Staff Page Bio
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 ski retailer in the United States. Celebrating over 31 years of business.
Brett started working at Gear West in 2018. He began as a competitive swimmer at age six. His triathlon career started in 1986 and has competed every year since (you can do the math on how many years that is!). Brett is married and has 2 kids. When not training or working he likes to relax with a nice IPA and just kick his feet up! He also really enjoys coffee and a good donut!!
Brian (Speedy) McCollar
Speedy has been selling running shoes since 1991 and really enjoys 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.
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 the elite wave of the Birkie Skate this year. At Gear West he manages our running department and is one of our shoe fit experts. In his spare time he loves coaching, from track and field to nordic skiing.
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.
David started Nordic skiing and racing in the mountains of western Maine when he was 7. After a whirlwind of travel and a ski racing career that saw him race at three World Championships with the US Ski Team, David settled down with his wife in Bloomington, MN to live a quieter life, tending garden and raising a son. David has worked in the ski industry for 10 years since his racing days and enjoys grinding and fitting skis. When not at the store David likes to be outdoors, biking, skiing and running or at home puttering around with his family. He also coaches juniors and adults with the Loppet Nordic Racing programs.
Dugan is a competitive sailor and skier. At Gear West Dugan is a Senior boot fitter. He is a simple man, who enjoys the little things in life, such as a properly aged bottle of whiskey. He is a retired charter captain on the great lakes. He has four beautiful kids. Before he came to Gear West he spent 15 years as a boot fitter, and he worked at the Bell Museum of National History and taught geology, biology, and natural history of dinosaurs.
Emma has been an outdoor enthusiast sense a very young age. She began swimming and biking at the age of three. Not to long after that Emma began to learn how to play tennis, alpine, cross country, and water ski. In high school Emma was a member of the Wayzata cross country ski team in the fall and winter and in the summer, she spent swimming for Wayzata. At Gear West Emma is an ecommerce associate. When she is not at the store you can find her competing in tennis tournaments, or out on a lake somewhere kayaking or swimming in the summer, or skiing across it when it is frozen in the winter.
Jeff grew up in a small town in Northeast Iowa and loved to be outside: riding bikes, skateboarding, camping and sledding and XC skiing in the winter. When Jeff was 13 he saw snowboarding for the 1st time and had to try it. After that, he was hooked and didn't look back. Jeff moved to Utah to snowboard when he was 19 and has been lucky enough to meet and shred with most his childhood snowboarding heroes. Over the years Jeff coached, judged, and managed a snowboard shop. He also spent a bunch of time exploring all that Utah has to offer (Brighton and Snowbird are his favorite resorts) but backcountry is where it is at.
Jenny began working at Gear West as a part-time sales associate in college – determined to make her mark on the outdoor industry. She spent three years working for Salomon where she travelled all over the country – and world as the North American Racing Service Manager, and eventually Nordic Sales Rep. Jenny returned to Gear West in the summer of 2017 to manage the Nordic department. When she’s not at the store, she enjoys riding her mountain bike and coaching skiers of all ages and abilities.
Motivator, encourager, and instructor. I live in those 3 modes most days no matter if it is at Gear West with customers, working with my students at Crown College, my peers on my fire department, or my family at home. There is nothing better than seeing the fire ignite in a person when they "get it" or achieve that goal once thought impossible. Whatever good you do, get out there and Get After It.
Kip has worked in the bike industry for an unknown, mysterious amount of years. He's honestly 3 degress from anyone in the bike industry and has a "he's my favorite bike mechanic" cult like following. Kip and his dog Marley protect the coffee pods in the bike service department and keep our service product shelves nice and stocked. Much like Big Foot, photos of Kip are extremely rare.
Life long skier, wannabe gravel cyclist, and Hawaiian shirt advocate. Passing my passion for floral patterns and euro carves onto my daughter Kaia and wife Kate. Interests include (but not limited to) tacos, doodling, Fanny packs and high fives. Born in Utah, raised in Colorado, new to the Midwest. Grew up in the outdoor industry and amorous about being outside. Spent a big chunk of my young adulthood chasing Slopestyle and big air competitions all over North America, Europe and a few occasions down under in New Zealand. Aspiring to ski powder in Japan and own a camper van.
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 the gatekeeper to the Gear West inventory via her newest role as the receiving manager. 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.
One of our expert boot fitters, Mark's goal is fit, focused on making foot beds for not only our alpine customers, but our Nordic and biking customers as well. Mark started his alpine retail career in 1968, where he sold skis and mounted bindings. In the 80's Mark worked for several Ski companies as a technician and salesman; tuning skis and testing demo skis. To add to his reputable career, Mark ran the Ski Company in Michigan, focused on buying products and fitting foot beds. After a ski hiatus, Mark worked in the IT department for 16 years, until recently when he joined our Alpine team; you may even see him in our Bike and Tri store, creating custom foot beds. In his free time, Mark is an avid skier, traveling the country to shred some powder, as well as an avid fat and snow tire biker.
After nearly a decade of studying and traveling, Nate has returned to his home state of Minnesota. After graduating from Wayzata High School, 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.
Ryan was born in Kansas, and has four siblings. After high school he moved to southern South Dakota to join the U.S Aire force and spent years parachuting. After his service, he became a plane fueler. Ryan has always had a fascination with bikes. He has been riding Fixies for ten years. At Gear West, Ryan is a bike mechanic. Fun fact he just got a golden doodle puppy.
Sean had a sweet mullet back in his college days and he could offen be seen driving up and down Lincoln Way in his IROC Z blasting Def Leapord while he skipped classes at ISU. Aside from mullet maintenance, Sean was a collegiate athlete in track, has completed a few Ironman triathlons, and digs getting out on two wheels. Sean orders stuff for Gear West and is also radical, gnarly, and choice.
Tanner originally hails from the Appalachian Mountains, where he got hooked on cycling from an early age. The obsession started with road bikes and quickly evolved into anything with two wheels. Tanner moved to Minnesota in 2013, also when he started wrenching on bikes. Tanner started working for Gear West in the spring of 2018 after graduating from Minnesota State University with a degree in Biology.
Tim has worked in the bike industry for about 8 years now. Started off a roadie grew into mountain bikes and gravel as main discipline. Tim did a three-month bike tour starting in Minneapolis and ending in San Francisco navigating through the badlands of South Dakota, Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, the Cascades, Olympia National Park and finally down the coast of Washington and Orgon as well as part of California. - Camping the entire way. Avid cyclist, snowboarder and beer drinker.
Todd started in the ski industry in 1986 waxing skis and mounting bindings. He has been involved in the bike industry since 2006. His favorite riding place in the twin cities is Elm Creek Park. Todd's favorite ski area is Winter Park. When not at work Tod enjoys spending his free time doing home repairs, gardening, and working on classic cars.
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. Wendi 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 she lives happily at Gear West (in the shoe area of course).