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5 Inspiring Adventure Films to Watch Now

From desert survival to superhuman climbing, these true-life adventure films and docs will inspire you to persevere, stay positive, and never give up. Grab the popcorn and get ready for an action-packed, inspiration-filled movie night. They are available on Netflix, Amazon Prime and other streaming services.

‘180 South‘

Inspired by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard’s 1968 trip to South America, a young adventurer goes on a quest to follow the route. Signing on with a small boat headed to Chile, he experiences delays, setbacks and the adventure of a lifetime.

‘Maidentrip‘

Follow along as 14-year-old Laura Dekker sets out to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world. Following a yearlong fight with Dutch authorities, she takes to the sea in search of adventure and the opportunity to make history.

‘127 Hours‘

This movie tells the incredible true story of Aspen outdoorsman Aron Ralston (played by James Franco). Trapped alone in a desolate slot canyon, Ralston goes to extreme measures to escape alive.

‘Free Solo‘

There’s good reason this documentary won an Oscar. Not only is the cinematography stunning, but the story is downright gripping. Follow along as renowned climber Alex Honnold defies gravity and makes history with a free-solo climb of Yosemite’s famous El Capitan.

‘Touching the Void‘

This 2003 drama will have you on edge of your seat. It follows two men on what turns out to be a disastrous climb in Peru. Between a broken leg and a raging storm, survival seems impossible. But with no way out but down, they continue on in a harrowing tale of perseverance and human potential.

Read the full list of 10 inspiring adventure films at gearjunkie.com

Stephen Regenold writes about outdoors gear at www.gearjunkie.com.

Mountain Mayhem: A bird’s eye view

As we adhere to the rules of social distancing these days, one way to stay upbeat is by finding solace in nature. I was recently speaking with my dear friend Christy Mahon, development director at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES), about ways to be creative with topics for this weekly social column and she cleverly suggested I look to nature and specifically birding to showcase a “who’s who” in the bird world around us. While it’s a bit of a departure from highlighting people, it certainly seemed like a cute idea, as well as a great way to learn more about our ecosystem.

Christy connected me with Rebecca Weiss, a naturalist at ACES who specializes in birding, botany and interpretive program development. “People are looking to nature for cheer, therapy and well-being,” Weiss said. Despite uncertainty in society right now, “nature is continuing to do its thing and we can tune into it,” such as noticing the birds above and around us, which are even more accessible these days with less noise, less traffic and fewer distractions.

In 2018, Weiss published a field guide with fellow birder and longtime local Mark Fuller titled “Birds of Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley.” It’s not only become a helpful handbook, but also a great success on the local bestseller book lists with close to 2,000 copies sold. When the stores reopen, you can find it in Aspen at ACES, Explore Booksellers and the Ute Mountaineer. They chose photos from their book to share here — all birds you can find in this habitat.

“Activities that don’t require close contact, like birding, have been recommended as good ways to get outdoors and enjoy nature during the coronavirus emergency,” Fuller noted. “It is also something that can be done from indoors if there is a window onto any kind of natural habitat.”

“You don’t need binoculars to go birding,” Mahon added. “They’re helpful, but not necessary.”

“Birds can make your heart flutter when you see them,” added Weiss. “You feel a connection with them and the way they sing.” Along those lines, people tend to develop favorites, of which Mahon shared a few from locals.

Writer Tim Mutrie is partial to the great horned owl while Caribou Club owner Billy Stolz has a soft spot for the cedar waxwing. Pro skier Chris Davenport is excited to see all of the mountain bluebirds near his family’s “nest” on Capitol Creek Road. ACES’ Naturalist Program Director Jim Kravitz keeps an eye out for the red-winged blackbirds and Aspen Mountain ski instructor John Phillips takes note of the robins when they arrive in the spring. Rebecca Weiss loves too many birds to count, but at the moment has taken a liking to the golden crown kinglet, which lives here year-round. Her son Anders loves hummingbirds, which arrive in May, and her daughter Elsie is fond of the American robin, which sings beautiful songs loudly in the morning.

Visit https://www.aspennature.org/ for information about birds in our valley and to say abreast of when their Naturalist programs are scheduled to return.

Libations: An in-home cocktail crawl

I’m not exactly known for my skills on the opposite end of a bar. I can whip out an opener from my back pocket like John Wayne on the quickdraw and crack a beer, but other than a whiskey coke, my cocktail-mixing prowess is disspectacular.

If you’re like me and panic-bought enough plastic handles of vodka to fill a bathtub, fear not: Your quarantine has been saved from cheap, depressing soda concoctions.

By the power of the amendments or something, alcoholic beverage delivery is now legal and being offered by an assortment of valley F&B establishments.

In memoriam of Aspen’s staple summer festival, the Food & Wine Classic, I’m going through a four-course liquid diet of the premade cocktail offerings Marble Distilling Co. will bring to your door in these might-as-well-drink-all-day times.

BREAKFAST: BONEDALE BLOODY

Consistency is key for a top-shelf BM, as in you don’t want to feel like you’re sucking tomato soup from a straw. In addition to being drinkable even sans beer floater, this bloody packs plenty of flavor without being offensively spicy. Don’t forget to eat the veggies after finishing your drink. Remember, you want to start off the day with some nutrition and not Jimmy Dean biscuit sandwiches all the time. Pairs well: Frozen waffle, hashbrowns, egg over medium, tobasco.

LUNCH: MARBLE-RITA

The trick to maintaining a manageable BAC throughout the day is by not getting Dia de Los Muertos wasted at noon. Instead of a blender full of tequila, consider a more crisp party drink to be consumed either solo or dolo that utilizes Marble Distilling Co.’s unique Gingercello. Yes, we’ve been robbed of a springtime and — just guessing — probably summer. But we can still witness the warm seasons evolve through our windows while sipping a marg that tastes like optimism.

Pairs with: Microwave burritos. But to make it fancy, stick ’em in the oven 😉

DINNER: JJ CURLY

Smooth whiskey with a citrusy finish, complete with orange twist and luxardo cherries. Is there a prefix in the English language fancier than “lux”? Pro tip: If your old fashioned singes while heading down the esophagus and you start hacking up a lung, you’re using the wrong ingredients. Or you have the coronas — but circumstantial evidence suggests the former.

This is not that. Pairs well: Boxed mac ‘n’ cheese with tuna.

DESSERT: THE DUDE

Who doesn’t look like Jeff “The Big” Lebowski right now? Belly protruding, hair growing, robe wearing, pouring a creamy drink that sticks to 13 days of isolation mustache growth — anyone else? Hello?

Marble Distilling rolls a strike with the Moonlight Expresso version of a white Russian, perfect for a night on the couch after disinfecting your rug.

I’m just glad that when they name a drink after me, the “Caucasian” is already taken. Pairs well: A bowl of ice cream and a bowl of Trop Cookies.

But wait, there’s more! You also receive a free bottle of homebrew-made hand sanitizer with every order of two or more. Considering the prices Purell is going for online, you could even think of it as buying a bottle of sanitizer and getting a bunch of booze as a bonus.

“If we work together as a community, I truly believe we’re going to get through all of this,” head distiller Connie Baker said in an interview with the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. “It’s not going to be easy, but we can help each other out in any way we can.”

Some people need help keeping their hands clean; others need help keeping a drink on the table. Marble Distilling is taking care of both necessities.

bwelch@aspentimes.com

Asher on Aspen: Dolce Far Niente

When I was 20, I studied abroad in northern England. I moved there without knowing a soul. I was completely out of my comfort zone and it took some time for me to adjust and make friends. Eventually, I befriended a sweet Italian woman who was a classmate of mine. She was extremely intelligent and wildly creative.

Whenever I asked her what she was doing, she would often respond with the beautiful Italian phrase “dolce far niente” (“the sweet art of doing nothing”).

It is the act of enjoying pleasant idleness without a care in the world. The phrase didn’t resonate with me at the time and I never understood how there was an art to doing nothing. I wanted to be productive and get things done. The phrase was completely foreign to my thinking and ways of life. It never quite made sense to me — until now.

As an extreme extrovert, I have been struggling with this concept of social distancing. I thrive off of social interactions and the company of my friends here in town. With the coronavirus being out of my control, I decided to focus on what I could control. It was day three or four of the quarantine when I finally came around to the notion that there could be positive outcomes from this bizarre time.

I poured myself a strong cup of coffee and sat down at my kitchen table to make a list — when in doubt, I always make lists. I wrote down all the chores and things that I wanted to get done around the house. Then, I made a separate list of all the leisurely things I wanted to experience during this time of isolation. The second list included books to read, movies to watch, albums and podcasts to listen to, and new skills that I wanted to work on.

Or, I should say, the one skill I’ve wanted to focus on for a long time: guitar. Ever since I was a kid, I have been intrigued with the guitar. My mother had one from college that she kept in its case under her bed. When I was in sixth grade, I finally asked her to teach me how to play. She didn’t play it much, but she knew the basics of how to get me started. After learning a couple chords, she pulled out sheet music for a classic Elvis song and challenged me to attempt it. This kept me busy for a couple hours and I played and played until my fingers felt callused and numb. The next day I reasoned that, since my fingers were sore, I shouldn’t play anymore. I didn’t pick up another guitar again until college.

Life got away from me and I didn’t stick with it. I always made the excuse that I needed to do something more important. Something that would mean something — that would get me somewhere in life. All this time later, I’m still just as infatuated with learning how to play the guitar.

So, here I am today with all this time on my hands being stuck inside where I can finally devote the time to learning how to play properly — and all I can think about is my sweet Italian friend who I know would be cheering me on right now. I am forcing myself to sit down and practice for 30 minutes each day.

For the first time in my life, I am focusing my energy on dolce far niente.

Maybe it’s not guitar for you. Maybe you have always wanted to learn a new language or become known for your cooking skills. Maybe you just really want to clean out the hall closet — something you’ve been meaning to do for years. Perhaps you’ve always dreamed of writing a novel, starting your own business or going back to school. Or, maybe it’s as simple as calling a friend who you haven’t spoken with in years. No more excuses. Now is our time.

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in life that we forget that we don’t always have to be busy; we don’t always need to be checking our email or rushing to the next activity or meeting. It’s important to remind ourselves that it’s absolutely necessary to slow it all down every so often. To while away the hours by simply lying on the couch and listening to an album from start to finish. To watch the sunset. To enjoy the smell of a burning candle. We need this time and space to feel inspired and allow for a reset in our lives.

I can’t help but wonder if this is the universe’s way of trying to get us to slow down. To stop the glorification of being busy. To stop producing things and let the Earth breathe a little without all the extra pollution we create on a daily. What if this is all part of the grand scheme of things and although it may feel restricting and lonely at times — maybe this is what everyone needs to recharge their batteries and reset their outlook on life.

When we come out from the other side of this thing, I hope we all feel rejuvenated and enriched. I hope we notice the little things a bit more because they are never as little as we think. I hope we spend more time reveling in the sweet art of doing nothing. Dolce far niente!

Aspen History: The Power of suggestion

“Suggestions for enjoying skiing,” advised The Aspen Times on Feb. 4, 1937. “Skis should be waterproofed to give the most satisfaction. Remove all old wax from the running surface by scraping, from point to heel, with the grain, and then clean well with gasoline or benzine. Heat boiled linseed oil slowly until very hot, and apply several coats to the running surfaces with a brush. Allow the skis to dry well after each coat and rub smooth with steel wool. The last coat may be raw linseed oil slightly heated. This will require considerable time to dry but will leave a good hard surface. Surface waxing is another operation that requires a lot of experience. However, amateurs can purchase a good, all-purpose wax or make their own surface wax from the many formulas. Ski poles should be kept varnished. Two or three coats every time they are used for the first few times will put them in good condition for hard wear.” The image above shows Andre Roch and Billy Fiske heading up to Mount Hayden on a ski trip, February 1937.

Skiing in the time of coronavirus

On the final day the ski mountains across Colorado were open before being shut down by order of the governor due to the COVID-19 pandemic, truly one of the final days that life seemed to be normal, I received my 100-day pin on Aspen Mountain.

To be clear, this isn’t a story about the dedication it takes to get to Day 100 on the mountain nor is it a story to fish for compliments. Instead, this is a story about the week leading up to my 100th day and what has happened since.

The quest for 100 days and subsequently the coveted pin that goes with that achievement is something that many avid skiers and snowboarders in the Roaring Fork Valley prioritize in their winter season goals.

In The Aspen Times office there were four or five of us gunning to hit the 100-day mark (if not more than, by the time the season was suppposed to end). Some days we held each other accountable, encouraging a work break to get on the mountain, while other days we took solo excursions to get out of the office and onto the lifts, enjoying solo shred sessions and the mental break that skiing and snowboarding brings.

March in the mountains started off relatively normal as stories of coronavirus in America and Colorado didn’t begin dominating local news networks until March 5 or so.

On March 1, Aspen Times Editor David Krause and I met up at the Silver Queen Gondola at Aspen Mountain to document locals getting their 100-day pins on the 100th day of the Aspen-Snowmass season. While neither of us were a part of that elite group, we did discover that it was his 67th day on the mountain and my 88th day, the year that each of us, respectively, were born. We celebrated this fun coincidence in numbers with pancakes and hot wine at Bonnie’s.

Life on the mountain seemed to go on as normal for the first few days of March; there were parties at Buckhorn Cabin to attend, light crowds in the morning that swelled to larger crowds as visitors woke up and stumbled to the lifts and après scenes at which to be seen.

Then, after the first case of coronavirus with ties to Aspen — an Australian who was vacationing in Aspen had returned home and tested positive for coronavirus — was reported March 8 on aspentimes.com, some things started to change.

Monday, March 9, was noticeably quieter than other early mornings despite the fresh 2 or 3 inches of snow. I chalked up the low skier attendance to spring conditions that made the snow early in the day hard and crunchy, and assumed people were waiting until the snow softened to come out. I even noted this in “The Drop-In” I filmed that morning (I’m also one of the hosts of The Aspen Times’ on-mountain video series, “The Drop-In”).

One quick note of my ski routine: Since The Aspen Times is located in downtown Aspen, I typically ski Aspen Mountain on the weekdays because it’s the most convenient for office ski breaks. On a normal day I get to the gondola around 8:45 or 9 a.m. to make some early tracks before things get too crowded.

The next day, after news broke that some of the Australian woman’s travel companions were in self-quarantine in Aspen and were being tested for COVID-19, mountain attendance seemed even more sparse in the morning, but spirits were still high. The mountain felt similar to how it does prior to the holidays: where just locals are out but there is underlying anticipation that everything is about to get hectic.

On Wednesday, March 11, I was at Snowmass helping film a “Drop-In.” Crowds seemed to be normal for a mid-week ski day as evidenced by the fact the Village Express line was steady and my coworkers and I were loaded onto the six-pack lift with three strangers.

I was pulled from filming duty midway through our video shoot with the Aspen Divas synchro skiing team to help deal with breaking news about positive test results of COVID-19 in Aspen.

One of the ski instructors working with the group asked about the results and expressed concern about having to cancel the synchro skiing competition on Aspen Mountain in April if things continued to get worse, but otherwise, it was just another day on the mountain.

By Thursday, March 12, Aspen Skiing Co. had dug out the Little Nell ski lift at the base of Aspen Mountain to give skiers and snowboarders the option to avoid the gondolas, although not many people were taking them up on this offer.

When I noticed Little Nell running, I asked one of my co-workers heading to the mountain for the afternoon to inquire why they were running it, since at the time Skico had not made an official statement.

The lifties response was that it was a nice day out so they were running the lift, no mention of coronavirus.

Other noticeable changes were lifties had stopped taking people’s skis or offering assistance loading and unloading from the gondola, or if they were helping, they were wearing latex gloves for protection. Riders were giving more space in line and not as quick to jump into gondolas with people they didn’t know.

The conversations at the base of the mountain had shifted, as well. More talks about the virus, speculation about what would happen, and less light-hearted talk about the weather and snow conditions.

It was around this point I wondered if shutting down the mountain was a distinct possibility. We joked in the office about how it would be funny if the mountains shuttered after my 99th day, leaving me one shy, while somewhere in the back of my mind I was convinced this would happen.

Once Friday morning rolled around, Day 99 for me, full protocols were in place on the mountains.

The gondolas were being deep cleaned every night, a practice that had begun earlier in the week.

A sign at the Silver Queen Gondola load station (a sign of the times, if you will) read “Cabin Preference? Let the lift operator know.” This gave riders the opportunity to request a private cabin, something I know many Aspenites have wanted to be able to officially do for years.

A women near me in line told her husband that she wanted to wait for an empty gondola, even if it meant a longer wait, because of the virus.

The same was true for the chairlifts. For the most part, no unaffiliated parties were riding together and many chairs were loaded with just one rider.

Hindsight is 20/20, but there was an uneasy feeling in the air, that while we were all going through the motions and acting like things were normal, everything was about to come to a head.

To address the virus in the room, in Friday’s “Drop-In” video, my co-host Kelsey and I discussed social distancing and the precautions that Skico was taking in light of the coronavirus, and I think we honestly thought that the new rules were good enough to keep us skiing until the end of the season.

Day 100 came and went in a blur. I enjoyed a ride up the gondola with two friends and coworkers, grabbed breakfast at Bonnie’s and skied some surprisingly awesome snow.

Everybody seemed cautiously optimistic, stoked on good snow conditions and the start of the weekend but all around conversations inevitably turned to the coronavirus topic.

People in line at the Ajax Express chairlift noted how the lines were made up of more than 50 people, in defiance of new social distancing rules. Someone even jokingly yelled out, “Someone call (Colorado Gov. Jared) Polis, there are more than 50 people in this line,” to which one of his friends replied, “Good luck trying to shut us down, Polis.”

The mountain was crowded, it was almost like we all knew this was the end. Or perhaps in a time when things were out of our control, everybody flocked to the mountains, the one thing that seemed stable.

That evening, when the lifts stopped, Skico announced mountain operations were suspended due to an order from Polis.

On Friday, March 20, one day after Polis extended the ski mountain closures until April 6, Skico officially called it and announced the season was over at Aspen Mountain and Snowmass.

“With the extension of statewide closures, we are officially calling it a season at Aspen Mountain and Snowmass,” said Jeff Hanle, Skico vice president of communications.

While Hanle said there is a chance Aspen Highlands could reopen, “if we are given advice that we can reopen sometime late in April by state and local health agencies, we would evaluate conditions for a limited opening,” it’s hard to put much stock into that happening.

So assuming the official ski season is over, 142 people earned their 100-day pin this year, according to Skico. Nineteen of those people, myself being one of them, ended with exactly 100 days.

Although the lifts may be shut down, many in town, myself included, can still be found trudging up the mountain on an uphill setup or splitboard, taking advantage of the snow that remains. Some are still gunning to 100 days and counting their uphill sessions.

We won’t get pins highlighting our accolades for all the extra days we earned our turns, but we will get a feeling of personal accomplishment, a moment of mental clarity and a reprieve from the uncertain state of things we now find ourselves living in and the crazy town below the mountains that we’ve all chosen to ride it out in. •

The joy of cooking: How to embrace quarantine and focus on a basic life skill

Last week was the weirdest ever for chef Troy Selby, who founded 520 Grill on Cooper Avenue 10 years ago this May. On Tuesday, Selby ceased takeout operations from the restaurant, despite a provision allowing food to-go under the Colorado governor’s 30-day coronavirus ban on dine-in restaurants beginning Monday. Normally 520 Grill is one of few affordable Aspen eateries to run through offseason, but the easygoing small-business owner felt uneasy about staying open now.

“I have a great staff of hardworking Latinos who are near and dear to me,” explains Selby, who faced dozens of customers daily at 520’s counter along with four full-time employees. “We’re family. I feel responsible for their lives, too.”

A silver lining to shutting down shop? “I am cooking at home again because I’m not at the restaurant all the time, coming and going, coming and going,” Selby says. “It’s a great time to cook for fun, out of my routine, and that inspires me. We’ve been enjoying family time, eating breakfast and dinner together.”

Aspenites on lockdown may or may not share Selby’s enthusiasm for home cooking, but it’s what we must do. While supporting local restaurants that offer takeout and delivery is important, it’s financially unsustainable for the average citizen long-term. Now is time to sharpen knives and fire up the stove. Cooking is a basic survival skill, and embracing the task will make quarantine most tolerable.

“Best place to start is with food that you like to eat—whether Mexican or breakfast food, things your mom made for you or your grandmother made with you,” Selby notes. “Soup’s good because it gets you chopping ingredients and cooking.”

In fact, when we talk, Selby is about to make soup for Sunday dinner, having received a pile of random ingredients (wild mushrooms, pâté, hearty vegetables) from The Little Nell. The goods were doled out to friends and employees in an effort to salvage perishables from Ajax Tavern, element 47, and various Aspen-Snowmass on-mountain restaurants. (May Selby, Troy’s wife and ATW “Mountain Mayhem” columnist, manages the Nell’s public relations.)

“I’ll make a nice potato-leek-fennel soup out of that,” the chef muses. “One of my greatest talents is making something from nothing, from the mystery box. ”

Take that cue, dear readers! Confidence is key to kitchen success. While you might not possess the ingrained expertise of a professional chef, following a few simple tips can help soften the stress of feeding yourself day in and day out during trying times.

FIRST, BELIEVE IN YOUR ABILITY

“There are things you do know how to make, even though you think you don’t know how to cook,” quips Aspen-based nutritionist and holistic health practitioner Sheridan Semple. “It doesn’t need to be fancy. Charlie Tarver made a comment, like, Everybody can make a sandwich. You could live through this whole time just making sandwiches! You’d probably get bored, but you’re gonna be able to feed yourself no matter what.”

Consider your cravings, and decide to make foods you enjoy eating. Then, go for it.

BE PLAYFUL

“Try to make it fun,” says Selby, whose six-and-a-half-year-old son, Remy, helps shred lettuce with a plastic kids’ knife. That might include making French toast or pancakes for dinner, or starting a kitchen dance party with music cranked loud. “It’s hard with children,” he adds, “some are interested in food and some are not.”

Meanwhile, Semple suggests the copycat method. Lately, she shares, “My stepson’s mom is having fun replicating the things she’d normally go out to eat, and figuring out how to make them at home.”

TAKE SHORTCUTS

“Nowadays there are so many premade items available at the store to get you started: salad in a bag, rice pilaf,” Semple says. “Start (there), then add in a fresh ingredient. You don’t have to be Julia Child to get yourself through this time.”

While Google is a click away, consider acquiring a book that contains a breadth of information in one package. (Semple recommends “The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom,” which includes a comprehensive guide to preparing all sorts of omnivore foods in various styles, including eggs, produce, lean meats, and fish).

Depending on your budget, experiment with a subscription meal-delivery service such as Blue Apron or Green Chef, which sends pre-portioned ingredients and step-by-step instructions to your doorstep.

LET CREATIVITY FLOW

“As long as you’re not baking or creating a soufflé that requires exact measurements, you don’t have to follow a recipe to a T,” Selby notes. Taste your work often, and season with salt accordingly. Sometimes all that’s needed is a splash of acid (vinegar, lemon juice) or a sprinkle of heat to enhance flavor. Trust your tastebuds.

COOK IN BATCHES

While chefs and restaurateurs have access to a wide array of ingredients on hand at all times, Selby proposes that home cooks practice efficiency by batch-cooking foods in advance. He cites 520 Grill’s go-to “taco fiesta bar” catering spreads, a hit with the police department, fire station and other local organizations that require a mass of food at a reasonable price. Begin by buying ingredients in multiples (but no hoarding!)

“If you’re cooking steak on the barbecue, cook a little extra steak, chop it up, and make tacos the next night. Instead of cooking one whole chicken, cook three chickens: one for dinner, one for chicken soup, one for chicken enchiladas, that kind of thing.”

JUST ADD VEGETABLES

When considering what to cook, go green. Your body will thank you. “Even if you’re eating junk food and it’s so hard to stop, just start adding vegetables,” Semple says. “That’s going to alkalize your body and give you nutrients. You might be surprised: after you do that, you might not want as much pizza or chips. When your cells’ needs are met, you have fewer cravings.”

RELAX, IT’S JUST COOKING

Give yourself a break if you mess up. “Everybody is stressed out right now. The more you can love yourself where you’re at, the better your immune system will be,” Semple concludes. “Start adding vegetables, pat yourself on the back, and call it good!”

amandaraewashere@gmail.com

High Country: The coronavirus dispensary download

With cannabis classified as an “essential service” per Gov. Jared Polis, the Roaring Fork Valley’s many dispensary businesses are open and thriving.

According to the marijuana research platform Headset, basket sizes (aka individual purchases) in Colorado grew substantially on March 16 compared to the trailing four Mondays as consumers stocked up. In Denver, the average adult-use cannabis basket before taxes was $58 (compared to $45 on an average Monday). This sales growth was seen in other cities as well with the average basket in other cities also up 29%. Overall, cannabis sales from March 16 to March 22 are up 40% in Colorado compared to an average week. 

On March 22, as part of Polis’ latest executive order, the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division sent out an industry-wide bulletin requiring the implementation of additional social-distancing measures in dispensaries. Pitkin County’s latest public health order issued March 23 also deemed marijuana dispensaries (alongside liquor stores) as an “essential service.”

Under the adopted emergency rules, marijuana retailers are prohibited from having customers in-store, but may now conduct online and phone sales transactions (medical-only* dispensaries are still able to accommodate customers inside). Businesses were forced to coordinate new curbside pickup plans — required to be in action by March 24.

With the situation changing so rapidly, it’s recommended to call ahead to confirm special services and operating hours before venturing out to your dispensary of choice. And remember, Colorado has asked citizens to limit all shopping trips to once a week at most (encourage others using the hashtag #DoingMyPartCO).

Here is High Country’s go-to guide to how to shop for cannabis in Aspen, Snowmass, Basalt, and Carbondale with updated coronavirus business hours and procedures:

ASPEN

Best Day Ever

Hours: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.

520 E. Cooper Ave., Aspen, 970-429-8637, bestdayevercannabis.com, @bestdayevercannabis

Euflora

Hours: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

710 E. Durant Ave., Aspen, 970-925-6468, eufloracolorado.com, @eufloraco

Green Dragon

Hours: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

409 E. Hyman Ave., Aspen, 970-429-4365, greendragon.com, @greendragonco

The Green Joint

Hours: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

720 E. Durant Ave., Aspen, 970-710-2657, thegreenjoint.com, @the_green_joint

The Green Solution

Hours: 9 a.m. – 9:45 p.m.

106 S. Mill St., Aspen, 970-760-0284, tsgcolorado.com, @my.greensolution

Native Roots

Hours: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

308 S. Hunter St., Aspen,

970-429-4443, nativerootsdispensary.com, @nativerootsdispo

Roots Rx

Hours: 9 a.m. – 9:45 p.m.

400 E. Hyman Ave., Aspen, 970-900-9333, rootsrxstores.com, @rootsrxco

Silverpeak Aspen

Hours: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

520 E. Cooper Ave., Aspen, 970-925-4372, silverpeakcannabis.com, @silverpeakcannabis

SNOWMASS

High Q

Hours: 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Snowmass Mall, Suite Upper Level (stairs near Fuel Café), Snowmass Village, 844-420-DANK, highqrockies.com, @rockymountainhighq

BASALT

Goodpeople

Hours: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. (Monday – Saturday), 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. (Sunday)

175 Midland Ave., Basalt, 970-718-8102, goodpeoplemj.com, @goodpeoplemj

Roots Rx

Hours: 9 a.m. – 7:45 p.m.

Roots Rx, 65 Southside Dr., Basalt, 970-539-9333, rootsrxstores.com, @rootsrxco

Aspen Roaring Fork Wellness*

Hours: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.

24505 CO-82 #2A, Basalt, 970-279-5072, aspenroaringforkwellnessmedical.com, @hollandhillstreehouse

CARBONDALE

High Q

Hours: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. (Monday – Tuesday), 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. (Wednesday – Saturday), 12 p.m. – 8 p.m. (Sunday)

922 CO-133, Carbondale, 844-420-DANK, highqrockies.com, @rockymountainhighq

Rocky Mountain High

Hours: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

615 Buggy Circle, Carbondale, 970-963-4669, rockymountainhigh.co, @rockymountainhigh.co

Doctors Garden

Hours: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., 2 p.m. – 7 p.m.

580 Main St., Carbondale,970-963-9323, coloradoproductservices.com, @drsgardendispensary

Tumbleweed

Hours: 9 a.m. – 6:50 p.m.

Tumbleweed, 304 CO-133, Carbondale, 970-510-3065, tumbleweed420.com, @tumbleweedcarbondale

Katie Shapiro can be reached at katie@katieshapiromedia.com and followed on Twitter @bykatieshapiro.

New Wine Habits: Bring a computer, a plan and a palate

Drink the good stuff first.

That was an old wine-drinking saying from back in the days when people laughed about not wanting to leave their best wines in the cellar after their demise. But as I look through my modest stash of wines and consider what I might be drinking in the upcoming few weeks, I find myself, perhaps optimistically, putting the top drops aside for a bit, thinking I’ll open them in better days to come. There is no rush.

Conversely, I also find that as I open a bottle of some of my more affordable and pedestrian wines, usually one with dinner each night, that I am savoring them a bit more. That I am perhaps a touch more appreciative of that Lodi Zinfandel, or the bargain white Bordeaux. I sip slower and the bottles last a little longer.

It’s a small thing. But it’s just one way we are all re-examining those home and house habits of ours that, until the beginning of this month, we took for granted. Like the idea that we could simply grab a bottle of wine on the way home to have with the pork tenderloin and fresh green salad that we had just picked up at the grocer. Now, we are thinking about how to save that salad and maybe the rest of that bottle for another night.

Getting wine in a locked-down society can be a challenge, but there are still options. As of this writing — and remember, things are changing by the hour — liquor and wine shops remain open as essential businesses. And many of those that are open can offer either delivery or outdoor pick-up so that social distancing measures can be adhered to.

Four Dogs Wine & Spirits in Basalt, for example, will take your order by phone or online, accept your payment and make sure your box and receipt are ready when you arrive. You won’t even have to go into the store.

While it may not be ideal and it certainly lacks the serendipity of going into a shop and perusing the shelves for that special bottle, this may be the time to get a case (and the case discount). Not exactly sure what you want? Call your local shop, give them a budget, a credit card and a few parameters of what types of wines you like. Many shops would be happy to put a case together for you and give you a pick-up time. It is a great way to support the local shops as we move forward.

Next, while West Coast wineries are working with skeleton crews after orders from the states governors to close down tasting rooms, the demand for direct shipments has grown. If there are wines that you have an affinity for, you might consider going online and joining the wine clubs at those wineries. There, you can select different wines and have them shipped, as long as shipping remains an option, by FedEx or UPS.

For example, Duckhorn (www.duckhorn.com/wine-club) has a variety of wine club options on their website that allow users to create selected purchases from their seven wineries, and receive free shipping and other perks like group tastings at the wineries once they reopen. This is one way to form a relationship with a winery that will extend beyond the current crises while getting specific wines sent to your home in short order.

Then there are, of course, the online retailers. Wine.com is the big daddy of this game, accounting for about one in every five bottles that is sold on the web. Different wines are sold in different states, so the drop-down box first asks you to enter the state you live in, then provides a list of wines that are available. They also have a chat box where you can ask their staff to recommend wines by style, region and price that are available for sale in your state. I recently requested red wines from the Veneto region under $30 that were available now and received a link to 16 different wines from producers like Masi and Allegrini and Bertani.

Other sites, like St. Helena, California-based Acme Fine Wines, find bespoke, high-end, small production wines for club members. I have long been a fan of the Wine Access site that is focused on the sale of wines with stories attached. They will find premium wines and on a daily basis send out discounted offerings via email to those who sign up at wineaccess.com.

While it will be a bit harder to satisfy your daily wine cravings, if you support your local shops and have a computer, a plan and a palate, you can still make this a time for great wine.

Gear Guide: A greener Igloo cooler

The Playmate cooler from Igloo debuted in 1971. Its pivoting lid and grab-ready handle have kept it popular through generations as a time-tested design. Millions are in circulation today, and from campers to picnickers, the foam-insulated plastic case has earned trust to keep drinks and food cold.

Next year, the Playmate line gets an eco-upgrade. As a company, Igloo is working to minimize its dependence on petroleum-based materials. The new Playmate functions and feels like a regular cooler. But the brand made the model, which will come to market in 2021, out of a sustainable “bio-plastic” originating from an unusual source.

Igloo calls it the world’s first bioplastic cooler, stating “innovation with bioplastics may signal less dependence on petroleum-based resins for the entire cooler industry.”

Beyond the partnerships and new products, Igloo’s made-in-the-USA standard has significant eco-advantage. Unlike cooler companies who manufacture overseas and ship via ocean freight to America, Igloo has “a low environmental impact of transportation to retailers and end consumers.”

Read the full review of the eco-friendly Igloo cooler at gearjunkie.com

Stephen Regenold writes about outdoors gear at www.gearjunkie.com.