Operating under the mantra that fly-fishing isn't a hobby but instead a lifestyle, St. Peter's Fly Shop prepares anglers of all experience levels for success on the stream with classes, gear, and an encyclopedic knowledge of man's gilled adversary. Two Fort Collins locations sit within close proximity of local fishing hot spots, including the waters of Rocky Mountain National Park—famous for its placid lakes made from pastels on canvas—and the Poudre River. There, the staff leads educational courses and guided trips that spend equal time with instruction and hands-on fishing practice, allowing students to perfect the often-difficult art of casting with finesse and accuracy. Back at the shop, customers reel in top-notch equipment such as Winston rods, Simms waders, and Brodin nets, which are sturdy enough to secure a bucking trout as it tries to nestle in the hammock.
Cody Walker muses that within the stillness of Rocky Mountain National Park, "You get a sense that it's the way it should be." His father, Rex, grew up on a steady diet of cowboy films, eventually following his dream to Colorado where he met his wife, Queeda. Queeda was born into a family of homesteaders who caught and broke wild steeds. In 1959, they channeled their passion for the old-west lifestyle into Sombrero Ranches, eschewing souvenir-shop gimmicks for horseback expeditions that, much like avalanches of super glue, bond visitors with their steeds and natural surroundings.
Today, Cody carries on his parents' legacy with a staff of ranch hands from nearby homesteads and college students participating in equine-science programs all across the country. After training in a vigorous program that's evolved during more than 50 years, his employees launch short rides or lengthy adventures. Cody distinguishes the Continental Divide ride as one of the most awe-inspiring; it begins at Bear Lake at 6 a.m., wending across the Continental Divide and to Grand Lake during a nine-hour stretch.
When not outfitting customers with camping gear, fishing equipment, or trail-savvy llamas, Kirk and Laurie Bien can often be found out in a mountain stream in search of the elusive ?Colorado Grand Slam??the catch of brown, rainbow, brook, and cutthroat trout all in one day. The owners of Kirk?s Fly Shop, the Biens share their passion for the outdoors by guiding visitors to lakes and streams whether via hiking trails or on the back of a pack horse or a llama?an animal suited to traversing the high mountain terrain?s blockades of delicious grass.
As an offshoot of Sierra Trading Post, Derailed.com holds fast to the same business model as its parent company: bargaining with top brands to procure overstocks at heavily discounted prices. But like a youngest sibling taking up juggling cats, it strives to differentiate itself from its older counterparts. It stands out with a youthful vibe thanks to skate, surf, and SUP apparel and the staff's laid-back attitude. They'll happily answer questions and make recommendations on their throngs of camping gear, running shoes, collegiate attire, and bicycle accessories from brands including Hurely, Billabong, and Teva. Though their merchandise boasts an average discount of 48% off the retail value, shoppers can save even more—customers receive a $10 coupon when they sign up for emails, and clients of the Give & Go Referral program get a $20 egiftcard when the friend they referred uses their own $10 email coupon.
Any Mountain's gear-grappling professionals match outdoorspeople with durable, top-brand athletic equipment and apparel for any foray into the great outdoors. The ski rental performance package adorns renters of any skill level in technologically advanced skis, boots, and poles for whizzing down slopes or slowly sliding to victory. The experienced staff assists renters with selecting gear, ensuring an excellent fit, compatibility with skill level, and removal of residual snow. Any Mountain keeps skiccessories expertly maintained and tuned for safety and high performance no matter the marshmallow content of the mountain.
Having plumbed the waters of New York, Michigan, Minnesota, and Colorado during their respective childhoods, the guides of 5280 Angler know that fly-fishing is a sport of personal preferences. They practice catch-and-release, and they don't schedule cookie-cutter trips?instead, they consult with their clients to gauge their skills, ambitions, and ability to hold something slimy without making a face. They then organize fly-fishing excursions that would best challenge and entertain their charges, scouting through public waters for choice wading locales such as South Platte River Valley, which accommodates fishers of all experience levels with prime casting spots. Full-day trips also include an onsite lunch, often prepared picnic-style along burbling banks and scenic mountains.