KOTO Fundraising: Fun and Great Giveaways

KOTO Radio:  The Soul of Telluride, Colorado

KOTO Radio: The Soul of Telluride, Colorado

Join me today, Thursday, March 20,  A LITTLE EARLIER at about 6:20 pm (through 7pm) in Telluride, Colorado and within the outlying area and on the internet for my Travel Fun talk radio show. This will be a special live show for KOTO fundraising featuring a variety of movers and shakers from Telluride’s hospitality/tourism world. I will be giving away lots of great premiums including lodging stays, restaurant and retail gift certificates, books and even ski lift tickets in exchange for a donation to KOTO.

KOTO is a local NPR station and one of the few entirely community supported radio stations in the country. Please consider making a contribution to KOTO, so that we can keep community radio alive and well in America. That’s also a way of showing your support for Travel Fun!  Please email me from my Contacts Page with your pledge or donation. Many of my Travel Fun interviews are posted on this blog as podcasts here.

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Teaching, Training and Torchlighting with the Telluride Ski & Snowboard School

A Chairlift Selfie with One of my Charges

A Chairlift Selfie with One of My Charges

Phew! What an incredibly busy few weeks it has been. Today is my first real day off in almost fourteen days and I’m happy to be relaxing with my feet up while sipping a coffee and balancing my MacAir on my lap. It’s nice not to put ski boots on or bomb around in my big, puffy ski school uniform layered up and prepared for teaching people all day long out on the hill no matter the weather. I’m saving my sunny attitude for myself today and enjoying the fact that I can sit here quietly without having to flick the switch ON.

Indeed, we all do a tremendous amount of outputting at the Telluride Ski Resort all season long, however, most especially during the holiday period, our busiest time of the year. The pace quickens dramatically from zero to a hundred and fifty by the time December 20th hits and most of us go full-on until right about now. Building up to the season, most at the Telluride Ski & Snowboard School train, train, train, perfecting our own skiing and teaching skills, so that we can be ready for our guests. Come the first week in January, instructing continues at a slower pace while training resumes and we’re back out there perfecting our turns, working on rotary, edging and pressure skills so that we can convey the right technique to our clients if they so desire. (Sometimes—whether they’re kids or adults—they just want to play and ski or ride the day away with us as guides.)

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Ski Fever

Snowmaking on Top of Fresh this Week at Telluride Ski Resort---YES

Snowmaking on Top of Fresh this Week at Telluride Ski Resort—YES

Woo-hoo! Boy, has the snow been piling up here in Colorado.

Many people around the U.S. dream of a White Christmas. Here in Telluride, that’s a given. Ditto for Thanksgiving. And often we even have a white Halloween. This year’s Hallow’s Eve turned out to be super white—so much so that (as the pictures below or on the next page show) locals and Telluride Ski Resort workers alike hiked up the mountain and hit the trails to indulge in some sweet pow.

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Fall in Colorado: A Beautiful Time for Sightseeing and Winter Travel Planning

Fall in Telluride

Fall in Telluride

Fall in Aspen

Fall in Aspen

As you can see from the photos featured in this post, we are in full fall splendor here in Colorado. The foliage is peaking now, yet there’s still a lot of green on the trees. So it should remain beautiful in the mountains for another few weeks. Now we’ve entered the autumnal phase of white beginning to replace the gold, russet, burnt umber and bronze that currently punctuate our alpine panoramas. Yes, as the snow fills in, this harvest of fall colors fades into the landscape and we’re left increasingly hopeful about the opening of our ski resorts and the promise of the winter season in the Rockies.

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Visiting My Beautiful Adirondack Lake with the Lake George Steamboat Company

Fall:  A Stunning Time to Take a Boat Ride on Lake George, New York

Fall: A Stunning Time to Take a Boat Ride on Lake George, New York

Golden Vistas

Golden Vistas

I’m back in Colorado after my three-week trip to the Adirondacks in upstate New York. It’s gorgeous here in the Rockies and  it looks like the fall foliage will peak this weekend in most areas. All next week should be spectacular as well, especially since it snowed last night and with the sun shining again the vistas resemble sugarcoated autumnal Candy Lands resplendent with red, orange, yellow, green and blue (the sky, of course).

Part of my heart, however, remains at Lake George, dubbed “The Queen of American Lakes” by Thomas Jefferson. I spent my time in the Adirondacks with my parents where they’ve had a second home on Lake George for over forty years. While I was there, I was busy doing my writer thing and helping them out, however, I seized every opportunity to embrace the beauty, wonder and comforting spirit of the lake, a crystalline body of water whose heavenly scent and silky feel I can still conjure in my senses. After having spent a dozen fat summers there while growing up and having returned for both brief and extended visits ever since, to me, Lake George feels like an old friend, a dear companion that always welcomes me home with heaps of love and reassurance. Even after eleven years in Paris and almost twelve in Colorado, I never tire of this lake and its shores; its beauty, grace, resilience and sometimes turbulent force continue to amaze me.

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The Bike Culture of Crested Butte

ski hill

Sailing Down the Ski Hill in Crested Butte

Fat tires, skinny tires, town cruisers, sleek road bikes, bouncy mountain bikes—you name it, everywhere you turn in this freewheeling mountain town in the summer, you see a cyclist, a bike, a bike part or a bike path popping into view. I’ve been to many mountain towns across the Rockies, yet never have I observed so many bike doings as here in Crested Butte, Colorado. A bike mecca for sure, perhaps largely due to its glorious network of trails (many single track) and the fact that mountain biking took off here in the 1970s after some locals began retrofitting old Schwinns with gears and took to the hills. Since then, the bike culture has done nothing but grow to the point that people of all ages and ability levels can’t help joining in on the fun when they land in this stunning mountain town.

This morning I went out for a little power hike on the ski mountain. Did I feel out of place not being on two wheels? Not at all. Instead, I enjoyed hoofing about at my own pace and observing the biking activities both up close and from afar. From the bike wash station to the easy bike loading setup at the gondola, I realized Crested Butte is a mountain resort destination that takes cycling seriously. I meandered up my own single track that accommodated two-way hikers and uphill bikers, a sinuous path bordered by fields of wildflowers, where I could take in the full expanse of CB’s alpine setting and still boost my heart rate and break a little sweat.

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More Mountainfilm 2013 Highlights: High & Hallowed and Running Blind

High & Hallowed:  Everest 1963

High & Hallowed: Everest 1963

Mountaineering and remarkable physical achievements have been a big part of  Mountainfilm, a world renowned festival in Telluride, Colorado, since its origin in 1979. In addition to watching films that raise social awareness, I love taking in adventure films that thrill and inspire me on many levels. This year was no different and the two that stood out for me the most were “High & Hallowed:  Everest 1963” and “Running Blind,” both of which made their world premiere at the festival.

High & Hallowed,” a visually stunning film, juxtaposes the first American summiting of Mt. Everest in 1963 with a recent attempt. Filmmakers David Morton and Jake Norton skillfully tell the story of Everest past and present by marrying old footage with new. It’s also the tale of the West Ridge route, an Everest ascent that has only been achieved once back in 1963 by Tom Hornbein and Willi Unsoeld, two members of the original American team. Jim Whittaker was the first to plant the American flag on Everest on the already then-established South Col route, yet even more remarkably, Hornbein and Unsoeld followed up on the same expedition with the West Ridge ascent. Some consider this to have been an even more astounding feat than putting a man on the moon; all acknowledge this as having been one of the most daring climbs in history. And it hasn’t been successfully repeated since.

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Take Me to the River Especially on a Rafting Adventure

Little Duckie You're So Fine

Little Duckie You’re So Fine (Note the Snow-Capped Peaks in the Distance)

The rivers are running hard and fast in Colorado and other parts of the West right now. As our snowpack melts, creeks and streams swell and massive quantities of water surge into rivers, splicing through red rock canyons and verdant riverbanks. Rivers such as the Gunnison and the Colorado render near barren lands fertile thanks to clever irrigation systems, many of which were created over a half century ago. Western states such as Utah, Nevada and California delight in and depend on Colorado’s winter snowfall. Indeed, the appetite for this pristine supply of water has become so great that by the time the mighty Colorado arrives in the Gulf of Mexico, it is nothing but a trickle.

Before this happens, however, our rivers provide fabulous recreation for river runners—from serious oarsmen to casual day trippers—all in search of a good time. Whether you’re looking for a jaw-dropping adventure over gnarly rapids or a casual float along a wide swath of still waters (often possible late summer), rafting on the river promises some of the best fun around. And you can bet that views from the water are often more glorious than those appreciated from land.

I try to get out on the river at least once a year, not much in comparison to many people that head out on week-long river trips as soon as ski season ends. But for some, a river rafting expedition represents a once-in-a-lifetime occurence. Either way, river trip memories rank as some of the best.

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