People come to Colorado, and stay here, to have the opportunity to be immersed in the outdoors, whether for snowboarding, hiking, rafting, snowshoeing, or just gazing at the sun setting behind the mountains. Outdoor brands are a reflection of that culture. Colorado outdoor companies know how to carve out a niche that translates around the world. Colorado’s brands do style, function and integrity, acting from a place of passion and values.
Following these principles are what makes me like these local outdoor brands:
Serious cyclists abound here in some of the most challenging road races around, up and down Colorado mountain passes, all at altitude. Pactimo‘s roots in Colorado led it to design custom racing gear, manufactured in company-controlled factories, sold online at a high level of customer service to world-wide cyclists. I like its passionate responsiveness to a niche consumer, the elite sport brand look and feel and its Colorado based success.
Boa Technology Inc.
Boa’s shoe closure systems make outdoor gear more functional. Headquartered in Denver, CO, its “turn to tighten” and “quick release” technologies replace shoelaces or other shoe closures on footwear from hiking boots to snowboard boots to golf shoes. Comprised of a dial and a strong yet thin lace, it sells to designers and manufacturers who want to improve the fit and ease of their products. I like its combination of innovative design, functionality and a savvy partnership approach to building a brand.
Obermeyer is a family-run business that has been innovating for over 60 years. This brand inspires outdoor enthusiasts around the world to live a well-balanced and active life around the world. It’s a company that is forward-thinking – in 2007 they created sustainable fabrics with 48% recycled textiles before this became trendy. Obermeyer is a well-respected brand in the Aspen community and they do great work on the sustainability front.
What I love about Melanzana is their story: they were originally named Eggplant in 1994 and after renaming their company to the Italian word for eggplant, the brand started to take off. It speaks volumes to what a little rebranding can do, doesn’t it?
They’re a small company based in Leadville – a dozen employees who design, cut, sew, and sell every piece. Their gear is high-performance, competitively priced, and made in the US. They believe that less is more and they barely advertise, which means if you wear Melanzana’s clean, simple designs then you are definitely in the know.
Icelantic was founded in Evergreen, Colorado by Ben Anderson whose passion for skiing led him to want to create quality local skis. When he first decided to start handcrafting skis, no companies were manufacturing in the US and a few years later they started working with Never Summer. Their quality is second-to-none which allows them to offer an almost unheard of two-year warranty on their products.
Every year their skis have a new theme that tells their story. This year the theme is Return to Nature, which represents their belief in connecting with nature. Not only does this brand have a unique approach, they are active on social media – consistently published gorgeous Instagram photos and wonderfully shot videos.
Using pine beetle killed harvested wood plus cultivated local aspen groves make its skis light and poppy while supporting healthier Colorado forests. The turn back to an earlier era of wooden skis makes Meier Skis newsworthy and sustainable. I like its focus on product, brand, Colorado and the environment.
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