5x Olympic wax tech carves 30 notches in his tool belt, one for each year with Rennstall, US Ski Team

Andy Buckley: Three decades at Rennstall, U.S. Ski & Snowboard and counting

PARK CITY, Utah — Translated from German, the word Rennstall means ‘race room,’ a phrase five-time Olympic wax tech Andy Buckley knows well. 

Buckley, who has worked at Rennstall for the last 30 years, is not merely the service manager at Deer Valley’s world-renowned ski shop; his title extends to competition service manager. 

The signed skis and race bibs that line the walls of Rennstall.
Signed skis and race bibs line the walls of Rennstall. Photo: Michele Roepke // TownLift

Growing up in the Chicago suburbs, Buckley started skiing at 16 on “the daunting slopes” of Wilmot Mountain, Wisconsin (his words). He fell in love with skiing and mountain biking and eventually moved to Park City in 1992. 

“My start to the tuning business came out of a need for a job that offered a ski pass and I could work nights. Those were my priorities as a self-described ski bum back then,” Buckley told TownLift.

Brian Burnett was managing Rennstall that year. He was one of the founding members of Rennstall, along with Will Goldsmith. They sold Rennstall to JANS Mountain Outfitters in 1991. Burnett had years of race service experience behind him and started teaching Buckley the craft.

“Back then,” Buckley said, “we didn’t have the nice automated machines we have now. Almost everything we did was more hands-on, from the manual feed grinders to doing all the edges by hand. Thanks to modern tech, these skills are becoming a lost art.”

He worked there for four years before starting his 18-year career with the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Teams. He spent six years with the alpine ski team and 12 years with the snowboard cross team.

Famous friends' photos on Renstall's walls.
Famous friends’ photos on Renstall’s walls. Photo: TownLift // Michele Roepke

“I was very fortunate to be able to travel the world and be a part of those teams at so many elite events.” Buckley’s first Games, here in Salt Lake 2002, were his favorite games “by far” because they were at home. However, he adds, “All of the games have some special memories. It’s pretty wild to be in the middle of the biggest sporting event in the world.” Following that, he worked at the Winter Olympics in Torino 2006, Vancouver 2010, Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018.

Olympic accreditations from Buckley's five Olympics.
Accreditations from Buckley’s five Olympics. Photo: Michele Roepke // TownLift
He has stopped traveling with the team and has been managing Rennstall ever since. “There are some things I miss about the job and definitely some that I don’t.” 
Buckley is quick to spread the fame around. He explains that Rennstall currently has three techs working with the U.S. National Teams: Parker Rockwood techs for the snowboard half pipe team; Tanner Keim works with the ski slopestyle team, “which has local heavy hitters Colby Stevenson and Alex Hall”; and Ed “Hotch” Young is with the ski half pipe team. Alex Ferreira just won every ski half pipe world cup this season and easily secured the crystal globe. “It gives us pride to see these athletes performing at the highest levels of their sport,” said Buckley.
This Dream Team also helps prepare many other national team athletes, including aerials, moguls, snowboard slopestyle, and both ski and snowboard para teams, “including the National Ability Center’s Saylor O’Brien and USA Nordic’s Nordic Combined Junior National Champion, Root Roepke,” Buckley added.
Rennstall's museum-quality ski memorabilia.
Rennstall’s museum-quality ski memorabilia. Photo: TownLift // Michele Roepke
There’s been a big push here and worldwide to get rid of the fluorocarbons that are the forever chemicals found in older racing waxes. Park City Municipal actually approached Rennstall and purchased their remaining fluorinated waxes a few years ago to get them out of circulation. Not only are they bad for the environment in the snowmelt water, but they’re bad for the technician applying it. “The Park City Recycling Center will also take any of your fluorinated wax you may have at home and dispose of it properly,” Buckley reminded people.
Buckley discussed what keeps him coming back to the job: his love of the sport. Having an “office” at the base of Deer Valley has its perks, Buckley recognizes, as he’s constantly “researching,” as he puts it, “what wax glides best in deep Utah powder.” 
The likelihood is high that Park City may see a repeat performance to host another Winter Olympics in 2034, for which Buckley hopes to play some part and will continue to keep his tools sharp.

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