Fall Fun in Denver

Fall in the Denver area can be a magical time for the entire family. From a health perspective, it is always a good idea to get outside, breathe in the fresh air and have fun! From pumpkin farms to corn mazes and haunted houses, there is an abundance of opportunities to get some exercise and make lasting memories for years to come. Below is a list of some of our favorite places for children and adults to enjoy this fall.

Pumpkin farms. Picking pumpkins is all about family fun. Enjoy enormous amounts of fun picking out those perfect pumpkins for this year’s Jack O’ Lanterns!

  • Flat Acres Farm is located at 11321 Dransfeldt Road in Parker and is open through Halloween. Don’t miss the hayrides and petting zoo!
  • Anderson Farms is located at 6728 County Road in Erie and is open through the first of November. Enjoy a rich family atmosphere with plenty for the kids to do.

Corn mazes. Get lost in nonstop fun at these area corn mazes!

  • Corn Maze at Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through the 1st of November. Aside from corn mazes of different shapes and sizes, you can also enjoy pony rides, hayrides and giant pillow jumping!
  • Haunted Field of Screams, located at 10270 Riverdale Road, is open every Thurs-Sat from now until the end of October. Get ready for hair-raising thrills as you test your nerves by exploring the Haunted Field of Screams, Dead Man’s Night Maze or Zombie Paintball Massacre. For added chills, you can experience all three!

Haunted houses. Prepare to be thrilled and terrified at these heart-stopping destinations!

  • The 13th Floor Haunted House is located at 4120 Brighton Blvd. and is open until November 14th. Visit the 13th Floor Haunted House and discover the eerie truth behind the legend of the 13th floor!
  • The Asylum is open until November 1st at 6100 E. 39th and features three terrifying attractions. This year’s attractions are Primitive Fear: Patient Alpha, Post Mortem: The Escape and The Abandoned.

Other Halloween-themed attractions around town. Here are some less scary events that may be more suitable for younger children.

  • The Trick or Treat Train, at the Colorado Railroad Museum, is open from 10am to 4pm on Halloween. Take this historic locomotive ride while trick-or-treating through family-friendly Railroad Halloween Town!
  • Boo at the Zoo is located at the Denver Zoo and is open from 9am-5pm on Oct. 24, 25, 31 and Nov. 1. Boo at the Zoo features trick-or-treating, animal exhibitions and entertainment the whole family will enjoy!

Do you have any favorite fall attractions to add to this list? Please share in the comments below!

Avoid Colorado Tick Fever

Enjoyment of the outdoors is one of the many pleasures that come with living in Colorado. As any Coloradan will proudly boast, the summer months bring countless ways to appreciate the various wonders of nature. Such activities include hiking, biking, camping, fishing and boating. Unfortunately, all of this summer fun also comes with some hazards. One in particular is the presence of ticks. Due to Colorado’s high elevation, ticks are quite common.

Although Lyme disease – transmitted from ticks – is not a problem in the state, Colorado tick fever is a tick-borne illness that is very prevalent. The disease comes from the Rocky Mountain Wood tick and is most common between April and July. It is important to know what measures to take to safeguard your family from this viral infection. Knowing where to find Rocky Mountain Wood ticks, how to avoid being bitten by them and having the ability to spot the symptoms early can make a world of difference. Here are a few tips to remember when spending time outdoors this summer.

Know where to look. Ticks are parasites that feed on the blood of animals. They can be found in areas where they are most likely to come across possible hosts. These are usually grassy, well-traveled spots near fields and wooded areas.

Get covered. When spending time camping, hiking and biking in wooded places, be sure to wear long pants and long-sleeve shirts. It is also recommended to wear shoes that completely cover your feet while minimizing any exposed skin around the ankles. In addition, wearing clothing that predominately features lighter colors will make ticks easier to locate and remove.

Use repellent. DEET and Permethrin are two popular tick repellents. Spraying either one of these on clothing has been known to be effective. Keep in mind that repellents should not be sprayed near the eyes and mouth. In particular, Permethrin should not be applied to the skin.

Remove ticks effectively. If a tick is found in the skin, be sure to use dull tweezers to gently remove it. It is important not to crush the tick while pulling it out. Crushing the tick could result in infection if parts of it are left in the skin.

Know the symptoms. Be able to spot the signs of Colorado tick fever. Symptoms that accompany a tick bite include sudden chills and high fever, aching muscles, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain and a faint rash. If these symptoms do not subside within a week, contact your physician.

With some preparation and diligence, the risk of contracting Colorado tick fever can be greatly lowered. By continuing to be aware of your surroundings, you can ensure your family’s enjoyment of the great Colorado outdoors without enduring such setbacks as Colorado tick fever.

Camping Tips To Improve Your Experience

For Colorado families, camping is a beloved way to enjoy the state’s many outdoor benefits. Like all outdoor activities, there are some safety precautions to keep in mind in order to stay safe while you’re having fun. Here are some important safety tips:

Safety supplies. While preparing for your camping trip, include the following items to help stay safe and comfortable:

  • Map of area
  • Compass or GPS
  • Cell phone
  • Whistle
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Sunscreen

Besides the above items, a first-aid kit is also good to have with you while camping. Your first-aid kit should include the following:

  • Adhesive bandages
  • Butterfly bandages
  • Sterile gauze pads
  • A cold pack
  • Supplies for splinting
  • Dressings for large wounds
  • Band-Aids
  • Thermometer
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Neosporin
  • Benadryl
  • Ibuprofen
  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • Antiseptic soap

Finding and Setting Up Your campsite. Before deciding on a site, scan the area for any hints of use by wildlife. Some key signs to look for are animal tracks and droppings, wasp nests in the ground, and scratches on the trees. Also be wary of spots with abundant berry growth. These areas might attract bears.

Campfire Safety. When looking for places to build a campfire, fire safety must always be considered. Be sure to abide by the rules of your specific camping area. For instance, do not start a fire if your campground does not allow campfires. Also, be aware of hazardous conditions. If conditions in your area are extremely dry, do not attempt to start a fire.

When building a new fire pit or fire ring, place it at least fifteen feet away from flammable objects like bushes, trees and tents. Avoid branches that hang too low in the direct vicinity of the fire. The pit itself needs to be about a foot deep. Take out all grass, sticks and leaves within a 10-foot diameter area and construct a circle of rocks around the pit or ring.

Use small, dry pieces of wood for your fire and only use wood from dead trees. Place a shovel and a bucket of water close to the fire for emergencies. Ensure your fire remains at a controllable size and never leave it alone.

When you are ready to put your fire out, pour enough water on it to make sure every ember is drenched. Use dirt if water is not available. After stirring it all in, check to see that everything is cold before leaving or going to sleep.

Poisonous plants. When camping, it is a good idea to make sure your family members are familiar with which plants to stay away from. The most common are poison ivy, poison sumac and poison oak. Unknown plants should be avoided. Remember to wear long pants and long-sleeve shirts. If contact with a poisonous plant is suspected, wash the area as soon as possible and apply hydrocortisone cream to suppress any itching.

Once safety is assured, the fun camping memories can be made. Remember these safety tips and have a great camping trip!

What You Need To Know About Hiking Your First 14er

The State of Colorado has 54 individual 14,000’ mountains, more than any other state. We take pride that there is almost nowhere along the Front Range where we can’t see one of these towering peaks. If you’ve never hiked a 14er, or been to the top, now is a great time to cross this adventure off your bucket list.

Hiking a 14er is no easy task. Most require six to eight on the trail, good levels of fitness, caution and preparation when venturing into this extreme terrain. Arrive to the trailhead early and leave plenty of time to reach the summit before noon! You want to be well away from the peak when/if thunderstorms roll in around midday. June through August is the best time to climb these mountains as trails are largely devoid of snow. The greatest threat when hiking is exposure to the elements and in the summer months the threat comes from afternoon thunderstorms. A lightning strike on Mount Bierstadt recently hospitalized 3 hikers.

Preparation is of vital importance when taking on one of these peaks. Here are a few basic items to pack:

Sunscreen. There’s nothing like a sunburn to erase the memories of a great accomplishment – like climbing to the top of a mountain. As we discussed in our last blog, skin care is vital to your personal health.

Water! If you remember anything, remember this: bring plenty of water. The majority of unnecessary injuries that occur on these slopes is due to dehydration. Aim for at least half a gallon (two Nalgene bottles) and ensure you are already hydrated when you reach the trail.

Light Jacket. For every 1000’ gain in elevation, the average temperature drops 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit. It might be warm and toasty in Denver, but at the top of that 14,000’ peak the temperature will be much lower. You’re going to want a light jacket at the top.

Hiking Boots. Leave the running shoes at home; they lack the proper support you need when hoofing up a high alpine trail on variable terrain. Wearing a pair of proper hiking boots will lower your chance of rolling an ankle and provide better traction when trudging up a mountain slope.

Munchies. Trail mix, Cliff bars, nature valley granola bars all make for great trail snacks. When you reach the summit, or need some extra energy for the climb, you’ll want a tasty treat.

When you have all the required gear, you need to find is a route. Here are some of the best 14ers for beginners, including a couple mountains you can get to the top of even if you can’t walk to the top.

Mount Evans (elevation: 14,265’)

This is the crown jewel above Denver, Colorado. It’s the closest 14er to Denver and also is one of the most accessible. Mount Evans wilderness area is a short 30 min drive outside of Denver to Idaho Springs. A $6 entrance fee is all you need to access the numerous trails in the area including summit trails. If you don’t feel like walking, you can take the drive up Mount Evans on the highest paved road in the United States!

Pikes Peak (elevation: 14, 114’)

This is the mountain that inspired America the Beautiful. It’s the most famous mountain in Colorado. It’s also one of the most trafficked mountains in our states with a road and cog rail (train) reaching to the top, where there’s also a gift shop. Perhaps not the best for those looking for a more wild adventure, but there’s something comforting in the fact that at the top you can enjoy fresh fudge.

Mount Bierstadt (elevation: 14,064’)

Trail Roundtrip Length: 7 miles

Another 14er near Denver. Located just out of Georgetown at the top of Guanella Pass. Seven miles round trip makes this peak a relatively short trek, however the trail travels over 3000 vertical feet from trailhead to peak, meaning it is steep!

Grays Peak (elevation: 14,278’) and Torrey’s Peak (elevation: 14,275’)

Trail Roundtrip Length: 8.5 miles

If you want to cross two peaks off your list, then Grays and Torrey’s are perhaps the two easiest 14ers to hike in one day. If you are hiking with young children, it’s probably best to stick to just one of the two (Grays Peak) but if you get an early enough start you can easily cross off both of these peaks.

Quandary Peak (elevation: 14,265’)

Trail Roundtrip Length: 6.75 miles

Thanks to its location and easy access, located at Hoosier Pass between Breckenridge and Fairplay, this peak gets plenty of traffic. It’s a relatively easy climb and like many of these hikes can be done in half a day, making it the perfect early morning hike.

Hiking a 14er is one of the most rewarding outdoor activities in all of Colorado. Use this guide to help you set up your next trek, and before you know it you will become a regular peak bagger, perhaps joining the ranks of the few who’ve climbed every single 14er in the state.

For those who are unable to make it to the mountains, there is a program called flat 14ers that converts activity like walking, swimming, and hiking into steps that can then be converted into reaching the summit of a 14er.

Stay safe during a thunderstorm

June in Colorado means beautiful sunny days spending time outdoors. But the beautiful weather also comes with a catch, and in the summer months that is the daily afternoon thunderstorm. Whether you’re on the course playing 18, hiking in the mountains, or at your child’s soccer match – thunderstorms can come out of nowhere and dampen your day. Living with this reality, we need to understand the risks associated with thunderstorms and how best to minimize them to maximize our time spent enjoying the outdoors.

Thunderstorms require three ingredients: moisture, unstable and rising air. In the Front Range, as dense cold air moving over the mountains descends and hot air from the plains rises – it creates convection. Convection occurs as warmer air rises and transfers heat to the upper levels of the atmosphere. The water vapor transported by this warmer air cools, and condenses into a cloud. As this process continues, the cloud grows bigger and higher – cumulonimbus clouds can reach up to 75,000 feet in the air. As the water droplets cool they turn into ice. As these ice particles collide they create an electrical charge, and when enough electrical charge forms we get a bolt of lightning.

Thunderstorms present many dangers:

  • Heavy rainfall can cause flash flooding.
  • Sparks from lightning strikes can start forest fires.
  • Hail and heavy wind can cause damage to trees, cars, and structures.
  • Under the right conditions, tornadoes can form and have been known to cause devastating damage.
  • Lightning strikes can kill people.

As Coloradans we spend a lot of time outdoors and we will inevitably be caught in a thunderstorm from time to time. Here are some tips to ensure that you stay safe from the many ways a thunderstorm and lightning can harm you:

Check the forecast. If you are spending anytime outdoors, make sure you check the forecast. If meteorologists are calling for severe weather change your plans. The last thing you want is be stuck on a mountaintop in a thunderstorm, so plan accordingly.

Find shelter. Unprotected and exposed in a thunderstorm is the worst place you can be. Try to take shelter in a building or vehicle. If you are in an open field, find a low-lying area, but be wary of flooding. Also, beware of small metal structures like dugouts and sheds. These structures offer relief from the rain, but are dangerous places to be if stuck by lightning.

If you can hear thunder, you are not safe. Lightning produced by a thunderstorm can reach you as far as 10 miles away. If you can hear thunder, you can be struck by lightning, so take necessary precautions to ensure safety.

Avoid lightning prone areas. Hilltops (summits) and ridge lines, open fields, tall isolated trees, and the beach or any body of water make for attractive targets for lightning strikes. Also avoid natural lighting rods like tall, isolated trees in open areas.

Avoid contact with convection items. Even if you’re indoors, lightning from a thunderstorm can still harm or even kill you. Avoid using indoor plumbing and running water. Also, stay away from electrical outlets and appliances connected to them. Don’t stand near walls, windows, or doors that border outside.

By taking the necessary precautions during a thunderstorm, you will keep yourself and your family safe. Don’t let a little foul weather ruin your outing by staying educated and proactive in your family’s safety.

Cycling Colorado

Riding your bike is good for your body, mind, and wallet

May is National Bike Month. Established in 1956, National Bike Month aims to encourage people to take up cycling, educate the public about the benefits of biking and to act as a voice to advocate for cyclists at the local, state and federal levels.

The bicycle was introduced to Europe in the 19th century and has since become one of the most prolific forms of transportation throughout the world. Twice as many bikes have been produced in the world then cars. William Saroyan, a Nobel prize winner, once said that the “bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind”.

Bikes have been the principle form of transportation for billions of people around the world for the past 100 years. Although in America we’ve changed from bike pedals to those on vehicles, biking is making a comeback in the US, and it’s in large part thanks to events like National Bike Month. Read on to learn more about the benefits of cycling.

Cycling is a great form of cardiovascular exercise. Cardio is an important aspect to staying in shape, good for your heart health, and boosts your metabolism even after you’re done exercising (meaning you burn more calories). Biking is one of the best forms of cardio because not only is it fun but also lower impact than many other forms of cardio.

Exercise reduces stress. Studies show that people who bike to work have lower levels of stress than those who drive, and it makes sense. After a long day of work, riding on a bike path is surely more enjoyable than being stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. A 180 lb man biking for 60 minutes at 14 mph burns 816 calories; totaling 1600 calories burnt a day just commuting. That’s equivalent to burning two and a half pounds of fat per week.

Biking saves you money. Commute Solutions (a company that specializes in coming up with alternatives to commuting) estimates that the average 10 mile commute to work in your car costs around $10 – when adjusted for gas, insurance, maintenance, initial costs and indirect fees.

It’s a great time to be a cyclist. On top of numerous improvements in technology that have made bikes lighter and more comfortable to ride, cyclists are gaining more traction in both local and national legislatures. The amount of public funds going towards cycling projects like bike lanes and bike paths has increased dramatically and resulted in a large increase in cyclists (289% according to the New York City Department of Transportation).

With more and more people on the road, we need to remember that safety is the most important thing. Always wear a bike helmet and understand the rules of the road. Colorado Bike Law is dedicated to educating cyclists about their rights across our state. Make sure that if you’re out on the road, you understand your rights and how to get places safely.

May is bike to work month and June 24th is bike to work day in Colorado. Take advantage of our great summer weather and get outside and ride your bike. You’ll get in better shape, save some money, and increase your personal satisfaction.

Mother's day ideas

7 Ideas to Make this Mother’s Day Special

This Sunday is Mother’s Day. One day devoted to appreciating the beloved women in our lives. For someone who did so much (and probably still does) one day is hardly enough, so the least we can do is make sure their day is extra special – beyond just the typical flowers and pedicures. Here are some ideas to show our leading ladies how important they are to us:

  • Grab brunch. It’s her special day, and she’s probably going to want to catch some extra zzz’s by sleeping in – she’s earned it. Bruch is a great way to grab a late breakfast and there are so many places in the Denver Metro area with delicious brunch menus. For something a little different try afternoon tea at the Brown Palace, which features scones, tea pastries and tea sandwiches along with a variety of delicious tea flavors.
  • Check out some art. The Denver Art Museum is the largest art museum between the West Coast and Chicago and is known for its American Indian art. General admission is free for kids. Also check out the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, which features an extensive collection of interior decorative art from 1875 to 1990.
  • Get some gardening inspiration. Mother’s day in Colorado is synonymous with the start of growing season. The Denver Botanical Gardens is North America’s largest collection of plants from cold temperate climates around the world, and features numerous xeriscaped exhibits with drought-tolerant plants from around the world.
  • Take her to a Rockies Game. This Sunday, the Rockies face off against the Los Angeles Dodgers, in what should be an exciting divisional matchup. Rockies games are great fun for the whole family, and Coors Field is one of the most enjoyable places to spend a day outside. After the game, there are plenty of places to grab a nice dinner in LoDo.
  • Bike ride on Cherry Creek Trail. If we’re lucky enough to get a reprieve from the rain, take a bike ride down the Cherry Creek Trail. You can rent bikes from Denver B-Cycle, picking them up at DU or Cherry Creek, and taking them to Downtown Denver.
  • Colorado Chocolate Festival. This festival runs Friday and Saturday of Mother’s Day Weekend. What better way to treat your mom or wife than to “30,000 sq. feet of Chocolate Heaven”?
  • Take a tour at Celestial Seasonings. You’ll see the whole process from raw ingredients all the way to your cup. Along the way you’ll get to sample many of their tea flavors. The trip really gets interesting when you get to the mint room — the smell is intense!

One day a year doesn’t seem like enough time to appreciated the awesome women in our lives, but we can at least make their day at little more special. What are you planning for Mother’s Day?

Brain Health Shmrain Health: Keys to Healthy Brain Living

When you think about health what comes to mind? Nutrition, fitness, maybe even stress-relieving activities? What about brain health? Cognitive decline is a scary concept, but what can we do about it? Studies have shown that embracing healthy lifestyle habits not only improves one’s overall health but can also slow and even halt cognitive decline. It’s never too late to actively protect your brain. From teenage years into elderly living, the brain continually rewires and adapts. Start protecting your brain by adopting a lifestyle that includes plenty of exercise, a nutritious diet and staying cognitively and socially active. Read on to learn how these easy changes can keep your brain mentally sharp.

Exercise
Staying physically fit is the number one way to stay mentally fit. Similar to car care, brain tune-ups will not only increase performance but longevity as well. Sedative lifestyles without physical fitness negatively impacts brain function. The number one cause of Alzheimer’s and dementia is the building up of plaque in the brain. Decreased blood flow from lack of cardiovascular activities allows unchecked plaque growth, increasing the chances of, amongst other factors, cognitive decline. It’s never too late to start. Join the local gym, take exercise classes and start running, jogging, or walking. Start improving your brain and body health today.

Nutrition
Like mom used to say, always eat your veggies! Vegetables and fruit should be consumed everyday. Alzheimer’s Association research has indicated that low-saturated and low-fat diets reduce chances of heart disease and cognitive decline. Decrease your intake of fats, red meats, sweets and sugared beverages and sodium. Focus on fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains. Instead of butter, try healthy fats such as olive oil. Instead of salt, try incorporating herbs and spices. Many diseases of the body are linked to diet and consumption. Choose a healthier diet to protect your heart and mind.

Mental Sharpness
Challenging yourself is a sure way to improve mental fitness. Learning a new skill, developing a hobby and reading more are just a few examples of positive mental activities. Start playing table tennis. Table tennis is the best activity for your brain, and is one of the few physical activities considered a ‘brain sport’. Table tennis improves motor skills, strategy, memory and is a great social activity. Stay mentally sharp, use it or lose it!

Socially Active
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, social engagement is associated with reduced rates of disability and may also reduce the risk of depression. Instead of messaging someone online, talk to them in person or call them on the phone. Strike up conversations with others and listen to what they have to say. Social engagement is a fundamental element for self-sustainability and preservation. Protect your noggin and get social.

Start protecting your brain today. Body builders did not become chiseled by exercising every now and again. Dedication to their craft got them to their goal. You too can reach your goals by setting small objectives to reach, building up confidence and genuine fulfillment. Make plans to set aside time for your brain. Make notes and keep track of activities. Log your achievements and work towards bettering your mind and body. Brain health should be a serious concern. Living a healthy lifestyle has permeable effects on your life and those around you. Stay active, eat healthy and socialize. Challenge yourself along the way and promote healthy living in everything you do.

Eat healthy this St. Patrick’s day

Next Tuesday, March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day. People across the nation will celebrate by wearing green, dying rivers green, and drinking green beer. St. Patrick’s day pays homage to our country’s Irish and Catholic Heritages—celebrating Ireland’s Patron Saint.

We have prepared a list of several delicious and healthy traditional Irish meals to make your St. Patrick’s Day complete. Easy to prepare and serve, these meals will be ready to eat as soon as you get home from Denver’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade this Saturday.

Corned Beef and Cabbage: The most well known Irish dinner, no St. Patrick’s Day would be complete without it. Corned beef derives its name from the seasonings meant to preserve the meat.

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs. of corned beef brisket
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • A head of cabbage
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • Butter
  • Salt, pepper, and thyme to taste

Instructions:

  • Place corned beef along with garlic, pepper, and some water (enough to cover meat) in crock-pot for 8 hours.
  • 30 minutes before it’s done, sauté carrots, onion, and garlic in a separate skillet until soft.
  • Add cabbage to skillet, if needed add corned beef water from crock-pot if skillet becomes dry.
  • Serve with corned beef over cabbage.

Irish Lamb Stew: Unlike Colorado, sunshine can be a rare sight in the Emerald Isle. March happens to be one of the snowiest months of the year for our state; for those days when the sun isn’t shining, here is a great recipe to warm you up.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. boneless leg of lamb
  • 2 lbs. of white potatoes
  • 3 leeks, thinly sliced
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced
  • 14 oz. can of chicken broth
  • Salt, pepper, thyme to taste
  • Fresh parsley leaves, chopped

Instructions:

  • Thinly slice leeks and celery; cut potatoes, carrots, leeks, and lamb into one-inch chunks.
  • Place in slow cooker, with chicken broth and season to taste (thyme, salt, pepper, etc.).
  • Cook for 8 hours, on low heat, or until meat is tender.
  • Add fresh parsley before serving with bread.

Shepherd’s Pie: Both filling and nutritious, this recipe originated during the 1790’s when it was a staple for the working class, hence the name “Shepard’s” Pie.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. of ground meat: lamb or beef
  • 1 lb. of potatoes
  • ½ cup of milk
  • Butter
  • Salt, pepper, thyme to taste
  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • ½ cup carrots, diced
  • ¾ cup frozen corn kernels
  • 14 ounce can vegetable broth
  • 1 ½ cups of lentils

Instructions:

  • Boil potatoes; mash until smooth with butter, milk, salt and pepper
  • Place mashed potatoes in a baking dish, and place in oven set to broil, so as to cook the potatoes even further.
  • Cook veggies, and meat of your choosing (traditionally served with lamb) in a saucepan, add seasoning as desired (salt, pepper, thyme). Heat veggies and meats in sauce pan until cooked.
  • Place veggies and meat at bottom of an oil coated baking dish, add potatoes on top. Place in oven set to broil, until potatoes are lightly browned. Serve.

Between lucky shamrocks and dancing leprechauns, St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most fun holidays of the year. We hope you will enjoy preparing and serving one of our favorite Irish dishes for your family and friends.

Our Favorite Family Friendly Ski Resorts

Skiing is a core component of living in Colorado, an integral part of our history and culture, and one of the most enjoyable ways to spend time outdoors during the winter. We are lucky to have nine ski resorts along the Front Range within a two-hour drive. However, with rising costs and heavy traffic sometimes the hassle may not seem worth it.

We have compiled a list of our favorite family friendly ski resorts along the Front Range to ensure everyone has a great day:

1) Loveland Ski Area Situated 12 miles outside of Georgetown right at the Eisenhower tunnel, Loveland ski area provides all the aspects of a world class ski resort for a fraction of the cost. They have a separate bunny hill away from the rest of the mountain, which means less pressure on beginners, and an excellent ski school. Couple all that with an average of 423 inches of snow per year (more than any other Front Range resort) and you have a hidden gem. Cost of a day pass: Adult $63, Children (6-14) $28, children 5 and under free.

2) Eldora 21 miles West of Boulder, above the town of Nederland, lays Eldora ski resort. Eldora stands out for its inexpensive ski passes, non-existent lift lines, and easy terrain—making it a great choice to learn how to ski. Added bonus: since Eldora is situated off the beaten path there’s no having to jockey traffic to get up and down I-70. Cost of a day pass: Adult $89, Children (6-15) $49, children 5 and under free.

3) Arapahoe Basin The Legend—one of the oldest ski resorts in Colorado, A-Basin has great expert terrain for those who are looking for more of a challenge. Their high alpine terrain also means that they are one of the first resorts opened in all of North America each season, and one of the last to close. The atmosphere at A-Basin is second to none, and everyone is in high spirits, making this as fun a place as any to ski. They also offer ski lessons that accommodate all types of skiers and snowboarders. Cost of a day pass: Adult $85, youth (15-18) $70, child (6-14) $40, children 5 and under free.

4) Copper Mountain Copper is a local favorite of many Denver area skiers offering naturally divided terrain, large 4-person and 6-person lifts that access beautiful corduroy groomers and inexpensive and discount lift tickets. Coupled with their ski school, Copper Mountain offers a ski school program known as Copper Choppers, which buses kids up and back from locations throughout the Denver Area, and takes them to the mountain where they get ski and snowboard lessons. Cost of lift ticket: Adult $138, Children (6-12) $69, Children 5 and under free.

5) Winter Park/Mary Jane Another local favorite, Winter Park sits on the other side of Berthoud Pass and avoids much of the dreadful traffic that is associated with I-70. This Mountain has everything: great easy terrain for beginners, a separate mountain “Mary Jane” for more difficult skiing, free and easily accessible parking, and a great atmosphere. They also offer a program similar to Copper Choppers known as the Eskimo Club. Cost of a day pass: Adult $129, Child (6-12) $74, children 5 and under free.

If you are looking for affordability, numerous ski resorts offer reduced lift ticket prices and 4-pack deals, which are far more inexpensive to buy in the summer. The State of Colorado also has a program where 5th graders can ski at 20 different ski areas for three days apiece, free of charge! And 6th graders only have to pay $99 for four days! Learn more about this program here. Remember, with any physical activity safety is of top importance so be sure to wear a helmet and proper equipment.

Skiing and snowboarding is one of the best ways to spend one’s winter, and our family favorite resorts are affordable, easily accessible, and provide great terrain to learn to ski and snowboard. What is your favorite resort to ski/snowboard? Why should your resort be on our list? Tell us in the comments below.