First lady hits the slopes
Ryan Summerlin February 20, 2011
VAIL – First lady Michelle Obama enjoyed locally grown fare at a Vail restaurant Saturday night before hitting the slopes of Vail Mountain early Sunday.
Obama and her two daughters, 9-year-old Sasha and 12-year-old Malia – together with some family friends – are spending the Presidents Day holiday weekend in Vail. President Obama did not make the trip.
The first lady went to Restaurant Kelly Liken in Vail Village on Saturday night, dining on a pickled pumpkin salad with arugula and a braised ancho-chile short rib with hominy wild mushrooms and sauteed kale.
“Yes, it’s true, the first lady dined at our restaurant tonight and seemed to really enjoy it,” chef and owner Kelly Liken said.
The vegetables came from the greenhouse at Brush Creek Elementary School in Eagle as part of the Sowing Seeds program. Liken has helped spearhead the program, which allows local students to grow and harvest their own food and emphasizes the importance of nutrition, agriculture and sustainability.
“She was wonderfully gracious and very much interested in what we’re doing in this valley for our kids’ healthy lunch,” Liken said. “She was amazing and – all I can say is she was interested. It was really refreshing to see how interested she really was and how passionate about our kids’ healthy lunches, as well as the movement to eat local here in the Vail Valley.”
During her time as first lady, Obama has pushed for healthier eating in an effort to combat childhood obesity. She also planted a vegetable garden on the White House grounds in 2009.
Early Sunday morning, Michelle and Sasha Obama showed up at the base of the Eagle Bahn gondola in Lionshead to hit the slopes. They had their passes scanned and headed up the hill.
The Obama entourage arrived at the Eagle County Regional Airport on Friday night. A motorcade of about a dozen vehicles drove from Gypsum into Vail and the underground garage of the Sebastian hotel.
On Saturday, President Obama was busy filling in as coach of Sasha’s basketball team in suburban Maryland, even as Sasha skied in Vail.
Michelle Obama’s press secretary issued a statement Saturday confirming the trip and saying that “personal expenses are being paid for by the Obamas.”
The first lady took daughters Sasha and Malia for a quick trip to Liberty Mountain Resort, in Carroll Valley, Pa., in February 2010. It was the first time on skis for the first daughters, according to Anne Weimer, marketing director at Ski Liberty.