Feel the Stoke

It seems to me that most columnists, commentators and even bloggers use their little slice of media space for the sole purpose of complaining about stuff. From Andy Rooney’s “did you ever notice?” whines to psycho narcissist Bill O’Reilly’s rants to former MSNBC chief crybaby Keith Olbermann’s “worst persons,” a lot of people get paid for the sole purpose of making their audience feel like shit.

Illustration: Kevin Howdeshell/ Kevincredible.com

I for one have had enough. Not just of those kinds of people—and television especially (which is always easier to say once football season is over)—but of just feeling bad in general. And right now, despite the state of the economy, the environment and the Broncos, there are also quite a few things to feel good about. So I figured it might be nice to just enjoy a little slice of sunshine for a couple minutes, and talk about a few of the things that make me feel stoked about Colorado.

The Snow Rocks!
Seriously. It’s March after a deep winter. From Aspen to Beaver Creek to Loveland to Steamboat right now, the snow is about as good as it ever gets. La Nina may not have hit any region other than Jackson Hole with as much white love as it is gave Colorado this season, which means that if you haven’t hit the hill at least a dozen times by now, you better get in as much spring skiing as you can handle. Whether you’re just zooming groomers, or going in search of the deepest winter waves, we are presently in the midst of one of those seasons that 10 or 20 years from now you can still claim bragging rights on—but only if you get out and experience it!

The Snow Industry Rocks!
We know that like us, a lot of folks who read and support this magazine make their paycheck in the snow industry. Which is good news, because right now business is absolutely off the hook. Not only are ski and snowboard retail sales on a record pace right now—likely to surpass $3 billion in total cash purchases for only the second time ever—but skier visits across the country are also likely to blast to record heights. Along with all of the faceshots and white room Nirvana people are getting this season, it’s also nice to know that everybody who put off college, marriage or any sort of commitment outside of a good dog for the next two to 10 seasons while they ride can actually still make some kind of living working on the slopes.

Snow Gear Rocks!
In January, I hit the SIA Snow Show in Denver—that treasure chest of all of next season’s hottest gear—and I was blown away by what the manufacturers are ready to introduce. From snowboards to fat skis to the recent advent of rocker, the past 15 years of innovation have been unlike anything in the history of winter. Now, from Burton’s next evolution of Nug boards, to Salomon’s surfboard-styled BBR ski, to Rossignol’s rockered Super 7, it feels as if we were only just getting warmed up. So much of the new gear is so good that companies cannot wait to get it out—literally, brands like Rossi have started to introduce next season’s skis. So don’t be surprised if you’re sitting on a chair this spring, and find yourself next to somebody who’s already riding what’s next.

McDaniels is out!
OK, it’s kind of a fast gear shift, but I am so glad that the Broncos finally fired Josh McDaniels, our little punk of a former coach. The guy didn’t seem to care about our town, our culture, and especially our team, and now he’s gone to St. Louis. We very well may see this guy leading some other city’s squad to a Super Bowl in the not so distant future. But after thumbing his nose at us, trading away all of our all-star players, and then being arrogant whenever anyone asked “What the hell are you thinking?,” it’s nice to be moving on to something—and someone (I’m looking at you, John Fox)—else.

John Elway is back!
I don’t know how many more comebacks the greatest quarterback in the history of professional football has left in him, but now that little Joshie got sent packing, it’s nice see that the Duke of Denver has been hired as a Donkeys executive and returned to clean up the boy’s mess. Sure all of Colorado’s Broncomaniacs may still be riding the road of disappointment, but at the very least we finally have some hope. And no one can question Elway’s passion for the Mile High City, or for the sport. In the spirit of this column, here’s hoping that Biff and Timmy Tebow can work together to pull off one more Mile High Miracle.

Denver’s Mojo Never Left
I’ve had the time to get back to a little bar hopping and beer sampling of late, from Sancho’s Broken to Steuben’s to El Chapultepec to the Wynkoop (where I took the lovely redhead from Cherry Creek who became my wife on our first date). And more than anything—from working out some old air hockey, foosball or billiards kinks—it’s been nice just to get out and enjoy the good vibes of Denver’s ever-welcoming melting pot. This town was built on transplants (thanks, Dad!), who moved here from Nebraska, New Hampshire or Nova Scotia, and who met in the bars and on the slopes and started the next generation of Elwayville-ites. It’s always nice to be in circulation, watching that ever-expanding circle of Colorado love play out.

The Governor and Everything Else
And congratulations to new Governor John Hickenlooper on what everybody in this state hopes is a pleasurable four to eight new years of prosperity and promise. Not that former Governor Ritter was a bad guy, but the flatout kooks like Tom Tancredo and Dan Maes who were running against ‘Hick’ were making me more than a little nervous. The fact that Hick has already done so much to help improve the Mile High City (starting with that aforementioned ale house), is proof that what he wants has quite often also mirrored what’s good for the state.

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