Working on Top Chef means long hours on set indoors, and judge Gail Simmons was all about making the most of Colorado's spectacular outdoor environs on her days off. For our new digital series, Gail's Day Off, we followed the judge around on her real-life days off from filming Season 15, during which she embarked on some crazy fun — and majorly stress relieving — adventures. Here, discover four outdoor activities to try in Colorado, all tested with aplomb by Gail herself.
1. Horseback Riding
In the clip above, Gail hits the trails for a day of horseback riding with Top Chef Season 10 alum Eliza Gavin at a ranch owned by Telluride local Roudy.
"Everyone in Telluride knows Roudy," Gail told Jet Set. Calling the experience a great "excuse to wear some cowgirl gear, she said, "It was really relaxing being out on the open trail. [Horses] are incredible creatures."
2. Zip Lining
"Zip lining is one of the most counterintuitive things I've ever done in my life," Gail revealed. (And if you've watched the video of her soaring through the wind at 60 miles per hour, you'd understand why.)
"The great thing about it is that zip lining happens slowly enough that you really do have time to take a look around while you're swinging through the trees. We were so high up, and the view is so beautiful!"
3. Fly Fishing
In an interview with Jet Set, the Top Chef judge elaborated on her fly fishing experience in beautiful Colorado alongside Dave Query of Big Red F Restaurant Group, calling it the "perfect antidote" to long days on set. "The setting was beautiful. We had such a great day out on the water — I wish I had caught more!"
(Spoiler: This wasn't even Gail's first time stepping inside a pair of waders. She has also thrown out a line in Alaska, South Carolina, and Tennessee.)
"That doesn't mean I'm amazing at it," she clarified, "but it's also hard. [A good day] depends on the water levels, the speed at which its rushing, where you are, the time of year."
Gail said she loved biking — especially on wide-open trails. "It's very different when you're doing it on mountain trails," said Gail, but it's fun nonetheless.
You know what isn't fun as part of a day out on the trails? Encountering a rattlesnake — which Gail thought she did during her time pedaling through an otherwise scenic setting. (But all's well that ends well.)
So... who's ready for a trip to Colorado (sans snake encounter) for some serious outdoor therapy?