Local Spotlight

Featured Stories, Local Spotlight

Hometown HERO – The Girl Next Door

As Mikaela Shiffrin rode the chairlift to take her second slalom run at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, she began to tear up. It was the last chairlift ride of the night and Shiffrin was in the lead after the first run. She had her headset on and was listening to the song  “Atlas” by, Coldplay. The piece was one of the new theme songs for the movie Catching Fire, one of Shiffrin’s favorites. “It was nighttime, yet it wasn’t too dark,” Shiffrin recalls, “and I could see that the clouds were beginning to dissipate. There was a blue cast to the sky, the stars were out and it was really quiet – like the tranquility that you’re always searching for. “And I was listening to the song and it just started building, and I thought, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to win this!’ It was a weird, random […]

Focus Vail Valley, Local Spotlight

Making their Mark

Over the years, Vail Valley students have made their marks on the world. Every year it seems there is a local high school graduate who has the urge to learn and conquer the world to make it better. Growing up in this relatively small valley, students attended local schools: Their love to learn was fostered right here. They share a passion for learning, a love to challenge the norm, turn the expected upside down and help others along their paths. Here are just a few of the ‘kids’ who turned their big dreams into their realities. It was a simple idea, a light bulb powered by solar energy able to fit into any standard socket. But no one had dreamed up a way to turn it into reality, until Steve Katsaros did. He affected the lives of millions, by putting affordable solar power in their hands. But Katsaros had a […]

Culture in the Vail Valley, Local Spotlight

The Art of Ice Sculpting

Most of us look at ice sculptures with wonder. How was the carver able to make that line? Curve that curve? Carve pieces that light up?  Many pieces are incredibly detailed and so complex, they amaze. The art of ice sculpting dates back to 600 B.C. when ice harvesting first began. In fact a collection of stories found in Shih Cheng, or Book of Sons, which was written at that time, describes the lives of the Shensi warrior-farmers who lived in northwest China and flooded their fields with water in the winter. When the water froze, writes the author, the ice was cut into blocks, stored in an icehouse and used in the warmer months to keep the fish fresh. Over the years, the molding and sculpting of ice became much more sophisticated, incorporating various techniques with the use of tools. In the 1600s hunters and fishermen from the Chinese […]

Healthy Living, Local Spotlight

A Survivor on a Mission

Lynne Blake’s Starting Hearts pumps CPR knowledge into the Valley. “Don’t be afraid to save a life”. It was Valentine’s Day and Lynne Blake had just returned to Vail from her honeymoon. The 27-year-old was slim, fit and happy, yet the unthinkable happened. She was in a meeting at work when she slumped in her chair from sudden cardiac arrest. She was very lucky. A co-worker knew CPR. The fire department was across the street, and first responders arrived with a defibrillator within minutes. She was rushed to the hospital. “I owe my improbable survival and successful recovery to the immediate and effective CPR response and early defibrillation,” Lynne says. Someone else with a new marriage and a career to build might just have thanked her lucky stars and gone on with her life, but not Lynne. “I felt that my life was saved for a purpose,” she says. And […]

Local Spotlight

Vail’s Not so Secret Garden(er)

“All gardeners live in beautiful places because they make them so.” Joseph Joubert – French Moralist The poetic nature of life’s garden becomes toil for some, a sanctuary for others. Without question, Vail pioneer Diana Donovan falls into the ‘other’ category, having spent a lifetime cultivating new growth wherever she called home, always finding refuge and solace amongst her plants and flowers. Today’s world takes her, along with local legend husband, John, down to their 400 acres of summer solitude west of Vail known as Squaw Creek. This is where she traditionally begins each Memorial weekend planting her wide rows of lettuce, carrots, turnips, radishes, cabbages, beets, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, onions, rhubarb, asparagus, peas, spinach, turnips, strawberries, raspberries, lots and lots of herbs and, of course, potatoes. Those are the family favorite. “To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.” Mohandas K. Gandhi As the pictures gracing […]

Local Spotlight

Where were you in ’62

Let me just say it up front:  Vail would never have become “Vail” if it were not for a man named Rod Slifer. Oh sure, it probably would have opened sometime before the end of the 1962-63 ski season (give or take a year or two), and it probably would have been at least as successful as, oh let’s say, Aspen, but it certainly would not have become the largest and most successful empty-valley-to-most-respected-ski-resort-in-North America without the direct assistance of the man whose name has blazed a consistent local trail for the last five decades. To say Rod Slifer was not instrumental in making Vail more than just a name on a state highway mountain pass is like saying ‘The Beatles’ was just the name of a band from Liverpool. No one, of course, would ever suggest the names Seibert and Eaton should be diminished within our hallowed memories, as doing […]

Local Spotlight

First Descents’ “10-10-10 Challenge”

For a guy who grew up in Fort Collins and had what most would consider to be an ordinary all-American childhood – playing football, basketball and hockey, and dreaming of someday being a fireman – Ryan Sutter’s life, these days, is far from ordinary. Sutter graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder’s College of Architecture, and soon discovered that his passion was not architecture but, rather, firefighting. “I just went back to my roots. Doesn’t every little boy think about being a fireman?” jokes Sutter. “I began looking more and more into firefighting and my passion grew. It just kept sucking me in.” So, 10 years ago, Sutter joined the Vail Fire Department, where he now is referred to as Lieutenant Sutter. About that time, the first season of the reality show, The Bachelorette, was airing and Sutter was one of the young men chosen to compete to capture the […]

Local Spotlight

Hometown Kids Make Good

Kids raised in the Vail Valley are just like other kids. They play soccer or football or they ski, they wrangle with their parents, and they suffer their first crushes and their first heartbreaks. But unlike many kids, here young people are often lucky enough to have opportunities to work their creative muscles and get a jump-start on their dreams. There are dedicated and passionate mentors like longtime and recently retired Battle Mountain High School teacher Suzanne Foster, who mounted dozens of theatrical productions and took scores of students to state finals in speech and debate during her 24 years here. And Annah Scully, who founded the Vail Performing Arts Academy in 1996 to train students in theater arts with workshops and performances. And dance instructor Ann Taylor who created the Vail Valley Academy of Dance, where many young dancers learned their art. These people, along with parents and many […]

Local Spotlight


How a champion defeated both demons and doubters
We’ve all had that one big dream. The one that is so big and so far away that for most mortals like us, it seems unachievable. For Chris Del Bosco, my brother, that dream has never wavered.