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New year, new location for Changing Gear

Sports equipment shop makes a move to Marwell neighbourhood, partners to offer backcountry rentals
Changing Gear’s sign at its new location on Copper Road in Marwell. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)

Things are changing on the local used sporting goods scene in Whitehorse.

On Jan. 8, Changing Gear — the local shop in Whitehorse for consigned sports gear — moved, opening the doors to its new location in Marwell. At the same time, it officially launched its new partnership with Yukon Ski Rentals with the aim of making it easier to rent backcountry ski and snowboard equipment in the territory.

As owner Daniel Paris said in an interview at the new location, it is really just the beginning of work that could see more rental equipment available and an expanded inventory of sale items in the future if all goes well.

Paris admits he didn’t make the choice to move the store from its spot off the Alaska Highway near Two Mile Hill Road to its new location on Copper Road, though the location, space and possibilities for the future make it just right.

After his former landlords let him know they wouldn’t be renewing Changing Gear’s lease after its Dec. 31, 2023, end date because they wanted the Alaska Highway building back for their own plans, Paris started the search for a new location.

“The community really helped,” he said, recalling how quickly word spread.

It wasn’t long before he got a call about the space in Marwell. It had a lot of appeal over other spots he had looked at in the city. Along with the larger space, the right price for rent and wood heat, it also boasted a prime location with many potential customers driving by as they head in and out of the downtown regularly.

Since purchasing Changing Gear in April 2023, Paris said he’s been working to bring the store back to its roots, focusing primarily on used sporting goods, although he does have new items available to compliment the used equipment customers might buy (think things like ski wax). As he pointed out, when customers come into Changing Gear, they’re looking for a good price. By focusing on the consignment side of the business for things like skis, skates, coats and other gear, he can provide the price point customers are looking for while also selling goods that still have life in them.

Since the Jan. 8 opening, Paris said customers have been “very positive” about the new location with the exception of one aspect: parking.

The shop is one of two businesses in the building and that means sharing a limited number of parking spots when both businesses are open. For Changing Gear, there are three spots available, which can be a challenge for customers coming in on busier days.

Paris said he has some solutions in mind that could lead to more parking in the future, and he’ll be working towards those in the weeks ahead.

That’s not the only thing he has in mind for the future as he continues organizing Changing Gear’s new space.

Both he and Yukon Ski Rentals owner Emile St-Pierre envision the rental business to include standardized skis and snowboards available for rent. The current inventory of 14 sets of skis and five splitboards available for rent, as well as boots and poles, has grown over the past year when St-Pierre started his business.

As St-Pierre explained, he started up the rental service after lending out his own equipment to friends a few times. It was clear there was a demand for rental equipment. As he pointed out, getting into backcountry skiing or snowboarding can be an expensive endeavor if you have to buy equipment.

It’s his hope that the opportunity to rent will make it accessible to more people.

“It’s grown quite a bit,” he said, noting that some weekends, there seems to be a steady stream of people heading out to the White Pass for outdoor adventures.

With a full-time job of his own, St-Pierre decided to approach Changing Gear for help in dealing with his growing business.

“Changing Gear was the perfect fit,” he said, noting the good reputation the shop has for quality used goods as well as customer service.

Paris was quick to express the same sentiment for the rental business, noting it made sense that the two businesses would combine forces.

Along with an online portal where customers can pre-book the skis or snowboard package for the dates they want — a great option for those visiting the territory, both Paris and St-Pierre pointed out — customers can also just come into the shop during regular business hours, see what’s available and try things on.

While Changing Gear ensures customers get their rentals, St-Pierre provides the skis, repairs any damage or works to recoup the cost when the equipment is beyond repair as well as ensuring skis and snowboards are waxed before the season starts.

“It’s just going to keep rolling,” Paris said. “You can definitely expect more variety in the following years.”

Both St-Pierre and Paris said they plan to be on the look out for more gear they can rent out in the coming years to keep up with the demand of the growing sport.

While the rentals are stored in a back room of the business, the main floor space features a wide variety of sports equipment and seasonal gear for sale.

Hockey sticks are the first item a customer is likely to see when walking through the front door, with skates lined on shelves behind the hockey sticks. Skis, ski boots, poles, winter coats, hats, mitts and more line the aisles beyond.

While Changing Gear has traditionally stuck to seasonal offerings, Paris said the additional space may allow for gear that’s not in-season to be sold.

“The gear that’s not going to be displayed is still going to be available for purchase,” he explained, pointing to a space that could be used for bins to store out-of-season items customers could request to look at and purchase.

Given the high ceiling at the new location, Paris is also planning to look at the possibility of adding in a mezzanine where more equipment could be displayed.

“It’s a vision for down the road potentially,” he said, noting that he has yet to look into exactly what would be involved to determine if it’s feasible.

As he considers the future, Paris is continuing to keep busy at the moment, getting the new space organized while also taking in consignments, renting out backcountry gear and helping customers find what they’re looking for — all in a new space.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at

Changing Gear owner Daniel Paris (left) stands with Yukon Ski Rentals owner Emile St-Pierre. The two businesses have teamed up to rent out backcountry ski and snowboard equipment. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Changing Gear owner Daniel Paris is seen in his shop’s new location on Jan. 22. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)

Stephanie Waddell

About the Author: Stephanie Waddell

I joined Black Press in 2019 as a reporter for the Yukon News, becoming editor in February 2023.
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