Shop Talk: Sebastian Steinbach, Black Sheep Sports (Ep.116)

Black Sheep Sports founder, Sebastian Steinbach, goes on Blister's GEAR:30 podcast to discuss running a freeride ski shop in Germany, how COVID-19 has affected the ski industry in Europe, customer service in the ski world, and more
Sebastian Steinbach in his shop, Black Sheep Sports

Black Sheep Sports is a freeride shop in Munich, Germany, and we talk to its founder, Sebastian Steinbach, about this past ski season; his predictions for the upcoming ski season in Europe — and whether we’ll see a backcountry boom in Europe? We then talk about the critical art of customer service; why friends shouldn’t tell friends to just “Go buy this boot”; and more.


  • Black Sheep Sports: Background (7:25)
  • Last Season Recap / Pandemic (11:28)
  • Predictions for the upcoming European season? (17:35)
  • The crucial art of customer service (31:57)
  • “Local shops” vs “Great local shops” (47:29)
  • What We’re Celebrating (1:10:34)


7 comments on “Shop Talk: Sebastian Steinbach, Black Sheep Sports (Ep.116)”

  1. I just gotta say that, as someone who has only ever worked for small locally owned businesses (so far), how great it was to listen to this conversation. There is just so much there to go through and unpack there, because people who have never worked in that kind of environment just don’t understand sometimes. Not because they’re stupid or anything like that, but because if you haven’t experienced it then it can be very difficult to grasp the depth and nuanced nature of it all.

    Also, I am very much looking forward to the “What is the cost of the cheapest thing?” article / podcast. Because cost vs value really is a thing. Thank you again Blister for what you do.

  2. Funny was thinking recently it would be good to have a shop interview again and doubly pleased it’s Black Sheep – only 110 episodes since the last time! Looking forward to listening to Sebastian again.

  3. Great shop. I did buy stuff there. Got my boots fixed there. Great Guy, give him business because this is one great shop with true knowledge of skiing, skis, boots and everything you need on the hill.

  4. Great example with the Tecnica Cochise 130. Threre are lots of them on ebay – used and nearly new. People buy them online and then they do not fit or fit to the buyers style of skiing. To be honest: I bought them used, nearly new and on ebay. However, they fit perfect and I love them. Guess I had just a lot of luck that the boot and my foot liked each other…

  5. Great podcast. Would love to read the article about time cost of 7 hours online scrolling through your phone shopping online vs getting real expert advice.

  6. After having owned and run a technical store for alpine sports that was entirely about service and customer engagement, yes to this episode all over. Price paid vs price paid I still have relationships that were formed in ‘97 as customers who are lifelong friends. You cant shopping cart and Apple Pay that. Brand direct to consumer is also really interesting given those brands had to largely start in core ski shops to grow. Having just watched the Australian ski season come and go in the blink of a locked down eye, anybody who has to ski for their soul best be ensuring their touring rigs are up to scratch and they are in close proximity to where they want to ride..the nervousness of on-off restrictions suck, the resorts can’t take the risk of the unknown and it just ends up being a damp albeit local affair from what we have just witnessed.

  7. Ok. I loved this episode and am trying to resist the brainwashing of the internet…
    What I don’t understand and would love to have Luke or Jonathan explain to me how you are supposed to buy local and trust your local Bootfitter — and then turn around and endorse the D2C model of 4FRNT or JSkis??? If I’m not supposed to trust someone I can’t look in the eye on boots, how am I supposed to take on faith the recommendation on skis that I can’t demo from these D2C ski retailers?

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