Connie Sciolino

Connie Sciolino is the owner and head coach at The Alpine Training Center in Boulder, Colorado.  The ATC is a no-frills gym on the outskirts of town that helps outdoor athletes become better skiers, climbers, runners, and bikers through strength training.  Connie trains everyone from professional athletes to weekend warriors, including one of the climbers in the hit mountaineering documentary, Meru.

The workouts are grueling, both physically and mentally.  But her clients’ results speak for themselves—committed athletes leave the gym stronger, tougher, more resistant to injury, and better equipped to tackle the challenges of the high mountains.  Thanks to her diverse collection of educational, professional, athletic, and outdoor experiences, Connie is setting a new standard for training for mountain-focused sports.


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This episode is brought to you by Mountain Khakis. Rugged. Authentic. Reliable. Timeless. What started as a casual conversation at the Shady Lady Saloon in Jackson Hole, WY has become a top-performing mountain-inspired lifestyle apparel brand. Established in 2003, Mountain Khakis quickly became a staple in the wardrobe of everyone from ranch hands to golf pros, those who travel by jet, as well as those who travel by thumb. The Mountain Khakis brand story continues to resonate as it connects to the enthusiast who believes that freedom and rugged adventure is a way of life. Join the conversation @MountainKhakis and www.mountainkhakis.com

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Episode Notes

Topics Covered

6:25 – Connie explains her work
7:00 – History of the Alpine Training Center
9:55 – How is ATC different than Crossfit
11:25 – “Special” ATC exercises (i.e. “sandbag getups” and “Curtis Ps”)
14:15 – Connie’s athletic, educational, and professional background
18:15 – Early days of experimenting with ski-focused weight training
23:10 – Connie’s athletic experiences in Jackson Hole and the West
26:00 – How Connie built ATC’s unique culture
30:20 – How Connie builds programs for such a wide range of abilities
33:15 – How Connie trains mental toughness
36:55 – The coaching team at ATC
49:25 – Gym Jones
53:00 – Meru and training Renan Ozturk
1:02:30 – Advice for ATC-like training if you don’t live in Boulder
1:05:40 – Connie’s 1-hour body weight challenge: As many push-ups, air squats, and sit-ups. Equal reps across. [Ed’s note: You may want to start with 100-100-100 before trying the hour. You will be destroyed.]
1:08:20 – One of Connie’s favorite success stories
1:12:50 – Favorite books
1:15:15 – Connie’s favorite place in the West
1:18:30 – Connie’s request of listeners
1:21:50 – Find the ATC online

Spencer Williams spent his summers as a river guide in Colorado’s Upper Arkansas River Valley, and those experiences on the water led him to law school and into a career as a water rights attorney. He now works for Ponderosa Advisors, advising clients on water rights and water markets across the American West. Spencer also works with Ponderosa’s new software platform Water Sage, an innovative software program that is redefining water research across the West.

In this episode, we dig into the details of water in the West—What exactly a what right is, how water rights can be severed from the land, and the history of water as a property right. We talk about water as an investment, and how big money is currently rushing into the West’s water markets. We discuss Spencer’s work at Ponderosa and Water Sage, and we also tell some stories from his days as a river guide. It was a fun and informative conversavation about an important topic. I hope you enjoy!


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This episode is brought to you by Mountain Khakis. Rugged. Authentic. Reliable. Timeless. What started as a casual conversation at the Shady Lady Saloon in Jackson Hole, WY has become a top-performing mountain-inspired lifestyle apparel brand. Established in 2003, Mountain Khakis quickly became a staple in the wardrobe of everyone from ranch hands to golf pros, those who travel by jet, as well as those who travel by thumb. The Mountain Khakis brand story continues to resonate as it connects to the enthusiast who believes that freedom and rugged adventure is a way of life. Join the conversation @MountainKhakis and www.mountainkhakis.com

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Episode Notes

Topics Covered

4:30 – How Spencer describes his work
7:00 – Water Rights 101
9:00 – History of water in Colorado
10:10 – Water as a property right
12:00 – Ability to severe water from the land
16:15 – Wells versus water rights
18:33 – “First in time, first in right” explained
21:50 – Ranch buyer “rules of thumb” for evaluating water rights
25:30 – Non-use and water rights abandonment explained
28:55 – Water rights as an investment
35:30 – Spencer’s experience as a river guide
37:00 – Describing Colorado’s Upper Arkansas River Valley
40:00 – Arkansas River flow management explained
42:45 – More river guiding stories
45:00 – Water Sage explained and discussed
54:00 – Future plans for Water Sage
55:35 – Spencer’s thoughts on the future of water in the West
57:35 – Favorite books
59:17 – Favorite documentaries
59:45 – Favorite location in the West
1:00:15 – Recommended location and activities
1:01:40 – Biggest challenge facing Colorado
1:03:05 – Spencer’s request of the listeners
1:05:00 – Spencer’s contact info
Information Referenced

Erik Glenn is the Executive Director of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, a land conservation organization that has protected over 465,000 acres of working ranches throughout the state of Colorado. In this episode, Ed and Erik discuss a wide array of topics including the importance of keeping ranches in agricultural production, the basics of land conservation in the West, Colorado’s role as a leader in national land conservation, Erik’s family history as ranchers, and much more.

Erik Glenn (far right) with two Colorado ranchers.

Erik was the perfect first guest for the podcast, so I hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I did!


Click Here to Download on iTunes

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This episode is brought to you by Mountain Khakis. Rugged. Authentic. Reliable. Timeless. What started as a casual conversation at the Shady Lady Saloon in Jackson Hole, WY has become a top-performing mountain-inspired lifestyle apparel brand. Established in 2003, Mountain Khakis quickly became a staple in the wardrobe of everyone from ranch hands to golf pros, those who travel by jet, as well as those who travel by thumb. The Mountain Khakis brand story continues to resonate as it connects to the enthusiast who believes that freedom and rugged adventure is a way of life. Join the conversation @MountainKhakis and www.mountainkhakis.com

Mountain Khakis


Episode Notes

Topics Covered

5:06 – How Erik describes his work
6:11 – History of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT)
8:45 – What “land conservation” means to Erik
11:20 – Details on how CCALT conserves ranches, basics of conservation easements
14:40 – The effects of ranch subdivision
17:15 – Why a vegan living in LoDo should care about working ranches
22:30 – The importance of grazing for a healthy ecosystem
26:40 – Colorado’s role as a leader in conservation
29:45 – Erik’s family history in agriculture
33:00 – Why Erik chose conservation as a career
36:15 – Advice to young people who want to work in conservation
43:20 – Importance of financial sustainability for land trusts
49:30 – One thing that Erik would change about conservation
53:30 – Erik’s favorite books
55:20 – Erik’s favorite documentaries
57:30 – Erik’s favorite place in the West
59:10 – Erik’s recommendations for people visiting the West
1:00:30 – Erik’s request of the listeners

 

Information Referenced

This article originally appeared in “Crossroads, Spring 2016 Issue,” the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust newsletter.  You can download a pdf of the article here, watch CCALT’s “Forever Colorado” video here, and support CCALT’s efforts here.

The great western author Wallace Stegner believed that Americans generally fit into one of two categories—“Boomers” or “Stickers.” Boomers are “those who pillage and run” and want “to make a killing and end up on Easy Street.” Stickers are just the opposite—they are “motivated by affection, by such a love for place and its life that they want to preserve it and remain in it.”1

Since America’s westward expansion, the West has always attracted more than its fair share of Boomers. Like moths to a flame, Boomers have flocked to the West for its expansive landscapes and natural resources that offer a potential one-way ticket to Easy Street. Western history is full of flamboyant, infamous Boomers – from trappers to miners, from developers to oilmen – who have descended on an area and, as quickly as they could, extracted every last bit of value from the land. When the resource (pelts, gold, land, oil) was diminished to the point of unprofitability, the Boomers picked up, moved the entire operation to a new area, and repeated the process.

Ranchers, however, are the anti-Boomers. Since the first cattle drives came West, ranchers have relied completely on their specific parcel of land to sustain their operations year after year, generation after generation. Boomers have come and gone time and again, but ranchers have remained steadfast, respectfully stewarding their ranches, ensuring that they are healthy and productive from one year to the next.

Ranchers are Stickers. They are in it for the long haul, and they must ensure that their finite natural resources (land, grass, water) not only produce this current year, but every year for the next 50 years. The idea of extracting every last drop of value out of a ranch with no regard for the future is a recipe for overgrazing, an unsustainable herd, and, ultimately, financial ruin. The Boomer mentality is simply incompatible with ranching.

Yes, ranchers are motivated by profit, but for many ranchers it seems that financial success is just a tool that serves their primary motivation – a desire to continue living and working on land that they love, preserving a ranching heritage that is slowly disappearing. The Sticker description seems to fit perfectly—ranchers have “such a love for place and its life that they want to preserve it and remain in it.”

CCALT plays a vital role in helping Colorado ranchers remain true to their Sticker way of life. Through its conservation easements, CCALT ensures that Colorado’s productive lands will remain true working ranches forever. No matter what type of economic pressure the Boomers dole out, ranchers will be able to continue doing their meaningful work in places they love and respect.

For the non-rancher, it is important to understand that the positive impacts of protecting these working ranches go far beyond agriculture. Conserved ranches benefit families, communities, economies, water resources, and the outdoor-centric lifestyle that makes Colorado so special. Any Coloradan who loves the state’s expansive open spaces and scenic vistas should support CCALT and its critical work protecting ranches and ranching heritage.

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1 Wendell Berry, It All Turns on Affection (2012)

Mountain Khakis just posted my newest blog, “Books for the Mountain Life, Part 2.”  It’s a follow-up to a similar article I wrote in early 2015.  Head over to their blog to check it out, and, if you are looking for more good book ideas, be sure to sign up for my bi-monthly reading recommendations email list.

Books for the Mountain Life, Part 2

It’s no secret that Theodore Roosevelt lived a life that revolved around the outdoors and nature.  Even during his years in the White House, he would commonly disappear into the American West for weeks at a time, hunting, riding, and exploring some of the country’s most rugged landscapes.

A few years into his Presidency, TR’s wife Edith purchased him a small cabin located just off the beaten path about 14 miles south of Charlottesville, VA.  The idea was to provide TR with a convenient, closer-to-home basecamp for his outdoor pursuits, so he wouldn’t have to run off to Colorado every time he needed a fix of the natural world.  The rustic two-story cabin was located on 15 heavily wooded acres that were brimming with birds and wildlife.  In 1911, after TR’s Presidency had ended, the Roosevelts expanded Pine Knot by pruchasing an additional 75 acres.

Pine Knot

Pine Knot – TR’s weekend retreat and a squirrel family’s full time residence.

TR used Pine Knot as a place to unwind and rest—or at least his hyperactive version of rest.  A typical day would have him up between 3 and 5AM, exploring the property before daylight, either hunting turkey or simply observing and cataloging the area’s diverse birdlife.  His days were spent writing articles and catching up on his correspondence–TR wrote well over 150,000 letters during his lifetime.  He ate a lot too, routinely throwing down a dozen eggs for breakfast and personally cooking fried chicken dinners over a kerosene stove for Edith and himself.

In order to fully remove himself from the grind of the White House, TR refused secret service protection while at Pine Knot.  According to David Brinkley, author of the excellent book The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America, TR “instead chose to sleep with a pistol at his bedside, thumbing it open to check the bullet chambers before blowing out the light.  A real man, Roosevelt believed, protected his own family in the woods.”

Anyone who spent a night at Pine Knot quickly learned that the mountain retreat was just a step or two above camping under the stars.  There was a live hardwood tree growing inside the house, and a number of critters called the cabin home.  In the letter below to his son Archie, TR describes a memorable encounter between an overnight guest and some of Pine Knot’s resident indoor wildlife.

White House, May 10, 1908. 

DEAREST ARCHIE: 

Mother and I had great fun at Pine Knot. Mr. Burroughs, whom I call Oom John, was with us and we greatly enjoyed having him. But one night he fell into great disgrace! The flying squirrels that were there last Christmas had raised a brood, having built a large nest inside of the room in which you used to sleep and in which John Burroughs slept. Of course they held high carnival at night-time. Mother and I do not mind them at all, and indeed rather like to hear them scrambling about, and then as a sequel to a sudden frantic fight between two of them, hearing or seeing one little fellow come plump down to the floor and scuttle off again to the wall. But one night they waked up John Burroughs and he spent a misguided hour hunting for the nest, and when he found it took it down and caught two of the young squirrels and put them in a basket. The next day under Mother’s direction I took them out, getting my fingers somewhat bitten in the process, and loosed them in our room, where we had previously put back the nest. I do not think John Burroughs profited by his misconduct, because the squirrels were more active than ever that night both in his room and ours, the disturbance in their family affairs having evidently made them restless!

The idea of a sitting President enthusiastically encouraging a family of squirrels to live in his house is absolutely hilarious.  It’s impossible to envision any President since TR happily suffering bitten fingers while handling wild rodents, not to mention purposefully releasing the varmints into his own bedroom.  Can you imagine an awkward, bumbling Richard Nixon flailing around a mountain cabin in his beach-walking wingtips, trying in vain to round up a family of flying squirrels? (Coincidentally, I recently heard that a family of squirrels lives in Trump’s hair, but that’s a story for a different blog post.)

To put this story in perspective, the squirrels were actually relatively tame compared to some of the other animals that roamed the Roosevelt residences.  There are numerous examples (perhaps I’ll detail them in a future post), but my favorite was TR’s pet badger “Josiah” that wandered freely throughout the White House, biting guests’ legs and sometimes drawing blood.

For more information on Pine Knot, TR’s menagerie of crazy pets, and his general love of the natural world, check out the sources below.  On a somewhat related note, follow this link for a hysterical quote about TR’s seething hatred of those “bleating idiots” known as sheep.

Sources:

With the east coast covered in snow and a storm scheduled to hit the Rockies on Sunday, here are a few suggested articles and a video to keep you entertained if you’re hunkered down.  Enjoy!
  • ‘Unbranded’ Sheds Light on Wild Horse Issues in the West, Outside Magazine – I had not heard of this film before stumbling across this article, but I’m hoping to watch it in the coming weeks.  The article delves into many of the issues that I find interesting – adventure, ranches, political issues about western land – so I have high expectations for this film.
  • How Two Filmmakers Cracked the World’s Most Bizarre Trail Race, Outside Magazine – After reading the article above, I fell down the rabbit hole of linked sidebar stories and saw this one.  I love running long trail races, but the Barkley Marathons is crazy even by my skewed standards.  Also, I’m always intrigued when filmmakers can make running through the woods for 30+ hours interesting, so I’m excited to check out this film soon.
  • Stewardship with Vision, Western Landowners Alliance – Western Landowners Alliance is a cutting-edge organization and an excellent resource for all things related to ranches, land ownership, and issues in the West, and I highly suggest signing up for their email list.  They periodically release informative videos about their work, and this is the latest one.  Very well produced and informative.
  • Town Milk Put Tarboro on the Map, Our State Magazine – My wife came across this article from Our State Magazine, a great publication that focuses on unique, upbeat stories from our home state of North Carolina.  This one focuses on one particular aspect of my hometown of Tarboro and even has a quote from my grandfather, who was the longtime mayor and town doctor.
  • Why You Should be Talking About Work All Holiday Season, Ryan Holiday – One of my pet peeves is when I meet people who get annoyed when I ask them what they do for work.  Most of us spend at least half of our waking hours working, so why wouldn’t we want to talk about it?  Maybe their work is mind-numbingly boring, they’re no good at it, or possibly a combination of both.  Ryan Holiday, an extremely smart author and thinker, tackles the subject.
  • This is Your Brain on Nature, National Geographic – I’m a firm believer that spending time outdoors is good for everyone, whether you’re running 100 miles or simply sitting on a bench in a park.  Proximity to open space and nature is one of the main reasons I live here in Boulder, three blocks from the trails.  The article examines this idea in full NatGeo style, with a thorough analysis and stunning photos.
  • Deconstructing urgent vs. important, Seth Godin – Wisdom from Seth.

Go Broncos!  Go Panthers!

Be sure to check out my newest post on LandThink.com, a list of some of my highly recommended books related to land, ranches, and the American West.  If you receive my bi-monthly book recommendations or frequently read this blog (i.e. you are my wife), some of these titles will be familiar.  But I did throw in a few previously unmentioned titles to keep it interesting.

Read the post, sign up for my email list, and keep sending me book recommendations!

Seven Must-Read Books on Land, Ranches, and the History of the American West

Given the amount of time I spend driving around the West, I listen to a ton of podcasts.  I have a hard time paying attention to books on tape, I get bored with most of my music, and radio programing out in the middle of nowhere can be iffy and/or downright weird.  Podcasts are the perfect solution, as they provide an almost unlimited selection of topics, stories, or interviewers, and I can upload multiple hours on my phone prior to a road trip.

A friend told me to check out the 99% Invisible podcast, specifically Episode 157: Devil’s Rope.  The 23 minute episode gives a brief overview of the history of barbed wire– from it’s invention in the 1870s to its proliferation across the American West.  I’ve written before about my fascination with barbed wire and how its impact on the settlement of the West is completely under appreciated by the general public.  If you want to learn a little more about this fascinating subject, but don’t want to read a full book about it (that’s understandable), click the link below, download the episode, and enjoy!

99% Invisible – Devil’s Rope

or listen here:

 

 

My newest blog post over on at the Mountain Khakis site is a list of eight books (and one film) that I recommend to anyone who loves the American West.  I’m always asking people for book recommendations, so hopefully this list will help to point interested readers toward some new titles.  I’ve covered a few of these books before on this blog, but most of these are so good that they deserved a second mention.  Enjoy!

Books for the Mountain Life