Powder Keg 3

Winter May Be Vertical Drop’s Forte, but It’s Dynamite for Great Gifts All Year Long

Crossing Off Your List with … Two Hometown Experts

Adventure gear—it’s not just for adrenaline junkies. Better yet, Vertical Drop—it’s not just for winter sports. Carving their niche as one of the anchors of historic downtown’s Loveland Station, Vertical Drop has quietly become the everyman destination for goods, gear, gifts and more—open year-round and across all essentials, from outdoor sports to casual activities.

A locally owned company, these guys are passionate and personalized when it comes to everything they sell—it’s what sets them apart from any big box or online retailer.

“We actually test all the gear and participate in the sports we sell,” says owner Jonathan Southworth. “We’re here to give you the personalized fit you need for these products. That’s something you can’t achieve online.”

The store’s third season in Loveland, Jonathan moved his shop from its longtime location on Fields Ertel to be part of the then up-and-coming revitalization, boosting summer traffic with its close proximity to the river. Three years ago, he also convinced Chris Andersen, a part-timer, to take the lead as general manager.

“I love being involved in this community … the creative freedom that comes from being a small business here,” Chris says. “Especially when it comes to the products we bring in. It’s definitely my home away from home.”

Born and bred ski bums whose busy season occurs in winter, the guys don’t begrudge the time missed on the slopes.

“I love helping people fall in love with a sport,” Jonathan says.

And fall in love you will—their current selection of jackets, snow pants, hats, gloves, boots, socks and more was hand-picked by the team and hits the spot for the serious skier as well as anyone needing to bundle up this winter. And gifts? The possibilities are both endless and affordable. Check out some of the guys’ favorites, then start crossing off your list.

1. Yeti Drinkware: From cup to mug to cooler and beyond. Everybody needs one. $19+

2. Handwarmers: Walking the dog. Holiday in Lights. Brilliant stocking stuffer (literally). $2+

3. Eno Hammocks: The year’s coolest and hottest gift. Perfect for kids of all ages. $59+

Vertical Drop, 110 S. Second St., Suite J, Loveland, 513.583.5822, VerticalDropSkiAndSnowboard.com

Custom-Fit Protection with … Jonathan

A Beavercreek native who started skiing at 10 and hasn’t looked back, Jonathan will admit to a one-time crime lab gig, but much of his life has revolved around racing, ski clubs and ski shops.

“I was in the right place at the right time,” he says when talking about how he bought his first shop.

Now he dedicates his days to providing the best equipment, selection, service and repair for anyone who walks through their doors. He stands behind every product and fit.

“Just look at our boot wall … there are 60 pairs there for every type of skier, every type of foot,” Jonathan says. “Other stores have maybe 10 total, which means you’re missing out on the right fit, or worse, you’re settling. We make sure you get the best equipment for you.”

And while his primary passion is still skiing (explaining his obsession with goggles), he also loves boating and getting out on the water.

“Liquid, solid, snow … I like water in all forms.” 

When it comes to safety and warmth, Jonathan’s gift ideas are head and shoulders above the rest.


1. Goggles: Jon’s Achilles heel. Protection from wind and UV rays (and snow shoveling). $50+

2. Goggle lenses: Raise the bar and add cool, colored lenses for different conditions. $50+

3. Helmet: The ultimate in warmth on the hill. Comfortable and secure (and safe). $50+

Practical and Versatile Outside with … Chris

Born in Alberta, Canada, Chris says skiing was mandatory as soon as he could walk. Chris first hit the slopes at age 2. Moving to Loveland a few years later, he bought his first snowboard (from Vertical Drop, coincidentally), took a trip to Snowshoe and has been on one plank ever since. He’s also become a dedicated skateboarder, cementing his one-plank expertise year-round. A stint in Colorado and an ACL tear later, Chris found himself drawn back to Loveland—and Vertical Drop was a natural fit.

“Snowboarding is by far my favorite … it’s the sport I’m most involved in,” he says. “I work in the industry, I’ve been on snow since I could walk, I snowboard every year no matter what. Even during the summer, I’m looking for products or entering new inventory. It’s 365.”

And it shows. As general manager, he spearheads the tailored shopping experience, putting customers in products that align with their ability and budget.

“That’s the thing we’re most proud of.” 

Chris’ gift list takes warmth, comfort and wicking technology to another level—and layer.

1. Merino wool socks: Smart, mandatory gear for bitter (everyday) Cincy winters. $18+

2. BlackStrap Balaclava: Not your dad’s ski mask. Colorful, practical, outdoor must-have. $29+

3. Gloves/Liners: With smartphone touch, you can text or ‘like” and fingers stay warm. $30+