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Brian O’Neill, Director | firstname.lastname@example.org | 970.708.5367 Marty Stetina, Broker I email@example.com I 970.708.4504 237 South Oak Street @ the Telluride Gondola | Telluride, Colorado 81435 I ONeillStetina.com
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A day on the mountain becomes an unforgettable experience with the Telluride Ski & Snowboard School. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or new to the mountains, you’ll find the keys to improvement, an insider guide to the resort and a friend in your Telluride Ski & Snowboard Instructor.
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located at the top of the gondola A T T H E B E A U T I F U L S T. S O P H I A S T A T I O N
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River Club Fractionals 2, 3, & 5 Weeks, Telluride Just steps from restaurants, shops & the gondola. The club combines the advantages of a vacation home with the amenities, service & convenience of a hotel. Includes free skiing & golf when in residence. Newly remodeled. Starting at $60,000
121 Touchdown Drive, Mountain Village Set on 2+ acres, this 6-bedroom private estate features breathtaking views from nearly every room, an expansive main floor master suite, guest apartment, entertainment room, separate bar area, wine cellar and much more. $5,650,000
Kiki Froberg, Broker | email@example.com | 970.708.0575, Cell 237 South Oak Street @ the Telluride Gondola I kiki.searchtelluriderealestate.com
171 Elk Park Road, Ski Ranches This renovated 3-bedroom home resides in a quiet neighborhood with aspen-filled views, lots of privacy and is adjacent to open space. Expansion potential. Hike, bike or cross-country ski on nearby trails into the National Forest. $1,650,000
Ice House Condominiums, Telluride These newly remodeled 1 & 2 bedrooms range in size from 635 to 1,166 sq.ft. and are offered turn-key. Each residence is beautifully appointed with European-style kitchens & clean contemporary finishes. Steps to gondola & skiing. Starting at $444,500
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Void Where Prohibited by Law. This advertisement does not constitute an offer to sell real property. The information provided in this advertisement is strictly for informational purposes and shall not be construed as an offer in any jurisdictions where prior registration or other advance qualification of real property is required. Some jurisdictions require prior registration or other advance qualification of real property in order to solicit in that jurisdiction. Responses to inquiries in such jurisdictions may be prohibited or limited. Telluride Sotheby’s International Realty, Colorado Department of Real Estate.
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1 • 12 Trails Edge #7, Mountain Village Spacious 3-bedroom enjoys quick access to skiing, MV Market & gondola. Includes high-end finishes, private elevator access & amazing views. $1,895,000
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16 • WINTER/SPRING 2015-2016
WITHIN Life in the Bubble: A look at what’s inside this issue
CALENDAR OF EVENTS The who, what, where, and when in Telluride this season
LOCAL FLAVOR The first local distillery in town since the Prohibition
MOUNTAIN HEALTH Mobile vet makes house calls
ASK JOCK Athletic advice from our mountain guru
64 48 FEATURES
34 38 40
Musician, writer, and artist Jewel on community and giving back
Brains on Fire
A Telluride woman diagnosed with MS is on a quest to understand the disease
Housing in Paradise
Gentrification and the housing crisis in our mountain town
The “Perfect” Telluride Family
Confessions of a Hockey Mom
There are no road maps for this O’Neill clan journey
TELLURIDE FACES Meet the master projectionist, the B&W artist, and the 3D print innovator
FICTION The Painter by Peter Heller, poem by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
BOOK REVIEWS Three new books by local authors Robert Baer, Sylvan Bald, and Jewel Kilcher
TELLURIDE TURNS Library’s new science fiction collection, elementary school dual immersion program
Keeping the midday ski break alive
Miners and snow slides in the San Juan Mountains
On the ice and in the penalty box
ESSAY “Seeing Red,” by Amy Irvine McHarg
ENVIRONMENT March of the spruce beetle
COLOR BY NUMBERS An index of facts and figures
A LAST LOOK “The Ultimate Hybrid,” by Braden Gunem
Redefined Mountain Living | offered from $895,000â&#x20AC;&#x201C;$5,495,000
www.Elkstone21.com DANIEL E. DOCKRAY | 970-708-0666 firstname.lastname@example.org
18 • WINTER/SPRING 2015-2016
KATIE KLINGSPORN Katie Klingsporn (“Brains on Fire,” p. 38) grew up in the foothills of the Wind River Mountains in Wyoming and graduated from journalism school at the University of Montana. She moved to Telluride in 2006 to work for the Daily Planet newspaper. After a decade of newspaper toiling, she left papers and is now a freelance writer and program director at Telluride Mountainfilm. Getting diagnosed with MS didn’t stop her from ticking off two bucket list items last summer: rafting the Grand Canyon, and winning the female cyclist category of the Ophir Pass Hill Climb.
BRENDA COLWELL Brenda Colwell (“House Calls,” p. 28, “Still Life,” p. 26, “Language Learning,” p. 70) has focused her camera on Telluride faces since 1996 when she joined the “local” Telluride community, and more actively when she became a mom in 2006. Ask her about her portrait photography and she’ll tell you that every human is truly beautiful, and she means it. She captures the essence of every person she shoots, and you can see her work in nearly every local publication. You can also find Brenda at her beautiful studio in Mountain Village or photographing families and faces in front of Telluride’s spectacular backdrop.
CASEY NAY Casey Nay has been living in the snow globe for over a decade now, so he was happy to illustrate it and capture the magic that is the “Telluride Bubble.” Growing up just down the road in Norwood, he holds fast to his local, country roots, although he likes traveling and drinking martinis with funny people just as much as he likes rodeo. Nay is a designer with more than ten years of experience under his belt buckle, and despite his preference for summer over winter, he channeled his inner Harry Potter wizardry to create the snowscape on the cover of this issue.
ROB STORY Rob Story did not hike to the basecamp of Makalu as a child (“The ‘Perfect’ Telluride Family,” p. 42) but he did win the Trailwood Elementary School Spelling Bee in 1975. Story is a correspondent for Outside Magazine and the columnist for Skiing Magazine, and writes for a variety of publications. His work has appeared in Men’s Journal, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Penthouse, American Way, and Rolling Stone. He’s the author of two books, Telluride Storys (Lulu.com) and Outside Adventure Travel: Mountain Biking (WW Norton). He lives in Telluride, Colorado.
TELLURIDE MAGAZINE IS PRODUCED BY TELLURIDE PUBLISHING LLC, A LOCALLY OWNED AND OPERATED COMPANY. PUBLISHER
TELLURIDE PUBLISHING LLC ~~~ ADVERTISING EXECUTIVE
JENNY PAGE ~~~ EDITOR
DEB DION KEES ~~~
KRISTAL RHODES ~~~
TELLURIDE DELIVERS ~~~
SUSAN HAYSE ~~~
Martinique Davis, Deanna Drew, Cindy Fusting, Elizabeth Guest, Geoff Hanson, Peter Heller, Katie Klingsporn, Amy Irvine McHarg, Paul O’Rourke, Heather Sackett, Rob Story, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, Lance Waring ~~~
Ryan Bonneau, Brenda Colwell, Deanna Drew, Braden Gunem, Gus Gusciora, Jeff Lipsky, Ingrid Lundahl, Brett Schreckengost ~~~
WWW.TELLURIDEMAGAZINE.COM Telluride Publishing produces the San Juan Skyway Visitor Guide and Telluride Magazine. Current and past issues are available on our website.. © 2015 Telluride Publishing L.L.C. For editorial inquiries call 970.708.0060 or email email@example.com For advertising information call 970.729.0913 or email firstname.lastname@example.org The annual subscription rate is $14.95. Cover and contents are fully protected and must not be reproduced in any manner without written permission from the publisher. ~~~ ON THE COVER
Shake it up: downtown Telluride in a snow globe. Photo by Ryan Bonneau, illustration by Casey Nay.
DIGITAL PARTNER www.TellurideMagazine.com
Life in the Bubble
he danger of spending too much time in a picture-perfect place like Telluride is that you forget to take a step back once in a while, to get a little perspective and remember how beautiful it is. You get caught up in the minutiae of everyday life, work, errands, small-town politics, smalltown relationships, and neglect to take in the big picture: a funky, vibrant little mountain town nestled among the peaks, an idyllic spot to miniaturize and capture in a snow globe like we did on the cover of this issue.
Life in the bubble can be distracting. Take a peek through the glass, and through these pages, and you’ll see that there’s a lot going on inside. Katie Klingsporn (“Brains on Fire,” p. 38) shares her very personal story about being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a disease that is more prevalent in certain areas like Telluride. You can also read about how gentrification is affecting this town in the same way it does urban communities, making it more difficult to find affordable places to rent (“Housing in
Paradise,” p. 40). Or take a look at how one Telluride family escaped the bubble and took an unusual family vacation with their 6- and 8-year-old sons, hiking to basecamp of the fifth highest peak in the world in Nepal (“The ‘Perfect’ Telluride Family,” p. 42). Sometimes escaping is as easy as taking a midday skiing break (“Nope,” p. 46) or elbowing someone on the ice (“Confessions of a Hockey Mom,” p. 64). Other times, you need to shake things up, like the couple who opened their own
craft distillery (“Still Life at 8750,” p. 26), the woman who started a new mobile vet service (“House Calls,” p. 28), or Jewel, the musician who uses her talents to give back to others (“Everyday Angels,” p. 34). Whatever you do this season, don’t forget to take in the big picture. Shake it up, watch the snow fly, and enjoy the view.
Deb Dion Kees
Deb Dion Kees, Editor, Telluride Magazine
20 • EVENTS CALENDAR
CALENDAR 12 ROCK AND ROLL ACADEMY WINTER CONCERT – Telluride’s
20 GONDOLA OPENS – The gondola opens for the 2015-16 winter season. The chondola between the Meadows and Mountain Village center starts running Nov. 25. 26 OPENING DAY – Telluride Ski Resort opens for the 2015-16 ski season.
DECEMBER 2 NOEL NIGHT – Shop early and partake of the holiday
caroling, discounts, and cheer in Telluride’s retail stores.
4–6 SHREK THE MUSICAL – Sheridan Arts Foundation Young
People’s Theatre middle school actors perform Shrek the Musical at the Sheridan Opera House. sheridanoperahouse.com
4–6 HOLIDAY ARTS BAZAAR – Local artisans and artists
vend unique handmade goods like jewelry, sewn and knitted clothing and accessories, toys, local foods, housewares, candles, and more at the Telluride High School.telluridearts.org
5 AN OLD FASHIONED CHRISTMAS AT SCHMID RANCH –
The Telluride Historical Museum presents its annual Christmas celebration at Schmid Ranch on Wilson Mesa. Bring the kids and find your Christmas tree, make a wreath, enjoy homemade hot cocoa, meet Santa, and more. telluridemuseum.org
8 GINGER BRIDGE BUILDING COMPETITION – Pinhead Institute
and San Miguel Resource Center host this joint event and provide the gingerbread—bring your own edible embellishments. Competition starts at 7 p.m. at the Arroyo Wine Bar.
9–13 TELLURIDE THEATRE – Local theatre troupe performs its 7th annual original work, improvised, created, and written by the ensemble cast, at the Ah Haa School for the Arts. telluridetheatre.org
10 MISTER F – Up-and-coming fusion and funk band Mister F performs at the Fly Me to the Moon Saloon. telluridearts.org 11 PARADISE WAITS – Catch the latest Teton Gravity Research
ski film, Paradise Waits, showing at the Sheridan Opera House. sheridanoperahouse.com
Rock & Roll Academy students play their 12th annual concert at the Sheridan Opera House. Bands perform at this free, all ages community event. rockandrollacademy.com
13 PALM ARTS DANCE RECITAL – Children and young adults in the Palm Arts dance programs take the stage to perform at the Palm Theatre. telluridepalm.com
24 & 25 TORCHLIGHT PARADES – Skiers descend into Telluride and Mountain Village, carrying torches and forming a bright string of lights. 26 MOUNTAINFILM FRIEND-RAISER – Mountainfilm in
Telluride hosts its annual “friend-raiser,” an event and screening to benefit the film festival and its programs, at the Sheridan Opera House. mountainfilm.org
27 TANYA TUCKER – Country music legend Tanya Tucker takes
the stage at Club Red in Mountain Village. tellurideskiresort.com
27–Jan. 3 HOLIDAY CONCERT SERIES – Catch these performances by Amy Helm & The Handsome Strangers (Dec. 27), Jewel (Dec. 28), Smokey Robinson (Dec. 29), Preservation Hall Jazz Band (Dec. 31), and Hot Buttered Rum (Jan. 2–3) at the historic Sheridan Opera House. sheridanoperahouse.com 31 TORCHLIGHT PARADE – Celebrate New Year’s Eve with a parade of lights down the ski slopes and fireworks in Mountain Village.
31 PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND – Sheridan Opera House’s annual New Year’s Eve gala features the funky style of NOLA’s Preservation Hall Jazz Band. sheridanoperahouse.com 31 KELLER WILLIAMS – Keller Williams and his funk band, More Than a Little, perform at Club Red in Mountain Village. tellurideskiresort.com 31 AH HAA SCHOOL FOR THE ARTS – Ah Haa hosts its
annual New Year’s Eve Gala Fundraiser, featuring artists Rob Schultheis and Sam Levy, with fine art, a champagne reception, a four-course dinner, entertainment, and a wine auction. ahhaa.org
ONGOING Events AH HAA SCHOOL FOR THE ARTS OPEN CLASSES
The Ah Haa School offers its Painting From Within class on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. –1 p.m. starting in January, Figure Drawing from 5:30–7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, and Open Studio through November and December (must take a prerequisite class to do Open Studio). For a complete schedule of classes and events, visit the school’s website. ahhaa.org AVALANCHE AWARENESS FORUMS AND RESCUE CLINICS
Sponsored by the San Juan Field School, the San Juan Outdoor School/Telluride Alpinism, and Telluride Ski Patrol, the free series takes place on select nights in the winter and educates backcountry travelers about avalanche safety. Free avalanche beacon rescue clinics are offered throughout the season, starting in January. Multi-day avalanche safety courses with field sessions and ice climbing trips are also available. tellurideadventures.com BOOKS AND POETRY PROGRAMS
Celebrate the written word at 6 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month at the Arroyo Wine Bar with the Talking Gourd’s free poetry readings, writing circle, and performances by a featured poet. Amazing Author Series at the library, featuring Pam Houston (Jan. 14), John Christian Hopkins and David Feela (Feb. 11), Steph Davis (March 17), Navajo Poet Laureate Luci Tapahonso (April 7), Kevin Fedarko (May 12). Cookbook Book Club is at the library at 5:30 p.m. on the second Thursday of the month, and Booze and Books is held at Rico’s Bar on the fourth Thursday of the month. telluridelibrary.org BOARD GAMES AT THE LIBRARY
Wilkinson Public Library hosts board games for kids and teens at 3:30 p.m. every Wednesday telluridelibrary.org www.TellurideMagazine.com
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22 • EVENTS CALENDAR JANUARY 6 BAKER’S DOZEN A CAPELLA – A special concert combining music and comedy, featuring the quintessential male group from Yale, performing an all-ages show at the Sheridan Opera House. sheridanoperahouse.com
14–16 TELLURIDE FIRE FESTIVAL – A free, public, interactive experience of fire arts: fire performances, art cars, fire dancers, fire-emitting sculptures, and burn barrels. Displays will be in the central pedestrian plazas of Mountain Village and the main street in Telluride. telluridefirefestival.org 16 ROGER CLYNE – Singer/songwriter/guitarist Roger Clyne Ryan Bonneau
performs alternative rock at Club Red in Mountain Village. tellurideskiresort.com
22 KOTO LIP SYNC – Locals perform hilarious lip sync routines in costume on the Sheridan Opera House stage, in a benefit event for local community radio station KOTO. koto.org
24 PUSH PHYSICAL THEATRE – This critically acclaimed
troupe from New York performs a unique style of physical theatre, a blend of storytelling infused with gravity-defying physical illusions and acrobatics. telluridepalm.com
29–31 A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE
FORUM – Young People’s Theatre high school actors perform the play A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at the Sheridan Opera House. sheridanoperahouse.com
Enjoy some family social time, in English and Spanish, at 5 p.m. on the last Thursday of each month at the Wilkinson Public Library. telluridelibrary.org
Fest features famous comedians from films and shows like The Daily Show, Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock performing skits and improv. sheridanoperahouse.com
18 AN EVENING WITH JUDY COLLINS – The Sheridan Opera House presents an intimate concert with folk legend Judy Collins. sheridanoperahouse.com
COOKING PROGRAMS AT THE LIBRARY
The Wilkinson Public Library hosts a special teen cooking club at 3:30 p.m. every and Thursday, and the kids cooking program is Mondays at 3:30 p.m. telluridelibrary.org
19–20 NAHKO AND MEDICINE FOR THE PEOPLE – This world music collective, headed by frontman Nahko Bear, performs a fusion of cultural music with positive social messages. sheridanoperahouse.com
2 STS9 – Sound Tribe Sector 9 (STS9) plays instrumental dance music with electronic/funk/jazz/psychedelic/hip hop influences at Club Red in Mountain Village. tellurideskiresort.com
20–27 GAY SKI WEEK – Come out and celebrate Telluride
6 CHOCOLATE LOVERS’ FLING – Sample chocolate confections made by local chefs, dress in theme costumes, and dance at this annual benefit for the San Miguel Resource Center, held at the Telluride Conference Center. sanmiguelresourcecenter.org
25–29 TELLURIDE AIDS BENEFIT – A multi-day event for
8–9 INFAMOUS STRINGDUSTERS – Grammy-nominated acoustic
29–March 6 PHENOMENAL WOMEN’S WEEK – San Miguel Resource Center presents film, arts and educational events to celebrate women. sanmiguelresourcecenter.org
quintet the Infamous Stringdusters performs bluegrass on the stage at the Sheridan Opera House. sheridanoperahouse.com
BILINGUAL FAMILY NIGHT
11–14 COMEDY FEST – The 17th annual Telluride Comedy
FILMS AT THE LIBRARY
Wilkinson Public Library and Telluride Film Festival host Cinematheque, presenting a series of films with the theme “Technicolor Explored” on the first Monday of each month, All films screen at 6 p.m. and are free to the public. telluridelibrary.org
Gay Ski Week, seven days of skiing/snowboarding, parties, and special events. telluridegayski.com
HIV/AIDS prevention and education, the benefit includes a signature fashion show, art and clothing auctions and a trunk show. aidsbenefit.org
FITNESS PROGRAMS AT THE LIBRARY
Get moving for free at the Wilkinson Public Library’s yoga classes offered most mornings, with special pre-natal yoga at 9 a.m. on Tuesdays. Zumba class is at 10 a.m. on Saturdays, Pound class are at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, and Pilates is at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday. You can get a workout outside, too, by checking out snowshoes at the library. telluridelibrary.org KNIT NITE
Grab your needles: Wilkinson Public Library hosts a knitting circle at 5 p.m. every Tuesday. telluridelibrary.org
METROPOLITAN OPERA AT THE PALM
The Palm Theatre presents opera performances on a large HD screen throughout the winter. This winter’s schedule includes Metropolitan Opera performances of Lulu (Berg) Nov. 22, Le Pecheurs de Perles (Bizet) Jan. 16, Turandot (Puccini) Jan. 30 and Feb. 14, Manon Lescaut (Puccini) March 5 and March 26, Madama Butterfly (Puccini) April 2, Roberto Devereux (Donizetti) May 7, and Elektra (Strauss) on April 30. telluridepalm.com
Visit Telluride’s favorite home furnishings store and interior designer
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24 • EVENTS CALENDAR MARCH 3–6, 10–13 TELLURIDE THEATRE MUSICAL – Telluride’s local theatre troupe performs a musical onstage at the Sheridan Opera House. telluridetheatre.org
4 20 YEARS OF BLUE – Telluride Adaptive Sports Program holds its annual fundraiser and its 20th anniversary of service to athletes with disabilities with live music by the Anders Brothers Band, food, drinks, and an auction, at the Telluride Conference Center. Guests can dress in blue, the iconic blue of the jackets that TASP volunteers wear when on duty. tasp.org 11–13 TELLURIDE TRIBUTE FEST – The third annual fest, presented by Cornerhouse Grille and Sheridan Arts Foundation, features tribute bands as they play some of your old favorites from decades past. sheridanoperahouse.com
The Telluride Parks and Recreation department offers open hockey and ice skating at the Hanley Ice Rink and Pavilion in Telluride Town Park and drop-in basketball, volleyball, and indoor soccer at the high school gym. telluride-co.gov
17–18 LEFTOVER SALMON – Leftover Salmon performs their unique blend of “polyethnic Cajun slamgrass” at two shows on the Sheridan Opera House stage. sheridanoperahouse.com
Telluride Historical Museum hosts three snowshoe tours (Jan. 16, Feb. 20 and March 19) as well as private historic ski tours all winter long with Ashley Boling. The Winter Lecture Series features Dr. Julia McHugh, Curator of Paleontology at the Museum of Western Colorado on Jan. 13, at 6 p.m. and Dr. Jon Powell of the Geosciences Department at Fort Lewis College on Feb. 3 at 6 p.m. at the Telluride Historical Museum. telluridemuseum.org
23, 25 & 26 BURLESQUE – Don’t miss Telluride Theatre’s annual risqué fundraiser, a vaudeville-style, strip-tease performance at the Sheridan Opera House. telluridetheatre.org
SUNDAY AT THE PALM
Telluride Film Festival, Telluride Foundation, and Telluride’s R-1 School District present family-friendly films on the first Sunday of each month at 4 p.m. at the Palm Theatre. telluridepalm.com
APRIL 1 STREET DANCE – KOTO hosts the annual block party in front of the county courthouse to celebrate the end of the ski season. Prizes are awarded for the best pink flamingo costumes/attire. (Snow date is April 2.) 3 CLOSING DAY – Telluride Ski Resort closes for the 2015-16 ski season.
3 GONDOLA CLOSES – Gondola closes after the 2015-16 ski season.
MAY 1 LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD – The Phamaly Theatre brings this classic fairy tale to life at the Palm Theatre. telluridepalm.com 27–30 38TH ANNUAL MOUNTAINFILM IN TELLURIDE
– Mountainfilm in Telluride is a film festival that screens documentaries, and hosts symposiums, breakfast talks, and other events about mountain culture, the environment, and our global community. mountainfilm.org www.TellurideMagazine.com
STORYTIME AT THE LIBRARY Kids will love Storytime at the Library, where stories are read aloud at 11 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and at 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays. A special bilingual Storytime has stories in English and Spanish on Thursday at 10 a.m. And there is a “Stay and Play” session after the story on Mondays. telluridelibrary.org TELLURIDE ART WALK On the first Thursday of each month, the Telluride Art Walk celebrates art at the local galleries from 5–8 p.m., with a self-guided tour of the exhibits in downtown Telluride. Nineteen venues open their doors to showcase new exhibits and artists, and restaurants feature art walk specials. Maps are available from local businesses and Telluride Arts. telluridearts.org TELLURIDE FILM FESTIVAL PRESENTS On the third Thursday of each month at the Nugget Theatre, catch one of the recently released films selected by the festival directors of the Telluride Film Festival. nuggettheatre.org
26 • LOCAL FLAVOR
Still Life at 8,750 Feet TELLURIDE’S FIRST LEGAL DISTILLERY SINCE THE PROHIBITION
little more than a year after the Telluride Distilling Company opened its doors (and stills), the craft distilling start-up is finding its stride, distributing its vodka all over Colorado. The first 6,000-bottle batch was released on Aug. 1, with one or two pallets of the custom-made alcohol shipping to Denver each week. “The vodka has been flying off the shelves,” says Abbott Smith, co-owner and head distiller of the Lawson Hill company. Smith began experimenting with making alcohol in college with a small copper still, but it wasn’t until he moved to Telluride that he perfected his craft. Armed with a degree in business, and his wife Joanna’s degree in biochemistry, the Smiths and friends Pete and James Jaeschke opened Telluride Distilling Company last year and started by churning out bottles of rum. But this year the distillery graduated to producing a more universal drink, mixable with everything from juice to tonic and soda: vodka. The operation now includes a 160-gallon tub and a fully automated system that Smith designed and welded himself. The distilling process can now run round the clock with
its continuous fractionating column, and yield a more uniform product. “It really brings up our value because everything comes through consistent, but it also puts us in the position where we can bring our prices down so it’s more competitive price-wise,” Smith says. Smith, a Milwaukee native, helped start two bars in the Midwest before he moved to Colorado and was a bartender at the Mountain Lodge for six years. He had always assumed his experience would lead him back to running a bar. But then the craft distilling movement happened. Hot on the heels of the craft beer boom, small distilleries began popping up around the country and Colorado over the past several years as drinkers craved something unique, infused with the flavors of the region in which it was produced. “People are starting to stray away from the Jim Beams and everything,” Smith says. “Our target market is definitely somebody who likes to support a local product and drink something made in the mountains. And people who are willing to experiment.” Smith is not just making liquor, he’s also making history: These are the first legal spirits made in Tellu-
ride since the Prohibition era. But that doesn’t mean Telluride Distilling Company’s vodka comes with a premium price. The roughly $19.99 price tag means it can compete with other vodkas like Smirnoff, Stolichnaya, Absolut, and Skyy. And the bottle itself is attractive enough on the shelf to make shoppers take a second look. With a swing-top and a green hue, the 750 ml bottles evoke the feeling of an authentic Colorado mining town. The vodka, with its creamy taste and velvety texture (so smooth Smith prefers it on the rocks) is the only alcohol currently on offer, but Smith has big plans for the future of the Telluride craft distillery. Flavored liqueurs and whiskey are next on the list. Whiskey drinkers will have to be patient—the batches of whiskey are currently aging in oak barrels, where they’ve been for the last year and will remain for yet another. When he was creating his vodka recipe Smith said he was going for something Telluride could call its own, something affordable that was still delicious. But it’s also the pursuit of something simpler that brings him back to the still. “Honestly, making booze is pretty darn fun,” he says. \
Photos byBrenda Colwell
By Heather Sackett
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28 • MOUNTAIN HEALTH
House Calls Are Her Calling JEN KARCSINSKI RUNS MOBILE VET SERVICES
en Karcsinski grew up helping her older sister and brotherin-law in their jobs as veterinarians. They had moved to an area of Missouri that was lacking for veterinary services and they worked around the clock, barely sleeping during those first few years out of vet school. Strapped for time, when an emergency call came in, they would first send Karcsinski out to assess the situation and report back on its seriousness. Karcsinski scrubbed in on her first spay when she was just 14. But despite knowing since she was a little kid that she wanted to be an animal doctor, Karcsinski’s sister tried to talk her out of following in her footsteps. “It can be financially unrewarding,” Karcsinski says. “And if you think you are going to save every puppy and kitty, you won’t make it as a veterinarian. There is an air of hardness that has to go with it.” Fast forward a few years and Karcsinski is well known around Telluride as the vet that makes house calls. Her truck, emblazoned with the name of her business—Mobile Unit One Veterinary Services—can be spotted in front of Telluride pet owners’ homes Sunday through Wednesday each week. Karcsinski’s mobile service was born out of her years of experience with large farm animals—horses and cows can’t exactly go to the vet’s office, so she went to them. Farmers usually had cats and dogs as well, which she also treated, giving them routine check-ups and vaccinations. Hitting the road made sense for Karcsinski. Pets are much more comfortable with someone coming into their home than they are with being transported to a clinic. It’s also less expensive to run a business without an office space. Karcsinski uses the Dolores Animal Hospital when she performs surgeries, but much more often, she throws medical supplies in a bag and heads for the front door of someone’s home. Karcsinski began to focus exclusively on house calls after she was asked to euthanize a cat. The www.TellurideMagazine.com
“THE DOGS GREET ME AND ARE HAPPY TO SEE ME. I OFTEN REMEMBER PEOPLE’S DOGS’ NAMES BEFORE I REMEMBER THEIRS.” cat had been sick on and off for a while and when Karcsinski went to its home, she noticed a hydrangea in the corner—a plant that’s toxic to cats. She asked the owner if the cat ever ate the plant, but the woman replied no, that the cat left the plant alone. Karcsinski turned the plant
around to find bite marks—evidence the feline had been snacking on the hydrangea after all. After a few weeks of not nibbling the toxic plant, the cat recovered, and was happy and healthy. “That’s something I never would have noticed in a facility,” she said. “I’m not a big
fan of turning and burning. You don’t miss things because you don’t know; you miss things because you don’t look. You got in a rush.” Karcsinski splits her time between Telluride and the Dolores/ Cortez area, two communities with very different types of animals and animal problems. Farm animals take up much of her time in rural Southwest Colorado, while exotic and small pets—birds, turtles, fish, snakes, guinea pigs—are more common in Telluride. But both regions have a lot of dogs. And unfortunately, one of the cruel realities of being a pet owner is that we almost always outlive them. Much of Karcsinski’s work involves euthanizing man’s best friend. “It’s saying goodbye to a member of your family who has been here for ten to 15 years,” she says. “I’m glad I can do it because no one needs to watch a pet leave this planet in a harsh way. People here spend a lot of time with their pets, and those are some of the longest relationships.” Karcsinski understands the difficulty of making a decision to put down a beloved pet. She recently had to euthanize her Newfoundland “Magnus” after he didn’t recover from an illness. But the joy of working in veterinary medicine in a small town makes up for the sad experiences. The dogs Karcsinski treated as puppies always remember her. “The dogs greet me and are happy to see me,” she says. “I often remember people’s dogs’ names before I remember theirs. I love being able to just think, ‘I’m having a bad day, but now it’s all better.’” Karcsinski says that even though she sacrificed owning a home for an education and a business, it’s been worth it. And the feud with her sister over becoming a veterinarian? That’s ancient history. “We don’t argue about it anymore,” Karcsinski says. “I’ve accepted this as my calling in life and she knows this. I love what I do; animal medicine is never stagnant or boring. I don’t think retirement is going to happen. I could do this for the rest of my life.” \
Photo by Brenda Colwell
By Heather Sackett
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30 • ADVICE
Ask Jock ATHLETIC ADVICE FROM OUR LOCAL MOUNTAIN GURU
Not in Love Dear Jock, My husband loves to alpine ski. He insists that I’ll love it too if I just keep trying. I’ve tried for ten years and still don’t love it. I hate cold fingers and numb toes. The crowded slopes scare me and I loathe the feeling of being on the edge of control. All I want to do is sit by the fire with my book and a cup of tea. Do you see any room for compromise? —Tired of Pretending Dear Trying, Downhill skiing isn’t for everyone, and it sounds like you’ve given it a valiant effort. If, for the sake of marital accord, you want to give it one final try, tell your husband you want to attend a Women’s Week program with the Telluride ski school. Before you go, get fully outfitted with warm, comfortable clothing—including boot heaters and electric gloves. Acquire ski boots that fit and new skis. Purchase new goggles that are sized for your face. In short, give yourself every technological advantage. And then train like mad so you’re fit and strong and ready to perform. If at the end of the Women’s Week program you still haven’t felt the magic on skis, you’re completely justified in curling up by the fire and catching up on your reading. There are myriad ways to enjoy winter, and exercising your brain counts. — Jock
Fat Bikes Dear Jock, I’ve noticed more and more people riding giant bicycles across the snow-covered stretch of meadow outside of town. They look quite comical—such tiny figures perched atop these outlandish machines pedaling slowly along the Nordic ski track. What are these strange contraptions? And why do people ride them on the snow? —Perplexed by Wintertime Cyclists Dear Perplexed, Those two-wheeled Humvees you’ve noticed are the latest trend in mountain biking. Originally these “snow bikes” were designed for a few lunatics whose idea of a good time was pedaling across the frozen Alaskan tundra following the 1,049-mile route of the Iditarod dog sled race. Over the past five years, more cyclists have embraced the ponderous grace of snow bikes. In response, the Town of Telluride purchased a special snow-grooming device and now creates a trail exclusively for snow bikers on the Valley Floor. Some locals have taken to riding snow bikes year-round, which has led to a name change from “snow bikes” to “fat bikes.” While at least ten pounds heavier and far less nimble, fat bikes have a few advantages over regular mountain bikes—mostly in their stability and effortless floatation over soft, loose materials, such as mud, sand, and snow. Frankly, I suspect the biggest draw fat bikes exude is novelty and a chance to purchase more gear, but I’ve only ridden a borrowed fat bike a handful of times. To me, it felt like I was pedaling a sluggish water buffalo. Nevertheless, I have friends who’ve sold their top-of-the-line mountain bikes and now swear their fat bike is the only bike they’ll ever own. Based on the cultish loyalty they inspire, I suspect that—goofy as they appear—fat bikes are here to stay. And that you and I will be proud fat bike owners sooner or later. Ride on, — Jock
Skinny Skis Dear Jock, My new girlfriend loves to cross country ski so now I’m in the market for Nordic ski gear. What size skis should I get? Can I use my adjustable alpine ski touring poles? Do I really have to wear a Lycra one-piece suit? —Nordic Newcomer —Nordic Newcomer Dear Nordy Newbie, The first question is “What style of Nordic skiing does your girlfriend prefer—classic or skate?” Classic skiers use the same motion as walking or running. Skate skiers move down the track like they are ice skating. If you’ve ever been stuck in the flats on alpine skis, you’ve probably made some skate ski movements. If your main squeeze prefers classic skiing, the next question is “Where does she like to go? Touring in the woods or gliding on the groomed trails?” Nordic touring skis are wide and made to float in deep snow and touring boots are sturdy like waffle stomper hiking boots. On the other hand, classic skis that are designed for speed on the firm snow of a Nordic ski track are narrow and nimble; classic track boots look like elf slippers. Although there are some subtle differences, skate skiing equipment looks similar to lightweight classic gear because both are made for fast gliding on groomed trails. If I were your Nordic ski coach, I’d advise you to contact the Telluride Nordic Center in the town park and schedule a lesson. Start out on classic skis. When you find your balance, you can shift to skate skiing. After the lesson, plan to keep your rental gear for an extra day or two and impress your sweetheart with you newfound Nordic prowess. And if I were you, I’d stay far away from a Lycra onesie. Kick and glide, — Jock
32 • ESSAY
THE EFFECT OF DUST ON SNOW IN THE SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS By Amy Irvine McHarg
he sky is falling. Particle by red, raw particle. And it’s falling on some of the world’s best snow. Dust from the deserts of the American Southwest—Mojave, Sonoran, Great Basin and Chihuahuan—is getting scooped up in spring gales charging fresh off the Pacific. The airborne grit gets hurled across the western states before it is plastered onto the gleaming white snowfields of southwest Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. Home to the sweet and steep slopes of Telluride. To the frozen, front-pointable waterfalls of Ouray. To bluegrass fests, meadows of mushrooms, cannabis cafés, and robust herds of elk. The effect is dizzying. Because these mountains, a rugged and rarified range where 14,000-foot, incisor-like peaks gnaw at an endless, crystalline sky, loom so large. On the horizon. In the psyche. To see iconic monoliths like the San Juans in such an altered state of color is sort of like having seen Marilyn Monroe after she had dipped her head in a bowl of henna. You can see the red storms gallop in from 100 miles out. Even before they hit, the scene is palpably apocalyptic. And then: Dogs and cats roll like tumbleweeds. Cars undergo spa-quality exfoliation.
Your nose blows rust-colored snot for a week. When the air clears, the San Juans, mountains that span 10,000 square miles (where some swear that grizzlies still lurk), are cloaked in reds and browns. Think of Mordor’s Mount Doom. Think anything but John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High.” And in the storms’ odd aftermath, those who venture into the backcountry for spring corn get the wax stripped clean off the base of their boards. But there’s more to this story than the fate of one’s skis. Like asphalt on a hot summer’s day, the darkened snowfields absorb rather than reflect the sun’s rays. This means that a single dust storm can melt the snowpack weeks ahead of schedule. Down below, in the flatlands, the runoff runs so high and fast that there’s no way to store it. By midsummer, reservoirs get tapped hard. Crops, wildlands, and lawns are left wanting. An annual loss like this can total over 35 billion cubic feet—water that would supply Denver for three years. That’s a lot of snowflakes. And in terms of its effect, what happens in Colorado definitely does not stay in Colorado. When San Juan snowflakes melt, they trickle their way into important rivers: The San Miguel, known for its angling holes
TO SEE ICONIC MONOLITHS LIKE THE SAN JUANS IN SUCH AN ALTERED STATE OF COLOR IS SORT OF LIKE HAVING SEEN MARILYN MONROE AFTER SHE HAD DIPPED HER HEAD IN A BOWL OF HENNA.
full of wily native trout. The Dolores, where bighorn sheep have successfully been restored to narrow sandstone cliff bands above the water. And the San Juan, which borders Navajo Lands and harbors on its shores some of the world’s densest clusters of prehistoric art and ruins. All three rivers eventually merge with the Colorado River, one of the West’s most vital waterways, which provides power and water for Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and California. About 30 million people (and counting) rely on this watershed alone. Of the 5 trillion gallons the river provides, those western states manage to use every drop, which means they cannot afford to miss even one bucket full of San Juan runoff. What happens when, as climate change models predict, we begin to experience prolonged, reduced precipitation in the American Southwest? This alone could decrease the flow of the Colorado River by 10 to 30 percent in the next 30 to 50 years, enough to wipe out the sum of California’s annual allocation of water. Building more reservoirs is clearly not the answer. Now figure in an increase in the activities most destabilizing to delicate desert soils; the Bureau of Land Management —
which manages a significant number of the West’s acreage—found that, in less than a decade (according to the Washington Post), “off-road-vehicle use rose 19 percent, the number of oil and gas wells increased 24 percent, and grazing acreage climbed 7 percent.” The verdict: By 2050, the instability of the region’s soil “will be equal to that of the Dust Bowl days.” Until now, the mountains—the San Juans as well as other ranges around the globe—have been a tabula rasa for humans. Onto those pristine surfaces we have projected an ancient story, the one in which we use our will and cunning to make the desert bloom like a rose. A blood-red rose. Staring into the rain barrel of our not-so-distant future, we might reimagine ourselves as interdependent elements, rather than the center of interest, within a tapped-out watershed such as the Colorado River Basin. Perhaps it comes down to wiping the slate clean, to erasing the tally of our good fortunes—the dollars earned, the lawns greened, even the days skied. Then, we begin again: And this time, we chalk up the worth of every single snowflake that it takes to water our lives. \ This story originally appeared in Patagonia’s winter 2011 catalog.
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34 â&#x20AC;˘ FEATURE
Everyday Angels JEWEL RELEASES NEW ALBUM AND MEMOIR
By D. Dion Kees
he first time I ever saw Jewel perform was more than 20 years ago, when she was playing in a coffeehouse in Mission Beach. The clatter of cups and silverware and chatting suddenly stopped, and everyone was transfixed as she sang and yodeled. Her voice was incandescent, breathtaking. She was sweet and unpretentious and magnetic. She was also homeless. She was catapulted to fame about a year later, and her 1995 album Pieces of You became one of the best-selling debut albums of all time, selling more than 15 million copies. It was a fairy-tale ending to a story that might have ended tragically: She was abandoned by her mother and raised in Alaska by her father, a musician. Jewel starting singing in bars with him at a young age, but he would drink and could be rough and even violent. By the time she was fifteen, she was living on her own in a cabin with no running water, and no indoor plumbing. She was accepted to a prestigious high school for the arts in Michigan
THINGS THAT BEND DON’T BREAK. —Jewel Kilcher
with only a partial scholarship, and had to raise the remaining money by performing a benefit concert in her community. She survived by couch-surfing during school breaks, shoplifting, and playing gigs for money, and when she graduated she hitchhiked across the U.S. and through Mexico, carrying her hunting knife for protection. And then, she was homeless and alone in San Diego, sleeping in her car. “Statistically, girls like me end up in a ditch somewhere,” says Jewel. “I often get asked about my background and how I overcame it.” How she overcame it is the subject of her new memoir, Never Broken: The Songs Are Only Half the Story, which was released this fall at the same time as her latest album, Picking Up the Pieces. Both the memoir and the album offer a very intimate perspective of Jewel, but music and writing are not her only talents—she is also a visual artist, who studied sculpture in high school, and found that it gave her a different set of tools to convey feeling. “I talk a lot in the book about visual art and sculpting. With singing and songwriting, you have to find a physical shape, and sculpture taught me the most about songwriting. I look at music a lot like mixed media, different things that you layer to create tension. The arts all relate to each other.” She donated her artwork to the Ah Haa School for the Arts annual art auction last summer, and also performed at the event to help raise money for the school. Jewel lives in Telluride part-time, and she has a strong sense of community and of giving back. She also has annual performances at the Sheridan Opera House to raise money for her nonprofit, Project Clean Water (projectcleanwater.org). Throughout her memoir, she expresses gratitude for the people that helped her—she calls them “angels.” Her community of ardent fans is called “Everyday Angels,” (after a phrase from her song “I’m Sensitive”) and they were inspired by Jewel to pro-
mote volunteer work and projects supporting others. Jewel’s life story pivots between both types of things—not having, and giving back. Struggling to get by, and having unexpected help from others. “I think both experiences—not being supported, as well as being embraced, helped me have empathy and compassion. I am acutely aware of what it’s like to be without. And that has made me very community-oriented and philosophical.” She came upon Telluride accidentally, while on a motorcycle trip from Canada to Texas, and instantly felt a connection. “I’ve always been drawn to mountains and places of scale. It reminded me of home. A small community, the way I was raised. It has a lot of art, but it’s still rural and ranch-y and grounded. I’ve always said the combination of rednecks and hippies is sort of the perfect town for me.” She did a lot of the writing of the memoir here, spending hours in front of her laptop at The Butcher & Baker Cafe, and the afterword is written from the rooftop bar at New Sheridan. It would have been easy for Jewel to not publish her book. Just to keep a journal to herself, not share her introspection, and only connect with people through her music and art. With music or with visual art, the messages are more shrouded by the subtlety of lyrics or the nuances of color and shape; they are less revealing. With a memoir, it’s not open to interpretation. The most intimate details of her life, her failed relationships, her vulnerabilities and self-reckoning, are an open book. “It was very emotional and gut-wrenching to write. But it gave me a lot of perspective and helped me come to terms with some things in my life. The point of the book is to let people know that happiness is not beyond our control. That’s what’s taken me forty years and a lot of pain to learn, but if I can help anybody else, it’s worth it.” \
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rom any perspective, it’s a beautiful investment.
2 • 858 Wapiti Road, Ski Ranches Classic log home, recently remodeled on a private lot. Attractively priced 5-bed, 3.5-bath home. $1,187,000
3 • Lot 44 Quakey Lane, Ski Ranches Gently sloping, 1.78 acres with house & engineering plans included. Tree clearing should provide views. $335,000
4 • 32 Canyon Court, Placerville Great entry level home with good living space & a nice garage. Close to Down Valley Park. $399,000
5 • 31 Diamond Point Lane, Ski Ranches Sited upon 1.17 acres, with mature trees & wonderful views. Gorgeous 5-bed, 5,300 s.f. home. $1,845,000
6 • 44 Spruce Way, Ski Ranches Antique timber-frame home with old growth Oak, Long Leaf Pine & plaster walls. Great views. $1,725,000
1 • Lot 12 Placer Valley Village, Placerville Private 5.6 acres overlooking the river with excellent tree coverage & great sun. Common pond/beach. $280,000
Supporting Telluride’s Youth
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Ptarmigan Sites 4 & 5, Ilium Valley “Three Purchase Options” When it comes to high-quality river property within minutes of Telluride, these parcels represent the best, enjoying over a half mile of frontage on the South Fork of the San Miguel River. Option 1: Site 4 features an attractive post and beam home with excellent outdoor living spaces, big sun and great mountain views. Site 5’s caretaker unit and barn overlook a beautiful stretch of river. Both properties are wonderfully flat with mature landscaping and are fenced for horses. Recreational opportunities surround you with superb fishing, biking, and close access to thousands of USFS acres. Parcels 4 & 5 - $3,600,000 Option 2: Parcel 4R, Vacant Land. $1,200,000 Option 3: Parcel 5R, Home, Barn, and All Improvements. $2,650,000
123 South Oak Street, Telluride The property, sitting adjacent to ‘Elks’ Park, enjoys an unparalleled location within the Town of Telluride providing for significant exposure to those travelling to and from the Mountain Village and Telluride via the Gondola. It’s location also allows those utilizing the property superb access to skiing and all town amenities. The property sits within the Gondola Overlay Zone District which allows for many Residential and Commercial uses by right. The property would lend itself for use as a spectacular single family residence of approximately 4,800 square feet. Architect Ron Bercovitz has completed sketch plans that envision a highly functional conversion to a single family home in the heart of Telluride. $3,450,000
Damon Demas, Seasoned Broker | email@example.com | 970.708.2148, cell 237 South Oak Street @ the Telluride Gondola | Telluride, Colorado 81435 I tellurideproperties.com
38 • FEATURE
MS IN TELLURIDE—COINCIDENCE OR CLUSTER?
By Katie Klingsporn
wake up, as I have for the last 20 or so days, in the predawn of 4 a.m., a time when this tiny mountain town is as black and silent as it gets. The first thing I do is squeeze my hands into fists. This small act has become a ritual of hope, a daily test that I pray each morning will yield new results. But this black morning, like the rest, nothing is new. I only feel pins and needles, a tingling sensation and obstinate, glove-like stiffness where once my hands felt like, well, hands. Next, I pull these nonworking claws up to touch my belly, where I again feel nothing. My midsection is still as numb as if I were attacked with novocaine. And that electric current that’s been coursing through my limbs? It’s still there too, dancing wickedly under my skin. Just a month ago, I was a normal, functioning human. I was snowboarding and practicing yoga and working furiously at my new
job, laughing with friends and cooking meals, and all the while, my brain was performing its tiny miracles with no apparent problems. How could things have gone so horribly wrong? And am I part of a Telluride epidemic? THE DIAGNOSIS The exact definition of multiple sclerosis is nebulous to most people, probably because the disease ranges wildly in form, severity, symptoms, and occurrence. For years, whenever I heard those words, I had vague but grim visions of wheelchairs, but knew nothing beyond that. And then I heard a new set of words that forced me to become an expert: “You have MS.” I was in the doctor’s lounge of the Montrose Memorial Hospital, where my neurologist had taken me to go over the results of my brain MRI. It was only four days after I came to him complaining of a host of terrifying symptoms that had come on just days after I took a bad tumble on the mountain. I initially suspected that the widespread numbness and tingling was caused by a fracture in my neck. An MRI revealed that my spine was fine, but there was a smudge of white in my spinal cord that shouldn’t have been there. Puzzled, the ER doctor put me on steroids to quell the inflammation and sent me to see a neurologist. When I told Dr. Hehmann what was going on—the invisible constriction around my midsection, the loss of fine motor skills,
the way everything felt scratchy and mesh-like to my confused hands— he sent me immediately to the hospital for a spinal tap and ordered me to return in three days for a brain MRI. And that is how, only nine days after the numbness began, I found myself sitting at a large wooden table in a doctor’s lounge, discovering that my life’s path had taken an irreversible turn. It was an of out-of-body moment. Reality seemed to collapse in on itself, and everything changed in a heartbeat, irrevocably. THE DISEASE In simple terms, MS is a disease of the central nervous system where the body’s immune system attacks myelin—the fatty substance that surrounds nerve fibers—as well as the nerve fibers. The attacks create lesions in the brain and spinal cord, which disrupt the flow of information within the brain and between the body and the brain. Basically, the brain can no longer communicate normally with the body. It sends mixed signals, like a computer that has been fried by an electric jolt and is left with garbled letters blinking on the screen. The disease can take many different courses, ranging from one or two “flare-ups” to a full-blown progressive condition that leaves people disabled. Among its scarier symptoms: blindness, loss of motor functions, impaired speech, and a shrinking brain. More than 2.3 million people are affected by MS worldwide, a number that is increasing at an alarming rate and is likely to grow
much higher. Doctors theorize that genetics predispose people to develop MS, and environmental factors trigger it. Much about the disease—what causes it, why it progresses or doesn’t, what cures it—is unknown. But this is what we do know: It is more common in women than men, in individuals of northern European ancestry, and in people who live in latitudes between 45 degrees and 65 degrees north. Most are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with the average age of diagnosis as 34. As a 33-year-old white woman who has lived in northern latitudes her entire life, I am a poster child. SUDDENLY STRICKEN After the diagnosis, I stumbled through life in a state of muddled shock for weeks. My friends, family and the Telluride community showed up in incredible ways that continue to blow me away. People performed acts of grace and kindness that stirred up an emotion I hadn’t even felt before, a mix of humility and gratitude and speechless awe of the expansiveness of the human spirit. An avalanche of resources came down on me. Everyone, it seemed, knew a relative, friend, or coworker with MS. My inbox overflowed with tips on diet, lifestyle changes, medications, and books that could help me. And everywhere I turned, I found out about another Telluride resident who had MS. Architects and chefs, fathers and builders and moms and athletes and old-timers. It seemed like an unusually high number of this mountain town’s residents have been stricken with this strange neurological condition. “You too?” people asked. “What is going on here?” I decided to look into it. SEARCHING FOR ANSWERS A disease cluster means that there is a significantly higher incidence of definite cases in a specific area and specific timeframe than expected. When I first began calculating local cases, it seemed like a cluster could be blooming in the San Juans. But in this emerging field, where misdiagnoses are common and people have historically avoided reporting their illness, separating evidence from anecdotes and truth from statistics is difficult.
Telluride in infrared, by Ingrid Lundahl
Sharon Grundy, a primary care doctor at the Telluride Medical Center, sees 10 local patients with MS, and estimates there are about five more in the community who receive care from other places. One or two new patients seem to be diagnosed per year, she said. Telluride’s rate may seem higher than normal, but Grundy pointed out that the town’s population is comprised of many young Caucasians who fit the profile of those commonly stricken with the disease. Without a population-based study, it’s impossible to tell, and, she said, much is still unknown about MS. “We’re still in kind of this discovery phase of it,” Grundy said. “It’s cloudy.” But, she said, that’s changing. “I think there’s a lot of research going on, and things hopefully are going to change up here.” MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS IN TELLURIDE So far, according to the National MS Society, no cluster study has ever produced clear evidence of causative or triggering factors. But reported clusters point to factors in the environment that could have caused MS: DePue, Illinois, where residents had been exposed to trace metals from a zinc smelter plant; and El Paso, Texas, where citizens were concerned about metal exposure in a neighborhood called Smeltertown. Carrie Nolan is the President of the Colorado-Wyoming Chapter of the National MS Society. The society is more in the business of client services than research, she said, and doesn’t necessarily have the data to declare a cluster. On top of that, a
prevalence study of MS hasn’t been done in close to forty years, which makes the situation even murkier. However, the number of people who have self-identified as having MS with the Colorado society has mushroomed over the past decade. Nolan said in 2006, the it had 7,500 self-identified patients. Ten years later, that number has grown to 13,000. But what might appear on its face to be an epidemic isn’t that simple, she pointed out. The spike could be attributed to factors that range from an influx of young people in the state (again, it’s a young people’s disease) to better diagnostics and a decreasing stigma attached to MS, prompting more people to tell their doctors, family, and friends. Environmental toxins are possible culprits, and as a former mining town adjacent to a Superfund site, Telluride may have a few toxins lingering. But they aren’t the only potential causes: infectious agents, stress, food allergies, trauma, and limited sunlight are also suspected. So perhaps Telluride is simply following the state trend. THE GIFTS? Slowly, I began reaching out to other Telluride patients, asking them about their stories and comparing notes. It was hugely relieving, and my new friends had a lot of good advice. Among them: eat well, rest a lot, take naps, avoid stress, get bodywork, try cleanses, don’t stop doing what you love. And my favorite: “Treat yourself like a delicate flower.” But in the seven months since this ordeal began, I return most often to something another MS patient told me just days after my
diagnosis, when I was still gutted by the news: “You might not know it now, but there will be gifts to this.” I balked. This seemed like the worst news in the world. I just wanted to have control of my body again. I felt like someone had slipped me a psychedelic drug and I was on a bad trip that wouldn’t end. Gifts? The doctors couldn’t even tell me when—or if—the symptoms would diminish. And the implications this had on my life, work, relationships, and future all seemed grim. The flare-up did die down, though. It took a lot of sleep and self-examination, a new emphasis on health and a concerted disengagement from stress. But after about ten weeks, the symptoms diminished enough for me to feel almost like a normal person again. I had to slow down in order to feel better. But once I did, I realized that I had been rushing through life, missing out on mindful conversations, the sounds of birds singing, spontaneous adventures with friends, engagement with nature, the pleasure of sitting on a bench with nothing to do, the relaxation of lying in bed with a good book for hours. In this town, I had fallen into the work-hard, play-harder pattern of self-pushing industriousness that filled days to the brim and my schedule to bursting. And then MS stopped me in my tracks and knocked me on my face. But I got up again. And when I had made it—with the help of the entire community—to my feet, I saw them. The gifts. They are everywhere. \
40 • FEATURE
PARADISE Shacking Up in Telluride
By D. Dion Kees
entrification looks a little different in a mountain town than it does in an urban area. If you’re living in New York or San Francisco, and the bodegas start getting replaced by boutiques and organic ice cream shops, the writing is on the wall: Rent is about to get very expensive. But the changes in a resort town like Telluride are almost imperceptible. We’ve always had fine dining, fancy art galleries, classy shops, and a ski resort. But then you’re at a party one night, and you look around and think: It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a house without granite countertops and a jetted tub. Or since I ducked to fit through the door in one of the old mining houses here, with the slanted floors and erstwhile plumbing. And suddenly, there are almost none of those old shanties left— those classic, vintage “ski bum”
houses where a group of friends and their dogs could shack up affordably for the season, staking their claim to a prime spot in town a short walk or ride from the ski lifts. Most of them have been remodeled, and if they are rented, it’s to the more lucrative market of Airbnb or VRBO short-term vacationers. Which is good news if you’re a homeowner; but if you’re a renter, not so much. “It’s never been this bad,” says Shirley Diaz, the executive director of the San Miguel Regional Housing Authority. “Rentals have gone away or become over-priced. There used to be houses where groups of people, four or five unrelated adults, could share a rental for the season. Some of that has gone away, and that matters. It has a huge impact.” Telluride has been prime real estate for a long time. Add to that the media attention (voted Top Ski
Resort by Condé Nast for the past three years, Best Small City in the U.S., et cetera) and the geography—Telluride and Mountain Village are encircled by mountains, national forests, and the 570-acre Valley Floor protected from development—and the property here has become extremely exclusive. The town is not just a popular place to live, but also to play, and more tourism and visitors means a bigger workforce is needed. More employees, and fewer places to live. Without the free market rentals that used to exist in town, renters are vying for spots in the deed-restricted “workforce” housing. According to Diaz, there are only 726 rental units in the inventory. As soon as they’re available, they’re rented. Scan the classifieds in the Telluride Daily Planet on any given day, and you’ll see four columns of “help wanted” ads and just a hand-
ful of “for rent” ads. You can read the desperate pleas of would-be renters on social media: how much they love to cook, how sweet their dogs are, how tidy and respectful they are to roommates. There are hundreds of urgent posts from people who have a job, but no place to live. The waiting list for affordable housing at Shandoka is 45-people long, and applicants who signed up in Spring 2014 are just starting to get housing—a year and a half later. Zak Watkins knows what it’s like to be homeless. He is in his sixth season in Telluride, where he works as a coach for the Telluride Ski and Snowboard Club. He was homeless all summer, camping out at Alta Lakes, crashing with friends. Last winter he tried living in a camper, but he couldn’t find anywhere he could hook it up or park it within thirty miles. “This winter, there are half as many places available,
and they’re twice as expensive,” he says. His couch-surfing karma is starting to wear out—he’s stayed in six different places already while hunting for a house or room. But he hasn’t given up on Telluride. “I love it here.” The housing crisis is not just a problem for employees, but also for employers. Lisa Horlick has owned Picaya, the specialty import shop on Colorado Avenue, for twenty years. She says she used to have plenty of applicants every time she had a job opening, but now it can be weeks before anyone applies. “When they do come in I have to ask them first if they have a place to live. Those affordable rental units have almost disappeared. Retail can’t compete with the wages and tips that can be made in restaurants, so with the high price of rentals that can be found, it is really hard to make it on the hourly that shops can afford to pay. When I have found wonderful employees, they’re sometimes forced to move away because the place they’re renting is sold or the rent increases so much that they’re forced out.” It’s the same struggle for Todd Tice and Wendy Basham, owners of one of the keystone stores in town, the 40-year-old Telluride Toggery. They say 2015 was one of the busiest summers they’ve ever had, and they were shorthanded. People who applied for jobs and wanted to move to Telluride couldn’t find housing, and they ended up hiring college students living with their parents for the summer who had to leave in mid-August for school. They juggled all the ordering, administration, and hit the sales floor. “As involved business owners it just meant that we had to get even more involved,” they say. “Telluride continues to get busier every year and we’re all going to need more employees to help put on a good show. We are just not sure where they are going to come from and where they are going to live once they get here.” The biggest employer in the region, Telluride Ski Resort, is also the hardest hit. Chuck Horning, the resort’s owner, estimates that the company hires about 300 people full-time in the summer, ramping up to about 1,100
MOST PEOPLE WOULD LEAVE A TOWN WHERE FINDING A PLACE TO LIVE WAS SUCH A FORMIDABLE TASK, BUT TELLURIDE SEEMS TO INSPIRE A CERTAIN LOYALTY, A WILLINGNESS TO MAKE SACRIFICES, TO SHACK UP WITH A BUNCH OF SKI BUMS, TO COUCH-SURF, TO CAMP FOR A YEAR UNTIL YOU REACH THE TOP OF A WAITLIST FOR A SMALL APARTMENT IN PARADISE. workers in the winter. He is not just lamenting the lack of housing, he’s also jumping in and trying to find solutions. His company bought the Rico Hotel to try to provide additional rental units for workers, and he is looking for land now for a closer-to-town project modeled after Lawson Hill, a deed-restricted local neighborhood. “Workers bunk sometimes four or five to a bedroom just to be able to live here. This can be fixed,” says Horning. He says that there is not an unlimited need for starter housing, and the idea of building a new neighborhood is doable—it’s just a matter of finding and rezoning land for higher density, and adding parks and
trails to make it a desirable place to live. “We need a healthy environment for people who live and work here. There are other affordable housing projects in the works, but between the planning, zoning, building, and bureaucracy, they will all take time. The housing authority has tracked 228 deed-restricted units approved by the municipal governments that are yet to be built. In the meantime, Kris Holstrom, a member of the San Miguel County Planning Commission, floated a proposal to the town for a temporary solution: “tiny houses,” a handful of 8’x20’ manufactured homes that could occupy a vacant lot in
town this winter and house some people. It was a grassroots out-ofthe-box idea for inside-the-box living that local officials might have scoffed at, but during this current crisis, it was instead met with interest. Diaz spends a lot of time on the other side of the housing equation, answering calls from people who are homeless and desperate. She says all the stories are similar: “They’re here, they have a winter job, and they’re looking for a place. And can we give them any help? And we also get: ‘What do I do, I have to be out in two weeks.’” She says the winter season is the crux. People that come in the summer are okay with a campsite or a car while they wait for a unit to become available, but in the winter they need housing immediately. And Telluride is special, she says. Most people would leave a town where finding a place to live was such a formidable task, but Telluride seems to inspire a certain loyalty, a willingness to make sacrifices, to shack up with a bunch of ski bums, to couchsurf, to camp for a year until you reach the top of a waitlist for a small apartment in Paradise. “In the rental applications we’re seeing that people have been here a lot longer. People love living here, and they stay. And more people are staying than ever before.” \
Average Price Single Family Homes in Telluride $3,000,000
©Data provided by Telluride Consulting.
42 • FEATURE
“PERFECT” TELLURIDE FAMILY
A Family Vacation to Basecamp of the Earth’s Fifth-Highest Peak By Rob Story
Photo by Jeff Lipsky
NOT FIVE SECONDS AFTER DEPLOYING MY TOWNIE BIKE’S KICKSTAND IN BRIAN AND HILAREE O’NEILL’S DRIVEWAY, I’M BLASTED WITH WATER…FROM A SUPER SOAKER SQUIRT- GUN, AIMED BY THEIR YOUNGEST SON, GRAYDEN, WHO’S 6. I ENTER THE HOUSE AND SHOW HILAREE MY DRIPPING SHIRT, BUT SHE DOESN’T REALLY APOLOGIZE. SHE MERELY OBSERVES, “BIG-MOUNTAIN EXPEDITIONS, EVEREST INCLUDED, ARE WAY EASIER THAN RAISING TWO BOYS.”
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Mountaineering The subsequent vertebrae-fusion surgery causes Brian to move his head stiffly, like someone who slept funny last night. But he skis as strong as ever, harnessing the athletic ability that made him a star linebacker at Brown. He sits down across from Hilaree, whose sleeveless top shows off her pro-mountaineer shoulders and arms. We’re digging into some pasta when Hilaree admonishes: “Quinn, can you use your fork please?” Quinn is shirtless, wearing only pants, Mardi Gras beads, and a blue ribbon awarded in school. He looks feral, like a miniature Tarzan. Brian prefers to describe his kids in World Cup terms. “Quinn is Bode,” Brian says, “wild, and constantly making recoveries. Grayden is Ligety: more careful, the technician.” The O’Neills are successful, athletic, attractive, and look younger than their ages (Brian’s 53 and Hilaree’s 42). Still, they laugh—long and hard—at the notion they’re “perfect.” Although Hilaree has undertaken arduous expeditions for years, even before their 2002 marriage, her nonstop travel still rankles Brian occasionally. The word “sacrifices” is floated. “Our life is a constantly changing attempt to figure it out,” sighs Hilaree. “It’s about compromising. There’s no road map here. There are zero women mountaineers with a husband and kids.” Which is why their 2015 summer vacation seemed crazy: Bringing the kids to Nepal for three weeks, trekking to a remote Himalayan basecamp for Hilaree’s ensuing expedition up Earth’s fifth highest peak, 8481-meter Makalu.
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Some folks imagine the photogenic O’Neills as the “perfect mountain-town family,” and why not? In 2012, Hilaree—a 5’10” pro mountaineer who skied in Warren Miller’s Wintervention along with several other films and belongs to the North Face Global Team—summited Earth’s highest point, Mt. Everest. Afterward, she slept twelve hours at Camp 4, then climbed 27,940–foot Lhotse— becoming the first woman to conquer the two massive, legendary peaks in a 24-hour period. Brian, 6’4”, has lived in Telluride since the late ‘80s. He first made his ski name as a mogulist. In the ‘90s, he appeared in a ski film (Altitude) and many ski mags, as well as Cosmopolitan (he was named Bachelor of the Month in 1998). Then he became a big-mountain stud and heli-ski guide (all while selling gobs of real estate). The couple first hooked up on an expedition to South America’s highest peak, Aconcagua. The fruits of that congress (Grayden and his older brother, Quinn, 8) already rip on skis. The O’Neills live in a two-story house perched high on the wall of Telluride’s box canyon. On our way to the upstairs dining room, we pass an attic/climbing gym, festooned with dozens of holds and problems. We pass Hilaree’s office, which is littered with socks, rock-climbing cams, books, and Himalayan art. Rounding into the kitchen, we encounter a stunning, giant photo portrait of Telluride’s Wasatch Mountain. Outside, the deck offers boggling views of Bear Creek drainage, where an avalanche broke Brian’s neck in 2005.
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Like many routes in the Nepalese valleys that don’t access Mt. Everest, the Makalu trek is little known. “The first time we saw profiles of the trails,” Brian marvels, “was from tiny maps in the Tumlingtar Airport, which has a grass airstrip.” The expedition also had to send an advance Sherpa to make sure primitive shelters were still standing after last year’s enormous earthquake. Replete with angry jungle and huge climbs, the trek to Makalu basecamp is arduous even in the best of the conditions; the O’Neills took it on during monsoon season. “We were walking in heavy rainstorms,” Brian recalls. “The trails were incredibly slippery, basically running water.” As every parent knows, 6- and 8-year old boys display overabunwww.TellurideMagazine.com
“OUR LIFE IS A CONSTANTLY CHANGING ATTEMPT TO FIGURE IT OUT. IT’S ABOUT COMPROMISING. THERE’S NO ROAD MAP HERE. THERE ARE ZERO WOMEN MOUNTAINEERS WITH A HUSBAND AND KIDS.” dant energy, but nothing close to endurance. They were able to attempt the trek due to the Nepalese law that every trekker has a porter. Excused from lugging gear, the boys hiked long portions, though younger Grayden relied on periodic shoulder- and piggy-back rides. “The kids crushed it,” Brian
says. “After huge hikes, they’d meet local village kids, then run around and wrestle in the mud.” And he’s not exaggerating about the hikes. “There’d be days with 5,000 feet of climbing! That’s like strolling from Oak [street] to the top of Wasatch!” The diciest moments came toward journey’s end. Horrible
weather threatened their scheduled helicopter pick-up. To Hilaree’s great disappointment, Brian and the boys had to depart basecamp a couple days early to make a mad, unplanned dash for a lower village to intercept the helicopter. Brian: “We had to climb down and out of 2500-foot river valleys, through areas infested with leeches. Those are fun to pick off, let me tell you. We crossed raging rivers that could easily sweep a boy away.” It was the trip of a lifetime, says Brian, “mind-blowing and expanding for us. I think parents tend to underestimate our children, maybe unknowingly.” Brian certainly won’t again. And, given their parents, the O’Neill boys may well spend the future doing still greater things at altitude. \
Top left and bottom right photos by Brett Schreckengost
44 • FEATURE
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46 • FEATURE
Photo by Gus Gusciora
EASY RIDER’S JOHNNY HAAS By Lance Waring
ope: Gone Riding. Please Try Again. That’s the sign that hangs every day from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the front door of Easy Rider, a ski and board tune shop located just a few steps from the Free Box in Telluride, Colorado. Johnny Haas is the soul proprietor—one of the few left in town. A soul proprietor? Yes, indeed. You see, back when Telluride was more a ski town than a resort town, “Gone Skiing” signs were commonplace on Colorado Avenue. Folks were here for the mountains, happy to sacrifice income in exchange for quality of life. Now the doors to businesses stay open all day, every day, even on powder days; the merchants wait inside, hoping to extract a few more dollars from slow-moving tourists. Sure, every time Johnny leaves the shop for a couple hours to make some turns, he loses money. He upsets a few customers. And he keeps a glimmer of Telluride’s ski bum culture alive. In a town that’s welcomed growth in all forms, Johnny remains a contrarian. There’s no Easy Rider
JOHNNY IS A CRAFTSMAN IN THE OLD WORLD SENSE, A SKI-TUNING LUDDITE WHO USES HIS HANDS AND THE TOOLS OF HIS TRADE TO SMOOTH P-TEX AND HONE STEEL. satellite shop in the Mountain Village. As a businessman, Johnny has said “nope” to expansion. There are no ads for Easy Rider’s tuning services in the local paper because Johnny has said “nope” to advertising. There’s no Easy Rider store-wide Blizzard sale in August because he’s said “nope” to retail. You see, Johnny doesn’t like to sell stuff; he likes to tune skis and snowboards. Of course, he’s said “nope” to a giant computer-controlled ski-tuning machine, where anyone can stuff skis in the front end and catch them when they emerge, waxed and gleaming like a Range Rover fresh from a coin-operated carwash. Instead, Johnny is a craftsman in the Old World sense, a ski-tuning Luddite who uses his hands and the tools of his trade to smooth p-tex and hone steel.
And if those tools don’t get put away exactly right every night and the shop gets a little cluttered, well that’s OK. Johnny says “nope” to the life-changing magic of tidying up. Instead, he holds true to a forgotten tenet of the Town of Telluride’s Master Plan—a document created by the citizens in 1987 and updated several times since—that mandates a rough and natural character throughout town. Now that the Steaming Bean and the Telluride Mountaineer are gone, Easy Rider may be the last business in town that aligns with this goal—a tiny oasis of rough and natural funk in the midst of a growing desert of tidy sterility. Each night, Johnny checks the weather forecast and mixes up a fresh batch of his secret-formula glide wax customized for the next day’s snow conditions. Local racers
will drop their competition boards off days before an upcoming event so he’ll have time to make their skis laser fast. You need to give Johnny plenty of time because Easy Rider is an egalitarian shop: You can’t buy your way to the top of the pile. Johnny bends his “first come, first served” rule only when junior racers need their skis or boards prepped for an upcoming race. Then, he’ll drop everything to make a youngster happy. Perhaps Johnny has a soft spot for young people because he is a child at heart—a wise child who’s said “nope” to the traditional growth-based business model, where the desire for increased income drives the urge to maximize volume, which in turn creates a need for more employees, more space, more advertising, more inventory, more meetings, more headaches, and far less time to play in the mountains. In the increasingly hectic and ever-more-polished resort town of Telluride, Johnny Haas reminds us how important it is to just say “nope,” close the door, and go skiing in the middle of the day. \
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48 • HISTORY
AND YOU THOUGHT IT WAS DANGEROUS INSIDE THE MINES…
By Paul O’Rourke
ILLIAM TEMAAT AND A FELLOW WORKMAN SMILED AT ONE ANOTHER AS THEY CAME OUT OF THE TOMBOY MINE AROUND 3 P.M. ON JANUARY 10, 1901. BOTH MEN WERE HAPPY WITH HAVING BEEN ASSIGNED AN “OUTSIDE” JOB; ANY OPPORTUNITY TO ESCAPE THE DANK, DARK,
AND DRUDGERY UNDERGROUND WAS WELCOMED. THE TRAMCAR THEY’D USE FOR HAULING MINING TIMBERS BACK INTO THE MINE WAS SEVERAL MINUTES FROM BEING ON HAND, AND THE NEARBY BLACKSMITH SHOP BECKONED THE TWO MEN FROM THE LATE AFTERNOON COLD. No sooner had his partner stepped into an adjoining room when Temaat felt an odd sensation underneath him and thought he heard a sound like wind whipping through a forest of pine trees, only he knew there were no trees here, above timberline. He stepped outside to investigate. William Temaat never knew what hit him. When found—forty men had rushed to the site of the renegade slide within minutes—there wasn’t a mark or bruise on Temaat. The tightly packed snow, according to the Daily Journal, “simply smothered his life out.” The newspaper also reported, “the location in that vicinity is not bad for slides, big ones seldom, if ever.” That this one slide could be so random—most occur later in the year, it did no real damage, and was apparently undetected by anyone, other than William Temaat—and still take a life was unsettling, but came as little surprise to the folks in Telluride, especially those who worked for a living in the high country basins outside of town. Numerous precautions had been taken in the placement of buildings and rail lines and in the scheduling of work at the mines but even so, nothing could allay the very real fear, more like a persistent
vulnerability, that avalanches were going to occur, occur often, and cause extensive destruction, financial loss, and, more than likely, death. The image of being overwhelmed and buried under a mammoth wave of onrushing snow was enough to give one nightmares. Wintertime was an anxious time in Telluride. In the one hundred years beginning in 1879, 93 major avalanches and 61 slide-related fatalities were reported in the Telluride region. So prevalent were the slides and so familiar were the locations where they’d released, many were given names. The precipitous geography found along the major drainages in Marshall, Savage, and Ingram basins formed natural avenues for the slides and with the first hint of warmth in the late winter sunshine, miners and mill workers and most everyone in town understood all too well it wasn’t really a matter of if but only when the “Bobtail” or the “Little Elephant” or the “Blacksmith Shop” or the menacing “Pandora” or the always dangerous “Ajax” might run. Unstable snowpack was, and is, of course, the root cause of any avalanche. A “loose-snow” avalanche occurs when a small amount of “cohesion-less” snow
slips out of place, begins to move down slope and widens—and accelerates—as it descends in a fan-shaped path. A “slab” avalanche results when large and unstable deposits of snow, generally moved into place by wind, releases along a fracture line. An entire layer—from a few dozen feet up to several thousand feet—lets go, all at once, incorporating as it picks up speed the ground cover snow, rocks, trees, and just about anything, including boardinghouses, tramway towers, telephone poles, or the unsuspecting human being that happens to stand in its way. The day shift of sixteen men rose early on Christmas morning, 1883, a holiday just about everywhere in the world, but a workday, at least for part of the day, at the Mendota Mine high up in Marshall Basin. No sooner had the crew entered the shaft house than a massive avalanche swept it and them and everything in its tracks a mile or so down slope to valley floor. Thirteen men perished; two, according to the Daily Journal, “lay under the snow until the following August.” In recounting this tragedy some 18 years after its actual occurrence, the newspaper commented, “It is hoped another such a slide may never come, and it is not likely.”
NCHE! We know it’s never a good idea to second-guess Mother Nature. The winter of 1902 was probably no more or less noteworthy than others (before or after) for the amount of snow that fell in Telluride and up in the basins outside of town. L. M. Umsted, a mule packer, would, however, remember that winter in general, and the morning of February 28 in particular, for the rest of his life. As Mr. Umsted told the Daily Journal, he’d just finished his breakfast and was in the stables with his animals when he heard a terrific crashing and rattling outside, and when opening the stable door he “found the air filled with flying snow, the tram cable swinging about and [ore] buckets rolling down the hill.” What Umsted witnessed—and lived to tell about—was the front end of the most deadly series of avalanches in Colorado history. The first slide ran around 7:30 that morning and swept away the boardinghouse and bunkhouse, the tramway station and the ore-loading house at the Liberty Bell Mine, up Cornet Creek, two
GREAT PERILS HAVE THIS BEAUTY:
THEY BRING TO LIGHT THE FRATERNITY OF STRANGERS. – Victor Hugo miles north of Telluride. By mid-morning news of the avalanche was brought to town by one of the workmen who’d escaped, and almost at once an army of Telluride citizens and workmen from the nearby mines hurried up and over the slopes, shovels in hand, in the hope of rescuing what was, at first, feared to be from 50 to 75 snowbound victims. There was more bad news than good on that cold and snowy day. Telephone lines had been taken down by the slide, adding to the anxiety and anguish in town. Mothers and wives rushed from one returning rescue team to the next, listening frantically for any news of their sons
and husbands. By mid-morning rescue crews learned that the day shift had fortunately gone into the mine prior to the slide. Had they been at breakfast, which was the initial and prevailing presumption, the number of dead and injured would have surely been greater. As it was, crews were able to find the remains of the boardinghouse, though they’d had no luck locating the dozen or so who’d been trapped inside when the avalanche struck. For the rescue teams it was grim duty, poking into the deep banks of the hardpacked snow with long, steel rods hoping to make contact with the body of a friend or relative assumed to be underfoot. Some of the crew were heard shouting out the names of those who’d been reported missing, not fully understanding that while men buried deep in the snow can hear distinctly the voices of those trying to find them, their own frantic shouts, ironically, fail to penetrate even a few feet. Among the first group of rescuers on the scene was Dr. J.Q. Allen. As Dr. Allen made preparations to transport a
Snow slide at Black Bear Mine, 1926.
50 • HISTORY few of the injured, he watched in horror as a second slide, running along the same track as the first, piled into a group of men searching for victims. With the storm still raging and the threat of additional slides very real, the doctor, with three others, crossed over the next ridge and was headed down into town when he heard the distinct breaking of timber far up the side of the mountain. Allen turned his horse and, as he later told Scientific American magazine, “ran him up the trail just in time to escape the main body of the slide. I was caught on its edge, however, carried off the trail with my horse and tossed, as by a wave, on the side of the mountain. Four of us were struck and all were killed but myself.” Three separate slides were reported at the Liberty Bell that day, the number of victims escalating with each run. The task of determining who was missing—and presumed dead—became an anxious and agonizing process of elimination; if you weren’t down the hill by nightfall on February 28, you more than likely weren’t coming down alive. It took weeks to locate and recover the bodies of the 19 men who perished at the Liberty Bell. Sadly, the devastation on that day was not confined to that property alone.
Another slide struck the boardinghouse at the Sheridan Mine and injured seven men and killed one. The Alta avalanche destroyed several hundred feet of shed covering the surface tram at the Gold King Mine. And the first days of March brought no relief. On March 2, the Bobtail released up near the Bullion Tunnel in Marshall Basin and buried five miners. The five were rescued, but in a scene eerily reminiscent of the Liberty Bell disaster, a second slide ran, killing one of those involved in the rescue mission. And up in Bear Creek a log cabin was crushed under three feet of snow on March 3; its two occupants were found dead the next day. On that same day, the Ajax avalanche released twice. The Daily Journal reported, “the [first] slide was plainly heard in Telluride and watched by many who were in the street at the time. Instantly, crowds were on their way to Pandora, on foot, on horseback, and in sleighs.” It wasn’t long after when someone shouted, ‘here comes another!’” With the second slide, those who resided in Pandora and those who’d only recently arrived from Telluride to lend their assistance, turned tail and headed quickly back to the relative safety in town. It must have seemed like the world was coming, all at once, to a frigid and frightening end. \
Survivors of the Black Bear Mine slide, with Karhu the dog, 1926.
BLACK BEAR MINE, 1926
A Avalanche at the Liberty Bell
POSTSCRIPT: San Miguel County Representative W.A. Taylor may have wanted to give his constituents in Telluride a little something to smile about; they’d been through a great deal, after all. “Did you ever know I was killed in a snow slide twenty years ago?” Taylor asked an unsuspecting newspaper reporter on March 21, 1902, knowing full well he’d be prompted to continue. Taylor had been in Telluride only a year in 1882. “That winter was in some respects a good deal like the present one,” Taylor continued. “It was in one of the worst of the avalanches that I was killed.” Apparently, newspapers across the country published the list of those who’d perished in the slide, and, he went on, “the name W.A. Taylor appeared in all of them. They said I was buried under fifty feet of snow www.TellurideMagazine.com
and it was doubtful if my body would ever be recovered.” Taylor explained to the now weary newspaperman he didn’t read newspapers at the time he’d been swept away to his eternal reward, “So the fact I was dead was unknown to me.” Representative Taylor’s own accounting of his greatly exaggerated demise was, perhaps, not so much a story of how he’d really survived an avalanche as it was an anecdotal allegory: you will survive if you believe you will survive, even when many are certain you haven’t. “And the thing of it is,” Taylor just may have been thinking, a twinkle in his eye, “that avalanche back in 1882 killed me—all the newspapers said it was so—but twenty years later, I still don’t know I’m supposed to be dead.”
pril 2, 1926 began as springtime: bright and sunny and unseasonably warm. But in Telluride and up Ingram Basin at the Black Bear Mine, the weather is often subject to sudden change. By late afternoon, an all-out blizzard prevailed. There were eight, including Karhu, the dog (whose name means “bear” in Finnish) sharing the large boardinghouse at the Black Bear that night (nine other men had earned a weekend off and had gone into town to wet their collective whistle). Though all were aware the two-story structure had been positioned away from known avalanche chutes, Harry Johnson understood all too well there was no absolute safety from snow slides in snow slide country. He requested that the four men (and himself) use separate areas of the boardinghouse; Ed Rajala, the blacksmith, and his wife, Marie, the cook, would stay in their “marital quarters.” In that way and in the event of an avalanche, one or a few of them would be able to dig the others out. Unfortunately, Harry’s plan proved necessary. The first slide roared past the boardinghouse around 2 a.m.; too close for comfort. The second, coming directly on the heels of the first, did not miss, smashing the building in half; portions of the boardinghouse were found a thousand feet down the mountain. Harry and the four other men and Karhu were able to dig themselves out, but they couldn’t find Ed and Marie. Four days later and only after a rescue party was added to the search were they able to locate the couple, found in their bed, arms wrapped around one another in one last, loving embrace. \
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52 •• TELLURIDE TELLURIDE FACES FACES
PROFESSION: EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT PINHEAD INSTITUTE
ay no attention to the woman behind the curtain. It’s just Sarah Holbrooke, the wizard manning the helm of Telluride’s Pinhead Institute, pulling the levers that are putting science education on center stage. It might not seem like wizardry, running a nonprofit for educational science and technology programs, but consider this: Holbrooke took the executive director position a year and a half ago; in the first five months before she started Pinhead had 1,200 kids participating, but in the first five months of 2015, they more than doubled that with 3,000. That’s not a standard deviation, or an anomaly, or an unprecedented spike. That’s magic.
eproduction is an art. All three of the Telluride Faces in this issue have something in common—they use a specific tool to reproduce a subject, and bring it to life. Meet projectionist Layton Hebert, artist Bob Franzese, and 3D printing maven Sarah Holbrooke.
Sarah Holbrooke is used to getting results. She has been a “producer” for many years, at CNN, the Discovery Channel, the Katie Couric show, and also of three children. But when she moved to Telluride with her family and husband David (a filmmaker and executive director of Mountainfilm in Telluride), she turned her talents in another direction: producing scientists. She had studied psychology at Wesleyan University, spending much of her time in the lab, and even had a scientific paper published and met with UNESCO as an undergrad. She loves science, so running the show at a science institute seemed like a good fit. “Being a TV producer you just need to go with the flow and make things happen,” says Holbrooke. “I’m also very good at asking people for things, which has come in handy for this job—asking for money, for vacationing scientists to come talk to students, for science labs to take our interns.” Pinhead Institute offers classes in robotics and coding, puts on science camps and labs for kids, hosts visiting scholar lectures in the schools, and secures internships for students. From
spark to finish, from launching makeshift rockets for young kids in the summer to getting high school students placed as interns in professional research environments, Pinhead is spreading the love of science. “We’re like an incubator,” says Holbrooke. Holbrooke is making sure that the love gets spread far and wide, to all the communities in the region, but she noticed that there weren’t as many girls as there were boys coming through the doors and the programs. How could she hook their interest? She had an idea: Maybe the institute could get a 3D printer. Maybe the idea of making something, like crafts or jewelry, would seem less intimidating. So they got one, and the response was great. “It was fun to have these kids take their ideas and try to figure them out with math equations. We had a mechanical engineer who volunteered to help us—sometimes it’s as easy as dragging and dropping on an iPad—but with the higher level things, the kids that are motivated to see the end result, they learn a lot.” Holbrooke works in a similar way to the 3D printer. She starts with an idea, connects the dots, and turns it into reality. She travels a lot—this fall she was in Washington, D.C. meeting the Deputy Director, Office of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and then on to Los Angeles to raise money there and to meet people at the aquarium in Long Beach, trying to make connections she can call on to place students in new internships. She cultivates the talented people at home, too, people with skills that she calls “makers” who can help guide the programs Pinhead runs here. She attracts the students who are interested, raising money for scholarships for the kids who need financial assistance, and puts all the pieces together. She seems to have boundless energy, and Pinhead has picked up her momentum. “We’re adding more programs outside. We used to send out six to eight interns into high level research programs in an area they were interested in. I placed 20 kids last summer.” But the most impressive of all her creations is the way she has transformed students into scientists, kids into coders, and young people into the innovators of the future. “It’s super cool. We have great programs that people really respond to, and kids really love. It’s high impact, and high payoff.” \
Photos by Brenda Colwell
TOOL OF THE TRADE: 3D PRINTER
PROFESSION:PROJECTIONIST, ASPIRING FILMMAKER
TOOL OF THE TRADE: CELLULOID
ayton Hebert, born and raised in Telluride, is not your typical 25-year-old. He speaks five languages (Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Catalan, and English) and has traveled all over the world as a vagabond/student. His cultural odyssey began as a high school exchange student in Argentina, but after that he spent a year touring all over Europe and South America, then a couple of years in school in Sweden, before he focused in on his ambition to become a filmmaker and attended prestigious film schools in Barcelona and Brazil. His future as a cinéaste was determined at a young age. He was just 12 years old when he started working at The Nugget movie theatre in Telluride, in the box office and concession stand. He watched every movie that came through town for free, and was taking photography classes at Telluride High School when Nugget operator Luci Reeve asked him if he wanted to learn how to man the 35 mm projector. “I was about 15, and I was really interested in film,” says Hebert. “I jumped at the chance.” Working the projection booth
takes more technical skill than most movie-goers realize. If you have sharp eyes, you can see the small black dots on the upper right-hand corner of the screen which only flash for a split-second, signaling the projectionist. Each changeover between reels (there are about six in every standard Hollywood film) is cued twice: one is a motor cue to start the next projector, which is threaded up with the next reel, and one is to signal the projectionist to flip the switch for light and sound and “throw” the
unspooled all over the floor and the projector was still running. “It probably took 20 minutes to get the film back up and running…20 minutes of sheer terror,” says Hebert. “It’s funny now, but it was definitely not funny at the time.” He went on to become a masterful projectionist, and was hired by Telluride Film Festival and Telluride Mountainfilm. Operating the projectors is “basically applied mechanical engineering,” says Hebert. Projectionists have to know
expensive that it has fallen out of mainstream use and is only used for the most elite cinema projects. “Film just makes more sense to me. It’s a mechanical, photochemical process as opposed to a digital reproduction. And in that photochemical process, there are several elements involved. There’s light, and photosensitive silver in the film, and by capturing an image in that way you’re basically capturing an imprint, a fingerprint, if you will. Digital is merely an approximation of that analog signal. In my opinion 70 mm is the best film format for any kind of visual reproduction in existence today.” Hebert was so inspired by film that he is learning to operate it from the other end, the creation side. He was living in Sweden, working as a projectionist at a socialist, art-house movie theatre, when he applied to one of the most elite films schools in the world, the ESCAC (Escola Superior de Cinema) in Barcelona. What transpired next sounds like a scene from a movie: His application was good enough to get him an interview, so he hitchhiked from Northern Sweden to Barcelona, crashed at a friend’s house there, and got a ride from his friend’s father on a Har-
IT’S A MECHANICAL, PHOTOCHEMICAL PROCESS AS OPPOSED TO A DIGITAL REPRODUCTION. AND IN THAT PHOTOCHEMICAL PROCESS, THERE ARE SEVERAL ELEMENTS INVOLVED. THERE’S LIGHT, AND PHOTOSENSITIVE SILVER IN THE FILM, AND BY CAPTURING AN IMAGE IN THAT WAY YOU’RE BASICALLY CAPTURING AN IMPRINT, A FINGERPRINT, IF YOU WILL. changeover. Ideally, it all happens seamlessly, but Hebert remembers one time in high school where things went awry. They were screening The Chronicles of Narnia, and they had set up one of the changeovers to happen automatically. He was across the street getting a sandwich when he got the frantic call—when he raced back to the booth, there was film
how to use a splicer, thread the film, keep it clean, and not damage the surface. They need to grease certain parts of the projector and keep it cool and dust-free. But what appeals to Hebert is not the mechanical, but the artistic part of the job. He says he much prefers film to digital, and that the best film format is the high resolution, 70mm type, which is so
ley to the interview. The scene had a happy ending: He was accepted, and after that, he continued his studies at another esteemed film school in Brazil, where he was working on his thesis this fall. So the next time Layton Hebert is working with a film, it won’t be in the projection booth—it will be on the set. \
54 • TELLURIDE FACES
TOOL OF THE TRADE: CUSTOM B&W PHOTO PRINTER
s a young man growing up in New York, Bob Franzese spent his free time in an unusual place: the offices of Black Star. At the time, it was the preeminent photo agency in the world, representing the most celebrated photographers, whose work graced the covers of Time and Life magazines and high-end commercial campaigns. Franzese’s older cousin was the production manager, affording him the opportunity to hang around the offices, soaking up knowledge about photography. “I learned from some of the greatest photographers in the world,” says Franzese. “My parents hated me hanging out there, but I loved it.” The experience kindled his passion for the craft, and Franzese went on to a career as a commercial and artistic photographer. He started in the fashion business in New York, and went on to work as a photographer/cinematographer in TV production for a period of time. Eventually he was doing commercial photography, in the www.TellurideMagazine.com
studio and on location all over the world. He shot architectural interiors, and specialized in murals for companies and the park service. For his commercial work, he shot in color, but for his personal, more artistic work, he preferred—and still does—black and white. Today, Franzese and his wife Val own The Turquoise Door Gallery/Black Bear Trading, a fine art gallery on Colorado Avenue in Telluride that they opened fifteen years ago. Franzese’s prints hang in the gallery, along with other curated artwork from the region. “Everyone assumes photographers can make their living as artists, but that just isn’t true. To be the photographer I wanted to be, I had to do the car commercials, the fashion work.” Franzese took classes with Ansel Adams, and considers him a mentor. What Adams instilled in Franzese was the importance of processing your own work; a hands-on approach to everything from shooting, to developing, to printing. “How I was trained and how I learned to be a photographer is to print, to process an image,
to do everything at a quality level that is the best that can be done.” The challenge of photography, he says, is capturing what the artist sees—their unique perspective. “I can visualize exactly what I want my photograph to be as I’m taking it. The goal is by exposure, by process, and by printing, to have that representation. Most people, and some photographers, they just take a picture. And for me, the trick is to reproduce that vision that I see and the feeling that I have.” To that end, Franzese has created his own custom B&W printing machine. He took a modern, high-quality Epson printer—the behemoth machine is bigger than a refrigerator laid on its side—and stripped it out. Instead of color inks, he formulated black and white inks that match the selenium printing tones popular in the 60s. The printer is “tricked,” and instead of printing in color, it is actually calibrated to print in the special pallet of gray and black tones he created. Then he tested hundreds of papers, selecting the one he found perfect for his work.
The result is a vintage looking piece of art, reminiscent of the Ansel Adams landscapes of yore, but produced with the modern, state-of-theart definition of today. Much of his artwork at Black Blear is expansive Western landscapes, although Franzese confesses that he actually prefers creating landscapes and nature photography—birds, flowers—that are a little abstract. Each piece seems to shimmer with depth and volume, and has a signature look. “There hasn’t been a picture that I’ve taken that someone hasn’t take before, but most people don’t have control over the process to that degree. What you end up with is an original piece of art, which can’t be produced in any way by anyone else. When people who know my work see my work, they recognize it. It’s different, and 100 percent unique.” \
FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROBERT J. FRANZESE
“The Phantom Bride” Upper Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona - June 2015
the turquoise door gallery Contemporary Western Art and Artists
226 WEST COLORADO AVENUE (LOOK FOR THE TURQUOISE DOOR) • TELLURIDE, CO 81435 • 970.728.6556 • FAX: 970.728.6336
56 • FESTIVAL
Photos by Ryan Bonneau
TELLURIDE FIRE FESTIVAL REIGNITES THIS WINTER By Geoff Hanson
ast January, crowds of people stood transfixed, their faces awash in the warm glow, as they watched the towering structures burn and the performers twirling and dancing with fire tools. It was the inaugural Telluride Fire Festival, and it captivated onlookers. “Fire is nature’s television,” says local Chris Myers, who produces the festival with his partner, Erin Ries. Ask Myers about fire and he lights up like a match struck on wood. “Fire is a very transformational energy; it helps people www.TellurideMagazine.com
process and helps us emotionally to move on through things and through events in our lives. It helps us to evolve, just as fire helps nature evolve by transforming landscapes into another environment.” The second annual Telluride Fire Festival will light up the town on January 15–17, 2016. The event was inspired by Burning Man, the annual celebration of community, art and fire that draws some 70,000 people to the Nevada desert every Labor Day weekend. Myers first went to Burning Man in 2004 and it was a transformational experience. “Burning
“FIRE IS A VERY TRANSFORMATIONAL ENERGY…IT HELPS US TO EVOLVE, JUST AS FIRE HELPS NATURE EVOLVE BY TRANSFORMING LANDSCAPES INTO ANOTHER ENVIRONMENT.” Norwood with Richard “Red” Brown. “These workshops allow people to give birth to their inner artists and start creating, as fire art may inspire them in a way that other art never has. That’s something we’ve seen before,” Myers says. People can sign up for these workshops at telluridefirefestival.org. The ticketed events promise to be some of the most exciting parties held in Telluride this winter. On Friday night, internationally renowned DJ and producer Rob Garza will be spinning his blend of international rhythms and funky beats at Club Red. Garza is one half of the trailblazing EM (Electronic Music) duo Thievery Corporation, who have toured the world and released over a dozen critically acclaimed records. Saturday night is the festival’s gala event, the Fire Ball, that will be held at a secret location. The event is a benefit for the Fire Festival, which is a non-profit organization. This costume ball will feature live music, dancing, unique fire art, fire performers, food, and drinks. And of course, what Fire Festival would be complete without an effigy, the burning of a special (and meaningful) structure, which will occur on Saturday night at the Fire Ball. “It’s more of a spiritual experience,” Myers says. “People can contribute too in some shape or form by interacting with the creation of this piece and then being there when it is consumed by fire.” What do Ries and Myers hope people take away from the festival? “So much of the art at Burning Man gets burned and can never be seen again,” Ries says. “Much of it is so large that it gets disassembled and goes back into storage. We want to give exposure to these artists and help bring their work to a wider audience.” Myers adds: “I hope the festival will touch people in a way they didn’t expect and transform their lives in surprising ways.” \
Mesmerizing fire art performances. Spectacular fire art cars & sculptures— free to all. Don’t miss the 2nd annual Telluride Fire Festival Photo by Ryan Bonneau
Man changed my life,” Myers says. “I was blown away by the energy and the dynamic that occurred there. I’ve never been anywhere where people were so kind and giving and caring or where there was so much incredible art.” Ries picks up where Myers left off. “You buy a ticket and take in hundreds of different art installations—there isn’t even enough time to see them all. And you can only see this art if you go there.” At Burning Man, the everyday world that exists outside the confines of the festival itself is referred to as “the default world.” Ries and Myers were inspired to bring the energy of Burning Man to the default world, and to Telluride in particular. “Spreading the Burning Man ethos was huge for us,” Ries says. The biggest component of the Telluride Fire Festival will be the large fire art installations spread out through the Mountain Village that are free to the public. Each night fire performers and roughly ten larger-than-life art installations will come alive and ignite the night sky with light and fire. There are also many free workshops around town. Different hotels and establishments participate in the festival, hosting artists and small installations. Ah Haa School for the Arts will be the location for a fire-themed exhibit and free two-hour workshop led by Julie McNair: Personal Transformation through Fire. Between The Covers is hosting Julie’s book signing afterwards at Ah Haa. The book is called The Burning Bush: A Personal Journey from Fear into Faith, One of Self Discovery and comes with the vessel she created. Daily free fire workshops called “Spinning with Fire” will be held on the deck at Element 52 as well as Mountain Village Plaza on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. There will also be two free welding workshops before the festival weekend, held January 9–10 in Placerville with Joe Paczosa and January 16–17 in
January 14–18, 2016
telluridefirefestival.org A 501 (c) (3) organization
Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association WINTER/SPRING 2015-2016
58 • INSIDE ART
New Life for an Old Building TELLURIDE ARTS TO TRANSFORM TRANSFER WAREHOUSE By Katie Klingsporn
ule-filled livery, bustling warehouse, town filling station and all-but-forgotten shell of a building. The Telluride Transfer Company Warehouse has lived many lives since it was built 99 years ago on the corner of Pacific Avenue and Pine Street. And if a new plan by Telluride Arts and a group of developers comes to fruition, the large two-story building will live to see another: community space for nonprofits, artists, and the public. Telluride Arts, a nonprofit that has been creating opportunities for Telluride artists for 40 years, has been working with the Town of Telluride, the Zoline Family Trust, and a group of developers to breathe new life into the long-empty building. The hope is to restore the warehouse and turn it into a bright and airy center of arts and cultural activities like exhibitions, theater and events. “It’s such a spectacular building, even in its current state,” says Kate Jones, executive director of Telluride Arts. “People are very excited about it being turned into something that’s open to the public.” The building, a striking sandstone structure with second story windows and large double doors, was built in 1906 as a livery—it once held stalls for 100 animals— and later served as a warehouse in a neighborhood filled with large structures. It was also the office for the Telluride Transfer Station and was a gas station, where townspeople could store their vehicles over the winter and pick them up— tuned and ready—in the spring.
“THE INSIDE’S A BLANK CANVAS. WE GET TO DECIDE WHAT HAPPENS IN THERE.” After the gas station closed, the roof of the building caved under the weight of snow in the spring of 1979. It has been closed to the public since, and has acted largely as a historic relic and a curiosity for passersby, who often snap photos of the quote painted on the door that reads: “Your civil liberties are safe in Telluride.” A new future for the building became viable when The Zoline Family Trust and Meriwether Companies announced plans in 2014 to redevelop the properties of the intersection. When Telluride Arts learned that the plans intended to include some kind of cultural campus, the organization stepped in. “We know there is a need for events and exhibits that serve nonprofits of all kinds, but especially artists,” Jones says. “Because we know that need exists and it’s essential, we
have been inserting ourselves into any conversations we can about that potential.” Early last summer, Telluride Arts signed a contract to buy the building and began putting earnest money down in what it expects will be a long process to own the Transfer Warehouse. Then, in a bid to raise both awareness and money for the project, Telluride Arts unlocked the large doors of the building for a series of parties, opening the building to the public for the first time in thirty-six years. If you are like me and you have long passed the building without paying attention to it, walking inside for the first time is a revelation. With weeds sprouting from cracks in the concrete, an open sky above and—most unbelievably— two trees that must reach forty feet high, the interior resembles a
kind of mining-town secret garden. The rustic stone walls encircle a crumbling patch of concrete where remnants of the past live on — a rusted gas sign from the filling station, an ancient axle and a safe. And every window frames a view of the mountains. “It’s just so magnificent,” Jones says as she leads me through the building. “As much of this that we can possibly preserve, we will.” Telluride Arts’ plan of attack entails soliciting the ideas of local artists in developing its dream facility, which is part of the reason it opened the Transfer Warehouse up to the community. The summer’s parties included a speakeasy and pool party, and tapped local artists: Choreographers, musicians, mixologists, and designers chipped in. “The goal with these parties is twofold,” Jones says. “We want to activate the space, we want to get people thinking about how it can be used by the community. We also want to raise money for the work.” The public has been enthusiastic about the potential of the building, she says. “I think when people go into the building they just realize what a tremendous asset it is to our town.” She gazes around the empty shell. “Because the roof fell in in 1979, the inside’s a blank canvas. We get to decide what happens in there.” \
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60 â&#x20AC;˘ FICTION
Painter By Peter Heller
Painting by Meredith Nemirov
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Ed. note: The Painter, a novel by Peter Heller, won the 2015 Colorado Book Award for literary fiction. He is also the bestselling author of The Dog Stars, a contributing editor at Outside, Men’s Journal, National Geographic Adventure, and a longtime contributor to NPR. Heller lives in Colorado and this is an excerpt from his book.
he sat on a stool at the long butcher block counter that separates the kitchen in this one big room. I pushed aside a bunch of sketch paper and charcoal and the fly-tying vise where I’d been tying up some Stegner Killers, invented by yours truly, which the trout couldn’t seem to resist the past couple of weeks. I set a mug of coffee on the counter between us, poured myself another. “What are we doing today?” “An Ocean of Women. Something I’ve been thinking about.” “An ocean? Just me?” “On my way up here from Santa Fe a good friend told me I can’t always swim in an ocean of women. I saw it. Me swimming, all the women, the fish. I thought we could give it a try.” “Forget it.” I set down my mug. “Really? No?” “Just kidding. Fuck, Jim, you ask a lot of a girl.” “Want an egg with chilies?” Shook her head. “You just have to make like an ocean. Just once.” She cocked her head the way she does, fixed me with an eye. The light from the south windows brushed a peppering of faint acne pits on her temple and it somehow drew attention to the smoothness of her cheek and neck.
“Stormy or calm?” she said. I shrugged. She leaned forward on the counter, her breasts roosting happily in her little button top. “How about choppy and disturbed? Dugar told me yesterday he wants to move to Big Sur.” Dugar was her hippy boyfriend. “I’m like how fucking corny. Plus nobody lives there anymore, it’s so damn expensive. He read a bunch of Henry Miller. Are you a teenager? I said. You like read a novel and want to move there?” She stuck out her mug and I refilled it. “It wasn’t a novel it was a memoir, he says. Jeez. He says he is a poet but between you and me his poems are sophomoric. Lately, since he’s read up on Big Sur, they are all about sea elephants which he has never seen. I have and they are not prepossessing, know what I mean? They would never even move if they didn’t have to eat. I said there is no fucking way I’m moving to Big Sur with the sea elephants, or even the Castroville, which is like the closest place a normal person could afford to live. I mean, do you want to live in the artichoke capital of the world? Be grateful for what you’ve got right now, where you are right now. Then I unleash the twins.” I am laughing now. WINTER/SPRING 2015-2016
62 • FICTION A Little Self Talk on a Snowy Evening You are surely lost. When is the last time you knew the way home? Was it back at that gas station where you bought the chips before you pulled out into the night? Though even then the snow was hurling its white fists into your lights. But that was before your heart started leaping like a startled deer into the oncoming lane of your throat. Oh darling, who are you kidding. You were already lost even then. Sure you could have pointed to a dot on the map and said, Here. Exit 179. But that is just a pretense we put on, something to satisfy the jumpy brain. You have been lost since the day you first could say your name, the moment you knew yourself as other, as separate, as something that could be lost. Sometimes, like now, when you think you don’t know where you are, see if you can lose a little more. Your certainty. Your words. Your ideas. Your shame. And maybe then, off the map, out of hope, exposed and unknowing, maybe that is a little closer to home. Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer is Colorado’s current Western Slope Poet Laureate. Her favorite one-word mantra: Adjust. Painting by Meredith Nemirov
“That’s not fair, is it?” “Not by a long shot.” “I’m young,” she says. It’s a simple statement, incontrovertible, and it stabs me with something like pain in the middle of my laughter. We begin. Sofia is a champ of an ocean, a natural. I paint fast. I paint her oceaning on her side, arched, facing and away from me, swimming down off a pile of pillows, breaststroke, on her back over the same pillows willowing backwards arms extended as if reaching after a brilliant fish. I paint the fish as big as she is, invoking him. More fish, a hungry dark shark swimming up from the gloom below with what looks like a dog’s pink boner. The shark has a blue human eye, not devoid of embarrassment. I am lost. In the sea. I don’t speak. Sofia has the rhythm of a dancer and she changes as she feels the mood change. I love this. I paint myself swimming. A big bearded man, beard going white—I’m forty-five and it’s been salt and pepper since I was thirty. I’m clothed in denim shirt and khakis and boots, ungainly and hulking in this ocean of women,
swimming for my life and somehow enjoying it. In my right hand is a fishing rod. It looks like the swimmer is doing too many things at once and this may be his downfall. Or maybe it’s the root of his joy. My palette is a piece of covered fiberboard and I am swiping, touching, shuttling between it and canvas, stowing the small brush with a cocked little finger and reaching for the knife, all in time to her slowly shifting poses. I am a fish myself, making small darting turns against the slower background rhythms and sway of the swell. No thought, not once. Nothing I can remember. It is not a fugue state. I’ve heard artists talk about that like it’s some kind of religious thing. For me it’s the same as when I am having a good day fishing. I move up the creek, tie on flies, cast to the far bank, wade, throw into the edge of a pool, feel the hitch the tug of a strike bang!—all in a happy silence of mind. Quiet. The kind of quiet feeling that fills you all night as you ready the meal, steam the asparagus, pour the sparkling water and cut the limes. Fills you into the next day. I wouldn’t call it divine. I think it’s just show-
ing up for once. Paying attention. I have heard artists say they are channeling God. You have to have a really good gallery to say that. I am painting now without naming any of it, can name it only in memory, and I become aware of a tickling on my neck. Sofia is leaning into me, standing on her tiptoes and watching over my shoulder. I turn my head so that my bearded chin is against her curly head. She is wearing the terry cloth robe she leaves here. She doesn’t say a word. She is behind me, but I can feel her smile, a lifting and tautening of the pillow of her cheek against my chin. I was painting more fish, and women, and these crablike things at the bottom that had men’s eyes and reaching claws, and had somehow lost the fact that my model had vanished in the tumult. “It’s been three hours,” she whispers. “I’m gonna go.” I nod. She tugs my beard once and is gone. Somewhere in there among the ocean of women and the darting fish and a man happily lost at sea I hear wind over water and a heart breaking like crockery and the bleating roar of a retreating dinosaur. \
From THE PAINTER: A novel by Peter Heller. Copyright © 2014 by Peter Heller. Reprinted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. www.TellurideMagazine.com
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64 • ESSAY
CONFESSIONS OF A
HOCKEY MOM Sometimes Ice is Nice By Cindy Fusting
ER EYES SHONE. SHE GIGGLED, SHE GUSHED. EMILY WAS OBVIOUSLY IN LOVE.
Hockey? “Yes, hockey!” she exclaimed, and she was so earnest that I couldn’t help but be intrigued. I was, though, a bit confused. Raised mainly in the sunny South, I found my way as an athlete through swimming, playing tennis and wandering expertly manicured grounds in search of a small white ball. I certainly didn’t play hockey. Hockey. Hockey? First thoughts: Kind of violent, right? Aren’t there lots of missing teeth? My competitive streak only shows up in heated matches of ping-pong, and aggressive is not a word anyone would use to describe me. Still, I have always loved the feel of athletic activity. Blood pulsing through my veins, adrenaline heightening my senses, the way my heart feels when it’s bursting with gratitude for simply being alive. Since moving to Telluride at the age of 22, I’ve found myriad ways to breathe in the best of this beautiful place I get to call home. I ski, I hike, I bike, and I’ve dabbled in climbing and fishing. I’d heard of hockey, www.TellurideMagazine.com
but, as a sport I might enjoy, hockey hadn’t come anywhere near my pleasure-seeking radar. My friend Emily and I had bonded as new mothers, often helping each other find an hour or two to escape, bleary-eyed, out into the mountains we love. She knows me well. Somehow she seemed to think I would like hockey. Hockey. Hockey? Second thoughts: Smelly, right? Wait. There’s ice involved, right? I’d not been on ice since I flailed through a few lessons in figure skating at the age of six. Nothing about hockey seemed reasonable. But…I have two little mountain boys of my own now. Would one of them want to play hockey? That really got me thinking. I needed to understand the sport. Luckily for me, the Telluride Parks and Recreation department hosts an annual adult ice hockey development program in the late fall, before the lifts begin to run and before anyone can say, “Well, I’d rather just go skiing.”
Suddenly curious, I found myself sorting through funky old cast-offs at the local hockey swap. In less than an hour, and for less than $50, I was fully outfitted to give hockey a shot. Sure, there were holes, most of it was too large, every piece had its own unique hockey smell…but suited up, I felt invincible. I signed up for the development program and wrangled my husband, Rick, into joining me. Thirty or so adults were out on the ice. Some definitely had some past experience, skating right out, lapping the rink, and moving the puck around. I was not alone, though, as I scooted along the boards, leaning heavily on my stick for support. We were a bunch of adults in enormous pads, trying to stay upright, but often circling wildly or slamming into the wall in an effort just to stop. It was funny. It was fun! I didn’t go all-in that first season. I split a spot on a co-ed team, expecting just a little diversion, not an obsession. Yet, I soon found myself
fantasizing about Friday nights, suiting up in my stinky gear and heading out on the ice where my focus was only on the puck. So intent on the game, I’d let go of the stress of motherhood, of trying to contribute to my family and my community, of trying to be whatever it was I thought I needed to be that day. I was suddenly clear-headed, a sorely welcome gift. I could not wait for my boys to be old enough to play. I loved this new game. I loved being on a team and learning something so completely new. Though I’ve been a life-long athlete, I had never played a true team sport, and I had never actually scored a goal. I’d won many a tennis match and crushed some swimming records, but, nope, I had never scored a goal. Until I did. At age 37. Oh, it wasn’t pretty. There were a few shots, a couple of rebounds, but the puck improbably bounced off of my stick and right into the goal. I jumped up and down on those skates that I’d just recently learned to use. I
IN LESS THAN AN HOUR, AND FOR LESS THAN $50, I WAS FULLY OUTFITTED TO GIVE HOCKEY A SHOT. SURE, THERE WERE HOLES, MOST OF IT WAS TOO LARGE, EVERY PIECE HAD ITS OWN UNIQUE HOCKEY SMELL… BUT SUITED UP, I FELT INVINCIBLE.
squealed, and I high-fived my teammates. I wore a smile that wouldn’t come off for days. No longer is a hockey a curiosity for me. I too am in love. The sport demands my full attention, is a crazy lot of fun, and lets me blow off some serious pent-up steam. Apparently, I’m more competitive than I thought. You’ll see me right in there with the rest of them now—lifting sticks, hauling down the ice as fast as my skates will take me, and throwing my body in front of shots. I’ve even spent a bit of time in the penalty box. (Sorry about that hook, Corie.) Now, just three years later, there are four Fustings on the ice. Both boys love it. Somehow, this Georgia girl even gets to coach her youngest son, on ice, in pads, with sticks and everything. And, after a couple of years of hearing about it nonstop at home, Rick joined me on a co-ed team last year. He is a skier to the core, and I wasn’t sure hockey would have the same effect on him. It undoubtedly did. Even when there was a fairly painful pause in the snowfall cycle last winter, he was wearing a hockey smile several days a week. Hockey? Yes, Hockey! We get it now. Thanks, Em. \ WINTER/SPRING 2015-2016
66 • BOOK REVIEWS THE PERFECT KILL: 21 LAWS FOR ASSASSINS BY ROBERT BAER
Scribes NEVER BROKEN: THE SONGS ARE ONLY HALF THE STORY
“Can I trust you?” they ask him several times in the book. He always answers in the affirmative. And then a few pages later the informant is dead, in jail, revealed to have given misinformation, or otherwise become entangled in the narrative. And reader, trust this: you’ll be ensnared by the narrative, too. Bob Baer is not just former CIA agent, political analyst, and local Ophir resident, he’s also a brilliant writer. Baer is the author of four NY Times best-sellers, including See No Evil (which was made into the movie Syriana), and his latest novel The Perfect Kill: 21 Laws for Assassins has the same vivid descriptions and perfectly wrought, excruciatingly tense scenes that have made his books popular. The book starts in Beirut, in 1986, when Baer and his colleagues are given tacit approval to assassinate Hajj Radwan (a.k.a. Imad Mughniyah, one of the leaders of Hezbollah). Radwan himself is one of the most prolific assassins in the world, credited with embassy bombings, kidnappings, murders, and attacks that decimated the U.S. military presence in Lebanon in the 80s. Even after his co-conspirators are killed (though not necessarily at the hand of Radwan) and he is relocated elsewhere on assignment, Baer’s obsession with the white whale continues unabated. The premise of the
Blue Rider Press, $27.95 ISBN 978-0-399-16857-4
THE ICE-BLUE BONES OF TELLURIDE: A DINOSAUR DISCOVERY
BY JEWEL KILCHER
BY SYLVAN BALD; ILLUSTRATED BY TING TAYLOR
Celebrity musical artist Jewel has been writing songs for most of her life, and even a few books (one early autobiography and other books of poetry) but her new memoir, Never Broken, is different. It’s an unflinchingly intimate portrait of her life, and absent the obliqueness of lyrics or poetry, it is raw and revealing— and beautiful.
On Thanksgiving Day in 2011, 12-yearold Sylvan Bald went on a hike in Ilium Valley with his parents. And we should all be grateful that he did…what he discovered on that day is the subject of both his book, The Ice-Blue Bones of Telluride, and an exhibit at Telluride Historical Museum.
Never Broken is not your typical sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll type of memoir. It’s more of a bohemian Bildungsroman; only it’s not a parable about some fictional protagonist. All of it is true: from Jewel’s early years hauling her own water and growing her own food in Alaska, to her abandonment by her mother, to her living on her own as a young teen, hitchhiking through Mexico with her hunting knife for protection, her shoplifting, and her homeless years of living in her car while she struggled to make a living. And woven throughout is her growth as a musician and a human being, and ultimately her success at both.
It was on this hike that something caught Bald’s eye: blue stones embedded in a rock. Upon closer examination, the blue stones turned out to be fossilized bones; and not just any bones, but actual dinosaur bones. The Balds called in the experts, retrieved and analyzed the bones, and subsequently donated them to the local museum. The paleontologist determined that the bones belonged to an Allosaurus, and the blue tint was the result of mineralization from manganese oxide. It was an incredible learning experience and a great story— so Bald wrote a children’s book about it, and enlisted his friend Ting Taylor to illustrate it. The book is an inspiration
novel is to define assassination through 21 “laws,” and Baer uses his nemesis as a model of someone skilled in this dark art. He begrudgingly admires Radwan’s techniques, even as he seeks to unravel him and simultaneously evade being in his crosshairs. The story takes you through the labyrinth of Middle East politics and into a world of covert intrigue, and even though the reader knows that Radwan met his own end in 2008 it doesn’t take away from the edge-of-your-chair suspense as you follow Baer through the foreign world of bullet-riddled apartments, seedy nightclubs, embassy offices, and military posts.
Locals will be happy to learn that Jewel is a part-time resident of Telluride, and she writes the afterword of the memoir from a local restaurant, after having hiked the Wiebe. Penguin, $27.50 ISBN 978-0-399-17433-9
for young readers, full of interesting information and beautiful drawings, but perhaps the most inspiring thing about it is the idea that two young teenagers created it. It’s not just the prehistoric fossilized past that’s in good hands with these two kids, but also the future. For a peek at the bones and the interactive exhibit about the pre-human era of Telluride, visit the Telluride Historical Museum. The exhibit, “Forces of Nature: Telluride’s Prehistoric Journey,” is on display until March 2016. Blue Bones LLC, $15.95 ISBN 978-0-692-40503-1
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68 • TELLURIDE TURNS
Headlines & Highlights FROM THE LOCAL NEWS
THE CLUTE COLLECTION IS A SPECIALIZED LIBRARY CONSISTING OF MORE THAN 11,000 FIRSTEDITION SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, GOTHIC, AND SURREAL BOOKS FROM THE EARLY NINETEENTH CENTURY TO THE PRESENT.
The Future is Here CLUTE SCIENCE FICTION LIBRARY COMES TO TELLURIDE
By Elizabeth Guest
t was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking 13…” So begins George Orwell’s famed science fiction novel 1984. The setting sounds like any winter day in downtown Telluride, except that it hasn’t ever reached 13 o’clock in this ski town. And yet, the future, at least in some
of the ways imagined by science fiction writers, has arrived. And so has the Clute Science Fiction Library. Telluride is going to be the new home to this sizable collection of first-edition science fiction books, slated to arrive in its entirety by the summer of 2016. The bibliotheca is the acquisition of the Telluride Institute, a local nonprofit that
promotes forward thinking in a wide range of fields from the environment to the arts. “I really think that science fiction is the literature of our times,” says Telluride Institute Founder and Vice-President Pamela Lifton-Zoline. “It’s often relegated to a certain genre in the arts, but it actually shapes useful ideas in a society that is morphing and changing so fast.”
Telluride may not be an obvious hub for seekers of science fiction, but it is an open-minded town that consistently embraces ideas in uncharted territories. From Nikola Tesla’s transmission of the first alternating current in 1891 to the pioneering work at Telluride Science Research Center today, the community continues to value
“You cannot create new science unless you realize where the old science leaves off and new science begins, and science fiction forces us to confront this.” —Michio Kaku
creativity and innovation. The Telluride community is more than just a ski town—it’s multifaceted like a snowflake, so a science fiction library is as welcome as first tracks on a powder day. The Clute collection is a specialized library consisting of more than 11,000 first-edition science fiction, fantasy, gothic, and surreal books from the early nineteenth century to the present. Its namesake, John Clute, refers to his assemblage as “Fantastika” literature. For Clute, a renowned author and critic of science fiction and fantasy as well as co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, the body of works promote speculation into the future combined with an appreciation for the past. “Science fiction is not designed to explain, but it forces us to recognize where we are so that we can look at the world more clearly,” says Clute. The library is almost entirely comprised of first-edition novels. Clute believes strongly in the value of first editions. Not for monetary purposes—though a copy of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein could get you a hefty sum of cash—but as symbolic and aesthetic pieces. That’s why he’s giving up his first-edition copies of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds and The Time Machine to Telluride as well as the other 10,998 or so books in the trove. The library will continue to grow. Clute jokes that buying expensive first editions helps control him from coming home from the book store with a hundred books. More importantly, first-edition books are the closest a reader can get to the author’s original intent for his or her story. “It’s particularly important that the books be understood in the context of when they were published and who was reading them,” explains Clute. “Three-quarters of Fantastika deals with the fate of everything, so it’s really important to know when the books were written.” The library is designed for looking, not lending, since many
of the books have original bindings and dust jackets dating back to the 1800s. The collection is fully catalogued and will serve as a resource for writers, scholars, and students. Currently, the Telluride Institute is scoping out a prospective space for the Clute archive. Clute is also scheduled to make an inaugural address in June 2016 in recognition of the collaboration between the Clute Library and the Telluride Institute. His address is entitled “Those Who Do Not Know Science Fiction Are Condemned to Repeat It.” Clute and Lifton-Zoline, who is the author of the respected sci-fi short story The Heat Death of the Universe, have visions of making the library the focal point for a future gathering of science fiction followers called the Mountain Colloquy. “Telluride is a place where things are thought and happen… where intense conversations are made possible,” says Clute. “Maybe in future years there’ll be an annual conversation talking very hard about the nature of the world and the future.” Clute and Lifton-Zoline are working hard for the future of science fiction and everything it explores. Like the extensive timeline of the books in the library, they also share a lengthy past. Clute and Lifton-Zoline met at high school in Winnetka, Illinois in the 1950s. Clute was a Canadian transplant, but continued his schooling in the states before moving to England where he currently resides. His collection of books will be shipping overseas to Telluride throughout the winter. In its new venue with the Telluride Institute, the library promises to brighten up any cold April day with its striking selection of original and thought-provoking books. “We hope that the Clute Library will be a real ornament to the town,” says Lifton-Zoline. “Telluride Institute has a history of a wide range of programs from science to education, and we believe that these things are all connected and make important contributions to progressive thinking.’’ \
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70 • TELLURIDE TURNS
Language Learning is Elementary TELLURIDE SCHOOL DISTRICT LAUNCHES DUAL IMMERSION PROGRAM
ommy, do you know… pecho?” My kindergartener grins; this game of “guess which Spanish word I know and you don’t” is amusing for both of us. I have to ask for a hint—it has, after all, been over a decade since I received any formal language training, and I can’t remember the Spanish word for “chest.” But now, thanks to the Telluride School’s dual immersion program, I’m getting a little extra Spanish language practice at home, from my five-year-old. The Telluride School District launched its dual immersion program last fall, creating kindergarten classes that spend half the day learning in English, and half the day learning in Spanish. Unlike a traditional Spanish class, Emmeline is fully immersed in Spanish for half of every school day, learning the same curriculum as any kindergartener, except she’s learning it in Spanish. Telluride School District Superintendent Mike Gass notes that contemporary research shows that introducing language to children in the primary grades creates a solid foundation for learning, not just in second language acquisition, but in overall academic success. “When you look at the research, analyzing brain development and academic achievement, multilingual kids have an advantage in learning,” he says. Telluride Elementary School kindergarten teacher Robbin Cooper has seen firsthand how easily young minds can pick up a new language. She has been teaching kindergarten in Telluride for ten years, and is now one of the teachers participating on the English side of the dual immersion program. “It has been so exciting to see. In kindergarten, we’re producing readers, and last year we saw them coming to the end of kindergarten reading in English and in Spanish, which is amazing,” Cooper says. The dual immersion program is slated to continue through fifth
grade, with students in the program incrementally building on their language skills until they reach high levels of language proficiency and literacy. The simple process of learning in another language trains the brain to maintain focus, notes first-grade teacher Susana García Fernandez. Fernandez, along with her husband
Vidal Cubero Sobrados, the kindergarten teacher, moved to Telluride last year to help launch the Spanish component of the program. Both are native to Spain and taught at Denver’s International School, a full immersion school. “Being taught in another language forces you to be more attentive and engaged, helping students develop
concentration skills they’ll use for the rest of their lives,” she says. In addition to the academic benefits of a dual immersion education, there are social benefits as well. As previous superintendent of schools in Eagle County, which also offer a dual immersion program, Gass noticed that in addition to providing enrichment for kids who were doing well, it also leveled the academic playing field for that community’s Latino population. Gass expects to see the same thing happen in Telluride. “In my mind, school is the place where we should work to engage all learners, regardless of their background or ethnicity. With Eagle County’s bilingual program you had kids learning from each other and supporting each other and creating lifelong friendships,” he says. Cooper has noticed how her English language learner students have flourished in the dual immersion program, with native Spanish speakers more empowered when they walk into the classroom, and their parents and families more motivated to participate in school activities like volunteering to read to the class. Learning another language helps all students develop an appreciation for different cultures, she says, and can help students from a minority group bridge a sometimes broad cultural divide. That, in turn, can help students become more empathetic citizens of the world. Sobrados agrees: “It’s a global world…when you can speak more than one language, you have an open world for you.” Yet for my daughter, the Spanish portion of her school day isn’t about maximizing her academic potential, or becoming a better citizen of the world through clearer comprehension of a different culture. For Emmeline, her dual immersion kindergarten is about singing songs, playing games, and having fun with new friends—some who speak Spanish, some who don’t (yet). And coming home and teaching her mom a new Spanish word or two. \
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110 East Colorado Ave.
towN of telluride
• Best views in town - ski area, box canyon and to the west • Excellent central location just off Aspen on Columbia
484 eaSt Columbia towN of telluride
• Expansive views right up Bear Creek • On a lot and a half with garage and 2 off-street parking spaces
• Unique in-town property
• 4-bedrooms, 3.5 baths, easy walk to main street
Offered at $2,395,000
Offered at $2,395,000
235 North oak Street towN of telluride
• Double lot; best address in town, amazing box canyon views • Existing historic 4-bedroom home with remodel sketches • Enjoy as-is or remodel to create the ultimate Telluride residence
Offered at $3,995,000
JAMES F. LUCARELLI
Real estate affiliates
418 weSt Columbia
• Sporting, Clothing, Household, Furniture & More! • Directly Benefits our Animal Welfare Services & Programs Also Check Out our Ridgway Thrift Shop Located at 309 Sherman St.
Providing Expert Representation for Buyers and Sellers
970.728.0213 • 970.708.2255 mobile Jim@TellurideAffiliates.com • 657 West Colorado Ave. (in front of Hotel Telluride)
Search all regional properties:
www.TellurideAffiliates.com WINTER/SPRING 2015-2016
72 • ENVIRONMENT
MARCH OF THE SPRUCE BEETLE
BARK BEETLE INFESTATIONS COMING SOON TO A FOREST NEAR YOU By Deanna Drew
ig things can come in small packages. This is certainly true in the case of the spruce bark beetle, a native insect whose populations devastated 485,000 acres of high-elevation Engelmann spruce forest in Colorado during 2014 and are still on the rise. “It’s not that bad…it’s worse,” says Tom Eager, entomologist for the United States Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region.
No bigger than a match head, the spruce beetle was the most widespread insect pest in the state for three years in a row. They are primarily attracted to trees that are stressed, an indication of the changing conditions in our forests due to drought and crowding. In low, endemic numbers, Dendroctonus rufipennis are always present and attack mostly downed trees, freshly cut logs or stumps, or mature standing trees; the trees they kill can
go unnoticed. But when food is plentiful—such as after a “windthrow” event or avalanche—bark beetles can build large epidemic populations that move en masse and attack even small, healthy trees, killing acres of forest on a much larger scale, like wildfire. However, unlike wildfire, Eager says, it could take several years for the full extent of spruce beetle damage to be seen. The trees often don’t show fading or discoloring for up to a year
Entertaining Telluride since 1913 Dec. 4-6 Dec. 11
“Shrek The Musical” YPT middle school play “Paradise Waits” Teton Gravity Research’s latest
Dec. 18-19 Holiday Movie Marathon Holiday Concert Series: Dec. 27 Amy Helm & the Handsome Strangers Dec. 28 Dec. 29 Dec. 31
Americana rock Multi-platinum singer songwriter Motown legend New Orleans New Year’s Eve Dance Party with
Jan. 2 Jan. 3
Hot Buttered Rum & Head for the Hills Head for the Hills & Hot Buttered Rum
Jan. 6 Jan. 16 Jan. 29-31
Bakers Dozen of Yale University a cappella Concert TBA “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” YPT high school musical
Jewel Smokey Robinson Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Feb. 8-9 Feb. 11-14 Feb. 18 Feb. 19-20
wo nights of high-energy bluegrass
The Infamous Stringdusters rockin’ bluegrass 17th annual Telluride Comedy Fest Judy Collins Grammy winning folk legend Nahko & Medicine for the People
Now featuring Home Automation, with systems starting at just $499 Let us integrate your digital world with home audio & video installation
March 5 Monophonics Funk March 11-12 Telluride Tribute Band Fest with tributes to U2 & the Eagles March 17-18 Leftover Salmon Colorado jamgrass March 19 Concert TBA
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74 • ENVIRONMENT IV
2014 Report on the Health of Colorado’s Forests
2014 Insect and Disease Activity in Colorado Forests
Aerial Survey Data
Due to the nature of aerial surveys, the data on this map only provide rough estimates of location, intensity and the resulting trend information for agents detectable from the air. Many of the most destructive diseases are not represented on the map because these agents are not detectable from aerial surveys. The data presented on this map should only be used as an indicator of insect and disease activity, and should be validated on the ground for actual location and causal agent. Shaded areas show locations where tree mortality or defoliation were apparent from the air. Intensity of damage is variable, and not all trees in shaded areas are dead or defoliated. The insect and disease data represented on this map are available digitally from the USDA Forest Service, Region 2 Forest Health Management group. The cooperators reserve the right to correct, update, modify or replace GIS products. Using this map for purposes other than those for which it was intended may yield inaccurate or misleading results. Map created December 2014 For more information: www.csfs.colostate.edu ©CSFS Data Source: United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team (FHTET)
or more after being attacked, and attacks can be hard to detect over large areas of thick forest. And, although bark beetles may be controlled by natural conditions such as woodpeckers or extremely cold temperatures, most trees are killed once infested—and nothing can be done to save them. “Engelmann spruce is a long-lived tree and its physiological rotation is extremely long,” Eager explains. “It will take hundreds of years for the damaged forests to regenerate themselves.” In early summer, the adult bark beetle selects a vulnerable host tree and bores through its outer layer of bark into the inner layer of moist, living bark tissue, called the phloem, to lay its eggs. The larvae feed on the soft bark tissue through fall and winter of the first year, and throughout the entire second year of attack, creating tunnels in the bark called galleries, before emerging as an adult to attack another tree. This tunneling produces interesting— even beautiful—patterns, but it is also deadly. Eventually the www.TellurideMagazine.com
“Engelmann spruce is a long-lived tree…It will take hundreds of years for the damaged forests to regenerate themselves.” host tree loses its ability to transport water and nutrients to its branches, and dies. Bark beetles play an important role in the natural cycle, but in an urban setting a spruce tree may be considered valuable for aesthetic or other reasons, and worth saving. Many factors that make spruce trees susceptible to bark beetles are largely out of our control, but there are some things a property owner can do to help thwart an attack. Scientists agree that preventative vegetation management practices are the best way of reducing insect-related tree mortality and dealing with bark beetle outbreaks in forested areas. Dense stands are more susceptible than open stands because trees have to compete for limited water, light, and nutrients. Prop-
erty owners can remove some of the trees in dense stands through thinning and leave the healthiest, most vigorous ones to improve individual tree health. Stands with a higher diversity of tree ages and tree species are also less susceptible to bark beetle outbreaks. Increasing tree age and species diversity in a stand will improve resistance to attacks and reduce spreading when attacks occur. Intentional downing of spruce trees for forest thinning and firewood gathering can attract spruce beetles, so bark should always be peeled from spruce trees that are left on the ground to prevent beetles from attacking. Do not transport firewood logs with live beetles inside as they could emerge and spread to the nearby forest.
It is also a good idea to remove small pockets of bark beetle-infested trees when they first appear so that you do not increase the probability that adjacent trees could be attacked. This wood may be burned in a pile, when there is snow on the ground or when you are able to do so safely. Beetles can still kill trees even under sub-optimal conditions, and for assistance in identifying spruce trees attacked by spruce beetles or in preventing an attack, you should contact your local forester. The spruce beetle already exists in our local region and forests, but not at epidemic levels. There are large affected areas that have been identified on Lizard Head Pass and on the north side of town, around Imogene Pass. But, as Eager says, it can take years for the damage being wrought to become apparent. So it’s good to be vigilant—he says that ensuring healthy forests for future generations requires proactive, informed participation from the public. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
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“To find one of the best meals in Colorado, drive to Telluride— and it’s totally worth it. Just across the street from the gondola sits Cosmopolitan Telluride, chef-owner Chad Scothorn’s homage to fusion and locally sourced ingredients.” 5280 (The Denver Magazine)
Reserve your table at www.cosmotelluride.com In Hotel Columbia 301 West San Juan | Telluride, Colorado 970.728.1292 email@example.com WINTER/SPRING 2015-2016
76 • INDEX
COLOR BY NUMBERS HUNGRY BEETLES
SCARY PRICE TAG
From 2010 to 2012, bark beetles killed enough trees in the United States to cover nearly the entire state of Colorado— 46 million acres.
The number of participants in first Burning Man festival in 1986 was 20; the number of participants in Burning Man in 2015 was
The price for a first edition (1831), illustrated hardcover copy of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein on eBay is $8,000; the price for a mass market paperback copy of the same book on Amazon is $4.95.
The population of San Miguel County is 9.6% Latino or Hispanic; Colorado’s population is 21.2% Latino or Hispanic.
The median value of owner-occupied housing units 2009-2013 in Colorado was $236,200; the median value in San Miguel County was $448,000.
PENCHANT FOR PETS
The percentage of housing units in multi-unit structures 2009-2013 in Colorado was 25.9%; the percentage in San Miguel County was 21.7%.
The number of people worldwide with MS (multiple sclerosis) is 2.7 million. More than 400,000 Americans have the disease. In Colorado, it’s much higher—one in every 550 people have MS.
The average elevation of the United States is 760 meters (2,493 feet). The average elevation in Nepal is 2,565 meters (8,415 feet). Telluride’s elevation is 2,667 meters (8,750 feet).
In the United States,
36.5%of households own dogs, 30.4% own cats; that is
43 million households and
36 million households, respectively.
There are close to
400 craft distilleries in the United States. Colorado has at least 40 craft distilleries. Telluride has one—its first legal distillery since the Prohibition.
Sources: U.S. Census, Mother Jones, USFS, Wikipedia, eBay, Amazon, Rocky Mountain MS Center, AVMA.org, 5280 Magazine. www.TellurideMagazine.com
Scott R. Mercier Financial Advisor Graduate of Telluride High School 970.263.2145
produces the San Juan Skyway Visitor Guide, and the award-winning Telluride Magazine
Merrill Lynch 123 North 7 th Street, Suite 200 Grand Junction, CO 81501 http://fa.ml.com/scott.mercier
S U M M E 3R3/, VOLUME
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VIS ITO R GU IDE
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JUANS S IN THE SAN SHEPHERD TELLURIDE • BASQUE ALTITUDE NTINO DOES ON POKER AT SCENE • TARA NYA NELS S CYCLING FICTION: ANTO TELLURIDE’ BAGGER • NS OF A PEAK CONFESSIO
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The Butcher & The Baker is a locally owned and operated bakery and café specializing in handcrafted, fresh and local cuisine. We feature handmade breads and artisan pastries, fresh salads composed of local greens, fruit and vegetables, locally sourced house-roasted meats, cheeses, handmade sausages, and sustainably harvested fish. Our bar carries Colorado breweries on tap, locally crafted small-batch spirits and an assortment of organic and biodynamic wines.
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The Market at Telluride
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Open 7am - 9pm daily Mountain Village Town Hall Plaza
VISIT TELLURIDE’S PURE LANDSCAPE GALLERY
Shaun Horne, Wilson Barns with Cows, 30” x 40” oil
Representing well known National and local artists including: Ralph Oberg, Walt Gonske, Ray Roberts, Jay Moore, Jill Carver, Nicholas Reli, Dawn Cohen, Shirley Novak, Don Sahli, Bill Gallen, Gregory Packard, Dave Santillanes, Bryan Mark Taylor, Stacey Peterson, Meredith Nemirov, Kelly Kotary, Cheryl St. John, Jim Wodark, Dan Schultz,
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82 • A LAST LOOK
The Ultimate Hybrid Move over, electric cars and solar panels. Kite skiing is the ultimate hybrid vehicle, running on equal parts gravity and wind power. No batteries required—just some serious backbone, literally and figuratively. PHOTO BY BRADEN GUNEM SKIER: JT HOLMES
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Which Bottle Works for You? Telluride’s finest selection of wine, beer and spirits.
O N E T VO THE ISSUE
Out-of-state corporations are interested in changing the way we do business in Colorado by allowing all chain grocers to sell alcohol.
WHO WOULD BE HURT?
Colorado’s economy and small businesses: It would stifle Colorado’s craft beer, wine and liquor industry. Nearly half of Colorado’s 1650 liquor stores would go out of business. Colorado would lose thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue. It would give underage kids more access to alcohol.
SO WHO STANDS TO GAIN?
Out-of-state corporations and chain grocery stores, like Wal-Mart, Safeway and King Soopers. Facts and figures provided by the Colorado Brewers’ Guild, Colorado Licensed Beverage Association, and Summit Economics.
TELLURIDE BOTTLE WORKS (970) 728-5553 • 129 West San Juan Ave. • Telluride • Hours: Mon – Sat 10am to 10pm & Sun 10am to 8pm • telluridebottleworks.com