BootDoctors: Doing July 4th In Telluride
“The (Boot)Doctor is in the House” is a series from beloved Telluride retailer BootDoctors, The subject is mountain lore and stories in which the good guys always bag summits. The Big Idea is to share the power of mountain life: style, gear, community and community outreach, and adventures of all kind. This week, however, regular Telluride Inside… and Out contributor and accomplished skier, biker, writer, and regular contributor Jesse James Mctigue takes a time-out from outdoor activities to write about America’s Big Day in our small town: “How to Do the Fourth of July in Telluride.” It’s Norman Rockwell – on speed. And to ensure a good time is had by all in your party, head straight for BootDoctors. The store has everything you might need for family fun from hats and loungers to mugs and sun block.
There is the Fourth of July – and then there is the Fourth of July in Telluride.
The former is fun; the latter is epic.
The recipe to do the Fourth of July right, Telluride-style, begins with a morning baste of mountain sports and long simmer of small town parade, followed by a blend of BBQ and good old fashioned country fair games, topped with a small town fireworks show that would make the founding fathers proud.
First hit BootDoctors for all of July 4th gear, then follow these tips to experience an epic Fourth of July in Telluride this summer:
8:00 am: Get up and workout:
The key to feeling good all day is no different on the Fourth than any other day in Telluride – start with a healthy workout. On the fourth, that takes the form of the Telluride Foundation‘s Rundola, a foot race from the base of the Gondola to the top. Although it’s only a one-mile uphill dash, it comes with an elevation gain of almost 2,000 vertical feet and will get your heart pounding. The route: anyway you want to get there. Whoever gets to the top first, wins, and whoever gets to the top at all has earned a day of BBQ and libation. Go here for more on the Rundola.
11 am: Partake in the Main Street Parade:
On your way to the Rundola, make sure to drop some chairs on Main Street to claim your spot for the biggest small town parade you’ll ever see. The highlights are the marching and honoring of US military veterans and a low fly-by a flight of F-16s, which seem to skim the faces of the western mountains as they maneuver a last-minute ascent out of the valley. From there, it’s anything goes. Floats range from creative (and liberal) political statements and recreations of the Old West to choreographed dance and gymnastics routines. It’s not efficient, but it’s fun. Pack a cooler to ensure you last. (And yes, BootDoctors has them in stock.)
Noon to 4:00 p.m.: Eat and play at the Firemen’s BBQ in Town Park:
After the parade, mingle on Main Street then follow the throng of people to the Town Park and line up for BBQ chicken and all of the fixings. Telluride’s Fire Department is volunteer and a cherished part of the community. There is a beer booth for the adults and popsicles for kids. Make an afternoon of it and enjoy the free family games that include a good old-fashioned egg toss, pie-eating and three-legged race, as well as the cherished fish grab. You’ve got to witness that last one first hand to understand it.
Alternatively, take some time for yourself. If you missed the Rundola, get on the Gondola and sneak in a mountain bike ride on Prospect Loop or get in a quick hike on the Jud Wiebe right from town.
And stop by the Sheridan Arts Foundation’s annual Plein Air event, a sale of paintings by 21 nationally recognized American impressionist painters.
4:00 – Dusk: Recharge and eat some more:
As the Town Park scene dwindles around 4 p.m., find a place by the river or back at your base to recharge. A well-deserved siesta is in order before you fire up the grill with family and friends and strategize the best viewing spot to watch the evening fireworks. Hint: It’s Town Park.
9 p.m. to bed: Gaze toward the sky for a Fourth of July spectacle:
Around 9 p.m., give or take 30 minutes (remember you’re on Telluride time), make your way to Town Park or your front porch to watch the Town of Telluride’s firework spectacular. Telluride’s volunteer firemen launch the fireworks from the hill right above Town Park and if you lie on the baseball fields, looking up, it almost feels like you can reach up and touch the cascading sparks. Enjoy the booms and blasts and ooooh, ahhhhh, and ohhhh, before hugging your loved ones, calling it a night and planning your hikes and rides for the next day.
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 Reminger 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 Reminger 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.
Jesse James McTigue
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