Tyler Stableford’s “The Calling: A Portrait of Life In The High Country” premiered at a December gala at Marble Distilling Company. The documentary shows Roaring Fork Valley locals pursuing their dreams. It stars Master Distiller Connie Baker, cowboy Max Macdonell, and rock climbers Ben Rueck and Mayan Smith-Gobat.
Although I live in the heart of Ski Country USA, I have never been shy about saying that I’m not a cold-weather enthusiast.
During my younger days, I did enjoy snowmobiling in Minnesota, which necessarily means frigid temperature and howling winds. But now that there’s a bit of snow on my roof (see portrait photo) I have been working out ways to translate my favorite outdoor summer sports—golf and fly fishing—into winter pastimes.
“What’s a body to do in the cold?” That’s the question that writer Genevieve Villamizar asks this month. Because there’s a “Colorado native” sticker on my car’s bumper, I’ve known the answer for years.
As a child, I always asked for the same gift for my November birthday. “Make it snow so I can ski!”
Winter. While many in the valley look upon this season as one for the slopes, sleds and ice skates, others revere it as a quiet time for reflection and solitude. Welcome to January: the holidays are over, springtime is a distant dream, and evenings are still long and dark. What to do? Crank up the wood stove and settle in with a book. When paired with your favorite spot on the couch and the warmest wool socks in the house, nothing beats a good page-turner on the coldest nights of the year.
The year 1966 saw the introduction of Star Trek, The Monkees, Batman, the Toyota Corolla, Twister, AstroTurf, Doritos and Wite-Out. Making its debut on the Colorado scene was a new ski area, now known as Sunlight Mountain Resort. Glenwood Springs’ hometown winter resort is celebrating its 50th year of operation this season and it’s still beloved by locals. Tom Jankovsky, the general manager for Sunlight Mountain Resort since 1985, says, “We welcome everyone to help us celebrate and come along for the ride.”
I grew up with hard-core, bone-deep, cold, wet winters. A formative memory is from my father’s grad school years: University of Iowa, my sisters and I were in grade school. His classes started earlier than ours, leaving us to navigate our mile-long walk alone. Styling full-on snowsuits and puffy moon boots, we were still always cold.
A crew of dignitaries hoisted seven golden shovels on a gray December day to break ground on 56 affordable housing units in Basalt. Located just beyond the Basalt roundabout, the Roaring Fork Apartments are rising on foundations begun for a proposed hotel that stalled out and went belly up in the 2008 economic downturn. The apartments are being built by RealAmerica, an Indiana company that specializes in developing and constructing apartments that take advantage of federal Low-Income Housing Credits. After praising the mid-valley public/private partnership that put the project together, RealAmerica President Ronda Shrewsbury Weybright said that Basalt Mayor Jacque Carpenter Whitsitt, who drove all the way to Denver to present the project to the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA), “put the project over the top” in competition against other projects vying for funding.
The diminutive Japanese lady often passed the bearded American guy in the clay studios of the Anderson Ranch Art Center. Soon, the two potters began to acknowledge one another with a smile and a slight bow.
Next, they began to talk about their craft, about East/West cultural differences, about hand-made ceramics. Since both artists draw on the legacy of Japanese pottery, a history that reaches back more than 12,000 years, there was much to explore. Many conversations, many cups of tea and several years passed as an artistic partnership began to flower.
When local communities were first alerted in 2004 to leasing in what we now call the Thompson Divide, this incredible landscape didn’t even have a name. Now, it’s known nationwide because of what the people of the Roaring Fork Valley have done to protect it. The coalition that formed to rally to the Thompson Divide’s defense included local ranchers like Bill Fales, who runs Cold Mountain Ranch outside Carbondale, sportsmen like Casey Sheahan, former CEO of Patagonia Inc., and those whose livelihoods depend on tourism, like Jim and Sharill Hawkins. The couple owns the Four Mile Bed & Breakfast, which is located along Four Mile Road, the heavy haul route to the Thompson gas fields.
We all know how New Year’s Resolutions go. Come January 1, we’re all about it. We’re eating healthy, joining the mass quantities of gym-goers everyday after work and convince ourselves we’ll finally stick with it this time. As the months go by, it gets harder and harder to stay motivated, but this health and fitness gear is so cool you won’t want to quit.
We are naturally wired to help each other. That may be the most exceptional trait of our species. Our collective history is defined by a shared ancestral memory of cooperation, collaboration, empathy and assistance. Things fall apart when we forget that.