Made in Colorado: Wonderful winter gear
1. Grace Skis
Dave Liechty started making skis in his garage in 2010. The next year, Patrick van den Broek joined the operation crafting “big-mountain, big-powder skis.” Grace’s target customer is an experienced skier, van den Broek notes, but the quiver now includes a wide range of shapes and sizes. Models are named for dogs – the Kylie was made for powder at A-Basin – and the wooden veneers are laser-engraved. The Grace team made about 140 pairs in 2014 out of a very green shop in south Denver, with 85 percent solar power and sustainable materials. “We’re going to stay true to the belief it can be done like this,” says van den Broek.
$950 per pair, plus $200 for custom graphics
Made in Denver
2. Mountain Mittens
In 2009, Jo Tucker started making mittens from her late husband’s wool sweaters as gifts, then realized there was some serious demand for her equally quirky and warm wool hand wear. Five years and nearly 500 pairs later, Tucker has gotten mitten-making down to a science. She can turn a sweater from Goodwill into felt for a pair or two, and she always sews on a vintage button before shipping. “Some of them are heirlooms from my mom’s button box,” she says.
$30 to $50 per pair
Made in Meeker
3. Save Our Soles (SOS) Socks
Steven Tofan started making SOS-brand bicycling socks at a facility in North Carolina in 2003, and quickly brought manufacturing home to Colorado. In the decade since, he’s grown from two knitting machines to 20 that run 24 hours a day, five days a week. He went into the ski sock business nearly a decade ago, and now has a nice side business making Merino wool ski socks. SOS introduced a line of seamless-toe socks in 2014, dubbed Tru-Sole, made with a 200-needle machine. “The detail is considerably higher,” Tofan says.
$11 to $25 per pair
Made in Westminster
4. Unity Snowboards
Pete Wurster got into the snowboard business after apprenticing under Steve Lynk of Summit Snowboards in the early 1990s. Unity rented Summit’s space as the company was phasing out of the business and got its own shop across town by 1997. Unity employs five seasonal workers in the summer, and Wurster sells the boards the rest of the year solo. “The craftsmanship we put into our boards is second to none,” he says, highlighting Unity’s boundary-pushing designs. “Our Kapow and Whale boards are two of the most unique shapes out there.”
Snowboards $475 to $549; splitboards $849
Made in Silverthorne