Arlington inventors start up the new Mt. Pilchuck Ski & Sport
By KIRK BOXLEITNER
Arlington Times Reporter
October 20, 2011 · 10:23 AM
ARLINGTON — Arlington residents Lynn and Bentley Marks have just gone from being sports equipment inventors to being sporting goods store owners.
In 2007, the married couple’s invention, which combined skiing and snowboarding, attracted the attention of a national TV program hosted by William Shatner.
In 2008, the couple received an allowance of patent for their invention, marking the culmination of a patent application process they’d begun four years prior.
At the same time, their Slider Corporation found a manufacturer for their invention, to mass-produce it in high numbers and high standards of assembly.
This October, Lynn and Bentley Marks expect to open a new store under a time-honored name, as Mt. Pilchuck Ski & Sport prepares to open its doors at 5200 172nd St. NE, right next door to the Northwest Dance & Acro Center.
“For 35 years, every kid went to Mt. Pilchuck Ski & Sport for their gear,” Bentley Marks said. “The owner retired a year ago, but when we talked to him, he said he’d love to see the name continue on.”
In addition to dealing in skis, snowboards and their own invention, which attaches two snowboards to one another with a steering handle in the front, the couple will be offering relatively inexpensive package deals to hit the slopes. Not only have they been able to enlist U.S. Olympic skier Patrick Deneen of Cle Elum, Wash., into doing autograph sessions for them, but they’ve also gained an overseas partner in the form of Ziminy Zhang, a recent immigrant from China.
“He arrived here three months ago, looking to invest in some property and start a business,” Bentley Marks said. “He got up into the mountains, and in this area, he saw that there wasn’t a ski or snowboard manufacturer for miles around.”
“The U.S. has the world’s best market,” said Zhang, who plans to settle in Arlington eventually. “I hope to find more joy in my life here.”
In the meantime, the new Mt. Pilchuck Ski & Sport will open with themed rooms for each type of equipment, as well as a ski slopes cabin feel to its decor. Just as Lynn and Bentley Marks are personalizing their business, so too are they offering their customers the opportunity to customize their skis and snowboards to “an unprecedented level.”
As for their own invention, which they originally branded the “Yeti,” Lynn Marks reported that the demand for it has heated up on the international market.
“It’s really started to move in Europe, Australia and New Zealand,” Lynn Marks said.
For more information, log onto www.theslidercorporation.com.
Contact Arlington Times Reporter Kirk Boxleitner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-659-1300 Ext. 5052.