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Gabriel Merithew: Storytelling Wizard

Professional Portfolio

In addition to fiction writing, I've created a wealth of written and visual content for my own brand as well as for the organizations of my collaborators. This page contains my compiled works in that area.

Being a social media marketer in addition to a copywriter, at the link below I've compiled the Instagram handles of pages that I currently manage or have managed in the recent past:

 

Visuals

Featured Showcase

Graphics and photos for marketing purposes

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Long-Form Written Content

 

1. Personal Brand: NextStory

(If you'd like to check out my collection of short fiction, visit the link below)

 

30-Day Short Story Challenge

In late October I realized that I wasn't ready to do my novel justice. I'd been slowly chipping away at it, spending much more time outlining and planning (procrastinating) than anything else, and I knew that something had to change. After much internal debate, I set aside my scattered puzzle pieces of a novel and started to brainstorm ways of improving my writing skills so that when the time came to return to my novel, I might be able to write more than a couple chapters over and over again.


The timing happened to be perfect. I reconnected with an old friend and learned that she was planning to partake in New-Song November, a challenge that involved writing and performing a new song every single day for 30 days. The concept fascinated me and I was quick to use it as inspiration to create a unique challenge of my own. Having not completed a short story in way too long, I decided to jump into the deep end and force myself to write (and complete) a short story every day for 30 days. Failing to follow through on this would not be an option. Luckily, every day during the challenge, I was treated to my friend performing her daily song live on Instagram. Her passion and dedication was pure inspiration fuel.


I completed the challenge. It honestly wasn't as difficult as I was expecting. I enjoy creative writing tremendously and this was the perfect excuse to set aside 2-5 hours a day to simply sit with my laptop and type away. The challenge was a bit lonely though, which is why I would like to surround myself with more amazing storytellers, and though the sense of competition might curb the desire to share works in progress, the mutual motivation between driven people is just about the most powerful thing there is.


Though I'm certainly not the first to partake in such a challenge, I heartily recommend it to all writers who are looking for something. I didn't know exactly what I was looking for going into the challenge, but now that I've completed it, I feel like I'm getting closer to finding my voice, the very thing I've been subconsciously looking for for years.


The 30-Day Short Story Challenge was an amazing experience. It makes me so fucking excited that I was able to write things that made me laugh out loud and sob uncontrollably. My confidence is boosted and I hope my skills are too. Nevertheless, this challenge has enabled me to take another stab at my novel with a totally different outlook. So if you need me, I'll be here typing away.


You will find my stories here on The Next Story, and I'd love to know how they made you feel.


Thank you for reading! Consider sticking around, because The Next Story is right around the bend...


Your friend,

Gabriel Merithew

 

2. Yellow Barn Farm

 

What is Regenerative Agriculture?

There is no future in harming our beautiful planet. To take without consideration as to how, what, and where we’re taking is a practice that will eventually lead to an inhospitable environment for humans. A solution to this is a shifted way of thinking and acting, known as regenerative practices. Regenerative practices enable us to give back whenever we take, not only to preserve the production vessel, but to heal it. This can apply to many things, many ways of doing, but today we’re focusing on regenerative agriculture because it is crucial in saving the world.


An inefficient, and much too common farming practice is to keep extracting from the land on which we live until degradation occurs through decarbonization, erosion, desertification, and chemical pollution. When soil degrades, crops become less and less nutrient rich, and important trace minerals are lost. Our bodies rely on these things to stay healthy, and without them, we degrade along with the earth. This reality, here and now, is a serious threat to humanity, but luckily combatting it isn’t nearly as difficult as you may think. The shift begins with the understanding that, like with any relationship, the key to prosperity is to achieve balance, and achieving balance with the earth can be accomplished through our intentional replenishing of the resources we take from the planet. 

Image: Kiss the Ground

By replenishing/rebuilding soil health, we as humans can grow and harvest the highest quality crops at the same (or even higher) capacity, all the while not only ‘sustaining’ our already human-scarred planet, but actively healing those scars. The earth has had millions of years to develop systems that self-correct, and are constantly seeking equilibrium when the balance is off. If we can observe, understand, and implement the same systems into our land-tending and people-tending, then we can support this natural system, instead of pulling it further out of balance. The answers to the how lies in nature’s efficiently structured biodiversity that achieves the balance we’re seeking.

You may know that we recently established a Silvopasture here at Yellow Barn Farm. This is one of our first big steps towards re-initiating efficient biodiversity on what used to be land stripped bear. Despite the technically-intimidating sounding name, a Silvopasture is simply a biodiverse ecosystem of plants and animals designed to work together for a mutual benefit for humans and the earth. We planted several rows of Colorado friendly nitrogen sequestering trees and shrubs that provide the structure of the pasture, not only strengthening the soil with their nutrients, but also preventing erosion with their root structures. The fruit that grows on these trees and the berries borne on the shrubs are the nutrient and trace mineral rich food for various free-range livestock that will contribute to soil fertilization as well.

Silvopastures are only one of the potential structures that combat degenerative systems, and they are best used in tandem throughout a farm. Another that we employ on our farm is to establish cover crops, such as buckwheat and radish that allows for easy low-maintenance protection against soil erosion and improves soil health so that when the cover crop is harvested and new crops are planted, the soil will be prepared to produce quality goods. We currently have a thriving cover crop protecting what will be one of two market gardens on the farm, the goal of which is to produce healthy food to feed our core team throughout the entire yearly cycle.

Image: Kiss the Ground

If we used regenerative soil practices on our 4 billion acres of cultivated farmland, 8 billion acres of pastureland, and 10 billion acres of forest land around the globe, not only could we still feed the world in abundance, but we would also be able to halt (and REVERSE) climate change, all while maintaining the biodiversity that nature has shown is the most efficient form of agricultural production.


What can you do as an individual to support and employ regenerative practices? Good question! One crucial component that is easy to contribute to, is to establish an efficient compost system. The Yellow Barn Farm has established a local compost pickup service, where your food scraps can go straight to feeding our pigs, who fertilize our gardens, so that we can bring fresh bio-regionally resilient produce straight to your door.

Another outlet for contribution is to volunteer your time at a farm employing these practices (check out our Knowledge Network or Foothills Farm Collective Volunteer Sign Up). Use this opportunity to continue learning about how humans can ensure our own survival and continue to thrive, even beyond where we are today. In addition to these invaluable practices, simply spreading the word is equally essential. Education leads to understanding, and if done right, understanding can lead to active change. If you would like to see these practices being actively implemented, check out our monthly Farm Fest event series. The next event is on 9/25!


From the forefront of the regenerative agriculture revolution, we thank you for your efforts in these areas! We are incredibly proud of our community’s progress towards establishing innovative regenerative practices that without a doubt will cause a ripple effect of efficient abundance, stemming from human-earth harmony, a state of being that holds benefits for all and allows us to continue evolving in other areas. We’ll be well fed, and so will our beautiful planet.

Thank you for reading!

 

Regenerative Systems Design: Compost

Drylands Agroecology Research's mission at Yellow Barn Farm is to help implement regenerative agricultural practices that regenerate the soil - our fastest and most effective way to sequester carbon and fight climate change. So how do we build healthy soil? Compost.


In April, 2021, Yellow Barn was graciously gifted 150 five-gallon buckets from Home Depot to launch our local compost initiative, picking up food scraps from neighboring households within a 15 minute radius of the farm. 


We have partnered with Small Haul Boulder, a local moving company that helps us with compost pickups and produce distribution, while employing our farm workforce for supplemental income. 

The food scraps are fed to our pigs, which turn them into fertilizer for our market garden, which will eventually produce crops that can then be ordered and delivered straight to your doorstep during our weekly bucket swaps. 

So what was the impetus to start this initiative? Over the last year, we have been conducting a survey of 198 residents throughout Boulder County asking about their produce choices and food waste practices. And the feedback for the question, “What do you do with your food waste?” had some interesting results:


We found that the majority currently utilize a compost service, but 33% were tossing food scraps into the trash. These food scraps ultimately end up in landfills and produce methane (a greenhouse gas emission). Every year, on a global scale, around 95% compostable food still ends up in landfills, but it doesn’t have to be that way. 

At the Yellow Barn Farm, we were determined to help close that gap for households outside of the Boulder County compost service area. See full results: Boulder County Produce Survey

New members receive a 5-gallon bucket, a lid, a composting guide, and a compostable bag to line the bucket. 

We do pickups once a week, and our compost members are able to receive free delivery on all products we are currently producing at the Yellow Barn. 


Right now we are able to offer chicken and duck eggs from our rotationally grazed birds, and microgreens (buckwheat, pea shoots, dandelion, and sunflower).

This entire compost system is what we call a closed-loop system. Finding a waste output that can be "upcycled" into something that brings value in multiple ways - creating good soil, generating a micro-revenue stream for the farm, and creating income opportunity for our farm hands. That is a win-win-win solution. 


If you have been feeling overwhelmed by the climate's changing landscape, this is one small step that starts to compound quickly with each additional bucket added. Every effort to give back to the earth through strategies like this, add up to generate real, visible impact.


Compost Program


If you’d like to see how you’re helping to reverse climate change, come visit us at Yellow Barn Farm and explore regenerative practices in action on a large scale.

 

A Farm Fest Success

The success of the first-ever Yellow Barn Farm, Farm Fest, is incredibly encouraging. With over 150 people in attendance throughout the day, it’s clear that we all want more of this.


In my previous post, I expressed my excitement for the opportunity that this event would bring, which was to attract amazing people to connect with while supporting local talent. Now my excitement is even greater because that’s exactly what happened.


The morning of, our team of 10 met for a briefing in the Yellow Barn, and in that moment, it struck me how seriously the whole endeavor was being taken. Around the circle, there were a lot of furrowed brows and coffee cups. Being the first event of its kind at Yellow Barn, it had to go smoothly or the possibility of a second Farm Fest would dwindle greatly.

As a group, we were jumpstarting each other's batteries, getting ready for the game ahead. By the time the teams split up and spread out, the smiles were in full swing and spirits were high. Surely a testament to the power of wonderful people exchanging energy with the subconscious intention of ensuring that the whole is as close to equilibrium as possible. I’ve witnessed and been a part of teams that have this ability countless times before, but it never fails to blow my mind a little bit. As I headed out to tackle my first task of the day, I was smiling too.


The first mishap of the day presented itself right away. Somehow the number of Farm Hop Bus Tour attendees had been miscalculated, and the matter threw logistics out of whack. But the team quickly adjusted and smoothed over the bump. The reason I bring this up is that it would have been easy to allow the change to cause stress and anxiety, but the whole team was there to recorrect and keep sailing. This takes people who can read the vibe and act accordingly to get the things under their control back on track. Once I noticed that everyone was taking this to heart, I told myself that it would be near impossible for the event not to be a success.


Two groups of around 20 people got a comprehensive tour of Elk Run Farm, Metacarbon Organic Farm, and our Yellow Barn Farm. I followed along and took pictures while Azuraye and her mother Merrie Wycoff led the tour. We started off by going over the Master Plan for the farm, created by Nick DiDominico of Drylands Agroecology Research, which focuses on sustainable and regenerative practices, designed to renew the land, the team, and community.


Next, we gathered around the market garden where a herd of pigs (on loan from Elk Run Farm) are currently breaking down the compost piles and fertilizing the soil. Azuraye and Merrie talked about “circular systems” and how the pigs ate the food scraps from the farm’s compost pickup service, which was then fertilized into the soil, which will eventually become an abundant market garden, and the available crop will be delivered back to the compost members on their weekly bucket delivery.


From there, the group got to see the newly constructed hoop house, in which 9 garden troughs are testing out a subterranean watering system, which hopes to to conserve water 90% of the water used on the garden. After that, we headed to the diverse silvopasture, which within 5-8 years will be the most productive and abundant area on the farm. This is where over 175 volunteers came together back in April to plant over 3,500 trees in just two days, which will all eventually work together in harmony with fruiting shrubs and intensive animal rotations to start bringing the soil back to life.


Lastly, the group congregated beside the chicken coop, which has recently been innovated with automation technology, so that upkeep is incredibly minimal. But the highlight of the tour was when Azuraye brought up the real meat and potatoes of what we’re up to at Yellow Barn Farm, which is the community building. Several of the guests perked up at the mention of the Knowledge Network project and the use of the Sparktype test. And it seemed to surprise them that every Yellow Barn team member had taken the Sparktype test, the result of which is how we’re innovating team building. It’s not just about checking boxes of roles that need to be filled. It’s a matter of utilizing everyone’s strengths to the fullest potential and ensuring as much as possible that each team member is doing something they love. As anyone who has experienced a similar team integration process will likely attest, there is no greater driver of progress than passion.


With the tour over, it was time to unwind and have some lighthearted fun! The stage that the team helped visiting Engineer & Physicist, Scott Johnson, build was adorned with sweet-smelling hay bales, and our first performer, The Girl Behind the Piano began to play. The market had opened.


Following Melody, we had the pleasure of hosting the amazing Trickster Carousel and the melodic Jackson Maloney. While we listened, everyone milled around and made introductions, and explored the wonderful array of local food and art.

Our list of vendors was extraordinary:


Personally, I met several people that made fantastic first impressions and impressed me with their positive joyful energy and just general excitement to be there. Oh, and I also met a bunch of smiling dogs which did the trick in capping off a truly awesome day!


I know I speak for the whole Yellow Barn Team when I express my gratitude to everyone who showed up and supported our community. With this first event being a huge success, there will absolutely be more to come. Mark your calendars for September 19!

 

A Universal Language

The exchange of energy is a universal language. In a single day, many interactions occur without words, and often without awareness. There should be awareness. When I first set out solo with my converted cargo trailer camper in early July, I did so because I was yearning for the exchange of energy between myself and good people. Promptly, as if on cue, the currents of the world took me where I needed to be, but only once I’d consciously initiated the mental shift to give in to its power, to allow it to carry me. Three weeks later, I get to spend my days here at the Yellow Barn Farm, surrounded by amazing people who are the very energy sources that drew me in. But there was something else, and it took me some time to figure out what was missing. The earth was calling to me and at the same time calling me out for sitting passively on the sidelines while it suffered under the strain of a human race that doesn’t listen. Something in my mind clicked. I’d been communicating with the earth through the exchanging of energy my entire life, but I’d never stopped to contemplate what it was actually telling me.


When I first met with Azuraye Wycoff after getting connected by a mutual friend, she shared the vision for Yellow Barn Farm / Allen’s Farm. Together we pored over the illustration of the “Master Plan” that she’d put together with Nick DiDomenico of Drylands Agroecology Research, and I started to not only agree with her mission, but I also connected with it on a personal level. She told me that Yellow Barn Farm is in the process of becoming a vibrant centralized hub for local small businesses to learn how to take action to reverse climate change, and that we would be leading by example by actively practicing regenerative land stewardship and social ecology. Here was someone telling me of their desire to essentially save the world, but she followed it up with a plan, simple and effective. I wanted to be a part of it. If I could invest myself into the project I would no longer be sitting on the sidelines, oblivious to the voice of the earth. I was ready to listen. Here was the opportunity I hadn’t realized until this point that I’d been waiting for.


The currents of the world have a way of bringing the right people together at the right time. The Yellow Barn core team, now eight strong, was composed of exactly the kind of people that I’d been seeking. This delighted me. Kind and focused, open-minded and strong-willed, each individual contributing to a greater whole, the energy of these people pulled me in. As I began to integrate and seek out areas where I could slot myself in to strengthen the whole, I had a conversation with the team that helped put into words what I was feeling. It became the inspiration for this blog post.


There was a whole other level to the Yellow Barn Farm vision, and it pertained not only to the core team and our farmland but the entirety of the local community and every living being. Much like in James Cameron’s Avatar, or pretty much any Hayao Miyazaki movie, the connection between all living things is illustrated in such a way that the concept is easily palatable, and it’s through the exchange of energy that these connections thrive. But it’s as if we as humans have forgotten to listen, not merely with our ears, but by allowing ourselves to be open to incoming and outgoing energy. And that’s when the connection with the farm was tied back in. When I’d been told that it was a centralized hub for budding changemakers, I hadn’t realized the extent of the potential there. On a more granular level, Yellow Barn Farm would become a safe place where people could learn to connect with themselves, each other, and the earth, through the exchange of energy.


Three weeks later and the first public event on the farm is fast approaching. The farmer’s market vendors, artists, and musicians are lined up and ready to roll. A new stage sits in front of the rustic pole barn, with hay bale bleachers ready to accommodate guests who want to support local talent. It’s an exciting time. But what’s most exciting is that this event is one of the best opportunities to form connections within the community and communicate this greater vision. Most everyone is interested in a brighter future, but this interest clouds the ‘now’. On the farm, there is a vision for the future, but everything is grounded in the now. And right now is the best time to build mutually beneficial connections, to listen deeply, to love truly, to remember what is most important. Unless we can figure out how to live in harmony with the earth, we won’t be able to enjoy its beauty and abundance for much longer.


Coming to Yellow Barn Farm has been a breath of fresh air for me, and the experience has provoked some additional exploration into this mysterious form of communication through energy exchange. In the book ‘The Alchemist’, the universal language of the world is referenced often. Santiago sets out in pursuit of it and returns with a greater understanding. What I wish upon those who visit this humble farm in North Boulder is to spark curiosity into similar pursuits. Maybe it is that simple to change the world in a focused, deliberate way. All it takes is the will to understand and the strength to act in accordance. When this vision for Yellow Barn Farm becomes a reality, then it’s no longer just a farm, is it?

 

3. Alpen Life

 

Skiing as a Meditation Activity

For those who love skiing, there comes a point when we’re so deeply engaged in our enjoyment of the activity that it becomes all-consuming, most don’t realize that when this occurs, it means that we’ve entered a state of meditation… While skiing!

Neuroplasticity is one of the human brain’s greatest abilities. By practicing meditation/mindfulness, we have the ability to strengthen the good parts of our brain that enable us to feel good, and calm the parts that are responsible for stressing us out. When we engage in enjoyable activities that are all-consuming, effectively allowing them to take up all of our attention in a laser-focus sense, we are training our brains to make us happier.


The myths surrounding meditation, most of which seem to be based on images of cross-legged yogi’s and long, low “Ooomm’s”, have been debunked. There are many different ways to practice meditation, and the best part is that there is no right or wrong way to go about it. Heck, if the example above is what works for you, then great! Keep it up! But for everyone else, there is certain to be a meditation strategy that works for you, and even if you don’t know what that strategy is yet, you’re bound to find it if you look inwards with an open mind. Don’t stress it though. Chances are, you’re already experienced in meditation and already have a reliable method or two of training your brain to be happier. Just ask yourself this question to help kickstart the discovery process: What are some activities that align with my passions and are all-consuming to the point where I get lost in them and feel refreshed afterwards?


For the past 25 years, that activity for myself has been skiing, and I approach every ski day in the same way because it’s all part of my tried and true strategy to achieve meditation and invoke mindfulness. I’m not the kind of skier who tears down the mountain, shredding the pow and trying to maximize the number of runs in a single day. My method is more methodical. I like to float down the groomers at a pace that allows me to take in the alpine scenery and the sweet scent of pine on the chilly air. I want to feel as though I could reach up and brush the blue sky. I want to experience the transfer of energy between my feet and the mountain. Putting myself in a position to achieve these feelings is how I meditate, and I know that it works because I’m sure to be sporting a wide smile after every run.


But as I touched on earlier, there is no right or wrong way to go about this. Now that I’ve shared what works for me, I hope you feel inspired to explore what works for you, or if you already have a meditation strategy, whatever it may be, please feel free to share for the benefit of the Alpen Life community in the comments below.

Here’s to training our brains to help us feel happier!

Thank you for reading!

 

Fernie: Mountain Resort Hidden Gems

Now that we’ve covered a few hardcore resort Hidden Gems that cater mostly to skiing purists who prefer the quiet, small mountain vibe, let’s investigate a great all-around resort that checks all the boxes for all mountain adventure enthusiasts: Fernie!

Located in the gorgeous southeastern British Columbia Canadian Rockies, Fernie Alpine Resort is our pick for the most family-friendly Hidden Gem resort. On 2504 acres, Fernie averages a respectable 444 inches of snow annually and offers 142 runs plus five alpine bowls and tree skiing in many glades and chutes. Basically, you can expect great conditions at peak season and plenty of varied terrain for all skill levels to enjoy. And while it shares snowfall statistics with other resorts, the snow often has the excellent dryness of “Rockies Powder”, and even more of it than you might find at nearby resorts outside of the “Powder Triangle”. To no one’s surprise, Fernie is a great destination for the powder skier.


What makes Fernie a Hidden Gem though is that it’s set back from major cities, which helps keep the crowds in check. The other overarching reason is that it does actually check all of the boxes for what we look for in a full mountain resort experience. No one area here is completely spectacular, but this means that there isn’t much to compromise on in any one area either. When you’re done skiing for the day, the village offers a handful of attractive amenities, ranging from apres bars, to several nice restaurants, and a modest ski shop. The hotels are not only quite nice and reasonably priced (for a mountain resort), but they also have the desired practicality with easy ski-in-ski-out options.

We think you’ll agree that Fernie is a great all-around ski resort, and because it is gaining popularity with international adventurers, we urge you to experience this exceptional mountain before its Hidden Gem status is revoked. If you couldn’t tell by now, we like short lift-lines!

But for now, we wholeheartedly recommend this Hidden Gem and we hope that the Fernie culture remains pure for years to come!

Have you been to Fernie? If so, comment below with a standout memory of your experience! We’d love to hear it!

Thanks for reading and welcome to the Alpen Life!

 

Kirkwood: Mountain Resort Hidden Gems

Another Hidden Gem pick for the purists, Kirkwood Ski Resort, contained within the stunning Eldorado National Forest, offers 2,300 skiable acres and 87 trails loaded with powder. This is courtesy of having one of the highest resort snowfalls in the entire world! Let’s dive into everything else that gives this quirky California mountain its Hidden Gem status!

Let’s address that insane snowfall for starters! On average, Kirkwood receives 600 inches annually, which is enough white powder to make Tony Montana blush. And luckily, the altitude (7,800ft) ensures that visitors don’t have to deal with the wet powder that plagues other resorts near Lake Tahoe, unaffectionately nicknamed “Sierra Cement”. Although this is good news, it does mean that unlike those other resorts, you won’t be graced with views of Lake Tahoe’s crystalline waters far below as you tear up the slopes. But no matter, because you’ll have so much powder in your face that you probably won’t be able to see anyway.

In keeping with the topic of its proximity to Lake Tahoe, which is predominantly crowded year-round, Kirkwood has a few perfect imperfections that keep the crowds at bay. The 15 lifts aren’t particularly quick for example, and the apres-ski opportunities pale in comparison to the offerings of resorts like Northstar or Squaw Valley. Effectively, if you’re looking for glitz and glamour, it might be best to stay away, but if the experience of skiing tops your most-important-aspects list, you’ll be thrilled with the 100% probability of unforgettable adventures to be had at Kirkwood! But be warned that this incredible mountain’s terrain is not for the faint of heart! This is a skiers mountain above all else and we love it for that reason!


Kirkwood, you’ve earned your Hidden Gem status! We hope that Mother Nature can continue helping to uphold your admirable reputation! Let’s help her where we can.


Have you been to Kirkwood? If so, comment below with a standout memory of your experience! We’d love to hear it!


Thanks for reading and welcome to the Alpen Life!

 

Stowe: Mountain Resort Hidden Gems

Unlike Alpen Life’s previous two picks for Hidden Gem mountain resorts: Schweitzer and Alta, Stowe has over 2000 fewer skiable acres, but this fact does not define the quality of experience! Located only 15 minutes outside a quintessential ski town that shares its name, Stowe Mountain Resort is a top destination in the northeast for a great reason, and therefore qualifies for Alpen Life Hidden Gem status without a doubt!

While the 485 skiable acres that Stowe offers might seem piffling in comparison to the big name resorts, what it lacks in volume, it more than makes up for in spirit! No matter where you’re visiting from, Stowe feels like home if you’re a nature purist because the mountain has a mysterious way of initiating a connection to the earth and the winter sports we love. Stowe, both the resort and the town below truly is “Vermont in its purest form”.

Stowe’s average snowfall of 314 inches is certainly nothing to scoff at, and 116 trails accompanied by 12 lifts will be enough to keep you exploring for years as you uncover the mountain’s secrets. On paper, we’d understand how the stats might be offputting when traveling to the northwest states will give you much larger figures, but from experience, the compromise is nearly non-existent. If you have a passion for adventure and can appreciate the wonderful benefits of connecting with nature through a mountain steeped in culture, spirit, and vibrant community, Stowe should be your next mountain resort vacation destination! Another Hidden Gem uncovered!


Have you been to Stowe? If so, comment below with a standout memory of your experience! We’d love to hear it!


Thanks for reading and welcome to the Alpen Life!

 

Alta: Mountain Resort Hidden Gems

Our next pick for hidden gem resorts is Alta Ski Area. Located at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon in the Wasatch mountains, Alta’s biggest draw is copious amounts of powder! In fact, the area is famous for some of the best snow in the US averaging 547 inches annually!

The term hidden gem isn’t meant to be taken too literally here because Alta has a glowing reputation in the skiing community, as it should. However, we do believe that due to its close proximity to the largest mountain resort in the US, Park City, it can be a bit overshadowed. We’re here to share our opinion that it shouldn’t be!

Alta offers 2,614 acres of admirably varied skiable terrain, 119 runs, 6 lifts, and enough soul to hold a place in your heart after a single visit! We’d say that Alta is best suited for people who care about the skiing experience above all else. The usual amenities can be found and are easily accessible, but don’t expect the same level of glamour as what can be found at Park City. The byproduct of this is a much more focused vibe that we believe any dedicated skiers will immediately synergize with!

If you’re looking for the best skiing experience and want to be surrounded by powder and people who positively thrive on the stuff, we think you’ll agree that Alta fits the hidden gem criteria and needs to be in the running for your next mountain resort destination!

Have you been to Alta? If so, comment below with a standout memory of your experience! We’d love to hear it!


Thanks for reading and welcome to the Alpen Life!

 

Schweitzer: Mountain Resort Hidden Gems

Ski resorts run by conglomerates dominate the ski industry, but are they the best vacation destinations? When families search for a mountain resort vacation, extensive lift systems, a wide variety of terrain, and many hospitable amenities are the most attractive resort traits, and rightly so. But do the biggest resorts fit the bill? There is a lot to like when it comes to resorts like Park City and Vail, but to families pining for a lower-key ski vacation, we recommend the hidden gems where the parking lots are less packed and there is still freshy to be found! These smaller resorts are thriving and definitely not to be missed!

The Alpen Life family spent 17 years in North Idaho and (with a hint of bias) we can wholeheartedly recommend Schweitzer! Schweitzer Mountain Resort, Idaho meets our criteria for hidden gem status, because there isn’t much compromise here! Schweitzer offers 2,900 acres of skiable terrain, a 2,400-foot vertical drop, 10 lifts, 20 miles of cross-country ski trails, and a snow-tubing park in addition to all the usual luxurious amenities. The resort is tucked in the mountains northwest of Sandpoint and rarely draws a crowd, meaning you won’t have to stand in a lift line until you die of old age, and the playful, easy-going vibes are preserved by a passionate local community who treat the mountain as their home and define the amazing resort culture. We will always consider Schweitzer to be our home mountain and we are proud to do so!

When you ski at Schweitzer, you can expect to be awed by the snow ghosts, ample amounts of fluffy powder, and the stars so bright and close, they might just be within reach.

Similar resorts are Alta Ski Area, Keystone Resort, Taos Ski Valley, and Val Saint-Come. If you’d like to learn about more mountain resort hidden gems that you should definitely consider for your next ski vacation, stay tuned!
What resorts do you consider to be hidden gems? Comment below!

Thank you for reading and welcome to the Alpen Life!

 

I'm a film critic too!

Check out my 50+ digitally published film critiques over on my film-focused website at the link below.