Kristen Lodge – New gear is not necessarily better gear |

Kristen Lodge – New gear is not necessarily better gear

Outdoors by Kristen Lodge
Grand County

“Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes” Henry David Thoreau

One benefit of the recession is re-learning how to live simply. With limited disposable income, we are all looking for ways to still have fun yet spend less. The simple life at Walden Pond is a good model, but Thoreau never skied or lived in a western ski town; he actually never even made it to the Rocky Mountains.

I think of Thoreau’s quote when tempted to try a new sport. At the start of every winter season I want to get back into cross-country skiing. When I drove across country from New Hampshire to Colorado six years ago, I gave away my cross-country skis; they didn’t fit in my car. Only the most important gear came west with me: backpacks, downhill skis, boots, and tent. I gave the cross-country skis to my friend Sean, who wanted to try a different sport. I’m glad I did because he told me how much he skied all winter-long.

I don’t really have room in my house for more gear, and since I don’t have a lot of money to spend on new equipment, I’m heading over the ski swap at Winter Park Resort this weekend to look at cross-country skis. In an effort to live more simply and spend less money, I hope to find a good pair of used skis. When I bought used equipment in the past, it was a way to see if I liked a new sport before I invested in better gear. Five years ago when I wanted to do a triathlon I bought a used Trek 1000 road bike from a bike store’s rental fleet. I paid $400 for it, and this year, I finished the Ironman riding it. That’s 112 miles plus all the training prior; the bike didn’t let me down. I like remembering that I finished faster than some athletes on expensive tri bikes. However, as I watch the Ironman World Championship this weekend in Kona, Hawaii, I can’t help wondering – if I buy a Trek Tri bike, could I possibly qualify for this race next year?

This summer I biked the Fraser to Granby trail with Bryon; he has a twenty year old bike. When he arrived at the trailhead with this bike that has suspension, I wasn’t sure what to think. He wanted to bike as a way to rehabilitate his knee from surgery, and this was the bike he had. I wasn’t sure how it would handle on single track without suspension. Byron rode that bike up and down tight switchbacks with no problem. He didn’t need an expensive bike to get out on the trails. He is living Thoreau’s teachings: “A man who has at length found something to do will not need to get a new suit to do it in; for him the old will do, that has lain dusty in the garret for an indeterminate period.”

I don’t need expensive equipment to get back on the cross-country trails. Used and older equipment serves its purpose: It gets us outside in winter.

The swap begins at 5 p.m., today, Friday. On Saturday, it is free to enter and starts at 9 a.m. This is the place to find some used (and new) equipment at great prices and to heed Thoreau’s warning about new clothes. Since the swap is also a fundraiser for the Competition Center, I hope that buying used is my small way to make a positive impact to the community and be Green. In this economy, Reduce, Recycle, Reuse, not only makes sense for the environment, but for the pocket book.