Garden Love

Nina's Garden

Nina’s Garden

I’ve been feeling much love these past days. It’s a different sort of love. It’s a love shared around a theme:  gardening. This is rather new to me, since I’ve never been much of a gardener. I love visiting beautiful gardens and receiving a bouquet of flowers counts as one of my greatest joys in life, but getting down and dirty with the soil has never been my forté. Now, however, I’m much more enthusiastic, perhaps it’s because this year I decided to add vegetables and herbs to my potted plants. This year I yearn to see the fruits of my efforts and I’m crossing my fingers for an abundant harvest of tomatoes, peppers, basil, melon, pumpkins and more. As I sit at my desk, I’m sending love to all my little plants with the hope that they will defy the challenges of living at over 9,500 feet and that somehow they will miraculously thrive.

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Talking Wild with Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Looking Down at Crater Lake During Her Trek on the PCT

Cheryl Looking Down at Crater Lake During Her Trek on the PCT

I consider a movie to be good when I find myself thinking about it the next day. My barometer is the same for a book although with most good reads I find myself thinking about them while I’m reading them as well as in the days or weeks after I finish them. That’s been the case with Wild:  From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed, a superbly crafted memoir that dazzles your senses every step of the way. Her story moved me so much that I plan to read it again, something I never do. Although why wouldn’t I? From beginning to end, I was gripped by this powerful tale of transformation, this raw account of one woman’s life-changing journey both literally and figuratively. Plus, as I learned in Wild, Cheryl often reads books more than once, so I’m eager to crack hers second time around.

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Embracing Colorado Wilderness with Over the Hill Outfitters

The Great Colorado Outdoors:  Where Life is Best Viewed from a Horse

The Great Colorado Outdoors: Where Life is Best Experienced from a Horse

Spring has finally sprung—full-on—here in Colorado and despite the fact that it snowed about ten days ago, this week the thermometer has been registering summertime temps. Roadways over the highest mountain passes are being plowed for passage and outfitters of all sorts are preparing for the influx of summer visitors. There’s still some snow to be cleared from the steep mountain trails, however, with the warmth of our southwestern Colorado sun, all our glorious wilderness will soon be open to locals and vacationers alike.

My fellow ski instructor buddies have taken up their summer posts as guides, landscapers or in my case, as a full-time writer, to name a few. Mother nature and all of us fortunate enough to live in this beautiful country are transitioning nicely into summer. At the end of ski season, I sat down with Dennis Huis, a top ski instructor at Telluride Ski & Snowboard School, to hear about his flip side, the job he’s been doing every summer for about as long as he’s been in ski school world.

Dennis talks about his work as a guide on pack trips with Over the Hill Outfitters in Durango, Colorado in my Travel Fun interview below. Click on the play button  to listen to what he has to say about life on the trail. People from all over the world learn about the true definition of “getting away from it all” on these five-day horse trips into the Weminuche Wilderness, the largest wilderness area in Colorado which encompasses a significant part of the rugged San Juan Mountains, some of the most spectacular peaks in the United States.

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Reflections on My Ten Years as a Ski Instructor

Celebrating My Tenth Anniversary with Ski School Top Dogs

Celebrating My Tenth Anniversary with Ski School Top Dogs

As I ease back into my writer’s life, I’ve been considering my other life:  that of a Telluride Ski & Snowboard School instructor. The mountain closed just over two weeks ago and I again turned in my uniform with a big sigh of relief. I’m always grateful when I finish the season without having had an injured student or client on my watch. And I’m always relieved when I wind up unscathed myself (except for a variety of aches and pains and gross fatigue). I’m grateful that this has been the case for the past ten seasons:  My sterling record of safety has remained intact.

That’s not to say I don’t challenge my charges and sure, I’ve had some tricky moments of over-terraining just like all the other instructors on our mountain and elsewhere. But fortunately, everyone has come “back to the barn” safe and sound and seemingly happy from their ski experience with me.

But way beyond my actual job as a ski instructor, I can’t help pondering what this newly adopted profession means to me, especially after a decade of working day after day on the mountain with children and adults beneath sunny skies, bitter cold, balmy weather and blustery snowstorms. It has made me a better person; it has made me more whole. I was never very athletic and the physicality of this job has given me strength and confidence that spills over to other areas of my life. I have embraced the notion of self empowerment through sports, a concept that I came to know late in life, one of the themes of my travel memoir/love story A Tour of the Heart:  A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France.

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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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    This blog is a personal blog written and edited by Maribeth Clemente. This blog sometimes accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content. The owner of this blog is sometimes compensated to provide opinion on products, services, Web sites and various other topics. Even though the owner of this blog receives compensation for certain posts or advertisements, she always gives her honest opinions, findings, beliefs or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blogger's own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question. This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.
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