5 winter adventures in Colorado you can’t have until the sun goes down

Early birds in Colorado might get the fresh powder. But plenty of adventure awaits night owls, too.

Plus, nighttime recreation comes with added wow factors like moonlit mountains and epic stargazing, says Chris Linsmayer, public relations manager for Colorado Ski Country.

While sleigh rides have been around for years, more resorts and outfitters have been adding adventures like full-moon snowshoeing trips or skinning-to-dinner treks to their events calendars.

“It goes to show the fun doesn’t end after the lift stops running for the day,” Linsmayer says.

These five adventures around the state are worth staying out late — and braving some colder temps — to experience.

Full-moon dinners at Aspen’s Cliffhouse

Break out the snowshoes or hook those grippy skins to your skis. It’s an uphill trek to the Cliffhouse at Aspen Snowmass, so you’ll work up an appetite for their full-moon dinner. It takes a little over an hour to skin or hike up the Tiehack side of Buttermilk, but only about 30 to 40 minutes to make the ascent from West Buttermilk. At the top of Buttermilk, you’ll be treated to live music, dinner and a view, with the panorama of Maroon Creek Valley before you.

The next full-moon dinners are March 2 and 31. aspensnowmass.com

Yurt dinners in Crested Butte

The only way to get to the backcountry Magic Meadows Yurt in Crested Butte is by skiing or snowshoeing in along a 1-mile groomed trail from the Peanut Lake Trailhead, which is illuminated by the stars (and tiki torches just in case). The trail is mostly level and takes beginner skiers about 30 to 45 minutes to complete, or 15 to 20 minutes for more experienced skiers. The cozy yurt fits about 40 and is heated with a wood stove, lit by solar-powered lights and boasts a menu with items like beef tenderloin, seared salmon and seasonal veggies.

Led by the Crested Butte Nordic Center, the events include include trail passes, equipment rentals, guides, a five-course dinner, live music and alcoholic beverages. It costs $135 for adults and $85 for children. Check dates and make reservations online. cbnordic.org

Starlit and moonlit treks in Snowmass

Snowshoe or cross-country ski under the stars and alongside an astronomer from the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, who will point out star patterns, constellations and relay facts about the Milky Way. The 1.2-mile starlit treks take place on the Saturday closest to the darkest night of each …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – News


In the midst of an opioid crisis, Colorado’s largest drug treatment provider shut down: What went wrong at Arapahoe House?

Karissa Moody, left, talks with Todd ...

In the months before the abrupt shutdown of Colorado’s largest alcohol and drug treatment provider, others in the substance abuse field worried Arapahoe House’s new leadership lacked experience and that the organization had become insular and guarded.

In November, two months before the sudden January closure, the recently resigned director of the state Office of Behavioral Health, also a former Arapahoe House executive, put her concerns in writing, sending Arapahoe House board directors a letter about the organization’s “downward spiral.”

“It has been extremely difficult to watch the administration of Arapahoe House dismantle the essential continuum of services, burn through the reserves built through painful decisions, and diminish its reputation as a community partner,” wrote Nancy VanDeMark, who had recently stepped down as director of the state behavioral health office to work in consulting.

Arapahoe House’s chief executive, chief operating officer and board chair all say the organization had become too large and the bureaucratic obligations too cumbersome as they tried to piece together funding from federal grants, state money and Medicaid reimbursements. But several officials who work in the field say the closure was instead the result of an inexperienced management team that struggled to navigate that increasingly complex funding system and didn’t reach out for help soon enough — which Arapahoe House leaders dispute.

Arapahoe House stood for more than 40 years in the metro area as a safety net for the city’s most vulnerable. While treatment facilities that accept only private insurance or out-of-pocket payment can charge tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for services, Arapahoe House took in the poor and was supported largely by government money and philanthropic donations. When it closed on two weeks’ notice, it sent state and treatment officials scrambling to place 5,000 patients over the New Year’s holiday.

Amid an ongoing opioid epidemic, where continuity of treatment is crucial, every one of those patients was connected with a new treatment center. But Arapahoe House does not know how many actually “walked through the next door.” The state isn’t tracking that either.

And there are other loose ends, too. The organization’s foundation was left holding an estimated $7.5 million in assets, mostly in real estate from the multiple treatment locations that Arapahoe House operated and that the foundation is now selling to other community organizations. But what the foundation will do with the proceeds remains undecided.

“I am deeply saddened to watch Arapahoe House …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – News


University of Lethbridge program helps troubled kids put their issues in check

It’s a program aimed at providing an endgame for at-risk youth.

A research project spearheaded by University of Lethbridge associate professor Dr. Lance Grigg, the Chess for Life program is an alternative sentencing initiative that uses chess to teach critical thinking and life-choice skills to young offenders in Alberta.

Inspiration for the program came after a local judge sentenced a youth to practise baseball a number of years ago — prompting Griggs to seek permission to launch a trial of the program last year.

“I had a handful of youth — they came regularly,” Grigg said.

“The youth were engaged, and one of them even started playing chess online.

“It worked, and I got good reports from the people the kids were working with.”

Assisted by other U of L faculty members, the program’s already seen promising results.

Since January, Grigg and his team have provided chess instruction to five youth between the ages of 12 and 18 — all referred to the program by the judge, Crown prosecutors and their probation officer.

Instructors work closely with the youth, teaching them how to think ahead and plan their moves from beginning to end.

“We have conversations about chess and we don’t have to go very far before they start to draw parallels between what we’re talking about and their own lives,” said faculty of education instructor and chess instructor Josh Markle.

“I can see the change already.”

Fellow team member Dr. Monique Sedgwick, an associate professor in nursing, said very little research literature exists from either how youth fare in the justice system, or the impacts of alternative sentencing.

“We want to hear their voices to see whether or not they feel that this program has changed them somehow,” she said.

“We also want to hear from the adults who are involved with these youths to see if the chess program is influencing how the youth see themselves.”

The program runs until the end of May, and Grigg is hoping more funding could expand Chess for Life across Alberta.


On Twitter: @bryanpassifiume

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Source:: Calgaryherald.com