Summer-Fall 2011 Telluride Magazine

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M aga zine MAGAZINE s u m m e r / fa l l 2 011

san juan secret

Via Ferrata Bridal Veil

Power Station

Roadtripping the Skyway $4.95 Priceless in Telluride

regional food network

Fresh & Local


eap the rewards of living in Telluride...






1 • Indian Hills Ranch, Hastings Mesa 422+/- idyllic acres with 360° views, 2 ponds, corral, 2 grass airstrips plus a hangar/studio. Superb value at $3,975,000

3 • Wild Skies Ranch, Wilson Mesa Exquisite log and stone home with 5,921 SF on 14.14 acres, incomparable views plus 3 horse pastures. $2,950,000

5 • Laughing Dog Ranch, Specie Mesa Impeccable 7,593 SF compound on 104 verdant acres with elegant main residence, barn & 4 outbuildings. $2,750,000


2 • Lot 912R, Mountain Village A secluded 1.73-acre lot on exclusive Victoria Drive with dramatic northern views and a private ski trail. $1,995,000

4 • Hastings Hideaway, Hastings Mesa 43.4 acres adorned with 3 ponds, 3 springs, a cozy cabin with excellent views, electric to lot line, no CCR’s. $595,000

6 • Plunge Landing, Telluride Designed by award-winning architect, contemporary styled 2-bedroom & 4-bedroom units plus commercial. $5,400,000

Stephen Cieciuch (Chet-chu), Managing Broker | | 970.369.5322, Direct | 970.708.2338, Cell 237 South Oak Street | Telluride, Colorado 81435 | 2

summer/fall 2011



eace, balance, well being.





1 • Pandora Lot P8, Telluride Direct access to San Miguel River and Royer Creek plus excellent tree coverage and views on 1.84 acres. $1,625,000

3 • Tract I, Muddy Creek Meadows Situated across from iconic Wilson Peak, 111 acres offers a flat building site, aspens and a domestic well. $2,500,000

5 • 501 East Colorado Avenue, Telluride Refreshing, elegant interior, 6 bedrooms ideally located across from Town Park. Furnished on 2 lots. $3,595,000


2 • Granita Penthouse Unit 401, Mountain Village Slopeside and beautifully remodeled, 2,126 SF includes 3 bedrooms and comfortably accommodates 8. $1,695,000

4 • 317 Fairway Drive, Mountain Village 4-bedroom sunny residence perched on a cul-de-sac lot in Knoll Estates overlooking the 9th green. $1,900,000

6 • Powder Basin Ranch, Northern San Juan Mountains 2,000+/- acres includes 30 private ski runs, 20-acre lake, great fishing & hunting. Available in entirety or partnership.

Stephen Cieciuch (Chet-chu), Managing Broker | | 970.369.5322, Direct | 970.708.2338, Cell 237 South Oak Street | Telluride, Colorado 81435 | summer/fall 2011



veryone has a good time when they come to Telluride…





1 • Elkstone 7, Mountain Village

2  • See Forever 116, Mountain Village

3  • 101 Autumn Lane, Mountain Village

4  • 143 Adams Ranch Road, Mountain Village

Steps to the Gondola & Elk Lake, this private 3+ bedroom residence is a tastefully decorated retreat. $2,095,000

Slope side location, dramatic views & a warm setting make this 5-bedroom home the ultimate getaway. $4,995,000

Gorgeous 4-bedroom condo with stunning views, the finest appointments & the amenities of the Peaks Hotel. $1,999,000

Spacious, new 5-bedroom home located on the golf course with tremendous views, sunshine & finishes. $2,995,000

Brian O'Neill, Broker | | 970.369.5367, Direct | 970.708.5367, Cell 237 South Oak Street @ the Telluride Gondola | Telluride, Colorado 81435 |

…the people smiling the most are the ones who never left.



1 • 302 North Aspen Street, Telluride This stately, 4-bedroom residence plus guesthouse represents the finest in mountain modern comfort & Telluride living. Master craftsmanship, tremendous sun exposure, & dramatic views. $4,895,000

2  • Plaza Penthouse 402, Mountain Village This 4-bedroom flat is the centerpiece of the Mountain Village with the world’s most sophisticated taste in mind. Enjoys abundant sunshine, views & perfect ski access. $6,500,000

For additional photos & information about these properties, visit

Brian O'Neill, Broker | | 970.369.5367, Direct | 970.708.5367, Cell 237 South Oak Street @ the Telluride Gondola | Telluride, Colorado 81435 |


A Mountain Retreat for the Adventurous Spirit

Gaze out the window of your Cassidy Ridge mountain retreat and you’ll be rewarded with an incredible 270° panorama of the Sneffels Mountain Range. Cassidy Ridge combines top-of-the-world views with equally impressive amenities, courtesy of one of the region’s most luxurious destination hotels—The Peaks Resort & Spa. Patrick Pelisson, Broker

136 San Joaquin Blvd - Mountain Village 2 to 4 Bedroom Luxury Residences

Contact me for more information and to arrange a tour. I look forward to meeting you and introducing you to your Telluride Retreat at Cassidy Ridge. Patrick Pelisson


Patrick Pelisson, Broker I I 970.239.4959 I Sales Center: In the Granita Building adjacent to the top of Lift 1 in Mountain Village summer/fall 2011

summer/fall 2011



summer/fall 2011 • volume 29, no. 1

MAGAZINE M aga zine



From the editor



e v e nt s c a l e n d a r


Headlines and highlights from the news



Bighorn sheep, mountain lions, local weather stats


New solar technology dawns





Essay: Life at Single Speed

32 AS K J O C K

Roadtripping the San Juan Skyway

are 236 miles of road in front of you. 36 There Here’s how to navigate them. By Mary Duffy

Fresh & Local: Creating a Regional Food Hub

40 With an essay by Tony Daranyi about becoming a farmer. By Jessica Newens

Via Ferrata: Taking the High Road

44 Read about the secret alpine route in the San Juan Mountains. By Rob Story

History: Once Upon a Time in the San Juans

46 A prospector tours the mountains in search of silver. By Paul O’Rourke

Athletic advice from our mountain guru


Rachel Loomis Lee, Ah Haa School; Oak Smith, Wilkinson Public Library; Matt Wilson, Telluride Kayak School

60 I N S I DE AR T

Backstage with SquidShow Theatre’s Sasha Cucciniello


Baking the perfect cupcake, with local chef Cinda Simons


Where to eat, drink and be merry

Historic Places: Bridal Veil Power Station

51 8

Meet the men who devised and restored the iconic power plant. By Jennifer Thurston

summer/fall 2011

64 F I N AL W O RD

Q&A with school food expert Ann Cooper

Gray Head Wilderness Preserve Relax with unparalleled views and the occasional elk staring in your window. 35 acre parcels within a 900 acre wilderness preserve 15 minutes from Telluride. Equestrian Center, Fly Fishing, 16 Miles of Hand Laid Trails, Ice Skating, Tennis, Resident Foreman, 1880s Homeowners Cabin, Four lots remaining from $2,600,000. Partnership with downtown Telluride’s Auberge Resorts at Element 52 provides: Ski-In/Ski-Out via a Private Lift, Ski Valet and Lounge, Underground Heated Parking, Natural Stone Pools, Fitness Center, Private Spa, Te Bar And Lounge.

The View Point The perfect family retreat with timber frame vaulted ceilings, massive stone wood burning fireplace, guest wing, cook’s kitchen, caretakers quarters, water feature,stone patios; five bedrooms, five and one half baths, $8,500,000

Pa Gomo Pa Gomo is a work of art! Soaring stone forms, curved beams and rooflines, glass encased bridges and grand outdoor spaces make Pa Gomo the ultimate in mountain living. Five bedrooms, six and one half baths, $19,500,000

Catmando Main living area consists of a Pre-Civil War barn dismantled and re-built on site with ceilings up to 35.’ Two master suites, guest wing, observatory tower, open gourmet kitchen, work-out level, over 10,000 sq ft of outdoor living space. Five bedrooms, five and one half baths, $11,500,000

Steve Catsman, The Local Source since 1972 Out standing in his field 970.728.6629 summer/fall 2011


summer/fall 2011 • volume 29, no. 1

MAGAZINE M aga zine

Publisher John Arnold Associate Publisher Creative Director kim hilley Editor-in-Chief D. Dion


Copy Editor / Proofreader Bonnie Beach

[ Tony Daranyi ] These days, Tony Daranyi has two careers running parallel to each other. He looks for greener pastures in Norwood, where he and his wife Barclay run Indian Ridge Farm & Bakery, and in the winter, he tends white snowfields as a ski patroller and avalanche technician for the Telluride Ski Area. The Daranyis have two children, Ali and Tasha. In this issue, Daranyi talks about his new livelihood and shares a personal perspective of how he went from minding corporate offices to chicken coops. Read more about the Daranyi farm at and on pages 42-43.

[ Mary Duffy ] Mary Duffy is one of those people who came to Telluride in the ‘70s with no intention of staying. She left a few times but was always drawn back. It took a decade for her, she says, to recognize it as where she lived. Then she landed a year-round job, had a child, bought a house and called it home. For 28 years of her 35-year tenure in town, she worked at Telluride Publishing, serving as editor-in-chief for two decades— a legacy of which she is proud. Duffy is currently in absentia but says: “Telluride is where my story is. It’s where my friends and fondest memories are. It will always be home.” Duffy wrote a piece from the road about a road: the San Juan Skyway (pages 36-39).

[ Cindy Steuart ] Hearing their teenage daughter fire up her old Ford mustang in the predawn stillness, Cindy Steuart’s parents thought she was running away. But it was the pursuit of a photograph of the rising sun through the chinks of an old pioneer’s cabin near her Nebraska home that got her out of bed that day. The view through her Nikon lens continues to lead her in search of captivating images. Steuart photographs places all over the United States, from the iconic and sublime to the unrecognized and simple. Currently a resident of Bethesda, Maryland, Cindy and her family spend as much time as possible in Telluride. Steuart’s images appear on the cover and with several stories.

Web Director Susan Hayse Contributing Writers Stephen Barrett Matt Beaudin Thom Carnevale Suzanne Cheavens Tony Daranyi Martinique Davis Mary Duffy Erika Gordon Elizabeth Guest Katie Klingsporn Jessica Newens Paul O’Rourke Rob Story Jennifer Thurston Lance Waring

Contributing Photographers Jeremy Baron Ryan Bonneau Gus Gusciora Kit Hedman Jennifer Koskinen Kevin Ludwig Melissa Plantz Erin Raley Chason Russell Brett Schreckengost Cindy Steuart ••••••••• Telluride Publishing also produces Telluride and Mountain Village Visitor Guide and the Telluride Calendar. Our products are for sale at our office, retail shops in Telluride and on our website. For correspondence, subscriptions and advertising: 307 Society Dr, Suite D, Telluride, CO 81435 or phone: 970.728.4245 · fax 970.728.4302 The annual subscription rate is $11.95. ©2011 Telluride Publishing Co., Inc., a division of Big Earth Publishing Cover and contents are fully protected and must not be reproduced in any manner without written permission from the publisher. ••••••••• Cover Photo: cindy steuart


summer/fall 2011

Expressions of Beauty

171 South Pine St. ● Telluride, CO 970.728.3355 ● Chandelier & Lamp © Ulla Darni, Inc. summer/fall 2011




Human Connection Five years ago, a local man forged iron climbing holds and affixed them to a sheer wall high in the San Juan Mountains.

It was his own Via Ferrata, a thrilling but safe climbing route like those in the European Alps. He was dying of cancer, but he still managed to scale the mountainside and finish putting up the course with help from his friends. It is his legacy—a gift to the community. Each summer, hundreds of people who have never even met him step out onto the same precipitous face, secured to the cable and bolted steel he left behind. The funny thing about a legacy is you might not recognize it as such during your own lifetime. Who knows which of the ideas we have or things we create will outlast us? It’s impossible to imagine how we will touch the people who come after us or to know if anything we do will transcend our own existence. When Bulkeley Wells built the hydropower plant atop Bridal Veil Falls (“Waterfall Aerie,” page 51), he could not have guessed how iconic the building would become. Nor could the miners have known that the railroad grades and roads they built to haul ore would someday be the San Juan Skyway (page 38), a road that transports hordes of tourists instead of prospectors. And when scientists at Telluride’s new Solar Fuels Institute develop a solar-hydrogen technology (page 28), will it electrify the world the way Telluride’s innovations in AC power did more than a century ago?


summer/fall 2011

The funny thing about a legacy is you might not recognize it as such during your own lifetime. photo by ryan bonneau

Maybe your contribution is something less tangible than a power plant or a highway: growing your own food or advocating for healthier school lunches; teaching an art class, filling the shelves of a library, showing someone how to navigate a river; putting on a play or getting up before dawn to measure, mix and bake cupcakes. Some of the things we bequeath to others are so simple that they don’t feel like a gift at all—it just feels like the everyday way in which we touch each other’s lives. But it’s not the gift that’s important; it’s the way we brush up against one another, the electricity of the exchange. Says Sasha Cucciniello (“Life Imitates Art,” page 60): “It’s the human connection.”

Deb Dion Editor-in-Chief

telluride music company ■ Acoustic Stringed

Instruments & Accessories

■ Extensive Selection of

Wilson’s Ranch Hastings Mesa

Mountain Village

Lot 431

• One-of-a-kind 19+ acre parcel located just above Telluride • Sunny location with spectacular views • Outside town limits, borders USFS • No HARC review or real estate transfer tax Offered at $6,700,000

• Scenic 317-acre gentleman’s ranch • Fenced pasture, loafing shed, corral and riding ring • 3 spring-fed ponds and a 5,000-ft. grass runway • 30 minutes from Telluride Offered at $3,804,000

• 1.35-acre lot, easy to access • Quiet neighborhood, a short walk to Lower Galloping Goose ski run • Ski area and San Sophia views • Price includes DRB approved plans for a 5-bedroom, 6,300 sq. ft. home Offered at $1,400,000


Top of Town

Tomboy Road • Telluride

Vintage & Used Instruments ■ Lessons & Stringed Instrument Repair ■ C.F. Martin, Collings & Godin Roland & Boss Products ■ Music CDs, DVDs & Books

112 Snowfield Drive

431 West Galena

Mountain Village

• Incredible 7-bedroom, 5 ½-bath ski-in/ski-out residence • Borders 35 acres of open space with spectacular views Offered at $6,250,000

taddy addLer, Peaks mountain ViLLage

Town of Telluride

• Spacious 5-bedroom, 5 ½-bath recently remodeled home • Adjoins open space, across from the elementary school Offered at $3,150,000

2805 Last doLLar road deeP creek mesa

868 Butcher creek town oF teLLuride

• Mesa • Tastefully finished 4-bedroom, • One of the best Peaks penthouses Lots 28living & 29 with million-dollar Telluride Lodge Unit 336 Hampton Court Unit 3 views minutes from town 3.5-bath home with the •amenities of the resort TBD West Galena Ave • 10 Town of Telluride Town of Telluride 316 Westall Pacific Town of Telluride • Featuring a woodburning fireplace, • Bright, spacious design, perfect • Impeccably maintained 3-bedroom, • Exceptionally finished 2-bedroom • Clean 1-bedroom, 1-bath top floor • Two exceptional, creek side lots bedrooms, 3 baths for entertaining 3.5-bath property modern townhouse condominium • Private, quiet3 neighborhood • Steps from the two gondola/main streetbalconies • Multi-level with • Ski area and box canyontoviews • Adjacent open space and USFS, floor plan • Protected Valley Floor views • Featuring west-facing • Alland elegance and cool sophistication expansion potential • Available separately or as atax larger no transfer amazing views! • State-of-the-art lighting design and • Easy walk to Clarks and Lift 7 estate parcel Offered at $1,850,000 price top-of-the-lineOffered appliances at $1,995,000 Lot 28 is offered at Please Excellent rental history $1,300,000call• for Offered at $1,650,000 Offered at $540,000 Lot 29 is offered at $1,200,000

James F. Lucar eLLi James F. Lucarelli 970.728.0213 • 970.708.2255 • 657 W. Colorado Ave. (in front of Hotel Telluride) 970.728.0213 • 970.708.2255 657 West Colorado Avenue (Located in front of Hotel Telluride)


summer/fall 2011

events calendar

photo by jeremy baron

Ongoing Events Books and Cooks On the first Tuesday of the month at noon, host Chef Bud Thomas invites a local chef to prepare a dish from their favorite cookbook. Patrons cook, share tips and eat at the free event at the Wilkinson Public Library. 970.728.4519 Bungee Trampoline Lift your spirits—and the rest of you—with a ride on the bungee trampoline in Mountain Village’s Heritage Plaza. Riders from 25-200 pounds can ride from 1 to 6 p.m. daily between June 15 and August 21. 1.800.984.9068 Cemetery Tours Explore Telluride’s dramatic past with special guided tours through Lone Tree Cemetery. Tours are scheduled monthly on June 25, July 2, August 27 and September 10. Meet historian Andrea Benda at 3:45 p.m. at the Telluride Historical Museum. 970.728.3344 Fabulous Fridays at the Ah Haa School Young artists will have fun exploring different programs ranging from sculpture and claywork to painting and jewelry making as they complete a project each Friday from June 10 through August 12 (except July 22). 970.728.3886 Films at the Library Wilkinson Public Library presents four film series programs: Telluride Film Festival Cinematheque, Mountainfilm at the Library, Community Cinema and Telluride Music Lover’s Film Club. Cinematheque features TFF films, Mountainfilm shows select features from the festival, Community Cinema showcases Independent Lens movies, and each of the Music Lover’s flicks document some aspect of the world of music. All of the programs feature discussions and refreshments and are open to the public. 970.728.4519 Fireside Chats Listen to fascinating tales from the past with free historical talks from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays from July 21 through August 11, sponsored by the Telluride Historical Museum. Meet at the Peaks Resort & Spa in Mountain Village. 970.728.3344 Green Business Roundtable Participate in ecological discussions hosted by The New Community Coalition at the Wilkinson Public Library on the second Friday of every month, May through September. Meet the Author Series Between the Covers Bookstore and the Wilkinson Public Library collaborate to host authors and a reading/discussion of their work. 970.728.4519

photo by ryan bonneau

May 27 Gondola Opens for Summer Season Free public transportation connects Telluride and Mountain Village with a scenic 13-minute ride. May 27-30 Mountainfilm in Telluride Mountainfilm celebrates the spirit of the mountains, culture and the environment with films, presentations, seminars and the gathering of proactive people. The 2011 theme is “Awareness Into Action.” June 3-5 Telluride Balloon Rally Hot air balloons launch at sunrise to fly above Telluride, and at sunset, the balloons are lit up and decorate the town’s main thoroughfare. This event is held annually, weather permitting. June 4 Huck Finn & Becky Thatcher Day Dress the kids up as Huck Finn or Becky Thatcher for a parade followed by a fishing and costume contest in Telluride Town Park. The local Elks Lodge provides fishing poles, prizes and refreshments. 970.728.6362 June 6-12 Wild West Fest—20th Anniversary Celebrate the culture and traditions of the West at this four-day, family oriented festival where the Sheridan Arts Foundation mentors and hosts inner-city youth. On June 9 in Elks Park, enjoy the ice cream social while watching performances by Yellowbird Native American Hoop Dancers and fiddler/storyteller Ken Waldman. Also performing at the Sheridan Opera House during the Fest are Bob Schneider (June 5) and Langhorn Slim (June 10). 970.728.6363

photo courtesy of mountainfilm/j. koskinen

June 11-12 Heritage Fest Listen to old cowboy stories, see performances by Ute Indian drummers and dancers, watch a historical reenactment, pan for gold, ride a stagecoach and learn about mining at this celebration of Telluride’s history. This year John Wontrobski hosts a “Law Enforcement Tour” exploring the drama of outlaws and heroes from Telluride’s past, starting at 3:45 p.m. on Sunday. 970.728.3344 June 16-19 Telluride Bluegrass Festival One of the country’s most renowned bluegrass music events, Telluride Bluegrass Festival is held each year during the weekend of the summer solstice. Thousands of people rally to hear the preeminent players in the genre play in our natural mountain amphitheatre.

summer/fall 2011


events calendar July 2 Jason D. Williams Sheridan Opera House presents Jason D. Williams, rockabilly piano player, and his band. 970.728.6363 July 2 Red, White & Blues Mountain Village hosts a free concert on the Sunset Stage to celebrate the nation’s independence.

photo by kevin ludwig

July 4 Firemen’s Fourth of July Telluride hosts a quaint and quirky bash for Independence Day with a grand parade down main street, an old-fashioned community barbecue and picnic in Town Park, games for kids and an impressive fireworks display.

photo by jennifer koskinen

photo by brett schreckengost

July 8-10 Full Tilt in Telluride The best mountain bikers from all over the West flock to this local event in the Mountain States Cup Series. July 9 Historic Hike The Telluride Historical Museum presents a “Hike into History,” with Rudy Davison. Meet at the Museum at 7:45 a.m. and carpool to the trailhead. Dress appropriately, pack snacks and water. 970.728.3344 July 10 Anthem Enjoy ‘70s rock tribute band Anthem at the Sheridan Opera House. 970.728.6363

photo by brett schreckengost

June 22 - July 3 Telluride Musicfest Four music concerts and other events bring classical musicians to Telluride to play in intimate local venues or “chambers.” June 23-26 Telluride Wine Festival Soak up all the information you can about fine wine, with seminars, tastings, winemakers’ luncheons and cooking demonstrations.


summer/fall 2011

photo by kevin ludwig

June 28 - July 4 Telluride Plein-Air Landscape artists from across the nation come to paint the region’s vistas. Plein-air painting is done alfresco (outdoors) and artists brave the often-fickle weather to create their work, which is exhibited and auctioned as a benefit for the Sheridan Arts Foundation. 970.728.6363 July 1 Palm Theatre Benefit Be among the first to see Larry Crowne, a new feature film starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, and help support The Palm. 970.369.5670

July 11-17 Telluride Playwrights Festival The Telluride Playwrights Festival provides a laboratory setting for actors, playwrights and directors to network and nurture new, thought-provoking work that inspires and engages its audience. July 13-17 Telluride Yoga Festival Yoga instructors from around the globe convene in Telluride to offer workshops in all types of yoga, meditation, kirtan and other practices.

Imagine an even better Telluride.

Telluride Ski & Golf Club –

The best of everything Telluride has to offer.








Membership Information: 970.728.7302 • summer/fall 2011


events calendar

courtesy of pinhead institute

Ongoing Events Metropolitan Opera / National Theatre at the Palm The Palm Theatre presents live and encore performances on a large highdefinition screen throughout the summer on Mondays and Wednesdays. Dates and times vary—visit 970.369.5670 Outdoor Cinema Every Thursday at dusk, in the Conference Center Plaza in Mountain Village, the local library presents an outdoor movie. 970.728.4519

photo by brett schreckengost

July 22-24 Rotary 4X4 Rally in Telluride Take an off-road adventure on the mountain passes surrounding Telluride.

photo by brett schreckengost

July 17-24 San Miguel Basin Fair & Rodeo Arts, craft, cooking and livestock contests and auctions and a professional rodeo take place at the San Miguel County Fairgrounds in Norwood. 970.327.4393 July 18 Blind Pilot The Sheridan Opera House presents indie rock group Blind Pilot. 970.728.6363 July 21-23 Telluride Americana Music Fest The Sheridan Opera House presents folk and roots music. 970.728.6363 July 22 Ah Haa Art Auction “License to Create” is this year’s theme. Bid on fine art at the wacky and fun live auction to raise money for the local art school. There is also a silent auction with a huge array of arts, crafts and gifts. 970.728.3886 July 22 Maceo Parker The Palm Theatre and KOTO radio present the saxophone player and his funk orchestra. 970.369.5670


summer/fall 2011

July 23 Schmid Ranch Tour Telluride Historical Museum presents a Schmid Ranch Tour of the centennial farm on Wilson Mesa. Learn about ranching life as it was when the Schmid family homesteaded in 1882. 970.728.3344 July 25-29 Musical Theater Summer Spectacular An open workshop for 7-10 year olds focusing on the fundamentals of musical theater culminates with a live performance of Tom Thumb and Thumbelina. The workshop is part of the Sheridan Arts Foundation’s Young People’s Theater program. 970.728.6363 August 5 Fly a Kite The Ah Haa School hosts a family kitemaking workshop. 970.728.3886 August 5 KOTO Duck Race Sponsor a rubber duck, and if it floats down the San Miguel River fast enough, you can win a variety of prizes, including a ski pass. The race is a benefit for the local nonprofit, commercial-free radio station KOTO FM. 970.728.8100

Palm Movie Series Enjoy independent, art-house films at the Palm Theatre at 6 p.m. on select evenings throughout the summer. 970.369.5670 Pinhead Punk Science Fun, free science experiments that entertain and educate young people are hosted by Pinhead Institute. The Punk Science talks are held on Tuesday evenings from 5 to 6 p.m. July 6 through August 3 at the Telluride Intermediate School. 970.708.7441 SquidShow Theatre Performances by this local theater company include Inaccurate Reenactments—The Telluride History You Don’t Know as part of Heritage Fest in June, a Theatrical Musical Extravaganza July 28-August 2, and a Haunted Mine show October 21-23 and 28-31. 970.708.3934 Sunset Concert Series Free live music in a spectacular outdoor setting in Mountain Village, 6 p.m. every Wednesday through July and August. 970.369.7626 Telluride Art Walk Local galleries showcase regional artists on this monthly self-guided tour and reception, and the Stronghouse Studios hosts an art opening. Maps are available at participating galleries and the event runs until 8 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month. 970.728.8959 Telluride Farmers Market Fresh, organic produce and meats, baked goods, flowers and crafts from regional farmers and artisans are for sale on Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. from mid-June to mid-October on South Oak Street. 970.708.7105 Telluride Film Festival Presents Thursdays are for cinephiles. 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. Town Talks It is rocket science (sometimes literally) that gets discussed at these public lectures, but from a down-to-earth perspective. The Talks, sponsored by Telluride Science Research Center, are held from 6 to 7:15 p.m. at the Palm Theatre every Tuesday from July 6 to August 3 (except July 19). Top scientists discuss topics ranging from human health to theoretical physics. The lectures are free but donations are welcome. 970.708.7441 University Centers of the San Miguel UCSM provides post-secondary education and professional training. Summer classes include Internet marketing, social media, cob building, outdoor education, native plants, eco-psychology, non-fiction film, permaculture design and beekeeping. UCSM also hosts an educational event called “Finding Solutions” on the last Tuesday of every month at the library.

opportunities of a lifetime

400 East Depot Avenue

suzy d ranch

One of Telluride’s premier custom homes in the town’s best location adjacent to the river and steps from the Gondola. This 5 bedroom / 6.5 bath home offers a high level of finishes and quality construction for the discriminating buyer. $6,950,000

Private ranch with panoramic views in a pristine and beautiful setting. Aspen groves, old growth ponderosa pine, vast open meadows, creek and reservoir; only 25 miles from Telluride. 170 acres for $1,980,000 to 381 acres for $3,875,000

New Homesites iver

iguel R

San M

805 Shadow Lane

East Depot


One of Telluride’s best current residential values, this spacious home offers over 4,000 sq. ft. of living space on a large landscaped lot with protected views of Bear Creek. An excellent buy! $1,795,000

A rare opportunity to own a lot, a duplex or single family residence in the perfect location at the base of the Gondola in Telluride. Views of the river, Ajax peak and the ski area. Limited presales available, call for details.

A unique chance to own of the few townhomes at Riverwatch. Light and spacious floor plan with 3 bedrooms and a loft. Private deck and patio overlooking the river; directly adjacent to the gondola in Telluride. $1,675,000


TODD CREEL OWNER / BROKER Helping Buyers and Sellers in the Telluride region for over 20 years. 134 E. Colorado Ave in Downtown Telluride

970-728-6400 • 970-729-2222

events calendar

August 13 Eric Brace The Americana/folk musician takes the stage at the Sheridan Opera House. 970.728.6363 August 18-21 Telluride Mushroom Festival Put the “fun” back in fungi: This offbeat festival features everything from foraging to lectures and cuisine. August 19-28 Shakespeare in the Park Telluride Repertory Theatre performs Shakespeare on the outdoor stage in Town Park. AUGUST 20 Garage Sale Clean out your own garage or collect some more gear, clothing and household items at the KOTO fundraiser held at Wilkinson Public Library. 970.728.8100 photo by brett schreckengost

photo by brett schreckengost

August 5-7 Telluride Jazz Celebration The 35th annual jazz festival brings the best of the genre to the Town Park stage during the day and to various local venues at night.

August 20 Geology Hike The Telluride Historical Museum presents a “Hike into Geology” with Todd Brown. Discover the geological phenomena of our region. Meet at the museum at 7:45 a.m. and carpool to the trailhead. Dress appropriately, pack snacks and water. 970.728.3344

August 11-20 Telluride Chamber Music Festival Roy Malan, the festival’s artistic director and concertmaster with the San Francisco Ballet, brings highcaliber classical musicians to town to perform.

AUGUST 26 Potato Black Bean Sauté Have breakfast at the annual fundraiser for local community radio station KOTO. Food is served from 7-11 a.m. on the patio space between Honga’s Lotus Petal and La Cocina de Luz. 970.728.8100

AUGUST 12 Guest DJ Day KOTO community radio kicks off fall fundraising with special on-air guests. 970.728.4333

September 2-5 Telluride Film Festival This world-renowned festival keeps its program secret until opening day but always features movie premieres, classic films and discussions with the industry’s top filmmakers and stars.

August 12-14 Mudd Butts Mystery Theatre Watch Telluride Academy’s theater troupe perform at the Palm Theatre. 970.369.5670 August 12-14 Telluride Festival of the Arts Mountain Village celebrates the culinary and visual arts with an outdoor promenade of art booths, lectures, exhibitions and live music. August 13 Schmid Ranch Tour Telluride Historical Museum presents a Schmid Ranch Tour of the centennial farm on Wilson Mesa. Learn about ranching life as it was when the Schmid family homesteaded in 1882. 970.728.3344 photo by brett schreckengost


summer/fall 2011

September 9 Cooking with the Tomboy Bride and Chef Bud Thomas Celebrate the 101-year anniversary of the birth of the Tomboy Bride’s daughter (the first child born at the old Miners Hospital, which is now Telluride Historical Museum) with this live web cooking show. Taste the Tomboy Bride’s favorite high-altitude recipes at noon at the museum. 970.728.3344 September 10 Imogene Pass Run Runners test their mettle on this 17-mile course that gains more than 5,000 vertical feet, beginning in Ouray, topping out at 13,000-plus feet in elevation and ending in Telluride.

events calendar

photo by brett schreckengost

September 14 Historic Pub Crawl Discover the history of some of Telluride’s oldest watering holes with drink discounts and special guests along the way, sponsored by the Telluride Historical Museum. The tour starts at 5:30 p.m. 970.728.3344 September 16-18 Telluride Blues & Brews Festival Sample the best of both: Listen to international blues and rock musicians all day in Telluride Town Park and late night at the local clubs and taste the fermented favorites from microbreweries around the world. September 24 Mountains to the Desert Ride Cyclists raise money for the Just For Kids Foundation with this grueling, one-day bicycle ride from Telluride to Gateway Canyons Resort. September 26 - October 2 Telluride Photo Festival This weeklong festival is geared toward professional and experienced amateur photographers and features workshops with renowned photographers, seminars, portfolio reviews and exhibits. September 30 - October 1 Telluride Tech Festival Celebrate the past, present and future of technology and innovation at this annual event.

photo by brett schreckengost

October 14-16 Telluride Horror Show The newest film festival in Telluride, this three-day event screens independent horror flicks and hosts special programs and guests. October 16 Gondola Closes for Off-Season The gondola closes at midnight for the fall off-season. October 22 Spooktacular Family Day Create costumes and crafts for the Halloween holiday at the Ah Haa School. 970.728.3886 October 29 KOTO Halloween Bash Don a costume and celebrate Halloween at a fun local bash that benefits community radio. 970.728.8100 November 11-13 KOTO Ski Swap Great deals on new and used gear, clothing and accessories at this fundraising event for KOTO community radio, held at the library. The “After-the-Swap” is November 18. 970.728.8100 November 18 Gondola Opens The gondola opens at 7 a.m. for the 2011-12 winter season. November 24 Ski Resort Opens The lifts start running again for the 2011-12 season.

Fly Fishing, Biking Tours, Guided Rafting, & Hiking Adventures. You decide!

BootDoctors: Oak St. 970.728.4581 Paragon Outdoors: Colorado Avenue 970.728.4525 BootDoctors: Mountain Village Heritage Plaza 970.728.8954

summer/fall 2011

Tell Mag.indd 1


4/26/11 8:23:53 AM

telluride turns Headlines and Highlights from the Local News

By Stephen Barrett

How much water is needed for certain fish species to survive? photo by ryan bonneau

Clash Over Water Rights


Three imperiled species of fish—the roundtail chub, flannelmouth sucker and bluehead sucker—have set off a scramble for water rights on the San Miguel River and, in the process, brought simmering differences between east- and west-end communities to a boil. More than a year ago, state wildlife officials and the Bureau of Land Management requested a dedicated, in-stream flow on the lower San Miguel River to assure there’s enough water left for the fish to survive. The request has been widely supported in the Telluride region by environmental and recreational groups. It has been equally resisted in the west-end communities of Montrose and San Miguel Counties as a threat to their own long-term survival. A dispute was averted last year when the two counties asked to delay the process. The postponement was designed to allow west-end communities to first determine their own future water needs. Under Colorado’s “first in use, first in right” doctrine, the communities had only to apply for water rights ahead of the in-stream flow to gain priority over the fish. Norwood, Naturita, and Montrose County all took advantage of that opportunity, but the Town of Telluride has opposed their requests as excessive and a threat to the environmental values on which our regional outdoor tourism depends. The applications by Montrose County and the Town of Naturita also lay claim to future reservoirs on tributaries within San Miguel County. That’s a proposal San Miguel County commissioners cannot abide. Meanwhile, Montrose County and a private water company serving the Norwood area are fighting the in-stream flow in a separate proceeding, arguing that it overstates the needs of the fish and the amount of available water. The only certainty about the water is that there will never be enough, making the West’s most valuable resource an inevitable source of conflict. summer/fall 2011

telluride turns The honor system is now the rule in upper Bear Creek, where a private landowner expects hikers to avoid unmarked mining claims and the U.S. Forest Service refuses to shut down a trail network that crosses them. The stalemate between the Forest Service and Gold Hill Development Company ends a year of back-and-forth negotiations no closer to resolution. Threatened with a trespass lawsuit, the Forest Service had agreed to be a “good neighbor” by closing backcountry gates from the ski area. A lobbying effort convinced the agency to reverse course. It reopened an offending gate this spring with a disclaimer that skiers must respect private property when choosing their lines. But summer recreation offers no such wiggle room. The Wasatch Trail is part of a heavily traveled network connecting Bear Creek, Bridal Veil Basin and Gold Hill. It is impractical to get from one to another without crossing private lands, yet nothing has moved the Forest Service to alter its trail map or notify hikers where the boundaries lie—not even the Gold Hill Development Company’s threat to post armed guards at the entry points to the private claims. The Gold Hill Development Company was well aware that people had been crossing the mining claims for decades, but that didn’t stop the company from buying the claims last year for nearly a quarter-million dollars. Many suspect that’s precisely why its investors were willing to pay so much for the inholding, realizing the Telluride region places a premium on recreational terrain. But until the company gains vehicular access to its land, its talk of development and permanent closure will remain unconvincing. GHDC is currently arguing in court that it should be allowed use of a separate Forest Service trail and unfettered access across the ski company’s land, as its predecessors had in decades past. The Forest Service has made a tacit argument that the company must abide by the same principle and allow hikers and skiers access.

Wasatch Trail Crosses Disputed Land

photo by kevin ludwig

Military Flyovers Still Up in the Air The military flyover on the Fourth of July is greeted with cheers in Telluride. That doesn’t mean it would be met with enthusiasm on any other day of the year. Like many communities across southern Colorado, the Town of Telluride and San Miguel County are worried that low-altitude training flights in the San Juan Mountains would spook tourists, wildlife, livestock and local civilians. The U.S. Air Force wants to use the southern Rockies as a training grounds for the C-130 and CV22 Osprey, two planes used by special operations

forces in the mountains of Afghanistan. Up to three flights every 24 hours would originate from Cannon Air Force Base near Clovis, New Mexico. According to the Air Force, the planes would descend to as low as 200 feet above ground at speeds of up to 288 miles per hour, almost always at night. The Air Force has promised the flights would avoid towns and cities, wilderness areas and airfields. Given the vastness of the training ground and its lack of any fixed routes, the Air Force has said it’s unlikely that any one community would be significantly affected by the pro-

posal. That reassurance has only spread suspicion more or less evenly throughout southern Colorado. The plan was met with muted criticism by Colorado’s own congressional delegation. Several members have questioned how the Air Force will avoid civilian conflicts and whether the state hasn’t already provided its fair share of support to the military. Two state lawmakers from the San Luis Valley have gone a step farther, introducing a bill that would make low-altitude flyovers a “taking” of private property that must be compensated by the government.

summer/fall 2011


telluride turns

Uranium Mill Funding Uncertain Opponents of a proposed uranium mill in nearby Paradox Valley despaired when the state approved its license in January. Although the mill requires a few more permits, the state review offered concerned residents their best opportunity to challenge the assertion by Energy Fuels—the developer—that radioactive ore could be processed harmlessly at the site. The environmental group Sheep Mountain Alliance has since shifted its campaign to the courts. A first lawsuit, against Montrose county commissioners claimed their approval of the mill in the agricultural Paradox Valley violated open meeting laws and the county’s own zoning regulations. A district judge rejected both arguments. A second lawsuit pending against the Colorado Department of Health and Environment accuses the agency of failing to do its job. In the department’s defense, the Attorney General’s office retorted that Sheep Mountain is essentially asking a judge to substitute the opinion of environmentalists for that of qualified professionals. Energy Fuels asked the court to dismiss the case, noting that the litigation was harming its ability to attract investors. What neither side could have anticipated is that an earthquake and tsunami 5,000 miles away might have the greatest influence on the mill’s future. After watching those twin disasters cripple the Fukushima Daiichi reactors in Japan, the American public has grown more wary of nuclear power’s promise of emissions-free energy. Energy Fuels, which had been banking on a worldwide resurgence in the uranium trade, saw its stock lose half its value in the week after the March 11 disaster. A company vice president described it as the industry’s worst week in 25 years— a stark assessment for a volatile business whose list of known risks now includes the butterfly effect. 24

summer/fall 2011

photo by mark iverson

Goodtimes Named Poet Laureate Anyone who describes himself as a paleo-hippie has an uncommon way with words, but that’s expected from the inimitable San Miguel County Commissioner Art Goodtimes. Others have alternately labeled the Renaissance man a pacifist, environmentalist, wordsmith, basket weaver, spud farmer, and fungophile—all fitting terms but hardly comprehensive. Fortunately, Goodtimes now has a title commensurate to his perphoto by kit hedman sona: Poet Laureate of the Western Slope. Goodtimes received the honor from his peers at a poetry convention in Carbondale. He has certainly earned it. During his three decades in San Miguel County, poetry has remained the one constant for a man so thoroughly involved in civics, the arts and environmental causes that he has defied being categorizing. A four-term county commissioner, Goodtimes can always be counted upon to pen some verse alongside his sundry observations in his column for The Telluride Watch, a weekly reflection on his varied travels, interests and activities. As the Western Slope’s first poet laureate, we can expect to hear even more from him. The main duty of the post is to act as an ambassador of poetry and promote the literary arts. In other words, Goodtimes must remain his true, expressive self.

telluride turns History will remember Richard Holbrooke as the architect of the Dayton Peace Accords, an author of the Pentagon Papers, and for galvanizing a United Nations response to HIV/AIDS. Telluride will remember him as a kindred neighbor who hiked and skied and escaped to the mountains to enjoy the company of his family. He would offer us occasional demonstrations of his striking intellect; on more frequent display were his good humor and aplomb. Those became all the more precious after he was appointed the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, a position that necessitated some withdrawal from local affairs. Confronted by the world’s most demanding diplomatic challenge, Holbrooke, 69, revealed his full command by remaining as well-informed about the ski conditions under Lift 9 as the comingsand-goings over the Khyber Pass, and by straddling those two worlds with deft grace.


••••••••• Cecil Goldsworthy was a native son who earned his living in hard-rock mines, digging out uranium and precious metal ores. He worked most of that time for the Idarado Mining Company as a contract miner and then as a foreman. His retirement in 1992 arrived long after the ascendance of tourism and just as Idarado started covering up the tailings pile that had once symbolized Telluride’s resourcefulness. But Goldsworthy’s contributions to the community were measured in a far more enduring currency. His photograph hangs in the county courthouse as a veteran of the Korean War, in the Telluride Firehouse as a 20-year volunteer, and in the Telluride Elks Lodge, where he was a lifetime member. Through those efforts, Goldsworthy, 80, met Telluride’s gold standard of service and set an example for those industrious enough to follow it.

••••••••• Kent Bridges was a consummate westerner who lived in Oregon, Utah and Texas before finally finding his home in Colorado. His professional expertise was in ski area operations. A master snowcat operator, Bridges took pride in grooming Telluride’s runs and, more recently, Mountain Village’s Nordic trails. A hiker and camper, he also traveled extensively in the backcountry, skiing hike-to terrain in the winter and horseback riding in the summer. For many seasons, he manned the festival gates on Highway 145 and was never without a smile as he welcomed visitors to Telluride. Bridges was an enthusiast of dogs, drumming, Southwest art and Mickey Mouse. Above all, Bridges, 53, was a doting father who said parenting was the best thing he had ever done.

••••••••• If circa 1970s Telluride was the picture-perfect western town, then Everett Morrow was the local lawman straight out of central casting. Steely-eyed, with his Stetson hat and low-slung sidearm, Morrow patrolled Telluride with a tenacity that left many longhaired newcomers feeling distinctly unwelcome. Though he was eventually dismissed from duty by those young arrivals once they gained political power, his Oklahoma drawl and hyper-suspicion soon became the stuff of legend—and many years later of sentimentality. When Morrow, 80, died in his sleep at his home in Parachute, Colorado he was remembered less as an Old West archetype and more as an outsized actor in a generational drama who had earned his just rewards: four children, 10 grandchildren, 23 greatgrandchildren and the nostalgic goodwill of his aging adversaries.

••••••••• Perfection is subjective. But in Telluride, one kind of perfection was not: Gary Wright as a skier. Wright, long hailed as one of Telluride’s preeminent skiers, died at home in Lawson Hill in the spring amid a quiet snowstorm, due to complications of late-stage melanoma. He was 53. He was a renowned skier, a housepainter, and an outdoorsman; the climbing routes he put up in Ophir earned him the nicknames “Scary Gary” and “Redline Wright.” But he defied any ski-town archetype. He was a well-read intellectual and a gifted writer whose sentences were as fluid as his turns on Lift 9. He moved here permanently in 1978 with a degree in journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder and met his wife, Michelle, in 1984 when they were both writing for The Telluride Times. They were married in 1992 but had been together for 25 years. Their daughter, Celine, was born in 1993.

photo by jeremy baron

Reprieve for Prairie Dogs Telluride’s prairie dogs hibernate during the winter. Residents’ passions about them emphatically do not. So, while the town’s most-discussed species lay sleeping in their burrows, scores of people debated in Rebekah Hall whether lethal means are required to prevent the expansion of the prairie dogs’ valley floor colony. The discussion came just two years after the town council adopted a “containment” strategy: The idea was to keep the prairie dogs hemmed in by tall grass and wetlands to their south and east. They would be allowed to cross Highway 145 to the north at their own peril, while Boomerang Road would serve as a cordon sanitaire to prevent their westward march. But the prairie dogs had ideas of their own. When they were discovered on the valley floor last summer in the vicinity of Eider Creek, town officials decided to repatriate about 300 them, a plan that received mixed approval given the roughly $23-per-prairie dog cost. Not long afterward, the Open Space commission suggested adding poison to the town’s list of allowed controls. When town council discussed the fate of the animals, they found a town divided. To prairie dog supporters, the animals represent the ultimate underdog, falsely maligned as plague-ridden pests and dispossessed of their rightful habitat. Several residents offered that it was the other way around, with the prairie dogs threatening home values and perhaps public health. Others framed the debate as a matter of how much of the valley floor council was willing to cede. Council responded by promising a more aggressive containment strategy, with the installation of silt fences, irrigation efforts and perhaps even raptor perches to enlist an airborne proxy force. Alternatively, coyotes have been spotted on the valley floor with increased frequency, opening the way for a more balanced coexistence. summer/fall 2011


nature notes

Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep Make a Comeback

photo by kevin ludwig

Panorama Ridge

It’s never advisable to count sheep when you’re behind the wheel, but motorists on Highway 145 down valley just might be tempted to pull over and try. A flock of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, the state’s symbolic animal, has returned to the steep canyon walls between Bighorn sheep Deep Creek and Fall Creek for the first time return for in nearly 30 years. the first time Wildlife officials suspect the herd originated from a larger group that frequents the cliffs in nearly along Red Mountain Pass. Their appearance 30 years down valley is a reflection of the Ouray County herd’s slow recovery from an epidemic that reduced its numbers from 300 to 50 in the 1980s. Around that time, wildlife officials said a herd near Sawpit was pushed out by residential development and the concomitant menace of pet dogs. The reappearance of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in San Miguel County is a little startling. The species breeds slowly—one lamb per year is the norm—and even now the Division of Wildlife estimates the Ouray herd only numbers 150 animals or so. Biologists will be tracking some of those sheep with GPS collars this summer to see whether their range overlaps with grazing allotments on public lands, ▶▶

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summer/fall 2011

nature notes

Mountain Lion Hunting Resumes on Uncompahgre bowhunter Scott Rorabeck spent six days this March trying to track a mountain lion along the far west end of San Miguel County before he was able to successfully tree and shoot one. It’s not because the human-sized cats are rare—the Colorado Division of Wildlife estimates that there could be anywhere from 3,000 to 7,000 in the state—but because they are so elusive. The large predators generally roam at night and are too stealthy to leave many clues for hunters. Rorabeck was lucky: There was a thin layer of snow in which to see paw prints and he was able to borrow a few Bluetick and Walker coonhounds, dogs specially trained to hunt mountain lions. He filled his hunting tag with a single, clean shot of a 174-pound tomcat. “It took us almost a week and we covered a lot of ground,” says Rorabeck. “You’ve got to take dogs with you. Otherwise, they’re just too elusive.” Some people shudder at the idea of hunting the regal cougars, whether it’s because mountain lions are so beautiful or because they are known to attack and sometimes kill humans. Rorabeck, a seasoned elk hunter, felt that same shiver as he snuck around the tree to aim his bow for a perfect lung shot that would cause the lion the least amount of pain. “I wasn’t scared until I went to draw my bow,” he says. “They’re the kings, the way I see it.” To better understand mountain lions and how hunting affects population growth and decline, the DOW began a study on the southern Uncompahgre Plateau in 2004. Lion hunting was halted and researchers captured and placed

for the


radio collars on the animals to track their movements. Hunting started again in 2010. Mountain lions, also known as pumas, cougars and panthers, inhabit the United States and Canada. The cats prefer to prey upon deer, elk or other wildlife but are known to also ambush ranch animals and pets. Despite an increased number of mountain lion sightings in recent decades, attacks on humans are still rare. Since 1970, there have been just two confirmed fatal attacks in Colorado. From 1890 through 2009, of the 386 reports of mountain lions in contact with humans, only 29 people were killed, according to the Division. “Yes, these top-level predators are frightening and powerful…but you’re much more likely to be attacked by your neighbor’s dog—there are four million attacks by domestic dogs every year—than you are by a mountain lion,” says Randy Hampton, a DOW public information officer. ­­— D. Dion Bighorn Sheep which could put them at renewed risk of the diseases carried by domestic sheep. A little further to the west, efforts continue to expand the range of the Rocky Mountain bighorn’s smaller cousin, the desert bighorn. A herd reintroduced in the remote canyonlands near Slick Rock has tripled in size over the last two decades. Wildlife officials captured 15 of those animals this winter and translocated them north of Big Gypsum Valley in Montrose County. It’s the third attempt at restoring desert bighorn all along the Colorado-Utah border. The previous two relocations were foiled by one or more mountain lions that took advantage of their scrappy but disoriented prey. ­­— Stephen Barrett ▶▶

MAY 2010 High: 78° (Record 90° in 2002, 2003) Low: 19° (Record 3° in 1939) Precipitation: 2.33” (Avg. 1.8”) Snow: 4” (Avg. 7.2”; Max. 35” in 1930)

JULY 2010 High: 90° (Record 96° in 1922, 2003) Low: 36 ° (Record 26° in 1941) Precipitation: 3.61” (Avg. 2.5”) Snow: 0”

SEPTEMBER 2010 High: 81° (Record 88° in 1990) Low: 25° (Record 9° in 1931) Precipitation: 1.07” (Avg. 2.07”) Snow: 0” (Avg. 0.9”; Max. 23” in 1959)

JUNE 2010 High: 86° (Record 92° in 2001) Low: 28° (Record 15° in 1937) Precipitation: 0.86” (Avg. 1.22”) Snow: 0” (Avg. 0; Max. 8.5” in 1970)

AUGUST 2010 High: 83° (Record 91° in 1939) Low: 37° (Record 20° in 1939) Precipitation: 4.15” (Avg. 2.92”) Snow: 0”

OCTOBER 2010 High: 77° (Record 85° in 1948) Low: 11° (Record 0° in 1956) Precipitation: 3.02” (Avg. 1.96”) Snow: 9.5” (Avg. 9.7”; Max. 42” in 1984)

summer/fall 2011


the environment

New Solar Technology Dawns in Telluride This is not the first time Telluride is on the Creek in the summer of 2010. Naisbitt and frontlines of a paradigm-changing technology. Michael Wasielewski, a visiting Northwestern Once nicknamed the “City of Lights,” Telluride University (Chicago) professor and solar enerTelluride is once was the first town in the world to have elecgy researcher, were discussing why our generagain the setting tric streetlamps and to enjoy widespread use of ation is still unable to solve the world’s energy of a technological household power. In 1891, L.L. Nunn utilized crisis. The simple reason? Money. Wasielewski the inventions of Nikola Tesla and George explained that this sort of innovation has no innovation—a Westinghouse to build the Ames power plant, backing because of the lack of political mocombination of solar delivering alternating current to the region tivation, decreased science funding, and the and transforming the world. Now, Telluride is impossible task of unifying the international and hydrogen once again the setting of a technological innocommunity. “Well, then, let’s get the money,” power. vation—a combination of solar and hydrogen said Naisbitt, and with that, the Solar Fuels Inpower. “Telluride is magic,” says Nana Naisbitt, stitute was born. Executive Director of the Telluride Science Research Center (TSRC) that is shepherding the project. The Solar Fuels Institute is an example of what TSRC does best—promote science. Since its first meeting in 1984 with 18 Telluride will be the proving ground for this new method of scientists, TSRC has been bringing together great minds from harnessing the sun’s energy to produce power. The technology around the planet. Twenty-seven years later, TSRC has a memberbeing explored by TSRC’s new Solar Fuels Institute merges solar ship of almost 1,000 scientists and hosts more than 30 workshops and hydrogen power. Although solar energy is already a feasible each year. Naisbitt signed on as executive director in 2007 and the resource, there are difficulties with storage and seasonal/regional organization has grown steadily ever since. availability, while hydrogen is still too expensive to produce to be commercially viable. The Solar Fuels Institute is resolving these Naisbitt attributes the success of TSRC to the organization’s issues by mimicking nature’s own process of photosynthesis. The ability to embrace a wide variety of scientific disciplines. “TSRC goal is to use the sun’s energy to inexpensively split water into is really, truly unique in that we let the scientists direct the scihydrogen and oxygen. The resultant hydrogen can be stored and ence,” she says. The role of TSRC is that of a facilitator, providused to fuel vehicles, planes and homes and perhaps even replace ing everything from logistical help to venues, food service, tech fossil fuels. support and hotel reservations—things busy researchers and academics don’t have time to do. That gives visiting scientists a little Today’s energy industry, says Naisbitt, is destructive. She sees more time to enjoy Telluride and get inspired by a hike in Bear Telluride as the perfect place to make advances toward producCreek. Naisbitt sees Telluride’s “magic” as integral to the success ing safe, efficient, clean energy. “Gas fracking [the term used for of TSRC’s new Solar Fuels Institute, and she has her sights set on ‘hydraulic fracturing’] is causing earthquakes in Arkansas. solving the world’s energy crisis in 10 years. “Why not?” she says. There’s the BP oil spill and the meltdown of nuclear reactors “I don’t want to leave this to our kids. ” in Japan. This technology is the opposite of drilling five — Erika Gordon miles into the earth. Let’s use the sun,” says Naisbitt. As any visionary can attest, sometimes ideas pop up in unexpected places. The inspiration for the Solar Fuels Institute came out of a hike in Bear

“There’s the BP oil spill and the meltdown of nuclear reactors in Japan. This technology is the opposite of drilling five miles into the earth. Let’s use the sun.” nana naisbitt


summer/fall 2011

photo By ryan bonneau

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summer/fall 2011


write here, right now

By Matthew C. Beaudin

Life at Single Speed I once rode my bike through a wedding. The bride and groom didn’t stop getting married or anything as I pedaled through the background—they just kept on getting married. The rain had stopped and they stood outside agreeing to forever at the mid-mountain ceremony on the Telluride Ski Area. This is what is called “situational irony,” because exactly four hours prior to that, I had dropped a girl off at the airport—a girl who was my girlfriend when she was in the car and was not by the time she had set foot in the parking lot. Simple as that. When I got home, I fled to my bike to sort some things out. My bike is not much to look at if you don’t know what’s in front of you. It’s bonewhite and slants in all the right places. It’s made of steel—heavy, but glassy smooth—and rolls upon 29-inch wheels, which are bigger than the classic 26-inch hoops of a mountain bike but which, for some scientific reason, seem to give me exponentially more joy per rotation. It is also a single speed. It has just one gear: One almost-perfect, always-painful gear.

photo by brett schreckengost

On a single speed, there is no thinking. There is only going. 30

summer/fall 2011

I built it for days like that—days when all you want to do is pedal through a life that feels like it’s contracting around you. On a single speed, there is no thinking. There is only going.

I threw a few dirt-flavored energy bars and enough water for a desert crossing into my salt-stained pack. There is, most cyclists believe, no better vehicle to inflict pain upon oneself than a single speed. My one gear is usually too big for any of the trails around Telluride, meaning I am forced to push harder than I want to—so hard it tastes like I’ve been using a roll of quarters for throat lozenges. Assorted bike snobs—and most anyone who rides a bike in some form or another is a bike snob—think of the single-speed biker as some kind of masochist, someone who desires pain or who just loves Doing It The Hard Way. This isn’t true, however. The single speeder just wants to keep it simple, because life can

be littered with garbage: full of emergency vet bills and parking tickets, of root canals and mortgages, of breakups and insurance premiums. Bikes, and this bike, in particular, quiet the ambient noise of everyday; they distill me to my most basic function—movement. If I can slither through a green meadow with an egg-yolk sun peeking through lupines at dawn, I know I’ve done something right, even if my net worth amounts to less than a Rolex. In just a few painful minutes, I was through that wedding and over some rollers on the Alta Lakes Trail. The flossthin singletrack was throwing mud at me and my bike, but we just mashed through, putting everything behind us. I reached the highway and headed toward the T-35 downhill. I took a trail toward Sawpit after that and then climbed Deep Creek Road. Another left turn put me atop the Penelope Cruz Trail. A few minutes after that, I found myself climbing the road toward Rudy’s. It was in the saddle between Rudy’s and Mill Creek that I had a conversation with myself. Is this the behavior of a Crazy Person? Do I look like a skeleton? Will I rip my legs in half if I add Mill Creek to this madness? Of course, the talk was purely rhetorical. The decision to keep going was made long before that moment. If I could push hard enough, cover enough ground, I could transcend my mental anguish. After I rattled a filling loose on the final descent of the Jud Wiebe into town, it felt like enough. When I realized that the muscles in my legs had become like frayed ropes that had been burned with a torch, it was enough. The single speed, the chariot of pain, had given me all I needed. Finally.

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SIT HAPPENS Why not sit in style?

I hope those people are still married. And if they’re not, I hope they have single speeds. Matthew C. Beaudin, 28, is the editor of the Telluride Daily Planet. Bikes are his medicine.

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(970) 349-7340 summer/fall 2011



Ask Jock

Athletic Advice From Our Local Mountain Guru


five fingers footwear

photo by ryan bonneau




Last July, I hiked to Hope Lake and was astonished by the profusion of wildflowers. I was also intrigued by some tall green plants with large flat leaves growing near the creek. A fellow hiker told me they were “skunk cabbage,” and their height is predictive of the depth of the upcoming season’s snowpack. Can you recommend a reputable field guide so that I can identify all the flowers when I return this summer? And what about this skunk cabbage business? — A Budding Botanist

A: The answer to your first question is simple: Both the Wilkinson Public Library and Between the Covers bookstore have a large selection of wildflower reference guides. Bobbi T., co-owner of the bookstore, is especially fond of The Rocky Mountain Wildflower Pocket Guide by David Dahmes because of its concise text, excellent photos and sturdy binding. Alternately, you could contact local botanist-for-hire John Sir Jesse, d.b.a. Herb Walker. He is well versed in the local flora and better company than any guidebook. Regarding the skunk cabbage: You have been misled on several counts. 
First, “skunk cabbage” is a common misnomer. The tall plant you saw is actually called “false hellebore.” And while it sounds good in the telling, there is no scientifically proven correlation between its height and the depth of the coming winter’s snow. In the words of poet and environmentalist Gary Snyder, “Stay together. Learn the flowers. Go light.” — Jock

I was running up Tomboy Road and I saw a guy wearing some crazy shoes. They looked like spaceage moccasins with each toe encased separately. He passed me too quickly to answer any questions about his footwear. What can you tell me about his strange running shoes? — Puzzled on the Pass

A: The fellow was wearing “FiveFingers.” The marketers apparently went for alliteration over accuracy, “five toes” being more anatomically correct. In any case, the logic behind these minimalist shoes stems in large part from a recent best-selling book called Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. In it, he argues that conventional thick-cushion running shoes cause us to run with an unnatural heel strike and are the cause of impact injuries that plague many runners. McDougall cites the Tarahumara Indians from Copper Canyon, Mexico, who run huge distances, either barefoot or in sandals they make from discarded tires and twine. Priced at about $100, Five Fingers are the capitalist’s version of the Tarahumara’s rudimentary running sandals. Other running gurus advocate “minimalist shoes” with a thin, flat cushion to encourage forefoot striking while still providing protection from rocks and roots. If you decide to try a minimalist running shoe, start slow and easy, because you will be changing your stride and using the tiny muscles in your feet in new ways. Once you have made those adjustments, you can consider joining the ranks of the 
“ultra-minimalists” who run barefoot. Run far, run fast, — Jock

summer/fall 2011



I was tossing sticks for my dog down by the river and a couple of kids paddled by standing on what looked like giant surfboards. I’ve seen kayaks, inner tubes and rafts on the San Miguel, but I’ve never seen crafts like these. What are those crazy kids doing now? — River Watcher

A: Sounds like you spotted the latest in river sports: stand up paddleboards (SUPs). The sport originated generations ago in the Hawaiian Islands when native fishermen combined their nimble surfboards with a powerful paddle to gain better fishing access. Pro surfing legend Laird Hamilton is credited with resurrecting the SUP about a decade ago as a way to gain faster access to bigger, more powerful waves. River runners noticed how much fun surfers were having on their SUPs riding ocean swells and tweaked the design to allow them to navigate inland whitewater. The fringe-of-a-fringe sport was born and whitewater SUPers began running Class V rapids. In October of 2009, a Hawaiian big wave rider and lifeguard named Archie Kalepa was the first man to ride an SUP through the Grand Canyon. If you’re interested in learning about paddleboarding, Telluride Kayak School offers instruction and Jagged Edge Sports carries the necessary equipment. Swing by to check out the gear—and tell them Jock sent you. — Jock

the paleo diet

Q I want to get ripped to impress the ladies this summer. I go the gym all the time and pump iron, but I can’t seem to lean down. My buddy says I should go on the Paleo Diet. What is that? Do I have to eat a dinosaur? — Don Juan

lean meats, seafood and unlimited fruit and vegetables A: Jock is no gym rat but, generally speaking, heavy weight/low reps builds you up and low weight/high reps leans you down. Are you including intervalbased cardio training in your workouts? If not, you should. As an opportunivore, Jock subscribes to author Michael Pollen’s advice to “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” The Paleo diet is based on the theory that prior to the agrarian revolution, our hunter-gatherer ancestors existed on flesh, fruit and veggies so our digestive systems are ill designed to absorb grains or dairy products. Thus, the diet consists of lean meats, seafood and unlimited fruits and veggies. Paleo proponents claim that eliminating grains and dairy evens out insulin levels, increases strength and vigor, and stimulates weight loss. Detractors claim it is a protein-overloaded diet lacking essential carbohydrates. Jock has never jumped on the Paleo train but has several friends who swear by it. If you are interested in learning more, Nicole Nugent is a local Paleonutritionist. Contact her by visiting — Jock

Historic Telluride’s Victorian Pharmacy Since 1975

• Prescriptions • Natural/Organic Products • Drug & Health Aids • Homeopathic Remedies • Greeting Cards • T-shirts & Hats • Unique Souvenirs

728-3601 • 236 West Colorado Ave. summer/fall 2011


Jim Jennings 970.729.0065

433 Pandora Lane

872 Saddlehorn Lane

Pandora Lot 15 is one of the finest vacant parcels available in the east Telluride Valley. This sunny, south facing lot has spectacular views of both Ingram and Bridal Veil Falls and is located on the quiet cul de sac of Pandora Lane in the Idarado Legacy Subdivision. The parcel is ready for construction with all utilities in place! MLS# 26600

872 Saddlehorn is a classic log home located on a sunny, private lot contiguous to the US National Forest. This perfectly maintained family compound features five generous bedrooms, four baths and western decks facing Wilson Peak. Great views, silence and privacy define one of the best priced log homes anywhere in the Telluride Region. MLS# 27383

480 Silver pick Road

465 Depot AveNUE

Sixty four acres of spectacular views, sun, irrigated meadows, forrest, ponds, and creeks, at the base of fourteener Wilson Peak. The ranch includes the Chrysler cabin , and is located within Ptarmigan Ranch, a comfortable 20 minutes from Telluride. This is a unusual opportunity to own one of the few irrigated ranch parcels im the Telluride region. $2,900,000

Location, location, location and priced to sell! 465 Depot Ave features 4 bedrooms, 4.5 baths and is only steps to the gondola. Located on the sunnyside of Depot ave, the home features views directly up Kid’s Hill and the ski area. This home is in the rental zone district, has tremendous income potential and is recently remodeled. $2,949,999



Erik Fallenius Owner & Managing Broker


Snowfield Park

98 Palmyra Drive

With 39 acres of seclusion and solitude, Snowfield Park in Mountain Village is absolutely a unique masterpiece in the ski industry. The exquisite architectually recognized home designed by Richard Carr, is understated and elegant, beautifully handcrafted in harmony with its mountain environment. Enjoy the very best family estate Telluride has to offer.

A classic Mountain Village home. A stunning new furniture installation in 2010, this warm and cozy 6 bedroom, 6 1/2 bath home is located near the Bridges ski run. Meticulous, the home includes one of the very best high tech theaters, a grand living room with large stone fireplace, spacious family room, a chef’s kitchen with pantry, spacious bedrooms, and a large hot tub.


128 Hood Park Road

Wandering, horseback riding or snowshoeing through these pastoral 72 acres of meadow and forest trail, irrigated pasture and timberland is a wondrous experience. At the base of beautiful Wilson Peak, privacy, a sense of seclusion, two unmatched 35+ acre tracts with stunning views , only 20 minutes from Telluride. Developed with driveways to the two potential homesites. A unique alpine ranch. $4,225,000

This ideal family home at 128 Hood Park Road, has the most spectacular setting, well above the core of the Mountain Village, along the Bridges Ski Run. At two acres, and plenty of ski run frontage, this 6,200 sq.ft. home features views from all six bedrooms and six baths (plus two 1/2 baths), including an attached guest apartment.




Add a Little Adventure If driving is too tame a pastime for your tastes, you can add some spice to your trip by making a pit stop or a detour. Jeep over Black Bear Road Black Bear Road is a one-way (east to west) scree- and rock-covered “shortcut” that starts on Red Mountain Pass between Ouray and Silverton and goes to Telluride. It climbs to 12,840 feet and then drops headlong down innumerable switchbacks and a rocky staircase, passing by Bridal Veil’s hydroelectric plant and falls, into Telluride. C.W. McCall made this jeep trail famous in a song of the same name, noting that a sign at its beginning read, “You don’t have to be crazy to drive this road, but it helps.” Best to let a professional do the driving. Get Hot and Cold Hiking in the San Juans can make you hot enough to want to take a dip in an alpine lake or sore enough to want to soak in hot, spring-fed water. The sun is intense at altitude and those clear azure lakes of the tundra beckon one to strip down and dive in. But give pause to the fact that these “tarns” spend half the year frozen and are fed by the melt of the snowcapped peaks that adorn their shores. If it’s warm water you want, there are hot springs in several places along the Skyway. In addition to Ouray’s city pool, orvis hot springs Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa & Lodgings offers spas and vapor caves and Box Canyon Lodge touts geothermal redwood tubs. Clothing is optional at Orvis Hot Springs, which is on the highway just south of Ridgway. It has a sauna and indoor and outdoor pools and is beautifully landscaped. Trimble Hot Springs between Durango and Silverton has a warm lap pool and a serene, oversized hot pool, both outdoors. And for the intrepid adventurer, there are “wild” hot springs along the Uncompahgre and Animas Rivers and in some secret spots in Rico and Ouray. little molas lake

Climb a Fourteener There are a dozen Fourteeners that can be accessed along the San Juan Skyway including Sneffels, Wetterhorn and three giants in the Weminuche Wilderness. None of them is a walk in the park, but Uncompahgre at 14,309 feet is the highest and easiest and Mount Wilson (14,246 feet) and El Diente (14,159 feet) are probably the most daunting. A word to the wise: photo By ryan bonneau El Diente has been the site of several climbing fatalities in the last decade. Guides are available in most nearby towns and can take the edge off route-finding. 36

photo By ryan bonneau

durango silverton train

ophir loop region

summer/fall 2011

photo brett schreckengost

photo by jeremy barron

Road Tripping the San Juan Skyway By mary duffy

There are 150 scenic roads designated as America’s Byways, but just one deserves to be called a “skyway.” The San Juan Skyway—the national byway designation just doesn’t do it justice—is 236 miles (240 by my odometer) of highway that traverse mountain passes higher than 10,000 feet, wind through historic mining towns and national forests, and travel the grades of bygone railroads. The Skyway also circumnavigates the San Juan Mountains, a rugged and dynamic range with 19 peaks jutting above 13,000 feet. The route is not only a scenic tour de force but also a time traveler’s delight, revealing the remnants of past cultures—those of the miners, Native Americans and pioneers of the Old West.


he San Juan Mountains were historically too rugged, remote and snowbound in winter to be home to anyone. Native Americans summered in its lofty reaches, hunting bighorn sheep and other game, but they retreated to the lowlands in winter. Once Europeans colonized the Americas, it wasn’t long before their lust for gold put the San Juans on the map. In the mid-1800s, prospectors picked their way over Ute Indian trails and established permanent camps in the mountains; they weren’t about to leave their mining claims in winter for fear they might be jumped. The next round of entrepreneurs built towns to provide food, supplies and entertainment for the tenacious miners. Roads followed to deliver goods and freight ore to regional mills and refineries. As demand grew and riches were made, railways were dug into the mountains in a feat that surpassed any engineering marvels of the time. These epic grades and routes now form the framework of the San Juan Skyway. Traveling the Skyway can be a lengthy day trip or a multi-day adventure; it can be about what you see from your car windows or a package that includes outdoor exploration, sightseeing and off-road side trips. The Skyway travels through the San Juan and Uncompahgre National Forests, passes Mesa Verde National Park, and claims two National Historic Landmark Districts that offer a colorful glimpse of the Old West. The mountain scenes along the Skyway are beautiful anytime of year, but they’re particularly breathtaking at the height of fall. ▶▶ photo courtesy summer/fall 2011


Sa n



gu e


Uncompahgre National Forest


145 Uncompahgre National Forest

map courtesy national scenic byways online

olor W. D

Do lo


Riv e



McPhee Reservoir

Hesperus Mountain 13,232 ft.

iver as R Anim


Sunlight Peak 14,059 ft.

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

Vallecito Reservoir

R at


Hot Springs

Lemon Reservoir

Mancos 160

Colorado Welcome Center Mesa Verde National Park


summer/fall 2011

Coal Bank Pass 10,640 ft.


Mancos S.P.


Anasazi Heritage Center



Durango Mountain Resort

San Juan Skyway


Silverton Molas Pass 10,899 ft.

Electra Lake


Trail of the 491 Ancients

San Juan National Forest

r Rive res Dolo


o nc

ive sR

Dominguez and Escalante Expedition Monument



This quaint little town along its namesake river lies at the southeast end of McPhee Reservoir. There are great campsites to be had on these waters with boating and fishing as the main attractions. The town also hosts a small Galloping Goose Railroad Exhibit. Insider’s tip: You’d never know it by the exterior, but the family-owned Dolores Food Market is actually heaven for the Highway Gourmet. In this gem-of-an-independent grocery store, you can stock up on fresh organic produce, custom-cut meats, deli items and homemade baked goods. Worthy detour: A mile and a half out of Dolores, turn west onto Highway 184 to visit the Anasazi Heritage Center. If you take in nothing else while passing through the southwestern reaches of this drive, this is one place you shouldn’t miss. Nearby is the archeological site of Escalante Pueblo and the museum also holds a large collection of ancestral Pueblo and Anasazi artifacts. It’s a wonderful place to get a glimpse into the Native American history of the region.


Christ of the Mines Shrine

Rico San Juan National Forest

s Ruin

Mile 65 Dolores

Lizard Head Pass 10,222 ft.

iver es R

Alpine Loop

Telluride Ski Area Red Mountain Pass 10,899 ft.

Mount Wilson 14,246 ft.

Groundhog Reservoir




There’s no reason you can’t drive the loop in the opposite direction, but for the purpose of describing the route, our tour begins from Telluride and heads south. We quickly wind out of the valley past the fourteeners of the Wilson Massif and soon drive over Lizard Head Pass— named for the unusual rock formation seen reaching for the sky to the northwest—which tops out at 10,222 feet. On the other side of the pass, the road dives southwest along the Dolores River, passing through the mining town of Rico, the bygone ski area of Stoner, and the cattle ranches amid cottonwood glades.

Ouray Hot Springs


the San Juan Skyway Mile 0 Telluride

Dallas Divide 8,970 ft.


Road Tripping


Uncompahgre National Forest


g ah mp r co ive Un R

Unaweep/Tabeguache Scenic and Historic Byway

lR ive

Mile 76 Cortez

id Flor



s ino s P er Lo Riv

When you come to the junction of Highway Southern Ute 160 in Cortez, take a left and head east— Indian Reservation unless you’re looking for Native American handicrafts, the Colorado Welcome Center or fuel, in which case you can turn right and make a pit stop in downtown Cortez.

Mile 94 Mesa Verde If you’re driving the Skyway in a day, you’ll need to skip the park. But if you’ve never been to Mesa Verde, the only National Park dedicated to the handiwork of man, you’ll regret having come this close and not taken a look. Located on a sandstone mesa of juniper and pine, Mesa Verde has some of the most incredible pre-Columbian ruins in North America. Built into sweeping red rock enclaves, you’ll find cliff dwellings and pit houses that continue to defy time and the elements.

resident elk

mesa verde ruins

photo by ryan bonneau

courtesy national scenic byways online

D&SNGR courtesy national scenic byways online

Mile 118 Durango The Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (D&SNGR) chugs out of Durango daily. Following a different route than the San Juan Skyway, the steam-powered train (once coalfired) takes visitors to Silverton for a few hours and returns to Durango. Make reservations in advance, especially in fall, as this is one popular ride. Durango bustles in summer, and the historic Strater Hotel is the gem of the downtown area. A river winds through town and you can raft, kayak, ducky, tube or paddleboard down to the Animas River Park. From Durango, the Skyway travels over Coal Bank Pass (elevation 10,640 feet) and scenic Molas Pass (10,910 feet) before dropping into Silverton. Insider’s tip: Many local restaurants, such as the Palace, Diamond Belle, Lost Dog, Olde Tymers, Cosmo and Gazpacho’s, offer a $5 burger special. The trick is to find out which establishment is offering the deal on any given day. Local brewpubs are also ubiquitous.

Mile 166 Silverton This is the end of the rail line for the D&SNGR. If you arrive on time, you may get caught up in the daily shootout put on by the Silverton Gunfighters Association. The genteel facades of the stores lining the main street add to the illusion of having stepped back in time. You can also get a feel for a miner’s life at the Old Hundred Gold Mine, complete with an underground ore cart ride, or book a jeep tour into the high country. North of Silverton, the Skyway climbs over Red Mountain Pass (11,099 feet) and switchbacks relentlessly over the Million Dollar Highway to Ouray. The road on the north side of the pass is steep and precipitous, the 8 percent grade affording heart-stopping views from its shoulder. The original toll road, built by businessman Otto Mears in the 1880s, was a feat of engineering. Some say the name “Million Dollar Highway” refers to the cost of rebuilding the road in the early 1920s, yet others believe the name comes from the value of the gold mine tailings used to create its roadbed. Claim to fame: In 2009, a superpipe was secretly built in the backcountry of Silverton Mountain so Olympic Gold Medalist snowboarder Shaun White could train and perfect new tricks.

san juan skyway photo by Jeremy Baron

Mile 189 Ouray Ouray has been dubbed “The Switzerland of the Rockies,” with its quaint Victorian architecture and mining town history part of the town’s charm. Go underground at the Bachelor-Syracuse Mine for a unique perspective of mining or take a scenic hike that circles the town, ducks through a cave and crosses a bridge with views of the Box Canyon Waterfalls, where stairs descend to the refreshing mist at the bottom. In winter, Box Canyon Park’s deep gorge is coated in ice and has more than a hundred manmade ice climbing routes. “Hot” spot: Ouray’s abundant geothermal resources feed the Ouray Hot Springs Pool, a large, swim-friendly outdoor pool and spa. Mile 201 Ridgway Befitting its Western heritage, Ridgway was the filming location of John Wayne’s classic movie, True Grit. The town also hosts several rodeos each summer and is the site of the Ridgway Railroad Open Air Museum, where you can see a few versions of the crazy Galloping Goose auto/train hybrids. From here, the Skyway heads west along Highway 62, climbing back into the mountains as it passes Ralph Lauren’s Double RL Ranch and the scenic peaks of the Sneffels Range. At Placerville, turn southeast on Highway 145 to drive back into the mountains and top out at the long view of Telluride’s valley floor with Ajax Peak in the background. Mile 240 Telluride Home again. Once a mining camp and now a National Historic Landmark District, the Festival Capital of the Rockies and a world-famous ski resort, Telluride is the perfect place to stage your Skyway tour. summer/fall 2011



resh & Local

Creating A Regional Food Hub text By Jessica Newens photography by brett schreckengost


dozen adults are sitting together and discussing food—but they’re not talking about the lasagna in front of them on the table. These students are gathered in a small conference room, eating dinner and socializing before the “Building Farmers” class. At one end of the table, a woman recalls her day spent pruning fruit trees; she describes how she tends to the 200-plus apricot, apple, cherry and plum trees in her orchard in Nucla and then sells her harvest at a weekly stand at the Norwood Farm and Craft Market. At the other end of the table, a muscular young man talks about his part-time work at a farm, which produces layer chickens and meat birds, vegetables, and baked goods. Someone asks him what he does with the leftover pieces when they butcher or process the chickens. “Compost,” he answers. “We layer the waste with wood chips from the chick houses, some cow manure, a little bit of soil and straw. Then we let it sit for three years, turning it every so often with a tractor before using it on the crops. Nothing goes to waste.” The social time before class is intentional, allowing the students—who come from an area stretching from Telluride to Paradox Valley—to netSan Miguel County’s work with each other. short, high-altitude Colorado State University’s Building Farmers Program is just one exgrowing season ample of how the state is responding to the exploding local food moveand relative isolation ment, promoting food that is produced in the same area in which it is consumed. And while the interest in locally grown food is certainly a nafrom a large urban tional trend, its success varies greatly depending upon a region’s climate, center make it difficult population and location. for a local food system San Miguel County’s short, high-altitude growing season and relative to be successful here. isolation from a large urban center make it difficult for a local food system But it’s not impossible. Eric Johansson to be successful here. But it’s not impossible. The trick? Connecting the digs farming

producers to the consumers. The first step is an assessment of what types of food are grown and raised in the region and what kind of food gets consumed locally. The New Community Coalition (TNCC) is stepping up to the task, literally going door-to-door, filling out surveys with farmers, ranchers, grocery store owners, restaurant purveyors and citizens in Telluride, Norwood, Naturita, Nucla and locations in-between to gather qualitative and quantitative data. The effort is being led by the coalition’s Eric Johansson and is funded by a grant from Telluride Foundation’s Paradox Trust. From this, they hope to identify the missing links that would bring more local food to more local plates. “We’re trying to make connections to gain interest in local food production,” says Johansson, taking a break from his day of shoveling dirt at the burgeoning Norwood Community Garden where volunteers are installing pipes ▶▶ for a new water system. 40

summer/fall 2011

summer/fall 2011


From Corporation to Cultivation By the time the interview ended, I had a gut feeling that this job was not meant to be. “So, what is it that really motivates you…that drives you to get up to go to work everyday?” asked the corporate officer. I answered, after pausing to think. “Well, I like the feeling of knowing I’ve made some kind of contribution.” “Hmmm,” he muttered. I was in a stodgy corporate office of an investment-banking firm on the sixteenth floor of what was then the First Chicago building in downtown Chicago. The answer this particular mergers-and-acquisitions manager wanted to hear, of course, was something akin to “money.” Tony Daranyi But I had let the cat out of the bag. I couldn’t bring myself to uttalks about his ter the “right” words because they career change didn’t accurately describe who I and why he was. Making tons of money was chose farming never my main motivator in life. This was a difficult realization, since I was at the time attending the graduate school of business at Northwestern University. The upshot of this brief chapter in my life was that I needed a career change. That’s when I set my sights on a move back to the Southwest—and to Telluride, in particular. Various opportunities presented themselves upon my arrival in 1985. That’s the way it was back then: You did whatever it took to make ends meet. I knew I wanted to be of service somehow to my fellow citizens; to get away from the hustle and bustle of big-city living, the rat race, the gamesmanship of navigating through corporate life. I wanted to chill, to ski, to enjoy and reconnect with nature in a dramatically calmer world. Journalism fit that description for about 14 years, and eventually I helped found and establish the Telluride Daily Planet. But then, something happened. Some of the same things that drove me away from hard-core business in the first place had crept into our newspaper office. Again, it was time for a change. I had just finished reading a book, Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn. In it, Quinn challenges us to tread more softly on the earth— to be a “leaver,” not a “taker.” Living in this isolated region, we can look more objectively at our greater American society and observe its numerous dysfunctions. Like many of us, I feel this country has abandoned its righteous path and is leading the planet toward its eventual demise. Unfettered greed is so dominant now in our culture that it’s literally bringing down our economy and morality. Economic, social and political injustices abound. It was time to really walk the talk and do something to improve my inhabitance of this amazing planet, Earth. My wife, Barclay, and I also wanted to be good role models for our two children, to show them that there are alternative ways of living. ▶▶



summer/fall 2011

“My ultimate goal is to determine the model that would work best for our region and then try to determine the best way to fund the system.” ken haynes

Local and fresh Johansson was recruited for the position because of his history in the area; he grew up here and attended school in Telluride, Norwood and Nucla. “Connecting the three towns is going to be key” for a local food system to be successful, he says. “Telluride, Norwood and Nucla should be having regular meetings to connect the local market; with commitments from all sides. I’d like to see Telluride be more dependent on the West End for food and West Enders be less dependent on Telluride for jobs.” The model for local food in this region is different than it might be elsewhere. There are just 7,500 residents scattered throughout San Miguel County; that’s only five people per square mile. When 10,000 or more people show up for the Telluride Bluegrass eggs are Festival or another sumanother mer event, the populapromising tion more than doubles. So there are a lot more local product. There’s no reason to mouths to feed than just those of county residents. purchase non-local “The volume of food beeggs when so many ing produced for restaupeople here are rants alone would provide rasing layer hens. a ton of jobs in this area… I already have a chef in Telluride who would like to purchase local potatoes for his French fries. He goes through approximately 1,000 pounds of potatoes per month. And how much mint does Honga’s [Lotus Petal] use in its mojitos and dishes? And what about fresh basil?” The amount of consumers in the region doesn’t just spike in the summer. Every winter, Telluride Ski Resort draws about 400,000 skiers to ▶▶



That’s when the idea of growing food, truly connecting with nature in a very intimate way, materialized. Sustainable, locally grown food is a powerful way for all of us to buck the system, to lessen our dependence on the chemical-spewing giants of the food industry. Small-scale organic farming strengthens local communities and enhances the environment. Barclay grew up on an organic farm and we had already been growing our own food on a modest scale, including a little flock of chickens, for many years. It was time to take it up several notches. We also wanted to minimize our own impact on the earth: We built a small straw-bale house, started capturing rainwater for domestic use, and went solar to warm our home and power the farm. Indian Ridge Farm and Bakery is now in its tenth year of production, and we are committed to providing regional residents with fresh, healthy foods grown in an environmentally friendly way. Our aim is to connect the food that is grown or raised here with people who realize the importance of supporting local food sources. We do this through our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program, farmers markets and direct sales on the farm, and the Internet. With so much agriculture in our region, there is no reason food has to travel the national average of 1,600 miles from its source to your dinner table. Local food is the best form of homeland security.

town. Johansson would especially like to see the resort broaden its sustainability efforts by committing to the use of locally grown foods in all its restaurants. “High-quality food grown for tourists: It’s a great selling point for the ski area, which is already moving in that direction with its efforts to go green. There are so many different avenues for the economy to grow around food production.” Perhaps the most important element missing in the regional food picture is a distribution system that would supply locally grown food to schools, restaurants and individuals. Enter Ken Haynes of the newly launched Colorado Provisions, based in Norwood. With funding from the same Paradox Trust, Haynes is conducting a feasibility study to see what a regional food hub might look like, and he’s depending heavily on information being collected by TNCC’s food assessment. Take beef, for example, says Haynes. Norwood has been a cattle ranching community for more than a century and beef is the main food produced there, but the majority of the animals are trucked off to feed lots where they are finished, processed and distributed elsewhere. How much beef is eaten in our region? Beef travels an average of 3,500 miles before reaching our stores and restaurants. Hayne’s statistical analysis will help him determine whether or not the area could support a local USDA meat processing facility. Eggs are another promising local product, says Haynes. There’s no reason to purchase non-local eggs when so many people here are raising layer hens. It’s a matter of linking people together—those who have eggs to sell and those who want eggs, whether for their restaurant, school or household. People could connect through a website or even a warehouse, where food could be sold directly to a business or consumer. “My ultimate goal is to determine the model that would work best for our region and then try to determine the best way to fund the system.” To fill out TNCC’s Community Food Assessment survey or to find out more about Colorado Provisions, go to

tony and barclay daranyi in front of their straw-bale home courtesy photo

Farming is a challenging pursuit. My passion for it comes from its physical demands, its intellectual tests and its requirement for constant problem-solving. By the time I finish in the evening, I’m satisfied to know that I’ve put in a physically hard day of working the land. Similar to my winter job as an avalanche technician with the Telluride Ski Patrol, I get to be outside every day and connect intimately with nature. All the elements are here: wind, snow, rain, clouds, sun and wildlife. Observing the snowpack in wintertime is a constant reminder of what gives us our summer irrigation water. Farming also takes an understanding of business principles to know what aspects of the operation are sustainable in the long run. Environmental sustainability and economic sustainability go hand in hand: You can’t strip the soil of all of its nutrients and expect to have a functioning farm in the coming seasons. I’m repeatedly humbled by the knowledge that growing food is part of a very complex system of variables that all come together as one. After all, we’re animals, too, and—despite conventional thinking—we’re not here to change nature, but to work with nature. summer/fall 2011




Via Ferrata





Taking the High Road

By Rob Story

he first time I attempted the Via Ferrata, two buddies and I bushwacked up toward the route’s western end. As a pitiless Four Corners sun seared the backs of our necks, we engaged scrub and pricker bush in hand-to-hand combat. I knew the Via Ferrata was supposed to be somewhat of a San Juan Mountain secret, but this was ridiculous. There could at least be—I don’t know—a rudimentary deer path up to it, right? Turns out there is such a path. We just couldn’t find it, no matter how many branches we karate chopped. Which is, in the final analysis, a good thing: The Via Ferrata should stay mysterious. Heck, the very term via ferrata remains a secret to most. I only learned what it meant a few years ago, when I was skiing the Dolomite Mountains in Northern Italy. Via ferrata means “road with irons” in Italian. In climbing circles, “via ferrata” indicates a route built with steel ladders, stairs and cables across a steep rock face. These steel holds (which are bolted into the rock) allow carabiners to be locked onto them; suddenly, hikers/climbers/backpackers with carabiners can feel utterly safe and secure above the gnarliest exposures and on the steepest pitches. The Dolomites are where the whole concept started. In World War I, the Austrians and Italians fought a ferocious war in the mountains of the Dolomites—not only against each other, but also against hostile conditions. In the particularly frigid winter of 1916, thousands of troops died of the cold, falls or avalanches. To help troops ascend at high altitude, permanent lines were fixed to rock faces and ladders were installed. Chuck Kroger—a legendary Telluride explorer and rock climber— first came across European Via Ferrate (its plural spelling) back in 1967 on a trip to the Alps. He traveled the world looking for adventure, but once he settled for good in Telluride, Kroger became a trail-building fiend and an advocate for access to local wilderness and peaks. He started a tongue-in-cheek group for silent sports, the “Telluride Motorless Transit Authority,” which was made up of a legion of friends devoted to his ecological and athletic ideals. One of his TMTA disciples remembers Kroger saying that the Italian Via Ferrate were too far away, requiring a big carbon footprint to get there. He resolved to build his own. So he did. Starting in 2006, Kroger used his climbing skills to ascend sheer faces, packing a rock drill. He wasn’t just a renowned climber and explorer but also a master ironworker. Kroger forged and fabricated holds in his workshop and tried to make the route as safe as possible, using five-and-a-half-inch bolts versus the two-and-a-half-inch size used in most climbing holds. Then cancer took hold of Kroger, but his TMTA friends helped him finish putting up the Via Ferrata before he became too ill. He died Christmas Day 2007. The route he left behind is his legacy and all who travel it pay tribute to his vision.

summer/fall 2011

When my buddies and I finally emerged from the fleshripping thorns to find the Via Ferrata that first time, we discovered steel supports that could hold a 400-pound contestant from “The Biggest Loser.” The route was bomber. We clipped carabiners—attached to our climbing harnesses via three-foot special leashes— onto the gleaming silver cables and traversed out over steep rock faces. If we slipped, we’d fall only the length of the leash. And we didn’t fall. But for me, there was kind of a hairy moment negotiating a small pine tree stuck in the middle of a narrow ledge. There’s no cable or protection there at the tree, so you have to hug the pine and its needles and shuffle your feet around to the other side. For anyone on this particular Via Ferrata, the real drama comes on its “Main Event.” That’s the name of the biggest sheer face, which plunges a harrowing 400 feet down to the valley floor. You can’t help but feel like an insect on the Main Event. You can’t help but breathe hard, no matter how much you trust your harness and carabiners. But with the blue skies, crashing waterfalls and verdant meadows interspersed with ruddy rock, there’s surely no better view in this already gorgeous box canyon. Via Ferrata is not quite walking and not quite climbing, says one of the TMTA devotees who helped devise the route; rather, it was Kroger’s way of bringing some of the excitement of his global travels to his own backyard, and it became something built by the community, for the community. It’s a beloved, secret adventure, high above the San Miguel valley. cindy steuart

climbing photos by chason russell

summer/fall 2011



Once Upon a Time in the San Juans Much of Telluride’s early history is found in newspapers, books and public records, but when researching this piece, the author was fortunate to also come across correspondence dated in late summer and fall of 1878 between William Weston, a mine owner and mine promoter who lived in Ouray, and a doctor and prospective mine owner, S.C. Bartlett, who hailed from Waterbury, Connecticut. Included in the collection are letters to Dr. Bartlett from his brother, George. George was sent to the San Juan Mountains (whether willingly or otherwise is not clear) with the unenviable task of locating a profitable mining investment for his brother. These handwritten letters afford an inside peek into what it must have been like to chase a dream during the early days of mining in the San Juans.


innard (Lon) Remine didn’t suppose what he’d found over in San Miguel Park would or could be kept secret for long, allowing how his partner, Lew Stanley, and Lew’s brother, Bill, both had a special affinity for conversation. He just couldn’t have imagined word would get out so quickly. Lon had no sooner returned to Silverton to file his claims and reprovision for a return trip to the San Miguel when it seemed the whole town—and a good many from Ouray, too—had gotten wind of his gold placer

By Paul O’Rourke

discoveries. In no time at all, a virtual army of prospectors and miners had invaded the entire San Miguel River region, scraping and digging at every patch of unclaimed ground in such a frenzy that you would’ve thought the end of time was near. Such was the fervor and magnitude of the rush that, by the end of 1877— only two summers since Lon had discovered gold there—most, if not all, of the attractive placer ground and mountainside quartz lodes in the new Upper San Miguel Mining District had been located and claimed.

... If you don’t have a dream, how you gonna make a dream come true?


Oscar Hammerstein II

summer/fall 2011

It had been much the same story all over the San Juan Mountain country during the mid-1870s. News of even modest discoveries of precious metal spread with a wildfire’s speed, attracting thousands of itinerant miners, prospectors, merchants and speculators, every one of them perhaps a little frantic in their hope that the end of the rainbow lay somewhere just over the next mountain. Who could blame them? For years, reports in newspapers across the country had all but guaranteed a fortune could be found in Colorado mining claims.


The American economy was mired in a serious recession during the mid-1870s, and stories of “easy pickings” in the San Juans, found in popular publications such as the New York Daily Tribune, Harper’s Weekly, and Williams Tourist Guide to the San Juan Mines of Colorado, offered great promise of financial salvation. Distributed by many of the major railroads building their lines to Colorado from the Midwest, Williams’ 1877 tourist guide provided some practical tips for the novice prospector, but it also presented some fairly unrealistic expectations. According to the guide: …the bulk of the mining property has been discovered and located by men heretofore perfectly ignorant of mines or minerals, who were never before in a mining region; and in the majority of cases, those who scarcely even knew the use of a pick, the surface croppings are so distinct that, without previous experience, the would-be prospector will invariably discern the ‘signs’ and with pick and hammer secure a piece of ‘blossom rock’ which assures him that he has struck it rich. It’s a wonder the entire population east of Denver didn’t pack up and head to southwestern Colorado. As it was, George Bartlett had plenty of company when he landed in the San Juans during the summer of 1878. The Silverton Miner counted from 75 to 100 new arrivals to the region per day, and the Ouray Times observed that the trails leading into the mountains of the area were “full of prospectors and miners, all of whom expect to make their fortune.” Of course, what George found bore little resemblance to what had been broadcast in the newspapers and tourist guides. Not only was gold or silver not found laying on the ground, there for the taking, but there was very little if any ground left to be prospected. What he did encounter in the camps he visited must have struck him as curious: dozens of mining claims reported to be of superior quality, with surface ore running several hundred dollars to the ton, all for sale at reasonable prices. LEFT: Miners stand in front of Modena Mine in Marshall Basin. TOP: Miners gather on the elaborate Sheridan Incline Tram, which climbed to the Sheridan Crosscut Tunnel located between Marshall and Liberty Bell Basins. TOP RIGHT: Two gentleman prospectors pose in front of a cabin built into the hillside. PHOTOs courtesy of Telluride Historical Museum

For those with limited capital, acquiring mining claims was more or less a shot-in-the-dark proposition; you either hit the winner or missed the mark altogether. Or, as George put it, “If the mine [he is referring to the Crusader, one of the many prospects he investigated in the Mt. Sneffels district] turns out anything, it is cheap enough. It is just [that] this way, you lose all you put in or you make a fortune.” George reported to his brother in late August from Ophir, where he toured some of the district’s mines with a man named “Staats.” Staats had located several claims on Silver Mountain in 1876, one of which—the Crown Jewel—caught George’s attention. He wrote, “…the Crown Jewel is on the same vein as the ‘Sulphurets,’ which is the best-paying mine in the camp.” Though George cautioned that it would be difficult to turn a profit because of having to haul the ore all the way to Silverton to be processed, he reported that “5/6 of the mine can be had for $2,000…a high price now but [it] will be worth it as soon as there are more mills in the country.” The prospector also learned of the Nevada Mine near Ophir, which he wrote “has paid from the start [1876] and has the best location of any there, 1/3 of which is for sale for about $4,000. It has been badly worked and some money will have to be expended on it before it will pay again.” George’s interest in the Nevada and the Crown Jewel, both silver mines, suggests the brothers were looking to buy a mine of that variety—which is not surprising. Most of the excitement in Colorado during the 1870s at such places as Georgetown and Leadville was the result of very profitable silver mining. Dr. Bartlett was, after all, in communication with William Weston, who owned and promoted silver mines. As George made his way to the Mt. Sneffels district from Ophir via San Miguel Park, he must have observed and viewed the extensive gold placer diggings along the valley floor. Predictably, considering his bias toward silver, he took the view that this was “a new country” where “there has been no work done to amount to anything…the galena [leadbearing ore often found in combination with silver] is not solid but scattered.” ▶▶ summer/fall 2011


history ▶▶


George Bartlett must not have heard the story of J.L. Ritchie. After just two days’ work back in 1876, Ritchie had turned a $4,000 profit after selling his placer claim, the one given him by pioneer prospector Lon Remine. As he was passing through San Miguel Park in late August, George may have heard that, just a few weeks earlier, Remine’s old claim was again sold, this time to the Keystone Hydraulic Mining Company for $30,000. Despite the reports found in regional newspapers extolling the district’s promise, the Bartletts took a pass on gold mining and on the San Miguel. We don’t know how Dr. Bartlett was first introduced to William Weston. Weston forwarded his professional mine reports and promotional material to the Denver and eastern U.S. presses, and those documents may have found their way to Waterbury and the doctor’s desk. News that Weston’s Yankee Boy Mine had produced $56,000 in silver ore during 1877 and that it was subsequently leased for $58,000 the following year may have convinced Bartlett to inquire after what Weston had to offer. “Find me something along the lines of the Yankee Boy,” the doctor perhaps instructed his brother, “at entry level prices, of course.” George had quite a prescription to fill.

Mount Sneffels City, no longer in existence, supported the miners and prospectors who clambered over the San Juan Mountains in search of riches. (courtesy PHOTO)

prospect value. As it is now, it is worth nothing. If rich gray copper is struck in a few feet and it holds out in any quantity then the mine is worth a fortune to any man.” Weston had worked the Crusader just enough to demonstrate its potential, giving George—or any prospective buyer—the impression that, perhaps with a little effort and a little luck, a bonanza might be found a few feet deeper on the vein. A few mining “experts,” Weston among them, insisted—counter to the general geologic rule—that San Juan ore such as the Crusader’s was unique in its propensities to grow richer with greater depth. As George presented it to his brother, “…the ore on top is not worth anything. It all depends upon striking rich ore as you get in.” George was ready to “get in.”

“Some tremendously rich ore has been taken out. I honestly believe there is a fortune in it.” William Weston Keystone placer: Pipes draw water behind this two-story building and down to the river. (pHOTO courtesy of Telluride Historical Museum)

Weston’s mining operations in the Mt. Sneffels district were located more or less halfway, as the crow flies, between Ouray and the newly incorporated town of Columbia in Imogene Basin. Letters from Weston to Dr. Bartlett mention the Gertrude, Crusader and Millionaire claims, silver mines that he either owned or represented. The Millionaire, “for sale at $1,500” and where, in Weston’s words, “some tremendously rich ore has been taken out,” received his bold appraisal: “I honestly believe there is a fortune in it.” About the Gertrude, Weston was equally ebullient. “It is the surest thing we have,” he wrote the doctor. George apparently concurred. “The vein is an immense one, some 12 to 15 feet wide, and shows mineral all through,” he told his brother. The vein was of sufficient length to span several claims, including the Crusader, which George points out “is for sale. His [Weston’s] latest and only price is $2,000, $500 down and the rest in installments.” George wanted his brother to buy the Crusader; his letters are clear in that. But understanding that nothing in mining is a sure thing, he waffled somewhat in stating his case for the purchase, writing, “…the value of the lode is only its 48

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Writing from Silverton on September 1, George made his modest proposal. “Now if you decide to buy I shall stay here this winter and work the mine,” he begins. “Weston says I ought to make a foot a day and in six months we ought to be able to tell whether the mine is good for anything or not and if you buy in installments…you could work it so as to lose only the money you pay down.” To this proposition, George added, “If no message is received before the 20th of September…I shall start for home.” George didn’t have to wait that long. In a letter to Dr. Bartlett dated September 6, Weston opened by announcing an “early fall of snow” and goes on in the same sentence to inform him, “… in having a standing offer of $1,000 for half of the Crusader I could not wait your decision [any] longer and took it.”

On October 20, working on a railroad grading crew in the Arkansas River valley and presumably headed back to Connecticut, George made one last pitch for buying a mine. He wrote, “I am convinced that money can be made in the San Juan country, but you must not expect to get rich in a year. Mining should be made a business, just like anything else.” Weston’s correspondence with Dr. Bartlett continued through the winter, with the assumption that George would be returning to Colorado the following summer. In two letters, dated November 23 and December 9, Weston resumed his promotions of the Gertrude and the Crusader (but only half of it, apparently). Ever the salesman, Weston informed the doctor, “…the Hidden Treasure is reportedly sold for $50,000…this is a tremendous lift for me as the Gertrude and the Crusader are the next adjoining veins on either side.” We may never know whether George made that return trip to the San Juan country. A search of Ouray County records found no evidence that the Bartlett brothers ever purchased the Crusader or any other mine in the county.

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ophir: A mule pack team makes its way out of the valley. (pHOTO courtesy of Telluride Historical Museum)

Postscript One has to believe that Dr. Bartlett and brother George kept current on the mining reports coming out of the San Juans, and if so, they may have reacted with serious mixed emotions when learning of the following news items: • In his Descriptive Pamphlet of Some of the Principal Mines and Prospects of Ouray and San Miguel Counties 1882-1883, William Weston cites the Ouray Times and an 1882 report listing the Nevada and Crown Jewel Mines as having shipped ore worth $31,000 and $5,000 respectively during that year. • The most productive mine in the Ophir district during 1882 was the Summit, about which George made no mention in correspondence to his brother. That year, the Summit produced 34,850 ounces of silver worth $45,000. The mine, located on Silver Mountain, was purchased for $50,000 on July 31, 1881, by the Summit Mining Company, headquartered in New York City. Ironically, the company’s secretary, L.J. Atwood, lived in Waterbury, Connecticut. • Weston continued to work the Gertrude Mine into the 1880s. He sold it and the Una, an adjacent claim, in order to pursue interests in the newly opened Red Mountain district. Though trained in metallurgy, Weston had somehow overlooked the quality and quantity of gold in those claims. Some years later, the Gertrude and Una (and possibly the Crusader and Millionaire) were purchased by Thomas Walsh and consolidated into the great Camp Bird complex, which Walsh eventually sold for $6 million. • The town of Columbia was officially incorporated in the summer of 1878, and its lode mines and gold placer operations continued to attract people and investment capital during the last years of the decade. The Dolores News took the occasion to observe in June 1881, “Columbia, with its resources, will, no doubt, make a good little mining town.” For Paul O’Rourke, in mining—as in the game of life—nothing is certain, save that chance will have its say; that what you put in may often have greater value than what you get out.

Susan Bonner Kees M.A., L.P.C.


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historic places

bridal veil power station By Jennifer Thurston Photo by gus gusciora

Bulkeley Wells built the power plant and home above the falls.

Waterfall Aerie Nestled on a rock outcropping and perched above Colorado’s tallest waterfall, the Bridal Veil Power Station has lured admirers to the end of the valley for more than a century. As you drive east, the building on the cliff suddenly pops into view, and those who are not too dazzled by the waterfall inevitably wonder at the sheer audacity it took to build something up there. To realize it is a swanky residence on top of a hydroelectric plant supplied by a high alpine lake is even more tantalizing: What kind of mad genius pulled that off? His name was Bulkeley Wells, a fierce leader for the Colorado National Guard during Telluride’s labor strikes of 1899 to 1908. Wells married the socialite daughter of the SmugglerUnion Mine’s owner and became the business’s manager in November, 1902, embarking at once on a campaign of oppression and violence against the Western Federation of Miners. He set his sights on Vincent St. John, the president of Local No. 63 who was called “The Saint” by the miners. Inspired by the radical international labor movement known as the Wobblies, The Saint personally organized hundreds of men in Telluride, much to Wells’ chagrin. The Saint and his miners became fed up when, in May, 1902, Wells switched from a day’s-wage payment system to a “fathom,” where salary was based on the distance mined rather than the time put in. In practice, it meant that a miner might not be paid at all for his work. ▶▶ summer/fall 2011


historic places ▶▶

bridal veil power station

waterfall aerie

The strikes were brutal: When Wells hired non-union replacements, the miners surrounded the Smuggler-Union in a display of militancy and the resulting clashes left three men dead. It was just a warm-up for the mill strike of 1903, when Wells conspired with the hapless state governor to bring in the Colorado National Guard to quell labor unrest. Naturally, the militia’s presence made it easier to keep his mill open and running with replacement workers. Wells helped arrange the arrest of The Saint on false murder charges and regularly blacklisted workers at the Smuggler who joined the union. In turn, they called him the “Captain of the Cavalry Troop from Hell.” Undeterred by the conflicts, Wells hatched plans for an extravagant mine manager’s house. “He was born to privilege, confident his actions were always right, correct in his deportment, convinced laborers were beneath him,” wrote historian MaryJoy Martin in The Corpse on Boomerang Road. Wells was “a shining thing of the Mystic Shrine, willing to be lord and master.” What better than a house on the cliff, where he could entertain in style while looking down at the workers below? At first, he was rebuffed by his bosses. Wells went to them and asked for a house; if the mine managers in Silverton and Ouray had fine homes, he wanted one, too. No, came the reply. But a patient Wells bided his time, then courtesy telluride historical museum cunningly proposed putting a hydroelectric plant on Bridal Veil Creek. This time, he was successful. Powering the mines wasn’t cheap, and it was costing the Smuggler-Union a fortune to haul fuel into the high country; smallscale hydro operations were the answer, and they started sprouting up in the mountains. On top of the hydro plant that Wells built, his 12room dream residence began to magically develop. He decorated it in the finest mission-style furniture of the Arts and Crafts Movement, and in 1907, he moved in. The way he obtained the house was “clever,” says his youngest daughter, Marianne Wells Glaser, who is now 84 and lives in Halleck, Nevada. “He had a commanding way about him.” But the acquisition of Wells’ fancy home wasn’t coupled with success. According to lore, he used the house for romantic trysts, including a long, scandalous affair with a married woman. As he lived it up, however, his power and influence waned. His wife divorced him and 52

summer/fall 2011

Wells left Telluride for good in 1923. He remarried in Nevada, but his mining fortunes continued to diminish. In 1931, he shot himself in despair, leaving behind a second family that was nearly destitute. In Telluride, too, fortunes were declining. The Smuggler-Union closed by 1928, the price of ore flat for years. The town was shrinking and mining operations were shutting down. Through the Depression, mines were slowly sold off and consolidated. The Idarado Mining Company bought many of the mines in 1953, including the Bridal Veil Power Station. The next year, they turned the generator off, the house went dark, and it began to fade bit by bit. Furnishings and other pieces were hauled off by trespassers and neglect took hold. Marianne Glaser has few memories of her father while he was living and has come to mostly know him as a historical subject. She had never been to the Bridal Veil Power Station until she was invited by its most recent resident, Eric Jacobson, an engineer who began its restoration in 1988. She credits Jacobson with “picking up all the good, bad and ugly about those years” and bringing Bridal Veil back to life. “He’s ambitious,” Glaser says of Jacobson. “He has the same sort of flair I’m sure my father had.” a new era Like Bulkeley Wells, Jacobson has a bit of mad genius about him and a larger-than-life persona. Locally, he is known for railing against the town government, which he dismisses as “all talk.” Growing up near Grand Junction, Jacobson visited the abandoned Bridal Veil plant as a child; its inner workings and mechanics made a deep impression on him. While he was in college, the oil crisis resulted in a federal push to reopen abandoned hydro plants, sparking a quiet rush. The National Energy Act of 1978 made it possible for anybody to file a permit to restart idle facilities; they didn’t have to own the property, and an absentee owner could even be forced to sell. A market was guaranteed when utility companies were required to buy the power at a regulated price. The Act was designed to spur small-scale power generation and reduce the need for oil imports. Idarado, in the business of gold mining, was not paying attention. Jacobson, freshly schooled in the ways of federal permitting after a summer job, saw clearly that the government had opened up a back door to the Bridal Veil Power Station, even though the front door had been left locked by its owner. “When I landed in the hydro business, it was destiny,” Jacobson says. He filed for a permit in 1981 and, after seven years of legal resistance from Idarado, Jacobson was granted a 99-year lease to operate the hydro plant and live in Bulkeley Wells’ residence. Jacobson spent the next three years restoring the plant, which had been stripped of many of its parts, as well as the system of ancient pipes that pulled water from Blue Lake down to the generator. He found an electrician who could handle the rewiring and convinced him to drive up the steep switchbacks every day for three months to do the job. The powerline was restrung down to the old Pandora site below, and then the aerial tramway back up to the house was rebuilt. Eventually, the old generator turned over and restarted, and the power station began to produce about 300 kilowatt-hours of electricity. In 1991, Jacobson started restoring the house and its rooms, one by one. The old-timers from Idarado were especially good about giving back pieces that belonged to the home, Jacobson says. Furniture the mining company discarded in 1954 was stored in a chicken coop in Nucla for more than 30 years. Bulkeley Wells’ pool table and light fixture were returned from Norwood. Altogether, about 50 original pieces have come back. At the time, Jacobson lived above the waterfall

historic places

Clockwise from top left

>> A view of the valley from the back porch of the hydropower plant. >> the plant atop its perch. >> Eric Jacobson poses in front of the Pelton Wheel, part of the oversized mechanics that first inspired his interest in hydropower. Photos by Cindy Steuart

year-round, driving a snowcat up the road in winter, and later, so did his wife and children. Around 1999, though, their baby was nearly swept away in a small avalanche and Jacobson’s wife, Alessandra, put her foot down. After that, they were townies during the winter. unsolicited visitors Over the years, many trespassers have been drawn by the place’s mystique. Some Grateful Dead fans attending the 1987 Telluride concert during the “Harmonic Convergence” made their way up to the plant. One of the fans—a 23-year-old art student from Missouri who wanted to erect his sculpture, “Harmonic Convergence Tuning Fork,” there—went too near the edge of the falls and plunged to his death. Even after Jacobson took up residence, the plant continued to entice the curious. It landed on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1978 when ice climber Jeff Lowe made the first solo ascent of its 365-foot frozen falls. Lowe visited again years later, when a then-single Jacobson was with a date, soaking in the hot tub on his deck, which sits at the top of the falls. “Chink, chink, chink,” recalls Jacobson, “and there was Jeff Lowe. He ran off with the girl, too.” Some of the wayward visitors were even better known than Lowe. One morning, a man with an “arrogant English accent” and a video camera entered the house, waking Jacobson and his growling dog. Jacobson says he told the trespasser to leave, but the man wouldn’t, proclaiming that he was Sting and the house was perfectly suitable for his purposes. “He was the most obnoxious visitor ever,” Jacobson, who

didn’t recognize the rock star, says. “I had to get my duck gun.” Eventually, Sting was convinced that Bridal Veil was not, in fact, for sale. Today, though, Bridal Veil is vacant again, back in the hands of Idarado. Jacobson says he was undone by the constant litigation—he estimates 30 lawsuits and $2 million in expenses related to his acquisition of the plant and associated water rights—and in the fall of 2007, when Idarado was sued after a Jacobson family horse bit a hiker, the final legal battle unfolded. In a sealed settlement, Jacobson’s lease was terminated and operation of the power plant turned over to Idarado. The family moved out last summer and has until August 31 to remove the home’s historic furnishings. Site manager Bill Lyle says Idarado’s intentions for Bridal Veil are not settled, and that there are currently no plans to open the house— listed on the National Historic Register since 1979—to the public. Acknowledging that the company must keep the power plant running in order to stave off other permit-seekers, Lyle says it’s in their “best interest to preserve it.” He adds that Idarado recognizes the camaraderie old-timers have for the place. “It’s part of their culture and upbringing,” he says. “There are some very close feelings tied to it.” Some of those close feelings belong to former miners such as Jerry Albin, who worked for Idarado through many of Bridal Veil’s idle years when its only residents were marmots. “I was glad Eric brought it back. It was going to fall off the cliff,” Albin says. “It’s a beautiful job that he did. I hope that Idarado can maintain it the way it is. Otherwise, the whistle-pigs will ruin it.” summer/fall 2011


telluride faces

The Artist Within By suzanne cheavens


very local has what’s known as his or her “Telluride Story,” the tale of how they came to find themselves in the valley, and it’s a story that starts from points all over the map. There are many variations on the yarn, but what they all share is a crystalline moment of discovery and magic. Call it the “ah-haa” moment. How fitting, then, that Ah Haa School for the Arts Executive Director Rachel Loomis Lee finds herself not only rachel at the helm of Telluride’s creative epicenter for “ahloomis lee haa” moments, but she also cultivator of creativity has personally experienced executive director, ah haa SCHOOL such life-changing instancphoto by lauren metzger es. Lee’s story started when she left Boston and corporate life in 1997 and discovered this gorgeous mountain community. “The magical feelings have never left me,” Lee says of choosing Telluride, sight unseen. “I was looking for small-town life and simplicity, and I’d found it.” hours toward her quest for ice-skating excellence. It was with this same dedication that she Ten years after making Telluride threw herself into learning about her new profession. “It was a baptism by fire,” she rememher home, she also landed a cherbers of her first months at Ah Haa. “I tried to take a class in every single medium to experiished job at Ah Haa. When the curence it and see what our students were experiencing. I’m not shy and I’m a sponge for learnriculum development position at the ing. I’ve absorbed every iota of this building and what this organization has to offer.” She went art school opened up in 2007, she on to become the executive director in 2009. pounced at the opportunity. Lee was Life at the community hub of creation and artistic inspiration was a change for Lee. “I’m a so certain she wanted to join the vibusinesswoman, first and foremost,” she says. But once she started sampling the vast array of brant culture surrounding the arts art curricula the school offers, she was hooked. “The classes have opened my mind. I don’t want institution that when she spied the to stop. I believe that everyone’s an artist—you just have to find your medium.” For Lee, it was help-wanted ad in the Telluride Daily sumi painting. She likes the simplicity of the ink, rice paper, brush and water, and was surprised Planet at 7:30 a.m., she had her reto fall in love with her first creation: a stork-like bird that still hangs on her refrigerator. sume on the former director’s desk She takes her own lead from renowned painter and Ah Haa instructor, Robert Weatherford, by 8 a.m. “I feel like I’ve waited my who tells his students that when it comes to self-expression, “Don’t worry about the rules.” whole life for this job. You just can’t “It’s all about letting go,” Lee concurs. Her headlong plunge into artistic expression has have a bad day here. I am blessed.” also inspired her family. Nearly every wall in the home she shares with her husband, Mark After a month-long interview Lee, and his daughter, Zakiya, is covered with art, and they add things they make in class to process, she was hired and hit the their collection. When they moved down valley, says Lee, they opted not to have television, ground running. She brings a wealth which has opened up more time and space for them to create art at home. of organizational skills to the job and Ah Haa’s wondrous palette of classes offered in every medium for every age is what excites a brisk, passionate energy into the Lee, season after colorful season. She enjoys seeing children embark on the path to artistic historic depot building’s luminous, pursuits. In the course of a week, she watches nervous youngsters bloom into fearless paintinspiring space. As a young, driven ers, sculptors and photographers who proudly march into her office to show her their masterathlete, Lee had devoted countless



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“I believe everyone’s an artist­— you just have to find your medium.”


works. Enrollment in children’s programs is up nearly 40 percent since she started at the school. Lee is quick to credit Ah Haa’s longevity, financial stability and ever-growing programs and exhibitions to its dedicated board of directors, her selfless staff and a cadre of volunteers from every walk of life. “This is not a 9-to-5 job,” she notes. The programming already benefits from the wide-ranging expertise of local teachers, but Lee and her staff are soliciting more and more visiting artists to come and share their gifts with the community. The adult summer schedule is chock full of classes in everything from writing to painting, jewelry design to woodblock printing. This summer, Ah Haa is extending its reach to students outside the community with the new Immersion Telluride Art Experience in both painting and photography. Telluride is already a tourist destination, but now it will also be a destination for artists. “People from all over the country will be coming to Telluride to study with our Immersion instructors,” Lee says. The school’s biggest impact, though, is on the community. In addition to regular programs for children and adults, “Art Anytime” opens the school’s doors for pursuits that fit anyone’s schedule. Ah Haa also offers free Family Day clinics for creating holiday gifts and costumes, as well as special events, art exhibitions and openings, and visiting-artist workshops. The school presents free yoga classes and discounted acupuncture sessions and donates its space and equipment to back other community nonprofits such as the SquidShow Theatre Group, One to One Mentoring Program, One Telluride, Sheridan Arts Foundation, Telluride Medical Center, San Miguel Resource Center and the Telluride AIDS Benefit. In turn, Ah Haa welcomes the support of the community at its own fundraising events, such as the annual gala art auction, which is always a zany and entertaining hit. This year’s affair takes place July 22, and “License to Create” is the James Bond-inspired theme. For Lee and the legions of either aspiring or long-term artists who cross the threshold into the world of possibilities the Ah Haa provides, life is full of these “ahhaa” moments. “Ah Haa is the sound of inspiration, surprise, awareness and awakening; the sound of learning new skills, new knowledge, new experience,” says Lee.

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telluride faces

Stacking Up Life Skills By Martinique Davis


f there were one location that could be considered the heart of Telluride, it’s the Wilkinson Public Library, the hub of the Telluride community and the nucleus of the dynamic circuitry that is local life here. And if there were one person that could be considered the face of this library, it would be Oak Smith. When Smith accepted a part-time job with the Wilkinson Public Library in 1995, he imagined his tenure there to last no more than a year. Yet sixteen years later, this oak smith self-described “born-again born-again librarian librarian” is one of the inmaterials manager stitution’s most familiar wilkinson public library faces. With a storyteller’s photo by brett schreckengost resonant voice and expressive features to match, Smith is an ebullient ambassador to Telluride’s civic heart. As head of Materials Management, Smith is the man standing at the forefront of the library’s perpetual information interchange. But it would be remiss to pigeonhole Smith strictly as a librarian. Chat Mesa, and in 1985 began construction on what Smith calls his “payday house.” As he dewith him for spell (in hushed voice, scribes, “Every payday, I’d buy more lumber, tow it out there and build a little bit more.” All of course, if at his place of work) and told, it took Smith a full decade to complete the house, enlisting very little outside help. By meet a man whose interests are as 1995, after nearly 20 years living on the Navajo Reservation, the Smiths moved full-time to varied as the titles that cross his desk their just-completed house in Norwood and entered into the next chapter of their lives. each day. If he were to select a book Smith admits he took the job at the library strictly because, immediately following the about each of his fortes, he’d end up move here, he needed part-time work while he changed the focus of his knife business to with a stack a few feet high. Among architectural ironworking. “I never came out of college thinking I was going to become a the specialties represented would be librarian,” says Smith, who graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in animal volumes about city planning, smallscience; but he found he enjoyed it. The aspect of the job that resonates with him most, in town politics, dog breeding, ironhis words, is “working alongside incredible people who are doing incredible work.” During working, home building and custom his tenure, Smith has seen the library transform from a small, highly efficient town library knife craftsmanship. to an innovative, five-star-rated institution that has become one of the community’s most Smith and his wife, Carrie, discovtreasured assets. ered San Miguel County in the early Moving off the reservation also enabled Smith to explore another avenue: public service. 1980s when Carrie was working as a “I’ve always had this philosophy that one should participate in their government—and I government teacher on the Navajo couldn’t do that on the reservation,” he says. [Since he was not a member of the tribe, he Indian Reservation in Kayenta, Aricouldn’t hold public office, nor could he vote in local elections.] “Now that I was back livzona. On the reservation, Smith had ing somewhere that I could be involved, I wanted to be involved,” he says of his decision built a successful ironworking busiin 1995 to apply for a seat on the San Miguel County Planning Commission. Smith was ness, specializing in custom knives. appointed to the position, which he held for a total of 11 years. He served as chair for five In 1982, they purchased property of those years. outside of Norwood on Wright’s



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“I never came out of college thinking I was going to become a librarian.”


“I believe in planning,” Smith says of his long tenure on the local commission, during which time he helped the county create a highly regarded set of standards for golf course construction, oversaw deliberations with Tri-State power company that resulted in the association agreeing to underground part of its power line, and was active in early discussions with Neal Blue and the San Miguel Development Corporation regarding the fate of the Valley Floor. “I would much rather live in a community that thinks about its future than in a community that just lets its future happen around it.” Smith stepped down from the position in 2006, noting that while the historical perspective that comes with long tenure has value, too many years of service can lead to “taking yourself too seriously.” That was the same political philosophy that led him to run twice for public office—county clerk and county commissioner—posts with little turnover and to which he hoped to bring a fresh perspective. Smith also serves on the San Miguel County Board of Adjustments, which, to his relief, meets only once a year. His schedule is, after all, packed with other responsibilities: Smith and his wife breed and show German shepherds through their business, Oak Ridge German Shepherds. At any given time, there are at least eight dogs living in—literally inside—the Smith household. They currently have 15 dogs at home, and living in a house where dogs outnumber humans four-to-one makes for a demanding daily to-do list. Smith is up at 4 a.m. to care for the dogs before heading to work, then spends at least three hours after work feeding, grooming and exercising the animals. Many weekends, the duo loads up their converted Penske rental truck (it fits a total of 10 dogs in crates) and drives to faraway dog shows. “It’s for love of the breed,” Smith explains of the hectic nature of life with a pack—albeit, a well-trained pack—of dogs. In April, they took home their first-ever “Best in Show” award for five-year-old Leo, who wowed the judges at a German Shepherd Specialty show in Albuquerque. While many dog owners hire professional handlers to show their dogs, Smith handled Leo for his award-winning trips around the ring. It was, as Carrie describes, a “big deal” that Smith handled the dog for the show. And for Smith, the win just added another title to his collection: Champion Dog Handler.

The Ultimate Insider’s Guide to Telluride

Mornings at 8am on Plum TV

summer/fall 2011


telluride faces

Going With the Flow By katie klingsporn


att Wilson has run all sorts of big rivers: the gnashing Stikine, the tight and technical Animas, the roaring gorge of the Uncompahgre and the gorgeous Huallaga, where waterfalls tumble from high above the canyon walls. But, he says, he’s just as content floating down a lazy section of the San Juan, the San matt wilson Miguel or, well, pretty river runner much anywhere water owner, telluride kayak school flows. “I just enjoy being on the water. That’s what photo by erin raley I want to do forever,” says Wilson. Wilson is a quiet guy, one of those people who don’t tend to dominate conversation in a crowded room. If he were one of those people, he might go around trumpeting his accomplishments: first descents, explorations of rivers in Russia and Madagascar, boating. When the winter arrives and the rivers are clenched in ice, he works as a ski patroller owning a kayaking school in a legendon the mountain. “I think I always just wanted to work in the mountains and on the rivers,” ary mountain town. Instead, you have says Wilson. “I knew that’s where I would be the happiest.” to crack him open to find that beyond Wilson grew up surrounded by both in Park City, Utah. His parents put him on a pair the calm demeanor and humbleness is of skis when he was a toddler and his father first took him kayaking when he was 14 on the a driven athlete, dedicated guide and splashy, mellow Weber River. He was swept away by the sport immediately. The challenge of world-class kayaker who, as cliché as navigating rapids and the prospect of adventure and exploration had a strong allure. “I got it sounds, is living his dream. right into it pretty seriously,” he says. “It really takes hold. You get kind of obsessed with it.” Wilson is an adventurer and athWilson got his first gig as a river guide at 17, when he was hired for the coveted position lete, a former professional kayaker of leading raft trips down Idaho’s Salmon River. It was a bit of luck that landed him the job— who has run the kind of churning, a family friend owned the company—but it set him on a permanent career path. After high rock-strewn water that horrifies most school, Wilson moved to Bozeman to study Spanish at Montana State University but took mortals. He is an expedition boater time off to pursue a professional kayaking career: He was a sponsored athlete, traveling to who loves to be the first one to nose competitions, getting camera time as he navigated massive whitewater in Teton Gravity Rehis kayak down uncharted sections search films and trekking to South America to guide. It was during the trips to South Ameriof water. He’s also a mountain biker, ca, particularly with Telluride boating legend Russell Kelly before Kelly’s death in 2004, where skier, climber and a coffee-addict who Wilson learned about kayaking expeditions. “That really opened my eyes to what a great tool loves Latin America and is fluent in the kayak is for exploration, rather than just running big drops and filming them,” he says. Spanish. Wilson is the kind of outAfter a few seasons, he moved back to Bozeman to finish college. There, he met a girl doorsman who is most alive when he’s named Erin Raley and they fell in love. She was from a beautiful mountain town in Colorado surrounded by sky and water and the named Telluride, and in 2006 they moved here. It was serendipity: shortly after arriving, Wilelements. And at 33, he’s been able to son, who was working construction, noticed a newspaper ad offering the local kayak school do what many only dream about: parfor sale. He seized the opportunity. The school offers youth programs, kayak and rafting trips, lay what he loves—rivers and mounclinics and lessons, lake tours and stand-up paddling. It’s challenging, satisfying work, and tains and teaching—into a career. He running a business keeps him on his toes, he says. Plus, he gets to share his passion with othowns Telluride Kayak School and ers. “I think we all want to do what we’re good at and be able to contribute in our own small spends the summer months running way to the greater good, ” he says. “That’s why I do it. ” programs that teach the finer points of



summer/fall 2011

“I just enjoy being on the water. That’s what I want to do forever.”


creativity 365 days of

Despite settling here, he was still compelled to explore and paddle new routes. In September 2009, he assembled a team of kayakers, dubbed “Team Beer,” and they set off to attempt a first descent of the Huallaga River in Peru. The river, which carves a deep canyon through the Andes, had rebuffed two other expeditions with its gorge sections, unknown stretches and Class V whitewater. Team Beer waited until low flow and set off with climbing rope and 12 days’ worth of food. Three days and 52 miles later, they emerged with a first descent through a dazzling canyon where cascades tumble from above and whitewater rumbles below. “We found just incredible runnable whitewater,” he said. The move got Wilson recognized by Outside magazine as a “New King of Adventure.” Friends describe him as more than that: a compassionate guide, competent partner and incredibly humble person. He’s one of those people you want on a river trip—not only because he’s a good guy, but also because of his swift-water rescue expertise. “When you’re on the river with him, you always feel really safe,” says Raley.

kids art camps | adult classes | exhibitions | ceramics | painting | culinary arts | jewelry | metal arts

The Ah Haa School for the Arts is a center for the arts in Telluride whose goal is to nurture the creative spirit. shawna moore september 16 –18

At the Ah Haa School, we believe every person harbors an artistic ability, and that everyone benefits from exploring and developing that ability.

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introducing the telluride immersion art experience

Students will have a chance to immerse themselves in creativity without the day to day distractions. Whether you have a few hours, a few days or a few weeks, you will find a class that nurtures your inner artist. For a full immersion class schedule, visit our website.

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Whether you are visiting Telluride for a ski vacation, summer festivals, or just to relax, our experienced local staff is here to serve your vacation rental, property management and real estate needs!


summer/fall 2011


inside art

Art Imitates Life By Elizabeth Guest

Backstage with SquidShow Theatre’s Sasha Cucciniello

If you think you recognize yourself in one of the characters in a SquidShow Theatre performance, you might be right. It might actually be you. Sasha Cucciniello, the founder of SquidShow Theatre and author of most of the plays they perform, says she gets much of her inspiration from her surroundings in Telluride. Since she moved here five years ago, Cucciniello has been living the Telluride dream and sucking up every detail of life in a small town as she writes, directs, acts and throws herself wholeheartedly into SquidShow. “I’m learning so much by being an observer, and there are so many great people and things happening here,” she explains. “I’m constantly watching, and Telluride is great food for that.” Her first play, A Day, was done entirely on a whim, a spontaneous surge of creativity that cost “I don’t think that fancy costumes and huge sets are what just $68. It was a strong start and, six months later, make theater great. There’s a saying that goes, ‘With theater, she was back at it, this time with Love Show. Since you have to have two things: an actor and an audience.’” photo by scott upshur then, Cucciniello has put together an ongoing list of performances and, three years ago, created her SquidShow Theatre company, which currently consists of a core group of six performers. When Cucciniello moved to town, The Telluride Repertory Theatre already existed, but she wanted something different than community theater— she wanted to create a professional stage company modeled after those in New York City. “Instead of auditions that are open to everyone, we work with the same actors and train them…it’s really more of a family setting.” Cucciniello says the difference between community theater and SquidShow is that her company performers continue to work between prophoto by melissa plantz ductions, practicing even when there isn’t a play to rehearse. “Our company members are very committed to our process. They studied with an acting teacher from New York City last summer and meet weekly to train. It’s a year-round process, and they have really signed on. I think community theater is also very valuable because it gives people who want to perform the opportunity [to photo by melissa plantz do that], without having to make this long-term commitment.” Cucciniello was raised by a single mom who sought theater as an escape from routine life. At three, the artist got an early start in the musical Carousel, and over the years, the performances have come and gone, but not the support of her mother. “She never says ‘no you can’t.’ It’s always ‘go forth and conquer,’” says Cucciniello, choked up. “It was hard when I left New York. My mom thought that I was giving up my career. Now she comes out for all of Squidphoto by brett schreckengost Show’s big shows, and I put her right to work the minute she gets off the plane.” And then there’s her day job. Cucciniello has worked in arts nonprofits since she graduthe many faces of ated college and has been able to make a career of it here. From her office at Stronghouse Studios, she sasha cucciniello, runs the show as program director for the Telluride Council for the Arts and Humanities, a decadessquidshow theatre founder. old nonprofit organization that supports local arts. On her desk is a mountain of paperwork and her ▶▶


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as a fundraiser for SquidShow, which expects to become a nonprofit organization by the summer’s end. “I was hoping to get just five people in class,” she reveals, “and we ended up having 12 show up and perform. It was inspiring for me that these women wanted to do the ultimate for SquidShow.”

Sorina’s Head to Toe

Rachael Pfoetenhauer Photography

sidekick, Sylvie—a spry Boston terrier—sits at her side. The gallery doors open and some inquisitive visitors peek in, checking out the eclectic, funky scene of the artist cooperative funded by TCAH. Cucciniello recommends the Telluride Art Walk, a walking tour of local galleries that takes place the first Thursday of each month. “I’m so lucky to have this job,” she confides. “Being an artist and having a day job is really challenging, so it’s nice to work in the realm of what I’m passionate about.” This summer, the upcoming SquidShow performances are high on Cucciniello’s todo list. There’s a big show in July and a kids show in the fall, and Cucciniello will also direct a historical reenactment called “The Lawmen of Telluride” in collaboration with the Telluride Historical Museum. Whatever’s next, the public eagerly awaits Cucciniello’s creative efforts. SquidShow has a huge following and earned rave reviews for its winter performances. The climax was Burlesque, the third major theater project of the winter season. The ambitious undertaking started as a class at the Ah Haa School—complete with a pasties-making workshop—and ended with a sold-out performance that was the talk of the town, even after the final curtain call. Burlesque was as racy and vaudevillian as its name suggests, and it also doubled

“It was inspiring for me that these women wanted to do the ultimate for SquidShow.” Facials · Waxing Inspiring, but perhaps not surprising. Cucciniello is as committed to her performers and company as they are to her. She doesn’t draw a salary from SquidShow—part of the mission is to make theater accessible, and most of the performances are free—and she spends most of its budget on paying her actors, who she says rehearse from 20 to 40 hours a week. “I don’t think that fancy costumes and huge sets are what make theater great. There’s a saying that goes, ‘With theater, you have to have two things: an actor and an audience.’ And that’s it…it’s the human connection. It’s a communion, a meeting of the minds, and the audience is really part of it.”

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Coconut Cupcakes cake INGREDIENTS 2 ¼ cups organic flour 1 1/3 cups coconut (sweetened, flaked) 1 cup buttermilk 1 teaspoon baking soda 2 cups sugar 1 cup unsalted butter 5 large egg yolks

Baking the Perfect Cupcake

4 large egg whites ¼ teaspoon salt

photos by brett schreckengost

You probably had lots of ooey-gooey cupcakes as a child, but if you want to know what cupcakes are like when they’re all grown up, try The Butcher and the Baker. But don’t get there too late in the day, or you won’t find any cupcakes left in the display case. The café’s co-owner, Cinda Simons, only bakes a couple dozen at a time, and they can easily vanish before customers stop in for a mid-afternoon snack. “I don’t think we’re in The cake the cupcake race,” Simons says, distancing her shop from the upscale cupcakeries that have cashed in on the dessert’s sudden chic. “There are some is more where that’s all they do. It’s just one thing we make here, and we don’t important places go too crazy with it.” than the The Butcher and the Baker’s cupcakes are a complement to the estabicing and lished menu. While their full-sized cakes are mostly made-to-order, the cupcakes typically go in the display case as single-serving samples. Simons every chooses their flavor and frosting based on that day’s orders, dressing ingredient often them up with a garnish or drizzle. The perennial favorite is a chocolate cupcounts. cake with chocolate butter-cream icing, topped with a raspberry or strawberry. Simons also makes a cream cheese icing for carrot cake and a thicker chocolate ganache icing, but butter-cream is the standby. “The kids at the farmer’s market say it tastes like ice cream,” says Simons of her velvety icing, which is piled high enough to leave most children’s faces smeared with a butter-cream goatee, yet not so heavily sweetened that they’ll be bouncing off the walls for devouring it like it was the main attraction. Simons says the cake is more important than the icing and that every ingredient counts. The Butcher and the Baker always uses butter, never shortening or margarine. She also insists on using farm-fresh eggs and organic flour. Telluride residents have learned to expect no less from Simons as she baked her way up the ranks, first at Wildflour Bakery and Cindy Bread, then as the pastry chef at La Marmotte. Simons has also made pastries for the local coffee shops and sold fresh bread at the farmer’s market, learning a thing or two along the way. The trick to baking at altitude, she says, is to understand its effect on leavening. Cupcakes rely on baking powder and baking soda to create the bubbles that make the batter rise. But Simons says the thinner air at altitude allows cupcakes to rise too quickly, setting them up for a messy collapse. She was taught to add a handful of extra flour into the mix, no more than a quarter-cup or so, to slow the process down. That trick might be a little more art than science, but the proof is in the cupcakes, and Simons stands by them. “That’s the great part about having your own business,” she says. “You make what you like, experiment and have your own beliefs.” —Stephen Barrett 62

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour and coconut in a bowl; whisk buttermilk and baking soda together in another bowl. In a separate mixing bowl, beat sugar and butter for about two minutes. Add egg yolks and beat until blended. Add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture. In another bowl, beat egg whites and salt until peaks form. Fold whites into batter. Divide batter into baking cups and bake approximately 35 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, remove from pans and let cool completely. Icing INGREDIENTS 8 ounces cream cheese ½ cup butter (room temperature) 2 teaspoons vanilla 3 cups powdered sugar 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes Beat sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla until blended and smooth. Place in piping bag and squeeze onto cupcakes. Sprinkle coconut on top.

Dining Out d ining out 221 South Oak 221 South Oak St., Telluride 970.728.9507 Situated near the Telluride Gondola Plaza in a restored 1800s residence, 221 South Oak serves cuisine characterized by fresh ingredients and rich flavors from New Orleans, France, the Caribbean coast and New England. Open for Sunday brunch and dinner nightly.

9545 Restaurant & Bar Inn at Lost Creek, Mountain Village 970.728.6293 The Inn at Lost Creek’s southwest-style bistro offers an “elevated” dining experience from its perch at 9545 feet in altitude. Enjoy their unexpected and delicious creations served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Join them on the comfortable outdoor patio overlooking the Sunset Concerts and Plaza in Mountain Village.

an elevated dining experience Cosmopolitan Restaurant & The cosmo Wine Cellar 300 West San Juan Ave., Telluride 970.728.1292 Chef Chad Scothorn turns comfort food into innovative cuisine, featuring wild salmon, saffron and tomato fish stew, grilled pork tenderloin, grilled beef fillet and more. Enjoy your meal in the newly remodeled dining room or have a private dinner, paired with wines from Cosmo’s collection, in The Wine Cellar.

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La Cocina de Luz 123 East Colorado Ave., Telluride 970.728.9355 “The Kitchen of Light” specializes in food prepared with love. Handmade tortillas, a salsa bar and daily specials incorporate traditional cooking methods with organic and whole foods. Offering seating for breakfast, lunch and dinner, a small bar and take-out. Little Bar at lumière lumière, Mountain Village 970.369.0400 Mountain Village’s hippest gathering spot with freshly prepared sushi and signature cocktails served fireside or poolside. Located on the fourth floor of the lumière hotel.

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Martini Concepts 970-708-5467 A complete catering company dedicated to in-house private chef services; preparation and delivery of fine meals; catering for any event from weddings to dinner parties. Owner and Chef Ross Martin has been pleasing palates in Telluride for over 10 years.

New Sheridan Chop House & Wine Bar 223 West Colorado Ave., Telluride 970.728.9100 This steakhouse and wine bar features chef Erich Owen’s new American cuisine. The Chop House is known for its dry-aged, USDA prime steaks, fresh seafood, free-range organic fowl, an array of fine cheeses and Telluride’s only nitrogen wine bar.

The Llama and Pescado 100 W. Colorado Ave., Telluride 970.728.5114 The Llama and Pescado have it all: gourmet burgers, fresh sushi, craft beers and live music. Try the Llama’s Tacos Al Pastor or be adventurous and order Pescado’s Omakase, a multi-course chef’s menu that changes nightly.

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NEw AmEriCAN CuiSiNE An eclectic blend of flavors and styles served in an intimate atmosphere. Enjoy patio dining just steps from the Gondola Open 5:30pm to Close • Sunday Brunch 10am to 1pm 970-728-9507 summer/fall 2011


final word Q: Was there some incident that you remember, something that you saw in your career as a chef that set you on this path? When I was writing my second book, Bitter Harvest, I started thinking about how all the bad food is making us—and our kids—sick. Our food supplies are privately owned by giant corporations, with profits taking precedence over the very health of our children. Adults make their own decisions; kids by and large don’t. If they’re getting sick, it’s because we’re making them sick. Our children are the first generation in the United States being born with shorter life expectancies than their parents because of diet-related illnesses.

kirsten boyer photography

Ann Cooper is the author of A Woman’s Place is in the Kitchen, In Mother’s Kitchen, Bitter Harvest and Lunch Lessons.

Lunch Line Insurgency ann Cooper is the first to admit that a decade ago, as an elite chef, she would have been annoyed at having to feed a child toted by parents into one of her five-star restaurants on a Saturday night. Now, feeding kids is her life’s work: The former Telluride resident runs two organizations Leading (Lunch Lessons LLC and the Food Family Farming Foundation) dethe voted to changing the junk food School paradigm and helping schools Food serve healthy lunches affordably. Revolution She is the recognized expert of the school food movement: She has written four books on related subjects and her advocacy work has been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Chicago Tribune, Newsweek, and Time Magazine; she has also appeared on NPR, ABC, CNN, PBS and CBS. Cooper moved to Telluride in 1973, the year after the ski area opened, and got cooking. She was in charge of food for the bluegrass, jazz, film and mushroom festivals, as well as for the new resort. She had her own baking company (Rising Heights Dough Rollers) and restaurant (Pandora’s) but left in 1990 and went on to a prestigious career as a chef, winning a slew of awards and great acclaim. Then she went back to school—not as a student, but as the lunch lady. It was Cooper who planted the seeds of today’s school lunch revolution, a cause that has attracted other celebrities such as First Lady Michelle Obama and Chef Jamie Oliver. Learn more about Cooper’s work at, www.saladbars2school. org, and — D. Dion


summer/fall 2011

Q: You were given the title “Renegade Lunch Lady.” Decades later, it’s no longer a renegade movement, but there’s still so much progress to be made. What are the biggest challenges? School food change is still in its infancy. There’s a little bit of change happening, but the majority of schools nationwide are still serving junk food. There are a few reasons: food, finances, facilities, human resources and marketing. How do we find healthy, local food? How do we make it affordable and give lunch staff the resources and training to make better food instead of the same chicken nuggets? And all the marketing the industry directs at children…how do we get kids on chicken nuggets to start eating real chicken? Q: Are any misperceptions standing in the way? I think it’s a demographic thing. There are some people who think the way we eat is just fine, and some people who think we can’t afford to do better—and I think that’s worse. We either pay now or pay later. We’re going to be bankrupt in this country, trying to pay for our healthcare costs. In the United States, we pay one of the lowest percentages of our GDP [Gross Daily Product] of any country for food but one of the highest percentages for medical care. Q: Have you met First Lady Michelle Obama, who is also a crusader for children’s nutrition? I have and I really like her—she’s very cool. My foundation and Let’s Move [Michelle Obama’s foundation to promote children’s health] have collaborated to put salad bars in schools. I’ve done a few different events with her, and she really cares about kids and really cares about what we feed them. We’ve done phase one—we’ve given away 600 salad bars since January. Our goal is 6,000 salad bars in the next 36 months. Q: What is the real culprit of poor choices in diet and menu planning? Is it a lack of time? Lack of creativity? Or is it a function of how the food industry operates? I think we’ve got a couple of different things going on. We’ve lost our kitchens, and cooking has become a hobby as opposed to something we have to do. People think we’re too busy to cook. And there’s big business, which spends a billion dollars marketing to our kids; we now have a generation of kids who think chicken nuggets are a food group and Hot Cheetos is breakfast. Q: If you could change one thing about the food industry, what would it be? The amount of politics and lobbying—it really does change the way we eat. Like the “milk at every meal” campaign; there’s no basis that anyone needs that much milk. Or the fact that the federal government wouldn’t even sign onto a World Health Organization plan to reduce sugar. The industry’s influence is all over the place. Q: What is one simple thing people can do to improve the way they eat and feed their families? Cook. Just cook. You’ve got to cook. If we find our kitchens and start cooking again, we solve the problem.

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