Head to the hills, and you’ve got a range of ski shops—from the luxe ones near ski resorts that will serve you coffee and tune your skis to the no-frills shops you can get in and out of and that dot I-70,
But what if you want to stock up on ski gear or get boots fitted down here in Denver? Or, perhaps your skis need a tune up before you strap them to the rack of your car. Maybe you're visiting and didn't want to haul all of your equipment to Colorado, and need to hit up a rental shop. Taking care of these pre-ski errands will mean more time on the slopes, less time in the ski shops once you do make it up the mountain, right?
Here’s five of our favorite ski shops in Denver, for both visitors and residents. There's a shop for everybody, whether you're a ski rookie or an intrepid adventurer who snubs the chairlift to skin uphill.
This Denver-based ski shop does something incredible: They craft their lightweight skis with locally harvested Colorado Aspen and Pine Beetle kill trees. Put simply, their motto is: “Handmade skis from Colorado skis.” Plus, you can flex your design skills, choosing your own top sheet graphics — incorporating anything from your favorite piece of art or even promoting your own business. The shop considers itself a “craft skiery.” Akin to home-brewing stories, the founder Matt Cudmore began making skis from his garage in Glenwood Springs in 2009. And, hey, speaking of beer, you can even grab a beer from their “ski-tender” while you’re there watching your skis be made.
High-quality gear for all of your adventures can be expensive. To help solve this dilemma Wilderness Exchange, or Wildy X, as locals call it, has a consignment program to sell or trade-in used gear. Plus they do weekly specials, like "Thrifty Thursdays" when you can score markdowns. The independently owned store sells new and used equipment for your outdoor adventures, whether that’s backcountry skiing, mountaineering, camping, backpacking or climbing.
Free parking is hard to find downtown. The shop has assigned spots in the back of the store, though, where you can park for free.
Whether you downhill ski, cross-country ski, snowboard, plow through the snow on a fat bike, or trudge through powder on snowshoes, you can find the gear you need at REI. The brand's flagship location in Denver is a cool space, set on the Platte River that winds through downtown and with a large, airy Starbucks that feels like it should be in a ski village. Really, REI is a one-stop ski shop because you can even buy lift tickets, including some to Colorado resorts. Plus, they sell cool snow accessories like helmet cameras and mounts so you can properly document your powder day.
You can buy ski and board gear and equipment and accessories at this shop. But what really sets it apart is its rental program, which is awesome if you’re coming to Colorado and don’t want to travel with a ton of gear or if you are just learning how to ski or snowboard and don’t want to invest in all of the equipment just yet. Also, this store is all things outdoors, also selling outdoor living goods including fire pits and patio furniture.
You can save up to 20 percent at Christy Sports when you rent your gear online at least 24 hours in advance. Also, ski and snowboard rentals are free for kids age 12 and under with a four-day adult rental.
When it’s not ski season, most outdoor rec shops in Colorado turn their focus to other intrepid adventures, most often mountain biking. The guys at Confluence Kayaks, though, are all about water sports — whether that’s water in its solid state on the ski slopes or its liquid state in Colorado’s rivers. They teach whitewater SUP and kayak lessons. Then, when Old Man Winter arrives, the shop shifts its focus to skiing, specializing in telemark and alpine touring equipment. They also offer tune-up jobs and refer to themselves as “a true mountain shop in the heart of the city.”
Want to ditch the lift and earn your turn? Backcountry skiing and skinning is on the rise in Colorado, and resorts are changing up their rules to better accommodate the growing interest. The Colorado Department of Tourism has put together a handy guide of uphill skiing rules at the different resorts.