Colorado Skiing & Snowboarding Telluride The Rockies: Colorado Skiing & Snowboarding Telluride The Rockies
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Whoa, what a busy ski season it has been! I can’t believe it has been over a month since I last posted a story. If you’ve followed my blog and read my bio, you know that I’m a ski instructor at the Telluride Ski & Snowboard School. This year has been especially busy for me for a variety of reasons, largely because although we had a slow start, we’ve had some great snow here in Telluride this season. (So much so, in fact, that they had to bomb Ajax the big mountain at the far end of town as you can see in the two photos included in this post.) And when the snow comes, so do the skiers.
I completed a twenty-five day stint of working as an instructor early March, then had a couple days off before the first big wave of spring breakers arrived. After another eight days in a row, I felt pooped—utterly exhausted. I checked out for a few days to catch up on rest, laundry and other necessities of life and now I’m back for round two of the hectic spring break crowd.
It looks as though we’ll be busy here in Telluride through the end of the season, especially since Easter lands on March 31st. Fortunately we have a lot of snow remaining—some of the best in Colorado—so we should be able to keep vacationers happy until the mountain closes April 7.
Colorado Food & Wine Shopping Skiing & Snowboarding Telluride
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Hello all Valentines! What a great way to celebrate love, ladies and wine, three very vital components of life—wouldn’t you agree? And I say let’s celebrate all three all year round—or at least throughout the weekend.
I’ve been teaching Women’s Week here in Telluride all week, so I’m pretty hyped up on girl power and, of course, wine has been a big part of our après ski program. I wanted to take a couple of minutes to share with you, however, two of my most recent wine discovers: Big House and Juicy Details Wines.
Actually I’ve known about Big House for a while and have been a fan of these delicious and most reasonably priced wines since the beginning. It recently came to my attention, however, that the winemaker behind this Monterey County brand—just a short escape from a state correctional facility—is the lovely Georgetta Dane. Who would have guessed it? Wouldn’t you have imagined some burly guy? It’s no wonder these wines embody such a noteworthy blend of New World winemaking style and Old World finesse. Georgetta and I became friends on Facebook and I was instantly impressed to find such a lady behind such a heavy-hitting wine. (Note the recurring prison theme emblazoned on all The Big House labels.) You go, girl! And I hope next year you’ll make it out to ski with all of us unchained zinners.
Colorado Shopping Telluride: Colorado Shopping Telluride
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There’s still time to remember special people—whether it be your sweetheart, mom, dad, son, daughter, aunt or pet—with something from the heart. Distance separates many of us, so sending a little something often takes on more meaning, especially if it arrives unexpectedly.
In this post, I’m highlighting the boutiques featured in the Online Shopping page at BonjourColorado.com. Peruse their sites and you’ll find a great many gift ideas for the loves in your life. All offer 10% discounts on online shopping to Bonjour Colorado readers, so be sure to follow the instructions carefully and type in the Bonjour discount code as specified.
Chocolates, chocolates, chocolates. For extra good ones in a variety of forms—from truffles to chocolate sauce to the best chocolate chip cookies you’ve ever tasted—order a slice of Telluride from Telluride Truffle. Perhaps granny has more of a penchant for toffee. If so, I’ve found the best from Ruth’s Toffee, another excellent confectioner of the region.
Colorado Hotels Restaurants Skiing & Snowboarding Telluride The Rockies: Beaver Creek Breckenridge Colorado Hotels Restaurants Skiing & Snowboarding Telluride The Rockies
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Woo-hoo! It’s been snowing in Colorado—big time. Anyone that’s been following this winter’s weather patterns knows that Colorado has been shortchanged in snowfall this season. Yes, it has been a little tough going but that’s all changed after one humongous storm. And then another biggie.
Just in the nick of time, over forty inches were dumped on parts of the San Juans, the mighty range of the Rockies that dominates most of southwestern Colorado. Avalanche control work is still being carried out in much of the region but since Saturday, folks have been able to enjoy epic skiing and riding.
It’s no surprise that Wolf Creek racked up the highest number of inches with Silverton and Durango Mountain Resort following closely behind. Here in Telluride, we were extremely happy with almost three feet—yes, people have been hooting and hollering on and off the slopes for the past five days. (I was thrilled to enjoy two stellar days of skiing early in the week and then gladly welcomed a day at my desk after feeling totally whopped and sore after so much fun. Plus, I’m still tired from having succumbed to the flu—yuk.)
Vail, Beaver Creek and Breckenridge report almost two feet of fresh this past week while Aspen has measured a bit less. The latest weather system just blew out of the state and now everyone in Colorado seems to be grinning ear-to-ear. With blue skies all around us, it doesn’t get much better for enjoying all this lovely Colorado champagne powder.
Colorado Mountain Living Outdoor Adventures Telluride The Rockies: Colorado Mountain Living Outdoor Adventures Telluride The Rockies
Whoa, what a night! I know the year is young, however, last night might well turn out to be the best night of the year for me and perhaps one of the more memorable of my life.
You see I went to the near-famous Lizardhead Igloo. No, it’s not some kind of a fancy restaurant or swanky bar. I’m talking about a real igloo, crafted in the Inuit tradition and situated in the wilderness high above Lizard Head Pass in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado.
Ever since my first winter in Telluride nine years ago, I’d heard about the igloo. And I always wanted to go. It took the visit of Mary Ann, an out-of-town friend, to serve as the catalyst in making this dream a reality. You wouldn’t think I’d need such a nudge, but keep in mind that it’s darn cold out here in the Rockies at night—especially after a day on the slopes. So it takes real motivation to muster up the energy required for such an adventure.
Although you only have to drive about forty minutes outside of Telluride to reach Lizard Head, an impressive pass with an elevation of 10,222 feet, you have to venture into the woods a distance to reach the igloo. What was announced to be a twenty-minute hike turned out to be at least double that, a strenuous ascent that required us to climb more than 500 feet on a snow-packed trail which had only been mildly tamped down by the igloo revelers that passed before us. Mary Ann, Mary Dawn, Neil and I formed our little party of nighttime snowshoers, a small group of plodding souls that I’m sure irked Neil to no end. (Apparently he powers up the mountain in a fraction of the time it took us.)
Colorado Food & Wine French Life Mountain Living Skiing & Snowboarding Telluride: Colorado Food & Wine French Life Mountain Living Skiing & Snowboarding Telluride
As a ski instructor, the holiday period always becomes a bit of a blur. And you thought it felt that way to you? Try working full days on the mountain for as long as a ten- to fourteen-day stint and see how much relaxing you’re able to do during this festive period. We don’t complain though—we love it. What better way to celebrate the holidays than out on the slopes assisting in the fun and merrymaking of travelers from all over the world?
Now that most people have chucked their Christmas trees and resolved to consume far less fattening food and drink, I’m embracing the holiday spirit more than ever. I’m not working on the hill as much, so I can breathe easier and nestle myself into my little apartment that’s still adorned with a smattering of ornaments, winter wonderland knickknacks and an abundance of candles. It’s red and green chez moi year round—the classic colors of the mountains—the rich and heartwarming hues that I very much love. My jolly look is ramped up during the holiday period with the addition of fresh pine cuttings and red bows. I’ll keep most of that up until it stays fresh, likely for another couple of weeks, and then dismantle the bulk of my joyful trimmings by Valentine’s Day. There’s many a chalet in the Alps done up holiday style all the way to the end of ski season, so I’m not as odd as you may be thinking.
In my new book, A Tour of the Heart: A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France, there’s a scene where I feast over confit de canard, cassoulet de canard and a couple of pork-product dishes in a simple—yet elegant—homestyled restaurant above a bar/tabac in the Languedoc Roussillon region of France.
“Almost toute de suite we were served a Blanquette de Limoux, the oldest sparkling wine in France said to have served as inspiration for Dom Perignon, the most praise-worthy monk who created champagne centuries ago,” I wrote.
I never would have known this had my guide not clued me in. And what a delicious nectar I found it to be! A robust red was poured for that hearty meal, yet my palette was delightfully awakened by this sparkling wine.
Many years later, I was thrilled to discover that Blanquette de Limoux is readily available in the United States at a fraction of the price of champagne. Saint-Hilaire, one of the finest of these wines, is widely distributed at a price point of about $15. Who ever imagined that such a luxurious tasting beverage could be so affordable? I suggest you stock up on it for the New Year and all year long.
Happy 2013 everyone!
Art & Culture Colorado Denver Restaurants Shopping: Art & Culture Colorado Denver Restaurants Shopping
It’s been snowing like crazy here in Colorado for almost twenty-four hours. It looks like the ski resorts will be shaping up nicely just in time for holiday travelers. I’ll be providing those snow reports soon enough but for now, I want to clue you in on some of Denver’s highlights. Many travelers will be stopping off in Denver on their way to or from the mountains, so here are some of my recommendations for this festive season.
Denver’s performing arts scene ranks as one of the most vibrant in the country. The Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) is actually comprised of many theaters that provide a range of talent and performances second to Broadway. If you act fast, you still might be able to land some tickets to Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, a classic production based on the renowned film of the same name that’s playing now through Christmas Eve. Dixie’s Tupperware Party serves up a bowlful of fun through December 30 complete with funny tales, free Tupperware giveaways, audience participation and laughs for those sixteen years of age and up. As always, DCPA has announced a stellar lineup of shows for 2013 including War Horse which opens January 8.
Culture, culture, culture—I can’t get enough of it when I’m in Denver and thankfully there’s plenty to take in at all times. I love hitting the Denver Art Museum (DAM) whether it’s to go to one of their spectacular shows or to check out some of their collections. (Their American Indian Art is very rich. Hey, this is the West, isn’t it?) Carve out time for both their temporary and permanent exhibitions and be sure to shop in their Museum Shop, a great resource for creative gift items for you and treasured loved ones and friends. Becoming Van Gogh is the show of the moment, a lovely exhibition I took in in November. I was saddened to learn that this great artist’s career only lasted ten years, but what a decade that was as you’ll find out at this in-depth exploration of his work. The show runs through January 20; be sure to reserve online since many of the time slots are already sold out.
I say make it a whole day at DAM and plan to have lunch or brunch at Palettes, the contemporary-styled museum restaurant right across from the Hamilton Building, owned and operated by the Kevin Taylor Restaurant Group. For over a decade and a half, Palettes has been presenting fine food to discriminating foodies in this bright and airy decor. Best of all, the staff here knows how to reply to the demands of hurried museum goers—they also gladly accommodate diners that choose to swill wine at their table for hours. I love the French flair of the whole menu, something Palettes has taken to more delightful bon vivant heights in honor of the Van Gogh show. They have, in fact, created a Becoming Van Gogh menu, a three-course prix fixe extravaganza—including French specialties such as coq au vin—that will leave you feeling like you just stepped away from a wonderful bistrot in Paris, or even better, Arles. If you want to take the Van Gogh theme even further, choose from one of the restaurant’s featured Van Gogh cocktails, enticing concoctions prepared with Van Gogh Vodka. Mais bien sur.
Reserve your evening dining for the Larimer Square area, the most happening part of Denver in the heart of LoDo (lower downtown). This place goes off from happy hour until the wee hours of the morning. I recently experienced Rioja, a busy, noisy, vibrant restaurant that’s clearly one of the most popular spots on the block. With a crowd as sophisticated as Rioja’s innovative cuisine, come here to take in Denver’s cosmopolitan scene. (Made up of young movers and shakers, many of whom are affiliated with green industries and Internet technology, it’s no wonder the mile-high city is fun for visitors and residents alike.) From the gorgeous selection of bread presented at the beginning to the poached pears I savored at the end, every part of my meal here tantalized my senses. Largely known for her handmade pastas, Chef Jen also wields a strong hand with regional specialties such as Colorado lamb and pan roasted venison. A nice, robust glass of Rioja at Rioja is a must and here they know how to recommend the best. Make that two.
For a more subdued ambiance, perhaps by the fire, go to Randolph’s, one of my favorite addresses housed within the Denver Warwick Hotel. Chef Jean Claude Cavalera consistently woos diners with his own smoked salmon—a major component of holiday feasts in France—served on house made country bread with its traditional accompaniments all year round. His filet mignon is one of the most tender and flavorful you’ll ever taste. The crowd varies from quiet and calm during most times to large and celebratory on holidays. With special Christmas Day brunch and New Year’s Eve menus at a prix fixe that represent excellent price/quality relationships, it’s no wonder Randolph’s receives such high marks. Thankfully the smoked salmon is on both menus along with an array of other fresh and delectable offerings.
By now, you’re perhaps wondering about shopping. Aside from a handful of lovely boutiques in the Larimer Square area, I think Cherry Creek offers the best shopping scene in Denver. Read Cherry Creek: One of America’s Top Spots for Chic Shopping, Lodging and Dining to find out more. Sadly, I’ve become less and less of a fan of the 16th Street Mall scene, however, you might have fun poking around there.
And how about something special for the kids? Take in Zoo Lights at the Denver Zoo, every night from 5:30 to 9 p.m. through January 2. With more than 150 animated animal sculptures illuminated throughout this spectacular zoo, you’ll be oohing and ahhhing, too. Plus, it’s fun to share our love and celebrate this exciting time of the year with the animals, too.
Happy holidays to all!
Thank you DAM, DCPA, Kevin Taylor Restaurant Group, Rioja, Randolph’s, the Denver Zoological Foundation and my iPhone for the above images.