In Between Storms: Get The Skis & Tune To Crush Corduroy

“The (Boot)Doctor is in the House” is a series from beloved retailer, BootDoctors, about mountain lore and stories in which the good guys still win and get to ski powder. The Big Idea is to share the power of mountain life: style, gear, community and community outreach, and adventures. This week, once again, regular Telluride Inside… and Out contributor and accomplished local skier and cyclist Jesse James McTigue writes about those crush-the-corduroy days on the mountain and the best (properly tuned) equipment for the job. All photos by Jesse’s fellow accomplice in all things rad, the talented mountain life and sports photographer, Melissa Plantz.

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There are many types of great ski days: iconic, agro powder days; classic, corn-snow, spring-skiing days; hammer Gold Hill with your friends until you can’t walk the next day days; and the cruisey, mellow boozey lunch days.

And in my family at least, there are crush the corduroy days.

These are days between storms.

We go back to our early ’90s ski racing roots, and leave our double rocker, 108-underfoot fat skis in the rack. Instead, we grab something skinnier and snappier such as Head’s Total Joy, 85-under foot, or Volkl Kendo’s, 90-under foot. We pull out our tuning files and wax, and wipe off the tuning bench in the garage. We give our skis a sharp edge and fast base. We even You Tube some World Cup ski racing, and check the Telluride Ski Resort’s grooming report.

It’s all carving, all business.

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There are only four things you need to get the most out of skiing the groomers: a pair of carving skis, a great tune, groomed runs, and a little bit of technique. The BootDoctors have you covered for the first two items; Telluride Ski Resort can provide the third; and the fourth—well that one is up to you.

Although tuning our own skis carries a nostalgic romanticism of yesteryear, for most people it’s a royal pain in the butt that will produce more harm than good if not done correctly. And to be honest, we just touch our skis up after giving them to Tony Jakob, aka “Tony the Tunah” and his team at the BootDoctors. The BootDoctors have state-of-the-art tuning technology that Tony describes as “the best in the business.”

He explains that the BootDoctors’ tune, the new Montana Challenge Crystal Glide, provides a flat, defined base structure and a precise ceramic edge bevel finish – which for the skier who knows nothing about tuning means a fast base and clean edge with a specific bevel that allows for more ease in rolling the ski on edge.

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“BootDoctors has invested and believes in a World Cup tune,”  Tony explains. “If a skier or boarder is after a faster and more precise experience, we recommend a race tune. But the standard BootDoctors full tune is fabulous for everyone.

And if you notice your skis rip just a little more after a BootDoctors tune, it’s probably due to the fact that Tony only works to serious rock and roll.

“Music is always on and always rocking,” he says. “Iron Maiden to Ween, we listen to it all….but bluegrass is not an option.”

A BootDoctors’ tune coupled with a pair of carving skis recommended by Kelli Gleason, hard goods buyer since 2010, ski tester for Ski Magazine since 2011, and local ripper, is the ultimate recipe for an incredible day on the groomers – and most likely, improved technique you can carry to any day on the mountain.

(See below for Kelli’s recommendations and descriptions of the industry’s best carving skis.)

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Visit the BootDoctors, grab your tuned carving skis, embrace your inner Mikaela Shiffrin – (if you don’t know who she is look her up and do your best to ski like a girl)– and hit the groomers first thing in the morning when those emblematic symmetrical ridges are still imprinted in the snow. This is the “corduroy” you’ve heard so much about. The forgiving and consistent surface will allow you to put your skis on edge, slowly build pressure from tip to tail and link carved turns, building speed and momentum all the way down the mountain’s longest, most scenic, and in some cases steepest, runs. Try The Plunge, Bushwacker (1.2 miles, vertical drop of 2113), See Forever (from top of Revelation Bowl to Lift 4, 2,975 vertical drop), Lookout, and Milk Run.

And when you’re done, you’ll have added another pair of skis to your quiver and the experience of yet another great ski day to your collection.

Kelli’s Carving Picks:

Head Supershape i.Titan:  80 mm under foot, this ski has the same World Cup Sandwich Cap construction as in their race-specific skis with a wood core, metal laminates, and vibration dampening strips over the edges. This lightweight ski has a snappy, energetic feel, yet maintains the dampness and power of a race ski.

 Kastle MX 84: The Porsche car of the carving ski category, this high-performance front-side ski allows you to push the pedal to the metal providing robust edge control and smooth transitions between each turn. The traditional camber in addition to the flat square tail ensures a strong edge hold and a solid finish to the turn. This ski is quiet and supple.

Blizzard Brahma: With an 88 mm under foot, this is a nice blend between carving and all-mountain capabilities. Built on a wood core and reinforced by top-and-bottom layers of metal, this ski rips. However, the carbon flipcore construction at tip and tail gives a surfy, playful feeling. Riding this ski is like riding the perfect wave.

Head Total Joy: This 85 mm waist width women’s specific ski can rip it and grip it. However, due to its lightweight attributes and the moderate tip rocker, it’s also friendly and forgiving.

 

More about BootDoctors Ski, Snowboard & Bike Shop (from the desk of Penelope Gleason):

It was the winter ski season of 1985. Bob Gleason looked up from the boot-fit bench at Taos Ski Valley and caught the glances of the folks lined up out the door. Anxious faces of skiers.

“Bring us your sore, cold, numb, battered feet…and we will make them able to ski again,” thought the grinning Irishman as he labored to bend the stiff plastic of a ski boot to his bidding.

Ski boots in the eighties were only slightly better than torture devices. They had, in fact, improved substantially from the old days of leather, but hard plastics and packed-out liners more often than not tamped down a skier’s enthusiasm.

Bob Gleason had dedicated his professional life to making ski boots more comfortable and better performing.

After a stint at Hanson boots, where he addressed a number of key problems presented by skiers and many pro athletes, Bob was drawn to the emerging ski mecca of Taos Ski Valley by the famous ski pioneer Ernie Blake.

Now Bob Gleason and his partner Bob Remiger were struggling to keep up with demand for their boot-fitting skills. The need for a new ski shop with a focus on boot-fitting became glaringly obvious.

In 1986, the two Bobs started their own shop in Taos Ski Valley, with a central focus on the highest quality ski boot-fitting. They were joined by Linda Gleason and, later, by Kyle Remiger in the shop, where they added ski clothing and accessories into the mix. It was a smart business model: once skier’s boots came off, shoeless individuals were confined to the store for the better part of an hour. Why not pass the time browsing all the cool gear while waiting for your boots to be altered?

The original shop and the newer Telluride stores stand on a foundation built on the combined values of deep knowledge, quality workmanship and products, customer service, and personal passion for skiing and other mountain, trails, and river-based sports. All the folks who work at BootDoctors live in and love the outdoors and are always ready, willing, and able to share their expertise to help others have great outdoors experiences too.

The TSV BootDoctors store was at first inconveniently located, away from the Main Street traffic stream and across a river. Some devotees scrambled through the frozen river bed to reach the shop rather than hike around. That was remedied in the darkness of one night, when the landlord, JB Cottam, snuck in a new bridge, much to the surprise of the ski area owners and competitors.

The rest is history…

It is history that stretches over 30 years of world-renowned boot-fitting done on site at the highest quality ski shop, still owned and run by two families, the Gleasons and the Remigers. Many awards decorate the walls for “top boot-fitting” and “most knowledgeable staff” – many of whom have been with the business for more than 20 years.

Loyalty is the key element to survival. Loyalty has taken BootDoctors through droughts and fierce local competition, as well as competition from big sporting goods chains and the rapid growth of on-line shopping. Loyalty of the staff and loyalty of the customers, who return generation after generation, bringing children and grandchildren for gear and services.

In 1996, Bob Gleason, who had been exploring the landscape of ski area retail as he traveled teaching Master Ski Tech and Masterfit Bootfitting clinics all over North America, became enamored of the rustic town of Telluride, which was on the verge of a major revival with a new owner of the ski area. Gleason moved to Telluride and one year later decided to open a BootDoctors store in the quickly growing Mountain Village. The need for quality boot-fitting and a homegrown, old fashioned, owner-operated ski store fit his skills well.

Over 20 years in Telluride, the BootDoctors grew to encompass a large storefront in Mountain Village and take over the Paragon Sports stores, another locally owned sporting goods outfit. The expansion allowed BootDoctors’ customers to benefit from the master boot-fitting and high-quality products on both sides of the mountain.

In 1998, Penelope Gleason joined the crew as marketing director after a stint in retail and inventory control. The Gleasons’ daughters, Kelli and Galena, joined the business after college and rose to the ranks of management and top buyers.

Purchase of the Paragon stores allowed the merchandise mix to reflect another of the family’s passions: cycling. Biking had been one of Gleason’s summer recreational passions – along with river-guiding since the 1970s.

BootDoctors also grew their summer offerings in Telluride to include rafting, paddle boarding, mountain bike rentals, retail, repair, and tours. In Taos, they added a store in the downtown in collaboration with the area’s top fly fishing outfitter, Solitary Angler.

The same quality and passion found in the boot-fitting department permeates the other departments, from ski rentals to outdoor clothing, bikes and guided adventure tours.

Never known to rest on its laurels, BootDoctors became the first entity in Telluride to offer Fat Tire Bikes for rent, sale, and tours.

Quality, knowledge, passion for sport and personal service are values being carried forward by the awesome staff at all five BootDoctors stores today.

The same big grin that sparkles on the ski slope, under his bike helmet, or in the boot-fit room shines as Bob watches his daughters Kelli and Galena continue the traditions while buying hard and soft goods, managing different departments in the business, and excelling in skiing, biking, and river-running.

Bob knows the future looks good for the next generation of BootDoctors and their loyal customers.

 

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Jesse James McTigue

Jesse James McTigue

Jesse James McTigue moved to Telluride when she was eleven. She has left many times –to attend a ski academy and college on the East Coast, to travel in South America, and to teach middle school in Oakland, CA –but she always seems to return. She returned (again) in 2008, married with kids, and thinks this time it may be for real. When she’s not chasing her kids, she’s searching for sanity on her skis or bike and makes her living freelance writing, grant writing and tutoring.

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