Steamboat Springs, CO, 66 Employees

POWDER HOURS: A typical winter morning at this maker of performance merino apparel: One group rolls into the locker room after a few hours carving fresh tracks on the ski hill while another preps for lunchtime skate skiing and yet another plans to sign out at 1 P.M. for afternoon turns. "We work hard and have professional jobs but still lead a mountain-town lifestyle," says communications manager Molly Cuffe.
FIRED UP: The company keeps an outdoor gas grill fueled and supplied with mesquite chips. "Yeah, the chips were my idea," says network administrator and grilling fanatic Jeremiah Baughman.
SERVICE FIRST: Employees are granted 40 hours of paid time per year to volunteer in their community.


SmartWool is a leading performance brand offering wool-based apparel, socks, and accessories. Nothing can compare to SmartWool products for the ultimate in performance, comfort, and easy care. SmartWool fiber is superior at vaporizing moisture, controlling temperature and odor, and is guaranteed not to shrink. It's also a renewable resource that illustrates the design genius of evolution.

SmartWool's summer hours are in effect the Friday before Memorial Day through the Friday before Labor Day and are often extended through the last day of summer, September 21. Employees are required to work a 40-hour week Monday through Friday, but they can choose to compress the week with manager approval. The office closes at 3:00 p.m. each Friday, and no meetings are allowed to be scheduled after noon.

SmartWool allows flexible schedules and locker-room facilities in an effort to encourage employees to work out and promote healthy lifestyles. Due to strong participation, more employee bike racks were added outside Steamboat Headquarters, and a new self-bike-tuning area is currently in the works.

Upon purchasing an annual gym membership, employees are reimbursed $150 of the membership fee. Each employee is given an annual "activity pass" for his or her choice of activity such as a season pass to the local ski resort, golf course, or other activity.

SmartWool also offers employees 40 hours of paid time per year to conduct community volunteer service. SmartWool employees volunteered nearly 1,000 service hours at charities in our hometown communities. SmartWool was named Philanthropic Business of the Year for Steamboat Springs.

We helped develop and adopted Zque, the world's first wool accreditation system, ensuring best management practices for environmental, social, and economic sustainability and animal welfare. When possible, we partner with key vendors that formalize sustainability efforts. We have an offshore yarn-spinning partner who invested in a wastewater-treatment facility that returns approximately 50 percent of usable water to its facility.Smarties Commute is designed to get employees out of the habit of driving their own individual cars to and from work. Monday-morning commuter group breakfasts are paid for by SmartWool. Bike commuters receive discounts at local bike shops. At the end of the year, one lucky commuter will win a complimentary vacation for two.

We are the people who live in the things we make. We are passionate believers in our products and the merino wool fiber. We really are experts at playing outside. We know how lucky we are that we live, work, and play in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. And we say thanks for our good fortune every day. The foot of the mountain is a step away, and we go there often. Our commute is often a bike ride, and a stroll is often a hike. Our kids' after-school program includes ski lessons with a former Olympian, and our kids don't even realize it. Our food-to-go is eaten on a trail, not in our car. In Steamboat Springs, our fashion cannot live without function—and having more fun is at the root of that function.

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