Spokane Alpine Haus started in 1976 by present owner, Vince Zimmer. He started on the South Hill of Spokane as a snow ski & water ski store, which is currently still located there. In 1977, Vince started sponsoring local water ski tournaments and the water ski business grew rapidly throughout the years as his involvement in the sport grew. Spokane Alpine Haus became Spokane’s’ largest water ski store, and in 1985, Vince started selling Mastercraft Ski boats at the South Hill location. From 1987-1990, Spokane Alpine Haus put on the Spokane Water ski Festival on the river in downtown Spokane, right in front of C.I. Shenanigans Restaurant. Vince staged a 2-hour Friday night “Cypress Gardens” type water ski show, complete with barefoot skiing, a skier flipping off a jump, clown acts, trick skiing and more…all done to music and an announcer on a PA system.
The first year drew an estimated 10,000 spectators lining the downtown riverbanks for the Show. For years Spokane Alpine Haus put on water ski tournaments and stayed involved with the sport. Then in 1986, Vince took a chance and introduced the sport called “Skurfing” to the area, which later was re-named “Wakeboarding”. As the sport grew for the Alpine Haus, Vince started putting on Wakeboard Tournaments, which drew a few competitors at first, then grew into a huge sport. As a result of the Spokane Water ski Festivals, the water ski and wakeboard tournaments, the boat business boomed and the South Hill store’s parking lots was filled with ski boats for sale and soon the decision was made, by Vince’s’ wife Melody, to move the boat business to another location off Interstate 90, in the Spokane Valley, so she could park her car in the parking lot again!…this was done in 1990, and the boat business was re-named Alpine Haus Marina. The snow ski & water ski store stayed on the South Hill. As the natural progression of an expanding business goes, Vince added the Four Winns line of boats in 1996, and then in 2004, added the Supra and Moomba lines as demand for these boats increased. The business grew exponentially over the years, and the key to the success has been the 6,000 square foot service and parts center that services hundreds of customers every year. Vince states that “We treat our customers as we would want to be treated, and even though we are not perfect, we strive to be that way.” As the economy crashed starting 2008, Vince made the decision in 2010 to cease selling new boats and just concentrated on selling pre-owned boats and servicing the many loyal customers from prior years.