As a boy growing up on Vashon, Lane Cruver idolized the men who worked at K2. Lane, whose father delivered supplies to the budding ski manufacturer, volunteered to sweep at the plant just to spend time there and befriended some of the workers. Eventually Bill Kirschner, one of the owners, gave Lane his first pair of K2 skis, and later he and his friends would pick the company’s castoff skis out of the garbage dump.
“I couldn’t get enough of it,” said Lane, who went on to compete in amateur ski races. “It was what was exciting in those days.”
It’s been years since K2 left Vashon and decades since Lane moved away. But now he and his wife Christine are back and hoping to revive a bit of the K2 spirit on Vashon at a new ski and sports equipment shop.
“We really wanted to promote skiing again on the Island,” he said.
At Spider’s Ski & Sport, which is set to open this weekend in town, the Cruvers will offer bicycles year round and sell rotating seasonal equipment — water skis and the like during the warmer months and skis and eventually snowboards in the winter. They’ll also offer some apparel and accessories and do bike and ski repairs.
Sitting in their remodeled space in town last week, Lane and Christine, who recently moved from the Portland area, said they know they’re offering products and services that can be found easily, and sometimes for less, off-Island. But they believe Spider’s will be an asset on Vashon.
Lane, an avid skier and biker who has worked in sports equipment sales for years, said he thinks Islanders will welcome a local store to pick up the equipment or accessories they need, and they’ll always get personalized attention at Spider’s. He also hopes the shop becomes a place where locals stop by to simply chat about cycling or talk about their day on the mountain.
“It’s not just about us or the shop or the products,” Lane said. “It’s about the sport and especially the customer.”
The Cruvers have dreamed of opening their own sports equipment shop for years, they said, and they’ve also talked of moving to Vashon — a place Lane left during high school but has visited frequently over the years and brought Christine to many times.
When the two visited the Island for Strawberry Festival last summer, they noticed that the large retail space that once held Island Quilter was available and jumped on the opportunity.
“Retail spots are hard to come by, and it was big enough for what we needed,” said Christine, who has a background in organizational development and strategic planning.
The two moved to town at the beginning of October and have been hard at work preparing to open the shop with Bianchi bikes and two brands of skis before eventually expanding their product lines.
Unfortunately, they said, they couldn’t get an order of K2 skis on such short notice, though they hope to eventually carry the brand.
“We weren’t able to get everything we wanted to get this season,” Lane said.
Until then, Lane said he hopes Spider’s will capture the sort of community excitement around skiing and other sports that K2 brought to the Island decades ago. Even the store’s name, Spider’s, harkens back to when Lane, as a boy, won his first ski race.
Lane recounted how Kirschner exclaimed “We’ve got a Spider Junior on our hands,” referring to Spider Sabich, the first professional skier signed by K2, and the nickname stuck.
“I hesitated to name the place after myself,” he said, “but I like to think it’s after me and my namesake.”