Living in the Boulder bubble, it’s understood that the question “What do you do?” is an inquiry regarding your favorite physical activities and outdoor sports – not the origin of your paycheck. As fascinating as your job may be, Boulderites are more interested in hearing about what you do outside of work. (Unless your work happens to involve running, hiking, biking, climbing, skiing, etc., in which case, please tell us how you got this gig and if they’re still hiring.)
With over 300 days of sunshine per year and the Rocky Mountains in our backyard, it’s no surprise that outdoor pursuits reign supreme in Boulder. Whatever your passion, you can get your fix here. And in a town where outdoor pursuits receive priority status, it’s only fitting that our holiday wish lists are brimming with the gear needed to get out there and do what we love.
Let’s say you’re a running/hiking/biking/climbing/paddling/skiing fanatic. (Choose however many apply to you.) Or maybe you’re shopping for friends and family. Whether you’re treating yourself or pinpointing the perfect gift for a loved one, outdoor clothing and gear are what you want. Shopping at a national retailer or Internet mega site is easy enough, but it’s not very Boulder-y. When your favorite outdoor pursuits are local, why not shop local, too? Fortunately, Boulder’s array of outdoor outfitters and gear shops have you covered. Read on for this local’s guide to holiday shopping for outdoor enthusiasts.
Neptune is the local’s answer to REI. Since 1973, Neptune has been outfitting outdoorsy Boulderites for everything from hiking Chautauqua to climbing the Himalayas. With everything from performance apparel to gear, Neptune is the one-stop shop for all your outdoor adventures.
Since you’re keeping it local, be sure to check out Neptune’s collection of Sea to Summit products. Sea to Summit is a Boulder-based company specializing in backpacking, camping, and paddling gear. Their dry bags are game changers for water sports like kayaking and paddling. They come in surprisingly handy for skiing and snowboarding, too.
Flatirons Running is a locally-owned, full service running shop where the staff truly walks the walk… or runs the run. They’re experts on everything from shoes to supplements because they’re out on the roads and the trails just as much as you are.
This shop carries all the best brands in running, including local favorites La Sportiva and Ultimate Direction. (If you want to get meta local, check out Ultimate Direction’s new Jurek Collection of vests and accessories. Local ultrarunner and record-breaker Scott Jurek designed the series.)
Pro Peloton is a cut above the rest, and that’s pretty impressive in a town that has a bike shop on every corner. Per the name, the emphasis here is on PRO. Pro Peloton provides pro-level bikes, parts, fittings, and services for the serious cyclist.
Among their top-notch offerings is the highly coveted Mosaic Titanium Cyclocross. Mosaic Cycles is a local company that builds small batch handmade bicycles. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Independent bike shop? Check. Locally built bike? Check. Now all you (or the cyclist in your life) needs is something to wear. Panache Cyclewear is a growing Boulder company that offers everything from super stylish jerseys to functional accessories.
Boulder Cycle Sport
Whether you’re racing in the mountains or just riding to the market, Boulder Cycle Sport has something for everyone. It’s a full service shop for all types of cyclists at all ages and levels. This local staple first opened in 2005 and now boasts two locations, one in North Boulder and one in South Boulder.
Boulder Cycle Sport is very involved with the local cycling community, organizing weekly group rides and seasonal cycling teams. A membership to their cyclocross team includes lots of cool perks and is sure to delight any cyclist.
For nearly 15 years, Outdoor Divas has been the go-to spot for local ladies who love the great outdoors. Unlike the women’s sport shops of yesteryear, Outdoor Divas isn’t a generic collection of pink stuff labeled “for her.” It’s a legit outfitter run by active women for active women.
Outdoor Divas offers performance clothing and accessories for an array of outdoor pursuits as well as a full service ski shop. Check out their selection of running apparel from local favorite Skirt Sports. Outdoor Divas also sponsors a number of community events, classes, and workshops. They recently opened a second location in Vail.
If you’ve got a hockey player or figure skater on your holiday list, look no further than Rocket Skate. This pro shop is located just a stone’s throw from Boulder, inside the YMCA of Boulder Valley in Lafayette. Run by some of the friendliest people around, Rocket Skate has competitive prices on a great selection of gear and accessories. They also offer repairs and state-of-the-art sharpening.
Boulder Creek Events is planning to open a new outdoor rink at the end of this month next to the Dushanbe Teahouse. All the more reason to ensure that your ice-loving family and friends are ready to go!
Larry’s Boot & Ski
Larry’s Boot & Ski means business, and they’re in the business of fitting, equipping, and educating Boulderites with the best gear and knowledge for hitting the slopes. Don’t be fooled by the shop’s no-frills appearance– they do boot fittings by appointment and many claim they’re the best around. They do not issue traditional gift certificates, but if you visit the store they can help you put together a package for someone special.
Keep it local, Boulderites! Happy trails and happy holidays!