Creative Commons photo by flickrized is licensed under CC BY 2.0

From expert riding in Colorado to the coziest new home decor, it’s the Best of the West of the Week

Sunset Staff  – February 3, 2020

Copper Mountain Resort

Great slopes close to the city are an elusive prize for skiers and snowboarders, all the more so near Denver—where the choke point of the Eisenhower Tunnel leading to Vail, Aspen, and other top-flight slopes can become a five-hour slog. At just 75 miles from Denver, Copper Mountain is one of the best options close to the city. The resort has dumped $100 million into improvements over the past year or so, including a key lift accessing the Tucker Mountain portion of the slopes. Previously accessible only by snowcat or sweat equity (read: skinning up the hill), the 273 acres of terrain are considered some of the best in-bounds expert turf in Colorado. I had the chance to drop in over the weekend and grab a few turns to shake off the rust. I also sessioned the alpine slide—one of the longest in the country—and, for some reason, made a fool of myself in one of the many terrain parks. For just more than an hour’s drive from the city, Copper Mountain offers an incredibly compelling set of on-slope options. —Matt Bean, editor-in-chief

Throw on Some Texture

Lately I’ve been liking the throw pillow covers of this Utah company called Woven Nook. Their designs are mostly from Morocco—pretty, fresh, graphic stuff with lots of black, gray, tan, and white. The creators are small groups of artisans who hand-weave everything. They also make blankets and poufs that can serve as chairs or ottomans. The variety of pillow cover textures is what I like most about adding them to my sofa: the feel of thick-weave cotton, velvet, and leather in one spot. They just make me happy. —Dakota Kim, staff writer

A Bright Idea

A Bright Idea
Mohi Syed/Pexels

While I’m no luddite, I’ve been resisting certain aspects of smart home tech for a while. My husband has repeatedly tried to convince me that we should integrate smart lights into our kitchen, a spacious room with high ceilings and a nice number of windows, but not the most powerful electrical lighting (and yes we tried improved LED bulbs, but that didn’t quite cut it). I finally caved and we purchased a knockoff more affordable alternative to Philips Hue (the industry standard), at $16.99 a pop—and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much the smart lights have transformed our kitchen. Through a paired app, dimming can happen at the swipe of a finger, I can easily switch up the lighting from white to colors (my kids have a field day turning the lights into a rainbow configuration), and the process of pairing the bulbs with our Wi-Fi network was relatively easy. Consider me sold.—Jessica Mordo, associate digital director

3Stone White & Color LED Bulbs, $16.99
   

Shuck It

Shuck It
Kari M. Young, Courtesy of La Moule
More Videos From Sunset

This week (Feb 2-8) is Shuck Portland, an event that marries two of my favorite things: bivalves and the Wetlands Conservancy. Portland is a town very literally built on top of wetlands (we have SO MANY floodplains, y’all), and in the early days, you couldn’t throw a rock without hitting an oyster parlor. (The late 19th century may leave much to be desired in many ways, but I do long for the time when downtown was nothing but oyster parlors, taverns, and ice cream bon bon shops.) With special oyster-centric menus in over a dozen participating restaurants—including four of my absolute favorite spots: La Moule, St. Jack, Enoteca, and Quaintrelle—and proceeds going toward wetland protection and habitat restoration efforts, it’s going to be a pearl of a time. —Heather Arndt Anderson, garden editor

A New Way to Light Up the Night

My favorite thing this week isn’t in the West—not yet—but it could happen and I’m ever hopeful. Scientists working with amateur skywatchers in Scandinavia realized that a new kind of aurora has been documented, a shimmering apparition that looks like glowing dunes in the sky. So far it has only been documented in Finland and Sweden, but the northern lights are sometimes visible in the West (and not just in Alaska and Canada), so I can dream. Realistically, I won’t have much chance of seeing this or any form of aurora where I live in California (even the Bay Area is just too far south), but I will keep looking up in any case. —Nicole Clausing, digital producer