Happy feet for summer in Summit County
June 3, 2013
Memorial Day weekend unofficially marks the beginning of summer in Summit County. Sunshine, barbeques and summer soirees are just around the corner. Vibrant images of sunsets over Lake Dillon, afternoon strolls down the bike path and clear, starry nights swirl in our minds. Of all these beautiful images that occupy our daydreams, gnarly feet isn't one of them.
If your poor phalanges have been crammed into ski boots for the past six months, they are no doubt in need of some well-earned attention. As you were hitting bumps on Pallavicini or thrashing down the chutes at Copper's back bowls, the health of your feet may not have been first and foremost in your brain. Missing toenails, chapped cuticles and dry, cracked heels are standard foot fare for the mountain adventurist. Alas, flip-flop season is here, and your bare toes will inevitably be making an appearance at a rooftop patio near you.
Touch up your toes
Luckily, there are ways to ease your weary feet out of hiding and get them into summer shape. Visit The Upper Hand Salon on Main Street in Frisco for a restorative treatment, along with a delicious dose of local chatter. Residing in the same location for 17 years, it's clearly a Summit County favorite. During my appointment, a former mayor's wife stopped in, along with a fisherman in need of the perfect shade of orange for his fishing flies, and two adorable Pomeranians filled the salon with happiness.
For those unlucky enough to have truly damaged digits, Julie Beck, nail technician at The Upper Hand, can be your nail savior. As a skier and a runner, my toes have been "roughed up," to put it delicately. While on a seven-day backpacking trek in the Grand Canyon, my big toenail and I decided to part ways. Now, a sad stump of a new nail is all that remains. The toenail on my second toe is a mangled, black and blue disaster after months of being crammed into Nordic ski boots, tightly laced into running shoes and smashed into ill-fitting snow boots.
But Beck, a 10-year nail technician, was able to bring my feet back from the dark side. Beck treated my toes to a pedicure ($40) that included a hot foot bath, nail trim and shaping, cuticle care, heel and foot file, salt scrub, choice of OPI polish and soothing foot massage with paraben-free lotion. For my damaged toes, she took it a step farther and added an acrylic tip to my large toenail ($5 per toe). The tip will last two to three weeks. The change was incredible. I went from feeling like an ogre to a girl again within minutes.
Beck, a charming, 15-year Summit County resident who originally hails from the U.K., clearly loves the service she provides for her clients.
"It's nice to transform someone's feet and make them feel good again," she said. "Feeling good on the outside and the inside is really what it's all about, isn't it?"
Beck offers pedicures, as well as manicures ($25) and the increasingly popular shellac manicure ($35) that lasts 14 days without damaging your natural nails. Call or text (970) 389-3808 to book your appointment.
A Manly Mani
Women aren't the only ones who can benefit from a trip to the nail salon. Taking care of your feet should be important to both genders. The Blue Sage Spa in Breckenridge offers the Manly Mani ($35) and Manly Pedi ($60), which are "designed for the active man in need of extra exfoliation and hydration."
The pedicure includes nail-bed cleanup, filing, foot soak, Jack Black lotion and paraffin wax dip. Please, fellas, take care of your feet. I promise we'll notice. Call the Blue Sage Spa at (970) 453-7676 for an appointment.
Now that you've gotten your feet professionally pampered a bit, it's easier to maintain sandal-worthy feet all summer. First, keep your nails trimmed. This is especially important for active mountain dwellers. The Mayo Clinic suggests regularly trimming and filing your nails. Using sharp manicure scissors or clippers, trim your nails straight across and then round the tips in a gentle curve with a nail file. This may be easiest after bathing, when your nails have softened a bit from the warm water.
While you're in the shower, use a soft pumice stone to remove any dead skin from your heels and smooth any rough spots. The Stepping Stone from Lush Cosmetics ($4.50) is a "scrubby citrus delight with pumice and sea salt." Gently rub the stone back and forth, applying only light pressure. It will work like sand paper, taking off layers of rough skin and wearing down calluses. Be cautious to stay clear of cracked heels.
This pumice treatment will expose new skin, so the next step is to protect this new layer of dermis with a moisturizer. Daily application of nourishing foot lotion will keep your feet soft and supple all summer long. Foot Relief from Aveda ($21) is a soothing cream created to soften dry patches and smooth calluses. The blend of active herbs, exfoliating fruit acids and plant-derived oils such as jojoba and castor absorbs quickly, leaving your weary feet invigorated and ready for your next hike up Quandary.
Don't let your cuticles be an oversight. They provide a protective cover for new nail growth and play an important role in the health of your nails. Specially formulated for cuticles, the Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream from Burt's Bees ($6) uses sweet almond oil and cocoa seed butter to soften your cuticles, while vitamin E and sunflower oil nourish brittle nails.
Our dry Colorado climate can lead to painfully cracked heels. To restore your heels to a less vulnerable state, try the True Blue Spa Cracked Heel Treatment from Bath & Body Works ($20). This serious spa salve is filled with glycolic acid to slough away dry skin, while the shea butter leaves your feet softer with every use.
Our feet are our most valuable piece of adventure gear. Using these simple steps can keep them feeling and looking good all summer long