    Brian continues to work on skis- selecting the best ones he can find out of GW's huge selection- but he has added a new love, which is knowing all he can about Conifer trees. Stop by GW, not only will you see an amazing selection of skis and ski equipment.... and running shoes and cool clothing, but you will see the beginnings of a Conifer garden out in front of the store. Over the past few years, Brian removed the contaminated dirt in what was a gas station and has slowly planted an array of natural plants featuring conifers and small alpine perennials in front of Gear West.


  • Nordic Ski Sales and Service

  • Matt Fox

    Matt Fox

    Matt works in our Gear West Service Shop and manages all services that include stonegrinding, waxing and repairs. He is also a very skilled ski fitter that can find you a great set of new skis. Matt enjoys skiing both on groomed trails and back country, he is also an avid hunter and fisherman.

  • Nate Engh

    Nate Engh

    After nearly a decade of studying and traveling, Nate has returned to his home state of Minnesota. After graduating from Wayzata, he lived in Iowa, Illinois and South Dakota, and traveled to Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Norway, Sweden, Brazil and Japan. A musician and an athlete, Nate plays the trombone, guitar and ukulele, likes to ski, and plays frisbee and soccer. He just finished reading The Lord of the Rings trilogy for the first time, and now understands why they are way better than the movies.


  • Running Shoe Sales and Fit

  • Speedy McCollar

    Brian "Speedy" McCollar

    Speedy has been selling running shoes since 1991 and really enjoy helping runners find the right shoes to reach their potential. He started working at Gear West in 1998 and rekindled his love of Cross Country skiing and since has spent my winters helping skiers find the best ski to achieve their dreams, whether it is racing the Birkie or skiing across Finland.

    Racing Highlights:

    • Track PRs: 400 meters 54.6, 800m 1:59.7, 1600m 4:20.82, 3200 9:20.64
    • 5K 15:15, 10K 31:10, 13.1M 1:08:37, Marathon 2:24:43
    • 100 Miles 16:09:52 (formerly a state record)
    • American Birkie 2:39:43
  • Corey Towle

    corey Towle

    After beating his entire elementary school in the mile (even the sixth graders!) fourth grade Corey knew he was going to be a runner. Almost 20 years later, he is still a runner, but he also skis, swims, and bikes. Look out for him in a couple of triathlons this summer. At Gear West he manages our running department and is one of our Video Shoe Fit experts. In his spare time he loves coaching, from track and field to nordic skiing. 

  • Racing Highlights:

  • Track PRs: 400m 54.5, 800m 1:59.6, 1600m 4:12.9(r), 3000m 8:30.88, 5K 14:40.82 10K 30:28.49, 13.1M 1:10:43, Marathon 2:50:15

  • Prince Haakon Champion 2014 

  • 3xNational Qualifier in Track and Cross Country

  • jen Gabrielson

    Wendi Morin

    Wendi is a Gait analysis and biomechanics fanatic lovingly known as "The Shoe Whisperer" by loyal customers. She has degrees in Physical Therapy & Health and Human Performance. Loves running marathons and is slowly but surely working on running one in every state. She has more running shoes than one house can hold so lives happily at Gear West (in the shoe area of course).


  • Ski and Run Clothing and Accessories

  • Lynne Cecil

    Lynne Cecil

    Lynne was raised in the bike and ski business as her parents owned BJ's Bike & Ski, a top notch nordic racing store with Brian Knutson as the ski manager. She started nordic skiing after moving back to Minnesota from Crested Butte, CO after college. Lynne is something of a rarity in the xc skiing world - she started roller skiing and fell in love with it before she'd ever even been on skinny skis. She didn't even believe that skiing on snow could possibly be more fun than roller skiing!

    Fortunately, Lynne's start to skiing also coincided with the explosion of the skate technique; the newly leveled playing field being allowed her to excel in the sport, racing for the Fischer/Salomon Factory team in its' heyday and culminating with a victory in the 1990 Birkie.

    Lynne has 3 daughters who have grown up too quickly, she enjoys sharing her passion for skiing with new skiers both through her position at Gear West and as a coach for LNR and Life Time Fitness. Lynne's newest passion is yoga in all it's forms because of the physical challenge and body/mind/soul connection.


  • Mail Order Sales

  • Adam Mahar

    Adam Mahar

    Adam bailed on basketball tryouts after a single day and hasn't looked back, skiing through middle school, high school, and college. While working at Gear West as a web developer, he has started to experience the midwest marathon scene. He's recently begun racing bikes, and is enjoying the challenge of a new way to suffer.

  • Brodie Rau

    Brodie Rau

    Gear West's shipping guru, Brodie has been at Gear West since 2003. He has been on skis since the ripe age of 10, and has formerly qualified for the Birkie Elite Wave and finished as high as 51st in the classic race. These days, when he isn't learning how to raise his young son or trying to spend at least a little time on skis, he’s taking on the task of becoming the next banjo extraordinaire.



  • gear west alpine

  • Eric Barron

    eric BARRON

    Eric started skiing at the age of three at Hyland Hills and never looked back. He loves skiing and helping Gear West Alpine customers select the right skis and boots. In his youth, Eric raced competitively with Buck Hill Ski Team for 13 years. During this time he competed in FIS- Slalom, Giant Slalom, Super G, Downhill. Eric qualified and competed in Jr. Olympics for seven years. He attended summer ski camps with coach Erich Sailer at Red Lodge Montana, Hintertux Austria, and Mt. Hood, Oregon. During high school Eric raced for Orono Alpine Ski Team and competed in the MN State High School Alpine Ski Meet. Eric is a certified level 2 PSIA Ski Instructor and has taught skiing at Steamboat and Breckenridge ski resorts. Most recently Eric has validated his boot fit expertise with an Associates Plus MasterFit University certification in Denver, CO.
  • Dana Henry

    Dana henry

    Dana has the outdoors in his blood. He grew up competing in both cross country and Alpine skiing in the Green Mountains of Vermont. He raced through high school at state and national levels. His favorite places to ski in the Northeast are: Whiteface, Mad River Glen, Sunday River, and Sugarbush. In the summer he paddles every possible boat, both whitewater and flat water all over North America. He just missed making the 1996 Olympic team in white water slalom. At Gear West Dana is our Alpine ski tune specialist. He obsesses about giving each ski or board the stone grind, edge tune and wax that will give the customer the best possible performance, whether they are racers, recreational skiers, or kids.

  • Jeff Perry

    Jeff Perry







  • jen Gabrielson




  • Marketing

  • Maple Mike

    Maple Mike Stearns


  • Tony Mommsen

    Tony Mommsen

    It make sense Tony works for a ski and run shop, he was born into an outdoor family. His grandfather camped, fished and skied all over the world and was the co-founder of Trollhaugen Ski Area in Wisconsin. For Tony’s mother and father dating was just another excuse to get outside. They canoed the Boundary Waters before it was wilderness and they skied all over the west.

    Tony raced on the high school cross country ski team back when most everyone used wood skis. He has skied the Birkie many times but can not seem to get any faster. The last few years he has skied the classic Birkie “The extra 4km allows me to maximize suffering.” says Tony. Tony and his wife get to the BWCA most summers and they enjoy biking, hiking and skiing together. This Fall they will be spending an extended period biking in Italy.


  • Receiving

  • Lori Heinrich

    Lori Heinrich

    Lori is a Jack (or is it Jill?) of all trades in both her work life and personal life. At the store, she works the floor and helps with stocking whenever she isn't acting as gatekeeper to the Gear West inventory via her newest role as the receiving . Her most recent task was running in the clouds in a dress.

    Outside of work, she likes to think there are more than 24 hours in a day and nothing she can’t do, or at least attempt. This includes, running, skiing, cycling, playing volleyball, tennis, kayaking, cooking, gardening and anything else anyone suggests that sounds fun. With her 3rd child of 4 graduating high school this year, she decided to get a puppy as she was worried the house would get too quiet.

Visit Gear West

1786 W Wayzata Blvd
Long Lake, MN 55356

Phone: 952-473-0377
Mail Order: 877-473-4327


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Retail Hours

Mon - Thurs: 10:00am - 8:00pm
Friday: 10:00am - 6:00pm
Saturday: 10:00am - 5:00pm
Sunday: 12:00pm - 4:00pm

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Wisdom, Value, Selection. These three ideals are the core of Gear West. We bring you the best products for your sport, style, and skill at the best prices and back them with unparalleled knowledge and support.

North America's largest cross country ski retailer and one of Minnesota's premier independent specialty sports stores, Gear West provides top level gear for nordic, running, alpine, soccer, lacrosse, and boardsports athletes across the midwest and the United States. We provide equipment for athletes of every level, from first-timers and newcomers to professionals and Olympians.

We carry only the highest quality equipment, accessories, and apparel from the most respected companies in the world. These include brands such as adidas, Arc'teryx, Atomic, Asics, Bjorn Daehlie, Bliz Active Eyewear, Brine, Brooks, Capita, Craft, Debeer, Elan, Fast Wax, Fischer, Gait Lacrosse, HEAD, Inov-8, Madshus, New Balance, Newton, Nike, One Way Sport, Pearl Izumi, Rex Wax, Rode Wax, Rossignol, Rottefella, Salice, Salomon, Skadi, Smartwool, Star Wax, Start Wax, STX, Swenor, Swix, Tecnica, Toko, V2, Vibram, Volkl, Warrior, Yoko, and many, many more.

Despite this vast selection, the products we carry are ones that we believe in, stand behind, and use every day. We pride ourselves on providing the kind of service that you tell your friends about. If you have any questions, feel free to call us toll free at 1-877-473-4327 or email us.

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