BootDoctors: Gear Gods
This week, the BootDoctor in the House focuses on the upcoming winter season in Telluride – and gods. At the top of the list of celestial beings of note is Ullr, the Norse god of snow. But Ullr is not the only big name in the winter pantheon. There are also the gear gods at The BootDoctors, the folks in the ‘hood who test equipment for major national publications such as Ski and Realskiers. Katie Klingsporn elaborates.
Winter is on our doorstep, which means its time to gear up for the upcoming ski season. Luckily, it’s also the time of year that national publications and industry reviewers roll out their 2018 gear guides, giving us lay-skiers thorough and tactical roadmaps for buying the best skis, boots and accessories out there.
These guides are the result of scores of ski experts — bootfitters, ski racers, podiatrists among them — who diligently test, push and report on equipment. And this year, BootDoctors is proud to once again have several of these testers in its ranks. Telluride shop employees Bob Gleason and Sam Tischendorf, along with Taos shop employee Charlie Bradley and others, were part of the teams that contributed to SKI magazine’s 2018 gear guide, America’s Best Bootfitters boot review and Realskiers’ recommended skis for the upcoming season.
As a gear tester for 30 years, Bob Gleason is one of the senior most guys out there. The self-described gear nut enjoys the work, which typically entails gathering with other gear testers at a ski resort for an intensive period of testing. It might sound like a dream play-date, but Gleason said being an effective gear tester requires more than just making turns.
“The key is to put yourself empathetically in the mind and the ski character of the person they are after. This could range from easy-does-it beginners to mid-level skiers in mixed conditions to hard-charging powder hounds. “It’s not just about what’s a great ski for me,” Gleason said. “It’s about what’s the best ski for this person.”
Boots require a little more time and deliberation than skis, Gleason said; they’re more nuanced. He likes to push them through the gamut of conditions to see what they’re made of.
Charlie Bradley, a bootfitter at the Taos shop, has moonlighted as a boot tester for Masterfit University (which runs America’s Best Bootfitters) for six years. The job entails heading to Mt. Bachelor each spring for 10-day testing marathon. You have to detach yourself from your own skiing style and pay minute attention to the smallest aspects of the boots, he said.
“You have to feel what’s happening inside the boot with your foot,” Bradley said. “It’s a matter of really paying attention.”
For Sam Tischendorf, who tested gear for the first time last year, it also came down to skiing with purpose — and being able to articulate what she experienced. Getting to geek-out on skis and be fluent in the language translates perfectly to working at BootDoctors.
“It’s a blast,” she said. “It really helps us in what we do.”
(For the full story on Sam, go here.)
Skiing all next year’s skis, tuned to perfection, with a group of total rippers, Gleason added, “is the most fun you can have.”
So when you’re scanning the 2018 gear guides, look for these hometown names. Better yet, visit them in person. They’ll be able to tell you, with the knowledge that can only be gleaned from testing scores of boots and skis, what makes sense for your ski style.
Editor’s note: “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. For more about BootDoctors Ski, Snowboard & Bike Shop, go here.
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