Colorado Yurt Company Partners with Community Options

“Oh, it’s you again.”

When my friend Daniel says this to me, it’s always accompanied by a huge smile. Sometimes he also calls me “Grandma”, Daniel’s idea of a friendly insult. Then, he’ll ask when I’m going to come watch him bowl.



Robbie tells me how he’s going to start playing basketball on the Special Olympics team, if his knee feels better. But first, he is wrestling, and he shows off the vinyl and plastic version of a championship wrestling belt he has over his shoulder.



These guys are my muscles.

When I am unloading boxes of catalogs, I ask “Can I get some muscles?” The boxes are pretty heavy, and I need assistance getting them into the workshop. Daniel and Robbie are right there to lift them out of my car.

The workshop is the Day Program (Silver Mountain Enterprises), a program of Community Options. Over the years, Silver Mountain’s workshop has done work ranging from sorting feathers for a fly fishing company to cutting shapes for a craft company. The program also places people at different businesses in the community, such as restaurants and retailers for competitive employment.


Colorado Yurt Company began working with the developmentally-disabled adults at Silver Mountain Enterprises over 20 years ago.

Our first employee from Community Options was Joann. When the shop was in Ridgway, she rode the Greyhound bus from Montrose every day to work at our company. Then her family moved to Denver. A few years later, she saw Dan and Emma at an event with six big tipis. Joann was so excited, she actually spoke for the first time in years.


These days we send out catalogs and price lists every two weeks or so, and we need them to be collated and put into mailing envelopes. As our demand for catalogs grew beyond what our office staff could handle, we hired Silver Mountain Enterprises to help us out.


Opal and Jackie put the yurt catalogs together.

For Colorado Yurt Company, it’s been such a great fit. The work is always well done and on time. They deliver the completed envelopes to us, or sometimes they stop by our office for supplies. We appreciate all they do, and we are contributing to their goals.

The muscles are just a bonus.

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Colorado Yurt Company and Mother Earth

Many of our customers first became aware of us by seeing our advertising in Mother Earth News magazine. We’ve had a relationship with the publication for over thirty years. We started with a classified ad for our tipis. We now have full color ads with photos of our tipis, tents and yurts.


A couple of years ago, the Mother Earth folks started hosting fairs in various parts of the country. These are big gatherings of homestead-minded people, spending a couple of days listening to great speakers and learning about ways to live the Mother Earth lifestyle. Speakers and workshop leaders include livestock experts, sustainability proponents, green living entrepreneurs and others with innovative, informative topics.


Before the crowds arrived.

This year, we decided to get in on the fun. Colorado Yurt Company sponsored the Mother Earth News Fair in Lawrence, KS in mid-October. We were not sure what to expect at first, but it became apparent very quickly that this is an amazing event.



After driving the 870 miles across Colorado and Kansas, we arrived in lovely Lawrence. We assembled our deck on Thursday, and Friday we pitched the yurt and tipi in a workshop setting (the day before the fair started). The people who showed up were enthusiastic, helpful and asked intelligent questions of our crew. Friday evening, the publisher of the magazines hosted vendors and sponsors at his farm outside of town with local food and local music.


Blue skies all weekend.


Fair participants

The fair ran Saturday and Sunday all day. Knowing the unpredictability of the Midwest weather, we were so happy to see the sun shining both days. People were lined up for blocks to get into the fair each morning, and we had a steady stream of visitors to the yurt and tipi. There was often a line to get into the yurt. It was a great opportunity for us to talk to people who were curious about yurts and tipis.

Lined up to see the yurt.

Lined up to see the yurt.

The staffs of Mother Earth News Fair and publications were helpful and organized. The fair was extremely well attended, and those present were interested in our products and excited to see them up close. We met attendees from as far away as Manitoba who made the journey specifically to attend the fair. The organizers and attendees made us feel like our participation was appreciated.


Early morning sun on the tipi


Yurt was in Jayhawk land

It was well worth the 14 hour drive each way. We had a great weekend. Great people, great event- even great weather!

Mother Earth News Fair video




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Winner of Blues & Brews, Osprey Packs and Colorado Yurt Weekend.

This blog was written by the winner of the Blues & Brews, Osprey Packs and  Colorado Yurt Company Giveaway, and originally appeared on the Osprey Packs blog.

So there I was perusing Facebook as my day was winding down, and that’s when I stumbled upon Osprey’s Blues and Brews Giveaway. I’ve always wanted to attend Blues and Brews, so entering the giveaway was really a no-brainer; the incredible tent by Colorado Yurt along with the two Osprey packs only sweetened the deal and added to an already incredible prize pack!


I spent several minutes (okay, maybe a bit longer) daydreaming about the possibility of winning the contest, picturing myself in Telluride Town Park listening to legends like The Black Crowes and Otis Taylor while sipping on (or maybe chugging) tasty glasses of Colorado microbrews. I thought about what colors my new Osprey packs would be – I thought about how wild it would be to even win two new Osprey packs, and I thought about how serene and luxurious it would feel to “glamp” in a tent referred to as “a dwelling for the soul.” Then reality hit me and my fleeting thoughts reminded me that I’ve never won anything, and I likely wouldn’t start now. It was a nice dream though!

It was only once I completely forgot about even entering the contest that I received a message from Osprey saying: “Congratulations! You won the Blues and Brews Giveaway!” Well, holy guacamole, Batman – the odds were definitely in my favor this time. I quickly began making arrangements to pack up and head to Telluride for what would turn out to be an unforgettable weekend thanks to Telluride Blues and Brews, Osprey Packs and Colorado Yurt.


While I was still riding high on a wave of, “is this really happening?” the mail man assured me it was when he delivered a great big box of new Osprey packs right to my door! My plus one and I packed up our new Porter 46s with all of our overnight glamping essentials and our new Talon 22s with our daily festival supplies and headed out the door for our trip to Telluride!

The tent by Colorado Yurt Company was pitched in a prime camping location in the far corner of the campground behind Telluride Town Park. We could even see the stage from our patio (and yes, you read that right – there was a patio)! In true glamping nature Colorado Yurt Company ensured we had all of the essentials – and then some. It was luxurious to camp in a tent so big you could walk around in it; the tent included a full-size bed with two comforters, a leather chair, a power strip, a heater, a rug and more.


This year was Telluride Blues and Brews’ 20th anniversary, and they did not disappoint. The music kept people dancing even when Town Park turned into a mud pit and the rain had no end in sight. The grand tasting was incredible; we were able to sample a couple dozen different microbrews in the course of three hours, and let me be the first to tell you they were all unique and delicious. Old man winter even made a debut during the grand tasting as the snow capped peaks surrounding Telluride came out of the fog – it really was the icing on the cake.


This unforgettable weekend came with a little bit of everything: we ran into some old friends, made some new friends, danced in the rain, got sunburnt, enjoyed killer views complete with rainbows and snow, drank just the right amount of beer and enjoyed the local scene.

Thanks to Osprey Packs, Telluride Blues and Brews and Colorado Yurt Company for a truly unforgettable experience!

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Colorado Yurt Company and Sustainable Living Fair

We are longtime supporters of the Sustainable Living Fair in Fort Collins, Colorado. We host a yurt pitching workshop to kick off the fair, and have exhibited since 2005. It’s always a blast, and our staff covets the opportunity to “work” the fair.


The fair is a two day event; showcasing local foods, sustainable building, farming, recycling and more. The stage has a constant stream of amazing bands and inspiring speakers. There are workshops on everything from greenhouses to bluegrass. It’s an opportunity to learn and have fun. There’s a beer garden with some of Ft. Collins’ finest brews. And the crowd is diverse—from dreadlocks to cowboy hats.


Our yurt workshop is held Friday before the fair. We figure, since we are setting up a yurt for the fair, we might as well let people see how it’s done. Our theory is seeing a beautiful yurt go together will hook you. This has proven to be true; participants regularly say, “Wow, I can do this!” We’ve met great friends at the workshop and the fair, and we look forward to seeing them year after year.


This year was to be business as usual: the crew took off Wednesday with a 20’ yurt, display deck, furnishings, an 18’ tipi with poles and all the stuff for a workshop and a weekend of exhibiting. The plan was to set up the deck Thursday and be ready to roll Friday morning for the workshop.

Well, Mother Nature had other ideas. Thursday afternoon, the guys were working at the park in a light rain, when they got word to get out. Fast! The City ordered immediate evacuation of the park. Our crew loaded as much as they could as fast as they could.

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By Friday morning, the reality of the situation was clear. The park was under several feet of water, and the fair was cancelled. For many folks on the Front Range, Friday was the beginning of a nightmare.

We’re thankful our crew is safe and sound. Some people lost their lives, hundreds are missing and untold numbers lost their homes. Our friends at Sustainable Living lost their major source of income, threatening their existence.

We’d love to be back at the Sustainable Living Fair next September. We encourage contributions to their organization at:

To help with flood relief. See this list:

Thank you.

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Good Neighbors: Colorado Yurt Company & YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch


Good Neighbors.



Over the years, our local customers come back time and again for our quality Colorado-made structures. Whether it’s a campground, resort or ski area- our neighbors have come to rely on their “home state” yurt, tipi and tent company- just like customers all over the world.


The past few years, one of our best neighbors has been YMCA of the Rockies Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby. Colorado Yurt Company crew makes the yurts for the Y in the spring. Then we load our trucks and trailers, drive over to Granby and a skilled group stays around for a few days to pitch them on site. It’s an assignment that is highly sought after for our crew- a week away from their usual routine in the beautiful springtime weather in the Rockies. If it didn’t involve long days and hard work, some people would call that a vacation.



In 2009, the Y decided to start their yurt village. They developed a master plan to install yurts for guests who wanted a camping type experience, with more comfort than traditional tent camping. Snow Mountain Ranch selected a hilltop site, overlooking the valley, with a view of the Front Range Mountains to the east. Twenty-four yurts are in the master plan- two villages of twelve yurts each.  With the addition of the five new yurts we installed this spring, the first village is complete!  Snow Mountain’s yurts have been donated by generous families, and completing the second village depends on finding more interested families.


Snow Mountain Ranch has seen a great response to the yurts. Occupancy in the summer is nearly 100%, and they have reservations for months in advance. Guests have left guest book comments about their yurt stays, such as:

  • “We liked seeing the stars at night through the skylight!  We would definitely stay again!”
  • “We enjoyed staying in our yurt as much as we enjoyed saying the word”
  • “We were very impressed with the yurt.  It was great for the six of us.”
  • “Thank you so much for this unique opportunity- I may actually want to put a yurt on my property now!  Beautiful!”


Ranch guests aren’t the only ones impressed with Snow Mountain yurts. The press has been intrigued enough to feature them in several articles. The Denver Post featured the yurt village in a 2012 article, and they’ve been mentioned in Outside Magazine and Barrier Free Travels:


It’s been a neighborly relationship for both Colorado Yurt Company and Snow Mountain Ranch. We send some of our potential customers to Snow Mountain to see the yurts via our webpage and personal referral, and some become repeat guests of the yurt village. The Y has been a champion of our company with their site and customer referrals. It’s a relationship built to last. We’ll keep working together toward the completion of the two yurt villages at YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch in future years.


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Earthworks Tipi in Vermont- ready for summer camp!

We love camp.

Every year, we look forward to late winter and early spring. That’s when our schedule is filled with orders from camps getting ready for the arrival of kids. Tipis, tents and yurts are proudly made in Colorado and shipped to outdoor places where kids will be swimming, singing, roasting marshmallows, riding horses and hiking during the summer months. Many people first see one of our yurts at summer camp. Our platform tents are shelter to thousands of kids of all ages, and our tipis are part of what makes camp experiences memorable.

Pg14-C Tent Possibility 2

yurts at summer camp

We go to several camp conventions throughout the year, and many camp directors, activity specialists and operations managers have become our friends. We go to the ACA National convention, ACA Tri-State in New Jersey, ACA New England and ACA Rocky Mountain. Later this year, we will be in Philadelphia for the YMCA General Assembly and at CCCA in Colorado Springs.

We tried something new this year – we took entries at the winter conventions to win one of our 18’ Earthworks tipis. We took a lot of names into that hat. We drew for the tipi on April 16, and we were excited to see the winner’s name.


Camp Dudley at Kiniya is a camp we know well. We sent yurts to them on the shores of Lake Champlain in Vermont two years in a row. The camp was founded in 1919, and became a not-for-profit camp for girls in 2004. They have an extensive equestrian program, water skiing, Big/Little Sisters and many other fun programs.

dudley3 dudley

Kat Hood, Leadership Director at Camp Dudley at Kiniya, dropped her name into the drawing in Dallas at ACA National in February. Once we had gathered over 250 names, we randomly selected Kat’s and gave her a call. Needless to say, she was excited.  She says:

“We do have two yurts on campus and we love them but not everyone gets to use them. So, we hope to put the Tipi in a more central location, perhaps beneath the pines that you see in the pictures, and available to all. I can see myself using it as a cozy rest hour location or simply for girls during choice time to relax and make friendship bracelets.”


Kat Hood, Leadership Director of Camp Dudley at Kiniya, in front of their Colorado Yurt.

We are so happy to be sending the tipi to such a great camp. We’ll see you at camp conventions throughout the rest of this year and into next spring. Stop by and say hi when you are there, and maybe you can be the next winner of an Earthworks tipi for your camp!

We really do love camp.

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The Write Stuff: Colorado Yurt Company Hosts Outdoor Industry Writers Event

In March, our marketing partner, GrahamSpencer, hosted 10 world-class outdoor and ski industry brands and members of the ski and travel media at Telluride Ski Resort. The goal of the event, called the White Room, was to bring brands and journalists together for 3 days of showcasing products, talking about next year’s innovations, and building long-term relationships. Through expo style meetings, presentations, on-snow demos, and epicurean lunches and dinners, the journalists walked away with stars in their eyes and a number of great stories for their publications.

One of the key events of the weekend, and from what we’ve heard, a memorable one to boot, was the Colorado Yurt Company’s hosting of a european-style lunch at 11,000 feet in a Winter Stout Alpine Yurt.


Dan and Emma were on hand to talk about the origins of the company, its goals, and the many steps they take to enhance the company’s focus on people and planet. They also talked about the commitment to the ski industry and how the Colorado Yurt Company and its engineered Winter Stout Alpine Yurts are being installed at resorts, snow cat operations and nordic centers across the country for a number of reasons. First, they can withstand heavy winds and deep snow. But equally important, they are an inexpensive way to increase a resort’s visitor experience. How? Because yurts are interesting structures, and in a word, cool. Not to mention other factors like ease of installation, longevity, and the fact that we are wonderful to work with!


Besides having a great lunch and some great conversations, we met with journalists who represent a number of great publications including Outside, Men’s Journal, Ski Journal/Snowboard Journal, Viacom (MTV/VH1), Backpacker, Elevation Outdoors, The Summit Daily, ESPN, Backcountry Magazine, The Alpinist, Climberist, Kronicle, MSN, The Active Times, Triathlete Magazine, Sport One Source, Competitor Magazine, Runner’s World, The Chicago Tribune, Islands, Ski, Skiing, NBC Travel, Powder, Wild Earth, High Country News, Alternative Medicine, The Big Sky Journal, The Denver Post, and Bike.


So, we found that our yurts are great for yet another use: impressing journalists! Look for some great articles on the Colorado Yurt Company over the next few months!


photo credits: Ben Eng


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Colorado Yurt Company customer stories: Unique Yurt

Welcome to our yurt!

Fish weren’t meant to live in a box kid, it does things to ya.”  -Gill, inFinding Nemo”

A few years ago, I began to sense that I wanted to explore what it would be like to live with my family in the round.  After exploring many possibilities, we decided that adapting a yurt to our needs would be the simplest, most expedient, and graceful solution to our situation.

So we approached Dan Kigar of  Colorado Yurt Company with some pretty radical ideas:  I wanted to put the whole structure on stem walls so we would have enough room for a functioning upstairs; I wanted to insulate it with sheep’s wool insulation, and I wanted to attach a functional ‘mudroom’ entryway.


Dan was incredibly helpful and gracious to work with, supportive of my ideas and helpful with the design and layout of the whole thing.  Between the two of us, we designed a fairly elaborate and nicely functioning structure.  Palatial, maybe even…


So, welcome to our yurt: it has four foot straw bale stem walls, a poured adobe floor, earthen plasters throughout, a loft with over six feet of head room, sheep’s wool insulation, (it’s warm!) fully functioning glass windows, in-floor heat, a kitchen, a bathroom, and a lamp post to boot.


We’ve been in it a year now, and we all love it deeply, it’s warm, lofty (it has an 18 ft. peak!) and gorgeous to live in.  We’re so grateful to both Dan and Emma as well as the whole crew at Colorado Yurt Company for making it a reality!


TL7To read more about the yurt, and see photos of the building process:



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2012: Colorado Yurt Company year end blog.

Wow. Just wow. We look back at 2012, amazed at our good fortune. The Colorado Yurt Company has much to brag about, and much gratitude.

The year started with some changes in our company culture. We were growing, but our production and management styles were still rooted in our free-spirited roots. In early 2012, we made a significant step- hiring a very innovative and skilled production manager, Doug Severson. Doug previously worked at Chaco, instituting efficient and leading edge production techniques. We were incredibly fortunate to have him join our crew. His arrival was just in time to start one of our biggest orders to date…

Doug Severson

…Coachella. For non-hipsters out there, we might need to elaborate. Coachella Music Festival is THE big event in California every spring; two full weekends packed with bands like “Florence and the Machine” and “Radiohead”. There’s onsite camping in tipis and safari-style tents. In February and March, our crew made 200 tents and 100 tipis to ship to Indio, CA. It was a huge undertaking- but we shipped with a couple days to spare.

Tipis at Coachella Music Festival

It’s been a media year-we were on television in a big way. Late last spring, a crew from Colorado Yurt Company took three 20’ yurts to California for the filming of  HGTV DesignStar (an interior design competition reality show). Three finalists were challenged to design a bedroom yurt. We were excited to see the show in July- and were very opinionated about the judging (Hillari was ROBBED!). That night, our website had the most gigantic spike in hits we’ve ever seen. The next few weeks, we had many people call to ask questions and order our catalogue. It went a long way toward answering the question: “What’s a yurt?”.

HGTV DesignStar

In late 2011, we had three days with the crew of  “How it’s Made”. They filmed production of tipis and yurts for segments we thought would air in early 2012. The post-production took longer than anticipated, and we just recently saw the tipi episode. The yurt episode will air on December 30th (10:00pm Eastern on Science). It has been an honor to be associated with this fine program- and it will be seen by lots of yurt/tipi-curious folks around the world.

Colorado Yurt crew and How It’s Made crew.

We had some unique orders this year, including yurts for a private resort in Greece. We sent a group of eleven painted tipis to a Native tribe in Quebec, tents to new camping resorts in Kentucky and France and structures to wonderful summer camp customers. There are new yurts at ski areas, continuing the trend of quick and affordable structures on the slopes. We made individual customers’ dreams of a yurt, tipi or tent become reality, and our facebook page and email in-boxes have been full of stories.

Tipis in Quebec

We asked for feedback this year via a customer survey. Results were overwhelmingly positive, but we did learn a few places where we can improve. We hope to debut new pitching guides and some improvements in other services, thanks to our amazing customers.

It has been a year of excitement and changes. One thing that hasn’t changed is the quality of our staff. We have the most dedicated and talented folks that walk through our door every work day to make this an awesome company. We’re all looking forward to 2013 and the challenges it will bring. We already have work lined up, and we are anticipating another year to remember.

Thanks to all of you for your interest in our company.


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Earthworks Tipi in Massachusetts: A Customer’s story

Three years ago, an artist friend built a tipi with her father. After a blissful summer of living in the tipi, Sarah needed a more long term home for it. I had smudged the tipi and did an ad-hoc pipe ceremony, so she knew where to move it. On a warm December night, I suddenly had a tipi in my back yard. I fell in love.

Not a drop of Indian blood runs through my veins, but it runs through my heart.  I live in Massachusetts where wigwams were the local tribes’ abode. While a wigwam is very cozy, it just isn’t the same as a tipi.

By early spring of this year, Sarah’s tipi was moldy and saggy, and we could no longer have a fire inside. The cover came down, and I looked longingly at the naked poles for a few months. Then I said to my husband, Dave, “We need to get our own tipi”.

In April, we started tagging trees to cut on our 2 acres and on our neighbor’s property. We are in our fifties, and we cut 17 trees together! I’d like to say I helped strip the poles, but my incredible husband did it all. Our poles are trees of northeastern Mass.– green ash, shagbark hickory and two maples. They are not as straight as lodgepole pine, but they are beautiful.

In June, we were ready to order our cover. Ivy at Colorado Yurt was indispensable in helping us make decisions. When the cover arrived in July, it was like a huge present waiting to be opened. I like to wait as long as possible to open presents, savoring the anticipation, so we didn’t take the cover out of its bag for 3 weeks.

On a warm day in August, we opened the big canvas bag and unfolded the tipi cover slowly over our green lawn. The canvas was stunning. Beautifully stitched, everything reinforced, nylon backing, lacing pins, ropes, stakes and of course the door!

Then, it was time to paint! The river was my daughter’s idea, since we live near the Ipswich River. The rolling green hills are representative of our part of the country. My sister designed the red tailed hawks for me, and we spent many happy hours painting them together. The yellow star at the top is for our son who is serving in Afghanistan. The design was ready, so we spread the canvas on the lawn and painted. Mother Nature had other plans……. she rained on the paint!!!

After mopping up wet paint, I emailed Ivy at Colorado Yurt. She said, “Just go with it”- so we did. Now we have a rainy, tied-dyed river on our tipi, and we love it. We moved the canvas inside the garage and painted for two more weeks.

My mother, step-father and daughter all helped pitch the tipi. I am overflowing with the love my family showed making this happen for me.

Thank you Colorado Yurt and Earthworks Tipis.

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