Page 1



find a

GREAT place to stay in Southwest Colorado

777 Main Avenue, Suite 206 Durango, CO 81301 800-674-7846

LETTER // WELCOME Photo by Scott DW Smith

Welcome to Durango and Southwest Colorado! Whether looking for an overnight stay on your way through Historic Durango, planning a family holiday at Purgatory Resort, or experiencing Southwest Colorado for an entire season, Vacation Accommodations of Durango can help you find the right vacation rental to call home.

Visitors from around the world travel to Durango and the San

At Vacation Accommodations of Durango, we enjoy providing area information

Juan Mountains for exceptional skiing, hiking, mountain biking,

to help maximize your Durango vacation experience. Please contact us when

hunting, snowboarding, sightseeing, camping, fishing, kayaking,

you have questions about the home you are staying in or Durango area activities.

river rafting, dining, shopping and much more. You can even tour an old mine, enjoy winter scenery from a snowmobile, or


take a guided 4x4 Jeep trip in the backcountry.

Marie Archuleta: Owner/Reservations Manager Suzanne O’Nan: Owner/Property Manager/Guest Services

We offer condominiums downtown, larger family homes in and

Hal Lott: Owner/New Home Acquisition/Marketing

near Durango, and ski area condos for both winter and summer

Dianne Wray: Reservations/Guest Information

activities. Contact us with questions regarding Durango vacation lodging or with any questions you have regarding your visit to the Four Corners region, such as the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and Mesa Verde National Park.




Kyle Kunkel

Leslie Carlson

Beth Lueck Stewart

Hank Blum

Sam Martinez

Kyle is the visionary for Explore

A transplanted native of 14

A longtime Durango resident,

Hank is an adventure

A local resident for four years,

Local. He and his wife love to

years, Leslie is very active in the

Beth loves to travel and go on

photographer, videographer,

Sam enjoys spending time in the

travel the world and love calling

community and grateful that she

adventures with her husband

and a well-known Stormtrooper

mountains around Durango.

Durango home. It’s the best

gets to live on "vacation."

and their dog, Bentley.

based in Durango, Colorado.

playground ever.

Stephan Davoust Stephan has lived in Durango since the age of six and embraces all that Durango has to offer. He races mountain bikes in the summer and hides away skiing the snowy

Carmen Drulis

Frederic B. Wildfang

Carmen is a born-and-raised

Frederic B. Wildfang has been

Deanne Sheer Deanne is the mother of two

Evan and Taylor Moore Both Evan and Taylor are from

Durangotang. She is the

writing and publishing for over

boys, Alec and Bennett, and

Dolores, Colorado, and are so

general manager at 11th

50 years—beginning his career

married to Todd, a physician in

lucky to call Durango home for three years (Evan) and one year

Street Station and enjoys the

as a Beat-influenced poet, trying

Durango. She is the volunteer

outdoors, fur babies, and time

a stint in advertising in LA, and

coordinator for Hospice of

(Taylor)! You are most likely to

spent with friends.

continuing as a free-lance writer

Mercy and enjoys being outside

find Evan pursuing a hunt in the

in Durango, Colorado.

running, hiking or riding horses.

mountains in the winter.

backcountry, Taylor on her yoga mat, or both of them together on the river.

2 ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙


Follow us on Instagram and Facebook! @explorelocal_dgo

Lindsay D. Mattison

Niki Bryant

Ray Tavarez

George Bracksieck

Kaila DeMoss

A Texas native, Niki has lived

Born in NY but raised in Puerto

George has been climbing rocks

In her free time, Kaila can

Lindsay moved to Durango three

in the Durango area since 1976.

usually be found exploring the

years ago, and she can’t imagine

in Durango for nine years. She

Rico, Ray is a coffee aficionado

loves spending time with friends

who loves to travel and volunteer

mountains. She loves traveling,

living anywhere else. She is a

and family in the great outdoors!

in his free time.

camping, hiking, and everything

professional chef, a food writer,

else about the great outdoors.

and an avid gardener.

Marty Grabijas

Melissa Youssef

Marty is a PSIA Instructor who

I care deeply about our

Dustin Nolen

Jim Youssef, MD

Tiona Eversole

Dustin is chief operator, program

Dr. Youssef is a fellowship-

Tiona is the marketing manager

works at ski areas that provide

community and its residents. My

director and on-air talent

trained spine surgeon who

for Purgatory Resort. She has

exceptional guest experiences.

husband Jim and I raised three

at American General Media

founded Spine Colorado in

lived in Durango for 15 years,

His day job, which he is retired

children here in Durango and we

Durango. From music to theatre

Durango, CO. He has been

and learned to snowboard at

from, was as a product developer

love the access to the outdoors,

and film Dustin enjoys being

practicing in Durango since

Purgatory Resort when she was

in the outdoor industry. Off

our friends, and the community

consumed by the arts.

1997. He enjoys spending time

12. Catch her on the mountain

season he is an examiner for

that Durango provides.

with his wife, Melissa, and their

or in town running and biking

whitewater kayaking, rides

three children and is an active

the local trails.

bikes, and chases big, dumb

outdoorsman who loves calling

trout in Colorado’s Weminuche

Durango his home.

Wilderness Area. Contact him directly at EXPLORE LOCAL ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙ 3

table of



AN A-Z GUIDE TO DURANGO’S ART GALLERIES Take a walking tour through these ten local galleries to get a feel for Durango’s dynamic art scene.




Be sure to catch the best


This collection of restaurants in and around town will help you find the perfect dining

margaritas in town—this list will lead you to the most unique and delicious margaritas around.

experience to fit any craving.



EXPLORE NIGHTLIFE After a day exploring the mountains or playing in the snow, check out these lively evening

Photographer Hank Blum describes some expert tips for taking stunning winter photographs.


entertainment options.

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook! @explorelocal_dgo



LOCAL MAP Be sure to pay attention to the pins in







Dr. Jim Youssef

Be sure to catch the

shares some of the

best margaritas in

Purgatory Resort offers

philosophies and

town—this list will

Durango a special

a wide range of fun

practices behind

lead you to the most

place to call home from

and exciting activities

Spine Colorado, which

unique and delicious

Mayor Melissa Youssef.

for all ages. Come

has been providing

margaritas around.

Find the closest

explore all Purgatory

orthopedic spine care in

grocery store options,

has to offer this winter!

the Four Corners region



for nearly 20 years.

Discover the history

the articles to help you locate your destination!




as well as anything else you may need for your vacation.


SAN JUAN SILVER Explore the thrill and


Learn what makes




beloved Purgatory

through these ten local

PSIA Instructor Marty


galleries to get a feel

beauty of ice climbing

Grabijas shares tips on

for Durango’s dynamic

with local climbing

how to improve skiing

art scene.

expert George



4 ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙

behind Durango’s


SAN JUAN SILVER Explore the thrill and beauty of ice climbing with local climbing expert George Bracksieck.







This collection of

You will love coming

After a day exploring

restaurants in and

home to a new custom

the mountains or

around town will help

home built by Veritas

playing in the snow,

you find the perfect

Fine Homes.

check out these

dining experience to fit

lively evening

any craving.

entertainment options.







Blum describes some

Local artisans, designer options, and unique



Find your new favorite craft beer during


a journey through

If you prefer to explore

offering of breweries.

These fun and

and pick up some

educational activities

shopping enthusiast.

mixology knowledge,

will ensure that kids

off the beaten path,

along with a fabulous

of all ages enjoy every

check out these

cocktail, at these locals’

minute of their vacation.

backcountry skiing tips

favorite spots.

the Voss family.


gift shops for the

Enjoy some local flavor

Durango favorites with

stunning winter

expert tips for taking



Photographer Hank





Durango’s impressive

for a glimpse of the San Juan Mountains' rugged beauty.


PUBLISHER / ADVERTISING SALES Kyle Kunkel BRAND MANAGER Grace Sanderson BRAND DESIGNER Josh Rivenbark Stephanie Axtell DESIGN N2 Publishing Design Team

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook! @explorelocal_dgo



Any articles included in this publication and/or opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the views of N2 Publishing but remain solely those of the author(s). The paid advertisements contained within the Explore Local magazine are not endorsed or recommended by N2 Publishing or the publisher. Therefore, neither N2 Publishing nor the publisher may be held liable or responsible for business practices of these companies.

6 ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙






James Ranch Market & Grill


Durango & Silverton Narrow


Conumdrum Escape Rooms

Co R

d 250

& Purgatory Resort


Watch Crystal

Animas City Mountain



250 A ve





The Strater Hotel (800) 664-1920 | 726 east 2nd Ave

ri 800-247-4431 | 699 Main Avenue


Health and Beauty:


Cam (970) 946-8831 | 865 Main Ave Rochester Hotel



Ave E 3rd

E Coll

1 (970) 247-8277 | 145 W 9 Street

The Bookcase and Barber (970) 376-6530 | 601 E 2nd Ave Suite B

Food and Restaurants:

E 8t h


H wy 16 0


7 970-247-1010 | 925 Main Avenue





Urban Market


r ive



6 (970) 230-0144 | 809 Main Ave




Toh-Atin Gallery






N C o l le g e Dr

Perins Peak


Tippy Canoe

50 F

da lori

Community Rec Center




as Ri im

An Main

A ve







Animas River Trail




G (970) 764-4545 | 736 Main Ave Suite 100

Shopping: East Animas

Elementary Wall Gold Wall X Rock The Gullies Sweet Sandstone

R da (970) 259-0274 | 479 Main Ave



ege D


Durango Joes (970) 259-1808 | 3455 Main Avenue




el R

James Ranch Market & Grill


Serious Texas BBQ



Smelter Mountain (970) 676-1023 | 33846 hwy 550 970-259-9507 | 650 S Camino Del Rio

Real Estate: G

Veritas Fine Homes


Legacy Properties West


Academy Morgage Corporation



ino Del Rio


Where’s the Nearest? An i m as


GROCERIES (970) 422-3283 | 1970 E 3rd Ave Suite 101 (970) 749-3867 | 743 Main Ave


e Riv r

Not on the Map? Find them in these areas: (970) 749-5488 | 2243 Main Ave




y 160

Hwy 1


Ca mi no

De lR io

Lake Nighthorse



8 ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙


Your l

We’ve put the area’s top attractions, impressive eateries, and visit-worthy shops on the map – literally.

ap a sn

You’ve read where the locals hang. Now it’s time to join them!

l map, in a c o





! Feed local individuals

experiencing homelessness instead. The worst part about vacation is having to go home. As you are packing up, you realize you have way too much food leftover, but you don’t want to waste

it. There is a little place downtown by the river called Mana Soup Kitchen. They accept fresh, canned, and refrigerated

food as well as non-food items like detergent, paper products, and clothing. All food that is donated helps feed Durango’s homeless and hungry. For drop off please call (970) 385- 5095. Donations are accepted Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., at 1100 Avenida


del Sol, Durango, CO 81301.




PJ’s Market is really the closest to you. They

Star Liquor is our go-to; with the biggest

River Church Sunday service from 9:30–11 a.m.

have everything you need from deli, eggs, and

and best selection of local and domestic beer

Methodist Church Saturday at 5:30 p.m.,

healthy foods to the liquor store right next

and hard alcohol, they have it all. The wine

Sunday at 8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m., and 11:00 a.m.

door. If you need camping supplies, they have

selection is second to none. You will find a very

First Baptist Sunday services at 9 a.m. and

you covered as well.

helpful and knowledgeable staff.

10:45 a.m.

North City Market is the next closest grocery

PJ’s Market Liquor Store is conveniently located

Vineyard Wednesday night service from

store—they have whatever you want or need

in the valley and has what you need for the week.

6:30—7:45 p.m.

Grace Sunday services at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Recalibrate Sunday service from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.

for the week. They have everything you could ever need in a grocery store; from healthy to

Nature’s Oasis has some great options for

St. Columba Sunday 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. and

fatty, flip flops and sunscreen, they have it all.

liquor and wine.

11:00 a.m. - 12 Noon Sacred Heart Sunday service at 9 a.m.



South City Market is right in downtown.

There is only one in Durango, making it an

Grab whatever you need for the week; burgers,

easy stop to ship off what you need.

GYMS The Rec Center is great for kids and family—$5/day pass.

salads, candy, vitamins, and toiletries. Mail Room is what we use downtown—it has Nature’s Oasis is your healthiest grocery store

great staff and really funny cards.

CrossFit Catacombs has an amazing atmosphere and great coaches. Come drop in

option and is locally owned. It has a great deli, the smoothies are awesome, and a personal

The UPS Store is a great option in Bodo if you

favorite is the breakfast burrito. If you get there

are out that way.

for the experience.

after 9 a.m., they might be gone. Make sure you

Elite Fitness provides knowledgeable staff

stop in to get what you need for the week—

and a nice new facility.

they have a liquor store as well. Sports Club has everything you need for $10. TRANSPORTATION This is a tough one in Durango. Your options are a local run charter company called Buck Horn Transportation that does everything from airport pick up and drop off to a night out downtown; Uber; or a Taxi Service. EXPLORE LOCAL ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙ 9

explore // PURGATORY

Gettin’ after it in the backcountry with Purgatory Snowcat Adventures. Photo Credit: Dylan Stucki



Tiona Eversole

Purgatory Resort, Durango’s home mountain, offers something for every age, skill level, and interest. Purgatory Resort’s proximity to Durango makes it perfect for locals and visitors alike. Located about 25 miles north of downtown, Purg (as it is commonly called around town) always has something going on in the winter. From epic powder days and exciting terrain to fun events and children’s programs, everyone gets a chance to experience the best resort Southwest Colorado has to offer. Here are five things to keep on your radar for the 2019-2020 season.

KIDS HAVE ALL THE FUN Oh, to be a kid again. At Purgatory, kids have the most fun. En-

For the older bunch, the All-Terrain Pioneers

roll children in one of two programs and spend the day enjoying

(ATP) Freestyle program allows kids and adoles-

the slopes at your leisure.

cents aged 8-17 to build fundamental skills in the terrain park while also learning proper riding etiquette. The ATP Free-

Children ages 4-12 have access to Snowburners, a program that

style group focuses on more advanced skills such as first airs

helps kids build and strengthen their skiing and snowboarding

and grabs, 180s, flatland tricks, jibs, and park safety.

skills in a fun, safe environment. Weekday and weekend morning and afternoon sessions are available. A 7-week program

And, if you didn’t already know, our Power Kids pass allows

runs January through March.

children 10 and under to ski free all season long. Simply visit the ticket office and pick up a pass.

10 ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙


explore // PURGATORY Riding the lift at

A group of Snowburners.

Purgatory Resort.

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

Scott DW Smith

Scott DW Smith

The Inferno Mountain Coaster. Photo Credit: Dylan Stucki

ACTIVITIES GALORE Skiing and snowboarding aren’t the only events Purgatory offers in the winter. The Inferno Mountain Coaster has become a new favorite on the mountain. With the ability to control the speed using a handbrake, riders have the option to go full speed for a thrilling ride or slow it down to their preferences. The Snow Coaster Tubing Hill returns to the Columbine area, offering a fun activity the whole family will enjoy. Other activities include snowmobile adventures, snowshoe tours, sleigh rides, nordic skiing, snowbike rentals, and Railz SnowScooter rentals. With so much to do at Purgatory,

EVENTS AND MORE Winter at Purgatory is a magical time,

down while trying to get the most laps in

with events regularly taking place across

to win. The McDonald’s Cardboard Derby

the mountain.

also returns March 14, with participants building race vessels using only cardboard

Join the fun during the holidays as we host

and duct tape. This is a great event to let

Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve dinners.

your creativity run wild, with prizes offered

For New Year’s Eve, stick around for our

for multiple categories including "Most Cre-

annual fireworks and torchlight parade

ative" and "Funniest Derby Vessel Name."

kicking off at 6 p.m., a spectacle you won’t want to miss.

Countless giveaways are also spread throughout the season, so keep an eye out

And be sure to mark your calendars for our

or follow us on Facebook to stay up-to-date

most popular events. Uncle Clyde’s Run

on our next giveaway. From backpacks and

& Slide, a tubing race, returns on March 7.

goggles to skis and snowboards, you’ll have

Grab a tube, run up the hill and slide back

multiple opportunities to try your luck.

there’s never a dull moment.


explore // PURGATORY New Year’s Eve at Purgatory.


Photo Credit: Scott DW Smith

Did you know that Purgatory Snowcat Adventures is Colorado’s largest backcountry skiing and snowboarding operation? With over 35,000 acres of terrain ranging from trees and glades to bowls and cliff drops, this is the perfect adventure for the adrenaline seeker looking to step up their game outside of Purgatory’s ski boundaries. This full day of riding comes with a highly trained guide who will assess your skill level and pair you with the perfect runs to give you the best experience possible. Expect to get in about 8-10 runs and 10,000 vertical


feet throughout the day. Have you ever taken a snowcat to dinner? This winter, join Pur-

This season includes four dates: December 18

Avalanche gear and lunch are

gatory Resort for a Snowcat Dinner Excursion. Catch the sunset

and February 15 are wine pairings, January 18

provided, as well as fat ski or fat

and spectacular alpenglow of the Needles Mountains from the

is a beer pairing featuring Durango’s very own

board rentals if needed. Water is also

comfort of an enclosed snowcat as it whisks you up and away

Ska Brewing, and March 15 will be a whiskey,

available, but make sure to pack your

to Powderhouse Restaurant for a masterfully prepared 5-course

wine, and vinegar pairing.

own water bottle.

meal, all paired with the perfect libation.

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook! @explorelocal_dgo

A beautiful night during one of the Snowcat Dinner Excursions. Photo Credit: Grady James

12 ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙



Jeff Cristol leading pitch two, belayed by Dave Foley, Ingram Falls, high above



Below: Leading pitch three of the Talisman, a constellation of difficult ice and rock glowing high above the Camp Bird Road, near Ouray. Photo by George Bracksieck.


Text and Photos by George Bracksieck

MOST GEOLOGICALLY DIVERSE RANGE. Along its vast corridors, streams of quicksilver cascade in leaps and bounds, slowed only by the onset of winter. The Ouray Ice Park is especially famous for its accessible ice. For those who seek the esoteric and ephemeral jewels of frozen waterfalls, the San Juans win the gold medal for the best ice in the country. If you think that rock climbing is crazy, you’re right. Ice climbing? Let’s be kind and say that it takes a special person. Not only is ice generally more brittle and less competent than granite, the sharp weapons used to climb it can turn inward, leaving lacerations and worse if the climber were to fall, or fail to duck the point in time. Did I say fall? Unless you are top roping, falling from ice is out of the question. An ice screw placed for lead protection may hold in the best ice—if you can find any solid masses amid the chandeliers of dangling icicles. If you don’t like the cold, just remind yourself that frigid temps are required to keep those many tons of ice from spontaneously crushing everything underneath. If you aren’t deterred—or experienced—seek qualified instruction or a certified guide. If you’re smart, stay home and watch football. EXPLORE LOCAL ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙ 13




1. David Light leading pitch two of the Seven-Year Itch, high above Highway 550, about 17 miles north of Durango. Named after an old Marilyn Monroe movie, this ice forms, on average, every seven years. 2. Approaching the Talisman 3. Joe Ryan leading pitch one of an ice pillar near Silverton.

3 14 ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙



Follow us on Instagram and Facebook!



5. Enjoying a snowstorm at the Ouray Ice Park. 6. Descending the Talisman 7. Following pitch one of Horsetail Falls, near Ouray. 8. Feeling the stillness of an unusually quiet day at the Ouray Ice Park, which provides the most convenient, entry-level ice climbing in the world.






of Spine Colorado

16 ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙



Professional Questions: How did you start in medicine? I always had

with access to emerging technologies. Further-

an interest in medicine. My interests started in

more, our research department also supports

high school when I volunteered in an emergency

our other academic pursuits and helps us pub-

room in our community. I was intrigued by how

lish our own research and present it at national

physicians and nurses could work so effectively

and international spine society meetings. Spine

at improving people’s lives. I went to college

Colorado was originally founded in 2000 as a

and studied Genetics at University of California,

partnership within Durango Orthopedic Asso-

Berkeley. I did research at UCSF in pediat-

ciates. In 2006, Spine Colorado moved to the

ric immunology and worked with some very

new Three Springs Campus adjacent to Mercy

accomplished physicians who were discovering

Regional Medical Center. In collaboration with

cures for immunological diseases in children.

Mercy, the Spine Center of Excellence was also launched to provide a comprehensive holistic

What makes your business/practice unique

patient care experience for surgical spine

in our community? Spine Colorado was

patients. Spine Colorado has been the trusted

the first practice to provide spine surgery by

provider for orthopedic spine care in the Four

fellowship-trained spine surgeons on the entire

Corners region for nearly 20 years. Committed

Western Slope of Colorado. With two fellow-

to accurate diagnosis, evidence-based medi-

ship-trained spine surgeons, two interventional

cine, non-surgical conservative care, reha-

physiatrists, and four physician assistants, we

bilitation, and advanced surgical techniques,

aim to provide an evidence-based, individually

Spine Colorado provides unmatched continuity

based treatment plan for our patients. We have

of care in the Four Corners region, helping

outreach clinics in several surrounding com-

patients to quickly restore motion and function

munities, and we offer surgery at both Mercy

for an active lifestyle.

Regional Medical Center and Animas Surgical Hospital in Durango. We also offer interven-

Do you have a mission statement? Spine

tional pain management in our clinical office in

Colorado utilizes a multidisciplinary approach,

Durango, which comes at no facility fee to pa-

clinical protocols, the highest training available

tients. In addition to our regional footprint, we

for specialists, and the most advanced, clin-

also have a full-time research department that

ically-proven treatments available to ensure

offers support for us to perform clinical trials

that patients have the best outcome possible.


What is your definition of quality care? Spine

How do you try and maintain a balanced

Colorado tracks patient reported outcomes and

life outside of work? Our practice has an

the results of our treatments provided in the

Everybody Matters committee. Through this

hospital and compares the results with other

committee, we gather for social events outside

hospitals and physicians. The satisfaction of

of work and gather with our "work family."

our patients with their experience in the clinic and the hospital is constantly assessed through

How has practicing medicine, or the medical

patient surveys, and their suggestions are taken

industry, changed over the years? In general,

seriously. Spine Colorado always achieves the

medicine continues to be impacted by addi-

highest rating on these scales and our patient

tional regulatory burdens. An example of this

satisfaction is always in the top percentile. Fur-

is Electronic Medical Records. While these are

thermore, Spine Colorado has been recognized

very valuable tools for preventing errors and

as the most productive spine service line in the

having visibility into a patient’s entire medical

entire Centura system with the best outcomes in

history, they can feel "in the way" during

the State of Colorado. By offering a high volume

patient interactions. We see this as an oppor-

surgical and non-surgical practice, our patients

tunity to provide even more thorough care,

receive the best of care with the best supportive

but some patients (understandably) feel like a

evidence to support their clinical pathway. Our

computer is in the way of their interaction with

experience is second to none, and our patients

their care provider. We do our best to keep this

can get the least invasive procedures and enjoy

in the front of mind and have established work

a predictable result with accurate diagnosis and

flow practices that help keep us patient facing.

treatments tailored to their condition. Who are some of your medical "heroes?" My Are there some practical actions you’ve

mentors in Spine Surgery include my residen-

initiated to make help your patients have a

cy and fellowship directors who taught me

more productive experience? By providing

the fundamentals of spine surgery and more

a wide variety of specialists in one office, we

importantly, how to be a physician. During my

can focus on making the patient feel better. At

residency, I actually was fortunate enough to

Spine Colorado, we have a collaborative com-

participate in the total knee surgery of Dr. C

prehensive approach which is patient-centric.

Everett Koop after he had served as Surgeon

Often, by working closely with my colleagues

General. We also established a personal rela-

Drs. Bohachevsky and Santos, our physiatrists,

tionship, and I was always impressed with his

my spine surgery partner, Dr. Orndorff, and

ability to raise policy and awareness around

our PAs Lance Hamlin, George Baumchen, Ja-

medical issues to help shape behavior and

mie Nelson and Amanda Byers, this allows for

reduce causal relationships between envi-

ease of communication amongst providers and

ronmental hazards such as smoking and the

sharing of information to help facilitate patient

negative impact it has on humans.

care. If a patient has a need or is offered an interventional procedure, it is done expeditiously

What motivates you? I am intrinsically

and allows for the outcome to be tracked so as

motivated to seek improvement in myself and

to help determine the next steps in their care.

my profession. I feel a strong sense of humility

We have also adopted an electronic medical

for the opportunity to serve and treat patients.

record that has a patient portal to allow direct

I take this very seriously, and I do my best to

communication between provider and patient.

treat everyone as a person and direct their care

We have a regular Indications Conference

according to evidence-based medicine. I am

where cases are discussed amongst all provid-

also competitive and motivated by intellec-

ers and specific treatment plans are generated.

tual and physical challenge. I strive to live by

We also have a 3T MRI on site along with digi-

example and be the best person I can be.

tal x-ray, to facilitate obtaining appropriate and

18 ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙


required imaging to help with our diagnosis

How important is continuing education in

and treatment plan.

for you? Since my arrival in Durango in 1997, I


have strived to maintain an active and relevant academic practice. I have over 47 peer-re-

Personal Questions:

viewed publications, numerous book chapters, and I have co-edited a textbook on Global

What are some of your hobbies/interests outside of

out my life. I have worked since I was 14 years old and

Spinal Alignment. Due to my commitment to

work? I am an avid outdoors person and enjoy moun-

held many different jobs--sold skis at a sporting goods

my education, I have been granted the lifetime

tain biking, skiing, surfing, hiking, and fly-fishing.

store, sold computers, worked in a car wash, created fire breaks in the Berkeley and Oakland hills, etc.

achievement award by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons three separate years. I

What was the last book you really got into? 21 lessons

teach various spine surgery courses, including

for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari.

If you could spend a day in someone else’s shoes, whose would they be? Why? I would like to spend a

minimally invasive spine surgery techniques, participate in course development, and

What are some movies you really enjoyed? Ga-

day as a professional athlete so I could fully understand

founded the Evidence in Technologies in Spine

mechanger, Unstoppable, Whiplash, Saving Private

the commitment and sacrifice it takes to perform at such

Surgeon course, which has been going strong

Ryan, and One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

a high level.

and participating in furthering my own knowl-

What amazing adventures have you been on? I have

What's one thing your mother/father taught you that

edge and education. I love teaching others, and

been very fortunate to have been able to travel through-

completely changed your life? The more you commit,

we have had three international spine surgeon

out my life. I have been down the Grand Canyon on a

the more you are committed.

fellows spend time with us to learn our tech-

raft; visited Egypt and all of its historical monuments,

niques and approaches.

museums and structures; traveled through Europe and

What’s been on your mind lately? Climate change,

Asia and have seen many of the historical monuments

and the development and control of AI and biotech.

for over 12 years. I am always reading, writing,

In what ways do you hope to see practicing

and museums; and have biked through Italy, France, and

medicine evolve in the future? I see the

many other parts of the world. I have performed surgery

What qualities do you value in the people with

patient becoming the consumer and being

in Belize, where I founded the Belize Spine Mission to

whom you spend time? People who share a respon-

actively involved in their care. I also feel we

educate, train, and provide support for spine surgeons

sibility for family, community, and have a high ethical

will rely on AI and data informatics, which

and to offer free surgery to patients from this region. I

and moral compass.

will reduce human error and facilitate earlier

have also performed spine surgery in Singapore, Thai-

diagnosis and treatment.

land, Africa, and Europe.

If you could offer any advice to younger

What are some accomplishments that you are

physicians, what would it be? Stay relevant.

most proud of? First, my family, specifically my three

Appreciate your role and responsibility to treat

wonderful children. Each of them has grown up to be

patients and do not take this for granted. Be

conscientious, independent thinking young adults who

mindful of others, and how you act in stressful

are attuned to those around them, contribute to their

situations. Read, learn, and participate in your

respective communities, and do their best to be the best

research societies to stay up to date on the

they can be every day. Aside from this important task

literature. Be part of your own community

of being their father, I am also proud of establishing a

and help support the specific needs of those

well-recognized and sought after spine clinic where pa-

around you. Have a good life/work balance.

tients come for their treatment from all over the country

Spend time with family and friends.

and the world. I am also very proud of my wife Melissa

For what are you most grateful today? My health

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook! @explorelocal_dgo

for serving on City Council of Durango and currently Who are some of your all-time favorite

presiding as Mayor of our wonderful city. Without her

physicians? What did they do to influence

enduring support, love, and devotion, I could not have

you so much? I have worked with so many

accomplished what I have done in my career and my

talented and gifted physicians over the years,

life in Durango.

that the list is too long to provide. My mentors helped shape my life as it is today, and their

What's one thing you're excited about that's coming

influence was meaningful at different times in

up in 2020? I am excited to see a change in the political

my life. I took something from each experience

climate of our country.

and I continue to do so today. Every day is a learning opportunity, and I do my best to take

What was the worst job you've ever had? I never had a

in a learning lesson each and every day.

bad job. I always learned from every job I had throughEXPLORE LOCAL ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙ 19

explore // SKIING

what is a "good" You see them on the mountain. They move like silk in the wind. They are the "good" skiers. And you may not immediately identify the tangible element that they possess besides their inexplicable grace.

By Marty

"Good" skiers share two common traits: efficiency of move-


Efficiency: Let’s imagine two skiers. Skier one makes a series of movements

ment, and the ability to leverage options. Interestingly, the

from their shoulders to their feet to execute a turn. Skier two uses movements

parallels between many aspects of skiing and the adult world

originating from their feet to execute. Regardless of what terrain they ski–and

are profound, with individuals who are skilled at efficiency and

skier one could spend all of their time on double black diamond death–skier two

creating options often excelling in adult world domains. For

is the "better" skier. That is the skier who is moving like silk in the wind. They are

now, let’s look at skiing.

embracing efficiencies of movement. You could say that they are exceptionally smooth, but might not hone in on efficiencies. Lift service alpine skiing is not a tasking physical endeavor. It should feel effortless. The challenge is that the most efficient movement patterns of skiing are extremely counter-intuitive to our survival instincts. Our minds do not like that, no matter if we are a weekend warrior or competing on the world stage. Without drilling efficient movement patterns (what I term patterns of grace) on benign terrain, or on dry land prior to ski season, these survival instincts and inefficient movement patterns take over when we are faced with something beyond our comfort level (moments of pressure). By drilling efficient movement patterns on benign terrain, you are starting your journey of managing patterns of grace in moments of pressure. The same might be said of going into a venture capital meeting, playing a musical instrument in front of a discerning audience, or performing an intricate surgical procedure. Options: There are three ways that we can impact our skis. We can rotate our femurs in our hip socket to turn the skis; we can rotate our skis along their length to put the edges at a more acute angle to the snow; and we can vary the amount of pressure between the left and right ski, and fore and aft along each ski. Most skiers do one of those three things really well. The skier who does all three things well is the skier who skis effortlessly regardless of terrain or snow conditions. Bumps, groomers, steeps, powder, crud—each requires a blending of rotation, edging, and pressure control. The skier who has mastered each of those skills will have the greatest degree of tactical options available to them. They will be able to match tactic to terrain and be the skier who flows down the mountain. The entire mountain is their playground, instead of fifty percent of the mountain as playground, fifty percent as emotional death-trap.

20 ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙


explore // SKIING I get that skiing should be fun and that there are times when you just want to rip. There is definitely a time and place for that. But here’s the deal—working to gain efficiencies results in enjoying more of the mountain, and a higher stoke. Working to gain efficiencies allows us to be that person who can still send it in their senior years while your age bracket colleagues are binge-watching Netflix. Working to gain efficiencies, oftentimes, is not fun. However, the results are awesome. How does one gain efficiencies? To quote Dr. Anders Ericsson, one of the world’s foremost experts on how those on the razor’s edge organize their lives, it is about deliberate practice with guidance from an instructor, and purposeful practice where you have defined goals for a session. Dr. Ericsson said that, "This approach is fundamentally different than the view that you will practice, or play, and uncover some gift, or some ability that emerges magically. " Skiers and their movement patterns are neither "good" nor "bad," regardless of the terrain that they ski. They are efficient or inefficient. Within that spectrum, the goal for everyone is to have a great day outside. The nuance of that statement is that if I can efficiently enjoy the entire mountain, my enjoyment increases exponentially.

TOP PHOTO: Wide eyed, the author exits a pillow line that is above his pay grade. Selkirk Mountains, BC. BOTTOM PHOTO: PSIA Demo Team members Robin Barnes and Jennifer Simpson working on efficient movement patterns, and stoke. Sharkin. Photo, courtesy of PSIA-AASI.

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook! @explorelocal_dgo

Finish your powder day with Serious Texas SERIOUS TEXAS NORTH 970.247.2240 3535 N. Main Ave Durango CO 81301

SERIOUS TEXAS SOUTH 970.259.9507 650 S. Camino Del Rio Durango CO 81301 EXPLORE LOCAL ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙ 21

explore // MARGARITAS

Margaritas By Dustin Nolen





“Tequila’s Family Restaurant has the best blue margarita in town!” ~ Tiffany Miera

22 ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙


explore // MARGARITAS Follow us on Instagram and Facebook! @explorelocal_dgo

expert craftsmanship isn’t all you’ll get; just wait until you see your options. Looking for a specific tequila? Odds are you’ll find it at Cantera. Want to spice it up? Just add a sliver of jalapeño. Want flavor options? No problem. Looking for more of an earthy taste? These highly trained cocktail aficionados can add some lightly flaming herbs placed under a glass container to engulf your favorite drink until it has a flavor most of us haven’t even imagined. Nobody has put more effort and pride in their craft. The presentation of these margaritas and all of Cantera’s cocktails are such an art that it’s almost a shame to drink them. Make sure to bring your designated driver because you won’t Cantera

Tacos Nayarit

be able to have just one. Wait! I haven’t told you the best part! During happy hour, these breathtaking margaritas are buy-one-

In a small town known for a wide array of cuisine, it can sometimes be tricky to find that perfect place to fulfill whatever craving you may be having. Summer has come and gone and things are cooling off in a hurry. Luckily there are plenty of places around town to find a liquid sweater to keep us warm and toasty inside. I see no better way than with one of our town’s amazing margaritas. With 20-plus Mexican food restaurants and other endless options, it could take a while to find the one that’s just right for you. Lucky for you, we’ve narrowed that list down to the best of the best. Here are the best margaritas in Durango. ¡Salúd!

get-one-free. However you prefer your margarita, this bar staff will make it all you dreamed of and more. 1150 Main Avenue, (970) 422-8523, Tacos Nayarit. If it’s a classic margarita you seek, you’ll find one of the best at Nayarit. This favorite of Durango takes its name from a region in Mexico near Puerto Vallarta.  When the average person thinks of top-shelf tequila their brain might pop up the image of Patrón. There are others! If you haven’t sipped the sweet nectar that is Don Julio tequila you’re missing a whole

Los Amigos Del Sur. This quaint restaurant

Mexico, you’re sure to let out a slow audible

world out there. Nayarit features several margarita options but

is one of Durango’s best-kept secrets. Owner

sigh of relief with your first taste after a long

a favorite is the Don Julio, a simple, classic, and delicious mar-

Tonny D’Solar and his staff are not only in the

day. 835 Main Avenue #106, (970) 764-4042,

garita made with Don Julio Silver, Triple Sec, Orange Curaçao,

running for the nicest restaurant crew but also

and lime. Sometimes there is no need to reinvent something that is already so good especially when you’re using quality

for being some of the sweetest individuals in town. They make everyone feel right at home

Cantera. Seeking some fine dining? Look no

ingredients. Of course, if you do enjoy a specific flavor for your

and will blow you away with their delicious

further. Owner Beto Navarro goes through

margarita you can find some here you might not find anywhere

food and how much care they put into making

great lengths to give you arguably the most

else. Options include mango, strawberry, raspberry, peach,

you a great cocktail. Located in the Main Mall,

authentic Mexican cuisine in Durango. While

and watermelon. The winner of the Durango Herald’s Reader’s

these handcrafted margaritas never disappoint.

the food, atmosphere, and service are all

Choice Awards for this year’s best Mexican food, you’ll find it

The most popular of their margaritas is Kevin’s

wonderful and I would love to tell you all

easy to pair your cocktail with a delicious entrée. 2525 Main

Spicy Cucumber. Not only is every lime

about my personal favorites, we are here to

Avenue, (970) 385-1595,

freshly squeezed in front of you, but the flavor

talk margaritas. The genius and artist who

combination will send your taste buds soaring.

runs this bar has quickly built his reputation

You might expect to have a salt rim on any

as one of the best bar managers and bartend-

margarita you order, but sometimes for some-

ers in the Four Corners. When it comes to

thing special and refreshing you need to take

making drinks the Cantera crew not only will

a different approach. Kevin’s Spicy Cucumber

give you a unique and large selection, they’ll

does just that. The genius of this drink is in the

give you a show as they make it. Aside from

chile rim and muddled jalapeño that will give

fancy tricks with shakers, ice, glasses, and

you that slightest sting of heat, immediately

bottles, the creation of your cocktail will make

quenched with that cool, crisp, fresh cucumber

you think you’re watching a magic act. With

flavor and, of course, with a fresh cucumber

smoked cocktails, small torches, and fruit and

garnish. This spicy cucumber margarita is the

spices you won’t find anywhere else, Cantera

perfect blend of sweet and spicy, with hints of

is your stop for one of a kind beverages. One

citrus making it light and refreshing. Deliv-

of this restaurant’s signatures is their use of

ering you directly to the beaches of Southern

dehydrated garnishes, a local favorite. The

Los Amigos Del Sur


By Frederic B. Wildfang

24 ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙



Follow us on Instagram and Facebook! @explorelocal_dgo

You can feel the weight of the glaciers 20,000 years ago... Deep in the pit of your stomach... Your face flattened by g-forces... As you plunge down the mountain.

Painting by Paul Folwell

As Purgatory visionary Raymond T. Duncan had discovered, skiing is, indeed, an exhilarating experience!




Ray Duncan—Illinois native, Notre Dame graduate, and Marine


"Snowboarding is a creative outlet for me. I get the opportunity to be in nature and enjoy the winter." ~ Max Perlstein

Corps veteran—moved to Durango with his wife and son in 1958. After working in the family oil business in Illinois, Duncan became an oil and gas lease broker in the Rocky Mountain area and decided Durango was the place to live. As an avid skier and a promoter of the Durango community, Duncan became interested in developing a major ski facility in the area.


// HISTORY Chester R. "Chet" Anderson had worked for the Forest Service since 1959, first in the Idaho Springs District as an Assistant Ranger, then as Snow Ranger at Loveland Valley. In 1961, he was transferred here to the San Juan National Forest. Almost immediately, Anderson and Ray Duncan began scouting the territory around Durango, looking for an appropriate site for a ski area. Right Photo: Laying Out the Mountains: Ray Duncan (left) and Chet Anderson (right). (Courtesy CSWS)

After finding the ski terrain that fit Purgatory, Chet Anderson left the Forest Service and became a major force in Purgatory’s development—laying out a general plan of trails, assembling and managing a crew, supervising the construction of the resort, and overseeing its improvements and expansion.                         In January 1965, the San Juan Development Company—under the direction of Ray Duncan—raised $90,000 in the community of Durango, enough to secure a Small Business Association loan for the Durango Ski Corporation to fund what is now known as Purgatory. On February 3, the U.S. Forest Service—under the advisement of Chet Anderson—authorized preliminary approval for the development of a major ski area. Finally, on May 5, 1965, property was purchased where Purgatory is now located. On June 10, 1965, the SBA loan was approved and the development of the Purgatory ski area commenced. Paul Folwell—seasoned ski patrolman at Loveland—came to Purgatory from Georgetown, Colorado, in September 1965.  Paul was hired to work with Chet Anderson to design and lay out trails at Purgatory, as well as to hire, organize, and supervise the Ski Patrol. Of course, Folwell, as all the other employees, also did whatever needed to be done to keep things going at the resort: clearing trail, packChet Anderson (Courtesy CSWS)

ing the slopes, and shoveling snow in the parking lot, for instance. What he really enjoyed, however, was being out there on the mountain, surveying the area.

"Purgatory"—the name given to the ski area by the founders—was originally the name given to the creek that runs through the resort by a local rancher who lived here during the late 1800s. Purgatory Creek feeds into the Rio de Las Animas, the "River of Souls," so named by Spanish explorers who first came through Durango in the 1700s. Supposedly, someone from that group drowned in the river and was never found, his soul ending up in Purgatory.  As a result, the founders of Purgatory named the initial ski runs at the resort after references associated with "Pugatorio," the second part of Dante Alighieri’s classic allegory, The Divine Comedy—"Pandemonium" and "Hades," for instance, as well as "Paradise," "Limbo," "Demon," "Cherub," and "Styx."

Right Photo: Paul Folwell (Courtesy CSWS)

26 ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙


// HISTORY Purgatory Ski Resort has grown dramatically since its founding. In 2015, celeFirst map of Purgatory (Courtesy CSWS)

brating its 50th anniversary, the resort claimed access to 88 runs at the rate of 15,050 skiers per hour. Ten lifts were in service, including the recently installed high-speed "six-pack" and one high-speed quad, along with four triple chairlifts, three double chairlifts, and one "Magic Carpet" for beginning skiers. Purgatory now comprises 1,605 skiable acres. One-fifth of the mountain, or 250 acres, is available for artificial snow-making, including the full length of the Pandemonium run down to the resort base. 20 percent of Purgatory’s ski runs are rated for beginners, 45 percent for intermediate skiers, and 35 percent for advanced skiers. Twenty-six percent of the runs are "black diamonds";  85 runs are open to snowboarders.

Carving up a slice of snow... Wedging between two aspen... Manhandling moguls... Racing over frozen scree... Skiing is the epitome of free. Catering to families is one of the most important considerations at Purgatory.  Programs and classes are available for all ages, including the Snowburners program in "Burton Riglet Park" for children three-to-seven years of age; the "All-Terrain Pioneers" program for skiers seven through 17 years of age; and the "Free@Last" program for those 13-to-17 years old. Of course, there are also a variety of men’s and women’s clinics for adults. Probably the most notable addition to the resort is Purgatory Lodge—part of a 50-million dollar base area investment—providing ski-in/ski-out accommodations with a private dining facility and family area, the Pinnacle Residence Club, a ski concierge, a full fitness facility, a spa, an outdoor pool, a waterslide, and a cascading hot tub. Purgy’s, an indoor/outdoor restaurant and lounge, is located on the main floor of the lodge. Also located in the lodge is the luxurious Durango Mountain Club, offering panoramic multi-story windows with views of the snow-capped Twilight Peaks, a massive stone fireplace, and a continental breakfast buffet. Moreover, you can enjoy access to a workout in the fitness center, a massage at the spa, a soak in the hot tub, or a swim in the heated pool—with waterslide and water jets for the kids. Keep the kids entertained with video games in the family game room, while you shoot some pool. Watch a movie or gather with friends in a conversation nook or have drinks and appetizers in the club lounge.

Mom and Dad lounging in front of the fire after a day of hard skiing... Wood smoke in the air... Laughter echoing throughout the room... The children’s cheeks as red as apples... Steam still lifting from their snowsuits... A scene as sweet as hot chocolate. For all the latest information about Purgatory, check out their website, EXPLORE LOCAL ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙ 27

explore // DURANGO


By Melissa Youssef

where everyone else vacations

My husband and I moved our family to Durango in 1997, in search of a beau-

and contribute their ideas, skills, brainpower, and muscles. I’ve appreciated each and

tiful, healthy, and soul-nourishing place to work and play and raise our three

every one of these experiences. I've served alongside many wonderful people who

children. We’re as thrilled with Durango today as we were during that first year

have become dear friends. They have helped shape my concept of community.

of delighted discovery! I also enjoy the many festivals and cultural events Durango hosts throughout the When asked what I most love about living in Durango, I feel, for a few seconds at

year. There’s no excuse for any resident of Durango to ever be bored or get ‘cabin

least, tongue-tied. It’s not that I can’t come up with an answer—it’s that there’s so

fever.’ Durangoans are active and ready for fun at the drop of a hat! And there is

much I love about Durango that it’s hard to know where to begin!

always fun on the Durango events calendar. If I had to describe Durango in ten words or less, ‘fun’ would be one of those words!

I appreciate our four distinct seasons—autumn hillsides glowing red, yellow, and orange, and white winter landscapes with heavily flocked pine trees. It makes me

I enjoy dining out and there are so many great options in Durango. Local lore

happy to glimpse the first spring bulbs pushing through the thawing ground and

says that Durango likely has more restaurants per capita than San Francis-

the tender new leaves on trees that have been dormant all winter. I love the roar

co—whether or not that’s true, there’s no doubt that competition is tough and it

of the snow-swollen Animas River and the abundance of multi-colored summer

takes exemplary food and service for restaurants to survive and thrive. We have

wildflowers. I enjoy the smells of each season, too.

remarkable restaurants for a town this size. In fact, we have some remarkable restaurants for a town of any size!

Some of my favorite local activities are hiking Skyline, skiing Purgatory and mountain biking in Horse Gulch—these activities are always a treat with my

The sun shines over 300 days per year in Durango. Spectacularly bright stars

husband, Jim, and with my kids when they’re home from college—and they’re a

light our nighttime skies. Dramatic, postcard-perfect vistas can be seen around

wonderful excuse to get together with my friends who enjoy the same activities.

almost every corner. People from all over the world post photos on Facebook and Twitter of mountains, valleys, and lakes we Durangoans know well. Jim and

When we moved to Durango, I determined to jump right into serving my new com-

I often comment on the fact that we live where everyone else wants to vacation.

munity. Durango provides endless rewarding opportunities for residents to pitch in

How very fortunate we all are!

Melissa with her husband, Jim.

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook! @explorelocal_dgo

28 ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙


explore // ART

By Beth Lueck Stewart

With its inspiring natural landscape, close proximity to the art mecca of Santa Fe, and a dynamic group of creative locals, Durango’s art scene is robust enough to rival that of any major city. Whether you’re looking for authentic Southwestern art, beautiful locally-made jewelry, or something bright, hip and completely out of the ordinary, Durango’s art galleries have something for all. Durango is home to ten galleries, each with its own unique style and offerings. The best way to discover them all is to spend a day walking through each as you stroll along our beautiful historic Main Avenue. You’ll find that many of the artists themselves will be regularly available at each gallery, and are always eager to share more about their work.


explore // ART Use this guide to learn more about each of Durango’s unique galleries, and prioritize which to add to your must-visit list while exploring our corner of Southwest Colorado! Azul Gallery: This multimedia art gallery

unique jewelry and one-of-a-kind wedding

features beautiful, large wall pieces, amazing

rings. Housed in a remodeled historic building

glasswork, and unique, handmade jewelry with

just two doors down from the Durango Wel-

a modern flair. Featuring over 40 local, nation-

come Center, the gallery itself is a work of art,

al, and international artists, Azul has a won-

with its bright artwork on the walls, tin ceilings,

derfully eclectic mix of art that you can easily

and modern jewelry cases. Stop in to create a

immerse yourself in. Be sure to check out an

custom piece of jewelry that will be the perfect

Azul-mainstay: wine dispensers made from

piece to return home with. Diane West Jewelry

large natural rocks! The wine bottle sits upside

& Art is located at 820 Main Ave.

down in the rock, and a spigot built directly Earthen Vessel Gallery

into the rock dispenses the wine. Distinctive

Durango Arts Center: Hosting over 20 shows

and unique, Azul is known for these functional

annually in multiple in-house spaces, the

pieces of art—and they must be seen in person!

Durango Arts Center regularly brings progres-

Azul Gallery is located at 781 Main Avenue.

sive and engaging exhibits to the Durango community. Featuring a mix of local and

Toh-Atin Gallery

Earthen Vessel Gallery

30 ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙


Diane West Jewelry & Art: Celebrating eight

national artists, it’s always worth it to walk

years of business in 2019, Diane West Jewelry

through the current exhibits at the Arts Center

& Art is home to a rotating selection of con-

or join in on an educational workshop. To see

temporary, innovative fine art and handmade

upcoming workshops or exhibits, visit www.

jewelry. Specializing in custom work, Diane, or stop by the Arts Center at

West is known locally as the place to go for

802 East 2nd Ave.

explore // ART

Toh-Atin Gallery





“Durango has lots of fun and unique places to shop. My all-time favorite art gallery is Karyn Gabaldon Fine

Durango Rug Company:

Karyn Gabaldon Arts: For nearly 40 years, Karyn Gabaldon

As the weaving tradition slowly disappears throughout

has owned and operated Karyn Gabaldon Arts, showcasing her

the world, we proudly present to you recreations of Native

own contemporary landscapes of the area surrounding Duran-

American style rugs, elegantly handcrafted by tribal families

go, as well as over 40 contemporary jewelers, sculptors, and

in Pakistan. Affordable and practical, they will transform any

metal artists. The gallery also features a collection of antique

room. Perfect for Southwestern, Ranch, Western and moun-

Asian furniture, and the glass art, pottery, sculptures, and jewel-

tain homes. These rugs are made to take on high traffic but are

ry mirror that with a distinct Asian touch you won’t find in any

very easy to care for. Our selection includes all sizes 3’x5' up to

other Durango gallery. Stop into this beautiful bright and open

10’X14'. Custom designs, colors and sizes are available.

space, and chances are you’ll get the chance to chat with Karyn herself about her long career as an artist! Karyn Gabaldon Arts

Earthen Vessel Gallery: At Earthen Vessel Gallery, you’ll

is located at 680 Main Ave.

experience the intersection of fine craft and fine art as you browse their collection of handmade pottery, dinnerware,

Scenic Aperture: Showcasing the art of Durango local and

jewelry, ceramic sculptures, glass, metal, and wall art, and even

internationally-collected nature photographer Frank Comisar,

peaceful and serene

"art-to-wear" (handmade clothing), all created by over 100 local,

Scenic Aperture features fine-art nature photography of the

in her space, it feels

regional, and nationally-known artists from small independent

Four Corners area surrounding Durango. With a beautiful mix

good just being there.

studios. Earthen Vessel also specializes in creating custom

of landscape and wildlife photography highlighting our corner

Her jewelry selection is

handmade ceramic dinnerware sets, from full place settings to

of the Southwest, images are available in all sizes and on differ-

amazing, it’s my go-to

a smaller collection of pieces, meaning you can take home a

ent media types. Scenic Aperture also offers regular photogra-

truly one-of-a-kind memento from Durango! Earthen Vessel is

phy workshops, from half-day photo tours around the area to

located just half a block off of Main Avenue at 115 West 9th St.

more in-depth destination photography workshops. Visit Scenic

Arts. Karen’s paintings are beautiful, it’s so

place in town. Need clothes? No Place Like Home and Eureka are great! Kitchen or

Aperture at 708 Main Ave.

hostess gifts? Urban Market is super fun.” ~Susie Ammann EXPLORE LOCAL ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙ 31

Karyn Gabaldon, right around the bend

Sorrel Sky Gallery

Sorrel Sky Gallery: With a stunning collection of sculpture, paintings, and Southwestern jewelry, Sorrel Sky Gallery opened in Durango in 2002. Now with a second location in Santa Fe, Sorrel Sky has exclusive representation of jewelry

As Durango, Colorado's upscale barbershop, you can sit back, relax and experience the art of grooming, with a twist. There may be more to experience beyond that bookcase. Rumor has it, you can access specialty-crafted cocktails and take a step back in time to the Prohibition if you know just what to say. You can book barber appointments and find the secret password on our website. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to stay in the know!


BOOK ONLINE: BOOKCASEANDBARBER.COM 601 East Second Avenue, Suite B Durango, Colorado 81301



by former U.S. Senator and acclaimed Northern Cheyenne jewelry artist Ben Nighthorse. Additional headliner artists include Star Liana York, Kevin Red Star, Edward Aldrich and local Western painter Jim Rey. Give yourself plenty of time to explore this wonderful gallery, housed in the historic Hogan Building, and be sure to ask a member of the staff to share the amazing story and legacy of Ben Nighthorse. Sorrel Sky is located at 828 Main Ave. Studio & Gallery: Described as "Durango’s progressive artistic think tank," Studio & Gallery is both a modern gallery and a working studio space serving as a gathering place for Durango’s artists and community. Founded in 2010, Studio & Gallery is owned and managed by five local artists, with everything on display made by them or the select group of artists they represent. Rotating monthly exhibitions showcase a unique mix of contemporary work in a wide range of mediums, and Studio & Gallery's small, intimate space is the perfect place to discover something new. Stop in to browse their art and retail space (they have a great selection of fun, unique gifts from the in-residence artists), and strike up a conversation with whoever might be working in the space at the time—all five of the managing artists are regularly in the studio. Studio & Gallery is located at 1027 Main Avenue.

explore // ART Wildshots Gallery: Featuring the stunning nature photography of local photographer Claude Steelman, Wildshots showcases the best of Claude’s award-winning wildlife and landscape photography and his life behind the lens. Capturing everything from polar bears in the Arctic to wild horses in our Southwestern deserts, Claude has traveled the world capturing the beauty of nature for the past 30 years. Published in hundreds of publications (as well as on the tails of three Frontier Airlines planes!) Claude’s work is a gorgeous window into life in the wild. You’ll find Claude in the gallery most days, so be sure to stop in and ask for the stories behind some of his most iconic images. Wildshots Gallery is located at 842 Main Ave. A trip to Durango isn’t complete without exploring our dynamic Durango Arts Center

arts scene. Spend some time getting to know your favorite artists and galleries, and bring home a piece of the artistic side


Toh-Atin Gallery: Established in 1957, Toh-Atin Gallery is Durango’s longest-running gallery

of Durango. There’s something for everyone to fall in love with

and is nationally-recognized as a quality dealer in Native American and Southwest Art.

in our incredible galleries!

Having first begun as traders in Navajo rugs, the family business still specializes in authentic Navajo rugs and weavings, as well as jewelry, katsinas (kachinas), Native American baskets,

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Pueblo, Navajo, and other Native American pottery, original Southwest paintings and


sculpture, and more. Toh-Atin prides itself on the relationships it has made with the artists it represents, and in some cases has been working with the same families for generations. TohAtin is located just half a block off of Main Avenue, at 145 West 9th St.


explore // NIGHTLIFE

By Leslie Carlson

…or, at least, after noon, anyway. If you enjoy quality entertainment and cocktails, you picked the right town! Here’s a sampling of our locals’ favorite haunts.

MUSIC Live music can be found any night of the week, indoors and out, to suit any taste. From ragtime piano in The Diamond Belle Saloon, to local artists performing covers and original work in venues such as The Office Spiritorium, Derailed Pour House, Balcony Bar and Grill, Four Leaves Winery and even Buckley Park, there are plenty of choices for your listening pleasure. Be sure to check out The Rochester Hotel’s Secret Garden Concert Series. This weekly series benefits the local nonprofit community and promotes Durango’s talented music scene.

34 ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙


explore // NIGHTLIFE COCKTAILS If you need a respite from the hustle and Be it craft beer or spirits, local wines, or

bustle of Main Street, Eno Wine Bar is just the

just a cool spot to hang out, Durango has

hideaway you’re looking for. They have a wide

got you covered.

selection of wines from around the world as well as handcrafted cocktails. There is also art on dis-

Durango Craft Spirits offers craft cocktails

play featuring many of our talented, local artists.

made from locally sourced and distilled vodka,

Speaking of hideaways—Durango has its very

moonshine, and bourbon. Stop in for a tasting

own speakeasy, The Bookcase and Barber.

and a few stories about our town’s colorful

This is a real barbershop with a secret entrance

past. El Moro Tavern is a hip bar/eatery that

through the bookcase into the speakeasy. How

also has a link to Durango’s rich history. While

cool is that! The intimate, friendly setting is

sipping on a custom cocktail, be sure to ask

perfect for enjoying a Bookcase Original cocktail

Gatsby’s Regret, a Bookcase Original recipe and and the

about "The Strangest Shootout" that occurred

or a decadent local brew. You’ll need the pass-

second one is the Steinbeck, a classic Jack Rose.

here over one hundred years ago.

word to gain entry, which can be found on their

Gatsby’s Regret: Stranahan’s CO Whiskey~ Lillet Rouge~

website. Hint: look for quotation marks.

Licor 43~ Simple~ Bitters~ Grapefruit Peel

DANCING The previously mentioned concerts in Buckley Park and the Rochester Hotel’s Secret Garden offer great opportunities to get your groove on! But if you’re looking for some lessons or just want to join the local dancers, the Wild Horse Saloon is the place to be. Lessons in different dance styles, from Salsa to Two-Step, are offered Tuesday through Thursday, with dancing to a DJ and karaoke afterward. Live, local bands perform every Friday and Saturday for your listening and dancing pleasure.

Left Photo: Dawn Kast & Kenneth Horne at the Henry Strater Theatre this year at Dancing with the Durango stars.

MIXED BAG Several venues in our small, but cultured city provide a variety of entertainment options. The Durango Art Center, Henry Strater Theater, Community Concert Hall and Animas City Theater all carry a varied schedule. Everything from concerts, stand-up comedy, live theater, local music and art festivals, movies and even broadcasts of National Live Theater and Opera are among the many offerings. All of these facilities have passionate, loyal local supporters and you’ll feel the sense of community when attending a show. This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the entertainment that Durango and the surrounding area has to offer. When you are out and about, ask your bartender, server, or shopkeeper where they like to hang out and experience the local color.

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook! @explorelocal_dgo


s r e e Ch By Lindsay Mattison

There is no shortage of restaurants and bars in this town; in fact, Durango boasts more restaurants per capita than San Francisco! You really can’t go wrong with a drink at any one of them, but the locals know these cocktail spots offer more than just libations. They’re all about the experience, and you can gain a mixology education at most of them if you take the time to chat up the bartender.

11th Street Station was a gas station back in the ‘20s, filling Durango’s vehicles for over 50 years until it shuttered its doors. A few years ago, a father-and-son team restored it to its former glory, creating Durango’s first food truck collective and a home for Ernie’s Bar (an ode to the man who ran the station back in the ‘50s). In addition to their twelve rotating craft beer handles, they have hand-crafted cocktails on tap and a great selection of wine; there’s something for everyone here! You’ll also find over 35 different kinds of conversation-worthy mezcal on the shelves, along with a fine collection of tequila. Belly up to the bar and ask for a taster flight—you’ll definitely learn a thing or two!

36 ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙


explore // COCKTAILS Derailed Pour House is a Durango experience

El Moro Spirits and Tavern is named after

from the moment you walk in. In the winter,

the original inhabitants of the building: the

you can cozy up to the wood-burning fireplace

El Moro Saloon, one of 21 saloons registered

on one of their plush leather chairs, and the

to Downtown Durango in 1903 and the site

windows open up in the summer to breathe fresh

of "Durango’s Strangest Shootout" in 1906.

air throughout the lounge-style bar area. Relax on

As soon as you walk in, you’ll feel at home

the outdoor patio with its firepit-lined tables, or

with the brick-lined walls, mason jar-covered

hang out inside at the authentic 1890s mahogany

chandeliers, and the veritable library of booze

bar. They have live music on most nights, and

behind the wall. In fact, they have so many

they even have dueling pianos from time to time!

bottles, the bartenders need to climb a rolling

No matter where you chill, make sure to grab a

ladder to get to it all! You’ll find a fun twist on

Kentucky Kampfire—a rich-and-spicy rye cock-

the classics here, along with a collection of

tail served tableside under a cloche, which traps

homemade bitters, syrups, and liqueurs, like

the aromatic smoke inside—or try one of their

the triple sec they use in their margaritas. They

house-made Porthole infusions.

even make their own tonic water and maraschino cherries! The menu changes seasonally,

Durango Craft Spirits opened its doors in 2015,

but don’t be afraid to start out with a shot of

becoming Durango’s first grain-to-glass distillery

Fernet Branca—they sell so much, they have it

since Prohibition. They mash, distill, and bottle all

on nitro tap! The Bookcase & Barber is not your average barbershop; it’s also

their spirits on-site, using only regional Colorado grains. All of their cocktails have a story, and

Eno Wine Bar and Cocktail Lounge is the

home to Durango’s only speakeasy. You might feel intimidated

each liquor is tied to the history of Durango, too.

place to go if you’re looking for wine, bubbles,

by the floor-to-ceiling bookcase that greets you when you walk

The Soiled Doves vodka is named after the ladies

and small plates enjoyed in an intimate setting.

into the tiny shop, but as soon as you utter the secret password,

of the night that helped shape Durango, while the

They have an incredible wine selection served

the door swings open to reveal a dimly lit, Great Gatsby-in-

award-winning Mayday Moonshine pays tribute

up inside a contemporary lounge. It’s light and

spired bar. You’ll find 100-year-old sheet music on the walls

to the prohibition-era moonshiners who hid their

bright inside while still maintaining a cozy feel.

and plenty of comfortable chairs and couches. They’re making

stills in La Plata’s Mayday Mine. The recently

It’s a good excuse to wander off Main Street!

boozy, Prohibition-style cocktails here, and the base menu is filled with the classics-done-right, like the perfect Manhattan,

released Cinder Dick Whiskey (a slang railroad term that refers to a railroad detective) rounds out

Eolus is among the many great happy hour

a Hemingway-style Daiquiri, and Vesper martinis. Or, switch

the collection nicely. You can’t go wrong with any

spots in Durango, but we’ll let you in on a little

things up and order from the creative seasonal menu, which

of their Mules or the boozy lemonade, but try the

secret: the $10 Patio Burger is the real deal,

is filled with homemade infusions created from local products

Stella Dempsey for a true Colorado experience;

and you definitely don’t want to miss out! In

whenever possible. If you don’t know the password, ask around

it’s made with local Zuberfizz ginger ale and

addition to their innovative cocktail list, they

town or check out their Facebook, Instagram, or website.

Durango-grown chokecherry jam.

also have an excellent selection of wines. The Office Spiritorium is located inside the historic Strater Hotel. Step inside and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported back to the heyday of the Victorian era! The building was originally built in 1881, and the present-day space is decorated with period pieces, including Tiffany lamps, antique typewriters, financial artifacts, and lush, handmade furniture placed in front of a handcarved fireplace. And then there’s the famous stuffed peacock on the wall—you’ll have to ask the bartender for the story on that one! It’s one of the best places in town to get a martini, and they have an extensive scotch collection, too. If you’re in the mood for wine, don’t be afraid to ask for the adjacent Mahogany Grille’s list to order a nice bottle. Stop by on happy hour to snag a $4 Cosmo and, while you’re there, extend your experience by wandering through the hotel; it’s also a living history museum. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook! @explorelocal_dgo


explore // DINING


By Carmen Drulis

One of the best parts about Durango is being able to enjoy all seasons. One of the best parts of the changing seasons is not only the weather, but also the menu changes at the local restaurants. DOWNTOWN DURANGO 11th Street Station. This has been picked as Durango’s "Best Outdoor" seating, even in the winter.  Enjoy different flavors from six different food trucks: Thai, New American, Mexican, Asian, or Wood Oven Pizza, a full bar, plus a coffee shop at either our indoor or outdoor seating areas.  Do not fret about the weather—11th Street Station is loaded with plenty of heating systems throughout the property.   The Palace Restaurant. A perfect location in the heart of downtown Durango, right in front of the train station.  Enjoy the Victorian-themed restaurant by the cozy fireplace with the spirit of the season surrounding you!  While they have quite the assortment on the menu, a staple is the Chicken and Dumplings with House-made Cranberry Compote.     Francisco’s. One of the oldest establishments in downtown, Francisco’s offers traditional-style Mexican dishes featuring homemade red and green sauces, enchiladas, tacos, burritos, and more.   Carver Brewing. This solar and wind-powered brewpub is the spot to go if you like local hand-crafted beers and tasty breakfast, with fun and fresh creations from the kitchen for all meal periods.  This is a family and price-friendly place to bring your friends or family.  

38 ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙


Carver Brewing

Ore House

DOWNTOWN DATE NIGHT Ore House. How better to warm up than with a bowl of Lobster Bisque or mac and cheese with cheddar, Gorgonzola, and béchamel?  Not to mention the variety in steak and house specialties!  With 55 years under its belt, Ore House is sure to please.   Seasons. With Seasons' open kitchen, you can watch, listen to, and smell the chefs work their magic. Featuring an extensive wine list paired with fine dining, this is a do-not-miss destination in town.  Serving only the best—and local, if possible—from the cheese selection to the Gourmet Burger, and any small or large plate you choose, this is a must-visit destination for any occasion, even if there is none.   Eolus. In this low-lit and comfortable dining room, or on the enclosed rooftop, you can experience New American Cuisine with an Asian flair.  Seafood stew, the pork chop, and the lobster burgers are must-haves on this menu. Eolus

11th Street Station Ore House


explore // DINING

AROUND TOWN Highway 3 Roadhouse. Just a few miles south of Downtown, this is a

Zia’s Taqueria. Take your pick off of a healthy and affordable menu, with daily

must-visit spot and 100% worth the trip. The local Louisiana chef brings Ca-

specials from this fresh-Mex restaurant. Once you order, you get to go through a

jun, Creole and the best Southern cuisine to Durango. Fresh oysters, catfish,

full set-up of meats, veggies, rice, and toppings to make your choice, exactly the

shrimp, crab, tacos and, of course, build your own mac and cheese are just a

way you like it.

few of the tasty treats you will stumble on at this locals' secret dining spot. Pop Sushi. Just north of town, Pop Sushi presents a full Japanese menu, includ12 Serious Texas. We know how to heat up a kitchen with a variety of smoked meats and sausage. We are known for the must-have smoked turkey, which

ing selections from the bar. From sashimi, assorted rolls, ramen and poke bowls, this fun and lively environment is the perfect place to sit back and relax.  

pairs nicely with the homemade cranberry habanero salsa, or our award-winning pulled pork sandwich with our fruity, fiery cherry-chipotle salsa, or our

Sow’s Ear. North of town just five minutes before Purgatory, this is the home of

tender beef brisket you can't help but sink your teeth into—all of which are

fine dining in the southern Rockies. The Sow’s Ear is known for the mountain

smoked to perfection!

hospitality of the staff; the steak; vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free specials; deft, attentive service; homemade desserts; fine wines at fair prices; and the outstanding views of the mountains, cliffs, and forest from the dining room and bar. Refined yet casual, the Sow’s Ear is host to ski bums, second homeowners from the flatlands, tourists, and Durango locals who come up to the Sow’s Ear to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries.   Home Slice. Home Slice features a four-deck stone rotating oven in which to cook your custom or a signature pizza on homemade dough. Sit inside, or people watch outside. It’s just the spot for a quick bite for the whole family and to hang out with friends.

The Palace Restaurant

The Palace Restaurant

11th Street Station

40 ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙


Griegos. This is one of the oldest family-owned restaurants in Durango. You can find traditional Mexican food served lunch and dinner, which is cooked by an established local family. From the smothered burrito with homemade green chili sauce to tacos and everything in between, this is sure to please the palate. CJ's Diner. This is the go-to place for breakfast and lunch. Here you will see the owners smile, whether it be at a table or through the kitchen window. For those of you who like breakfast a little later in the day, CJ's serves it up all day! But do not fret, for those of you who prefer lunch in the morning, it is also served all day!   Follow us on Instagram and Facebook! @explorelocal_dgo 


explore // FAMILY FUN

By Leslie Carlson

After you’ve toured

EXPLORE DOWNTOWN The epicenter of everything Durango is the Strater Hotel,

they do have puzzles and games geared to those younger. They

and it’s definitely a favorite with the locals. You can see a

even rent board games. Another cool spot is the Joyful Nook

gunfight at the Diamond Belle, take a tour to discover many

Gallery. "The Nook" must be visited to be fully appreciated. Part

down the Alpine Slide

hidden compartments in the lobby, and enjoy live music

art gallery, part stationer supply, part hangout, this shop has

at Purgatory, there are

and other kid-friendly shows in the theater. Just check with

unique, handcrafted jigsaw puzzles made from the work of local

the front desk or go to for more info.

artists. Drop in and try your hands at assembling the puzzles on

Mesa Verde, ridden the train, and raced

still tons of kid-friendly ways to enjoy Durango.

42 ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙

display. For the inquisitive thinkers and puzzle solvers, there are many options. Among my family’s favorites is Conundrum

No downtown experience is complete without a stop for ice

Rooms. The rooms are very engaging and are a great team-

cream. Cream Bean Berry serves organic, hand-made, locally

work experience—even bored teenagers soon find them-

sourced ice cream in a variety of flavors. They even have vegan

selves fully involved! The minimum age is 8 years old but

and dairy-free choices. Did we mention that it’s super yummy?


explore // FAMILY FUN TI




PERT NEAR DOWNTOWN Kids love nature and wildlife, so be sure to visit the Durango

many major east coast cities! Be sure to visit and give your

Fish Hatchery and Wildlife Museum. The friendly guides will

family an "enlightening" experience.

share interesting facts about local history and the variety of “One of my favorite

mounted wildlife on display. Be sure to bring some quarters to

Up the road a mile, on North Main, is the Durango

purchase fish food to feed the trout and salmon.

Community Recreation Center. This 71,557 square foot

things to do in Durango is hiking. My favorite trails are Animas Mountain Trail and Spud Lake Trail. Hiking in Durango gives me

facility has a full aquatics center with an indoor slide, game Just to the west and north of downtown is the Powerhouse

room, two-court gymnasium, and a rock-climbing wall along

Science Center. This hands-on, interactive museum is located

with numerous other features. Daily rates are available as

in what once was one of the earliest operating power plants in

well as punch cards for visitors who plan an extended stay

the country—Durango had street lights operated by A/C before

in the area.

the opportunity to see the magnificent mountains, rivers, lakes, and wildlife in the area.” ~ Molly Best 12 years old

AND BEYOND For a truly local experience, get off the sidewalks and onto the

half-day and full-day rates. Many city parks are located along

Animas River Trail. This paved trail runs approximately 7

the trail. Some have playground equipment and others offer

miles along the river through the length of Durango, starting at

lovely resting spots with benches and picnic tables.

32nd Street on the north end. The trail is perfect for a short walk to enjoy the beautiful sights and sounds of nature and is easily

Since you have that rented bicycle anyway, your brood may

accessed from downtown and North Main. Local bike shops

enjoy giving mountain trail riding a try. There are numerous

offer bike rentals for adults and children for the more adven-

trail systems that are located right in town. The bike shop staff

turous explorer. Pedal the Peaks is located downtown and has

is very knowledgeable and will steer you in the right direction. These trails are great for hiking also. EXPLORE LOCAL ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙ 43

explore // FAMILY FUN D Chuckwagon, a tradition for locals as well as visitors. After your chuckwagon-style supper, The Bar D Wranglers provide a show filled with music and comedy sure to please all ages. 11

The James Ranch Market and Grill is a must-stop if you want to experience delicious food, great views, and a ranch atmosphere. Take a self-guided walking tour or play with kid goats while you wait for your meal served by the Grill, which is made from organic ingredients that are produced on the ranch as well as sourced from multiple local farmers. The Market carries all the products produced on the ranch including 100% grass-fed beef, artisan cheese made from our own grass-fed only dairy cows, pastured pork, golden yolk farm eggs, and freshly picked organic produce from all local farmers along with much more. Durango, as well as the surrounding area, is a true adventure-land with

Fishing is another way to enjoy the great outdoors. Stop into any of the out-

innumerable activities for your family’s enjoyment, both indoors and out.

doorsy looking shops such as Gardenswartz, located downtown. The friendly

Stop in and visit with the helpful staff at the Durango Welcome Center,

folks there will guide you to the best places to fish and sell you a license. Only

ask a local, or look for a Downtown Ambassador—all will be more than

family members 16 and over are required to have a fishing license. Hop back in

happy to help.

the car and take a ride up to the Animas Valley for dinner and a show at The Bar

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook! @explorelocal_dgo

44 ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙




You will love coming home.

With 300 days of sunshine and all four seasons, it’s no wonder so many people want to relocate and build a home in Southwest Colorado. No matter if you stay in Historic Downtown Durango or venture out to the surrounding communities, access to a backyard of vast public lands creates a playground for all ages. But building a custom home in Southwest Colorado can be overwhelming, especially if you aren't familiar with the local terrain, restrictions, and codes. You will need a local building partner willing to hold your hand throughout the entire process. Veritas Fine Homes personalizes the home-building process to ensure that you get the best possible result for your budget and lifestyle. And they start at the very beginning, so you don't have to start alone. When you are out looking for the perfect property for your mountain home, the team at Veritas offers to come along for the ride. Following a long line of carpenters and possessing 30 years of experience, the owner of Veritas, Troy Dyer, has carefully constructed a team that builds homes on a foundation of trust, transparency, and traditional values. In addition to various college degrees and formal industry education, each project manager at Veritas holds years of hands-on experience and can speak from the trenches of construction. Whether it's a hard truth about the potential cost of a build at a particular site or an honest opinion on a design detail, the Veritas team's generous communication style and early input prevents design flaws, saving time and money. Kelly, a first-time home builder, can attest to this approach, "Veritas was kind enough to spend time with us reviewing our plans and giving us a builder's perspective before we even agreed to use them." @veritasfinehomes


“Veritas was kind enough to spend time with us reviewing our plans and giving us a builder’s perspective before we even agreed to use them.”

46 ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙



DESIGN + BUILD PHOTO CREDIT // Christopher Marona Photography

The intimate kick-off process at Veritas makes all the difference. Troy and his

tradesmen and confident management of your delicate budget. Veritas mitigates

team help you assess whether your vision can be made possible before you

the headache of your construction site by creating a mutually caring process

purchase the property, before you go too far down a road that won't suit you. Is

based on trust from the very first conversation through move-in.

the lot efficient for the way you intend to use it? Is there space for that garden you always wanted? Do you expect a lot of visitors? Do you enjoy the outdoors

The custom home-building process should be enjoyable and exciting, and the

or entertaining? Will the kids be home for much longer? Will the kids visit often,

Veritas team prides themselves in delivering on that. Caroline in Bayfield vouch-

with kids of their own? All of these questions, and more, will help guide the site

es, " I have done several homes in the past, and NO builder has been a greater

development and the home's unique design.

pleasure to work with!" If you are new to the area and interested in building a custom home, Troy recommends researching and interviewing local profession-

Veritas approaches your new home as their own. With the goal of providing the

als. Ask around town. Find a team that you feel comfortable handing the reins

best value for your investment, Troy and his team analyze your lifestyle needs,

to, so you can sit back and watch the magic happen.

square footage requirements, and design aesthetic, and build a custom team to collaborate on your build.

Not ready to build from the ground-up? Want to make good use of an existing structure on your property? Need a complete home makeover or revitaliza-

In-house designers can pigeon-hole your vision, which is why this local firm

tion of your historical property? Wondering what improvements you could

does it differently. Veritas understands that you want a special place that reflects

make to transform your space efficiently? Call Troy at Veritas to talk through

your style and taste. Leaning on their solid relationships with trusted interior

your vision. He'll point you in the right direction and offer honest feedback

design and architectural firms, Veritas builds a custom team that suits your per-

on your next steps.

sonality, lifestyle, and budget, not theirs. Veritas Fine Homes has been building custom homes and remodeling With self-imposed high standards, you don't have to worry about the quality of

luxury homes since 1992 and is honored to be ranked as the #1 Home

the end result either. By limiting the number of active projects, the Veritas team

Builder in Durango and throughout Southwest Colorado by Visit

guarantees exclusive attention on your project, ensuring the best work from local or call Troy directly at 970-398-30II.



explore // SHOPPING





“My favorite place to shop in Durango is definitely Lively. Everyone who works there is so sweet and helpful. They have such an awesome variety of things to buy from soap to clothes.” ~ Emma Bryant

By Deanne Sheer

Welcome to the historic, picturesque town of Durango, CO. The vast majority of our days are sunny, the locals are warm and welcoming, and the skies are Colorado blue. While taking in the natural beauty, there is also the town’s historic architecture to enjoy, which houses many fine eateries, boutiques, galleries, and specialty shops. The town draws talent from all over Colorado and you will find many local artisans and designers represented in our retail shops.  

48 ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙


explore // SHOPPING I come from a retail family; my father owned women’s clothing stores in five different states. While I never thought I had any "fashion sense," I’ve been told I have a knack for putting outfits together. Durango does not have a traditional mall, but one can find what they need. When I am on the hunt for a special item of clothing or an accessory, my first stop is Lively. 3

Lively is located at 809 Main Avenue. Not only can you find designer labels at a very reasonable price, Johnna (owner) stocks handmade soaps, handbags, scarves, journals and a wonderful selection of jewelry. The store is well laid out and inventory is easy to peruse. I have purchased many unique gifts for my girlfriends’ birthdays and as keepsakes to remind them of their visit to Durango. Across the street at 820 Main Avenue is Diane West Jewelry and Art.  Not only is Diane a gifted designer, but she also knows how to find talent.  Her gallery showcases over ten different jewelry designers as well as painters, both local and nationally known.  Each necklace or pair of earrings I have purchased from Diane gets lots of wear and many compliments. I love the feel of her gallery.  Each designer’s work is well displayed in their individual cases so you get a sense of their own unique style and craftsmanship.


So, where can one buy a custom piece of furniture, fun barware, kitchen tools, whimsical décor and memorable gifts? Drop in to Urban Market at 865 Main Avenue and talk with any of the friendly, helpful staff. Men’s grooming accessories, locally-made jewelry, kitchen towels that make you laugh-cry and the essential lip balm are all there for the taking.   There’s No Place Like Home at 822 Main Avenue has something for everyone. Unique gifts, clothing, jewelry, handbags and scented candles are just a few of the items they carry. This is a great place for locals to shop and bring their friends from out of town to obtain a fun souvenir or piece of clothing. One of my favorite tees was purchased here and I always receive a comment (and a smile) when I wear it!


explore // SHOPPING





“Shopping locally gives me a warm fuzzy feeling because I see familiar people in the shops. The quality and customer service is great. I love to see, smell, touch and try on it is way better then shopping on line.” ~ Erin Hughes

Brown’s Shoe Fit and Brown’s Sport Shoes offer a comprehensive selection of shoes for all uses. The staff’s knowledge about the product lines they carry and how to fit shoes correctly and tailor your needs to Durango’s diverse surroundings is unmatched.  My family shops at the sport store for our running shoes, winter boots and summer sandals. They carry Merrell, Clarks, Ugg, New Balance, Hoka, Sorel and Saucony, just to name a few.  Brown’s Shoe Fit carries both fashion and work boots, dress and casual shoes, hiking boots and sandals.  Some of the recognizable designers are Dansko, Teva, Keen and Frye. Gardenswartz is a must-stop for anything outdoors. The store has been in existence since 1928. I went into one of their two stores and talked with Dave and Shep. These knowledgeable gentlemen can help you with anything from obtaining a fishing or hunting license to selecting the appropriate hunting gear and outfitting your children in designer (Carhartt) outdoor clothing. They have a huge selection of knives and firearm optics. Just across the street and up a few doors is their sister store, which features ultralight backpacking and camping gear, tents, shoes, casual and mountaineering clothing, cross-country skis, climbing gear and higher-end sunglasses. Gardenswartz is located at 780 and 863 Main Avenue.  

50 ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙


lively is a contemporary, yet down to earth ladies boutique highlighting local jewelry artists and eco-friendly fashion. This fun and feminine boutique is located in the heart of Durango, Colorado.

Lastly, if you’re looking for a souvenir t-shirt, sweatshirt or hat, you have a lot

“Came in here on my vacation and the ladies that work there were so nice and helpful. Left with a really comfortable and stretchy pair of jeans and a cute t-shirt. If I had more time I would have probably left with a lot more” Ari Brown

of options. Half-Price Tees, Out of the Blue, Shirt Off My Back and Durango T-shirt Company will have what you seek. One of the beautiful things about Durango, in my humble opinion, is you will not be gauged at the register. So, come one, come all and shop your heart out in beautiful, historic Durango, Colorado.

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

809 Main Avenue | Durango, Co 81301 970.247.1982 |



explore // WINTER

w inter photography tips with iPhone By Hank Blum

Winter in Colorado offers endless opportunities for photography. It can change normally blasé, unexciting landscapes into magical and surreal snow-covered wonderlands. Winter used to be the time when I would pack my camera away, but not anymore. It’s also a season that’s more challenging to photograph. In this article, I’m sharing my six tips for taking stunning winter photos on your iPhone.

52 ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙


explore // WINTER

1. BUNDLE UP This might seem obvious. Traveling and adventuring in Southwest Colorado in the winter requires advanced planning. There is no photo worth hypothermia and getting frostbitten. Plan your outing, do not overexert yourself, and have a plan for getting warm at the end of your adventure. Being prepared for the cold will make for a far more enjoyable experience. Most importantly, always tell someone where you are going. Seriously, grab your phone and text somebody. Don’t be stupid. Having layers of clothing and a waterproof jacket is a must. Take a hat, scarf, and some really good boots. Make sure you always have an extra pair of socks. There is nothing worse than having wet feet after trudging through the snow all day. Operating a camera with gloves is a serious challenge. Fingerless gloves or touchscreen gloves (yes, they exist) are ideal as they will keep your hands toasty while still allowing you the dexterity to operate your camera. 2. PROTECT YOUR IPHONE If you want to take beautiful winter photos, you have to know that iPhones and cold weather are not the best of friends. First, only take your iPhone out of your pocket when you’re ready to take some pictures. Cold conditions will not only drain your iPhone’s battery fast but if it gets too cold, it can shut down or have permanent damage. You don’t want to miss out on the shots because your phone isn’t working. Second, condensation on the lens occurs when your iPhone goes rapidly from a cold environment to a warm environment. So, keep your iPhone in your pocket, but don’t keep it too close to your body. Too much heat will cause your lens to fog up. I suggest putting your iPhone in an outer pocket. If you see small droplets of water, wipe them away. And if you ever feel like your pictures are looking blurry, check the lens!


explore // WINTER



Yes, it might be cold, wet, and miserable but as long as it is safe, it is usually

Shoot brighter than what you normally would. Exposure is the level of brightness

worth stepping out of your comfort zone and getting outside. Whiteouts and

in a scene. And in most cases, the best exposure is the one that leaves the most

snowstorms offer great opportunities for photographers. Some of my favorite

detail in the photo. This is a tip that is particularly useful when there’s a whiteout

winter photos have been captured in "bad" weather when I wanted to be at home

or snowstorm, and it can result in some interesting pictures.

on the couch in front of the fireplace with a warm coffee or hot chocolate. When you’re photographing snow, your iPhone detects the bright white enviA fresh snow-covered landscape is astonishingly beautiful. That means that

ronment. It exposes for the whiteness—but, in order to compensate for such

people haven’t walked through and disturbed the winter wonderland. One of my

an extreme color, it darkens the image. In other words, when you photograph

favorite things to photograph is undisturbed trails and pristine scenes with no

snow, your iPhone makes the snow too dark. So, you will have to brighten your

footprints. Plus, if you go out while it’s snowing, the snow is fresh and you can

winter photos.

photograph snowflakes. Capturing snowflakes falling makes for magical photos. Make sure to take a few photos because large snowflakes can obstruct your lens

To do this, turn on your camera to take a photo of snow. Look at the screen. Does

and ruin your photo.

everything look a bit too dark? If so, tap on the screen. You’ll see a yellow square appear where you tapped. Swipe your finger up. When you do this, the scene will


brighten. This is because you’re manually exposing for the scene. Then take your

I love to experiment with black and white in the winter. I find that black and

photo. Of course, you should always check the iPhone screen before shooting.

white processing helps break down the starkness of a snow-filled scene. Color

Make sure that you’ve exposed the photo in a way that you are happy with.

can often distract or become lost within the vastness of the white snow. Simple scenes often work well with strong blacks while more intricate, detailed scenes

You don’t want to brighten up the scene too much or you’ll lose detail in the whites

don’t need as much contrast.

of the scene. Learn to expose properly and you will create some stunning images.

54 ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙


6. GET CLOSE My final tip is to use your legs to get close to your subject. Find an interesting winter subject such as ice crystals, twigs, dead leaves, and berries. These make for excellent close-up images. When you are shooting close up, focus manually on your subject. Simply tap the element of the photo that you want the camera to focus on. A yellow square will appear around your finger, and your iPhone will make sure that part of the image stays sharp. When you get close to your subject, your iPhone will blur out the background, which will make your subject pop. A good close-up image forces the viewer to pause. These new iPhones can focus quite close. It is actually amazing. iPhone photography looks really simple but, as you will learn, it can be challenging. There are quite a few tricks and techniques you can use to improve your iPhone photos. Once you really understand iPhone photography, you’ll be taking photos that nobody will believe were shot with an iPhone!

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook! @explorelocal_dgo



Photo Credit: Dylan Stucki

explore //

Experience Backcountry Skiing In 1880, the first beginnings of Durango were forming with the construction of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Initially,

Photo Credit: Cameron Baird

By Stephan Davoust

the train was built for the transportation of precious metals from Silverton, but it soon became in high demand as people began to talk about the spectacular views. It’s these views and the accessibly to nature that continue to bring people into Durango. They come for the rafting, mountain biking, fishing, and hiking in the summer. As seasons transition so do the sports, and summer activities make way for snowmobiling, Nordic skiing, downhill skiing, and backcountry skiing.

in 2001 when I was dragged along in a move to Durango. At the time I was 6 years old and had not experienced many outdoor activities. Slowly, I started to get more involved as my peers led the way to newfound hobbies of cycling and skiing. Now, 18 years later, I find myself still living in Durango, and what started as a hobby has become my profession. I race mountain bikes for the Giant Factory Off-Road Team, and when the snow starts flying in Durango I transition to my second favorite sport of backcountry skiing. I may not have a contract in the ski world that pays bills, but my cycling career runs from March–November. So, getting some time for myself to play in the San Juan mountains is essential.

56 ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙


Photo Credit: Dylan Stucki

I was first introduced to this Durango lifestyle

After a couple years of this routine of summer cycling and winter skiing, I have found that they complement each other better than I could have ever imagined. In the cycling world, most other top-level athletes start training in December for


the upcoming season by riding long miles so that they are fit for the first races come March. Instead of having this very one-track mindset around cycling, I enjoy switching it up. I put the bike away, wax up my skis, and escape to the winter wonderland the San Juan Mountains offer. I’ve found that the long ski days, hiking around at 13,000 feet elevation, drastically improve my cardiovascular system, while still maintaining the core and leg strength that I work so hard to build during the bike race season. There is also the mental refresh that skiing has to offer from the cycling season. We all know how boring it can be to do the same thing day in and day out, even if it is something that we love. Being able to completely turn my mind away from cycling to skiing makes me constantly excited for the adventures that come with both. Backcountry skiing offers the best opportunity for exploration in the San Juans—there are no trails to follow and very few limitations on skiable areas. Unlike cycling, where you are restricted to trails and not allowed into the wilderness zones, backcountry skiing opens the door to new unexplored areas that would otherwise be inaccessible via bike. However, the limiting factor for backcountry skiing is the danger of avalanches. Avalanches are imminent everywhere in the backcountry and threaten skiers every year. This is part of the excitement—choosing smart routes through the high mountains and being able to assess the quality of snow and make good choices. This danger keeps you on your toes and gets the adrenaline pumping. The danger all pays off as new views are discovered and untouched powder fields await fresh tracks. Nothing beats the feeling of hiking for hours through the most beautiful mountains, then standing on top of a peak knowing that all the hard work to get up is about to pay off with smooth buttery turns all the way to the bottom. Some of my favorite views around Durango are just north in the San Juan Mountain range. These mountains are rugged yet blissful, and so inviting with their remarkable beauty. Hiking up to the flats of Engineer Mountain provides

For the past 25 years, the team at the Rochester Hotel—led by the mother-son owners, Diane Wildfang and Kirk Komick—has been devoted to the development of Second Avenue and the Durango community as a whole. The Rochester brand has been built by providing unforgettable experiences, personalized service, and genuine care—resulting in lasting relationships in the region.

close access, with views deep into the Needles mountain range. On a clear day, the town of Durango shimmers through all the snowy goodness 30 miles south. Another one of my favorite areas to ski is in Deer Park, nestled behind Kendal mountain just four miles east of Silverton. This area is so remote that you are almost guaranteed to be the only one up there. Â There are many places in this country that experience all four seasons, which gives the inhabitants the opportunity to participate in many sports. However, Durango stands above these other destinations due to the accessibility of trails and rivers in the summer, and the unbelievable skiing opportunities as the snow starts flying. So, what are you waiting for? Come explore all of the top-notch backcountry adventures Durango has to offer.

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook! @explorelocal_dgoÂ

COWORKING SPACE • EVENTS 734 2nd Ave, Durango • 970-422-1285

      EXPLORE LOCAL ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙ 57




Cutting down a Christmas tree

Tell us about your family. Marie Voss-Patterson, 40, principal at Park Ele-

What had you heard about Durango before you moved here? Since I grew up

mentary; Jeremy Voss, 42, principal at Escalante Middle School; Sofia Voss, 12,

in Durango, I was very familiar with the community. We wanted to raise our

student at Escalante; Caden Voss, 9, student at Park.

children in a community that had a college, river, and easy access to trails, as well as an educational system that was innovative. Durango met the criteria.  

How long have you lived in Durango? I (Marie) grew up in Durango and moved


in 1997 to the Front Range. In 2002, Jeremy and I moved to Glenwood Springs in

Is there anything that surprised you or that was unexpected when you

the Roaring Fork Valley, and our family moved to Durango in 2015.

moved here? I left Durango in 1997 and when I returned I was floored by the growth.   Skyridge, Three Springs, Home Depot, all that did not even exist in

What brought you here/why did you move here? We moved to Durango for

1997. I knew there were a lot of trails from when I visited, but to actually experi-

the community and the schools, as well as the outdoor activities that are so

ence them all was complete joy.

prevalent in the area. My husband and I are both principals in Durango 9R, Park Elementary and Escalante, and we were fortunate enough to find jobs that

What do you like to do as a family on the weekend? Our family loves to climb

centered around an EL Education approach, which is our passion.

mountains, mountain bike, run, and ski on the weekends.  

58 ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙



San Juan Backpacking Trip

Gold Bar Trail

LaPlata Mountains

Molas Lake

Where do you like to go on a date night? We like to go to Ken and Sues for dinner, and watch a play from the production team, Merely Players, when we go out on the town.   It’s a rainy day—what do you do as a family around town? On rainy days, we like to visit the local shops, especially Maria’s bookstore and Urban Market.  We also like to go out to lunch—Grassburger and Zia’s are family favorites.   Kids, what do you like to do in the mountain, river, and lakes? As a family, we like to hike, climb mountains, and paddle board.  We like to innertube in August from 32nd street to 9th street.   My son loves to fish at Haviland Lake and watch the Osprey dive for fish.   Where is the best place to watch the sunrise and sunset? The rim trail at Fort What trails are your favorites? We love the LaPlata Mountains.  Madden Peak

Lewis College is a great place to watch the sunset and the sunrise. The top of

and Sharkstooth trail are all easy climbs that get you into alpine tundra in a rel-

Skyline has phenomenal views of the sunrise and the sunset as well.

atively short amount of time. We also love Skyline for the views and the access to Horse Gulch.  

What is the place you go where you feel most like a local? We feel most like a local on the Rim Trail.  We love looking at the LaPlata Mountains. Very few

Are there any day trips you would recommend to someone visiting the

people climb the mountains in the area and when we are on the rim trail looking

area? Silverton is a great area to visit for the day. Ice Lakes and Columbine

at the mountains, we name the ones we have climbed—10 so far. We also love

Lakes are gorgeous trails that are filled with wildflowers in the late summer and

looking at the quaint town.

are easily accessed when visiting Silverton. We also like to visit Sand Creek by Cortez to see ruins that are close by. You can hike the ruins and then bike Phil’s

If you had one recommendation of a little-known "locals" spot to visit,

World. Pagosa Hot Spring is a great trip as well.  We will often hike along the

what would it be? Turtle Lake Cafe is open for lunch and is a delightful restau-

Pine River and then hit the springs for the afternoon.

rant with Farm to Fresh food. If you are visiting when Merely Players has a production, it is worth every penny to watch local theatre with highly gifted

Where is the best place to learn about the area and the history of the area?

Durango talent.

The Strater Hotel feels like you are stepping back into time. We often go and look at the artifacts from the late 1800s. The Animas Museum is a nugget of information, and of course, Mesa Verde is a true local gem to learn about Indigenous tribes from the area.

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook! @explorelocal_dgo


explore // BREWERIES

Ska Brewing Taster Tray (Photo courtesy of Ska Brewing)

By Lindsay Mattison

If you’re a craft beer lover, you’re in luck: Durango boasts an impressive number of breweries and brewpubs considering we’re a town of only 18,000 people! You may want to time your visit during San Juan Brewfest when it’s easy to sample all of Durango’s brews in one fell swoop. Otherwise, you’ll have to stop by each pub to try them all. You can plan your visits in any order, but my favorite way involves hopping on a bike and cycling along the gorgeous Animas River Trail. Talk about a great way to see the town while working off all the beer you’re about to drink! Always be sure to drink responsibly, and order up an Uber or snag a designated driver if bicycling isn’t in the cards. Don’t worry if you can’t decide what to drink once you get there; every brewery offers a sampler tray! 60 ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙


explore // BREWERIES

Carver Brewing: I love starting the crawl at Carver Brewing because they have a fantastic breakfast menu and their weekend brunch is one of my regular stops. They’re also the oldest brewpub in Durango and the second in the state—the Carver brothers turned their bakery into a brewpub in 1988, just months after Wynkoop opened theirs in Denver. Over the years, Carver Brewing has really helped lay the foundation for the beer culture found in Colorado, lending their assistance to open many other breweries. They continue trendsetting today, heating their restaurant and water via solar power and using 100% wind-powered electricity. But their history isn’t the only reason to stop by. Walk through the front doors, and you’re surrounded by brick walls, wooden ceilings, and a copper-lined bar; it all comes together to make you feel like you’ve entered a cozy neighborhood pub. In the summer, the front windows open up to allow the cool breeze to blow through the restaurant. Grab a stool at the front bar and enjoy the fresh air, or wander your way through the corridor to the back bar. Take a peek at the brew room as you continue towards the brightly-lit patio space. The green and wood décor give it a real English pub vibe, and the shade sails cover most of the tables so you won’t bake in the sun out here. Drinking among the hop-trellised fences really puts you in the right mood for this crawl—especially when you check out the decorative bikes hanging up everywhere (including one labeled the "Biggest Bike Ever"). You can’t go wrong with anything on their breakfast, lunch, or dinner menus—most of the ingredients are sourced farm-totable style from local farms. In addition to their flagship beers, they also brew Belgian-style ales and fall, summer, spring, and winter seasonal releases. Whether you’re drinking or not, make sure to give their homemade root beer a try; it’s super flavorful without being sickeningly sweet. If you loved the beers, you’ll have to pick up a growler to go—they don’t can or bottle anything, so make sure to enjoy it fresh at the source. Now that your belly is full, it’s time to hit the Animas River Trail! Hop on your bike and go to Rotary Park: head north on Main Street before taking a right on 13th Street and a left onto 2nd Avenue. When you reach 15th Street, hit the crosswalk signal and go past Animas Brewing (don’t worry—we’re coming back here next). Exit the trail right after the Durango Mall and movie theater, crossing under Highway 550 and making the long ride up Girard Street to Ska Brewing. It’s a steep climb, but it’ll be worth it once you reach the top! Ska Brewing (Photo courtesy of Ska Brewing)


explore // BREWERIES

Carver Brewing Co.

Ska Brewing: As soon as you pull up to the lot, your Spidey sense will start tingling—this place is where the fun is! The sign out front proudly announces that you’ve reached the Ska Brewing World Headquarters, and a black-and-white checkerboard pattern playfully decorates the enormous building. Even the grain silos are coated with a vibrant layer of paint! They don’t just like to have fun here,

Durango's first live escape room


though; they’re also the largest brewery in town by volume. When they started brewing in 1995, they were located down the road in a smaller facility. As their beers became increasingly popular, they had to upgrade, but rumor has it that they still brew 24 hours a day! When it comes down to it, they’re known for their high-energy, fun atmosphere, which is evident from the moment you step through the doors. Comic book characters cover the walls—the same ones they included in their original business plan—and the tap handles are carved to look like bowling pins. In addition to their flagship beers, you’ll find seasonal releases with some pretty serious cult followings, like winter’s Euphoria Pale Ale and Mexican Logger in the summer-

Great friendly staff & challenging puzzles! 2-6 Players - 60 Minutes - 1 Key Book your reservation today


62 ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙


time. You can buy cans of these beers at the brewery and local liquor stores, but they’re also distributed in 13 states—maybe your hometown! The taproom is worth a visit even if you’ve tried all their canned beer; their 20 taps include exclusive onsite MOD Project brews like experimental beers and sours, which are only available outside the brewery by filling a Crowler. About five years ago, Ska began serving food from the aptly named Container (they built the add-on from re-purposed storage containers). It has a casual foodtruck vibe, but they make my favorite pizza along with some fantastic salads, sandwiches, and daily specials. So grab a beer, a snack, and find a place to sit! If there’s no room inside, never fear: there’s balcony seating upstairs, as well as

Experience ample space at the outdoor beer garden. They’re more than capable of handling large groups and events, and if you happen to be there at 4 p.m., you should definitely sign up for a free brewery tour. You can also check out the events calendar online to see if they’re hosting live music, special pricing, or are having a beer release party. Every Thursday is the Ska BBQ from 5 p.m. to whenever. Can you tear yourself away from this paradise? Yes, because there are two more great stops on our tour! Be careful on your bike down that steep hill and head back down to the River Trail and bike north towards Animas Brewing, which is located right past Buckley Park. Animas Brewing Company: A relative newcomer to the group, Animas started brewing in 2014. They might be located be right off the Main Street drag, but something about the proximity to its namesake river or the trees that surround it give the building a rural feel. Once inside, the modern, wooden décor and the kayaks and boat paddles hanging from the ceiling give the space the feeling of a friend’s cabin. The bar itself is inlaid with a curvy pattern of flat rocks, making a river appear to flow through its center. Hanging out inside gives you a good view of the brewing process—you’re sitting right next to the stainless steel tanks—but the outdoor patio is an absolute must on a nice day. You’ll stay protected by the overhead sun shades, and there’s almost nothing better than enjoying a cold brew while watching the aspen leaves flitter in the breeze. When the train makes its trip to or from Silverton, you get to be part of the experience; it passes right by the patio. You won’t find many experimental beers here, but you will find 12 taps filled with well-balanced, traditional styles like their Riverside Kolsch and Class VI IPA. There are also a few rotating sours and Belgian-style ales, too. When it comes to food, it’s all good because they make it from scratch, including the doughs and condiments. They serve up eclectic, global comfort food, and if you’ve never tried a pastie, today is definitely the day! I’m a huge fan of their pretzel and keg rolls when I’m looking for a quick snack. All in all, it’s a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere. It’s more of an experience than a brewery—a pub that happens to make beer! You could hang here all day,

Rustic Lodge • Western Decor • Mountain Modern

but it’s time to move on to our final stop for the evening. Make your way back to 15th Street and hit that crosswalk signal. For the scenic route, head up to 3rd Avenue and enjoy the historic architecture and tree-lined street for about three-quarters of a mile. Take a right on 8th Street, and your next destination is at the corner of 2nd Avenue.





925 Main Avenue Durango, CO

“Being in the woods brings a certain piece of mind that only nature can give... and occasionally you get strange visitors dropping by your camp.” ~ Ed Aber EXPLORE LOCAL ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙ 63

explore // BREWERIES Steamworks Brewing Company: Walking up from Main Street,

Steamworks Brewing Company

you can’t help but notice the gigantic domed Steamworks sign hanging over the patio, but it’s humble and almost nondescript as you approach it on 2nd Avenue. The building was once home to Pittman Motor Company in the 1920s, but Steamworks has been brewing beer here since 1996. It’s Durango’s largest (and probably busiest) restaurant. It’s a perfect choice for dinner with the family, or drop in for a late-night stop. Their full food menu is available every day until 11 p.m., and they serve up pizzas and calzones until midnight on Thursday to Saturday. Steamworks has more hustle and bustle than any of the other breweries. It’s crowded, it’s loud, and the energy is electric! There are almost always people hanging around the entrance waiting to be seated, but they have so many tables that you never have to wait for long. As you head to the bar, you’ll walk past a pane glass window that describes the brewing process (and

Animas Brewing Company

you may even spy someone brewing beer in the copper tanks inside). The bar area has a dozen televisions with any sporting event you’d like to see, and the tall ceilings with open ductwork and Durango street signs hanging on the walls give the area a unique vibe. The large, wrap-around bar is my favorite place to sit, but the dining areas are family-friendly and able to accommodate large parties if the bar scene isn’t your vibe. No matter where you sit, grab a handful of peanuts (free!) and toss the shells on the floor when you’ve exposed the prize in the middle. When the weather’s warmer, I can’t pass up an opportunity to sit on the covered patio. Ceiling fans help circulate the air, and the space is large enough to have its own bar. They definitely nailed it on the atmosphere, and their beer doesn’t disappoint, either. Most of the servers are Cicerone certified, which means they took a test proving they know their stuff when it comes to beer styles and flavor. Tell them what

You can pick up beer to-go at the brewery—either in cans or growlers—or find it at the local liquor

you like, and they’ll be able to match you to a beer you’ll love

stores. They don’t distribute outside the state, so get your fill now!

from one of the 18 beers on tap (including a few nitro options and an English-style cask pour). In addition to the locals' favor-

Their food is top-notch, too. They have one of the best burgers in town, a nice assortment of

ite award-winning Kolsch, Lizard Head Read, and Third Eye

salads, sandwiches, pizzas, and entrees. There are also plenty of options for the kiddos, and you

Pale Ale, they also have gluten-reduced options and sour beers.

really can’t go wrong with their famous family-style Cajun boil.





Avalanche Brewing

Smugglers Brew Pub

Dolores River Brewing

Golden Block Brewing

Telluride Brewing Company

neighboring towns and check out



J. Fargo’s Family Dining & Micro Brewery

what their breweries have to offer.

Ourayle House Brewery

Bottom Shelf

Main Street Brewery & Restaurant

Take a day trip to any one of these

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook! @explorelocal_dgo


Red Mountain Brewing Ridgeway Colorado Boy

64 ∙ DURANGO, 2020 ∙


WildEdge Brewing Collective

Ouray Brewery Mancos Fenceline Cider

Pagosa Springs

Mancos Brewing

Pagosa Brewing Company Riff Raff Brewing 

Profile for N2 Publishing

Vacation Accommodations of Durango  

Vacation Accommodations of Durango