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.

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…

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…

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.…

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,…

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.

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"…

Living (and Promoting) a Life of Adventure

Colorado attracts adventurers with its mountains, rivers, lakes, trail systems, wildlife, changing seasons and a laid-back but purposeful lifestyle. When they first get here, the first question is usually, “What adventure do I do first?” What sometimes fails to rate a second thought is the impact that adventure has on our environment and economy—both positive and negative.

Snow and Ice Climber Mary Harlan Thrives at the Edge

Wow, is there ever. As a pregnant snowboarder checking out freestyle skiing, Mary Harlan was ripping and feathering twin tracks down Aspen’s back country within days of giving birth. Two weeks after giving birth to Sam, Harlan ran dirt and rocks, testing the mettle of her new mama-body. Dodging trees around Thomas Lakes at the throat of Mount Sopris, Harlan…

Leah Potts’ First Steps on an Adventure in Visual Arts

In September, Leah Potts sat at an easel at the Art Base in Basalt wielding magenta and turquoise pastels with ease. She worked fluidly: There was no trace of the struggle it took to “walk” into the classroom, drawing herself forward on a cane, her right foot dragging. No trace of the hesitation she might well have felt after a…

Singing For Their Supper (Club)

Jonathan Gorst hasn’t had a day off since June 17 of this year. “That’s when we re-opened the Riviera Supper Club after the previous owners decided to sell,” he says. “And things have been a bit of a whirlwind since then. I guess being so busy is self-inflicted, but what can I say? I love what I do.”

“Alloy: The Malleability of Metals”

I consider my material: about 14 inches of 3/8" round, hot-rolled steel. Hot cut on both ends. I decide I will upset one end to build a mass for the head of my spoon. I have been making spoons during most of the days that I work at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park blacksmith shop. Why? For Alloy: the Malleability…

Let Them Roar in the Recording Studio

Having been recently invited to a Let Them Roar (LTR) recording session, this poem intrigued me. Stoking the excitement, my housemate, long-time local Dave Stumpler, recalled LTR’s singer Olivia Pevec as a kid. “She’d just belt it out, walking around in her little cowboy dresses and her boots, just singing away.”

Local Nonprofit Documents New Species in Mozambique

Alliance Earth, a nonprofit environmental and scientific reporting initiative based in Basalt, is determined not only to document the wonders of Mount Mabu’s biodiversity, it’s also eager to involve young people in learning about them.

Where the Wild Things Are — 
Getting a Second Chance

t’s a sunny Saturday morning as I pull into the driveway of a ranch home on County Road 346 in Silt. The house is a beautiful old sandstone affair, shaded handsomely by tall trees and hidden almost entirely from view. If I hadn’t known what I was looking for, I might have driven past without a second thought.

Driving Mule Teams in the Roaring Fork Valley

Pulling up to a trailhead, it’s interesting to see the mix of recreational lifestyles: mountain bikers, dirt bikers, hikers, trail runners…and pack mules. Mules?! Seeing a string of pack mules heading into the backcountry triggers visions of old-timey camp trips, hunting, fishing and adventure. Who’s lucky enough to cash in on this?

Walking the Labyrinth in No Name

I walked my first labyrinth with a girlfriend about five years ago. That particular labyrinth was created on a private lot in a quiet neighborhood in Carbondale. Access to it is word-of-mouth; if you need to know, it will find you, welcoming all spirits that feel its pull.

Clinic Gardens: A Locally-Grown Rx for Health

Conservationist and essayist Wendell Berry observed that “People are fed by the food industry which pays no attention to health, and are treated by the health industry, which pays no attention to food.” Thankfully, this is changing.

Steve’s Guitars – a Homegrown Treasure

"He welcomes the passionate, talented high school band with the same enthusiasm as a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame musician." 
- Renee Ramge, concert photographer "There are no TV's, no random drunks and it has a truly unique vibe that can not be found elsewhere." 
- Music donor Jesse Ogle of Hello Doll Face


Viking Chickens in the Roaring Fork Valley

Two years ago, I sold my CPA firm and, after two decades, left Summit County seeking some arable land and solitude. I discovered my little piece of paradise in this beautiful valley. It called to me—and to my chickens.

Dance of the Sacred Fire Lights Up the Night

Maciej Mrotek recalls mopping up after a structural fire as an 18-year old firefighter. While on the hose, dousing flames, his headlamp kept going in and out. A fellow firefighter was chopping at the ceiling ahead. Each time Mrotek’s failing lamp gave way to darkness “the embers were a falling shower. It was gorgeous.”

The Quilting Magic of Terry Lee

As the Brits say, “Look sharp as you enter the roundabout.” And you will—the curves in Terry Lee’s Roundabout are so sharp you could almost cut yourself! As shown in the detail at the left, the boundaries between contrasting shades of orange and blue, green and purple in this complex composition of circles and diagonals are so intense they throb…

Found Art, Finding a Way Into the Heart of the Material

Pulling up to the home of sculptor Jes Sanderford, there’s an immediate sense of the unusual. It’s not just the oil drums of sand along a daunting dirt road that hint at fringe living. It’s not the massive, breathtaking view of Mt. Sopris in your lap. It’s the totality of it all.

Thunder River Theatre Founder Bows Out as Artistic Director

"Don't be hard on yourself, it takes you out of character." That’s Lon Winston’s advice to an actor in Rashomon, the last production of Thunder River Theatre’s 2015-16 season. It’s also the theater’s last season with Winston at its helm.

Chef Jimmy Nadell’s All-Star Barbeque Tips

I encourage you to be creative, design your own unique flavors and try them out on your friends! Homemade barbecue sauces make great gifts. Always store your sauce in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Most sauces have a great shelf life, but sauces flavored with fresh fruits should be used within one week.

Greatest Trails of the Roaring Fork Valley


Safety on the trail is of utmost importance. Always obey the rules, have the gear and be prepared for changing weather. Carry snacks to maintain your stamina. Honey Stinger Protein Chews and Snack Bars, made in Steamboat Springs, are great for refueling while being active. These snacks offer non-animal-based proteins that contain all of the essential amino acids your body…

The Mystique of Tools

What is a tool but a thingamabob, something used with the hands and mostly used to make or fix a doohickey, right? Eons ago, tools launched mankind into richer possibility and complexity. Elemental materials such as stone or wood made possible fire, food and shelter. Tools were dang important.

The Volunteer Rangers of the Forest Conservancy

As a vacationing family of three approaches Maroon Lake, they spy a table covered with a bearskin, claws, photos and even some scat. The child squeals and runs forward, eager to touch the rough brown fur. “Is it from a real bear?” he asks, round-eyed with wonder.

Strawberry Days Goes Back to the Future

Glenwood’s Strawberry Days Festival celebrates its 119th year June 17, 18 and 19 at Sayre Park. The theme for this year’s festival is “Back to the Future.” While the community festival has grown and seen lots of changes throughout its history, the heart of the celebration has remained the same: to gather with friends, welcome visitors and enjoy delicious food,…

Saving Bees, Caring for Community

Bob Bailey means to set the Roaring Fork Valley abuzz with a message: The bees need our help. Thanks to his zeal, spots all around Carbondale—from the rooftops at the Marble Distillery and Town Restaurant to gardens at Delaney Park and Ross Montessori School—will soon become homes for hives.

An Annual Tradition: The CRMS Plant Sale

Brandywine and celebrity tomatoes, lemon cucumbers and pimiento peppers, zinnias, cosmos, hollyhocks and nasturtiums: when it comes to procuring the very best seedlings, savvy home gardeners in the lower Roaring Fork Valley have a secret up their sleeves. That secret? The Colorado Rocky Mountain School (CRMS) annual plant sale, held every May for over a decade at the school’s organic…

Flowers Without Fuss

Grow a beautiful flower garden with minimal care by investing a bit of time at the start of the season to reduce ongoing care. Always match flowers to the growing conditions and the care you are willing to provide. Low-maintenance plants need minimal or no deadheading and staking. This means you’ll be growing good-looking plants with little effort, and if…

New Hope for Old Mine Tailings

Can burnt offerings and bark beetles become part of the solution for reclaiming played-out mines? Played out. It’s a term that can describe an empty mine, or soil so depleted that nothing can grow in it. By the 1940’s, the Hope Mine, near Aspen, was played out in both senses.

But I Work From Home? Confessions of a Carbon Sinner

I work from home. As I commute up the stairs to my home office, I confess to a certain smugness. Steaming coffee in hand, I think of those poor souls and their wasteful commutes, trudging out into the snow to scrape windshields, or commuting from suburb to big city.

Wishes Do Grow on Trees!

The Doc Holliday trail in Glenwood Springs ranks high on lists of local must-do activities: the popular ascent affords hikers a magnificent view of downtown before leading on to the Linwood Pioneer Cemetery, and it has long been recognized for its historical significance and natural beauty. For the past few years, however, it has also been known for another mysterious…

WindWalkers and Jaywalkers: Striding Toward a Healthy Future

A slender young man in a white cowboy hat steps off the mounting platform in the WindWalkers barn and eases into the saddle. Once he’s securely seated aboard Cody, a sorrel quarter horse with a white forehead blaze, a man and a woman grasp the reins and walk forward to make sure that Cody and “Cowboy Joe”, his developmentally-challenged rider,…

Outward Bound: Charting a Path Through Challenge

Meg Ravenscraft tells the story of a 23-year-old Harvard student who detested his month-long Colorado Outward Bound School course. “It was hard for him. He cried every day. He told us he hated us. But in his exit interview, he said, ‘If I ever have kids, can I send them on an Outward Bound course?’ It was interesting that a…

Mogli Cooper’s Climb to Success

Asked how a 20-year old Swiss kid wound up in Aspen, Mogli Cooper, co-developer of the Iron Mountain Hot Springs, burst into laughter. “I wanted to ski the Andes!” What must it have felt like, decades later, for her to stand at a community gala accepting a Business of the Year award along with the Iron Mountain Hot Springs management…

“Angels on Paws” Bring Joy to Hospital Patients

“Hello little buddy,” a Calaway-Young Cancer Center patient said as six-year-old Chauncey strode into her room. “I am so happy you came to visit me. What kind of dog are you?” “He’s a cockachon,” replied Jacquie Tannenbaum, Chauncey’s owner and handler. “Part cocker spaniel, part bichon. That’s what his DNA test told me, but there’s probably something else in there…

Healthy Parenting in an Age of Social Media Monsters

I could have never predicted how much interest my August Roaring Fork Lifestyle article on the book How to Raise on Adult would generate. For weeks following the magazine article’s release, friends and even strangers would engage me around town or email me to say that they, too, had found the book’s ideas fascinating. The Basalt library invited me to…

The Imperative of Sleep

Experts believe that sleep deprivation played a role in the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle, the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl nuclear meltdowns and the 2009 crash of Air France Flight 447, which killed all 228 people aboard. But accident-related health impacts of sleepless can also be found much closer to home. The National…

Six Sexy, Spirited Dance Workouts

Roaring Fork Lifestyle’s editor, Nicolette Toussaint, who admits that she’s a serial gym dropout, asked this reporter to find half a dozen indoor workouts she “might actually enjoy and stick to.” It’s not that Toussaint is sedentary. She teaches figure skating, skis black diamond runs and was spotted doing a duet with a belly dancer at this magazine's birthday party!…

Breaking Bread in Community

Cyclists have been tempted off the straight and narrow bike path that runs just west of Carbondale’s Third Street Center by a yeasty, golden aroma wafting on the breeze. Seduced by the scent, they follow their noses to the community bread oven where they receive a warm welcome. “It’s the one place where everyone goes with the intention of sharing,”…

In Praise of 
Locavores

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. In roasting pan, combine the squash, bell peppers, potatoes and onion. Combine the thyme, rosemary, olive oil, vinegar or lemon, salt and pepper with the vegetables and toss. Roast for 35-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked through and browned. Do you ever stop to think about what you're eating…

Gus the Bus Goes the Extra Mile for Learning

CCI is a region-wide effort to ensure that the 22,000 children from Aspen to Parachute are ready for kindergarten and graduate from high school ready for college and career. Every new mother who gives birth in Valley View Hospital is given a referral for a home visit from nurses or trained volunteers. Goal 1: Ready for Kindergarten, includes the adoption…