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The energy-efficient home

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

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

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

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

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

Learning how to become more efficient

Seventy70Thirty, 70 percent clean by 2030

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Small steps for greater impacts

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

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

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

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

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

Energy Efficient Products and Rebates

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

Visit HCEstore.com to learn more.

Social interaction and purpose are essential to longevity

Editor’s Note: Sponsored content brought to you by Aspen Valley Hospital

Director Maggie Gerardi enjoys individual time with each resident. Pictured with Maggie is Sharon Prior, a long-time Aspen local.
Courtesy Image
Whitcomb Terrace Open House

The public is welcome to visit Whitcomb Terrace for cookies, cocoa and coffee during Aspen Valley Hospital’s Senior Health Fair, Friday, Nov. 1, from 8 a.m. to noon.

Whitcomb Terrace is located at 275 Castle Creek Road (right next to the Senior Center).

There’s often a myth that assisted living somehow equates to a loss of independence, but residents often find more time to add healthy, meaningful activities into their daily lives when household chores are eliminated.

In Aspen, senior living at Whitcomb Terrace focuses on enhancing residents’ quality of life by providing an environment that is stimulating, nurturing, active and fun. 

“More and more evidence-based research suggests there are a number of benefits to senior-living residences versus remaining at home,“ said Dr. Joshua Seymour, medical director at Whitcomb Terrace in Aspen. “The programming at Whitcomb Terrace provides the optimal structure — from routine meals, regular exercise and memory stimulating activities, that lifts mood, lowers anxiety and improves memory.”

The not-for-profit community, owned by Aspen Valley Hospital, has just 15 total residences, providing a family-like atmosphere that feels warm and welcoming for residents yet offers privacy and autonomy for those who want it. 

Whitcomb’s current openings present a singular opportunity for Aspen Valley locals “to claim a rare spot at Aspen’s premiere place to age well,” said Whitcomb’s Director Maggie Gerardi, who has worked at the community for more than 18 years.

Timing is everything

Seniors and their loved ones often wait until daily chores and tasks become impossible before making the decision to move to an assisted living environment, but the time when seniors and their loved ones should start considering a senior living community is long before they think they “need” it.

“So often people move in, and love it so much that they wish they had made the transition years before,” Gerardi said. “People don’t realize the negative impact loneliness and isolation have on one’s quality of life.”

Meredith Daniel, activities coordinator at Whitcomb Terrace and a former, long-time performer at The Crystal Palace, said determining when this transition is an appropriate choice for a family member or loved one, or even for yourself, is understandably hard.

“However, we’ve observed there are benefits derived from giving the responsibilities of daily life over to a qualified and loving team,” Daniel said. “Quality of life is naturally enhanced by social interaction, activity stimulation, and the relaxation that comes with having your daily needs met.”

Your life, only better

The brain is just like a muscle that needs exercise — when it’s not utilized, signs of depression and dementia can worsen, Dr. Seymour said. The National Institute on Aging reports that social isolation and loneliness are linked to higher risks of physical and mental conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and even death.

“Living in a communal environment with others — it just makes people happier,” he said, referencing both medical research and personal observations as medical director at Whitcomb Terrace. “Many mild types of depression and dementia can be lifted.”

While this type of living environment has been shown to lead to longevity, it’s never forced upon residents at Whitcomb Terrace. Not all residents want to participate in all of the activities or programs and that’s OK — residents can maintain their personal freedom and privacy while also taking advantage of the services and amenities provided, Gerardi said.

Grateful relatives

“In 1960, mom came to ski bum in Aspen and worked for Drs. Whitcomb, Oden and Gould,” said daughter Lisa Prior, who returned home to Aspen when it was time for her mother, Sharon, to relinquish some of the burdens of living independently. “‘Dr. Whit’ was our family doctor so it’s really wonderful to feel his care living on in this way. Because Whitcomb Terrace is a small community, mom knitted right in with the other residents. The quality of care is so personal, everyone there has different aging issues, and the incredible staff are very responsive. There’s really nothing like it. Having mom at Whitcomb has erased the eldercare anxiety my sister, Bailey, and I have been living with for a few years now. And the icing on the cake is that our time with mom is not taken up with chores — we hang out or head out to experience all the things we love about the Roaring Fork Valley.”

An engaged community

Positive energy permeates through the community, where residents encourage each other to attend art shows, go for walks outside, head to the theater or to any other activity that piques their interests.

“Residents get together daily to enjoy their shared interests, whether it’s through art, puzzles, bridge, Scrabble, movies, walking, music — they’re often creating their own experiences together,” Gerardi said.

With just 15 residents at maximum capacity, it really does create a family atmosphere — staff included. Residents have their private apartments, and they also have the ability to go out as often as they like, participating in the same activities they did before moving in.

“We provide a variety of opportunities for enrichment to encourage residents to remain active,” Gerardi said. “We have amazing meals and staff who cares for residents like family. We also acknowledge some residents choose to keep the same routines and independence they had prior to moving in. We treat each resident as an individual.”

The best care and the best value in the valley

Whitcomb Terrace’s 15 senior living apartments have been recently renovated, and the cost is more affordable than people might expect. There are four apartment styles, ranging from small studios to large one-bedroom units, ranging from $3,500 to $6,000 per month. The price is all-inclusive of services, meals, salon services and more.

Whitcomb Terrace has several rare openings right now. For more information about the community’s services and amenities, visit aspenvalleyhospital.org/Whitcomb-Terrace-Assisted-Living

To learn more about becoming a resident, contact Maggie Gerardi at 970-544-1530, or mgerardi@aspenhospital.org.

A holistic approach to athlete and character development

Editor’s Note: Sponsored content brought to you by Aspen Junior Hockey

Aspen Junior Hockey players have fun as they learn powerful lessons about self-motivation, hard work, empathy, trust, respect, accountability, humility and more.
Image courtesy of Aspen Junior Hockey
The Aspen Junior Hockey development model

Aspen Junior Hockey believes in a designed system of coaching that focuses on age-specific biological and psychosocial growth and development.

Below are the principles of the model, which are used to promote age-appropriate athlete development, health and safety, and sustained physical activity throughout life.

  1. Excellence takes time – develop age-appropriate facets of hockey performance — technical, tactical, physical and mental — while understanding these factors are deeply interdependent.
  2. Physical literacy and fundamentals – develop confidence and skills in a fun, engaging and progressively challenging atmosphere.
  3. Build athleticism – provide all youth with a range of training modes to enhance both health and related components of fitness to reduce the risk of injury.
  4. Specialization and early sampling – encourage an early sampling approach for youth that promotes and enhances a broad range of experiences in sports and physical activity.
  5. Growth and individualization – normal growth, maturation and development is critical to delivering a quality sport program.
  6. Periodization – allow for effective and efficient plans for a single practice or training session, as well as weekly, seasonal and yearly plans.
  7. Mental, cognitive and emotional development – engage in programs that promote both physical fitness and psychosocial well being.
  8. Quality coaching – the consistent application of integrated, inter- personal and intrapersonal knowledge to improve athletes’ competence, confidence, connection and character in specific coaching contexts.
  9. System alignment and integration – collaborate, align, and integrate in delivering the very best athlete development programs possible.
  10. Continuous improvement – seek continuous improvement by implementing new findings, innovations, and best practices from sports science, education and coaching.

Youth sports often focus on the skills and training required to develop successful athletes, but what about age-appropriate skills and training that aim to develop great human beings?

That’s the focus of Aspen Junior Hockey, which coaches its youth and young adult players using the USA Hockey’s American Development Model — a model that has produced successful results, both on and off the ice, since its inception 10 years ago.

“We have development plans that essentially define each of the skills that should be mastered at each age, and then build from there,” said Shaun Hathaway, Aspen Junior Hockey executive director. “We’re not just playing hockey, we’re building adults; we’re building great citizens.”

Age-appropriate ‘windows of trainability’

Overall athlete development involves not only sport-specific skills and an understanding of the game, but also general athleticism and fitness, fundamental movement skills, recovery, nutrition and mental skills.
Image courtesy of Aspen Junior Hockey

The American Development Model was partly influenced by studying how Swedish and Finnish youth hockey programs became such powerhouses with considerably less participants than other countries.

“They put training ahead of competition,” said Joe Bonnett, the American Development Model regional manager for the Rocky Mountain district. “In the U.S., we were concerned about wins and losses.”

After talking to sports science leaders from around the world, the ADM was developed to complement both biological and psychosocial growth and development.

Bonnett said the ADM’s goal is to develop more world-class athletes and more kids playing hockey for longer — who become fans of hockey, give back to hockey, and play adult league hockey.

In Aspen, Hathaway and other Aspen Junior Hockey coaches use the model to guide the culture of the entire program.

Aspen Junior Hockey coaches teach kids prescribed skills, while connecting the lessons learned playing the game with life lessons they’ll need to better navigate the world.

“The goal is when our kids leave, they are more intrinsically motivated and take more ownership for their sport and their studies, that they have character and they’re respectful of officials and adults,” Hathaway said.

Above all, kids are expected to have fun as they learn these powerful lessons about self-motivation, hard work, empathy, trust, respect, accountability, humility and more.

Kevin Freitas, an Aspen Junior Hockey parent and past volunteer coach, said the model isn’t like the tough-love hockey he grew up playing in Aspen, but he sees how it’s impacted his son’s development and wholeheartedly believes in the principles.

“I think it’s groundbreaking and it’s going to be good for the big picture, from mites to high school,” Freitas said. “You have to look at the big picture when it comes to development.”

Sports skills translate into life skills

Aspen Junior Hockey believes in a designed system of coaching that focuses on age-specific biological and psychosocial growth and development.
Image Courtesy of Aspen Junior Hockey

According to the American Development Model, “overall athlete development involves not only sport-specific skills and an understanding of the game, but also understanding kids while developing general athleticism and fitness, fundamental movement skills, recovery, nutrition, and mental skills.”

Freitas said this model, and the sport of hockey in general, teaches an incredible amount of sportsmanship. Hockey is never a one-man game — you can’t win with just one good player on the team.

“It’s a full team sport,” he said. “The support you have to give to your team members on the ice carries over to school, the playground and into life.”

To learn more, visit www.aspenjuniorhockey.com. Registration for the 2019-20 season is currently open.

Increased access to quality healthcare arrives in the midvalley

Editor’s Note: Sponsored Content brought to you by Aspen Valley Hospital

Karen Locke, MD, family medicine physician at Aspen Valley Primary Care.
Courtesy of Aspen Valley Hospital
Aspen Valley Primary Care

Aspen Valley Primary care has four physicians in the midvalley serving everyone from babies to elderly adults. The practice, located at 1460 East Valley Rd., Suite 102, in Basalt, is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To schedule an appointment with Aspen Valley Primary Care, call 970-279-4111. For more information about the new practice, visit aspenvalleyhospital.org/aspen-valley-primary-care.

Positive health outcomes for the entire community become possible when every person in the community has convenient access to high-quality healthcare.

Aspen Valley Hospital has been recruiting more primary care physicians to the Roaring Fork Valley for this exact purpose, which is commonly referred to in the medical world as “population health.”

“As primary care physicians, we make our impact on health by focusing on the patient and our panels as a whole,” said Dr. Michael Plachta, family medicine physician at Aspen Valley Primary Care in Basalt. “‘Population health’ occurs when physicians and systems collaborate to focus on the bigger picture, in this case the eternity of the Roaring Fork Valley community.”

Aspen Valley Primary Care opened July 15, next to the Midvalley Imaging Center, to provide comprehensive medical care for children and adults in the midvalley. Alyssa Franklin, AVH’s Director of Primary Care, said that primary physicians can not only treat patients’ immediate medical needs, they also can screen for cancer, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety and more.

“When caught early, these health issues can be treated or managed before they become more serious problems,” she said, “and this keeps our community healthier as a whole.”

Four full-time physicians

Kelly Locke, MD, family medicine physician at Aspen Valley Primary Care.
Courtesy of Aspen Valley Hospital
Services offered at Aspen Valley Primary Care
  • Annual physicals
  • Chronic health management
  • Post-hospital care coordination
  • Medicare wellness visits
  • Immunizations
  • Acute and urgent care
  • Pediatric care
  • Well-woman exams
  • Skin cancer screenings
  • Acupuncture
  • Laser skin treatments
  • DOT physicals

Dr. Plachta joined Drs. Karen and Kelly Locke, who previously had their own family medicine practice in Basalt for the last 20 years, to form Aspen Valley Primary Care. Dr. Edward Wiese, an internist, will join the practice in October.

With Aspen Valley Hospital’s wide network of resources and administration efficiencies, these midvalley physicians can focus on what’s most important: patients.

“Building trust with patients is what family medicine is all about,” Dr. Karen Locke said. “Our style is to be good listeners. Some people may feel rushed when at a doctor’s office. But we will sit down with our patients and listen to their concerns and then address them.”

A Q&A with Dr. Michael Plachta

Michael Plachta, MD, family medicine physician at Aspen Valley Primary Care.
Courtesy of Aspen Valley Hospital

Why did AVH determine this new family medicine practice was needed in the midvalley? Are there specific midvalley healthcare needs the practice aims to meet?

Dr. Michael Plachta: Our community makeup is changing in that it is both aging and increasing in size. Our community of physicians is changing as well. Some are close to retirement age or considering concierge medicine or alternative practice styles. Looking forward, AVH is covering those potential shortages in care in the valley before they become a problem.

Please describe the importance of preventative care to overall health and wellness. What are some consequences of ignoring preventative care?

MP: We all know that problems in life are much more manageable if we don’t let them grow. We use words of wisdom like “nip it in the bud” and “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and healthcare is no different. For example, a heart attack can cost a patient close to $1 million dollars over their lifetime, not to mention non-financial costs. It’s much cheaper to manage risk factors such as diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure or high cholesterol before the heart attack even becomes a problem. Even better, focusing on good diet, regular exercise and overall wellness can prevent those underlying risk factors from even developing.

How is AVH Primary Care aiming to lower costs for patients?

MP: Cost lowering requires a multi-pronged approach. Our team includes a care coordinator, who will help us identify gaps in preventative care and coordinate care access. Further, we will establish a “transitional care clinic,” which will manage the scary time when patients get discharged from the hospital and make their way back into the community. In addition, we will work to have outpatient clinics available for emergency room patients that may be more outpatient appropriate. Of course, we provide health fairs, which provide recommended screenings at an affordable cost.

What else would you like the community to know about AVH Primary Care in Basalt?

MP: I am really impressed with the team-based care model AVH is implementing. In addition to our four primary-care physicians, our clinic is staffed with a clinical pharmacist, behavioral health worker, social worker, diabetes educator, and a dietitian. Furthermore, our inpatient and outpatient services will be fully integrated, improving physician-to-physician communication and reducing redundant testing. I think our patients will be best served with his approach.

Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation celebrates a great summer

Editor’s Note: This sponsored content was brought to you by Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation

Left to Right: AVH Foundation Board Chair, John Sarpa; AVH CEO, Dave Ressler; AVHF President and CEO, Deborah Breen; and AVH cardiologists Dr. Joseph Schuller and Dr. Gordon Gerson attend AVHF’s annual donor appreciation event, The Summer Soirée on July 9.
Courtesy of AVHF

Summer Soirée showcases cardiology services

AVHF presented an informative summer cocktail party at the Little Nell with long-time community cardiologist, Dr. Gordon Gerson, and his new partner, cardiovascular disease specialist and cardiac electrophysiologist, Dr. Joseph Schuller, as keynote speakers. With a crowd of over 150 donors and special friends on hand, the dynamic duo discussed the cardiology services currently available at AVH and unveiled new interventional cardiology services now managed by Dr. Schuller.  Both Dr. Schuller and Dr. Gerson are seeing patients at the Hospital campus, as well as in Basalt at 234 E. Cody Lane. Appointments can be made by calling 970.544.7388.

Summer Polo benefit tops $600,000 in proceeds!

Thanks to a sold-out crowd and a generous group of sponsors, the Summer Polo benefit on August 11th hosted by Aspen Valley Polo Club to benefit Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation raised over $600,000! Heartfelt thanks to Melissa & Marc Ganzi, Aspen Valley Polo Club, and to all who sponsored this wonderful event!

Courtesy of AVHF

The lavish field-side event included an elegant tent with both Chukker Lounge and VIP seating. Food was exquisitely prepared and presented by Caribou Club Catering of Aspen, and guests also enjoyed a roving Beverly Hills Caviar cart with Piper Heidsieck Champagne, Woody Creek Mint Juleps and Whispering Angel Rosé flowing throughout the day. “What a great day here at the Club,” Marc Ganzi said about the event. “It looks like we raised a lot of money for a great cause. This is what it’s all about.”

Chukkers, Champagne and Caviar is Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation’s signature fundraising event, which has raised over $1.6 million in the past three years to fund priority projects and programs at Aspen Valley Hospital.

Fresh & Healthy Picnic welcomes friends from across the valley

The community turned out for a family-friendly celebration at Aspen Valley Hospital’s Midvalley campus on Sunday, September 8. Bringing visibility to AVH’s Midvalley Primary Care Clinic, OrthoAspen Offices, Midvalley Imaging and Surgery Center, and other services available at this campus, the fresh and healthy barbecue was well received by friends and neighbors!

Doug Pearson; AVH Foundation Development Officer, Emily Kay; Dr. Leelee von Stade; and Dr. Chris Roseberry enjoy the picnic.
Courtesy of AVHF

The delicious menu was prepared by AVH’s award-winning nutritional team, and entertainment was provided by local bluegrass favorite, Timbermill. Dr. Chris Roseberry, AVH’s Trauma Director, was on hand to provide education on the use of helmets. Dr. Leelee von Stade, orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Karen Locke and Dr. Michael Plachta, two of AVH’s new primary care physicians, were also on hand to meet and greet community members.

Clearly, it was a very busy summer and all of us at AVH Foundation remain honored and humbled by the overwhelming support shown to us by our community. Be sure to save the date for our next big shindig – December 5th from 3-5pm at Limelight Hotel Snowmass as we celebrate the opening of our new Snowmass Clinic at Base Village!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Immersive workshop setting

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

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

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

Ryan Soave, director of the Accelerator Program at All Points North.
Courtesy of All Points North Lodge

Clinically based

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

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

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

Emptying the stress bucket

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Future generations

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

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

Small steps are easy

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

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

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

Becoming more conscious overall

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

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

Steps that ALL consumers can take

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

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

AVH’s Snowmass Medical Care Clinic to open year-round in June

Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH) owns and operates the Snowmass Medical Care Clinic at the base of Snowmass Mountain. Exciting plans are in the works, starting with the shift from being open only during the ski season to operating year-round. Starting on June 22, the Clinic will operate seven days a week from 8:30am – 4:30pm and will take walk-in patients. No appointment is needed.

The Clinic is staffed with a physician trained in emergency medicine, as well as nurses, EMTs, x-ray technologists and physical therapists. Diagnostic capabilities are available on-site and include x-rays and limited laboratory services.

Operated and billed as an outpatient department of Aspen Valley Hospital, the Clinic treats a variety of cases, including injuries, illnesses, colds, flu, high altitude sickness, fractures, lacerations and other urgent care needs. As injuries and ailments are evaluated, there is the full back up and support of Aspen Valley Hospital’s ER and Level III Trauma Center just a few miles away in Aspen, with access to Aspen Ambulance for emergency transports if necessary.

Clinic plans to relocate to new space in November

As Snowmass Village continues to see growth of both full-time and seasonal residents as well as increased tourism traffic, AVH has responded by allocating more resources to this important Clinic. During the operating months of January through mid-April, plus November and December, the Clinic treated 2,372 patients. Improving access to healthcare locally is a strong focus of AVH’s ongoing strategic plan. The presence of a full-time medical clinic will better serve the people who work, live in and visit Snowmass Village.

Construction has also commenced on a brand new and greatly improved space in Building 8 within the new Base Village. This state-of-the-art expanded location will improve access for patients, ski patrol, and ambulances, and will have dedicated parking. These were all key factors in the Hospital’s decision to invest $3.5 million into this project.

As Aspen Valley Hospital continues to invest in improving access to care, the incredible philanthropic support from the community continues to support these kinds of projects and helps to accelerate the pace of progress. For more information on supporting the Snowmass Medical Care Clinic, please contact Deborah Breen at 970.544.1302.

6 Reasons to Experience Craft Beer in Colorado

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

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

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

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

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

Endless variety

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

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

More than hops

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

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

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

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

Craft beers for the Colorado lifestyle

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

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

Community-based

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

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

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

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

Brewers who care deeply about quality

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

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

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

Friendly competition

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

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

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

Aspen Valley Hospital flips for its employees

The American Hospital Association began celebrating National Hospital Week more than 90 years ago to “celebrate the history, technology and dedicated professionals” in hospitals. Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH) celebrated National Hospital Week with staff last week, kicking off the festivities with the administrative team arriving at the crack of dawn to serve up a pancake breakfast to employees – allowing them to personally thank both the staff coming off shift and the staff coming on shift. Other activities during the week included snacks and games on the front lawn of the Hospital, various national speakers presenting on relevant topics, 10-minute chair massages, ice cream socials, and a walk around the campus with the Hospital’s CEO, Dave Ressler. All of these activities were designed to be fun and festive and to acknowledge the significant investment of time and talent AVH staff members bring to patients and their loved ones.  

“Our employees define AVH, along with our physicians, as the caring organization that our community has come to expect from AVH,” says Ressler. “Operating 24/7, 365 days a year is something that is only possible because of the dedication of our team. Every day we witness so many people doing extraordinary work, and with the community’s support, we strive to provide our staff with the resources and technologies they need. During National Hospital Week, it’s our collective opportunity to demonstrate to staff how valued they are in a fun and visible way. I applaud the 90-year tradition of National Hospital Week. It is healthcare workers that we turn to in times of vulnerability and our greatest need, and with whom we entrust our care. In my mind, healthcare is among the most noble of professions.”   

AVH employs over 500 people from around the Roaring Fork Valley who serve in a variety of clinical and non-clinical roles. The Hospital strives to be an “employer of choice,” offering competitive wages and a vast array of benefits, from health insurance plans, to paid time off, to tuition reimbursement and paid time for volunteer service in the community. AVH also promotes a work-life balance, embracing the Aspen idea of mind, body and spirit through the Evolve Wellbeing program.  All of this has resulted in recruitment of top-flight staff, lower than average turnover, and high employee engagement. In addition, incredible care has also inspired generous support. Consequently, AVH staff can take great pride in the Hospital Foundation’s success in raising nearly $50 million dollars since its formation in 2012. This kind of support only comes as a result of these wonderful men and women who care and who are making a difference in the lives they touch.

Such a dedicated team is what makes AVH so special. Appreciation is shared throughout the year, and this special week gives us an opportunity to have some fun and take a moment to appreciate just how valued our staff are.