Mountain town shuttle service sues upstart competitor

A photo of Interstate 70 looking west from the Morrison exit. (Thomas Gounley)

Two shuttle services that provide transportation from Denver to ski destinations are making a pit stop in court.

Powderhound Transportation and the company’s owner Joshua Gaines sued upstart competitor Slope Transportation and John Curtis at the end of February, accusing the defendants of unfair competition and civil theft.

Powderhound was founded in 2008. According to the lawsuit, Curtis previously owned 20 percent of the company. But he withdrew as an owner in March 2019, and helped start Slope Transportation in late September, the document alleges.

The lawsuit accuses Curtis and Slope Transportation of using “images and information” owned by Powderhound on Slope Transportation’s website, and using a “nearly identical logo.” It says Slope Transportation has also hired a former Powerhound employee.

Powderhound says its sales have decreased “significantly” since Slope Transportation launched.

Reached by BusinessDen, Curtis said he does not own Slope Transportation, and noted the logos for the two companies are quite different. Slope’s features a yellow skier descending the “l” in the word “Slope”, while Powderhound’s logo features a dog peeking over the company’s name, the “o” forming the animal’s nose.

“Anyone can see for themselves that these claims are frivolous,” Curtis said.

Michelle McCarthy and Tyler Murray of Murray & McCarthy Law are representing Powderhound in the lawsuit. McCarthy did not respond to request for comment.

Both Powderhound and Slope advertise service to destinations including Breckenridge, Vail and Steamboat Springs.

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