West of 105: The Best of Colorado | Spring 2020

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Z A P ATA R A N C H | C O L O R A D O L A M B | S P R I N G - C E N T R I C W I N E S




Montrose Road Trip: The West End

24 Hours in





Spring doesn’t mark the end of ski season in Colorado, but it does open up a few warmer weather options especially in the western part of the state. To that end, we split our main outdoors story into two parts - one for those who aren’t quite ready to hang up their skis for another year and the other for those that have been dying to get out on a mountain bike for weeks if not months. Our destination story this issue focuses on somewhere that tends to fly under the radar a little bit, but with a little research (that we have done for you) it is a great place for a true Colorado adventure. Not only does Montrose have a lot going for it in its own right, but it is also surrounded by an incredible wealth of options that allow for all kinds of adventures.








CONTACT WESTOF105.COM (970) 632 8649


On the eating and drinking front, Colorado is known throughout the country for the quality of its lamb, and spring lamb is near the top of every gourmand’s “to eat” list this season. We have the lowdown on Colorado lamb on page 44. We’ve also picked out a few great Colorado wines for both warm and cold spring days.

Finally, we wrapped up this issue with a story about our four-legged friends and how you can help a shelter pet find his or her forever home. The West of 105 team



We also visited Cortez down toward the Four Corners region and had a great time, both in town and visiting some of the amazing sites nearby. You have to get down there and see what is going on - it will absolutely delight you.

Elsewhere in the magazine, we have a selection of hard seltzers to try this spring, another quickfire Q&A (this one is a little different to the others!), and some great rec centers west of 105. We also ventured south to Santa Fe for a few days.






INTER can be brutal in certain parts of Colorado, and while we love skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and everything else that comes with winters west of 105, you can have too much of a good thing.




























OUTDOORS S PRING AT ME S A VE RDE Known for its incredibly well-preserved Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings, Mesa Verde National Park is a big draw for the southwest corner of the state. The area has warmed up after winter but hasn’t hit the summer highs, making it the perfect time to visit and hike around. +Avoiding mud season this spring and some of the state’s top mountain biking trails.


DESTINATION MONT ROS E A sort of Cinderella town, Montrose continues to change for the better with investment and new businesses, but Mother Nature’s handiwork - the millions of nearby acres of public land is the real draw. +24 hours in Cortez and a road trip through Colorado’s canyon country.


DRINKING & DINING COLORADO LAMB Lamb raised in Colorado has a sterling reputation around the country and the world. We take a look at this spring staple and share an award-winning recipe you can try at home. +Wines for spring and we profile The Rose in Edwards.


CULTURE & EVENTS S PRING HAPPE NINGS Taste of Vail is the culinary equivalent of the groundhog not seeing his shadow for foodies - it’s the sign that spring has arrived in the Vail Valley no matter what the actual weather is!

Photos (top to bottom): NPS; Visit Montrose / William Woody; Rod Long; Zach Mahone

@WESTOF105 | #CrosstheMeridian

+Meet some of the state’s more wellknown furry friends and read about a hip gallery and live music venue in Montrose. 5

GEAR ANATOMY The large gray bar that extends out from underneath the seat has a modular clampon system that means all kinds of things can be attached, from skis to SUP boards

The Lite has a range of 68 miles for city riding while the Ösa + has a 63-mile range. With the Ösa + being a motorcycle instead of a moped, it will get 44 miles at high speed

Both Ösa bikes have a ground clearance of 220 mm

The powerful battery with multiple outlets means the Ösa doubles as a power station on wheels, enabling the rider to be completely independent and off the grid. In total it has one 5V power outlet, one 12V outlet and one 110V/220V outlet

CAKE Swedish company CAKE’s first bike, the KalkOR, was heavily influenced by downhill and enduro mountain bikes. Then came the road legal version, the Kalk&. Now, comes the Ösa, an all-electric bike that takes it cues from the different needs people have from morning to night and from weekday to weekend. It is still a CAKE bike, however, and so is just as happy off roading as it is cruising around town.


Much like the two Kalk bikes, the Ösa has two versions (the + and the Lite, with the latter being more of a moped and the former being more like a motorcycle). Also like the Kalk bikes, the Ösas have a definite LEGO aesthetic (which isn’t a bad thing). They’re light, clean, and quiet, and, as strange as it sounds, were influenced by the workbench.











Upslope Brewing got in on the spiked seltzer game last year with its Spiked Snowmelt. A good option for those who don’t love beer or just want something different, Spiked Snowmelt comes in three flavors Juniper & Lime, Tangerine & Hops and Pomegranate & Acai - and they’re naturally gluten and use natural ingredients. We liked them all, but the Juniper & Lime, the company’s flagship seltzer, was particularly good.

Apparently, the federal government considers hard seltzer to be a beer, so it makes sense for brewers to get in on the game. Durango’s Ska Brewing released their seltzers towards the end of last year. Flavors available include Hibiscus Lime, Black Raspberry, and Blood Orange. Ska also offers Skagua, a nonalcoholic flavored sparkling water which is available in Grapefruit, Lemon, and Watermelon.

Oksar Blues Brewery introduced its hard seltzer line, Wild Basin, back at the end of 2018 with lime, lemon agave hibiscus, melon basil, and cucumber. Black Raspberry was added and became very popular. Recently, yumberry, blueberry mango, and strawberry coconut were added to give a good range of flavors.

5% ABV | 110 calories

5% AB | 100 calories

Offering a different take on the hard seltzer, PHYX cannabis-infused sparkling water has both THC and CBD. With 2.2mg of THC and 5mg of CBD, PHYX is about microdosing not getting “high.” They are available in four flavors: dragon fruit, grapefruit, lime, and a flavor-free, or all natural, version. What will be of interest to some people is that these drinks are calorie free. 2.2mg THC | 5mg CBD | 0 calories

@WESTOF105 | #CrosstheMeridian

5% ABV | 100 calories



1.EXPLORE ACRES OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL ARTIFACTS Canyons of the Ancients National Monument near Cortez is said to contain the highest known archaeological site density in the United States with 30,000 sites.



8 Photos (clockwise from top): Zapata Ranch, Cake, Period Comms

Colorado recently added three brand new Certified Creative Districts to bring the total number across the state to 26. One of the three new districts is Durango which has among its offerings the Durango Arts Center, the Durango Museum of Impressionism and the historic Henry Strater Theater.

3. STAY IN THE LAP OF LUXURY IN THE SAN LUIS VALLEY A luxury ranch in this down-toEarth slice of Colorado combines


wrangling and upscale offerings to give visitors a taste of the best of both worlds.

4. SIP SOME SELTZER This spring, adventurers across the state will turn to hard seltzers to slake their post-adventure thirsts. Check out a few of our favorites.

5. CHECK IN AT FAR VIEW LODGE AT MESA VERDE Located inside Mesa Verde National Park, Far View Lodge offers Spartan-like accommodations, but you won’t care when you see the incredible views and superb sunsets.

6. HIT THE TRAILS Swedish brand CAKE recently announced their latest electric bike. The moped-like Ösa is deconstructed in Gear Anatomy.



7. STAY IN COLORADO’S ULTIMATE BASECAMP Speaking of sitting pretty, Montrose is pretty much perfectly located if you’re looking for the ultimate Colorado adventure. Enjoy what the everchanging town has to offer and explore the region.




One of THE foodie festivals of the year, Taste of Vail returns with it’s four signature events including the delicious American Lamb Cook-Off and the spectacular Mountain Top Tasting from April 1-4.

From the official Broncos mascot to the state’s ‘First Dog’ - we get to know some of Colorado’s cuddliest pups in our Quickfire Q&A section.


Southwest Colorado is a mountain biker’s dream with hundreds of miles of desert and mountain trails. Pick up the Big Loop Maps for trails in Cortez, Dolores, Mancos and Rico.

Estes Park has a new festival this year that will bring country, bluegrass, and folk to the base of Rocky Mountain National park. The legendary Wynonna Judd and her band, The Big Noise, are among the artists for the May 16 festival.



Nestled in McElmo Canyon in the deserts of southwest Colorado, Sutcliffe Vineyards has been making wine since 1997, and they are as good as the landscape is dramatic.

10. GET A GOGGLE TAN Spring brings wonderful warm weather to parts of the state, but thanks to Colorado’s topography, there is still plenty of skiing and snowboarding to be done.

11. EXPLORE CORTEZ Nestled between Mesa Verde National Park and Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, Cortez is well positioned for exploration in the southwest corner of the state.

20. EXPLORE COLORADO’S CANYON COUNTRY From sheer cliff faces to vibrant sandstone rock formations, The West End is an otherworldly getaway not to be found anywhere else in the state.

Spinster Sisters from Golden have a range of all-natural skincare products. We tried, and loved, a few things that will get you all spruced up for spring!

17. FIND A FURREVER FRIEND What better way to embrace the spirit of rebirth than to find a lifelong companion? Visit your local animal shelter and find your new forever friend.

18. JOURNEY SOUTH OF THE BORDER Just a short drive away, spring is the perfect time to discover why Santa Fe also goes by The City Different.

#16 #20

12. PLAN A DENVER STOPOVER The recently opened trendy Hyatt Place Peña Station is perfect for a Denver layover as it is on the light rail and a short ride from DIA and downtown.

13. SPRING LAMB JAM Colorado lamb is among the best in the world, and spring lamb is a gastronomic revelation. We tell you all about it in our drinking and dining section.

Photos (top to bottom): Spinster Sisters Co.; @officialsnowdog





OURAY VIA FERRATA While Ouray is very well known as a winter destination thanks to the incredible Ouray Ice Park and associated ice climbing festival, the quaint town is about to get a lot more fun during the warmer months with the opening of a via ferrata. Slated to open at the tail end of spring (June 1 is the current estimate), the “iron road” will be free to the public with expert guides available in town.



TIMBERLINE CRAFT KITCHEN AND COCKTAILS Timberline Craft Kitchen is getting a jump on the transformation of Silverthorne with a sleek space that offers great brunch dishes. We stopped by recently and tried a few things. The fried chicken biscuit sandwich smothered in pork green chili is a beautiful monster while the bourbon bacon cinnamon roll (with a shot of whiskey you pour over the top) is as good as it sounds. Timberline also has a range of Bloody Marys and cocktails.


HYATT PLACE PEÑA STATION Denver is the de facto gateway to Colorado, and the light rail that shuttles people from the airport to the incredible Union Station (which, incidentally, lies exactly on the 105th meridian - there is even a plaque in the station) on their journey west of 105 has a new hotel along its route. Hyatt Place Peña Station has 226 rooms, a curated Coloradocentric art program and a resident Golden Retriever puppy named Denver who greets guests!

< Photos (top to bottom): FOVR; Period Comms; Hyatt Place Peña Station; Visit Durango

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NEW CREATIVE DISTRICTS One of three new certified creative districts (taking the total to 26 across the state), Durango’s creative district is a great coup for the city. The rigorous criteria that must be met in order to become certified (which includes getting recognition from the local government, having a high concentration of creative organizations and businesses, securing sustainable funding sources, having paid staff, and having a strategic plan) means that the city has a solid plan. Expect lots of exciting arty developments soon!

OUTDOORS Lower elevations in the Roaring Fork Valley offer great (but sometimes muddy) spring riding


Photo: Elle Logan






If you aren’t sure whether to ski, snowboard, hike or bike in Colorado this spring, why not do a bit of everything?

Our very own Roaring Fork Valley has been designated a Gold-Level Ride Center by the IMBA, one of only seven in the world.

Explore Mesa Verde National Park and find out why the Ancestral Puebloans moved from the mesa top to cliff dwellings after 600 years.


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1. Outdoor Research | Optimist Sun Hoody $89 Offering UPF 30-rated sun protection, this ultra lightweight outdoor shirt is durable, abrasion resistant, super stretchy and airy. A half-zip front makes it easy to get on and off, and a three-panel hood with a drawcord allows easy adjustment for changing conditions. The ultra thin material means the hood fits nicely under helmets. 2. REI Co-op | Flash Air 2 Tent $299 This lightweight tent is designed to either be pitched with the tent poles or with most trekking poles to minimize pack weight on the trail (without poles the tent weighs just one pound, 15 ounces). Two large canopy-style doors offer easy entry while internal mesh pockets and gear loops maximize organization. 3. Therm-a-Rest | Questar 20F/-6C Sleeping Bag $259.95 - $299.95 The bag features connectors designed to work with your sleeping pad (we love their new ultra cushy backpacking pad, see below). The brand’s W.A.R.M. (With Additional Room for Multiple Positions) fit combines the ability to sleep in various sleeping positions without compromising thermal efficiency. Filled with 650-fill responsibly-sourced down, the Questar is offered in three sizes and three different thermal ratings. We find the 20F rating is ideal for spring in Colorado. 4. Therm-a-Rest | NeoAir Topo Luxe Sleeping Pad $144.95 - $204.95

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Offering four inches of thickness, the new NeoAir Topo Luxe offers superior comfort while still being small enough for backpack camping. The pad also features a twinlock valve system that allows for fast inflation and deflation.


WEST OF 105 | OUTDOORS 5. Gregory | Paragon and Maven Backpack $199.96 - $349.95 An updated suspension system on the paragon and women’s specific maven is designed to move and flex with the body. Other features include a sunglasses stowing loop and an internal hydration sleeve, while front and side stretch mesh pockets offer quick access to water and additional layers. A full-length side zipper offers easy access to the main compartment. 6. Polar Bottle | Breakaway Bottle $15


The Breakaway bottle now boasts new tri-layer insulation (rejoice: no more tepid Skratch on those warm weather rides!), an easier to squeeze bottle to help when hand fatigue sets in and a new patented removable cap to allow for easier cleaning. And all the bottles are made in Colorado to boot. 7. Vasque | Talus XT GTX Hiking Boot $209.99 Available in women’s and men’s, this waterproof hiking boot is lighter than you would expect and features a breathable GORE-TEX membrane that keeps feet nice and dry. The Vibram MegaGrip outsole provides superior traction on slippery trails.


8. Patagonia | Torrentshell 3L Rain Jacket $149 Reconstructed to be more comfortable and durable, the waterproof Torrentshell is now made from a recycled nylon face fabric that is bluesign approved and Fair Trade certified. Venting armpit zips help regulate body temperature along with two zippered hand warmer pockets - one of which the jacket can be packed into.


9. Athletic Greens Supplement $97




Nothing make us feel healthier than drinking something really green. Athletic Greens is a nutritional supplement that has 75 ingredients - including stuff you have heard of and stuff you haven’t like pea protein isolate, citrus bioftavonoids extract and artichoke leaf extract - that they say helps support your body’s nutritional needs. There is also a psychological effect you get by simply drinking something so green. We’ve tried it with water and in smoothies, and while the taste might not be for everyone, we liked it. 10. Seal Line | 70L Pro Zip Duffel $249.95 Available in 40L, 70L and 100L, this submersible duffel (rated to withstand full submersion in 1 meter of water for 30 minutes) keeps stashed gear nice and dry with a heavy duty PVC-free waterproof material, PF welded seams, corrosion-resistant hardware, and waterproof zippers. Other features include versatile handles that convert to shoulder straps to allow for easier hauling.





WEST OF 105 | OUTDOORS Spring is a funny time in Colorado. While there is still plenty of skiing to be done in the early part of the season, as the season progresses and summer approaches, snow melt turns parts of the state into mud pits (which is why the locals refer to spring as mud season), but thanks to Colorado’s diverse typography, other areas

don’t suffer the same muddy fate as the central mountains. This diversity means you can ski or snowboard until well into spring at higher elevations or you can dust off your road bike and hiking boots and get back on the roads and trails at lower elevations.

So, instead of complaining about the schizophrenic nature of spring or going one way or the other, we are going to celebrate it by offering something to do throughout the season depending on where you are and whether you are lamenting the end of another ski season or urging it towards the finish line!

FOR SNOW HOUNDS At the time of writing, only five ski areas are set to close in March (Powderhorn, Granby Ranch, Hesperus, Howelsen Hill and Kendall Mountain) with the rest currently scheduled to close throughout April and May, apart from Arapahoe Basin which is scheduled to stay open until June 7 (or possibly longer if conditions allow!). And if there is enough snow to keep a ski resort open (even if they can make their own snow), there is likely going to be enough to snowshoe, backcountry and cross-country ski and snowmobile. Grand Mesa is one place where you are almost guaranteed snow through spring. Last year the world’s largest flat top mountain had 20 inches of snow in April, a whopping 53 in May and 10 in June. Then there are other options, such as heli skiing at Silverton Mountain which is available seven days a week through March 15 and then Thursday-Sunday through April 5.

America at 10,200 feet, holds the Fatty Patty 50K. The penultimate event (of four) in the 2020 Leadville Winter Mountain Bike Series, the last is the East Side Epic on April 11. Ski Cooper is currently slated to close the following day. Then there is the Steamboat Springalicious Festival which celebrates the end of ski season. Running from April 1-12, one of the highlights this year will be the 40th anniversary of the Cardboard Classic.

WINTER-CENTRIC EVENTS THIS SPRING There are plenty of winter celebrations across the state in spring. In March, Leadville, the highest incorporated city in North

Photos (opposite page top to bottom): Winter Park Resort / Carl Frey, NPS (this page top to bottom): Period Comms, Breckenridge Ski Resort

Between March 12-15, Aspen has the Après Ski Cocktails Classic, an event that takes classic cocktails slopeside. The four-day event features the Après Tasting Experience, craft cocktails, seminars, snow parties, pop-up bars, demonstrations, fireside chats, spirit-paired dinners, as well as the Great Après Ski Pub Crawl & Cocktail Competition! Frozen Dead Guy Days in Nederland returns from March 13-15 for its 19th year.

The crazy festival that pays homage to Bredo Morstol, who is literally frozen and housed in a shed above the town, includes coffin racing, polar plunging, a frozen T-shirt contest, and icy turkey bowling among other ludicrous events. There is also great live music throughout the whole weekend.

Arapahoe Basin has a free concert series which brings live, local music to the base area every Saturday afternoon beginning April 25 through closing weekend. Their first ever Pride Weekend kicks off May 9 while the resort’s annual Swimwear Day + Terrain Park Rail Jam takes place May 16.

Then there is the Fifth Annual Frisco BrewSki on March 14. Is there anything more Colorado than dressing up and skiing between beer tents? We don’t think so. The day finishes with an after-party with even more beer tastings, music and prizes.

FOR SUN MANIACS Western Colorado's high desert area means winter comes to an end months before it does in the mountains. Rio Blanco, Moffat, Mesa, San Miguel, Montrose, Dolores and Montezuma counties - all of which border Utah - have spring time offerings without a snowflake in sight.

Regardless of where you want to bike (or hike), it’s always a good idea to check with locals and/or local bike shops on the latest trail conditions. See our box on page 17 for a few more tips!

two creeks, East Creek and West Creek, that flow out of opposite ends. There are said to be over 2,000 routes with everything from multi-pitch traditional routes to short, bolted sport routes. There is, of course, a ton of awesome bouldering in the area to be had, too

There are several areas of the state that will likely be nice and dry, especially as the season goes on, making mountain biking an option. Salida is a great option for some early season mountain biking with the Tenderfoot Mountain (aka “S” Mountain) trail system just north of downtown remaining largely free of snow year round. Methodist Mountain is also a good choice. In fact, most lower elevation trails in this area are usually clear of snow by March.

For those who prefer road cycling, the 133-mile Unaweep Tabeguache Scenic and Historic Byway that runs from Norwood to Whitewater offers an incredible journey through history, geology, culture and nature. Consisting of Highways 141 and 145, the scenery along this byway will take your mind off sore muscles (if you plan on doing a very long ride that it). Budding paleontologists will love the byway, too, thanks to the dinosaur fossils that can literally be found on the side of the road - if you know what you’re looking for.

Hiking is also a great option with DominguezEscalante National Conservation Area, McInnis Canyons NCA, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, Mesa Verde National Park and up in the northwest of the state, Dinosaur National Monument. Unlike many national park areas, off-trail hiking is permitted in Dinosaur National Monument and is a great way to create your own adventure, but remember to be sensible when going off trail and take the equipment and supplies to do it safely.

There is also early season mountain biking in the Vail Valley and the Roaring Fork Valley. See page 18 for details.

Hikers and climbers should head to Unaweep Canyon. Just a 30-minute drive outside Grand Junction, the canyon is unique as it has

There is also golf at several courses in Grand Junction, Rangely and Meeker as well as opportunities for fishing. May is also a


good time to go rafting as you can avoid both crowds and high water. Look for outfitters on the Arkansas, the Upper Colorado and the Yampa rivers. ATVing is also a really fun way to spend half a day. The Rim Rocker trail and Thunder Trails in or near Norwood are good choices. Stop in at 3Peaks ATV rentals in Nucla for info and gear.

SUMMER-CENTRIC EVENTS THIS SPRING The 25th Annual Fruita Fat Tire Festival takes place May 1 - 3. A celebration of the hundreds of miles of trails in the area, the fest also brings in all the latest gear that can be tried and tested, Up in the northwest of the state, the Great American Horse Drive from May 9 - 10 promises a taste of the Old West. Join the cowboys of Sombrero Ranch as they continue a tradition that was started back in 1959 and watch as hundreds of horses gallop across the range from their winter pasture. Over in Buena Vista, a three-day event kicks off rafting season. CSK PaddleFest, May 22 25, takes place on the banks of the Arkansas River and has clinics, gear swaps, concerts, a disc-golf tournament, and the main event - the Buena Vista Whitewater Pro Rodeo.

Springtime Trail Tips Avoid muddy or wet trails, especially when on a bike or a horse. If you’re on foot, walk through the mud and not around it. If it’s so muddy that you can’t or don’t want to walk through, you should probably turn back and try another trail. Look for trails at lower elevations in hardwood forests with southern exposure as they dry out first in spring. Avoid conifer forests at higher elevations as trails are still fragile and are easily destroyed. And use this simple tip: If you think you might be damaging a trail, you probably are. Do the right thing, and find another place to enjoy the Great Colorado Outdoors! @WESTOF105 | #CrosstheMeridian Photos (opposite): NPS/Jacob W. Frank (this page top to bottom): Matt Inden / Miles; Period Comms; 3Peaks ATV Rentals


GOLD RUNS The Roaring Fork Valley was recently designated as a Gold Level Ride Center by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). It joins Steamboat Bike Town and Vail Valley on the prestigious list, but it is the first area in Colorado to be given the Gold Level designation. Summer guarantees more usable trails but it also promises more people. Conversely, spring offers fewer trails but at the same time you are likely to have them to yourself. Steamboat is the exception with practically no trails available in spring, but we’ve included a few suggestions so you can plan ahead for summer!

Roaring Fork Valley At the head of the valley, Glenwood Springs has milder winters and as such will have accessible trails earlier in the season. Trails near Glenwood that will likely be open at some point in spring include the mammoth Ute Trail that skirts the Flat Tops Wilderness en route to Meeker 80 miles away. For


something a little less epic, but no less fun, try the 3.4-mile Grandstaff Trail. Further down valley in Carbondale, the Red Hill Recreation Area has 17 miles of trails at lower elevation trails that will also likely be open in early spring. South of Carbondale, the 20 or so miles of trails that make up Prince Creek are also going to be accessible around the same time. Down valley in Aspen, trails will likely not open until the tail end of spring or even into summer. When they do open, head for the upper portion of the Hunter Creek Trail for a fast descent with great views.

the communities of Wolcott, Edwards, Avon, Minturn and Vail - the Vail Valley has it all, including plenty of awesome mountain biking trails.

The paved 42-mile Rio Grande Trail connects the entire valley and is a great way to get around.

A lot of trails in this area will be under seasonal closures and muddy trails should be avoided, so be sure to check trail conditions before you head out. However, there are trails in Eagle and Edwards that will likely be rideable in mid/late March including Boneyard and Redneck Ridge, and Haymaker trails (first two loops) in Eagle and Berry Creek and Mesquite trails in Edwards. In April a few more will likely open up including West Avon Preserve Trails in Avon.

The Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association are your go-to experts for the valley. Visit rfmba.org.

Vail Valley Extending from Eagle in the west to East Vail in the east - and including


Eagle has over 100 miles of singletrack with something for everyone with trails that wind through high desert, groves of aspen trees and dense evergreen forests. Town-owned open space trails open in the middle of April while BLM trails in the area such as Boneyard, Redneck Ridge and part of Haymaker Trail are open year-round. Visit the Vail Valley Mountain Bike Association for more info at vvmba.org.


Steamboat Springs The third IMBA-designated area is Steamboat Bike Town. Steamboat Springs almost certainly won’t have any trails open until the summer, but there are a good number of trails that are groomed for fat biking that will likely last through March. There is a chance that by May trails on the south side of Emerald Mountain will be open (the Emerald Mountain Trail Trails System has more than 24 miles of non-motorized multiuse trails). For more details visit routtcountyriders.org. For more information on trails in Colorado’s three IMBA-designated areas and across the state, check out mtbproject.com which also happens to be supported by IMBA.

IMBA The IMBA is the worldwide leader in mountain bike advocacy, and the only organization in the U.S. focused entirely on trails and access for all types of mountain bikers in all parts of the country. Since 1988, the organization has taught and encouraged low-impact riding, grassroots advocacy, sustainable trail design, innovative land management practices and cooperation among trail user groups. IMBA U.S. is a national network of local groups, individual riders and passionate volunteers working together for the benefit of the entire community. Ride Centers feature extensive trail networks that have been designed for mountain bikers of every skill level and are built by professional trailbuilders and local volunteers. From backcountry adventures to shuttle-served gravity trails, and from expert-only to family-friendly, you’ll encounter the best the sport has to offer.

Photos (opposite): Michele Cardamone (this page): Chris Reichel, visitglenwood.com, Photo by C2 Photography, courtesy of the Basalt Chamber of Commerce

Snowmobiling Safety •

Before traveling always call to check snow conditions and avalanche information.

Be sure you have the required permits or passes. Snowmobiles that are operated on public lands in Colorado must be registered with Colorado Parks & Wildlife.

Take adequate supplies for longer trips and be sure to let someone know where you will be and when you're expected back.

Be aware of where you can and cannot go - some trails are designated for cross-country skiers only and are typically marked in blue.


SPRING AT MESA VERDE With about an eighth of the visitor numbers of Rocky Mountain National Park, Mesa Verde National Park is a place to go to escape the crowds and find a little solitude. But don’t let visitor numbers fool you into thinking Mesa Verde is any less of a park, after all bigger isn’t always better. In fact, while Rocky is spectacular, amazing and incredible, Mesa Verde simply offers a different experience and is amazing in its own way.

Photos: NPS photo by John Marino

Established in 1906 by Theodore Roosevelt to protect the dwellings that were built by the Ancestral Puebloans between 550 A.D. and 1300 A.D., there are more than 5,000 sites, including 600 cliff dwellings, which are some of the bestpreserved archaeological sites in North America. The seventh oldest in the National Park System, it is also recognized as a UNSECO World Heritage Site. Located in the southwest corner of Colorado in the Four Corners region, between Durango and

Photos (this page top to bottom): Aramark, Period Comms, Al Schneider / NPS; (opposite page top to bottom): Cliff Palace NPS / Sandy Groves, NPS, Aramark 20

Cortez, spring arrives sooner here than in the mountains which makes it perfect for an early season getaway. At over 50,000 acres, Mesa Verde isn’t a small park, and so depending on how much time you have you can opt to spend your time exploring on your own or, if you don’t have much time but want to see the more impressive sites, you can hop aboard a bus. Either way, several key sites at Mesa Verde Cliff Palace, Long House and Balcony dwellings - can only be entered with a park ranger for both safety and preservation reasons. Step House, however, is self guided. There are a number of different kinds of tours at Mesa Verde, but the most popular is the “700 Years Tour.” It’s a particularly long tour at four hours, but you aren’t on your feet for even a quarter of that, making it suitable for almost everyone. Offering a good overview of the historical, architectural, horticultural, cultural, and religious dimensions of life

WEST OF 105 | OUTDOORS for the Ancestral Puebloans, the tour includes short hikes as well as a walking tour of Cliff Palace, a large dwelling that contained 150 rooms and 23 kivas and had a population of approximately 100 people. While Mesa Verde is open year round, tours run between April and October.

intended” variety and illuminate vast stretches of land that is unencumbered by human development. There is something special and even soul enriching to feel connected to this land devoid of modern-day distractions.

For self-guided tours, pick up a map from the visitor center and set out (making sure you have provisions!). There is also Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum. Built in 1924, the museum is a five-mile drive from the Far View Lodge and features exhibits and artifacts of the Ancestral Puebloans.

The Metate Room is the Lodge’s signature restaurant and features modern and sustainable versions of regional heritage foods with a Southwestern twist. Far View Terrace Café serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in a more informal setting with more of a food-court setting. Finally, there is Spruce Tree Café. With indoor and outdoor seating, the Metate Room features classic American dishes and Southwest specialties including the popular Navajo tacos.

Far View Lodge at Mesa Verde A complex of 150 rooms with Kiva-style locally sourced furniture, Far View Lodge is actually located 15 miles inside the park. Designed to encompass the spirit of Mesa Verde, the lodge sits at 8,250 feet and offers incredible views for 100 miles in every direction and into four states.

Far View Lodge also has a few dining options.

The Lodge is open between April and October.

Rooms at Far View are nice enough, but their no-frills nature (combined with spotty Wi-Fi; consider taking a deck of cards) actually helps you to immerse yourself in the experience. Both sunrises and sunsets are magnificent at Far View Lodge, and they are of the “as nature

Rockefeller Donation In 2018, Mesa Verde acquired a collection of more than 100 works of art representing Native American culture by Native American artists from the Estate of David Rockefeller.

Among the collection were pieces by tribal community members traditionally associated with Mesa Verde. The pieces were primarily acquired by Rockefeller in the 1920s and 1930s during two

trips to the park during which he pledged $3,500 toward completion of the first unit of the new museum, materials to construct exhibit cases, and funds to further scientific excavations.

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Originally on display at the Rockefeller family’s property on Mt. Desert Island in Maine, the works were not seen by many people. Now, however, they are seen regularly by visitors through various exhibitions. 21



DESTINATIONS Located just a short jaunt from some seriously amazing outdoor opportunities, Montrose may be the state’s ultimate base camp


Photo: City of Montrose






Stay Here, Play Everywhere: The Montrose Visitors’ Center slogan is an appropriate one.

Small it may be, but this little town nestled down near the Four Corners is a great place for a getaway.

Often overlooked, the far western part of the state offers an altogether different Colorado experience.


MONTROSE “STAY HERE, PLAY EVERYWHERE” IS BOTH THE OFFICIAL SLOGAN OF THE CITY AS WELL AS BEING A PERFECT WAY TO DESCRIBE THE APPEAL OF THE TOWN OF AROUND 20,000 Sitting at the heart of Western Colorado, Montrose has a lot to offer, both in town and within a couple of hours drive including several ski areas, the largest flat top mesa in the world in Grand Mesa, wineries, a national park and several state parks. Montrose is also a short drive from Ridgway and Ouray, which both have their own unique offerings, and a little further afield are Grand Junction and Durango which offer even more.

WHAT’S IN A NAME Named after Sir Walter Scott’s novel “A Legend of Montrose,” the town was inhabited by the Ute Indians for centuries before white settlers moved to the area in the 1870s. The Ute Indians were removed from their land, and put on a reservation in Utah in 1881. Montrose was founded as Pomona the following year. Initially a supply town, the decline of mining forced the town to turn to agriculture which thrived when

24 William Woody / Visit Montrose Photo:


the Gunnison Tunnel, which diverted water from the Gunnison River, opened in 1909. The tunnel was such a feat of engineering that the opening was presided over by President Taft.

THE OLD WEST There are three museums that do an admirable job of charting the town’s history. South of downtown, the Ute Indian Museum was built in 1956 (it underwent an extensive renovation and reopened in June 2017) near the ranch of Uncompahgre leader Chief Ouray and his wife Chipeta. The museum and grounds are listed in the National Register of Historic Places and include the Chief Ouray Memorial Park which is where Chipeta was buried. The complex also includes a memorial to the Spanish conquistadors who traveled through the area in 1776. Operated by History Colorado, a non-profit and part

of the Department of Higher Education, the museum has exhibitions that focus on the Ute’s history of adaptation and persistence as well as celebrating the Bear Dance. For a taste of the more recent Old West, the Museum of the Mountain West is a fantastic place to stop for an hour or two of perusing. East of town on the way to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, the museum was started by Rich Fike as a place to display his personal collection of western memorabilia. It grew to the point where it was decided it would be a good idea to share it with anyone who wanted to see it. The museum is a complex of several buildings and hundreds of thousands of artifacts with the main building housing a series of storefronts including a saloon, a dentist’s office, and a drug store among others. It truly is an awesome place. And rounding out the trio of museums is the Montrose County Historical Museum which is open from May - September. Located downtown in the old Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Depot, the museum tells the story of the town from its founding.

THE ULTIMATE BASE CAMP Perhaps the greatest asset Montrose has is its proximity to the great Colorado outdoors. The views of the San Juan mountains from downtown are breathtaking and allude to what is on offer just a short drive out of town. In fact, Montrose is surrounded by millions of acres of public land in every direction including Uncompahgre National Forest and Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area, but the jewel at the heart of Montrose is Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. A 10-minute drive from downtown, the park is an incredible place and an incredible asset to the town, it draws in visitors from around the world throughout the year. To the west of downtown is the trailhead for the Rimrocker Trail, a 160-mile trail that takes off-road enthusiasts (most often those behind the wheel of a Jeep but occasionally a cyclist) to Moab in Utah. For a shorter jaunt on your mountain bike, the 26

Buzzard Gulch Trail System is just west of town. Classic canyon country, there are about a dozen miles of connected trails. Cerro Summit, just past the turn off for the Black Canyon, is great for biking or hiking and sometime this spring a new trail system called Electric Hills is slated to open west of town. The best resource for mountain biking in the area is the Montrose chapter of the Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association. Visit copmoba.org.

your appetite. On Main Street there is the aforementioned Maggie’s Books (a bona fide bookshop with real books; a rarity these days); Cimarron Song Art Gallery, which is home to work by several great artists including proprietor Greg Packard; as well as several shops offering miscellany like Country Flair, Fabula, Heirlooms for Hospice and Creative Corner which is stocked with work by

GET WET In town is the excellent Montrose Water Sports Park. Consisting of 1,000 feet of river, which drops 11 feet over its length, and includes six drop structures, it is one of the few parks of its kind in the country to be accessible by ADA standards. And thanks to the consistent flow of the Uncompahgre River, it draws in people from around the region. There are also three golf courses and miles of Gold Medal fly-fishing opportunities along the Gunnison River in nearby Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area. Montrose Anglers, located right downtown, has you covered for all your fly fishing needs including guide services.

EVENING OFFERINGS As for what to do when the sun sets, Montrose isn’t exactly abuzz with nightlife, but there is something to do most nights including trivia at 2 Rascals Brewpub, occasional author readings at Maggie’s Books and it appears as if Montrose loves karaoke as there is said to be somewhere you can sing every night of the week. There is also regular live music at Healthy Rhythm Art Gallery, Intrinzik and Horsefly Brewing. The Montrose Pavilion hosts an eclectic range of events - from symphonies and school concerts to charitable events and film festivals throughout the year and then there is the Magic Circle Players, an amateur dramatic group who do a fine job of putting on plays throughout the year (spring will see the players put on “The Sunshine Boys” and “Fiddler on the Roof”). The Fox Theater is a cinematic gem and is definitely worth taking a look at. It opened on Halloween 1929 and was designed in a Moorish style you can still see the minaret on top.

DOWNTOWN For both window shoppers and serious shopaholics, there are places to sate WESTOF105.COM

Photo: William Woody / Visit Montrose






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FUEL UP With three breweries, a distillery, wineries nearby and a few really good places to eat, Montrose isn’t short of places to get a good drink or a meal.

local artisans. Healthy Rhythm Art Gallery which has an eclectic collection of graphic prints, photography, ceramic and fine art pieces. There is also Little Flower Colo. Hemp Company, which offers a range of hemp and wellness products, as well as Yoga House, where a range of drop-in classes are on offer. On Saturday mornings, the Montrose Farmers Market (indoors until May) offers regional produce and goods.

On Main Street, Colorado Boy is a popular restaurant (although there is a bar you can sit at if you just want a few beers) thanks to the winning combination of great beer and excellent pizza. Horsefly and 2 Rascals also have good beer and more traditional pub food. For something stronger head to Phelanies, a funky speakeasy, or Storm King Distilling, which has a small bar along with patio seating and a food truck. Other popular places include The Vine Market and Bistro, Jimmers, Remington’s at the Bridges golf course and Trattoria Di Sofia. Crash Burger is a good option for a quick meal, and for a grab-andgo breakfast try Straw Hat Farm Market and Kitchen Store (the fresh cinnamon rolls available on Saturday are to die for).

GET CAFFEINATED Local coffee shops include The Coffee Trader, which has two locations, and Cimarron Coffee Roasters which offers a more artisanal experience and is in the



same building as Healthy Rhythm Art Gallery. Coffee should almost always be accompanied by doughnuts from Montrose Donut And Deli. For a quick breakfast before you head out on an adventure, Sunrise Burritos is a tiny drive-through shack just south of downtown that has a small menu but great food.

There are few towns that have a national park their doorsteps, but Montrose is one of them. A 10-minute drive from downtown, the magnificent Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is a veritable gouge in the crust of the earth, descending 2,722 feet from the rim to the roaring Gunnison River below. The dizzying chasm is also a designated Dark Skies Park. Adventurous hikers should take on Tomichi Trail, an extremely steep descent to the canyon floor that will see you descend and then climb almost 1,800 feet of scree.

REST UP As for where to stay, Montrose has a lot of affordable motels, but if you’re looking for something a little more upmarket there are some great Airbnb listings in the area.

HOLLYWOOD CONNECTION The most famous person born in Montrose was Dalton Trumbo. The screenwriter and novelist was responsible for award-winning films including “Roman Holiday,” “Exodus,” and Stanley Kubrick’s “Spartacus.” Trumbo was also one of the infamous Hollywood Ten, a group that were cited for contempt of Congress and blacklisted after refusing to answer questions about their alleged involvement with the Communist Party. Trumbo continued to work under various pseudonyms or under the names of other writers, eventually getting credit for work he produced during this period. In 1975, the Academy officially recognized Trumbo as the winner of the Oscar for “The Brave One” and presented him with a statuette.

Get Happy Who doesn’t love a good beer or a cocktail but for half the price it would normally cost? Montrose has a few happy hours that will put a smile on your face COLORADO BOY Every day from 3pm - 5pm $3 pints and $1.50 off wine PHELANIES Tuesday: Buy one get one half free Thursday: Ladies’ Night is half off 2 RASCALS Tuesday - Friday, 4pm - 6pm $3 pints HORSEFLY Daily specials. Our favorite is Friday: Two pints for $5

Photos: Period Comms

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If your idea of Colorado is snow-capped mountains, ski resorts and groves of quaking Aspens, you’re right. But there is a whole other Colorado out there, one where red dirt, sandstone arches and majestic canyons meet desert adventure, ancient history and an altogether different kind of Colorado experience. And little Cortez is at the very heart of it. About a 90-minute drive over Lizard Head Pass from that “other” Colorado, Cortez is the gateway to Mesa Verde National Park, and with an agricultural history and a Native American heritage - and being part of Old Spanish Trail - it is where ancient cliff dwellings and cowboys coexist.

7 AM | COFFEE & BREAKFAST Beny’s Diner on Main Street is a good way to kick off the day. They offer classic diner food with perhaps a few more Mexican-inspired dishes than most. The eggs Benedict went down very well and the hash browns are different, being sort of slivers of potato that have been crisped up. Head to Silver Bean for coffee. A short walk from Beny’s, the converted Airstream looks amazing, and the coffee is good, too.

9 AM | OUT & ABOUT The area around Cortez is known as Mesa Verde Country, and while the mountains are where you hear about Colorado’s modern heritage, one of gold rushes and mining, it’s here that you learn about Colorado’s more distant past, one before European settlers arrived. A good place to start is the Cortez Cultural Center. A non-profit, the center runs programs that aims to spread cultural understanding, promote the arts, and educate participants about history, diversity, and the natural environment. Founded in 1987, the center has a gallery featuring local artists on the main floor and, among other things, hosts a local lecture series on topics central to the Center’s mission. (Native American dance performances are held nightly throughout the summer if you happen to be here then).

Photos (top): Bob Wick / BLM (middle, bottom and opposite page): Period Comms

The center is also the steward of Hawkins Preserve which encompasses 122 acres and is within the city limits. With more than 2.5 miles of trails (which are open to hikers and bikers; some of which lead to archaeological ruins and Dakota sandstone cliffs), the preserve is densely forested with piñon and sagebrush.

12 PM | LUNCH For a pre-lunch beer, WildEdge Brewing Collective is one of three breweries / brewpubs in Cortez. The Galaxia IPA was good; they also have cider from Fenceline Cider in nearby Mancos and local wine. The food menu is on the smaller side, but fantastic. After lunch, stroll down the street to Moose & More which has really good homemade ice cream and chocolates (the sampler has up to five different ice creams; the honey blue cornbread was particularly good).

1 PM | PACK IT ALL IN If you hiked or biked in Hawkins Preserve you may be a bit tired, but if you only have 24 hours here, you need to suck it up! The Ute Mountain Tribal Park (access to which requires a tribal guide) is about 20 miles south of Cortez and offers an in-depth experience with guides interpreting pictographs, cliff dwellings, and artifacts. It is also a monster at 125,000 acres. Afternoon tours start at 1pm and you should book at least a week in advance. Then, there is Canyons of the Ancients National Monument which offers plenty of hiking and biking among its 176,000 acres. Oh, and it also contains the highest known archaeological site density in the United States with more than 6,355 recorded sites. (The Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center and Museum is 10 miles north of Cortez and a visit to get oriented is a good idea). Another place a little further afield but definitely worth considering if you have more time is Hovenweep National Monument (an hour west on the Colorado/Utah border. And of course a visit to Mesa Verde is a must. See page 20 for more information.

One place not to be missed is Crow Canyon Archaeological Center just outside town (read more below). For those who want to see the sights from the comfort of their car, the 114-mile Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway tours through natural wonders and archaeological points of interest. For a more sedate afternoon, there are a few wineries in the area. Sutcliffe vineyards is located in McElmo Canyon, a 20-minute drive away. They have around 20 wines and the winery is set in a stunning canyon. Right in town you’ll find the brand new Yellow Car Country Wines. The quaint winery offers fruit wines and meads and is located right next to Hawkins Preserve (the winery opens early on Saturday and would be a great après-Hawkins Preserve stopover).

CROW CANYON ARCHAEOLOGICAL CENTER Why just read about archaeology when you can experience it first hand? Dig deep into ancient history, and discover the latest research at Crow Canyon Archaeological Center. An approachable, expert staff will guide you through a variety of programs ranging from a day tour of their current excavation site to a multi-day citizen scientist experience. Register for programs, or learn more about the center by visiting crowcanyon.org.

7PM | DINNER Stonefish Sushi on Main Street isn’t really the kind of spot you expect to see in a place like Cortez. With a sizable menu and regular deliveries that keep them stocked with fresh ingredients, it really is a boon for the town. There is sushi, but the bulk of the menu is made up of specialty rolls. We liked everything we tried which included the Colorado Rancher Roll and the Dragon Roll. Stonefish is open for lunch Tuesday - Friday between 11am - 2pm, but it also open for dinner when additional menu items are available (potstickers and miso glazed salmon among them). The Farm Bistro is another popular spot, while Thai Cortez is also really good if you are looking for something a little more exotic (it’s also on Main Street as everything in small towns like Cortez seems to be!).

REST YOUR HEAD As you can probably imagine, Cortez isn’t overflowing with five-star hotels (thankfully), but there are plenty of options including Airbnb rentals. The Motel Retro Inn is a sort of no frills place, but it is fun with themed rooms (we had room 1956 and therefore a portrait of Elvis and some other bits of memorabilia adorned the walls). There are of course lots of options for camping in the area at Canyons of the Ancients and Mesa Verde. For killer views, Far View Lodge inside the Mesa Verde National Park is hard to beat.

Photos (this page): Period Comms; (opposite page): 32 Crow Canyon Archaeological Center Photos: Period Communications


SPRING EVENTS 12 Hours of Mesa Verde Mountain Bike Race 2020 May 9 Since its inception in 2003, the race has donated more than $500,000 to local organizations that focus on at-risk youth. Ute Mountain Mesa Verde Birding Festival May 13 - 17 Hosted by the Cortez Cultural Center, the festival includes day and overnight birding tours to an array of birding hotspots to fit a gamut of abilities, ages, and interests. A Study in Clay: Ancestral Pueblo Pottery Workshop May 31 - June 6 Create your own vessel at Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in the Mesa Verde black-on-white style using native, carbonaceous clay and the coil-construction method.

BEFORE YOU LEAVE Spend the morning before you leave on two wheels. Some of the best mountain biking in the state can be found near Cortez, including the Phil’s World Trail System. After another trip to Beny’s, pack up and head out. Well known among mountain bikers, Phil’s World is just six miles from Cortez and has a mix of beginner, intermediate, and advanced trails. If you’re looking for steep descents and drops, try the Ledges, while the Rib Cage trail is for those who want less of a technical ride and more speed. Phil’s World has around 60 miles of trails and is home to the annual 12 Hours of Mesa Verde mountain bike race. 33




DAY 1 CORTEZ TO NORWOOD MORNING Wake up in Cortez so you can get an early start (check out our breakfast recommendations on page 30). There are two main routes from Cortez to Norwood (which isn’t technically part of the West End), but we urge you to spring for the extra 20ish minutes and head through Rico on Highway 145. En route you’ll pass through some seriously stunning scenery as well as quaint communities such as Dolores and Rico. Spend the rest of the morning and afternoon stretching your legs and getting some fresh

air. Norwood is a great base for exploring outdoor recreation opportunities of the West End. There are endless options for outdoor enthusiasts throughout the season, with early spring offering plenty of snowbased activities while later spring opens up options for fishing and other water-based sports. Miramonte Reservoir, which sits at the base of Lone Cone Peak and is part of Miramonte Natural Area, has an excellent stock of rainbow trout, a handicapped-accessible fishing pier and two boat ramps. Rafting the San Miguel or Dolores rivers

in late spring is another great idea. Numerous raft companies offer both half and full-day trips during spring. Stand up paddle boarding, canoeing, and kayaking on Miramonte Reservoir are also good options. Early spring visitors may still be able to take advantage of the area’s snow and head up to Wright’s Mesa for some fat tire biking, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing on groomed trails.

EVENING There are a few hotels in Norwood including the Backcountry Inn which also offers RV parking and tent camping on site (with a picnic area with charcoal grills, flush toilets, hot showers and Wi-Fi). Try Maggie’s Pizza for dinner (closed on Monday and Tuesday) then grab your coziest blanket and chair and head into the night for stargazing at one of the best spots in the country. After nearly three years of hard work by a small team of volunteers, Norwood was designated as the newest International Dark Sky Community by the International DarkSky Association just over a year ago. The first Dark Sky Community on the Western Slope, the base of Lone Cone Peak and Miramonte Reservoir are the best spots for star sighting.

Resources The West End Trails Alliance has all the trails in the area in one convenient place. Visit westendtrails.org For more info on the UnaweepTabeguache Scenic By-Way visit westendtrails.org Read more about roots of Nucla, surely one of Colorado’s most interesting towns. Visit nuclacolorado.com/historicaltidbits Photos (top to bottom): Period Communications, Photos: Period Comms Iron Mountain Hot Springs


the small town of Redvale before hitting Naturita.

The West End is so beautiful that 133 miles of it has been designated as the UnaweepTabeguache Scenic and Historic Byway. Starting just outside of Norwood and ending in Whitewater just outside Grand Junction, the drive is a journey through history with the stunning red sandstone rock formations giving up their geological secrets including a staggering number of fossils. The short stretch from Norwood to the neighboring towns of Naturita and Nucla only takes 30 minutes, so if there are some recreation opportunities around Norwood you didn’t get around to yesterday, pencil them in for this morning. Otherwise, grab a coffee and quick bite to eat at Thorneycroft Kitchen and Bakery and set off (the biscotti are amazing and the brownies are pretty great too). As you head northwest, you’ll pass through

Established in 1882, it was named by “Grandma” Blake, a founding resident, for its beautiful setting beside the river. It was developed primarily as a business district for nearby ranching and mining interests. The Rimrocker Historical Society museum contains hundreds of items that tell the story of the area and is worth a stop. A five-mile drive north of Naturita on Hwy 97 is the tiny town of Nucla. Home to the West’s first “experiment in communal living,” it was founded in 1896 by the Colorado Cooperative Company as an agricultural community where “equality and service rather than greed and competition were the basis of conduct.” The name was chosen because the colonists believed their town would be the “nucleus”’ of a

local • organic • homemade

Wild Gal’s Market offers fresh local produce, organic everything and delicious homemade food for busy families and travelers on the go... Get the ingredients for your own recipes or indulge in our variety of homemade meals and baked goodies. A special place in the West End, at the top of Main Street in Nucla.

356 36

Main Street, Nucla, CO 81424 • 970-864-2265

Photos (top, middle and opposite page): Period Comms; bottom: 3Peaks ATV Rentals

socialistic form of government that would spread across the nation. They erected a sawmill for lumber to build an irrigation flume while extra lumber was made into fruit boxes that were traded in the Montrose area for hay and groceries. As irrigation opened more land to farming, colonists became property owners and eventually only the ditch system was cooperatively owned. Today Nucla has fewer than 1,000 people. Plan on spending the afternoon hiking or mountain biking. The West End Trails Alliance


The Rimrocker Trail The Rimrocker Trail is 160 miles of off-road dirt and fun which starts in Montrose and ends in Moab. Considered by some to be the best off-roading destination in the entire US, the Rimrocker Trail traverses some of the most beautiful scenery in the West with incredible red rock canyons, rivers, alpine forests and desolate desert vistas. Used mainly by OHVs and 4WD vehicles, cyclists have also been known to take the trail on. The Rimrocker is a great day out or a multi-day adventure that starts or ends right in the West End.

has you covered with over 30 non-motorized trail recommendations in the area, many of which are accessible right from Hwy 141. For lunch try Blondies Drive-In in Naturita or 5th Avenue Grill in Nucla, followed by a caffeine jolt at Genesis Coffee. Wild Gal’s Market in Nucla is great for homemade snacks as well as handcrafted lip balm and the like. After lunch, continue along the scenic byway if you want to get more trail time in, or if you prefer to keep exploring on four wheels consider taking a detour along Hwy 90 to pass through the towns of Bedrock (the historic Bedrock Store is where scenes from “Thelma and Louise” among others were filmed) and Paradox.

If your vehicle is adept at handling slightly rougher roads, consider taking the back way to return to Hwy 141, or backtrack on the highway again if you want to play it safe. Back on Hwy 141, Uravan, named for the uranium and vanadium found in carnotite ore in the area, was established in 1936. The vanadium was used to harden steel in war armaments and the uranium was used in the first atomic bombs. The mill operated until 1984. Next up is Hanging Flume overlook - a selfie worthy spot if ever there was one - and finally the night’s humble accommodations, Gateway Canyons Resort.

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EVENING The only real option for dinner is the resort’s on-site restaurant Entrada or the laid back Paradox Grille. If you’re here between 12pm 4pm, Wednesday - Sunday, Duesey’s Diner is a vintage trailer that has been retrofitted into a food truck that serves sandwiches, burgers, shakes and the like. It’s just down the road. 37

DAY 3 GATEWAY TO PALISADE Morning Lounge at the resort, either poolside (weather dependent of course) or at the spa or take a cruiser bike and explore the property. If you didn’t yesterday, you absolutely must peruse the amazing Gateway Auto Museum which is located onsite (resort guests get in free).

Afternoon Finish up the rest of the scenic byway, checking out Driggs Mansion along the way, and at Whitewater either head to Grand Junction or head to Colorado’s famed wine region of Palisade where you can - and should - conclude your road trip with a lovely glass (or, ahem, bottle) of wine while enjoying a beautiful spring sunset. A couple of our favorites include Maison la Belle Vie and Colterris. Wrap up the day with dinner at Peche which is located in downtown Palisade. As for where to stay, Spoke and Vine is a modern motor lodge offering trendy digs. 38

Photo: Period Comms

DRINKING & DINING Colterris bottles up some pretty spectacular wine, but their “Canterris” wines are perfect for stashing in your pack for a post-hike après on the trail


Photo: Colterris






From warm days in the high desert to chilly spring days in the mountains, we have the spring wine lowdown.

One of Colorado’s most delicious exports, we take a look at Colorado lamb, a perfect springtime offering.

Former Colorado Five alumni Bryan Redniss is the man behind this popular Edwards eatery.

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Shoulder Season Sipping Because spring can be somewhat schizophrenic in Colorado, with plenty of cold days as well as plenty of lovely warm days depending on where you are, we want to give people options for both. To that end, we asked six winemakers west of 105 to recommend a wine for the season.

Colterris Winery Palisade

Photos 40 (this page top to bottom): Colorado Wine, Colterris (opposite page top to bottom): Whitewater Hill, Colorado Wine

Located in charming Palisade, Colterris is at the heart of the Grand Valley AVA and produces some excellent wine. With a name that means “from the Colorado land” it’s no surprise that all Colterris wines are produced from 100 percent Colorado grapes grown in the Colterris estate vineyards and bottled (and canned) on site. Family owned and operated since 2010, Colterris is actually made up of four different vineyard sites, the largest of which is Theresa’s Vineyard which contains two Bordeaux varietals - Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot across the 19.22-acre site. The favorable eco-climate of Theresa’s Vineyard, the volcanic soils of Grand Mesa and the waters of the Colorado River contribute to the rich color, intense fruit flavors and characteristics that make Colterris wines unique. Colterris also produces “canterris,” canned wine that is currently available as four can packs and has received some very favorable reviews, including a 90 point award from James Suckling.

Livid Malbec Rose Vibrant with crisp acid and intense notes of fresh, ripe strawberry and subtle hints of blackberry, spice and pepper on the palate. Enjoy with: A strawberry and arugula salad with sweet lime dressing, seafood paella or Asian sweet and sour dishes.

Whitewater Hill Grand Junction

Producing classic varietal wines at their farm winery overlooking their vineyards and the broad vista of the Grand Valley of the Colorado River, Whitewater Hill utilizes the ancient seabed of mineral-rich limestone soils at 4,600 feet, helped by the combination of warm days and crisp nights with austere growing conditions, to produce wines that are full of flavor yet elegant and balanced. Whitewater Hill produces a long list of wines, including Chardonnay, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Shiraz, Merlot, Gewürztraminer, Riesling, and the 2018 double gold winning Moscato. Whitewater Hill has something for every kind of wine lover. The tasting room is typically open daily between 10am - 5:45pm, but call ahead as times can change depending on the season.

2019 Whitewater Hill Dry Rosé of St. Vincent With a delicate nose of strawberry and watermelon and an elegant floral note, this wine is crisp, bright and totally dry. A versatile wine, it is as good with food as it is on its own. Enjoy with: Try pairing it with slightly salty ham, rich and creamy scalloped potatoes, or slightly spicy devilled eggs.

Qutori Wines Paonia

Located just outside Paonia (inside Root & Vine Market and with breathtaking views of Mt. Lamborn), Qutori Wines is a family-run operation. Purchased by the Bennett family in 2016, with son Kyle taking the reins as winemaker, they started by planting eight acres of Pinot Noir grapes across the street from what would eventually become the tasting room. (They also planted a four-acre sweet cherry orchard.) The grapes from those eight acres are the basis of Qutori’s estate Pinot Noir. Qutori produces several other wines using grapes grown in the West Elks AVA and other varietals grown in Colorado including a 2018 Chardonnay aged in bourbon barrels. Qutori’s 2017 Syrah won double gold at the Colorado Governor’s Cup.

2017 Qutori Reserve Pinot Noir A silver medal winner at the 2019 Governor’s Cup, this wine is aged for 18 months in 100 percent new Hungarian oak barrels. With notes of dark cherry and raspberry with a hint of rich cola spice, this wine is unfined and unfiltered. Enjoy with: Salmon, lamb and steak dishes. 41

Carlson Vineyards Palisade

Located in Palisade, Carlson Vineyards is another family-owned winery that focuses on producing easy drinking, regionally distinctive wines. First planted back in 1981 by Parker and Mary Carlson, the winery was purchased by Garrett and Caitlin Portra. Garrett started working at Carlson Vineyards back in 2011 with hopes of starting a winery of his own someday. Carlson produces almost three dozen wines, including fruit wines produced with the incredible fruit available in Western Colorado. Carlson has a tasting room in Palisade that is open every day from 10am until 5:45 pm as well as one in downtown Grand Junction which is open Wednesday through Saturday 12pm until 8pm and Sunday from 10am until 5:45pm.

2017 Tyrannosaurus Rex Lemberger This wine has aromas of raspberry and tart cherries with hints of sweet caramelized oak. On the palate you will get black cherry and currants with hints of blueberry with an earthy and peppery finish. Enjoy with: Soft tannins make this good for pairing with tomato sauces and red meat as well as spicy dishes like pork green chili.

Buckel Family Wine Crested Butte

A small family-owned winery nestled in the mountains of Crested Butte, Buckel Family Wines produces old world-style wines with minimal intervention therefore allowing the terroir and grapes of Colorado to express themselves. They pride themselves on making outstanding wine while living in the place they love the most.

Photos (this page top to bottom): Buckel Family Winery, Carlson Vineyards (opposite page top and bottom): Olive 42 Photography (bottle shot) Sora Digital & West

Co-founder and winemaker Joe Buckel has been in the wine business for over a decade. Passionate about the process of making wine — from walking vineyards, harvesting grapes, and fermenting wine to barreling, racking, and bottling. Joe has worked as an enologist at Flowers Vineyard and Winery and BR Cohn Winery and as winemaker at Sutcliffe Vineyards. His talent has garnered 90 point ratings from Wine Enthusiast. Buckel Family Wines recently opened a tasting room in nearby Gunnison which is open WednesdaysSaturdays from 2pm to 7pm. WESTOF105.COM

2018 Sauvignon Blanc With a perfume of ripe grapefruit, pineapple and melon and with notes of green pepper and apricot, the 2018 Sauvignon Blanc has a long mineral finish. Great for warm spring days on its own it also pairs very well with food. Enjoy with: Try it with green vegetables such as asparagus and artichokes and salads with light vinaigrettes. It is also a great complement to dishes with pesto as well as oysters.

The Storm Cellar Hotchkiss

With distinguished careers in the Denver hospitality scene - where they worked between them as wine director, sommelier, mixologist, restaurant manager, and beverage director - Steve Steese and Jayme Henderson traded in their lives in the city for something a little more rural. Storm Cellar was founded upon a love of Colorado, a desire to make great wine in Colorado, and with a goal of helping to put a relatively unknown, yet up-and-coming wine region, on the national map. In 2017 they purchased the 85-acre Redstone Vineyard in Hotchkiss and got to work. Currently planted with 15 acres of wine grapevines, with eight additional acres plumbed and available for further planting, the vineyard boasts incredible views from the top of Sunshine Mesa between the towns of Paonia and Hotchkiss.

2018 Chardonnay A silver medal winner at the 2019 Colorado Governor’s Cup, this Chardonnay has tropical fruit aromas, a honeyed texture, balanced acidity, and soft nuances of French oak. It is also a more food-friendly style of Chardonnay. Enjoy with: Pairs well with a wide range of foods, from crab and lobster, to grilled chicken and vegetables.

Spring Wine Events March 21 | Copper Uncorked

Copper chefs compete for the best wing recipe and wine pairing in this twist on a classic chicken wing cook off. There will also be free live music from progressive bluegrass band, Floodwood. April 1 - 4 | Taste of Vail

Now in its 30th year, the Taste of Vail is by far one of our favorite festivals of the year. Each of the four days of this celebration of gastronomic gluttony is punctuated with a signature event - The Debut of Rosé 2020, the American Lamb Cook-Off & Après Ski Tasting, the Mountain Top Tasting, and the Reserve Grand Tasting. May 16-17 | Barrel Into Spring

Seven Grand Valley wineries will offer barrel tastings at this spring event, giving attendees the opportunity to taste future wines that are not readily available to the general public. Along with tastings, visitors can try food pairings and enjoy behind the scenes winery and vineyard tours.

@WESTOF105 | #CrosstheMeridian


SPRING LAMB Colorado is known for a few things around the world including the incredible landscape and all of the outdoor recreation opportunities that go with it. The legalization of recreational marijuana surely helped boost the state’s name, too, but there is something else that is held in pretty high regard in certain circles: Colorado lamb. Around the US, there are more than 80,000 farmers and ranchers caring for over six million sheep (which includes sheep raised primarily for wool). Of that six million, close to half a million are in Colorado. Lamb is actually produced in every state, but, as with most things, not all lamb is created equally. One major factor in the quality of lamb depends on what goes into it. Much like how wine is often expressed in terms of terroir, meat can be too. Where animals graze and what they are fed is arguably the single most important factor when it comes to how the meat will taste. Nick Maneotis from High Country Lamb is a third generation sheep farmer. Almost all of the lamb he produces goes to Whole Foods which at least hints at the quality. His lambs are up near Steamboat Springs in the summer, and he says that the abundance of grass and water means that the ewes produce a lot of milk and consequently the lambs grow extremely well. Over near Vail, Julie Hansmire of Campbell Hansmire Sheep raises sheep for both meat and wool. She says there are a few factors that make Colorado lamb the best. “Our sheep always eat what they want, both native forage and their mother’s milk,” she says. That native forage includes forb, a herbaceous flowering plant; and vicia, a flowering plant that is part of the legume 44

family. Also a possibility as to why Colorado lamb is prized is the fact that the animals are constantly moving to fresh feed. As for how the farmers eat, Julie Hansmire likes the ribs (called Denver ribs or spare ribs) using an old Greek recipe that calls for lemon juice and oregano. Nick Maneotis also likes his lamb simply cooked - shoulder chops cooked on a grill with some simple seasonings. When it comes to flavor, lamb can be divisive. While older sheep like mutton and hogget are particularly gamey, (which is a reason some people give for not liking lamb), that isn’t really the case with young lamb. However, that gamey flavor of older sheep may be a contributing factor to the fact that per capita consumption of lamb in the U.S. is just one pound per person per year with nearly 20 percent of that coming during the spring holidays. Compare that to chicken and beef (110 pounds and 58.85 pounds per person in 2019 respectively according to OECD data), and you can see the challenge faced by the American Lamb Board. That challenge was accepted and a plan was formulated to focus on promotion, information, and research between 20182022. While lamb doesn’t enjoy the popularity it does in other countries, chefs love it. Brother Luck (yes, that is his real name), restaurateur and 2019 Denver Lamb Jam winner, is a big fan, as is Josh Niernberg, the co-owner and chef of Bin 707 Foodbar in Grand Junction and recent James Beard Award nominee. In fact, the dish of Colorado lamb tenderloin with white chocolate and root vegetable purée, plum demi glacé, seared heirloom cherry tomato and fingerling chips with freshly grated horseradish at Bin 707 is one of only two on the menu that has never changed.

Brother Luck Lamb Jam Denver winner and owner and head chef of Four in Colorado Springs, Brother Luck shares his thoughts on Colorado lamb in a quick Q&A What makes Colorado lamb so special? The size difference is huge compared to Australian or New Zealand lamb. The fat content is much richer and I think Colorado lamb has a less game flavor profile making it much more approachable. Where do you source your lamb from? Triple M Bar Ranch in Manzanola, CO. Mary and I met during the planning phases of Lamb Jam last year and hit it off. We bring in whole lambs directly from her since it’s only 90 minutes from my kitchen door. What is your favorite way to prepare lamb in spring? I love smoked lamb and usually use the spring weather to fire up my grill. I’m actually working on a dish now that incorporates lamb belly to be cured and smoked before serving with roasted Brussels sprouts.

WEST OF 105 | DRINKING & DINING “I love Colorado lamb because it’s so lean,” Niernberg said. “[Our dish] allows us to convey a sense of place of Western Colorado that just can’t be replicated in other parts of the country. It’s one of the many ingredients that helps to define us both as a restaurant and as a region.” While chefs in Colorado may be biased or looking to keep food miles down, there are international examples of why Colorado lamb might deserve its reputation. Saverio Macri is the executive chef of Don Aflonso Toronto who uses it in his dish of roasted Colorado lamb with saffron potato puree with Mediterranean herbs and an aioli sauce. “The philosophy of Don Alfonso Toronto is about using the highest quality ingredients and Colorado lamb fits with that philosophy. The flavor, texture, and the fat is superior to any other lamb I’ve tasted across the globe.” Whether you want to support local farmers or restaurants or just want to give lamb a try (or another try), it is on menus across the state.

For a Hands on Experience The Living Farm in Paonia offers a lambing midwife workshop. Guests can take an active role in bringing new lambs into the world this spring. Participants will learn all of the realities of birthing lambs during this six-day immersive experience.

Lamb manti with harissa, whipped curds & whey, and mint Recipe by: Chef Martin Woods, Sweet Basil Restaurant Lamb Filling: 300 grams lamb leg (ground) 1 red onion (grated) 6 each garlic cloves (minced) ½ cup mint leaves (finely minced) 2 tablespoons parsley (finely minced) 2 tablespoons dry harissa seasoning Zest from 2 lemons Salt and pepper to taste Method: Combine all ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste and reserve for assembly Dough: 2 ½ Cups A.P. Flour 1 large egg 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 tablespoon kosher salt 150 ML. water Method: Combine all ingredients except water in a food processor. Slowly add water. until a nice ball of dough is formed. Remove dough onto a floured surface and knead dough until dough pulls back into itself, around 5 minutes. Wrap dough with plastic wrap and rest for 30 minutes. Harissa: Yield=2 Qts. 10 ea arbol chili, 6 g stem and deseed guajillo chili, 30 g stem and deseed 3 ea ancho chili, 22 g stem and deseed 12 ea /250 g piquillos peppers 8 cloves, 38 g garlic 2 T. cumin seed 2 T. coriander seed 6 T. lemon Juice 3 T. red wine vinegar 4 T. smoked paprika 3 T. tomato paste 1 ½C. EVOO Salt to taste

1 g Xathan Gum Method: Bring a pot of water to boil, add chilis, turn off heat, cool to room temperature. Toast all of the spices/ seeds, grind fine. Drain the chilis, transfer to blender, add all remaining ingredients except the olive oil. Puree very smooth. Stream in EVOO to emulsify. Check Seasoning and adjust with salt as needed. Whipped Curds & Whey: 200 g Feta, drained, break into small pieces 75 g. Feta Brine 50 g. Mascarpone Juice of ½ a lemon Pinch salt Method: Combine ingredients, except brine, in a food processor. Turn on processor and slowly add brine until very smooth. Taste and season with more salt if needed. Reserve for assembly To make Manti: Divide dough into thirds. Working with one piece at a time, with the others wrapped in plastic wrap, roll out on a lightly floured work surface to about 2 mm thick. Cut into 7 cm squares and top each square with 2 teaspoons of mixture. Gather all 4 corners to a point in the centre, and squeeze to seal and form dumpling. Set aside on trays lined with baking paper and repeat with remaining dough and filling to make 30 manti. Working in batches, cook manti in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 8 minutes or until al dente. Drain. Spoon Harissa sauce onto serving plates, top with Manti, spoon dollops of whipped Curds & Whey and scatter with extra mint leaves. Serve with lemon, if desired

Bryan Redniss isn’t a trained chef, in fact he has only been cooking professionally for seven years, which makes his success all the more impressive. One of last year’s Colorado FIVE, Redniss makes up for a lack of formal training with enthusiasm, hard work and talent.

RESTAURANT PROFILE THE ROSE | EDWARDS It is quite likely that there isn’t another restaurant owner in the entire state of Colorado that ended up here because they were literally barred from their home state. Bryan Redniss got tangled up with the law in his native NYC and found himself in juvenile hall where he got his first taste of life in the kitchen. And he didn’t particularly care for it. “I had a lot of community service hours to work off, and so I worked in the kitchen,” he says. “I was sixteen years old and would make soups and that kind of thing, and I had these big butch women who would ride my ass to make sure I cleaned up properly. When I got out, I had no desire to ever step foot in a kitchen again.” 46

After he had paid his debt to society, Redniss found himself at a sort of crossroads. “After juvenile hall, I wasn’t allowed back into New York State until I was 19-and-ahalf or something,” he says. “So I came out to Colorado because my aunt was living here. I started teaching snowboarding and fell in love with it, and there was no possible way I was ever going to move back to New York.” Redniss eventually found himself in Vail where he ended up working at a few restaurants. Still, his first experience in the kitchen was so bad he swore off actually cooking forever.

Photos (opposite): Matt Alberts (bottom left and middle row, center: Jeff Fierberg, (all others): Bryan Redniss

Fast forward a few years and Redniss is dating his now wife. He was asked to remodel her family’s bakery into a coffee shop. He was given some freedom and so built the coffee shop in a way that he thought would be cool and also put in a bar and a full kitchen. Then all that was left was to find staff. He enlisted his friend, bartender Mark Summer, and somehow found himself in the kitchen and running the venture. “I hired one guy that was experienced and he taught me some French techniques and we sort of just jumped into it,” he says. “Honestly, I got a lot of my knowledge from YouTube university. I just fell into it, but now I’m head over heels for it.” Today, The Rose is a thriving bakery, bar and restaurant on a mission to provide the best locally sourced food in the Vail Valley. Redniss’ unorthodox entrance into the culinary world carries over into his overall philosophy for The Rose. “I’ll think of a name before I come up with anything else,” he says. “I’ll think of the color palette and how it should look and what the textures should be, and then I’ll think about the flavors - it’s as ass backwards as you could possibly imagine when it comes to cooking.” As for the experience at The Rose, expect dishes to be as seasonal and local as possible, reasonably priced, healthy

and with a lot of Japanese flavors and techniques as well as incorporating influences from his travels to places like Mexico and Peru. “I create my menus based on things that inspire me and based on things that I want to eat myself and share with the valley,” he says. “The Vail Valley is very small and I feel like there are so many restaurants, but a lot of them do the exact same thing, so we try to do creative food that I know is cravable and delicious.” But this is Colorado and so dishes or ingredients that are particularly exotic, especially when Redniss opened The Rose seven years go, often need to be tempered or tweaked a little. “For example, years ago when we started serving banh mi sandwiches, everybody was so against having [the traditional] pate, so we took it off for a little bit,” he says. “We eventually put it back on, and now banh mi sandwiches are everywhere.” While The Rose is ostensibly a restaurant, Redniss is very proud of the cocktails they serve, too, all 30 plus of their own creations. “We actually opened as a cocktail bar, and I just wanted to do pastries and the like,” he says. “We had no money when we opened up, so we got the cheapest liquor licence we could, which is a tavern licence. But the liquor board came in one day and told us that we couldn’t serve

just pastries and that we had to have some kind of protein on the menu.” “There were no craft cocktail bars in the valley at the time,” he says. “And so we came in and won best cocktail, and we’ve won it every single year since.” And while Redniss originally wanted The Rose to be a craft cocktail bar with food, now, he says the food is his priority. He also says that the high standard of the cocktails pushed him to be better. “I tried to compete with my bartender and the cocktails,” he says. “We have to have unique, creative and delicious food to go with these unique and creative cocktails.” The cocktail philosophy is unsurprisingly the same as the food. “We make all of our syrups, tonics, shrubs, and bitters,” he says. “We keg cocktails, too, and use the best ingredients we can, all while keeping the price under $14 a cocktail. Our average cocktail costs around $11 or $12.” In terms of price versus quality, Redniss doesn’t mince words. “I think we demolish everybody in the valley.” As for spring, Redniss is planning on making the menu entirely Rocky Mountain regional - all of the fish, meat products and as many of their vegetables as possible. “We aren’t going to get grapefruit or citrus from Colorado, but we are going to support our community as much as we possibly can.”

THE COLORADO FIVE The Colorado FIVE is a group of Colorado-based F&B professionals that is assembled, Avengers style, every year to put Colorado on the culinary map. Redniss was thrilled to be included in last year’s group. “I was extremely honored to be a part of it,” he says. “I made amazing friendships with everybody on the team. It was fun and it really pushed me to try to compete with guys like Josh Niernberg.” “I have looked up to Josh and what he was doing and his whole ethos on cooking and his relationship with his employees and just the knowledge he passes down. Being able to work with him … I was like ‘holy fuck.’ It’s like getting to go for a run with [snowboarding legend] Terry Hawkinson.” 48

LIFESTYLE Zapata Ranch, just outside of Great Sand Dunes National Park offers an authentic ranch experience


Photo: Zapata Ranch






This beautiful ranch just outside of the sand dunes effortlessly brings together luxury and ranch living.

We spoke to the brains behind Spinster Sisters, the wind and solar-powered micro-soapery in Golden.

Residents around the state are very fortunate to have some truly amazing recreation centers.


Helly Hansen | Lillo Sweater $120 Ultra comfy and stretchy, the lillo sweater features a collar, shoulders and elbows with a water repellent finish making it a perfect piece for iffy spring weather. A deep front pocket allows for handy phone stashing.

Obermeyer | Thalia Softshell Coat $229 This two-layer softshell features a brushed backer and adjustable interior drawcord to offer the ultimate blend of style and functionality we have come to expect from this Aspen-based brand. A fleece chin protector, integrated hood, and two-way full-length front zipper are additional features we love.

Smith | The Getaway Sunglasses $99 The Getaway sunglasses are going to be our spring go-tos for doing just that - an elegant cateye frame pairs nicely with the white zebra print to exude a trendy but not overdone look for, say, an alfresco spring wine tasting event.

Olu Kai | Pehuea Slip On Sneakers $85 Offering superior comfort and breathability with an upper mesh, these slip ons have a moisture-wicking microfiber lining and removable insole for easy cleaning. We also love the variety of colors on offer.

Toad & Co | Taj Jumpsuit $120 Down to earth with a feminine touch, this hemp jumpsuit has a flattering flat front with an easy tie at the waist. The fabric is lightweight, quick-drying, moisture wicking and offers UPF 25+ protection

Sherpani | Esprit AT $69.95 Features include an anti-slash strap and bottom, a removable chair loop lock and exterior pockets equipped with locking zippers. Made from a durable yet stylish fabric, the sling has a quick-release buckle and a capacity of 11 liters.



Sherpa Adventure Gear | Seti Button Up Trail Shirt $69.95 The Seti (named for a region of Nepal) is a good all round warmweather shirt. The additional design elements on the front and back set it apart from similar plaid shirts, and all things being equal, this shirt has that feel-good factor - every item purchased provides one day of school for a child in Nepal.

Jungmaven | Coach Jacket $218 A blend of hemp and cotton canvas, this jacket offers durability and ruggedness with just the right amount of trendiness (we even love it on the ladies). We’ll gladly shun our puffy jacket for the coach jacket any day this spring.

United by Blue | The Bison Ultralight $198 The new Bison Ultralight jacket has a simple, clean aesthetic and will keep you comfortable down to -10F. Lightweight with a recycled ripstop shell, it packs away into an interior patch pocket which doubles as convenient storage for large lightweight items.

Feetures | No Show Socks $15 Featuring targeted compression and an anatomical design, the brand’s silicone Heel Hugger technology and seamless toes prevent tearing and blisters.

Peak Designs | Everyday Totepack $179.95 Astral | Hemp Loyak $100 Comfortable enough for long travel days, these shoes are durable and antimicrobial. The hemp canvas upper is stitched to a flexible and grippy rubber outsole, they are particularly packable and can, to a certain degree, be dressed up or down.

Redew | Utility Zero Cotton Jeans $119 Made from 100-percent wood fibers (from FSC certified forests no less), the Utility Zero Cotton Jeans have what is called a 2/1 construction inspired by workwear meaning they are long lasting. The button is pure copper without galvanization making recycling and upcycling easier.

The Everyday Totepack has padded straps which can be stowed quickly to transform it into a hand-carry bag, the top access point closes with a magnetic clasp and dual zips on either side are good for quick access. There are also FlexFold dividers which can be moved to reconfigure the inside. 51




ANAGED by Ranchlands, a Colorado-based company that specializes in the management of large-scale ranches, Zapata Ranch is one of several Ranchlands properties that offers true working ranch experiences by integrating guest programs with daily ranch operations which can mean working cattle by horseback or riding across the 50,000-acre wild bison pasture. Ranchlands also partners with conservation-minded owners to implement programs that co-exist alongside cattle operations. Zapata Ranch also has special themed weeks from time to time as well as horsemanship clinics, Western literature retreats and photography workshops among other options. As a working ranch, you can ride with the 2,000 bison through meadows and grasslands as well


as explore Great Sand Dunes National Park on horseback. And that’s the tip of the experiential iceberg. There are also cooking classes, leather workshops, opportunities to bird watch or fly fish, hikes to mountain lakes, and, if you want to really relax, you can get a massage or enjoy a soak in a hot spring. Located just outside Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, the ranch has just 15 rooms in three buildings amongst a grove of cottonwood trees. The Lodge is the original Zapata homestead dating back to the late 1800s which has been remodeled to add an indoor dining area with a fireplace. There is a deck next to the dining room which is under the cover of mature cottonwood trees and five lodge rooms that have southwestern decor. The Bunkhouse is a log cabin with five private rooms, each with a full bath and private entrances and views of the dunes and mountains beyond. Finally, the Stewart House is a fully-furnished home and is ideal for groups who want a more private


experience. Each of the five rooms has a full bath while the house features a fully-equipped kitchen, a living room with fireplace and a pool table as well as a spacious dining area. The view from the living room and private patio provide a front row seat to Great Sand Dunes National Park and Crestone Peak, one of three 14,000-foot peaks in the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range. Dining is an integral part to any successful vacation, and Zapata Ranch is proud of what it offers. Breakfasts of eggs made to order, biscuits and gravy, warm pancakes, cereal, and fresh fruit are followed up by homemade lunches eaten on the trail or in the dining room. Dinners, which often include ranchraised bison and beef as well as other local ingredients, are offered family-style in one of two dining rooms – the outside dining area on calm evenings or the indoor dining room with large windows and a fireplace otherwise.


Photos: Zapata Ranch (this page, middle right): Isabel Butler

@WESTOF105 | #CrosstheMeridian




t was as an article about triclosan, a toxic chemical used in a lot of skin care products, that convinced Kelly Perkins to give up commercially made soap. That was way back in 1993 (13 years before the FDA issued a rule stating that over-the-counter consumer antiseptic wash products containing triclosan could no longer be marketed to consumers). That Christmas, her friends and family all got homemade soap as gifts, and she was hooked. “It turns out, soapmaking is fun, and totally addicting,” Perkins says. “I would get requests from friends and family for different scents, and pretty soon I had 10-15 batches of different soaps in constant rotation that I would push upon anyone who would take them just so I could make more.” Fast forward to 2008, and Perkins and her husband relocated to Golden, and he suggested that she should try to sell her soaps. A successful craft fair later, and a seed was planted. The


following year she tried more craft fairs which led to wholesale requests. The hobby had become a side business which quickly led to Perkins quitting her job as a business analyst, and Spinster Sisters was born. Eight years later, the company has its products in around 2,000 stores with more in the works. Currently, Spinster Sisters has around 100 different products/ scents with an expanding range of face care and CBD lines. Recently, the company’s six top-selling products were launched in CBD versions which have seen healthy sales. Perkins’ current favorite product is Muscle Stuff (which is up for an award) which has 250 mg of CBD but she is also loving their Face Serum, which is made with wildcrafted baobab and marula seed oils. They have also just released the Body Lotion Bar which is made with Fair Trade shea and cocoa butters, while a hydrating facial mist and a body oil with CBD are in the works. Spinster Sisters also offers sugar scrubs, salt scrubs, and a Body Scrub Bar which are all excellent exfoliators, and moisturizers and perfect for spring.





CARBONDALE Carbondale’s Recreation & Community Center has an 8,000-square-foot multi-purpose gymnasium that is used for a multitude of community functions as well as sporting events. There is also a multipurpose activity room for yoga and the like as well as an expansive cardio/fitness and weight training area, and a 30-foot climbing wall. The fact that it was designed to be connected to the lobby area, promenade patio area, multi-purpose room, and full-service warming catering kitchen allows the facility to accommodate a variety of public and private events from film festivals to fashion shows. The 13,558-square-foot building is also LEED (Leadership Energy & Environmental Design) certified thanks, in part, to the 266 solar panels on the roof that cover 60 percent of the facility’s electricity needs.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS The state-of-the-art 65,000-square-foot Glenwood Springs Community Center has a rock climbing wall with 3,500 square feet of faux rock as well as a fitness center with free weights, weight machines, cardio equipment, and an indoor track. A dedicated spin bike room and dance studio also hosts a variety of classes while a full-size gymnasium offers locals and visitors the chance to play everything from basketball to futsal and volleyball. Rooms for parties, banquets, conferences, etc. can be rented and there is an aquatic center with competitive swim lanes, a hot tub, and diving boards. There is also on-site childcare and even a seasonal ice rink.



The 25,000-square-foot Meeker Recreation Center first opened its doors in 2008 and has a full-service indoor “natatorium” consisting of a four-lane lap pool, hot-tub, and leisure pool complete with lazy river, 18-foot slide, small children’s themed slide and other play features. There is also a fitness room outfitted with modern cardio and resistance training equipment, a dance studio and a multi-use room. Incredibly, the MRC sees around 40,000 annual visits from members and out-of-town travelers, which in a town with a population of little over 2,000 is very impressive.


DURANGO The Durango Community Recreation Center offers something for everyone whether you’re training for a mountain bike race, a 14er hike or just burning off your weekend indulgences. The 71,557-square-foot facility has lap and leisure pools, a hot tub, a water slide, an outdoor splash pad, racquetball courts, an indoor track, an aerobics studio, gymnasium as well as free weights and pin-loaded weight equipment. This rec center also has a climbing wall, community meeting rooms, childcare room and even an outdoor amphitheater.



The Silverthorne rec center is a good size at 65,000 square feet. With four pools, two water slides, a hot tub and an aquatic climbing wall, the rec center is the hub of the town for many residents. There is also a spacious gym, an indoor running track, cardio and weight rooms, and a sauna and a steam room. Being Colorado, many of the rec centers on this list have amazing views. From this rec center, you can see Buffalo and Red Mountain peaks from treadmills. The rec center also hosts Bring Your Own Kayak events in the pool so you can get your skills up to scratch before the weather makes it a good idea to get outdoors.

BRECKENRIDGE The Town of Breckenridge’s 88,000-square-foot recreation center provides family fun and activities to 304,000 guests per year. Featuring an indoor pool with a two-story water slide, indoor/outdoor hot tubs; gymnasium; rock wall; fitness areas, and an indoor playground. A $17 million renovation in 2017 further enhanced amenities, adding a fitness deck, indoor turf gym, youth wing and wall-size murals and photos of the area. Guests can also enjoy the adjacent tennis center, ball fields, and skate park. The recreation center is partially powered by the solar energy panels on its roof.



Photos (top to bottom) Shawn O’Connor, The RitzCarlton Bachelor Gulch, True Nature Healing Arts 56


Since it opened in 2017, the Montrose Community Recreation Center has become a true community gathering place with people from all walks of life coming together to take advantage of the superb facilities including racquetball courts, two pools (and a small therapy pool), basketball / pickleball courts as well as a superb climbing wall. There are also rooms that can be rented for everything from meetings to birthday parties. The Fit Zone is a room that hosts classes of all kinds - from TRX and spin to Silver Sneakers and yoga. Child supervision is also offered.

CULTURE & EVENTS Taste of Vail’s Mountain Top Tasting offers sweeping vistas at 10,350 feet, worldclass wine, and tasty cuisine


Photo: Zach Mahone






We sat down (and then rolled over and played dead) with four of Colorado’s top dogs. Read on for the lowdown.

Visit your local animal shelter and give a new life to an animal in need? You might just find your new best friend

This brand new festival in Estes Park will bring a whole lot of Americana to the base of Rocky Mountain National Park for the day on May 16. .






Denver is a five-month-old Golden Retriever puppy who is the Dog Ambassador at Hyatt Place Peña Station/Denver Airport. He can be found greeting guests in the lobby of the hotel

Django (green collar) and Elvis (blue collar) are one-year-old black and tan Coonhounds. They’re the resident dogs at Marble Distilling in Carbondale

Gia is a 10-and-a-half-year-old Cairn Terrier mix. She is also the First Pup of Colorado and lives with Governor Jared Polis and First Gentlemen Marlon Reis

Three-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog Parker is the honorary Mayor of Georgetown, camp therapy dog for Easter Seals Rocky Mountain Village and mascot for Loveland Ski Area

If you weren’t resident distillery dogs, what other “job” would you like to try? Django – Mountain Lion Hunter; Elvis - Singer

What sound or noise do you hate? I don’t like it at all when my dad vacuums. He says we have to keep up appearances for guests, but what’s wrong with fur? Also, fire alarms! Sometimes, they start beeping, and my dad has to get on a ladder to fix them with new batteries. They don’t seem to bother him as much as me. Maybe it’s a frequency thing.

What is your favorite sound? My favorite sound is the train rolling into the 61st and Peña station because I know it means lots of pets and new guests for me to play with. What is your favorite toy? My favorite toy is my leash because I love taking myself on long walks and adventuring around the hotel. Who would you invite to your dream dinner party? I would invite the whole cast from Homeward Bound because it’s my favorite movie. I also have a crush on Sassy cat. If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Catching my tail because he always seems to get away. Who is your favorite musician? Anything from Beethoven because my favorite celebridog was named after him. Also, that “Who let the dogs out?” song is pretty catchy.

What is your favorite song? Django – Unchained by James Brown & 2Pac; Elvis – Blue Suede Shoes by Elvis! If you were reincarnated as some other animal, what would it be? Django – A bull; Elvis – A gazelle What word or phrase do you like hearing? Django – Go get ‘em! Elvis – You’re a sweet pea Who is your favorite fictional dog and why? Django - The dog from the movie Sandlot, because everyone thinks he is a killer (but he’s really a teddy bear ); Elvis – Lassie, because he is regal

Photos (left to right): Hyatt Place, CheesmanBark | Dogs of Denver, @firstpupgia @officialsnowdog

Other than your own, what is your favorite breed of dog and why? Not a big fan of the big, drooly breeds. Yorkies are OK in my book. My dad tells me I’m more of a person’s dog than a dog’s dog. Who is your favorite artist? Have you heard of this artist SMiLE who paints pictures on buildings around Boulder? Phil Lewis in Boulder is my other favorite. Which dog from history do you most admire? Did you ever see ‘The Adventures of Milo and Otis’? Otis all the way! Who would you invite to your dream dinner party? Bo Obama, of course! We could swap situation room stories!

What is your favorite word or phrase? Do you want a cookie? How do you feel about cats? Kitties?! Where are the kitties!? I love kitties! Who is your best friend? My buddy Maverick. Maverick is also the head of my Secret Service team. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Parker, you’ve been a good boy. We have all the snow, treats and toys and you want. We also watch all the Denver Broncos games every Sunday! How do you relax? Spread eagle on the bed with my stuffed animals




There’s an alarming number of animals that spend large portions of their relatively short lives in shelters and rescues around the state. They are, for the most part, well looked after, but that isn’t the same as having a forever home, so if you’re looking for a furever friend visit your local shelter and save a life. Now in its 26th year, Second Chance Humane Society just outside Ridgway is a model for what it means to be an animal rescue. With a strong focus on the human-animal bond, Second Chance prioritizes their outreach programs to do what they can to make sure that the animals

in their care are rehabilitated and made as ready as they can be to be adopted. They offer dog and cat training as well as various kinds of low-cost clinics as a preventative measure to make sure animals stay in their homes and are not brought into shelters (animals are routinely relinquished because owners simply cannot afford vet bills). In short the volunteers and staff work incredibly hard to ensure that when an animal is adopted it stays adopted.

to take care of their pet when they die, can essentially bequeath their animals to a shelter to ensure they are taken care of and hopefully adopted out to a new family.

Another service that Second Chance offers is a system whereby people, especially those who live alone and have no family

In addition to adopting (instead of shopping) for a pet, there are other ways in which you can help animals in need, and one good way is by volunteering your time.



The Big Horn Sheep is wellknown as Colorado’s official state animal, but as of May 13, 2013 dogs and cats that are adopted from Colorado animal shelters and rescues are all official state pets. Then Governor John Hickenlooper signed the bill at Denver’s animal shelter with his dog Skye, which he got from a shelter, by his side. So if you adopted a dog or cat after that, congratulations you are the proud human of an official state pet!

The Canine Good Citizenship training program was created by the American Kennel Club in 1989. The two-part, ten-step course was founded on the idea that all dogs can be good dogs, and all owners can be great owners. The AKC has a list of all approved CGC evaluators on its website. Currently, Second Chance can offer the training but at the time of writing they don’t have an evaluator.

There is a difference between non-profit rescues like Second Chance and municipal shelters in that the remit of many municipal shelters pretty much extends to little more than animal control rather than rescue and rehab, and that is largely due to funding.

Most, if not all, shelters are always looking for volunteers to help them with everything from socializing animals, walking dogs, playing with cats as well as cleaning and other less glamorous tasks. If you happen to have special skills that can be utilized - and they probably can all the better. Contact your local shelter and inquire about volunteering

Dash is two-and-a-half-yearold mini Australian shepherd. At just nine months old, he was scheduled to be euthanized at a horrible puppy mill, most likely because he was too large to be the “perfect” mini Aussie. Thankfully he was rescued and brought to Second Chance. He wasn’t immediately adoptable because he was so terrified of people, but now, 18 months later, he lives with his human Elizabeth who works at Second Chance. What quality do you most admire in a dog? The ability to catch a curve ball mid air. What is your favorite season and why? Snow season, there is nothing better than a roll in the snow after a hard day of fetch. What is your favorite treat? Anything that falls from the counter. What is your greatest fear? It used to be everything that moved and all people, now my only fear is a safety recall of tennis balls. The world would be a horrible place without B.A.L.L s. (Elizabeth thinks I can’t spell!) What was the happiest day of your life? The day I was lifted into the rescue van and sped away to freedom and my new life.

adoptmountainpets.org 59


UCKED away in Sampler Square on West Main Street, Healthy Rhythm is an art gallery and music venue that is trying to up the ante in Montrose.

Ken Vail originally started Healthy Rhythm in 2005 as a consulting company for harm reduction in the music industry. (Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences of a given thing). That was the first of three arms that would eventually become what Healthy Rhythm is today. Five years later, Vail decided to get out of the nonprofit world he had worked in for decades, and so he left New York City and ended up in Boston. The idea for something that looked like what Healthy Rhythm would eventually become was still with him, but finances meant it had to stay as an idea. Then Vail’s father passed away, and so he moved to Fairfield, Texas to spend time with his mother. The plan was to stay for a year. Fate stepped in, and one day Vail saw a building for rent. He had 250 square feet, which was enough to “get stuff up on the walls.” However, the other tenant in the building went out of business, and Vail found himself with over 2,000 square feet of space to use. A decade in the making, Healthy Rhythm was now a reality.

The gallery in Fairfield, a town of just over 3,000 people, thrived. Vail held art camps, had movie nights, art shows, art and wine nights, live music, and open mic nights. It became something of a safe space for the youth of the town, too, which worked well considering Vail’s past in social and behavioral sciences.

Perhaps emboldened by his success, Vail began reaching out to bigger and more established artists. A two-sentence email followed up by a phone call to Brad Klausen, the in-house graphic designer for Pearl Jam who was on a book tour, resulted in him doing a show. Pretty much the same thing happened with Jay Blakesberg, one of the world’s foremost rock and roll photographers. He is now a gallery artist at Healthy Rhythm. After a period of reflection, Vail decided it was time to move on. After considering Washington state and Oregon, Colorado emerged as the front runner. After considering the Front Range, Vail realized there were galleries everywhere and prices were somewhat elevated! A friend told him he should consider the Western Slope, and after doing some research he moved to Montrose on July 4, 2015. It hasn’t been the easiest time for Vail and Healthy Rhythm in Montrose. There were some surprises, including the lack of ethnic diversity in Montrose, but Vail thought he could use the gallery to bring diversity to Montrose.

Singer-songwriter Ari Hest, who Vail knows personally, was the first musician to perform at Healthy Rhythm in December 2016. Vail recently reached the 100-show mark at the gallery. Other artists that have played intimate concerts at Healthy Rhythm include indie band Ezra Bell from Portland, Norwegian Folk duo Darling West, and world renowned cellist Wendy Law who was in town to perform the world premiere of Pasión LIVE!, a live classical music performance at the Montrose Pavilion (an event that Vail himself brokered with the help of the City of Montrose and several local business people). These days, Healthy Rhythm is a fixture on the touring circuit, especially for up-and-coming bands, so much so that Vail estimates that 98 percent of musicians that he has at the gallery come to him thanks to word of mouth. Vail has more than two dozen concerts planned between now and August. As for the art, it is an integral part of what makes Healthy Rhythm what it is. There are dozens of artists represented throughout the gallery - from graphic designers, rock and roll photographers, and ceramicists - but Vail isn’t selling it. It is for sale, make no mistake, but Vail isn’t a salesman and doesn’t want to spend his time doing deals. “It’s there” is how he describes it. Find out more at healthyrhythm.net




SPRING EVENTS Spring Festival | Granby March 21 - 22 The annual event at the YMCA of the Rockies near Granby returns on March 21. The two-day festival features snowshoeing, fat biking and Nordic skiing on 120 kilometers of groomed Nordic ski, snowshoe and fat bike trails. There is also ice skating and tubing among other things. There are also free demos of snowshoes, skin skis, backcountry skis and fat bikes. There is no need to register and the event is free to attend, so just turn up and enjoy! Consider making it a mini-vacation by either arriving early or staying late - or both - with a stay at Snow Mountain Ranch.

Taste of Vail | Vail April 1 - 4 From April 1-4, one of North America’s premier food and wine festivals returns. The Taste of Vail, with its incredible Colorado backdrop, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Dozens of winemakers and owners from all over the world will be pouring amazing wines across the four days of the event. Each day sees a signature event take place - the Mountain Top Tasting, Debut of Rose, The American Lamb Cook-Off, and the Grand Tasting - as well as pop-ups and seminars. There will be around three dozen top chefs, restaurateurs, and sommeliers in attendance as well as more than 50 wineries from around the world.

5POINT | CARBONDALE APRIL 21 - 22 Colorado’s premier adventure film festival features a line-up of programming designed to support filmmakers and steer conversations around the future of adventure filmmaking. One honor that is bestowed on a different person every year is making the festival trailer. This year that honor has gone to award-winning British filmmaker Amanda Bluglass whose film “Chasing The Sublime” will also screen at the festival. There will also be a celebration for the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day as well as a slew of events and parties around town to make the five-day festival go off with a bang.

Roots on the Ridge | Estes Park May 16

Photos (top to bottom): Snow Mountain Ranch, Taste of Vail, 5Point Film Festival, Wynonna and The Big Noise

Roots on the Ridge is a brand new festival that will take place on May 16 in Estes Park. The one-day festival will bring some Americana to the Rockies thanks to the legendary Wynonna Judd and her band, The Big Noise. Also performing at the inaugural festival will be Nashville singer/songwriter Ruston Kelly, Wyoming’s Chancey Williams and The Younger Brothers Band. Roots on the Ridge will also showcase the creative talents of the area with a number of artists and craft vendors who will be selling their wares and showcasing their talents throughout the day. Read more on the page 62.


Roots on the Ridge A new daylong music and arts festival is coming to Estes Park this spring, and it is bringing with it a healthy dose of Americana

Drunken Hearts and Estes Park’s own Chain Station.

Saturday, May 16 is the day that Estes Park will celebrate what is sure to become an annual fixture. Roots on the Ridge will bring a heady mix of music – primarily country, bluegrass and folk – and regional arts and crafts to the base of Rocky Mountain National Park for a full day of fun. The music will be supplied by a mix of national and regional artists, including headliner country music legend Wynonna Judd. Judd’s 34-year career has been recognized with 14 number one hits, nine CMA awards, and five Grammys. Wynonna and her band, The Big Noise, released their debut album in 2016 to critical acclaim. The music line-up also includes Nashville’s alt-country singer/songwriter Ruston Kelly and Wyoming’s Chancey Williams and his “Younger Brothers Band”. Ruston is having a banner year following the release of his full-length debut album “Dying Star”. The festival will also include a line-up of Front Range favorites, including The


The festival is also hoping to showcase the region around Estes Park, especially at this time of year before the majority of tourists arrive. “We are thrilled to bring Roots on the Ridge to Estes Park,” said John Cimperman, festival director. “This festival will showcase the creative vibe and majestic beauty of Estes Park, and we hope fans come for the festival and then use this opportunity to visit Rocky Mountain National Park and the other attractions of the region”, he added.

will be donated to help support their mission of cultivating the arts for the betterment of the Estes Park community.

Roots on the Ridge also has an artistic component. Local artisans and interactive exhibits will showcase the talent and creativity of the Estes Park community which will be offering their creative wares for sale. There will also be various live artistic demonstrations throughout the day.

There will also be a slew of food trucks from around the region to satisfy any culinary cravings. West of 105 magazine is a media partner for Roots on the Ridge, so stop by our booth and say hello and pick up a free copy of the magazine!

Also, Roots on the Ridge has partnered with local non profit, the Estes Arts District, and a percentage of ticket sales


Cabins Lodges Campsites Yurts Activities

Find yours at YMCA of the Rockies

YMCA of the Rockies

Estes Park Center & Snow Mountain Ranch 62

WESTOF105.COM YMCARockies.org SnowMountainRanch.org 888-613-9622







When it opened in Grand Junction back in 2011, Bin 707 Foodbar was widely considered to be the city’s first elevated dining experience. Chef Josh Niernberg, who co-owns the restaurant with his wife Jodi, is at the forefront of what is called New West cuisine. His regional-first approach to food means that you can expect dishes like Ute Tribe maize blue corn grits topped with locally grown mushrooms. In addition to Niernberg’s success in Colorado, it was recently announced that he is a 2020 James Beard Award Semifinalist in the Best Chef: Mountain category.

A truly unique brewery making estate beers (likely the only one in the entire country), Alamosa Farm Brewery is working on something special with local coffee shop Blessed Brews. It is a little bit hush hush at the moment, but we are going to assume it is going to be something stouty. Either way, we are such fans of what they are doing at the AFB, we are happy to say that whatever it is, it will be worth the journey. The collaboration will be released on April 2nd.



It is a truly majestic sight to see genuine wild horses running free, and amazingly you can see them not far from Grand Junction. The Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Area is just eight miles northeast of Grand Junction and encompasses more than 36,000 acres of rugged canyons and plateaus that three dozen wild mustangs call home. A great resource for info on this area and the mustangs is the Friends of the Mustangs.

The summer Olympics are around the corner, and sport climbing is being included for the first time. So now is the perfect time to try your hand at it, especially in the early part of spring when it is still quite cold in a lot of the state. There are some awesome rec centers west of 105 that have climbing walls, but the indoor wall at the Limelight Hotel in Snowmass has a five-story wall and is, so we have been told, the highest in the state.


Photos (clockwise from top left): Bin 707 Foodbar, Illuminate, BLM, Jeff Holt




Founded as a Spanish colony in 1610, Santa Fe is perhaps best known as a hub for the creative arts and for its wealth of Pueblo-style architecture. With a traditional plaza at its center, the city of around 85,000 people is surrounded by meandering and contorted streets that subtly hint as to its status as the oldest state capital in the United States. Santa Fe is many things to many people. Some come to relax and enjoy weekends at spas and sumptuous meals, while others simply come to escape the relative cold of places like Colorado in spring. Then there are lovers of the arts, the Georgia O’Keefe pilgrims and those who love Native American arts and crafts.

ART HUB Santa Fe is considered one of the world’s great art cities and was recognized as such by UNESCO when it was added to the Creative Cities Network Photos (this page): Visit Santa Fe (opposite page, clockwise from top right): Visit Santa Fe, Visit Santa Fe, Inn and Spa at Loretto, Gruet, Rosewood 64

thanks to how important the arts are to the overall economy of the city. There are a lot of museums of all kinds, several of which are the main reason for many people’s visits. One of the best known is the Georgia O'Keeffe museum. Opened 11 years after the artist’s death, it offers insight into O’Keeffe’s mind through more than 3,000 pieces which rotate in and out throughout the year. In addition to the main museum, the O’Keeffe Museum maintains two of her former homes and studios in northern New Mexico, a research center and library, and a variety of collections relating to O’Keeffe and modern art. For something more whimsical, the Chuck Jones Studio Gallery, which is just steps from the famous Plaza, shows works by Jones (who created Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, Marvin Martian and Pepe le Pew among others) as well as other artists including Dr. Seuss and Charles Schulz. For something a little more historical, the Museum

WEST OF 105 of Spanish Colonial Art is the only museum in the country dedicated to the subject.

systems have almost 60 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails not far from the city.

Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return is a must see. The art collective’s immersive art experience is actually 70 rooms created by over 200 artists and offers a bizarre Narnia-esque experience.


For an afternoon of strolling, Canyon Road has more than 100 galleries and boutiques squeezed into just half a mile along with plenty of drinking and dining options. As for cultural highlights, spend some time in Santa Fe Plaza and at the Palace of the Governors, the latter being the home to the New Mexico History Museum. Santa Fe is also great for those looking to escape colder weather and get a slight jump on spring thanks to great mountain biking and hiking. The La Tierra and Santa Fe Foothills trail

Santa Fe is also a great place for those who like to indulge in a little gastronomic gluttony. There are great restaurants at hotels around the city (see below) as well as institutions and contemporary additions that make Santa Fe a great foodie destination. The Famous Plaza Cafe is Santa Fe’s oldest restaurant and has been serving down-toearth classics (think huevos divorciados, posole and tacos as well as salads and sandwiches) since 1947. Then there is restaurant and cantina, El Farol. Serving Spanish tapas as well as paella, steaks and the like, El Farol is widely considered to be the oldest restaurant in the state. If you don’t eat here, be sure to at least stop in for a drink. Complement delicious meals with a stop at the Gruet tasting room. Founded in 1984, Gruet specializes in methode Champenoise sparkling wines. While the winery itself is in Albuquerque, the Santa Fe tasting room is right downtown minutes from Santa Fe Plaza.

W HERE TO STAY A big part of any getaway, whether it is for a week or just a weekend, is where you stay.

Yes, you can get up and out early, but having a great place to stay and go back to after a day of exploration really puts the cherry on top of a getaway. The Inn and Spa at Loretto sits on the former site of the historic Our Lady of Loretto Academy and is adjacent to the famed Loretto Chapel which features the miraculous staircase. Exuding classic Santa Fe style, the property is a luxurious haven located right downtown with rooms that are welcoming with a well-defined Southwestern style. The hotel also has a great


spa program that is matched by the excellence of Luminaria, the hotel’s restaurant. A five-minute walk away is Rosewood Inn Of the Anasazi. With an unbeatable location and top notch amenities you would expect from Rosewood, the hotel is one of the best picks in the city. Decor is true to the southwest charm of the city, with junior suites featuring kivas and patios ideal for sipping on your complimentary tequila. During your stay be sure to dine at The Anasazi Restaurant. Located in the hotel, the upscale eatery offers dishes that are inspired by the city’s rich culture and culinary history and are consistently changing to reflect fresh, seasonal ingredients. We loved the smoked duck breast and chipotle-rubbed lamb chops. If you aren’t in Santa Fe to explore every back alley and side street, and therefore aren’t bothered about staying in the heart of downtown, Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado might be a good choice. Still only a 15-minute drive from the heart of town, this property is sprawled across 57 acres. Nestled among the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range, the resort has 65 casita rooms and suites. Decor gives a stylish nod to the New Mexican culture with

Photos (clockwise from top right): Rosewood, Eldorado, Four Seasons, Four Seasons, Rosewood 66

subtle yet aesthetically pleasing southwestern motifs throughout. There is a full-service spa, obviously, an inventive F&B program, as well as a whole host of experiences, both on site at the property’s adventure center or around the region whether you want to mountain bike, hike, fly fish, raft, or take a cooking class. The adventure center can arrange pretty much anything you want. Terra, the resort’s signature restaurant, has a great menu of seasonal dishes using local produce (including from an onsite garden), and the bar has a particularly good happy hour with house margaritas and Santa Fe Mules for just $5. Another option downtown is the Eldorado Hotel and Spa. A grand hotel not far from Santa Fe Plaza and literally a one-minute walk from the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, the Eldorado is well equipped. Rooms are classic southwestern style and the Nidah Spa brings modern and ancient healing techniques together. The new rooftop pool (opening any day now) is a real boon for the property and offers great views for sunset. Of note are the paintings by neo-contemporary Navajo artist Randy Barton including his series "The Golden Songs."


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