I was headed to a work conference in the mountains west of Denver, about eight thousand feet up. I was fortunate to attend this conference last year too. The area is best known for its ski resorts (Keystone, A-Basin, Breckenridge) but in the summer it’s a quiet and lovely place to relax and learn about the latest innovations in instructional technology.
Last year when I attended this conference I misjudged the dress standard and packed slacks. I quickly realized that it was less business and more casual and regretted not bringing some shorts. On the way in, I had noticed a Sports Authority on Route 6.
That’s it above, in the boom times of 2008. Unlike Ann Arbor, Google doesn’t send Street View trucks into the mountains every couple of years.
By the time I arrived for my conference, the Sports Authority chain was well into its bankruptcy sale, but there were still some decent men’s shorts to be had for a pretty good price. I think I paid $16 for two pairs. Still wear them all the time.
I drove the same route this year and was happy to discover that this big box was quickly renovated into an REI store, the first in the area (the next closest location is 67 miles away in Denver – read the linked article for some of that local sporting goods retail drama you crave).
Another fun thing about this area is that everything looks like a ski lodge. I assume there is municipal guidance to ensure this. (There is! Kudos to A2 Commr. Weatherbee for pointing me to Dillon’s documentation. Checking it out is worth the 56k-esque download time.)
Here’s City Market, next door to REI:
City Market is a division of Kroger and once you get inside this store it looks like every other Kroger you’ve ever seen. Same layout, Kroger brand products. I even swapped my Kroger Plus keytag for a City Market one, with a big red strawberry. It is the most mundane souvenir I have ever taken from a trip, but I think of the mountains every time I go to Kroger now. (PROTIP: If you just hand your keys to the clerk at your local Kroger, they won’t necessarily recognize a City Market keytag as, but it scans just fine. It appears in my Kroger account as a “Sooper Card,” derived from another Western Kroger division, King Soopers, but again, it is totally valid in Ann Arbor.)
Here’s a Target for good measure.
As I always say, I sure wish Ann Arbor had a few mountains in the distance, but we do okay in terms of rivers and lakes.