We've had a slow start to our winter this year which definitely has us praying to Ullr more than ever. Until he grants our wishes, it has given me extra time to research gear and get some much loved shopping in. Although I love to shop for myself, it's also the holiday season so it's time to hit up my favorite outdoor shops in Denver. Here is my list of must visit shops, both for gifts and for gear.
1. Confluence Kayaks - Their name can be somewhat misleading as they are more than just a kayak and canoe store. It is easily the best place to pick up winter sports gear. They just got in their 2018 Demo ski's and you bet I will be there to pick some out. Every member of their staff is knowledgeable and are all avid adventurers. They just moved to a new location in an old restaurant across from the Denver Aquarium and are adding a bar/tap room to the location. Now while we are spending hours browsing and chatting about gear non-stop we can pull up a seat to the taps and enjoy a micro-brew. They are the only place we take our ski's for tune ups and have helped us repair other gear on several occasions as well. They carry everything from kayaks to SUPs to skis to boots to clothing! It should be on every one's first list when checking out new gear.
2. Larry's Bootfitting - The place is hectic all of the time. There are just as many people in the shop as there are boots on any given day. There is a reason for that though, they are the best anywhere in the state! The staff knows just about everything there is to know about ski boots and will take the time to find just the right ski boot for the activity you need and the skill level you are at. Once you choose your boot spend the extra money and get custom molded inserts! You even get to enjoy a beer or two while you're standing in your new boots letting the mold set. Trust me, you need the beer, it's not comfortable! Once you're done though, you will have the single best ski boot for your feet and you will not regret it. Larry himself is incredible and will make sure you boots fit perfectly even if you have to bring them back several times to get that perfect fit.
3. Bent Gate Mountaineering - What's not to love about this place? It is a large store dedicated to climbing and back country gear. It's a little too close to my home so we spend lot a of time in here just browsing and then buying. Their clothing selection for women and men is great. They also offer a good selection of ski's, boots and bindings. Their selection of boards is somewhat limited to splitboards because they promote so much back country stuff. I don't know enough about snow boards, so I may be asking some questions next time I go so I can give some more detailed recommendations on that. As far as back country gear goes, they've got it. I have yet to get into climbing, it's on my bucket list this year. Their selection of climbing gear is beyond compare. If you need it they have it. One thing to keep in mind though, they are closed on Saturdays.