The Start Haus is the best ski shop in the country, period. We demand the best performance from the equipment we service and sell and we think you deserve the same. We demand that your boots are the best fitting boots you've ever worn. We demand that your skis elevate your skiing to a new level. We sell the best stuff, service with the best techniques and as our customer; you will have your best skiing experiences.
It's this attitude and our stubborn dedication to customer satisfaction that elevates the Start Haus Ski Shop above the rest. But don't take our word for it, the true testimony comes from our thousands of loyal customers, from beginning skiers to Olympic level ski racers. Just ask around!
We strive to bring the same level of service and quality to customers across the country and around the world with this website as well. We want you to have just as good an experience online as you would in our store, so don't hesitate to contact us and let us know what we can do for you.
Start Haus began in the basement of Jim Schaffner's house. It was there that he made his 30 years of experience in ski racing, world cup ski service and boot work available to the public. Working by appointment only, Jim would help elite athletes with their boot issues and tune skis for the various race teams in the Lake Tahoe area.
By the summer of 2004, Jim's home-spun business had grown beyond the capacity his basement (and wife) would allow. He saw a need for a core race shop on the west coast, a retail location that could offer services and product once reserved for world cup athletes. The Start Haus officially opened its doors in downtown Truckee in August of 2004. Through word-of-mouth only (Start Haus has never been listed in the phonebook) the customers came, and the business grew. Since 2004, the Start Haus has expanded the size of its store front by 300%, quadrupled it number of employees, acquired state of the art ski tuning machines and launched an online store.
Start Haus' growth, customer loyalty and popularity is a result of hard work and a dedication to a core set of values established in Jim Schaffner's basement all those years ago. Simple Honesty and True Integrity.
Jim was born in Chicago, Illinois and started skiing at the age of 4 on the ice slopes of the mid-west. Jim is a former nationally ranked amateur and professional ski racer. His industry experience includes World Cup serviceman, Manager for Salomon North America Racing and Promotions Department and consultant for several ski manufacturer's race departments. As a certified Pedorthist, Jim specializes in custom boot fitting and alignment. Jim's passion for skiing extends throughout the summer as a fixture at summer ski camps or behind his boat on waterskis. To make ends meet, he also moonlights as the janitor at the Start Haus.
Jim Schaffner, Owner
Jim or "Sierra Jim" as he is known, is a ski industry veteran having worked on both the supply and retail sides of the business. Jim has the unique ability to describe skis like a connoisseur of fine wine. He can pick out the minor nuances, nuanced highlights and peculiar notes of any pair of sticks he skis on. Look for "Start Haus Review" on skis you're checking out and that's Jim's take, who generally skis everything we carry, before we carry it.You can also see his video reviews on our Youtube channel
Jim Fowler, Resident Guru
Jared is one of the Start Haus' ski experts and the man behind our new summer venture - stand up paddle boards. Jared has worked at Sugar Bowl Ski Resort, lead nordic skiing trips and has a lot of knowledge in powder and backcountry skis. In the summer Jared has taught stand up paddle boarding, run class 3 whitewater on a SUP, and worked in the water sports industry, so he's the guy with all the info on our stand up paddle boards and other summer watersports gear.
Jared Licht, Ski & Stand Up Paddle Board Sales
James has been fitting ski boots since 2006, after working for Nordica out of college. He now handles our boot buying, so he is extremely knowledgable about our entire ski boot line, and he writes our popular Bootfitter's Notes blog, detailing the fit, features and performance of a wide range of boots. Outside of skiing, he mountain bikes, surfs and plays the guitar.
James Donahue, Bootfitter
Walk into the Start Haus, and Doug can gauge your foot and is already picking out the right ski boot for you in his head from 10 feet away. An expert boot fitter, Doug will make sure your ski boot fits perfectly so you get the best performance and the most comfort out of it. If you understand, like we do, that it all starts with a good boot fit, you'll want to see Doug or one of our other expert boot fitters right away.
Doug Wurzelbacher, Bootfitter
Stan Eriksson is one of our foremost ski tuning experts at the Start Haus. Racing since he was 14 years old and working on skis for just as long, Stan's tunes are known throughout the region. Whether it's a pair of powder skis, race skis or even cross country skis, you'll be amazed at how they feel on the snow after Stan is done with them.
Stan Eriksson, Ski Technician
Collin Fletcher is one of the Start Haus head mechanics, with 3 years tuning at the Start Haus, and a lot more time working on skis and ski racing in Vermont. After graduating from UVM, he moved out to Tahoe and has been with the Start Haus ever since. Whether you need a World Cup level race prep or a center mount for your park skis, Collin is your man.
Collin Fletcher, Ski Technician
Start Haus Strava Bike Team
Accolades, Press & Testimonials
Rated "Most Knowledgeable Staff" by Skiing Business Rated "Best Backshop: Bootfitting" by Skiing Business
"The Start Haus is an awesome ski shop located in Truckee California, and they provide world class race gear and ski tuning services. I have been racing World Cup for 4 years now, and they tune and prepare skis the exact same way that my Atomic ski technicians do! I also have been getting my boots all dialed in by the boot master Jim Schaffner! So if you are in Truckee and need some ski gear or a tune up, go check out the Start Haus or look them up online at www.starthaus.com ."Pro skier Travis Ganong
"No joke. these guys are good. If you need a fast tune or just want to pick up some DH boards and all the gear to tune them yourself, they got you."Unofficialnetworks.com Unnoficial Squaw
"What do most skiers say when they arrive at the Start Haus for their boot appointment? "Hey man, where are your boots?" Oh, there are plenty of boots - they just aren't on display. The fact that there is no traditional boot wall in this race-focused bootfitting operation highlights the Start Haus philosophy that the boot-buying and bootfitting experience should be entirely athlete-based. Everything starts with an initial assessment of both the athlete's performance needs and a close evaluation of their foot, lower leg and biomechanical range of motion that determine which boots will be considered for try-on. According to owner/operator and board-certified pedorthist Jim Schaffner, what starts with a bit of trepidation quickly turns to full cooperation as the shoes and socks come off."Skiing Magazine
"The Start Haus is perhaps the place to get your ski boots fitted or skis tuned ... in the Tahoe region. Owner Jim Schaffner, the former World Cup ski and boot technician, and his professional and knowledgeable staff know how to give you the racer's edge."7x7 SF
"While they generally specialize in resort oriented equipment, their staff is also quite knowledgeable about backcountry setups. Being one of the top Tahoe area ski shops for aspiring ski racers, they really know their stuff and will stand behind their work. This is where I go for all my boot, binding, ski repair and maintenance needs." A. Nousaine, Wildsnow.com Best Ski Shops
"Great service, huge produce line, boot fitting excellence, and the best race shop for youths in all of the Tahoe Basin. Oh yeah, and location, location, location. Cheers." Eric Jacobson, Facebook
"The Start Haus dials in my gear and has the best product for the serious racer to the free ski freak. I fit both those profiles so, I take my skis to get mounted, set up with a fast grind and get my boot work including insoles and liner work for that custom fit and performance. I like checking in with their shop crew for the latest technical news. They know skiing. I have confidence that everything I need is set up just the way I like it. Not only are they a ski and boot shop, but they carry the best product and have the knowledge to fit each customer to their ski gear. i drop in weekly just to say hi and slap some fives. It's good to know the Start Haus Crew!"Pro Skier Daron Rahlves
"Sorry boarders, the Start Haus is dedicated to skiers. However, this is THE place to get your ski boots or skis tuned and fitted. The Owner Jim Schaffner, the former World Cup ski and boot technician, and his professional and knowledgeable staff know how to give you the racer's edge. The Start Haus sells clothing, ski gear, tools, protection and accessories from various brands ... the expert, knowledgeable staff will work with your specific ski level and comfort."USA Today 10 Best
"I come to Start Haus because we have such a great relationship with the shop and Armada, and they alway stake care of all of my needs. It's such a great environment and atmosphere for skiers. It's awesome." Pro Skier Tanner Hall