348. By next week it could be 349. No, that’s not the number of consecutive Denver Broncos home-game sellouts, it’s the number of breweries we have here in the Centennial State. We take beer seriously here, and certainly don’t have time for any of that fluff from St. Louis.
Unless you want to look naïve when making happy hour plans, don’t suggest that bar down the street. You’ll attract much more enthusiasm by recommending the new brewery that opened up next to the King Soopers in that shopping center off the highway on the other side of town. We’ll all jump on our bikes and pedal over there after work.
2. The rest of the “Locavore” movement
I’ll take my wine and peaches from Palisade, my corn from Olathe, and my cantaloupes from Rocky Ford. Opening a restaurant in Denver? Do yourself a favor and stock local food, craft spirits, and throw a few Colorado flag-emblazoned art pieces on the wall. I won’t lie — I felt pride in my heart when I noticed the Chili’s I ate at as a kid had closed down.
3. Ski resorts
Recently I read an article touting the joys of skiing in the Midwest. I almost ralphed. We’ve all heard of a little place called Aspen. But what do you know about Telluride? Wolf Creek? Loveland? Hell, even Eldora on the windiest day of the year is better than anything east of Denver.
4. And the towns surrounding them
A good ski town has: a solid burrito place, slightly disheveled but super hospitable locals, welcoming hot springs, and a damn good bar-level music venue that books bluegrass, reggae, and the occasional ska band. If you’ve got a Serious Texas BBQ or Backcountry Delicatessen, that’s an added bonus. Slam dunk if the hot springs are clothing optional after dark.
5. Powder stashes
Inbounds or backcountry, everyone’s got their favorite place to shred the gnar on powder days. In fact, the best way to start a lively dinner conversation here is to ask the person sitting next to you about their favorite stash. Debates are sure to come, followed by several rounds of one-upping and chest-pounding stories of accomplishment. These conversations are a great way to build a bond with someone you just met. Once they trust you, they may even offer to hike you into their spot (but only if you swear not to come back with 12 of your friends).
I couldn’t find a bag of schwag if I spent all week trying. And let’s make sure one thing is crystal clear: Colorado did it first. Not Washington. Sorry Seattle, but in the US, January 1st, 2014, will forever be known as the day prohibition took a knee to common sense. Since then, we’ve mastered everything cannabis, from flower to oils to infused foods to entrepreneurship and policymaking. Feel free to use our success as a model.
Don’t try to act like that crawl to Hanging Lake was a hike! Your Raiders hat gives it all away: you didn’t trek even one section of the Colorado Trail last summer, and probably can’t even find the Continental Divide on a map. Actually, you look familiar: aren’t you that guy I met at the bar at Beau Jo’s that told me about how there’s nothing to do in Colorado except drink?
8. On that note: Not being from the Midwest, Texas, or California.
Look, bro. You can ride my ass all you want going up I-70 but I’m not going to move over if I’m going faster than the car in the lane next to me. End of story. This isn’t California, and it sure as hell isn’t Oklahoma. If you want the goods that bad, you should have woken up an hour earlier, or spent more time studying the topo map to be sure you’d get away from the crowds. I’ve been heading to Winter Park at the same time every Saturday for 30 years and I’m not changing. By the way, The Highlands used to be The Northside before the days of the $15 cocktail.