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Long-shuttered Colorado ski area may be reopened

Nearly 200 miles south of Denver, near the New Mexico border in a picturesque valley on the eastern slope of the Sangre de Cristo range, a long-shuttered ski area is showing hopeful signs of life.

Sure, a lot of things would have to fall into place before Cuchara Valley can be reborn as a ski area after two decades of dormancy, but a local group is working hard to make it happen. Through the non-profit Cuchara Foundation, Huerfano County acquired land at the base area in 2017, which became a county park. The foundation fixed up one of the old buildings, reversing years of vandalism and adding a fireplace and an electric heater. Now, dozens of locals ski, snowboard and sled under their own power there on weekends. 

The group behind the effort is hoping to get one of the area’s smaller lifts up and running for next ski season, serving four trails at the bottom of the mountain. Mike Moore, who owns a bed and breakfast in Cuchara village 3 miles from the ski area site, believes it can happen.

“I’ve got five volunteers who have previous ski experience, some of them 35 to 40 years of ski experience,” Moore said this week. “We’re working on that lift, doing everything we need to do. Two months ago we had the cable inspected, and it was certified as OK to be run again. I just got off the phone with the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board, and we’ve got the outline of what we need to do prior to next summer to get that lift certified — all the maintenance, greasing, things like that. We’ve got an auxiliary motor and an electric motor, and we’re hooking up other electricity up there.”

When the area operated off and on from 1981 to 2000 with four chairlifts and a vertical drop of 1,562 feet, ski trips there were rich in beauty and solitude. The road to Cuchara is designated a Colorado Scenic Byway. A pair of massive mountains called the Spanish Peaks, which rise more than a mile above their surroundings, greet visitors approaching the area. Then the road passes a series of massive rock walls that appear like battlements guarding the entrance to the Cuchara Valley.

Read more via The Denver Post.

Circus tricks, comedy, hockey, BBQ and more: Tricia’s weekend picks 1/17/20

Circus acts and comedy at the Vilar

This week brings thrilling acrobatics and comedy to the stage of the Vilar Performing Arts Center with Cirque Mechanics and Tom Papa.

Cirque Mechanics returns to the Vilar on Saturday at 7 p.m. with its newest production, “42FT – A Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels.” The number 42 signifies the size of the ring in this one-ring circus filled with amazing acrobats, aerialists and strongmen. Chris Lashua created Cirque Mechanics in 2004 after collaborating with the Circus Center of San Francisco on the show “Birdhouse Factory.” After its success, Lashua created this company that has since produced shows like “Boomtown” and “Pedal Punk.”

The Vilar Performing Arts Center provides the perfect venue to see the aerials and acrobatic feats up close. Tickets are $68 for adults and $48 for children. The show is part of the Pay Your Age ticket program (18-30 years old) and also included in the ticket package Pick 3 Shows for $90, Pick 5 Shows for $175 or Pick 8 Shows for $240. Tickets are available now at the Vilar box office, by calling 970-845-8497 or by going online to the website: www.vilarpac.org.

On Sunday at 7 p.m., enjoy the comedy of Tom Papa. Based out of Los Angeles, Papa travels to perform stand up comedy across the nation when he’s not busy on the airwaves. Papa contributes to NPR’s “Live from Here” and “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me” and also hosts podcasts including SiriusXM’s “Come to Papa,” featuring guests like Mel Brooks, Ray Romano and Jerry Seinfeld.

“If you don’t know Tom Papa, he’s got an awesome, smart and clean sense of humor, a lot like Jim Gaffigan,” said Ruthie Hamrick, senior marketing manager for the Vilar Performing Arts Center. “I’m super excited about this show.”

Tickets are $48 and can be purchased at the box office, website or by calling the box office.

Vail Yeti Hockey

Semi-pro hockey returns to Vail with the Vail Yeti hockey team hitting the ice once again this weekend. Dobson Ice Arena plays host to the home team as well as many top teams across the nation.

Last weekend, the Yeti were matched up against the New York Fire Department hockey team and squeezed out a win on Friday during an exciting third period and lost to FDNY on Saturday. This weekend is rivalry weekend, with the Yeti taking on the Breckenridge Vipers.

In their seventh season, the Yeti has grown in popularity among loyal fans and as a destination for quality hockey teams from out of town. Regionally, the Yeti not only compete against Breckenridge but also teams from Aspen, Boulder and Denver.

“The games are usually high intensity, high hitting and high scoring affairs. At $10 for a general admission ticket, its cheap entertainment in an expensive valley,” said Bill Foster, who is the Yeti coach and also a player on the team. Coach Foster gives us some info on the roster:

Players to look out for:

Justin Elmore (leading goal scorer all 7 seasons) 

Kirk Golden (Vail local, 7 seasons professional in Europe) 

Brent Sands (professional Europe/SPHL) 

Andy Canzanello (11 years professional AHL/DEL) 

Derrick Gerhardt (Vail local, 7th season with the Yeti) 

Matt Merritt (Vail local, Gustavus Adolphus Division 3 college hockey)

Spencer Gold (starting goalie)


Dom Panetta (Ferris State Division 1 college hockey)

Casey Kleisinger (Vail local, Air Force Academy Division 1 college hockey) 

Dave Ramsay (Williams College Division 3 college hockey)

The Yeti’s success has attracted talented players from the American Hockey League, which is the direct feeder league to the NHL, professional leagues in Europe and Australia as well as top college teams.

“W“We are taking this upcoming weekend to get prepared and really dialed in. We have a challenging five-week stretch approaching with teams from Texas, New England, New Jersey, Denver and Minnesota,” said six-year veteran of the Yeti team, Brent Sands. “These teams are stacked with hockey players, not just guys that play hockey. We need to be ready and we can’t take any team lightly.” 

The puck drops at 7:45 p.m. at Dobson Arena in Vail Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 years of age and younger. For more information, visit www.vailyetihockey.com.

First Tracks at Beaver Creek

You may have heard about people getting first tracks, which can either mean you were fortunate enough to get in line before everyone else to get some unforgettable turns, or first tracks is also an offering on Vail And Beaver Creek that is reserved for members of Vail Resorts Signature Clubs or donors to a particular group like the Vail Valley Foundation. Now, you can be a part of First Tracks at Beaver Creek on select dates throughout the season.

This Sunday, meet other early risers in your group at the Centennial Express lift at 7:15 a.m. Beaver Creek will have its top ski and snowboard professionals greeting you and letting you in on their top terrain recommendations for the morning excursion.

If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll time your First Tracks experience on a powder day, but even if there’s no fresh snow, the feeling of being the only one out there, even on the corduroy, is an experience all its own.

After you’ve taken a few runs with your guides and have worked up an appetite, you’ll be led down to Allie’s Cabin. This on-mountain restaurant is on the eastern hillside, just off of the Gold Dust trail and above the Haymeadow Express Gondola. The Allie’s Cabin culinary team will welcome your group with an amazing breakfast spread.  

Adult tickets are priced at $160 per person with children 12 and under priced at $80 per person. You will still need a pass or a day lift ticket to access the mountain. Advanced reservations are required, please call 970-754-5310 or visit www.beavercreek.com. If you miss First Tracks this Sunday, you can still aim to get out there at the crack of dawn on Jan. 26 or Feb. 16 and 23.

Beaver Creek Uphill and Skimo race

New for 2020, the Vail Recreation District brings their winter race series to Beaver Creek for the first time this season with an uphill and skimo competition at Arrowhead.

The Beaver Creek Uphill and Skimo is the first event in the Vail Grail Winter Race Series. The Vail Grail is a championship series consisting of three winter events: the new Beaver Creek Uphill and Skimo, an uphill at Vail Mountain and a snowshoe shuffle. Participants can sign up for one, two or all three races. Racers who complete all three races have a shot at winning the coveted Vail Grail, a permanent trophy that will bear the male and female division winners’ names for years to come. Athletes wishing to participate in all events and compete for the Vail Grail can sign up for the full series for a discounted rate of $85.

Competitors can choose the uphill or skimo (ascent and descent) option and can use any means to get up the mountain (snowshoes, skis, splitboards or winter running devices). Skis or a snowboard are required to compete in the skimo competition.

Participants will ascend approximately 1,700 vertical feet and just under two miles from the base of Arrowhead Village to the top of Arrow Bahn Express Lift. The event will conclude with breakfast and awards at Broken Arrow Restaurant at the base of Arrowhead. 

Online registration is available prior to race day at vailrec.com/register. Day-of registration and bib pick up will be available at Broken Arrow in Arrowhead Village prior to the race starting at 6 a.m. Race entry fees are $35 through Saturday and $45 on the day of the race. 

BBQ at the Westin’s Gondola Plaza

If you’re riding the Riverfront Express gondola toward the end of the day on Saturday and smell barbecue instead of the flavors of Mexican food from Maya, it’s because The Westin Riverfront is hosting a special après-ski barbecue next to the gondola on Saturday.

Held on The Westin Riverfront’s Gondola Plaza, the party will feature a delicious array of barbecue favorites including smoked pork, brisket and chicken all cooked up in a big smoker that will be outside for the event.

“We wanted to create a fun new event where both locals and Vail Valley guests can enjoy our delicious food and drinks after a great day on the mountain,” said Kevin Delonay, director of food and beverage at The Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa.

“While we are known for our delicious Mexican food, it is always nice to change things up and serve different dishes, and of course we all like to be outside to bask in our gorgeous Beaver Creek views,” Delonay said.

Wash down all the barbecue flavors with drink specials like $3 Colorado draft beers and $5 margaritas. Guests can enjoy live music by The Evolution, who play a wide variety of modern tunes, including rock & roll and Caribbean sounds. This weekend celebration will happen between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Don’t forget to Seize the Summit at Maya this ski season. Simply show that you reached 15,000 vertical feet during your day on the mountain and receive a free house margarita in Maya or a draft beer or house glass of wine in The Lift from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

There will be tables and chairs outside and seating near the fire pits, but if you do get cold, hop into Maya, where they pour more than 150 agave-based spirits and house-infused tequilas. Maya offers complimentary valet parking for restaurant patrons. For more information, please visit www.westinriverfront.

WinterWonderGrass announces two performances from Keller Williams for February festival

Genre-hopping multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Keller Williams will perform at the 2020 WinterWonderGrass Festival in Steamboat Springs, CO.

On Thursday, Feb. 20, Williams will perform solo at the festival’s intimate Mountain Top Dinner event at Thunderhead Lodge. Then on Friday, Feb. 21, he’ll be joined on the main stage with his Keller & The Keels trio, featuring progressive flatpicker Larry Keel and bassist Jenny Keel, as they perform a combination of original pieces and covers in a psychedelic Appalachian bluegrass style. 

After 2006’s “Grass” and 2012’s “Theif”, Keller & The Keels released their third album together, “Speed,” in November 2019. The album gives the bluegrass treatment to a collection of popular songs by celebrated artists, including The Doors, Kacey Musgraves, Fiona Apple, Weezer and more, and also features two original tracks. 

Williams has toured with The String Cheese Incident, Infamous Stringdusters, Yonder Mountain String Band, The Rhythm Devils and Umphrey’s McGee. He also curates numerous side projects, such as his six-piece funk band “More Than A Little”, Grateful Dead tribute “Grateful Grass”, and Tom Petty-inspired project “PettyGrass.” Grateful Grass is one of the headliners at the 2020 Bonfire Block Party, this year held from June 12-14.

MountainFLOW uses sustainable materials to create North America’s only full line of plant-based ski waxes

Peter Arlein has been an avid skier ever since he was a kid. As he grew older, he realized that the ingredients in his favorite ski waxes were all bad for the environment. He decided to do something about it.

Arlein is now the founder and CEO of mountainFLOW, which creates plant-based ski wax, anti-stick spray and other products to keep skis fast and healthy. Since 2016, he has been working to create North America’s only full line of plant-based ski wax, and it is now for sale online as well as in various Vail Valley outdoor outfitters, including Kind Bikes and Skis and Paragon Guides in Edwards or Cripple Creek Backcountry and Christie Sports in Avon.

Most ski waxes are made from petroleum, a naturally occurring oil extracted from geological formations. When extracted, it’s called a crude oil, and is a yellowish-black liquid. Most petroleum products we think of, like Vaseline, are refined, and when treated, becomes the substance we’re most familiar with.

Arlein, while doing research and development for his business, found a study in Norway where scientists studied soil at ski areas. They found traces of perfluoroalkyls, a common ingredient in waxes, in the soil and in earthworms. They determined that the product leaves a residue on the snow. When the snow melts, that petroleum residue seeped into the soil and worms. Levels were far from toxic, but they concluded it was still an important discovery to consider.

“Their hypothesis was that it could make its way all the way up the food chain,” Arlein said. “Shortly after that, [Norway] banned fluorocarbons.”

The wax is now undergoing the patent process.
Special to the Daily

MountainFLOW’s first product was the anti-stick spray for the tops of skis, and right away, the backcountry community was all over it. When that product became successful, Arlein created a Kickstarter to fund an initial production run for the plant-based wax and started getting his product out. It’s now patent pending.

Partnering with pro skiers also helped mountainFLOW succeed. Brand ambassadors include Chris Davenport among others. Arlein said that when Davenport first heard about mountainFLOW’s plant-based approach, he was an instant supporter. After all, he is a board member of Protect Our Winters, a Boulder-based non-profit started by pro snowboarder Jeremy Jones.

The plant-based products are now a rising favorite among all skiers, whether they stick to established mountains or veer off the beaten tracks. He said his wax costs the same as a traditional wax: an Amazon search for “ski & snowboard wax” yields results in a $15-$20 price point, and mountainFLOW products retail from $14-$18.50.

MountainFLOW has already partnered with Killington and Jiminy Peak on the East Coast, supplying all the wax for the rental fleets. Arlein hopes to work with Vail Resorts because it has a much larger rental fleet and reach, meaning he could help eliminate the negative environmental impact of that much petroleum ski wax. He also hopes to get his product in more Vail in-store retailers.

An important consideration for Arlein, while developing the product, was making sure it was as fast as a traditional ski wax. His customers agree, but he said it took quite a bit of trial-and-error to find a fully plant-based formula that would hold up to par.

“I had to do over 200 formulations to get it right. And somedays, I would go out and ski with the new wax on my skis and I would barely be able to get off the lift because the wax was so sticky,” he said. “Being able to go skiing for work, and just be able to do something I love is amazing. I feel very fortunate.”

Sustainability tip: Why testing your home for radon is important

January is National Radon Action Month. Though radon gas levels are a concern throughout the whole year, the cooler months are more of a concern and represent the best time to conduct radon testing because your home is generally closed from the outside.

What is radon?

You can’t see it, and you can’t smell it or taste it. But it’s everywhere. The federal Environmental Protection Agency has classified radon gas as a cancer-causing, radioactive gas, produced by the natural breakdown of uranium. As uranium decays in soil, rock and water, it produces radon gas that moves up through the soil and into the atmosphere.

It has been found in all 50 states, and almost half the homes in Colorado have radon levels higher than the EPA’s recommended level of 4 picocuries per liter. In 2003, the EPA conducted a risk assessment and found that radon causes an estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the United States, making it the second-leading cause of lung cancer after smoking-related lung cancer deaths.

Buildings act as containers for radon gas as it seeps up through the soil, allowing it to concentrate at dangerous levels. Common entry points include spaces between basement walls and the slab, cracks in foundations and/or walls, openings around sump pumps and drains, construction joints and plumbing penetrations, crawl spaces and well water. Building age and type has no effect on radon concentrations, so even new construction projects can contain high levels of radon gas — unless properly mitigated.

How can you test your home?

There are two types of do-it-yourself testing: short-term and long-term. Short-term radon tests are placed in the home for 48 to 96 hours and then mailed to a laboratory that analyzes the test. Once you have mailed in your test, the testing facility can usually send your results within three to five business days. Radon levels vary from season to season — even from day to day, short-term tests are usually used as a baseline method. If your results are higher than the EPA’s recommended level of 4 picocuries per liter, you should complete another short-term test or follow up with a long-term test. Long-term tests usually remain in the home for more than 90 days and produce results that better reflect the year-round concentration of radon gas in your home.

Regardless of which testing method you use, radon mitigation is highly suggested for results above 4 picocuries per liter.

Building Mitigation

Walking Mountains Science Center rebates radon mitigation projects. Please contact Energy Smart Colorado at Walking Mountains Science Center by calling 970-328-8777 to find out more. Additionally, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment offers radon mitigation assistance to income-eligible households. Visit the department’s website (www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/categories/services-and-information/environment/radon) for further information.

Matt Parker is the energy programs associate at Walking Mountains Sustainability. For more information on radon test kits, or the CARE program, contact Matt at mattp@walkingmountains.org.

Like “Fixer Upper,” but for mining: This new Discovery Channel show rehabs old Colorado mines

Television has trained us to see weddings, home renovations and other life events as disasters-in-waiting. All that’s needed to unleash the beast is a few cameras and the expectations that arrive with them.

“Reclaimed,” a new Discovery Channel series premiering at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 9, raises the stakes considerably.

“All of these locations are off the grid,” said Colorado-based host Alex Charvat. “None of these mining claims had power, and I can’t even think of one that had cell reception, which was kind of nice.”

The concept for “Reclaimed,” co-hosted by fellow Evergreen/Conifer-area resident Kevin Gilman, is simple: two buddies travel to shuttered mines — mostly in Colorado — to help homesteaders “repair their claims to turn them into thriving mines and money-making pieces of real estate,” as Discovery puts it.

Read more via The Denver Post.

Sanitize gear with A Good Sport Co.

Celena Olden was simply trying to find quality used hockey gear for her son and also find a way to get rid of the odor of that gear when she embarked on something much greater: starting up a preowned sporting goods shop and including a disinfecting and sanitizing system as a new and unique service in the Vail Valley.

A Good Sport Co. in Eagle is filled with not only hockey gear, but also skis, snowboards, boots, camping gear, fishing gear and new merchandise. But what makes her store unique is that all the gear has been disinfected by the Sani Sport machine, which uses ozone to kill pathogens, viruses and mold that can live within our beloved gear. Olden wants to pass on this sanitizing service to the public.

“While researching this, I’ve heard of instances where people had a cut on their hand and how it got infected by the bacteria in the glove,” Olden said. “Bacteria, viruses and mold spores can colonize in athletic gear due to the moisture and heat from our bodies, despite trying to clean our gear.”

Using the same equipment owned by professional sports teams in the NFL, NHL and the MLB, and by using zero sprays and chemicals, the Sani Sport machine can kill over 98% of infection-causing pathogens.

The Sani Sport disinfecting machine uses ozone, which Olden said is 150 times stronger than bleach and works more than 3,000 times faster.  

“Ozone is a gas that is able to penetrate past surface fabrics, deep into the foam, into tiny crevices where sprays and hands can’t reach in order to combat the bacteria that has set up inside,” Olden said.

Sanitizing isn’t only limited to your boots, gloves and hockey skates. You can use it to deep-clean your running shoes, yoga mat, even items around the house like pillows, stuffed animals and your pet’s toys and foam bed.

View how this machine works and just how quickly it can sanitize your equipment by watching today’s video on www.vaildaily.com Or stop by A Good Sport Co. at 422 McIntire St. in Eagle.

Keystone Resort defends safety protocols after snowboarder questions disciplinary action

KEYSTONE RESORT — Johnathan Buckhouse, a YouTube personality who creates videos about snowboarding, posted two videos about an incident at Keystone Resort that received 216,000 views within three days. The videos show Buckhouse snowboarding with three of his friends on Keystone’s Schoolmarm beginner run. 

The group was asked to slow down and later was stopped by members of Keystone’s mountain safety team. The interaction was contentious at times, with the group of snowboarders disputing the allegation that they had ridden too fast or ignored calls to slow down.

The snowboarders were asked to take a safety course within two weeks as a requirement of keeping their season pass privileges.

Buckhouse made the videos to refute the claims of mountain safety staff and gather public opinion on the incident.

When asked about the incident, Keystone spokeswoman Loryn Roberson said the resort would not comment on a specific passholder incident, but she discussed the rationale behind heightened safety awareness on Schoolmarm.

“Our point of view is that safety is a high priority for us,” Roberson said. “It’s our designated family ski trail, so that is one of the green runs on the mountain that we encourage beginners to go on, and we want them to feel comfortable and not have people skiing past them.”

Roberson emphasized that in a beginner area, skiers and snowboarders are expected to ride at a speed that makes beginners around them feel safe. 

“We expect guests to maintain a speed no faster than the general flow of traffic,” Roberson said. 

While Schoolmarm is a designated slow zone, the run often contains people with a wide range of skill levels because riders are funneled onto the area as one of the main ways to get to the Mountain House base area, especially in the early season when it is one of the first runs open.

Buckhouse reported in his video that he did attend the safety class in order to keep his pass but that he does not believe employees were correct in their decision to enforce disciplinary action. 

Oakley Lab at Vail Mountain shows the science behind the brand

VAIL — The inaugural Oakley Week wraps up this weekend at Vail Mountain. Demos, golden tickets, prizes and more take place through Sunday. Oakley tents are set up at the base of Gondola One and the top of Eagle’s Nest, and headquarters is set up at the base of Golden Peak.

A unique experience not to be missed this weekend is the Oakley O Lab, a trailer at the base of Golden Peak dedicated to informing people about the science behind Oakley’s eyewear products.

Catch it before it leaves town — it’s heading to the Super Bowl in a couple of weeks.

The friendly, knowledgeable Oakley staff in town are showing off their line of products through impressive tests in the O Lab, from a spectrometer that displays visible light to the high-velocity test — shooting a steel ball at about 102 mph at the eyewear, simulating a rock or ice kicking up while on the hill. Other tests to check out include the lasers, scope and the high mass tests.

At the O Lab, Oakley representatives will test “gas station” sunglasses and other competitors on the same tests as the Oakley products.

“Every pair of sports performance Oakley eyewear will pass all of these tests,” said Noah Vincent, a representative with Oakley at the O Lab. “The majority of lifestyle pieces will pass.”

Other things to learn from the folks at Oakley include the company’s history.

Did you know Prizm technology started with the U.S. military working with Oakley on designing eyewear that withstands lasers on the battlefield?

While the technology has been around for 15 years, it has only been available to the public for the past five years.

The science behind Oakley eyewear is impressive. In addition to the tests, the company simulates real-life scenarios — such as freezing goggles before testing to simulate cold mountain conditions.

Oakley is also one of the first companies to use a 3D printer — behind NASA. Reps at the O Lab credit the company for being innovative years ago, and using that technology still today.

Noah Vincent and other representatives with Oakley are in town for Oakley Week.
Ross Leonhart | rleonhart@vaildaily.com

For many customers of Oakley, there is love and loyalty to the brand — whether they know why or not. A 20-minute tour of the O Lab this weekend will explain the science behind why Oakley continues to be ahead of the curve in eyewear. After learning what goes into an Oakley product, it might be hard to look at sports eyewear the same.

Assistant Editor Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2984 and rleonhart@vaildaily.com. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.

Ice bumper cars, Oakley goggle week, forest bathing and more: Tricia’s weekend picks

New Ice Bumper Cars

Just when you thought there were enough activities to do in Eagle County, the Vail Recreation District has added one more: ice bumper cars.

The Vail Recreation District debuted the ice bumper cars at the Dobson Ice Arena over the holidays to rave reviews.

“It’s important for a world-class resort like Vail to constantly be innovating and bringing fresh new activities to the resort to keep guests coming back,” said Jessie Klehfoth, marketing and communications director at the Vail Recreation District. “It’s also important to offer new activities that are approachable and economical for locals to enjoy as well, to sustain a vibrant community.”

These bumper cars are fun for all ages and abilities. There is little skill involved, as long as the guest is tall enough to reach both steering handles. Typically, kids should be 5 years old or older and be at least 42 inches tall. It’s an easy and affordable option to enhance a day in Vail, and a great activity during après-ski hours in the winter. The Vail Rec District also plans to offer the ice bumper cars year-round, providing a fun activity for people who want to come in out of the sun and cool off in the summer.

Have an event, office party or birthday celebration coming up? The Vail Recreation District can customize an outing for you complete with treats and eats from their food and beverage department and a conference room you can use as a party space. With 12 cars available, the time needed for a party will depend on how many people attend and how long of a ride each person gets. “We think 15-30 minutes per guest is just right, they get a nice long ride, but it’s not too long,” Klehfoth said.

The cost is $10 for a 15-minute ride. Schedule varies by day, so check www.vailrec.com for the weekly schedule and to reserve a time slot online.

Films and live blues at the Vilar

The Vilar Performing Arts Center shows its diverse schedule by hosting ski movies and a blues legend this weekend. On Friday, view two epic Teton Gravity Research films in one night and on Sunday, see Chris Smither play blues-based folk tunes during two shows at the recently remodeled May Gallery adjacent to the Vilar Performing Arts Center.

Teton Gravity Research is an action sports media company whose films have amazed and inspired us since it began in Jackson Hole, WY in 1996. Teton Gravity Research will show two of its 2019 releases, “Winterland” and “Fire on the Mountain,” which was a collaboration with the Grateful Dead.

Earlier this year, I interviewed professional skier Chris Benchetler about the collaboration between the Grateful Dead, Atomic Skis and the artwork of Benchetler and fellow artist Skye Walker on the Bent Chetler powder ski. 

“With the Grateful Dead, no show was ever the same and that’s how I approach the mountain, it’s never the same line, it’s all improvisation,” Benchetler said.

The short film features the music of the Grateful Dead and is narrated by Hall of Fame basketball player and television sportscaster Bill Walton. Athletes in the film include skiers Benchetler and Michelle Parker and snowboarders Jeremy Jones, Danny Davis and Kimmy Fasani.

“Nothing beats watching these amazing athletes ski and ride to the perfect soundtrack. Add in the sound system and acoustics of our theatre and the audience is in for a real treat,” said Kim Hannold, programming director at the Vilar Performing Arts Center.

Sunday’s performance features Chris Smither, who was born in Miami, FL, but raised in New Orleans, LA where he was surrounded by music and was inspired by Mississippi John Hurt and Lightnin’ Hopkins. He started releasing albums in the ‘70s and released his 18th album in 2018. He has toured with B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt, Nanci Griffith, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and more.

“This will be a truly up close and intimate listening experience, unlike any concert we’ve had before. It’s a chance to get to know the artist on a much more personal level, hear their stories and provides more of a lounge-style experience,” said Ruthie Hamrick, marketing manager at the Vilar Performing Arts Center. There will be two shows at 4:30 and 7 p.m. on Sunday to accommodate the audiences who take advantage of the opportunity to see this blues legend in a cozy venue.

For more information on the Teton Gravity Research films and the Chris Smither concert, visit www.vilarpac.org.

Oakley Week coming to Vail

Oakley Week is coming to Vail this weekend for the first time since the traveling event started back in 2016. The Oakley team has traveled to ski areas like Mammoth, Whistler Blackcomb and iconic locations in Europe. Oakley Week offers a goggle demo where you can try out Oakley’s latest offerings and test Oakley Prizm lenses at the Oakley Village, located at Golden Peak. The demo is first come, first served and guests just need to provide a driver’s license.

One of the most frustrating things about being on the hill is not being able to see properly out of your goggles. The Prizm goggle line is engineered to dramatically enhance detail and help improve performance by providing ultra-precise color tuning for specific environments.

The goal of Prizm Technology is to provide increased contrast and boosted color in your environment. Take advantage of this free opportunity to try the Prizm goggles and see if you notice the difference out on the mountain.

Come ride with Oakley team athletes, Sammy Carlson and Logan Pehota. They will be riding the mountain throughout the event and will lead the Oakley Prizm Run at 2 p.m. on Friday. Meet at the bottom of Golden Peak at 2 p.m. and each participant gets a drink coupon to use at the après-ski party at Larkspur. Larkspur will host après-ski parties on Friday and Saturday. There will be plenty of prizes given away throughout the weekend as well.

For the kids, there will be a s’mores and a popcorn station. Kids can showcase their creative side at the coloring station where they can draw on a goggle strap that Oakley will plan to share with their development team for product inspiration for the following year. How cool would it be if your kid’s art ended up as a part of next year’s goggle line?

For more information, go to www.vail.com and check out the events calendar.

Full moon snowshoe and forest bathing

This Friday, enjoy a full moon backcountry experience and some forest bathing. What is forest bathing? In Japan, they practice something called forest bathing, where they “bathe” in the forest atmosphere, or take in the forest through the senses. This is not exercise hiking or jogging, but rather slowing down and getting yourself into a quiet, mindful headspace to make it easier to connect to the forest, mountains and sky and in this case, a night sky with a full moon. The first full moon of 2020 is also called the wolf moon.

First, a little socializing. When you get to the Walking Mountains Science Center in Avon, which has a beautiful campus just off of Buck Creek Road, you’ll be welcomed by hot drinks like cocoa, cider and tea (alcohol will not be provided but you are welcome to bring your own). After a half an hour of meeting your fellow snowshoers and guide, you will head about one mile up the Buck Creek Trail next to the Walking Mountains campus.

Once you get to an open meadow, gather around the fire that will be lit and ready for you to soak in the sights and sounds of the night. Forest therapy guide Kayla Weber will lead the group through a 30-minute forest bathing experience.

To connect with our mountain environment in a whole new way in a guided forest bathing experience sign up at www.walkingmountains.org. Space is limited, but if you miss this tour, there will be another one on February 8 and March 8.

Post-holiday recycling event

Walking Mountains, Vail Honeywagon, the town of Avon and the Climate Action Collaborative are working hard to clean up Eagle County’s dirty recycling habits in 2020. To help you jump on this bandwagon, there will be a post-holiday recycling event happening on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The type of materials they will be collecting on Saturday include many of the things that people need to get rid of after the holidays but these items cannot go in the recycling bin. These items include textiles, Styrofoam, plastic packaging, electronics, old Christmas lights, even Hasbro toys and games.

There is a charge for electronics, batteries and paper shredding but everything else is free. There will also be an LED light bulb swap during the event. Bring two non-LED light bulbs and swap them for energy-efficient LEDs.

“This is our third year offering this event and it’s really important that we offer this outlet for recycling these items responsibly because when people put these things in the curbside bin it contaminates our recycling stream and has the potential to negate all of the efforts we put into recycling correctly,” Shawn Bruckman, compost operations manager at Vail Honeywagon.

This recycling event will be held at the Old Town Hall parking lot at 1 Lake Street in Avon. For large loads, give them a call: 970-476-3511. A portion of the proceeds of this event will benefit Climate Action Collaborative.