Editor’s Note: This is part of The Know’s series, Staff Favorites. Each week we’ll offer our opinions on the best Colorado has to offer for dining, shopping, entertainment, the outdoors and more.
If you are looking for a place to shop for ski touring or snowboarding equipment, maps, guides, clothing and accessories where you will be served by experienced salespeople who treat customers well, you won’t go wrong patronizing Bentgate Mountaineering in Golden.
The store is located in downtown Golden at 1313 Washington Ave., just one block from the “Howdy Folks!” arch that tells visitors that Golden is still a place “where the West lives”. Bentgate opened in 1994, opposite its current location, and moved to where it is now in 2004.
In the summer, Bentgate is a great place to shop for hiking and mountaineering equipment, hiking gear, clothing, trail running shoes and climbing gear. It’s all that in winter too, but it’s also a great place to buy or rent touring skis and two-speed boards, which snowboarders use to access the backcountry. Splitboards come in two pieces, one for each foot, so they can be used for climbing uphill. When it’s time to descend, the riders tie the pieces together to form a snowboard.
âWe love the community and we love the activities we do. We just like to put a good experience and treat people well on top of why we do this, âsaid owner Greg Floyd, 50, a former ski enthusiast who started the store at the age of 23. years because he didn’t like the attitude he encountered in other mountaineering shops. âWe don’t always get things right, but we definitely try to learn from our mistakes and put people first. “
Getting into off-piste skiing can be intimidating even for long-time skiers.
âThere are such a variety of different types of equipment made by different manufacturers,â said John Weir, Bentgate Marketing Director. âWe want to make sure that we treat people with the feeling that it’s a confusing sport. Staying humble in this space is really important to our staff and being welcoming to the people who come and learn.
They make custom boot fits and can modify the plastic of the boots to better fit your feet. I’ve had alpine hiking boots in which the merciless plastic pinched my ankle bones on a four day hut trip until it left a painful bruise. The last day of this trip was excruciating. Boot fitters can reshape the hard plastic to eliminate these pinch points.
âWe do a lot of adjustments and modifications, especially in hiking boots, working with different types of plastics that are typically not found in alpine ski boots,â Weir said. âIt takes a lot of expertise in molding and shaping plastics, as well as working with very unique boot systems. We specialize in making performance boots in a way, but also a comfortable fit. “
Bentgate, which is closed on Saturdays for Floyd’s Religious Sabbath, has a full-service back-shop that does basic tuning, waxing, grinding and repairs on alpine gear, snowboards, touring skis, splitboards and telemark equipment. I had them replace the bindings on my mountaineering and light touring skis, and have always been happy with their work.
They carry all kinds of avalanche safety gear, including beacons, shovels, and probes, to buy or rent. And if you’re not an off-piste skier or snowboarder, they also rent and sell snowshoes.
âWe have seen a sharp increase in the number of people looking to get outside and snowshoe during COVID,â Weir said, âand continue to see the growth of this activity as more and more people seek to explore and to continue their hike throughout the winter. “
Here’s another tip, if you happen to be at Bentgate Mountaineering: Woody’s Wood Fired Pizza next door is fantastic.
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