After 25 years of outfitting Kodiak’s backcountry skiers, snowboarders, and backpackers, Orion’s Sports will be closing its doors this December as the owners enter retirement.
Orion’s Sports was founded by Orion Wielebski, son of current owner Steve Wielebski. He invested his fishing money into opening a new skateboard shop in 1996, after a local store closed down. Steve and Sharon Wielebski retired from their jobs at the tail end of the 90s and took up the business, adding premium outdoor equipment, surfing equipment, and ski gear to the catalog.
The owners are well plugged into the outdoor enthusiast community. Steve Wielebski has been involved with Kodiak Island Search and Rescue for 30 years and is the current president. He and Sharon Wielebski are veteran backcountry hikers and skiers- in their store hangs a detailed map of ski trails all over Kodiak island. Steve Wielebski says that that’s an important part of their business.
“Sharon and I are backcountry skiers so it was pretty easy to sell stuff to people that you use yourself and be able to talk about the gear and explain how stuff works. So I think that’s the success of our businesses, that we’re able to talk the talk and walk the walk,” Steve said.
He says that one of his favorite parts of the job is cluing people in to some of the best spots on the island.
“Our sad part is that a lot of people come in here and they ask us about hiking trails and our knowledge of the hiking trails… It’s something that we like to do. So it’s been a pleasure, giving that service to the community. And we kind of feel a little bit sad that we’re not going to be able to continue that,” Steve said.
Steve and Sharon Wielebski say they will be putting more time into backcountry expeditions and ski trips- the passion that led them into the outfitting business in the first place.