Dear Editor:

Saturday, Nov. 13, turned out to be a really pleasant afternoon for our free eighth annual Kickoff to Winter, an event we host with our partners, Monarch Mountain.

The event is a business-to-business networking opportunity, with inviting the public to learn a bit about some of our vendor hosts that keep our economy rolling during the winter months. The Chaffee County Visitors Bureau (CCVB) was our premier sponsor with supporting the tourist-related, education-based event. 

In addition, Elevation Beer Co. was there to offer up one free “baby beer” to our 21-plus attendees. Our sponsorship dollars from the CCVB helped pay for the hot-fresh pizza from Pizza Rio, a stone’s throw from the SteamPlant plaza. It’s hard to top, mountain fresh air, New York-style pizza and cold beer. 

We had some happy attendees and vendors, and the mix was perfect with fewer numbers. We hosted 17 vendors inside the ballroom, with masks required and all windows and doors open for good ventilation. 

Although we would have loved to have had it snow, honestly the evening was kind of perfect. Kind of romantic for being outside by the river and Tenderfoot Mountain. Thank you to Monarch for providing the four tower heaters on the plaza and for being our “buddies” with this fun event. 

A special thanks to board directors Eva Egbert, Jason Benci and Michael Varnum for their great help at the event, to staff member Haley McCoy for her ever-ready assistance and to Linda McMillin for all the behind-the-scenes coordination.

To our vendors, we hope you made some good business and community connections: Absolute Bikes, Ark-Valley Humane Society, Badger Creek Ranch, Chaffee County Amateur Hockey Association, Clutterless Concepts, Creekside Chalets, Elevated Retreats, Fantasy Games & Comics, Harmony Workshops, Monarch Mountain, Monarch Snowmobile Tours, Peak Fitness, Ramps & Alleys, REACH Air Medical Services, Ryan Lynch American Family Insurance, Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center and The Book Haven.

To our swag donors: Monarch Mountain, Integrity Tattoo, Pizza Rio, Peak Fitness, Fantasy Games & Comics, Harmony Workshops (Santa), Clutterless Concepts, The Book Haven, REACH Air Medical Service, and yours truly, Heart of the Rockies Chamber of Commerce.

To the SteamPlant staff, you rock. Special kudos to Tony Carpenter, our event coordinator.

Till next year, we thank you and think snow! 

Lori Roberts, executive director,

Heart of the Rockies 

Chamber of Commerce