Shortly after Crested Butte Mountain Resort opened in 1961, Preston Pitta and Fred Drury cashed in their jobs at US Steel in Virginia and moved to our area to work on the mountain. Pres cooked in the original warming house and Fred bartended during the winter, and worked construction in the summer. In 1964, they purchased the Bier Stube bar and built the original Flatiron building. The name “Flatiron” comes from a rock formation on the mountain located between the Peel and the Banana ski runs. Pres and Fred operated the Beir Stube and the original warming house, and leased the Flatiron building to the Klinkerhaus ski shop. After several years, Leo Klinker moved his operation to the now-demolished Gothic building, and Flatiron Iron Sports was started up as a new ski shop on the mountain.
Chris “Oz” Osmundson and GJ Santelli purchased Flatiron Sports from Fred and Pres in 1981 and bought out Klinkerhaus in 1983. Flatiron spent five years in the building now known as “The Outpost” in the base area. in 1988, Flatiron Sports moved to the newly constructed Treasury Center. The Center remains home to Flatiron Sports today.
In 1982, Oz and GJ had just 200 skis available for rent in the shop. Now, the shop has 1,500 pairs of skis and 250 snowboards available for rent, and does 30,000 skier days a year. Though the shop has grown over the years, Flatiron Sports’ commitment to excellent customer service has not changed, and founders Oz and GJ still love getting out on the mountain every day!
Chris “Oz” Osmundson grew up in Iowa and left for Colorado two days after his high school graduation, in pursuit of epic snow and new opportunities. He received a BA in economics from Western State College in Gunnison in 1980. Oz began working at Flatiron Sports in 1978, and took over as manager for a year (1979 to 1980) when G.J. left to play professional golf in Santa Barbara. In 1981, Oz and GJ purchased Flatiron Sports from the original owners, and the rest is history. Oz lives in Crested Butte with his family and three dogs, and skis on average 100 days a year. “There’s not a day I don’t go out there and come back with a smile on my face,” he says.
G.J. Santelli spent his formative years in New Jersey, and headed west to Gunnison just one hour after his high school graduation ceremony. His destination was Western State College, where he was enrolled on a golf scholarship. He graduated with a BA in business and economics, and a minor in recreation. G.J. first started working for Flatiron Sports in 1976. Over the years, he and Oz have skied no less than 3,000 days together. G.J. lives in Crested Butte with his family. “Nobody in their right minds should be in this biz, but we have some of the best skiing right out our door,” GJ says. “Add snow, shake well…we’re just snow farmers.”
In 2015, when Oz and GJ decided to sell the shop, they went to the only other company that shared their values. Christy Sports has been around Crested Butte since the 80’s and understands what it means to be a part of the community. It was an easy choice. Now, Oz and GJ look forward to spending more time skiing, while knowing that their valued friends and customers are in great hands. Oz and GJ wish to thank you for all the amazing years, and, as always, watch for them on the mountain!
From time to time, positions open up in our rental shop and retail store. Please send your resume and cover letter to [email protected] for consideration.