Coalition Snow opening first store in Truckee

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TRUCKEE, Calif. (KOLO) Coalition Snow is opening up their first store in Truckee. They specialize in making winter sports gear for women.

"Equipment has traditionally been dumbed-down," says CEO Jen Gurecki. "It has been a softened, shortened, pink-up version of men's."

They make skis and snowboards with unique designs; built for those beyond the beginner. They're firmer and longer than the typical women's gear made by the bigger retailers. Some of their skis have even been used in the Winter Olympics.

"Skis and snowboards are what you see on the hill," said creative director Lauren Bello Okerman. "And having them pop and having them be recognizable, and having people wonder what you're riding on is part of the branding, so that people can recognize us a mile away."

And they're also supporting great causes in Africa. Gurecki started the non-profit Zawadisha years ago, which provides small loans to rural Kenyan women to help finance their livelihoods. The money is used to purchase things like solar lamps, rain water tanks, and clean cook stoves.

"We're working with a non-profit called Hadithi that trains them, employs and pays them," adds Gurecki.

They also sell items in the store made in Africa, with all of the proceeds going to support Zawadisha.

But their big pitch is giving women the same access to quality equipment that men have had for years.

"Many women default to a smaller size because it seems more comfortable, and I always encourages them to try a demo size and they are just blown away," added Bello Okerman. "They kind of never been encouraged to challenge themselves like that."

"You should be on the right gear," says Gurecki. "We find that so many women aren't on the right equipment, because either they are getting hand-me-downs or they're picking up that used pair from the ski shop. And while that will get you down the mountain, it certainly takes away from your experience."

The grand opening of the new store is tonight, November 14, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Coalition Snow is located at 10015 Palisades Drive in Truckee.