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LAST CALL AT O’BANNON’S CHANGING OF THE GUARD GETTING WHERE YOU WANT TO GO KICK THE CAIRN
1036 HARCOURT TRAIL Hastings Mesa 3 Bed • Views • Privacy • 54 Acres $1,268,000
133 VICTORIA DRIVE Mountain Village 7 Bed • End of Road Privacy • Ski-Out Access $7,295,000
119 LODGES LANE Mountain Village 7 Bed • 6 Bath • 6,517 s.f. • Ski Access $3,578,000
CASSIDY RIDGE UNIT D401 Mountain Village 4 Bed Flat • Vaulted Ceilings • Views $2,750,000
R&R RANCH Pleasant Valley 6 Bed • 18,667 s.f. w/ Guest House • 28 Acres $6,950,000
LAUGHING DOG RANCH Specie Mesa 5 Bed • 4 Stall Horse Barn • 105 Acres $2,325,000
PTARMIGAN RANCH LOTS 5&6 Wilson Mesa 168 Acres • Irrigation • 2 Wells $3,195,000
438 BENCHMARK DRIVE Mountain Village 7 Bed • Guest House • Slopeside $8,950,000
VALENTINE FARM Horse Ranch, Norwood 7 Bed • 10 Stall Stable • 120 Acres $4,375,000
BLUE MESA UNIT 6 Mountain Village 4 Bed • Remodeled • Prime Location $1,118,000
WEST FORK DOLORES RIVER Surrounded by National Forest 2 Bed • 91 Acres • Riverfront • Fishing $3,195,000
292 BEAVER POND LANE Ski Ranches 4 Bed • Wilson Views • Borders NFS $1,365,000
Stephen Cieciuch (Chet-chu) Director Find more photos and details about these properties and search all Telluride area real estate at TellurideAreaRealEstate.com
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16 • SUMMER/FALL 2016
Behind the Sunglasses
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
The who, what, where, and when in Telluride this season
Depression and mental illness
Athletic advice from our mountain guru
Running a business: Erich Owen, Becca Tudor, and Keith Hampton
The Case for Cairn Kicking (With Discretion) Craig Childs on the ubiquitous marking of routes
Changing of the Guard
Getting Where You Want to Go
Last Call at O’Bannon’s Irish Pub
44 48 56
Running a rural county in Colorado
Telluride Mountain Club advocates for access
Requiem for Telluride’s legendary dive bar
In the Crosshairs Amy Irvine on hunting
The golf course that once occupied the Valley Floor
What it takes to get big music acts to perform in a small town
True stories of Latina women in Telluride
Improbable Fortunes by Jeff Price; “Grand,” by Erika Moss Gordon
Predator and prey: Wolves in Colorado
Pandora mill, hub for the arts, regulating drones, and marijuana industry
COLOR BY NUMBERS
An index of facts and figures
A LAST LOOK
Skateboarding in the park, by Craig Wasserman
REDEFINED MOUNTAIN LIVING
Daniel E. Dockray 970-708-0666 email@example.com
E L KS T O N E2 1 . C O M
18 • SUMMER/FALL 2016
Telluride Magazine is produced by Telluride Publishing LLC, a locally owned and operated company. PUBLISHER TELLURIDE PUBLISHING LLC ~~~
ADVERTISING EXECUTIVE JENNY PAGE
AMY IRVINE Amy Irvine (“In the Crosshairs,” pp. 44-46) lives and writes in Telluride. Her essays have appeared in Orion, Climbing, High Desert Journal, and the Patagonia catalog. Irvine is a faculty fellow in the MFA program at Southern New Hampshire University, and her memoir, Trespass: Living at the Edge of the Promised Land, received the Orion Book Award, the Colorado Book Award and the Ellen Meloy Desert Writers Award. She is increasingly conflicted about what constitutes an ethical and healthy diet.
EDITOR DEB DION KEES ~~~
CREATIVE DIRECTOR KRISTAL RHODES ~~~
DISTRIBUTION TELLURIDE DELIVERS ~~~
WEB ADMINISTRATOR SUSAN HAYSE ~~~
GUS GUSCIORA Telluride photographer Gus Gusciora (“Last Call at O’Bannon’s,” pp. 38–40) has been contributing to Telluride Magazine and several national publications for about a decade and a half. Also a part-time filmmaker, Gusciora shot the opening scene for his first short climbing film at O’Bannon’s back in 1999, with Harry’s blessing. He remembers that O.B.’s was a bit smaller and there was only one pool table, but even back then the jukebox was pumping out classic rock anthems for early afternoon drinking sessions, a tradition that continued until the plug was pulled this spring.
CRAIG CHILDS Craig Childs (“The Case for Cairn Kicking,” pp. 32-33) has published more than a dozen critically acclaimed books, including his most recent, Apocalyptic Planet, which won the Orion Book Award and the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Men’s Journal, and Outside and he’s an occasional commentator on NPR. A father, traveler, and rock-hugger, Childs has been migrating around the Gunnison and San Miguel drainages for more than 25 years. Currently, he lives at the edge of the canyons west of Norwood where he keeps tracks of the sun’s movements on the horizon.
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Suzanne Cheavens, Craig Childs, Martinique Davis, Elizabeth Guest, Geoff Hanson, Amy Irvine, Caitlin Ketel, Paul O’Rourke, Cara Pallone, Jeff Price, Heather Sackett, Rob Story, Lance Waring ~~~
CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Ryan Bonneau, Brenda Colwell, Gus Gusciora, Whit Richardson, Brett Schreckengost, Kane Sheidegger, Craig Wasserman ~~~
WWW.TELLURIDEMAGAZINE.COM Telluride Publishing produces the San Juan Skyway Visitor Guide and Telluride Magazine. Current and past issues are available on our website.. © 2016 Telluride Publishing L.L.C. For editorial inquiries call 970.708.0060 or email firstname.lastname@example.org For advertising information call 970.729.0913 or email email@example.com The annual subscription rate is $14.95. Cover and contents are fully protected and must not be reproduced in any manner without written permission from the publisher. ~~~
ON THE COVER All roads lead home: Photo by Ryan Bonneau and illustration by Fred Birchman.
DIGITAL PARTNER www.TellurideMagazine.com
Behind the Sunglasses
ummer in Telluride means you get to be incognito. Throw on your shades and wear them until the sun goes down in the late evening, and no one can tell if you look tired or have had a rough day, or that life has started to etch tiny, telling lines around your eyes. Sunglasses let you hide behind a façade, a mini-mask that reflects the pretty picture around you without letting people inside. In this issue, we’re taking a look behind the sunglasses, diving a little deeper into some Telluride stories. We take you downstairs and into the past of O’Bannon’s with a look back at its rowdy, 29-year run as Telluride’s dive bar before it moved to
its new Main Street spot this summer, (“Last Call at O’Bannon’s,” pp. 38-40). We take you up into the high country trails and give you some background on the work that went into maintaining public access to some of Telluride’s best hikes, bike rides, and climbs, (“Getting Where You Want to Go,” pp. 36-37). We offer some context and perspective on rural politics and the new term limits imposed on county commissioners (“Changing of the Guard,” pp. 34-35). And we take you behind the scenes of the music festivals in Telluride with the insider scoop on what it takes to bring legendary musicians to a tiny town in Colorado, (“The Rider,” p. 56).
The essays we host in this issue are likewise introspective. Craig Childs shares his feelings about cairns in the wilderness (“The Case for Cairn Kicking,” pp. 32-33), and Amy Irvine opens up about her first hunting excursion (“In the Crosshairs,” pp. 44-46). We also give you a peek at the groundbreaking new play by Jennie Franks, based on the true stories of Latina women in our community (“Out of the Shadows,” p. 58), and our Mountain Health feature reveals some of the sobering statistics about mental health and suicide in our mountain town. Inside you’ll also find an excerpt of Improbable Fortunes and a poem by Erika Moss Gordon, and you’ll SUMMER/FALL 2016
get to meet three local business owners who, when they are not running their respective establishments, are running marathons and races. And readers will get some of the backstory about the saving of the Pandora Mill, the plans for the new arts hub, the maturing local marijuana industry, the introduction of the Mexican gray wolf, and the regulation of aerial drone photography. We hope you enjoy this issue of Telluride Magazine,
Deb Dion Kees Deb Dion Kees, Editor, Telluride Magazine
20 • EVENT CALENDAR Summer/Fall 2016
26 GONDOLA OPENS FOR SUMMER/FALL SEASON 27–30 MOUNTAINFILM IN TELLURIDE – The festival celebrates the outdoors, featuring films about adventure and ecology, symposiums, and lectures. mountainfilm.org
museum premieres its new exhibit, “Treasure Maps: Cartography of the American Southwest,” from 6–8 p.m. telluridemuseum.org
leads this funky jazz and soul band as they perform at Club Red at the Telluride Conference Center. tellurideconference.com
2 TELLURIDE HISTORICAL MUSEUM EXHIBIT OPENS – The
3–5 TELLURIDE BALLOON FESTIVAL – Watch hot air balloons soar above the San Miguel Valley or stroll past them, tethered and aglow on main street during the early evening. Balloons launch at sunrise, weather permitting.
1 PALM KIDZ: ANN LINCOLN – Ann Lincoln takes the stage
9–12 TELLURIDE WOW FESTIVAL – A weekend festival celebrating fitness, wellness, and health with presentations and events. telluridewow.com
1–2 CIRCUS HOLUS BOLUS – Telluride Academy’s annual
13 BEN NICHOLS OF LUCERO BIKERIDERS TOUR – Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Ben Nichols, the frontman for the Memphis-based alt-country band Lucero takes the stage to perform at Club Red. tellurideconference.com
3 RED, WHITE & BLUES CELEBRATION – Mountain Village kicks off the Fourth of July celebrations with events in the Heritage and Sunset plazas. townofmountainvillage.com
13 TELLURIDE ACADEMY OPENS – Telluride Academy kicks off
of the gondola in Telluride to the top of the ridge adjacent to the gondola mid-station. The race starts at 8 a.m. and is organized by the Telluride Foundation.
its summer season with its first session of camps. Check out their full schedule online. tellurideacademy.org
16–19 TELLURIDE BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL – This year marks the 42nd annual festival, one of the country’s most renowned bluegrass music events, held during the weekend of the summer solstice. This year’s lineup includes John Prine, Dave Rawlings Machine, Emmylou Harris, Ryan Adams, Greensky Bluegrass, Punch Brothers, Leftover Salmon, and more. bluegrass.com/telluride
1 KARL DENSON’S TINY UNIVERSE – Saxophonist Karl Denson
AH HAA SCHOOL FOR THE ARTS The Ah Haa School offers open drop-in classes in addition to its year-round classes for adults and youth, workshops, art trips and retreats, lectures, exhibitions, camps, and special events. Join Robert Weatherford for Painting from Within on various dates throughout the summer, and check out the full schedule of offerings online. ahhaa.org.
at the Palm Theatre to perform magic, juggling, circus skills, and comedy. Ann Lincoln shows are unique and fun for all ages. telluridepalm.com
Circus Holus Bolus comes to town, a family-friendly, fun spectacle. tellurideacademy.org
BOOK CLUBS Book discussions are held over libations at 5:15 p.m. one Friday of every month at Rico’s Bar in the Ice House Lodge, and the Cook Book Book Club meets one day a month at 6 p.m. on a Monday, where everyone shares a dish based on the theme and the recipes are put into a book to take home. telluridelibrary.org
4 RUNDOLA – The Rundola is an annual foot race from the base
CINEMATHEQUE AT THE LIBRARY Telluride Film Festival Cinematheque presents a series of classic movies for free on the first Monday of each month at 6 p.m. at the Wilkinson Public Library. telluridelibrary.org
4 TELLURIDE 4TH OF JULY CELEBRATION – Telluride’s
Independence Day features a parade, a community barbecue, games and activities for families in Town Park, and a grand fireworks display after dark.
FITNESS AND MEDITATION AT THE LIBRARY Wilkinson Public Library hosts a variety of free fitness classes, including Zumba, yoga, Pilates, and meditation. Check out the schedule at telluridelibrary.org
17 FIRSTGRASS – Mountain Village kicks off bluegrass weekend with a free outdoor concert on the Sunset Stage at 5 p.m. 23–26 TELLURIDE WINE FESTIVAL –The festival features four
LAWNCHAIR CLASSICS Classic family-friendly films are shown outdoors for free on the big screen at the plaza in Mountain Village at sunset on Thursday evenings June 23–August 11. Bring your own chairs, beverages, and snacks.
days of fine wines, seminars, tastings, winemakers’ luncheons, and cooking demonstrations. telluridewinefestival.com
29 SUNSET CONCERT SERIES – Free outdoor music on Wednesday evenings from 6–8 p.m. at the Sunset Stage in Mountain Village. townofmountainvillage.com
Landscape artists from across the country come to paint the region’s vistas; plein air painting is done outdoors, and the art is exhibited and sold to benefit the event’s host, the Sheridan Arts Foundation. The “Quick Draw” competition is July 3 and the exhibit and sale are July 4. sheridanoperahouse.com www.TellurideMagazine.com
28–July 4 12TH ANNUAL TELLURIDE PLEIN AIR FESTIVAL –
MARKET ON THE PLAZA Mountain Village hosts a farm and craft market with food, art, and jewelry produced in Colorado. The market is held at the Heritage Plaza June 15 through August 17, each Wednesday from 11 a.m.–4 p.m. townofmountainvillage.com
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22 • EVENT CALENDAR JULY
7 THE DOWNLOW: IT WAS A PHASE – Telluride Theatre hosts these intimate evenings of storytelling, where non-performers recount powerful personal stories based on a theme and share them with audiences. telluridetheatre.org
11–12 THE RIDE FESTIVAL – KOTO Community Radio hosts a two-day music concert in Town Park, featuring Pearl Jam, The Dirty Knobs, The Temperance Movement, Jerry Joseph & the Jackmormons, and more. ridefestival.com
SUMMER SPECTACULAR – Sheridan Arts Foundation hosts the final performance of its Summer Spectacular program, The Lion King, on July 15 at 1 p.m., and admission is free. The performance culminates a week of theater camp for kids ages 8–12. sheridanoperahouse.com
13, 20 & 27 SUNSET CONCERT SERIES – Free outdoor
music on Wednesday evenings from 6–8 p.m. at the Sunset Stage in Mountain Village. townofmountainvillage.com
15 AH HAA ART AUCTION – This madcap annual fundraiser for the local arts school features a live auction with entertainment and a silent auction for all types of artwork and prizes. This year marks the school’s 25th anniversary. ahhaa.org 15–17 HARDROCK HUNDRED – The Hardrock Hundred is a grueling 100.5-mile ultramarathon through the San Juan Mountains, starting and finishing in Silverton, Colorado.
16–17 ART + ARCHITECTURE WEEKEND – Take a tour of
the art installations, architectural demonstrations, and samples of design work and culinary arts at the Art + Architecture Weekend. Participants vote for their favorites at the closing party. telluridearts.org
16–23 ROMEO & JULIET – The tradition of “Shakespeare
in the Park” continues this summer with Telluride Theatre’s performance of the bard’s Romeo & Juliet. This is the 26th anniversary of Shakespeare in the Park, with performances at the Town Park Stage. telluridetheatre.org
19 THE SUBDUDES – Catch the zydeco/rock/r&b music of the
Subdudes, performing for one night only at the Sheridan Opera House. sheridanoperahouse.com
20–23 WELLNESS SYMPOSIUM – Renowned doctors
and researchers hold lectures about evidence-based medicine, answering questions about health.
3, 10 & 17 SUNSET CONCERT SERIES – Free outdoor
music on Wednesday evenings from 6–8 p.m. at the Sunset Stage in Mountain Village. townofmountainvillage.com
5 KOTO DUCK RACE – Sponsor a yellow rubber duck, and if it
floats down the San Miguel River fast enough, you can win a variety of prizes including a 2016-17 ski pass. The event is a benefit for KOTO community radio. koto.org
5–6 MUDD BUTT MYSTERY THEATRE – Catch the 30th
Anniversary shows of the Mudd Butts Mystery Theatre troupe. tellurideacademy.org
5–7 TELLURIDE JAZZ CELEBRATION – From international jazz legends to up-and-coming brass ensembles, the annual festival hosts the best of the genre at Town Park during the day and at the local venues in the evening. This year’s lineup features Jon Cleary, Galactic, Jon Scofield, Marcus Miller, The Rebirth Brass Band, and more. telluridejazz.org
21–24 TELLURIDE YOGA FESTIVAL – Yoga instructors from all over the world convene in Telluride to offer workshops in all types of yoga, meditation, and kirtan. tellurideyogafestival.com
7–13 BALLET COLLECTIVE – The Palm Arts Dance program hosts a ballet company in residency, the Ballet Collective, a critically acclaimed troupe led by artistic director Troy Schumacher and comprised of many talented New York City ballet dancers. The Ballet Collective’s residency will offer a public performance on Aug. 13 at the Palm Theatre. telluridepalm.com
22 PALM KIDZ: STEVE WEEKS – Steve Weeks performs music, storytelling, and comedy routines for children. Weeks has three songs that have reached #1 on Sirius XM’s Kids Place Live. telluridepalm.com
11–21 TELLURIDE CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL – Classical music concerts are held outdoors, at the Sheridan Opera House, and in various venues around town. There is a free concert in Town Park to kick off the week’s events. telluridechambermusic.org
23 TELLURIDE 100 – The 100-mile mountain bike race starts and finishes in Telluride and participants gain approximately 18,000 feet in elevation on the grueling course. Riders must purchase a Colorado Search & Rescue card to race. telluride100.com 27–31 TELLURIDE PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL – The festival offers a laboratory setting for actors, playwrights, and directors to network and to nurture new work. This summer the festival will present The Hispanic Women’s Project, a collection of true local stories playwrightsfestival.org 28 50TH ANNIVERSARY BLACK TIE GALA – Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Telluride Historical Museum in style, at 6:30 p.m. at the Peaks. telluridemuseum.org www.TellurideMagazine.com
PUNK SCIENCE The Pinhead Institute stages fun, interactive science experiments (atomic reactions, chemistry, physics, and more) for kids with PhD scientists on Tuesday evenings from 5:15–6 p.m. at Wilkinson Public Library for free from June 28 through August 2. Pinhead also hosts Mini Missions, Robotics, Computer Programming and other fun summer camps for kids—check out their full schedule online. pinheadinstitute.org RELIVING HISTORY Telluride Historical Museum hosts several programs periodically throughout the summer and fall, including Historic Walking Tours every Thursday afternoon at 1 p.m. (June 2 through August 25), Hike Into History Tours on Saturdays (June 25, July 23, and August 20), and Fireside Chats in Norwood and Mountain Village on Wednesday and Thursday evenings in August. telluridemuseum.org STORY TIME AND KIDS ACTIVITIES The Wilkinson Public Library hosts Story Time for children at 11 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays (at Elk’s Park on Wednesdays) with a special bilingual Story Time at 10:30 a.m. on Thursdays. Kids Cook program is at 1 p.m. on Mondays, summer games on the library patio are offered Friday afternoons at 3:30 p.m., and there are kids performances and free face painting every Friday at the Telluride Farmers Market. telluridelibrary.org SUNDAY AT THE PALM Telluride Film Festival, Telluride Foundation, and Telluride’s R-1 School District present family-friendly films on the first Sunday of each month at 4 p.m. at the Palm Theatre. SUNSET CONCERT SERIES Mountain Village hosts free outdoor concerts on Wednesday evenings June 29, July 13, 20, 27, August 3, 10, and 17, from 6-8 p.m. on the Sunset Plaza. townofmountainvillage.com
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24 • EVENT CALENDAR
22 THE DOWNLOW: TAKING THE PLUNGE – Telluride
artists compete for the coveted title in this annual fundraiser for One to One Mentoring, held at the Peaks Resort. onetoonetelluride.org
12–Sept 9 FALL FUNDRAISING – Telluride’s beloved local
radio station KOTO holds its semi-annual fundraising events on air and around town. koto.org
18–21 TELLURIDE MUSHROOM FESTIVAL – Symposiums,
classes, forays, and a parade all celebrate fungi in this fun weekend event. telluridemushroomfest.org
20 TELLURIDE THEATRE SINGS – A new event for Telluride
Theatre, featuring Telluride Theatre Orchestra Band, singers, and dancers covering an entire album. The performance will be theatricalized and staged at the Palm. telluridetheatre.org
25–27 WELLNESS SYMPOSIUM – Renowned doctors
and researchers hold lectures about evidence-based medicine, answering questions about health.
20–23 WELLNESS SYMPOSIUM – Renowned doctors
and researchers hold lectures about evidence-based medicine, answering questions about health.
24 MOUNTAINS TO DESERT RIDE & TELLURIDE 200 – Cyclists race from Telluride to Gateway Canyons Resort (or past the resort into the Unaweep Canyon for longer distance) in this annual fundraiser for the Just for Kids Foundation, which supports youth in the San Miguel watershed region. m2dbikeride.com 29–30 TELLURIDE FESTIVAL OF CARS & COLORS – An annual celebration for automobile enthusiasts with the mountain foliage as a backdrop. 2 LIVE AT THE PALM: CASHORE MARIONETTES – Joseph Cashore is a renowned puppeteer with more than 30 years of experience. Cashore presents dramatic stories set to beautiful music as he brings his marionettes to “life” on the Palm Theatre stage. telluridepalm.com
28 AN EVENING WITH KEN BURNS – Watch Ken Burns’
8 MET OPERA AT THE PALM – Catch Metropolitan Opera
The National Parks: America’s Best Idea series and meet the director at the Palm Theatre, hosted by the Telluride Historical Museum. The National Park Service celebrates its 100th anniversary this August. telluridemuseum.org
2–5 TELLURIDE FILM FESTIVAL – Telluride hosts an
internationally acclaimed film festival with world premieres, movie stars, filmmakers, directors, and a free outdoor cinema. The lineup is always kept secret until the day before the festival, but in seven of the last eight years TFF premieres have gone on to win “Best Picture” Academy Awards. telluridefilmfestival.org
13 BRAVO – A fun fundraiser for San Miguel Resource Center, in conjunction with Ah Haa School for the Arts, where artists decorate brassieres in outlandish style and male models hit the runway and auction them off. ahhaa.org 14–16 TELLURIDE HORROR SHOW – The newest film festival in Telluride, Telluride Horror Show screens independent horror, fantasy, and sci-fi movies and hosts special programs, a pig roast, and industry guests. telluridehorrorshow.com
16 GONDOLA CLOSES FOR OFF-SEASON 22 MET OPERA AT THE PALM – Catch Metropolitan Opera performances in HD at the Palm Theatre. Don Giovanni plays at 11 a.m. telluridepalm.com
10 JOINT POINT – Celebrate the end of Fall Fundraising for KOTO with a party featuring the local band Joint Point. koto.org
29 KOTO HALLOWEEN BASH – KOTO hosts a costume party for Halloween at the Sheridan Opera House. koto.org
10 IMOGENE PASS RUN – Runners start in Ouray and cross over 13,114-foot Imogene Pass, a 17.1-mile course with more than 5,000 feet of elevation gain, finishing in Telluride. imogenerun.com
TSRC TOWN TALKS Telluride Science Research Center brings speakers on various science topics to hold discussions on Tuesday evenings at 6 p.m. from June 7 through August 2 at the Telluride Conference Center and the Sheridan Opera House. telluridescience.org
performances in HD at the Palm Theatre. Tristan and Isolde plays at 10 a.m. telluridepalm.com
9–11 INTEGRATIVE WELLNESS SUMMIT – Telluride First Foundation hosts experts on health, medicine, meditation, and well-being.
16–18 TELLURIDE BLUES & BREWS FESTIVAL – This popular fall music festival features craft beers from all over the country and a beer tasting, as well as big name music acts in Town Park and at late night “Juke Joints” performances in local venues. tellurideblues.com
TELLURIDE FILM FESTIVAL PRESENTS On the third Thursday of each month at the Nugget Theatre, catch one of the recently released films selected by the festival directors of the Telluride Film Festival.
26–27 PRETTY LIGHTS – Pretty Lights features instrument-
based psychedelic hip-hop music, and the group will perform two outdoor shows at Telluride Town Park.
TELLURIDE FARMERS MARKET Telluride hosts one of the few all-organic, pesticide-free farmers markets in the state each Friday on South Oak Street from 10:30 a.m.–4 p.m. from June 3 through October 14.
11–13 KOTO SKI SWAP – Sell your old gear or pick up some new gear at this annual fundraiser for KOTO community radio, held at the Wilkinson Public Library. koto.org 18 GONDOLA OPENS FOR WINTER SEASON 24 TELLURIDE SKI RESORT OPENS FOR 2016-17 WINTER SEASON
12 TOP CHEF & TASTE OF TELLURIDE – Telluride’s best culinary
TELLURIDE ARTS On the first Thursday of each month, the Telluride Art Walk celebrates art at the local galleries from 5–8 p.m., with a self-guided tour of the exhibits in downtown Telluride. A dozen venues open their doors to showcase new exhibits and artists, and restaurants feature art walk specials. Maps are available from local businesses and Telluride Arts. telluridearts.org
Theatre hosts these intimate evenings of storytelling, where nonperformers recount powerful personal stories based on a theme and share them with audiences. telluridetheatre.org
26 • LOCAL FLAVOR
Up on the Roof
TELLURIDE’S ONE AND ONLY ROOFTOP DINING AND DRINKING VENUE RAISES THE BAR
ummer in Telluride is all about being outdoors. Hiking the trails, biking the singletrack, floating the San Miguel River, and most importantly eating and drinking outside. Local restaurants offer a wide variety of al fresco dining, but there is only one rooftop bar in town and it’s aptly named “The Roof.” It’s not that regular outdoor dining is that bad. This is scenic, quaint Telluride after all, not a stinky, hot summertime ride on the New York City subway. Still, rooftop bars offer enhanced views and a special self-contained space. The Roof is Telluride’s token rooftop bar with ten times the view and its own unique ambiance. The Roof is the recent addition of Telluride’s New Sheridan Hotel, which is already a reputed destination for lodging and dining, not to mention its historic bar. The Roof sits on top of a block of the hotel above rooms added on to the main street structure in the mid 1990s.
“Last summer was our soft opening,” says Cathie Seward, Food & Beverage Manager for the New Sheridan. “It has been a plan to add food and beverage up there and we are very excited about the addition of a full bar, kitchen, and lots of comfortable seating.” The grill will serve up tasty, seasonal eats like burgers, sandwiches and skewers. “It’s not a huge menu, but nice rooftop bar food,” says Ray Farnsworth, General Manager for the New Sheridan Hotel. The summertime space also received improvements in the comfortable department. New awnings offer patrons protection from the sometimes oppressive summer sunshine, while heaters keep folks cozy on autumn evenings when the air turns crisp. “As summer dwindles and it gets dark earlier, heaters and lights will help on chilly nights,” says Farnsworth. The Roof is an intimate, friendly space with stellar views of the ski
resort, San Miguel Valley, Ajax Peak, and Ballard Mountain. The courthouse clock tower is also right next door. The prominent red brick tower and clock keep customers at The Roof up to date on the current time, reminding them not to keep babysitters too late despite the enticing setting they are nestled in. The Roof ’s mountain views may inspire the following day’s hike, but if you want an immediate add-on to the number of steps registered on your Fit Bit take the stairs to get to The Roof. “You can either take the elevator to the third floor or walk three flights of stairs through the historic hotel to wind your way over to the bar,” explains Seward. “Guests will
see many amazing black and white historic photos on the hotel walls if they choose to walk the stairs.” The summertime venue is open from 2-9 p.m. with extended hours on busy festival weekends. The Roof will be open for Telluride Bluegrass Festival, and most likely before, and will stay open to early October depending on the weather. Renting the space for events will eventually be an option, but the details are still being worked out. “We’re excited and putting more behind it, so The Roof will continue to improve,” says Farnsworth. “We’re the New Sheridan and we have a good reputation so it will be a cool spot to hang out this summer.” \
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28 • MOUNTAIN HEALTH
THE HELP YOU NEED INTEGRATED CARE MODEL AIMS TO
TREAT DEPRESSION, MENTAL ILLNESS
By Heather Sackett
his May, when 47-year-old Steve Root did not show up at work, sheriffs checked on him at home, only to find that he had taken his own life. Root’s was the fourth in a string of unrelated suicides in San Miguel County this spring, and the alarming spike shook the people in this small southwest corner of the state. The suicide statistics in Colorado as a whole are sobering. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, it is the second leading cause of death for people aged 15-44. Six times as many people die by suicide annually than by homicide, and on average one person dies by suicide every eight hours. Colorado ranks seventh among other states in the suicide death rate. But a group of dedicated professionals at the Telluride Medical Center are striving to improve the mental health of the community—and hopefully help prevent suicide—by using an integrated care model. That means physicians and counselors work together to treat patients. And it all begins with screening for depression and anxiety. At the core of the approach, which the med center adopted about a year and a half ago, is the belief that physical and mental health are related and that mental health issues like depression and anxiety often manifest as physical symptoms. When a patient sees their primary care provider for complaints like insomnia or symptoms of a panic attack, the doctor brings in behavioral health clinician Rae Centanni Shaffner. The patient and Shaffner then decide whether the patient will continue to follow up with her at subsequent visits to their primary care doctor, begin short term counseling sessions with her, or have her connect them with one of the region’s other mental health professionals who specialize in the patient’s area of need. “It’s basically like team treatment of the individual,” Shaffner says. “We all communicate to make that patient feel like they are the center of their own care. It’s very challenging for people to cold call a counselor. Here, it’s just a really safe environment.”
Causes, symptoms and treatment of depression
Shaffner said the med center sees a slightly higher than average number of patients with depression compared to national numbers. She estimates depression is a factor in 90 percent of suicides. Untreated depression also carries a risk of suicide. Sometimes, the symptoms of depression are easy to spot for people close to the depressed person. “There are changes in behavior or new behavior,” Shaffner says. “People who are depressed talk www.TellurideMagazine.com
like depressed people. Very bereft speech will show up in a person who is thinking about suicide… and very often, people who are depressed are throwing out all these signs and signals. There’s that hope that someone would pick up on that.” Causes of depression can include an inherited, genetic component or environmental factor such as unemployment, a divorce, a chronic illness or the loss of a loved one. But while nothing is conclusive and there could be endless causes of depression and suicide, Shaffner suspects that the Telluride region—and the American West as a whole—have some unique risk factors. People living in a rural community are often removed from family and friends back home, which can cause them to feel rootless and isolated. Telluride residents have a tendency to be more transient, which leads to weaker social ties. Financial security and stable housing can be elusive in a ski town. Winters are long, cold, and dark. And then there is the American West’s deeply ingrained culture of independence and stoicism that tells people they should just deal with their problems on their own. “When a person’s pain exceeds their ability to cope, they get very myopic,” Shaffner says. “They really do get tunnel vision where suicide feels like the only option that is going to relieve suffering.” According to Shaffner, there are three components to treating depression: having a social support network of family and friends, participating in activities that are distracting and purposeful (like a job, hobby or volunteering) and getting professional help.
Last year Shaffner created a grief support group in Ridgway. None of the program’s participants missed a single meeting. Shaffner thinks that is an indication of a need for more groups similar to the grief support group to help sufferers (of depression and drug and alcohol abuse in particular) know they are not alone. “It implied to me there’s a really strong need for connection and a way for us to say, ‘I’m not doing OK,’” she says. “If we had that kind of success with a grief group, we could have other groups too.” It was grant money from Montrose-based Midwestern Mental Health, TriCounty Health, and the Colorado Health Foundation that funded Shaffner’s position, which started in late 2014 at Telluride Medical Center. More grant money will fund a second behavioral health clinician in the near future. The med center also hopes to track data such as counselor visits to determine how the screening tools are working, how patients are doing, and how well the integrated care model is working. The center’s Medical Director of Primary Care Dr. Sharon Grundy says the program has had success in getting patients the help they need. Before the integrated approach, when Grundy suspected a patient had a mental health issue, often the best she could do was to give them the number of a counselor to call. She estimated only about 30 percent of people ever followed through on their own. “This is the ultimate way to practice,” Grundy says. She has seen multiple patients who she believes would not have accepted the intervention if she hadn’t been able to bring Shaffner in for a few minutes during the same visit. “Most people end up finding a sense of general well being just by having that talk.” But despite the center’s integrated care model, it can’t catch all the people with depression or another mental illness. Last spring’s rash of suicides would seem to suggest that not everyone reaches out for help when they need it. Shaffner hopes the Telluride community can come together and address the issue much the same way it has with other challenges. “Suicide and depression are not strictly individual. They are social and environmental issues. We are in this lovely community with some very committed, passionate, creative people and we can prioritize this the same way we save the mine or the health of the ski resort. This is our human investment. It strikes at the heart of who we are as a community.” To make an appointment for a mental health screening with your primary care provider at Telluride Medical Center, call 970-728-3848. If you or someone you know is having a mental health emergency, call the Center for Mental Health 24-hour crisis line at 970-252-6220. \
TMC is here for the whole you. We know mental health is health. That’s why we offer a full spectrum of integrative healthcare services. Schedule an appointment with a Primary Care provider today.
TELLURIDE MEDICAL CENTER
the region's trusted home for healthcare
Call to make an appointment: 970.728.3848 SUMMER/FALL 2016
30 • ADVICE
ATHLETIC ADVICE FROM OUR LOCAL MOUNTAIN GURU
Dear Jock, I have a new boyfriend from Belgium who is into cyclocross. He wants me to get a bike and train for races with him. What is cyclocross, and what kind of gear and training is involved? —Cyclocross Curious Dear Flemish Fancier, Cyclocross consists of riding, pushing, and carrying a sturdy bike with narrow tires around a dirt racetrack. The sport originated in the early 1900s when European road bike racers sought novel ways to train during the winter. They would perform steeplechases from town to town: There were no route restrictions; the riders would simply beeline for a church steeple in the distance. Carrying their bikes over stiles, across fields, and through hedgerows helped them stay warm. In keeping with the roots of the sport, modern day cyclocross races often include mud pits, steep hills, and other obstacles that require racers to dismount and shoulder their bikes to run sections of the course. There also seems to be a masochistic connection between cyclocross and foul weather. Serious cyclocross racers appear to take perverse pride in pedaling through wet and cold conditions. Training for cyclocross racing is similar to prepping any other kind of bike racing. It entails riding as often as possible, including long slow distance, hills, intervals, etc.—especially during inclement weather. Every so often, remember to hop off your bike and carry it through a swamp, up a steep hill, or across a river. If cyclocross sounds appealing, have fun shopping for a new bike with your Belgian beau. And as they say in Brussels, “Veel geluk!” — Jock
Pooches, Porcupines, and Pliers
Dear Jock, I love hiking with my dog, but the last time I took him up into the high country, he treed a porcupine and ended up with a snout full of quills—and I ended up with a gigantic vet bill. Is there a way to convince my dog not to chase porcupines? And if not, is there a way to get the quills out at home? —Stickers is a Stinker Dear Stinker, I know. I know. Your dog is the sweetest and best-behaved canine on the planet and loves to run free in the mountains. Nevertheless, my first question is: “Why did you allow your dog to harass wildlife?” If Fido isn’t trained well enough to stay within voice control at all times, you must leash your canine whenever you leave the house. This is a fundamental rule of dog ownership. OK. Enough scolding. According to Chris Capaldo, DVM: Porcupine quills have microscopic barbs designed to work deeper into the flesh. Depending upon the location, quills can eventually penetrate the brain, lungs, or permanently impinge the motion of a joint. If there are less than a dozen easily accessible quills, you can remove them at home with pliers. It may help to restrain your dog by wrapping it in a blanket. If there are any quills in the dog’s mouth or a large number of quills to pluck, it’s more humane to go to the vet so the dog can be sedated. Also, each point of entry is a potential site of infection, and only a vet can prescribe a course of antibiotics. Capaldo has noticed that dogs that have been quilled are often repeat offenders. It seems canines suffer from a short memory and a self-destructive desire for revenge. This makes training your dog to avoid porcupines nearly impossible. But training isn’t really the issue. Remember: Dogs are always the aggressors, and porcupines are prickly pacifists. You are responsible whenever the two meet. — Jock
The Full Monty
Dear Jock, I just finished my first half marathon, and I’m addicted. I want to do a full marathon this summer. What are your training tips? How many miles should I run each week, and what kind of diet do you recommend? Rest or run right before the race? And what’s the best cross-training? —Sights Set on 26.2 Dear Pheidippides, Plenty of information is available regarding the specifics of training for a marathon, so I encourage you to research the various programs with recommended weekly mileage, resting cycles, etc. Instead of those details, I urge you to be vigilant when you’re training to avoid injury. Conventional wisdom holds that it requires a minimum of six months of focused training to prepare for the rigors of a marathon. During that time, monitor your body carefully for signs of wear. Be prepared to ease back because, not matter how hard you try, it’s impossible to run away from an injury. Regarding diet: Some athletes perform well on strictly vegan fare. Others thrive on a Paleo-style regime. Personally, I’m an opportunivore who adheres to author Michael Pollen’s advice: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Humans are resilient, so unless you’re swilling gallons of high-fructose corn syrup and sucking down processed junk food, you’ll probably do fine racing on whatever you eat now. (Alternatively, if you’re eating crap, take this opportunity to overhaul your diet while you train for the event.) Most experts concur that tapering (or simply resting) is a good idea just before the race. And any athletic activity that isn’t running is good cross-training. If you want more personalized advice, I recommend contacting local running instructor Jill Burchmore at telluriderun.com. A final piece of race-day advice: Start slow. Then ease back from there. — Jock
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32 ••TELLURIDE ESSAY FACES
The Case for T Cairn Kicking (WITH DISCRETION)
By Craig Childs
’m running now. Dark is coming. The lava beds look like a sea of black ogres where ponderosa trees have grown, adding to the deepening shadows. Stupid to start this trail so late, the ancestral route from Zuni to Acoma where it crosses the Malpais of northwest New Mexico, a pinch of badlands seven miles across. It’s not much of a trail, more of a suggestion. The only way to find the way in fading evening light is by rocky pyramids and towers of cairns piled up who knows how long ago by people going from pueblo to pueblo. The park brochure reads, “Please make sure you are properly prepared for this hike, and allow yourself plenty of daylight.” I hadn’t seen a cairn in a while, and I’d been moving at a good pace. Panting, I stopped. Where was the next one? I peered across rough, ink-black ground. Cave-holes and crags stared back at me. Butterscotch woods were taking on a pointillist quality, my eyes grasping at the last light. I had a headlamp, but that wouldn’t help. The cairns were too widely spaced. They’d vanish in the artificial shadows of my headlamp. I took in all the light I could, panning around me. Lost. Damn. I am a cairn kicker by avocation. I like to see them fly. I’ll pick a few off the top and chuck them into the woods. I’m discerning, mind you. When people put up works of art, not meant to show the way, but to be seen, I generally leave them. Taking down a gallery of stone sculptures is just spiteful. If it looks like someone’s been buried underneath, even a pet, I won’t touch it. But it’s the trail markers that bother me. The cairns of the Malpais were an exception, too. Lichens have grown over many of them. Without them, I would not have found my way. I spotted the next cairn, whittling out of the last skim of light. I ran to it and paused, scanning, finding the next after that. Under a chalkboard of stars, they finally led me out the other side. www.TellurideMagazine.com
ave you ever been lost?” is one of those questions that comes up often. Have you ever been scared and confused, where every landmark looks the same, panic setting in, stupid, stupid, stupid, you scold yourself? My pat answer is: I’m usually lost. To me, every turn around the fishbowl is new. This is why I don’t like cairns. I don’t want directions. I want my senses deployed. Kicking down cairns is a way of sending the land back to itself. Is this not the intent of wilderness? Will I get anyone lost by doing this? Probably not. I leave enough to show the way. There’s an art to it, you don’t just willy-nilly bust them all apart. Ace Kvale, former resident of Ophir and now of Boulder, Utah, volunteer backcountry ranger at Escalante-Grand Staircase National Monument, told me he takes down most that he sees, typical ranger policy in parks where cairn building is generally not legal. “I think of true, untouched wild nature,” Kvale told me. “We have that here in the canyon country. If you’re out that far, you shouldn’t need cairns to find your way. I don’t mind seeing a subtly placed one or two rocks tastefully done at an important juncture on a route—that’s okay. Just a signal to let you know you’re on the right track. We’re not trying to get anybody killed. You just have to know a little about what you’re doing out here.”
hey aggregate around places cherished for their remoteness. Routes to arches, cliff dwellings, and precious waterfalls become populated with piles of stone, two, three, four tall. Social trails go everywhere, three to five cairns in view at all times. Some markers will use just one stone, conspicuously out of place, and I generally boot those, too. It’s like picking fruit, dismantling one after the next. You start to enjoy it. They become so numerous you don’t know which is going where and instead of kicking them, you pick them up one by one, trying not to make a mess, engineering the wilderness back into place. We’re social creatures, of course. Building rock stacks is a birthright, a way of communicating. I think of cairns as the first telephones, an evolutionary leap. Consider the inuksuk, Arctic rock stacks made into shapes of giant people, sometimes with arms outspread, clearly visible across the tundra. Inuk means “human built.” Suk means “to act in the capacity of.” It is a thing made by people, and speaks for people. It is a proxy for us. Erected traditionally by Inuits, and rarely dating to older than 4,000 years ago, these have been used as aids for hunting and navigation around the Arctic Circle, serving as coordination points and message centers possibly indicating nearby caches. Some are as simple as a single upright stone planted in the permafrost like a dolmen. Others are made of many rocks stacked and arranged into pylons. They have been found around each other like a convocation, their placement relaying messages for those still able to decipher the ancient communication. The greatest driver of our evolutionary success is not fire or stone tools, but the ability to cooperate with each other, forming large and resilient alliances across distances. Curtis Marean, a writer and researcher at the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University, calls this hyperprosocial. It means we leave cairns not just for ourselves and our friends, but for anyone else who happens along. Spread the love. It’s the human way. Maybe I’m just prosocial, not so much hyper. I like rocks sailing toward a resting state somewhere else. This is also the human way. I wouldn’t take down an inuksuk, but the hundredth unneeded cairn up a canyon, no question.
my Irvine, an author from Telluride and the West End, took me up a hillside where she used to live in the stony flanks of the La Sal Mountains, just inside the Utah border. A decade earlier she was pregnant here, tromping into the piñon and juniper foothills with a globe of a belly. She used to have her own trails and routes when few other people lived in the area. Now, she found small cairns on her old paths. “There’s another one,” she said, walking over to a five-rock stack on the side of what was clearly becoming a traveled route. “There didn’t used to be cairns up here.” For a moment, she pondered this addition, and I appreciated her puzzled silence. A cairn should be a decision, not something to just walk by. It requires at least a moment of contemplation. I asked for her take on these things. She said, “Depends on my mood, and the circumstance…what mood am I in?” With one swift kick, she sent the rocks tumbling down the hill. She said, “There should be no fucking cairn up here.” From there on Irvine destroyed every few
cairns we came across, measuring line of sight visibility against her right to break them part. The ratio she chose was wrecking one in every three, which seemed about right. That left enough to be visible, but not overkill. When she asked my take on the issue, I told her the same, it depends on mood and circumstance. I have to decide how much I feel like a steward of a particular place or how long since I’d last been there, if I even have the privilege to destroy it. Dismantling cairns I take as a form of ownership, an entitlement. You have to be careful not to overstep your bounds. “If I’m not sure, I’ll just take one off the top,” I said as I reached down and picked a book-sized rock from a four-stoner, and tossed it away. “It’s elegant, really,” I said. “That way, if more people want it to stay it’ll build up, if fewer people want it to stay, it’ll diminish.” “That’s wishy-washy,” Irvine said. “It’s democratic,” I said. She kicked apart the rest of the pile and said, “There is no democracy in the wilderness.”
obyn Martin, an anti-rock-stack advocate and a senior lecturer in the honors program at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, wrote in High Country News, “Building cairns where none are needed for route finding is antithetical to Leave-No-Trace ethics. Move a stone, and you’ve changed the environment from something that it wasn’t to something manmade.” Putting it softly, Martin writes, “Consider deconstructing them when you find them, unless they’re marking a critical trail junction.” Like most I know, like Irvine and Kvale, Martin asks for discernment. I’ve encountered people who kick down every last one. They’d tear civilization out by the roots if they could. I am not of that variety. I can appreciate a subtle rock stack, or an inuksuk standing on the tundra like a messenger, or pillars of lava piled up across the Malpais. The rest, the stacks on stacks marking our march into the wilderness, get a different treatment. \
“I’m usually lost. To me, every turn around the fishbowl is new. This is why I don’t like cairns. I don’t want directions.”
34 • FEATURE
of the GUARD TERM LIMITS IMPOSED ON COUNTY POLITICIANS By Suzanne Cheavens
’he poet, the painter, and the outdoorswoman. Three fundamentally different people were elected by the people of San Miguel County to serve on the Board of County Commissioners and have done so for many years. Each time Art Goodtimes, Elaine Fischer, and Joan May have decided to run for re-election, an electorate seemingly unconcerned about their collective time in office—as of 2016, an astounding 45 years—has kept them in their seats. But in 2015, county voters passed term limits for county commissioners by a whopping 60-40 margin. The ballot measure did not include other county elected officials: treasurer, clerk, assessor, coroner, surveyor, and sheriff, many of whom serve for multiple terms and most of their lives. Sheriff Bill Masters, for instance, has been in office since 1980. County commissioners were the only elected officials singled out for term limits. Term limits were first imposed by the state in 1994, and approximately half of the counties, mostly in rural areas, voted to rescind those limits— including San Miguel County. This ballot measure essentially reversed that vote, but only for commissioners. What was behind the change? A growing national dissatisfaction with politics could be partially to blame. But in a small, essentially rural county where commissioners’ phone numbers and emails will actually get citizens in touch with their elected officials, divining the change in mood is an elusive task. Art Goodtimes has served since first being elected in1996, representing the rural west end of the county. Sparsely populated and quilted with ranches and farms, the county’s 3rd District is, especially compared to Telluride and the east end of the county,
a more conservative group of voters. Goodtimes, a bearded, self-dubbed “paleo-hippie,” who often stitches baskets while attending to county business, opines that perhaps weariness with the status quo has set in. “On the national level, and to some degree on the state level, the status quo is not government at its best,” he says. “We see gridlock in D.C. and increasing partisanship in Denver. But I would argue that county government works.” District 2 commissioner Joan May began her service in 2007. May’s constituency consists of a swath of the county south of Telluride. Towering peaks, rolling mesa land, and the towns of Ophir and Mountain Village comprise her district. An avid hiker and devoted naturalist and environmentalist, May, like Goodtimes and Fischer, is easy to contact and open to meeting with her constituents. Unlike national or state politics, corporate (read: big money) support of candidates is non-existent, so in May’s opinion, corruption is a non-issue in local politics. “How many Americans even know the names of, let alone regularly run into, their elected officials, or better yet have their personal phone numbers and email addresses, and fully expect their representatives to answer a call or email?” she wonders. “In small communities like ours, citizens often experience knowing that their input has influenced a decision. This direct government should lessen the cynicism against politics.” The trust, she said, should be there, but perhaps it’s eroded by what we see in the national political arena. “There is no denying that general distrust of government, ubiquitous and largely justified in our country, has trickled to the smallest level of government,” May says. “The word ‘government’ has a negative connotation for many people these days. I think that the term ‘politician’ now elicits images of dishonesty
and power-lust rather than an image of public service.” Fischer served the 1st District, representing voters in Telluride, until she stepped down in May for health reasons. Fischer’s life has been devoted to public service not just as an elected official, but also as an advocate of affordable housing, the arts, childcare and the San Miguel Resource Center’s mission to eliminate domestic violence and sexual assault. Fischer is the painter, and when she’s not at her desk trying to create a better landscape for the community, she’s at her easel, letting her brush dance on the canvas. Limiting an elected official’s time in office, the commissioners agree, can be simply accomplished at the ballot box. “For me, my primary reason against term limits is this: Why in the world would we voluntarily limit our own choices? If you have a good person in office why would we limit our ability to re-elect that person?” asks May. “Aren’t we smart enough to elect the best person, whether they are an incumbent or not?” What voters lose by limiting the time in office an elected official is permitted to serve is a wealth of experience and years of relationship building that benefits their constituents. And the learning curve is long. County government is a very complicated business, and it can take years to learn all the intricacies of budgets, federal and state funding, public lands relationships, the history of planning and development and how it affects the county, the financial and legal structure of oil and gas development, and the 500 new bills introduced every legislative session. What seasoned county commissioners have is an institutional knowledge that can take years for a new public servant to navigate. “And it takes even longer to develop net-
works of relationships with regional colleagues, state and federal agency officials, community leaders, nonprofit groups, business folks, et cetera,” says Goodtimes. “To be honest, after 20 years on the job, I still continue to learn new aspects of laws, policies, procedures, and other quirky items associated with this job. Who knew that only a county coroner could arrest a county sheriff in Colorado?”
Fischer had to step down, and Goodtimes decided not to run for re-election when his term expires January 10, 2017. May, whose term is up January 2019, has not yet decided if she will run again. The new measure for term limits allows the sitting candidates to each run for two more terms, if they wish. No one seems to be taking the decisive measure personally, though May’s post-election
queries found little more than people wanting change for change’s sake. As for the poet, Goodtimes looks forward to the next chapter. “I would gladly have served another four years, if the people wanted me to,” he said. “But leaving politics allows me to move deeper into what I love most—poetry and the arts. Life is an adventure, and I’m excited about this new phase of my life.” \ SUMMER/FALL 2016
36 â€¢ FEATURE
GETTING WHERE YOU WANT TO GO
TELLURIDE MOUNTAIN CLUB CELEBRATES TWO DECADES OF ACCESS EFFORTS
By Lance Waring
magine it’s summertime back in 2009. You’re visiting the San Juans with an eye to climb the 14,000-foot peaks in the Wilson Range. According to your guidebook, the most direct route is via Silver Pick Basin. You spend the night camped at the trailhead and hike toward the summit at first light. Somehow in the gloaming you miss the “No Trespassing” sign, but you don’t miss the landowner who is extremely displeased to see you cross his private mining claim. You apologize, ask forgiveness, and sheepishly request permission to keep going. “No way, pal,” he responds. “You’re on private property, and you need to turn around!” How quickly the day shifts from a pleasant ramble in the high country to an unexpected confrontation. Fuming, you turn around and stomp back down the hill. The mining claim may be private property, but shouldn’t hikers have an easement to the trail that has historically provided access to the peaks? Telluride Mountain Club first considered that question in July of 2004 when the landowner began to deny recreational access across his land in Silver Pick Basin. It required seven years of negotiation and public/private cooperation between the Forest Service, The Trust for Public Lands, San Miguel County, the Colorado Mountain Club, and neighboring landowners to acquire the land and associated easements to re-route the trail away from the private property. Finally, in 2011, access to Wilson Peak through Silver Pick Basin was restored. The local club was only one of many entities working for access to Wilson peak, but the victory was another in a series of access battles that date back to 1986 when two local outdoor enthusiasts—the late Peter Inglis and his friend Doug Berry— founded the organization. That winter, the community was rocked by a devastating series of six avalanche deaths in Bear Creek. At the request of the Telluride Ski Resort, the Forest Service closed winter access from the ski area into Bear Creek. The closure was ignored by many backcountry skiers and created a dangerous “cops and robbers” mentality, where the challenge of sneaking under the boundary rope took priority over avalanche safety protocol. On the enforcement side, Telluride Ski Patrol was pulled away from their regular on-mountain duties to act as de facto border patrol, chasing skiers who ducked the boundary rope. And the San
Miguel Sheriff ’s department and Forest Service spent time and resources detaining and interviewing skiers exiting Bear Creek into Telluride. The situation came to an ugly head in 1998 when two skiers, who had legally entered the Bear Creek drainage from the neighboring Ophir Valley, were arrested by forest rangers and charged with violating federal law. The pair spent a short time behind bars before being exonerated. Bear Creek access was reopened briefly, then closed again. Throughout the 20-year Bear Creek brouhaha, Telluride Mountain Club gave local backcountry skiers a cohesive voice and a seat at the stakeholder’s table. As a result of their advocacy, three backcountry access gates opened in 2014 and remain open today. Recently, a landowner in upper Bear Creek petitioned the USFS for closure, citing skier trespass over his property. As of press time, the gates remain open, and Telluride Mountain Club will continue to monitor the Bear Creek access saga. “Our goal is to preserve and enhance access for human-powered recreation in the Telluride region,” says the club’s president, Tor Anderson. “Telluride residents have a long relationship with Bear Creek that shouldn’t arbitrarily end based on the changing seasons.” Telluride Mountain Club also has a long history of supporting climbing. During the winter, the organization manages and staffs the local indoor climbing wall, and has a fund for replacing rock climbing anchors outdoors. In recent years, however, trails have increasingly become a focus for the group as well. “Some of the region’s most popular trails are unsanctioned or cross private lands without easements,” explains Anderson. “We recently formed a trails subcommittee to work toward creating a cohesive regional trail network. We want to build
“Some of the region’s most popular trails are unsanctioned or cross private lands without easements.”
new connectors between existing trails and help organize maintenance crews.” Last summer, the club combined forces with the Forest Service to organize a day of volunteer trail building to a popular bouldering area in Ilium valley. The club also helped determine trail realignments in a complicated, high-profile land trade involving public and private lands near Alta Lakes. “Some of the region’s best hiking and biking trails are in that area,” says Anderson. “We’ve helped guide site walks, provided maps, and worked with the landowners, the Forest Service, and the San Miguel Bike Alliance to maintain access and build the necessary new trails at a high standard.” Regional trails remain high on Telluride Mountain Club’s agenda, so last fall the group sent out a survey to its members. There were 370 respondents—roughly split between hikers and bikers. The results indicate the region lacks intermediate trails and that the community desires improved signage at key intersections. Bikers want new trails, while hikers expressed interest in maintaining existing trails better. Fortunately, neither user group reported excessive conflict from sharing trails, and almost every respondent was willing to volunteer time toward construction or maintenance. “Now we have information,” says Anderson. “The next step is to create a plan and then implement it.” Telluride Mountain Club’s focus on a regional trail network was officially recognized last fall when San Miguel County and the towns of Telluride and Mountain Village invited the group to advise a pending Regional Transit Authority. The proposed tri-governmental entity intends to include funds for trails in a future transportation-based mil levy, an effort that will take time and may or may not be supported by voters. Meanwhile, the club will trudge ahead on its mission to improve regional trails and maintain access for human-powered recreation. Anyone who is interested in climbing, hiking, access issues, or regional trail improvements should go to www.telluridemountainclub.org and become a member. The meetings are a jovial affair despite the business at hand, and a great way to drink a beer or a Gatorade with like-minded folks. “The Telluride Mountain Club is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization,” adds Anderson. “We’re fortunate to receive grant support from local funders, such as the Telluride Foundation, CCAASE, Jagged Edge, Patagonia. And we’re happy to accept private donations, as well.” \
38 • FEATURE
at O’BANNON’S IRISH PUB
Requiem for the legendary Telluride dive bar
By Rob Story Photos by Gus Gusciora
t was the end of an era. When O’Bannon’s shut its doors on April 4, it seemed to mark a bigger change than just a business closing in Telluride. O’Bannon’s represented the last bastion of the town’s quirky roots as a place where everyone was given a stool at the bar, in a town that has been gentrified and evolved from a miners’ stronghold and haven for hippies into a mountain paradise for urban professionals seeking to escape city life. But throughout, there was this downstairs den of sin, a dark, underground Irish pub where low-brow and high-brow could sit elbow-to-elbow and be treated as equals, paying cash for draft beer and settling their differences on the pool table and darts board. Or pay a buck and roll the dice to win the pot of money, although the winnings were expected to be spent on a shot for everyone at the bar, egalitarian-style. O’Bannon’s, known affectionately as O.B.’s, is not finished. The pub is moving to another spot, and to the most perfectly suited place—the downstairs, cave-like Fly Me to The Moon Saloon across town. But this old building holds within its walls a period in history, a collection of moments, and some wild stories from its 29 years as O’Bannon’s Irish Pub that offer a little perspective on the coming of age of a town. Rob Story has compiled some of the most memorable in this homage:
SHENANIGANS ON FIR STREET
Customers did the damndest things just to walk through the door. A thirsty Barry Asby— who calls O’Bannon’s “the place where woodsies go when not in the woods”—once pulled his brother’s dirtbike to a halt above the Fir Street stairs that led down to the bar. Unfortunately for him, the dirtbike was electric: It made no sound when stopped. Thinking the powerful machine was off, Barry grabbed the throttle for balance as he dismounted. Oops. The dirtbike and Barry blasted down the stairs. “When I flew past the bar window,” he recalls, “people inside took bets on who the first responder would be.” To enter O.B.’s was to drop into a dungeon. The subterranean cave’s lone window emitted little light, though it offered a nice
view of Mt. Ballard. The building, with crooked floors and worn masonry, looked every bit its 100-plus-years age. There was a dartboard, a couple of old video games like Street Fighter II, and a pool table— only 75 cents a game—that often sheltered a sleeping dog or two. The jukebox played far too much heavy metal...plus music the bartender liked, as he or she could manipulate a kill switch behind the bar should some customer want to hear Phish. Barkeeps would slide shots down the bar every time someone rang the bell—which, when rung, signaled some drunk’s intention to buy a round for the house. The bell stood above a broken sink that for decades reeked of Death, reeked so bad that bartenders occasionally burned any available paper, including dollar bills, as incense. Food choices were meager and tended toward the repulsive: GMO junk snacks, Everclear-soaked cherries, and the pickled grotesqueries—eggs and pigs feet. The ceiling bore a random variety of sagging flags, from nations, states, St. Patrick’s Day parades, yacht clubs, and other random entities that represent via nylon banners. The flags were permanently besmirched by cigarette smoke—plenty of it from June 30, 2006. According to former bartender Nathan Burridge, O’Bannon’s was jam-packed with cigarette smokers that day, as it was the final time the State of Colorado allowed smoking in bars. “All the smokers came that day to puff. Several smoked two cigarettes at a time. Thick plumes of smoke wafted out of the bar, so much so that some passersby thought O.B.’s was burning.” Speaking of flaming cylinders reminds Burridge of that time with the rockets. See, a regular browsing the Free Box found a
box of rockets and promptly trundled this treasure into the tavern. Patrons happily forked over cash to buy ignition batteries at Village Market, and soon the alley to the south had become a launchpad. “The first rocket parachuted down onto a nearby roof,” Burridge says, “but the second went way the hell over Main Street onto the sunny side. We figured it was lost, and everyone went back to their drinks. But a few minutes later a dog comes running past the window, with a rocket in its mouth, the parachute dragging behind.” Befitting town’s diviest dive bar, O’Bannon’s witnessed many interactions with law enforcement personnel. This one showed up in the Telluride Daily Planet’s police blotter: “Performing a bar check at O’Bannon’s, officer tried to enter bathroom but a man was resisting. He finally got door open and man in wrist lock, and the hand of said wrist is holding a clear bag with a white powder and a card. Cops ask what’s in the bag. “It’s just a little coke,” man says. “My dad is a cop. Can you give me a break?” he asks. The cop, who was not his father, arrested him.
A FORCE CALLED HARRY
O’Bannon’s was founded in 1987 by Harry Force after the Korean War veteran escaped the flatlands of Illinois and Indiana. Force was not afraid to smoke or drink. Says Shelly Berube Jones, who bartended there from 1989 to 1995, “I was always a daytime bartender, when you’d think the bar would stink less of cigarettes, but it was always bad anyway, because Harry lived down there. I’d roll in to open, and Harry would ask me to pour him a shot and a beer. He was a character.
It was like a family when you worked there; we’d go on trips to Lake Powell and Harry would pay for everything.” Force’s generosity was legendary. He’d empty the till to pay a regular’s bail bond or buy an employee’s kid a bike. He wasn’t always nice, though. He’d buy tourists drinks only to start insulting them without mercy. He also “fired everybody whoever worked for him,” says Ginna Neyens, who toiled behind O.B.’s bar from 1992 to 1999. “In fact,” Neyens adds, “he fired me at our Christmas party. Harry used to throw great Christmas parties for us, whether the back room at the Chop House or Roma’s for crab legs. Then we’d go back to O’Bannon’s for a private party. We were back there when Harry started grousing about a fellow bartender’s uninvited guest. ‘Don’t be a scrooge!’ I told him. And soon enough he was wagging his finger in my face and telling me I was fired.” The only bar in town that stayed open 365 days a year, O’Bannon’s had three shifts: 10-3, 3-8, and 10-2. It was the only bar in town to open before noon. Therefore, O.B.’s alone could enable the maxim: “You can’t drink all day unless you start in the morning.” “We had three responsibilities,” says Neyens. “1) Be fast and efficient. 2) Be honest with your drawer. 3) Don’t do anything to threaten the viability of the bar.” Missing from that list? Kissing customer ass. “We’d just laugh at people who requested stupid fancy cocktails,” Neyens says. “There was never a blender or martini glass in the house. I’d sometimes get requests for White Russians. Really? If you’re brave enough to drink the milk out of my cooler, go for it. But I’m not pouring vodka and Kahlua in there, too.”
40 • FEATURE During Bluegrass and other festivals, O’Bannon’s would get so packed bartenders would cease pouring mixed drinks and announce they were only selling bottled beer the next five minutes. Which of course pissed off cocktail drinkers who’d been waiting in line. Bartenders broke up countless bar fights, which tended to involve arguments over whose quarters were whose on the pool table. The standard protocol was to call the Town Marshal while informing the combatants they could avoid arrest if they left right now. Of course, barkeeps wouldn’t call the cops on themselves. So nobody batted an eye when Big Travis threw a guy eight feet into a keg door. And when Neyens had a beer bottle thrown at her head by a friend she’d cut off, she took matters into her own hands. “Harry was sitting at the bar when it happened,” she says. “He saw the bottle whiz inches past my face. The bottle thrower ran out the back door, I ran out the front, and I threw him against a minivan. I stormed back inside, and Harry gave me crap for leaving the bar unattended.”
DEADHEADS AND OTHER ANIMALS
Befitting town’s diviest dive bar, O’Bannon’s suffered its share of flies and other winged-insects. “During the warm months,” says co-owner Ann Marie Fitzpatrick, “we had to augment the regulars’ set-ups. So Kenny and Sylvia, who showed up every morning, would get not just a salt shaker and lime, but also a fly-swatter.” Rodents, surprisingly, didn’t come around much, due to all the disinfectant (spilled alcohol) on the grounds. As for discovering dead animals besides the elk parts Harry hung in a liquor closet? Well, one time, while replacing the moldy floor, workers found a dead mudpuppy, a nocturnal species of salamander that normally dwells in the Northeast but can adapt to a dark, sopping-wet environment... like the dripping cavern that was O’Bannon’s. Recently, afternoons at O’Bannons would see a transition in clientele from campfire-smudged transients to saggy-panted snowboarders. But in the beginning, the nightly infestation of youth was all about the Grateful Dead. Nineteen eighty-seven was an incredibly pivotal year for Telluride. O’Bannon’s Irish Pub opened its doors. Town Park hosted the Grateful Dead, which put the town on the radar of an entirely new crowd of vital young rock ‘n’ rollers who—sorry—just couldn’t get into bluegrass and hillbillies picking banjos. By 1987, Plunge, Kant-Mak-M, and Mammoth had just created the “front face” of Telluride. And ‘87 was also the year Mountain Village was founded. The Dead show acted as a turning point
in Telluride’s history, and O.B.’s server Shelly Jones joined the wave of Generation X freethinkers/hippies/travelers/stoners that truly transformed Telluride in the ’80s and ’90s. Says Jones, “So many people came to Telluride after the Dead played there. Hippies swung through, looked around, and said, ‘I’m not leaving.’ I was one of them.” The Dead were always a fixture on the jukebox. “I remember working the day Jerry Garcia died, August 9, 1995,” Jones say. “It was the most amazing day at O’Bannon’s: The whole Telluride community came through that day. It was a fishbowl of emotion, with everybody crying. We didn’t stop playing Jerry and the Dead till 4 a.m.” A year after Jerry rocked Town Park, Ray Prince became a partner in O’Bannon’s. “Harry told me he was out of money and that he needed a partner,” Prince said. “He told me he’d give me 25 percent of the place for $10,000. He told me I’d have a job for life.” When Harry Force died in his sleep at 67 in 2010, Prince and Ann Marie Fitzpatrick took over the pub to great success. Last summer, however, their landlord shocked them with a punishing rent increase. “There was no way we could afford it,” says Fitzpatrick. “Basically, he made us an offer we could only refuse.” So O’Bannon’s as we know it is no more. The Deadhead bar is dead. Most dismayed are the ten hardcore regulars, “the friendliest alcoholics you’d ever meet,” as Fitzpatrick describes them. “We were the only biz in town that had a powder clause in which you had to call the day-drinking regulars and let them know you weren’t going to open till noon.” The tavern poured its last libations on the April 4, the day after the ski resort closed. “We intentionally made our last day that Monday, to avoid tourists,” Fitzpatrick admits. “There were about 20 of us there as the clock moved toward 2 a.m. We counted down the seconds, like at New Year’s, and did one last shot.” The building has been gutted down to its dirt floor. Fitzpatrick and company moved the bar and every fixture into storage. How many skeletons were found? “None!” Fitzpatrick exclaims. “We found nothing! Harry was loose with cash and everything else, so we thought we’d find a twenty and maybe a bindle, but no. Nothing but a couple uncashed checks.” Looking back on the last 29 years, Fitzpatrick says, “There needs to be a place in this town where people can get a cheap beer, listen to a jukebox, and play pool.” Truer words were never spoken. Getting your cheap beer, listening to a jukebox, and playing pool will now happen up-town, and the spirit of O’Bannon’s will survive. But we’ve lost a little bit of history on that side street, a time and place in Telluride that will never be repeated. \
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44 • ESSAY
Crosshairs By Amy Irvine
had a new rifle, a Remington 7mm.08. It was small and light, with yet enough firepower for larger game. Or a larger predator, if the need arose to take one down. After all, there had been the bear that killed my daughter’s pet goat, before it came after my husband, Herb. And there had been the unmistakable scream of a female mountain lion in heat—which, one night, sliced cleanly through the surround sound of a battle scene we were watching on the TV. The next day I found her tracks just beyond our bedroom window. Not far from where the goats grazed, and Ruby played.
This gun then, was perfect for a small woman. I practiced at a firing range in the desert below the mesa on which we live—a dry and rugged place where, just as you pressed the trigger, a jack rabbit or a tumbleweed would undoubtedly cross the line of fire. Such unexpected movement flustered me; it took a lot of nerve just to shoot the paper. I am not like Herb, who is almost assasin-like: Even with a 7mm mag, it’s one swift movement for him to shoulder, aim, and fire— and even at 400 yards the bullet hits the bullseye most every time. Me, I could hit the second ring at 200 yards, sometimes the first, if I really shored myself up. I didn’t care. All I hoped for was no suffering. It wasn’t always like that. The imperfect aim, I mean, and the reticence to shoot. Once I stood on the porch of our home and watched as Herb and his fourteen-year-old son took turns with a BB gun—again and again trying to hit a PBR can, which was tied to a string and swinging from the branch of a ponderosa tree in the yard. They had concluded that the sights were off, that the gun needed fixing. But I just had this certainty about it, which made me ask for the gun and take aim, sinking four shots in a row, dead-center. But that had been a beer can. And I had not yet become a mother. One morning that fall, Herb and I slipped out of the house, leaving our sleeping daughter in Herb’s mother’s care. Orion’s Belt was still strapped to the east-
ern horizon, where the San Juan Mountains were not yet haloed with first light. We drove out to the northern edge of the mesa and parked near a broad, sagebrush-crusted draw that meandered between hills of pinion, juniper and yucca. Pulling on oxymoronic ensembles of camo and neon orange layers, we shouldered our rifles and started walking. We hadn’t even dropped into the draw
I shot anyway. Which is unlike me. In all my days of high adventure and rescue work, I was used to following protocol under duress. No matter that I had shot this gun at least a hundred times; this time, the rifle’s kick ricocheted through my teeth, my bones, before it splintered my pounding heart. There was no time to ponder it though, for the doe I had shot did not go down.
“No matter that I had shot this gun at least a hundred times; this time, the rifle’s kick ricocheted through my teeth, my bones, before it splintered my pounding heart.” when a small group of does moved into a clearing. Herb hung back while I crept forward to squat in the grass. My husband would have called her “a billboard,” the way one of them stood—and only seventy-five yards away. But my mind blanked with a kind of buzzing. I skipped crucial steps—like thinking what was beyond my target. It wasn’t that there was another life form or property beyond the deer I had chosen; it was that I aimed due east just as the sun crested the thorny crown of the San Juans.
Instead she limped away at an astonishing rate, keeping up with the other deer as they headed for cover in the trees. “What are you standing there for?” Herb yelled. “Go!” He was right; she was moving fast and given the terrain, I would lose her if I didn’t follow right away. So I chambered another round and took off. Once in the trees, I scanned the damp ground. There was no sign of blood, and the herd’s tracks had spread out—each set taking its own serpentine route. I worked back
and forth through squat little hills and shallow gulleys until I found one track that was slightly irregular and followed it. Tears blurred my vision. Snot bubbled out of my nose and formed a suspension bridge between my face and upturned fleece collar. I swore I’d never harm another animal again if I could just make this right. The doe stood at the next hill’s crest, broadside again, stock still and looking right at me. Her wounded side was hidden from view. But we were only twenty feet apart—and she was showing me her good side: Tawny thick hairs, like those on a good artist’s brush. The ever-so-slight twitch of a ragged ear. And glittering walnut eyes that gazed steadily into mine. Before I could raise my rifle, the other does moved from the shadows, to stand in front of their injured sister. They gave cover to every inch of her, utterly alive and unflinching as they stood in a moment not of their choosing. I, on the other hand, had entered some kind of static state of horror, in both cells and psyche. I was a river, frozen in the dead of winter. Buddhist psychologist Peter Levine notes how wild animals are rarely traumatized—not in the lasting ways that humans are. In Waking the Tiger, he writes that “the key to healing traumatic symptoms in humans lies in our being able to mirror the fluid adaptation of wild animals as they ‘shake out’ and pass through the immobility response and become fully mobile and functional.”
My mother has her own version of shaking it off. “Get on with it,” she says. No doubt she learned it from her mother—who took me to see Where the Red Fern Grows when I was seven years old. I came out of the theatre sobbing—devastated at the deaths of Billy’s hounds, Old Dan and Little Ann. “Oh for Pete’s sake, it’s nothing but a couple of mutts,” my grandmother snapped. Her mouth was stiff, like a hyphen—a kind of punctuation that makes you think there’s more to come. In my grandmother’s case, I was always hoping for more to come. But there never was. She was a Mormon rancher’s wife in the cold upper woodlands of Idaho, where her religion rewarded suffering and sacrifice. Which worked out well, considering there was never enough, and animals were collateral damage. Crying over dead ones was not a www.TellurideMagazine.com
luxury she could afford. This is how the women in my family, all daughters of the West, prevail: They can shake off the drama and gore of birth and death. And when it comes to procuring food for the family, they have nerves of steel. And oh, how I wanted to be like them just then— to make my own mouth a dash of determination and either shoot, or walk away. To be anything but the frozen river. Suddenly the does turned tail and moved en masse down the other side of the hill. For every inch of distance they put between us, they covered my doe entirely with their graceful bodies. My doe. I did not mean it in some hunterly, possessive sense. Or maybe I did. Whether or not I wanted it, our lives were entwined now, with our meeting in this way, as predator and prey.
Numb and saturated with the stink of adrenaline, I stumbled after them, down the hill, to where they broke out across the open swale. On the other side, they formed a single file and trotted quickly along the base of another set of hills, incised by a narrow, rocky gully that would be hard to track them in. The wounded doe was in the middle, limping slowly now, but lithely, her head bobbing as she went, to compensate for the wound. I squatted and laid my rifle across a downed pinion tree and put her in my sights again. It was a perfect shot. But… I could let her go. She could heal, and go on, possibly—limping like this for a long time. Or perhaps she would feed a bear, or a lion—although after losing Ruby’s goat I wasn’t feeling that generous. I guess I could buy ground beef at the grocery store
and not feel nearly so complicit. Better yet, I could go vegan and eat only the grains from one of my neighbor’s fields—as long as I didn’t think about the fawns he carved up with his thresher every summer, the ones he tried to flush out before cutting but never could manage to get them all. He had once told me it was the hardest part about growing food. He had said creatures die so we can eat, no matter what the menu. There was also the fact that this doe might really suffer, because of my imperfect shot. So I let out my breath. Began the long process of pressing the trigger. Just then, another shot rang out, off to my right. The doe’s good shoulder bloomed red. The scene was timeless. And later I would wonder about this: how we tend to focus on the mundane even though it rattles
46 • ESSAY
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“This is how the women in my family, all daughters of the West, prevail: They can shake off the drama and gore of birth and death. And when it comes to procuring food for the family, they have nerves of steel.”
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rapidly by—like one of those cartoon books with pages you flip with your thumb to make the images move—so that you feel in your body the anxiety of so much passing, but not much else in terms of sensation. This is in contrast to the deepest moments—of fear, and pain, and joy—which happen in slow time; they somehow unfold as if they are forever unfolding. It is in this moment, I thaw. And I feel love, for this creature, at the imminent loss of her life. It is excruciating. And it is exquisite. From this slow, sensual place, I watch: The doe takes a delicate, halting step. The other deer stop, turn in unison to look her up and down. Noses twitch. Ears prick. An assessment is happening, some sort of group process
to determine how to preserve the herd, even at the expense of the individual. Another halting step—the pointed little hooves more stacattoed this time, like a ballerina en pointe. The lead doe turns and bounds up the gulley. Like a ghost. Like a musical note. Something there and gone, but with some signature that lingers—a sensation left on the skin, or in the recesses of the ear. And then the doe with the red rose on her shoulder crumples into the snow. Before she hits the ground the others have turned together, like a row of synchronized swimmers, and disappeared after their leader. Only the one body, now a carcass, remains. In the slanted light of early morning, fingers of steam rise. \
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48 • HISTORY
FORE! GOLF IN TELLURIDE DURING THE LEAN YEARS
By Paul O’Rourke
But in mid-May there was a decidedly more positive buzz in the air. It had nothing to do with an upturn in mining activity, with a new business coming to Town, or even with the delight associated with a return of springtime temperatures. All the excitement was over a diorama that had been placed in the office window at the Western Colorado Power Company. Just about everyone in Telluride made their way down to 324 West Colorado Avenue on May 16, anxious to get a look at the miniature replica of a nine-hole golf course, “artfully configured,” reported The Telluride www.TellurideMagazine.com
Daily Journal, “replete with each fairway, tee box, and greens, down to the pins and flags.” Rumor had it the Telluride Lions Club would have the course ready for play by the Fourth of July that same year. “The (golf) bug has bitten both men and women of Telluride hard,” proclaimed The Journal. “Golf rule books can be seen sticking out of coat pockets, discussions of the various whys and why nots of the game can be heard on street corners, and the merits of this and that sort of stick are freely discussed everywhere.” The Telluride Hardware Company advertised, “Sets of four golf clubs and a
bag for $10.00. A Spaulding book, ‘How to Play Golf ” FREE with every purchase of one or more clubs.” Almost as soon as word of the new golf course hit the streets, memberships (at $10 per family) were sold as fast as the ID cards could be printed. Just about every one who was “anyone” in town joined up. By the newspaper’s count, some 60 memberships were snapped up during that first week. That there were just 80 personal listings in the telephone directory seems to indicate there may have been fewer people in town not among those caught up in the
excitement over Telluride’s new golf course. A lease between the Lions Club and rancher, Robert Alexander, was perfected and construction, such as it was, commenced on the grounds just west and slightly south of Society Turn. On June 27, the newspaper proclaimed: TELLURIDE MUNICIPAL GOLF COURSE ANNOUNCED READY FOR PLAY NOW. “Telluride men,” The Journal went on, “well versed in the art of the game say that Telluride has the best golf course on the Western Slope.” High praise indeed for a ninehole layout where the fairways were
OST OF THE NEWS MAKING ITS WAY TO AND AROUND TELLURIDE DURING THE SPRING OF 1928 WAS LESS THAN UPBEAT. THE MINES WERE STILL WORKING, THOUGH OUTPUT WAS GREATLY DIMINISHED— MINED AS IT WAS BY A MUCH-REDUCED LABOR FORCE. BUSINESS WAS STILL BEING CONDUCTED ON MAIN STREET, THOUGH WITH FEWER MERCHANTS OPENING THEIR DOORS TO CONSIDERABLY FEWER SHOPPERS. THE RIO GRANDE SOUTHERN PULLED DAILY INTO THE DEPOT AT THE BASE OF TOWNSEND STREET MORE OUT OF HABIT THAN FOR ANY COMMERCIAL IMPERATIVE. THE POPULATION IN TOWN HOVERED AT JUST OVER 500.
essentially converted pasture, more familiar to the valley floor’s herds of cattle and sheep (and to other four-legged species of lesser refinement) than they were to the town’s two-legged golf enthusiasts. Natural hazards and lost golf balls were commonplace. It was no rare occurrence, even for the more seasoned players, to lace a drive right down the middle of the fairway, only to discover when arriving at the ball’s presumed resting place, that it had disappeared into a jumble of low-cut brush, or a thick patch of wild buffalo grass, one of several hundred prairie dog holes, had become lodged behind,
between, or even under a deposit of small stones, or had found its way onto a pile of animal dropping. The “lift, clean, and place rule” took on special meaning at the TMGC. It’s unclear whether one-stroke penalties were assessed for balls lost or deemed unplayable in the fairway. If so, it may explain the relatively high scores—by today’s standards anyway—recorded at the Telluride golf course. Grass—if it existed at all—was a luxury in Telluride in the late 1920s. Grass was never planted or laid as sod at the town’s new golf course. What about the “greens” you may ask. They certainly must have been made with
grass. Climate extremes at altitude and lack of adequate irrigation techniques at the time necessitated (if it was even debated) that the putting surfaces at Telluride’s golf course be constructed of sand; actually a mixture of sand and oil. Such designs were not uncommon. Hall of Fame golf legends Bryon Nelson and Ben Hogan, Texas boys, cut their teeth on sand-green courses (at many courses they were aptly called “browns”) during the 1920s and 1903s. From its inception in 1897 one of golf ’s great cathedrals, Pinehurst in North Carolina—host to three U.S. Open tournaments—used sand greens SUMMER/FALL 2016
for more than three decades. Iconic golf course designer, Donald Ross, wouldn’t “allow” conversion to grass fairways and greens at Pinehurst until 1935. The greens at the Telluride Municipal Golf Club were, as Billy “Senior” Mahoney described them, “circular, 20 feet in diameter, all nine of them the same size, and they were flat as a pancake.” “The thing of it is,” Senior explained, “most times you had to chip up and over a dirt berm that surrounded the green. And once on it, you took the flat end of a rake and smoothed a path from where the ball www.TellurideMagazine.com
50 • HISTORY
was to the hole. And the hole was always in the center of the green. It was never moved.” The quality of the sand and the player notwithstanding, putting on sand greens must have been (there are still courses with them) a challenge. Without doubt a considerably slower roll than on today’s well-manicured grass putting surfaces. So many were so anxious to try their hand at golf that The Journal was advised—on several occasions—to point out to its readers that play on the links was for “MEMBERS ONLY!” The newspaper reported “considerable abuse of the club privileges by non-members, who, should they want to play, should pay their 50 cents at the Telluride Hardware company store or the Busy Corner Pharmacy.” It was bad enough, some thought, that non-members played the course for free, but further outrage was editorialized with the curious complaint that “lost balls found on the course were not being returned.” The excitement over golf in Telluride and on the Western Slope of Colorado during the late 1920s and 30s went beyond just playing the game. In its May 22, 1928 edition, The Journal informed its subscribers, “Motor tourists find it convenient nowadays to stop only in towns where there are golf links and they usually remain several days. Statistics show that motorists spend $17 a day in the towns where they visit.” Invitations were soon sent out to the golf clubs in Grand Junction, Montrose, and Delta to compete in a “Big Fourth of July Weekend Golf Tournament” at Telluride’s new course. Despite the attraction provided by a loving cup trophy for first prize, a “brassie” (comparable to a 2-wood and used for long shots from tough lies) for second, a pair of golf socks for third, a driver for fourth, www.TellurideMagazine.com
“IT IS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO REMEMBER HOW TRAGIC A PLACE THE WORLD IS WHEN ONE IS PLAYING GOLF.” –Robert W. Lynd, Irish essayist and passionate nationalist one-half dozen golf balls for fifth, and a golf ball marker for sixth place, just 13 entrants qualified for play. Golfers from Montrose took 1st and 3rd places; a gentleman from Grand Junction finished second. While the turnout may have disappointed some (the rainy weather may have discouraged some from playing) The Journal reported, “the visitors were all enthusiastic over the new course and have promised to come to Telluride again.” Improvements were made every year at Telluride’s golf links. Keeping Bob Alexander’s cattle off of and raking “obstacles” from the fairways appeared to be the two principal groundskeeping tasks. The Journal quoted the club’s president, Charlie Loebnitz, as saying, on May 30, 1930, “the course will be better than ever this year and it is expected that a great many new members will be enrolled.” It’s unclear what the membership numbers were for that year, only that fees were reduced from $10 to $5. We do know the tournament staged at the TMGC on June 7, 1931—opening day for the course that year—was one of the largest events ever held there. Thirty seven players, representing Montrose, Grand Junction, Olathe, Paonia, Fruita, Silverton, Durango, and, of course, Telluride took part in the tourney. The Journal reporter counted at least “45 cars seen at the course” and that “traffic
was heavy between there and town all weekend.” Tom Wand, from Paonia, took 1st place honors, shooting a 33, or one under par, on his second round, making him the first golfer ever to shoot par or lower for nine holes at the Telluride course. The golfers from Paonia took kindly to their invitation to the annual TMGC tournament. For the next two years running two different and apparently very skilled Paonian linksters took home the first prize trophy, shooting what must have been close to course record scores of 75 and 72 (for 18 holes) respectively. A women’s flight was added to the tournament venue in 1934. Mrs. J.H. Pixler of Grand Junction was the winner with a 51 for nine holes. A video filmed in 1931 by Frank Wilson of the Busy Corner Pharmacy and preserved by Billy Mahoney substantiates that women were not only active golfers at the Telluride course but played from the same tees as the men. Newspaper accounts of activity at Telluride’s golf course were far and few between as the decade of the 30s moved to its “back nine.” Memberships must have fallen off as dues were reduced from $2 to $1 in 1935. The land on which the course was situated had been deeded over to Gio Oberto in the same year as part of debt settlement between he and Bob Alexander, a sign of the times
during the darkest days of the Great Depression. “Joe”—as he was known around town—donated the use of a portion of his considerable holdings on the valley floor to the golf club. And however dire the circumstances became in Telluride during the late 1930s The San Miguel County Journal persisted in its optimistic slant on things, calling the Telluride links “one of the sportiest courses to be found anywhere in the country.” If one can judge what’s important in a town by what one hears on the street corners, then the excitement over playing golf in Telluride during the late 1930s had cooled considerably since 1928. What motion picture was playing at the Nugget Theatre got more press than who played golf at the TMGC. Telluride golfers didn’t give up the game altogether after 1940. Not until the commercial development of Lawson Hill in the early 1990s did the golf course actually “disappear.” But for everyone in Telluride, life and its various diversions took a decided and sudden shift in emphasis following December 7, 1941. For Paul O’Rourke, golf is— at least on most occasions—more enjoyable than the proverbial “good walk spoiled.” The game, as it is with life, can sometimes feel like a nearly endless series of miscues and disappointments only to be interrupted by the occasional miracle. \
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52 • TELLURIDE FACES
PERSONAL BEST: 1ST PLACE, 38-MILE TELLURIDE MOUNTAIN RUN WEAPON OF CHOICE: HOKA ONE ONE
Running a Business
ife, as we all know, is a juggling act. Keeping all the balls aloft—family, career, physical health—is a challenge, but these three locals do it in style. Not only do Keith Hampton, Erich Owen, and Becca Tudor run their own businesses, they also run, long distances, up and over mountains, and at high altitude. Running is their secret to success. It’s more than just good for your body, it feeds the soul and clears the mind, and gives them the ability to focus on work and career and find balance in their lives.
hef Erich Owen leads a double life. Every night, he runs Honga’s, the popular fine dining restaurant he owns in Telluride. And every day, he runs the trails, sprinting into the rugged, high elevation terrain above Telluride and Ophir and beyond—way beyond. Owen is both a successful restaurateur and a competitive ultrarunner, and leads the pack in long-distance mountain races from marathons up to 100 miles. How does he find the energy for two such ambitious undertakings? It’s not always easy, admits Owen, but there is some harmony between his two passions. “Being a chef, you’re able to train during the day because you have that time. It’s good, but it’s also exhausting. Training days, and then going into work and having a physical job on top of that, is the toughest thing. But I’ve also thought that it’s good to keep moving after training, and sometimes I feel even better because of it.” Like the mountain runs he competes in, his culinary career has also been an epic climb to the top. He started out cooking in restaurants when he was in college in Durango, and later in Telluride. Owen and his natural culinary talent have been a crucial element in the success of many of Telluride’s top tier restaurants—he was the executive chef at Harmon’s, Allred’s, and the New Sheridan, but he also spent many a sojourn honing his skills and expanding his gastronomic repertoire. He mentored at San Francisco’s Grand Café, he ran his own restaurant in Durango (E.O.’s Chophouse, voted best restaurant by the Four Corners Business Journal), and he apprenticed in France, Germany, and most notably the world-renowned Braustuberl Schloss Seefeld, a castle in Austria. He was recruited as a celebrity chef by the trendy Koi restaurant group, and propelled Koi in Las Vegas forward to acclaim as the “best new restaurant.” He also did a stint on the hot haute cuisine scene in Aspen at several prominent restaurants, but throughout his epicurean journey, the San Juan Mountains and Telluride have always lured him back. Last year, the ultimate opportunity arose: Honga’s, one of Telluride’s most beloved and most established restaurants, was for sale. Residents were relieved when Honga Im, after 26 years, passed the torch to Owen, another member of the local tribe. “There is so
much potential as a business owner, and the opportunity to bring out your true passion and experience is very cool,” says Owen. “It’s been gratifying.” Owen and his investment team went to great lengths to give Honga’s a makeover, to redesign the space and reconfigure the menu, before reopening it in December. Then, the unthinkable happened—at perhaps the biggest party of the winter season during Gay Ski Week in February, the exuberant crowd on the dance floor caused its collapse. Honga’s was forced to shutter and navigate the bureaucratic process of insurance, safety codes, and repair inspections. It was a heartbreaking moment for a new business owner. “Unfortunately, it’s been a pretty serious setback, but hopefully we’ll come back stronger than before. It is what it is, I guess.” That long-term, big-picture vision has helped him reach the pinnacle of his career as a chef, and has also helped him peak as a runner. He took first in the grueling, 38-mile Telluride Mountain Run, and placed in the front of the pack in 100-mile runs in Steamboat Spring, Bryce Canyon, and Logan, Utah, as well as several 50-mile and 50-kilometer races, and the Imogene Pass Run and Kendall Mountain Run— some of the most difficult, high-altitude mountain races in the West. He loves running so much that he’s started his own coaching business, High Stride Running, to help aspiring athletes. “Running is the ultimate freedom for me. You can run anytime and anywhere. It brings me so many places. It can be very addicting—the better shape you get in and the faster and stronger you are, you want more and you get addicted to the way it makes you feel. It clears your mind, builds confidence, and makes me feel alive to the fullest.” As a chef, his knowledge about nutrition also comes in handy as he trains for the races. He opts for a lowcarb diet full of organic proteins and vegetables and good fats—nuts, avocado, coconut oil and other nut oils. He applies the same precision to his own diet and regimen as he does to the organized chaos of running a busy restaurant, and he says that his two passions are not as different as they seem. “They’re both very goal oriented, creating food people like and running a race. Training for a race is like prepping for service before you execute it. And they’re both very rewarding.” \
PERSONAL BEST: MONUMENT MARATHON, PARIS MARATHON WEAPON OF CHOICE: SALOMON SPEED CROSS 3
PHOTO BY BRENDA COLWELL
ecca Tudor’s life wheel spins around a single hub: fitness. She is the owner of FUEL, a local workout studio, and a certified Pilates, Gyrotonics, and personal trainer. She founded the WOW festival, a health and fitness event in Telluride, and she and her team at FUEL spend every day helping clients get in shape. But as an instructor, she doesn’t get to work out all day; she spends a lot of her time standing and helping her students achieve their fitness goals. So what does she do to train? She runs races—long, difficult races. The kind of races that other runners spend months training for, just so they can finish, Tudor signs up for simply for the exercise and the competition. “That’s my training, where I can push my body. When I do classes, I’m not worried
about me—I’m worried about the people I’m training. In the summer, I try to race twice a month, either running or cycling,” she smiles. “That’s, if you will, ‘me time.’” From half marathons, to full marathons, to ultra running, she is always in the front of the pack. She took first in the Deep Creek Trail Half Marathon—which is a difficult hike for most people—and second in Silverton’s 12-mile Kendall Mountain Run. She’s had impressive finishes at Imogene Pass Run (17.1 miles) and the several marathons, and in the epic Telluride Mountain Run, a hefty 38-mile race up and down the peaks surrounding town, she came in third. Still, she claims she’s not a runner, and that she’s just able to be competitive in these races because she is fit. “I get to the finish line relying on endorphins and
muscle mass,” laughs Tudor. “I don’t consider myself a runner. I don’t even claim to like running, but I do like what it does to my body.” Don’t be jealous because she’s naturally fast, faster than many of the people who do consider themselves runners and who train hard for races. She has been a devoted athlete for her entire life, and enjoys sharing her passion for sports with other people. She started out in her childhood as a gymnast, although she loved weightlifting and says she had a secret desire to be a bodybuilder. “Growing up I always had an athletic background in sports and was active, but I didn’t necessarily imagine it would be my career.” Before she moved to Telluride ten years ago, she lived in Durango, where she was running a fitness SUMMER/FALL 2016
club. One of her clients at the club asked Tudor for a training session at home, as her personal trainer, and Tudor had an epiphany: This is what she wanted to do with her life. “It was just a hobby, but that was sort of the turning point. It made me realize it was something I was passionate about and interested in. I took anatomy and physiology classes and studied nutrition, and got in the world of fitness that way.” She and her husband moved to Telluride in 2006, and two years later, she opened her own studio, FUEL. She credits her success to her team of teachers and to her family, and says she couldn’t have done it without them. “I have the most amazing team I’ve built, and the support of my husband and family with this farfetched idea of opening my own space…they’ve supported this crazy ride that I’m surfing, and I’m very thankful.” Tudor says she doesn’t love the administrative component of running a business, charging her clients or paying the rent, but that expanding those skills allows her to do the work that fulfills her and gives her purpose. “If I could do what I do for free, it would be the biggest gift. I don’t consider it a job. It’s a lifestyle, and I love sharing that with people. That’s where I get the most satisfaction.” Would she advise any of her clients to try her own training regimen for these hard-core trail races, competing after only a minimal amount of running to prepare? Of course not, she says. But there is something beneficial about her consistent commitment to some kind of exercise, even if it’s not always running, and she is a huge proponent of cross training to avoid injuries. And she does have a friend, Jan Herrick, that motivates her by asking her to go for long runs. “I’d never in my wildest dreams wake up and say I’m gonna go for a 10 mile or 20 mile run— that’s just not me. But Jan will call me, and I’ll go.” It’s that kind of camaraderie and support that is the hallmark of what Tudor does personally and professionally to inspire others. She also has a competitive streak, she confesses, that pushes her to go faster, farther, and harder. “Races are where I can push my body and go for broke,” she says. “It feels good, and that’s the feeling I try to give my clients. People come in to be healthier, and for them that’s their finish line, just like when I’m on the trail.” \ www.TellurideMagazine.com
54 • TELLURIDE FACES
PERSONAL BEST: 3RD IN IMOGENE PASS RUN
eith Hampton defines casual. He sits down, dressed in jeans and a plaid shirt, office strewn with bikes and gear, smiling softly and holding your gaze despite the phone buzzing constantly on his desk even though it’s the off-season. He only glances at it for a second—ostensibly to make sure that none of the 120 properties he manages is not on fire or anything similarly urgent. He seems unflappable, collected, cool…what’s his secret? He’s a runner. When he’s not doing the million things it requires to successfully run Silverstar Properties, one of the biggest hospitality businesses in town, he’s running 50–60 miles a week. “From the standpoint of property management, it is a 24-7 kind of deal. It’s not a regular day, like restaurants or retail, but there’s a certain amount of flexibility that has allowed me to maintain my passion for running,” he says. “It’s just a great diversion. I don’t listen to music; it’s thinking time. Just being outside for an hour or an hour and a half, with no phone, no technological diversion.” Hampton was a competitive runner while in school at Dartmouth colwww.TellurideMagazine.com
lege, and he was really good—14:05 for a 5k and qualifying twice for the Division I NCAA nationals in cross country. He says he likes the energy and the camaraderie of races, but he never had a great desire to “really run competitively after college.” Yet, he still coaches the local track team, he placed third in the excruciating 17.1mile Imogene Run, and he ran his first marathon in December and qualified for the elite 2017 Boston Marathon. But he shrugs off praise, and says modestly, “It took a little bit of thinking, but it was fun. I love the logistical side of marathons, how many carbs you need to get through it.” Planning, it would seem, is what he does best. He has been helping guests plan their visits to Telluride since he and his wife Alicia Bixby bought the San Sophia Inn, a bed and breakfast, in 1995. He raised his family there and they ran the inn until 2009. “Our kids grew up there,” he smiles. “Bed and breakfasts are a very personal experience; you really connect with your guests. I just love the people we meet and host in Telluride. It’s a fun thing—people aren’t coming here on business trips, it’s their
vacation. We help them plan their trip and make sure it’s great, and we get to share this awesome place.” While Hampton and his family owned the inn, they started to expand into property management to accommodate people who needed more room. But he never lost that connection with his visitors, the joy that comes from acquainting people with this place. And it’s paid off with repeat customers. “We have a lot of people that stayed with us back in the San Sophia days. They were on their honeymoon, and now they’re here with their kids or their grandkids. We have a lot of return guests and we know them really well, and that’s what is fun.” Hampton also found a way to share his passion for running. When his son was in high school, there was no track program in this small town after the coach left. So he stepped in, and is still going at full speed, long after his son and daughter graduated and moved on. He gets more animated, like a bright light just snapped on, when he talks about the kids he’s coached and what they’ve accomplished. There are almost 50 kids on the team now, compared to
the four when he started, and they’ve won the state championship twice in cross-country and come in second in states in track—all without the team even having a track facility for training. “The more traditional thing would have been to be done after my kids. It’s a tremendous time commitment. But we just couldn’t imagine not continuing to do it…we love working with these kids.” Hampton and his wife have done lots of work to build the community, from starting and running the Wine Festival for 17 years to serving on various boards and commissions; but nothing, he says, had the kind of direct impact that coaching has. He was up at 4 a.m. to travel in the snow from a recent meet, and didn’t get home until 10 p.m., but he’s used to digging in his heels and doing what needs to be done. That’s the philosophy he imparts to the team: work consistently, and work hard. “There are not many things in life that you’re very good at, so when you find it, pursue it and go all in and see how good you can be. It’s easy to do twenty things halfway. It’s safe. But if you go out there and really do it, you’ll find out what you can really do.” \
PHOTO BY BRENDA COLWELL
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56 • FESTIVALS
The Rider HOSPITALITY REQUIREMENTS OF BRINGING BIG BANDS TO A SMALL TOWN t all started with blue M&Ms. In the early 80s, the band Van Halen pioneered what has come to be known in the music business as “the rider.” The rider is a document that a band sends to promoters outlining its requirements for a concert. Van Halen had particularly specific power requirements as they were pushing the limits of sound systems at the time. In the middle of the sound specs in the rider, they specified how they wanted only blue M&Ms in the dressing room. They did this to see if the promoters were really paying attention to the details of their sound requirements. When Van Halen showed up to play the gig, if there were only blue M&Ms in the dressing room they knew they were in good hands. If a bowl full of multi colored chocolate treats greeted them, the crew knew it was going to be a long night. There are two kinds of riders, a technical rider detailing things like what the stage configuration should look like, how many amps are required by the band’s sound board, and which band member wants a fan blowing up at them. Then there is the hospitality rider which details things like how many crew members need to be fed, what food to put in the dressing room, what water
the band prefers and in the case of Jack White, a recipe on how to make his mother’s guacamole recipe (“be careful not to mush the avocadoes too much, he likes it chunky”). Kathleen Cole has worked in production for Telluride festivals for over 15 years. She also works for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Kole says sometimes she’ll get requests from bands that don’t seem to mesh with their image. In 2014, George Clinton and P Funk came to Telluride for The Telluride Brews and Blues Festival. So what did Clinton, the intrepid commander of the intergalactic funk mother ship request? “A case of pink Zinfandel,” Kole recalls. “I couldn’t remember the last time anyone asked for Pink Zinfandel, and P Funk wanted a whole case of it. So we got them their case of Zinfandel and sure enough they didn’t drink any of it. So I had a pink Zinfandel party at my house. “ Kole estimates that on average, about 50% of the things artists request for their dressing rooms on their rider go unused. “We bring the unused stuff to the crew guys on the buses.” The items that artists are most particular about are their beverages. “Because they sing, artists are very
specific about what brand of water, Kombucha, coffee, coconut water, wellness tea, apple cider vinegar, Whiskey or any number of other drinks they want. We try and get the riders as far out as possible because sometimes we have to get some of the more obscure items in Denver.” Kole has seen all kinds of strange requests over the years, but she cites the Benevento Russo duo’s request for belly dancers after their show at the 2004 Telluride Jazz Festival as the most bizarre. “We didn’t know what to make of the belly dancer request,” she said. “But we went looking for belly dancers and found two of them. Instead of saving them for after the show, we decided to send them out on to the stage in the middle of the band’s performance. The crowd went crazy and they loved it.” Jereb Carter was raised around the music production scene in Telluride. His first job in the music industry was working as a sound engineer at the Fly Me to the Moon Saloon at the age of 18. Carter has since traveled the world working myriad production jobs for bands like Snoop Dogg, Galactic, Stephen and Damian Marley, Slightly Stoopid, and of Monsters and Men to name a few. Carter worked as Production Director for The Telluride Jazz Festival and The Telluride Blues and
Blues Festival for over a decade. When asked about some of the stranger requests he’s seen in riders, he recalls two that involved bodily functions. “Joe Cocker used to have terrible stage fright and he wanted a trash can available on the side of the stage because he always threw up before he went on stage,” Carter says. “And ZZ Top asked that a portable camping toilet be placed close to the stage in case they had to use the bathroom in the middle of a show. Gumby [Festival Producer Steve Gumble] had it painted like the famous ZZ Top car. The band were always ready to bust into an extended drum solo or a guitar solo if nature called.” Carter knows firsthand about being on the road and how irritating it can be when you arrive for a gig and things aren’t the way they are supposed to be. But he says Telluride has a way of easing that pain. “Sometimes there are things that bands ask for that we just can’t provide,” Carter said. “But 90% of the time, bands get here, and they get a sense of how small of a town this is and the beauty of the place, and then they relax and stop worrying about what’s not in their dressing room and just soak in the vibe. The only water they notice is the waterfall coming down Ingram Falls.” \
PHOTO BY BRETT SCHRECKENGOST
By Geoff Hanson
58 • INSIDE ART
Out of the Shadows
HISPANIC WOMEN’S PROJECT SHARES THE TRUE STORIES OF LATINA WOMEN LIVING IN OUR COMMUNITY By D. Dion Kees
hese women are brave. Not just when they fought for their lives and spent their entire savings paying a coyote to run them across the border. Not just when they escaped their rapists or the gangs that killed so many people in the towns where they came from. And not just when they steeled themselves to walk their child into a new school where they didn’t understand the language or customs, or had to scramble to feed their children because their employer had forgotten to pick up cash from the ATM. No, they are courageous because in spite of some of them being undocumented, they shared their stories with Jennie Franks, who used them to create a play called THE HISPANIC WOMEN’S PROJECT. SPARKy Productions, Franks’ company, produces the Telluride Playwrights Festival and they wanted something local and relevant for the festival’s 10th anniversary this July. “The women who shared these stories are brave for trusting me,” says Franks. “It’s been an incredible privilege to hear these stories and then be able to turn them into a play. These stories need to be heard and these women have a need for us to hear them.” What is so powerful about this work is the way these women have stepped out of the shadows and revealed some of the heartbreaking truths about this community we share. Many of the characters escaped from terrifying places and situations to arrive in Telluride, but a lot of the grittiness of the play also comes from their experiences here. There is a chasm between the affluent and the working class, and a cultural divide that still permeates the town, and the Hispanic community understands that better than anyone. And while there is a sharp contrast to the lifestyles of the characters, there are themes that will tug at people from any background—what it’s like to be scared, alone, abused, and unsafe, and the www.TellurideMagazine.com
“Two Friends” by Malcolm Liepke, 9” x 12” oil on canvas. Telluride Gallery of Fine Art.
“These stories represent an opening, a chance to break the silence and the quiet dissonance between the two communities that exists in Telluride.” struggle to make a better life for your children. These stories represent an opening, a chance to break the silence and the quiet dissonance between the two communities that exists in Telluride. “The play is here to help start a dialogue, not only in our community but everywhere, as these are stories that will resonate with everyone. All the women have a profound gratitude to be able to live and raise their children in America. They’re here with the one dream that we all share, to educate and make a better life for our children, which they were unable to do in their own countries.” Often the arts are the best vehicle for opening such a dialogue, and Franks has some experience with tackling uncomfortable topics. Her company SPARKy Productions started out making documentary films such as Soft Smoke, AIDS in the Rural West, portraying what it’s like to live with AIDS in a small town, but a decade ago she wanted to return to her acting roots so she
started the Telluride Playwrights Festival. The festival has been a laboratory setting for plays, where works are read and discussed and the playwright is given feedback to sharpen the play, but this year is special. For the 10th anniversary, the Hispanic Women’s Project will be a full-fledged performance, with local actors, sets, and a director from the prestigious Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington, D.C. There will be several showings, but the opening night will be translated back into Spanish and free for members of the Latino community. Ticket sales will go toward a scholarship fund for Latinas established by SPARKy Productions and administered by The Telluride Foundation. The fund is already growing, and it will help women get into college as well as financially support their education. Some of these young women will be the first generation of their families that are able to get a higher education. “After they shared their stories, I kept thinking, how can I
repay these women? So we decided to set up the fund. I met with the women individually last Christmas to tell them about it, and they all, without exception, burst into tears when they heard that their stories will be used to help create this community fund.” Franks says she initiated the project because she was curious—she didn’t know what it was like to cross the border, to start a whole new life, to raise your children with a different language in a different culture. She knew it had to be hard because she was raised in England and had felt some differences herself. She wasn’t sure she could even get these stories, she says, but she found a translator that the women trusted and that helped. She says she chose to interview women because she believes that women should help other women; a lot of the themes in the play are about women’s issues, things that will transcend the language and cultural barriers and connect with people. Life is a bit like the lottery; being born in a safe place without abuse or violence or poverty is partly fortune, and what struck Franks is how easily the roles could have been reversed. “These are women’s stories. It could be any of us. I don’t think it matters where you’re from,” she says. “That’s why I first went to women to help start the fund—women so easily relate. I do hope everyone will come and see they play and also contribute. Every amount will help to send a young Latina on her way to a higher education and fulfill her mother’s dream.” \
THE HISPANIC WOMEN’S PROJECT
Sheridan Opera House July 27–31, 2016 All ticket sales go to the Latina Scholarship Fund c/o Telluride Foundation P.O. Box 4222 Telluride, CO 81435
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60 • FICTION
IMPROBABLE FORTUNES Ed. note: The following is an excerpt from Improbable Fortunes, a 2016 novel by local author Jeff Price. Price is a screenwriter who lives in Telluride and is best known for co-writing Who Framed Roger Rabbit (for which he won a Hugo Award), How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Shrek III.
he mud-filled clocks, retrieved in the aftermath of the flood, were in general agreement that it was 2:34 when all hell broke loose. It started with an explosion above the town, muffled by the rain and lightning. A few moments later, there was the horrible sound of trees cracking and boulders thundering as a giant wave of red mud and rocks came crashing down Piñon Street, taking a hard left onto Main. The lava went in and out of escrow at the town’s newly installed Vanadium Premier Properties— smashing its contrived western storefront. It flattened Nature’s Grains Whole Foods, which, until Mallomar came here, had been the Feed and Saddle Shop. It pushed his Einstein’s News and Books off its slab and sent it hydroplaning westerly down the street toward Utah—where some of Professor Einstein’s ideas were first tested underground. It pushed the meat freezers from Lugar’s Prime Meats out the front of the store and sent them careening through Boho Coffee and Poet’s Corner—which used to be El Cid’s Guns before Mallomar arrived—scouring all the books containing the answers to how the planet might be saved, while grabbing hundreds of pounds of gourmet roasted coffee beans, kneading and folding them into the moving brown meringue that already contained similar-looking deer and elk feces. All of Main Street was suddenly moving. A parked car, obediently waiting for its owner to consummate his assignation at the Geiger Motel, was carried away. A dead horse, with its legs up in the air, was swept past the Rodeo Arena—where perhaps it had seen better days. And then a man came moving by. Fighting the muddy undertow, he held an arm up in the air as if calling for help
from a lifeguard on a beach in the Hamptons. Then, he too, was gone. The Vanadium Volunteer Fire Department had been the First Responders. Most of the men were either drunk or hungover when they climbed aboard the two old fire engines that sallied forth into town. By the time Sheriff Shep Dudival showed up, the wheels of social order were already coming off. There was much shouting, obscenity tossing, and blaming. The sheriff stood tight-lipped as he witnessed two volunteer firemen fighting over a five-thousand-dollar Rancilio Epoca Italian espresso maker that they had salvaged from the mud. It was the sheriff’s experience that men often became unglued in the face of an overwhelming task. The cleanup would certainly qualify as that. Authority needed to be established quickly. He let the men see him as he walked to the edge of the mud field and lit a generic cigarette. He wanted to provide the two looters an opportunity to relinquish the espresso maker and regain their self-respect. Down Main Street, the sheriff could see the hooves of the dead, upside-down horse heading west toward Egnar. A pickup truck was stopping for a naked hitchhiker covered with mud. Lucky sonofabitch, the sheriff mused to himself, some drunk that just missed being swept away. He turned his attention back to the looting firemen who, disappointingly, were not deterred by his presence. They were still squabbling over the booty. The sheriff walked calmly to the first man and kneed him in the vastus lateralis—the “Charlie Horse” muscle as it’s called in schoolyards. He slapped the other man in the Adam’s apple. Both men doubled over in pain and quickly relinquished the espresso machine—letting it drop into the arms of the moving mud. There was some muttering under breath, but
nobody had the guts to take it further. Despite Main Street being a complete disaster, there would be no help from FEMA. There would be no help from the governor in the form of road crews, nor the National Guard, or building loans. There would be no speeches from the president about how all our thoughts and prayers were with the people of Vanadium. The shuttering of Vanadium’s once strategic industry, the Atomic Mine, had reduced them to the invisible status of any small western town with a population of three hundred and sixty-seven. But then, Vanadians would never want the damn government, anyway. The sheriff would probably be calling the high school principal later in the morning asking if he needed any dirt for the new ball field. The larger ranchers could be called upon for heavy equipment. Vanadium could supply the dump trucks. A full day—maybe two—and the road would be open to traffic. But where exactly had the mud come from? That was the plate of beans in front of the sheriff now. As he peered through the rain, he coolly reverse-engineered the mud’s path. His eyes tracked up Main Street to Piñon to the top of Lame Horse Mesa. He thought for a moment, then flipped his cigarette into the mud. Some men had just arrived with a Caterpillar D9. “Hey, can you fellas get me up to the Mallomar place?” It was dawn by the time they cleared the road well enough for a rescue team to get to Mallomar’s Big Dog Ranch. The rain, at this higher elevation, was coming down as stinging cornsnow. The sheriff let it gather on his eyebrows as he squinted at the jumble of aged Montana logs, glass, steel, and broken furniture that had once been the fortythousand-square-foot residence of Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Mallomar. It was just last April that it had been on the cover of Architectural Digest. Mallomar’s French architect boasted that there were more steel I-beams used in the construction of this house than the new American Embassy that he had recently completed in Dubai. And yet, the mud had gone through the reinforced Adirondack/Frank Lloyd Wright-style edifice as easily as a black bear going through a screen door. The once magnificent lodge now looked ridiculous—its massive Corten roof having accordioned down on itself like a clown’s top hat. One hundred yards away, a late model Audi Q7 and a black Mercedes AMG could be seen standing nose down in the mud, their rear ends sticking up in the air like ducks feeding on a pond. When the sheriff ran the plates, he came up with what he already knew. The cars belonged to Dana and Marvin Mallomar. Mallomar was often out of town on business. When he was, Dana, his young and beautiful wife, was left at the ranch with the twenty-one-year-old foreman, Buster McCaffrey. There had been rumors in town about their relationship, but gossip held no interest for the sheriff unless it helped him solve a crime. Right now, he was hoping no one had been at home when this happened. An ambulance was ordered anyway. Sheriff Dudival hiked up the hill following the mudslide. On a flat bench above the house was an emptied reservoir. Everyone in town had made fun
of Buster McCaffrey for bringing a douser to the property to find water to fill a reservoir above the house, but dammit if he hadn’t done it. Unfortunately, for some reason, the levee had failed and let loose twenty acres of water on the residence and the town below. Several hours later, with the help of two bulldozers and a Bobcat, they uncovered the wrought iron front door. It was pinched shut from the weight bearing on it. Four men put their shoulders to it, but it wouldn’t budge. A bulldozer was suggested, but they didn’t want to do any more violence to the house for fear of further cave in. One of the men eagerly suggested using his acetylene torch that he had brought with him in the back of his truck. Another man suggested placing hydraulic jacks on either side of the door to take the pressure off the jams. The sheriff considered both ideas and went with the hydraulic jacks. This caused the acetylene torch man to throw his shovel and stomp off in a fit of pique. People in this part of the country typically carried odd things in the backs of their trucks for years in the hope of one day using them in a heroic and manly fashion. So, one can only understand the man’s frustration, being so close to finally using his equipment—only to be edged out at the finish line. The jacks were installed and everyone eagerly gathered around the door for the big question: were
Petzl headlamps and tentatively entered the breech once more. No sooner did they take their first step into the darkened shaft that another steer bolted out at them. And then another, and another, until forty-nine by the sheriff ’s count had blasted past them—shitting themselves with fear. There’s a detail for the journal, the sheriff thought to himself. Now, no one seemed quite so eager to go back into the house. Who wanted to risk having their ribs broken by a six-hundred-pound animal trapped in the dark? There was a metallic clanking of Zippos as they lit up cigarettes to mull this over. Suddenly there was a voice behind them. “Howdy, boys.” Everyone slowly turned to see a tall, skinny cowboy squinting into the daylight from the doorway. The buckle of his belt was missing, and his pants were half undone. In his arms was a semi-conscious woman in her thirties, ravenhaired and as beautiful as a movie star. “Well, goddamn…it’s Buster.” “Crap,” said the sheriff as he threw his latest generic cigarette down into the mud. Buster McCaffrey smiled sheepishly, and even a half a smile was something to behold. Tall and thin as a stretch of barbed wire, his teeth were as big as a horse’s—big enough to accommodate
what had transpired in this house. The EMTs came forward to relieve Buster of Mrs. Mallomar, but she clung even tighter to his neck. “No, I’m staying with him!” Everyone looked back to Buster. He visibly blushed, knowing that none of Mrs. Mallomar’s antics were being lost on the sheriff. Buster, trying his best to avoid the sheriff ’s eyes, turned to Mrs. Mallomar, cajoling. “They’re jes’ gonna take ya down to the clinic and check ya out, ma’am. Ain’t that right, fellers?” “That’s right, ma’am,” one of them said to Mrs. Mallomar’s bosom. Now came the hard part. Buster pried Mrs. Mallomar’s fingers from his neck and tried to pass her over to the EMTs, who, by this time, had a stretcher with restraining straps waiting. Mrs. Mallomar, obviously disoriented by the ordeal of the last six hours, resisted their help with punches and kicks as well as a jazz-scat stream of profanity—the verbal thrust of which dealt mostly with different forms of sodomy. Buster waited out her solo and then said, “It’s all right, ma’am. They’ll be nice to you down there. We’re jes’ gonna put this back, ma’am,” and gently pulled her fingers from the stovetop burner. “We’re done with our diggin’ fer now.”
“THE SHERIFF ALWAYS FIGURED THAT VOYEURISM HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH THIS VOLUNTEER BUSINESS. THAT’S WHY HE NEVER PREVENTED THE MEN FROM HAVING A GOOD EYEFUL BEFORE BODY-BAGGING THE VICTIMS.” there any dead people inside? The sheriff was well aware of the Volunteer Workers’ Dark Little Secret: in exchange for having to get up in the middle of the night to ride on the back of the fire engine or drive the Emergency Medical Technician Ambulance two hours to Grand Junction, they got to witness only what doctors, police, and priests were allowed to see. The Burned Beyond Recognition, The Head That Went Through the Windshield and Rolled a Hundred Yards Down the Road, The Blue Teenagers’ Bodies Pulled From the Frozen Pond, and The Surprised Expression on The Man’s Face Whose Wife Spotted His Car in the Parking Lot of the Geiger Motel and Shot Him With His Own Elk Rifle. The sheriff always figured that voyeurism had something to do with this volunteer business. That’s why he never prevented the men from having a good eyeful before body-bagging the victims. The sheriff nodded to one of the two young men standing by the door to go ahead and open it. Cautiously, he turned the handle. The door swung open surprisingly easy. So far, so good. Then suddenly a three-year-old Galloway steer, wide-eyed with fear, mucous blowing from its nostrils, came charging through the doorway, trampling the men. “Shit!” “Jesus Christ!” “Goddammit!” And again, another “Shit!” After the initial astonishment had passed, the men, of course, said “shit” and “goddammit” a few more times then laughed to relieve the tension and embarrassment of being frightened in front of one another. Finally recomposed, they turned on their
Eskimo scrimshaw of Whale Hunting in the Bering Sea—and freckles formed a saddle over the bridge of his wad-of-bubblegum nose. His hair was reddish and fanned around his small jug ears like twists of dried hay. Above each eye was a brow bent like a piece of angle iron in permanent amazement. Taken separately, his characteristics would seem odd, one might even say freakish. And yet, gathered all together, his appearance, for some reason, comforted people. If you asked them why this was so, no one could ever say. But whether they realized it or not, Buster subconsciously reminded people of Howdy Doody. “Hey, uh…some mess, huh?” The men turned their attention to the woman in his arms. She was wearing black satin cargo pants and a somewhat soiled white top that provided a gauzy view of her nipples. Clutched in her hand was a piece of black metal. “What’s that there she got, Buster?” Buster looked down to see what the fellow was referring to. “Ah b’lieve that’s a burner from that ol’ Vikin’ stove top. She was diggin’ in the mud with it.” “Mrs. Mallomar?” said the sheriff. Mrs. Mallomar just looked at him blankly. Buster jiggled her to get her to respond. “Uh, you r’member the sheriff, doncha, ma’am?” When she still didn’t speak, Buster winked to the head Emergency Medical Technician on the job. “Ah think she’s gonna need some seein’ to.” The EMT nodded with tacit understanding. It would actually take the better part of four months before anybody understood the half of
“No, please!” “Ma’am, it’s for the best.” “Ow, my god! What was that?” A female EMT had surreptitiously brought a syringe from the vehicle and plunged fifteen milligrams of Versed into Mrs. Mallomar’s exposed left buttock as the others wrestled her onto the gurney. “It’s just a little something to help you relax.” “But you didn’t even ask me if I was allergic to anything!” “Are you allergic to anything?” the EMT said, a little late in the game. “Why don’t we just see if I go into cardiac arrest, you stupid bitch?” Even in her weakened state, Mrs. Mallomar was formidable. Buster tried to be helpful. “Uh, did ah mention…she ain’t allowed to have nuthin’ with wheat in it,” Buster said. It seemed like an eternity—with the sheriff staring a hole in him—before Mrs. Mallomar was stowed into the ambulance. Buster shook his head and blew a low whistle. “Jiminy, look at that house!” Buster said. The sheriff was still silent. “I guess you’re pretty disserpointed with me right now, ain’tcha?” “Buster…” The sheriff began to say something, but stopped when he noticed two of his deputies eavesdropping. “Don’t you have something to investigate?” the sheriff barked. They snorted insolently and sauntered away. “What’s there to investigate? The house jes’… done fell down,” Buster said nervously. The sheriff sighed like the last of the air from a flat tire.
62 • FICTION MRS. MALLOMAR, OBVIOUSLY DISORIENTED BY THE ORDEAL OF THE LAST SIX HOURS, RESISTED THEIR HELP WITH PUNCHES AND KICKS AS WELL AS A JAZZ-SCAT STREAM OF PROFANITY—THE VERBAL THRUST OF WHICH DEALT MOSTLY WITH DIFFERENT FORMS OF SODOMY.
“Buster, I’m gonna have to ask you a few questions.” Buster scraped the helix of his right ear with his little finger and scrutinized what had accumulated under his fingernail. “Shoot.” “Where’s the mister?” “Uh, ain’t he with you?” “No, he is not.” “Maybe he drove hisself away.” “His car’s still here.” “It is?” “It is.” The sheriff studied Buster’s face as it momentarily clouded with that new piece of information. “Is he in that house somewhere?” “Ah don’t rightly think so. Ah b’lieve he left the house.” “You’d tell me if anything had happened to Mr. Mallomar…” “Ah know what yor thinkin’, Sheriff. All’s ah can tell you is he was fine last time ah seen him.” “And when was that?” “Las’ night.” “Last night. He came home last night and you were here in the house with his missus?” Buster squirmed at the implication. “Well, sir. Ah were in the house tryin’ to get them cattle out.” This, to Buster, was the big news of the evening—that a herd of cattle had actually been inside a house. “Did y’all see ’em?” “Musta been ’bout fifty head in there,” one of the rescue men answered convivially, but slunk away when the sheriff glowered at him. One of the deputies emerged from the house, wiggle-waggling something above his head. “Mr. Mallomar’s wallet!” The rescue workers were now watching the www.TellurideMagazine.com
sheriff ’s reactions. As far as they were concerned, there was enough evidence to hang the foreman. “Do you know why Mr. Mallomar would leave the house without his wallet or his car?” Buster scratched his head, cogitating on that. “It’s a booger, Sheriff.” “Yes, it certainly is a booger.” The sheriff led Buster further away from the others. “Remember what we always said about lying?” “Yes, sir.” “Were you having sexual relations with Mrs. Mallomar?” Even Buster, who had never read a newspaper in his life, knew how much trouble a former president of the United States had gotten into with this question, and how better off the president would have been by just telling the truth. But now, when it came time to his turn at bat, he, also, looked for the same nuance of language to hide behind. Unfortunately, he lacked the language skills to pull it off. “Ah ain’t at liberty to say,” he offered weakly. “Why not?” Another man came through the doorway holding a rope that had been fashioned into a noose. Once again, the sheriff turned to Buster. “What’s this?” Buster looked at it every which way—as if seeing a rope for the first time in his life. “Lord, if ah know. It’s got kinda a loop on the end of it.” “It’s called a noose!” Buster flinched. “Why would they have a noose just laying around the house?” Buster took a deep breath. “Ah ain’t at liberty to say.” “You ain’t at liberty to say? Where’d you get this kind of talk?” “That’s what Mr. Mallomar used to say when he dint wanna tell somebody somethin’,” Buster said glumly. “Used to say?” “Says. That’s what he says all the time and ah guess ah took it up.” “I’m sure Mr. Mallomar is gratified with the results of his mentorship. That is, if he’s not laying dead under that heap of a house over there.” The men were all waiting for this conversation to conclude in the only way it could. “Buster, I got no choice but to take you in.” “Aw, but Sheriff, ah ain’t killed nobody…” “That’s what he always says,” someone muttered. “Turn around. I’ll have to cuff you.” Buster almost burst out in tears, but complied docilely. As the sheriff escorted him to the back of his cruiser, Buster called out to the diggers. “Hey, fellers, keep an eye out for my ro-day-oh buckle, will ya?” Sheriff Dudival pushed his head down to fold him into the back seat. “Buster, that’s the least of your damn problems.” \
This water, it can steal your breath away, and the thirsty air could take your life. Perhaps you are willing to risk everything you have ever known to the red labyrinth of canyon walls, and bathe along the icy waters to wash away the old life, where a thousand years ago a man and a woman walked to talk about endings, (or was it beginnings?), and where a million years ago, lava boiled in crimson falls to greet the river with great white columns of blinding steam rising into a moonlit sky. That same full moonlight through which you row your shanty vessel like a pirate jamboree past the rocks and weathered stones, and into the black night as if it were your last, whispering your deepest secrets to the stars, or to a fellow traveler, which is to say that down here, you are finally able to say what you mean, and you realize that this is the only definition of freedom, and that no matter where the river leads you after, it is now your responsibility to follow the canyon back out into the world and share your wet, wild light. Erika Moss Gordon
“BREATHTAKINGLY GOOD.... A darkly suspenseful page turner.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch
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64 â€˘ ENVIRONMENT
PREDATOR PREY and
Ranchers and environmentalists lock horns over wolf reintroduction By Martinique Davis
he Snyder Ranch sits amid a striking landscape in San Miguel Countyâ€™s west end, in the shadow of Lone Cone mountain. The Snyders have ranched in the area for more than 100 years, each generation carving a living out of the land through the family sheep operation.
Wild lands such as these have long sustained ranchers in this part of Colorado, but also provide ideal habit to support a different kind of population: wolves. With a federal mandate from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to save the critically endangered Mexican gray wolf, this corner of Colorado must grapple with the question of whether these lands can, or should, support the introduction of this controversial predator species. Although the Mexican gray wolf ’s historic habitat was further south, federal biologists have suggested that a reintroduction plan could also include parts of southwestern Colorado—where, many biologists agree, populations of the Mexican gray wolf never had a foothold. Colorado wildlife commissioners and legislators have pushed back hard against this idea, with Gov. John Hickenlooper joining governors of Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico, as well as the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission, in opposing Mexican wolf recovery efforts on land where Mexican wolves historically did not exist. (Colorado still has a policy that it will take care of any wolf that wanders into the state on its own.) Cattle and sheep industry leaders applauded the decision, echoing the concerns of small ranchers like Norwood’s Jo Ann Snyder, who considers the release of wolves into this area a considerable threat to her ranching operation. “Four states oppose this move; we should make this decision with facts and common sense, not some memories of the call of the wild,” she says. And yet, environmentalists offer a compelling argument that the return of the wolf may be beneficial. Lexi Tuddenham is the Interim Director at the Telluride-based Sheep Mountain Alliance, a regional nonprofit environmental group. “We’re lucky in this corner of the state to have fairly intact wetlands, forests, and other wild lands. Bringing wolves into that mix would overall be beneficial,” she says, pointing to research that shows that wolves help balance an ecosystem. Wolves reduce the number of ungulates (deer and elk), which leads to greater plant biomass and diversity since those decreased ungulate populations don’t graze as much on woody vegetation—thus promoting healthier waterways and increasing numbers of other species. But environmentalists agree that the positive environmental impacts
“These reintroduction success stories came at a price, most notably for ranchers contending with significant livestock losses.” of wolf introduction can’t always been seen in a clear and linear way, and as Tuddenham notes, any program will come at some cost to the human population living nearby. “There is a real emotional component [to the wolf debate],” she says. “Ranchers are attached to their way of life, and they see wolves as a direct threat to that. We have to understand those concerns, and like anything else, try to figure out a balance.” A controversial tug-of-war has long been at the center of the wolf debate, pitting environmentalists who call for the federal government’s support to help reestablish wild populations of wolves against farmer and ranchers who consider wolf reintroduction programs a potentially fatal blow to their livelihoods. Wolves, from time to time, may roam inside Colorado’s borders—last year in Kremmling, Colo., a gray wolf was shot and killed, having been mistaken for a coyote. But wolves haven’t called Colorado home in decades, with the last documented wolf killed in the state in 1945. This came after a long-standing campaign undertaken by settlers of the new West, who hoped to control the species as a means of making way for a thriving livestock industry. Colorado wasn’t alone in its battle to rid its territory of this cunning animal, which hunts in packs and can be an extremely effective predator. Efforts to eliminate wolf predation on western rangelands led to the near-extermination of
wolves, and eventually prompted the species to be placed on the endangered species list. Reintroduction efforts for the gray wolf, initiated in Northwestern states in the mid-1990s, saw a remarkable turnaround; by 2008, populations in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming reached levels that allowed the gray wolf to be taken off the endangered species list, although it has since been listed again. Protections for the animal allowed the Canadian wolf to begin recolonizing regions of Northwestern Montana. Yellowstone National Park’s reintroduction program has also seen significant increases in numbers of gray wolves. But these reintroduction success stories came at a price, most notably for ranchers contending with significant livestock losses. And while there were observable financial benefits of the wolf introduction in places like Yellowstone National Park (estimates suggest visitation and ecotourism spending increased by $35 million in 2005, due in large part to the growing number of gray wolves found there) other industries in that region saw profits decrease significantly. Hunting outfitters around Yellowstone were severely affected following the wolf reintroduction program, with a 50% decline in elk and deer populations leading to a significant drop in the number of hunting permits granted. Although other subspecies of wolf have seen marked population SUMMER/FALL 2016
increases in the years the wolf has been a protected species, the Mexican gray wolf remains the most critically endangered subspecies of wolf in the world. And it is the fate of the Mexican gray wolf that has prompted a maelstrom of debate over how, and most importantly where, to begin efforts to save the species from extinction. Back at the Snyder Ranch outside Norwood, fourth-generation rancher Tyrell Thompson explains that predation of livestock—by regionally native species like coyote and black bear, as well as feral dogs—already severely impacts regional ranches. Even with he and his cousins keeping watch over their 600-head sheep herd, along with three Great Pyrenees guard dogs, there have been summers when the Snyders have lost as many as 140 animals. “We were losing a lamb a day for the first two weeks…and that was with both people and dogs up there,” he recalls. With a good ewe fetching $300 and a buck lamb going for between $500-$600, those kinds of losses are difficult to overcome. Add that to the odds already stacked against them, he says, like federal land grazing permits becoming harder to get and competing interests like recreation further shrinking the acreage available for ranching, the addition of roaming wolf packs into the mix could represent the tipping point for the Snyders’ 100-year-old ranching operation. Most environmentalists contest that any successful program must include compensation, prevention, education, and outreach strategies. “It comes down to whether, at the state and federal level, we can invest in those sorts of programs, and do a good job of managing them,” Tuddenham says, noting that without assistance, the species will undoubtedly go extinct. But ranchers like Thompson aren’t convinced those efforts would be enough for operations like the Snyders’. “You’re not in the ranching business to get rich, but it’s already getting harder to ranch and make a living anymore. There is a point when it’s the final nail in the coffin, and you can’t keep going.” Ultimately, the decision is in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s court, which must submit its updated recovery plans for the Mexican gray wolf no later than December 2017. \ www.TellurideMagazine.com
66 • TELLURIDE TURNS
Headlines & Highlights FROM THE LOCAL NEWS
“Crashing a drone is not a matter of if, but when.”
Drone Regulations Still Up in the Air USE IS ON THE RISE IN TELLURIDE SKIES
n any given day, there’s a lot to be seen within Telluride’s troposphere: magpies mingling with red-tailed hawks, helicopters dropping skiers off in the winter or hot air balloons floating in the summer. Gliders soar above the mountains, paragliders circle in the sky. But wait, what’s that buzzing overhead? It’s not a bird or a plane. It’s… a drone? Some consider them a nuisance, or worse, a hazard. FAA guidelines for drones exist, but they’re just that: guidelines. Local government hasn’t taken any action yet, either. Brett Schreckengost is a well-known local photographer who aims to change that. Right now, he says, our airspace is a bit like the Wild West. The Consumer Technology Association estimates within 20 years, we’ll be seeing about a million flights per day. Much of Schreckengost’s work showcases Telluride from angles that, until recently, couldn’t have been captured without expensive helicopters. True story: He once rigged a weather balloon to try and get some shots. Lately, he’s been www.TellurideMagazine.com
using his drone in Norwood to film exterior shots for the new Netflix original series, The Ranch. But to capture these shots as a commercial unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) pilot, Schreckengost has to get an exemption from the FAA. As for your average Joe or Jill flying a drone they bought off Amazon, they don’t need a permit unless they’re flying on, say, U.S. Forest Service land. As long as they’re not making money, they can pretty much fly anywhere except National Parks, airports, and the like. “It’s not malevolence on their part,” he acknowledges, “but some helicopter pilots that I know are probably more worried about the recreational hobbyists than they are about the commercial operators. If even a toy drone were to fly too close to a heli and get into their tail rotor, it would be game over.” It’s enough to keep the Federal Aviation Administration on its heels. Nationally, the drone debate whirls around privacy, interference with FAA investigations, and firefighting operations, or Syrian Rebels using the technology to
remotely wipe out populations. But here in Telluride, the biggest concern is safety for those below. Schreckengost spoke in front of the Telluride Town Council last winter, urging members to craft an ordinance that would forbid UAS from operating on town property without a permit. “The Town of Telluride cannot regulate the airspace above it, only the FAA can do that. The town can only regulate drones that operate, take off and land, on town property—and I hope the town will come up with a process that will still allow commercial operators to fly.” He says it’s reckless to film over large crowds on the Fourth of July or at a festival. Town staff has indicated it would look into it further. After all, he says, “crashing a drone is not a matter of if, but when.” Under a permitting system, the town could limit the number of drones at any given time, or ban them entirely from Bear Creek and the Valley Floor. In the meantime, there’s a 2-mile virtual geofence around the airport, and UAS are banned on the ski area
without permission. “People typically follow the rules,” says Telluride Ski & Golf Resort Risk Manager Jamie Baker. “We only had a few unauthorized drones during the 2015-16 season. However, drone use at ski areas is a major concern. We have no way of knowing whether the operator has proper training, especially at altitude.” Recently, the FAA has tightened restrictions, like implementing the altitude ceiling, setting up a registration form on its web site, and banning night flights. Something not everyone adheres to, according to Schreckengost. Think bothersome blinking red lights distracting your view from the torchlight parade. Despite the impending restrictions in Telluride and all over the country, drones aren’t going anywhere but up. The UAS market is expected to hit a billion dollars in the next five years. Shreckengost adds, “there is no doubt that skies of the future will be filled with more UAS air traffic, both commercial and hobby pilots.” \
PHOTO BY BRETT SCHRECKENGOST
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68 • TELLURIDE TURNS
Headlines & Highlights FROM THE LOCAL NEWS
“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” —Winston Churchill
Still Standing OFFICIALS WEIGH PRESERVATION OF HISTORIC PANDORA MILL By Cara Pallone
he big gray building at the back of the box canyon is arguably one of the most important remnants of mining history in the region, but this spring, the future of this landmark was uncertain. Would it be razed or would it be saved? Real estate in Telluride is as valuable as ever, but the Pandora Mill is worth more than its hollow metal edifice or the property on which it sits. The aged structure also tells the story of Telluride’s past. That story begins in 1875, when gold was first discovered in the Marshall Basin. Miners named their community “Pandora” and built the first mill in 1880. Avalanches destroyed it shortly after. New mills were built in safer spots thereafter. All together, over the course of the early mining days, there were a total of five. “The east end of the valley was very important for milling. And as mining grew, the mills grew and became a giant industrial complex,” says local historian Rudy Davison.
The Gray Mill, named after its gray, sheet-metal exterior, was built in the early 1920s and is the same mill referred to today as Pandora Mill, or Idarado Mill. The two are used interchangeably. “It’s been standing for 95 years,” Davison says. “It represents the only standing mill left at the east end of the valley, and it’s an important reminder of what happened here.” While the mill’s historical importance has long been noted, local governments officially had to decide this past spring whether to
save it or allow it to be demolished. The answer seems obvious—but there are caveats that come with preserving the historic nature of the structure. The roof is damaged and in desperate need of replacement, and there will be annual maintenance costs involved. The Pandora Mill was originally scheduled for demolition in 2014. However, Newmont Mining Corporation and San Miguel County worked to develop alternative options. Idarado Mining Company, the regional subsidiary
of Newmont, agreed to convey ownership of the building to a local government or governments, should they want to take on the responsibility. San Miguel County and the town of Telluride agreed to keep the mill standing. But there are still details that remain uncertain, such as whether one or both governments should assume ownership, and how stabilization and maintenance costs will be funded. Staff members for both governments were directed to explore the details of conveyance as well as cost estimates. While this discussion was taking place, community members lobbied for preservation. They also threw out visions for the building as a brewery, a concert hall or housing. At this time, however, any sort of adaptive re-use is out of the question. The mining company is still completing reclamation work at the site, and it could take decades to finish. For now, the mill will serve only as a historic landmark. For some longtime locals such as Johnnie Stevens, that’s enough. His father was the mill superintendent and his family inhabited a home behind the mill for some 35 years. He gets a kick out of telling people that he “grew up back east.” He regaled the community with stories from his childhood and anecdotes about the mill when it was still operating. “I could go on forever about being raised out there,” Stevens says. When Stevens looks at the Pandora Mill, he sees the legacy of the miners. He sees the story of the people who shaped the town of Telluride, long before the first ski lifts were installed. To him, the mill is the local equivalent of Grand Central Station or Union Station. “Its significance will serve this community for many decades to come,” he says. \
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70 • TELLURIDE TURNS
Headlines & Highlights FROM THE LOCAL NEWS
Creative Space PLANS ENVISION A CULTURAL HUB FOR ARTS IN THE CENTER OF TOWN By Cara Pallone
he arts community in Telluride is very close-knit, but soon, they may also be in close proximity, as plans progress toward what is being called a “golden cultural triangle.” It’s the term used used to illuminate the vision for what’s known as the four corners area of town, where West Pacific Ave. meets South Fir St. The treasured Wilkinson Public Library occupies one corner. The iconic Transfer Warehouse sits on the southwest corner, and could someday be transformed into a bustling arts center. And the townowned northeast corner is poised to host the Ah Haa School for the Arts. Combine the three corners and the result is a powerhouse of creative potential. The four corners area of town (the fourth corner hosts a market and a bakery) has made headlines frequently the past few years. With limited land left in Telluride, development plans are discussed in painstaking detail as applications
and proposals navigate a tedious town approval process. Telluride was designated a National Historic Landmark District in the 1960s, the highest level of historic status available to sites. Decisions made today will forever impact the local landscape; it’s a point often emphasized by officials charged with making such decisions. Some Telluride town staffers, such as Program Director Lance McDonald, remember when particular parcels of land were acquired in the ’90s and early 2000s. “Now,” he says, “we’re at a point where the community is deciding how to best use these assets.” Though outcomes are still pending for the lots that comprise the four corners, the vision is sharply defined. Telluride Arts Executive Director Kate Jones says the area will be an anchor for the community as Telluride grows. Telluride Arts, under the proposal for the southwest corner, would manage the Transfer Warehouse. The idea
for the roofless historic structure is to turn it into a bright, soaring community arts center. “The vision for the Transfer Warehouse is a vibrant hub for cultural and intellectual life in Telluride: hosting the arts and lectures, music and meetings, art exhibits and events of all kinds,” Jones says. “And providing a true community gathering place where we connect with each other, our ideas, and Telluride’s rich history.” Along with renovating the Transfer Warehouse, the project also calls for condominiums, commercial space, affordable housing units and parking. That corner is owned by the Telluride Transfer Co., a trio of partners that includes the local Lifton-Zoline family, Boulder-based Meriwether Companies, and a capital investment partner. In the spring, the town granted preliminary approval of the development application. A separate project proposed for the town-owned northeast corner, known as the SMPA lot, calls for
underground parking, affordable housing units, and a 10,000-squarefoot portion of the space to be owned by the Ah Haa School for the Arts. The school is outgrowing its current home in a turn-of-the-century train depot and a new space is needed to help the organization better fulfill its long-term mission. Plus, says the Ah Haa’s Board President Richard Cornelius, the location right in the heart of town would allow for further collaboration with the library and Telluride Arts. “This is the 25th year of the school and we’re doing incredibly well,” he elaborates. “One of the things that makes Telluride such a magical place is an organization like the Ah Haa School that enables people to really chase their creative dreams.” Earlier this year, the town and the Ah Haa School entered into an agreement to jointly develop the property. There are still significant decisions ahead, but Cornelius says the parties involved are confident the project will move forward. \
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72 • TELLURIDE TURNS
Headlines & Highlights FROM THE LOCAL NEWS
The Novelty of Legal Weed WILL MARIJUANA GO MAINSTREAM? By Caitlin Ketel
esponsibility is a heavy responsibility.” Take a moment to digest that sentiment from one of the groundbreaking artists of our time, Cheech Marin. The responsibility of properly introducing the legitimate marijuana industry into the U.S. rests on Colorado’s shoulders, as it is the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. Fun fact: the county you’re presumably standing in, San Miguel, showed the most support for its legalization in 2012, with 79 percent in favor of passing Amendment 64. No other county came close. Perhaps because here, it’s no longer a novelty, it’s the norm. Greg Viditz-Ward owns one of four dispensaries in Telluride, The Green Room, which was tied with six other shops to be the first in the nation to sell recreational pot. The Green Room was formerly just a medical marijuana dispensary, and he confirms that sales increased in every category of recreational and medicinal products after Jan. 1, 2014, and have been steady ever since. Dahlia Mertens grows weed here and uses it in her tinctures, lip balms, and lotions. They’re sold in over 200
stores across the state, and her salve took first place at the Colorado Cannabis Cup earlier this past spring. All of this popularity is enough to make one wonder: When will the novelty wear off? How long until tourists’ “I got high in Telluride” t-shirts become obsolete? Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a lawsuit brought
on by Nebraska and Oklahoma. The two acknowledged Colorado’s right to legalize pot, and instead turned their attention to the Justice Department, making claims that it wasn’t enforcing the federal law, therefore allowing it to be “dismantled by piecemeal nullification.” As that piecemeal nullification is seemingly pushing the marijuana movement forward, setbacks remain. Recently appointed Attorney General Loretta Lynch isn’t taking on the same relaxed attitude we’ve had from President Obama. Pot is a sexy topic in Colorado, but on a national level, it’s taken a back seat to the more pressing matter of the 2016 election. Here, the market is responding quickly to consumer and grower trends. Take medical marijuana sales: In the first quarter of 2016, recreational sales revenues outpaced medical sales six times over. When the medical marijuana program first took hold in 2000, a card had an annual fee of $140. Now, it’s $15. That’s worth it for some, considering the recreational stuff is taxed three times higher. In 2015, an average of 3.5 percent
of Telluride’s sales tax came from cannabis. The town ended up pulling in over $243,000, along with some state tax income. Government is reacting, too, straightening out kinks that were left behind from Amendment 64. San Miguel County Sheriff Bill Masters says there are about 50 growers in the Norwood area taking advantage of those loopholes because “multiple growers get quack doctors that will write a prescription for 99 plants.” Who, besides maybe Cheech, can smoke 99 plants? Master says that growers team up and claim they can live in a tent on the same piece of property, multiplying the number of plants allowed and ending up with 200400 plants in a single grow operation. Each plant can yield five pounds of marijuana, so… you do the math. It ends up being shipped and sold out of state on the gray market, he says. What the “illegal” medical marijuana growers are doing is protected by Amendment 64, but the county has also recently loosened the rules for recreational growers applying for a special use land permit. Interested parties (and there is plenty of interest) used to have to own a store in the county to apply for the permit, but that’s no longer the case. On a federal level, under the Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is listed under schedule 1, along with quaaludes and heroin. Dr. Diana Koelliker of the Telluride Medical Center says most weed-related ER visits are made by older people who over-ingest pot-infused gummies, or smoked too much of what they thought would be the mellow grass in the ’70s, only to realize how much stronger modern marijuana has become. Koelliker and her team experienced a spike in ER visits the first couple seasons after recreational weed became legal, but that number has tapered. Nine times out of ten, there’s no adverse outcome. “It just needs time to wear off,” Koelliker says. Just like the novelty of weed. Many here believe it’s a matter of time before it becomes as widely accepted in your hometown as it has been for decades in Telluride. \
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74 • INDEX
COLOR BY SKATEBOARDING IS (STILL) NOT A CRIME
BRINGING HOME THE BACON
WELCOME BACK, WOLVES
Number of skateboarders in the U.S. in 2015: 6.4 million. And they’re getting older…between 2006 and 2014, the number of skateboarders between the ages of 6 and 17 decreased from 8.75 million to less than 4 million.
The number of women hunters surged by 25 percent between 2006 and 2011, and at the last count, women made up 11% of all hunters in the United States.
Federal wildlife officials have released 96 wolves into the wild since the reintroduction efforts began in 1998, none of which were released in Colorado. They estimate that just 7 breeding pairs exist in the recovery area. In 2014, 56% of the 35,600 ranches in the state raised livestock.
Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S., and more than 42,000 Americans die by suicide each year. On average, there are 117 suicides in this country every day, reflecting a 24% increase between 1999–2014. Ski town suicide rates (per capita) are also elevated: Aspen’s is 3X the national average, and Salt Lake County’s is almost 2X greater. The rash of suicides this spring in Telluride was 6X higher than the national average. Colorado lost 1,058 people to suicide last year—the highest on record—and the state’s suicide rate is 19.4%.
NUMBERS MELTING POT
POT REVENUES ARE HIGH
ROOM TO MOVE
DRIVING THE ECONOMY
COST OF LIVING
There were 55.3 million Hispanics in the U.S. in 2014, comprising 17.3% of the population, and the number of Hispanic people born in the U.S. was approximately twice as high as the number of foreign-born Latinos. Hispanics make up 21% of the Colorado population (but just 9% of the San Miguel County population), and their median annual income is just $22,000 annually. The median per capita income in the state is $31,000 annually.
Pot sales in Colorado jumped by 42% in 2015, bringing the total revenue from recreational and medical marijuana to $996.2 million. The state collected $135 million in taxes and fees; more than $35 million of that will go toward school construction projects, and other funds will go toward youth and substance-abuse programs.
Colorado is comprised of about 67 million acres, and 45%—30 million acres—are public land. Between 2000 and 2010, the U.S. population grew by just 9.7%, but Colorado’s population increased by 16.9%. 52% of Coloradoans travel less than 10 miles to recreate outdoors during weekdays.
Colorado collected (in 2014) $13.5 million in traffic penalties, $5.1 million in vehicle title revenues, and $343,961 in driver’s license fees. In that same year, the state collected $29 million in taxes on hard liquor, $5.6 million on wine, and $41 million on beer.
In Sperling’s “cost of living” index, where 100 is the U.S. average, Telluride’s index is 142.7. Aspen’s index is 232.5. New York City’s is just 121.8.
Sources: Statista, National Geographic, U.S. Census Bureau, Colorado Agricultural Statistics, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, AFSP, Pew Research Center, Fortune, Colorado.gov, Adventure Journal, Aspen Times, FOX Denver, Google Trends, Sperling SUMMER/FALL 2016
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O: (970) 728-3144 C: (970) 729-3145 www.ewandrews.com email@example.com SUMMER/FALL 2016
80 • A LAST LOOK
Ramping Up Lucas Foster catches some air above the skateboard ramp in Telluride’s Town Park. The SK81435 coalition funded the new skate park a decade ago, and the Telluride Skate Camp was founded in 2007. The counterculture of skateboarding is thriving locally and helping kids find balance as they navigate life’s transitions and kickers. PHOTO BY CRAIG WASSERMAN
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AMERICA’S 100 BEST WINE RESTAURANTS Wine Enthusiast
“BEST OF” AWARD OF EXCELLENCE Wine Spectator
Allred’s offers Contemporary American Cuisine and features one of the best wine selections in the country. Take it all in while admiring the breathtaking view of the town of Telluride from the main dining room.
located at the top of the gondola A T T H E B E A U T I F U L S T. S O P H I A S T A T I O N
allredsrestaurant.com • 888.598.4307
Adventure Within Reach. Make the Telluride Adventure Center your first stop when planning your next outdoor adventure. From high-adrenaline activities to moderate outings, our experts can recommend the best adventure to suit your needs.
LOCATED IN THE GLASS BUILDING AT MOUNTAIN VILLAGE GONDOLA PLAZA
call to RESERVE YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE! Whitewater Rafting >> Paragliding >> Horseback Riding >> Mountain Bike Tours & Rentals 4x4, ATV & RZR Tours >> Fly Fishing >> Rock Climbing >> Guided Hikes & Mountaineering Food & Photography Tours >> Ropes Course & Bungee
STAY AT THE PEAKS RESORT FOR ACCESS TO TELLURIDE–
Condé Nast Traveler
Travel + Leisure
Visit ThePeaksResort.com or call 877.270.2661 to speak to a vacation specialist.
Which Bottle Works for You? Telluride’s finest selection of wine, beer and spirits.
O N E T VO THE ISSUE
Out-of-state corporations are interested in changing the way we do business in Colorado by allowing all chain grocers to sell alcohol.
WHO WOULD BE HURT?
Colorado’s economy and small businesses: It would stifle Colorado’s craft beer, wine and liquor industry. Nearly half of Colorado’s 1650 liquor stores would go out of business. Colorado would lose thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue. It would give underage kids more access to alcohol.
SO WHO STANDS TO GAIN?
Out-of-state corporations and chain grocery stores, like Wal-Mart, Safeway and King Soopers. Facts and figures provided by the Colorado Brewers’ Guild, Colorado Licensed Beverage Association, and Summit Economics.
TELLURIDE BOTTLE WORKS (970) 728-5553 • 129 West San Juan Ave. • Telluride • Hours: Mon – Sat 10am to 10pm & Sun 10am to 8pm • telluridebottleworks.com
A look at the mountain town scene in Telluride, with fiction by Jeff Price, essays by Craig Childs and Amy Irvine, and much more.
Published on Jun 1, 2016
A look at the mountain town scene in Telluride, with fiction by Jeff Price, essays by Craig Childs and Amy Irvine, and much more.