There is a rebirth in the ski pole industry and it’s happening right here in Ketchum.
More than 40 years ago, Reflex poles were originally designed by four diehard Sun Valley skiers, Gus Verge, Roger Roche, Lou Krieger and Dick Marshall. The pole performed very well and set industry standards during the ’80s and ’90s. Decades since the last pole came off the factory line, devotees still plant original-run Reflexes on Baldy every day—and scour the trash bins of the Gold Mine for resupplies each offseason.
Fast forward to the Greyhawk parking lot at the base of Warm Springs. There, après-ski beers turned into an ad hoc board meeting, and a new generation of diehard Sun Valley skiers decided to launch Reflex Poles, Volume Two. Ben Verge—Gus’ son—Jack Weekes, Tim Carter, Charlie Dunn, Joe Marx, Sean O’Conner, Joel Bernbaum and Clint Lightner are all equal partners in the relaunch.
From that initial meeting, the group of everyday skiers designed and schemed for five years with two goals: Bringing back the local brand—and reviving the dormant ski industry in Sun Valley.
Each member of the eight-man team has been around the area long enough to lament the loss of local stalwarts like Smith, Scott, Pre, Demetre, Research Dynamics and Bigwood Skis—all either shuttered or decamped out of state. That made the arrival of the initial production run at their shop on Warm Springs Road earlier this month all the more exciting, the Reflex team said. The first batch of dual-tapered, Austrian-forged aluminum ski poles have already found their way into local shops—and onto the owners’ beloved Baldy.
“We discussed this concept of bringing a brand back to our ski town,” Marx said. “Something that would be sustainable for the long haul and revive a lost legacy.”