Lance Benzel

Out There Reporter

Lance Benzel reports on outdoor recreation along with feature stories - occasionally dipping into hard news. Benzel is a former courts reporter at The Gazette.
  • Stunning views and abundant trails await visitors who discover town near Vail

    Updated: Fri, Jul 24, 2015

    In a clutch of scrub pine overlooking the town of Eagle, mountain biker Sam Adams slowed to a halt just long enough to consider his good fortune. Before him was a panoramic view of the snow-covered Sawatch Mountains, their jagged peaks looming far into the distance above a rolling...

  • Colorado ski resort set to expand by 500 acres

    Updated: Fri, Jul 24, 2015

    If all goes to plan, Crested Butte Mountain Resort will usher in a 500-acre expansion within the next few years, adding expert ski terrain, lifts, 15 miles of mountain biking trails and other improvements. The resort's operators said this week that the U.S. Forest Service said it...

  • New bike lane in Colorado Springs labeled a 'death trap'

    Updated: Fri, Jul 24, 2015

    Colorado Springs cyclists are sounding alarms over new bikes lanes at the Union Boulevard/Austin Bluffs Parkway interchange, calling them a dangerous, confusing addition at a time when the city is trying to become friendlier for bicycle commuters. One of the offending lanes is shaped...

  • Colorado by trail: 5 classic backpacking trips in the state

    Updated: Thu, Jul 2, 2015

    You've inventoried your gear, cleaned your water filter and replaced your boot laces. And now that the snow is melting from the high country, it's all about to pay off. Here are five suggested backpacking trips - all of them Out There tested and approved - to reacquaint you with...

  • Be aware of bees this time of year around Colorado Springs, but don't despair

    Updated: Sat, Jul 18, 2015

    When honeybees come swarming to a bough near you, don't balk - celebrate. Then call the Pikes Peak Beekeepers Association to have the bees safely and humanely cleared out. Every year around this time, bees in search of new hives find temporary shelter on branches, in bushes and...

  • Peak Patch provides commemorative gear, helps 14er upkeep in Colorado

    Updated: Thu, Jul 16, 2015

    For one Vail startup, the path to success depends on a peak bagger's pride - and her sense of responsibility. Peak Patch, a two-person company that sells chevron patches, magnets and stickers commemorating each of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, has pledged 14 percent of its proceeds...

  • Colorado Springs-area ministry with horses helps heal women parolees

    Updated: Sun, Jul 12, 2015

    The trio of horses at Freedom to Victory Ranch in Green Mountain Falls aren't exactly renowned for their pedigree, but for a ministry that works to mend fractured lives of women parolees, that may work in their favor. There's Shauspa, a 33-year-old Arab quarter horse with a fearsome...

  • Wet spring means a stunning landscape for Crested Butte Wildflower Festival

    Updated: Sun, Jul 12, 2015

    The wildflowers of Crested Butte are ablaze. The scenic mountain town less than four hours west of Colorado Springs - which credibly bills itself as the state's wildflower capital - is welcoming visitors to witness the annual pageantry of summer blooms in the fullness of their...

  • Portions of historic Colorado Springs-area trail expected to be gone soon

    Updated: Thu, Jul 9, 2015

    There were slips and scratches, leaps of faith over "disagreeable fissures" and occasional collisions between man and mule. Traveling the 1873 Bear Creek Trail - thought to be the first improved road to Pikes Peak's 14,115-foot summit - was by no means a pleasure cruise, but a...

  • Rider in Residence: Colorado Springs trail reroutes offer pros, cons for mountain biking

    Published: Thu, Jul 9, 2015

    What about Cap'n Jacks? Of all the questions surrounding changes to Bear Creek trails, mountain bikers are mostly likely to lose sleep over this one, and it's little wonder. Filled with sculpted berms, whoop-de-doos, kickers and sudden drops - plus enough of Pikes Peak's eroded...

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