West of 105 Summer 2020

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O U T D O O R A R T | S U M M E R G R I L L I N G | 2 4 H O U R S I N L A V E TA





Win a trip to Vail this fall! Details on page 34








UMMER is finally here, and while it isn’t exactly the summer we want, it’s the summer we have! Yes, events and gatherings have been canceled all over the state, but if you want to feel better about your plight, spare a thought for those unfortunate people who are living under the same coronavirus shadow but don’t live in Colorado. Those poor wretches. In the greatest state in the Union, we get to go hiking, camping, biking, whitewater rafting, river surfing and sup boarding, among lots of other things. Our four national parks are still incredible, and our state parks are amazing. All in all, we have a lot to be thankful for. It’s going to be a summer unlike any in recent memory, but we have to make do. Can’t attend a wine festival? Grab bottles from our amazing wineries and have your own tasting at home. Same goes for food festivals. Film festivals might be canceled, but grab a sheet and get a mini projector and host your own backyard film festival. We are going to make the most of it, and we know you will, too.








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In this issue, we visit Vail and La Veta. These two amazing places represent what West of 105 strives to attain: a balance between the Colorado people know along with some hidden gems that they probably don’t. Elsewhere, we have summer cocktails made with amazing Colorado spirits, we look at how best to utilize your grill to take advantage of the amazing meat and produce we have access to, and we have a story on where to get some whitewater this summer. While we feel as if we have taken a small step backwards with West of 105 magazine in that this will be a digital only issue, we know that is a tiny sacrifice in the grand scheme of things. We do have some good news for the summer issue and that is an awesome giveaway. We have partnered with Vail Local Marketing District and have come up with a package that includes hospitality, lodging, experiences and more. See page 34 for details of the awesome package and how to be in with a chance of winning it! The West of 105 team







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OUTDOORS WHITEKNUCKLES ON WHITEWATER Colorado’s waterways are enviable arteries of adventure, and there is no better way to get your heart racing than by jumping in a boat and battling mother nature. There are definitely plenty of spots to get wet and wild, but there are also options for a more sedate experience, too +Golfing west of 105, and how to summer at The Black Canyon National Park


DESTINATION DON’T PASS THROUGH THE VAIL World famous as a winter wonderland, Vail is just as good in summer. With plenty of options for things to do - both for thrill seekers and relaxation enthusiasts - as well as world-class dining and more, Vail is a great place for a summer getaway. +24 hours in La Veta, and win a trip for two to Vail this autumn!

41 57 Photos (top to bottom): Matt Inden / Miles, Vail Local Marketing District, Andrik Langfield, Eleven Experience

DRINKING & DINING AL FRESCO GRILLING There is something oddly exotic and exciting about eating and cooking outdoors, whether around a fire, at a campsite,or in your backyard with a fancy grill. We spoke to a few chefs about what they like to do when they get their grill out. +Summer Cocktails, and we profile 221 South Oak in Telluride

LIFESTYLE A CRESTED BUTTE HAVEN The flagship property of the Eleven Experience portfolio, Scarp Ridge Lodge is right in the middle of downtown Crested Butte and has the feel of a European ski chalet with Rocky Mountain style. +Colorado lavender products, and eight awesome farmers’ markets





BIKERAFTING Four Corners Guides (FCG) in Mancos are one of a few companies in the state that offers guided bikerafting trips. As the name suggests, bikerafting brings together bikepacking and packrafting, so you get the best of both worlds. Options include one-day and three-day tours of McPhee Reservoir as well as a one-day Animas River Bikerafting tour, which uses a bike path more than dirt roads. FCG also offers packrafting in the area. Read more about the tours on page 23.



DEVILS KITCHEN The in-house restaurant of Grand Junction’s new Hotel Maverick, Devil’s Kitchen aims to have its food match its panoramic views from the property’s rooftop. The menu, which was designed to utilize the area’s wealth of produce, contains interesting dishes like ginger and beer chicken, Western Slope jambalaya, and the magnificent sounding maple bacon doughnuts. Devil’s Kitchen is also aiming to step into the craft cocktail scene.


This new high-end resort has a variety of lodging options including furnished mountain cottages, glamping spots, RV hook up spots, places to pitch tents as well as conestoga wagons and those classics of American design, Airstreams. River Run has plenty of options for how to relax with options for fishing, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, minibowling, a zero-entry pool, spa services, and a tavern.

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Photos (top to bottom): Steve Fassbinder / Four Corners Guides; Hotel Maverick; River Run Resort; SKA Brewing

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SKA BREWING AGGROLITE Beer and summer are a perfect match, but which beer to slake your post-adventure session? Light and refreshing or hoppy and delicious? The good people at Ska Brewing in Durango have gone right down the middle with Aggrolite, a light-bodied beer with subtle citrus and pine notes thanks to Cascade, Mandarina Bavaria, and El Dorado hops. It’s just 99 calories with 4g of carbohydrates per can and an ABV of 4.2%.



Colorado’s newest via ferrata is arguably its best, especially when it comes to safety Located in the beautiful Uncompahgre Gorge, the brand new Ouray Via Ferrata opened to the public late last month. One of only a dozen or so in the entire country, it is just a five minute drive from downtown Ouray. For those who don’t know, a via ferrata is a series of rungs in a rock face that you traverse while safely secured with specially constructed

harnesses that keep you connected throughout your journey! The route in Ouray is challenging but not too difficult. Climbers move both vertically and horizontally across the walls of the gorge, sometimes being just feet from the raging waters of Uncompahgre Creek and other times being hundreds of feet in the air. The views of the San Juan mountains are incredible. Designed to the new ASTM and CEN safety standards, the via ferrata is

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free to the public, but climbers are required to have appropriate gear and there will be someone on site to ensure that you do! Gear is available to rent from companies in town. Those same companies also offer guided trips. Built by The Friends of the Ouray Via Ferrata, a non-profit 501c(3) organization, it was funded entirely through donations. Visit ourayviaferrata.org for more info.


SUMMER BUCKET LIST WE KNOW THAT EVERY SEASON IN COLORADO IS SPECIAL, BUT WE LOVE SUMMER, ESPECIALLY FOR WATER SPORTS AS THE RIVERS AND LAKES HAVE WARMED UP TO THE POINT WHERE YOU DON’T ALWAYS NEED A WETSUIT! THIS BUCKET LIST MAY BE MISSING FESTIVALS BUT IT IS PACKED WITH ACTIVITIES AND ATTRACTIONS THAT ENSURE WE ALL HAVE THE BEST COLORADO SUMMER WE CAN 1 CRUISE OVER COTTONWOOD The newly-paved Cottonwood Pass from Buena Vista to Taylor Reservoir is arguably one of Colorado’s most scenic drives. Closed for two and a half years, the pass reopened in May. Reaching 12,126 feet on the Continental Divide, the views from up there are nothing short of spectacular. Stay for sunset if you can. 2 FORAGE FOR FUNGI With so much topological diversity in Colorado, it’s no surprise there is a thriving community of mushroom hunters. While there can be some secrecy around prime locations, there are several Facebook groups with plenty of helpful and encouraging mycologists! The Colorado Mycological Society on Facebook is a good place to start. 3 CHECK INTO A NEW HOTEL Grand Junction has a new hotel! Hotel Maverick, which is located


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

on the Colorado Mesa University campus, has beautiful rooms with very clean lines, as well as a restaurant and coffee shop. The teaching hotel also has bikes so guests can cruise around town.

concert from Steve’s Guitars. The festival takes place from July 24 26.


One of the world’s most famous ski towns, Vail comes with a reputation for opulence, which there certainly is if that’s what you want, but there is so much more to it than that. Find out exactly what on page 32.

Many of the major resorts have announced tentative opening dates, and while there may well be some restrictions as well as other common sense measures in place, summer can finally get underway with mountain biking and everything else you expect from a Colorado ski resort in summer. 5 49TH MOUNTAIN FAIR With a history stretching back almost half a century, Mountain Fair in Carbondale will look a little different this July. Instead of its usual festival-style format, the event will take music and art to neighborhoods across town on a touring flatbed truck, plus there will be a live stream Saturday night


7. FUNKY TOWN Little La Veta is tucked away down in Huerfano County between Trinidad and Alamosa. Oozing charm, La Veta is a fabulous place for a couple of days of small-town relaxation. Read more about the 24 hours we spent there on page 38. 7 WIN A TRIP! Enter our competition to win a trip for two to Vail which includes accommodation, meals and activities. Read our cover story



for some inspiration. Details on how to enter are on page 34 of the magazine! 8 SHAKE UP A COCKTAIL Summer demands chilled libations, and we have got exactly that. We once again picked out a few of our amazing distillers and shook up a few cocktails - some classic and some creative. See which ones on page 48. 9 VIVA VIA FERRATA As if little Ouray didn’t have enough going for it already with the awesome Perimeter Trail, the hot springs, the world’s foremost ice climbing festival and oodles of charm, it now has the world’s best via ferrata! Check it out on page 7. 10 TEE OFF Mark Twain was apparently not a fan of golf, allegedly calling it a good walk spoiled, but to each their own! Golf courses are open across the state if you want a stroll in the sun. See page 24 for more info. 11 GRILL LIKE A PRO Summer means al fresco eating, but it doesn’t mean throwing just anything on a grill. See page 42 for some ideas on how to elevate your barbecue game this summer. 12 ADMIRE OUTDOOR ART Art is great because no matter what you like, there is something for you whether you’re into massive murals or serene sculptures. On page 68, we’ve rounded up a few great outdoor art pieces across west of 105. 13 RIDE THE RAPIDS Colorado is the best place in the country for whiteknuckling river rapids. The Arkansas River is the

most heavily trafficked river in the country, but there are so many more spots across the state with something for everyone. See page 20 for details. 14 GET YOUR VEGGIE FIX Chef Eliza Gavin of 221 South Oak in Telluride has just released a new cook book. “Hold the Meat” has hundreds of vegetarian and vegan recipes that will make meatless Mondays (and any other day you care to forgo meat) much more delicious. More details on page 53. 15 SEE FIELDS OF LAVENDER Visit one of our state’s several lavender farms and pick up some fabulously fragrant edibles, lotions, tinctures and all manner of other scented products. More details on page 66. 16 EXPLORE THE BLACK

19 BUY LOCAL We have a ton of awesome food producers here in Colorado including the worlds best peaches and world famous lamb. And the best place to get your hands on nature’s bounty is at your local farmers’ market. Check out eight of our favorites on page 63. 20 BE COLORADO READY And finally, while we are all out enjoying our new found freedom, let’s all be sure to take care of the place we all love by following the Colorado Tourism Office’s guidelines. See page 74 for how to be Colorado Ready!


One of our four national parks, Black Canyon of the Gunnison is as spectacular as it is deep - and it’s deep. Get the lowdown on what you can expect from a summer trip to the park. More on page 16. 17 FUSE BIKING AND RAFTING One of the only operators to run bikerafting tours in Colorado, Four Corners Guides in Mancos also offer bikepacking and packrafting tours. See New and Noteworthy on page six for more details.


18 SHRED THE TRAILS Summer means mountain biking, and there are tons of trails all over the state, from rough and ready and hard to access to somewhat manicured runs accessed by gondolas. Need a new bike? Check out a couple we recently put through the paces on page 10.


Photos (this page): Period Communications (opposite page left to right): Vail Local Marketing District; Anna Zoromski / Miles

GEAR ANATOMY Giant is, both by name and nature, a behemoth when it comes to the world of mountain biking. Liv is the company’s women-centric sister brand and both offer a wide range of bikes to suit varying budgets and skill levels. We recently took the Liv Pique 29 and the Giant Trance Adv Pro 29 2 out on some trails and both performed admirably. These bikes are finely tuned machines that have been expertly engineered to make the riding experience as fun and as safe as it can be.

A 30.9mm diameter cross-country specific dropper seat post enables the rider to lower her center of gravity on steeper terrain

A lightweight aluminum frame contributes to weight reduction and gives the bike a quick and agile ride

29-inch wheels and a specific cross country geometry optimize speed, acceleration, and cornering

With 100mm of rear travel, powered with Liv and Giant’s trunnion-mounted Maestro Suspension System, the bike delivers efficient suspension that makes for a much better ride

LIV Initially launched in 2008, Liv is a Giant sister brand that focuses exclusively on products for female cyclists (it was rebranded to Liv in 2014). All Liv products are designed from the ground up including frame geometry, carbon layup and utilizes separate molds and designs that separate it from Giant branded products. The Liv Pique 29 is a 29er that has an all new cross-country geometry with a lightweight frame with a PowerCore bottom bracket for ideal pedaling efficiency. With 100 mm of front and rear travel that has been tuned for women, it has Maestro suspension, a remote fork lockout and a cross country specific dropper post. Built for XC racers and riders alike, it also has a lightweight ALUXX SL frame. 10




Founded in 1972, Giant has long been one of cycling’s main innovators, leading the charge when it comes to cycling firsts by introducing lighter, stronger aluminum frames at a time when the industry standard was steel. They also led the charge when it came to making carbon fiber bikes widely available to the world. Then there is the Maestro Suspension. The Trance Adv Pro 29 2 is a new short-travel 29er version of what is often referred to as a legendary trail bike. The full composite frame is fitted with Giant’s most up-to-date Maestro suspension while the Advanced Forged composite rocker arm and trunnion-mount shock help produce 115mm of smooth rear-wheel travel that’s active and sensitive to small bumps, giving great traction and confident control.

A high-performance grade raw carbon fiber and custom resin frame along with a handcrafted monocoque construction make the bike extremely lightweight, stiff and compliant

A massive rectangular downtube and the oversized toptube work together to provide superior front end lateral and torsional steering precision

Oversized headset bearings and tapered steerer tube work in conjunction to provide optimal steering stiffness that is designed to provide precise front-end steering

New shock mount produces a lower leverage ratio for increased pedaling and braking efficiency, plus a lower center of gravity and shorter chainstays for improved handling, climbing and agility

GEAR PICKS Wild Rye | Freel Women’s Mountain Bike Short $119

Mons Royale | Momentum 2.0 Bike Shorts $160

Wild Rye’s Freel shorts have been recently refreshed with some playful new prints. Built to be as rugged as they are pretty, they are made out of a durable, four-way stretch nylon fabric that is sun, splash, and shrub resistant making them great for singletrack rides and the bar afterwards.

Designed to be worn in wet or dry, hot or cool, riding conditions, the Momentum 2.0 shorts offer soft merino lining which helps regulate temperature, and a great stretch to allow for a full range of movement as you’re cranking up that mountain. 11


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

OUTDOORS The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park offers a summer adventure like no other







If traversing Colorado’s rugged waterways in an inflatable boat is your idea of fun, turn to page 20 to start planning a trip! Never tried it? You are in for an adrenalineinducing treat

Colorado has some truly amazing golf courses, including the highest tee in the country. There is a good mix of public and private, too, with something for everyone

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison is essentially Mother Nature showing off. Very conveniently located right outside Montrose, expect to be both stunned and humbled

Photo: Period Communications

SUMMER GEAR 1. Bollé’ | Chronoshield Sunglasses $170 - 240 Take a 1980s design and add tech from today and you have Bolle’s new Chronofield sunglasses. With the largest lens dimension in Bollé’s range, the Chronofield glasses offer an extra wide field of view which is ideal for seeing more but also offers protection against the wind or debris. Vents mean that they never fog up and adjustable nose-pads and temple tips give a custom fit. The retro style comes in a range of colors including matte pink and white and black

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2. BioLite | Headlamp 200 $45 An essential piece of kit for a successful camping trip, BioLite’s Headlamp 200 is light-weight at only 1.7 ounces and is rechargeable via a USB cable. This model puts out 200 lumens and also has a red floodlight setting which allows for more battery saving 3. Eco Vessel | The Summit Water bottle $31.95 Boulder-based Eco Vessel’s new, insulated straw water bottle features an easy-to-grip ergonomic shape, triple insulation which chills drinks for up to 36 hours, and a flip spout which is attached to a silicone straw on one end and a protective silicone bumper to protect teeth on the other


4. PackTowl | Personal Towel $19.95 - $39.95 PackTowl’s quick-drying towels have an eco-friendly silver-ion odor control to keep your towel fresh despite numerous uses. It’s ultra soft to the touch, and has a handy pouch included 5. Primus | Kuchoma Grill $189.95 Weighing in at 9 pounds, the Kuchoma portable grill is small, compact and easy to clean thanks to the removable grill grates and drip trays. Set it up in your back yard or bring it on your next car camping trip whereever you take it be sure to try out one of our grilling recommendations on page 42 6. Shimano | RC901 S-PHYRE Women’s Shoe $400



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Shimano’s flagship road cycling shoe offers performance and efficiency for serious racers. For amateurs, they give you the confidence to think you could be a serious racer! Available in a design engineered for female riders with a better fit, the shoes also have dual independent BOA dials and a quick dry mesh to control humidity

WEST OF 105 | OUTDOORS 7. Hydroflask | 22 L Soft Cooler Pack $199.95 Able to keep things cold for up to 48 hours, the cooler pack from Hydroflask is light, durable and spacious. Watertight zippers and welded seams make it leak proof, while a hinged top makes for easy access and cleaning. It also has padded shoulder straps, a sternum strap and carry handles 8. Mons Royale | Royale Chamois Shorts $80 A durable chamois that features fast-drying merino shift stretch fabric, the shorts are great for longer rides (think 3+ hours in the saddle). The pad offers 6mm of cushioning and the shorts also have a stylish waistband that we love 9. GSI Outdoors | Escape HS 3L Pot and Frypan $79.95



With a collapsible design that shrinks down to a disc that is just 2.5� thick, this is nothing if not packable. The bases are coated with something called PFOAfree Teflon which is said to be particularly non-stick. They are also durable and scratch resistant. The three liter pot has a heatsink which results in shorter cooking times 10. Corkcicle | Color Block Stemless Wine Cup $27.95


With a range of fun colors and finished in what the company calls its signature, soft-touch, it is said that these wine glasses will keep a drink chilled for nine hours or warm for up to three. The shatter-proof clear lid does a good job of helping prevent spills (and therefore wastage!)


11. FinalStraw | Reusable Straw $24.95 A collapsible, foldable straw that packs up into a small, portable key chain fob, the final straw offers a convenient and portable way to cut down on waste. The carrying case also includes a cleaning wand 12. Leatherman | K2 Knife $79.95



Sporting a 3.3-inch blade along with seven handy tools, the K2 now comes in several color options. Tools include a Phillips screwdriver, a pry tool, package opener, awl, and bottle opener. We also love that the pocketknife is made in the USA 13. MSR Habitude | 4 Family & Group Camping Tent $499.95 Color-coded pole clips make setting this up a piece of cake, while the 95x95 inch footprint (and 72-inch interior height) means it comfortably accommodates four people. We tested it during a storm, and it performed admirably. The storage pockets and the integrated porch light are nice touches


14. Ust | Slim 400 LED Emergency Light $50.99 Supplying 12 hours of light, the Slim 400 LED Emergency Light is compact and lightweight. An integrated handle allows the light to be hung anywhere. It is also tripod compatible


15. Lazer | Century Helmet with MIPS $180 Released to celebrate the company’s centenary, the Century road helmet is sleek with all of the safety features you would expect from a high-end helmet including an integrated LED light. The Century also has Lazer’s new Twist Cap technology that quickly changes the helmet’s ventilation system from fully open to shut with a simple twist


16. Danner | Trailcomber Hikers $140 Lightweight at less than 20 ounces and breathable, the Trailcomber is tailor-made for summers in Colorado. They dry quickly thanks to a drainable midsole should an afternoon monsoon catch you off guard, while a cushioned footbed and shock-absorbing EVA midsole makes it great for trail running. A more aggressive outsole supplies great grip


17. Sea to Summit | X-Brew Coffee Dripper $21.95 A collapsible coffee dripper with a reusable mesh filter, the dripper has a two-cup capacity and perfectly fits inside the brand’s X-Pot Kettle 18. Front Range Harness $39.95 Four-legged companions are an essential part of summer and this padded harness is easy to put on and features two options: a V-ring centered on the back and reinforced webbing at the chest to redirect dogs that pull on leash.



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19. GSI | Freeform Zero Gravity Lounger $100


While it has a more techy look than most loungers, the Zero Gravity Lounger essentially looks like most other decent loungers. Until, that is, you recline it into zero gravity mode which allows you to fully recline into a sort of weightless position. There is also a drink or phone holder and an adjustable pillow 20. Tentsile | Safari Trillium Hammock $399 Made from durable double-stitched ripstop 450D Dacron floor fabric and UV-resistant material, Tentsile’s Safari Trillium Hammock is designed to be taken on trips or to be left up for months, or even years, at a time making it perfect for more permanent camps or backyards



While there are likely to be coronavirus considerations for everything we do for a while, lots of outdoor activities can be quite easily adapted to ensure the safety of all involved. Whitewater rafting is one of them as families and small groups can be grouped together before experiencing the thrill of a raging river


Photos (top to bottom) Bob Wick / BLM; Brant Porter / NPS



There are few places across the country that have the audacity to put themselves in the same league as Colorado when it comes to rafting. That’s mainly because Colorado not only has some of the best whitewater rafting anywhere, but it also has options for everyone, whether you’re a charged up thrill seeker or more of a dainty lilly dipper. Rafting is so popular that it helps to support several local economies, so much so that towns such as Buena Vista, Salida and Cañon City are often referred to as rafting towns.

A River Runs Through It A mecca for white water rafters, the Arkansas River is, by pretty much all measures, America’s most popular river for whitewater rafting. Every year, around 175,000 guests traverse the more than 100 miles of rapids within the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA). Jointly managed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Bureau of Land Management, there are some seriously good sections contained with those 100 miles including Pine Creek (class V), the Numbers (class IV-V), the Narrows (class III-IV), Browns Canyon National Monument (class III-IV), Bighorn Sheep Canyon (class II, III-IV), and the Royal Gorge - “the Grand Canyon of the Arkansas” (class IV-V). The authority on this river is the Arkansas River Outfitters Association. Celebrating 40 years this year, the AROA is a group of knowledgeable, experienced and certified professionals across dozens of outfitters. Over in the western part of the state, the mighty Colorado River offers rafting opportunities out of Grand Junction. The Westwater Canyon stretch of river, about 30 miles from Grand Junction, is a jumping off point for lots of rafters. The 17-mile run has stretches of class III and IV rapids, including "Funnel Falls", "Bowling Alley", "Sock it to Me" and "Skull" as well as beautiful red rock canyons and cliffs that rise up over 1,000 feet. There are plenty of small beaches where you can stop for short hikes to fill out your day. Up near Fort Collins, the Cache la Poudre River - Colorado’s only river designated

Photos (top to bottom) Period Communications, AROA

“Wild and Scenic” - offers opportunities for beginners with class III rapids on the lower section of the river, while those who want a bit more adventure can try the class IVs of Mishawaka Falls. Heading west, the section of the Yampa River that flows through Dinosaur National Monument is a jaw-dropping spectacle that perfectly illustrates what people mean when they say the American West. The headwaters of the Yampa are near Steamboat Springs and the river is one of the last free flowing rivers in the country (rivers that have largely been unchanged by human intervention). For

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a real adventure, put in at Deer Lodge and spend four or five days traversing the 72 miles to Split Mountain, Utah. And that’s far from it. Where there is a river, there is a good chance of there being rafting of some kind available, from the Dolores and Animas rivers down in the southwest to the Taylor River near Almont. Then there is the Rio Grande, the Gunnison, and the Uncompahgre. Spoilt for choice is an understatement. Finally, we don’t want to be harbingers of doom, but people do die on these rivers when


they intended on just having a fun day on the water. There are various reasons, but this is wild nature and is to be respected at all times. Have fun but make sure you go home by taking sensible precautions, listening to every single word your guide says, and don’t do anything you aren’t comfortable with, your life could literally depend on it.

Rapids Classification Class I: Moving water with a few riffles and small waves. Few or no obstructions. Perfect for nervous beginners. Class II: Easy rapids with smaller waves, clear channels that are obvious without scouting. Some maneuvering might be required. Good for those who feel comfortable after Class I. Class III: Rapids with high, irregular waves. Narrow passages that often require precise maneuvering. Class III rapids require more confidence and more physical strength, but are fine for most people. Class IV: This is where it gets more difficult. Long and difficult rapids with constricted passages that often require more complex maneuvering in turbulent water. Class V: Most of us won’t ever get on a Class V as the rapids are long, difficult and violent with constricted routes. These rapids present a real hazard to life if there is a mishap. Class VI: These are basically unraftable by mortals. They’re extremely dangerous and should only be attempted by teams of bona fide experts.

22 BLM Photos:



Photos: Steve Fassbinder / Four Corners Guides

Bikerafting For some people, one adrenalin-inducing pursuit at a time just doesn’t cut it. Those people strap a bike to an inflatable raft and set out on an adventure.

If you want to go beyond the very basics, they also offer a three-day course that will see you learn the skills and then ride dirt roads and single track and paddle several miles.

The history of packrafting in general can be traced back to the 1940s, but it really took off in the 1980s. It was just a matter of time before someone strapped a bike to a raft. Today, one of the best packraft manufacturers, Alpacka Raft, can be found in Mancos.

Three-Day Bikerafting McPhee Loop Itineary

Also in Mancos is Four Corners Guides. They offer a range of bikepacking, packrafting and bikerafting adventures. A good introduction to the latter is the day-long course that explores the single track and dirt roads of the San Juan National Forest or the city bike trails in Durango while learning basic paddling skills and how to pack your bike on your boat.

Optional pre-trip: Meet at the Mancos Brewing Company at 3p.m. and ride the 10 miles down to Scullbinder Ranch, gear will be shuttled. Dine at the ranch, camp and/ or stay in glamping tents. Spend the evening checking out the Ranch trails, packing for the three-day trip, eating dinner and watching the hummingbirds (we have 10-20 on any given night). Day 1: Meet in Dolores around 8a.m, or caravan together to Dolores with FCG if you’re staying at the Ranch. Due to Covid, they are minimizing how much time people

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spend in the FCG Shuttle. Spend the getting gear ready . Ride 20 or so miles (this can be adjusted based on the experience, age, and capabilities of guests). Camp in the San Juan National Forest. Day 2: Ride approximately 10 miles to the McPhee Reservoir put in. Spend a few hours learning how to pack your bike on your boat. Paddle 5 miles to the choice camp on the lake. Day 3: Paddle remaining 2 miles to take out, and then ride approximately 7 miles of single track on the McPhee Overlook Trail and one mile of dirt road back to Dolores. You typically arrive back to town between 3-5, depending on the abilities, age, etc of the guests. 3-Day Intro to Bikerafting on McPhee Reservoir is level 3 and costs $1095


Photo (top): Vail Local Marketing District; (bottom): Matt Inden / Miles


While Colorado is well known for its plethora of opportunities for outdoor adventure and adrenaline-inducing pursuits, the weather also offers the perfect conditions for a round of golf. And with such diverse topography, you can not only tee off in conditions as varied as high desert or at over 9,000 ft, but you’re also guaranteed some of the best scenery you’re ever likely to see from a golf course. It might not be the first pastime that comes to mind when you think about Colorado, but with around 25 million regular golfers, another 15 or so million that say they’re interested in giving it a go, and a few more million who try it for the first time every year, golf is a pretty popular sport in the US. If you happen to like gentle walks and have a thing for funny trousers, all the better. Down towards the Four Corners region of the state, there are two courses in


little Cortez (for an idea of what else to do there, see the spring issue of West of 105 by clicking here). South Forty Golf Course and Driving Range is nine-hole course on 50 acres that is surrounded by Ute Mountain, Mesa Verde, and the La Plata Mountain Range. The nearby 18-hole Conquistador Golf Club is a championship course and shares the same incredible scenery. At 6,200 ft., summer days are cooler which makes for a nicer experience. Head east and you’ll find Hillcrest in Durango, while just north of there are two courses - Valley Course and Mountain Cours, both at Glacier Club. As you might expect, the closer you get to a ski resort, the more impressive - and usually more expensive - the golf facilities get. Telluride Golf Club, which is part of Telluride Ski Resort, is, however, set in arguably the most stunning scenery in the



state, and that is no mean feat. The 18hole, par-70 course is nestled among the highest concentration of 13ers and 14ers in the country. Not far away is Divide Ranch and Club in Ridgway which overlooks the incredible San Juan Mountains. Montrose has three courses, Cobble Creek, Bridges Golf and Country Club, and the Black Canyon Golf Course. An hour north of Montrose there are several more courses in Grand Junction. Chipeta Golf Course is a premier, 18-hole, executive course that is just five miles south of downtown Grand Junction, while the Golf Club at Redlands Mesa is the area’s newest course and was ranked the number one public golf course in Colorado in 2017 by Golfweek, which is nothing to sniff at. Then there is Tiara Rado Golf Course which is at the base of the incredible Colorado National Monument. Beginners may want to head to Lincoln Park, a nine-hole course right in the middle of town. It also happens to be the oldest operating golf course on the Western Slope having been built in 1926. Heading east, the Vail Valley also has some very good courses. In fact there are more than a dozen in the area, with public options like Vail Golf Club, EagleVail Golf Club and Eagle Ranch Golf Club as well as more ritzy options like the Greg Norman Course and the Tom Fazio Course at Red Sky Golf Club. The Club at Cordillera in Edwards offers another ritzy experience. Sonnenalp Golf Club and Beaver Creek Golf Club are also nearby. There are of course courses in Aspen and Snowmass, as well as several along I-70. Breckenridge Golf Club has three championship nine-hole courses, the Bear, the Beaver and the Elk, all of which are Jack Nicklaus signature courses. Just outside South Fork, between Pagosa Springs and Del Norte and nestled on the edge of the picturesque San Luis Valley, the Rio Grande Club golf course sits at around 8,500 feet and is surrounded by beautiful rock formations, wildlife and nearby mountain peaks. The front nine runs along and over the Rio Grande River’s wetland habitat while the back

Photo (top): Visit Montrose, Visit Alamosa

nine sees you play around pine, aspen and cottonwood trees and impressive and imposing rock formations. Up in the northwest of the state, there are courses in Rangeley and Meeker. Cedar Ridges Golf Course in Rangely is a nine-hole, par 36 public course that was designed by Frank Hummel who has designed and constructed well over 200 courses in the United States. Sitting on top of the mesa on the outskirts of town, this course offers incredible value with a round costing just $12 for adults. Also in Rio Blanco County, there is the nine-hole Meeker Golf Course. Another public course, this one opened in 1969 and

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is administered by the Eastern Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation & Park District. Unsurprisingly, the Steamboat area has a few courses, including Haymaker and Rolling Stone Ranch courses as well as Steamboat Golf Club. Fifty minutes west of Steamboat is Yampa Valley Golf Course, the oldest and one of the most affordable 18-hole courses in the valley. For some bragging rights, head to Copper Creek Golf Course. Part of Copper Mountain, Copper Creek not only offers amazing views of the Ten Mile Range, but has the highest tee in North America at 9,863 ft.


National Park Spotlight

BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON At West of 105, we absolutely love our public lands, but the National Park System is the jewel in the crown, so to speak. All four of our national parks offer a very different experience, but just like kids, we love them all equally. A short drive from Montrose, the incredible, amazing, jaw-dropping Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is one of the smallest parks in the system at just under 31,000 acres (there are just six parks that are smaller), but not only do good things come in small packages, size isn’t everything! 26


Open to visitors year round, summer is the most popular time to visit the Black Canyon. This summer may see higher numbers than usual as people stay closer to home, so planning ahead is going to be more important than ever. The Black, as the cool kids refer to it, was promoted from a national monument (the goal of all national monuments: we’re looking at you Colorado National Monument) to a national park in 1999 after just 66 short years! The park contains the deepest and most dramatic section of the canyon and is where the name comes from: the steep canyon walls prevent light, at least in some parts, from reaching the bottom. The canyon continues upstream into Curecanti National Recreation Area and downstream into Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area - both of which are also amazing places to visit while you’re in the area. Gawking into the canyon, getting a touch of vertigo, and realizing how thoroughly insignificant you are in the face of Mother Nature's impressive handiwork are all required when visiting the Black, but you should also consider some physical activity. There are also over 200 archaeological sites, some of which can be accessed by a gentle

Photos (top and right): NPS; (opposite): Period Communications

stroll and some of which require a little bit more derring-do! Tomichi Route is a beast, and not for the faint of heart. As you’ll see it isn’t even called a trail, it’s a “wilderness route” In fact, it’s an unmarked scramble to the river and is the steepest South Rim route. The truly adventure-minded might consider rock climbing and kayaking, but only very experienced climbers and kayakers should

attempt either. There is, however, a small bouldering playground called Marmot Rocks on top of the South Rim. In the heat of summer, even a gentle hike can be made more dangerous if you go unprepared and don't follow common sense guidelines, so don’t be that guy or gal. And remember that you’ll need a backcountry 27

permit (available for free on a first come first served basis) for certain hikes, so a stop at the visitor center should be first on your list. Somewhat appropriately, the Black is also an International Dark Sky Park meaning there is no better place in the region for night sky viewing. The park has two entrances which are not connected and are in fact not that close to each other. The North Rim (closest to Crawford) will appeal to those looking for slightly more solitude; conversely the South Rim (closest to Montrose) sees the most visitors and is where the main visitor center is. The five-mile paved road from Highway 50 to the South Rim entrance is popular with road cyclists (if that’s you, and you aren’t acclimatized to the altitude, be prepared for a grueling 1,000-foot climb over those five miles). Once you make it to the entrance it’s a fun, relatively moderate ride to High Point the terminus of South Rim Road. Visit nps.gov/ blca for the most up-to-date info on visiting the park.





Golf Montrose, Colorado! Includes: 3 Rounds of Golf (with cart) 2 night stay (weekday special) | $50 Wine & Dine





book your package now! GolfMontrose.co

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DESTINATIONS Win a trip to Vail for two this autumn! See page 34 for details on how to win the ultimate Vail destination trip


Photo: Jack Affleck





World famous? Check. Amazing year round? Check. Mix up your summer with a jaunt to Vail and enjoy everything a ski resort town has to offer in summer

We’ve teamed up with DiscoverVail to offer two people a prize package to experience the best of Vail this autumn. Good luck!

Lovely little La Veta is pretty much on the 105th meridian in Huerfano County. Somewhat tucked away, it is a real gem that is absolutely road trip worthy!


Photo: William Woody / Visit Montrose 32 Photos: Vail Local Marketing District / Jack Affleck



VAIL Synonymous with living the good life, Vail is perhaps the ultimate ski town in that it was a ski destination before it was even a town! Yet, while it is one of the world’s best known spots for snow sports, Vail is very much a year round destination. In fact, summer is catching up with winter in terms of popularity. Comprising a trio of base villages - Vail, Lionshead and Golden Peak - there are just over 5,000 permanent residents (with another 5,000 part-time and at it’s winter peak another 4,000 seasonal workers), Vail has a small-town feel with a big Alpine attitude. Anyone who has been to Vail could not have failed to notice that it’s pretty pristine. It has a sort of Disneyland-meets-ski-resort feel and that’s because the town was incorporated in 1966, four years after the ski resort was opened (Vail Mountain is another product of the 10th Mountain Division and was identified as a ski destination by Peter Siebert and Earl Eaton in 1962), making it younger than your grandmother. But what Vail lacks in terms of a storied history it makes up for in sheer awesomeness thanks to its near perfect location for recreation. There will always be detractors, disparagers and denigrators who have thoughts and opinions about Vail and its undeniable appeal to those who love to live in the lap of luxury, but we see beyond the Louis Vuitton parkers and the Gucci goggles to the incredible expanse of exquisite wilderness than envelops the town. Yes, there are decadent dining options, five-star accommodations and bourgie boutiques, and if that’s what you’re looking for you’re in luck, but it is Vail’s location, in the heart of the Rocky Mountains in White River National Forest and what that offers, that most people come for, especially in summer. In short, Vail has an

embarrassment of riches when it comes to options for outdoor activities. The town itself owns 1,100 acres of open space, but it’s the 350,000 acres of national forest around Vail that makes it such an incredible place for outdoor enthusiasts. There are hundreds of miles of river and trails that snake from one end of the Vail Valley to the other. Eagle County’s trail system has almost 300 miles of options for hiking, from paved paths to rugged backcountry trails that can transport you from your morning espresso to a mountain peak, a waterfall, or a secret lake in no time. Want to give those joints a little respite? Jump on a mountain bike and bounce around on the 340 miles of mountain biking trails or slip into some spandex and enjoy the nearly 300 miles

of road biking-friendly roads in the area. Don’t feel like exerting yourself at all? No judgement here. There are a ton of options for those who want some technological assistance. Get behind the wheel of a Jeep or an ATV and whiteknuckle it around the area. And as we are living in a post-coronavirus world (hopefully), these are great options for those who want to be cautious and maintain a little more distance than they otherwise normally would.

Get Wet Summer also means water sports and activities. There are more than 80 miles of river and whitewater rapids in the region (up to class V; for those who don’t know the rating system only goes up to class VI!) for your rafting, kayaking and SUP boarding

y a w for a ve ter i /g en m to n! This o c d wi . could 5 an o 0 be you! f1 ils e t o st ta nc e w de cha t si ore ur i V m o y r o f

Enter to win a trip for tw 34


Photo: Vail Local Marketing District

Trip includes Three nights lodging for two guests

One dinner for two in Vail Village

Daily breakfast for two One activity for two

wo to Vail this autumn ! 35

everyone from gluttons to gourmands - and those of us that fall into both categories! And by that same token, a well-crafted cocktail or a masterfully produced beer are of equal delight. A Vail institution, Sweet Basil is a modern American restaurant that is well known in the valley. Expect tempting morsels like whipped feta with Calabrian chile and garlic honey or whiskey maple pork belly bao buns with pineapple, soy molasses, fried cashews and cilantro. As far as accolades, Chef de Cuisine Martin Woods of Sweet Basil took home the top prize at last year’s Annual American Lamb Cook-Off at Taste of Vail, and while he didn’t get to defend that title this year, the win, against almost two dozen of the area’s finest chefs, is testament to what you can expect at Sweet Basil.

easy, there is, so we are told, some of the best golf in the state here with more than a dozen courses in the area. There are public options like Vail Golf Club, EagleVail Golf Club and Eagle Ranch Golf Club as well as more ritzy options like the Greg Norman Course and the Tom Fazio Course at Red Sky Golf Club. Be sure to check what coronavirus-inspired guidelines are in place before you go!

Photos (top and bottom): Vail Local Marketing District; (middle) Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

For a lovely stroll, the Betty Ford Alpine Garden is lovely and at an altitude of 8,200 ft is one of the highest botanical gardens in the world. That is next to the Gerald R Ford Amphitheater which hopes to have events of 250-500 people from July during the “black diamond” phase of Eagle County’s Public Health Order. Currently scheduled to perform this summer is violinist, songwriter, dancer, and America’s Got Talent alumni Lindsey Stirling. Be sure to check the websites of cultural organizations and event organizers in the area as they are all looking for creative ways to offer smaller, more intimate performances, gatherings, outdoor movies, etc.

pleasure. There are also lakes and plenty of stretches of calm river for something more relaxing. Rivers and lakes also mean there are also plenty of opportunities for anglers to cast a line.

Other options for strolling include weekly walking tours from the Colorado Snowsports Museum (the museum will also be open) highlighting the history of the area as well as tours from the Vail Arts in Public Places program.

Vail Mountain also offers a wide range of options for adventurers including chairlift and gondola rides and activities.

Recharge, Refuel and Relax

And if you really, REALLY want to take it

Eating is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and Vail is very well-equipped to satisfy

Also in Vail Village and offering American cuisine, Game Creek Club is a private member’s club that opens to the public for dinner. Expect prix fixe menus with dishes like bison tartare, wild boar and black cod. For something quicker and perhaps more homey, the Little Diner in Lionshead Village is a classic American diner with all the classics including eggs benedict, omelettes, huevos rancheros as well as a few things that nod to Vail’s Alpine legacy such as pannekoeken which is also known as a Dutch baby. Lunch offers sandwiches and burgers and something called Cincinnati Chili. For possibly the best cocktail you’ve ever had, and in a pretty swish environment, too, head to The Remedy Bar inside the Four Seasons Vail (FLAME, the property’s steakhouse is also excellent). At places like this, nothing is likely to disappoint, but the Peanut Brittle Old Fashioned is a genuine masterpiece. Peanut infused Buffalo Trace, burnt sugar simple syrup and aromatic bitters is nothing short of alchemy. It’s Vail, so there are plenty of places to get a great cocktail. For something a little more sudsy, 7 Hermits (next to Almresi where you can get a taste of authentisches Deutsches essen) and Vail Brewing Company, both in Vail Village, have awesome Colorado brews on tap. And you can’t miss 10th Mountain Whiskey and Spirits on Bridge Street. Stop by for a snifter or take a bottle home. There is rye, vodka and moonshine, but we always come away with a bottle of their awardwinning bourbon (we spiked eggnog with it in our winter issue, but it would make a damn good Manhattan). If you want to create your own lunch, head to the Vail Farmers’ Market and Art Show. There are dozens of vendors with wares of all kinds, including clothing, jewelry and crafts aplenty, including edibles like grilled seafood treats from from Kaleb’s Katch (hear more from Kaleb in our grilling story

on page 42), pastries from Homemade European Food, Jeffreezz Jelato, as well as old faithfuls like tacos, pizza et al. For perhaps the finest cup of coffee this side of the continental divide, stop in at Vail Mountain Coffee and Tea Company. A 10-minute drive from Vail in Minturn, you’ll find great coffee and great people! As for where to stay, Vail actually has both a range to suit different budgets as well as promotions throughout the summer. And there are plenty of other spots throughout the valley. The aforementioned Four Seasons represents the pinnacle in Vail. Want to bring the family? Check out the four-bedroom designer residence. For something a bit more inclusive, there are guest ranches that offer all kinds of experiences on site including horseback riding, archery, campfire cookouts and ziplining.

As you might expect, there is plenty of shopping to be done in Vail. All of the huge outdoor brands are represented, of course, but there are also plenty of locally-owned boutiques and galleries for your browsing or perusing pleasure.

The Wider Valley Located two hours west of Denver, the Vail Valley is home to charming mountain destinations including Minturn, Red Cliff, Avon, Beaver Creek, Edwards, Eagle and Gypsum.

Getting Around Vail has one of the largest free transportation systems in the country, which reduces pollution and traffic congestion year-round.

Current Covid Regulations At the time of writing the Vail Valley is open for business with certain restrictions including lodging properties, restaurants and bars operating at reduced capacity for the time being. Pools, hot tubs, fitness centers and gyms are also open with occupancy limits, but saunas, spas and steam rooms remain closed. Check online to stay up to date with the area’s plan to reopen so you aren’t surprised by any new restrictions. Perhaps a silver lining is that several restaurants have added tables throughout the pedestrian village to allow for more open air seating and visitors will be able to enjoy alcoholic beverages in designated outdoor locations.

Then there is Vail Racquet Club Mountain Resort. Spread across 20 acres with Gore Creek flowing right through the property, the resort has chalet-style one-, two-, and threebedroom condos as well as three-bedroom townhomes that offer more of a home from home than a traditional hotel thanks to full kitchens and spacious living areas. Among other facilities, Vail Racquet Club has a yearround heated lap pool, eight tennis courts, children’s playground and a park with a patio and barbecue area. There is also an on-site restaurant and complimentary morning coffee in the lobby, and it’s located on Vail’s free shuttle route with two stops on property. Other great places to stay include the Grand Hyatt Vail and Manor Vail Lodge.

@WESTOF105 | #CrosstheMeridian Photos (clockwise from bottom left): Kahled A via Yelp; Sweet Basil via Yelp; The Fitz Bar via Yelp




With fewer than 1,000 residents, La Veta, which means the vein in Spanish, is a very laid back and quiet place in the middle of Spanish Peaks Country, which is pretty much the way the residents like it. Perfect for a mini getaway for a night or two, La Veta joins our list Colorado’s quaintest towns

7 AM | COFFEE & BREAKFAST Kick off your day in La Veta with a hearty breakfast at Corners Diner. The old-school diner is unpretentious but serves up good portions of classic diner breakfast food. The biscuits and gravy with hash browns, eggs and sausage was easily enough to see us through until dinner. Paradise Coffee on Main Street is good if you don’t want a full breakfast, as is Higher Ground Coffee Bar in nearby Cuchara if you are up and out of town at the crack of dawn.

9 AM | MUSEUM & GALLERY HOPPING For a little culture head to Francisco Fort Museum before doing a mini gallery crawl. A folk museum right on Main Street, it is the historical center of town, literally. When Colonel Francisco founded a trading post at the foot of the Spanish Peaks in Colorado Territory in 1862, La Veta grew up around the fort. Francisco Fort is the last surviving original adobe fort in the state and is now the home of Francisco Fort Museum. It houses artifacts from the entire Huerfano County region. La Veta Gallery on Main has paintings, ceramics, photography, jewelry, and paper crafts from several local and regional artists. Artist Peggy Zehring has her studio in La Veta and her work can be seen by appointment. Her work can also be seen in Manhattan, but we prefer La Veta!

Photos (top): Anna Zoromski / Miles, (bottom two and opposite page): Period Communications

Around the corner from the La Veta Gallery on West Ryus Avenue is the Spanish Peaks Arts Council which is home to original art by local artists. It also hosts exhibitions throughout the year. On the same street is the La Veta School of the Arts where various classes are offered throughout the summer.

12 PM | LUNCH The wonderful Rhys Avenue Bakery is a real find and it is not an understatement at all to say that this place wouldn’t be out of place in Manhattan or Los Angeles - they have a bread schedule and bake breads like Asiago Black Pepper, Cranberry Walnut as well as baguettes that would make a Parisian weep for home. Beloved by the locals, it is stocked with all kinds of delicious bites that are lovingly made freshly every day thanks to the dedication of owners Edward and Antonio who moved here in the summer of 2018 to get up at the crack of dawn to mix, knead and bake. The brownies were among the best we’ve ever had. Currently open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 7am to 2pm, so while lunch is an option, this is another great option for breakfast.

1 PM | EXPLORE THE OUTDOORS The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad crossed the Rocky Mountains for the first time over La Veta Pass in 1877. The trainline, named the “Railroad Above the Clouds” brought tourists in to ride the highest railroad in the world. The train would stop at a small train depot in a town called Uptop. The tracks were ripped up in 1899 and a fire burnt everything except the train’s depot. Uptop was finally abandoned when a highway was built that bypassed it. Now a privately-owned ghost settlement, Uptop has several preserved historic buildings including the depot which is now a museum. The entire Uptop area is a National Historic District that attracts cross-country skiers, hikers, and several festivals, including the Spanish Peaks International Celtic Music Festival. For the more outdoorsy, there is good fishing at Wahatoya Lake and Daigre Reservoir, while those who have a cruiser or a road bike with them can get great views of the Spanish Peaks, the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range, and Greenhorn Mountain on the La Veta Loop Trail, an easy three-mile loop around town. For really beautiful views, the Highway of Legends scenic byway is a must. The drive takes you south from La Veta and over Cuchara Pass. The drive continues through ranchland and forest and eventually gets to Cokedale, a National Historic District where you can see old coke ovens. The byway eventually takes you to Trinidad.

5PM | HAPPY HOUR La Veta Mercantile is a great place for a pre-dinner glass of wine or a beer. The name may allude to a dry goods store, but it is also an art gallery and a concert venue. It also has souvenirs, trinkets, fun gifts, home decor, housewares, and locally-made jewelry. Deerprint Wine & Bistro is another great place for a glass of wine. They also serve cheeses, salami, hummus plates and other appetizers to accompany the wines and to get your taste buds ready for dinner.

6PM | DINNER La Veta is small and so dinner options are slightly limited, however, there are a couple of good places. Legends on Main is the town’s newest restaurant and serves authentic New Mexican dishes as well as dishes from around the world sprinkled here and there. Alys’ is also a good choice. The menu changes daily with Chef Alys Romer sharing the menu each day on Facebook. Recent menus have included dishes such as rack of lamb, chicken cordon bleu, and spinach and ricotta dumplings with marinara sauce.

REST YOUR HEAD La Veta Inn on West Ryus Avenue is a historic property (the ledger from the original hotel that dates back to 1883 is in the lobby) but the facility has been modernised with luxury mattresses and HD TVs and the like. The Inn at the Spanish Peaks is a more homey option. The beautiful Santa Fe-style adobe building has three suites which all have private private decks that afford great views of the mountains. Photos (this page): Period Comms; (opposite Photos andCanyon bottom Archaeological left): Emily W via Yelp; (top right): Period page): Center 40 (topCrow Communications; (top middle): Anna Zoromski / Miles Photos: Period Communications

DRINKING & DINING Buy a bottle of locallydistilled spirits and get to shaking - we round up six of our favorites for summer






Summer means getting your grill out. Get tips on how to build the perfect burger, secrets on barbecuing at home, and how to get the best out of veggies

Colorado is awash with mushrooms in summer. Get the lowdown on how to get yourself a basket of boletus edulis

Three Colorado spirits, six different cocktails, one delicious summer

Photo: Period Communications

@WESTOF105 | #CrosstheMeridian


LICENSE TO GRILL Scrub off the grill, head to your local farmers’ market to stock up on amazing meat, vegetables and all kinds of other delights, and then read on for expert tips on how to turn your botanical bounty and your cuts of marvelous meat into a feast. Oh, and maybe leave the bamboo skewers in the kitchen drawer

42 Photo: Aral Tasher

SUMMER STAPLES If your idea of a barbecue is to throw some canned hot dogs and frozen burgers on a grill before slapping them, slightly carbonized, into subpar buns before slathering on store bought ketchup and mustard, you may want to move along. However, there is nothing even remotely wrong with hot dogs and hamburgers, if you do them right. Making your own sausages is a step too far for many of us, but your farmers market will almost certainly have some great links (check out eight great farmers markets on page 63). As for the great American burger, whether you like In-N-Out style smashed burgers or slabs of meat piled high with bacon, blue cheese and onions, hamburgers are pretty easy to master at home if you follow some simple tips. First is the meat to fat ratio. Fat equals flavor, but you can have too much of a good thing. The commonly accepted wisdom here is 80:20. Try it with a little more or a little less fat to find what works for you, but start there. Beef is obviously king when it comes to burgers, but the addition of pork to beef has been known to yield delicious results, and lamb burgers are massively underrated. As for what cut to use, well it is like the culinary adage about wine: If it isn’t good enough to drink, don’t cook with it. Same goes for burgers. Just because it’s ground up doesn’t mean any old meat will do. Chef Josh Niernberg of, among other culinary outlets, Bin Burger in Grand Junction, says brisket, chuck, round and scrap from trim are all good. Check out his perfect burger in the sidebar.

SMOKING HOT If you really want to impress this summer, a little smoke adds a new dimension to dishes. Patience is the key here, and while this technique is tougher to get right with a regular barbecue, a little technique goes a long way. Kyle and Michelle Woodward are the owners of Woody’s Q Shack (as well as a catering company and barbecue

competition team) in Alamosa. The team won the grand championship at the 2018 San Luis Valley Beat the Heat Barbecue competition and placed 16th overall out of 465 teams at the American Royal World Series of BBQ in Kansas City the same year, so they know a thing or two about barbecue, and they have offered a few tips for home barbecuers. The biggest tip Kyle offers is to get good meat. “In order to have a good finished product, you must start with a good product,” he says. “For any cut of beef, don’t buy any less than choice grade. Pork doesn’t have a grading system, but the darker the red when the pork is raw, and the more marbling, the better.” As for technique, Kyle says he wouldn’t recommend trying the low and slow method on a gas grill because you often end up with a gas taste. You can add a touch of smoke flavor on a gas grill by putting a handful of wood chips or pellets in a foil pouch and putting it on the grill. For true smoked meat, low and slow is the way to go, and if that is really what you want to achieve, you might need to go the whole hog and get a smoker. Kyle says you can’t go wrong with a Traeger, but he currently uses a Gateway Drum Smoker at home. Sharp knives (which can be attained and maintained by using a good sharpening system) and a good digital instant read meat thermometer are also pretty essential tools.

ALTERNATIVE CUTS If you really want to mix things up, get experimental with cuts you rarely use or have never even heard of. Chicken thighs aren’t exactly exotic, but they are the most underrated part of the chicken in our opinion. Bone in and skin on, they stay moist, they’re meaty and substantial, and have so much more flavor than breasts or wings. Then there is lamb. Yes, lamb chops are incredible, but a stuffed and rolled breast of lamb is a thing of beauty. Or how about beef ribs or pig cheeks? Speak to a good butcher and have your culinary universe expanded beyond your wildest carnivorous dreams.

JOSH NIERNBERG’S PERFECT BURGER In terms of meat to fat ratio, it should be at least 80:20 (but you can go up to 75:25) and made from brisket and chuck, round, and scrap from trim that is ground quite coarsely. Nothing else is needed for a perfect burger. As for weight, he says between a quarter and a third of a pound. They should be pressed thin and cooked over a low to medium heat so the fat renders and it flames on the coals which adds some smoke flavor. The additional surface area of a thin burger allows for more browning of the meat, known as the Maillard reaction, which creates more flavor. Only move the burger once to flip it and cook to 135F internally. Serve on a steamed and toasted potato bun (put a buttered potato bun cut side down on a skillet on a super low temp. The moisture in the bun eventually steams the bun from the inside while it gently toasts. Check for doneness by tapping the top: as it steams, it gets more and more delicate and soft). Always add tomato, and as for leaves of some kind, endives (frisee or chicory) work better as they have some bitterness and a lower water content but also a great texture. Always add cheese. White cheddar is the standby, goat’s cheese is always great, as are soft ripened cheeses. Whatever you use, there needs to be a sharpness or a pungency to pair with the richness of the beef. Always have an aioli of some kind, too. Pickled pepper is his favorite.


Sea Food, Eat Food Yes, we are landlocked in Colorado, but there is an abundance of critters swimming and scuttling their way around our waterways. Ever eaten a rusty crayfish? Well, they are here and not only are they a nuisance, they’re pretty tasty! Then there are several species of trout, kokanee salmon, mountain whitefish, catfish, and large and smallmouth bass. There are also several companies that bring seafood in from around the country and world including Kaleb’s Katch which only offers wild caught US seafood (specializing in Alaskan seafood, sockeye and coho salmon, halibut, cod, weathervane scallops and wild Key West pink shrimp). Based in Eagle, Kaleb’s Katch delivers throughout the Vail and Aspen valleys and from Denver to Fort Collins. Kaleb Walker (the Kaleb of Kaleb’s Katch) has as few tips when it comes to seafood. Seafood is delicate, so if you’re marinating, try not to do it for more than 30 minutes or proteins in the fish will start to break down. Similarly, seafood cooks quickly and so it’s best to cook on a high heat unless smoking. And seafood is particularly susceptible to overcooking, so keep an eye on that timer.

Sauces and Salsas Grilled meat, seafood and vegetables love to be slathered in sauce. Could be a barbecue sauce, could be a piquant chimichurri, or maybe a salsa verde. You could blister some tomatillos, tomatoes,

chilies, onions and garlic and bring it all together in a pestle and mortar (or with two big knives and a chopping board) for a delicious salsa, if you want. Or keep it simple with a seasoned butter. Really want to impress? Try something exotic sounding like sauce au chien (which is just a vinaigrette made with herbs, chiles, aromatic vegetables and lime juice).

In Season Produce With so much incredible produce at farmers markets across the state, we would be remiss to neglect the amazing things barbecues can do to vegetables. Grilled miso-brushed eggplant, perhaps or how about charred romaine with a burnt lemon vinaigrette? Then there are things you can find on your own such as asparagus and mushrooms (see page 46 for info on foraging for fungi). And don’t forget the fruit. Grilled Palisade peaches drizzled with a vanilla syrup or stewed cherries poured over vanilla ice cream. Eliza Gavin from 221 South Oak in Telluride shared a few recipes from her new book “Hold The Meat: Vegetarian & Vegan Recipes with Sassy Asides.” (See page 53 for a profile of Gavin and 221 South Oak). Her grilled shiitake mushrooms with nori oil served with cucumber and fingerling potatoes with misozucke is a nice diversion from more traditional mountain cuisine (see the sidebar for the recipe). This recipe will work with other kinds of mushrooms, too, so substitute in what you find out after a foraging expedition.

Grilled Shiitake Mushrooms Simply-grilled mushrooms with nori oil, cucumber, and fingerling potatoes with misozucke Nori Oil Two nori sheets Half a cup of canola oil Place the nori sheets in a blender with half the oil. With the machine running, slowly add the remaining oil. The mixture should be smooth. Transfer to a squeeze bottle. Misozucke Eight oz firm tofu Quarter of a cup of miso paste Quarter of a cup of sherry wine Quarter of a cup of soy Two oz of cream cheese Blend everything together until very smooth. Fingerling potatoes, cucumbers and grilled shiitake mushrooms Olive oil 2 lbs fingerling potatoes 1½ lbs shiitake mushrooms, stemmed 2 English cucumbers, diced Preheat the oven to 350° and fire up the grill with whatever mode of heat you prefer. Slice the fingerlings in half lengthwise. Toss the potatoes in enough oil to coat and season with salt and pepper. Place the potatoes on a pan with enough room for each to cook evenly. Place the potatoes in the oven for 15 minutes or until they are tender on the inside and crispy on the outside. Toss the shiitake mushrooms in enough oil to coat and place on the grill. Grill on the first side until you see some grill marks, about 5 minutes. Flip the mushrooms and grill on the opposite side until they are cooked through, about 3 more minutes. Place the fingerlings, cucumbers, and enough misozucke to coat the vegetables in a large pot over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cover the pot. Stirring every 5 or so minutes, heat the tubers and cukes until they are warmed through, about 20 minutes. Divide the fingerlings and cucumbers amongst 4 plates, top with the grilled shiitakes and drizzle with nori oil.




Complementary Wines We picked out a couple of wines from one of our favorite Colorado wineries, The Storm Cellar in Hotchkiss. We then asked Jayme Henderson and Steve Steese, the dynamic duo behind the incredible winery, to give us a few of their favorite Colorado wines to enjoy with your summer smorgasbord.

Alfred Eames Cellars Sangre Del Sol: The Blood of the Sun is a blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot Restoration Vineyards Barbera: An Italian grape that is commonly known as “The

Wine of the People,” the Barbera produced by Restoration has notes of cherry, blackcurrant, spice, and vanilla. Pairs nicely with intensely flavored meats such as ribeye and bratwurst.

The Storm Cellar 2019 Rosé of St. Vincent Made from the relatively unknown St. Vincent grape, this wine was crafted to be the perfect wine for summer and pairs well with grilled meats like ribs, burgers, and even steaks. Flavors and aromas of dark cherry, pomegranate, and tea are silky in texture, but bold enough to stand up to summer barbecue. The Storm Cellar 2019 M+M: Intensely aromatic, floral, and tropical, this dry wine is a blend of Muscat and Malvasia Bianca, making it the ideal choice for a hot summer day. Grilled chicken, fish, and vegetables shine alongside a chilled glass of this unique blend, made from two of the most ancient wine varieties, both grown in Palisade. Buckle Family Wine 2018 Cinsault: This lesser known Southern Rhone varietal is usually used for blending in Châteauneufdu-Pape red wines and Provençal rosés in Southern France. Cinsault thrives in the Colorado climate, due to the intense summer heat. It is light and bright in color and on the palette, with flavors of red raspberry, strawberry, and baking spices such as clove. Stone Cottage Cellars 2018 Syrah: Spicy, soft and full-bodied, this wine opens with black fruit giving way to warm butter and baking spices, followed by a toasty pepper finish. This wine has a lower acidity than most of our other wines and shines both as a sipping wine or paired with cured meats, barbecue, and smoked Gouda. Bonacquisti Wine Company’s 2019 Colorado Tempranillo: Aromas and flavors of Vanilla, dark berries, smoked meat, dark chocolate and espresso. Well balanced, medium body with a long finish. Photo: Kelsey Chance

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FORAGING FOR FUNGI Foraging for mushrooms, even if you come home empty handed, is at a minimum a lovely walk through the woods. If you happen to stumble on a patch of porcinis or a cluster of chanterelles, all the better. And it is as enjoyable whether you’re in a small group, with another person, or just with your dog, which makes it a perfect pandemic pursuit! When: Foraging for mushrooms in Colorado begins in earnest around May and runs, depending on the kind of fungi you’re looking for, until sometime in October, but it is in the midst of summer, between mid-July to mid-August that hunting, especially for choice edibles like porcinis, heats up in the hills. Andy Wilson, the president of the Colorado Mycological Society, says that mid-July through late September are the best times with the peak typically coming around mid-August. “It all comes down to the summer monsoons,” he says, “and how much rain hits the forests and plains. Also, if there was a

good snowpack the winter before, the ground says moist longer so fungi can do their thing.” What: There are plenty of edible mushrooms that grow across the state, including the most prized of all which are oysters, porcinis, chanterelles and matsutake, but there are plenty of other delicious species including shaggy mane, wood ear, enoki, and hawks wing. However, the generally accepted king of mushrooms is the morel thanks to its meaty flavor and texture. Where: This is the toughest question to ask a mushroom forager. It’s like asking a pirate where they buried their treasure. You can usually find a few generous souls in foraging groups online that might guide you in the right direction, but where to find mushrooms is largely a secret, and the hunt is part of the fun anyway. Perhaps the best way to find out (and to learn about foraging generally) is to ask around to see if anyone would be interested in having

you tag along with them on a “hunt.” A general rule of thumb is that mushrooms tend to sprout at lower elevations early in the season and as the season progresses they can be found at increasingly higher elevations. Also, as the season progresses some mushrooms become less available and others start sprouting, so knowing what to look for, when and where will help you find them and identify the edible varieties. Trent and Kristen Blizzard of modernforager.com live in Glenwood Springs and have been scanning and foraging the woods of the Roaring Fork Valley and beyond for years. They have curated special morel burn maps and an accompanying e-book that will teach you how to use their maps as well as an overview of elevation, forest types, accessibility, necessary permits, lands where you can and cannot hunt, natural indicators, and portable tech you can utilize. The Burn Morels e-book is included with all of their maps.

DEATH BY MUSHROOM The single most important thing to know when foraging is what you can and, more importantly, what you CANNOT eat. You only really get to make the mistake of eating a particularly poisonous mushroom once. And they are out there, and they can often look very much like edible varieties. It is critically important to not go out foraging for mushrooms unless you are 110 percent certain that you know what you’re doing, and even then it doesn’t hurt to have someone else for a second opinion as well as an illustrated field guide. Your life literally depends on picking the right mushrooms.



Mushroom foragers also track wildfires because they can produce bumper crops of morels the year following a fire, specifically in the ashes of fires in conifer forests. Referred to as “burn morels,” the scientific term for mushrooms that rise from the ashes is “phoenicoid” which comes from the same root as phoenix, the mythical creature that also sprang from ashes.


Photos (opposite): Eberhard Grossgasteiger; (this page left): Mohamed Jasir (this page top right): Dennis Scherdt; (this page bottom right): Timothy Dykes




Hot Colorado summer days and cooler summer evenings are perhaps best dealt with by mixing up a cocktail or two. We picked a few distillers west of 105 and found two awesome cocktail recipes for each one - one that’s better for scorching hot days and another that’s more suitable for sipping around a campfire - for your imbibing pleasure.


VODKA GIMLET Just as in Bond’s martini, vodka is often used in place of gin in numerous cocktails. This riff on the gimlet (which according to Raymond Chandler’s 1953 novel “The Long Goodbye” is half gin and half Rose’s lime juice) adds muddled basil leaves to the mix. Gently muddle four basil leaves in a cocktail shaker, add 1 ½ ounces of vodka, ¾ ounce of fresh lime juice and ½ ounce of simple syrup. Fill with ice, shake vigorously and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a basil leaf. Spirit of choice: Vodka Woody Creek Distillery | Basalt


SPIKED LEMONADE Vodka is the most neutral spirit, and so lends itself nicely to all kinds of flavors and is great for spiking otherwise innocent drinks! Agua frescas are particularly great for adding a shot or two of vodka to, but we love spiking homemade lemonade - a great way to cool down and get the party started. The quickest way to make lemonade is to throw three roughly chopped unwaxed lemons into a blender with around five ounces of sugar and one liter of water. Blend for a few minutes then strain through a fine mesh. Lemonade ready to be spiked. Garnish with frozen lemon slices or throw in some leftover basil from your vodka gimlet. Spirit of choice: Vodka Highlands Distillery | Grand Junction





The very fragrant Bramble is a gin classic that is as refreshing as it is legendary. As the name suggests, the Bramble brings blackberry to the fore. Shake a large measure of gin, about 1.5 ounces, with half a measure each of lemon juice and sugar syrup. Pour this over crushed ice and drizzle a quarter measure of blackberry liqueur (we like Leopold Bros. Rocky Mountain Blackberry Liqueur), on top. Garnish with lemon zest or some fresh berries.

A gin classic, the negroni is as simple as it is elegant. With just a few ingredients, it is a divisive cocktail thanks to the bitterness of Campari, but we love it. Combine 1 ½ ounces of gin, 1 ounce Campari, and 1 ounce of sweet vermouth in a mixing glass with ice, stir, then strain into a chilled glass and garnish with an orange twist (peel off a strip of rind with a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife, fold the edges inward with peel facing out squeeze so that a mist of orange oil sprays on to the drink). You can, if you like, serve this over ice, too.

Spirit of choice: Gin Storm King Distilling Co. | Montrose

Spirit of choice: Gin with notes of lavender and hibiscus Fraser Valley Distilling | Fraser

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SAZERAC One of the classic uses for rye is the Sazerac. The official drink of New Orleans (since 2008), the Sazarac was said to have been originally made with Cognac, but that is largely considered a myth. And that isn’t the end of the controversy. Some recipes call for absinth, but many in the Big Easy say Herbsaint is the only aniseed flavor that should go into a Sazarac. Some bartenders say to use only Peychaud’s bitters, while some use Peychaud’s and Angostura bitters. This is one of the multitude of variations, but get creative and make it your own. Fill an Old Fashioned glass with ice. Muddle a sugar cube with two to four dashes of bitters in another glass, add rye whiskey and ice, and stir until chilled. Empty the chilled glass and add a splash of Herbsaint (or absinth) and rinse the glass (pouring out any excess). Strain the cocktail into the glass and garnish with twisted lemon peel. Spirit of choice: Rye Whiskey Deerhammer | Buena Vista 52

DESCANSO BEACH SMASH The Descanso Beach Smash is a summer drink that is light and refreshing without being overly sweet. Put four slices of lemon and five mint leaves to a shaker and muddle well. Add two ounces of rye whiskey, 3/4 ounce of Aperol, and 1/4 ounce of simple syrup and ice and shake well. Strain into a double old fashioned or wine glass filled with ice. Garnish with three orange wedges and a sprig of mint. (While there isn’t exactly a substitute for Aperol, Campari can be used in a pinch, but as it is more bitter than Aperol the sweetness needs to be adjusted a little bit). Spirit of choice: Bonded Rye Whiskey Laws Whiskey House | Denver RECIPE BY JOHN COLTHARP | FOODANDWINE.COM


221 SOUTH OAK | TELLURIDE Eliza Gavin is pretty well known in Telluride and around the state thanks to her restaurant, 221 South Oak, but she also has fans around the country and the world thanks to her appearances on Top Chef.

and The Bird in LA, Soba Ra in Honjo, Japan, Dirt Candy in NYC, and Frasca in Boulder. Eventually she found her way to Telluride where she began working at 221 South Oak. She took over the business the following fall.

Before settling in Telluride in the fall of 1999, Gavin moved around. A lot. From running a kitchen in her hometown of Richmond, Virginia while attending college, she has worked at Galatoire’s in New Orleans, attended the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley and Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She has also worked for short stints at some very well-known restaurants including Ink in LA, Arzak in San Sebastian, Sweet Basil in Vail, Hinoki

This October will mark two full decades at 221, and while some things have barely changed, other things have changed a lot in the intervening two decades. “There were fewer restaurants in Telluride twenty years ago, for a start,” she says. “It was also slow when we first started, and our summer seasons were really slow because many of the big festivals that Telluride is now known for weren’t around,

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but that was good as I had so much to learn.” Gavin estimates that back in those days 75 percent of the restaurant’s trade came in winter. Now around 70 percent of her revenue comes in summer. And surprisingly, this summer will be no different, despite regulations around the coronavirus. “We have actually built another dining room in what used to be our driveway,” she says. “We call it the Campground. It’s essentially a marquee with astro turf, and people seem to really like it. The extra space has enabled us to essentially offset the social distancing requirements.” In fact, the Campground has offset the restrictions so much that so far this summer has been as good last summer if not better. It has been such a success that Gavin is actually hiring staff. Gavin also teaches a Wine and Appetizer pairing class which is currently booked solid for the next few months. Perhaps the biggest change Gavin has noticed in the industry in Colorado and in Telluride specifically is the advent of the farm-to-table movement.

54Photos (opposite): Matt Alberts (bottom left and middle row, center: Jeff Fierberg, (all others): Bryan Redniss

“There are just so many more farmers now,” she says. “It used to be the case in Colorado that you could get plenty of potatoes and corn, but not that much else.” In addition to more options, technology has also helped farmers and chefs communicate. “Even when you could find farmers growing interesting things, they would just turn up at your backdoor with produce, but by that point you had planned a menu,” Gavin says. “Now you can go online and see what people have and plan accordingly knowing it’s on the way.” Back in 2012, Gavin competed in Top Chef Season 10 (she had previously won the Telluride Top Chef Competition by beating three of Telluride’s best chefs), but it was a bittersweet experience. “It opened a lot of doors, and was a very humbling experience,” she says. “But it was so hard. I wasn’t in the restaurant for two months and so coming back was hard. On the flipside, it brought us so much business, so it was worth it in the long run.” One thing that 221 is known for is its dedication to vegetarian dishes. Gavin isn’t a vegetarian herself, but for the last 16 years she has offered a full


vegetarian menu. “For so long menus would have a token vegetarian pasta dish at the very bottom. I thought that needed to be addressed,” she says. And even though things have changed a lot since she created her first vegetarian menu, around a third of people who visit balk at the idea of not eating meat. Carnivores fear not, this summer you will be able to find meaty menu items like house made sausages, buttermilk fried quail with spicy honey, rack of lamb,


and elk T-bones, but vegetarians or those looking for a meat-free meal, will also find delicious sounding dishes such as peri peri beet tartare and smoked tofu with edamame and corn succotash. This year is not only the 20th anniversary of Gavin taking over at 221, it has also seen the release of her third cookbook. Her first, “Foreplay: A Book of Appeteasers” was released in 2006 which was followed by “Recipes from 221 South Oak Bistro” in 2009 which celebrated dishes that have graced the tables of 221. “Hold The Meat: Vegetarian & Vegan Recipes with Sassy Asides” is an exploration of vegetarian and vegan dishes with over 300 recipes broken down into three sections for those new to vegetarianism, those who want to expand their veggie horizons and the final section - Balls Deep Vegan - is for those who want to make the leap to veganism.

can be found on page 44 in our grilling story. “Hold The Meat: Vegetarian & Vegan Recipes with Sassy Asides” is out now and can be ordered online at 221southoak.com or by stopping in at the restaurant.

“Hold The Meat: Vegetarian & Vegan Recipes with Sassy Asides” is an exploration of vegetarian and vegan dishes with over 300 recipes”

While it’s hard to pick just one recipe from that many, Gavin really likes the grilled celery with purple potato mash recipe as it showcases celery. “Gilling celery really brings out its sweetness.” Gavin’s grilled shiitake mushrooms with nori oil from “Hold The Meat”

Photos: Courtesy of 221 South Oak

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LIFESTYLE Scarp Ridge Lodge is located in the heart of Crested Butte and offers an idyllic summer getaway







The flagship property for Eleven Experiences is a beautiful lodge located right in downtown Crested Butte

Enjoy the bountiful riches of the state at the various farmers markets across Colorado

Colorado is home to a handful of lavender fields, and therefor offers a range of lavender-based products

Photo: Eleven Experiences


Outdoor Research | Vantage Crop Top $55 Carve Designs | Hayes One Piece $88 This classy one-piece features playful cross-strap detailing on the back, and a soft, ribbed fabric. A built-in shelf bra features removable pads, and the rear offers medium coverage

Offering UPF 30 sun protection, this compression-fit crop top is comfortable, moisture wicking, quick drying and has plenty of stretch perfect for scaling a mountain or trail running. We especially love the strappy details on the back

Arc’teryx | Remige Hoody $89 Perfect for playing it safe in the sun, the Remige Hoody was created to help keep you shielded from the sun (a bonus when you’re hiking about 10,000 feet! The soft fabric wicks away moisture and a brimmed hood protects the face

Oakley | Side Swept $216 With a square frame and an updated cat eye, these elegant sunglasses are flatting on most face shapes and offer a sophisticated, modern look. Perfect for wearing around town.

California Cowboy | La Sirena Kimono $148

All Birds | Tree Breezers $95 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

Royal Robbins | Spotless Traveler Cargo Pants $100 Lightweight and stain resistant (as the name suggests), these pants are ideal for summer traveling. They feature plenty of pockets for storage and adjustable leg lengths that can go from full length to carpi in a cinch

Up your pool or lake-side game with California Cowboy’s fun, vintage-inspired take on the robe. The pattern has a fun retro feel, while playful touches include a Champagne pocket, a water resistant zip pocket and a sunglasses loop



Helly Hansen | Oya SS Shirt $74.95 In addition to the fun prints, this shirt is perfect for a Colorado summer. It’s lightweight and the poly, cotton blend has moisture wicking properties. Great for hiking and camping but thanks to the collar, it’s smart enough for some summer apres.

Redew | Zero Cotton Jacket $150 It’s hard to decide what we love more about this jacket, the sheer style of it or the fact it is made from wood fibers. The jacket was produced in collaboration with Swedish e-motorbike manufacturer Cake

Outdoor Research | Ferrosi Shorts $70 Great for several different activities because of their rugged construction, the Ferrosi shorts are stretchy, durable, and abrasionresistant. Well used on the water as well as for climbing and hiking.

Maho | Positano Sunglasses $170 These handcrafted sunglasses were created to be worn water-skiing and then sipping a cocktail lakeside when you’re finished. Polarized lenses, stainless steel hinges and temples, and the company’s Zuma fit and retention system make for a great pair of summer sunglasses

Evoc | Stage Capture 16L $190 Saola| Cannon Knit: $99.95 Comfortable, stylish, breathable and great for slipping on and off thanks to the stretchy recycled PET knit upper. They’re super lightweight, too thanks to the outsole being made from algae foam

Mountain Khakis | Waterrock Pants $99.95 Breathable and versatile, these slim tailored pants have a DWR rating of 80/10, five pockets with drain holes, and a hidden zip pocket. They’re also quick dry and wicking

This camera bag from Evoc looks good but there is substance behind the surface. Spacious enough for a camera body and a couple of lenses (and lots of bits and pieces), it is rugged and well padded




CARP RIDGE LODGE is Eleven Experience’s flagship property. Located in the heart of Crested Butte, one of the state’s most charming mountain towns, Scarp Ridge Lodge brings together European ski chalets with Rocky Mountain style

lots of little touches and accents remind you that you’re in a mountain town, but the luxurious fabrics and furnishings remind you that you’re on vacation. The exterior of the building still has the original facade from when it was a saloon which gives the place a real Wild West feel.

Formerly the Croatian Hall, a place where miners gathered to let loose during the region’s mining boom days, Scarp Ridge Lodge is nothing if not luxurious. The 13,500-square-foot property has five king rooms, all en suite naturally, as well as a bunk room with two queen beds, two full beds and three twin beds, and the bunkroom connects to a single nanny bedroom. The property can accommodate 14 people in total.

While the property is perfectly located for adventuring, whether that be in summer or winter, you will likely have to tear yourself away at least once during your stay thanks to the saltwater pool, and indoor and rooftop hot tubs. The luxuriously furnished Great Room and the tranquility of the library will also make you want to stay all day. Then there are the breakfasts and après libations, the in-room minibar, and the house alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages that are all included that might also want to make you stay and lounge, soak and relax.

The interior of the lodge is beautifully decorated in neutral and calming tones with reclaimed iron from the old mills being used to good effect. Exposed beams and

You’ll have a pre-arrival planning conversation with an Eleven Experience manager where you tell them what you like and what you don’t, and they take that information and



make your stay even more magical. Other facilities and amenities include a steam room, a sauna, a media room with an HD projector and screen, a children’s playroom and a gym. Oh, and the property has an oxygen enriched air system. There is also a stocked kitchen and pantry in case you get peckish. Slideshows of your day’s adventures that play on flat screen TVs around the property are a nice touch. As beautiful as it is inside, it is the lodge’s proximity to adventure that is it’s real selling point - this is Colorado after all. Choose from a range of quintessential Colorado activities such as fly fishing, hiking (including the opportunity to “bag a 14er”), rock climbing, stand-up paddle boarding, whitewater rafting, kayaking, and mountain biking. And if there is something else you really want to do, be sure to ask. The staff at Eleven Experience properties are friendly and professional and they will do their utmost to accommodate requests. elevenexperience.com


Photos: Eleven Experiences

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Blue sky, emerald green pine trees, and granite cliffs frame all of your adventures at Taylor River Lodge. The property’s off-the-grid location deep in Colorado’s Taylor Canyon is the perfect setting for friends, families, and corporate groups to unplug and reconnect. The surrounding mountains offer rugged single track and scenic hiking trails, along with a semi-private stretch of world-class trout fishing water on the Taylor River located just steps from our cabins.






FARMERS MARKETS These days, farmers’ markets are more than just a few stalls selling produce they plucked from the earth that very morning, although there are still plenty of those, as well as meat and eggs from local farms. Most markets offer all kinds of things including ready to eat food as well as arts and crafts from regional artisans, and often live music. Things will inevitably be a little different this year, and regulations may be changed at short notice, so be sure to check the latest guidelines before you head to a market these days.

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VAIL Earlier this summer Vail Farmers’ Market launched a virtual market experience which allows shoppers to purchase items via curbside pickup and shipping. Featuring more than 100 vendors, including produce, meat, fish, cheese, local art, and clothing, the online storefront opens each Monday for pick up the following Sunday. The market is working with local and state health officials and the town of Vail and plans to open the physical market in some capacity in July.



Dillon Farmers’ Market is as much a bazaar as it is a market as it features all kinds of arts and crafts such as artistic glass jewelry, handmade pottery, boutique soaps as well as cheeses, pastries, all kinds of breads and much more. The lakeside market also offers the chance to explore Lake Dillon on a historical boat tour with departures from Dillon Marina (90-minute tour; $40 per person). The market takes place on Fridays until Sept 11th from 9am – 2pm.

CARBONDALE Blending farm fresh produce with arts and crafts, the Carbondale farmers’ market welcomes vendors from around the region as well as having local businesses who take the opportunity to set up shop including Carbondale Beer Works. The arts are well represented by Carbondale Arts and representatives from the Carbondale Chamber are on hand to answer questions from visitors. And even though there are lots of delicious foods on offer, eating is not permitted within the market space. The market takes place every Wednesday through Sept from 10am-3pm at Fourth and Main.



Photos (top to bottom) Shawn O’Connor, The Ritz-

64Carlton Bachelor Gulch, True Nature Healing Arts


Lots of local fruits and vegetables as well as flowers and plants, meat, cheeses, eggs, as well as lots of baked goods to enjoy as you peruse. The market also offers a good range of natural bodycare products and all manner of crafts. Another market that currently has live music, the Ridgway farmers’ market takes place every Friday from 10am-3pm in Hartwell Park.


CORTEZ Expect lots of fresh fruit and vegetables from farms in the area as well as dry beans, eggs, local meats, fresh flowers, and local honey. There will also be specialty vendors selling various crafts and prepared food and drinks. As with many farmers’ markets, live music is on hold for now. The market is on Saturday mornings from 7:30-11:30am through Oct 31st in the Montezuma County Courthouse parking lot.



Arbol Farm Market just outside Paonia takes place every Tuesday between May and Oct from 5-8pm. The market features wood oven pizzas that are made with farm fresh herbs and vegetables, homemade mozzarella and organic locally cured meats; seasonal fruits and vegetables from Snowborn Farm and Rancho del Gallo (with the latter also providing yogurt and cheese and biodynamic beef); Sweetgrass Bakery; as well as locally made pickles, preserves, jams and jellies among lots of other things.

MONTROSE Possibly the only year-round farmers’ market on the Western Slope, the Montrose farmers’ market is located right downtown and has all kinds of goodies, both those you can enjoy right then and there and others you can take home. If you get there early enough, grab a cinnamon roll from Straw Hat Farm Market before they disappear and grab a coffee and sit in Centennial Plaza and watch the market come to life. One of the few markets to have live music, the Montrose farmers’ market takes place downtown on South Uncompahgre between Main Street and South First every Saturday.



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


The Crested Butte Farmers’ Market has lots of organic and certified naturally grown vegetables, fruits, and herbs as well as all kinds of pasture-raised and grass-finished meats, wild-caught fish, artisanal cheeses, local wine, hard ciders, juices, breads, jams, jellies, pickles, fresh flowers and all kinds of arts and crafts. The market takes place every Sunday on Elk Avenue between First and Second Streets from 9am to 2pm with the first hour for senior citizens only. Until Aug. 27th the market will be open on Thursday evenings from 3-6pm in Cranks Plaza. 65



RIZED since ancient times for its perfume, color and medicinal properties (researchers have found that some components of lavender odor had effects on anxiety similar to taking Valium), lavender is a popular commercial crop in Colorado due to the fact that several varieties grow particularly well here thanks to the climate. As such, there are several farms and dozens of companies across the state creating various products from it. There is even a Lavender Association of Colorado.


Belli Fiori Lavender Farm just outside Grand Junction was started by Lisa and Dave Proietti. Starting from scratch, they now have over 1,000 plants of several different varieties. In addition to welcoming guests to the farm (when normal service resumes there will be pastries and drinks on offer in addition to the shop), the company also produces a range of small-batch aromatherapy, culinary, and body care products including bath bombs, lotions and soaps as well as edible lavender products like seasoning salt, shortbread and a lavender simple syrup. We really like the lavender candles, especially the lavender and sweet vanilla.


CULTURE & EVENTS With social distancing guidelines in place, perusing outdoor art is the perfect way to get a dose of culture this summer




We love public art, and we have quite a lot of it: from the murals of Delta, the selfproclaimed City of Murals, to the sculptures of downtown GJ

There are so many talented people here in Colorado making all kinds of things. Check out a few of these kings and queens of craft

The Colorado Tourism Office shares the five golden rules to follow to travel responsibly this summer in Colorado


Photo: Zach Mahone





ART 68




Art, whatever form it takes, is always a good thing. It can be functional or purely visual and it can tell a story or be void of meaning altogether. We are particularly big fans of public art. We love being able to see art as we go about our daily lives. Here are a few spots west of 105 that have public art @WESTOF105 in one form | #CrosstheMeridian or another





The Montrose Public Art eXperience (PAX) works to create a more pleasing visual environment as well as to offer people the chance to see art as they go about their daily lives. There is actually a lot of public art in Montrose, from the tiny to the gigantic. Vic Payne’s “Bad Decision” is a huge piece on the corner of Main Street and Townsend Avenue

Last year the City of Cortez created brochures and a walking tour for the city’s more than three dozen murals. The murals have been broken down into four, eight-block walking tours and one, three-mile driving tour. Designated Driver” by Automne Mosher and Arica Dean is on the west wall of Cork N Bottle liquor store.

Photos: (clockwise from top left): Visit Montrose, Period Communications, Carbondale Public Arts Commission, Visit Grand Junction



Art aRound Town was established by the Carbondale Public Arts Commission as part of its mission to promote all forms of visual art and to display as much as they could throughout the community. Art aRound Town is an annual rotating sculpture exhibit featuring sculptors from Colorado and across the country.

Public art played a part in revitalizing Grand Junction’s downtown. Art on the Corner was created by sculptor Dave Davis and other local artists by placing 32 sculptures on downtown streets. Today there are over 100 sculptures, murals, and other works of art that grace walls, alleys, street corners, and sidewalks around town.






The RKY MTN WALLS Art Festival was born in the summer of 2018 and created a series of murals around town. Clustered together along Agate Avenue, the murals are diverse and give the town a really contemporary vibe. The murals were intentionally located close together to make it appealing for those who want to stroll and view.

Pieces in the permanent Breckenridge public art collection are scattered around town. More than 30 pieces are split into three tours: Public Art Downtown, Public Art North + East, and Historic Arts District Campus. Maps, both traditional and digital, are available. Breckenridge is also home to “Isak Heartstone” - a 15-foot tall wooden troll sculpture located on the Trollstigen Trail.

Photos: (clockwise from top left): Granby Chamber, Visit Breckenridge Visit Durango / Sherry Dugdae, Junction, Aspen Chamber of Commerce



The city’s sizable public art collection is spread out all over town in open city-owned areas, inside city-owned facilities, or in areas designed as public areas. We love “The Train Goes Round and Round” which is part of the City’s Youth Art Partnership with Durango High School and was created by Durango High School Students. It sits in the Durango Botanical Society’s demonstration garden behind the Durango Public Library.

Perhaps Aspen’s most prominent piece of public art is Shepard Fairey’s ‘Ideal Power’ mural, but the Aspen Institute also offers various art and walking tours throughout the year.

@WESTOF105 | #CrosstheMeridian




From leather goods to fiber weaving to knives and jewelry, Colorado is awash with talented people making all kinds of things. Here are a few of the multitude of crafters west of 105 that we like 72


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WEST OF 105 | CULTURE & EVENTS Lucky Tree Studio, Montrose Creating awesome laser cut jewelry, ornaments, and dream catchers among other things, Lucky Tree primarily uses bamboo because it is eco-friendly, light weight, beautiful and works great to diffuse essential oils. Offering their own designs as well as bespoke pieces, each piece is sketched before being cut out of bamboo with a laser cutter.

Hayden Knife, Carbondale Hayden Kessel forged his own path when he established his brand of custom blades back in 2015. Made from high-carbon steel, even the wood he uses in his forge is locally sourced. The modern-yetrugged blades he produces are great for everything from the kitchen to the backcountry.

Moots Bicycles, Steamboat Springs For almost four decades, Moots has been handcrafting bicycle frames in Colorado. Known for producing high-quality titanium road, mountain, cross and specialty bike frames, the company’s latest bike is the womble!

Vintage Overland, Grand Junction Vintage Overland designs and builds camping trailers in Grand Junction. With attention to detail, the handmade caravans are not only one-of-a-kind, but they’re beautiful and rugged, too!

And is the tip of the crafting iceberg. Want to learn how to bind books? Check out the American Academy of Bookbinding in Telluride. Cedar Ridge Ranch in Carbondale can show you how to make needle felted alpaca ornaments. There is a ceramic studio in Breckenridge, confectionery classes in Pagosa Springs from Choke Cherry Tree, and batik classes in La Veta courtesy of Shalawalla Gallery.

Photos (top to bottom): Lucky Tree Studio, Hayden Knife, Moots, Vintage Overland, Jennifer Burk (opposite): Vishal Banik

@WESTOF105 | #CrosstheMeridian








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