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Mark Neel, owner of Castle Rock Bike and Ski tunes a ski at his shop Jan. 5, 2012 in Castle Rock.
Denver Post file
Mark Neel, owner of Castle Rock Bike and Ski tunes a ski at his shop Jan. 5, 2012 in Castle Rock.

There are a lot of options in Colorado when it comes to buying snow sports gear. It can pay to shop at a place run by avid skiers and snowboarders who have honed their skills and knowledge for years and are eager to share that information with customers. These five shops are run by locals who hit the slopes when they’re not at work.

Outabounds Ski and Board
Address: 6770 S. Dawson Circle, No. 500, Centennial
Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
Contact: 303-766-4866, skioutabounds.com
The scoop: Marie Kelso started Outabounds Ski and Board in her basement in 2010. She quickly outgrew that space when she and her husband purchased seven semitrucks full of ski and snowboard equipment from a Goodwill outlet that was closing. Since then, Kelso has moved into a 4,100-square-foot store in the Arapahoe Center. “We offer different inventory, such as factory demo gear, that is either new or slightly used,” Kelso said. “We purchase inventory from popular ski shops in the mountains that offer well-cared-for, recent models of skis and snowboard gear.” Outabounds customers also get one-on-one professional fittings and advice from Kelso and her husband, “Wild” Bill Kelso, who was a ski instructor for 30 years at Vail Ski Resort.

Castle Rock Bike & Ski 
Address: 411 Fourth St., Castle Rock
Hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday; 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
Contact: 303-688-1722, castlerockbikeandski.com
The scoop: Castle Rock Bike & Ski opened in downtown Castle Rock in 2000 after K.C. and Mark Neel moved from Denver to be closer to family. Mark Neel’s first job was in a ski shop, and he even wrote his college thesis on opening a bike and ski repair shop. Recently, Castle Rock Bike & Ski bought a top-of-the-line tuning machine, which is a far cry from when Mark Neel was tuning everything by hand. The Neels hand-pick everything they sell. “We’ve made a point of having gear and equipment that has a Colorado connection or quality that goes beyond what you typically find,” K.C. Neel said. “We’ve even brought in Scarpa ski boots, which are specialty backcountry and sidecountry boots that can be hard to find.”

Eskimo Ski + Board Shop
Address:  8265 S. Holly St., Centennial
Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday
Contact: 303-761-1101, eskimoshop.com
The scoop: Eskimo Ski + Board originally opened in Denver in 1939 and bills itself as the oldest specialty ski shop in the country. Its founder, Frank Bulkley II, saw a need for families to get proper gear for the then new and relatively expensive sport of skiing, so he offered not only sales, but rental gear for members of his children’s ski club. Today, Frank Bulkley III runs Eskimo Ski + Board and still offers seasonal rental packages for as low as $99. The shop offers performance skis and snowboards and an extensive selection of clothing and accessories. And if you’re looking for industry knowledge or advice, Bulkley, a lifelong skier, is a treasure trove of information.

Ski & Boot Lab
Address: 8955 S. Ridgeline Blvd. #1500, Highlands Ranch
Hours: 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, also by appointment
Contact: 720-641-3740, skiandbootlab.com
The scoop: KC McCallum opened Ski & Boot Lab a little more than a year ago in Highlands Ranch after working in and managing several ski and snowboarding stores around the state. He started Ski & Boot Lab to provide skilled fittings, tune-ups and repairs. “A lot of other guys at some of the larger repair shops often get backed up for a number of weeks during the season,” McCallum said. “People come to me when they’re looking for a fast turnaround.” He also offers equipment rentals and demo gear for clients, many of whom are regulars and have followed McCallum’s work for years.

7Twenty Boardshop
Address: 6879 S. Vine St., Littleton
Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday
Contact: 303-282-8972, 7twentyboardshop.com
The scoop: Graeme Jensen, general manager of 7Twenty Boardshop in the Streets of Southglenn mall, said he wandered into the job 10 years ago when he was the first customer at the locally-owned store’s first location in Parker — the first board shop in town. That store has since closed, but there is another location at 135 S. Broadway in Denver. 7Twenty Boardshop carries skateboards, snowboards, longboards, shoes, clothing, sunglasses and accessories. The stores are run by boarders and national brands including DC, Vans, LRG and Volcom and local brands including CandyGrind, Kriminal Apparel, Aksels and Fluidium.

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