Meet Venture Ski Shop team
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At Venture Sports we believe that our most valuable assets are not the great skis and bikes we carry, but rather our awesome employees.  We get to sell fun for a living and want to spread our stoke for the Vail Valley to all of our guests.  So enjoy getting to know a little about us so we can better serve you.

Michael Uhl

Michael Uhl

Tracy Sample

Michael Uhl Vail Team Member

Jacob Bangtson

Jacob Bangtson

Jason Smith

Ski Tuner Jason Smith

Matt Snowbarger

Ski Tech Matt Snowbarger

Charlie Wolf

Ski Tuner Charlie Wolf

John Phillips

John Phillips

Bob Allen

Bob Allen
Michael Uhl

Michael Uhl

Alias:  Tiny

Hometown: Lake Ozark, MO

Time Served with Venture: 3 years

Ski Bum Status: 3 years and not slowing down.

Skier/Boarder: Skis, is this a real question?

Weapon(s) of Choice: Liberty Origins.

Vail or Beaver Creek: The Beave!

Favorite Run:  Anything with trees and something to launch off.

Preferred Pizza Joint:  Markos in Edwards.

Local Watering Hole:  The Wolcott Yacht Club!

Q: Tell us about when you first learned to ski.

A:   I started working for Venture Sports so I had a ski pass and rental skis, went up everyday until I figured it out! 75+ days my first season and a couple back country hut trips.

Q: How did you end up in the valley?

A:    After college I was looking for a place to get away from the front range, do some epic mountain biking and explore more of this states high country. Moved up here without a job and had fun biking for a while until I could not buy any more groceries, walked into the bike shop one morning and talked to Mike about renting a bike for my brother coming to town. Came back the next day at 8am to start working, been in valley since.

Skinny tires, fat tires, or really fat tires:  Fat tires or nothing at all!

Favorite ride: The A10 Loop

What bike do you ride: Yeti SB6C & ARC X

Michael Uhl Vail Team Member

Tracy Sample

Position: There is no job that I can not do

Hometown: Huntington, NY

Time Served with Venture: Serving since October 2002

Ski Bum Status: Skiing since 1987 and will never stop

Skier/Boarder: Skier

Weapon(s) of Choice: Rossignol Saffron 7

Vail or Beaver Creek: Vail, only cause I don’t get to ski it as often as Beaver Creek

Favorite Run:  Top to bottom Skreetch Owl

Preferred Pizza Joint:  Blue Moose

Local Watering Hole:  The Rose in Edwards

Q: Tell us about when you first learned to ski.

A:   I learned on straight skis at 7 years old while on a mountain in the Pocono’s called Jack Frost in PA.

Q: How did you end up in the valley?

A:    I followed the snow, and the guy I was dating at the time. We came to Vail for Vacation in January of 2001 and fell in love with the area, we moved to Avon in November of 2001. I have been here ever since.

Q: Which store you work at and why?

A: I currently work in our Warehouse, but have worked in all of our locations, there is no job that I will not do.

Q: Interesting tidbit about yourself…

A: I love to be outside in my garden, helping nature along its way.

Q: Skinny tires, fat tires, or really fat tires?

A: I ride both skinny and fat tires, but have not been on a mountain bike in about 3 years. It is much easier to jump on my road bike with my kid in a trailer to go for a ride

Q: Favorite ride?

A: Road ride is Hwy 24 from Avon to Leadville

Q: What bike do you ride?

A: 2012 Giant TCR Advanced W

Jacob Bangtson

Jacob Bangtson

Manager: – Sebastian Base Camp Vail

Time Served With Venture: Been with Venture Sports for almost 7 years

Hometown: – Goodhue, MN, Live currently in Minturn

Skinny tires, fat tires, or really fat tires: I mostly Mountain bike, but also do some Road biking.  My quiver: Yeti ASRc, and Pinarello Marvel

My Favorite trail – Two Elk

Skier/Boarder: I am a Snowboarder, and a little Nordic (Skate)

My Favorite Run – Straight under chair 5

Which store you work at and why: I work at our Vail location.  I work here because it is a fast paced fun shop.  We are 30 yards from Gondola 1, so I can clock out and be on the lift within 3 minutes.  If anyone has been to Vail on a powder day you know exactly why I love working here.

Interesting tidbit about yourself: I’m married, I have one kid (Bradley), 2 dogs and 4 chickens.  I am also a unsuccessful bow hunter, my freezer is empty.

Ski Tuner Jason Smith

Jason Smith

Q: How did you end up in the valley?
A: I moved to Colorado in November of 2005 via Boston and Upstate New York. The past ten years have been everything and more than I expected. I feel truly lucky to call Avon my home and I love when I get to share it with others.

Q: Which store you work at and why:
A: I work at the Timbers BG because I enjoy seeing the same faces year after year. It’s pretty special to be able to learn a little more each year about our customers and their families.
I work at Venture Sports because I value the high level of service we are able to provide our customers yet maintaining a friendly small business feel. I’ve worked in the service industry for over 15 years and I truly feel that my current coworkers are the best I’ve ever worked with.

Skinny tires, fat tires, or really fat tires: Skinny tires

What bike do you ride: Pinnerello Dogma F8, 1994 Giant Perigee

Ski Tech Matt Snowbarger

Matt Snowbarger

Alias: Snow

Position: Manager – Operations

Hometown: Olathe, KS

Time Served with Venture: 2 years

Ski Bum Status: 8 years and counting

Skier/Boarder: Skier

Weapon(s) of Choice: Salomon Rocker 108

Vail or Beaver Creek? Vail if someone else is driving, but Beaver Creek is always a good time

Favorite Run:  in the trees

Preferred Pizza Joint:  Marco’s in Edwards

Local Watering Hole: My back yard

Q: Tell us about when you first learned to ski.

A: My first ski trip was out to Monarch when I was 15 years old.  I went with a friends church group and had no idea what I was getting myself into.  I vacationed in CO my whole life, but that was always in the summer time.  It was a 3 day ski trip and on the last day my friend decided it was time for me to do a black run.  I was very hesitant, but I was also 15 with a no fear attitude.  I fell about every 10-15 feet the whole way down the mountain.  The run may have taken me ½ the day to complete.  It was messy, but I did make it down the mountain without any major injuries.  I have been skiing ever since.

Q: How did you end up in the valley?

A: I grew up vacationing out in CO my whole life.  After college I went to Chi-town to start my corporate lifestyle.  After living there for about 5 years I was tired of city life and corporate. I had a good friend that lived in Avon, Co and I came out to visit him for an early season ski trip (thanksgiving time).  This was in 2008 and there was a 3 day straight snow storm that dropped more than 1.5 feet of snow.  I skied everyday and really didn’t want to go home when the trip was coming to an end.  I went back to Chicago started packing my car and less than a month later I was at friends door step hoping for a place to sleep.  I got a job, my own place to sleep, made a few friends, and the rest was history.

An interesting tidbit about yourself – I’m 6’2” and 170lbs socking wet, but I did play college football at Baker University

Which store you work at and why – All locations

Why do you work at Venture Sports – good company and good people

Skinny tires, fat tires, or really fat tires? Is golf cart tires an option?  If not I like the cruiser lifestyle preferably on a tag-a-long

Favorite ride:  the bar crawl

 What bike do you ride:  tag-a-long

Ski Tuner Charlie Wolf

Charlie Wolf

Alias: I just go by Charlie:)

Position: Driver/Ski tuner

Hometown: Traverse City, MI

Time Served with Venture: Bits and pieces of 11 years

Ski Bum Status: Yep, I ski the bald spot.

Skier/Boarder: Skier

Weapon(s) of Choice: Volkl Shiro- yep every day!

Vail or Beaver Creek? The Beav, I live in Avon

Favorite Run: Valee Blanche- Chamonix France

Preferred Pizza Joint: 7-11

Local Watering Hole: Bobs, of course.

Q: Tell us about when you first learned to ski.
A: 4 yrs old, dad took me out on the local hill, haven’t turned back since!
This will be year 33 on skis.

Q: How did you end up in the valley?
A: High school buddy got me started living on his couch.

Which store you work at and why?
Avon in the summer, cause that’s where the tours leave from. Warehouse in the winter, to have the night shift.

Interesting tidbit about yourself:
I ski alot. Like 1200 days since joining the venture sports team.

Skinny tires, fat tires, or really fat tires: “I’ve got a bike”

Favorite ride: My slow ride home up the hill from work.

What bike do you ride: Pugsley aka: The grave digger

John Phillips

John Phillips

Alias:  No known aliases that I will admit

Hometown: Macon, Georgia

Time Served with Venture: 3.5 years

Skier/Boarder: Skier

Weapon(s) of Choice: Oh several…

Vail or Beaver Creek: Vail

Favorite Run:  Anything with good friends and good snow!

Local Watering Hole:  The George!

Q: Tell us about when you first learned to ski.

A:  I fell a lot.  But I had fun making snow angels.

Q: How did you end up in the valley?

A:    I wanted to escape the city and spend more time enjoying the outdoors rather than waiting at stop lights.

Q: Which store do you work at and why?

A: Avon so I get to work with KJ and Zach!

Skinny tires, fat tires, or really fat tires:  Yes, I love all three

Favorite ride: So many great ones…Mag 7 in Moab,Radio Flyer in Vail, Bellyache in Wolcott and La Cuchilla in Bogota, Colombia.

What bike do you ride: Pegoretti road bike, Yeti mountain bike, Surly fat bike!

Interesting tidbit about yourself:  Parlo un po ‘di Italiano y un poco de espanol und ein bisschen Deutsch.

Bob Allen

Bob Allen

Alias:  Bobby

Hometown: Waitsfield, VT

Time Served with Venture: 1 year – seems like several

Skier/Boarder: Skier

Weapon(s) of Choice: K2 Pinnacle 118, Blizzard Bodacious

Vail or Beaver Creek: Vail

Favorite Run:  Ghengis, East Vail Chutes

Local Watering Hole:  Vendettas

Q: Tell us about when you first learned to ski.

A:  I can barely remember as I was 2 1/2 years old. Grew up skiing in VT with the family every weekend. Got sick of skiing on blue ice and bad snow so decided to try a season in CO. Here I am 6 years later still grinning


Q: Which store do you work at and why?

A: Avon in the summer and the tune kitchen in the winter because I love to tune skis and ride and fix bikes.  I like making people fast

Skinny tires, fat tires, or really fat tires:  Fat tires

Favorite ride: Anything in Crested Butte

What bike do you ride: Liteville 301, Yeti 4.5

Interesting tidbit about yourself: In 2008 I was 20 minutes away from losing my left leg… or most people think I’m Irish but I’m actually Scottish