KUUsport and the KUU brand were established and developed by Ron Kuus. One of three children from an active family of northern European heritage, strong principles of athletics, fitness and self discipline were instilled in Ron and siblings at an early age –Herbert Kuus’s prescription for preparing his children for life ahead included a daily 6AM run through the parks and ravines of their Toronto neighborhood!
On winter weekends Ron’s father’s nordic DNA would not be denied. As president of the local Estonian Ski Club he seized every opportunity to take to the slopes with family and friends. His background as a tool and die machinist soon saw him developing products to improve the quality of their ski experience, the first of which was the patented Kuus Electric Ski Waxer. Fascinated by the relationship between ski preparation and performance, young Ron began to spend almost as much time with his dad in the wax room as he did on the ski hill.
Sadly, Herbert died when Ron was 14, but by this time Ron’s aptitude for ski tuning and his passion for skiing were firmly entrenched. He was fortunate to have this dual focal point –finding a productive channel for limitless teenage energy is a chancy proposition to begin with, let alone without a father! But his two key interests continued to jell until at age 18 he made simultaneous breakthroughs. Accepted into the engineering program at Seneca College, Ron was also named to their ski team. For the next three years he competed for Seneca as well as for the Toronto Ski Club. On graduation he realized that if he was to seriously pursue ski racing there was only one direction to head – WEST!
Packing engineering skills and a work ethic that he was confident would find him employment, Ron aimed his car for the setting sun. Stopping at the first Rocky Mountain ski hill he encountered, he rented a room in Banff and began training with the Norquay Ski Club. Between stints building hydro dams, in coal mines and on tree plantations, he worked his way up the ranking scale until he qualified for the Alberta Ski Team, soon becoming its top racer. More milestones followed including racing on the Europa Cup circuit and being named an alternate on Canada’s national ski team. During this intense period of FIS racing, Ron continued to hone his tuning and waxing skills and took every opportunity to learn more from other elite racers and their ski technicians. Joining the professional PWA circuit, he developed a reputation for technical waxing and tuning knowledge. “The Wax-Guru” soon had friends and rivals alike vying for his tuning and waxing services.
In 1982 Ron accepted an athletic scholarship at Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University where he ski raced and studied business. It was during this time that he reached the crucial decision to pick up where, ten years before, his inventive dad had left off. And so in 1984 with resolve and all of his accumulated knowledge and experience, he returned to Toronto and set to work. Operating out of his mother’s basement, Ron started on the development of what was to become KUU’s core business product: very fast base wax. Despite retailers who told him repeatedly that he was crazy and in the face of successful and well established competition, he persisted.
Buoyed by some promising relationships and pride in his growing lines of precision products, in 1986 Ron incorporated KUUsport Manufacturing Ltd. He was still a one man show; inventor, developer, manufacturer, marketer, sales rep, shipper, secretary, delivery boy and janitor. But word was getting out. And the KUU lines were selling. Soon stunned neighbors were being boxed into their suburban driveways by 18 wheelers as they picked up pallets of product from KUU’s basement headquarters!
Though it’s been a long time since KUU could be blamed for traffic jams on Deanvar Drive, it is to this humble address that the extensive alpine, nordic and snowboard product lines found on these pages can trace their origins. And while our head office moved only a short distance from Ron’s mom’s house, it seems like our products have traveled light years. Today KUU wax is being ironed onto the bases of national team equipment in both Canada and Austria, and KUU products are being sold in ski and snowboard shops from Japan to Switzerland.
KUU – MAKE THE CONNECTION!