The Laundry: Sophisticated Dining and Sipping in Steamboat

Specialty Cocktail at The Laundry

Specialty Cocktail at The Laundry

An essential part of any ski getaway involves a great night out on the town, preferably in  one of the best restaurants/bars of the mountain destination you’re visiting. I’m confident I hit the mark on a recent trip to Steamboat Springs, Colorado when I spent a superlative soirée at The Laundry, a former laundry located down by the creek in town. Handsomely converted into a swanky kitchen and cocktail place where most everything is housemade, this old, brick-walled building presents an inviting scene where contemporary touches of hip lighting and rhythmic music offset a warm interior filled with wooden tables and barn siding. Much like the homemade fruit chutney served with the Mescal-cured house salmon (one of the signature dishes of this innovative restaurant) or the house-crafted smoked banana-infused bourbon, most everything here seems to be about juxtapositions.

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Fifty Shades of Grey Wine

Fifty Shades of Grey Red Silk

Fifty Shades of Grey Red Satin

“If you spill the wine, I will punish you, Miss Steele.”  —Christian Grey

Mon dieu. Not only might you not want to be punished (or perhaps you do), but you don’t want to lose a drop of Fifty Shades of Grey Wine from acclaimed novelist E.L. James. Who doesn’t love white silk and red satin, especially when it comes in the form of wine?

Floral aromatics of lychee, honey and pear lead off Fifty Shades of Grey White Silk, a primarily Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc blend. Aged in stainless steel, it’s both delicate and rich in character.

Fifty Shades of Grey Red Satin, a decadent blend of primarily Petite Sirah and Syrah, fills your mouth with a full-bodied deliciousness of black cherry, cocoa, caramel and vanilla. Hmmm, and you thought Christian was yummy.

No date for Valentine’s? How about spending a titillating evening with yourself and the Fifty Shades of Grey book and wine in hand? Or, spice it up with your hunny and surprise him or her with a Fifty Shades of Grey excerpt, accompanied by one of these smooth wines.

The combination of love and wine has never been so bold.

Skiing Steamboat Powder

Skiing Fresh Pow in Steamboat

Skiing Fresh Pow in Steamboat

My Powder Hound

My Powder Hound

Woo-hoo! There’s nothing like skiing fresh powder, especially when it’s the nice champagne powder we have here in Colorado, the dry, glittering fluff you float through like a glider rollicking on air drafts above a mountain peak. We’ve been having wonderful winter snowstorms here in our Rocky Mountain state with snow totals reaching over two feet at most resorts within a twenty-four hour period at the end of last week and then another biggie that hit just yesterday. I was teaching skiing here in Telluride throughout the biggest pow period and although I wasn’t able to have the fun I’d have on my own, I did enjoy introducing some intermediate skiers to their first powder day—a whole different experience from skiing groomers.

I had the biggest powder day of my life almost a month ago in Steamboat Springs, a resort that’s been particularly well served in the fluffy white stuff this year. My boyfriend, Steve, and I hit it right and managed to arrive just ahead of road closures and other inconveniences caused by a very big dump. They had such a snow event in the area that people had a hard time finding their way to the slopes (especially if they had to cross Rabbit Ears Pass). Fortunately we were staying slopeside in the newly renovated Sheraton Steamboat Resort, the best property of its kind at this popular mountain destination both due to its superb location and the quality of the establishment and services provided. We were thrilled to find ourselves in a contemporary-styled, one-bedroom condo hotel unit where we were able to sprawl out for three days. (A ski trip always involves a lot of clothing and gear even if you’re a seasoned traveler staying for a short while.)

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Passport to Paris at the Denver Art Museum

The Beach at Trouville by Claude Monet

The Beach at Trouville by Claude Monet

THIS JUST IN as of February 5:  The Nature as Muse:  Impressionist Landscapes from the Frederic C. Hamilton Collection of DAM has been extended through March 24.

Allez vite, vite, vite! Go fast! Only about ten days remain for you to see the magnificent Passport to Paris exhibition at the Denver Art Museum (DAM). I went earlier in the month and it felt like I was transported to Paree for an hour and a half of sheer delight. Truly my heart sang as I wended my way through the suite of three exhibitions that make up this show, a smartly-chosen trifecta that focuses on French art from the late 1600s to the early 1900s. From the grand works executed during the reign of Louis XIV through the more well known paintings of Poussin, Boucher, Pissarro, Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh and other greats, here French culture and society are revealed to the visitor in one of the most effective manners I’ve ever seen. As you saunter through the galleries that make up this show, it’s easy to understand how Paris became the center of culture and the tastemaker for all of Europe.

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More Expert Ski and Snowboard Instruction and Fun in Telluride

André Koslowski:  Ski Instructor/Yoga Teacher Extraordinaire

André Koslowski: Ski Instructor/Yoga Teacher Extraordinaire

Annie Vareille-Savath with Her Women's Week Ladies

Annie Vareille-Savath with Her Women’s Week Ladies

Instructor Patty Lowe and Her Lady on Top of the Telluride World During Women's Week

Instructor Patty Lowe and Her Lady on Top of the Telluride World During Women’s Week

Telluride Ski Instructor Vince Boelema Skiing Fresh Pow (photo credit:  Tommy Pyatt)

Telluride Ski Instructor Vince Boelema Skiing Fresh Pow (photo credit: Tommy Pyatt)

There hasn’t been much of a January lull this year—at least not for me—and it’s been hard carving out time at my desk. I’ve been busy teaching and training with the Telluride Ski & Snowboard School and have also managed to eke out some “free” ski days to enjoy the wonderful snow we received mid month. Lately we’ve been blessed with super sunny days, glorious, near March-like weather which has left visitors and locals grinning.

People lucky enough to travel to Telluride Ski Resort outside of the busy vacation weeks feel like they have the mountain to themselves and, of course, never wait in a lift line (a rarity at this ski resort even during busy times). Now with Telluride Ski & Snowboard School’s new Multi-Day Camps, there are new benefits to coming outside of peak times. These clinics offer several days of instruction on a variety of themes including Ski Biomechanics, Nastar Race Camp, Ski, Ride, Yoga!, Intermediate Breakthrough, Heli Ski Camp and Women’s Week, a long-standing program that has existed for over three decades. The others are new yet hopefully they’ll become part of the regular lineup in Telluride as word gets out about all there is to learn and experience on the mountain with the assistance of T-ride’s professional ski and snowboard instructors. (Some of these camps include fun and relaxation off the slopes, too.)

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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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Selective Sipping: Mark Spivak and His Iconic Spirits

Mark's Book:  A Delicious Holiday Gift Idea

Mark’s Book: A Delicious Holiday Gift Idea

I’ve always felt that you can appreciate something more when you know the story behind it. This is the premise behind my books The Riches of France:  A Shopping and Touring Guide to the French Provinces and The Riches of Paris:  A Shopping and Touring Guide. There’s always a lot of imbibing during the holiday season, so why not know the history behind some of the world’s most beloved elixirs?

I chatted with Mark Spivak, author of Iconic Spirits:  An Intoxicating History, during a Travel Fun interview which you can listen to below. He tells some fascinating tales behind the twelve spirits featured in his book. You can learn all about Chambord, gin and tequila, to name a few. He talks about Campari, a bitter concoction formulated by an Italian around 1860, considered to be one of the sexiest beverages on earth as well as the connection between Nascar and moonshine, a surprising association which has remained hidden from the general public over the years. “Most of the early (Nascar) drivers were all bootleggers…Then in 1947 they all got together and formed Nascar,” Mark explains.

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The Look on the Slopes: Early Ski Season 2013-2014

Me Posing at Telluride Ski Resort

Me Posing at Telluride Ski Resort

Life has been getting pretty colorful around here at the Telluride Ski Resort lately. Most of the mountain is open and we’ve had many classic Colorado bluebird days. The holiday visitors have yet to arrive, however, I’ve been seeing oodles of punches of color throughout our sparsely populated slopes. I’ve been so busy with wrapping things up at my desk and ski school training, that it wasn’t until last weekend that I spent some quality time perusing this year’s fashions at Bootdoctors, one of my favorite outdoor gear and clothing retailers in T-ride. This time, I wanted to chat with the girls in the shop—Sooz and Pam—and get the lowdown on this year’s look on the mountain. And, of course, how could I resist trying on a number of outfits and even modeling my favorite one here for you?

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