Yearning for Yurts


Outdoors enthusiasts have a home away from home by Kati O’Hare

WITH THE COLORADO YURT CO HEADQUARTERS located in Montrose’s backyard, many area businesses and residents have found that yurts – a circular dwelling made of fabric – provide a comfortable and unique outdoor experience in the mountains, even during colder months.

“We were one of the first in Colorado to get involved in (yurts), and it’s worked very well,” said Kirstin Copeland, park manager for Ridgway State Park, 28555 U.S. 550, approximately 15 miles south of Montrose.

The park-following in the footsteps of Oregon’s state parks-set up several yurts about 10 years ago for visitors to rent.

“They are usually centered on events and holidays,” Copeland said. “The ice climbing festival (in January in Ouray) and holidays bring people into the yurts. They like that park setting. We also have hunters, who use them, and outside of that, it’s families and couples-really, a diverse group.”

Just down the road at Orvis Hot Springs, 1585 County Road 3 outside Ouray, three yurts are used by the hot springs spa for massages.

“A lot of people ask where we got them,” general manager Terese Seal said. “One nice thing about the yurts is the dome in the top that lets in the natural light.”

Call (970) 626-5324 for information about the yurts.

Colorado Yurt Company, located at 28 West South 4th Street, makes several different styles of yurts and can customize them. The yurts are sold all over the country, but they are made in Montrose.

The design is bases on the traditional Mongolian yurt. It’s round structure made of fabric, and each is standardized with at least three windows.

For winter use, the company offers an insulation package.

“As long as there is a consistent heat source, they stay nice inside,” said Ivy Fife, Colorado’s Yurt marketing manager.

Ridgway State Park’s yurts
are open year round, and each has a decorative propane stove that can warm the yurt up to 80 degrees, Copeland said. Some are outfitted with other amenities, as well, including a refrigerator, microwave, beds and a kitchen table. The only thing they don’t contain, she said, is running water, but a flush restroom is right next door.

The yurts cost $70 per night at the park. Call (970) 626-5822 for information about renting one.

The yurts are also popular in the back country, Fife said. The company’s winter stout alpine yurt can hold 150 pounds per square foot of unbalanced snow-a not-unheard-of situation in Colorado, she said.

“It will stand up to our snowstorms,” Fife said.

Colorado Yurt has been in business since the mid 1970s and has been located in Montrose for 15 years, making a unique and durable product easily accessible by the area’s businesses and residents. Call (800) 288-3190 for more information.


by Matt Lindberg

Less than two years into his retirement, Bob Morris was tired of being bored during the winter. That changed when he discovered snowmobiling.

The 20-year U.S. Air Force veteran and Montrose resident tagged along with a friend in 1997 to a local snowmobile and ATV club meeting. After his experience riding through the snow, he was hooked.

Although Morris is not longer a member of the club, the Uncompahgre Valley Trail Riders, he still regularly snowmobiles.

That’s because Montrose and surrounding communities offer plenty of great places to enjoy the sport, Morris said.

It starts with the Grand Mesa – Morris’ favorite spot. Grand Mesa has an area of about 500 square miles, running 40 miles east of Grand Junction between the Colorado and Gunnison rivers.

“It offers a variety,” Morris said. “It has big open areas, places where you can climb hills and groomed trails. It has the best of everything.”

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to popular local locations to ride, Morris explained.

The 63-year-old said there are several other good places to ride, including the Uncompahgre Plateau and Silver Jack Reservoir.

The Uncompahgre Plateau, which is about 20 miles west of Montrose, features several groomed trails, but lacks open spaces to cruise through, Morris said.

The trails can be taken clear up north to Grand Junction, if your feeling adventurous. For those who wish to do some off-road cruising, it’s possible, but not easy. The area is full of trees.

“It’s a nice spot if you like riding on trails,” Morris said.

Silver Jack Reservoir, about 40 miles east of town, is another spot that offers variety. The area features a mix of groomed trails you can take for miles and features open places to “play,” Morris said.

Snowmobiling is a lot of fun, but those who try it should always be cautious, he said.

“Never travel alone,” Morris said. “Avalanches are not a huge problem because this area in Colorado doesn’t have the steepest mountains, but they do happen occasionally.”

Morris said all participants should be prepared to stay the night in the wilderness in the event they become stranded. That’s why he encourages everyone to follow his lead by bringing food, water, a fire starter, and at least one change of clothes in addition to proper equipment such as gloves and a ski mask.

“I can’t over-stress safety.” Morris said. “You can be out on a beautiful day, get stuck and have to spend the night. The real big thing is that you should never go alone.”

He also encourages riders to purchase emergency locator beacons. Those beacons strap on to a snowmobilers chest and, in the event he or she gets buried in an avalanche, the receiver allows another person to find the rider by its ability to make a beep when close to that person.

Montrose and other Western Slope towns are great for snowmobiling, said Rich Jakino, president of the Uncompahgre Valley Trail Riders snowmobiling and ATV club.

“We get a lot of great snowfall,” Jankino said. “The snow is fairly moist and has a good texture. And there are a lot of great areas to do it.”

He encourages people interested in the sport to first participate in snowmobiling tours, which are given at Grand Mesa Lodge in Cederedge. To find out more, call (970) 856-3250.

To join Uncompahgre Valley Trail Riders, call Jakino at (970) 209-8900.


Those who fail, follow the laws of failure.
Those who succeed, follow the laws of success.

It is impossible to reach success with a scheme of failure thoughts in your mind.

It’s impossible to have good health with a scheme of illness thoughts.

Your behavior is directed by your thoughts.
Thoughts of failure, disease, loneliness and fear push you into a behavior which leads you directly to fail, become ill, feel lonely and fearful!

You can deny this principle or fight against it, you can believe it is not true or it doesn’t apply to you, but you will never be able to escape from it.

These principles govern all creation, also the creation of your life.
The experiences of your life start in your head.
And it’s exactly there where your power lies : in your thoughts!

The universe will give you health, if you learn to think in terms of health, not illness.
You will have success if you think in terms of success, not failure.

Everything you think about repeatedly will manifest one day or another.

So why not think of what you want, instead of what you don’t want?

In either way you will get what you asked for! So ask for good things by thinking of
good things.

If you have an appointment with the dentist and you are afraid, do this : picture yourself in the dentist chair, visualize a great white light enveloping you, and say : “Only healing hands touch me”. Picture yourself there in the future having a good relaxing time, totally safe in the hands of someone who helps you to heal from a pain at your teeth

If you have an appointment for a job interview, picture yourself there in the room. What clothes do you wear? How is your hair? What perfume did you choose that morning? Visualize yourself filled with confidence. You talk fluently, you are sure of yourself and your talents are obvious.

You have a visit from your parents? You’re exhausted only by the idea? Change your idea! Picture yourself inviting your parents, opening the door, being calm and open-minded, spending a wonderful time with them. See yourself talking with your parents, they are listening, you listen to them, you stay centered on yourself, you are able to stay yourself in their presence. You feel how you love them and you feel their love for you.

Try this! And see what happens! It’s all in the mind! It’s in our thoughts we create our life.
Even if you’re not conscious about this process, you use it anyway all the time. Every moment you have an idea in your head about what is going to happen. Or you think about something from your past, which you project on your future. You always have ideas in your head. Now that you know your thoughts create your life, which thoughts do you choose? Those who you want to see manifested? Take care of your thoughts, and the rest will follow!
Think success, act like someone who is successful and success will come, without any doubt!



Astronomical society protects light sky
by Katarhynn Heidelberg

THERE’S A VAST WORLD OUT THERE, one filled with soothing dark, and startling shots of color. Unending majesty – and knowledge waiting to be tapped. It’s a world John Pool explores every chance he gets, and it’s easy for you to do it, too.

Just look up.

Pool and his friends are here to help you get to know the universe. Together, they founded to Black Canyon Astronomical Society 11 years ago to raise public interest, provide scientific information about astronomy, and encourage dark-sky preservation.

“We are an outreach organization,” Pool, now the groups president, said the general public, and provide a means for that.”

The members report success. Since the society began keeping statistics, its members have made contact with 1,800 to 2,000 people a year.

The BCAS works with the National Park Service and schools to provide public awareness, education and the popular summertime “star parties” at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

The society usually hosts a wintertime star party at the park in late January or early February, as well. In all, members put about 40 public events each year.

During viewings, society members are on hand to explain what attendees see, share scientific act, and mythological lore. They also follow programs put on by NPS interpreters who specialize in astronomy.

The BCAS sets up a variety of telescopes, including larger-aperture ones, to allow observers an up close look at the galaxy above their heads – everything from constellations to the fiery Omega Swan Nebula; from planets, to solar flares (via the society’s sun watch programs and special telescopes).

“The knowledge (of astronomy) varies from complete beginners to people who have NASA experience or have actually worked at observatories,” Pool said of star party and program attendees. In 2010, be bumped into a descendant of the Earl of Ross. The earl built a large telescope in Ireland in the 1800′s, Pool said.

“You run into a lot of very interesting people. The most interesting part about astronomy is you can start talking about the planets, the stars, the sun. It doesn’t really matter what social class anyone attending is a member of,” he said.

“Everyone is the same. They look out there and it’s just ‘Wow.’ It has a tendency to take people away from (daily routine) and into a world that’s not the common, everyday….You never know what kind of seed you planted. That makes it worthwhile.”

Preserving dark skies is critical to BCAS success – and to the public’s access to a view on the universe.

“We do a lot of our programs in conjunction with the National Park Service,” Pool said. “They and the International Dark Sky Association are attempting to reduce some of the amount of artificial light pollution around these parks. The Black Canyon has been recognized as a ‘dark site,’ Consequently, we work with the NPS.”

Light pollution is a real problem in the West, he said, even in the city of Montrose, where antique light fixtures downtown shoot up steady beams of light. The BCAS has been working with the city to get it to use shielded lights.

“The spread of these urban areas, even Grand Junction and Montrose, throws up quite a light halo,” Pool said. “It does obliterate that part of the sky, a lot of the stars that you can see.”

The skies above the Black Canyon are nice and ebony, through – and one of the reasons or the ‘rather intensive astronomy program,” Pool said.

“That’s a selling point for Montrose, in that people do come up there to partake of those astronomy lectures and the times they can see through telescopes the BCAS supplies for the NPS.”

The astronomical society’s founding members in addition to Pool and Bob White, Monica Treadway, Tom Jaskunas, Mary White and Verlee Sanburg. It now boasts of about 32 members – and anyone is welcome. (See Society Details box.)

“We really do love the astronomy we do,” says Pool. “It’s contagious. If we get enthusiastic about it. I think that’s part of the secret to it.”


Annual membership is $12 per person or $20 per family. The only qualification is an interest in astronomy. Contact the society via its website,

Meetings are held the last Tuesday of each month, with the exceptions of November and December, when there are no meetings, due to the holidays.

Meeting locations alternate between the old City Council chambers in Montrose (off Centennnial Plaza on South First Street) and the Delta USC jobs placement site 1402 South Main Street in Delta. Check website for updated information and times.

Most public events are held during summer months. See website for events calendar.

Many fabulous images to pique your interst can be found on the site’s image gallery.
Contact info: John Pool at or Bryan Cashion,


Adaptive Ski: Opportunities abound at Colorado resorts
by Elaine Hale Jones

WESTERN COLORADO IS A POPULAR DESTINATION for winter sports enthusiasts seeking pristine, packed powder for skiing and snowboarding, miles of crosscounty ski trails, and ice climbing venues.

But these types of activities have often been out of reach for both young people and adults with physical disabilities. Over the past thirty years, the challenge of developing “adaptive” programs has bee met with great success and opportunities provided by a number of western Colorado ski resorts.

Three major resorts within a two hour drive of Montrose offer a full range of snow sports options for the disabled: Telluride, Powderhorn and Crested Butte.

All three areas feature adaptive ski programs that operate as non-profit organizations with the goal of improving the quality of life of people with disabilities through outdoor recreation. Programs are led by professional instructors and trained volunteers.

Located 68 miles southwest of Montrose is the mining town turned ski resort of Telluride, famous for its powder-light “white gold.”

Last winter, the ski area’s adaptive sports program, which has been in operation for 13 years, initiated Wounded Warriors project for troops injured while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Telluride hopes to expand the project this winter, providing three week-long events for active duty servicemen and women and veterans with disabilities.

Specialized equipment includes the mono-ski, bi-ski, dual-ski, three-track and four-track skis, guiding for the blind and adaptations on skis and snowboards. On-snow volunteers also accompany all sit-down skiers and those needing additional assistance.

Powderhorn, situated on the north-facing slope of Grand Mesa between Montrose and Grand Junction, is home to Colorado Discover Ability. During the winter, the non-profit organization, which has been serving people with disabilities since 1980, directs the adaptive snowsports center at Powderhorn.

Amputees, those with spinal cord injuries, visual impairments, head injuries, multiple sclerosis and others have benefited from ski and snow events. Fun, safety and realistic skill development are some of the goals of the Colorado Discover Ability program.

Another former mining town is Crested Butte, located 30 miles north of Gunnison and approximately a two-hour drive from Montrose. The Adaptive Sports Center of Crested Butte provides year-round activities for people with disabilities and their families. Services are provided for individuals with cognitive-related disabilities such as Down syndrome, autism, attention deficit disorder, as well as at-risk youth.

In addition to skiing and snowboarding, the sports center also offers Nordic ski trips, ice climbing and back country skiing. The Crested Butte Center also sends its professional staff to lead clinics and consultations throughout the United States, Europe an South America. It is also credited with helping start an adaptive sports program at several ski areas in Argentina.

A large part of the success of adaptive sports programs is the collaboration between ski area and students from local area schools. Starting with third-grade students, the Montrose-Olathe School District’s Adaptive Ski Program has taken advantage of specially trained instructors and volunteers, specialized equipment and numerous props and methods.

Props include the use of bamboo poles to aid students in maintaining balance and turning while sliding down a slope; ridged hoops, a.k.a. Wheelchair push rim, which connect instructor and student without being hands on to the student’s hips or snowboard that help create edging and pressure forces independent of the instructor.

“It (the adaptive ski program) gives young people with disabilities a great sense of freedom in the outdoors,” said Aileen Tobler, adapted PE specialist for the Montrose County School District.

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