THERE ARE FEW PEOPLE that exemplify the Tahoe region and the reasons so many people are drawn to it in the way that Aaron James does. Aaron, or as he is far better known, Elko, is an accidental namesake of the rural town in Nevada which he grew up near. Elko moved to Tahoe in the fall of ‘98 to attend Sierra Nevada College. Upon moving here, he was almost exclusively referred to as the kid from Elko and the name stuck. He was studying ski resort management and also coaching the SNC ski team. Skiing was, and still is absolutely his ‘thing’, but school was less so. Given that, Elko left school and began working for the golf course in the summer, continued coaching skiing in the winter, and also began working for Village Ski Loft. Today, Elko is part owner of Village Ski Loft and is involved in many community projects and development related to the recreational opportunities that Village Ski Loft supports through their retail store.
Elko and the staff at Village Ski Loft know and understand their customers’ needs on skis and bikes because they are passionate about the sports themselves. Elko is adamant that Village Ski Loft has experienced such longevity in Incline because of the quality of their tech work and the knowledge that every team member has related to the sports they promote and all of the equipment that they sell. For instance, when he is not working at the store, Elko ‘practices what he preaches’ or in this case what he sells at the store. Elko is a very avid and talented skier and mountain biker. He first skied when he was only 7 or 8 years old when his mom introduced him to the sport that would forever change his life. His favorite pastimes are shared with his two young daughters, 11 and 14, who started on snow at even younger ages. Both Daisy and Ashlyn are competitive athletes on the mountain year-round, in the winter in the snow on their skis, and in the summer on their bikes in the dirt. Elko’s wife, Feather, is a pharmacy tech in Kings Beach and also participates in all of the family recreational hobbies.
While Village Ski Loft does more business and serves more clients in the winter, Elko himself has done a lot for the local mountain bike community. Elko is a former member of the TAMBA Mountain Bike Board and the store is an adopter of a section of the Tyrolean downhill trail. Additionally, Elko was one of the founding members of the Incline Bike Project which, with the help of various community entities and individuals, helped raise the funds for the Incline Bike Park which opened in 2017. Today, Elko is still a member of the Incline Tahoe Foundation.
Twenty years have now come and gone for Elko at Village Ski Loft. He has seen a lot of changes with possibly more on the forefront. No matter how our town changes, Elko is certain that the stores commitment to its customers and ability to build and maintain relationships so residents can enjoy the recreation that brought and kept him here, is a commitment that not only won’t change, it will continue to differentiate Village Ski Loft from other retailers.
Visit Village Ski Loft in person (Tahoe Blvd & Southwood) or online at villageskiloft.com
*This article was originally published in the summer 2022 issue of IVCBA's magazine, LIVE.WORK.PLAY. You can view the current issue as well as past issues at https://issuu.com/justimagine/stacks/595665ce24e24423b787c94c1f982deb