Local Spotlight

Local Spotlight


Bill and Mary Stephens were headed in different directions when they first glimpsed one another in 1986. Mary was the head ranger at Andersons Camp in Sweetwater,Colorado. Meanwhile, Bill motored down the road in a grader — the third generation “There’s your future husband,” Mary’s supervisor announced. But it took five years and a “neighborhood effort,” as Bill describes it, to unite the couple for good. Since then, they’ve been nearly inseparable, working long hours at Stephens Nursery, a third-generation, family-owned and operated business in Dotsero. The Stephens family arrived in this country on the Mayflower. In 1891, Bill’s great- grandfather settled in Sweetwater and began cattle ranching. And until 1989, the family was still living in the original house, built in 1908. In the early 1980s, the newly constructed Interstate 70 slashed through the fam- ily’s pasture, adding to the already growing strain of decreasing cattle prices. They adapted […]



Sometimes the perfect recipe is right before our eyes. Take two ex-cops, mix in a joint love of cooking, add a pinch of spice and touch of tea, blend together generously and you have the ideal yin and yang of a wonderful partnership. Perfect example: Sarah Chartier & Kirstin Ruehlen, the Cagney & Lacey of The Spice & Tea Exchange of Vail. But as opposed to the fictionalized characters from the ’80’s, these former officersfrom the Northern Colorado Drug Task Force are as real as winter snow, and so is their shared desire to bring the very best spices and teas from around the world directly to the Vail Valley. Kirstin had retired in 2012 after 15 years as a Ft. Collins narcotics detective, with Sarah being the same until 2015 on the Loveland force. In between the two retirement parties,Kirstin’s mom introduced her to her very favorite Dallas area […]

Local Spotlight

Renaissance Man

David Clason was about 14 years old when he sat down at his sister’s jewelry bench and began playing around with the tools, making a few pieces just for fun, eventually, creating a bracelet for for his father. “It was a really nice bracelet, with a buckle on top,” recalls Clason. “He started to wear it and his friends liked it, and he came to me and asked if I could make one for so and so. So I did. I didn’t get a lot of money for it, but I thought that I might have something.” And that’s, initially, how it all began. The “it” Clason is speaking of is his career as an artist. A jeweler. A sculptor. In fact, you might call him a Renaissance man, which the dictionary describes as “a person with many talents or areas of knowledge.” And that describes Clason in every way. […]

Nepal Mt Everest Vail Valley Magazine
CHRONICLES, Giving Back, Local Spotlight

Nepal Earthquake Stepping Out

The Vail Valley is host to over 70 families from the Himalayan region of Nepal. When the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck on April 25 and May 12 of 2015, many remote villages were severely damaged. The Sherpa Foundation was formed and is committed to help these communities rebuild their lives. This event, held in EagleVail, raised funds that will be sent directly to help the families of these villages, a house at a time. Donations are being accepted at

Featured Stories, Local Spotlight

Racing to Build Vail

Bob Lazier always loved cars. His first auto purchase at age 14 was an “ice car,” appropriately named since it could only be driven on frozen Lake Minnetonka during the winter months, but his parents helped him procure a four-year-old Jaguar in 1958. “I absolutely love cars, and I absolutely love driving cars, and I really, really love driving cars fast and in competition.” In fact, he met his wife, Diane, at a car race. His friend Johnny pointed at Diane and said, “I’m going to date that girl.” Bob said he’d give him a week, because he was going to date her as well. Johnny called her up on the following Thursday, but Bob had already been out with her twice. His response to Johnny: ”Hey, I’m a street kid, what did you expect!” They married in the fall of 1961. With Diane having a steady job at the […]

Giving Back, Local Spotlight

Sarah Schleper’s New Chapter (don’t know if this works for you)

Sarah Schleper’s life has always been about challenge and balance. From the time she decided that she wanted to be an alpine ski racer she became a juggler of sorts between school, practice and competition – the balance and challenge always a priority. Schleper’s career began in 1995 and spanned 15 years, a stint that included four Olympic games, seven national championships and four World Cup podium finishes. When Schleper announced her retirement in 2011, this free spirit did so in style. Skiing in her last World Cup run and dressed to the nines, Schleper stopped mid-way down, picked up her four-year-old son, Lasse, and carried him through the finish line. Then, Schleper did what many ski racing “retirees” do – she returned home – in this case, Vail – began coaching and in 2013 had a second child, a daughter, Resi. Life was good, certainly more tranquil than Schleper […]

Local Spotlight

Baked in Avon

Up the back stairs in a gleaming tidy kitchen, surrounded by ovens and walk-in coolers, flour and recipe books, a bit of magic happens every day starting at about 6 a.m. That’s when Angela Tarigradean shows up to start the prep for the day. About an hour later Christina Quick arrives to start the preparations for the Northside’s daily bread… and scones, cookies, brownies and whatever other baked treat strikes this team’s fancy. As anyone who has dabbled even a bit in baking here in the mountains knows it can be a frustrating experience. Time spent in the kitchen can result in a fallen bread, mushy muffins or disastrous cake. There’s a very scientific approach to baking, knowing the correct ratio of flour to liquid, baking powder versus baking soda. It’s enough to make your head spin – or baker’s heartbreak. Quick, who moved here from Virginia, came with a […]

CHRONICLES, Culture in the Vail Valley, Local Spotlight


On December 31, 1891, Arthur Fulford ate the remains of a fluffy biscuit and washed it down with a swallow of nail-bending coffee. Glancing out the window of the Lanning Hotel in Nolan’s Camp, he watched snow fall. The hotel was located in White Tail Gulch at the end of a 22-mile trek from Eagle and a little above Polar City. Arthur knew he should be home in Red Cliff with his pregnant wife and two young sons. Yet here he was in a miner’s camp close to 9,800 feet in elevation; a place where women had no place and where men lived to work. Art checked his pocket watch. It was after 10 a.m., and partner Byron Barthoff had not arrived. He pressed his handlebar mustache between his thumb and forefinger and smoothed his dark hair. A tall man at over 6’4”, Art got up from the table, having […]

Featured Stories, Local Spotlight


In the heart of Vail Village, on Bridge Street, you will notice a charming, quintessential Alpine lodge with an inviting deck. On sunny days, people gather on that deck to eat, drink, people watch, listen to music and party. After all, they’re on vacation! And what better way to relax than on Pepi’s deck at Gasthof Gramshammer’s – a Vail landmark, built by one of the town’s most beloved couples, Sheika and Pepi Gramshammer? Their story is a love story of sorts: for each other, and for Vail. Born in the dramatically beautiful mountains surrounding Kufstein, Austria, in 1932, young Pepi Gramshammer was racing on alpine skis by the age of 10. After finishing an apprenticeship in cheese making (C’mon, you didn’t think Austria was only known for composers and ski racers, right?), he made the move to nearby Innsbruck to join the skiers association and become a ski racer. […]