Cripple Creek Backcountry breaks further into wheeled world with Basalt Bike & Ski merger |

Cripple Creek Backcountry breaks further into wheeled world with Basalt Bike & Ski merger

A Cripple Creek Backcountry van sits outside the Basalt Bike and Ski shop location in Carbondale.
John Stroud/Post Independent

Off-piste skiing specialists Cripple Creek Backcountry, which got its start in Carbondale 12 years ago, is expanding its reach into mountain biking and other summertime pursuits after its recent merger with Basalt Bike and Ski.

The merger was announced last week by Cripple Creek co-owner Doug Stenclik and is now reflected on the company’s website.

“As community fixtures for over a decade, we have committed to providing quality products and services to outdoor enthusiasts in the Roaring Fork Valley and beyond,” Stenclik said in a prepared statement. “With this merger of Cripple Creek and Basalt Bike and Ski, we can expand our offerings and continue serving the community we love.”

Basalt Bike and Ski was founded in 2006 by Joel Mischke in Basalt, and later bought out the former Ajax Bikes location at Colorado Highway 133 and Dolores Way in Carbondale. 

The Basalt store in the Willits commercial district near Whole Foods and its Aspen store remain, and Mischke intends to maintain an advisory role during the transition, Cripple Creek General Manager Alex Popovich said.

The original Cripple Creek Backcountry store in Carbondale.
John Stroud/Post Independent

The plan is to keep both Carbondale locations, including Cripple Creek’s flagship store in the La Fontana Plaza on 133 and the Basalt Bike retail and servicing shop, through the summer, he said.

Come fall, all retail and service operations are expected to move to the Basalt Bike location, and the La Fontana location will house offices and online fulfillment functions for the company.

The Basalt Bike location in Willits and Aspen would also remain, along with Cripple Creek Backcountry locations at Aspen Highlands, Avon, Silverton, Denver and Seattle.

“We’re all avid bikers when we put the skis away for the season, so we’ve been pondering the idea of joining the biking community for some time,” Popovich said.

Last summer, Cripple Creek began doing e-bike rentals out of its Highlands location, and the Denver store began carrying Carbondale-based Revel gravel and hardtail packing bikes, and other niche brand bikes.

Both the Denver and Seattle locations will make the full transition into the bicycle side of the business, picking up the Basalt Bike brands of Specialized, Giant, Yeti, Santa Cruz, Pivot, Cervelo and Pinarello bikes, Popovich said.

Stenclik co-founded Cripple Creek Backcountry with Randy Young in 2011.

“By joining forces, we can offer an even more comprehensive selection of products, from bikes to alpine and backcountry skis,” Stenclik said.

“Not only does this allow us to reach a larger population of cycling enthusiasts, but it allows us to keep staff year-round to service the complicated gear,” according to a statement on the company website.

Post Independent interim Managing Editor and senior reporter John Stroud can be reached at or at 970-384-9160.

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