SLUG: What is the hardest part about keeping a local shop more relevant than the online or more commercialized shops?
Pellegrino: The stores and the shops that don’t give back to the sport and the community is what hurts us the most. Online sales don’t necessarily hurt us because we do it, too, but you can’t just take and take. You need to give back, and that’s it. We try to be involved with everything. For us, the most important thing is participation and community.
SLUG: What was the snowboarding scene like around the 2002 Olympics, and how has it changed since then?
Pellegrino: It was because of the fact that Park City [Mountain Resort] pitched to have the Olympics that there is even snowboarding allowed up there. When it came down to it, The Canyons [now Canyons Resort] could not hold it at the time and Deer Valley could not do anything snowboard related, so Park City said yes to snowboarding, and it was the ’96-’97 season when they first allowed it. The scene was low-key before that, with Wolf Mountain and Park West [previous incarnations of Canyons Resort]. Utah was known for just powder riding. There were no terrain parks or half pipes or anything. With the advent of urban riding coming from The Farmington Crew, which was Brandon Bybee, Mitch Nelson, Jeremy Jones, JP Walker and Jason Murphy, those guys put jibbing on the map here. They not only showed people that you could do that here but opened people’s eyes in the sense that, “Hey, I have that in my backyard. I can do that, too.” I think the snowboard world changed with a lot with those guys. Before 2002, there was not a lot of corporate sponsorship in snowboarding or a lot of big grand prix events or anything. Park City, after 2002, really stepped it up with their parks and that made all these other mountains step up their terrain parks, too.
SLUG: How do you deal with shop rats?
Pellegrino: Love ’em! They’re great. They support us and we support them. I was a shop rat, and the kids that are shop rats now will eventually be the ones working here. The shop rats are the next cycle and Benjamin “Benny” Pellegrino, co-owner of Milosport Orem since 1999, stands in front of Milosport’s flagship store on 3300 South in Salt Lake City with Chica Jones. the next generation of kids supporting skating and snowboarding.
SLUG: If you were not a shop owner, what would you be doing?
Pellegrino: Probably something similar within the industry. I would maybe be working in the mountains or doing more rep-type of stuff for a company. I’ve been skating since I was 11 and snowboarding since I was 16. At this point, I don’t know any different.
SLUG: Whom would you like to thank?
Pellegrino: Duane Bush for starting Milosport, Todd Mitchell, Calvin Egbert, Josh Roberts and every generation of the people I talked about, the new shop rats; Dennis Nazari and Tom Lee, who started Blindside, who has passed the torch to Todd Leaver; and all the small, independent shops that still do it. Supporting the shops that support the sports you do is a crucial part of creating a long-lasting scene for both snowboarding and skateboarding. Next time you need a new skateboard, snowboard, pair of shoes or to just shoot the shit about skating and snowboarding, take a ride up 3300 South or drop by the Orem shop and see what you can find. Until then, stay up to date and check out Milo on Facebook (facebook.com/MiloSportSnowAndSkate) and Instagram (@milosport).