Where to get gear for skiing and snowshoes in Fort Collins

030813_BARTZ!This week I decided to break away from my normal hiking recommendations. Instead, I thought I would let you in on some of the resources available right here in Fort Collins. This way, we can start talking snowshoeing, mountain biking and maybe even back country skiing.

Obviously, we are well into winter and there are plenty of adventures to be had in the snow, so let’s live up to Colorado’s snow-bunny reputation.

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Remember that we live in Fort Collins, where the endless planes sweep into the rocky ridges and pine-blanketed mountainsides. We enjoy our locale. This means there are tons of places to get what you need almost right off of campus.

I found that the best place to find what you need in town is JAX. A pair of snowshoes will only cost you $12, and a pair of trekking poles goes for $2. For the most part, y’all are dealing with great gear quality and selection. This is also a place to keep in mind if you are looking to grab some skis, or even a splitboard if you want to do some backcountry.

REI also has amazing gear with decent selection, but they are a little pricier.

What I am greatly surprised to discover is a resource right on campus: the Outdoor Programs office has just restructured their gear rental department. For $10, you can get basically unlimited gear for a month, and for $40 you can rent for a semester. All you have to do is swing by the equipment desk in the rec.

The only drawback I can see is a smaller variety of gear and no real selection. Also, they do not rent out skis. But honestly, they’ve got the gear that’ll get the job done, as I was ecstatic to learn.

Now, I have one last suggestion in terms of gear. For those who love to hike year round, you have to look into a traction system for your boots. These perform the same basic function as chains on your tires when you slip your boot into these sharp metal contraptions that looks like instruments of torture. But trust me, it is worth it. They transform sleek slopes of glistening ice into level, dry pathways — figuratively speaking, of course.

Okay, I know what you all are thinking. What am I going to do once I get my hands on some snowshoes? For that, my friend, you must wait till next week’s article. But get ready for snow and mountain air.