Month: April 2019

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An Ode to the Trail-to-Brewpub Lifestyle in Colorado

The trail-to-brewpub phenomenon is nothing new in Colorado, who owes much of its history to its many watering holes. This time-honored tradition has its roots in the gold rush of the mid-to-late nineteenth century, when hopeful miners flocked to the foothills of the Rockies—then headed back to Denver, where they made sure the bars of Larimer Square stayed in business. At one point in the late 1800s, Denver alone had 55 saloons!

Early Colorado beer proprietors include Tivoli Brewing Company, which sold its brews to thirsty fortune seekers beginning in 1859 and, to this day, painstakingly recreates the beer flavors of the 1800s. And you’ve certainly heard of Adolph Coors, whose recipe, known then as the "Miner’s Banquet"—brewed with water from the Rocky Mountains—has been produced en masse in Golden since 1873.

Commercially produced beer has been creating jobs (and, of course, delicious flavors) in the Centennial State for more than a century, but it wasn’t until President Jimmy Carter legalized homebrewing in 1978 that the modern-day beer revolution began in earnest. When Carter did away with the remnants of the Prohibition era, homebrewers in Colorado could finally sink their teeth into beer innovation.

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Golden is home to the famous Coors Brewery (lower right), but has plenty of smaller microbreweries, too.

Emma Walker

A decade after the legalization of homebrewing, Colorado’s first microbrewery was born. Wynkoop Brewing Company was formed in 1988 by John Hickenlooper, who would later go on to become Colorado’s 42nd governor. With help from Hickenlooper and his business partners, Wynkoop combined innovative small brews with comforting food and a social atmosphere.

Several other microbreweries were hot on Wynkoop’s heels, and today, the industry has seriously taken off. Thanks to its healthy hop production, Colorado is now home to more than 300 craft breweries, along with the annual three-day Great American Beer Festival (GABF), which for 30 years has regularly sold out and drawn tens of thousands attendees. With more than 1.7 million barrels of craft beer produced annually, it’s no wonder Colorado is colloquially known as the "Napa Valley of Beer."

As the Centennial State was making a name for itself in the beer industry, its natural resources started drawing attention, too. Outdoor recreation has long been a driver to Colorado’s economy, and along with being an economic powerhouse, it’s a long-standing tradition. The state’s history is rich with tales of outdoor adventurers of all stripes, including miners, trappers, ranchers, and, most recently, skiers.

When a skiing renaissance hit Colorado in the mid-twentieth century—including the opening of more than two dozen ski areas and, enough enthusiasm to make a bid to host the Winter Olympics in 1976—the state was redefined as a recreational paradise. Today, Colorado leads the nation in overnight ski visits, and all those skiers know at least one French phrase: après ski.

That’s right—après ski, the French term for the entertainment following a day’s skiing, is a major part of Colorado’s recreational tradition, and these days, it doesn’t just apply to your post-ski beers. Brewpubs have popped up in some of Colorado’s most iconic recreational locations.

In Ouray for example, ice climbers can finish up a day in Uncompahgre Canyon and literally walk downtown to the Ouray Brewery. Mountain bikers can ride epic singletrack in Fruita, then enjoy a cold one at Suds Brothers. Gnarly kayakers regularly paddle Clear Creek, then quench their thirst at Golden’s Mountain Toad. Bigger outdoor meccas like Boulder—where outdoor enthusiasts can hike, bike, trail run, climb, paraglide, and any number of other activities—boast tons of microbreweries, each with unique flavors and crowds.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife estimates that Colorado is home to over 15,000 miles worth of trails. All that space to explore, combined with hundreds of brewpubs, means that the trail-to-brewpub lifestyle in Colorado is basically a Choose Your Own Adventure novel.

So get out there Coloradans—first to play hard, then to kick back and support your local brewpub. You’ve earned it.

Written by Emma Walker for RootsRated in partnership with Choose Colorado and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected]

Featured image provided by Bochen Chen

9 Awesome Entrepreneur Women Who Are Doing Cool Things in Colorado

In 1893, English teacher Katharine Lee Bates found the Colorado landscape so beautiful that it inspired her to pen the lyrics to "America the Beautiful." Today, Colorado’s environment—both physically and in terms of its unique community—continues to inspire. As a result, men and women alike have moved to the state in droves for both personal and business reasons. Here are nine women entrepreneurs, who are doing amazing work in their respective industries, on why they have chosen to base their innovative businesses in the Centennial State.

1. Kay Martin

BOCO Gear

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Kay Martin created BOCO when she saw a need for quality gear in the athletic headwear industry.

Photo courtesy of Kay Martin

After 25 years in the outdoor industry, Kay Martin has picked up a thing or two about the business. She’d worked in sales for a few big name brands, but when she looked at the landscape for athletic headwear, she wasn’t impressed with what she saw. That need—along with a high concentration of high-performing athletes—was the impetus behind Boulder-based BOCO Gear, which today creates custom hats and accessories for athletes all over the world.

The outdoor recreation scene in Colorado is what drives the athletes who test and buy her company’s gear. "People live here for a reason," she points out, and her employees know that better than most: there’s a huge emphasis on work/life balance at BOCO. “Back east, when someone asks what you do, you tell them your job,” Martin laughs. “But here in Colorado, you tell them what you do for fun.”

2. Lynn Guissinger

BikeLife Cities

From her tenure at the University of Colorado Law School to serving on Boulder’s Transportation Advisory Board to starting BikeLife Cities magazine, Lynn Guissinger has worked as a local transportation advocate in nearly every imaginable capacity. Even in places like Boulder, which has excellent walking and biking infrastructure, Guissinger says, "cities have trouble marketing these facilities and inspiring people to use them."

That’s why, in 2013, Guissinger launched BikeLife, which partners with nine different cities (including Denver and Boulder), along with marketing companies and advertisers, to educate new and occasional cyclists in metropolitan areas. BikeLife is founded on the principle that bicycling "makes cities more sustainable, healthier and more vibrant places to live and work," and Colorado, which Guissinger describes as a hub for cycling and outdoor business, makes the perfect headquarters.

3. Kristin Carpenter-Ogden

Intrepid Entrepreneur, Verde Brand Communications

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Carpenter-Ogden has worked hard to build her business over the last 16 years.

Photo courtesy of Kristin Carpenter-Ogde

"Go do what you’re great at," says Kristin Carpenter-Ogden, “and don’t let anything hold you back.” It’s advice she’s followed herself. Carpenter-Ogden didn’t have many resources when she started her first business in Durango, but 16 years later, Verde Brand Communications is practically a household name in the outdoor industry. Verde’s star-studded client list includes big names like Outdoor Research, Pearl Izumi, and Petzl, along with nonprofits like the Conservation Alliance.

Carpenter-Ogden obviously found her way, thanks in large part to a community she describes as incredibly supportive. But she learned a lot of lessons through trial and error, which is what inspired her to launch her third Colorado-based business. Intrepid Entrepreneur offers programs and mentorship, along with a regular podcast, to help new business owners in the industry get their bearings. These days, she’s excited about the changing tides in the outdoor industry, which have created new opportunities for women athletes and entrepreneurs.

4. Erika Trautman

Rapt Media

A third-generation Coloradan whose grandparents met as members of the CU Hiking Club, Erika Trautman’s connection to the Centennial State runs deep. She went to college back east and then did her graduate work on the west coast. She stayed in California for eight years, but when she and her husband decided to launch Rapt Media, they knew it was time to come home to Colorado.

"The community we found here [in Boulder] was so incredibly supportive," she says, “it almost caught us off guard!” Today, Rapt Media combines right- and left-brained approaches to create interactive video content and technology to deepen clients’ engagement with their customers. They’re on the cutting edge of that field, and Trautman points to the Colorado connection as one reason for Rapt Media’s success. “There’s no better way to come up with these ideas than by standing on top of a 13,000-foot mountain two hours before the strategy meeting!” she says.

5. Niki Koubourlis

Bold Betties

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Niki Koubourlis walks the walks, taking an active role in her company’s mission.

Photo courtesy of Niki Koubourlis

In early 2013, Niki Koubourlis visited Denver for the first time on a business trip and immediately knew she had to quit climbing the proverbial corporate ladder and settle permanently in Colorado. Seven months later, she’d started learning the ropes of the outdoor lifestyle in Colorado, but without much guidance—or many adventure partners. Bold Betties began as a meetup group for Colorado women looking to get outside, regardless of their skill or experience levels, and has since become a fully developed women’s adventure platform.

"Our tribe exists to help women discover their boldness," says Koubourlis, whose business is focused on eliminating the intimidation factor of outdoor adventure, which can often feel daunting to newbies. In addition to the meetup platform, Bold Betties is now home to a blog, packing lists for various adventures, gear for sale and for rent, and a host of organized activities nationwide.

6. Kathleen Brucher

CrossFishing

Kathleen Brucher is an active outdoorswoman (she’s an avid trail runner and skier) and a savvy businesswoman—her experience ranges from consulting with business start-ups to finance to digital design and development. So when she wondered why she didn’t see many people fishing as part of their outdoor adventure repertoires, Brucher looked for a solution, and CrossFishing was born.

Brucher’s idea has made it possible to integrate fishing into the sports that active Coloradans are already engaging in, by creating gear and apparel to allow trail runners, mountain bikers, and hikers to easily and affordably incorporate fishing into their mountain adventures. "Colorado is the ideal place for the integration of all these activities," Brucher says, and she and partner Tony Glebe drew inspiration for CrossFishing from Colorado’s many recreational opportunities. “[We wanted to] find ways to enjoy all of what Colorado has to offer,” she says, “as opposed to making tradeoffs.”

7. Kelly Watters

Western Rise Apparel

Telluride-based Western Rise Apparel was born from the notion that gear should be able to transition from one adventure to the next. Kelly Watters believes that whether you’re hiking, biking, skiing, or climbing, your gear should work for you. Watters is herself an accomplished fly fisherwoman, and it’s access to the land she loves that has kept her and her business in Colorado.

In addition to making gear its customers can use regardless of what they’re doing, Western Rise is committed to caring for Colorado’s public lands. Since its inception, Watters’ company has donated 1% of all its proceeds to the Western Rivers Conservancy, a nonprofit organization they chose, because "water rights and waterways are such a big issue in the West," Watters explains, and that “affects everyone, from city to backcountry.” Western Rise also works to make its products as ethically and sustainably as possible, which, Watters says, “helps reduce everyone’s impact on the world we love.”

8. Merle O’Brien

OlovesM Bags

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Merle O'Brien makes unique bags out of repurposed yoga mats.

Photo courtesy of Merle Obrien

The inspiration for OlovesM Bags hit Merle O’Brien in the middle of her yoga practice. They’re some of the most creative repurposing you’ll find in the market today: the bags are handmade here in Colorado, mostly using repurposed yoga mats—new but overproduced mats that stores and studios couldn’t use. The fabric O’Brien uses, too, comes from overruns or ends of rolls, and the straps are leftover from a local sandal company that went out of business.

But it’s not just the materials that are local. O’Brien moved to Colorado for college in 1980 and never left. Thirty-five years later, she’s started not just a business but a family, too, in Aspen. "I get all my inspiration for bag ideas when I hike in the mountains, bike ride, or just looking out my office window!" she says.

9. Annelise Loevlie

Icelantic Skis

With four Idaho Springs natives as its founding members, Icelantic Ski (now based in Golden) has deep Colorado roots. Annelise Loevlie had been with the company from the beginning, but in 2013, she took the helm as CEO, and she hasn’t looked back. With entrepreneur parents and a lifetime of skiing under her belt—not to mention that she’s one of just a handful of female CEOs in the hard goods sector of the outdoor industry—Loevlie’s leadership of the company is informed by a unique perspective.

The idea behind the skis themselves, she says, is to represent the Colorado lifestyle. Icelantic, with its distinctive topsheet designs and skis made in the U.S, stands for many of the reasons folks are continuing to move to Colorado. Loevlie is especially excited about industry progress in the quality of women’s skis.

Written by Emma Walker for RootsRated in partnership with Choose Colorado and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected]

Featured image provided by Photo courtesy of Kathleen Brucher

The Best Reusable Water Bottles

As God is your witness, you will never go thirsty again.

You know what’s great for you? Drinking water. We’re pretty sure everyone agrees on that. Even in the darkest corners of the internet, where the Earth is flat and humans have never walked on the Moon, people accept you need to drink water to survive.

To drink water you need a container to put it in. We’ve long moved beyond cupped hands – it’s just not practical. A reusable water bottle can be a lifelong companion if you buy a good one, and by going with one of our picks you can be sure you’re getting a good one.

Must-have attributes for water bottles include not leaking (obviously) and a sturdy build, so that it won’t start leaking after a couple of accidental knocks. Not quite must-have, but undoubtedly desirable features include a stylish design, vacuum seals to keep drinks at the right temperature, and clips to attach the bottle to a backpack. Then there are a few bonus features that will appeal to some, like built-in filters or an infuser.

You’ll find the best water bottles to cater for all desires below and you can also rest assured that any plastic in the below bottles is BPA-free. The risks of BPA seem to have been slightly overblown, but most reusable water bottles are BPA-free now anyway.

Hydro Flask

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Coach

It’s surprisingly easy to lose a couple of hours on the Hydro Flask website, because they make such a huge range of bottles, cups, flasks and coolers, all of which are absolutely top notch. Start your collection with this bottle, which comes in standard or wide mouth versions and will keep drinks cool for 24 hours, or hot for 12. Make sure you pick your colour wisely, because when you subsequently add a Hydro Flash beer cup, wine tumbler and coffee flask, you’ll want them all to match.

LifeStraw Go

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Coach

One for the more adventurous types. The LifeStraw Go has an integrated filter that removes bacteria and protozoa, so you can drink safely from pretty much whatever water source is to hand. The filter has an impressive 4,000-litre lifespan so you won’t be bankrupting yourself with constant filter purchases. LifeStraw increased this number from 1,000 litres following testing, so even if you see it advertised as 1,000 litres, or have an older bottle, fear not – the filter will last 4,000 litres. You can also get a LifeStraw Universal pack that contains a filter, which can be attached to any bottle if you already have a favourite. Furthermore, LifeStraw commendably puts some of the money from each purchase towards providing clean water for school children in areas where it is scarce.

Chilly’s

A post shared by Chilly's Bottles (@chillysbottles) on Apr 2, 2018 at 10:00am PDT

If tepid water is as much a personal affront as disposable water bottles, you’ll find Chilly’s pretty cool. The double walls and vacuum seal keep drinks cold, Chilly’s claims, for up to 24 hours. The impressive array of designs and prints that are straight from some kind of Instagram fever-dream are also cool. See exhibit A: the halved-avocado Summer print.

Bobble Sport

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Coach

If you’re not a fan of the tap water in your area, see if the activated carbon filter in this bottle helps. It removes aesthetic impurities, so it’ll taste different – maybe better depending on your personal preference – although it won’t be any healthier. Each filter is good for around 300 bottles’ worth, although Bobble recommends replacing it every two months (a filter is £6.49 a pop). The Bobble bottle’s well designed for sport too –it’s the right size to fit in bike cages and treadmill cup holders, and there’s a textured indent on the bottle to help you hang on when you’re dripping with sweat. The bottle is also dishwasher safe, avoiding the need to acquire a brush that will fit the mouth of the bottle.

Montii

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Coach

Another water bottle with Thermos-like qualities, this one distinguishes itself by having a larger opening so you can drop in a couple of ice cubes. There’s also a handle and carabiner on the lid so you can hang it off your backpack for easy access.

Brita Fill And Go Active

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Coach

You don’t need to filter tap water in the UK but if you want to, this water bottle is one of the most efficient ways to get it done on the go. A small replaceable filter fits in the bottle itself so you can just refill it and drink as you would with any other bottle. There are 600ml and 1-litre versions available, and the squeezable body and sports top makes it easy to chug down water quickly. The bottle itself is pretty cheap but it’s around £12 for a pack of eight filters, and Brita recommends changing them every week.

S’well

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Coach

The brand that, more than any other, has made spending £35 on a reusable water container a thing that seems somehow reasonable. You can scoff all you want at the idea of a stylish water bottle, but that’s the only way to describe S’well’s wares. The marble and wood designs in particular are downright sexy. S’well’s stainless steel bottles are also vacuum-sealed so they keep drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12.

Stay Sixty

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Coach

Those thinking long-term with their water bottle usage would be wise to check out Stay Sixty’s offering, mainly because its canny removable base makes it so easy to clean. That means if you tire of water and want to sup on something more exciting like *gasps* orange juice, you can clean the bottle and avoid a citrus tang plaguing your water consumption for the next week. The stainless steel bottle comes in three matt colours: coal, stone and pink.

Nalgene

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Coach

They may not be the most practical for office use, but Nalgene’s plastic bottles are basically indestructible, making them ideal for the great outdoors. Also, using a Nalgene as opposed to one of those hipster stainless steel bottles everyone else has shows you’re not a poser – you just bloody love water. Yes, we know, drinking water has never been more socially complicated.

Infruition Sport

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Coach

You know you should be drinking more water, but you just can’t make yourself do it. You need some flavour in your liquids. If that’s you, get an infuser bottle like the Infruition Sport. You can put berries or mint or cucumber or whatever your taste buds desire (mint and cucumber?!) in the infusion chamber and, just like magic, your water will taste a little bit like that fruit or those herbs or… whatever you like. Probably not chocolate though.

CamelBak Eddy

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Coach

This sturdy, double-walled bottle will keep your cold drinks cold and can be clipped to the outside of a rucksack via the loop on its lid. The chunky bite valve allows plenty of liquid through, so you can refresh yourself in a hurry.

Written by Nick Harris-Fry for Coach and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected]

Featured image provided by Coach

The 10 Commandments of Mountain Running in the Rockies

Mountain running has carved out an identity for itself in the Rockies. What was once a small cadre of dedicated enthusiasts has begun to resonate with athletes from other disciplines, from ultra-runners to day hikers. More than simply covering ground for the sake of movement, mountain running introduces the contrasting need for a deep understanding of the terrain with the promise of freedom while running in dynamic, ever-changing environments.

Whether looking to reach the top of your local hill or the lofty summits of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks, here are ten tips to help you get the most out of your time in the mountains

1. New runners: Walk the steeps, run the flats.

One of the joys of mountain running is gauging the evolution of your skills. But if you’re new to the sport, the prospect of staying in motion up an imposing vertical ascent can be daunting. Experienced road runners are often disheartened at how taxing mountain ascents can be; after all, it requires a different type of strength and endurance. One good tip is to start out modestly by jogging the flats and modest inclines and walking the steeps (and steps)—but never stop moving. Work up to jogging through the steeps section by section and eventually piece a complete run together.

2. Pack light (but not too light).

On smaller, local mountains, minimalist gear (water, gels/food, good shoes) is fine, but as you explore into deeper, more remote regions you’ll need to be more prepared. A windproof/ waterproof jacket, arm warmers, small first aid kit, hat, and gloves should be carried when ascending above treeline no matter the time of year.

3. Run the same trail to know thyself.

Mountain runners progress in different ways. Monitoring these improvements is best done by training on a familiar trail, where you can work on different skills. This is much more than registering your best time. There’s a lot to figure out: uphill footwork, downhill footwork, pacing, what works best for nutrition, when to recover, when to push, and even reading the weather make up the overall skill set of a mountain runner.

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Running at Hope Pass in the Sawatch Range.

ActiveSteve

4. Stay hydrated and fueled.

While this rule applies for all disciplines of running, it’s even more vital for mountain runners. If anything, a slight bit of over-hydrating and over-fueling is a good idea. Your body will be working hard in ways different from road or trail running, especially when it comes to adapting to thin air.

5. Don’t worry about your times.

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t do your best to improve, but don’t let your PR be the sole measure of how strong of a mountain runner you’ve become. Wind and weather often make each run a different experience, and getting into the mindset that you ran poorly because of variable trail conditions (or another runner’s PR) can allow you to sell yourself short. If there was a way to measure trail flow, it would likely be the strongest indicator of mountain running progress.

6. Use a short stride.

Nearly all competitive mountain runners use small, quick steps to master the ever-changing terrain under their feet. Stability and balance are skills whose importance are amplified in the hills. Mastering a confident stride and pace will allow you to feel sure-footed whether you’re rambling over roots, bouncing off boulders, or skipping through the snow.

7. Don’t neglect downhill running skills.

Done right, rolling downhill can feel like floating over the landscape, each step a beautifully timed sequence used to flow down the trail. On the other extreme is the flailing, soon-to-be-face-planted runner who is simply reacting to the trail rather than moving in sync with the terrain. Running downhill is the same art trail runners employ but often at steeper pitches and for longer durations than normal trail runs. Work at becoming fluid and staying in control on your descents, especially when your quads are still searing from the climb.

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A slow run up Atlantic Peak's west ridge.

James Dziezynski

8. Above treeline, the rules of the mountains still apply.

Mountain running streamlines the human engine, so in theory you’ll be equipped to move faster than hikers or backpackers. But remember the mountains move to their own music. Weather, wildlife, unstable terrain, rivers, and snow all require adaptability by mountain runners. Maybe you need to carry micro-spikes or even an ice-axe for certain terrain, or perhaps it’s carrying bear bells and a headlamp. Staying light on your feet—and in your pack—is important, but not at the expense of the natural variables of the mountains.

9. Run with a friend and leave a plan.

If you’re headed to remote areas, it’s highly recommended to go with a friend (or, at the very least, let someone know where you are beforehand). Running has a fairly tame reputation, but mountain running ups the stakes, and the last place you want to be is stuck in the remote backcountry miles from rescue. Consider carrying an emergency locator device if you enjoy solo exploration.

10. Train with hill intervals.

The bane of many a high school athlete through the years, hills are a great way to train when you can’t make it to the mountains. Not only do they build explosive strength for ascending, they also let you power up your braking muscles for downhill sections. Timed intervals with jogging between hill sprints is a good way to simulate time on the mountain.

Written by James Dziezynski for RootsRated and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected]

Featured image provided by James Dziezynski

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