This is the first installment in our brand-new interview series, titled “Beginnings.” In this series, we’re going to speak with mountain bike industry professionals to document their stories about how they got started in the sport of mountain biking, and how they got to where they are in the industry today.
However, we’re not just concerned with the pro racers and professional freeriders. While we definitely have some of those pro riders on our list of people to talk to, we’re going to be interviewing mountain bikers who are living the dream in all levels of the industry, including the shop mechanics, the marketing professionals, the bike engineers, the bike company reps, the photographers, the writers, the company CEOs, and yes, the racers.
Our inaugural interview is with Scott House, who hails from Park City, Utah. Scott is the Communications, Events, and Social Media Director for Jans Mountain Outfitters, a local chain of bike shops based in and around Park City. While that’s already a long title, Scott is truly a jack of all trades. He takes care of all media relations for the company, all of the social media platforms, internal email communications, external email marketing, website SEO and SEM, as well as some photography, mountain bike guiding in the summer, and running their avalanche education program in the winter. While he does have his plate full, Scott finds that the variety of responsibilities help keeps things fresh
Singletracks: When did you first start mountain biking?
Scott House: Let’s see, it would have been 1998.
What made you think, “this is something I want to do”?
I had a group of friends, and we had been riding BMX bikes for a long time, just kind of fooling around and building jumps, and all of a sudden we were riding trails in the woods quite a bit and building trails in the woods, and we said, we need to get bigger bikes, these bikes aren’t really built for riding in the woods. So, a couple of us picked up some hardtail mountain bikes, and that kind of got us all going.
Was that back when you lived in Michigan?
Yeah, I started when I was in high school riding in Michigan.
When did you make the move to Utah? And what brought you out here?
I moved to Utah in the summer of 2004. A couple different things [brought me out here]. I [grew up] as a skier, and was very fortunate and got to ski out West as a kid. From the time I was seven years old, I said, “I’m gonna move out West when I grow up.” I think that was the first step, that I wanted to live in the mountains.
And then, I’ve been traveling across the West with my family, and coming out to ski, and seeing different things, and ended up taking a trip to Utah on a ski trip, which was kind of funky because there wasn’t enough snow in Colorado, and ended up in Moab, and riding my bike down there. . . .So when it came time to leave college, I started looking for jobs in basically Colorado and Utah, and it just happened that in Park City there was a job available and a place to live, so it was an easy move.
The jump from being a recreational mountain biker to being in the industry is a big one. What led you to get into the mountain bike industry? What was your first job?
I started working at shops the summer after my senior year of high school. I started working for a little shop in Ann Arbor called Washtenaw Cycle, and I worked there for, maybe like a year. Then I. . .worked for another bike shop. . .building bikes, and hanging out. I kind of got away from it for a couple of years. . .just because I was doing the whole professional, “I’m going to go work for Mariott or Hyatt,” or whatever, with my Hospitality Business degree.
So when I moved out to Park City, I was working in that hospitality field, and then kind of got sick of it and said, “this is not what I want to do,” and went back to working at the bike shop, for White Pine Touring. It kind of built from there. You know, ride your bike, meet a lot of people, and you make all these fun connections. You get tied into the bike industry, and it’s a lot of fun.
So you just started working at Jans, and then worked your way up to your current position there?
I started at White Pine Touring back in 2005, and I was just working on their retail floor selling bikes and skis, and helping customers. And [I] slowly worked from that into the Programs Director position, so managing all the guide services at White Pine Touring. I did that for quite a while. And then as White Pine and Jans grew, I kind of saw. . .that we needed to start having some sort of communications and internal marketing, someone that could kind of spearhead all of that. So I created the job position I have now. . . .I did some negotiating, and it all worked out.
Right when that happened, we started Jans.com. There was a lot more work right off the bat. We were doing this new .com initiative, new people were coming on, so it’s been an exciting last couple of years for sure!
That’s awesome! And now you’re living the dream!