The BootDoctors: All Sales Are Not Created Equal, 8/24-8/27
“The (Boot)Doctor is in the House” is a series from beloved family-owned and operated outdoor retailer BootDoctors all about sharing the power of mountain life: adventure, style, gear, and community in the Telluride region. Here the good guys always get to ski powder and bag summits – and sunsets are always spectacular. This week, BootDoctors targets your wallet – or why it makes sense to shop the Buzzard Sale
Beginning in late August, Labor Day snow sport sales and swaps will be popping up all over the state and the internet as stores, real and virtual, move last year’s gear to make room for this year’s new colors, cuts and models. In an industry where jackets can retail at $500 and skis at $1000, let’s face it, we all want a deal.
However, there are some traps at sales: all gear is not created equal. Remember, at fall sales, all purchases are final, so it’s important to consult an expert human being before making an investment. You can start by shopping the Buzzard sale at the BootDoctors August 24th to August 27th. They want to make sure you not only get the best prices but the right gear.
Here are five tips from the experts at the BootDoctors to avoid common misunderstandings and traps when shopping sales this fall.
• Don’t skimp on boots – ever: Whether you ski or board blue groomers, the backcountry, or stick to the park, ski and snowboard boots are the most important piece of equipment and the one where fit matters most. Boots vary in stiffness, width, and even the angle of the foot ramp, all factors that will contribute to performance and comfort. When buying boots at a sale, make sure you consult with an expert and ensure he/she can answer your questions and that you buy from a store that you can frequently return to for custom fitting and modifications. As Bob Gleason, owner of the BootDoctors likes to say, “The most expensive ski boots are the ones you have to buy twice.”
• Make sure bindings match your weight and boot size: Last year’s demo skis with bindings, or packaged ski/binding sets are tempting and can be a good buy – that is if the skis are mounted with the right bindings. Like everything else, bindings come in different sizes and most importantly weights. It’s important to ensure the DIN setting, the safety setting on the binding that controls when the binding will release, is right for your weight and ability. Additionally, it’s important to ensure the binding moves and can adjust to the size of your boot.
• Skis and boards over-drilled are killed: Like salespeople, skis and boards begin with integrity. And, they’re meant to be drilled to fit a pair of bindings once. When a ski or board has to be re-drilled its stiffness, precision and performance will be compromised with every additional hole.
Bottom line: If you buy a pair of skis and have to re-drill the bindings to make them fit, they lose integrity—just like person who sold them to you.
• Compatibility isn’t just for significant others: Any piece of gear you buy must not only be compatible with your needs, but also with your other gear. When buying backcountry gear that can be tricky as there are a lot of nuances ranging from different types of soles of boots to bindings systems. Not all backcountry boots are compatible with all backcountry bindings. Often companies make bindings that only fit with their boots, and backcountry gear tends to be expensive. Make sure you are getting gear you can use together, because the backcountry is not the place to find out you can’t.
• Shop sales, just do it with the experts: Sales are great opportunities to get the right gear at the right price, but there are also multiple traps that buyers unintentionally fall into. When shopping this fall, come to the BootDoctors Buzzard sale so you know you are working with the experts. And, because it’s a real store with real people, you’ll continue to return as a loyal customer.
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
Latest posts by Jesse James McTigue (see all)
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