Ski for Sisu

In February, the 25th annual Ski for Sisu ski-a-thon, sponsored by the Mount Sopris Nordic Council, raised funds for Spring Gulch Cross-Country Trails. More than 100 participants raised pledges and skiied 3.5K, 10K or 12.5K long-distance loops. "Sisu" is a Finnish word meaning to persevere when the going gets tough.

Moving In, Moving On—
My Parting Thoughts

You hold in your hands the 27th monthly issue of Roaring Fork Lifestyle. It's the last one I will edit. So far, this publication has had but one editor, yours truly. But next month, I will be moving on, and Caitlin Causey will be moving in. Caitlin's name should be familiar; she has been writing for this publication virtually since…

Down 25 Points in the 3rd Quarter—Time to Move & Shake!

A "Mover & Shaker" is usually the owner or manager of a company or organization, the person who plans and orchestrates its direction and growth. This person must be a leader who can keep a calm hand on the controls. I watched one of the calmest performances of leadership under pressure that I have ever seen on Super Bowl Sunday…

Steve Beckley’s Dream: Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park has been honored with four Post Independent Locals’ Choice Awards and a 2016 Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor. In 2001, the Beckley's exemplary environmental preservation efforts were recognized with the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Community Tourism Initiative.

Kjell Mitchell – Forty Years in Hot Water

Kjell Mitchell doesn’t look like an executive. For a conversation with this magazine, he arrived Colorado-casual, bundled in a softly worn coat, a jaunty scarf about his neck, his cheeks rosy from the winter walk over. Sporting spectacles and blonde stubble, tall and lean, he lacks the paunch often typifying success. Affable and self-effacing, Mitchell seems more ready for a…

Michael Lowe’s Learning-By-Doing Philosophy

Michael Lowe is on a mission. With a lifetime of adventure in the natural world under his belt, he strongly believes in the transformative power of experiencing. Not just talking about it, watching it or reading about it—or even just learning about it—but doing it.

March 2017 Around Town

Carbondale Arts' 9th annual Green is the New Black Fashion Extravaganza: SHE brims with locals, performance art, multimedia, inspiring sustainable fashion and an intriguing storyline. The show, always a sell-out, raises money to educate youth in the Roaring Fork Valley. This month, ticket prices are $45 for members and $50 for non-members online at

Step It Up with Midland Shoe

Health experts often recommend taking 10,000 steps per day. In a place like the Roaring Fork Valley, where a vigorous level of activity is central to our mountain lifestyle, many locals easily surpass that number on a daily basis. Whether walking the neighborhood, strolling the bike path with friends or hitting the town after work, quality footwear is an important…

Colori Mixes Creativity & Community in Basalt

“My focus is to create a safe place to bring artists together, a place where people can see great work, try classes, be social and have fun,” says Von Fumetti. Since the Colori Gallery & Studios opened in December 2015, artists and locals have been doing just that.

Touring Colorado’s Hot Springs Loop

Thermal springs flow abundantly throughout western Colorado. Five hot springs along the Colorado Historic Hot Springs Loop are particularly enticing: Glenwood Springs, Ouray, Pagosa Springs, Chaffee County, and Steamboat Springs.

The Long and the Short of It

I've had long hair most of my adult life, but in January, I cut my hair. The reason: I learned that the type of chemotherapy that I will be treated with over the next few months is going to cause hair loss. I should explain that while casually putting on lotion last November, I discovered a bump in my breast.…

Swimming Against the Tide – Pools in Colorado

"I enjoy torturing Steve and Ashley with my new design ideas for pools, spas, and water features. Unfortunately for them, they always rise to the occasion..." —Landscape architect Shannon Murphy Steven Simons is a third generation, Texas-bred pool contractor. His mother and father met building pools. His father soon started his own company, with Simons practically cutting his teeth on…

United Way Benefits from Sunlight Mountain Bash

Sunlight Mountain Resort and United Companies recently sponsored their annual Skier Appreciation Day, a benefit for United Way Battlement to the Bells. The day included $20 ski tickets, a 1960's theme, a hippie costume contest and a prize drawing that include specially-designed ski and snowboard equipment commemorating Sunlight’s 50th anniversary.

The Nieslanik Clan: Three Generations of Ranchers

It’s 8 a.m. Christmas morning. The thermometer hovers at four above. The black cattle are silvered with frost. Oblivious to the fact that it’s a holiday, they trail inquisitively along behind a green tractor carrying a 1,200-pound hay roll. The massive round bale is speared through like a spool of thread, and every few feet, the tractor shakes it, winnowing…

Roaring Fork Leadership Grows Community and Leaders

Each year, the Roaring Fork Leadership (RFL) program adopts civic projects that strengthen communities all up and down the Roaring Fork Valley. RFL is sponsored by the Roaring Fork Center for Community Leadership (RFCCL), and it provides more than 100 hours of training and dialogue designed to enhance personal, professional and community problem-solving and effectiveness. Over the past 28 years,…

February 2017 Around Town

The Rocky Mountain Institute's Innovation Center, a net-zero energy demonstration conference center located on Two Rivers Road in Basalt, continued to rack up awards all through 2016. Fast Company recognized the building with an Honorable Mention in their 2016 Design Innovation Awards. ZGF Architects, the Portland firm that designed the building, was named “Top Firm Overall in Sustainability 2016” by…

Made in and for the Roaring Fork Valley

Most months, my editor's letter explains how the articles we've picked relate to a theme, and this one is no exception. I'm going to tell you how my favorite local product, this magazine, came to be. But let me start with a confession: when it came to selling "beat tags", I was a waste of space. "Beat tags" were little…

Travel Edit | Steps of Style

Travel Edit- Hit the slopes with Steps Of Style blogger, Amy Dreyer, as she shows you her picks for staying warm while keeping it cool in Aspen.

Small Businesses – the Stars in Our Local Economy

The theme of this issue is “home grown”. That term makes many people automatically think of our locally grown produce; the valley is full of many quality growers. When I think of “home grown”, I look at a bigger picture. Wherever you’re standing, look down the road. Just glance at the businesses to the right or left. Most of what…

I Love You More Than Words Can Say

In the bottom drawer of a dresser in my bedroom, I store some of the most precious items in my possession. This drawer holds a couple boxes of old faded photographs, a few mementos from the lives of my family members, some tattered birth announcements, wedding invitations, and funeral programs—nothing of any particular value beyond the sentimental. And yet, these…

Sunlight-Powderhorn Trail Maintained by Local Snowmobile Club

After Steve Burns nimbly maneuvers the snowcat up a bank and to the side of the snowbound Sunlight-to-Powderhorn (SP) trail, half-a-dozen snowmobilers zip by. “I bet if you asked them who maintains this trail, they’d tell you it was the Forest Service,” he says.

Happy Hogs Grow Fat on Stillage from Marble Distilling

Along Carbondale’s Main Street, the Marble Distilling Company (MDC) cranks out internationally award-winning spirits. They also crank out tons of an aromatic by-product. “In the vodka distilling process you do a 500-gallon mash,” explains co-owner and Head Distiller Connie Baker. “It then goes into the strip still. From that, we pull off 125 gallons of low wines. That’s the start…

Preparing Your Dogs for Fun in the Snow

Katie Beiser holds up her right hand and points to the tip of her pinky. “This is the go-to map of Michigan, and this is where I was working before moving here.” Having spent time with Dr. John Kuck at Willits Veterinary during her fourth year of veterinary school during spring ski season, Dr. Beiser became hooked on our valley.…

January 2017 Good Times

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.

Caring for Mind, Body & Spirit in Winter

"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!"

Meet the Charles Barkley 
of Indoor Golf

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…

Locals Celebrate Thompson Divide Lease Cancellations

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…

Stay on Track

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…

Winters Beyond a Ski Pass

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.

Sunlight Mountain’s Birthday Bash

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,…

January 2017 Around Town

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…

“Food Drink Flower”

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…

It’s Hibernation Season

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…

A New Year’s Resolution: Need Less. Love More.

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.

Alya Howe & Dancers Explore Herd Movements

In creating "HEaRD", choreographer Alya Howe was inspired by schools of fish and "the marvelous murmuration of the flock.” HEaRD was performed at Carbondale's Launchpad by Bailey Barnum, Dana Ganssle Ellis, Emily Fifer, Gabriela Alvarez Espinoza, Jeni Ptacek, Meagan Londy Shapiro, Natalie Rae, and Robyn Hubbard. Photos by Renee Ramge.

A Lively Celebration of the Day of the Dead

Carbondale's First Friday in November featured a Day of the Dead performance by Ross Montessori students and an Invocation of the Dead at Thunder River Theatre. Altar viewings, traditional foods, hot chocolate, face painting, songs and music followed at Third Street Center. Photos by Julie Albrecht.

The Bones of Christmas Past

These days, stores seem to break out the Christmas decor as soon as the Halloween candies can be cleared away. That may be a good thing for sales, but the long holiday season is hard on those away from family, those who have lost loved ones, those have lost the chance to be with loved ones because they must work.…

A Month to Celebrate

December brings us a whole host of things to celebrate. My top three? Five wonderful grandkids, drinking hot chocolate and giving gifts. They all bring a smile to my lips, and December brings with it opportunities to indulge in all three.

A Peek Inside the Local ‘Nillionaire’ Economy

Try to donate or consign Dad’s vachetta leather club chair, c.1974, or Lucy’s plush coat that’s missing one button! “They won’t take my stuff!” is a common cry here in the Roaring Fork Valley. Sourcing things can be a challenge. Needing only a yard-and-a-half of upholstery fabric or quality stackable milk crates becomes a scavenger hunt. So people often turn…

Celebrating Artistic Community at Crystal Glass

"These projects are laid out for you so you can't fail." Laughter greets this assertion from Shannon Muse. For the past 45 minutes, the half-dozen students in the glassroom have been learning about the myriad variables involved in firing glass, about the physics of this remarkable material. It turns out that, because of the viscosity of glass, both a 1"…

Three Simple Tips on How to Give During the Holiday Season

The season of giving is upon us, and when it comes to charity, giving also means receiving benevolent satisfaction when helping our less-fortunate neighbors. Here at Balcomb & Green, P.C., our estate planners advise our clients on how to maximize tax-deductible financial gifts to recognized, registered, well-run charities–those officially categorized by the Internal Revenue Service as 501(c)(3), tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations.

A Log Home for the Holidays

What could be better than gathering friends and family around the fire during these frosty winter holidays? Perched above Cattle Creek amongst ancient pinon trees, this custom home, hewn from massive Ponderosa logs, offers a glowingly warm space for celebration. Located between Carbondale and Glenwood Springs, with a stunning view of Mt. Sopris, it's just near enough civilization to take…

December 2016 Around Town

In December, Thunder River Theatre Company (TRTC) presents a delightful romantic comedy. "The Last Romance" tells the story of Ralph and Carol, widowers with untold secrets from the past, who meet unexpectedly at a New Jersey dog park. Ralph attempts to woo the elegant-but-distant Carol, navigates his doting sister's jealousy and tries to tolerate Carol's dog, Peaches, who reminds him…

Holiday Fairs Feature the Artisan’s Touch

Arts and crafts have been around since the mid-19th century, starting in Britain. The Arts & Crafts Movement was an attempt to reform design and decorations by moving away from machinery and factory production. Artistry is also a form of self-expression and personal creativity. Take a look at the online marketplace, with more than a million independent creative entrepreneurs…

An Old-Time Rocky Mountain Christmas

Glittering lights, boughs of evergreen, snowy mountainsides, gatherings, goodwill and smiles on the faces of every child in town: it’s Christmastime in Glenwood Springs.

Local Talent Sparkles in the Aspen Ice Spectacular

“Seeing these skaters is inspiring!” says 14 year-old Sage Williams. There's nothing more thrilling than watching one of the world’s best athletes perform.

December 2016 Parting Thoughts

My family used to put up outside Christmas lights during the last weekend of November. Shortly after, we gradually transformed the inside of our house with decorations. Then we purchased a real pine tree, decorating it shortly before Christmas, at times as late as Christmas Eve.

Photographer Lewis Cooper’s Drone Captures an Eagle’s Eye View

The small white aircraft spins its four propellers, rises straight up, then hovers about 12 feet off the ground, watching the three spectators as we wave to its camera. Then it flies off, deftly piloted by photographer Lewis Cooper. We see its bird’s eye view of tree tops and cliffs through Cooper’s smartphone.

In Praise of Acts of 
Random Kindness

When I moved back home to Colorado in 2011, it was actually the second time I ran away to the Roaring Fork Valley. Both times, my reasons for wanting to hide in the mountains were similar. William Butler Yeats' 1919 poem describing his feelings on the eve of World War I describes mine as well:

The Adventure of a Lifetime

As we sit through this horrible political season, endless commercials, ravings of hatred and division, I’m proposing something that may seem overwhelming at first, but with rewards that are never ending. Years ago, I found a poem that has always resonated with me. This was written in 1934 by Peter Dale Wimbrow, Jr. You might like it too.