Steamboat Springs Scott Schlapkohl has been spinning his wheels in Steamboat Springs for 27 years now — literally, not figuratively.
Even Denny Swanson, his boss at Ace at the Curve, wants him to take a long lunch so he can bike ride or skate ski. “I’m much more effective at work when I can fit in a ride,” Schlapkohl says.
The longtime manager of our local hardware store credits Swanson and Swanson’s late brother, Wayne, with teaching him to treat his employees like a family — like everyone’s a spoke on the same wheel. “I’ve got a great bunch of people,” Schlapkohl says about his staff. “It really makes a difference.”
Schlapkohl grew up riding a 24-inch Huffy with coaster brakes all over the little town of Redwood Falls, Minn. He rode that bike to the swimming pool, the baseball diamond and the gravel pit. “You’re blessed when you can grow up in a small town,” he says.
Maryann Wall, one of Schlapkohl’s cycling buddies, says Steamboat is fortunate that he has remained here all these years.
“He’s an incredible asset for our community,” Wall says. “He volunteers for everything, donating both money and time.”
With its national fundraisers for the Children’s Miracle Network, ACE has provided a way for Schlapkohl to pursue his passion for pedaling while making a difference in people’s lives. In 2006, he garnered pledges and participated in a group cycling event that took him more than 500 miles from Jackson, Wyo., to Missoula, Mont. He got back in the saddle the next summer to ride from Everett, Wash., to Missoula.
Already this year, Schlapkohl estimates he has covered 1,600 miles on his bike, thanks in part to a late winter trip to California. And, of course, those nooner rides he fits in every chance he gets.