Durango Magazine - Winter/Springs 2021-22 1

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WINTER /SPRING 2021-22 EST. 1986





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Aaron Ball

Hank Blum

Graham Coffey

Billy Grimes

Margaret Hedderman

Zach Hively

Aaron Ball has worked as a winter outdoor professional for over 20 years, as a ski patroller, ski guide, and avalanche educator. He is a faculty member in FLC’s Adventure Education Department, the owner of Southwest Rescue, an instructor/trainer and professional avalanche instructor for AIARE, and a part-time guide for San Juan Mountain Guides.

Hank is an adventure photographer, videographer, and a well–known Stormtrooper based in Durango, Colorado.

A native of North Carolina, Graham studied journalism at the University of Georgia. A lifelong lover of the outdoors, he was drawn to Durango by the siren call of the San Juans. You can find him hiking with his fiancée, Brooke, and their two dogs, Luna and Belle.

After a 44-year career as a graphic designer working for magazine, corporate, and advertising clients in Texas, Tennessee, and California, Billy moved to Durango to work at Fort Lewis College. Always interested in 3D design, he is now a builder and sculptor. His other interests are music, art, and writing.

Margaret Hedderman writes about rural places, the outdoors, and environmental science. Sometimes she digs into historical stories, like the real King Macbeth or the first woman to raft the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Her work usually takes the form of creative nonfiction, journalism, and the occasional screenplay. She also manages communications and produces a podcast for Startup Colorado, a program through the University of Colorado that supports rural entrepreneurship.

Zach writes nonfiction, poetry, and the award-winning Fool’s Gold column. He also dances Argentine tango and is a member of the alt-folk duo Oxygen on Embers. His latest poetry collection, Wild Expectations, is available from Casa Urraca Press. He teaches online writing workshops and lives happily with his dog.

2 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring Winter/Spring

Sarah Gump

Joy Martin

Brandon Mathis

Elizabeth Miller

Kathleen O’Connor

John Peel

Owen Weber

Long days full of sunshine, water, and wildflowers will occupy most of Joy’s time this summer, but she’s also looking forward to live music and bumping into old friends as events reemerge in Durango. When she isn’t absorbed in sharing the stories of the Four Corners, Joy’s toddling around with her daughter, Jolene, and scheming ways to bike more with her mustachioed huckleberry, Nick.

A longtime area resident, Brandon is passionate about southwest Colorado. He’s been exploring the region’s culture, ecology, and alpine and desert environments for nearly 30 years. “I’m constantly astonished by all there is to discover,” Mathis says, “and what you can do with two days off.” An avid adventurer, he and his wife Bee live close to trails on the edge of town.

Elizabeth Miller has worked and played in the mountains of southwest Colorado for most of her life. An educator in the area for 16 years and a lifelong learner, she holds an MFA in fiction from Spalding University and loves sharing her passion for the written word with the youth of Durango.

Kathleen moved to Durango in 2011, after working as a wildlife biologist specializing in endangered birds and cave invertebrates found around central Texas. When she’s not busy embarrassing her tween-age son by dancing to ’80s tunes around the house, she can be found mountain biking, journaling about “life, the Universe, and everything,” or working her dream job at Maria’s Bookshop.

After a 22-year career with The Durango Herald, in 2015 John established his own business, John Peel’s Life Preserver, to help people write their family and personal histories. When not sitting at a computer, he heads outdoors; in 2020, John authored the fifth edition of Hiking Trails of Southwestern Colorado.

Owen lives for photography, art, music, fitness, and anything adventurous and outdoors. As a junior at Fort Lewis College pursuing a degree in business administration, with a graphic design minor and digital marketing certification, Owen is enjoying all that beautiful Durango has to offer.


WINTER / SPRING 2021-22 • EST. 1986

Volume 36, No. 2 Grumpyhighlander

FEATURES 14 Crooked Carrots

Taking leftover produce to new heights

26 Dog Sledding

Still an adventure at the Durango Dog Ranch

34 Winter Gear

Basic winter equipment

50 Weekend in Durango The art of slowing down

79 Wildfire in Urban Communities Private landowners can join the effort


CONTENTS 6 8 10 20 24 30 33 38 40 43 44 47 48 54 56 66

From the Publisher Excursions Top Picks History: Early Days of the Durango Police Department What’s New in the Four Corners Featured Durango Art Galleries Artist Profile: Bryce Pettit Five Exercises to Stay Healthy this Winter Durango Baristas Silverton Housing Solutions in Silverton Skijoring in Silverton Photo Essay Dining Showcase: Gazpacho Nightlife & Dining Guide Dining Showcase: Primi


70 Durango Dream Home: Reynolds Ash + Associates 76 Durango Kids 84 Home Sweet Home: 2180 Lighting 86 Featured Spas 88 Community Profile: A Shared Blanket 91 Featured Realtors 94 Advertiser Index 95 Local Giving

Brandon Mathis



Matt Payne: Cascade Creek Falls are often visited in summer; however, in winter months they can provide an incredibly ethereal experience. Here, they are encased in frozen majesty beneath a blanket of stars. DISCLAIMER: Every effort was made to confirm event dates/times/ locations at time of publication. Because of potential unforeseen changes due to COVID-19, please confirm prior to attendance.

4 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring


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Permanent Vacation

Wow, what a summer/fall! We played catch-up with family and friends. After not being able to travel for almost a year, they all had one thing on their minds – Durango! And who can blame them? Durango had a record number of visitors in 2021. We hope you were one of those, or at least plan to be in the future! We love when our friends and family take a few days to enjoy Durango, because it also means that we get to share our love of Durango with them: We got to explore the backcountry of Silverton (I think my dad is still recovering from his Alpine Loop journey). And our niece was able to experience Durango for nine days. We took her to a concert at Buckley Park. We drove over the Million Dollar Highway to Ophir Pass, and then over the pass to Telluride. She took the day to go paddleboarding on Lake Nighthorse. And it was nice of her spend the day with our son at Durango Hot Springs. Of course, a trip to Durango isn’t complete without a train ride. So off we went, boarding the train in Rockwood and heading to Soaring Treetop Adventures, where we ziplined from 27 treetops over the Animas River canyon. There is no doubt that our niece will be coming back. It might be because of the job offers she received, but she says she fell in love with Durango! We think our son would say that his favorite part of summer was having a lemonade stand in our neighborhood and then being able to donate the tips to the La Plata County Humane Society. By the time you read this, you will be planning your winter activities (check out our Basic Winter Equipment article and our Five Exercises to Stay Healthy this Winter article). Get out your 2022 calendar to guarantee that Durango is your top destination to visit – again or for the very first time. Or even better, you already live in Durango. Either way, we appreciate your taking the time to read Durango Magazine and supporting the small local businesses that help sustain our community. As always, don’t forget to check out our social media platforms. Send us your photos at #Durangomagazine so we can follow along on your adventures. We would love you to share your hiking, skiing, mountain biking, dining (remember that Durango has more restaurants per capita than San Francisco), Animas Trail, dog park, and all experiences that show your love for Durango!

Publisher/Editor Marianne & Corbet Hoover Design/Production Eric Emerson Account Executives Marianne & Corbet Hoover Photo Editor Lisa Mackey Copy Editor Barbara Scott, Final Eyes Staff Intern Owen Weber Durango Magazine is published twice a year by Durango Magazine LLC. The Summer/Fall 2022 edition publishes in May. P.O. Box 3907 Durango, CO 81302 Phone: (970) 259-2599

DurangoMagazine.com No portion of this publication’s content may be reproduced in any manner without written permission from the publisher. Copyright © 2021-22 by Durango Magazine. All rights reserved.


#durangomagazine Marianne Hoover

Corbet Hoover @durangomagazine

6 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring






Next generation of engines keeps history in mind by John Peel

COAL, DIESEL, OIL. Does it really matter what pow-

ers the engines that run the 140-year-old rail line between Durango and Silverton? If you’re astounded that somebody would ask that question, then your answer is undoubtedly an emphatic “yes!” As it turns out, you’d be in the majority, according to polls that the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad has been taking that show 75 percent of its riders think it matters. What’s happening behind the scenes as the tourist train adapts its fleet to meet 21st-century conditions is of interest to many. Historical, practical, environmental, and other factors all have a say as the railroad, wary of being shut down due to fire danger, turns to diesel engines and converts its steam engines to burn oil instead of coal. D&SNG Vice President and General Manager Jeff Johnson began working the line 40 years ago, so he understands and appreciates what makes it unique. Any change is scrutinized mightily, by train management, employees, and rail aficionados alike. Coal cinders blown from the train stack have the capacity to start a fire under certain conditions. Diesel and oil have no such exhaust, making the risk of starting a fire minimal. In 2020, the D&SNG arranged to purchase four diesel engines from another historic line, the White Pass & Yukon Railroad, which runs between Skagway, Alaska, and Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. Unlike previous diesel engines the D&SNG had operated, which had limited towing capacity, the WP&YR diesels were built for mountain travel and can power longer trains with up to 10 cars. Diesel engine No. 107 worked daily between Durango and Silverton during the 2021 summer season. “It fit like a glove on our line,” Johnson marveled of the 107, a DL535 class built by Alco-Montreal Locomotive Works in 1969. The three other diesels are in varying stages of preparedness.

Anthony D'Amato

*** The diesel engines, actually less expensive to operate and maintain than steam engines, are just a stopgap measure. D&SNG surveys showed that three-fourths of its patrons prefer the classic steam-engine train experience. “We’re glad,” Johnson said of that response. “We would have been more disappointed if they didn’t care, because that’s who we feel we are, too.” The D&SNG is converting most of its steam-powered engines from coal burning to oil burning. Some dyed-in-thewool train buffs might argue that this detracts from the authenticity, and D&SNG officials are sensitive to that. It’s a conversion that railroads have been making for more than a century, Johnson explained, but one the D&SNG never undertook because coal was readily available and the process is expensive and time-consuming. Each conversion costs between $100,000 and $200,000, he said. As of this fall, four of its 10 steam engines have undergone the coal-tooil conversion. Coal-burning engines will continue to operate only in the winter with snow cover, Johnson said, and may eventually be phased out entirely. But steam itself won’t go away. “We have to appreciate that our brand, who we are, is still the steam locomotive.” 8 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring Winter/Spring

Anthony D'Amato




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DURANGO FILM FESTIVAL March 2-6, 2022 durangofilm.org

The 17th annual Durango Independent Film Festival will be back in Durango theaters March 2-6, 2022. This festival believes in the power of gathering for a shared artistic experience, providing an opportunity for film lovers to connect with visiting directors, actors, producers, and composers. Engaging and entertaining filmmaker Q&A sessions following film screenings offer an inside look at the filmmaking process. Festival organizers are excited to bring new and thought-provoking films of all genres to Durango venues. The festival will also be offering a virtual component, in addition to theatrical presentations. Coffee talk with filmmakers, panel discussions, workshops, and parties are just a few of the events planned for festival week. The festival is a collaborative effort involving a dedicated group of volunteers, local business partners, donors, grantors, and the community that appreciates the opportunity to see unusual films in a rare setting like Durango. Free opening-night films, early-bird pass prices, virtual film offerings, and plenty of opportunities to meet filmmakers are just a few of the ways the festival hopes to share the world of independent film with everyone in the community. For 2022 information and passes, please visit durangofilm.org.

DURANGO BLUEGRASS MELTDOWN If absence makes the heart grow fonder, then the 2022 Durango Bluegrass Meltdown will inspire some mighty strong passion. The world-class music festival returns April 22-24 for the first time since 2019, with old standbys and new twists converging. The Bluegrass Meltdown takes over many of Durango’s stages for the weekend, with live music at the Durango Arts Center, Animas City Theatre, Wild Horse Saloon, Durango Elks Lodge, and the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Grange Building. Plus, folks can hear (and join in with) numerous jams in public spaces and party at the barn dance. For 2022, the Meltdown is adding its first-ever band contest. Ten bands will compete for a main-stage slot at the 2023 festival during Saturday’s events, and the finalists will stand off on Sunday morning. The competition emphasizes traditional bluegrass—and there’s no telling how the stars of tomorrow will play with the demands of the genre. Kids 12 and under always attend the festival for free. For those of us older than that, the Meltdown offers day tickets and weekend passes that promise access to all the shows, all festival long. The schedule of artists, as well as ticket sales, will be posted on the new durangomeltdown.com website as details become available.

FORT LEWIS COLLEGE SKYFEST Skyfest is back for 2022! Skyfest is an annual music festival presented by Student Union Productions at Fort Lewis College. Student Union Productions (SUP) is the student programming board at the college. This group of students is committed to providing diverse and engaging events for the Fort Lewis community. Skyfest is entirely organized and executed by students in SUP. At Skyfest, you’ll be able to enjoy a mix of student musicians and up-and-coming artists. This festival brings the Fort and Durango communities together for a day filled with music, friends, and good times. Student organizers change from year to year, so attendees get a hometown music festival with a unique experience each year. As the snow begins to melt off the mountains, make your way up to the mesa and join SUP for Skyfest 2022! Mark your calendars for Saturday April 16. Keep an eye out on the Skyfest webpage for updates on artists, locations, and tickets. You can also keep current with SUP events on Instagram and Snapchat @flcsup. Student Union Productions is eager to invite the community back to Skyfest and can’t wait to see you there!

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FORT LEWIS COLLEGE CONCERT HALL The Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College has hosted artists from around the world in Durango for over 20 years. When the State Street Ballet of Santa Barbara and the San Juan Symphony begin with four shows of The Nutcracker Ballet, and the Bar-D Wranglers arrive in December, you’ll know the holidays are in full swing! Visit Durango’s premier performing-arts venue that seeks to “Bring the World to Durango.” This winter and spring will connect us to artists from throughout North America, Europe, and China. In addition to the forever-loved Nutcracker Ballet and Durango’s own Bar-D Wranglers’ Christmas Jubilee, the Concert Hall will also welcome Denver’s groundbreaking band DeVotchKa, along with Augusta, Georgia’s inspirational Trey McLaughlin and The Sounds of Zamar. February through May, Durango hosts family favorites Cirque Mechanics; The Golden Dragon Acrobats; the legendary artists Peter Kater and R. Carlos Nakai; Croce Plays Croce; Close to You, the Music of the Carpenters; Jazz master Stefon Harris and Blackout; and country music star Suzy Bogguss. Winter and spring are always packed with great performances at the Community Concert Hall, and this season is no different. With the ongoing generous support of many individuals and businesses, who appreciate and value what the arts bring to our vibrant community, the Concert Hall continues to bring musical excellence to Durango. Visit the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis, and hear for yourselves the artists on their journeys, who bring entertainment, excellence, and enlightenment through their music.


Cover design and Sound of Resilience tagline by Cindy Coleman, Duck Girl Art. Cover art work by Bradley Kachnowicz.

Imagine yourself floating in saltwater while you escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life and your everyday concerns simply melt away. Welcome to Salt 360 and the wonderful world of floating. Whether you’ve spent a long, hard day at work, or you want to unwind after enjoying some of southwest Colorado’s many popular winter activities, a float at Salt 360 is just what you need to give your brain and body a much-needed break. Floating quiets the mind and provides ultimate relaxation. Salt 360’s top-of-the-line flotation tanks with state-of-the-art filtration systems, along with the staff’s outstanding personal service and stringent hygiene procedures, result in the ideal floating experience. Free from external stimuli, such as noise, light, and even the effects of gravity, you’ll float effortlessly in 95.5-degree water (which blurs the sensory boundary between skin and water) that contains 1,000 pounds of magnesium-rich Epsom salt. The absence of sensory input, along with the buoyancy of saltwater, creates a unique environment that relieves stress, reduces pressure on muscles and joints, boosts creativity, and much more. Visit Salt 360 today to relax and reenergize your mind and body.

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SAN JUAN SYMPHONY After an online season like no other in its history, the San Juan Symphony is thrilled to re-emerge in 2021-22 to present The Sound of Resilience. The 36th season celebrates the return of live music to the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College, under the baton of Music Director Thomas Heuser. Of the many lessons learned during the pandemic, one is the incredible power of live performance, and the magic of live music seems more evident now than ever before. The San Juan Symphony is grateful to have endured last season with such incredible support from the community; but still, it is hard to describe the ebullient feelings that this season brings. They did it! They proved their resilience, navigated incredible obstacles, and now it’s time once again to deliver the world’s great music to live audiences. This season features an array of composers that includes both the unfamiliar and the dearly beloved. From Albert Roussel and Florence Price to Schubert, Beethoven, and Borodin, the diversity of music on the symphony’s programs and the energy in the orchestra provide a fantastic experience for audiences with a variety of tastes. Each program serves as a first-hand reminder that The Sound of Resilience is the symphony’s passion and their mission. www.sanjuansymphony.org.

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CROOKED CARROTS by Brandon Mathis


What if there were a way to use all the leftover produce that farmers have every harvest? The heads of broccoli that are just too big, the yellow onions that are just too small, the magnificent carrots that are, well, just plain crooked? How about taking them all and making amazing gourmet food that’s ideal for travel and adventure? Oh yeah, and doing it as eco-friendly as possible. Meet Jane and Lou Barden, the clever minds behind Farm to Summit. They work with farmers in and around Durango to source fresh produce, creating healthy, dehydrated meals that are

Brandon Mathis

Courtesy of Farm to Summit

perfect for backpacking, camping, or just a day in the woods. And the recipes they create are unlike any other backpacking meal you’ve ever had. Think of it as fine dining ‒ just add water. “We’re foodies,” said Jane. “We have a charcuterie at 14,000 feet.”

PLANTING SEEDS Jane grew up on her family’s 150-acre vegetable farm in Michigan, and both Jane and Lou used it as a springboard for learning about agricultural systems. The idea of creating a business around

their own recipes, supported by local agriculture, began to bloom. It was Jane who grew roots in Durango, while attending Fort Lewis College and playing soccer. Taking work in fine dining and spending time snowboardi n g t h e R o c k i e s , i t was i n B o u l d er, Colorado, that she met Lou, who was earning her master’s at the University of Colorado. Traveling, and spending time on the farm in Michigan, they would dream about owning their own farm ‒ something, anything, in Durango. Jane and Lou put their heads togeth-


er. Jane’s education in business and finance and Lou’s studies in ecology, paired with their love of food and adventure, would all be main ingredients. But how?

GOOD FOOD, COLLECTED The Bardens approached Rachel Landis, director of the Good Food Collective in Durango, a social-enrichment organization that focuses on food to strengthen Colorado communities and facilitate healthy living. The support was there, as was access to a commercial dehydrator, sealing the deal and providing the Bardens a boost to dehydrate as much produce as possible, package the food, and focus on sales. “It’s exciting to see Jane and Lou take this to the next level and provide a value-added product that’s high quality and shows what the Southwest is capable of,” Landis said.

Brandon Mathis

FARMERS FIRST On a sunny September morning in the Animas River Valley north of Durango, Max Fields of Fields to Plate Produce (serendipitously named after him and his partner, James Plate) was cutting off colossal heads of broccoli, one after another, for the Bardens. Too big for most buyers, cutting off the larger head gives way for two smaller heads to grow. “I think people are very responsive to the way these women are approaching their business model, Fields said. “It seems like farmers first.” Today, Farm to Summit is loaded with local produce: the tomatoes in the Green Chile Mac & Cheese, the spinach in the Thai Red Curry, the potatoes in the White Bean Potato Stew. There’s an aura of Durango in every bite. Even when it’s not local it’s still organic, including the organic coffee in the Double Shot Latte with maple syrup. Delisioso!

Brandon Mathis

ROOTS From the beginning, just over a year ago, Farm to Summit has stayed true to its mission: local produce, supporting a seconds market, and ecologically sound practice down to the omnidegradable packaging that’s both biodegradable and recyclable. “Even our labels are compostable,” Lou said. In addition to sustainable standards, Farm to Summit gives 2 percent of every purchase to food-insecurity programs, passing the bounty forward.

THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME Durango was the right move. While Farm to Summit is enjoying a warm reception, to the Bardens it’s just the beginning. Plans for a larger network of farmers, more dehydrating capabilities, and job creation in the Durango community are all in progress. “It’s the perfect place to do this,” said Lou. “There are a surprising number of small farms in the area ‒ and a huge number of folks who want to put good food in their bodies when they’re outside.” Jane believes it’s the network of people that makes Durango remarkably special: the farmers, the families, and the people who make southwest Colorado home. “Durango is community,” she said. So the next time you see that cute little cucumber or funny-looking pumpkin, think about Farm to Summit. Local food that almost wasn’t made…but was. Now it’s ripe for adventure. 16 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring Winter/Spring

Brandon Mathis

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Quarantines, Cattle, and Cars

Early Days of the Durango Police Department

by Carolyn Bowra Photos courtesy of Animas Museum

Gentlemen lounging in front of the Horseshoe Club at 969 Main Avenue. Stansel is on the far right, his badge just visible.


the population was focused on building the town and pursuing economic opportunity. Law enforcement (or laws, for that matter) was not a priority. Gunfire on the streets and in the saloons was commonplace, with citizen vigilante groups taking the law into their own hands. Eventually, the community demanded law and order. Robert Dwyer was just the man for the job. Born in Ireland in December 1847, he immigrated with his mother to Canada after the death of his father. He moved to Minnesota in 1868 after her death. In the fall of 1872, dreading another winter of “lung fever,” he headed west. Hearing of the mining excitement in the San Juan Mountains, he headed to the Animas Valley and built a cabin on the banks of Junction Creek. He ranched and prospected, and for additional income served as county sheriff. When Durango citizens organized the town government in April 1881, they hired Dwyer as the first city marshal. Four months later, he and his deputy were subduing a drunk when the deputy’s gun accidentally discharged. The bullet passed through the drunk, hitting Dwyer on the side of his nose and lodging Robert Dwyer near a vein. Several months later, he traveled to Detroit to have the slug removed, noting that 20 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring Winter/Spring

“at times it annoyed me.” The surgery was successful. He had the bullet mounted as a watch fob, which he carried for the rest of his life. Durango marshals continued to bring law and order to the community, with the assistance of patrolmen. Not all problems involved dramatic gunfire, however. Dogs running at large were a constant challenge. The Ladies Improvement Society petitioned the City Council, demanding that something be done about cattle on the streets. Signs were erected on roads outside the city limits, warning all persons not to drive herds of cattle, horses, sheep, or other animals through the streets of Durango. Livestock was to be routed around the city. More challenging sometimes was herding law enforcement itself. An attempt to enforce a 1905 anti-gambling ordinance went horribly awry. La Plata County Sheriff William J. Thompson was determined to enforce the ordinance and thought the city police were lax in its enforcement. Jesse C. Stansel was serving as acting marshal at the time, while Marshal Wickline recovered from a stroke. On January 9, 1906, Thompson confiscated gambling equipment at El Moro saloon, at 981 Main Avenue. He met Stansel out front and accused him of siding with the gamblers. Stansel replied that he didn’t take orders from the sheriff but from Wickline and the city. Their argument escalated, guns were drawn, and shots were fired. Out of ammunition, the two men struck each other with their empty

THE BADGE Robert Dwyer’s first police badge, from 1881. From the Animas Museum’s permanent collection.

Animas Museum

Jesse Stansel is standing against the wall at left, by a roulette wheel, in an unidentified Durango saloon.

guns. When the smoke and dust cleared, Stansel had been shot once in the chest and survived his injuries. Thompson was transported to Ochsner Hospital by horse-drawn ambulance but died en route. Stansel was tried for murder and acquitted. Witnesses disagreed over who shot first, and physical evidence was destroyed when Thompson’s clothes were burned. In addition to taming the community’s rowdy elements, the police department enforced quarantines during disease epidemics ‒ scarlet fever in 1885, smallpox in 1910-11, whooping cough in 1912, and the worldwide influenza pandemic in 1918. In the days before radio communication, the police department made creative use of the town’s few telephones. A red light at 10th Street and Main Avenue, visible in all directions, was connected to the telephone office. Citizens could call the phone company’s central switchboard, and the operator would turn on the light. The officer on night patrol would see the light and call the operator for the caller’s location. During the summer of 1907, a police telephone was installed in the Pierce Restaurant. Open all night, and known for its donuts and pound cake, it was a convenient stop for officers and citizens alike. But due to lack of use, the phone was removed after just a few months. By 1911, automobiles added to police responsibilities. Drivers had to make their own license plates and attach them to their vehicles. Anyone driving over 10 mph in the business district or 18 mph in town risked arrest. In 1911, Marshal Fassbinder authorized a 30-day rental of a stopwatch to enforce speed limits. The City Council declared that miscreants who failed to pay their fines were to work on the streets

Bovine scofflaws heading into Durango, in clear violation of the ordinances banning such activity.

until their debt was paid. If they failed to do so, they would be jailed and placed on a diet of bread and water. While Durango has grown and technology has changed policing, the legacy of serving and protecting the community for 140 years continues; and fortunately, livestock no longer roam the streets. (Thanks to police historian Sharon Greve for her book Beyond the Badge: 1881-1949, an invaluable resource for the history of the Durango Police Department.) 21



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What’s New in the Four Corners by Zach Hively

Dolores River receives proposal to become a National Conservation Area U.S. Senator Michael Bennett and Colorado’s Dolores and San Miguel counties have drafted special land designations for a stretch of the Dolores River: a 45,455acre conservation area and a special management area of 10,828 acres. The NCA covers approximately 61 miles of the Lower Dolores.

Farmington Public Library receives NASA @ My Library grant

A $1,600 grant is intended to help the library improve its STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) offerings to the local community, including the surrounding Native populations. Even more beneficial than the grant itself is the access the library now has to NASA events, information, and technology – including the James Webb Space Telescope launching in December. Under the terms of the grant, the library will partner with the San Juan College Planetarium and other local organizations to create additional new programming. 24 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring

Anthony D'Amato

New superintendent takes the helm at Mesa Verde National Park Thirty-five-year National Park Service veteran Kayci Cook Collins now oversees Yucca House National Monument and Mesa Verde National Park, both in Colorado. She will also supervise the superintendent of Chaco Culture National Historical Park and Aztec Ruins National Monument in New Mexico. Collins has held NPS roles from Alaska to D.C. but most recently served as the superintendent of the Flagstaff Area National Monuments in Arizona. Working at Mesa Verde runs in the family: Her grandparents lived and worked in the park when she was a child.

Miss Navajo Nation 2021-22 earns her crown Courtesy of the Office of Miss Navajo Nation

Niagara Rockbridge won four different categories in the Naabeehó Bich’eekį’ competition: best essay, best traditional food, best butcher, and Miss Photogenic. Rockbridge is from Piñon, Arizona, and her clans are Kinyaa’áanii, born for Hashk’ąa Hadzohi. She ran for Miss Navajo Nation because of all the issues in the Nation that she believes need attention, and she hopes to build relationships between the Office of Miss Navajo and other departments and divisions in the Nation.

Upper Pine River Fire Protection District training 100 new EMTs Emergency medical technicians in rural areas often must travel for training. The fire district received a $200,000 federal grant to expand learning opportunities for new EMTs and intends to train 100 people by the fall of 2022. The fire district has previously needed to recruit EMTs and other responders from outside the area and hopes the grant will improve its ability to respond quickly to emergencies. The grant also funds training, equipment, and supplies for firefighters and other emergency medical responders to counter alcohol and substance use disorders, such as opiate overdoses.


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dog sledding is still an adventure at the durango dog ranch



retchen Dubit has to laugh whenever a guest tells her, “I’ve never done this before.” That’s because most people have never driven a dogsled before. Thirty years ago, Mrs. Dubit hadn’t either. It was her husband Gregg Dubit’s combined passion for dogs and adventure that led them to open Durango’s only dog-sledding outfitter: the Durango Dog Ranch. The family-owned

26 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring

business now introduces nearly 1,000 people a year to dogsledding, some of whom have gone on to compete in the famed Iditarod Race in Alaska. From December to March, the Durango Dog Ranch offers sledding trips in La Plata Canyon, as well as in the San Juan National Forest near Molas Pass. With access to hundreds of miles of trails, the tours wind through a variety of aspen and pine forest, with snowcapped

mountains serving as the backdrop. All tours last two hours and include a mushing lesson. When asked what attracted her to such a niche sport, Mrs. Dubit is quick to clarify: Dogsledding began as her husband’s passion. She literally “went along for the ride.” While climbing in Alaska after college, Mr. Dubit noticed how locals used dogsled teams for transportation. Though

Photos by Grumpyhighlander

he had no formal training or experience, Mr. Dubit became fascinated with the sport. “He vowed then that he wanted a team of sled dogs,” Mrs. Dubit says. But it wasn’t until he made a vow of a different sort that Mr. Dubit began to realize that dream. Fresh from their honeymoon, the Dubits settled into their new home in downtown Durango. They soon rescued two husky

mixes ‒ Lisa Jane and Rhubarb. While two dogs weren’t enough to pull a sled, their energy was more than plenty for a pair of skis. “Gregg was into the idea of skijoring,” she says. “So we tied them to our skis and went.” It didn’t take long for skijoring ‒ the Scandinavian sport in which a skier is pulled by dogs, horses, or even reindeer ‒ to evolve into sledding.

“We had nine dogs sledding around the neighborhood,” she says. The couple eventually moved to Hesperus, where they began running tours. Their first team was comprised entirely of rescues ‒ “The All Mutt Fully Cut Humane Society Dog Sled Team” ‒ but today’s dogs are Alaskan huskies, a mix bred specifically for sledding. While kennels in Alaska can frequently house over a hundred dogs, the Dubits prefer 27

to manage a smaller group. There are 25 huskies currently working at the Dur– ango Dog Ranch. Though dogsledding isn’t as popular in Colorado as it is in Alaska, the Dubits tapped into a community of mushers, participating in and even organizing small regional races. In the early days of their business, the Dubits were the only employees. Now they hire anywhere from five to seven guides in the winter. “Durango has become a stopping point for mushers fresh off doing summer tours on the Alaska glaciers,” Mrs. Dubit says. Over the years, the Dubits have worked with hundreds of mushers, many of whom live with them at the ranch. Recently, they partnered with Jesse Flory and his Grateful Dogs ‒ bringing the number of four-legged employees up to 50. “The whole reason I give tours is because I love to share what I do and what my passion is,” Flory says. “And when it clicks with [clients] it’s fantastic.” In addition to assisting with Durango Dog Ranch, Flory will be training for the 2022 Iditarod this winter. He won’t be the first person the Dubits have encouraged to run the legendary race. Several years ago, a local girl asked to go dogsledding for her 13th birthday. Today, Ryne Olson owns a kennel in Alaska and regularly competes in the Iditarod. “Dogsledding is kind of a crazy activity,” Mr. Dubit says. “It gets in your blood. I don’t know what I’d do if I weren’t doing this.” Running a sledding business is no walk in the dog park, but for the Dubits, it’s the lifestyle that brings them back year after year. “Once the dogsledding starts, we go every day until the end of March,” Mrs. Dubit says. “We start with a headlamp in the morning and end with a headlamp in the evening.” Long days running tours in the mountains are bookended with feeding the dogs and shoveling snow. Once the last tour wraps up in March, Mrs. Dubit tells herself it’s time to retire. But, when the snow starts falling, she and her husband pull out the dogsleds and get ready for another season. “It’s the lifestyle,” she says. “It’s a really hard thing to walk away from.”

28 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring






Whether you want to deepen your knowledge of the Four Corners or are seeking the next masterpiece to hang over your fireplace, Durango’s dynamic collection of art galleries welcomes you. Artists of all media share their interpretations and sense of place through stunning jewelry pieces, thought-provoking sketches, vibrant textiles, breathtaking photography, and other inspired genius. Take a moment to wander these walls, discover rare pieces to deck your halls, and be surprised by the little things, from distinctive wedding rings to tinkling cups of tea.

A Shared Blanket 104 East Fifth Street asharedblanket.com 970-247-9210

A Shared Blanket is a museum-quality Native American gallery in Durango featuring authentic artwork from tribal members throughout the United States. The gallery emphasizes Navajo weavings, Zuni fetishes, Pueblo storytellers and pottery, Alaskan sculptures, drums, flutes, baskets, and jewelry. All the original art comes directly from the artist. An exceedingly knowledgeable staff can guide you through the various artists, tribes, artifacts, and ceremonies to help you collect the finest pieces. Staff members know each artist personally, and they guarantee authenticity.

Create Art and Tea 1015 Main Avenue createartandtea.com 970-764-4104

Create is not your average gallery. What makes the place so unique are the artists, the warm welcome, and the opportunity to create something. Create combines the experience of walking through a gallery and buying an original art piece with the relaxing and soothing experience of enjoying a hot cup of tea. If you’re an experienced artist, a student, an art collector, a tea lover, or just looking for something special, then Create Art and Tea is here for you. It is Create’s mission to present you with the creative spirit of our local artists. See the gallery’s monthly event calendar and join the Create Art and Tea Community.

30 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring

Karyn Gabaldon Arts 680 Main Avenue karyngabaldon.com 970-946-8292

Artist Karyn Gabaldon features her acrylic paintings inspired by the beauty of our region. Her work is contemporary and nature oriented, with an intuitive Zen grace. Gabaldon’s work is colorful and dramatic, stirring the imagination with a calming touch. Her gallery has been a Durango mainstay for 40 years, carrying unique jewelry, bronze and stone sculpture, wood, glass, metal prints, clocks, mirrors, and Ikebana vases. Across from the Historic Stater Hotel.

Scenic Aperture

708 Main Avenue durangogallery.photography 970-385-5853 Scenic Aperture features fine-art nature photography from the Four Corners area of the American Southwest. The Gallery showcases the works of Frank Comisar, Durango’s own internationally collected nature photographer. Frank spends most of his time traveling the Four Corners, making new images and leading workshops for aspiring photographers. Occasionally, he can be found in the gallery and is always happy to discuss how and where his images were made.

Sorrel Sky Gallery 828 Main Ave. sorrelsky.com 970-247-3555

Sorrel Sky Gallery has been part of the Durango community since 2002, representing more than 50 local and regional artists. Discover the gallery’s impressive range of contemporary and traditional Western and Native American fine art and jewelry, sculpture, and more. Owner Shanan Campbell and her team are passionate about art and how it enriches our lives. Visit their beautiful location downtown and discover something new and unique at Sorrel Sky Gallery.

Toh-Atin Gallery 145 W. Ninth Street www.toh-atin.com 970-247-8277

Toh-Atin Gallery is proud to represent the outstanding work of Navajo master jeweler Jeanette Dale, along with authentic Native American jewelry, old and new, from more than 100 Native artists. Since 1957, Toh-Atin Gallery has been known for its outstanding selection of Navajo weaving, Native American jewelry, Pueblo pottery, Hopi Kachina dolls, Southwestern paintings, and sculpture. This family-owned establishment appreciates the opportunity to share the stories behind the artists and their art forms. Group tours and lectures may be set up with the gallery in advance.


Coldwell Banker Distinctive Properties 785 Main Ave, Durango, CO 81301

When buying or selling your home or investment property you can count on Tim to assist you. Tim’s light-hearted positive attitude, serious work ethic and expert knowledge of Durango will make your real estate transaction a rewarding experience. His legendary attention to detail is in a class by itself.

Tim Papi 32 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring

970.759.1871 tim@realestatedurango.com www.tpapi.realestatedurango.com


Bryce Pettit

by Zach Hively Photos courtesy of Bryce Pettit

Breathes Life into Animal Sculptures There is nothing more inert than a hunk of metal. So it’s all the more incredible that Bryce Pettit’s bronze wildlife sculptures feel so full of breath and animation. “I can’t help but have the animal speak to the story,” Pettit says from his studio in Durango. Pettit specializes in sculpting creatures found in the Rocky Mountain West – from Monarch butterflies to black bears and from tarantulas to the bull elk. His pieces have been selected as large-scale public works in such places as the Maritime Museum in Michigan and the Na ‘Aina Kai Botanical Gardens in Hawaii. But what keeps him creating most is the way animals help him express, as he says, “a deep part of my soul.” “I love the animals as a subject matter as opposed to human figures,” Pettit says. “For me, the animal is a medium for an artistic shape.” He explains that a more traditional approach to animal sculpture is to create a model of the animal – taxidermy in bronze, as it were. But his own work is not hyper-realistic; he sculpts figures close enough to real animals that people can relate to them, but loosely enough that they can experience that sense of movement. For instance, Pettit’s sculptures of foxes incorporate swirls in their fur, which are designed to create a mood and a vibe rather than portray literal hair. “The composition, the form, the movement are far more important than even what the animal subject is,” he says. Pettit has created his whole life, but he grew up expecting to become something more traditionally serious. Then the summer before he started a PhD program in wildlife ecology, he began showing his artwork – and for the first time, it occurred to him that sculpting could be a great career option.

“I discovered that sculpture was working with my hands combined with painting and drawing, and I was completely hooked,” he says. He moved to Durango eight years ago and discovered an appreciative art community, a surprise for a town that’s not a huge city. He shows locally at Sorrel Sky Gallery, 828 Main Avenue, which displays the full range of his work, from handheld to installation pieces. This is important to him; he believes collecting art should not be an elitist act but something everyone can do on their own scale and in their own way. “Collecting art makes a difference for all kinds of people, and it enhances their lives,” Pettit says. “I try to always make something for everyone; things that anyone can afford.”


Chris Musgrave


Winter Equipment OUTDOOR GEAR TO STAY WARM, DRY & SAFE yb Aaron Bal

There I was,

looking down at my partner’s ski and wondering how we were going to descend the remaining 3,000-foot snow slope to the car after his binding had been ripped completely off. And while I’m quite proud to say that bubble gum literally saved the day, this precarious situation highlights how important it is to be fully prepared when embarking on

34 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring

Courtesy of Rab Equipment

an adventure into the winter backcountry. These days, many things I carry in my pack when I recreate and work in the winter come from wishing I'd had them when I needed them. Admittedly, this practice can be a slippery slope to the proverbial kitchen sink, but there are some items that are basic and essential for venturing out on a winter outing. Here is a list that may be helpful for anyone who could use a little guidance.


While it may seem silly to say, your wits are what will keep you from getting into trouble. And this doesn’t mean just your smarts but also how attuned you are to your emotions and motivations. It has been demonstrated time and again that human errors in judgment can lead to unfavorable outcomes. So before you drive up the highway and venture into the beautiful terrain that is literally right off the road, get educated.

bottle stuffed in your pack; an insulated one is even better.


When starting a fire, you generally start with quick-and-easy burning tinder (paper, dry leaves, etc.). Then you stack kindling on top that burns easily but lasts longer than tinder. Last, you top the fire with logs that continue to provide heat for the long term. Consider this analogy when you pack food for your winter outing. You’ll want some tinder (quick sugary food like Swedish fish or a chocolate bar), some kindling (highcarb items like bread or a bar), and logs (fats and protein like jerky or nuts). To


Another saying in the outdoors is that “cotton kills.” A nice cotton hoodie may be fine when it’s dry, but if it gets wet, it’ll suck the heat right out of you. So stick to wool or synthetic materials. Another important element of cold-weather dressing is layering. This means to start with a good base layer of synthetic long underwear. Over the top of those, wear a slightly thicker layer covered by a breathable, waterproof or water-resistant layer. If it’s super cold, you will definitely want an insulating layer that has a lot of loft. Consider how nice a down comforter feels when it’s cold. So a down or synthetic lightweight puffy (a jacket) is essential, especially when you’re not moving around much.



Just like at the pool or on the river, sunburns on exposed skin are likely when traveling over snow because of how the rays are reflected right back at you. Also, I’ve seen a few people with sunburned eyes, and it’s not pretty. Make sure you get sunglasses that give you good coverage. While goggles are nice when it’s snowing and blowing, when you work up a sweat, they’ll fog up and become worthless.

All of us have different tolerances for risk, so not everyone may agree with this one. But if something happens while you are out in the winter backcountry, it’s sure nice to have someone there to help you out. Plus, as the saying goes, “two heads are better than one.” So are four hands, legs, and feet better than two.”


Of course this is essential, but how you carry water in the winter is important. I sure love the convenience of a hose coming from my water bladder for summer bike rides, but it freezes up in the winter. The best option is just a basic water

combine them all, there’s nothing better than a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich.


Brandon Mathis

If you don’t know what these are, then you definitely need to get some training. In the mountains of Colorado, avalanches are ubiqui35

Brandon Mathis

tous. In an avalanche class, you will learn about the importance of these lifesaving tools and how to use them. That being said, these items are also like seatbelts and airbags in a car; if you avoid avalanches in the first place, you’ll never actually use them. Avalanche avoidance is the key.


While navigating by moon or starlight has a certain appeal, it’s not awesome when you’re just trying to make it back to the car on a cloudy night. You may think this won’t happen because you won’t be out that long, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Oh, and be sure your batteries have a good charge.


This one is only as good as your understanding of how to use it. Some basic bandages and over-the-counter meds are a start, but if you think you want more, consider taking a wilderness first-aid class to learn what other things you should bring.

travel over the snow (skis, snowboard, snowshoes, etc.) will dictate other items you will want to bring. This list will hopefully provide some ideas though, and may even provide some tips that you hadn’t heard before. Have a great winter and be safe!

Courtesy of Voormi

To get geared up, please visit our great local suppliers: • Backcountry Experience • Crows Closet • Pine Needle Dry Goods • Pine Needle Mountaineering • San Juan Expeditions • Ski Barn If you still need more information, check out the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC), www.avalanche. state.co.us, the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE), www.avtraining.org, and the Friends of the San Juans (FOSJ), www. thesanjuans.org.


This does not mean a tent but rather a small, lightweight, and compact tarp. Silicone-impregnated synthetic tarps are great because they tend to be very thin, they shed water, and they block wind super well. In a pinch, a tarp can also serve as a makeshift bivy sack for an injured person. *** This list is basic, and it certainly isn’t complete. For one, what you’re using to 36 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring

Chris Musgrave

Artwork: Bradley Kachnowicz | www.bradleykachnowicz.com


Two First Symphonies

Oct. 16, 7:30pm | Durango • Oct. 17, 3:00pm | Farmington

Romantic Atmospheres

Nov. 13, 7:30pm | Durango • Nov. 14, 3:00pm | Farmington

Perpetual Motion

Feb. 19, 7:30pm | Farmington • Feb. 20, 3:00pm | Durango

Pride & Passion

April 9, 7:30pm | Farmington • April 10, 3:00pm | Durango



Become a member and be the first to know about... Performing arts classes, theatre and live performances

Visual art classes for kids, youth and adults

Special events with local and regional artists

802 E. 2nd Ave, Durango CO, 81301 | durangoarts.org | 970.259.2606


Complete these


yb Ohana siyPh cal Therapy


In my 30 years of physical-therapy practice, I have gained an insight into the most valuable actions our bodies can take. The most powerful lesson I’ve learned is to keep it simple. Planning ahead and preventing injury is an evolutionary step toward your best physical self. • Do each exercise for one minute, five days a week. • Count reps in each minute. • Keep a controlled pace and excellent form. • Visualize how this movement may carry over into a winter activity, such as snowboarding or even snow shoveling! For all exercises, tighten your core. Imagine you are shrink-wrapping your waist. Don’t hold your breath. Using your diaphragm, breathe through your nose. Maintain lower-back and buttocks tightening to feel stronger during the movement cycle. Stay balanced!


Start by sitting on the edge of a chair. Pushing your feet into the floor, stand up tall without using your hands. Hinge at your hips to sit back down, being aware of your muscles engaging. Try hovering above the seat and keeping your feet flat on the floor.


Start by standing tall and placing your hands on your hips. Place one foot directly in front of you, bending your knees and lunging slightly. Repeat by going to the side or switching legs. Play around with imagining a clock on the floor and placing your feet on the different numbers.


Start in a standing position. Slowly squat down, placing your hands in front of your feet. Moving one foot at a time, move your feet back to get into a pushup position. Place your knees on the floor, followed by your chest. Push your arms to straighten, then bring your feet back up to your hands and stand up.


Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands/arms by your sides, tightening your buttocks, back, and shoulders. Lift your hips. Hold at the top for three seconds before moving onto the next rep.

Subscribe to Durango Magazine and two times a year Durango will come to you. Durango Magazine showcases the people, places, events, and history of beautiful southwestern Colorado. Colorful, informative and entertaining. You won’t want to miss an issue. Or, send a welcomed gift to a friend.



Tree pose stretches your muscles and challenges your balance. Start by standing tall, then shift your weight onto one foot. Bend your knee then reach behind and grab your right foot with your right hand. Feel the stretch in the front of your hip and thigh. Focus on pushing your weight into the floor on your standing leg and raising your left hand high to help balance. Please consult your physician before starting any exercise regimen.

38 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring



Where History Comes Alive!

FEaturing Thoughtful Exhibits • historic structures Research library • Extensive Photo Archive Programs & Tours • Museum store

3065 W 2nd Ave | (970) 259-2402 | Animasmuseum.org Owned & Operated by the La Plata County historical society


Marley Roberts, Barista at Coffee Bear

Michael Clarke, Barista at Taste Cafe



The town is home to a vast array of unique coffee shops, each bringing something different to the Durango community. The common theme is the beautiful “Wild West” setting that is historic downtown Durango. This ideal location could not be a better spot to cozy up to a cup of the highest-quality specialty coffee as you work to meet that deadline or simply sip on as you meander through downtown and the variety of charming shops. Each coffee shop takes what is beloved by so many (good coffee) and offers its unique twist to the experience. It’s impossible to go wrong when choosing between the different Durango shops. However, each one is unique and special, making the decision undoubtedly difficult. Why not try them all? Remember, there is no rule limiting anyone to just one favorite coffee spot.

TASTE COFFEE MICHAEL CLARKE 1101 Main Ave, Durango, CO 81301 970-234-3841 • tastecoffeedurango.com

What is your favorite coffee drink? My go-to is a short drink called a long black. It is two ounces of our single-origin organic espresso and two ounces of hot water.


What is your favorite snack to eat with your coffee? My favorite snack with coffee is one of our delicious, ooey-gooey house-made Belgian milk and dark chocolate-chip cookies. It is everything you want in a cookie.

What is your favorite coffee drink? Brice Ward: A proper cappuccino.

Do you like tea? Why or why not? I am British, born and raised, so my first love is a good strong cup of English breakfast tea. What is your favorite winter activity in Durango? My favorite activity is snowshoeing the mini trails near our house at Lemon Reservoir and cozying up with a dirty chocolate chai. 40 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring Winter/Spring

3101 Main Ave #1, Durango, CO 81301 970-385-1941 • durangoartisanfoods.com

What is your favorite snack to eat with your coffee? Julia Ion: A warm pumpkin muffin made by our very own baker Joie Gates. How many cups of coffee do you consume a day? Matt Steffens: Anywhere from zero to 10. What is your favorite season in Durango? 81301 staff: River season… obviously.


920 Main Ave, Durango, CO 81301 970-317-5761 • animaschocolatecompany.com

What is your favorite coffee drink? I love single-origin coffees, especially from Africa. I prefer to make them as a pour over or AeroPress so that the bright, fruity flavors come through. Do you like tea? Why or why not? Truman Capote said, “Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon,” and I agree. Especially as we transition into fall and winter, tea in the afternoon becomes all the more crucial. What is your favorite season in Durango? What’s not to love about fall? The air is getting cooler, the afternoons are still sunny and gorgeous, the trees are exploding with color… and it’s time for sweaters! Black coffee? Or what do you put in your coffee? Black. Without reservation, hesitation, or compunction.

Katherine Walker, Barista at Durango Coffee Co.

Cyle Talley, Barista at Animas Chocolate & Coffee



730 Main Ave, Durango, CO 81301 970-259-1011 • durangocoffee.com

1309 Greene St, Silverton, CO 81433 970-710-8182 • coffeebearsilverton.com

What is your favorite coffee drink? Dirty Chai What is your favorite snack to eat with your coffee? Peanut Butter Bar How many cups of coffee do you consume a day? Hopefully only 1, sometimes more. Black coffee? Or what do you put in your coffee? No way, I don't drink any regular coffee. Dirty Chai for life!

What is your favorite coffee drink? I love a black cup of light roast every morning. My favorite is a natural process; I love tasting the fruitiness of the coffee cherry. If I’m in the mood for something with milk, my go-to is a cortado. What is your favorite snack to eat with your coffee? I love having a gluten-free pumpkin muffin from Serious Delights Bakery. Do you like tea? Why or why not? I only drink tea if I’m sick. Why drink tea when you could drink coffee? Black coffee? Or what do you put in your coffee? Black... “like a doll’s eyes.”

HERMOSA CAFE SOPHIE SNYDER 738 Main Ave, Durango, CO 81301 970-259-2059 • hermosacafedurango.com

What is your favorite coffee drink? Iced double shot of espresso. Do you like tea? Why or why not? I love tea! I like the darker teas with woody notes, especially in the winter. What is your favorite winter activity in Durango? I love to hang out with family and watch the snow fall. Snowshoeing is on my bucket list. Sophie Snyder, Barista at Hermosa Cafe

Black coffee? Or what do you put in your coffee? A little cream, honey and cinnamon.

SMILEY CAFE STELLA LAZARE 1309 E 3rd Ave, Durango, CO 81301 970-844-0771 • thesmileycafe.com

What is your favorite coffee drink? My go-to when I’m somewhere new is a lavender oat-milk latte, but when I’m working, I make myself anything with too much cinnamon and vanilla. Do you like tea? Why or why not? I love tea! Peppermint is basically a cure-all for any sickness, so I always have some at home. What is your favorite winter activity in Durango? Sitting somewhere warm and reading a book. I’ve never been one for winter sports, but I can still enjoy the snow from afar. Black coffee? Or what do you put in your coffee? I load my coffee with cinnamon and sugar, topped with a healthy serving of whipped cream. I might as well start the day with something unnecessarily sweet – gotta have something to look forward to!

Stella Lazare, Barista at Smiley Cafe 41

Kinfolk Farms

83 Davidson Creek Rd Durango, CO 81301 970-759-8683

Daily Specials 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.: Sappy Sunday - 20% Off concentrates Munchie Monday - 20% Off Edibles Tokin’ & Local Tuesday - Local deals & 4 for $15 house joints

Wyld & Wacky Wednesday - BOBO 50% on all Wyld Gummies & 10% off premium pre-pack aged flower

Thirsty Thursday - 20% Off drinks and tinctures

Fly High Friday - 20% Off cartridges and syringes

Smokin’ Saturday - 10% Off all flower on the shelf

We also have 4 for $20 house joints

Weed Love to Help! 42 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring

Silverton, Colorado

Welcome to Silverton, Colorado, elevation 9,318 ft.

Silverton is nestled between two of North America’s highest and most scenic mountain passes. If you’ve made it here, you’re already geared up with a taste for adventure. That’s a good thing, because you’ve arrived in one of the last wild places in the West. At the edge of town lies the Alpine Loop, a 65-mile haven for off-road enthusiasts that’s bookended by 12,000foot passes. A day on the loop leads to ghost towns, mining ruins, numerous trailheads, and unencumbered views of the San Juan Mountains and its jagged 14,000foot peaks. If you’re here in the winter, fear not: Most of the town’s shops, cafés, and restaurants are open year-round, and you might be surprised at the gems to be found in the boutiques and galleries here. If shopping isn’t your thing, you’ve come to a skier’s paradise. Kendall Mountain is perfect for families and beginners, and Silverton Mountain offers visitors access to 400 inches of powder a year. Whether you prefer to find your dream line via lift access or guided heli-skiing, this mountain is an expert rider’s paradise. If snowmobiling, ice fishing, or ice climbing are more your speed, then there are plenty of trails, holes, and pitches to explore. No matter how you get your thrills, if you’re looking for access to wildness and adventure, with plenty of cozy places to lay your head after a full day at altitude, Silverton is the spot for you.



Silverton, Colorado’s foremost brewery on the historic GOLDEN BLOCK Serving wholesome wood-fired pizzas, paninis & salads

970.387.5962 | goldenblockbrewery.com 1227 Greene St. - Silverton, CO 81433


SKIING * ICE SKATING * SLEDDING Family and beginner friendly, at a fraction of the cost!

www.skikendall.com 43

Affordable Elevation Housing Solutions in Silverton

by Graham Coffey

Photos by Bridger Hoover

Recent & ongoing project by Nico Foster Construction & Design.


hen you walk around Durango and Silverton these days, you’re likely to notice a lot of “Help Wanted” signs on storefronts. The pandemic has created a number of issues with local labor forces, but one of the biggest hits to this area’s service industry lately has been a lack of affordable housing. With COVID-19 turning more of the world’s workforce remote than ever before, droves of professionals have fled densely populated urban areas on both coasts for small towns in desirable locales. Anyone looking for a new home would find plenty of good reasons to consider Durango, Silverton, and much of the Four Corners area. Record low interest rates and a shortage of inventory have caused housing prices in southwest Colorado to rise at record rates. From April 2020 to August 2021, the average listing price of a home in Durango rose from $420,000 to $589,000. To a professional from the Bay Area or New York

44 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring

City, those prices may seem cheap; but they’re steeper than most locals can afford. Many would-be firsttime home buyers feel like they’ll have to leave the Durango area to find a housing market in which they’d be able to purchase a home. The problem is getting worse in Durango, but in a town as small as Silverton the issue is even worse. The median home price is $600,000, and due to the size of the town there is far less inventory. Many

of the employees who work the storefronts and serve food to those who visit are forced to commute over some of the most dangerous passes in the lower 48. Brian Anderson, owner of 9318 Contracting, wants to be part of the solution to this problem, and he has teamed up with the City of Silverton to create a development of affordable housing on the west side of town. Nearly a decade ago, San Juan County was awared a grant to buy a piece of property and create affordable and attainable housing. The development was put together by the county, and deed restrictions were written, but it sat dormant for years until Anderson came knocking. “We stumbled on it when we were looking at a piece of dirt we wanted to develop and build houses on,” Anderson said. “The county said we’ve got this land, and we’re looking to develop affordable and attainable housing.” 9318 Contracting worked with Carolyn Hunter, with Context Ar-

Home recently completed by 9318 Contracting.

chitecture, to design and build a house that was under a certain price point and still beautiful. When asked why he decided to take on this project when there is plenty of money to be made building and selling more expensive houses in the current market, Anderson pointed out that if somebody doesn’t start building affordable houses there won’t be anyone left to work in the town. “For an old house built in the 1920s or 1930s, people are paying $600,000,” he said. “We’re building new homes up to today’s standards for $230,000. To do this you have to have a passion for building affordable and attainable houses. I could build a $600,000 home and sell it for a million, but that’s not helping the community or San Juan County. At some point that person working at the Coffee Bear and serving coffee isn’t going to be able to afford to live here anymore.” To ensure the houses don’t become investment properties or short-term rentals, there’s a maximum income for potential purchasers. The homes are built to be affordable, but they are designed to withstand the harsh winter temperatures and the almost 200 inches of snow Silverton averages every year. To keep costs down, each home meets high energy-efficiency standards. While building in Silverton comes with challenges, like a short building season and being 60 miles from the lumberyard, Anderson stresses that San Juan County has been instrumental in moving the development forward by taking such measures as waiving tap fees and running utilities to the houses. “San Juan County has gone above and beyond to get this development off the ground. Anything we need, they take care of. And by securing this land for affordable development, they’ve done what a lot of other counties probably should have done a decade ago. Without the help of the county, the City of Silverton, Carolyn Hunter, my wife Beth, and Builder’s First Source, this project never could have happened. With the houses being built for each individual buyer, Anderson says they can’t get them up fast enough for the people who want to buy them. “We’re very fortunate to live here and own a home and have these beautiful mountains out our door. We wanted to help people get into a house they could afford in the town they work in and be able to call this beautiful place home.”

Correction: Please note the three homes pictured are projects of Nico Foster, owner of Nico Foster Construction & Design LLC., a long-time contractor in Silverton. The homes were chosen to showcase ongoing construction in the Silverton community and in no way was it the intention by Durango Magazine to imply they had been constructed by 9318 Contracting LLC which is the contractor for the single home shown in the other photo. We apologize for the confusion to both these well-respected companies. 45


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46 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring

Skijoring, Silverton

A Unique Winter Sport Competition Near Durango Words and photos by Hank Blum


o, a cowboy, a horse, and a ski bum walk into a bar… Sounds like a joke, but it’s not. The mountain west lies deep in the heart of winter. The air is bitter cold and the ground is buried under fluffy white snow, while we are stuck inside. It was only a matter of time before some bored mountain cowboys came up with an amazingly bad idea on a long winter’s night: to pull a skier behind a galloping horse at 35-plus miles an hour. Welcome to the adrenaline-packed sport known as skijoring. Skijoring is a niche winter sport that involves a skier being towed behind a galloping horse at high speeds, covering a snow-packed obstacle course. Skiers hold onto a long rope, snag plastic rings on one arm, and navigate a course consisting of a series of tall snow jumps and gates – all while catching big air. The goal is to go fast, stay upright, and secure all the rings in the shortest time. Something seems extremely odd when you see the skijoring competitors together. Leather boots, cowboy hats and big belt buckles next to plastic ski boots, colorful helmets, and big shiny goggles. This juxtaposition of the Wild-West-meets-

ski-town culture is a spectacle to behold – a sport like none other! Skijoring has become extremely popular in Western states, where cowboys and black-diamond skiers can both relate to an electrifying sport. I speak from experience when I say that this is one action-packed event you'll want to go to the mountains to see. If you’re a first-timer, you need to know that you’ll be standing outside in the freezing cold for several hours. Be sure to

bundle up with warm layers, cozy socks, a hat, gloves, and snow boots. If you’ve come as a spectator before, be sure to bring a friend along for your next event, to share in the excitement for this high-intensity action sport. One thing is for sure – once you are bitten by the skijoring bug, the fascination will keep you coming back year after year. Teams gear up; riders check their saddles; skiers adjust their bindings one last time. All of a sudden, the horseback rider shouts loudly, and they charge out of the gate, full speed ahead. The pounding of the horses’ hooves, and clouds of condensation from the horses’ nostrils, is followed by a spray of snow as the skiers dart back and forth across the course. The bundled-up crowd roars with excitement, spilling hot chocolate or the contents of their flasks as the teams whiz past. You can feel the intensity in the air as the horses and skiers blast by, vying for the highest score and the skijoring victory. From Silverton to Leadville, from Colorado to Montana, attending a skijoring competition is a unique opportunity to watch a fascinating feat and to have an experience you won’t forget! Saddle up!





Kennan Harvey

48 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring

Matt Payne

Jim Bommarito Kennan Harvey

Jim Bommarito


Weekend in Durango The Art of Slowing Down by Joy Martin

Kennan Harvey


he magic of winter in the San Juan Mountains is like a good cup of tea, warming your soul from the inside out. If you only have a couple of days to enjoy southwest Colorado during this bewitching time of year, wrap your hands around a cuppa and give this dream itinerary a quick read. Then bundle up and head out into the wonderland. Your weekend in Durango kicks off with a day of skiing or snowboarding at Purgatory Resort. If you didn’t bring your own, rent skis at one of Durango’s convenient ski shops located along Highway 550. Or you can reserve rentals for pickup at Purgatory upon arrival. On your way out of Durango, swing by Jean Pierre Bakery, Café and Wine Bar for hot coffee and a croissant to add flavor to the journey. As you climb in elevation, don’t be shy about stopping the car to absorb the million-dollar views of snowcapped Engineer Mountain and frosted evergreens feathering the San Juans’ dramatic ridgelines. As long as nature’s pulling at your heartstrings, stay the course and arrive at Purgatory ready to be invigorated by the fresh air. Refresh your skills with a one-on-one lesson or head straight up the lift for instant exhilaration. With more than 1,100 acres of skiable terrain, there’s a little something for everyone to enjoy before you carry on to Durango Hot Springs

50 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring

Resort & Spa for an afternoon soak or spa treatment. After a full day of fresh air, nothing hits the spot like delicious, traditional Mexican food at Nayarit, in Durango. Snuggle up in a booth, order a house margarita, and salivate over classic Nayarit fare, like Molcajete de Mariscos, Fajitas Camaron, or Mahi Tacos. Satiated by all the good things, you’ll be ready to fall asleep as quickly as flurries melt on the windshield. Wake up to your quads reminding you of yesterday’s adventures and treat yourself to a cozy breakfast at Oscar’s Café in Town Plaza. Today’s itinerary is much more relaxed, so there’s no need to rush. Warmed by bottomless coffee and giant pancakes, a brisk walk on the Animas River Trail is the perfect antidote to bring some life back into your weary legs. The paved trail stretches nearly 10 miles along the Animas and can be accessed from a number of points. Whether the river is laced with ice or the path is packed with snow, you’ll see that the trail is the heartbeat of Durango, pulsing with the hum of bikes, strollers, and conversations. If the weather is a bit too cold for a walkabout or you’d prefer some inside downtime, cruise over to the Sky Ute Casino Resort for an afternoon of bowling at Rolling Thunder Lanes. Whatever way you wander, circle back to Durango’s Main Avenue for some local shopping. Duck into Maria’s Bookshop

to find your next literary escape. Revamp your outdoor gear at Pine Needle Mountaineering or Crow’s Closet. Spice up your wardrobe at the Sparrow Mercantile or Lively boutiques. Procure the perfect gift at Urban Market or Animas Trading Company. Between shops, pop into Durango’s flourishing art galleries to peruse paintings, photography, jewelry, paper products, and more – all locally inspired and locally made. From Sorrel Sky to Toh-Atin, and from Studio & to Diane West, these galleries boast the spectrum of southwest Colorado creativity. The newish kid on the block, Create Art and Tea, recently moved to the historic enclave at 1015 Main Avenue and is proud to not only offer the return of First Friday Art Walks but also serves as your go-to spot for all things tea. If you’ve timed your amble perfectly, you should be primed for your 4 p.m. reservation for high tea at Create. Owner Caprice Fox will be waiting with a smile. She’ll also regale you with stories from her former life as a famous vocal jazz musician, not to mention with her extravagant selection of teas – from green hibiscus to white tea with rose petals. If you need a zap of energy, Fox will recommend a strong black tea. If you can’t handle the caffeine, she’ll steer you toward herbal peppermint with cream (“like a crème de menthe,” she says) or rooibos with cinnamon chips, both delights spiked with honey. Your table awaits, ornamented with antique dishes, her aunt’s silver spoons, and three tiers of goodies featuring petite sandwiches and desserts baked especially for you. If the snugness of a plush couch is calling your name, settle in with that cup of tea you’ve been seeking all weekend and toast to the art of slowing down. “Tea is such a healing thing, and high tea brings manners and dignity and history to the table, too,” says Fox. “This is the greatest time of day to slow down, and Create is the place to come and feel right at home.”

Kathy Myrick

Create Art and Tea

Kennan Harvey 51



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Longtime Durangoan Matt Arias knows a little something about New Mexican chiles. Both his father and grandfather were born and raised in Albuquerque, amid the rich culinary traditions centered on the iconic red and green chiles that grow there. In fact, New Mexico is the only U.S. state that touts an official state question referencing the passion they have for their chiles: “red or green?” Incidentally, some answer “Christmas!” Arias, owner of Gazpacho New Mexico Cooking and Cantina, fondly recalls how his grandfather would not eat a meal without a bottle of red chile sauce on the table. “New Mexican food was always a part of our family tradition,” Arias said. Luckily for both locals and out-of-towners, Arias has artfully woven these family traditions throughout the dishes served at Gazpacho. Many New Mexican favorites can be found on the menu, such as the Santa Fe stacked enchiladas (deemed by one local resident as “the best enchiladas in town”), sweet or savory stuffed sopapillas, and the New Mexican classic carne adovada, prepared with slow-roasted pork in Arias’ authentic red chile, inspired by his grandfather’s own recipe. The red chile preparation is no feat for the impatient. From deseeding, cleaning, and soaking the red chile pods to pureeing and cooking them, time spent from start to finish is about six hours and well worth the effort. “It takes longer to make but produces a much tastier product,” Arias remarked. While some may espouse the addition of flour-based thickening agents to their red chile, Arias remains true to his New Mexican heritage on the matter. “We don’t use any powders or flour in our red chile. It just produces a different taste,” he said. But let’s not forget about the green chile! As mid-August hits in New Mexico, and the chiles boast their signature bright-green color, Arias makes one of several trips to the village of Hatch to bring back chiles directly from the farmers to the tables of Gazpacho. In addition to their use in such dishes as the Chile Relleno Plate and Green Chile Cheeseburger (a local favorite as well as a musthave if visiting Gazpacho for the first time), the green chiles are also brought back for roasting in Gazpacho’s Chile Roast Festival. The annual event began as a promotion and quickly gained popularity for those in the area seeking bulk-roasted chiles. Gazpacho recently celebrated the festival’s 30th year. It has been said that necessity is the 54 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring

Mark Patrick

Cole Davis

Cole Davis

mother of invention, and the shifts Gazpacho has made in response to Covid exemplify this. Perhaps the most significant change made in the restaurant was the transition last year from full table service to a hybrid of table and counter service. Food orders are now taken at the front counter; customers are then seated at a table after ordering. Though orders are no longer taken directly from a server, staff is still there to cater to customers once they’re seated. “If you want more guacamole or another margarita, we have people serving you at the table. And we have found that this really speeds up our service,” Arias said. Though counter ordering is a change for Gazpacho, it does not come at the cost of the dining experience. “We’re still in the service business, and we’re here to make it an enjoyable dining experience for our customers,” Arias said. Another pandemic adjustment Gazpacho made that proved serendipitous was the hosting of outdoor live music. The introduction of the “Parking Lot Concert Series” originally began as a way to support friends in the music business during the 2020 closures, just as the lockdown started to wane. “We were shut down, and all our musician friends were shut down with no place to play,” Arias said. So Gazpacho hosted its first live music event with to-go food at the

Cole Davis

ready and people dancing in the parking lot. From there, it grew in popularity. Now when the weather turns warm once more, Gazpacho plans to host more outdoor music events for the community. For Arias, it’s the community that keeps him doing what he does. Giving back is part of that. Whether it’s serving the patrons with birthday discounts and fun daily specials – such as Taco Tuesdays, when the tacos and Tecate flow – or preparing meals for donation to Boys and Girls Club for a special afternoon celebration, or just hanging out with the locals and staff on a random Sunday afternoon, Arias feels a deep sense of gratitude for this community. “We really are a local restaurant, and our locals have seen us through 30 Durango winters. So we really take care of them,” he said. Gazpacho’s patrons and staff are more than just what those labels would indicate. They’re also friends. And this speaks not only to the quality of food Gazpacho brings to the table but also to the space’s warmth, friendliness, and inviting nature. As Arias put it, “We do what we do, we try to do it at a consistently high level, and we don’t get too fancy. We don’t get too far outside ourselves, and we give people what they’ve come to expect.” Can every day at Gazpacho’s be Taco Tuesday? Asking for a community. 55


Shaun Stanley

NIGHTLIFE 8TH AVENUE TAVERN Neighborhood favorite just south of College Drive in College Plaza. Top notch karaoke three nights a week, Thursday through Saturday. Choose from over 46,000 songs to sing before a nonjudgmental crowd. Bar snacks available. Off-Main beverage prices! 509 E. Eighth Ave., 970-259-8801. BALCONY BAR & GRILL The Balcony and The Balcony Backstage is the Four Corners’ destination for live music, tasty beverages, great food & good times. “Gotta come up to get down!” Full lunch and dinner menu, weekend brunch. Salads, sandwiches, tacos, burgers and more. 600 Main Ave. #210, 970-422-8008. BOOKCASE & BARBER Showcasing Durango’s local talent while transporting guests to another time with an intimate atmosphere, expertly crafted cocktails and superior service. Do you know the password? 601 E. Second Ave. Suite B, 970-764-4123, www.bookcaseandbarber.com DURANGO CRAFT SPIRITS Distillery and tasting room. Durango’s first grain-to-glass distillery since prohibition. 1120 Main Ave. #2, 970-247-1919, www.durangospirits.com

EL RANCHO TAVERN Founded in 1942, El Rancho is a local pub in downtown Durango. Breakfast and lunch service from Durango Diner. 975 Main Ave., 970-259-8111, www.elranchotavern.com FOUR LEAVES WINERY Charming downtown winery and tasting gallery. Over 20 wines made on site: varietals, ports and specialty crafted wine. Tastings, by the glass, or take home a bottle. Local chocolates for pairing. Appetizers include artisan cheeses, hummus and artichoke dips. 528 Main Ave., 970-403-8182, www.fourleaveswinery.com THE GARAGE Previously known as Pongas, The Garage is a modern and energizing option for entertainment in downtown Durango. Featuring live performers, an array of billiard tables and a fantastic variety of food and drink. 121 W. Eighth St., 970-382-8554. JOEL’S BAR A classic long bar with lots of seats, a few tables, and mirrored shelving stacked with bottles. With a restaurant serving all-American food like burgers and fries, Joel’s is fun, friendly and moderately priced. 119 W. Eighth St., 405-757-5702.

MOE’S STARLIGHT LOUNGE This fun lounge is a local favorite for food and live music, plus one of the area’s best patios. Largest selection of vodkas in Colorado; world-famous Bacontini. Great appetizers; over 90 martinis. Happy hour Monday–Friday, 4:30–7pm: half-price well drinks and appetizers, discounted drinks. 937 Main Ave., 970-259-9018. OFFICE SPIRITORIUM Locals’ favorite happy hour. Perfect after-work and late-night Victorian bar at the historic Strater Hotel. A wide selection of creative libations, local beers and fabulous wines. Amazing interior setting. Daily happy hour, dinner and live music. 699 Main Ave. inside the Strater Hotel, 970-375-7260, www.strater.com/dining/the-office-spiritorium/ ORIO’S ROADHOUSE One of Durango’s “last REAL bars,” Orio’s is a sports bar and much more, with pool tables. 652 Main Ave., 970-259-6120. WILD HORSE SALOON Durango’s favorite for live country-western music and southern rock. National artists and talented locals. Giant dance floor, dance lessons, special concerts, karaoke, DJ Crazy Charlie. “A fun-loving redneck’s dream.” 601 E. Second Ave., Suite C, 970-375-2568, www.durangowildhorsesaloon.com Editors’ Pick

56 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring

DINING 11TH STREET STATION A culinary collective with a progressive vision that honors the history of the location. From tacos to pizza, sushi to Indonesian cuisine, their independent food trucks cure any craving. Outdoor deck is perfect for relaxing with a cold drink or quick lunch. 1101 Main Ave., 970-422-8482, www.11thstreetstation.com 2ND DELI & SPIRITS Fast, convenient and delicious takeout combined with a laid-back and enjoyable bar atmosphere. Offering hot and cold sandwiches along with a full bar. 601 E. Second Ave., 970-259-1000, www.2nddelidurango.com 425 DEGREES TAKE & BAKE PIZZA “Who bakes the best pizza? You do!” Offering traditional, thin and gluten-free pizzas to take home, as well as wings, cookies, and salads. Order by phone for pickup. 50 County Road 234 inside Elmore’s Corner Store, 970-259-0399. 81301 COFFEE HOUSE AND ROASTERS Coffee house and roasting company using the pour-over coffee-making process. Offering hot coffee, iced drinks, mochas, lattes, chai and homemade baked goods in a laid-back atmosphere. 3101 Main Ave. #1, 970-385-1941, www.81301coffee.com AKAMI POKE AND RAMEN A haven for Japanese ramen, Hawaiian poke bowls, and an extensive menu of Izakaya and other fusion delicacies. Dine and enjoy a sake in their casually hip dining room or charming patio. 309 College Dr., 970-764-7653, www.akamipokeramen.com ALCÉ RESTAURANT Located at Dalton Ranch Golf Club, just eight minutes north of downtown Durango. Offering Italian-American cuisine and a wonderful patio dining experience. Executive Chef Jonathan Fletcher spent many winters in Italy and has brought back traditional Italian recipes. 589 County Road 252, 970-247-4980, www.alcerestaurant.com

ANARCHY BREWING COMPANY A neighborhood nano-brewery featuring small batch, frequently rotating beers. The brewery is a “homegrown” taproom built, decorated and run by the founder and friends. They are brewing both traditional and unique beers, as well as collaborating with other local brewers. 225 E 8th Ave., Unit C (970) 422-8088 www.anarchybrewingco.com ANIMAS BREWING COMPANY Just off the Animas River trail near Rotary Park. A relaxed, family-friendly brewpub serving house-made beers and Colorado wine and spirits, along with a spin on comfort food and plenty of kid favorites. Comfortable outdoor seating. 1560 E. Second Ave., 970-403-8850, www.animasbrewing.com ANIMAS CHOCOLATE & COFFEE COMPANY Casual and comfortable atmosphere, where chocolate lovers can relax while tasting amazing chocolates. From decadent truffles to divine darks, chocolate confections made on the premises using the highest-quality chocolate, simple ingredients, no preservatives. 920 Main Ave., 970-317-5761, www.animaschocolatecompany.com ANIMAS RIVER GRILLE Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for casual or celebratory events. Enjoy stunning river views. Daily specials; kids’ menu. For the healthy-minded, the Animas River Grille has its “eat right menu.” Easy-order takeout by phone. 501 Camino del Rio, inside the DoubleTree Hotel, 970-382-3950. APPLEBEE’S NEIGHBORHOOD GRILL & BAR Serving delicious family favorites, from their famous boneless wings to mouthwatering salads and chicken dishes. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Nine televisions, full bar, casual, comfortable, friendly atmosphere. 800 Camino del Rio, inside Durango Downtown Inn, 970-259-5850, www.applebees.com BAR D CHUCKWAGON SUPPERS Old West music and comedy stage show with traditional barbecue supper. Fun for the whole family. Nightly, from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Reservations required. 8080 County Road 250, 970-247-5753, www.bardchuckwagon.com

BART’S DELI Delicious breakfast sandwiches and breakfast burritos. Tasty burgers, hot dogs, fries, hot pastrami, salads, specials and much more. Boasting “the best Reuben in town.” 1220 Carbon Junction Rd., inside the Exxon gas station across from Walmart, 970-247-1144, www.bartsdeli.com BASKIN-ROBBINS Serving 42 delicious ice-cream flavors, as well as a variety of ice-cream cakes, smoothies, sundaes, shakes, and blasts. 32 Town Plaza, 970-247-1231, www.baskinrobbins.com BIRD’S Enjoy Bird’s signature rotisserie chicken, along with fresh and tasty housemade salads and sandwiches. Something for everyone. 2957 N. Main Ave., 970-426-4596, www.birdsdurango.com BREAD Fresh homemade breads, pastries, cookies, and deli sandwiches served daily. From whole wheat to rye, ginger snaps to scones, Bread is fast, friendly, and fantastic. 42 County Road 250 and downtown at 135 E. Eighth St., 970-247-5100, www.breaddurango.com BURGER KING Redrock Foods, a Burger King Corp. franchisee, owns and operates the Durango location and 19 New Mexico and Colorado stores. Come to Burger King for the famous Whopper and chicken sandwiches. Order online, via phone, or in person. 1415 Main Ave., 970-247-9095, www.bk.com BURGER THEORY Lunch and dinner menu features burgers and Colorado craft beers, with a breakfast menu focused on the morning classics. Thirteen high-definition TVs promise no bad seat in the house, and the daily happy hour will keep your glass full. 21636 U.S. Hwy. 160 W., inside the Holiday Inn & Suites, 970-385-6387, www.ihg.com/holidayinn/hotels/us/en/durango/drodc/ hoteldetail/dining


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N I G H TLI FE & DI N I NG G U I D E CARVER BREWING COMPANY One of the Southwest’s original brewpubs—and located in historic downtown Durango—Carver’s offers tours of its solar/wind-powered brewery and has 12 award-winning handcrafted brews on tap. Hearty and fresh creations for every meal. Kid-friendly. Organic produce grown at Carver Farms and other local sources. 1022 Main Ave., 970-259-2545, www.carverbrewing.com CHIMAYO STONE-FIRED KITCHEN Contemporary American bistro with a Southwestern flair. Creative small plates, salads, artisanal pizzas, plus fire-roasted steaks, chicken and seafood. Stone-hearth ovens in an open exhibition kitchen. Specialty cocktails, fine wines and local tap beer. Unique, casual fine dining. 862 Main Ave., 970-259-2749, www.chimayodurango.com CHINA CAFÉ Favorite longtime Durango restaurant, offering delicious and traditional Mandarin and Szechuan cuisine. Full bar and beautiful riverside patio. Parking. Dine in or take out. 1525 Main Ave., 970-259-0868, www.durangochinacafe.com CJ’S DINER Open for breakfast and lunch, CJ’s Diner is a popular south-side eatery whose goal is for you to leave with a smile. Specialty breakfasts, Mexican food, specialty sandwiches, burgers, and salads. Catering, delivery, and takeout. Prices from $4 to $10. 810 E. College Dr., 970-375-0117, www.cjsdiner.net COLD STONE CREAMERY The secret recipe for smooth, creamy ice cream is to make it fresh daily in the store and then customize it with your choice of mix-ins on a frozen granite stone, and Cold Stone does this perfectly. Custom, signature ice-cream cakes, pies, and cupcakes. 598 Main Ave., 970-259-5052, www.coldstonecreamery.com COLLEGE DRIVE CAFÉ Creative and large menu, fresh-roasted organic coffee, friendly folks and atmosphere. Daily, delicious specials and tried-and-true entrées. Everyone is treated like a regular at College Drive Café. Free Wi-Fi and cozy dining room. 666 E. College Dr., 970-247-5322, www.cafedurango.com

58 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring

COMMON GROUNDS CAFÉ Staffed by high-school students who want experience. Sandwiches, yogurt, chips, fruit, and cold drinks. Featuring baked goods from Bread and coffee from Desert Sun Coffee Roasters. It’s the perfect snack spot for kids, library patrons, and river-trail users. 1900 E. Third Ave. inside the Durango Public Library, 970-375-3380.

DOMINO’S PIZZA Fast, friendly delivery or carryout. A variety of delicious pizzas, chicken wings, breadsticks, pasta, sandwiches, salads, sodas, and more. Enjoy a classic meal anytime you crave it. Open for lunch, dinner, and late night. 1485 Florida Rd., 970-259-3660, www.dominos.com

CUCKOO’S CHICKEN HOUSE & WATERIN’ HOLE Family sports eatery. Broasted chicken, 20-plus kinds of wings, most menu items under $12. HDTVs, satellite sports. Full menu and bar. Dine in or take out. 128 E. College Dr., 970-259-6322, www.cuckooschicken.com

DUNKIN’ DONUTS Long-running chain serving signature breakfast items, an assortment of coffee beverages, and of course, their famous donuts. Sign up for rewards through the Dunkin’ app as well as order ahead for quick and easy pickup. 1254 Escalante Dr., 970-764-4949, www.dunkindonuts.com

CUEVAS TACOS Coined “Durango’s Most Authentic Mexican Street Food”, Cuevas Tacos brings amazing tacos, burritos, nachos, salads, and their “famous” tortas to the Durango streets via their nifty food truck. Pick up, hang out, or order online through ChowNow. 725 E. Second Ave., 970-779-5468, www.cuevastacos.com

DURANGO BAGEL Voted the “best bagel in the Four Corners.” Freshly baked bagels, muffins, cinnamon rolls and pastries. Great breakfast selections and lunch bagel sandwiches. Takeout bag lunches. 106 E. Fifth St., next to the train depot, 970-385-7297.

DENNY’S Family-friendly menu selections to satisfy everyone of all ages. Serving delicious and classic breakfasts, like pancake or egg platters; seafood, salad, and steak lunches and dinners, Denny’s provides affordable and delicious meals. 666 Camino del Rio, 970-247-1512, www.dennys.com

DURANGO BEER AND ICE COMPANY First founded in 1887, and continuing the tradition with a restart in 2020, the new railroad-inspired tasting room offers local brews from High Trestle Brewing Company, along with great “pub grub,” including a variety of burgers and homemade red and green chile. 3000 Main Ave., 970-746-4466.

DERAILED POUR HOUSE An 1890s bar with a stage for local and touring musicians. Offering martinis, wines, 14 beers on tap, and fresh cocktails. Menu items made from scratch and eight sports screens. Everyone feels like a local. 725 Main Ave., 970-247-5440, www.derailedpourhouse.com

DURANGO COFFEE COMPANY Coffee shop and café. Comfortable meeting place. Locally roasted coffees. 730 Main Ave., 970-259-1011, www.durangocoffee.com

DIAMOND BELLE SALOON Legendary Old West saloon in the heart of historic downtown. Famous ragtime piano, costumed Belle girls, cowboys and bartenders. Daily live music, lunch, happy hour, and dinner. Sunday brunch. Gunfights Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 5:30 p.m., June through October. 699 Main Ave., inside the Strater Hotel, 970-247-4431, www.strater.com/dining/diamondbelle-saloon/

DURANGO DELI For a warming soup, a satisfying sandwich or mouthwatering burger, the airport deli is just the ticket. For a quick bite or just a place to relax while waiting for a plane, the Durango Deli is the perfect traveler’s haven. 1000 Airport Rd., inside the Durango-La Plata County Airport, 970-259-6964. DURANGO DINER On historic Main Avenue, “The Diner” is one of the town’s landmark eateries, known for its nostalgic no-frills meals and local camaraderie. Brand-name green chile and Southwest salsa are sold nationwide. Breakfast and lunch all day. 957 Main Ave., 970-247-9889, www.durangodiner.com

DURANGO DOUGHWORKS Fresh donuts and bagels, breakfast burritos, lunch favorites—something for everyone. Grab a breakfast burrito or bagel sandwich, or relax in the comfy dining room for a full breakfast or lunch. 2653 Main Ave., 970-247-1610, www.durangodoughworks.com DURANGO JOE’S COFFEE Nine convenient locations in Durango, Farmington, and Aztec, serving the best espresso/coffee drinks, blended drinks, and smoothies paired with tasty pastries, breakfast burritos, salads, and sandwiches. Enjoy “legendary customer service.” Loyalty programs; fair-trade and certified-organic coffees and teas. 40 Town Plaza, 970-375-7891; 732 E. College Dr., 970-375-2121; 3455 Main Ave., 970-375-6384; 331 S. Camino del Rio, 970-764-4848; 1211 Escalante Dr., 970-382-5911; www.durangojoes.com DURANGO NATURAL FOODS CO-OP Durango’s first and only community-owned food market and deli. The best local, organic produce; non-GMO groceries and bulk foods; locally raised meat and eggs; cruelty-free body-care products; and more. 575 E. Eighth Ave., at the corner of College and Eighth, 970-247-8129, www.durangonaturalfoods.coop EAST BY SOUTHWEST Voted Durango’s best happy hour, hottest date night, best dessert, best cocktail, and best bartender. Full sushi bar, vegetarian options, sake, Asian beers, libations. Comfortable, upscale urban setting. Kids’ menu. 160 E. College Dr., 970-247-5533, www.eastbysouthwest.com EL MORO SPIRITS & TAVERN Lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. El Moro is named after the early-1900s saloon that occupied the historic site. Comfortable, with exposed red-brick walls and hardwood floors. A “farm-to-table” restaurant featuring local fresh foods. 945 Main Ave., 970-259-5555, www.elmorotavern.com

EOLUS BAR & DINING Locally owned and operated since 2013, Eolus is named for the famous peak near Chicago Basin. Featuring farm-to-table and vine-to-wine. Contemporary American cuisine. A fine array of local products. Elegant dining room, comfortable bar, rooftop patio with views. Reservations recommended. 919 Main Ave., 970-259-2898, www.eolusdurango.com

FUR TRAPPERS STEAK HOUSE Travel back in time to feel the nostalgia of Rocky Mountain living during the mid-19th century. Fur Trappers Steak House embodies both the feeling and flavorful food of this era, creating the ultimate destination dining experience. 701 E. Second Ave. in Durango, 970-259-0940 and 17460 CR 501 at Vallecito Lake, 970-884-0596, www.furtrapperssteakhouseandbar.com

ERNIE’S Located within the lively 11th Street Station, Ernie’s is a service stationthemed bar, and is the perfect spot to enjoy a cold beer from the front of a ’57 Chevy Bel Air; or sample from an assortment of specialty cocktails or an extensive list of Mezcal tequilas. Boasting a daily happy hour, there is no going wrong with Ernie’s. 1100 Main Ave., 970-422-8482, www.11thstreetstation.com/ernies-bar

GAZPACHO Voted Durango’s favorite for Mexican food and margaritas. Traditional northern New Mexican fare. Hatch red and green chiles. Carne adovada, tamales, blue-corn enchiladas, stuffed sopaipillas, and vegetarian menu. Full bar. Parking. 431 E. Second Ave., 970-259-9494, www.gazpachodurango.com

FAMBURGER Burgers, Coney dogs, hand-battered onion rings, soft-serve ice cream, milkshakes, floats, and fries. Everything you and your kids could want in a walk-up diner. Just 500 feet from the Animas River Trail. 1400 E. Second Ave., 970-422-8082, www.theoriginalfamburger.com FATHER’S DAUGHTERS PIZZA Family owned and operated and with a full bar, featuring the East Coast flavor of Sicilian- or New York-style pizza. Dough made fresh daily. Great salads, wings, and soups. Private parties welcome. 640 Main Ave., 970-385-0420, www.fathersdaughterspizza.com FIRED UP PIZZERIA Devoted to quality local and imported ingredients and the traditional method of artisan wood-fired baking. Always fresh, handmade, wood-fired pizza, plus sandwiches and salads. Gluten-free options, daily specials, full bar, family friendly, seasonal rooftop patio. 735 Main Ave., 970-247-0264, www.fireduppizzeria.com FREDDY’S FROZEN CUSTARD & STEAKBURGERS Retro-style chain restaurant offering steakburgers, hot dogs, and other fast food staples, plus frozen custard galore. 1250 Escalante Dr., 970-422-8655, www.freddysusa.com/store/durango

GRASSBURGER Award-winning restaurant serving burgers from 100% grass-fed, USA-raised beef; turkey and vegan burgers; sweet and regular fries; salads. Indoor/ outdoor seating, kiddie corral. Vegan, allergy, gluten-free friendly. The American burger made healthy, ethical, and delicious. Dine in or carry out. 726½ Main Ave., 970-247-1081, www.eatgrassburger.com GRIEGO’S RESTAURANT This very reasonably priced, popular Southwestern and American diner serves fajitas, carnitas, enchiladas, smothered burrito plates, and burgers. Vegetarian and kids’ meals and takeout. Great food and friendly service. Considered a classic, local favorite. 2603 Main Ave., 970-259-3558. HAPPY PAPPY’S PIZZA & WINGS New to the Durango area, Happy Pappy’s has a wide variety of build-yourown pizzas, flavorful wings, and beer. Using longtime family dough and wing recipes along with the best ingredients possible. Order online, over the phone, or in person. 2411 Main Ave., 970-764-4213. HERMOSA CAFÉ Dedicated to providing the highest-quality specialty coffee along with unparalleled customer service. Serving a wide variety of coffee from around the world, connecting the Durango community in the process. 738 Main Ave. 970-259-2059, www.hermosacafedurango.com


N I G H TLI FE & DI N I NG G U I D E HERMOSA CREEK GRILL Locally owned café in the Animas valley north of town, the perfect stop on the way to the mountains. Delicious and unique egg dishes, pancakes, cinnamon rolls. Daily specials. Sandwiches, burgers, authentic gyros, and salads. Full espresso bar. 32223 U.S. Hwy. 550 N., 970-247-0014, www.hermosacreekgrill.com HIGHWAY 3 ROADHOUSE & OYSTER BAR Locals’ hangout. Unique appetizers and full bar. Happy-hour oysters, $9/ half-dozen. Slider night is Wednesday, $3.95/slider. Thursday Ladies’ Night, $5 drinks. Friday catfish night, $12.95. Great for private parties. 955 CO Hwy. 3, 970-385-7444, www.highway3roadhouse.com HIMALAYAN KITCHEN Tastes from such top-of-the-world regions as Nepal, India, and Tibet. Daily gourmet lunch buffet. Dinner temptations include yak, lamb, chicken, seafood, and vegetarian. Fresh bread from the Tandoor oven. 992 Main Ave., 970-259-0956, www.himkitchen.com HOME SLICE PIZZA Gourmet pizza, salads, and sandwiches, plus a full bar. Dine in, take out, or order online for in-town delivery. If you love fresh homemade pizza and friendly service, this is the place for you; just ask the locals. 441 E. College Dr., 970-259-5551; 2915 Main Ave., 970-422-8337; and 125 Mercado St., #105, 970-764-4208; www.homeslicedelivers.com J. BO’S PIZZA & RIB COMPANY Known locally as Bo’s, this fast, casual, family eatery serves pizza, ribs, grinders, burgers, salads, local microbrews, and more. Pool tables, jukebox, video games, live music. Eat in, take out, or delivery. 1301 Florida Rd., 970-259-0010, www.jbosdurango.com JAMES RANCH MARKET & GRILL Where unforgettable food and memories are made. Experience a table-onthe-farm organic restaurant, farm market, and ranch tours. 33846 U.S. Hwy. 550, 970-676-1023, www.jamesranch.net/harvestgrill

60 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring

JEAN PIERRE BAKERY, CAFÉ & WINE BAR Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Wine room for small business meetings or private dinner parties. Live classical and/or jazz music on the weekends. Traditional yet innovative dinner menu. Full bar. Reservations recommended. Top-rated sweets on Trip Advisor. 601 Main Ave., 970-247-7700. JIMMY JOHN’S The popular franchise has featured gourmet sandwiches since 1983. Jimmy John’s is known for its irreverent attitude, low prices, great and healthy food, and speedy delivery, with more than 2,000 stores nationwide. 1316 Main Ave., 970-259-0577, www.jimmyjohns.com JITTERS’ JAVA Locally owned drive-through at the corner of Eighth Avenue and Camino del Rio. Shade-grown organic, fair-trade coffees. Energizing and satisfying espresso drinks, teas, smoothies, and more. Grab-n-go breakfast and lunch. Fast and friendly. Get your Jitters organically. 802 Camino del Rio, 970-799-5282, www.jitters-java.ueniweb.com KACHINA KITCHEN Delicious and traditional Southwestern foods along with Mexican and Native American dishes prepared fresh daily. Fast and efficient service; great prices and free parking. 325 S. Camino del Rio in the Centennial Center, 970-247-3536. KEN & SUE’S Locals Ken and Sue Fusco invite you to be their guest. Creative and tasty food and great service at reasonable prices. Upscale, comfortable eatery. Year-round patio. Reservations are encouraged. 636 Main Ave., 970-385-1810, www.kenandsues.com KENNEBEC CAFÉ Taste Tuscany in the La Plata Mountains, just 10 miles west of Durango on Hwy. 160. Mediterranean- and American-inspired cuisine, bistro setting. Extensive wines, full bar, takeout, ever-changing seasonal menu. Events and banquets welcome. Reservations accepted. 4 County Road 124, Hesperus, 970-247-5674, www.kennebeccafe.com

LA HACIENDA Recently changed to La Hacienda, this colorful family restaurant on the north side of town offers great margaritas and delicious, authentic Mexican food. 2850 Main Ave., 970-375-2492. THE LIFT Located at Cascade Village just north of Purgatory Ski Resort, The Lift serves authentic modern American cuisine with impeccable views of the San Juan Mountains. 50827 U.S. Hwy. 550 N., 970-259-3500, www.theliftcascade.com LIVING TREE A live-foods salad bar. Fresh, healthy, organic, cultured foods. Friendly, fun setting. Locally sourced food when possible, kombucha on draft. Grass-fed beef; cage-free, hormone-free chicken; salads. Compostable cutlery and dishes. 680 Main Ave., 970-286-0227, www.thelivingtreesaladbar.com LONE SPUR CAFÉ Classic Old West with Western-themed wall décor. The café serves hearty breakfasts such as steak and eggs. Lunch features burgers, classic sandwiches, soups, and salads. Weekend-only dining menu features prime rib and rib-eye steaks. 619 Main Ave., 970-764-4280, www.lonespurcafe.com LOS AMIGOS DEL SUR In the Main Mall downtown, this unassuming restaurant is small but features a great Mexican menu and handcrafted margaritas. Friendly, comfortable atmosphere serving everyone’s favorite dishes, including “street” tacos and vegetarian platters. 835 Main Ave., #106, 970-764-4042, www.durangoamigos.com MACHO’S FAST MEXICAN FOOD & DRINKS Fresh and bursting with flavor, great dishes prepared with the highestquality ingredients. Beto’s Burrito Bowl is a favorite! Authentic Mexican meals. Great atmosphere, friendly service, affordable prices. Take your taste buds on an unforgettable journey. 1485 Florida Rd., 970-422-8540 and 275 E. Eighth Ave., 970-259-4108.

MAGPIE’S NEWSSTAND AND CAFÉ Sunny sidewalk patio in the heart of downtown. Most affordable sandwiches in town. Traditional or grilled panini. Breakfast burritos, salads, smoothies, espressos, house-brewed chai and fresh-made gelato. Selection of magazines, cards, games, puzzles, candy, and sodas. 707 Main Ave., 970-259-1159, www.magpiesnewsstand.com

MONGOLIAN GRILL Located in the Walmart shopping center and featuring tasty Peking and Mongolian barbecue, plus Hunan, Chinese, Mandarin and Szechuan cuisine. A variety of beer and wine, free parking, and all-you-can-eat dishes. Dine in or take out. 1135 S. Camino del Rio, #230, 970-259-7228, www.mongoliangrill.uorder.io

MAHOGANY GRILLE Featuring something for everyone. Menu items crafted by their master with meats, produce, and ingredients from local family-owned farms and ranches. 699 Main Ave., inside the Strater Hotel, 970-247-4431, www.strater.com/dining/the-mahogany-grille/

NATURE’S OASIS Durango’s great natural market is the largest provider of natural and organic products in the Four Corners. Fresh sandwiches, salads, soups, and hot foods daily in the deli. Largest selection of supplements and beauty-care products in the region. Also home to Jack’s Meat & Seafood, River Liquors, and Serious Delights Bakehouse. Locally owned since 1993. 300 S. Camino del Rio, 970-247-1988, www.naturesoasismarket.com

MAMMA SILVIA’S ITALIAN KITCHEN Traditional Italian cuisine crafted by East by Southwest owners Hydi and Sergio Verduzco, featuring delicious and unique antipasti, farinacei, and insalate. Once inside, there’s a modern and comfortable design. Fun for the whole family. 150 E. College Dr., 970-247-5533, www.mammasilvias.com MAY PALACE RESTAURANT Some of the town’s best and most delicious Chinese food. Traditional specialties: Szechuan, Hunan, Mandarin, and 38 lunch specials. No MSG. Full menu for takeout. Full bar. Great location downtown. 909 Main Ave., 970-259-4836. MCDONALD’S Fast and friendly service. Order from the dollar menu or the regular value meals. Enjoy favorites like the Big Mac and classic French fries. 201 W. College Dr., 970-247-2446, www.mcdonalds.com/us/en-us.html

NAYARIT RESTAURANT Named after the Mexican state of Nayarit, offering authentic Mexican food that cannot be found anywhere else in Durango. Best known for their selection of tequilas and margaritas, fresh seafood, and delicious tacos. 2525 Main Ave., 970-385-1595 and 1135 S. Camino del Rio, #290, 970-259-4114, www.nayaritmexicandurango.com NINI’S TAQUERIA Food so good, you won’t trust the water! Funky, casual Mexican restaurant with a unique take on traditional Mexican food. Giant burritos, grilled quesadillas, and tasty tacos. A wide selection of world-famous margaritas and local beers. 552 Main Ave., 970-259-4221, www.ninistaqueria.com

MI RANCHITO Family restaurant offering real street tacos. Daily specials, dine in, curbside pickup, delivery. 117 W. College Dr., 970-422-8514.

OLDE SCHOOLHOUSE CAFÉ & SALOON Lively place for great pizza, calzones, beer, and spirits. Just three miles south of Purgatory Resort, across from Needles Country Store. Stop in after a great day of skiing! 46778 U.S. Hwy. 550 N., 970-259-2257, www.oldeschoolhousesaloon.com

MICHEL’S CORNER CRÊPES Longtime Durango chef Michel Poumay brings authentic sweet and savory French crêpes to the heart of downtown. Each made fresh to order. Perfect for grabbing unique fare to go, or dine on the patio. 598 Main Ave., 970-769-0256, www.michelscorner.com

OLD TYMER’S CAFE Locals’ favorite for over 25 years! One of the Four Corners’ best patios. Superb salads, marvelous margaritas, and huge burgers (voted Durango’s best). Full bar, plus 15 beers on tap. Handful of TVs. 1000 Main Ave., 970-259-2990, www.otcdgo.com

ORE HOUSE Established in 1972, the Ore House is one of Durango’s oldest and finest restaurants. Hand-cut, USDA-certified prime and choice steaks; sustainable wild seafood; seasonal produce; a selection of award-winning wines, and handcrafted seasonal cocktails. Reservations encouraged. 147 E. College Dr., 970-247-5707, www.orehouserestaurant.com OSCAR’S CAFÉ Voted “Durango’s best breakfast,” a ’50s-style diner with a train. Homemade hash browns, chili verde, pancakes, omelets, biscuits and gravy, French toast, cinnamon rolls, soups, salads, homemade pies, and shakes. Burgers, Reubens, and club sandwiches. Kids’ menu. Takeout. 18 Town Plaza, 970-247-0526. PAPA MURPHY’S TAKE ’N’ BAKE PIZZA Freshly prepared, ready to pop into the oven, pizzas from gourmet to “deLITE.” Including Papa’s All-Meat, Cowboy, Papa’s Favorite, Vegetarian. Gourmet, stuffed to thin, crispy crust, there’s a Papa Murphy’s pizza for everyone. 12 Town Plaza, 970-382-0961, www.papamurphys.com PIZZA HUT Find all your favorites at this national chain pizzeria. Pan-style, stuffed crust, thin and crispy, or hand-tossed styles. Ask about the Pizza Supreme. Buffalo wings, bread sticks, salads, sodas, and much more. Delivery and takeout. 1316 Main Ave., 970-259-2112, www.pizzahut.com PJ’S GOURMET MARKET Just north of Durango on U.S. Hwy. 160. Rare treats or necessities, fresh produce, meat, poultry, seafood. Deli with the best salads, meats, cheeses. Freshly baked breads, sweets, pastries. Everyday groceries. Fresh local and regional products: coffee, snack chips, sodas, salsa, honey. 67 Trimble Crossing, 970-247-0100, www.pjsgourmetmarket.com POP SUSHI Restaurateur Jimmy Nguyen, owner of Rice Monkeys, unrolled Pop Sushi. As executive chef, Ray Srisamer oversees a Japanese tapas restaurant with a full bar. Urban atmosphere, seating for 70. 42 County Road 250, #400, 970-422-8182, www.popsushidurango.com

Experience our Table-on-the-Farm; our restaurant and farm market offer our grass-fed beef, raw milk cheese, fresh local produce, flowers, as well as local wine, beer and hard cider. Shop our market and enjoy eating in our indoor dining with large picture windows, a fireplace and a private room for parties!

Where unforgettable food & memories are made!

COME SEE US YEAR ROUND ! Call for the most updated days & times of business: Grill

(970) 764-4222

33846 Hwy 550→Located 10 miles N of Durango, just past Honeyville

Visit us: www. jamesranch.net Follow us:


(970) 385-6858 61


62 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring

PRIMI PASTA & WINE BAR Primi, meaning first course in Italian, serves a unique and tasty variety of authentic and handmade pasta dishes, sauces, paninis, salads, gelato, and wine. Offering a casual atmosphere to relax in and enjoy. 1201 Main Ave., #102, 970-764-4138, www.primidurango.com PRIMUS Chef John Daly III provides a beautiful array of fresh seafood, wild game and locally produced grains and produce in this tasteful setting. With both upstairs and downstairs dining areas, Primus offers a unique and exciting menu to those seeking to enliven their taste buds. 1017 Main Ave., 970-259-1945, www.primusrestaurant.com PURGATORY RESORT RESTAURANTS The resort offers fun, convenient bars and restaurants, including indoor and al fresco options. From pastries, salads, gourmet burgers, pizza, steak, pasta, and fish entrées, choose a variety of delicious dining options. One Skier Place, 970-247-9000, www.purgatoryresort.com RAIDER RIDGE CAFÉ Locals’ choice for healthy meals. Tasty wraps, deli sandwiches, breakfast burritos, vegetarian green chile, local organic coffee, and the very best fresh-fruit smoothies in town. Takeout orders welcome. 509 E. Eighth Ave., 970-375-9727, www.raiderridgecafe.com RGP’S FLAME-GRILLED WRAPS Homemade dough grilled over an open fire and filled with the freshest ingredients. Local favorite: Southwest turkey club. Also, pulled-pork barbecue and chicken pesto panini. In the heart of downtown, inside the Main Mall. 835 Main Ave., #107-B, 970-382-9868, www.rgpswraps.com RICE MONKEYS Healthy, creative, delicious Asian food in a fast, friendly environment. Sushi, sashimi, teriyaki, traditional Vietnamese. Specialty rolls, rice bowls, egg rolls, and platters with such favorites as ceviche, seared black-pepper tuna, Saigon noodles, beef pho, ginger chicken. To-go party platters, delivery. 1050 Main Ave., 970-403-3852, www.ricemonkeysdurango.com THE ROOST Brought to you by the owners of Cuckoo’s Chicken House & Waterin’ Hole and The Animas City Theatre. Serving traditional American food—burgers, French fries, and prime rib. Wide selection of beer and wine. Dine in or take out. 128 E. College Dr., 970-764-4661, www.theroostdurango.com SAGE: FARM FRESH EATS From soil to soup and sprout to salad, Sage marries local food with fast, casual convenience. 3101 Main Ave., #5, 970-764-4270, www.sagefarmfresheats.com SEASONS ROTISSERIE & GRILL Changing dinner menu to showcase the area’s bounty. Wood-fired grill, great service, award-winning chef. Critically acclaimed, internationally awarded wine list. Main Avenue views, private-cellar dining, patio. Reservations encouraged. Dinner nightly beginning at 5:30 p.m. 764 Main Ave., 970-382-9790, www.seasonsofdurango.com SERIOUS DELIGHTS BAKEHOUSE Local family bakery provides a wide variety of fresh breads, pastries, and desserts, and proudly offers delicious gluten-free options. Treats are always handcrafted from scratch using local, organic ingredients when possible. Inside Nature’s Oasis market. 300 S. Camino del Rio, 970-403-1517, www.seriousdelights.com

C chocolate & coffeeo. est. 2011

Chocolate Cafe Handcrafted Chocolate

Espresso | Iced Drinks | Coffee | beer | wine | Cocktails

SERIOUS TEXAS BAR-B-Q Selected by Sunset Magazine as one of the best barbecue restaurants in the West. Smoked meats, huge sandwiches, and legendary ribs. Outdoor deck. 18-hole mini golf at south location. 650 Camino del Rio, 970-259-9507, and 3535 N. Main Ave., 970-247-2240, www.serioustexasbbq.com SEVEN RIVERS STEAKHOUSE For an authentic steakhouse experience, this restaurant wows with selections of mussels, giant prawns, lump crab, scallops, and shrimp. Prime cuts of beef, such as petite filet and New York strip. Beautiful décor. Reservations available. 14324 County Road 172, Ignacio, inside Sky Ute Casino Resort, 970-563-6235, www.skyutecasino.com/dining/seven-rivers SINGLETRACK CAFÉ Known for great coffee and espressos, and for amazing and healthy breakfast burritos, quality baked goods, great soup and sandwich lunches in a fun, friendly café. 555 Rivergate Ln., #B1-103, 970-422-8558, www.singletrackcafe.com

WWW.ANIMASCHOCOLATECOMPANY.COM 920 MAIN AVE. | Durango, colorado | 970.317.5761


N I G H TLI FE & DI N I NG G U I D E SIZZLING SIAM A locals’ favorite with the wonderfully different, delicious, and healthy foods of Thailand made with the freshest ingredients by native Thais. Call in, carry out, or dine in. Very affordable, healthy, and delicious. 519½ Main Ave., 970-385-9470. SKA BREWING & THE CONTAINER RESTAURANT Eat local while enjoying fresh craft beer right from the source. Built from repurposed shipping containers. Chef Jeremy Storm serves brick-oven pizzas, sandwiches, soups, salads, kids’ options. Live music on Thursday nights. 225 Girard St., 970-247-5792, www.skabrewing.com SKY UTE CASINO RESORT For dining options: Seven Rivers Steakhouse for upscale steaks and seafood; Willows Café Bistro for breakfast, lunch, dinner; Rolling Thunder Grill for pub fare; 49 Lounge with TVs for sports fans, a full bar, and appetizers; Shining Mountain Café for Native American fare. 14324 County Road 172, Ignacio, 970-563-7777, www.skyutecasino.com/dining SMILEY CAFÉ A cozy and inviting coffee shop in the popular Smiley Building. Serving fresh, local coffee from 81301 Coffee Roasters, breakfast burritos, salads, sandwiches, and a delicious variety of home-baked, gluten-free goodies. 1309 E. Third Ave., 970-844-0771, www.thesmileycafe.com SONIC DRIVE-IN Breakfast and main menu items all day—American classics like cheeseburgers and fries. Happy hour (half-price fountain drinks and slushes) every day, 2-5 p.m. Monthly specials. 240 E. Eighth Ave., 970-247-8160, www.sonicdrivein.com SOUP PALETTÉ Serving food out of their snazzy truck. Their passion is preparing healthy and delicious food. Vegan, gluten-free, meaty, and fresh. Truck is available to reserve for special events. 725 E. Second Ave., 970-759-9921, www.souppalette.com

We Proudly Serve Only the Best

STARBUCKS COFFEE Fresh-brewed coffee, mochas, Frappuccinos, lattes, pastries, bagels, and more. Outdoor seating. 6 Town Plaza, inside South City Market, 970-247-4475; 311 W. College Dr., inside Albertsons, 970-382-2224; 3130 Main Ave., inside North City Market, 970-385-4340; 2817 Main Ave., 970-382-1783, www.starbucks.com STEAMWORKS BREWING CO. Great spot for a casual lunch or dinner. Award-winning selection of beers, cocktails, and wines. Nightly food and drink specials. World-famous Cajun Boil. Games on several TVs. 801 E. Second Ave., 970-259-9200, www.steamworksbrewing.com SUBWAYS IN DURANGO Fast, inexpensive and ready to go when you are. Perfect for backpacks or picnics. Delicious salads and sandwiches. Fresh meats, crisp veggies, breads baked daily. 2101 Main Ave., 970-259-0887; 1537 Florida Rd., #101, 970-2472335; 1145 S. Camino del Rio, 970-382-9511; www.subway.com/en-us

Located Inside Nature’s Oasis Jack's...Your cleanest, friendliest, full-service meat market in Southwest Colorado

SUNNYSIDE FARMS MARKET A full-service retail butcher shop with a complete line of fresh meats, poultry, and seafood. Sunnyside Farms Market provides grocery and butcher shop needs, and also deli to-go orders. 1305 Escalante Dr., #101, 970-375-6400, www.sunnysidefarmsmarket.com SWITCHBACK TACO BAR Featuring unique Mexican-inspired street food like Sonora dogs, elote, and tacos; fresh cocktails; affordable prices; fun, laid-back environment. 741 Main Ave., 970-422-8074, www.switchbacktaco.com T’S SMOKEHOUSE & GRILL Fast becoming a local favorite, with hickory-smoked barbecue, po’ boys, fresh-ground burgers, and Creole fare. Newly renovated interior. Largest patio in downtown, with a horseshoe pit and great views. Eat in, take out, delivery, catering. #3 Depot Pl., 970-259-6000, www.tssmokehouse.com TACO BELL Known for “thinking outside the bun” with original tacos, burritos, gorditas, Mexican pizza, chalupas, nachos, cheese roll-ups, quesadillas, taquitos, and taco salads. Salsa, guacamole, sour cream, extra cheese, rice, beans. 2902 Main Ave., 970-259-5588, www.tacobell.com

Locally and Family Owned

970.247.1988 • 300 S. Camino del Rio • Durango, CO 64 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring

TACO BOY Tacos, enchiladas, tamales, burritos, guacamole and chile rellenos. Everyone’s favorite Mexican dishes in the Three Springs neighborhood. Beer and wine. Fresh, authentic Mexican food. New “fast-casual” eatery seats nearly 100. Family-operated by Silvia, Juan, and Miguel Aguayo. 150 Confluence Ave., #101-C, 970-422-8399, www.tacoboycolorado.com TACO’S LA CARRANZA Tacos, horchatas, Mexican restaurant. Dine-in or take-out, 2477 Main Aven 970-903-5170 TACO LIBRE TAQUERIA AND COCKTAILS Wrestle down some tacos at Durango’s newest taqueria. Serving lunch and dinner for dine in, take out, and delivery. Enjoy signature drinks at the full bar. 1150 Main Ave., 970-764-4186, www.tacolibredurango.com TEQUILA’S MEXICAN RESTAURANT Hola! For an authentic Mexican food experience, Tequila’s is highly inventive, always surprising customers with their daily specials. Known for the town’s best margaritas. Wonderful food, drinks, and great service that you won’t soon forget! 948 Main Ave., 970-259-7655, www.tequilasmexicandurango.com THAI KITCHEN Tucked inside the Alpine Bank at 11th and Main, authentic Thai cuisine such as spring rolls, egg rolls, chicken satay, crab Rangoon, wonton soup, chicken peanut salad, pad Thai noodles, curry dishes, and stir-fry. Eat in or carry out. 101 W. 11th St., 970-385-3903, www.durangomenus.com/thai_kitchen.html THIMBLEBERRY SMOOTHIE CO. Mobile smoothie shop serving vibrant, beautiful smoothies and smoothie bowls. Using organic and house made ingredients, Thimbleberry brings creativity, nourishment, and health to the community. 725 E. Second Ave., 970-205-9282, www.thimbleberrysmoothieco.com TURTLE LAKE REFUGE CAFÉ Locally grown, wild-harvested, living-foods lunch. Soup, salad, entrée, dessert for suggested $15 donation. Raw, organic, vegetarian and vegan ingredients. Sharing the Victorian brick building with Rocky Mountain Retreat. Patio in summer; warm (greenhouse) second floor in winter. Open Tuesday and Friday 11 a.m.-2 p.m. 848 E. Third Ave., 970-247-8395, www.turtlelakerefuge.org UNION SOCIAL HOUSE Featuring live music, vintage decor, full bar, delicious food from a food truck, and fun for the whole family. A great gathering place to relax and enjoy. 3062 Main Ave., www.unionsocialhouse.com UPPER EAST SIDE COFFEE DELI In the Grandview area. Gourmet coffee/espresso drinks, teas, smoothies, bagels, healthy breakfast sandwiches, delicious burritos and fresh in-house baked goods. Hot, toasted lunch sandwiches, soups, and salads. Free Wi-Fi. 28902 U.S. Hwy. 160 E., 970-385-5747, www.uppereastsidecoffeedeli.business.site WENDY’S OLD FASHIONED HAMBURGERS Hot, juicy 100 percent pure beef burgers, savory chicken sandwiches, garden sensation salads, delicious French fries and frosty shakes. Try the Baconator! Take out or eat in. Drive-through until midnight. 1840 Main Ave., 970-247-4505, www.wendys.com YELLOW CARROT RESTAURANT AND BAKERY Modern dining from Sari Brown. Creative vegetarian choices, including roasted cauliflower with kale rice; mango and coconut curry; tomato bombs with cabbage, raisins and caramel vinaigrette. Also featuring bisque, chowders, steaks, chicken, ribs, grits, and burgers. Catering available. 3206 Main Ave., Suite #1, 970-259-3773, www.theyellowcarrot.com ZIA CANTINA Zia Taqueria has partnered with Peach Street Distillers to add a new upstairs bar, rooftop patio, and event space to Zia Taqueria’s north location. Serving creative cocktails featuring local spirits and draft beer, Zia Cantina brings a unique, fun, and family-friendly environment to the community. 2977 Main Ave., 970-247-3355, www.ziataqueria.com/zia-cantina ZIA TAQUERIA Fresh-Mex: burritos, quesadillas, tacos, enchiladas, tamales, soups, fish tacos, salads, rice bowls. Beer and margaritas. Daily specials, kids’ menu. Eat in, take out, catering. Online ordering at ChowNow. 2977 Main Ave., 970-247-3355, and 400 S. Camino del Rio, 970-247-1002, www.ziataqueria.com





It all started with a 2010 bike tour through Italy, when Tracy and Jarrod Regan fell in love with primi piatti – first courses served in local restaurants, which always included fresh pasta with delicious sauces. During their travels, the panini sandwiches and pasta sustained them while they bicycled through the food-loving country. Their dream of sharing this simple and delicious fare with others came to fruition when they opened Primi Pasta & Wine Bar across from Buckley Park, at the corner of 12th Street and Main Avenue. Jarrod, a longtime Durango resident, has 20 years of restaurant experience, and Tracy is a certified sommelier. Together, they previously ran the Raider Ridge Café. Jarrod loves pasta and using fresh, seasonal ingredients from local farms; Tracy loves wine – especially hand selecting Italian wines for Primi, complete with tasting notes and suggested food pairings. Wines are rotated seasonally to keep it interesting. The couple opened Primi in January 2020, when their daughter, Emma, was just three months old. A short time later, they had to close for two months due to COVID-19. The Regans never thought of Primi being a takeout restaurant, but as they adapted to pandemic rules, they began to offer bags of house-made noodles and jars of sauce. They were surprised by the demand and heartened by the support; it carried them through that strange year. Although they’re located at the north end of restaurant row on Main Avenue, the Regans believe their customers seek them out with intention. In fact, 60 percent of their clientele are return diners. An added benefit of the location is fewer crowds and better parking options, and the green space of Buckley Park across the street provides a calming tableau as well. The first thing you notice upon arriving is the welcoming piazza, or plaza, located street-side with its red umbrellas and café lights. This is the perfect spot for Primi’s daily happy hour, from 3 to 5 p.m. On the busy Thursday we visited, the piazza was full, so we chose to eat inside. When you enter the spacious dining room, you’re directed to the counter, where helpful staff describe the daily food and wine specials and help you with your order. By taking servers out of the mix, Primi is able to provide elegant food at affordable prices; they call it “elevated fast-casual.” Behind the well-stocked bar is a WineKeeper, a preservation and dispensing

66 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring

Brandon Mathis

Brandon Mathis

system that holds 12 bottles (four whites and eight reds). Each bottle is hooked up to a tank of nitrogen, which prevents oxygen from contacting the wine and keeps it fresh longer. Customers have the opportunity to taste a variety of unique wines without feeling committed to buying a whole bottle. All the wines offered are from Italy, other than the keg of Sutcliffe Chardonnay. Tracy believes there are Italian wines to please every palate. “There’s something to be said for a glass of Italian red paired with pasta and red sauce. They work together so beautifully.”

I started my meal with a refreshing glass of Prosecco, and my companions tried a couple of the craft cocktails: the Alpine Spritz (Amaro Nonino, lemon, Prosecco, soda, and torched rosemary) and the Old-Fashioned Amaro (Four Roses bourbon, Ramazzotti Amaro, Demerara, and Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters). Amaro (Italian for bitter) is an herbal liqueur commonly consumed as an after-dinner digestif. Our antipasto course included Burrata Caprese (local heirloom tomatoes, local basil, extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt, five-yearold balsamic vinegar, and burrata cheese),

and the Combination Board with a variety of meats and cheeses. The pasta, or primi, course featured Giardino (casarecce noodles tossed in a sweet corn crema with charred local scallions, grilled lipstick peppers, and Grana Padano) and Genovese (local basil pesto, pine nuts, Genoa salami, and local cherry tomatoes, with casarecce noodles and Grana Padano). The insalate course was the Rustico (arugula, toasted pine nuts, capocollo ham, shaved bianco sardo cheese, squeezed lemon, and extra-virgin olive oil) and the Brussels (shaved Brussels sprouts, organic greens, pickled red onions, toasted walnuts, and dried Bing cherries with lemon vinaigrette). Our dessert included Panna Cotta (with grappa, apricots, and lavender), Chocolate Hazelnut Cake, and some house-made gelato. A flight of amari, herbal-infused after-dinner liqueurs, completed our dining experience. Primi aims to provide both residents and visitors to Durango with an authentic taste of Italy in a casual, affordable, and inviting setting. Seasonal menus are offered, with produce sourced from local growers and butchers. Wine workshops will most likely continue at least once a month through the winter and pick up with more frequency in the summer. Special Sunday “Chef & Som” fixed-course dinners will be offered monthly as well. Primi is currently open Monday through Saturday, with happy hour every day from 3 to 5 p.m. They also provide curbside takeout (order online and call when you arrive). Buon appetito!

Billy Grimes

Brandon Mathis

Brandon Mathis

Brandon Mathis


wild game, fresh seafood, uncompromising quality

we believe in raising the bar We raise our glasses to you. For your unwavering support. For your profound appreciation of the cuisine we prepare for you each night. It’s for you we challenge ourselves to raise the bar for wild game and fresh seafood. Without you, there is no us, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Our gratitude is immense. Now, come join us for a meal that will put a smile on your face.

see website for current hours reservations recommended 1017 main ave. 970.259.1945 68 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring

Jim Bommarito

CONTENTS: 70 76 79 84 86 88 91 94 95




Lakes, mountains, a connection to nature ‒ all key elements to a forever home that creates an idyllic escape. Emerging from the pines a few miles from the base of Wolf Creek Pass, a stunning home surrounded by mountains offers a return to peace and tranquility. Inspired by the beauty of nature, the house features floor-to-ceiling windows for maximum light and incredible views, an open layout that encourages a sense of flow, and outdoor spaces that entice the senses. It was with these elements in mind that the owners reached out to Brad Ash of

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Reynolds Ash + Associates to design and build their perfect retreat. A personal component of Reynolds Ash + Associates is their reliance on word of mouth to attract clients, which in a small town like Durango or Pagosa Springs means understanding the unique style and process of an architectural firm. Founded in 2002, this firm takes on a diverse mix of projects in the Durango and Pagosa Springs area. A unique element of this client/architect relationship was that Ash and Reynolds worked with the owners on every detail, start to finish ‒ from

finding a picturesque piece of property with just-right views to considering the sounds around the home: wind whispering through the pines, and water tripping over stones create the outdoor ambience of this one-of-a-kind dwelling. Incorporating the natural elements of the surrounding landscape was paramount to the client. One of the more unique elements is a small creek that meanders through the property, even ducking under the structure between the garage and the house, to provide an invitation to nature as well as functionality: The stream also

Photos courtesy of Reynolds, Ash + Associates

serves as drainage. It was important to the owners that the home have a sense of flow and an idea of bringing the outdoors inside, with each room featuring a view and an unencumbered line of sight. This became a particular challenge when building the house. Ash describes the design process as “all about those opportunities to be comfortable but to have the same exposure to nature everywhere,” meaning there were some obstacles in ensuring that none of the mountain views were cropped, no matter where someone was standing. The homeowners were hopeful, if a bit skeptical, that this feat could be achieved. To Ash, it was a delightful puzzle. “We really pay attention. We were taking elevations at the house, we were taking elevations of peaks, and we were able to stand back and say eye level is at six feet or lower, making sure we didn’t crop any views.” This uninterrupted sight line allows the home to feel open and infused with light. Everywhere you look, including from the steps leading downstairs and out onto the patio, the tips of stately mountains can be seen. This project also brought the sense of collaboration and teamwork that is a hallmark of RA+A’s firm. “Our office has architects and engineers working together. That’s the advantage to having this kind of team. Instead of holding back on a design because of material, you can get an answer immediately as to whether or not it will work. It lets you be a little more creative.” Collaboration with the client was also incredibly important in the design of this home, as each individual had a different vision. Listening to the client, observing images or ideas they provide, and building a relationship contributed to the creativity in both design and building materials. Reynolds, Ash + Associates worked closely with contractor Vernon Lesley, who is a longtime friend of Ash, to execute the vision of the homeowner from the views to the natural materials. In the living room, a floor-to-ceiling piece of glass provides a picture frame into the

surrounding national forest. A massive fireplace anchors the dining and kitchen area, spilling its light into the cozy living room. The three-sided fireplace was built by working scrupulously with the contractor to get it just right, picking out each stone by hand and ensuring that the “feel” of the room was inviting. Flow was important to the homeowners, bringing a feeling of togetherness and warmth to every space. Pushing the limits of design, the downstairs features a bar and entertainment area, while the bust of a bighorn sheep keeps an eye on the pool-table proceedings. An LED wall was a quirky feature that the homeowner and contractor Vernon Lesley worked together closely to create: The stone comes forward off the wall and creates a sense of movement and light, which can change color depending on the preference of the occupants at any given time. Another distinctive feature was the emphasis on the outdoor elements, and how to integrate them seamlessly with the indoor spaces. The homeowners gave Ash and Reynolds a loose design palette, and the architects worked to create lines and spaces where homeowners and guests could enjoy the outdoors from every room. The theater room downstairs opens up to the bar, and the floor plan spills out onto the outdoor patio space. For the homeowners, that seemed like the perfect place to 71


entertain or watch a football game, combining that sense of togetherness and being part of nature. Similar to the idea of floor-to-ceiling windows and unhindered views, it was important to both homeowners and architects to have lines that tracked all the way through the home, meaning no posts or beams in the way. This created another challenging puzzle for uninterrupted sight lines and another opportunity for the close collaboration between architect, engineer, and builder. Ultimately, the patio design features a heated concrete slab that is cantilevered out without a post in sight. It’s a great opportunity for an architect to deliver on a homeowner’s vision. As Ash described some of the unusual elements to designing and creating this home, it was clear that relationship is at the heart of this office and firm. A Pagosa native, Ash grew up in the area watching and learning from his father, who was a general contractor. For him, the relationship goes deeper than just client and architect. It is also the rapport between builder and architect, ties to the community, and a team of engineers that works directly with Reynolds and Ash that creates the symbiotic exchange that shapes the perfect design and finished product. “When you have homeowners who are detail oriented, you have the right contractor, and then you have the right architect, as a team that’s how you end up with products that are pretty incredible and will stand the test of time.”

72 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring





74 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring




Photos by Cole Davis

Opportunity overflows for regional students With Mountain Studies Institute and Environment & Climate Institute by Joy Martin

On a stunning September Sunday, eight high school students from Bayfield, Durango, and Silverton gathered at Molas Pass to establish 173 bog birch plants so we can all have cleaner drinking water. Instead of playing video games or mall walking, these teenagers chose to spend their weekend restoring the wetlands that filter San Juan Mountain snowflakes, water that eventually drifts down the Animas River and into civilization. “If rain forests are the lungs of the earth, then wetlands are the kidneys of our ecosystem,” says Amanda Kuenzi, community science director at the Mountain Studies Institute in Silverton. “Water that flows out of a wetland is cleaner than what flows in, creating an invaluable asset to our watershed, considering how many heavy metals are naturally occurring in our geology.” 76 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring

The alpine wetland at Molas is called a fen, which is known as a biodiversity hotspot and a unique geographical feature that takes thousands of years to develop. Besides eating the plants that call the Molas fen home, elk and deer wallow in the mud, degrading this special ecosystem. One way to counteract the harm done is by planting bog birch, a species that’s native to the area. “MSI calls it ‘service learning,’ because the students are helping us regenerate valu-

able wetlands while they’re also learning plant ecology,” says Kuenzi. This type of fen wetland restoration extended to Ophir Pass on National Public Lands Day, a day before the high schoolers ascended to the top of Molas Pass. Sixteen Fort Lewis College students from FLC’s Environmental Center joined in the fun, positioning 81 bog birch plants, covering a steep burn area with jute mesh, and collecting sedge seeds for propagation. Kuenzi says college students often evolve these field experiences into material for their senior capstone projects. These service-learning opportunities offer a snapshot of the Mountain Studies Institute’s myriad offerings that promote a stewardship ethic for public lands. To more effectively involve the community’s youth, MSI recently partnered with the Environment & Climate Institute, hosted by Fort Lewis College, to provide high school students from across the region with opportunities to study climate-change effects on the San Juan Mountains’ unique environment. The ECI launches with a summer intensive kickoff held at FLC. Over the course of the school year, student cohorts from five regional school districts, including Silverton, Bayfield,

“As we become more aware of the impacts of climate on our community, it’s imperative that we create opportunities for youth that empower them to make a difference,” says Bidwell. “Otherwise, climate change is so overwhelming that people either give up or don’t know where to start. No matter how small a seed ball may be, these are important steps to building that confidence.” From counting alpine plants at climate research sites near Lake City to planting native trees along sections of the Mancos River, MSI spearheads the gamut of educational events, restoration projects, internships, and hands-on experiences. This January, MSI is proud to celebrate 20 years of service in the San Juan Mountains and invites students and parents to participate in festivities held throughout 2022.

Durango, Ignacio, and Pagosa Springs, embark on field trips to wetlands (like the Molas fen), ranches, and other diverse ecosystems around the Four Corners. In addition to the expertise of MSI staff, ECI students glean insight from six teachers who serve as mentors. Each student chooses an environmental topic to research independently, then presents their findings to community members, land managers, elected officials, and BLM and Forest Service representatives at the San Juan Resilience Youth Summit held in February. “The Summit provides an authentic audience for the students,” says Kuenzi. “It’s always exciting and surprising to see what questions and ideas students bring to the table. Those student findings can really lead us to the next question and keep all of us digging further. We can look to these students for real solutions, so it’s our job to keep empowering them to investigate their questions.” “We originated with the dream of utilizing the San Juan Mountains as a classroom without walls for the youth and communities of the region,” says Marcie Bidwell,

executive director of MSI. “From the very start, we’ve been initiating new and creative programs for getting kids involved and putting science into action.” Driven by a science-by-doing approach, MSI partners with public and private organizations to collaborate on a range of citizen-science projects, from corporate work and volunteer days to teacher trainings and classroom materials. The 20-year-old organization is open to expanding, so long as efforts focus on advancing mountain science, empowering communities through education and action projects, and finding innovative solutions to address environmental challenges. One recent fire education program focused on helping revegetate the 416 burn area using seed balls made of a restoration seed mix, sand, and compost, forming a soft clay. Bidwell explains that the clay helps keep the seeds from being eaten by birds. Under the guidance of MSI and the National Forest Service, volunteers of all ages toss the seed balls into the landscape, and Mother Nature takes care of the rest.

“Ultimately, we’re all trying to work hard to keep our bright young people here,” says Bidwell. “To have these views that they could do this work here, that they can get outside, get involved, help heal the environment, and build community, that’s why we do what we do.” Discover Mountain Studies Institute’s 20th anniversary events at mountainstudies.org. To explore opportunities with the Environment & Climate Institute for high school students from Silverton, Durango, Bayfield, Ignacio, and Pagosa Springs, please visit fortlewis.edu/eci. 77


Southwest Colorado's premier, award-winning design-build firm specializing in residential and commercial construction. Our experienced team strives to create a collaborative environment and process in order to bring your vision to life and exceed your expectations. We're in the business of building dreams. Give us a call to learn more. Or stop by. We make great coffee. 970.335.9380

78 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring


679 E 2nd Ave Suite A, Durango, CO 81301



nowcapped peaks, roaring rivers, and thousands of miles of trails make southwest Colorado a true outdoor paradise. But the forests that support our beautiful landscape are overcrowded and stressed. In our dry climate, those denser forests are prone to higher chances of severe wildfire, insect infestation, and other negative impacts for wildlife. This is not a doom-and-gloom story though. There are actions we can take as a community to restore the health of our treasured forests. Private forest landowners, in particular, have a critically important role in helping to restore forest ecosystems and improving the resilience and safety of our communities.

Why are the forests unhealthy?

In 2020, we witnessed three of the largest fires in Colorado’s history: the Cameron Peak Fire (208,663 acres), the East Troublesome Fire (192,560 acres), and the Pine Gulch Fire (139,007 acres).

Climate change concerns, such as prolonged drought and higher temperatures, will continue to add stress to our forests, which means that in the years to come we

For thousands of years prior to EuroAmerican settlement, fire played a pivotal role in shaping and maintaining the health of many ecosystems across Colorado. This was especially true for our forested landscapes. In Colorado’s lower-elevation forests, frequent and low-intensity fires promoted mature tree health by minimizing competition for important resources like sun and water. In higher-elevation forests, species like lodgepole pine relied on high-intensity fires for regeneration. The Euro-American settlement of Colorado gradually led to the elimination of these natural fires. Legendary wildfires like the Great Big River Collective LLC Fire of 1910, which burned three can likely expect longer and more severe million acres across Montana, Idaho, and fire seasons, like those in 2020. Before Washington in just two days, contributed we can dive into how to resolve our forest to a philosophy that fire was dangerous health issues, it’s important to underfor Western communities and their burstand the choices that brought us here, geoning economies. This resulted in the two of which are key: historic fire supU.S. Forest Service initiating a strict fire pression policies and development of presuppression policy, which was very sucviously unoccupied, wild landscapes. cessful at stamping out fire at all costs.


Big River Collective LLC

Eventually, scientific research in the 1960s demonstrated that fire had a positive role in forest health. Since then, we’ve slowly begun to see a shift in fire suppression policy across the West, allowing naturally caused fires to burn in designated wilderness areas. Yet fire management has become more complicated in the last few decades as we’ve seen a boom in population across Western communities. With more and more people living in the West, human development has significantly expanded into previously undeveloped forested areas, referred to as the “wildland-urban interface.” This expansion has led to measurable negative environmental impacts, including increased risk of human-caused wildfire and renewed support of fire suppression policies to protect those new homes and other structures. Combined, the legacy of fire suppression and the impacts of rapid development in the wildland-urban interface have undoubtedly strained Colorado’s forest ecosystems. Our forests today are overcrowded and fighting for increasingly limited water resources. These unhealthy conditions have enabled widespread pest and disease infestation, which in turn have caused high rates of tree mortality. All of these factors combine to create a high risk of severe wildfire for our southwest Colorado communities.

Become part of the solution


Kyle O'Neill, CSFS-NRCS

To protect our residential mountain communities, we need to restore the health of our forests and help them adapt to greater risk of drought and severe fire. Private landowners play a crucial role in the solution for this region, because private property comprises more than 15 percent of the forested landscape. Beyond creating defensible space around their homes and structures, private landowners with forested properties should consider reducing tree density on their land through active forest-management practices such as thinning, mastication (the breaking down of forest fuels), pruning, and prescribed burns that remove potential wildfire fuels.

“I own a 30-acre parcel of forestland northeast of Elmore’s Corner Store. I have always been concerned about the correct way to effectively manage the property for fire mitigation and forest health, but I was lacking the tools to take any action – until My Southwest Forest came along with an offer to help.” – Andy Watson, private landowner

AFTER MITIGATON: 80 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring

Kyle O'Neill, CSFS-NRCS

Andy is not alone. In the last three years, more than 75 landowners have connected with a forester through My Southwest Forest, a local partnership dedicated to providing free technical assistance to private landowners, to discuss active forest-management options for their property. The MSF partnership was formed by the American Forest Foundation, the Colorado State Forest Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Southwest Conservation Corps.

“My Southwest Forest is a great opportunity for landowners looking to engage with their properties in a new way. Our foresters can help landowners reduce fire risk, improve wildlife habitat, increase biodiversity, and learn about the ecology of their properties. And for those ready to take the next step, MSF will provide a free Forest Management Plan that can guide landowners to foster healthier forests through active forest management.”

Protecting our communities requires a multipronged, coordinated effort. If you own forestland in southwest Colorado, you are also part of the solution. *** Contact one of the local agency offices to talk with a forest expert about how to take action on your land and get connected to programs like My Southwest Forest:

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) 31 Suttle Street Durango, CO 81303 (970) 422-3370 cody.robertson@co.usda.gov

Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS)

1000 Rim Drive Fort Lewis College Campus Durango, CO 81301 (970) 247-5250 CSFS_Durango@mail.colostate.edu

To learn more about My Southwest Forest, visit: mysouthwestforest.org

– Nick Olson of Southwest Conservation Corps and active partner of My Southwest Forest program

While forest-management treatments completed on private lands are unique to each landowner’s priorities and property needs, the overarching goal of these efforts is the same: reduce tree density to restore forest health, decrease severe fire risk, and create a more resilient landscape across southwest Colorado. Right now, My Southwest Forest is operating in Pagosa, Bayfield, and eastern Durango, with plans to expand west in the coming years. That said, the My Southwest Forest partnership is one of many groups coordinating to restore forest health across the landscape.

“Building a fire-resilient landscape requires a lot of hands on deck. In southwest Colorado, we are fortunate to have a wide array of agencies, conservation partners, and large-scale collaborative groups working together to reduce fire risk and restore forest health. It’s a big effort to coordinate all of this work, but it’s exciting to see the resulting momentum – from on-the-ground private-lands action through programs like My Southwest Forest and the strategic leadership of the Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative.” – Cody Robertson, resource team lead with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and active partner of the My Southwest Forest Program



21516 HWY 160 Durango, CO (970) 247-1461

2180 Main Ave Durango, CO 970-247-9710 • Countertops • Flooring & Tile • Lighting Studio • Slabyard • Tile Pro Shop • Home Decor

2180durangodesign.com 82 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring



Photos by Brandon Mathis

HOME SWEET HOME Redemption with a view Lynn Sims runs a hand over the smooth surface of her Brazilian granite countertops. Swirls of gray create a cosmic facade emblematic of the fusion style she picked out with the help of her son, Brian, one of the proud owners of 2180 Lighting & Design Studio on Main Avenue in Durango. She laughs at the idea that Brian would be pleased to see how clean the surface appears, especially polished in the September light pouring in from westward-facing windows. While the waterfall countertops hold their own celestial grip on the imagination, the windows steal the show at the Sims home, on the uppermost perch of Castle Ridge west of Durango. Designed in 2018 by Reynolds Ash + Associates and completed in 2019 by Shepard Builders, the house sits squarely facing the La Plata Mountains. At 7,700 feet above sea level, it towers over Highway 160, Twin Buttes, and Hogsback Ridge. Views stretch to the far reaches of the region, with Pigeon Peak, at nearly 14,000 feet, peeking between shoulders of mesas and pines.

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By Joy Martin

“We can watch lightning walk up the ridges, cross over the mountains, and onto Vallecito,” says Lynn’s husband, Carl. “Sometimes when the afternoon storms pass to our east, there’s a rainbow over town below us.” The view also overlooks the Fort Lewis College campus, where the Simses’ Durango journey began 50 years ago. While Lynn studied history, Carl enrolled in the chemistry department. The newlyweds lived in family housing and recall gazing west to this very site, watching the sunset split the clouds. After graduating in 1972, the Simses moved away, following Carl’s career as a pioneer in analytical chemistry techniques. He holds no fewer than 53 patents in the field and, at 75 years old, still works from his office tucked in the middle of his dream home. In October 2017, the Simses were living in Santa Rosa, California, when the Tubbs Fire encroached on their neighborhood. As they fled for their lives in the middle of the night, they grabbed what they could: Carl’s laptop, a box of Diet Coke, life-sav-

ing drugs, and a silver case that held birth certificates, titles, and other valuables. “It took our two-story house down to two inches in a night,” says Lynn, as she rifles through a shoebox holding the charred remains of her jewelry, forks, coins, and bits of agate that her sons used to collect with Carl on camping trips. “We lost everything. It made moving easy.” With their sense of humor intact, the Simses wasted no time regrouping. Long before the fire, a friend had taken photos of their personal possessions to back up their insurance policy. Carl spent every night of a year detailing what was lost and how much it cost. Bolstered by their insurance claim, the couple decided it was time to join their sons in Durango. When the couple saw the lot on top of Castle Ridge for sale, they drove up and fell in love all over again. “I knew the second we got out of the car that this was it,” says Lynn. “It was either going to be our house or the Sims Family Camping Spot.” While the builders got to work con-

structing a 30-by-30-foot carbon concrete grounding structure to counter lightning strikes (15 lightning rods don the gables as well), Lynn sat down with her son Brian and 2180 co-owner Rick Klatt’s wife, Heather, to choose tile, lighting, flooring, and fixtures for the 3,400-square-foot home. With natural light flooding most of the space, the lighting elements throughout the house are elegant and understated. A three-layered lighting system illuminates the eye-catching countertops in the kitchen, where Lynn was also thrilled to incorporate Hubbardton Forge chandeliers, handcrafted in Vermont. The three bathrooms feature tile just as dramatic as the kitchen’s, with a warm-brown Fantasy granite for the sink and whirlpool splashes and bronzite for the guest bathroom. “I wanted it to be livable,” says Lynn. “It was important that I didn’t have to worry about it for the grandkids.” The Simses’ two grandchildren aren’t the only ones who enjoy sliding in their socks across the indestructible wood floors. Gorgeous golden timber, carefully hewn from nine layers of engineered oak, is warmed by in-floor heating powered by the 13.5 kilowatts of solar generated on the rooftops. Obviously, fire prevention was a priority in the design of the home. Besides ensuring that the structure sits 25 feet from the cliff edge and all trees have been removed from within the 100-foot radius of the house, other FEMA-approved details provide additional protection against fires. Carl and Lynn both inherited legacy furniture from their parents, none of which survived the Tubbs Fire. They didn’t have mementos from the boys’ childhoods or Christmas ornaments for the tree. Lynn’s sister sent the family a box a week full of fine, fun things to fill their new home: a vase here, a cozy sweater there, family pictures. Lynn found joy perusing the art galleries in downtown Durango and brought home a few decorative Navajo rugs. As the house slowly gathers new family memories and relics, Carl and Lynn say the enchantment is already there. “There isn’t a time I don’t walk down the hall toward the mountains and think ‘holy moly,’” says Lynn. “It’s magical.” Co-owned and operated by Brian Sims and Rick Klatt, 2180 Lighting & Design Studio, formerly known as McCormick Tile & Stone, has been serving Durango for nearly two decades. Located at – you guessed it – 2180 Main Avenue, this tile, lighting, and design studio is artistically focused and customer-service oriented. For more information, visit 2180durangodesign.com.



Relax, Rejuvenate, Restore Even when living our best lives, the day-to-day routine takes its toll on us. But it doesn’t have to. Keeping ourselves relaxed and rejuvenated requires some deep, serious self-care. Fortunately, Durango is known for going full-on with everything we do, and that includes unwinding and healing. Our local wellness providers understand what your body and mind need to feel happy and whole. Whether you want to be pampered or worked – whether you want rest or invigoration – these providers help us achieve our best selves and live our best lives. The experts at The Woodhouse Day Spa treat you with specialized offerings to transform your wellness. Durango Dermatology soothes and mends your skin with a team of attentive medical practitioners. Durango Hot Springs Resort + Spa combines the best of soaking in natural waters with a range of specialty body treatments. The practitioners at Aesthetics and Wellness Durango help make sure that your outer radiance matches your inner bliss. Sometimes to keep going, we have to stand still. Your body and spirit will appreciate it.

86 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring

The Woodhouse Day Spa 1521 MAIN AVENUE durango.woodhousespas.com 970-247-7769

The Woodhouse Day Spa is luxury in its most organic form, where your most challenging decision involves selecting your complimentary drink. Upon entering, the demands of your world are left behind, and you find yourself slipping into a transformative state of peace as you slide into your plush robe and embrace the Woodhouse experience. Unwind next to a fire while taking in the beauty of the Animas River in the “quiet room.” Once your services conclude, you can explore the thoughtfully selected products in the retail area and discover that following your experience in the Woodhouse space, your highest level of wellness in mind, body, and spirit has been renewed. Nourish your soul and find sanctuary in their clean facilities, their passionate team that is proud to serve you, and in their illustrious services. Every component is curated with your wellbeing as the highest priority. Fulfill the human need for connection by experiencing The Woodhouse in a private group setting with personalized group rental options available for both our indoor and outdoor rooftop spaces. Rated Durango’s No. 1 spa five years in a row, The Woodhouse Day Spa graciously invites you to indulge in their signature skin, nail, and body services…because you deserve it. SERVICES INCLUDE: • Relaxing and advanced facial treatments • Body treatments • Transformative massage • Couples massage • Sleep treatments • Hand and foot treatments • “Spend the day with us” packages • Private group space rental options with spa treatments

Durango Dermatology

Durango Hot Springs Resort + Spa

Aesthetics and Wellness Durango

Durango Dermatology is a locally owned medical and aesthetic practice, providing skin care to the community for over 50 years. Their team consists of board-certified dermatologists, physician assistants, and nurses who work together to provide the best skin-care plan for you. In addition to general dermatology and skin-cancer treatment, Durango Dermatology maintains the most up-to-date and expansive offering of laser and aesthetic treatments to treat most skin types and conditions.

Durango Hot Springs Resort + Spa is located eight miles north of downtown Durango and 15 miles south of Purgatory Ski Resort in the scenic Animas River valley. Surrounded by stunning mountain views, these natural mineral hot springs are like no other on Earth, with a perfect blend of 21 different minerals and no sulfur odor. Durango Hot Springs features 26 unique thermal mineral water features, including a resort-style 25-meter swimming pool, 16 natural mineral hot springs soaking pools, eight private Japanese-inspired cedar soaking tubs, a reflexology walking path, a mineral water rain tower, and a cold/hot-plunge pool.

Aesthetics and Wellness offers a variety of services in a warm and comfortable setting. Their team, owner Sarah Packard Normand, RN/BSN/CLT, and Chloe Lindsey, CE/CLT, will help you achieve your aesthetic goals. They are the only MedSpa in Durango that offers Ultherapy, which builds collagen to tighten and lift skin, and ResurFX, a photofractional laser that treats tone, texture, pigmentation, and more. Other treatments include PDO Thread Lift, IPL pulsed light therapy, and microneedling. On the softer side, the relaxing Diamond Glow Facial cleans pores, exfoliates, and infuses cosmetic serums. Aesthetics and Wellness is proud to be one of the best aesthetics clinics, and was voted the Best of Durango for the past three years.

523 SOUTH CAMINO DEL RIO, SUITE B durangodermatology.com 970-247-1970

SERVICES INCLUDE: • Botox, fillers, and Kybella • Laser rejuvenation and resurfacing treatments • Laser hair removal and tattoo removal • HydraFacial • Complimentary aesthetic consultations

6475 COUNTY ROAD 203 dhsresort.com 970-247-0212

SERVICES INCLUDE: • Hot springs soaking pools • Massage and spa treatments • Dry-finish sauna • Lodging rentals • Gift certificates

555 RIVERGATE LANE, UNIT B2-134 aestheticsdurango.com 970-799-3610

SERVICES INCLUDE: • Botox, fillers, and Kybella • Ultherapy, Photofractional Laser, IPL • Diamond Glow Facial • Microneedling, chemical peel, dermaplaning • Laser hair reduction, teeth whitening



A Shared Blanket of Beauty Gallery of Native American Gems by John Peel

Photos by Lisa Mackey


onna Frank gazes around her downtown Durango gallery, brimming with art made by hundreds of Native Americans, and she is filled with wonder. “Beautiful people who make beautiful things,” she says. “It just awes me.” Frank started her business, A Shared Blanket, 39 years ago. She moved into her present location at 104 East Fifth Street, adjacent to the Durango & Silverton Railroad depot, in 2008, after a fire burned down her former location in the 700 block of Main Avenue. An artist with an education that includes a doctorate in archaeology/anthropology, she knows “every single artist” whose artwork she sells. So ask her a question and be prepared to absorb a lot of knowledge. Frank, a Colorado native, spent years on the East Coast and abroad before returning to Colorado. She was an archaeologist on St. Lawrence Island, above the Arctic Circle, and later at Mesa Verde National Park. She rented a loft studio to paint, which evolved into a gallery to include like-minded artists. Little by little, piece by piece and blanket by blanket, she built up a collection. To find authentic Native American goods, Frank drove her Toyota van to the Navajo reservation and put up a sign: “Buying rugs and art.” “Everybody came up and talked to me,” she says. It didn’t take long for her to start getting invited to weddings and other ceremonies, building lasting relationships.

88 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring

The name of her gallery comes from her childhood experiences at the Santa Fe Plaza, where she watched the Puebloan artisans lay out blankets with their creations for view. “That image stuck in my mind,” Frank says. In opening her gallery, “I was trying to put out a blanket for the artists.” A Shared Blanket is now filled with a dazzling variety of art made by Native Americans from Alaska to the rest of the United States. Some of the featured art and artists include: • Navajo sculptures of Susie Enoah, made from Colorado alabaster. • Hopi Kachinas by Patrick Platero, Law rence Charley, Virgil Long, and others. • Original paintings by J.C. Black and local artist John Grow. • Intricately carved pottery by Ute Mountain Ute artist Norman Lansing. • Hand-forged knives of Damascus steel by six different craftsmen. • Award-winning Navajo jewelry by Tommy Jackson and others. “I feel honored that they trust me with their works,” Frank says. She and her staff aren’t salespeople as much as they are educators. Every item has a story. “We help people find pieces that speak to them. ” “It’s fun being surrounded by beauty all day long.”


Build your own reality at

Silver Creek Design Studio +Showroom

Southwest Colorado might actually have everything a person could want from mountain living. Until recently, though, Ron Stinemetze saw one glaring deficiency: Durango needed a true design showroom and studio. He wanted to create that, so in 2021, he did. Silver Creek Design Studio + Showroom offers a head-to-toe design experience in Southwest Colorado. Being full-service means that Silver Creek provides design services as well as retailing the finest in flooring, tile, cabinetry, furnishings, and window treatments, so clients and their contractors can build a dream out of one single storefront.

“We really focus on providing a service that you can’t find anywhere else,” Ron says. The thing that sets Silver Creek apart, though, goes beyond its offerings, and it’s as essential as a strong blueprint: This design studio devotes the time and care it takes to get to know their customers. “We pay attention to what tugs at your heartstrings,” says Andrea Noelle, senior interior designer. “We work with you and learn what you’ll love in your own space. Then we take the overwhelm out of that process for you.”

90 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring

Clients—both residential and commercial—and their contractors can take advantage of Silver Creek’s meeting space. The design studio will collaborate with you to visualize your designs with renderings and scale modeling, and the showroom will help you pick out the perfect materials in person, where you can touch and see them. Then Silver Creek’s on-staff craftsmen can install your choices with confidence and experience. Even if you’re somewhere else during your build, you can rely on the Silver Creek team to fulfill your vision on the ground. “Especially if you have been in another state or a different country as the build has happened,” Ron says, “I get to see you light up when we reveal the work that we’ve done.” Whatever your needs, Silver Creek is here to spark your imagination and free you to dream. You have all the time you need, and they will work with you through your entire process, from idea to reality. “The honor of my career is to be tableside with customers as they watch their own dreams come true,” Andrea says. “We’re practically family by the time we finish a project.”


Matt Arias

Jerome Bleger



700 Main Avenue Durango, CO 81301 970-247-3840 tkwdurangorealestate.yourkwoffice.com

1130 Main Avenue Durango, CO 81301 970-759-1658 wellsgroupdurango.com

Hometown knowledge and world-class service are not just tag lines for this born-and-raised Durango local. Matt has built a business reputation on his foundation of expertise in the Durango real estate market, as well as always overdelivering to his clients. Whether you’re looking for a historical downtown home, acreage on which to live the Western lifestyle, or the perfect building for your new business, Matt will work to find you the right fit. Having raised his family here to provide his sons the opportunity to live the Durango dream, he is committed to maintaining the small-town qualities that make this area so desirable.

A realtor with 14 years’ experience, Jerome has lived in Durango since 1991. He is a graduate of both Durango High School and Fort Lewis College. Community and family are big parts of Jerome’s life. He and Tiffany, his wife of 19 years, are raising three daughters in Durango. He is a coach for Durango Youth Baseball, a member of the Durango High Noon Rotary Club, and a church council member. He is also an ipso facto dance coach for all three of his daughters. Jerome is an expert real estate agent who can help you with your search in Durango and the surrounding area. He provides professional, responsive, and attentive real estate services. His expertise encompasses land, home, and commercial real estate. For more information and to get to know Jerome, email jerome@wellsgroupdurango.com.

Jaime & Luis Marquez

Tim Papi



785 Main Avenue Durango, CO 81301 970-769-0842 lmarquez.realestatedurango.com

785 Main Avenue Durango, CO 81301 970-759-1871 tpapi.realestatedurango.com

Jaime and Luis have both been in real estate serving clients since 1995, including residential development, construction, property management, marketing, and sales. They started in the Scottsdale market, and have been in Durango since 2007. Today, they are a husband and wife team focused 100% on sales and guiding their clients through a successful transaction. Whether you’re in the market for a luxury mountain home, upgrading, downsizing, or searching for a Purgatory ski condo, they are your real estate professionals. Jaime is Global Luxury certified. Luis has built over 100 homes and is fluent in Spanish. Start your real estate journey with Jaime and Luis today.

Tim passionately serves and cherishes the Durango area and community. Tim’s love of the outdoors and the small-town charm of Durango have kept him here for nearly 30 years. He and his wife are truly happy to call Durango home and couldn’t imagine a better place to raise their two ambitious young boys. When buying or selling your home or investment property, you can count on Tim to assist you. His legendary attention to detail is in a class by itself. Tim’s lighthearted positive attitude, serious work ethic, and expert knowledge of Durango will make your real estate transaction a rewarding experience. Call today or email Tim at tim@realestatedurango.com.


Let’s create a

FINANCIAL PLAN for all the seasons of your life.

Rachel Kuss CFP® AIF® CRPS® Vice President - Investments 970.403.8570 Office 3710 Main Avenue Suite 101 Durango, CO 81301

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Western Wealth Management, a registered investment adviser. Kennebec Wealth Management and Western Wealth Management are separate entities from LPL Financial. 92 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring


1316 MAIN AVE. (970) 764-4248

3533 N. MAIN AVE. (970) 247-1923



AD V ER T ISER I N DE X 2180 Lighting & Design Studio........................................................82 A Shared Blanket.....................................................................................30 Adela Flora...................................................................................................25 Aesthetics and Wellness Durango........................................ 82, 87 Affordable Blind Pros..............................................................................74 Animas Orthopedic Associates.........................................................11 Animas Chocolate & Coffee Co........................................................63 Animas Museum.......................................................................................39 Animas Trading Company…................................................................19 Artesanos.....................................................................................................22 Backcountry Experience.....................................................................32 Bank of the San Juans..........................................................................92 Brown’s Shoe Fit/Brown’s Sport Shoe.........................................19 Center of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College...........53 Christmas in Durango............................................................................ 17

94 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring

Closets Plus................................................................................................. 73 Coal Bank Café & Deli...........................................................................46 Coffee Bear..................................................................................................46 Coldwell Banker Distinctive Properties, Luis & Jaime Marquez..............................................................83, 91 Coldwell Banker Distinctie Properties, Tim Papi...........32, 91 Community Concert Hall..................................................................... 37 Create Art and Tea...................................................................................30 Crow’s Closet..............................................................................................23 Durango Arts Center.............................................................................. 37 Durango Craft Spirits............................................................................. 57 Durango Dermatology...................................................................78, 87 Durango Dog Ranch...............................................................................53 Durango Film Festival...........................................................................39 Durango Furniture & Mattress.........................................................94

Durango Hot Springs Resort + Spa........................................13, 87 Durango Kids Pediatric Dentistry..................................................29 Durango Magazine..................................................................................38 Durango Mountain Realty..................................................................92 Durango Organics......................................................................................9 Durango Rug Company........................................................................25 Durango Ski & Patio...............................................................................52 Durango Thermography......................................................................52 Durango Smoke Shop...........................................................................39 East by Southwest..................................................................................58 Elevation Custom Builders................................................................. 78 Eolus................................................................................................................60 Exit Reality Home & Ranch............................. Inside back cover Fallen Angel, The.......................................................................................18 Farmington Civic Center...................................................................... 37 Fort Lewis College..................................................................................42 Genesis Land and Waterscapes......................................................74 Glacier Realty................................................................................................7 Gold Law Firm, The.................................................................................89 Golden Block Brewery..........................................................................43 Good Karma................................................................................................23 Guild House Games................................................................................. 17 Highway 3 Roadhouse..........................................................................63 Jack’s Meats, Poultry, Seafood.........................................................64 James Ranch Market & Grill...............................................................61 Karyn Gabaldon Arts..............................................................................31 Keller Williams Realty, Matt Arias...................................................91 Kendall Mountain....................................................................................43 Kennebec Wealth Management.....................................................92 Kinfolk Farms.............................................................................................42 La Plata on Main........................................................................................ 17 Lively...............................................................................................................25 Lorax Tree Service................................................................................... 73 Mamma Silvia’s Italian Kitchen.......................................................58 Maria’s Bookshop.....................................................................................19 My Southwest Forest.............................................................................39 Nature’s Oasis............................................................................................62 Nayarit Mexican Casual Cuisine.....................................................64 Oh Hi Beverages..........................................................................................9 Olde Tymer’s Café....................................................................................65 Pine Needle Dry Goods.........................................................................18 Pine Needle Mounataineering.........................................................29 Primus............................................................................................................68 Purgatory Resort.................................................................. Back cover Quality House Interiors........................................................................93 Raindrops of the Four Corners.........................................................74 ReLove Consign & Design................................................................... 17 Reynolds Ash + Associates...............................................................96 River Liquors.............................................................................................. 57 Sachs Residential Construction......................................................81 Salt 360 Float Studio..............................................................................53 San Juan Expeditions............................................................................46 San Juan Symphony............................................................................... 37 Scenic Aperture................................................................................. 23, 31 Silver Creek Design................................................................................90 Silverton Chamber of Commerce..................................................46 Silverton Soapbox...................................................................................46 Ski Barn..........................................................................................................93 Sky Ute Casino Resort..............................................................................1 Sorrel Sky Gallery.................................................................................5, 31 Southwest Vapor.........................................................................................9 Sparrow Mercantile, The......................................................................19 Strater Hotel................................................................................................65 Sunnyside Farms Market....................................................................59 Supernova Furniture & Sleep Gallery..........................................75 Tequila’s Mexican Restaurant...........................................................62 There’s No Place Like Home..............................................................22 Tippy Canoe................................................................................................22 Toh-Atin Gallery.....................................................................................5, 31 UltraSteam/RugMasters......................................................................75 Urban Market...............................................................................................18 Visit Durango...............................................................................................51 Wells Group Real Estate, Jerome Bleger.....................................91 Woodhouse Day Spa, The.........................Inside front cover, 86


“The world tells people with disabilities what they can’t do. We’re here to show them all the things they can do.” – Dave Spencer

Photos courtesy of Adaptive Sports Association




In his early 20s, Dave Spencer lost a leg due to cancer. But he was determined to continue an activity he loved: skiing. Eventually the sport led Spencer to Purgatory Ski Resort, where he taught others with disabilities how to ski. More important, Spencer taught them how to reimagine what was possible. In 1983, with the help of friends, Spencer founded the Adaptive Sports Association (ASA), which has evolved to offer various outdoor-focused programs throughout the winter and summer seasons for participants of all ages with physical or cognitive challenges. With snow days fast approaching, ASA is currently gearing up for its winter programs, which provide adaptive skiing, snowboarding, and “sit-ski” opportunities for both adults and children. ASA’s “Learn to Ski Scholarship Program” brings first-time, adaptive ski-

ers, and snowboarders from around the country to Durango for a week of instruction and fun on the Purgatory slopes. ASA Executive Director Ann Marie Beresford describes how transformative these days are for participants. “We sometimes pick up some pretty nervous people from the airport on Monday, and they ski with us Tuesday through Friday. As the week goes on, you see their confidence increasing as they do things they didn’t think were possible,” she says. “Most times, by the end of the week, we are dropping off a different person than the one we picked up at the beginning of the week.” Additionally, ASA offers summer adventures during the warmer months, such as canoeing, kayaking, whitewater rafting trips on the San Juan River, and a cycling program. As Beresford explains, these outdoor activities are just the carrot. “We have great tools in our programs to get people active outside; but really, it’s about building independence and increasing our participants’ self-confidence,” she says. As a nonprofit organization that ensures scholarship funding for 75 to 80

percent of its participants, ASA’s staff and volunteers are dedicated to providing services regardless of an individual’s financial situation. “We just ask people to pay what they can and then we go out and raise the rest of it,” says Beresford. Thus, ASA hosts many fundraising opportunities during the year, including the ever-popular “Dave Spencer Ski Classic,” an all-community, inclusive event consisting of teams parading in costumes and competing in a lighthearted race at Purgatory. Though the event looked a little different in 2021 due to Covid, Beresford hopes to bring the community together again in February 2022. “I think we’ve all realized how important it is to stay connected to the people around us.” For more information on programs offered and volunteer opportunities, visit asa.org. 95

564 E. 2ND AVE., SUITE 201




(970) 259-7494

(970) 264-6884







96 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring


30 MINUTES NORTH OF DURANGO Purchase Tickets Online in Advance at Purgatory.ski 98 Durango Magazine Winter/Spring

Articles inside

Local Giving

pages 97-100

Community Profile: A Shared Blanket

pages 90-92

Featured Realtors

pages 93-95

Wildfire in Urban Communities

pages 81-85

Featured Spas

pages 88-89

Home Sweet Home: 2180 Lighting

pages 86-87

Durango Kids

pages 78-80

Durango Dream Home: Reynolds Ash + Associates

pages 72-77

Dining Showcase: Primi

pages 68-71

Weekend in Durango

pages 52-55

Dining Showcase: Gazpacho

pages 56-57

Housing Solutions in Silverton

pages 46-48


page 45

Skijoring in Silverton

page 49

Durango Baristas

pages 42-44

Five Exercises to Stay Healthy this Winter

pages 40-41

Winter Gear

pages 36-39

What’s New in the Four Corners

pages 26-27

Featured Durango Art Galleries

pages 32-34

Crooked Carrots

pages 16-21

Artist Profile: Bryce Pettit

page 35

Top Picks

pages 12-15

History: Early Days of the Durango Police Department

pages 22-25

From the Publisher

pages 8-9


pages 10-11
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