Headline: Holiday harvest | VailDaily.com

Headline: Holiday harvest

Locals, visitors spurn slopes for last minute gifts at Minturn Winter Market
Sweet Paradise employee Ezequiel Narcisi serves a blueberry pastry at the Minturn Winter Market. Narcisi is from Argintina and is part of work and travel program.

Sweet Paradise employee Ezequiel Narcisi serves a blueberry pastry at the Minturn Winter Market. Narcisi is from Argentina and is part of a work and travel program.|Vail Daily/Bret Hartman|

Well, some people do like shopping better than skiing.

And for folks in the valley who get to ski all week and are a little bit behind on their Christmas shopping, the finale Saturday of the Minturn Winter Market came in pretty handy.

“I don’t ski on Saturdays, Saturdays are for the tourists,” said Mike Torda of Minturn. “And, I have not bought one single gift – but it’s kind of the Minturn way of doing things to go slow.”

While some shoppers were a little chilly, Torda, dressed only in a fleece, said the weather was perfect.

“It’s nice out – it’s always nice in Minturn,” he said.

Saturday’s market was the third and final of the season. The winter market is, of course, the cold-weather cousin of the popular Minturn Market that runs all through the summer. According to most of the folks who’ve had booths this winter, the market has been a success.

“It’s cozy and people are happy,” said Lena Mosser of Edwards, who brought her unique candles to the market. Mosser picks, dries and presses wildflowers and then attaches the flowers to her colorful handmade candles.

“Candles are more of a winter thing than a summer thing,” Mosser said. “That’s why even though hardly anyone’s been here, I’ve done good.”

The market wasn’t crowded, though plenty of folks were out gift hunting – and not all of them were out to find presents for their friends and family.

“We’re trying to find more stuff for ourselves,” said Dave Chesterston of Edwards, who was at the market with his wife, Amy. “We’re always shopping for ourselves.”

But selfishness can help the community, he added.

“We like to come down here and support the local businesses,” he said. “We do it in the summer and it’s a pretty good idea in the winter.”

Chesterston said he wasn’t skiing because he’s a ski patrolman – which means he gets up the hill plenty of times during the week.

“Vail Mountain’s in great shape,” he said. “Could we possibly have any better conditions?”

Thanks for the ski report. Now, back to shopping.-

Mosser said the weeks leading up to Christmas are the best time to hold the winter market because holidays earlier in the year like Halloween wouldn’t lure very many shoppers to Minturn.

“Christmas is when people shop,” she said.

Chris Frame, a veteran of the both the summer and winter markets, said the afternoon markets can compete with the ski slopes that squeeze Minturn from either side of the Eagle River Valley.

“By 2 o’clock, people are coming off the slopes and they’re ready for Christmas,” said Frame, who sells wild fruit jams.

Does Frame prefer shopping or skiing?

“I’d rather be skiing,” Frame said.-

While the markets have been successful, she added, the cold weather has cut down on the amount of strolling shoppers do, she added.

“To me, the winter market isn’t as leisurely,” Frame said. “But people keep coming back.”

Eagle’s Marcy Mumpower, who was selling necklaces and bracelets, said shoppers were spending more money at this market than the first one three weeks ago.

“At the first one, people are browsing. At this one, they have to buy some presents or they won’t have any,” Mumpower said.

What about holding more winter markets?

“If we didn’t have snow and we weren’t in Colorado, maybe it would be a good idea,” she said.

Silverthorne’s Shelly Koehler, who was selling children’s clothing, said holding markets after Christmas and longer into the winter is worth a try – as long as Minturn has plenty of folks to shovel snow on hand.

“I think people would come, though the snow might be an issue,” she said. “The winter markets have been good, though they’re a lot less hectic than the summer.”

Some of the merchants were apparently more serious about the market than the shoppers, said John Mattox, of Silverthorne’s Lazy Hearts Studio.

“You can tell who’s serious and who’s not serious. Some people have been here setting up since 11:45 a.m.,” Mattox said.

Mattox was selling glass and clay pots, cup and other pottery. Aside from giving shoppers a place to buy last minute gifts, the winter market – like the summer market – gives local artists a great opportunity to show off their creations, Mattox said.

“If anybody needs help,” he said,- “it’s local artists.”

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