Edit ModuleShow Tags

Made in Colorado: Winter Guide 2018

Soft and hard goods manufactured in our own mountainous backyard


Published:

Enjoy the winter 2017-2018 season with these products and fashions.

COLD SMOKE SPLITBOARDS

When he isn’t guiding hunters or anglers, Cold Smoke founder Kyle Jones enjoys splitboarding in the backcountry: He hikes up the mountain on ski-like splitboard halves that he connects together to snowboard down. He started making his own splitboards in 2010 and decided to launch Cold Smoke two years later. Instead of buying a press, Jones contracted with Romp Skis in Crested Butte to manufacture the boards. “I’m so glad I did it,” he says. “I love being able to go up to Crested Butte to the shop, and I like keeping the money in the valley.” Cold Smoke makes one model in five sizes that Jones calls “one of the most versatile boards I’ve ever ridden” and touts a durable design with a poplar core and carbon-fiber stringers. “We build our boards to last,” he says.

$850 retail

GUNNISON


IRIS SKIS

After growing up freestyle skiing in Ohio, Eric Hegreness ran a ski shop in Virginia before moving to Colorado. In 2012, he started making his own skis, featuring intricate wooden topsheets and all-wood sidewalls. The original model, the Crossover, is “a one-ski quiver” for powder and the groomers, says Hegreness, with a maple core augmented by aluminum alloy. He’s just launched his second product in Iris’ Freestyle Skis, made for jibbing in the terrain park. But Hegreness himself has been steering clear of the rails lately. “Two years ago, I broke my seventh bone,” he says. “I’m getting old — I’m going to be 30 next summer — so I’m doing a lot more tree riding and powder riding.” 

$800 to $900 retail 

BOULDER


JAMES NIEHUES' SKI MAP PAINTINGS

James Niehues has been the top ski map artist of the last 30 years. “I’ve done 194 resorts around the world,” he says. He got his big break in the late 1980s when Bill Brown, the previous leader in the field, gave him a Mary Jane map to paint and subsequently “just turned it all over to me,” says Niehues, who has painted maps for Vail, Telluride, Aspen and other resorts in Colorado and beyond. “It’s a small market. It’s hard for one person to make a decent living if you only make trail maps.” Now semi-retired, Niehues sells prints and originals, while referring work to Montana artist Rad Smith, “who was rendering the best computer image I’ve ever seen,” says Niehues, before going back to painting by hand. “You just can’t replicate nature with a computer.”

 $3,000 to $15,000 for originals

LOVELAND


J2 SOFTWEAR JACKETS

Julie Jackson says she had a background in sewing before founding J2 Softwear in 1989. “My mom was a home economics teacher,” she says. “In college, I worked for a sailmaker in Santa Barbara.” After relocating to Salida to work as a raft guide, Jackson took her experience to another level when she “bought a bolt of material and started making jackets.” She’s sewn heavy-duty jackets for employees of Monarch Mountain near Salida and Leadville’s Ski Cooper and now buys leftover performance fabric from Patagonia and Arc’teryx to make a wide range of outerwear, about half of it custom. “It’s not a cookie-cutter jacket,” she explains, noting the lead time jumps from about two weeks to two months around the holiday season. Jackson is a one-woman shop, and that’s the way she likes it: “I had an opportunity to go big, but that was never me.”

$52 to $185 retail
Salida

Edit Module
Eric Peterson

Denver-based writer Eric Peterson is the author of Frommer's Colorado, Frommer's Montana & Wyoming, Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and the Ramble series of guidebooks, featuring first-person travelogues covering everything from atomic landmarks in New Mexico to celebrity gone wrong in Hollywood. Peterson has also recently written about backpacking in Yosemite, cross-country skiing in Yellowstone and downhill skiing in Colorado for such publications as Denver's Westword and The New York Daily News. He can be reached at Eptcb126@msn.com

Get more content like this: Subscribe to the magazine | Sign up for our Free e-newsletter

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Articles

Roche Awarded Weld County Jail Expansion

Located at 2100 O Street in Greeley, the Weld County North Jail Complex is currently 217,568 square feet and houses 779 beds, plus the associated administrative and support spaces.

Late Season Snow Slows Dipping Occupancy in Colorado Mountains

Boosted by plentiful snow, the month of March finished up 0.5 percent compared to last year at this time and helped drive an aggregated 1.7 percent gain in revenue for the season as of March 31.

Bringing a Disruptive Business to Colorado

With Carvana, we can't save you from spending a Saturday in I-70 skier traffic, but we can save you from a Saturday of drinking coffee from a Styrofoam cup at an area dealership waiting for a salesman to "check with his manager."
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags