Aspen Times https://www.aspentimes.com Serving Aspen and Snowmass Village, CO Mon, 11 Apr 2022 04:30:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://www.aspentimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2019/02/apple-touch-icon.png Aspen Times https://www.aspentimes.com 32 32 Guest commentary: Let’s keep college affordable — don’t force colleges to hike tuition or cut programs https://www.aspentimes.com/opinion/guest-commentary-lets-keep-college-affordable-dont-force-colleges-to-hike-tuition-or-cut-programs/ Guest commentary]]> Mon, 11 Apr 2022 04:30:00 +0000 https://www.aspentimes.com/news/guest-commentary-lets-keep-college-affordable-dont-force-colleges-to-hike-tuition-or-cut-programs/

Over the past year, colleges, universities and local governments in Colorado have been watching with interest as unions and legislative proponents have promoted a plan to unionize public employees in all corners of our state. Now that we have a draft of the bill in hand, we’re concerned — and parents hoping to afford sending their kids to college in Colorado should be, too.

Without sugar-coating it, students and families should understand that if a measure to unionize government and campus employees is ultimately successful, colleges and universities across Colorado face a no-win choice: dramatically raise tuition or cut academic programs to cover the substantial projected new costs associated with collective bargaining.

To their great credit, in recent years and including this new budget, the Colorado General Assembly and Governor Jared Polis have prioritized investment in Colorado’s high-performing higher education system. These investments have enabled institutions to minimize — or in many cases avoid altogether — tuition increases.

These investments have also enabled our institutions to stand up new academic programs to meet society’s needs — training mental health professionals and frontline health care workers in rural areas, adding new nursing programs designed to address a troubling shortage of nurses, and investing in programs designed to reach or provide alternative pathways to good careers. If our campuses are forced to focus resources on labor relations attorneys and new HR staff to navigate a wholly new management environment (as, indeed, has been the case in every state where such systems are at play for public universities), then unless the State of Colorado picks up these new educational expenses, the only option our governing boards will have to pay for these items will be tuition increases (conservative estimates could exceed 10% per year) or cuts to academic programs.

The truth is, our institutions were designed and built to be accessible for our most underserved Coloradans — i.e., students of color, low-income students, and students who are the first in their family to go to college. Everything about how we operate reflects this fact, from programming, to faculty teaching loads, to finances. And there is no disagreement that our lowest-paid employees should earn a living wage; indeed, most of our institutions have been working for over a decade with these employee groups to improve compensation, benefits and career ladders — exactly the sort of outcomes unions promise.

The issue we have with this bill is not a difference in desired outcome, but in how best to get to that shared outcome in a way that doesn’t choke off access to public higher education. By adding this complex and costly new labor regime into our systems, we will make the cost of education more expensive for those families who can least afford it. Full stop.

In his State of the State address at the outset of this year’s legislative session, Gov. Polis laid out an affordability agenda designed to save people money. We laud the Governor’s goal here. We hope legislative leaders will resist the urge to push through a complicated bill designed to unionize campus employees at the 11th hour of the 2022 legislative session as its ultimate impact will be the exact opposite of saving Colorado students and families money.

Joe Garcia is the former Lieutenant Governor of Colorado and currently serves as Chancellor of the Colorado Community College System; John Marshall serves as President of Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction; and Tony Frank is the Chancellor of the Colorado State University System.

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Aspen government officials want to meet new development partner in Lift One project https://www.aspentimes.com/news/aspen-government-officials-want-to-meet-new-development-partner-in-lift-one-project/ Mon, 11 Apr 2022 04:30:00 +0000 https://www.aspentimes.com/news/aspen-government-officials-want-to-meet-new-development-partner-in-lift-one-project/

City officials would like the new owners of a piece of land at the base of Aspen Mountain that’s part of the voter-approved Lift One corridor project to participate in a second quarter stakeholder meeting scheduled for Monday.

But representatives from the Miami-based OKO Group, a real estate development firm founded and headed by billionaire Vladislav Doronin that bought almost an acre of land last month for $76.25 million, will not be present as far as Jen Phelan, the city’s project manager, knows.

“I think it would be great to get ownership representation involved at least for introductions,” Phelan said.

Instead, the OKO Group has hired the local land-use consulting firm BendonAdams, and Sara Adams will represent their interests.

The Aspen Times received no response from OKO Group’s public relations representatives via email seeking information on their local involvement in the planning of the project, which includes the 81-room hotel known as Gorsuch Haus on the land the OKO Group owns.

The Lift One corridor also includes the 107,000-square-foot Lift One Lodge and hundreds of thousands of square feet of commercial space at the base of Aspen Mountain’s west side.

Monday’s meeting will cover certain aspects of the development, including updates to a required traffic study, sequencing of construction, land-use entitlement updates and the recording of plats.

Phelan said the previous owners of the 0.95 acres on Aspen Mountain’s western base area — Bryan Peterson, Jim DeFrancia and Jeff Gorsuch — informed the stakeholder group in November that the property could transfer to new ownership.

“They made us aware that they were receiving unsolicited offers for the purchase of the property,” Phelan said.

Gorsuch and his partners pushed their local ties to the community when convincing voters in March 2019 by a margin of 26 votes to approve the ordinances referred by Aspen City Council that allow the development.

City staff is still operating within the parameters of those voter-approved ordinances.

“The allowances and limitations of the approvals in place transfer to the new purchaser, and staff expects the new owner to perform under the same conditions and responsibilities as the previous owner group,” Phelan said.

Monday’s meeting is a routine check-in with all the stakeholders, which includes Michael and Aaron Brown, representing Lift One Lodge, along with the city, the Aspen Historical Society, the Aspen Skiing Co. and OKO Group.

Lift One Lodge is continuing to work toward perfecting its land use entitlements, which include agreements and plats that are more complex than those of Gorsuch Haus, because the city, Skico and the historical society are involved in the future development and operations that will occur on the lots, according to Phelan.

The city allocated $4.36 million to help pay for improvements to Dean Street and the relocation of the Skiers Chalet Lodge, where a ski history museum and skier services are planned.

Phelan said she is working with Lift One representatives on a parking management agreement for the parking garage the developers are building that will be accessed off Dean Street and will be partially located on city property, under Willoughby Park.

The garage will contain both off-street parking for the lodge, as well as a public parking component, according to Phelan.

The approval ordinance includes the requirement for Lift One Lodge to provide 50 public parking spaces and enter into an agreement that has to be approved by the city.

In developing a fee schedule, city staff and Lift One Lodge have gone back and forth on a parking rate structure, with the Browns proposing a higher rate structure than the city was comfortable with.

Phelan said she is currently waiting to see how the city’s alternative pricing is received.

The city proposes a fee structure in line with parking rates at other ski area parking lots, with Highlands being the most relevant, and also includes premium pricing that recognizes the location of the garage at the foot of a new telemix chairlift.

Instead of Lift One Lodge’s $12 an hour, or $60 a day, during weekends and holidays in the high season months, the city is proposing $8.40 an hour or $42 a day.

Weekdays and nonholidays in high season months would be $6 an hour, or $30 a day under the city’s proposal. Lift One Lodge had proposed $9 an hour or $45 a day.

It’s unknown when construction will begin on the project, but it will likely be in the next year, as vesting rights on the development expire on Dec. 24, 2025.

csackariason@aspentimes.com

 

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Next use for former Aspen City Hall close to being decided https://www.aspentimes.com/news/next-use-for-former-aspen-city-hall-close-to-being-decided/ Mon, 11 Apr 2022 04:30:00 +0000 https://www.aspentimes.com/news/next-use-for-former-aspen-city-hall-close-to-being-decided/
Public survey is out on what should be the next iteration of Aspen’s armory building, which was being used most recently as City Hall.
Aspen Times file photo

City of Aspen officials are drilling down the public’s preferences on how to use the armory building in the future, and the three top-ranked needs so far in the engagement process are casual dining, multi-purpose space and nonprofit services.

A second survey was launched last week in an attempt to zero in on the thoughts and conclusions provided by roughly 300 respondents on the first questionnaire, which was made available in March on the city’s online engagement platform, aspencommunityvoice.com.

“This second engagement window gives us an opportunity to confirm what we heard,” said Jen Phelan, the city’s project manager. “Over the next few weeks, the city is seeking feedback about how to continue to prioritize programming ideas and how the remodel could encompass more mixed-use space to meet multiple needs.”

City officials on this second go-around also want to get a clearer picture on the community’s preferences around the remodel aesthetics and square footage, as well as the municipal government’s options to fund, manage and maintain the armory in the future.

The results of what’s called the “remodel and operational considerations questionnaire,” which will close April 24, will weigh heavily in Aspen City Council’s decision-making.

Council is scheduled to direct staff on programming of the armory during a May 16 work session.

Aspen City Councilman Ward Hauenstein said he prefers that the details of what goes in the building not land at the council table.

“I don’t want the City Council to get involved in every space and how much in the armory,” he said, adding there should be a master lease held by an outside entity to manage the building and its occupants. “I like the idea of open space and don’t want to get into programming.”

Since closing the first questionnaire on March 18, city staff has been compiling and analyzing the results.

Seventy-one percent of the respondents said they preferred that the city take the time, if needed, for a more thorough renovation, and 28 percent want the armory open as quickly as possible.

Respondents answered relatively equally that the armory should be used both day and night, and most of them felt that Conner Park should accommodate active and passive uses.

Sixty percent of the respondents agreed that the emphasis of any unprogrammed space within the building should focus on local residents, compared to visitors or a mix of both.

The Aspen Chamber and Resort Association is planned to be housed in a portion of the building, so the questionnaire probed what audience the remainder of the space should serve.

Nearly 61 percent said it should have a local resident focus, followed by 37.8 percent suggesting it serve a mix of local and visitor community members.

Results from the first questionnaire also revealed that people want the programming to focus on unmet needs within the community; the uses within the building should provide meaningful, affordable participation in programs; and the remodel will respect the historical context and contribute to Aspen’s small-town character.

The current survey follows up on several consistent concepts that emerged in the first questionnaire, including child care, affordable housing, a community center and social services.

Without knowing the extent of the building’s remodel, city officials last year budgeted $7.5 million for 2022 and 2023 for renovations and preservation efforts.

Hauenstein said he likes the idea of movable walls to create flexible space in the building but he expressed concern about the costs of putting in a commercial kitchen and if casual dining is a viable option.

The community is encouraged to submit ideas, share stories, ask questions, express interest in one of the focus groups scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, and attend the project’s Wednesday open house, which will be held 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at City Hall on Rio Grande Place.

The armory was most recently used as City Hall before the new city office building opened in December. The armory is currently being used by Pitkin County for court services because the courthouse is being renovated.

Csackariason@aspentimes.com

 

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Business Monday: Aspen-based vodka brand gets a Lift on Opening Day https://www.aspentimes.com/news/business-monday-aspen-based-vodka-brand-gets-a-lift-on-opening-day/ Mon, 11 Apr 2022 04:15:00 +0000 https://www.aspentimes.com/news/business-monday-aspen-based-vodka-brand-gets-a-lift-on-opening-day/

While opening day Friday at Coors Field saw the hometown Colorado Rockies fall 5-3 to division rival Los Angeles, next door at the Denver Chop House & Brewery a trio of Aspen men took a swing at promoting their vodka brand.

LJZ Limited Liability Co. — the acronym represents the respective first names of company founders Lance Armstrong, Joe DiSalvo and Zack Neiditz — debuted Lift Vodka over Labor Day 2020. Now midway through the second year of production, Lift Vodka’s owners hope to raise its profile and gradually expand distribution outside of Colorado, and one day distill the vodka in-state.

“The main purpose of today is building that brand awareness in a new market,” said Neiditz, also a bartender at Mi Chola, hours before the Rockies took the field.

They used the 20,000-sqaure-foot Chop House to host table tents for vodka tasting, which allowed “us to interact with these customers and build brand awareness,” said Neiditz.

When the three partners launched Lift Vodka, their approach to the start-up was to grow the brand, but grow it slowly. Lift Vodka soon appeared on the shelves of local liquor stores and behind the bars at downtown restaurants.

“In that time we were self-distributing,” said DiSalvo of the launch. “We were just schlepping the cases around and selling them ourselves. We didn’t have distribution until a year later.”

Neiditz also noted the three didn’t have much difficulty getting Lift Vodka picked up by Aspen merchants. “In Aspen, it was easy with the connections from the three of us,” he said.

Locals Zack Neiditz, Lance Armstrong and Joe DiSalvo are gradually growing their Lift Vodka business, after self-distributing the product for 14 months after its Labor Day 2020 debut. Lift Vodka now is being distributed statewide by Southern Wine & Spirits, and the trio are hoping to expand the brand nationally in due time.
Courtesy photo

Neiditz has worked in the Aspen bar industry since 2010; DiSalvo has been in local law enforcement 37 years, including his current elected role as sheriff of Pitkin County; Armstrong, a household name for his career in competitive bicycle racing, bought a home in Aspen in 2008.

All three are investors and the company has taken on no outside capital, Armstrong said.

Fourteen months after its release, Lift Vodka was picked up for distribution by Southern Wine & Spirits, and the beverage’s presence grew in Colorado. On Nov. 1, it was being distributed throughout the state.

“We are running a small business,” Armstrong said. “It’s like any business. You try to make projections, and obviously going statewide has been a big boost for us.”

When Southern picked up Lift for distribution, the Lift bottles (which come in the size of a fifth, or 750 milliliters) were boxed six at time rather than the previous 12. About six weeks ago Lift cranked out 1,650 cases — which equates to 9,900 bottles, or nearly 2 million gallons of vodka.

“I think the best way to sum that up is that we sell everything we make,” Armstrong said. “We started very small, not just production wise but also expectation wise, and just wanted to see what we had. … The bottom line is we’re blessed with great water in Aspen and so that being the main ingredient, it’s made an incredible product.”

One of the company’s selling points is the vodka comes from non-GMO corn distillate and 100% Aspen water, which is shipped to California where it is distilled.

“For now it’s being distilled in California,” Neiditz said. “As a small start-up we wanted to see we had something that worked before we spent a ton of money and built a huge facility so we outsourced the still, we use 100% Aspen water, we have an account with the city and they love that we use water from there to make an amazing small-batch, local product.”

The company also is eyeing distilling the vodka in Colorado when the time is right.

“For now, we’ve already started to look at bringing it to the valley because it’s been very successful,“ Neiditz said.

Lift Vodka also is working with the Waterboys nonprofit initiative run by former NFL defensive end Chris Long’s foundation. Waterboys works to bring clean water in areas in the impoverished areas of East Africa, primarily Tanzania.

“Our view is you wake up every morning and if you want a glass water, you turn on the tap and drink it and say, ‘Damn, that was really good,’” said Armstrong. “There are literally millions of people around the world that will never have that opportunity. It doesn’t cost a lot to dig a well and change somebody’s life forever.”

rcarroll@aspentimes.com

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Aspen Music Fest tickets on sale Tuesday https://www.aspentimes.com/news/aspen-music-fest-tickets-on-sale-tuesday/ Mon, 11 Apr 2022 04:00:00 +0000 https://www.aspentimes.com/news/aspen-music-fest-tickets-on-sale-tuesday/
Tickets for the 2022 season of the Aspen Music Festival and School will go on sale Tuesday. (Courtesy Aspen Music Festival)
IF YOU GO …

The Music Fest box office will remain all-remote through June 17. Tickets and passes will be sold by phone at 970-925-9042, with single tickets also available online starting April 12 at aspenmusicfestival.com. Questions can also be directed to tickets@aspenmusic.org.

The Harris Concert Hall box office will be open June 20-Aug. 21, noon to 4 p.m. and during concerts.

Tickets for the 2022 season of the Aspen Music Festival and School will go on sale Tuesday.

The concert and soloist schedule has also been shuffled in recent weeks, and many new events added, following the cancellation of Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra’s season.

Pre-sales for locals passes start Monday.

The season, with the theme title “Tapestries,” runs from June 30 to Aug. 21. It includes anticipated performances including the Verdi Opera “Falstaff” starring bass-baritone Bryn Terfel, the two-night “Sound of Music” concert event (July 25) and guest artists including pianist Matthew Whitaker (July 1 and 2), violinist Augustin Hadelich (July 31) and pianist Joyce Yang (Aug. 14) leading to a festival-closing Berliosz Requiem (Aug. 21).

Festival leaders last month canceled 2022 concerts for the Aspen Philharmonic, the all-student orchestra that traditionally performs on Wednesday evenings in the Benedict Music Tent, citing the lack of seasonal housing in Aspen.

That Philharmonic’s hiatus has prompted many changes and additions to the concert schedule.

LIVESTREAMING AGAIN

The Music Fest is continuing the free concert livestreams it launched during the all-virtual 2020 season.

This summer’s livestreams will include eight concerts from the Benedict Music Tent. Among them are the festival’s opening Aspen Chamber Symphony concert with pianist Matthew Whitaker and conductor Marin Alsop on July 1, the Aspen Conducting Academy July 11, a performance of the Mozart Opera “Don Giovanni” Aug. 18, and Aspen Festival Orchestra performances on Sundays, July 24 and 31, Aug. 14 and 21. aspenmusicfestival.com

The world premiere of composer Shelley Washington’s orchestral work “Back,” which had been slated for a Philharmonic performance, will now be premiered by the Aspen Festival Orchestra on July 10. The festival has also added Inon Barnatan, the Aspen favorite and Israeli pianist, to that bill performing Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.

Among the new Wednesday evening concerts are a July 6 special event with soprano Renée Fleming and baritone Rod Gilfry in Harris Concert Hall, followed by a fundraising dinner (the pair will also sing with the Aspen Festival Orchestra July 3). On Wednesday, July 20, pianist Martin Helmchen — who had been scheduled to perform with the Philharmonic — will instead give a solo recital. Other guest artists previously scheduled to perform with the Philharmonic have landed elsewhere: conductor George Jackson will instead lead the Aspen Conducting Academy Orchestra for an “Opera Encounters” program (July 30); 2021 Dorothy De Lay Prize-winning violinist Fiona Shea will perform with the Aspen Chamber Symphony under conductor Karem Hasan (Aug. 5); and soprano Raven McMillon will be performing with the Aspen Chamber Symphony (Aug. 19).

The festival also added a special event concert with banjo player Béla Fleck, mandolin player Mike Marshall, and bassist Edgar Meyer revisiting their 1997 collaborative album “Uncommon Ritual” on July 30 along with recitals by Ukrainian violinist Vadim Gluzman and pianist William Wolfram (July 19), pianist Max Lando (Aug. 3) and baritone Lawrence Brownlee with pianist Myra Huang (Aug. 4).

Additional information has been updated on the full calendar on the festival website, including topics for its Science of Music Series (July 18, Aug. 1 and 8), two free family community concerts (July 9 and 27).

atravers@aspentimes.com

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Glenwood Springs to increase city staff pay 5% https://www.aspentimes.com/news/glenwood-springs-to-increase-city-staff-pay-5/ Mon, 11 Apr 2022 04:00:00 +0000 https://www.aspentimes.com/news/glenwood-springs-to-increase-city-staff-pay-5/
City of Glenwood Springs Parks and Recreation employee Mike Viramontes works on leveling out the mulch at Sayre Park in Glenwood.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent archive photo

In response to rising inflation, Glenwood Springs City Council unanimously approved a 5% pay increase Thursday for city employees.

Glenwood Springs Chief Operating Officer Steve Boyd told council members annually increasing sales tax collections could cover the cost of the raise.

“What we’re seeing for our employees is that everything is going up in price, except their paychecks,” Boyd said.

Glenwood Springs experienced 10% growth in sales tax collections in both January and February, and though Boyd said he couldn’t speculate growth rates for every month in 2022, a 10% increase for the year overall wasn’t out of the question.

“Inflation has spiked, there’s no doubt about it,” he said. “It’s not going to go away soon, but it will go away.”

Council Member Paula Stepp said it was the fiscal responsibility of council members to question whether pay increases were feasible in the long term.

“It’s not like we’re going to take back this 5% if inflation goes away,” Stepp said.

Responding to some of Stepp’s questions, Boyd said the city has experienced sales tax collection growth for years and regularly raises employee salaries about 2% to account for growing costs of living.

City Manager Debra Figueroa said nearby municipalities are also increasing employee pay rates, creating an environment of competition throughout the valley.

“If they’re having trouble putting food on the table and gas in the car … then they will leave for more money,” Figueroa said.

Stepp asked if the city considered merit-based promotions instead of an increased pay rate across the board or other incentive programs to ensure employee retention.

“I would love to see something positive for our employees to see there is a potential for increased income without an overnight decision saying, ‘OK, we’re going to give you another raise now,’” Stepp said.

Figueroa said she advocates for employee raises annually based on both cost of living adjustments and merit-based earnings.

Council Member Ingrid Wussow said she supported increasing employee wages.

“The system of a community is strongest when they aren’t overworked,” Wussow said. “This our way to support the community and the system we have.”

Stepp said she would also support the increase, but she wanted to ensure the decision was feasible for the foreseeable future and not a knee-jerk reaction to a spike in inflation.

“It’s not a question of whether they deserve it,” she said. “It’s a question of the fiscal responsibility.”

Mayor Pro Tem Charlie Willman motioned to approve the pay increase, with a second from Council Member Marco Dehm, which was passed 7-0.

In other business, Colorado Department of Reclamation and Mining Safety (DRMS) provided an update on work the agency is doing in South Canyon to mitigate the impacts of a decades-long underground coal fire in the area.

In 2002, the Coal Seam fire ignited as a result of fires raging through abandoned underground coal mining operations beneath South Canyon.

Throughout Colorado, the DRMS is monitoring 38 underground coal fires, of which about 15 are located in Garfield county; though, South Canyon is the largest in the county, said DRMS spokesperson Tara Tafi.

During the last 20 years, DRMS has collected data in South Canyon, including 3-D modeling, thermal imaging and borehole temperature modeling.

Tafi said DRMS staff visit the canyon most months of the year.

In 2020, DRMS completed a South Canyon soil cover project, which included grading and covering about 4.5 acres with a 12-inch clay cover before revegitating the area.

The agency returned to the project area in 2021 to mitigate fire-dangers, such as the proliferation of cheatgrass and thistle, both of which are considered wildfire risks, Tafi explained.

In 2022, the DRMS is planning a road expansion to an existing two-track path in South Canyon West, granting the agency access to hot spots in the canyon where surface temperatures have recently been recorded between 200-300 degrees.

The proposed path could require the city to close portions of a mountain bike trail in the area, but the closure would be temporary and could be limited to work hours, Tafi said.

“In order to do any kind of meaningful reclamation on the west side of South Canyon, we have to have access for equipment and trucks,” she explained.

She also reported additional funding provided through recently approved bi-partisan infrastructure legislation could allow the DRMS to set a goal for extinguishing the coal fires beneath South Canyon in about 15 years, when the additional funding sunsets.

Dehm made a motion to support the DRMS road expansion project, which would occur on property owned by the city, with a second from Wussow. Council unanimously approved the motion.

Reporter Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at ifredregill@postindependent.com.

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Business Monday briefs: Carbondale Tourisum lands $14K grant; Chase moves to Main in Aspen https://www.aspentimes.com/news/local/business-monday-briefs-carbondale-tourisum-lands-14k-grant-chase-moves-to-main-in-aspen/ Mon, 11 Apr 2022 03:45:00 +0000 https://www.aspentimes.com/news/business-monday-briefs-carbondale-tourisum-lands-14k-grant-chase-moves-to-main-in-aspen/

Carbondale Tourism recently received a $14,000 tourism management grant from the Colorado Tourism Office to fund the development of regional agri-tourism in the Roaring Fork Valley, which includes the development of a visitor information map to promote local food and farm experiences, as well as industry training on the benefits of agri-tourism for small enterprises and businesses such as farming operations and food production.

Carbondale Tourism, along with Aspen Chamber Resort Association, Snowmass Tourism, Basalt Chamber of Commerce and Visit Glenwood Springs, will steer a development strategy to increase development and visitor awareness of local food and agri-tourism — visitor experiences that are based around farms and ranches, according to a news release. In addition to tourism education and training resources, the group will also work to expand the Roaring Fork + Farm Map, a visitor food and farm trail map that was recognized by the United Nations International Mountains Day as an exemplary sustainable tourism project in 2021. The expanded map will be developed with support from other local project partners, including the Farm Collaborative.

“A regional development of agritourism will support some of our smaller farming and local food entrepreneurs while also enhancing the visitor experience to the Roaring Fork Valley,” said Andrea Stewart, executive director, Carbondale Tourism. “We are excited to take the Roaring Fork + Farm Map to the next level and support the development of a greater tourism experience that elevates all five tourism destinations locally, from Aspen and Snowmass to Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs.”

The Colorado Tourism Office’s Tourism Management Grant provides funding for tourism-related projects that develop, enhance, or manage visitor experience in Colorado. The maximum grant amount is $20,000 and the required match is 4:1. For every $1 the qualifying grantee allocates to the proposed project, the Colorado Tourism Office provides $4 in matching funds. Projects must be completed within the 12-month period between May 1, 2022, and May 1, 2023.

Chase Aspen relocates to Main Street

The Chase Aspen bank branch on Hyman will move Monday to a new location at 232 E. Main St., Unit 101.

The new location will be accessible by car, have deposit-friendly ATMs and include full-time partners such as the Home Lending Advisors and Private Client Advisors.

The branch will house a Chase Private Client Advisor who provides premium banking services, personalized attention and access to the expertise and investment capabilities of J.P. Morgan to help families reach their most important goals, plus personal bankers. Customers may also meet with financial and home lending advisors and business banking relationship managers, according to a news release from Chase.

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What’s the Big Deal: Mountain Valley home sells for $6.4 million https://www.aspentimes.com/news/whats-the-big-deal-mountain-valley-home-sells-for-6-4-million/ Mon, 11 Apr 2022 03:30:00 +0000 https://www.aspentimes.com/news/whats-the-big-deal-mountain-valley-home-sells-for-6-4-million/
328 E. Lupine Drive, Aspen
Pitkin County Assessor’s Office

What’s the Big Deal runs Mondays and is based on the prior week’s most expensive property transaction recorded in the Pitkin County Clerk & Recorder’s Office.

Price: $6.4 million

Date recorded: April 6

Buyer: Redwood Village LP

Seller: Donald and Judith Wrigley

Address: 328 E. Lupine Drive, Aspen

Neighborhood: Mountain Valley

Property type: Residential

Year built: actual, 1982; effective, 1983

Total heated area: 2,346 square feet

Lot size:1/3 acre

Assessor’s office actual value: $2,765,300

Assessor’s office assessed value: $197,720

Property tax bill: $5,916

Source: Assessor’s Office and Clerk & Recorder’s Office, Pitkin County

 

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Up-lifting news: Sunlight Mountain Resort closes out record season with details on summer events, construction plans https://www.aspentimes.com/news/up-lifting-news-sunlight-mountain-resort-closes-out-record-season-with-details-on-summer-events-construction-plans/ Mon, 11 Apr 2022 02:30:00 +0000 https://www.aspentimes.com/news/up-lifting-news-sunlight-mountain-resort-closes-out-record-season-with-details-on-summer-events-construction-plans/
Sunlight Mountain Ski Resort sits quiet after the ski season wrapped up on April 3.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Coming off the mountain with a second season of record-breaking revenues, Sunlight Mountain Resort is wrapping up the year with a round of cheers.

“We’re really riding high at the end of this season,” said Troy Hawks, Sunlight’s marketing and sales director. “There are a couple years in the ’90s that go down as our absolute best attended season, but this season was our strongest visitation in the last couple decades.”

Revenues for the resort were up 10 percent from the previous season, which also set a record for highest earning year in the resort’s history. This season, Hawks reported the resort set another record for highest revenue in a single day on Feb. 19.

The success flies in the face of later than usual snows, forcing the resort to delay opening day by nearly a week.

“Last season, our season ran about 114 days, and this year it was only 109,” Hawks said.

Visitation during the Christmas holiday is crucial to the resort’s success, and the lack of snow in early December was concerning.

“Fortunately, the snow came just in time,” Hawks said, explaining the resort received numerous calls about reservation cancellations prior to the snowfall. “Some people did cancel, but as it turned out, our conditions during the Christmas holiday were phenomenal. We got 5 feet of snow in the later half of December.”

Overall, the resort received 161 inches, or about 13-and-a-half feet, of snow this season, he added.

After closing the slopes to the public April 3, Sunlight employees celebrated the season’s end Monday with one last hurrah down the mountain.

“We’re very proud of our employees this season,” Hawks said. “Some of our regular staff really pulled up their boot buckles and put in some overtime to serve our customers during the busiest days.”

With a career spanning more than 30 years, one of Sunlight’s longest-serving employees, Gilbert Loya, finished this season as his last.

“He was so good at what he did, grooming and trail maintenance,” Hawks said. “He’s been a role model for everyone here at the resort. But, we’re confident our new employees will carry on his tradition.”

The snow might be melting, but Sunlight Mountain Resort is far from closed for the year.

In June, a triathlon event starting in Carbondale is scheduled to end with a mountain run at the resort. For the third year in a row, Sunlight is slated to host the Total Archery Challenge in July, which is open to the public regardless of participation.

A disc golf tournament is scheduled at Sunlight for Labor Day weekend, and U.S. Marine Corps veteran Kirstie Ennis is scheduled to host a fundraiser at the resort in October.

In their downtime, resort staff are working with an engineering firm to complete a master plan for the resort in preparation of two lift replacements.

The Segundo Lift is scheduled to be replaced during the summer of 2023, and the Primo Lift could be replaced at a later date.

As one of the oldest chair lifts in the state, the Segundo Lift is ready to retire, Hawks said. As luck would have it, a comparable lift recently went on sale at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area.

“It was for sale, and the timing was right,” Hawks said. “It was an opportunity knocks type of deal.”

The new lift features benches that can seat three people instead of two, increasing the lift’s capacity from 990 people per hour to 1,200 people per hour.

Crews could start some of the excavation preparation needed for the new Segundo Lift installation this summer, Hawks said.

“All in all, this was a great year, and we’re really looking forward to what we have planned for the coming seasons,” Hawks said.

Reporter Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at ifredregill@postindependent.com.

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Silverthorne I-70 project slated to begin Monday https://www.aspentimes.com/news/silverthorne-i-70-project-slated-to-begin-monday-left-turn-lanes-will-be-shortened/ Summit Daily News]]> Sun, 10 Apr 2022 20:30:00 +0000 https://www.aspentimes.com/news/silverthorne-i-70-project-slated-to-begin-monday-left-turn-lanes-will-be-shortened/
As part of the I-70 auxiliary lane project that will affect the 203 and the 205 exits, the Colorado Department of Transportation will shorten the left-turn lanes under I-70. ​​This will affect drivers turning left toward Denver and travelers turning from U.S. 6 onto the I-70 ramp toward Frisco.
Tripp Fay/For the Summit Daily News

Drivers going through Silverthorne should expect to face night work near the 205 Exit for the next few months, starting Monday.

As part of the Interstate 70 auxiliary lane project that will affect the 203 and the 205 exits, the Colorado Department of Transportation will be shortening the left-turn lanes under the interstate. ​​This will affect drivers turning onto I-70 toward Denver and travelers turning from U.S. Highway 6 onto the I-70 ramp toward Frisco.

During night work, crews will finish by 6 a.m. in order to minimize the effects to commuter traffic.

Elise Thatcher, communications manager for the northwest region of CDOT, said on Thursday that CDOT will phase into night work because of uncertain weather in April.

“The first round of work really takes place underneath I-70 in that (U.S.) Highway 6 and (Colorado) Highway 9 area, so we’re going to be doing work right underneath I-70,” Thatcher said. “The main goal is to make sure that we’re getting that work out of the way as soon as possible and certainly before the busiest part of the summer season. They’ll have some of the biggest impacts, and we want to get it taken care of before there’s a lot more folks visiting the area and a lot more vehicles on the road.”

Thatcher said that travelers who use these onramps should budget for an extra 20 minutes of travel time because of construction impacts.

Silverthorne Town Council, representatives from CDOT and the construction firm tasked with the project met on March 23 to discuss potential impacts to the town when the large-scale project begins. In total, the project will affect the area between mile markers 202 and 207 of the interstate. From April 2022 until September 2023, crews plan to: repave and restripe eastbound lanes; widen the bridges over U.S. 6 and the Blue River; build deer fencing in both directions of the interstate between mile markers 203 and 205; improve trucker parking and build a longer deceleration lane at the 205 offramp. The department does not plan to deal with westbound lanes between Silverthorne and Frisco.

The goal of the project in 2022 is to complete any traffic delays before July, CDOT resident engineer Grant Anderson told the Town Council in March.

This project is one of several that will occur on this part of the I-70 corridor this construction season. Near Vail Pass, CDOT has planned to continue a nine-figure upgrade to I-70 that will also start this month, and that work will involve lane closures and rock blasting, stopping the interstate in both directions for up to 30 minutes. Construction on that project will continue through the summer and into the fall.

According to the project fact sheet for the auxiliary lane project, CDOT is encouraging travelers to use its CoTrip app in order to watch real-time impacts caused by its projects along the interstate across the state.

“Other projects on I-70 are happening in close proximity. These each have their own prime contractors and construction times,” the overview reads. “The I-70 construction teams are in close communication to help keep the public informed.”

State infrastructure and emergency services leaders also concluded that in the event that Glenwood Canyon’s portion of the interstate is closed due to mudslides, detours would go through Silverthorne. Specifically, westbound traffic from Denver will be routed north on state Highway 9 from Silverthorne to U.S. Highway 40 through Steamboat Springs to Craig, then back down Colorado Highway 13 to Rifle on I-70. Eastbound traffic will follow the opposite route.

Last year during mudslides, traffic was backed up as far north as Silverthorne’s Willowbrook neighborhood — almost 3.5 miles north of the ramp — and drivers began cutting through the Smith Ranch community.

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The ignorance and arrogance of City Council https://www.aspentimes.com/opinion/the-ignorance-and-arrogance-of-city-council/ Sun, 10 Apr 2022 13:40:21 +0000 https://www.aspentimes.com/news/the-ignorance-and-arrogance-of-city-council/

Our elected officials and municipal bureaucrats are planning for a busy offseason. Buckle up for some dramatic changes to Aspen’s land-use code in order to fund more subsidized housing.

Look for limiting future demolitions, residential down-zoning, increased fees and mitigation, and allowing subsidized housing development in more zoning districts with new height and density allowances. In other words, where private property owners will be dramatically limited and financially penalized when aspiring to redevelop their properties, subsidized housing can and will be built almost anywhere and to very different and very permissive zoning standards.

These impending changes are specifically to address Aspen’s “housing shortage” and, of course, the global climate emergency. We all know our housing crisis isn’t a shortage, rather, it’s deliberate mismanagement of ski country’s largest subsidized housing inventory, and council is simply choosing to provide housing for the never-ending demand of people who want to live affordably in Aspen regardless of the jobs they hold. And somehow, it’s strictly free market residential redevelopment that’s the climate culprit. Here, the climate miraculously “un-emergencies” itself for subsidized housing development.

The city paid $358,000 for “community outreach” on how people “feel” about recent changes in town. Where are the studies that specifically describe or quantify the crises council is trying to solve? Where are the reports on which businesses are struggling to hire and stay open? A housing audit and needs assessment? The only real crisis is that none of the planned changes are based on facts. The entire exercise is in response to feelings.

Ever reactionary and emotional, City Council simply doesn’t like what they see, especially when it comes to free market real estate re-development: there’s too much activity, the houses are so big and fancy and expensive, and people are maximizing what’s allowable under existing rules. Therefore, these must change, immediately.

The thinly veiled effort to stick it to the free market is intellectually dishonest and hypocritical. They say residential redevelopment will fill up the landfill by 2031, while also creating traffic and generating untenable levels of carbon emissions. So instead, they promote the development of new, high-density, multi-family, subsidized housing. Never mind it makes no sense to identify one thing as bad for the community (redevelopment) then present a solution that taxes it in order to fuel another thing (subsidized housing development) with the same or worse impacts. From a purely environmental perspective, the responsible thing would be to maximize the utility of what we already have, not build more.

Furthermore, the stated goal of a “full, lived-in community” sounds warm, fuzzy and utopian on its face. According to Councilman Skippy Mesirow, a community with the “lights on,” all the time, would somehow make Aspen “the community we want to be.” But wait, isn’t the current moratorium on residential development and short-term rental permits in response to council’s frustration with the impacts of having so many more people here? Could it be that they are boldly prioritizing people whose lights they want on more than others, people who live in subsidized housing, perhaps?

It sure sounds like it. The circular logic and contradictions stem from the prevailing belief that, according to Mesirow, “growth occurs when non-Aspenites move here,” which is at the very root of council’s petty, spiteful and antithetical plans.

Our electeds are tragically ignorant of the difference between growth and economic activity. Aspen has long worked to manage and control growth, which can be thought of as additional capacity: the development of more hotel rooms, more homes, expansion onto previously undeveloped land, and sprawl. We have recently experienced a dramatic uptick in economic activity, not growth. Hotels at full occupancy, second-home owners moving into their homes or renting them out regularly, and people purchasing homes here, even at unprecedented prices, are signs of robust economic activity, but that’s because we’re full. We’re at capacity. These are the effects of a “full, lived-in community,” but no, it’s certainly not “the community we want to be.” Not in my book. And clearly not in Mesirow’s either, but for different reasons. While desirous of being “full” and “lived-in,” town is filling up with “non-Aspenites,” and City Council demands this stop.

Meanwhile, the latest plan to develop subsidized housing on newly annexed land at the Lumberyard will increase our capacity for as many as 700 “Aspenites.” This, without question, is growth. And sprawl. It stands to increase our year-round population nearly 10%. Yet somehow, this growth is OK, despite the inherent increase in year-round demand for local services and still no housing for the workforce. “Aspenites” in subsidized housing apparently count differently. Besides, council just reduced the Lumberyard’s density by 30 units for “livability,” and they’re changing the floorplans to include master suites, stand-alone bathtubs and walk-in closets; in other words, large, custom, subsidized luxury condos for middle-class families.

Just wait until you hear about the proposed regulations that include a vacancy tax and subsidized buy-downs of free market properties. It’s only just begun. This perverse wealth redistribution to select “Aspenites,” at the increasing expense of others, stands to divide us in ways we’ve never contemplated.

People living in subsidized housing are no more entitled to live here than people in the free market. The “we built this community so we deserve it” mentality is toxic, and not at all reflective of the community we aspire to be. Contact TheRedAntEM@comcast.net

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Preps: Aspen High girls lacrosse can’t keep pace with No. 2 Green Mountain in loss https://www.aspentimes.com/sports/preps-aspen-girls-lacrosse-cant-keep-up-with-no-2-green-mountain/ Sun, 10 Apr 2022 04:50:46 +0000 https://www.aspentimes.com/news/preps-aspen-girls-lacrosse-cant-keep-up-with-no-2-green-mountain/
The Aspen High School girls lacrosse team hosts No. 2 Green Mountain on Saturday, April 9, 2022, on the AHS turf. The Skiers lost, 22-10.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

The Aspen High School girls lacrosse team had its 36-game regular-season win streak come to an end on Saturday with a 22-10 home loss to Green Mountain, which came in ranked No. 2 in Class 4A by CHSAANow.com.

No. 6 Aspen trailed 10-5 to the Rams at halftime but scored three straight goals in the first two minutes of the second half to get within 10-8. The rally ended there, however, with Green Mountain slowly building up a 15-8 lead with just over 11 minutes remaining before an AHS goal finally ending the onslaught.

Green Mountain improved to 6-1 overall, its only loss coming this past Monday against Class 5A Chatfield.

Aspen fell to 5-1 overall. It was the Skiers’ first regular-season loss since April 14, 2018, an 8-1 home loss to Pine Creek in coach Amanda Trendell’s first season. AHS won the final six games of the regular season in 2018, all 15 in 2019, all 10 in 2021 and the first five this spring. There was not a 2020 season because of the pandemic.

The loss to Green Mountain came less than 24 hours after the Skiers won 16-6 at Battle Mountain on Friday night to reach 4-0 in league play. According to MaxPreps, that win made it 50 straight regular-season league wins for AHS dating to March 19, 2015, a 16-7 road loss to Fruita Monument. Aspen then won its final five league games in 2015, all seven each year from 2016-2018, all 10 in both 2019 and 2021, and the first four this season.

Aspen is not scheduled to play again this season until playing at No. 5 Castle View on Saturday in a non-league game. AHS will return to league play on April 21 with a trip to Roaring Fork.

AHS boys lax takes down Summit

The Aspen High School boys lacrosse team snapped a two-game skid with a 17-6 win at Summit on Friday.

Now 3-3 overall and 2-2 in league play, the Skiers are scheduled to host Vail Mountain on Tuesday night in their home opener. VMS (8-1) was ranked No. 7 this past week in Class 4A through CHSAANow.com.

Basalt baseball sweep by Gunnison

The Basalt High School baseball team made its way into the win column on Saturday with a pair of wins at Gunnison, 16-10 and 22-4.

The Longhorns improved to 2-2 overall this season after losses to Rifle (11-1) and Glenwood Springs (6-5) to open play. BHS is hoping to make a return trip to the state tournament after its surprise run through regionals last season.

Weather permitting, Basalt is scheduled to host Steamboat Springs on Tuesday and Aspen on Wednesday.

Aspen played twice on Saturday at Moffat County, losing 9-8 and 15-2 to drop to 0-5 overall. The Skiers are off until Wednesday’s game with the Longhorns.

Basalt soccer ties with Middle Park

The Basalt High School girls soccer team hosted Middle Park on Saturday, a game that resulted in a 4-4 overtime draw.

Now 3-2-1 overall, the Longhorns are scheduled to host Roaring Fork in a non-league game on Monday.

Aspen girls soccer did not play this weekend. At 5-0 overall, the Skiers next play Tuesday at Delta before going to Basalt on Thursday.

acolbert@aspentimes.com

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Aspen Skiing Co. banks on summer business to diversify interests, hedge against climate change https://www.aspentimes.com/news/aspen-skiing-co-banks-on-summer-business-to-diversify-interests-hedge-against-climate-change/ Sun, 10 Apr 2022 04:00:00 +0000 https://www.aspentimes.com/news/aspen-skiing-co-banks-on-summer-business-to-diversify-interests-hedge-against-climate-change/
Eight young climbers tackle the routes on the Rugged Ascent Climbing Wall at the top of the Elk Camp Gondola on Snowmass on Monday, June 21, 2021. Summer business at the Lost Forest adventure center is steadily growing. (Kelsey Brunner/Snowmass Sun)

Aspen Skiing Co. officials are thrilled that summer visits are becoming a bigger part of the business portfolio, but not just because it puts more money in the company’s pockets.

Nurturing summer business is also a good hedge for a company dependent on snow on a warming planet.

Skico invested $10 million in the middle of the last decade to add a variety of activities at Snowmass — canopy cruiser zip line, a ropes challenge course, the Breathtaker alpine coaster and a climbing wall. It has also invested to a lesser extent on amenities at the top of Aspen Mountain.

The investments are paying off.

“Lost Forest came online in 2018 and visitation has increased double digits each year,” said Skico Vice President of Communications Jeff Hanle.

Meanwhile, the number of customers who purchased a summer lift ticket to haul a bicycle up and and scream down several thousand vertical feet on the specially built trails in the bike park at Snowmass have doubled in the past five years.

Over at Aspen Mountain, summer visits have remained relatively flat in the past few years, in part because of a shortened operating season in 2021 when the wire cable on the Silver Queen Gondola was replaced.

“Overall our summer visitation has seen a steady increase,” Hanle said.

Skico President and CEO Mike Kaplan said in an interview last month that building summer business is one of the company’s accomplishments he is most proud of during his 16 years at the helm. Kaplan, 57, announced in March he will retire at the end of next ski season.

Adding summer amenities was a big part of Kaplan’s strategy to diversify and add to the ski business.

“It’s a big deal and it’s really taken off,” he told The Aspen Times last month. “It’s proven up and we’re thinking of what Summer 2.0 looks like in terms of next phase of bike trails and experiences on the mountain.”

But promoting activities that aren’t dependent on snow is also a survival strategy.

“Obviously the climate issue is the biggest looming issue upon us,” Kaplan said of the ski industry and mountain communities dependent on winter tourism. “We’re dealing with it every month now. Yeah, we’ve had a great year, but look back on how (winter snow) came in and when it came in and the temperatures — it shows how it’s weirding out. You look at the West Coast, basically California had one storm.”

National Geographic magazine reported in its March issue that low-altitude ski resorts in the Alps are fighting for their lives. Many of them must adapt — or wither.

As the magazine reported, a small increase in warming might not sound like much, but it determines if precipitation falls as snow or rain. The warmer it gets, the less snow falls.

It’s not just a problem for the 1,100 ski lift operators in the Alps. The Brooks Mountain Range in the U.S. and Canada has experienced the first snow falling three days later and the last snow day coming 12 days earlier over the past 21 years, according to National Geographic.

In Aspen, there were about 30 more frost-free days between 2010-2018 than there were between 1980 and 1989, according to an analysis of weather records by the Aspen Global Change Institute.

Skico is attempting to make its bread-and-butter product — skiing — less susceptible to climate change. It added snowmaking coverage on the upper third of Aspen Mountain two seasons ago. In winter 2023-24, it will add skiing on north- and northeast-facing slopes in the Pandora’s area of Aspen Mountain. Those slopes are above 10,000 feet and hold snow well due to the elevation and aspect.

People ride the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster on Tuesday, July 23, 2019, at Snowmass Ski Area.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

“Our winter seasons have been shortening,” Hanle said. As a result, it makes sense for Skico to offer activities such as the alpine coaster at Snowmass in case ski season openings are delayed in the future, he noted.

But to put conditions into perspective, Aspen Skiing Co. doesn’t figure it will evolve into Aspen Summer Co. any time soon. Hanle said most of the company’s summer offerings are intended to be alternative activities for people already visiting the area rather than activities that attract people to the area on their own.

“It’s less of a destination driver than skiing in the winter,” Hanle said.

The lone exception might by the downhill mountain bike park, which attracts some riders to Snowmass specifically for the experience.

Skico is exploring ways to better utilize its summer amenities to increase business and possible expansion of the bike park.

Skico typically racks up 1.4 million skier and snowboard rider visits per winter. The company won’t release specific summer visit numbers but Hanle said it is a small fraction of the winter numbers.

“We’re not anywhere near there,” he said. “It’s going to continue to grow, but I don’t think it’s going to come close to what we do in the winter.”

scondon@aspentimes.com

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Willoughby: Finding silver not exactly a science https://www.aspentimes.com/news/local/willoughby-finding-silver-not-exactly-a-science/ Sun, 10 Apr 2022 03:39:00 +0000 https://www.aspentimes.com/news/willoughby-finding-silver-not-exactly-a-science/

My father spent over 20 years underground deciphering the mysteries of where silver could be found. As a young man he grilled the old-timers on the subject, sorting out their personal experience from the rumors.

The ore deposition of the Little Annie and Midnight mines was different than the town side of Aspen Mountain and the Smuggler Mountain mines. He also had geology reports to peruse, although he once told me that geologists were not good at giving specific locations but once found, they could explain why silver was there. Extensive experience in a section of the vast Aspen mineral lode was the best guide.

The following analogy might help you understand the complications and difficulty in searching for Aspen silver.

Map showing the complicated geology of the Midnight Mine.
Willoughby collection

Picture a truck loaded with 5-pound bags of flour stacked to the top of the bed but with the tailgate missing. The truck is making deliveries on Red Mountain going up the main road but also taking trips along the side streets. On the steep grade a few bags fall out of the truck. Some split open when they land, spewing flour all over the road; others remain intact, but some are run over by other vehicles, squishing them into a pancake shape.

There are chuck holes and every time the truck hits one, bags fall off. On the way up the driver brakes for a deer and a large pile falls out. Every time he comes back to the main road he slams on the brake at the stop sign and a few bags drop. On the side streets the driver stops, gets in the back, and throws the bags of flour into the yards of some of the houses, puts others in the mailboxes, and for others with big orders stacks them at the end of the driveway.

A few hours later a snowstorm moves in, covering everything with 2 feet of snow. When spring comes, melting snow dissolves the paper bags and washes the flour into rivulets heading in all directions. The lower on the mountain the more flour accumulates. Instead of patching the chuckholes, the main road is repaved, covering the flour. The water company digs new trenches truncating the layers.

Then think of someone tasked with finding all of the lost flour and you get some idea of what miners faced. Just add that a windstorm blew in a hundred feet of dirt to cover everything and to find the flour you had to dig underground and look in the dark.

Your most important guide would be to follow the pavement. For Aspen’s silver they followed fault lines, with the main fault being the Castle Creek Fault that went from Ashcroft to Red Mountain and then followed all of the many faults that transected it. The most silver was found where they intersected.

You have to think three-dimensionally. There are geologic layers, so think of the asphalt as a geologic layer; Aspen and Leadville silver was found near the Leadville Limestone formation. The layers were horizontal when formed but tilted later. The tilt was fairly predictable in Aspen, so it would be like the Red Mountain Road grade, although much steeper. However, think of the bags thrown into the yards away from the asphalt. That happened with silver, too.

The smashed bags give you an idea of another challenge. Silver was found along the fault lines near the limestone in small amounts that were not profitable to mine. Miners would follow the traces hoping it would lead to larger amounts, but if you are tunneling along the asphalt flour traces and you are on one side of the road and the bag that dropped off fell on the other side, you might not find it. There were many tunnels and shafts in Aspen that never produced payable ore.

Water flowing through and over the flour would move it, transform it and redeposit it in other places. That is what happened to Aspen’s silver. In some mines more silver accumulated at the lower levels; in others the lead accumulated at the lower levels.

Finding silver was not just luck; miners, especially experienced ones, deciphered the geologic layers and patterns underground. Small changes in the color or the density of the rock they were tunneling through gave them clues. They knew when they crossed fault lines.

Aspen miners crisscrossed at different levels under the mountains for over 70 years. Did they find all the silver? No.

Tim Willoughby’s family story parallels Aspen’s. He began sharing folklore while teaching Aspen Country Day School and Colorado Mountain College. Now a tourist in his native town, he views it with historical perspective. Reach him at redmtn2@comcast.net.

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Photos: Wetdown ceremony celebrates arrival of two new Aspen fire engines https://www.aspentimes.com/news/photos-wetdown-ceremony-celebrates-arrival-of-two-new-aspen-fire-engines/ Sat, 09 Apr 2022 22:13:29 +0000 https://www.aspentimes.com/news/photos-wetdown-ceremony-celebrates-arrival-of-two-new-aspen-fire-engines/
Addison Cohen, 5, whose father Adam Cohen is a volunteer firefighter, holds the hose as the Aspen Fire Protection District celebrates the arrival of two new fire trucks with a traditional "Wet Down, Push Back" ceremony on Saturday, April 9, 2022, in downtown Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

The Aspen Fire Protection District celebrated the arrival of two new fire engines with a traditional “wetdown” ceremony Saturday at its fire station in downtown Aspen.

The tradition dates to the 1800s when horses would pull the apparatus, or pumpers, to fires and then people would push the apparatus back into its bay for cleaning.

In more modern times, the wetdowns — held mostly by volunteer fire departments such as Aspen’s — ceremonially put new engines into service. Aspen Fire Chief Rick Balentine led Saturday’s free community event, which included a traditional truck blessing from Father Darrick Leier of St. Mary Catholic Church in Aspen.

The two new Aspen fire engines were purchased as part of a 2018 mill levy that raised property taxes and provided an additional $3.3 million annually to the Aspen Fire Protection District.

“It allowed Aspen Fire the funding desperately needed to upgrade and maintain our fleet,” Balentine said during his intro, “to help ensure that our fire department has the most up-to-date and response-worthy apparatus and equipment possible for every type of emergency … to proudly serve our community.”

The main act of the wetdown is the first wash, when the retiring fire engines spray the new engines with water. Members of the Aspen community, notably children, were allowed to help hold the hoses.

Afterward, everyone came together to push the new engines into their waiting bays and helped dry them off with commemorative towels handed out by the Aspen firefighters.

The ceremony was capped off with a free community lunch and tours of the new fire engines.

Tucker Kinney of Roaring Fork Fire Rescue helps hold the fire hose as kids spray the new Aspen Fire Protection District engines during a community celebration, a traditional "Wet Down, Push Back" ceremony, on Saturday, April 9, 2022, in downtown Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
Aspen Fire Protection District Chief Rick Balentine makes introductions before celebrating the arrival of two new fire trucks with a traditional "Wet Down, Push Back" ceremony on Saturday, April 9, 2022, in downtown Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
Aspen Fire Protection District Chief Rick Balentine, right, takes part in a blessing before celebrating the arrival of two new fire trucks with a traditional "Wet Down, Push Back" ceremony on Saturday, April 9, 2022, in downtown Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
Father Darrick Leier of St. Mary Catholic Church blesses the new fire engines as the Aspen Fire Protection District celebrates the arrival of two new fire trucks with a traditional "Wet Down, Push Back" ceremony on Saturday, April 9, 2022, in downtown Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
Father Darrick Leier of St. Mary Catholic Church blesses the new fire engines as the Aspen Fire Protection District celebrates the arrival of two new fire trucks with a traditional "Wet Down, Push Back" ceremony on Saturday, April 9, 2022, in downtown Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
The Aspen Fire Protection District celebrates the arrival of two new fire trucks with a traditional "Wet Down, Push Back" ceremony on Saturday, April 9, 2022, in downtown Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
The Aspen Fire Protection District celebrates the arrival of two new fire trucks with a traditional "Wet Down, Push Back" ceremony on Saturday, April 9, 2022, in downtown Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
The Aspen Fire Protection District celebrates the arrival of two new fire trucks with a traditional "Wet Down, Push Back" ceremony on Saturday, April 9, 2022, in downtown Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
The Aspen Fire Protection District celebrates the arrival of two new fire trucks with a traditional "Wet Down, Push Back" ceremony on Saturday, April 9, 2022, in downtown Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
The Aspen Fire Protection District celebrates the arrival of two new fire trucks with a traditional "Wet Down, Push Back" ceremony on Saturday, April 9, 2022, in downtown Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
The Aspen Fire Protection District celebrates the arrival of two new fire trucks with a traditional "Wet Down, Push Back" ceremony on Saturday, April 9, 2022, in downtown Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
The Aspen Fire Protection District celebrates the arrival of two new fire trucks with a traditional "Wet Down, Push Back" ceremony on Saturday, April 9, 2022, in downtown Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
The Aspen Fire Protection District celebrates the arrival of two new fire trucks with a traditional "Wet Down, Push Back" ceremony on Saturday, April 9, 2022, in downtown Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
The Aspen Fire Protection District celebrates the arrival of two new fire trucks with a traditional "Wet Down, Push Back" ceremony on Saturday, April 9, 2022, in downtown Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
One of the new fire engines is pushed back into its bay as the Aspen Fire Protection District celebrates the arrival of two new fire trucks with a traditional "Wet Down, Push Back" ceremony on Saturday, April 9, 2022, in downtown Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
A truck is wiped down as the Aspen Fire Protection District celebrates the arrival of two new fire engines with a traditional "Wet Down, Push Back" ceremony on Saturday, April 9, 2022, in downtown Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
A child dries off a fire engine as the Aspen Fire Protection District celebrates the arrival of two new fire trucks with a traditional "Wet Down, Push Back" ceremony on Saturday, April 9, 2022, in downtown Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
Lunch is served as the Aspen Fire Protection District celebrates the arrival of two new fire trucks with a traditional "Wet Down, Push Back" ceremony on Saturday, April 9, 2022, in downtown Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

acolbert@aspentimes.com

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Silverthorne I-70 project slated to begin next week; left-turn lanes at Exit 205 will be shortened https://www.aspentimes.com/news/silverthorne-i-70-project-slated-to-begin-next-week-left-turn-lanes-at-exit-205-will-be-shortened/ Summit Daily]]> Sat, 09 Apr 2022 17:11:00 +0000 https://www.aspentimes.com/news/silverthorne-i-70-project-slated-to-begin-next-week-left-turn-lanes-at-exit-205-will-be-shortened/
As part of the I-70 auxiliary lane project that will affect the 203 and the 205 Exits, the Colorado Department of Transportation will shorten the left-turn lanes under I-70. ​​This will affect drivers turning left toward Denver and travelers turning from U.S. 6 onto the I-70 ramp toward Frisco.
Tripp Fay/For the Summit Daily News

Drivers going through Silverthorne should expect to face night work near the 205 Exit for the next few months, starting on Monday, April 11.

As part of the Interstate 70 auxiliary lane project that will affect the 203 and the 205 exits, the Colorado Department of Transportation will be shortening the left-turn lanes under the interstate. ​​This will affect drivers turning onto I-70 toward Denver and travelers turning from U.S. Highway 6 onto the I-70 ramp toward Frisco.

During night work, crews will finish by 6 a.m. in order to minimize the effects to commuter traffic.

Elise Thatcher, communications manager for the northwest region of CDOT, said on Thursday that CDOT will phase into night work because of uncertain weather in April.

“The first round of work really takes place underneath I-70 in that (U.S.) Highway 6 and (Colorado) Highway 9 area, so we’re going to be doing work right underneath I-70,” Thatcher said. “The main goal is to make sure that we’re getting that work out of the way as soon as possible and certainly before the busiest part of the summer season. They’ll have some of the biggest impacts, and we want to get it taken care of before there’s a lot more folks visiting the area and a lot more vehicles on the road.”

Thatcher said that travelers who use these onramps should budget for an extra 20 minutes of travel time because of construction impacts.

Silverthorne Town Council, representatives from CDOT and the construction firm tasked with the project met on March 23 to discuss potential impacts to the town when the large-scale project begins. In total, the project will affect the area between mile markers 202 and 207 of the interstate. From April 2022 until September 2023, crews plan to: repave and restripe eastbound lanes; widen the bridges over U.S. 6 and the Blue River; build deer fencing in both directions of the interstate between mile markers 203 and 205; improve trucker parking and build a longer deceleration lane at the 205 offramp. The department does not plan to deal with westbound lanes between Silverthorne and Frisco.

The goal of the project in 2022 is to complete any traffic delays before July, CDOT resident engineer Grant Anderson told the Town Council in March.

This project is one of several that will occur on this part of the I-70 corridor this construction season. Near Vail Pass, CDOT has planned to continue a nine-figure upgrade to I-70 that will also start this month, and that work will involve lane closures and rock blasting, stopping the interstate in both directions for up to 30 minutes. Construction on that project will continue through the summer and into the fall.

According to the project fact sheet for the auxiliary lane project, CDOT is encouraging travelers to use its CoTrip app in order to watch real-time impacts caused by its projects along the interstate across the state.

“Other projects on I-70 are happening in close proximity. These each have their own prime contractors and construction times,” the overview reads. “The I-70 construction teams are in close communication to help keep the public informed.”

State infrastructure and emergency services leaders also concluded that in the event that Glenwood Canyon’s portion of the interstate is closed due to mudslides, detours would go through Silverthorne. Specifically, westbound traffic from Denver will be routed north on state Highway 9 from Silverthorne to U.S. Highway 40 through Steamboat Springs to Craig, then back down Colorado Highway 13 to Rifle on I-70. Eastbound traffic will follow the opposite route.

Last year during mudslides, traffic was backed up as far north as Silverthorne’s Willowbrook neighborhood — almost 3.5 miles north of the ramp — and drivers began cutting through the Smith Ranch community.

 

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Bond review scheduled in Glenwood Springs stabbing ahead of defendant’s 18th birthday https://www.aspentimes.com/news/bond-review-scheduled-in-glenwood-springs-stabbing-ahead-of-defendants-18th-birthday/ Sat, 09 Apr 2022 16:15:00 +0000 https://www.aspentimes.com/news/bond-review-scheduled-in-glenwood-springs-stabbing-ahead-of-defendants-18th-birthday/

A juvenile defendant charged as an adult for attempted murder in a March 8 stabbing incident at a south Glenwood Springs home had his first hearing in adult court Thursday.

The next step before Angel Rivas Tellez turns 18 on May 13 will be to review a $250,000 bond that was set last month when the 9th District Attorney’s Office charged him as an adult and refiled his case in Garfield County District Court.

Once Tellez turns 18, he will have to be transferred from the Grand Mesa Youth Detention Center to the Garfield County Jail, unless he is able to make bond, public defender Elise Myer told District Judge James Boyd at the Thursday hearing.

Boyd agreed to set a bond review hearing ahead of that key date, the afternoon of April 22.

At a March 23 juvenile court hearing, Myer requested a much lower bond of $15,000-$20,000.

Myer also anticipates requesting what’s called a reverse-transfer hearing, where the judge would be asked to determine if the case should be moved back to juvenile court.

That’s unlikely to occur until a clinical psychologist can evaluate Tellez and provide a report. The earliest that could happen is June 9, Myer said.

In the meantime, she said she is still reviewing discovery from the police investigation in the case, including body camera footage and medical records of the alleged victim.

Tellez faces felony charges of attempted murder and burglary for allegedly breaking into the victim’s home using a crowbar on a basement window around 2 a.m. March 8, going to the man’s bedroom and stabbing him “at least 30 times” before fleeing the scene, according to an account provided by Deputy District Attorney Tony Hershey at the March court hearing.

The victim was transported to an area hospital and survived his injuries.

At the Thursday hearing, Hershey asked that a protection order in place for the victims in the case, including a third-party acquaintance of Tellez and the victim, be transferred from the juvenile case to the new District Court case. Judge Boyd agreed.

In the earlier hearing, Hershey painted a picture of a premeditated crime in which Tellez allegedly played crime games with friends and kept notes on how to break into a home with the intent of committing a violent crime.

Following the incident, the surrounding neighborhood was initially on high alert while Glenwood Springs police investigated. Tellez was quickly identified as a likely suspect, and police indicated there was not an immediate public threat.

Hershey said at the March 23 hearing that there were enough concerns expressed by officials at Tellez’s school in Glenwood Springs that the higher bond is warranted. Additional evidence has been provided on that front, Hershey said Thursday.

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or jstroud@postindependent.com.

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The Drop-In: Hiking the Highland Bowl with adaptive athlete Tony Drees https://www.aspentimes.com/news/the-drop-in-hiking-the-highland-bowl-with-adaptive-athlete-tony-drees/ Sat, 09 Apr 2022 14:21:29 +0000 https://www.aspentimes.com/news/the-drop-in-hiking-the-highland-bowl-with-adaptive-athlete-tony-drees/

“Skiing is all of our love language, so I’m glad to share that with you guys,“ said adaptive athlete and Aspen-Snowamss resident Tony Drees to his friends and family as he set off for his first-ever Highland Bowl hike.

This episode of The Drop-In is something special. Join us as we make the hike up Highland Bowl with Tony Drees, who in his own words is “a one-legged guy out here celebrating my 101st day skiing.” This is Drees first ski season living in Aspen-Snowmass and he was determined to not only collect a 100-day pin in his inaugural season but also to hike the Bowl for the first time. It was a day of community, celebration and honoring why we all choose to be in the mountains.

Thanks to Tony, his wife Maria, Aspen Skiing Co., Aspen Highlands Ski Patrol, Challenge Aspen, his friends and everyone who came together and provided support to make this hike possible. It was definitely one of our favorite Bowl hikes to date!

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Jurors to resume deliberations Monday in attempted sex assault trial https://www.aspentimes.com/news/jurors-to-resume-deliberations-monday-in-attempted-sex-assault-trial/ Sat, 09 Apr 2022 07:02:25 +0000 https://www.aspentimes.com/news/jurors-to-resume-deliberations-monday-in-attempted-sex-assault-trial/

After spending most of Friday afternoon deliberating the fate of a Basalt man charged with attempting to rape an Aspen visitor in the bathroom of a downtown bar last summer, jurors were sent home after 5 p.m. without coming to a verdict.

Deliberations will resume Monday morning.

Robert Marlow, 41, is charged with attempted sexual assault, false imprisonment and indecent exposure in relation to the incident, which occurred at Aspen Public House in the early morning hours of July 7.

Jurors received the case about 12:30 p.m. after lawyers concluded closing arguments and deliberated until about 5:20 p.m., when District Judge Chris Seldin called them back into the courtroom to check on their progress. At least two jurors indicated they had other obligations and could not continue the deliberations Friday evening, and Seldin sent them home for the weekend.

The 24-year-old victim in the case — a resident of Washington, D.C. — testified Wednesday that a drunken Marlow followed her in to a bathroom at Public House about 1 a.m., forced her up against the wall, blocked her from leaving, pulled down his pants and boxers and told her she couldn’t leave. The woman, who was convinced she was about to be raped, said she screamed, then kicked and punched Marlow before ducking under his arm and running out.

Marlow testified in his own defense Friday and told jurors he worked as a heavy equipment operator in Glenwood Springs during the day on July 6, then met a friend for two beers at a brewery nearby. He said he returned to his home at Aspen Skiing Co.’s tiny-home development — he worked for Skico as a lift mechanic the previous winter — in the mid-Roaring Fork Valley, where he ate and showered.

Marlow said he then drove to Aspen and went to Eric’s Bar, where he was employed as a security doorman but was not on duty that night, and had five beers and two shots. He also said he “scored” a gram of cocaine from a co-worker at the bar and did two or three “key bumps” in the bathroom.

Marlow testified that he’d done cocaine more than 50 times before, but that this time it affected him differently and made him sluggish and discombobulated instead of stimulated. Not long after ingesting the cocaine, he said his co-worker noticed he was very intoxicated and asked him to leave the bar “before you make an ass of yourself.”

“I definitely appeared pretty wasted to him,” Marlow said.

He then walked over the Aspen Public House, where he said he was thinking of doing more cocaine. He testified that he remembered sitting down at a table near the bathrooms and remembered getting up to go to the bathroom to do more drugs.

That was when Marlow said he remembered hearing a woman scream, but had “no clue what was going on.”

“Obviously there was a woman in the bathroom and she ran out the door,” he said.

He then left the bar after a bartender asked him to go, and walked around Aspen aimlessly looking for his car while hallucinating lights and colors until 4:30 a.m. When police showed up at his home two days later, Marlow said he didn’t know why they were there and thought maybe he’d gotten into a fight.

Prosecutor Don Nottingham, however, played a video of Marlow’s interview with an Aspen Police detective, where he said he remembered a girl screaming. Marlow then admitted he knew the police visit had to do with his interaction in the bathroom with the woman who screamed.

Marlow said he “froze” when he heard the scream and recalled the woman running out the bathroom door.

“Anybody that screams like that — it is terrifying,” he said. “Because it is an emergency sound. They were loud. They were very scary — like horror movie screams. It did scare me and it did make me freeze.”

Nottingham pointed out that Marlow appeared to remember many details of the night, except the 15 seconds when the victim screamed, kicked and punched her way out of the bathroom, the audio of which was recorded on a video surveillance camera outside the bathrooms. Marlow confirmed that he did not remember what happened inside the bathroom.

“Of course, that’s when his memory goes blank,” Nottingham said in his closing arguments. “If he wasn’t trying to sexually assault her in the Public House bathroom, what could he possibly have been doing? What other possible explanation can there be for that? There is none.”

Scott Troxell, Marlow’s public defender, cast doubt on the victim’s version of events, criticized police for not gathering DNA evidence or even photos of the victim’s alleged bruises and said the facts “fall short of what is alleged by the prosecution.” He said her clothes were not ruffled or stretched and that there was no proof Marlow committed any act of force on her.

“(The victim) was traumatized,” Troxell said. “But that doesn’t mean everything that came out of her mouth (in testimony) was the truth.”

He said Marlow never assaulted the woman.

“I ask you to find that Mr. Marlow did not commit any act of force on the victim,” Troxell said. “If anything, it was unlawful sexual contact.”

jauslander@aspentimes.com

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On the Fly: Local alliance enhances rivers, protects fish https://www.aspentimes.com/news/local/on-the-fly-local-alliance-enhances-rivers-protects-fish/ Sat, 09 Apr 2022 04:39:00 +0000 https://www.aspentimes.com/news/on-the-fly-local-alliance-enhances-rivers-protects-fish/

Rivers need ambassadors, and the Roaring Fork Fishing Guide Alliance is making major impacts towards the enjoyment and health of our local waters by promoting etiquette, communication and driving home a strong catch-and-release mindset. Their mission statement is simple: “Professional fishing guides dedicated to the protection and conservation of the Roaring Fork region fisheries.”

RFFGA
Logo image courtesy of the RFFGA

Like everywhere in the Rocky Mountain west, we are seeing increased traffic on local rivers, streams and lakes. Local fly shops and guide services are glad to have renewed interest in their pursuits, and the Guide Alliance is helping manage increasing usage by promoting the Golden Rule of courtesy whether wading or floating. One major impact recently implemented is annual spring and fall spawning closure signs at certain creeks on the Colorado and Roaring Fork, plus easing the stresses of busy boat ramps with prominent signage explaining ramp etiquette to new or visiting anglers.

The RFFGA promotes kindness on local waters, urging everyone to honor each other’s space and respect private property. Guiding on public water is a privilege, not a right, and members pledge to know and obey our local rules and regulations. Alliance members promote friendly education to anglers they encounter trespassing, fishing over spawning areas, poaching and over-playing fish.

The Guide Alliance had a major role in protecting vulnerable trout in recent years. Low and warm flows the last few summers presented challenges in our lower-elevation fisheries, therefor the Roaring Fork Conservancy, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the RFFGA teamed up to implement closures when concerning temperatures were observed. In a nutshell, these folks are trying their best to protect our local fishery and promote ethical and legal usage. If you are interested in contributing or becoming a member, reach out and join the team by sending an email to rffguidealliance@gmail.com or send a letter to: RFFGA, PO Box 4112, Basalt CO, 81621

This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374 or TaylorCreek.com.

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