Single and ready to mingle in Eagle County
VAIL CO, Colorado
Editor’s note: This is the first story in a two-part series about dating in the High Country. Check back next week for part two.
Right now is a popular time to start lookin’ for love. Along with the usual New Year’s resolutions – go to the gym, eat more veggies, quit that ugly “Jersey Shore” habit –some single folks have one more vow: Find. The. One.
“We see an increase in people signing on after the holidays,” said Jaklin Kaden who does public relations for the online dating service Match.com. “Everyone is getting ready for Valentine’s Day.”
Kris Kenny, owner of Kris Kenny Connections, a matchmaking service based in Denver, said January and February are her two strongest months.
“A lot of relationships end over the holidays and a lot of people go home for the holidays and might get grief they haven’t found anyone yet. Those things add up,” said Kenny, who has upwards of 40 clients “in the mountains,” most of whom are based in Eagle County.
Tasha Dimling, a love coach based in Aspen who has Eagle County clients, said she also sees an upsurge in January and February.
“People are like, ‘This is what I want for this year – love. New year, new love,'” Dimling said. “Past Valentine’s Days they’ve spent it alone, wearing black and getting drunk with their girlfriends and they realize they want to do something about it.”
So what does “do something about it,” equate to in Eagle County? What’s the single scene look like in the mountains these days anyway? Both single men and single women agree: It can be rough out there.
“I have people in my chair all the time who say dating is so difficult in this valley,” said Tracy Dolan, a hair stylist at Bliss in Edwards. “They don’t know where to go and meet people because people with ambition aren’t necessarily going to be hanging at the bars all the time. People want someone who has their life together, who isn’t just a ski bum.”
Chaun Powell, 29, is a former Vail resident who moved to Denver a year ago. He said that dating in the mountains was tough for a variety of reasons, including the 14-hour days he often pulled during the winter, the “small dating pool,” and a very transient population.
“Because there’s so few local females compared to males, they get swept up pretty quickly,” he said. “You’ve heard it called Male (Vail), Colorado before, right?”
Matt Inden, a 37-year-old Eagle-Vail resident who’s lived here for six years, agreed.
“Where do you meet someone here? On the chairlift? If they’re cool and cute, chances are they’re dating someone or married.”
Right now Powell is happily committed, he said. He’s been dating Erin, a pilates instructor he met through a friend, for six months. The two met at the Vail Lacrosse Tournament while he was still living in Vail. Having dated in both Eagle County and in Denver, he said dating in Denver seems easier.
“There’s a much bigger population and on top of that, there’s so many different things to do –restaurants, night clubs, professional sports teams. But all in all, dating up there was fun because you always had interesting people from all walks of life and all areas of the world. Unfortunately, most of those people leave two weeks later and as far as settling down goes, I think it’s easier in Denver.”
Meanwhile single women around town complain about guys who have the “Peter Pan syndrome,” who want to ski, drink and play and above all, avoid a career-oriented job. They also talk about the pressure to be athletic and outdoorsy.
“A guy will ask you out but sometimes they want you to audition – see how you ski, see how fast you can pedal up Vail Pass,” said a 39-year-old Edwards woman who asked to remain anonymous.
When she moved here 14 years ago, she was hoping to meet a “nice, fun (and funny) guy that didn’t have an absurd amount of late fees on his Blockbuster membership.”
“After a year I up’d the ante and decided that I want to meet a guy that had his own place – that did not mean that he had to own, just a place where he had a room that he rented all to himself, where he didn’t sleep on the couch and didn’t share a bedroom,” she said. “Then I decided to push the envelope further and look for a guy that had a car in addition to all of the aforementioned qualifications. This all went swimmingly and I dated a lot of nice guys. I did go so far as to require that they had a home, a car and a job and that thinned out the population a bit and I dated some not-so-nice guys.”
After a brief engagement, the woman is back on the dating scene and said it’s been a “bumpy” ride so far.
“I had two men ask me out last year that were in committed relationships; one was married and the other one I had three dates with before he decided to tell me about his girlfriend. There is a guy in town who will send me text messages across the restaurant when he is sitting next to his girlfriend – Ick!”
Former local Katie Coakley, 32, lived in Summit and Eagle County for eight years and recently moved to Florida. While living in the mountains she saw the dating scene “work for a lot of people, and not work for a lot of other people,” she said.
“It was hard for me to find someone who was in the same stage I was professionally who understood that,” said Coakley, who worked for a local marketing company. “A lot of people move out (to Vail) for the recreational livestyle, to be Peter Pan for a little while. I know we always talk about it, but I saw a lot of it. Having a ‘real job’ made it more difficult. It was hard for me to find someone in that same place, not someone who wanted to get married necessarily, but someone who understood when I had to work late.”
Now the anonymous Edwards resident jokes that she’s reduced her stipulations to “a nice guy that likes dogs and is willing to fill my humidifier.”
But Dimling, whose clients are roughly 90 percent women, 10 percent men, cautions against lowering your standards.
“A lot of my clients were dating a guy at the time we started meeting and they had to let that guy go because he was just a surrogate, temporary boyfriend to keep them company. (Initially) they didn’t feel like they could let them go, but as far as attracting a man who was right for them, you have to,” she said. “I have one client in Eagle County who paid for the whole package (Dimling offers an eight-week love coaching package for $700 for locals) and who hasn’t started because she knows I’m going to make her break up with her boyfriend.”
And Dimling doesn’t think you have to move to Denver or somewhere else to find “the one” either.
“If you’re here, then he’s here,” Dimling said. “That’s what I believe in. But if this is not your home, you’re going to have a harder time. If Miss City Girl is hanging in Vail, and she’s really meant to be in New York, she’s going to have a hard time. But if this is your home, then you guys see the lifestyle and what you want the same way.”
Check back next week to read the second half of this story, where we talk to locals about where to meet people in Eagle County, the pros and cons of online dating and what the experts say you have to know if you’re new to the dating scene.
High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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