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About Black Dome

Black Dome is Asheville's full-service outdoor outfitter. Family-owned and operated for more than 39 years. Located just a half mile through the Beaucatcher Tunnel from historic downtown Asheville.  Our store is fully-stocked with outerwear, sportswear, packs, sleeping bags, tents, backcountry gadgets, cookwear, footwear for hiking and trailrunning, snowboards, cross country skis and the most comprehensive collection of climbing gear in the Southeast.

Our Staff

Trent Thomas

Trent Thomas, a North Carolina native who has always loved these mountains.  Camping, climbing, soccer, family travel, XC & Telemark skiing are some of activities he enjoys.

  • In 1976, while attending UNCA, Trent started working at Mountaineering South (WNC’s first technical outdoor outfitter).
  • October 1978 Brad Shaver founder of Mountaineering South was lost in Northern India mountaineering. Trent took over buying and later general management of the store.
  • January 1980 Sales Representative for Wilderness Experience a leading outdoor manufacturer. This experience gave exposure to many different retailers and their methods plus more insight into entire industry.
  • February 1982 Return to Mountaineering South when asked by the Shaver family, as the store was having “hard times”. This return marked the start of a two-year unprecedented growth for the 15-year-old retailer.
  • January 1984 Shaver family announces their decision to sell Mountaineering South.
  • April 1984 Black Dome Mountain Shop opened in Biltmore Village
  • August 1988 Black Dome opens second store on Tunnel Road
  • September 1988 Mountaineering South closes
  • November 1990 Black Dome combines their two smaller stores into one superstore location. 11,000 square foot building with 8000 square feet of retail space.
  • Men’s Journal Magazine named Black Dome one of the top 25 Outdoor stores in America and #4 of multi-sport stores.
Trent is also a founding partner** in Asheville’s Habitat for Soccer indoor soccer center and while the  days of  playing soccerat Ben Lippen School here in Asheville, later at both Gordon College and UNC-Asheville) of the 1970’s are long past Trent still enjoys playing regularly

Trent is charter member of the Outdoor Industry “Woodchucks”.
Family is the biggest part of Trent’s life. He enjoys life with his wife Debby and three children Caitlin, Ella and Porter, and enjoys motorsports with his brother Mark.

Debby Thomas

Debby Thomas first walked into Back Dome's original Biltmore location while visiting her college roommate in November, 1986.  Climbing and camping have both been key parts of her life ever since her college days in Boone, however, these days she's taken on the challenge of Telemark Skiing.  A Dahlonega, GA native, Debby attended Appalachian State University in Boone, NC and ultimately graduated from USF Tampa after studying education and biology.  After college, she took a job in Knoxville, TN (a great area that allowed her to pursue her outdoor ventures) teaching advanced-placement biology; a job where she got to lead school scuba diving trips in Florida. 

After moving to Asheville, she continued to teach as she and Trent started their wonderful family.  With her attention to detail and keen business eye, Debby quickly began taking over office and bookkeeping responsibilities at the Dome.  Although she has a strong passion for education, the demands of her children (Caitlin, Ella, and Porter), Trent, and Black Dome eventually made teaching next to impossible.  In 1995, she started full time at the Shop and has since become the very glue that keeps us strong.  Bookkeeping, order management, staff scheduling, plus business-management responsibilities all fall into Debby's capable hands.

John Thompson (JT)

A Blue Ridge Mountains native, JT left home in 1983 and headed Raleigh where he earned a degree Natural Resources Recreation from NC State University.  He took a seasonal job as a Park Ranger for the National Park Service, first here on the Blue Ridge Parkway then the legendary Denali National Park in Alaska.  During the mid '90s, JT got a chance to explore Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe while managing to fit rafting the Zambezi and bungee-jumping over the world-renowned Victoria Falls into his schedule.  Somewhere along the line, he wound up taking a job here at Black Dome and he's been with us for more than twenty five years now.
JT is the head buyer for all technical camping gear, such as our selection of high-end expedition packs, lightweight backpacking tents and sleeping bags, backcountry cookware, GPS/maps and outdoor literature, and all those little essentials you just can't hit the trail without.  As if that's not enough work, he's also the guy who coordinates our shipping and receiving, returns and warranty, special orders, and of course, sales. 
JT met Diane Ducharme, the love of his life, at Black Dome and in 1997 they became husband and wife in a mountainside wedding in the company of friends and family.  Enjoying a mountain marriage, JT and Diane enjoy backpacking trips, climbing, and mountain biking.  In the past few years, playtime took a different focus in 2003 with the birth of their daughter Emma Rae Thompson, who is now a very active twelve year-old.  JT occasionally manages to find the time to pursue his love of motorcycle riding, at the very least revving up his bike for the ride to work.

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