HOW TO DRIVE DOWN A MOUNTAIN PASS
Few things can be as frustrating for high-country travelers as a fellow driver who rides his brakes down a steep pass. Brake-burners take note: There’s a better way, and it’s called downshifting. Using the engine to drop speed—and to greatly reduce the chance of locking up tires—is the best option for slowing down under any condition on a mountain road, says Kyle Taylor, a professional driving instructor at Aspen High School. If you’re a frequent mountain driver, Taylor says, “downshifting will help extend the life of your brakes, and you won’t be adding unnecessary wear to your vehicle.” Because most newer vehicle models have options that mimic manual shifting, Taylor recommends getting to know your vehicle on flat land in optimal weather before venturing onto steeper terrain. And, as with any driving situation, personal feel should always come into play. “If you are not comfortable at your speed,” Taylor says, “then you are no longer a safe driver.”
HOW TO BREW A (GOOD) BATCH OF BEER
Welcome to Colorado: The Napa Valley of beer. Our state has earned that moniker not only because of our top-notch breweries but also because of our rich culture of homebrewing. The Centennial State boasts 6,507 members of the American Homebrewers Association—the most of any state. Here, Doug Odell, co-founder of the Odell Brewing Company, offers quick tips for the homebrewer.
“Brewing is cleaning. A good cleaning and sanitation regimen is the single most important factor in brewing great beer.”
“Always use a pure liquid yeast culture.”
“Control your times and temperatures the best you can.”
“Always shoot for flavor and aroma balance within any given style. Balance is the key to drinkability.”
HOW TO DEAL WITH ALTITUDE SICKNESS
Colorado’s geography soars up to 14,433 feet and draws plenty of new residents and tourists. But those heights can pack a wallop if you don’t know how to deal with low-oxygen environments. The best way to avoid acute mountain sickness (AMS)—which is defined as a headache plus at least one other symptom, such as nausea, fatigue, dizziness, chills, trouble sleeping, or loss of appetite—is to ascend gradually. If you have family in town from New Orleans, have them spend the night in Denver before taking them to elevation. Hours spent at 5,280 feet give the body time to acclimate. But a slow ascent doesn’t always mean escaping AMS. In that case, take stock of the symptoms: Severe forms of AMS can cause confusion and difficulty breathing. If these issues arise, descend immediately and seek medical attention. If symptoms are mild, the best way to cope with AMS is generous use of ibuprofen or acetaminophen and time (symptoms usually dissipate within 48 hours). Beyond slow ascension, there are very few ways to prevent AMS; however, staying hydrated and avoiding hard-core activities for the first day or two can help. If you know you are susceptible to AMS, a prescription for Diamox is a good idea.
HOW TO EXPLAIN THE MYTH
BEHIND DRINKING AT ALTITUDE
Dr. Peter Hackett, one of the world’s preeminent high altitude–related illness researchers, explains the science behind the myth.
“Altitude does not enhance the effects of alcohol. However, alcohol can enhance the effects of altitude. For those newly arrived to high altitude, alcohol will slightly depress breathing, mostly during sleep, which means a person gets less oxygen in an already low-oxygen environment. The result can be a higher chance of AMS. Some think they feel bad because of the drinking they did the night before, but it’s more likely the altitude. But, a hangover is a hangover, no matter the altitude—and you can have both a hangover and AMS. It’s an ugly combination. Your visiting friends and relatives should go easy on the booze. Bottom line: The blood level of alcohol at altitude is no different than at sea level.”
HOW TO MAKE NUTRITIOUS, ENERGY-PACKED TREATS FOR THE TRAIL
If you’re an avid hiker, you’ve got permission to get caught with your hand in the cookie jar—at least according to nutritionist and Skratch Labs co-founder Allen Lim. “A chocolate-chip cookie is often thought of as junk food,” says Lim, whose Boulder company designs healthy snacks for athletes. “But when we cook with simple, whole food ingredients from scratch, we almost always create something more nutritious and healthier for us than prepackaged food.” Lim offers his recipe* for a tasty source of energy.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup brown rice flour
2 tablespoons potato flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
½ cup almond milk
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 egg or ¼ cup
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup semisweet
2 tablespoons raw sugar
1 tablespoon coarse salt
Heat oven to 350°. Lightly coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray or line with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Heat milk for 90 seconds (or until very hot) in the microwave, Add the coconut oil or butter to hot milk to melt it. Whisk in the egg or almond butter and the vanilla extract. Pour wet mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients. Fold in chocolate chips. Stir until combined. Set dough aside to cool and combine raw sugar and course salt in a bowl. Shape dough into 12 golf-ball-size balls, lightly flatten, and top with sugar and salt mixture. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool. Store in fridge or an airtight container for up to three days.