POSTCARDS FROM THE WEEKEND: SUNSHINE IN SUN VALLEY, IDAHO

 

TYRA SUTAKNOVEMBER 21, 2016

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It’s the week before Thanksgiving, and like most people that call resort towns in the Rocky Mountain region home, the residents of Sun Valley, Idaho have spent most of November praying to the all mighty Uller, and watching their local ski mountains attempt to make snow. But powder, or no powder, this valley is still an unbelievable place to spend a weekend. It has miles and miles of flowy singletrack and multi-use trails, drinking establishments with enough personality (and mounted animal heads on the walls) to attract the great Hemingway back in the glory days, and that charming resort town feel that can only be found in places where drinking around a fire is the norm and calling in sick to work on a powder day is an afterthought. While the majestic mountains in the distance taunt us with their snowcapped peaks, for now, I’m content spending the day outside soaking in the valley’s namesake sunshine and watching the winter storm in the distance slowly roll in while I sip on some locally-made spirits and enjoy an après afternoon of my own.

 

Postcards From the Weekend is our weekly photo series showcasing images and stories from our adventurous and outdoor-loving contributors at Elevation Outdoors Magazine. Follow along and see where our team of adventure-seekers like to spend their weekends. 

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IBEX SET TO OPEN DENVER RETAIL SHOP THIS SATURDAY

 

TYRA SUTAKDECEMBER 8, 2016

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On Saturday, December 10, Ibex Outdoor Clothing will celebrate the grand opening of their inaugural retail shop in Colorado with giveaways, and a happy hour featuring Wyoming Whiskey and a variety of Colorado craft beers and locally-made wines. The clothing company, which specializes in fashionable and functional merino wool apparel, will kick of the party at noon—handing out gift bags to the first 50 people in the door at the brand new location at 250 Columbine Street, Suite 115 in Denver’s Cherry Creek North neighborhood—followed by happy hour which begins at 5 pm. The Denver location is the third retail store opened by Ibex which was founded in Woodstock, NY in 1997. The company also operates retail shops in Seattle and Boston. Ibex is breaking out their latest line of clothing, and complimentary gift wrapping will be available for holiday shoppers looking to gift their loved ones with durable, fashionable, and comfortable outdoor apparel.

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POSTCARDS FROM THE WEEKEND: CAST, AND WAIT

 

TYRA SUTAKDECEMBER 5, 2016

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“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen.” 

– Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast. 

 

The icy water drifting down the mighty Big Wood River outside of Ketchum, Idaho sends a chill through my bones, but the adrenaline coursing through my veins, as I slowly pull the cold fishing line through my fingers, sends sparks of warmth through my body, and into my soul. It’s the end of November. The final days of fall. Winter is tip-toeing over the nearby mountain ranges, but still my feet shuffle along the river bottom. I cast, and wait. A quiet wind reminds us all of the imminent changing of the seasons, gently sweeping the last of fall’s discarded leaves along the forest floor. I can smell the oncoming snow, but still, I cast, and wait. The cold air begins to blister my cheeks.

Down the river someone yells out, “nice cast, sister!”

 

Postcards From the Weekend is our weekly photo series showcasing images and stories from our adventurous and outdoor-loving contributors at Elevation Outdoor Magazine. Follow along and see where our team of adventure-seekers like to spend their weekends. 

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POSTCARDS FROM THE WEEKEND: REFLECTIONS ON NATURE

The morning mountain air is cool and calm, and smells like incoming snow over the horizon. I emerge from my cozy cocoon of a sleeping bag and breathe in deeply for a moment—enjoying the crisp, fresh air that can only be found in the deep folds of nature. I take my time waking, and the sun does, too. But eventually we rise—the sun crawling up over the rolling Utah mountainside—and me tiptoeing through the pristine landscape, exploring the hidden gems unveiled by the soft hues of the morning light. Through veils of pale blues and pinks I wander, eventually pausing on the shore of a quiet mountain lake—its waters gently waving under the sun’s increasing light. Until suddenly, in the blink of an eye, the curious sun finally summits the local mountain range’s tallest peak—taking a moment to reflect on the new day before dutifully illuminating the rest of the valley below.

 

Postcards From the Weekend is our weekly photo series showcasing images and stories from our adventurous and outdoor-loving contributors at Elevation Outdoor Magazine. Follow along and see where our team of adventure-seekers like to spend their weekends. 

Source: https://www.elevationoutdoors.com/postcard...

OUTDOOR REC ACT GAINS MOMENTUM IN WASHINGTON D.C.

 

TYRA SUTAKNOVEMBER 20, 2016

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In a month that’s been marred with considerable turmoil in the political world—spreading ripples of uncertainty and fear throughout the outdoor industry in particular—a silver lining has emerged from Washington D.C. 

On November 14, “H.R. 4665 Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act of 2016,” known as the REC Act, was voted through the U.S. House of Representatives, putting this ground-breaking piece of legislation for the outdoor industry one step closer to being cemented as a law. 

First introduced in the House in March by Virginia Rep. Donald Beyer (D) with 25 cosponsors, the REC Act will ensure that the outdoor industry counts on a federal level—literally. Should the bill pass the Senate and President to become a law, the Bureau of Economic Analysis of the Department of Commerce will be directed to assess and analyze the outdoor industry economy of the United States and the effects attributable to the overall nation’s GDP. That means these industries will receive equal footing alongside extractive industries when it comes to government accounting. We’re talking sales, travel and tourism contributions, jobs—the whole enchilada. 

“The REC Act is one of our top legislative priorities, and it’s an extremely important bill for the industry,” said Alex Boian, Government Affairs at Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), a nonpartisan, non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the growth and success of the outdoor industry. Since 2006, OIA has been collecting and distributing facts and statistics identical to those proposed in the REC Act, but is looking forward to the outdoor industry being quantified on a federal level for the first time.

“It’s one thing for a private organization to say this is the industry’s worth, it’s another for the government agency that’s charged with assessing the economic contribution to say ‘this is what it’s worth’,” said Boian. 

One year prior to the REC Act’s introduction to the House of Representatives, Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, launched an initiative to measure and quantify the outdoor industry’s impact on the U.S. economy. Jewell’s two-year “pilot program” is currently underway, and is expected to start producing numbers at a national level by 2018. If the REC Act passes, those two years will be infinitely extended, and the outdoor industry will be able to chalk up a big, long-term political win. 

“This puts the outdoor industry on equal footing with other industries that are currently measured by the BEA,” said Boian. “That’s the oil and gas industry, the agricultural industry, and the mining industry—other industries that use our public lands. This report will put the outdoor industry on equal footing.” 

According to OIA’s latest Outdoor Recreation Economy report (2006), the outdoor industry generates $646 billion in consumer spending each year—which unofficially ranks the outdoor industry third in annual consumer spending—falling behind pharmaceuticals and motor vehicles and parts, and surpassing financial services and insurance. 

Perhaps the most hopeful factor in the REC Act’s momentum, is the bipartisanship wrapped throughout the bill. The brainchild of Senator Cory Gardner (R, CO) and Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D, NH), the bill has seen overwhelming support across party lines—with sponsors including Republican and Democrat representatives from states with thriving outdoor recreation economies such as Colorado and Washington. 

“One thing we’re thrilled about in the passage through the House is that it passed through with unanimous bipartisan support, which is unique in Washington these days,” said Boian. “That just demonstrates that the outdoor recreation economy and a thriving outdoor industry is something that brings Democrats and Republicans together.” 

While Boian and the team at the Outdoor Industries Association are hopeful for the future of the REC Act, they’re not breaking out the champagne and party favors yet. 

“Nothing in Congress is ever guaranteed, but we’re cautiously optimistic it will get through the Senate,” projects Boian. “Because it has this broad bipartisan support, we do think it will get through the Senate before they adjourn for the holidays.”

With questions still looming in the outdoor industry following this month’s historic election, the passing of the Outdoor REC Act would mark a positive step forward for bipartisan support in Washington D.C. and the solidification of public lands and the great outdoors as a valued part of this always-changing nation.

POSTCARDS FROM THE WEEKEND: SUNSET HIKE IN LYONS, COLORADO

 

TYRA SUTAKNOVEMBER 14, 2016

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Vincent van Gogh couldn’t have painted it any better. Wistful pink clouds fading into a darkening night sky. Rays from the sinking sun envelope the grassy fields surrounding the miles of singletrack that begin at the Picture Rock Trailhead in Lyons and weave their way into the quiet Foothills of Colorado. The dimming light reaches out across the land one last time—breathing life into the ethereal and vast landscape. In time, the sun lazily falls behind the mountain tops, and the pale blue sky is replaced with a fiery kaleidoscope of colors before the night sky sleepily tucks itself in for the night.

 

Postcards From the Weekend is our weekly photo series showcasing images and stories from our adventurous and outdoor-loving contributors at Elevation Outdoor Magazine. Follow along and see where our team of adventure-seekers like to spend their weekends. 

Source: https://www.elevationoutdoors.com/postcard...

LYONS-BASED SPIRIT HOUND DISTILLERS RELEASES BARREL-AGED RUM

 

TYRA SUTAKNOVEMBER 11, 2016

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It’s no secret that I like the whisky—and the whisky that the folks at Spirit Hound Distillers in Lyons, Colorado are making is some damn good whisky. But for the first time in a long time, I sipped on something other than the hand-crafted and oh-so smooth straight malt whisky on a recent visit to the Spirit Hound tasting room.

This time, I sipped on the rum—aged in a whisky barrel, of course—because when your whisky is that good, why wouldn’t you? A traditional Agrarian Style rum made with cane sugar and molasses sourced from the Caribbean, Spirit Hound’s Mountain Bum Rum has made a few appearances in the distillery’s spirits line-up since their inception in 2012.

“Rum isn’t something that we originally planned on producing,” said Craig Englehorn, Spirit Hound’s head distiller. Englehorn was is the middle of making one of the inaugural rum batches at the distillery when record-breaking flood waters hit the town—stranding Englehorn in the distillery for more than a day. The initial batch of rum produced was dubbed the “Flood Rum” and it didn’t take Spirit Hound too long to run through the first batch.

On Saturday, November 12, Spirit Hound is throwing a release party to celebrate the limited-release Barrel-Aged Rum and the return of rum to the distillery’s tasting room. The small-batch, twice-distilled rum has been aging in one of Spirit Hound’s whisky barrels for the past year, and will make its debut in the tasting room in 750 ml bottles, and mixed into two delicious cocktails: The Rocky Mountain Coloda—a delightful creamy and seriously dangerous island-inspired drink, and a Buick Special Martini made with rum, peach bitters, honey syrup and lemon juice. Both drinks will be available at the release party which will run from 11 am to 9 pm. A food truck, live music, and the chance to chat barrel-aged rum with Englehorn are also on tap for the event.

Source: https://www.elevationoutdoors.com/lyons-ba...

POSTCARDS FROM THE WEEKEND: SOME BEACH, SOMEWHERE

 

TYRA SUTAKNOVEMBER 7, 2016

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It’s the first week of November, and instead of making fresh tracks on the mountains of my home state of Colorado, I’m leaving footprints in the white sand along the beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama. From sunrise to sunset, the beauty and weather on the beach is unparalleled. But at night, with the soothing sound of waves lapping up against the shoreline outside of my window, I lay my head down on my pillow and dream of my favorite glistening snow white beaches back home. Everyone has some beach, somewhere.

 

Postcards From the Weekend is our weekly photo series showcasing images and stories from our adventurous and outdoor-loving contributors at Elevation Outdoor Magazine. Follow along and see where our team of adventure-seekers like to spend their weekends. 

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POSTCARDS FROM THE WEEKEND: FROM THE EAST TO THE WEST

 

 

TYRA SUTAKOCTOBER 31, 2016

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In the west, they rise. Majestic and proud. Their delicate peaks, painted white, always reaching higher to blur the line between land and sky. When you’re in them, the rest of the world fades away. Only the natural beauty at your fingertips and the untamed earth beneath your feet exist in that moment. Leaving the mountains, bound for the eastern plains, it’s easy to feel a little ache in your soul. But one glance in the rearview mirror is all it takes to remember that mountains aren’t something you leave behind—they stay with you always.

Postcards From the Weekend is our weekly photo series showcasing images and stories from our adventurous and outdoor-loving contributors at Elevation Outdoor Magazine. Follow along and see where our team of adventure-seekers like to spend their weekends. 

Source: https://www.elevationoutdoors.com/postcard...

JARED & THE MILL BRING DESERT SOUND TO COLORADO

Good music seeps into your soul—becoming a tangible part of you, that shapes and inspires, transporting you to a place where you feel whole and alive—even if just for those three minutes and twenty-nine seconds. Hailing from Phoenix, Arizona, the band Jared & The Mill doesn’t make good music. They make great music. The kind of music that makes you listen and think, while simultaneously taking over your limbs on the dance floor. On a sunny autumn afternoon in Greeley, Colorado, I caught up with the band to learn the secrets to making great music, and to see it manifest live later that evening at the Moxi Theater—an intimate venue located in the city’s downtown drag.

Perhaps the most important ingredient to Jared & The Mill’s growing success is the band’s beginnings. In some way or another, every member of the band boasts a friendship that dates back to when the now twenty-somethings were just “wee tots.” Lead singer, Jared Kolesar, and banjo player, Michael Carter, have a friendship that spans more than a decade. Same goes for guitarist, Larry Gast III, and drummer, Josh Morin. Chuck Morriss III became one of the final pieces to the band’s cohesive puzzle, thanks to a longtime family friendship with Gast’s family. Rounding out the crew, but no longer touring with the band, is Gabe Hall Rodrigues, an accordion player that adds a hauntingly beautiful western vibe to the band’s unique tunes.

And that’s how it all began—the story of six talented musicians, singers and friends that came together in 2011 and would go on to find their sound in the classrooms and nearby bars at Arizona State University—eventually all choosing to turn the band into a career after graduation.

As we chat about life on the road, and the band’s current national tour, pre-show sunlight streams into the room, adding another bright layer of lightheartedness that seems to follow the fun-loving group of friends wherever they go. I ask about musicians and bands that have influenced their sound, and they ask me how much time I have. Their eventual answers are as eclectic and diverse as each member’s individual style. Bob Dylan’s iconic songwriting is an answer. Names of classic country artists like Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard are agreed on by all. Someone casually mentions Blink 182. Experiences from their many national tours over the past few years are cited as influences. It’s the band member’s different tastes and styles that make Jared & The Mill’s music so exciting—giving it depth and soul. Playing all original music, the band seamlessly moves from country, to rock, to folk—often times—all within the same song. Call it Americana, or Western Indie Rock—call it what you will, Jared & The Mill’s music is a gritty fabric of well-written poetry. It’s a bunch of heartfelt tales told by a group of skilled storytellers. Their intense passion for their songs continuously captivate live audiences across the country. For most of the band members, their love of music started very early on at home. A few went on to study music in college. All members contributing in some way to the songwriting process and the definition of the band’s evolving sound.

Later in the evening, the band looks right at home beneath the bright lights of the stage at the Moxi. But a few songs into their set, that same stage is empty. The lights in the theater dimmed so low, only the buzzing neon light from a light-up cactus on stage gives away the band’s location down in the attentive crowd in front of the stage. The darkness become’s the microphone, amplifying their impeccable harmonies to the fans joined together by hands, swaying together in unison around them. Completely unplugged, the band croons a vulnerable version of “Western Expansion”, the title track from their inaugural full-length album released in 2013. Promoting positivity and love, the band plays another tune before Kolesar ends their impromptu jam with: “hug someone you’ve never met before,” and the bands returns to the stage and their amps, and let loose a handful of solo riffs that re-ignite the energy in the room.

Currently on tour promoting their latest album, Orme Dugas, Jared & The Mill is headed west to finish out their last tour dates of the year. Check out the band’s collection of albums and EP’s on Spotify, and keep an eye out for new music and new tour dates to be announced in 2017.

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EAT, SLEEP, PLAY: ESTES PARK, COLORADO

TYRA SUTAKOCTOBER 19, 2016

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When it comes to the perfect place to enjoy the shoulder season in Colorado, the charming small town of Estes Park is where it’s at. From world-class leaf-peeping, to outdoor adventures big and small, to a very delicious and always-growing beer and booze scene, Estes Park is the place to be this fall, and we’ve got the scoop on where to eat, sleep, and play when visiting this inviting mountain town.

Eat

Start your morning off right in Estes with a big breakfast at the Mountain Home Café. This unassuming eatery is a favorite among locals and with delicious and hearty breakfast and lunch items that (almost all) fall in the $10-and-under price range, it’s easy to see why. For a post-hike or post-ride recharge, head to Ed’s Cantina and Grill. Fall is the perfect time to post up on Ed’s upstairs deck and breathe in the fresh mountain air while you devour one (or several) of the cantina’s many menu items. Ed’s is also serving up a happy hour menu from 3-5 pm every day which includes $2.5 tacos, $5 nachos, $3 draft beers, and $5 house margaritas. For a taste of the local craft beer, wine and spirits scene, you won’t have to venture far. Estes Park is home to three craft breweries, a winery and a handful of wine tasting rooms and bars, and two distilleries. For a beer and a burger, post up in the funky Estes Park Brewing Company dining room where you’ll find a handful of wheat beers and other house-brewed brews along with a menu loaded with comfort food dishes perfect for replenishing those calories you lost while playing in the nearby mountains. If sipping wine is more your style, head to Snowy Peaks Winery. Every Saturday in October, the winery is inviting wine aficionado’s into the winery itself to witness the wine-making process and watch the bottle process in real time. Aside from using all Colorado-grown grapes in their vast variety of tasty wines, Snowy Peaks also offers live music in the tasting room every Friday from 4-6 pm.  And if spirits are more your style, Estes Park recently gained a new locally-owned distillery, and tourists and locals alike are fans. The Elkins Distilling Co. opened near the waters of Lake Estes in 2015, and they’re making a corn-based whisky and serving it up in craft cocktails on the picturesque outdoor patio.

Accommodations at the cozy River Rock Cottages.

Sleep

There isn’t a shortage of quaint cottage and cabins to stay in during your visit to Estes Park, but perhaps the most-well known place to lay your head, is the regal Stanley Hotel, which looms over the town of Estes Park from its mountain perch. If ghost stories don’t frighten you, then grab a room at the Stanley and experience the popular hotel’s historic charm. Nightly weekend rates begin in the high $200s, but the famed hotel also offers up fall weekday specials beginning at $239 per night. If you’re looking for a more “budget-friendly” option, check out the charming cottages that make up the River Rock Cottages located just a stone’s throw from the Stanley Hotel. The cottages are fully equipped with everything you need to have a weekend getaway and are perfect for couples, or groups of friends traveling in the same outdoorsy pack. Nightly rates for cottages that sleep up to four people begin at $145 per night.

Play

Whether you’re looking for some serious adventure, or a leisurely outdoor experience, there’s a little something for everyone in and around the Estes Park city limits. Hiking, biking, and fly fishing are all perfect excursions for the fall season. If fly fishing is your idea of how to spend a crisp fall morning, then call up the super knowledgable guides at Kirks FlyShop and get out on the water. The Big Thompson River runs through Estes Park and is one of the top rivers to fly fish on in the state of Colorado. The guides at Kirk’s will get you set up with the best gear and and show you the best spots to catch the big one’s in the area. If hiking is more you’re style, you couldn’t have picked a better place to visit. Nearby Rocky Mountain National Park is full of amazing scenic trails where you’ll walk through veils of changing leaves and unbelievable natural beauty. Dream Lake and Gem Lake are the most popular hiking trails on the east side of the park, so aim to tackle those hikes during the week. But Estes Park is also filled with leisure activities, like biking and walking throughout the many miles of pedestrian trails that weave in and around town. Hop on one of the pedestrian paths, and explore the beauty, unique shops, and atmosphere in this charming Colorado mountain town.