Posted: May 2, 2013 12:10 PM by Chet Layman
Updated: May 2, 2013 12:24 PM
WEST YELLOWSTONE - West Yellowstone might be the snowmobile capitol of the world. However, during next year's winter Olympics in Russia, the community could be represented on the medal podium thanks to the work going on in a little shop in the heart of town.
The shop is Altius Custom Firearms, which specializes in rifles for the biathlon.
Biathlon requires strength, endurance and quality equipment. That's where this shop comes in. Marc Sheppard once competed in biathlon, so you might say he understands the full scope of this sport.
West Yellowstone's connection to biathlon runs deep with Olympic trials there in 1960 and 1964. The U.S. team still trains here. That's what drew Sheppard to town and gave him the idea to start Altius Custom Firearms about 10 years ago.
"At least in North America, probably I would say 80-90 percent of the racers out there have something that they got from me. So it's kind of neat to see those sitting on the rack and on the rare occasion that I get out and race again. I see a lot of guys going by me these days, but it's really fun to see my stocks go by me."
Competitors of all ages from around the planet also use Altius gear He's currently working on a two rifles - one for a junior level competitor in Wyoming the other for the Masters World Champion who lives in Germany.
Altius Handcrafted Firearms is located in a building that used to be the school bus barn. The big question is - where did the name come from? It t urns out Sheppard kept the Olympic tie there too.
"Altius is part of the Olympic motto: Citius, Altius, Fortius. Faster, higher, stronger. We're up here at about 6,700 feet or 2,000 meters in altitude so it seemed like a good choice," he said.