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Elevating women on the mountain

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Elevate shop owner Kim McLaughlin, of Green Bank, stands with one of her favorite boards from Coalition Snow. C. Moore photos.

Cailey Moore
Staff Writer

For Pocahontas County native Kim McLaughlin, the New Year marked more than just making new resolutions. Designed with women in mind, Elevate – Snowshoe’s newest ski and snowboard shop – opened its doors for the first time on January 2.

“I wanted something that was one word, easy for people to say, but I also wanted it to represent what I want my business to be,” McLaughlin said of the business name. “I want women to be able to elevate their confidence and elevate their attitudes, their skills, style and more with my shop.”

One way McLaughlin hopes to encourage and empower her fellow skiers and snowboarders in the sport is by filling her store with women-driven products.

One brand, Coalition Snow, is near and dear to McLaughlin’s heart. According to Coalition Snow’s website, the California-based company believes that “women’s skis and snowboards shouldn’t suck” and has made it their mission to design skis and snowboards that women will want to ride.

“I’ve noticed that a lot of the bigger companies make skis and snowboards for women that are not as cutting edge as the stuff they’re making for men,” McLaughlin explained. “I think it’s important for women to know that they could be riding something designed by another woman to help them excel and become more aggressive in the sport.”

McLaughlin began working with Coalition Snow over the summer and credited the company’s CEO Jen Gurecki with giving her the inspiration and push necessary to make Elevate a reality.

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McLaughlin wanted to offer her customers a unique range of merchandise and has filled her shop with products from small, up-and-coming companies, such as Bern and BlackStrap, as well as local wares from Jimmy Hats and Cheryl Beverage.

In addition to Coalition Snow skis and snowboards lining the back wall, Elevate offers its customers a selection of products from small, up-and-coming companies that the other resort stores might not have – such as Bern helmets and goggles, Celtek gloves, Holden Outerwear parkas, Terramar base layers and more. Local brands and products – such as Jimmy Hats and knitted goods from Cheryl Beverage – are available, as well.

While McLaughlin utilizes all of the brands featured in her store when out on the slopes, one of her personal favorites is the BlackStrap face masks.

“It’s a really cool product,” she said. “When you’re out on the slopes, it’s a challenge to stay warm and be able to breathe without fogging up your goggles. BlackStrap face masks make that easier. They’re very breathable, they keep you warm, and they don’t fog up your goggles.”

For those staying at Silver Creek Lodge, Elevate serves as a small grocery store, as well.

In the future, McLaughlin has expressed a desire to turn her business into an outfitters and host a series of summer activities – such as camping, hiking, mountain biking and guided tours – with women in mind.

Plans for winter expansions are in the works, but for now, McLaughlin partners with Snowshoe’s Coalition Snow ambassador Stephanie Macgill and the Sisterhood of Shred, who put together days where women can get together and ride.

McLaughlin was first introduced to the sport as a student at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School. Through a partnership with Snowshoe Mountain Resort, McLaughlin and her fellow classmates were given the opportunity to participate in free ski trips once a year, and it was while she was on those trips that McLaughlin fell in love with skiing and snowboarding.

Elevate is located inside the Silver Creek Lodge at Snowshoe Mountain Resort and is open weekdays from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Elevate may be reached by phone at 304-572-6751 or by email at kmclaughlin@elevatewv.com. For additional information, please visit www.elevatewv.com, or check out Elevate’s social media on Facebook at Elevate Ski/Snowboard Shop for Women and on Instagram at elevateyosteez.

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