“It seems like when I first moved here, you could hang out in the highway and not be worried about getting hit by car,” says Matt Yoksh, owner and operator of Pagosa Ski Rentals.
Twenty years later, Yoksh says he has seen the town move through ebbs and flows, growing all the while — and hanging out in the highway is not advised.
Brought by a job at a lodging establishment, it didn’t take long for Yoksh to impress the owner of another business, Pagosa Ski Rentals, and receive a job offer.
An outdoor and ski enthusiast, he took the job and began working in the ski shop during the 1991-92 season, never looking back.
Clearly, Yoksh continued to impress and, when the owner was struck with a terminal illness, Yoksh was the beneficiary of the business and a desire to see the business succeed in the same manner it had before — by focusing on the clients.
“I’m just trying to carry on what was given to me, the legacy of the ski shop,” Yoksh says of becoming the store’s third owner in 1998.
Owning a business was not a new concept to Yoksh, whose father owned a business and instilled the knowledge of success in him.
Yoksh has seen generations of families pass through Pagosa Country and his ski shop, all the while having fun “working the trenches” along with his employees — something that Yoksh admits is not unique to his business, but is a defining characteristic within Pagosa Country.
“I think that what makes the shopping unique is that a good number of the places you go to are owner-operated,” Yoksh says, adding that the presence of the owner ensures that clients are getting the best the business has to offer and that the owners understand and know what direction to take their business in to continue to meet the needs of visitors and locals alike.
And, above all, Yoksh enjoys his career and lifestyle — skiing when outside of work, helping others enjoy skiing while at work.
“We’re doing something fun, so it’s not that difficult,” Yoksh says.