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The Colorado Nordic Skier’s End-of-Summer Bucket List

Tips & Ideas Monday, September 25, 2023

Save the pre-season to-dos for later—here’s how to truly enjoy the last days of summer so you’re ready for action when the snow flies. 

Silent sports athletes have a reputation for being a little… intense. But savoring the last of summer will set you up body, mind, and soul for a fantastic season on skis. 

Read on for a list of local summer offerings that will help set you up for a fabulous winter season. 

Make a farmers market feast. 

Plan a meal entirely from whatever you find at your local market, and you’ll swear off processed foods for the rest of the season. (Want to keep the veggies coming? Opt for a CSA box for the fall).  Produce is rolling in like crazy this time of year, and you’re bound to find inspiration in abundance (as well as seasonal favorites like Palisade peaches). For inspiration: 

  • Choose fruit for dinner, like a savory peach and tomato caprese, or grilled melon with tahini sauce
  • Find a new-to-you crop or ingredient and give it a go—think garlic scapes, sunchokes, jicama, or daikon radish. 
  • Make a simple, low-sugar crisp out of any apple, stone fruit, or berry, mixing 4 C. fresh fruit with 1.5 T. sugar and a squeeze of lemon, and topping with a crumb made from 6 T. butter, 1/3 C. flour, 1/4 C. quick oats and 1/4 C. brown sugar. 

Take the plunge. 

It’s been a baking hot summer for most of the West, and sweet relief awaits in mountain rivers and glacial lakes—which, incidentally, are at their warmest and most welcoming (the warm part is relative). Favorite spots:

  • Grab a standup paddleboard and paddle Lake Dillon 
  • Tube the Yampa in Steamboat
  • Rent a pontoon boat on Shadow Mountain Reservoir in Granby
  • Raft the Arkansas River, then soak in Cottonwood Hot Springs near Buena Vista/Salida 
  • Kayak the shore of Grand Lake and take in the old cabins and boathouses 

Get lost in a good book.

Want a shortcut to improve memory and cognitive function and reduce stress? Pick up a great read and take it outdoors—a hammock, your porch, a favorite trailhead, or a coffee shop patio. Here are some free-wheeling memoirs to feed the soul of your inner adventurer:

  • Running Home: A Memoir – Outside Magazine writer Katie Arnold details how running helped her navigate the loss of her father, tolerate pain and discomfort, and face her fears of uncertainty, vulnerability, and even death itself. 
  • Alone on the Wall – For the first time, legendary free climber Alex Honnold explores his relationship with climbing in his own words and reflects on his seven greatest climbs. 
  • Life Travel And The People In Between by Mike Nixon explores the idea of how travel inspired him to live a meaningful life and challenges the reader to take stock of theirs.

Plan something to look forward to. 

What’s the magic of planning something fun? Anticipation fuels optimism, as it helps us refocus on possibilities. It can also distract us from current woes and worries, as well as provides motivation and cultivates patience in the pursuit of a greater reward. Translation: It’s good to get excited and have to wait a little bit for a payoff. Here are some get-planning-now ideas: 

  • Plan a holiday ski get-together. Whether it’s a New Year’s Eve midnight tour or a Christmas morning meet-the-sunrise ski, get some Nordic friends to put an outing on the calendar; plan the tailgate menu too. 
  • Book an all-ski getaway. Day tripping is swell, or if you have your own place in the high country, lucky you—but bunking in at an all-skiing, all-the-time resort destination is an immersive delight. Look for early-season specials at a Nordic guest ranch and plan your days around endless trails and gourmet meals just steps from your fluffy feather bed.  

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