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getting in touch with my inner colorado girl

Stuff Colorado people like


Since I recently discussed how to dress like a Coloradan, I felt it was only fitting to now discuss what kind of stuff Colorado people like.  I’m not just going to leave my readers out in the cold in their Patagonia puffy vests!  Anyway, we Coloradans are an interesting, albeit lovely, type of people.  What stuff do Colorado people like?


I don’t think I have ever seen more Subarus in my life.  I tried to find some statistics, but I had no luck on Google.  Trust me though, Outbacks and Foresters are all over the place.

This is about what my morning commute looks like.

Bumper stickers.

In order to prove how good of a Colorado person you are bumper stickers are encouraged.  Acceptable Colorado bumper stickers include the stickers that show off your favorite mountain destination, like “BRK” for Breckenridge or “Ski the ‘Boat” for Steamboat Springs or the “A” sticker for Arapho Basin.  Other acceptable bumper stickers include number stickers that show off your favorite race distance like “13.1”, “26.2”, or “150.6”.  Triathalon bumper stickers are also great.  In the miscellaneous category, there are political bumper stickers, snowboard brand bumper stickers, and local brewery bumper stickers.  And if you’re a teleskier, you definitely need a bumper sticker that says “I teleski.”  If you aren’t a teleskier, you need a bumper sticker that says, “Nobody cares that you teleski.”

The Colorado flag.

Colorado has an awesome state flag.  Truly.  And as a result of how great the state flag is, it’s found everywhere.  I would argue that only California and Texas have state flags as well-known and flown with as much pride as the Colorado state flag.


Colorado people love man’s best friend.  Every park in Denver is always full of dogs, and it never fails that anytime I run around Washington Park in Denver I leave wanting a furry pal of my own.  Then I remember that I’m too lazy to cook anything more complicated than macaroni and cheese and dogs are a lot of work.  I someday want to own a dog to be a better Colorado person but mostly to have an excuse to buy the adorable dog hiking booties.

Boots with the fur.

Being native.

Being native is a really big deal in Colorado, mostly because since the 1990s Colorado has become an increasingly popular place to live.  Don’t worry, I won’t bore you with the research I did on the Census Web sites, but just know this: from 2000 to 2010, Colorado was the ninth fastest growing state in the nation.  Consequently, Colorado people are defensive about their native born or immigrant status.  The best result of the native debate is the plethora of bumper stickers floating around including “Native”, “Semi-Native”, and “Not Native But I Got Here As Fast As I Could.”  The native debate is kind of bizarre.  I mean, you don’t see “Missouri Native” or “Iowa Native” bumper stickers floating around in the Midwest.

Vegetarian food for non-vegetarians.

Are you a meat eater that loves to order vegan muffins with your triple soy latte?  Join the rest of Colorado!  My theory is that Colorado people like to pretend that any food item labeled vegetarian or vegan is healthy.  I include myself in this equation, and I’ll take four vegan cupcakes please.

Green living.  And driving three hours to the mountains every weekend.

One of the great tragedies of loving mountains and living in the Front Range is the need to drive several hours to reach the mountains.  Unfortunately, despite Coloradans’ love of the environment, we are definitely all harming it.  Guilty as charged.

One uppers.

Did you climb two fourteeners this weekend?  Too bad, your Colorado neighbor climbed three in one day.  Did you go backcountry skiing?  Too bad, your Colorado neighbor went backcountry teleskiing.  Are you training for the Pike’s Peak marathon?  Too bad, your Colorado neighbor is training for his sixth Leadville 100.  Colorado people love to prove their Coloradoness by pursuing extreme outdoor activities.  Try to keep up.

Whole Foods.

I conducted a highly scientific poll on the Whole Foods Web site, and Colorado has one of the second highest amounts of Whole Foods after California.  Impressive, when you consider that California’s population is 37 million and Colorado’s is 5 million.  And okay, Texas beat us by one.  I always like to tell people there’s a Whole Foods and a Starbucks every 12 blocks in Denver.  Which is not exactly true but close enough.

Farmer’s Markets.

The summer months in the Front Range are ubiqitous with farmer’s market season.  Farmer’s markets are like Whole Foods in outdoor form.  Of course Colorado people love farmer’s markets!

I admit it, I love farmer’s markets too.  Especially when my friends and I have farmer’s market brunches in the summer.

Being active.

Oh hey fittest state in the U.S. Colorado people love to run, bike, practice yoga and hike on a year round basis.  I actually like when I run at home over holidays, because it’s much more of a novelty.  A five mile run in Colorado?  That’s nothing.  At any given time, the runners around you are training for the Leadville 100 or the Pike’s Peak Marathon.  You better step up your game.

Winter sports.

The first thing my neighbor asked me when I moved into my apartment last November was, “Do you ride?”  Skiing and snowboarding are a huge part of most Colorado peoples’ lives from November through April, and everyone has strong feelings about which resorts and passes are best.  Still, I think we can all agree that the tag line for the Colorado Ski Pass rings true: “It’s why you live in Colorado.”  I think we can also all agree that a monorail on I-70 needs to be built as soon as possible.

Typical I-70 traffic on any weekend day in the winter.

Not actually working.

As a graduate student last year I had the luxury of not actually working.  Consequently, I would hit trails to run at all times of the day.  Every time I went trail running, there were always 30-something men out mountain biking on the trail who looked like they should have 9 to 5 jobs.  How did they manage to swing this?  Because nobody actually works in Colorado.  That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.

Beer and microbreweries.

We may have to buy our beer separately from our groceries, but at least we have many good options!  There’s tons of microbreweries in Colorado, and Colorado people love their beer.  And Colorado is also home to Coors.  You’re welcome.

Talking about moving to Portland or Seattle.

Colorado people generally love living in  Colorado.  However, the two places you will hear people talk about wanting to move to are Portland and Seattle.  Apparently I need to visit the Pacific Northwest and see what it has to offer besides sparkly vampires  I like to think of Oregon and Washington as Colorado’s sister states, full of people who similarly like Subarus, beer, dogs and being active.

Professional sports.

The Denver metropolitan area isn’t actually that big.  It’s about 3 million people if you count all of the Aurora and Boulder suburbs.  Yet Colorado people love sports, and Denver manages to host a team from every major professional sport.  The Denver Nuggets, the Colorado Avalanche, the Colorado Rapids, the Colorado Rockies, and the Denver Broncos.  And we can’t forget the Colorado Mammoth, because every city needs a professional indoor lacrosse team.

Medical marijuana.

The same state that brought you Tom Tancredo also brings you medical marijuana.  I don’t understand how this happened either.  I will say this, there are more medical marijuana dispensaries than Starbucks in Denver alone.  According to 5280 Magazine, there are 44 Starbucks in the entire Denver metro area and 70 dispensaries in just the 80202 zip code.  My friend Cayce and I once counted five dispensaries on one block of Broadway.

In the circle of life, relationships are constantly evolving and change.  As is such, there is some stuff that Coloradans used to like that is no more.  May this formerly loved stuff rest in peace.

The Broncos.

The poor Broncos, the victim of all Colorado people jokes this past year.  Colorado people will always have the memories.

Carmelo Anthony.

If ‘Melo doesn’t want us, we don’t want him.  Don’t worry Colorado people, we’ll always have the Birdman.  On a serious note, Felton and Lawson are turning out to be pretty great.

Heidi Montag.

Heidi Montag used to be an innocent Crested Butte mountain girl before moving to L.A.  Moral of the story?  Stay in Colorado and stay away from Spencer Pratt.


Actually, I’m not convinced that Coloradans ever liked Texas.  For some reason there’s some strong animosity towards Texans in Colorado.  I think it’s a case of a few bad apples spoiling the bushel.  Namely the Texas tourists skiing at Colorado resorts in jeans.  I personally find it awesome.  I mean I certainly am not man enough to ski in jeans!  Kudos to the Texans.  And hey, one of my good friends is from Texas, and for the record, he is an excellent skier.

Overall, I think Colorado people are a great group of people.  Is there anything bad about living in a state full of outdoor enthusiasts?  All of the above is said with nothing but love.  After all, I’m native born and these days I sport a Colorado driver’s license and license plates.  I’m about as Colorado as they come, except for the fact that I don’t own a dog or a Subaru.

Special thanks to Great Lauren and Claire Bear for creative inspiration!


Author: paulamahla

Typical Colorado girl that can't make up her mind. Trail running, hiking, climbing, camping, CrossFit, ultimate frisbee, and skiing? E, all of the above.

5 thoughts on “Stuff Colorado people like

  1. hey! this is like the convo we had last night 😉 ps. i would like to conduct a highly scientific survey of how many coloradans name their children after ski towns… or at least to see how respectful durango and aspen really are.

  2. It is moderately impressive that 17 of the 299 total (cf. Wikipedia) Whole Foods stores reside in Colorado, but this is also in part due to some geographic anomalies. Whole Foods acquired and converted the chain “Wild Oats” several years ago, which had a distinctly West Coast + Colorado market presence. Moreover, it was founded in Austin, Texas, so there is of course a Plains State bias!

    And for the record,
    California: 64 stores
    Massachusetts: 20 stores
    Texas: 18 stores
    Colorado: 17 stores

    The big surprise is actually that New York only has 13 stores.

  3. This was a lot of fun to read. I see that Boulder is still the Paris, France of Colorado: a friend of mine let me know that most Americans’ attitudes about “The French” only apply to Parisians. I grew up in Boulder and heartily agree that all your categories apply to Boulder. There are even weird contradictions, like the Boulderites who care a hell of a lot about the Broncos. And although many of your comments are true of all of Colorado (outdoor activities, and staying healthy), much of it does not. Try applying your vegetarian idea in Fort Collins or on the Western Slope.

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