Backcountry.com

  www.backcountry.com
  www.backcountry.com

Backcountry.com Reviews in Park City, UT

Updated September 22, 2014
Updated September 22, 2014
93 Reviews
2.7
93 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Backcountry.com CEO Jill Layfield
Jill Layfield
60 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • benefits, such as gear discounts, prodeals and discount resort passes were nice (in 24 reviews)

  • The work/life balance on the engineering team is healthy and fair in my opinion (in 8 reviews)


Cons
  • Terrible upper management among the warehouse (in 10 reviews)

  • Low pay unless they recruited you from a fancier company (in 6 reviews)

More Highlights

47 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. 10 people found this helpful  

    Solid company with great heritage; facing typical industry headwinds and rediscovering its identity

    Former Employee - Director in Park City, UT
    Former Employee - Director in Park City, UT

    I worked at Backcountry.com full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    I think it's important to take any review on Glassdoor with a grain of salt. There are useful nuggets here, but also some overblown opinions. Sites like this typically cater to people looking to complain, so reader beware.

    I enjoyed my time at Backcountry. I found it to be a great learning experience and I met a lot of great people in the process. I was exposed to interesting challenges and opportunities and was given ample opportunity to grow and develop. Additional specific pros include:

    - Work/life balance; powder mornings and lunchtime rides are for real; did I have regular periods of time where I was working long hours? Sure. But that is bound to happen anywhere. For the most part, given the culture and type of employee that Backcountry attracts, as long as I was getting it done, I had plenty of opportunities to really use the gear we sold. You'd be hard pressed to find a better work/life balance than at Backcountry.

    - Gear discount; duh. Of course this is a huge pro...unless you can't control your spending.

    - Inflection point in business; as the company continues to evolve, there will continue to be ample opportunity to be part of interesting challenges and solutions. This obviously increases risk, but will create even more opportunities for exposure, experience, and growth.

    - People; I developed a lot of life-long friendships with folks at Backcountry. Were there people I didn't care for? Sure, but they were few and far between. You're going to get that anywhere at a company of Backcountry's size. However, I found that for the most part, the people I interacted with were genuinely interested in me, my life, my family, and my development.

    Cons

    Again, I think it's important for readers to realize that there are different types of "cons" - those that the business brings on itself, and those that are broader systemic industry "cons". The former can and should be cured by the business and its leadership while the latter is a bit tougher. In Backcountry's case, there are probably some of both. First, the broader systemic cons:

    - 3rd party ecommerce; tough world to play in as Amazon continues to take over the world. Retail margins are thin to begin with, and when you add a third party to the mix, that pressure is felt even more acutely. Backcountry is a profitable business, but with increased competition - from Amazon and from vendors (who use to send customers to Backcountry) - operating efficiently will continue to be of paramount importance.

    - Predicting the weather; obviously impossible. Backcountry isn't the only business to feel this pain. It's the nature of the world in which Backcountry operates. Almost all businesses in the Outdoor market are faced with adapting to really strong or really soft winters. I guess performing annual snow dances might help?

    - Competition and consumer conditioning; more and more competitors continue to appear in the Outdoor market, which will make it tougher and tougher to drive traffic and customers. Additionally, as customers become ever more conditioned to look for only the best price, differentiating your business becomes more difficult.

    And a couple cons the business can address:

    - Difficult environment in which to innovate; like it or not, Backcountry is growing into a larger business; this can make innovation difficult. While business performance can often help/hinder the ability to innovate, Backcountry needs to be cognizant of this and be willing to make bets on market-leading innovation.

    - Overly reactionary/shiny object syndrome; knee-jerk reactions are tough to keep in check. Stick to your guns more often. The business has smart people helping to build its strategy. Trust it and stay focused. Easier said than done, but recognizing when the business is taking its eye of the ball will prove valuable.

    - Historical lack of accountability; many passion-based business suffer from this. Culture change can be difficult and when you've got a business that historically attracted people who just wanted to be close to the activities they participated in, more than compete and win as a business, the battle is an uphill one. I think the organization is taking the right initial steps to address this.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - Continue to address the concerns mentioned above;

    - Be more thoughtful about career development and employee recognition; actions around these areas end up being very large statements to the rest of the organization. This goes for both positive and negative examples.

    - Operate according to your core principles/lead by example; make sure principles are clear, the team is transparent, and actions are aligned with principles, such that there is no confusion as to what is expected and what gets punished/rewarded.

  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    Great company to work for from 2006-2013. Hiring new upper management, started laying tons of loyal people off in 2014.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Product Data Analyst in Park City, UT
    Current Employee - Product Data Analyst in Park City, UT

    I have been working at Backcountry.com full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Employee discount on TONS of gear from hundreds of brands at Wholesale +10%. Gold passes to ski resorts, 401K with company matching, Insurance, Pro-deals, flexible time in Park City. Great work environment. Company ski days. CEO is awesome and is making good decisions for the company, but bad decisions for the employees.

    Cons

    New upper management making huge changes, getting rid of tons of original employees who helped make the company what it is today just to make a better bottom line. Backcountry was super awesome when it was it's own company, but is quickly becoming more corporate and less caring of it's employees. I definitely learned a lot while working for BC, but am ready to move on to bigger and better things.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Care about your employees and give them the compensation they deserve. Quit laying off loyal employees just to put more money in your pockets. Stay true to the original Backcountry culture. It's not all about Throughput #'s, but a balance between accuracy and getting it done. Quit focusing on how much extra money is going into your pockets and focus on compensating the employees who are actually doing the work to make the money for the company.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  3. 3 people found this helpful  

    I love the culture, good opportunity for a job out of college and opportunity to grow.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Manager in Park City, UT
    Current Employee - Manager in Park City, UT

    I have been working at Backcountry.com full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    I love working here because I have learned so much throughout the short time I have been here. The people and community is great and we go so activities on the weekend together and come in Monday to work hard and get things done.

    Cons

    Company could improve their on boarding training, I didn't know Excel very well and was expected to ramp up quickly.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I would love to hear more from the executive team other then just town halls.

    Approves of CEO
  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Backcountry U was a good place to start, not worth any loyalty

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Park City, UT
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Park City, UT

    I worked at Backcountry.com full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Under the old CTO, hours were flexible. The site gets enough traffic that you can gain experience. Occasional trips to Costa Rica.

    Cons

    Millions wasted on executives pet projects. The amount of money spent on putting reviews on the site is sickening.

    Leadership is inexperienced in the most dangerous way: They think they aren't.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It appears you've successfully kept Backcountry profitable, be happy with that. It's doubtful you'll have either the inclination or the ability to make it a good place for people to stay.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    I have had a positive experience so far with the culture, challenges, and opportunities on the engineering team here

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Park City, UT
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Park City, UT

    I have been working at Backcountry.com full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    -- Engineering owns and implements many of the business' core software systems in-house, and Backcountry seems committed to maintaining an engineering team capable of taking on large internal software projects and challenging technical design problems.

    -- Diving into new technologies when they are the appropriate tools for the job is encouraged wholeheartedly, and there is a healthy culture within engineering of continuously learning and keeping aware of new tech that I appreciate being a part of. Lots of people are taking programming courses, attending meetups, and regularly discussing and playing with new tech.

    -- The timing of being part of the engineering team right now is good, as the team is designing/building the foundation of the next generation of software for the company and planning how to move away from our legacy systems. It is a rare opportunity at a well established company to have a fundamental impact on the design and direction of the software.

    -- The starting salary for an engineering position in Salt Lake seemed quite fair to me, even coming from a much larger urban area.

    -- The work/life balance on the engineering team is healthy and fair in my opinion. There is a strong ethic of working hard at work to get things done and being available and responsible for live systems, but the ethic of playing hard is kept in balance. It is acceptable, and even encouraged, to go and take the occasional extended lunch for a mountain bike ride or come in a bit late on a power day. And as it should be, my experience has been that going home at a normal hour at the end of the day is the accepted norm, with overtime only being expected in actually exceptional circumstances such as issues with production systems.

    -- I find the general culture and comradery within the engineering team very positive. Beers during events or once in a while after work are common, and the atmosphere of the team is friendly, casual, welcoming, and frank. Team members regularly get together for things like skiing/biking, both before/after work or at lunch, and on weekends.

    -- The employee gear discount is non-trivial and awesome, and the intangibles of living and working in Salt Lake/Park City in terms of outdoor recreation and the reasonable cost of living are great benefits.

    Cons

    -- The legacy code base here is a bit of a beast. It is in a non-mainstream language, which is a catch-22 since we need to be able to understand and maintain it, but don't want to waste time or resources hiring experts and continuing to add new code to it. It is poorly documented and strangely architected due to the organic way the codebase grew over the years, which becomes more and more painful each time someone with specialized knowledge leaves the company. It is an unavoidable reality of working at Backcountry (and will continue to be for awhile still), but it is unpleasant, frustrating, and a downside of being an engineer here.

    -- Career growth opportunities within the company seem like they should be one of the positive aspects of being on a fairly small and growing engineering team (and indeed, I have seen several examples of deserving people advancing to leadership roles), but the path is not clearly defined like it is at larger companies I have worked at, which is frustrating.

    -- I haven't been at Backcountry long enough yet to comment on compensation growth, but the lack of extra compensation benefits beyond base salary and a 401(k) match is an unfortunate part of the package.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    -- More definition is needed around what it takes to grow within the engineering department at Backcountry and what the timeline expectations should be for that growth taking merit into account.

    -- Additional compensation benefits beyond base salary would make BC more competitive with the standard compensation packages for engineers at other companies I have worked at.

    -- Keep up the positive attitude towards exploring new technologies, it keeps things fresh and interesting for the engineers and often provides opportunities to ditch the baggage of legacy systems.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 3 people found this helpful  

    Good things happening in engineering driven from the bottom up by good engineers. Good work/life balance. Executives?

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Park City, UT
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Park City, UT

    I have been working at Backcountry.com full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Recently I referred a friend of mine to work at Backcountry. I genuinely believe that this is a good place to work for engineers. Can't speak for other departments.

    Reasons...

    Engineering is headed in the right direction. We are building out our REST apis, focusing on continuous integration/delivery, deprecating legacy code and systems, and working in modern tech stacks (Angular, Express, Node, Mongo, Solr, Storm, etc).

    Good colleagues. A lot of passionate people who are good engineers and friends. We ski, bike, hike, camp, etc together. Planning a party and I realized everyone on the list is someone I work with.

    Outdoor recreation. 1 climbing gym across the street, 3 ski resorts within a 10 minute drive, 8 ski resorts within an hour drive, 6 national parks within a 5 hour drive, 12 national parks within an 8.5 hour drive, 400 miles of mountain bike trails in Park City alone.

    Gear discount... if you are into the outdoors, we get crazy discounts on any outdoor gear. e.g. $6k mountain bike for $3k. Used the bike for a year and sold it for what I paid for it in one day. Remember, this is after tax money that you're saving... so for me, I saved over $7k in gear purchases last year alone (which is equivalent to more than $10k of gross salary.) Basically, you can buy new gear for less than what you would pay for used gear on craigslist.

    Great work-life balance. We have flexible time off which means no set amount of PTO. At manager discretion you can take the PTO you need/want. People work flexible hours... some are 8a arrivers, some are 10a.

    General culture. In engineering at least, almost everyone believes in work/life balance and getting outside. We ski before work, we mountain bike at lunch, etc. Beers after work are reasonably common.

    Benefits beside the gear discount are solid (not amazing).

    Leadership opportunities. Because of the general turnover that happens at any tech company (but has been more common for backcountry this past year), chances for stepping up into leadership roles are plentiful.

    Cons

    Leadership does not believe in transparency. Lots of things happen behind closed doors.

    Retail is a super competitive industry, so this is a company that has to care about costs and budget. i.e. This is not a startup flush with cash delivering everyone sushi for lunch.

    Leadership tends to have shiny rock syndrome. New ideas seem to always be better than old ideas in the mind of executives. The problem is that new ideas pop up every couple months.

    Short-sighted hiring practices. When we are at capacity, leadership institutes "hiring freezes" so even if we find good people we can't hire them. Then people leave (which happens in every tech company) and we are short-handed.

    Perceived negative outlook. Because of some realignments and RIFs we've had to do (which didn't impact any engineers) the perception is that we are financially in trouble. The reality is easily researched as we are part of a publicly traded company.

    Main backcountry.com site is using ATG -- a large enterprisey framework that is not modern in any sense of the word.

    Going back to transparency, pay is not transparent and is not consistent. People doing the same job can have significant differences in pay.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Executives need to communicate more and be willing to be transparent. Everything doesn't need to be a secret.

    Backcountry as a whole needs to shift focus back to its employees. If you take care of your employees, employees will do a better job taking care of the customer.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 3 people found this helpful  

    take what you read with a grain of salt

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Manager in Park City, UT
    Current Employee - Manager in Park City, UT

    I have been working at Backcountry.com full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    lots of bright spots still - the company is profitable and getting more so, gear discounts are the best you will find, the people are awesome and fun and love the outdoors, work in a a cool industry in a cool location, summer BBQs and free lift tickets, and people still go for mountain bike rides at lunch. yes there is new senior management but they come from really good backgrounds and companies and bring a lot of experience. some tough choices had to be made with the layoffs but the folks working here now are passionate and super smart

    Cons

    a very competitive industry and that means what worked in the past has changed dramatically. turnarounds are tough, layoffs tougher. morale took a hit for sure and some of the people who had worked here in the days when you could do a 30 hour week and get away with it were insulted when asked to work a normal high tech schedule - go figure.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    some work is needed on compensation. share the financial picture - it is shaping up to be a good story. The office renovation is nice and did not cost millions at all. keep doing the BBQs and world cup parties, etc. but also keep pushing discipline and focus.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 9 people found this helpful  

    Used to be great years ago. Now, a career path no nowhere.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Park City, UT
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Park City, UT

    I worked at Backcountry.com full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    The absolute best part of this company is the people, most of them are awesome. I enjoyed making so many long-lasting friendships and going on all kinds of weekend trips with employees, etc. The hours were fairly flexible in terms of "overworking" the employees for a long while, but in 2012-2014 it started to be "expected" to work more than 40 hours due to constant understaffing and layoffs. The live/work balance is now a lie and it's almost impossible to sneak out for a powder day, when that used to be a major perk. Don't believe the hype.

    Cons

    The executives and management team is extremely weak. Poor financial decisions: let's spend (who knows how much $$) to put a giant goat on the roof of the warehouse so planes can see it, and multi-million $$ office renovations, but let's skip pay raises and taking care of employees.

    Initiatives were never long-lived and decisions were flip flopped constantly with panicked decision making. Extremely high turnover rate, if you've been there for 2 years it's like 10 years at another company. Absolutely no career path, you get dead-ended really quick in your job. The middle and upper management used to be outside folk that get the industry and use the gear, now most have been replaced with people from Target, Google, Yahoo, and don't know a snowboard from a snowshoe. The pay is about 80% of what you'd make at the same job anywhere else...they hold the gear deals over your head like a carrot. The layoffs over the last year have been brutal, very tough to work through rounds and rounds of layoffs and not know if you're next. I saw over 100 layoffs in 2013/2014 and it seems like could care less about the "common employee." No backcountry.com culture, it's gone.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    New leadership and management team, for starters. Make decisions with thought and stick to initiatives....for longer than 6 months, please. Pay your employees better, treat them better and give them a better path to success with opportunities to advance within the company.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 7 people found this helpful  

    shiny object fixation, inexperienced/inept mgmt, bro culture, constant pivots/reorgs (and massive layoffs in 2014)

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Level, Recruited and Relocated By Company in Park City, UT
    Former Employee - Senior Level, Recruited and Relocated By Company in Park City, UT

    I worked at Backcountry.com full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    great gear discount, most people are "fun", the remodeled offices are really nice, working in park city, UT, prestige in the e-commerce world (but declining...), people in the utah area are impressed when you say you work there (but declining...)

    Cons

    zero on-boarding process or training - thrown in and expected to know things...and with a manager who just wasn't available. my manager *regularly* just no call/show'd for our meetings. there's an inner circle that drinks at work and is completely inappropriate at work, without repercussions. imagine explicit sex jokes and pantomimes, around the "executive table" in an open office format. the exec teams badmouths each other, and those who have left, leading to a culture of distrust, in appropriateness, and backstabbing. only people in the inner circle get promoted and raises, even when they DO NOT PERFORM (but can make pretty slide decks). oh --- and where is the leadership???

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Jill is nice (to people she likes), but she is in *completely* over her head. I'm not sure why the board has not fired her. She cannot keep an executive team together, and initiatives get born/funded, and die a sad neglected death within months. The company laid off 100 of 300 corporate employees in 2014 (in a batch of 40 and 60), incl, in both rounds, many people who they'd recruited and relocated to Utah. That is highly irresponsible, disrespectful, and disruptive to people's LIVES. The company needs someone experienced as a general manager/operator and strategist in e-commerce to lead it and to build a strong inclusive team, which are not Jill's skillsets.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 8 people found this helpful  

    Flailing.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Park City, UT
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Park City, UT

    I worked at Backcountry.com full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Some very loyal, resourceful, hard working staff who are carrying the company. OK health benefits. Big gear discounts.

    Cons

    Patchwork tech, clueless executives, erratic strategy, poor pay, lack of incentives, unrealistic demands, demoralized staff, threat of layoffs.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Your methods are not inspiring, motivating, or convincing.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

Backcountry.com Photos

Backcountry.com Distribution Center

+ Add Photo

Work at Backcountry.com? Share Your Experiences

Backcountry.com

 
Click to Rate
or

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.