Sisters Tammy Innes, right, and Cherie Pitman cut apples during a Sisters in Steamboat cooking class at City Cafe at the 2011 event.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Sisters Tammy Innes, right, and Cherie Pitman cut apples during a Sisters in Steamboat cooking class at City Cafe at the 2011 event.

Sisters in Steamboat brings women together

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Sisters in Steamboat

Sisters in Steamboat participants picked up some cooking tips during a workshop Saturday at the City Cafè.

— Diane May and her sister Virginia Fisher used to share a bedroom. But they both admitted that until this weekend, it had been decades since just the two of them stayed up late into the night talking and laughing.

“It’s nice, last night we stayed up just like a girl’s slumber party,” May said. “We never get a chance to just sit and visit with each other. Families, jobs, husbands … those things take priority.”

May, of Steamboat Springs, and Fisher, of Pueblo, were two of more than 60 sisters — biological and otherwise — who had the chance to bond with old and new friends during this weekend’s Sisters in Steamboat event. The two-day, third annual weekend organized by MainStreet Steamboat Springs combined the concepts of a conference and a party — an opportunity to shop and socialize while also learning a thing or two.

The theme this year was “Sleepless in Steamboat,” and the workshops, seminars and social activities were centered on sleep health.

On Saturday morning, more than half the sisters gathered to hear local Ron Krall talk about the importance of getting enough sleep. Almost all of the audience admitted disruptions in sleep, but Krall detailed the potential problems caused by lack of sleep, including car accidents and health issues.

“Here in Steamboat, we’re obsessed with diet, we’re obsessed with exercise, but we don’t do anything about sleep,” he said. “If you’re sleepy, pay attention to it. It’s a warning signal.”

Sitting at the back of the room was a group of five sisters and close friends, almost all of whom came from a different state to participate in the event.

Lynn Linzell, who lives on the Front Range, said the group was having a great time, and some of them had a vested interest in the topic of sleep.

“I think it’s important for women to take time out and to learn about these healthy things we should be doing or considering,” she said. “Sometimes, women don’t get time to take that break.”

Jill Murphy Long, who has helped organize the event for all three years, brought her best friend from college to town for the weekend.

“Obviously, there’s the friendship and bonding, but it helps to share notes on life,” Long said about spending time with old friends. “It’s great to have that supporting sound board. We can just pick up right where we left off.”

Long said she had been nervous about the event this year because she knows that the continuing economic recession prevents people from traveling.

“But the sisters are here, and they’re enjoying it,” she said.

The event was designed to bring women into town to help stimulate the offseason economy. Fewer than half the women who signed up were local.

In addition to the keynote speech, the sisters participated in workshops and attended local tours of the hot springs and historical sights, went to wine tastings, cooking seminars and a talk on feng shui for the bedroom.

Nicolette Vajtay, a Feng Shui specialist, told the crowd about the basic rules of bedroom order: The foot of the bed shouldn’t face out of a door or window, there should be two nightstands of equal height on either side of the bed and peach is the right color if you’re looking to bring love into your bedroom.

She also said to avoid clutter and mirrors, which bring imbalance into a room.

“Now I know why I don’t get enough sleep,” joked Virginia Fisher. “All the crap under the bed, the man stuff everywhere.”

There was a pajama party at Library Hall on Saturday night featuring music, dance, toenail painting and a raffle giveaway of spa packages and other prizes donated by local businesses. The proceeds from the raffle went to the American Heart Association and the Yampa Valley Medical Center Sleep Center.

The event continues this morning with a Breakfast in the Books event at 9:30 at Off the Beaten Path Bookstore. Two renowned authors — Lisa See and Nancy Jensen — will appear via Skype, and there will be pastries, coffee and book discussions. Tickets are $15. Call 970-879-6830 for information.

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@SteamboatToday.com.

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