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Few places capture the glamorous vibe of a big city while offering the stunning scenery of breathtaking mountain landscapes than the Colorado ski towns of Aspen and Telluride. These secluded, upscale getaways hosts two of the most famous gay ski weeks in the world, but they make delightful, gay-friendly getaways all winter.
(200 miles from Denver, with direct flights from Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco)
Of the many ski resorts that straddle the Continental Divide, Aspen has the most striking setting - and inhabitants. In mid-January, Aspen hosts the original, the fantastic, and perhaps the coolest (literally) LGBT gathering in the world, Gay Ski Week. Events include comedy night, a downhill-skiing costume parade, nightly dance blowouts, women’s social mixers, and all the skiing you can squeeze into five days. And if you’re attending without a partner, who knows? You might just meet your future soul mate at either the “bachelor” and “bachelorette” dinners.
There are plenty of outdoors options at Aspen, whose four ski areas cover some 5,300 acres, all accessible for the price of just one lift ticket. Snowmass (91 trails) is by far the largest mountain and has an astounding vertical rise of more than 4,500 feet (to a summit of 12,500). Aspen Mountain (76 trails) sits right over downtown and has the most challenging terrain, while Buttermilk (44 trails) opened a new Olympic-size halfpipe for snowboarding in 2008 and is ideal for beginners. Finally, Aspen Highlands (125 trails) is more intermediate and has added the most terrain in recent years.
Given the high cost of and demand for rooms in Aspen, you may want to book through reliable Aspen Central Reservations, which can also arrange short-term rentals at private homes and condos. The most charming and historic high-end property in town, and arguably in all of Rockies, the Hotel Jerome was built at the height of Aspen’s 1880’s silver boom. The amenities and decor leave nothing to be desired, yet the hotel retains a warm, old-fashioned air. More contemporary and with exceptionally well-appointed rooms, the Little Nell is even plusher. Gas fireplaces, down-filled sofas, 42-inch flat-screen TVs, Belgian wool carpets, and stunning marble and granite baths are among the standards at this 92-room property at the base of Aspen Mountain.
The gay-popular Kimpton Group has a hip, handsomely furnished property in town, the Sky Hotel, whose 90 rooms have a clean, sunny look and such choice amenities as iPod docking stations and gas fireplaces. Be sure to clink wine glasses in the hotel’s see-and-be-seen 39 Degrees Lounge. Aspen Gay Ski Week’s official host hotel in 2009, the pet-friendly and moderately priced Limelight Lodge is a relatively new downtown property with spacious, airy rooms, some with full kitchens and private terraces.
Downtown Aspen, a former mining community, comprises rows of neatly restored redbrick buildings and clapboard homes - it’s compact and easy to explore on foot, with tons of shops and restaurants. Syzygy is among the hottest spots for drinks, and a big to-do for dinner. The innovative menu combines the best of Asian, Southwest, and French cuisines. A favorite of the gay community, Social occupies a glam, futuristic-looking space and serves creative cocktails and exquisite tapas like buffalo “sliders” with red-onion marmalade, and duck-confit quesadillas.
For superb Japanese food and ultra-fresh sushi, book a table at Matsuhisa, the domain of world-class chef Nobu Matsuhisa. Inside a warmly furnished Victorian house you’ll find some of the most cutting-edge Asian fare around. Other stellar dining options in town include Cache Cache, a dapper bistro specializing in Provencal cuisine; and L’Hostaria, for Tuscan cooking in an unfussy, romantic dining room.
(330 miles from Denver, with air service into Telluride or nearby Montrose from Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City).
Telluride is really two communities in one. There’s the historic and extremely charming original town, which sits nestled in a deep gorge at the base of some of the finest ski terrain in the West. And then there’s the more modern Mountain Village, which you can reach either by driving eight miles west and then north of town or via a free gondola trip up the mountainside (the ride takes 13 minutes).
The town’s ski season begins around Thanksgiving and runs through early April; the area consists of 115 trails, evenly balanced between advanced and intermediate runs, with a smaller but still considerable number of beginner slopes. There’s a vertical drop of some 4,500 feet, with the area’s peak elevation at 13,150. Skiers can navigate the mountain via 18 lifts (more than half of them high-speed) and dine at dozens of ski-in/ski-out restaurants. This is truly a world-class facility.
Telluride Gay Ski Week was begun in 2004 and has rapidly developed an enthusiastic following. It’s held the last week of February. Festivities include a variety of parties, from an outdoor tubing shindig to an indoor pool-and-Jacuzzi romp. In the morning, participants gather together for breakfast socials, and apres-ski parties are held in the evenings before dinners at some of the town’s top eateries. Gay Ski Week coincides with the Academy Awards, and there’s always a big Oscars Party - this is also the time of year that the town hosts its Telluride AIDS Benefit, and some of the events are related to this fine cause.
Something downtown Telluride has plenty of is superb restaurants, one of the best being the Blue Point Grill, which serves to-die-for steaks, chops, and seafood prepared by talented local chef Jake Linzinmeir - try the butter-poached rib eye steak with truffle-lemon sea salt, or hearty white-bean cassoulet with venison, duck confit, bacon, and elk sausage. For cocktails, head to the adjacent Noir Bar, a swanky spot known for its stellar wine and drinks list. Linzinmeir also runs one of the best Italian eateries in town, the cheerful Excelsior Cafe, known for reasonably priced and well-prepared gourmet pizzas, creative pastas, and Moroccan-spiced lamb chops.
For excellent and quite creative Latin fusion fare, check out Las Montanas, which has salsa and jazz music after 10 p.m. in the bar, and great food throughout the day, from Peruvian scrambled eggs with beans, bacon, and a tomatillo-cilantro sauce in the morning, to shrimp-filled chile rellenos for lunch or dinner. For perhaps the loftiest dining experience in Telluride, book a table at Allred’s, which sits at 10,551 feet above sea level, high atop the ski mountain - innovative contemporary American fare is served, including white sea bass with roasted potatoes, leeks, fava beans, and vanilla-poached crab meat.
Downtown Telluride has a bunch of great accommodations, among them Camel’s Garden Hotel, an intimate resort hotel at the base of one of the main chairlifts, with handsome modern rooms, Italian-marble bathrooms with oversized tubs, and a sumptuous full-service spa. For a more authentic slice of historic Telluride, book a room at the courtly New Sheridan Hotel, a redbrick 1890’s property with 26 rooms. The hotel underwent an impressive and ambitious $7 million renovation just in time for the 2008-2009 winter ski season. Amenities include a first-rate steak restaurant, and one of the coolest bars in the area.
Mountain Village lacks character but has astounding views and offers some fine accommodations, such as the 174-room Peaks Resort, which is home to the Golden Door Spa and abounds with many other fine amenities - it also received a complete makeover in 2008. Also consider staying at the classy Mountain Lodge at Telluride, which comprises 86 well-outfitted rooms and suites as well as 10 larger log-and-stone cabins.
Of course, both Aspen and Telluride have much to offer, so if you can possibly find the time, consider spending half your vacation in one town, half in the other. It’s a scenic 240-mile drive between the two towns, with plenty of photo ops along the way. And it’s hard to imagine a more stylish and exciting way to spend a week or two this winter than to vacation in both of these wonderful communities.
The Little Black Book
Aspen Central and Snowmass Reservations 888-649-5982 stayaspensnowmass.com
Aspen Chamber Resort Association 800-670-0792, aspenchamber.org
Aspen Gay Ski Week 800-861-8467, gayskiweek.com
Aspen-Snowmass Ski Information aspensnowmass.com
Cache Cache 970-925-3835, cachecache.com
Hotel Jerome 877-412-ROCK, hoteljerome.rockresorts.com
L’Hostaria 970-925-9022, hostaria.com
Limelight Lodge 800-433-0832, limelightlodge.com
Matsuhisa 970-544-6628, matsuhisaaspen.com
Little Nell 888-843-6355, thelittlenell.com
Sky Hotel 800-882-2582, theskyhotel.com
Social 970-925-9700, social-aspen.com
Syzygy 970-925-3700, syzygyrestaurant.com
Allred’s 970-728-7474, allredsrestaurant.com
Blue Point Grill & Noir Bar 970-728-8862, thebluepointgrill.net
Camel’s Garden Hotel 888-772-2635, camelsgarden.com
Excelsior Cafe 970-728-4250, excelsiorcafe.net
Las Montanas 970-728-5114, lasmontanastelluride.com
Mountain Lodge at Telluride 866-368-6867, destinationrockies.com
New Sheridan Hotel 800-200-1891, newsheridan.com
The Peaks Resort 877-282-4550, thepeaksresort.com
Telluride Gay Ski Week telluridegayskiweek.com
Telluride Ski Resort 800-778-8581, tellurideskiresort.com
Andrew Collins is the author of Fodor’s Gay Guide to the USA and eight additional travel guides. He can be reached at OutofTown@qsyndicate.com.
After the last 2 years of dealing with the pandemic and packing on those COVID pounds here are some motivational quotes that can be the spark plugs to our wellness engines. You can have a full tank of gas, a clean carburetor, all the fluids topped off, and 300 horsepower of Detroit’s finest under the hood, but you’re going nowhere without that initial spark. In your quest for well-being, you need a catalyst to move you from idle to ideal. Here are some motivational jolts to inspire you to get your health and fitness vehicle moving.
Make time for exercise each dayPhoto by Victor Freitas on Unsplash
Thomas Paine said, “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” You will have conflicts with making time for exercise each day. The treadmill will conflict with your enjoyment of the living-room couch and its fluffy pillows. Your body will engage in conflict with dumbbells and exercise balls as it seeks better health. Embrace these conflicts with excitement, and walk through the smoke and fire. Triumph is waiting on the other side.
Marathon runnersPhoto by Miguel A. Amutio on Unsplash
John F. Kennedy said, “Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.” The firefighter’s 55-pound weight loss did not just happen one day on a call. The computer programmer’s success in the Chicago Marathon did not just happen on a Sunday in October. The 4th grade teacher’s significant drop in cholesterol level did not just happen the day before spring break. These people made things happen…and it took time.
Ralph Marston of The Daily Motivator website, wrote, “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.” Let today be the first day in 28 years without a cigarette. Stay an extra five minutes on the recumbent bike at the gym today. Start training today for the three-day breast cancer walk that is scheduled for the fall. Tomorrow is always waiting to see what you put in your piggy bank today. Invest wisely and watch the dividends grow.
Full MoonPhoto by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash
Jill McLemore once said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land amongst the stars.” Set that goal to trim 75 pounds from your body. Only losing 42 pounds puts you way out there with the North Star. Aim to run 750 miles this year. Coming up 68 miles short will still put you past that former planet Pluto and on your way to the Orion constellation. Dropping eight waist sizes by Christmas instead of the projected 10 will let you glow with the luminescence of several brilliant wonders in the sky. By the way, I think there’s a full moon tonight!
Zig Ziglar stated, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” Tom Cruise was another aspiring pretty face in Hollywood about 30 years ago before starting to audition for parts in TV shows. Jared Fogle was a morbidly obese college student at Indiana University in the 1990s before beginning his Subway diet. Mark Zuckerberg was just another starry-eyed Ivy Leaguer until he began to implement a social network idea. They all have that common bond: They started something.
These motivational quotes should help get your wellness engine running and once your car is started there’s no telling where your health and fitness can go. Don't forget to end me a postcard when you get there!
This health and fitness article is brought to you by that guy who’s sneaky like a black hole and bright like a nebula. My name is Ron Blake and I can be found playing with my telescope at email@example.com.
Curative has announced that it is currently providing COVID-19 no-cost testing in your area at Metropolitan Community College.
Stay safe and get tested!
You can schedule COVID-19 Test at curative.com, and receive results in 24-48 hours.
Curative is the leading provider of COVID-19 testing in the United States. Curative’s mission is to end the COVID-19 pandemic by providing simple-to-use and painless testing at scale to produce reliable data for patients and health officials. We know that broad access to testing, robust contact tracing, and a vaccine are necessary to end the pandemic.
Is there any cost?
Regarding the tests, there is no out of pocket cost to the individual. Through the CARES act, all individuals with health insurance will be covered for a COVID-19 test. No one is ever charged a copay or deductible.
For uninsured individuals, they are covered under the HRSA fund under the CARES act. Curative will never send a bill to any individual getting a COVID-19 test through any of our testing sites.
How soon do I get the results?
Curative provides results within 24 hours of arrival at our lab (if not sooner). We pride ourselves on our ability to distribute tests rapidly, test patients easily, and send them their results quickly. Other highlights include:
· Non-invasive cheek swab (video) that is more accurate (~90%) than a nasopharyngeal test (~80%)
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Please visit curative.com to schedule your no-cost appointment TODAY at a site nearest to you. Together we can end this pandemic!
Curative believes that communal well-being is fundamental to individual health.
Curative is building infrastructure to make essential health services easier to access for everyone. Their infrastructure is designed to change as the world does—offering nearby access, affordable services, and science-based guidance.
Their efforts are supported by the optimism and ambition we share with communities across the US, and together we’re imagining new ways to help more people stay safe, healthy, and informed wherever they are.
“I wish I could work out, too, but I just don’t have the motivation!”
Give me a dollar for every time I’ve heard that and I’d be in Cabo San Lucas with an umbrella drink right now. Let’s identify a few of your motivations to get you on the right path. They are there … you just need to realize them so you can make it a great 2022.
How about getting healthy so you can be at that Christmas celebration in 30 years with all the family gathered around and exchanging presents? There will be nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, children and maybe some grandchildren, all enjoying the sounds and sights of the season. That would be amazing!
How about being healthy so you can watch the first man land on Mars in 2030? You hear all the talk about preparing for a mission to Mars, but it will be a long time in coming. Just think if you were alive and well to see it happen!
How about being healthy so you can attend that 60-year class reunion? It might even be nice to walk into the function with a spring in your step and a glow of health about you! Many of your classmates will have walked past St. Peter and those pearly gates by that time, but you can give yourself a chance to stay here with some proactive measures.
How about being healthy so you can spend more time being relaxed and retired? It would be awesome to just not have to do anything you didn’t want to do! Get up every day and use that watch they gave you as a fashion accessory only. With a healthy body, you can spend ample time in the lap of leisure well into your 90s.
How about being healthy so you can walk your dog with your grandkids or great-nephews after that Thanksgiving meal many years down the road? It will be so cool to have that turkey dinner with all the relatives, but it’ll be even more fun to be able to move around without having to catch your breath between steps.
How about being healthy so you can continue to enjoy vibrant sunsets, thrilling football games, colorful leaves in the fall, summer barbecues, or birthday cards in the mail?
Everyone can find the motivation to work out! You just have to identify which motivation will get you to your starting line each day and which will help you get to your daily finish line.
There are plenty of great things to enjoy in life. Find your motivation and start earning your frequent flyer miles for your healthy life. Then soar into the future with excitement about what will be!
This article of motivation is brought to you by a guy who knows a good thing when he sees it. That guy of good vision is Ron Blake, and he can be spotted on that bright horizon at firstname.lastname@example.org.