“Skiing is dance; and the mountain always leads.” —Unknown
When winter’s first snowflakes fly, some Michiganians put their heads under their pillows and say, “Wake me up on the first day of spring!” Not so with cold weather sports enthusiasts, who eagerly await the year’s first big snowstorm so they can hit the slopes. Tony Shumaker, owner of Shumaker’s Ski & Snowboard, is one of those people. His love of skiing was ingrained in him by his father, Tom Shumaker, who started skiing as a young teen. “My father had the passion for it,” shares Tony. “He loved to ski.” The Shumakers have shared their love of winter fun with the community by selling cold weather sports equipment and gear for 67 years. When Tony’s grandfather, Carl Shumaker, started the business in 1947 at the same location where it operates today – on the corner of Ballenger Highway and Miller Road – it was a sporting goods and toy store. Over the years, Shumaker’s refined their merchandise selection, and today, it’s the primary destination for local snow-sport enthusiasts.
Shumaker’s offers a full line of Alpine skiing, Nordic/cross-country skiing, and snowboarding gear, apparel and accessories. From the top name brands to obscure manufacturers to specialty and racing products, Shumaker’s has it! They also have a full line of winter boots, mittens, gloves, eyewear and cold weather apparel. “Our technical apparel is designed to keep you warm and dry,” Tony says. “It may be cold outside, but with the right equipment you will stay warm while you’re having fun.” And the 20-30-member staff at Shumaker’s works very hard to meet the needs of their customers. “We go above and beyond to make sure our customers are happy,” says Tony, adding that the store offers a guaranteed fit for ski boots. Shumaker’s also rents equipment, including cross-country skis.
November-January is the busiest time of year at Shumaker’s. This month is particularly busy, as the store is “a great place for Christmas shopping,” says Tony. Snowboard and ski packages, and ski jackets are very popular gift choices, while thermal socks and gloves make perfect stocking-stuffers. “Helmets are also very popular right now,” he added. Shumaker’s also offers full ski and snowboard service, including repair, sharpening and waxing.
The team at Shumakers is looking forward to another fun year, with lots of snow in the forecast again. “Last year was a great one for us,” says Tony, citing record-breaking snowfall as the reason. The entire Shumaker family is excited for winter. Tony’s 13-year-old twins are avid skiers, just like their father and grandfather. “Skiing is a family sport,” says Tony. “It’s fun! It’s intoxicating!” He especially enjoys heading up North with his son for some friendly skiing competitions. “My son beat me last year,” he laughed, “and he reminded me of it all the way home.” Tony encourages people to bundle up and get outside, stating, “Being out in the cold gives you a general sense of well-being.”♦
Photography by Mike Naddeo