A Living Legend

The door to the new Doc Holliday Museum whispers open. A gentleman, worn black ball cap pulled low over his dark 1970s aviators, ghosts through. Silver sideburns edge the valleys of his lean face; a gunmetal gray horseshoe ‘stache emphasizes his square chin and pursed full lips. A beat-up suede vest slides over a pinstriped collared shirt, seemingly from another…

What’s Old is New on the Rio Grande

There’s a spot along the Rio Grande Trail that smells of sweet sage after a rainstorm. Rugged red cliffs dominate the eastern skyline and the view south toward Mt. Sopris stretches wide open. Adjacent grassy fields — once filled with potatoes — speak to the valley’s agricultural history. During quiet moments on her 32-mile bicycle commute on the Rio Grande,…

Where Fires Still Burn

In September, New Castle celebrated its annual Burning Mountain Festival with music, a pancake breakfast, and a 5K run. The festival, which has been running for 44 years, was named for underground coal mines that still flame inside nearby hillsides.

A Wild Mustang Heads to School in Carbondale

The students involved in the horse program at the Colorado Rocky Mountain School (CRMS) dreamt for months of adopting a wild mustang. In June, their dreams came true. Amanda Leahy, head of the CRMS horse program, spent the school year guiding her students through the planning and proposal process for adopting a mustang. The hope was to secure funds to…

JAS Aspen Echos Through the Valley

Two years ago, Basalt teenager Isaac Musselman got to meet Christian McBride after listening to the Grammy-winning jazz bassist perform at a Jazz Aspen Snowmass (JAS) concert in Aspen. As a young musician, Musselman was nervous to play in front of McBride, but the concert inspired him, and his musical 
dedication took a shift.

Visiting Ross Montessori’s Natural Playground

With its verdant hoop house, shaggy berms, and dramatic climbing net, Carbondale’s newest landmark, the Ross Montessori Elementary School playground, stirs the curious soul. With the last stage of their new landscape in place, Ross students, staff and volunteers have created holding space for immersive, experiential learning: a “natural playground.” A significant component of this is a living, dynamic, evolving…

Hold Onto Your “Kapp” – There’s Amish Tourism in Glenwood!

At a Carbondale rodeo, I sat behind a family in old-fashioned garments, the bearded dad garbed in a broad-brimmed hat and suspenders, the womenfolk wearing prairie dresses, white aprons, and starched bonnets. Solemnly pledging allegiance as a rhinestone-bedecked rodeo queen lofted the Stars and Stripes, these seven visitors could have been just another vacationing family celebrating America’s agrarian roots.

Rocky Mountain Oysters

Slippery, with bits of “resistance” in the chewing. Tender, juicy. Light; a crispy coating, similar to soft-shell crabs. Or, to others, somewhat like chewing on a slice of batter-dipped, deep-fried cartilaginous ear.

Musings of a Modern Forager

There is something indescribable and quietly special about foraging for wild mushrooms. It awakens a hidden drive so dormant that you might not have previously felt its existence. Perhaps it’s a nod to those ancient hunter-gatherer genes, or maybe it’s just one of the most fulfilling ways to experience the natural world as it was meant to be seen. Whatever…

A Pair Go Paragliding

Watching paragliders coasting on the thermals, the colorful shells of their sails holding them aloft in the blue, I have often wondered how they got up there in the first place. Did they learn to fly like fledgling birds in a nature film, dropping out of the nest with a thunk? Nope. It’s easier than that.

39 Hours

In the late hours of January 13, the team stowed the last gear by flashlight. Alternately sweating and shivering—overheated by heavy lifting in drysuits and chilled by the weight of responsibility—the eight were about to hurl themselves down the Grand Canyon in a headlong sprint. To topple a speed record set by kayakers two years earlier, they would have to…

Important to Be Seen

Anyone who has ever been to camp remembers the adventure. Sometimes it’s filled with excitement about getting away from home, sometimes there are tears; for many there are both. Regardless of how it starts, by the end of the summer new friendships are formed and memories made that will last a lifetime.

Sculpting A Sense Of Place

“The artists I know are attempting to understand a sense of place and living in the world,” muses Nancy Lovendahl. “My own career has been about a call and response, a sense of place and the landscape. I’m sure my art would be very different if I lived in New York or Beijing, which I did for awhile.”

Flying Colors

Pam and Bruce Wood have been flying hot air balloons professionally in the Roaring Fork Valley since 1996. Their flying company, Above It All, brings immense joy to the Woods; so much so that they purchased the company outright when their business partner and original owner, Bill Hodgden, decided to retire in 2002.

Muddy Hands, Happy Hearts

How do you foster a deep and sustaining sense of stewardship for the land? By getting your hands good and dirty in it. That’s the founding belief of the Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers (RFOV), the Basalt-based nonprofit that offers opportunities to pour your sweat equity into a full slate of trail work and ecological restoration projects from Aspen to Rifle.

Pedaling Toward Sustainability—and Community

Creating community, one pedal stroke at a time: That’s the vision of Mirte Mallory, co-founder and executive director of WE-cycle, the Roaring Fork Valley’s nonprofit bike-share program that offers an efficient, simple, sustainable transit alternative for residents and visitors.

Couple Creates a Deep-Green, DIY Home in Satank

The modern, industrial-chic home that has taken shape on Pine Street in Satank is a dream made concrete by Steven and Bailey Haines. Handsomely finished with touches like weathered cedar siding and trendy concrete countertops, their “Hainestead” isn’t just a treat for the eye, it’s a better-than-net-zero house.

Of Riddles, Rivers, and Cutthroats

Enjoy solving riddles? Try this one on for size: The beautiful greenback cutthroat trout, native to the eastern slope of Colorado, is declared extinct in 1937. In the 1950s, it is rediscovered. By the 2000s, it is found across the western slope. How?

Wild at Heart

In a watershed surrounded by national forest and wilderness, steeped in both prosperity and nonprofit initiatives, it would be easy to presume that money flows from one to the other as freely as the rivers and streams within. But this isn’t always the case.

Farm-to-Table Fresh

Lifting the seedling to your mouth, you marvel at its perfection: an achingly green, luminous sprout with a pubescent white root. It’s still alive. Liquid spurts across your tongue as its flesh bursts, and lingering notes of flavor hint at summer, earth, and mystery.

Calling all CSAs

Imagine the flavor of local peaches, crisp greens, sun-warmed apricots, slicing tomatoes, eggs with creamy golden yolks, and meats raised humanely just a few miles from your house: hungry yet? The Roaring Fork Valley’s farms are rich with the freshest and most delicious foods. But how can we get our hands on what they have to offer us? Enter the…

Backyard Goodness

There is nothing better than fresh food you grow yourself. Our daughters were raised picking peas and digging carrots and potatoes. Teaching children how to grow and harvest vegetables can be fun, really; you reap the benefits of time spent together outdoors, being productive. Below are some suggested practices my family uses for growing organic produce at home.

Welcome Home

Uncork the wine, light the grill, and call up your friends and family: this River Valley Ranch showstopper was built to entertain. Test your culinary prowess in the roomy chef’s kitchen while guests enjoy the main floor’s spacious open floor plan. Is warm springtime weather beckoning the group outside, or is it just the spectacular view of Mount Sopris? Either…

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…