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The energy-efficient home

Editor’s Note: Sponsored content brought to you by Holy Cross Energy

The Tvarkunas family converted all gas appliances to electric and they’re generating their own electricity with solar panels. They also own an electric car and take advantage of Holy Cross Energy rebates.
Courtesy Photo
Energy-saving measures
  • Operate heat tape only during daytime hours when melting is occurring and turn it off at night. Sun also helps melt ice dams.
  • Use a timer to control heat tape automatically. HCE offers rebates for heat tape timers (50 percent of the cost up to $100).
  • Make sure to turn your heat tape off at the breakers when there is no snow on the roof.
  • Use smart or programmable thermostats to control heating and cooling systems.
  • Don’t heat or cool your home more than necessary when you’re not home (50 degrees is sufficient in most homes to prevent pipes from freezing).
  • Remember to turn off crawl space and garage heaters in the summer months.
  • LED bulbs use 75 to 90 percent less energy than incandescent or halogen bulbs.
  • HCE’s new online store has instant rebates on LED bulbs, thermostat, water saving devices and more.

The Tvarkunas family’s efforts to live a more energy efficient lifestyle might sound impressive, but the family believes this is the lifestyle of the future.

Patrick and Lucila Tvarkunas moved into their Eagle home about five years ago and they knew they wanted to make important changes to improve the home’s energy efficiency. After energy assessments from both Energy Smart Colorado and Holy Cross Energy (HCE), the Tvarkunases invested in insulation, LED lighting, air sealing, programmable thermostats, super efficient heat pumps and more. All of these measures have resulted in a net zero home, meaning the home’s solar panels produce more energy annually than the family uses.

“The Tvarkunas family is a perfect example of an HCE member wanting to be carbon neutral, converting all gas appliances to electric and generating their own electricity with solar panels,” said Mary Wiener, energy efficiency program administrator for HCE.

Learning how to become more efficient

Seventy70Thirty, 70 percent clean by 2030

HCE aims to achieve 70 percent clean energy by 2030 by increasing clean and renewable resources and significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The path to 70 percent clean energy requires a reduction in coal-fired power generation, improved energy efficiency of buildings, vehicles and businesses, and accelerated investment in new renewable energy resources connected to the electric distribution grid.

The first step in making any home or building more energy efficient is an energy audit.

“HCE provides one complimentary residential energy audit within a 5-year period for the same member at the same location,” said Eileen Wysocki, distributed resource program manager at HCE.

“It’s important to understand what’s using energy in your home and how to reduce usage from those items. People have many misconceptions about what’s using the most energy in their homes, and are often surprised when they see the breakdown of their home’s energy use,” Wysocki said. “Having an audit can also help identify areas of heat loss through the use of an infrared camera. Audits can also help prioritize what projects should be tackled first based on the needs of the residents and the greatest energy savings.”

Those savings can reach 50 percent or more depending on the upgrades. Wysocki said the average home sees about 10 to 20 percent in annual energy savings after making more efficient upgrades, but savings aren’t the only reason to seek more efficiency.

“Upgrades can make your home more comfortable,” Wysocki said. “And a more energy efficient home may have higher resale value.”

Patrick said his family’s home is much more comfortable now thanks to increased insulation and the elimination of drafts.

Small steps for greater impacts

The Tvarkunases use HCE’s energy assessments to guide them toward ways to maximize their efficiency upgrade investments.

“From simple things like switching to LED lights that use 80 percent less power than a normal light bulb, all the way to using rebates for our solar panels and having an electric car charger installed, HCE has been a great partner in helping us both save money on our monthly bills and reduce our environmental footprint,” Patrick said. “Energy Smart Colorado has also been awesome with their own efficiency rebates which have allowed us to invest more with their matching funds.”

The Tvarkunases are committed to doing their part by being more efficient and creating locally produced energy. It saves the family money, but it also contributes to the safety, reliability, and efficiency of the local electricity grid, Patrick said.

The family has even purchased a Nissan Leaf electric car, saving them more than 500 gallons of gasoline per year, or roughly $1,500 in annual fuel and maintenance savings. They’re also composting their organic waste to use in their small garden, and they of course always take the time to recycle.

“Each small step gets us closer to a sustainable future where we all invest locally instead of sending our dollars to huge mega businesses, which definitely do not have our local interests in mind,” he said. “Overall, there haven’t been any drawbacks — we save money and have a more comfortable house while reducing our footprint and being more self-sufficient.”

Energy Efficient Products and Rebates

HCEstore.com is HCE’s new online resource for members looking to give their home an energy efficiency makeover. Members can save up to $400 a year with upgrades such as air filters, advanced power strips, smart thermostats, LED lighting and water devices.

Visit HCEstore.com to learn more.

Charter Sports: The valley’s premiere rental and ski delivery service

Editor’s Note: This sponsored content is brought to you by Charter Sports.

Photo Courtesy of Charter Sports
Charter Sports

Save up to 30% on ski & board rentals
12 convenient locations for pick up and drop off
Expert tuning and repair
Award winning service – Satisfaction guaranteed

CharterSports.com 888-295-9797

When Mike Bartasuis moved to Vail at age 18, he did what any responsible winter enthusiast would: he worked in hotels, through the forest service and as a ski instructor. In 1988, he recognized the need to offer ski rentals within hotels, and he began Charter Sports Ski & Snowboard Rentals.

Photo Courtesy of Charter Sports

Since then, the company has remained locally owned and operated, with a strong emphasis on customer service and high quality, convenient rentals.

“We are held to a higher standard of service being located within hotel and lodging properties and consider ourselves an amenity and extension of the hotel partner,” says Scott Fulton, senior vice president of marketing and sales. “We focus on what we were founded upon: keeping guests happy.”

The company provides the latest and greatest technology in adults’ and kids’ skis and snowboards, as well as easy turning beginner to intermediate skis and boards and intermediate to advanced packages for all ages and abilities.

Charter Sports has 12 on-site rental outlets throughout Vail Valley, as well as high-end ski delivery service called Premier Ski Delivery, allowing them to service outside hotel properties, as well.

Photo Courtesy of Charter Sports

Master technicians, annually certified in binding adjustments, are experts boot fitters, ensuring a comfortable fit for both adults and kids.

“It’s really about sharing information and expertise,” Fulton says. “We have hundreds of years of experience in the ski industry if you add up all of our management team’s experience.”

During summers, Charter Sports rents road bikes, path bikes, full and front suspension mountain bikes and E-bikes for adults and kids. The company was the first to create and freely give out illustrated maps, which highlight landmarks, hiking trails, restrooms and shops surrounding Vail Pass, for self-guided tours. Knowledgeable guides also offer a 15-mile, mostly downhill Vail Pass cruise as they talk about the flora, fauna, geography and local stories. Winter or summer, the team’s genuine passion for mountain recreation make guests’ vacations a breeze

A chance to embrace your inner lumberjack — but don’t take it too seriously

Editor’s Note: Sponsored content brought to you by Man of the Cliff

Man of the Cliff is a little bit lumberjack, mixed with some highland games and a dash of strongman (and woman).
Get your flannel panel together

Does your crew chop faster, throw further and higher, and aim straighter than all others? If so, sign up for the first-ever Man of the Cliff team competition. 

Grab your four best lumberfriends and sign up as a group to see which team has the best overall score. All that’s required is registration and an awesome team name.

Email the names of all four competitors and your team name to info@manofthecliff.com. The team winner, along with the overall Man and Woman Of The Cliff, will be announced on Sunday afternoon

In Colorado, there are plenty of people who talk the lumberjack talk, but can you walk the lumberjack walk?

There are few places more appropriate to try to bring some authenticity to your flannel-wearing ways than the Man of the Cliff competition in Avon, where amateur competitions for men and women include the likes of axe throwing, archery, keg toss and more.

What started as an ambitious idea (over a few beers) in Red Cliff in 2009 has turned into one of the Vail Valley’s most beloved events. Husband-and-wife duo Adam and Amanda Williams try to continually evolve the event by adding new competitions or activities, while making sure they stay true to the rugged and semi-unrefined beginnings.

Philanthropy is the main event

Adam and Amanda raised $400 for charity that first year. Ten years later, Man of the Cliff has donated more than $100,000 to local nonprofit First Descents.

“We have always wanted to get like-minded people together for a great time while also raising money for charity, and that is what this event has always been about.”

Man of the Cliff’s 2019 nonprofit recipient is Can Do Multiple Sclerosis, a Valley-based nonprofit that delivers health and wellness education programs to help families living with MS.

They chose Can Do as the nonprofit this year because the organization is local and had been a vocal supporter of Man on the Cliff for many years.

“We really love the people and their mission. It is close to our hearts as we have a good friend with MS,” Amanda said. “We’re giving 100 percent of 2019 proceeds to Can Do Multiple Sclerosis. Come throw some axes, enjoy a couple of Bonfire beers and support a fantastic cause in the process.”

A competitive spirit, all in good fun

For the keg toss event, men get an empty regular-sized keg and women get an empty pencil keg to throw. The height is adjusted higher with each round.
Courtesy Photo

A little bit lumberjack, mixed with some highland games and a dash of strongman — that’s how Adam and Amanda describe Man of the Cliff.

“And, also beer,” Amanda said. “It has been dubbed as the best man-watching in the valley, so even if you don’t come to compete, come to support a great cause by having a pint and just listening and watching.”

There’s a lot of denim and flannel, and beard-gazing could be its own competitive category (the beards are spectacular). The competitions are reserved for the types of things you’d find lumberjacks and lumberjanes doing out in the woods (see factbox).

“It’s all about the camaraderie. We liken it to camp — some people see these people all of the time, but to others it’s like a reunion at camp and it just thrives off of the competitive spirit,” Adam said. “There is a fun and joking atmosphere that has naturally evolved with Erik (Adam’s brother) being the emcee. He pokes fun at people and it underlines that the event is supposed to be a fun time to come together and not be too serious.”

A little skill, mostly luck

2019 Man of the Cliff competition categories

Axe Throw – Multiple rounds of axe throwing into a wood target.

Archery – Multiple rounds of archery, shooting into a target.

Keg Toss – Men get an empty regular-sized keg, women get an empty pencil keg to throw. The height is adjusted higher with each round.

Caber Toss – Long tree-type logs with branches removed; longer and thicker diameter for men; bigger cabers for each additional round.

Pulp Toss – Throwing about a three-foot-long log to a predetermined location, for accuracy, emulating the throwing and stacking of logs.

Spear Throw – Multiple rounds of spear-throwing into a wood target.

Hammer Toss – Toss a sledge hammer to knock down as many of the three staggered targets of small wooden discs that you can.

Speed Chop – Timed event with a predetermined amount of logs to chop. Starts off with three.

Tug of War – Teams of four people..

Two Man Cross Cut – Teams of two, timed event.

Stand Alone Axe – Provided by wood and steel axe company. Throw axes for a small fee. they will be there all day, both days.

Almost all events are tailored to skill and luck, and only a couple of events involve strength, Adam said.

“However, to normalize that, we drop your lowest score, so if you didn’t want to do the keg toss, technically you could still win if you did really well at the other events,” Adam said.

The event is for “the weekend lumberjack,” Adam added. There is no professional or semi-pro competitive categories — it’s 100 percent amateur.

“We are a husband-and-wife team that puts this on because we love it,” Amanda said. “We have a great group of folks that love the event and help us each year, and we couldn’t do it without them.”

For anyone who has experienced stress, therapy might not be enough

Editor’s note: This sponsored content was brought to you Brought to you by All Points North.

All Points North Lodge, the upscale personal development and human performance center in Edwards
Courtesy of All Points North Lodge

The experience of trauma happens in many ways and forms, with varying levels of severity, but every person in the world has personal traumas that can cause stress later in life.

Trauma could be defined as a major life event such as divorce, illness or the death of a loved one, or it could be defined as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from abuse, an accident or seeing combat in war.

“While not everyone identifies with having experienced trauma, most people have experienced stress in their lives, said Ryan Soave, director of the Accelerator Program at All Points North Lodge. “A maladaptive relationship to our history can cause this type of stress.”

All Points North Lodge, the upscale personal development and human performance center in Edwards at the former Cordillera Resort & Spa, is set to open its residential program in early 2020, but it’s hosting monthly week-long therapy workshops beginning with the RISE Workshop Sept. 22-27. The workshops are intended to help anyone who might not qualify for or need a longer residential treatment program, but for those who could benefit from something outside of regular therapy sessions.

“Trauma includes the different wounds and difficult times that shaped us in our formative years,” Soave said. “When we’re reacting to things in our adult lives that are an overwhelming response to something, it points to something that happened earlier. These workshops intend to change our relationships with those events.”

All Points North Lodge will be hosting week-long workshops that are intended to help anyone who might not qualify for or need a longer residential treatment program, but for those who could benefit from something outside of regular therapy sessions.
Getty Images

Immersive workshop setting

The workshop setting — which consists of five days of uninterrupted work — is an effective way to treat trauma and stress, Soave said. Weekly therapy sessions often fall short because patients often sit in the chair with other things on their minds such as cooking tonight’s dinner or tomorrow’s work deadlines.

In an immersive workshop, Soave said facilitators are able to work through trauma, stress, codependency, people who feel stuck in life or other challenges, in a more efficient and powerful way.

“We want to help people discover the things that have shaped their lives,” he said. “We help make connections for people so they can understand what has filled up their stress bucket.”

Clinically based

Through Soave’s own process of healing, he changed his entire career and got a masters in counseling at the age of 32. His workshops are therapeutic in nature, with the benefits of his strong clinical background.

Soave incorporates experiential practices into his work — such as yoga, meditation, breathwork and mindfulness — to help people get out of feeling stuck.

“We use these powerful tools that can release stress from the nervous system and help people start to understand what triggers them and puts them in that state,” Soave said. “It allows you to begin the work of healing and to build the capacity to deal with the difficult stuff so you’re more available for the great stuff.”

All Points North Lodge, the upscale personal development and human performance center in Edwards
Courtesy of All Points North Lodge

Emptying the stress bucket

The workshops start with some psychoeducation to help participants understand what trauma is, what stress is and how it impacts not only our physical bodies via our nervous system, but also how it drives the decisions we make throughout the day.

In this group setting of up to 12 people, from which smaller groups also break out, Soave said people can really begin the work of understanding what has shaped them.

“People don’t need to remember everything they’ve ever been through in order to heal. In fact, the stuff you do remember is often inaccurate,” he said.“We’ll help you identify the symptoms and figure out how to treat them so you can release some of the stress from your body.”

Making futures bright for local families

Editors Note: This sponsored content is brought to you by Bright Future Foundation

Since 1984, Bright Future Foundation has worked to confront challenges of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

Living in the Vail Valley, a place known for its natural splendor, playful amenities, and cultural enrichment, it can be easy to overlook members of the community who face real-world challenges such as those caused by domestic violence and sexual abuse.

Since 1984, Bright Future Foundation (BFF) has worked to confront these challenges by shining a light on the issues of domestic violence and sexual abuse — advocating for victims, providing safe housing options, and creating programs that empower young adults through education and mentorship.

“Bright Future Foundation seeks to prevail over domestic violence and sexual abuse through advocacy, empowerment and social change,” said Executive Director Sheri Mintz. “It is remarkable to see the power of the community coming together to heal survivors and the positive change that can be made in their lives as a result of these support systems.”

Currently, the Bright Future Foundation is looking to the future with the development of a permanent facility, the BrightHouse, for families affected of domestic violence and sexual abuse in Eagle County. The effort was launched with a $1 million lead gift by local supporter and BFF board member Doe Browning.

“As our community endeavors to provide affordable housing, Bright Future Foundation hopes to build a facility in the purest form for any and all who seek safety, counsel and healing in the wake of extraordinarily difficult circumstances,” Browning said. “The BrightHouse will bring dignity back to many who suffer, enabling them to live, work and play in our beautiful valley with trust and without fear.”

Bright Future Foundation is looking to the future with the development of a permanent facility, the BrightHouse, for families affected of domestic violence and sexual abuse in Eagle County.
Bright Future Foundation is looking to the future with the development of a permanent facility, the BrightHouse, for families affected of domestic violence and sexual abuse in Eagle County.

Freedom Ranch Safehouse

BFF currently operates a safehouse for victims and their families in Eagle County, but the lease has expired and will not be renewed by the federal government. Thus, the planned BrightHouse will provide a resource center and emergency housing solution for those affected by domestic violence and sexual assault.

As the first and only emergency shelter in Eagle County, Freedom Ranch Safehouse has been essential to the safety of the community and a vital component in BFF’s crisis response. This current facility provides victims with the ability to leave an abusive situation and protect their children from witnessing or experiencing further abuse while remaining within the community.

BFF can house a maximum of 21 survivors, who are able to reside at the shelter for up to 45 days. During that time, they work closely with their advocate to determine a safe exit plan following their stay at Freedom Ranch.

To learn more about Bright Future Foundation, visit the organization’s website at www.mybrightfuture.org or email admin@mybrightfuture.org.

Advocates ensuring freedom

As Eagle County’s only community-based victim service agency, BFF provides exemplary programs that offer a pathway to safety and security for survivors and their families. BFF advocates, clinical psychologist, family law attorney and housing specialists assist individuals and families through a holistic case management framework. Survivors are offered all necessary services under the umbrella of one organization.

Meanwhile, BFF’s 24-Hour Crisis Hotline serves as a confidential safety net for individuals in the community to call for support and resources. The hotline operates 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and is manned by trained staff and volunteers. Advocates provide compassionate support in English or Spanish for survivors of violence. This is often the first step individuals take in changing their lives.

Youth violence prevention

BFF has prioritized prevention programming to create lasting change with a goal of eliminating violence in the community. The organization’s youth programs empower Eagle County’s young adults through education, advocacy, and mentorship.

In the past 10 years, these prevention programs have expanded to include EmpowHERment/EmpowerMENt, Ensuring Safety and Hot Spot Mapping, as well as advocacy and counseling for youth impacted by violence. BFF’s violence prevention groups are changing social norms by engaging youth, teachers, and families in awareness efforts and prevention.

For over 35 years, Bright Future Foundation’s Buddy Mentors Program has served youth in Eagle County who are in need of a caring, supportive adult role model.
For over 35 years, Bright Future Foundation’s Buddy Mentors Program has served youth in Eagle County who are in need of a caring, supportive adult role model.

The programs, which have grown steadily to reach 450 students at five middle schools across Eagle County, create a greater awareness of others, which in turn creates an increase in acceptance, empathy, and camaraderie.

“This growth is a direct reflection of what can happen when students are given space to discuss challenging, emotional and sometimes-personal subjects within a supportive and genuine environment,” Mintz said.

Buddy Mentors

One-on-one mentoring continues to be an effective means of mitigating risks for adolescent youth. Mentoring, at its core, guarantees young people that there is someone who cares about them and assures them they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges.

BFF provides exemplary programs that offer a pathway to safety and security for survivors and their families.
BFF provides exemplary programs that offer a pathway to safety and security for survivors and their families.

For over 35 years, Bright Future Foundation’s Buddy Mentors Program has served youth in Eagle County who are in need of a caring, supportive adult role model.

“Our goal of maintaining more than 40 matched pairs of mentors and mentees holds steady and is strengthened by the fact that our mentors and families experience shared ownership and connection to the program and our organization,” Mintz said.

Sustainable living isn’t just about the environment, it’s about smart consumerism

When Alin Turcea and Antonia Pitica recognized the significance of plastic products in their everyday lives, they felt compelled to do something about it. 

Bags for produce, groceries, to-go cups, toothbrushes, water bottles — these items are a part of our everyday lives, and they’re almost always plastic. 

What if they could create these products for people who cared about living more sustainably for the sake of our planet, while also educating consumers everywhere about the importance of our individual actions? 

“We had a lightbulb moment, and we began reading about climate change to see what we could do to develop habits that were better for the environment,” Alin said. “We started EcoRoots when we realized how much of an impact consumerism was having on our lives and the lives of those around us.”

By creating this minimalist, earth-conscious brand, Alin and Antonia aim to encourage an economy that considers the future. They want consumers to have the power to choose, through the products they buy and use, what kind of world they want to live in.

“As we did our research, we realized that we had been making many of our choices out of convenience, without considering the consequences,” Antonia said. “We knew that, in order to ask other people to change, we needed to change first. So, the first step we took toward our new lifestyle was simply refusing what we didn’t really need.” 

Here are some of the reasons that making these small steps can not only change the way you live your life for the better, but also positively impact the environment..

Future generations

Alin and Antonia feel personally responsible to do their part to address pollution and climate change for future generations. Climate change is one of the most significant issues we’ll face in our lifetime, Antonia said.

“We have to consider how devastating the effects of plastic consumption are on our already fragile environment, including our oceans and marine life, but also our own health and well-being, too,” he said. “We can all make changes to ensure that our children and grandchildren aren’t left to clean up the mess we’ve made.”

Small steps are easy

Activities such as brushing your teeth or shopping at a grocery store are habits for most people. We do these things without thinking much about them, but what if the products you used didn’t end up harming marine life or clogging up landfills? What if you could use products as a consumer that actually meant something?

“It’s easy to get discouraged when you’re trying to change habits that you’ve had your whole life, but the key is being patient, and knowing that real change won’t happen overnight,” Alin said. “There are many small steps that you can take if you’re just starting out on this journey, and these small habits will become second-nature overtime.”

Alin and Antonia started their sustainably living journey by bringing reusable bags to the grocery store. From there, they began to avoid plastic-wrapped produce, switched to biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes, began using reusable water bottles and switched to a reusable razor instead of single-use disposable razors.

Becoming more conscious overall

By making these small changes, Alin and Antonia became more conscious consumers everywhere they went. They checked packaging when they went shopping to avoid plastic whenever possible. They realized that while it’s not always possible to avoid plastic entirely, they could use a lot of substitute products such as reusable or recyclable packaging including glass, stainless steel or cardboard to ultimately have less of an impact on the environment.

“After you’ve made changes like composting, packing reusable bags for shopping trips, looking for products that come in recyclable, non-plastic packaging, look around your home and see what other products can be replaced by a sustainable alternative,” Alin said. “Using sustainable products will save you money in the long run.”

Steps that ALL consumers can take

Here are some of the ways Alin and Antonia make changes in their lives by using EcoRoots products. They believe this is a good starting off point for anyone interested in living more sustainably. Visit ecoroots.us for product options.

  • Buy fresh produce rather than produce wrapped in plastic. Check out your local farmers market or another grocery store if yours doesn’t have what you’re looking for.
  •  Unless medically necessary, skip the plastic straws. Because they’re not accepted by most recycling centers, many larger companies are beginning to ban them anyway, so this is one of the easiest to implement. 
  • Call your local recycling center if you’re not sure if something is recyclable, don’t just throw it out.
  • Compost your food leftovers. 
  • Bring reusable bags with you whenever you go shopping so you don’t have to take home any plastic bags.
  • Use a reusable coffee cup and water bottle so you can skip the paper and plastic.
  • Walk, use public transportation, car-pool, or ride your bike to reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Eat locally. You’ll know exactly where your food is coming from, and you’ll get to support local businesses and farmers. This is especially easy in the summertime when most towns have weekly farmers markets.
  • Consume consciously. Buy things out of necessity, not boredom, and when you do need to buy something, try to find ethically sourced clothes and other products. 
  • Support small, local businesses.
  • Use alternatives to plastic whenever possible in products for the home, kitchen, health and beauty. 

In Avon, an effort to become more arts-centric goes on display

The Town of Avon is becoming a hub for arts and culture in the valley thanks to a concerted effort to support special community-focused events.

The Benches of Avon project is the Town’s next large scale public art exhibit following last year’s successful Playhouse Project. Various nonprofit organizations have been creating benches, which will be on display along Avon’s Main Street Mall from June 13 to July 20, that represent what they do for the community.

“Creating and supporting these types of cultural and arts-related initiatives nurtures community vitality and creativity,” said Preston Neill, Avon’s Deputy Town Manager.

Trying to become a Colorado Creative District

Avon Mayor Pro Tem Amy Cramer Phillips said the Town began looking into what it takes to become a Colorado Creative District, a designation by the state for the most art-focused communities, several years ago.

“Eagle County as a community has a lot of creative, artistic people, but there’s not a central arts hub,” Phillips said. “There’s an artistic community that’s not supported as well as they could be, and there’s an economic benefit to the Town.”

So far, these designated districts include 23 communities, including Carbondale, Salida, Crested Butte, Steamboat Springs and Telluride. The Town of Avon has set its own objective to become one, as well.

“The Town’s cultural enterprise can have an impact on Avon’s business community and help keep our community competitive against other resort communities,” Neill said.

Events like the Benches project are the perfect opportunity for residents and visitors to experience the Town, which has taken great strides over the last decade to create a more pedestrian-friendly downtown.

“Getting people out walking to view all of these benches — we think it’s a great way for people to experience the walkability of Avon,” Phillips said. “That’s been a really big for the Town, to become walkable so people didn’t feel like they had to get into their car and drive from Loaded Joe’s to Bob’s Place.”

New committee focused on arts and events

Avon’s vision is to provide a high quality of life, today and in the future, for a diverse population, and to promote their ability to live, work, visit and recreate in the community. The Town of Avon recently established a Cultural, Arts and Special Events Committee that is tasked with providing guidance and advice on culture, arts and special events programming in Avon. The committee will also provide advice regarding the Town’s Cultural Plan.

“The Cultural Plan will serve as a key step in leading special events, arts and creative growth in Avon,” Neill said. “With the Avon Playhouse Project being so successful last year and with the Benches of Avon Project well on its way to being a hit, the expectation is that Avon will look to host more events like these in the future.”

Avon Mayor Sarah Smith Hymes said the creation of this committee demonstrates the Town’s recognition of the value of arts and culture to the overall community, for both visitors and residents.

“Consideration of the facility needs of performance and visual arts is integral to the planning for Avon’s town-owned properties,” Smith Hymes said.

6 Reasons to Experience Craft Beer in Colorado

(sponsored content)

Colorado has the second highest number of craft breweries (behind California) in the country — and some killer beer festivals to boot — but this powerhouse industry often faces some image myths.

Despite the fact that plenty of bearded white dudes do enjoy craft beer, this is not the industry’s lone demographic. In fact, about half of the guests at Colorado Brewers Guild affiliated festivals — such as the upcoming Vail Craft Beer Classic — are women.

What exactly defines “craft” beer? The Colorado Brewers Guild defines it as beer brewed by breweries that are independent and small, brewing less than 2 million barrels per year.

“The ‘craft’ aspect also incorporates a strong sense of community and centuries worth of brewing tradition,” said Shawnee Adelson, Deputy Director at the Colorado Brewers Guild, “combined with a focus on pushing the boundaries of what can be done with this incredible beverage.”            

Here are some of the qualities of Colorado’s craft beer industry to experience yourself at the upcoming Vail Craft Beer Classic.

Endless variety

From styles of beer including IPAs, ales, stouts and porters, brown ales, wheats, hefeweizens, Belgian pale ales and others, to flavors such as tangerine, coriander, ginger, blood orange, watermelon and many more, craft beers are not easily defined by taste.

“Colorado is a melting pot that brings a wide spectrum of flavors and creativity to the table,” said Andy Jessen, co-founder and manager at Bonfire Brewing in Eagle. “Because it’s such an attractive place to live, we have brewers from all over the country bringing the best of many different recipe formulation philosophies. I think it creates unparalleled variety.”

More than hops

You’ve probably tried a craft beer — or maybe even several — that you didn’t like, but breweries are coming out with new styles all the time. Jessen said people often think craft beer is too hoppy, bitter or flavorful, but he said the variety of styles “is a rainbow with something for everyone.”

Currently, there’s a national industry trend toward producing lighter, lower calorie craft beers.

Tristan Schmid, Marketing and Events Manager at the Colorado Brewers Guild, said if you tried one brewery and didn’t like it, visit another or try a tasting flight to explore all the varieties.

“Some people might feel like craft beer is unapproachable, though if they stop in at their local brewery, they’ll likely find that the bartender will be happy to help them find a beer they’ll enjoy,” Schmid said.

Craft beers for the Colorado lifestyle

It’s become a tradition in communities across the state to hit the local brewery after a day of skiing, mountain biking, road cycling, mountaineering or whatever the outdoor adventure du jour is.

“This history and integration of craft beer in Colorado makes our industry unique and central to what defines Colorado,” Adelson said.


There’s been a shift in the U.S. toward knowing where products are sourced — from produce to meat to seafood, and yes, even beer. By definition, craft beer and its smaller batch production is suited to small-town community vibes.

Craft brewers are also “scrappy, resilient and exceptionally community-oriented,” Jessen said.

“People want products they can see the people and history behind, and craft beer is ideally situated to cater to those desires,” Jessen said. “Try as many beers as you can, and support the breweries that do good things in your community. Most brewery owners/operators are working very long hours for very slim rewards because they’re passionate about beer, the people that drink it, and their respective communities.”

Last year, 67 independent breweries opened in Colorado, with about 50 planned to open this year. Many of these breweries are opening up in communities that didn’t have a craft brewery before, Schmid noted.

Brewers who care deeply about quality

Colorado brewers are constantly learning about ways to produce the highest quality beers through events such as the Colorado Brewers Guild’s annual Colorado Craft Brewers Summit. The Guild also helps brewery owners and managers learn about the best ways to make their breweries and beers approachable and enjoyable.

Jessen points out that peers in the industry are always willing to help spread knowledge about quality practices, too.

“And, to a great extent, it’s a self-policing business,” he said. “If the beer isn’t good, most people probably won’t give it a second chance.”

Friendly competition

Attend a beer festival like the Vail Craft Beer Classic and you’ll immediately notice the camaraderie among the brewers. These men and women are a passionate bunch just looking to share the joy of beer with as many people as possible.

These festivals also offer unique opportunities to get face time with these world-class brewers and enjoy one-of-a-kind beers.

“The Vail Craft Beer Classic is a great spot to meet many of those folks,” Jessen said, “and try a wide variety of what Colorado has to offer, in one of the most beautiful settings in our great state.”

School’s almost out — do your kids have fun things to do?

School might be getting out soon, but most parents’ jobs don’t provide a summer break — that’s why Mountain Recreation wants parents to know it has them covered this summer at its three locations in Eagle, Edwards and Gypsum.

Mountain Rec has made some major upgrades to its summer youth programs, covering more categories and more age groups this summer than ever before.

“We’ve added an entire lineup of camps, called Explorer Camps, through a partnership with SOS Outreach,” said Stacey Todd, Outdoor Recreation Supervisor for Mountain Rec.

There are also new Art (ages 5 to 12) and Gardening (ages 13 to 15) camps on the schedule this summer, including programs featuring mixed media, paper mache, pottery and painting. On the gardening side, Mountain Rec has teamed up with the Colorado State University Extension to provide a robust education component to the one-day-per-week gardening camp.

“The idea behind all of these new camps is that ‘there’s something for everyone, and everyone is doing something,’” Todd said.

Not to worry, the Mountain Rec staples of Sports Camps and Rec Kids Day Camps are still available with the same great programming as previous years.

Just bring a toothbrush

The goal of the Explorer Camps, which are also open to high school students, is to offer as many life-changing experiences in the outdoors as possible. Todd said many Eagle County youth don’t have the knowledge or equipment to access outdoor recreation, so the partnership with SOS Outreach pulls from both organizations’ strengths in order to deliver new options to the community.

Lifelong backcountry learning

“We have this natural progression now with so many camps for all these different age groups — Wee Outdoors (ages 3 to 5), Young Explorers (ages 5 to 8), Backyard Adventure Camps (ages 7 to 15) and SOS Outreach Wilderness Camps (ages 9 to 17) — it creates a progression for kids growing up and being introduced to the outdoors, stepping up their intensity every year,” Todd said. “We are so pleased to see these camps already filling up and many of them selling out.”

To register before they’re all sold out, visit MountainRec.org/camps.

EXPLORER CAMPS (new this summer!)
From single-day activities at Camp Hale to 5-day wilderness trips in the White River National Forest, your child will develop an appreciation for our very own backyard as they learn to navigate and conquer the great outdoors.

Each camp is designed to help build necessary skills and knowledge of the outdoors for kids to safely and properly recreate on their own.


H20 Camp (ages 12 to 15)
This 3-day camp delivered in partnership with Stand Up Paddle Colorado is designed for youth who want a basic introduction to stand up paddle boarding some of the best water in the area.

This 3-day camp delivered in partnership with Stand Up Paddle Colorado is designed for youth who want a basic introduction to stand up paddle boarding some of the best water in the area.
August 12-14 (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
Price: $230

Adventure Day Camp (ages 7 to 12)
Participants will be exposed to a variety of activities including hiking, climbing, stand-up paddleboarding, and mountain biking. Activities vary per week.

Session One: June 17-19 (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
Session Two: July 8-10 (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) – SOLD OUT
Session Three: July 29-31 (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) – SOLD OUT
Price: $125

Climbing Camp (ages 9 to 15)
This camp will introduce and teach standard rock climbing techniques such as knots, belaying, and the correct way to move over rock.
Edwards: July 24-26 (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
Gypsum: August 5-7 (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
Price: $125

These multi-day overnight camps concentrate on teaching the fundamentals of backcountry navigation and camping skills. From the basics of camp setup to outdoor cooking to team building, kids will build lasting friendships as they become more comfortable with the outdoors.

Overnight camps leave at 9 a.m. from the Edwards Field House and return to the Edwards Field House at 4 p.m.

Overnight: Intro to Camping, 3 days  (ages 9 to 13)
Session One: June 19-21
Session Two: July 1-3
Session Three: Aug. 5-7
Price: $175

Overnight: Intro to Backpacking, 3 days (ages 9 to 13)
Session One: June 24-26
Session Two: July 8-10
Session Three: Aug. 7-9
Price: $175

Overnight: Flat Tops Backpacking, 5 days (ages 14 to 17)
July 15-19
Price: $295

Overnight: Multi-Sport Adventure, 5 days (ages 14 to 17)
July 15-19
Price: $295

Overnight: Holy Cross Backpacking, 5 days
Session One: July 22-26 (ages 14 to 17)
Session Two: July 29-Aug 2 (ages 11 to 13)
Price: $295

*SOS Outreach operates under a special use permit from the USDA Forest Service – White River National Forest and is an equal opportunity service provider and employer.

Art Camps (ages 5 to 12)
Students will create unique works of art and explore their creative potential. Each week we will learn a new form of art.

Session One: Clay Series
June 17 – June 20 (1 to 4 p.m.)
Price: $99

Session Two: Mixed Media
July 8-11 (1 to 4 p.m.)
Price: $99

Session Three: Paper Mache
July 22-25 (1 to 4 p.m.)
Price: $99

Session Four: Pottery & Painting
Aug. 5-8 (1 to 4 p.m.)
Price: $99

Teen Gardening Camp (ages 13 to 15)
Participants will plant and learn how to take care and harvest a garden through fun interactive lessons about plants, insect, and soil and water conservation.

Every Monday from June 17 to Aug. 12 (9 a.m. to noon)
Price: $99 (registration deadline is June 17)

To register before they’re all sold out, visit MountainRec.org/camps.

30 years of Gypsum Daze

The rain was relentless the first year that Pam Schultz remembers organizing Gypsum Daze — it poured down so hard that the entire event turned into a sloppy mess, and all Schultz and other organizers could do was laugh.

“Guys were carrying their girlfriends over their shoulders. Oh my God, the mud was just horrid,” Schultz recalls. “The lightning was popping. We just laughed the entire time — that’s all we could do was laugh.”

Schultz, who has been on the Gypsum Town Council for more than 20 years now, had taken over organizing the event after envisioning making it bigger and better. Up until this time — it was the late 1980s — Gypsum Daze was a small parade at the fire department. There was a baseball game and a street dance at night, but Schultz knew the community could make it better.
So, after laughing off the unfortunate weather situation the first year, she hoped the second year would be smoother.

“Except the second year, the musician we had hired came to start his act and he was drunker than a skunk,” Schultz said. “He got up there to sing and he was foul-mouthed, so we said, ‘you’ve got to get out of here — we can’t have this.’”

So Schultz and the other community volunteers persisted on. They stayed focused on the vision to create a community event that could unite Gypsum, a town with so many wonderful community members but without a Main Street or centralized community gathering place. For this one weekend each year, Gypsum Daze becomes the town. It defines the town.

“From there, it just got bigger and better,” Schultz said. “People had more and more ideas for events and the community was willing to chip in to provide additional family-friendly activities for the weekend.”

Today’s Gypsum Daze
With nearly 30 years since the days when the event began its modern evolution, Gypsum Daze has become so much more than a small-town event for the community. It still embodies that spirit, but now it’s a destination for people from neighboring communities.

The Town’s population has nearly quadrupled since the first Gypsum Daze, said Assistant Town Manager Jim Hancock. New development has included a new town hall, a recreation center, a library, an outdoor sports complex, an outdoor theater, eight Pickleball courts, a Costco, three traffic signals and a roundabout — with another roundabout currently under construction — gun club expansions, the Dry Lake Motocross Track and the Gypsum Creek Golf Course.

And the talent this little town attracts for the Saturday night concerts is truly impressive. This year, Brooklyn-based The Lone Bellow is kicking off the concert followed by headliner Scotty McCreery, a country singer who won the 10th season of American Idol.

Talent in past years has included other well known acts such as The Charlie Daniels Band, LeAnn Rimes, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Thompson Square and Rodney Atkins, to name a few.

“The level of talent we bring in for Gypsum Daze is one of the main draws, especially for attendees from outside of Gypsum” said Taylor Slaugh, the Town of Gypsum’s Communications and Marketing manager. “But for the Gypsum Community, Gypsum Daze is like a big neighborhood party and a time to catch up with friends and neighbors. For this reason, it has always been something the Town Council has been a huge proponent of.”

Something for everyone
Most everything at Gypsum Daze is free, except for food that’s for-purchase from various vendors, and the concert tickets. This year, the concert pre-sale tickets ($20 for adult general admission, kids 12 & under are free) will will be available starting May 1, 2019 at www.gypsumdaze.com or at Ridley’s Market in Gypsum or at Gypsum Town Hall. Day of concert tickets from the Box Office will be $30.

One of the things Schultz is particularly proud of is how Gypsum Daze offers something for everyone. It was always a goal to make the event especially family-friendly, and thanks to things like the free fishing for kids at Gypsum Ponds, the Kids Playland and the Youth Talent Show, local kids have plenty of ways to enjoy the event with their families.
For anyone brave enough, the jalapeno-eating contest has become a big hit, with cash prizes for participants spanning all ages.

The Gypsum Creek Cruisers Car Show is open to all classic cars, pickups, off road vehicles, antiques, street rods, muscle cars, racers and toys. This event has become one of the crowd favorites every year, Schultz said.

Experience Gypsum
While the Town of Gypsum might not have a Main Street or a downtown area, the Town has been working on a master plan to help create more walkable paths and town parks all within a 10-minute walking radius.
A lot of the master plan focuses on improving some aesthetics around town. One goal is to improve Gypsum’s “front door,” the entrance to the Town from I-70, by attracting some new development there.

The town’s Master Plan is available for those interested in learning more at http://townofgypsum.com/town-master-plan