By Halle Thornton
Ski and snowboard season is in full swing.
There are a variety of options when it comes to where to get your ski and snowboarding equipment, some of which give you more bang for your buck.
Whether you want to donate to a charitable cause or just rent equipment for a day or two, these shops offer something for everyone.
226 N. Tejon St.
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday, Noon – 5 p.m.
Mountain Chalet offers backcountry, alpine touring and cross country ski rentals and demos. Additionally, the store offers avalanche safety gear rentals including beacons, shovels and probes. Snowshoes, adjustable poles, snow sleds and bear canisters are also available to rent and Mountain Chalet is unique in that it offers equipment that allows for uphill transport.
“A lot of the skis we rent out can be used in resorts and in the back country,” said Shane Leva, Mountain Chalet store manager. “That’s the difference. You’ll notice our prices will be dramatically higher than everybody else because the setups are a lot more than everyone else is offering.”
Basic alpine touring rentals start at $65 for the first day and $40 for each additional day.
Leva added special, one-of-a-kind demos is $75 for the first day and $55 for each additional day.
“What that gets you is the ski, binding, boots, poles and climbing skins,” he said.
Additionally, Mountain Chalet offers a split board rental, meaning it is a backcountry snowboard, and includes board, bindings and skins, which are used to help while ascending backcountry slopes.
“It breaks in half and ends up looking like a pair of skis,” Leva said. “You go uphill and then put it back together for the downhill.”
Leva said besides REI, Mountain Chalet is the only store in Colorado Springs offering backcountry rentals.
“If you want to get into the backcountry, it’s a fun place to stop by to learn about the gear and get started,” he said.
Leva’s favorite part about working at the store is getting people in the gear for their ideal trip.
“I like helping people achieve their goals and dreams,” he added.
Mountain Chalet takes travel to and from the mountains into consideration and offers equipment pickup anytime after 3 p.m. the day before your full-day rental and it can be returned the following day before noon at no additional charge.
Mountain Chalet also offers a 10 percent discount to military personnel.
For more information, call 719-633-0732.
Mountain Equipment Recyclers
1024 S. Tejon St.
Hours: Monday – Sunday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Although it does not offer rentals, Mountain Equipment Recyclers is a consignment and donation-based store, selling new and used outdoors equipment including skis, snowboards, winter and summer apparel, and more.
Ryan Gentges, a recent UCCS graduate with a business management degree and general manager at Mountain Equipment Recyclers, has been working at the shop for two and a half years and said the original owner, a war veteran, started the store as a way to give back to soldiers.
“That’s kind of how we started,” he said. “We started giving back to veterans organizations and it branched out from there.”
Gentges explained the consignment operates on a tiered pricing system.
Anything under $250 and the seller receives 50 percent store credit, $250-500 receives 60 percent and $500 and above receives 70 percent.
“This system encourages people to donate nicer stuff,” Gentges added.
Items to be consigned or donated include skis, snowboards, jackets, boots, bindings, goggles and gloves.
“We typically stick to stuff that’s newer,” Gentges said. “However, we do dabble in some older snowboards, but skis and bindings have to be a certain age and they have to be on a specific list.”
The store also accepts climbing and hiking equipment and apparel.
Gentges said customers have the option to donate their proceeds towards any number of the 23 nonprofit organizations with which the store partners.
“You can donate to anything from the Rocky Mountain Field Institute to Home Frontier, Project Sanctuary and the Springs Rescue Mission to name a few,” he said.
Gentges said 100 percent of net profits go toward charitable causes.
“We’re owned by the Beanstock Foundation, operating out of Denver to support Colorado nonprofits in the area,” he said. “It all goes back to the community. In that vein, we call ourselves a social
Mountain Equipment Recyclers also partners with Kids on Bikes, and in-house organization handling bike consignment.
“A lot of the donated bikes we get go towards our Kids on Bikes program,” Gentges said. “Through the school district kids can earn a bike by attending safety and maintenance classes and showing up for community rides. This gets kids and families involved in cycling.”
Gentges’ favorite part about working for Mountain Equipment Recyclers is the community engagement.
“The fact that were not focused on making money for us, and really trying to give back to the community is the best part,” he said. “It’s a feel good store, and there’s so much random stuff that comes in on donation, it’s really cool to see.
“The store is a cool way to give back for people who have gear just sitting in their garage that want to give it a new life.”
Additionally, Gentges loves talking to people who know little to nothing about skiing and snowboarding or what they should they be looking for in a product.
“I love educating people and getting them inexpensive equipment so they can get out and enjoy the things I love to do as well,” he said.
Gentges said it’s important for people to make a conscious decision on where to spend their money.
“People can vote with their dollar,” he said. “What were about is being a part of that community and giving back to those who help us as an organization and who help build the trails and advocate for our winters and environmental protection.
“It’s about choosing who you want to buy through because of the intention.”
A 5 percent discount is offered to military members.
For more information about Mountain Equipment Recyclers, call 719-210-6427.