At Westword, we're all about hometown/home-state pride -- hence, posts such as "50 reasons we're glad we live in Denver and not the United States" and "Happy Colorado Day: Here are 50 reasons you should be glad you live here."
So you can imagine our befuddlement over a Huffington Post article calling Colorado the fifth most overrated travel destination on the planet, in an item that went out of its way to diss the Mile High City and plenty of others.
The piece in question, "10 Terribly Overrated Destinations (And Where To Travel Instead)," was penned by David Landsel, a contributing editor for Airfarewatchdog.com -- a site that's more about cheap flights than prose. In his introduction, however, Landsel says he's been writing about travel for fifteen years, and he clearly relishes ripping places he claims he'd be happy never to see again.
His take on Colorado? Well, he calls Denver a "weirdly bland, Midwestern snore, with an air quality problem" -- a line that suggests he was last here in the 1980s. And aside from its ski slopes, Vail, in his view, is "suburbia in the middle of nowhere, a collection of strip malls by the side of the highway" -- and besides, the Vail Valley "is so high up in the mountains, some people are alarmed to find themselves nearly unable to breathe, let alone ski."
Pause to let the stupidity of these observations sink in.
Okay -- ready to read on? Because there's plenty more doltishness ahead.
According to Landsel, Colorado Springs is "uptight and boring;" Pueblo, Grand Junction and "too many other places to mention" are "drab and vaguely off-putting;" and Aspen and Telluride, which he lumps together under the "nicer ski towns" banner, are "buried so far in the mountains that getting there during ski season -- or any season -- costs time and money too many people don't have."
Pretty much the only good thing he has to say is that Colorado legalized marijuana last year -- so the next time you're in Denver, "you'll have something to do."
And where does he suggest people go instead? Utah, which "does as well or better" than Colorado "without the kerfuffle, the crowds or the cost," even if the beer in Colorado is "more advanced."
Thanks for tossing us one more bone, Dave.
At least Colorado's in good company. Landsel also disses international locales such as Buenos Aires, Berlin, Costa Rica, Vancouver and the entire Caribbean, plus the stateside stops Asheville, North Carolina, Chicago, San Francisco and his number one pick, Austin, which he shrugs off as a "legend in its own mind."
No shock Landsel's Twitter feed is dominated by upset Austinites. But also on hand are a couple of Colorado defenders, including one who correctly points out the irony of Landsel ripping the city for its air quality when he lives part time in (cough, cough) Los Angeles. Here's the exchange:
Our response? We offer fifty of them, courtesy of Jef Otte's 2011 opus "50 reasons why Colorado is the best state in America." Read it below in its entirety, and then decide if Landsel deserves to be on a list of most overrated travel writers.
"50 reasons why Colorado is the best state in America" By Jef Otte
Basically all of these United States are pretty crappy -- or at least that's what Gawker would have you believe with its 50 Worst States in America series this week, in which Colorado took 41st (worst) -- not a bad ranking, provided you give two sailing shits what some liberal America-hating rag like Gawker thinks. Which we don't.
And so, while we have before taken it upon ourselves to provide 50 reasons Denver is awesome, it falls upon us today to defend our entire state -- nay, this great nation (mostly our state, though) -- from some coastal city's sneering elitism. Colorado, eat your heart out.
Continue for more of the 50 reasons why Colorado is the best state in America. 50. Our lists are better than the lists of other states.
49. Our governor is pretty much pre-puberty Uncle Sam and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington rolled into one.
48. Our state boasts the weather of three states.
47. Even our fundamentalists enjoy gay blowjobs and meth.
46. Minnesota may have invented the zombie crawl, but we did it better. Better than anyone else, in fact.
45. Centennial State, motherfuckers!
44. Colorado is one of just three states with no natural borders, meaning we separate ourselves from the crappy states surrounding us through sheer force of will. In your face, Utah and Wyoming!
43. You got mountains? We got more mountains.
41. Buffalo Bill is buried here. In your face, Wyoming!
40. Our art museum looks like the wreck of the U.S.S. Enterprise.
39. Our unbelievably awesome sports teams.
38. We're slightly less fat than other states.
37. We have nearly as many pot stores as we do public schools; essentially, being a stoner is a legit profession in this state.
36. We have a music venue so awesome that they name industry awards after it. Follow us here: The industry award for best music venue is called the Red Rocks awards, because Red Rocks was consistently voted number one so many times they had to remove it from the list to be fair to other venues.
35. John. Fucking. Elway.
34. We have a Garden... OF THE GODS!
33. Hey coastal states, if your shit is so great, why do you keep vacationing here?
32. Better yet, why do you keep moving here?
31. Our cities don't let shit and trash pile up on the sidewalks, choking everyone out with the stench of rot during the summer (we're looking at you, New York).
30. Ft. Collins Cough is better than any homegrown marijuana strain your state has come up with.
29. It took multiple law enforcement agencies and thousands of dollars, but we eventually brought Balloon Boy to safety.
28. 300 days of sunshine beats hurricane season any day of the fucking week.
27. Nobody beats Vail. Nobody.
26. Mountain goats: The best species.
24. We eat plains and shit mountains.
23. Our welcome sign is clearly the most badass. Take that, Gawker!
22. 58 14ers. And if you don't know what that means we're not telling you.
21. We're, like, pretty good at this beer thing.
20. We told humidity to fuck off. And it listened.
19. Almost all of us drive a Subaru, which is clearly less lame than a mini-van, yet sensible and rugged, bitches.
18. The cinematic masterpiece "Ladybugs," starring Melanie Asmar's junior high crush Jonathan Brandis, was filmed here.
17. The Telluride Shroomfest. We might not be the "best state," but we're totally content with our current state of stateness... and... whoa, look at that cloud.
16. If you're writing a horror story, Colorado should probably be in there. Just ask Stephen King.
15. We start national fashion trends sometimes! (Let's just pretend Crocs wasn't the last one).
14. We arrested Charlie Sheen.
13. We turned Quizno's into a national chain. Look, you're on your own from there, Quizno's.
12. What if Boulder was, like, just an atom in another, way bigger Boulder?
11. According to judges at the Medical Cannabis Cup put on by High Times earlier this year, Colorado has the best medical pot in the world -- and, as we all know from seeing Half Baked, medical-grade pot is better than regular pot. We have the best of the best pot. If you have a MMJ card, of course.
10. We have all the cool secret government installations other states just dream about: the North American Aerospace Defense Command. a federal supermax prison stacked high with terrorists, the Rocky Flats bomb factory. And, of course, the one no one talks about, under our airport.
9. The Broncos have the most popular and polarizing third string quarterback in the history of backup, backup QBs, the second stringer is a total hunk and the starter can out neck-beard any quarterback, ever.
8. Hunter S. Thompson liked to get his Hunter S. Thompson on in Aspen, running for sheriff there, and narrowly losing.
7. Raise your hand if Trey Parker and Matt Stone are from your state. No one? That's what we thought.
6. A caribou came all the way down here from Alaska just to kick it. In your face, Alaska!
>4. But at the same time -- you'll want to note this one, Gawker -- we were doing the gay marriage thing before it was even a blip on your radar, San Francisco and Massachusetts.
3. Everybody knows we know how to party.
2. No, seriously, WE KNOW HOW TO PARTY.
1. And most of all, we're pretty much a mile higher than you at all times.
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Jef Otte, William Breathes, Nick Lucchesi, Amber Taufen, Melanie Asmar, Kyle Garratt, Alan Prendergast, Stephanie DeCamp, Jane Le and Jay Vollmar contributed to this list.
More from our Things to Do archive: "50 reasons we're glad we live in Denver and not the United States."