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Snowmass history: The stage is set with satire, dance, music

“Orig. production on Opticon stage” headlined The Snowmass Villager Aug. 8, 1968.

“Everything happens at once and keeps happening, during the presentation of ‘The Decline and Fall of Absolutely Everything’ at the Opticon theatre Friday and Saturday Aug. 9-10. The multi-media adult entertainment has been described as a contemporary, pertinent, satiric and exultant fast-paced show which combines the elements of the light show, a motion picture, mime and the musical revue. … The show was conceived and created by Joseph Brockett and Robert Walter and uses many mediums of art: slide, film, lights, pure sound, music, dance, recorded voice, live voice and live actors. It involves multiple screens for projections.”

Image of the production in 1968 by David Hiser

Part-time residents to convene at the Collective this week in Snowmass

Snowmass community members who call the town their second home will gather at the Part-Time Residents Advisory Board meet-and-greet event at the Collective in Snowmass Base Village on Thursday. The event will provide part-time residents with the opportunity to mingle and to hear from local community leaders.

The board was created to provide part-time Snowmass residents with a forum for exchange with the town of Snowmass Village, according to PTRAB chair Michael Mayer. The board creates a mechanism for part-time residents to communicate with government leaders regarding issues they are passionate about.

“If you don’t have a driver’s license that says Snowmass Village as a residency, you actually don’t have a mechanism to get involved in town affairs,” Mayer said. “A part-time resident board creates a forum for people who own property in Snowmass Village who have a huge vested interest in the community to be involved.”

Around half of Snowmass Village’s homeowners are not full-time residents, according to Mayer. The 2016 Snowmass Village Community Profile lists a 44% vacancy rate, according to the most recent data from 2010. This sizable portion of the community would be left out of the town decisionmaking process save for the creation of PTRAB.

“We’re generally not a group that agitates for change,” Mayer said. “I think we’re more of a group that would love to preserve all the good that exists in Snowmass Village today and to the extent that we can help make it better, we’d love to do that as well.”

According to Mayer, Snowmass Village residents run the spectrum from long-time homeowners who care deeply about the community to newer homeowners who may not have as much of a vested interest in the community. Even for long-time homeowners, it can be difficult to meet other residents outside of their direct neighborhood.

“(PTRAB is) just a great opportunity for part-time residents to mingle, to get to know each other,” Mayer said.

Speakers at the event, which begins at 4:30 p.m., will include Snowmass Mayor Bill Madsen, Snowmass HOA President Gene Burrus, Aspen Skiing Co. Snowmass Mountain Manager Susan Cross and East West Partners VP of Finance Charlie Singer.

“We’re incredibly appreciative that the Snowmass Village has created this forum, this advisory board — it’s not something that exists in other communities,” Mayer said. “We look at it as an opportunity to add value to Snowmass Village.

Airline Climbing Trail only steps away from fall completion at Sky Mountain Park

The Airline Climbing Trail project is edging toward completion this fall.

Two Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteer projects are scheduled Aug. 13 and Aug. 27 to assist with finish work, rock armoring and seeding of disturbed areas, according Ted O’Brien, manager of Pitkin County Open Space and Trails Resource and Trails. The events will be led in collaboration with Open Space and Trails and the Roaring Fork Mountain Biking Association.

On Aug. 13, volunteers will be refining the trails cut by Open Space and Trails. That process involves removing large roots and punji sticks (hazardous sticks poking up near the trail resulting from the cutting process), finishing the back slope, raking the trail, cutting sight-lines and completing any other finishing touches on the trail, according to RFOV program director Melissa Daniels.

After the first RFOV trail workday, the bottom third of the climbing trail will likely be opened to the public, according to O’Brien. The upper two-thirds will remain closed and unusable until the fall opening date.

At the second trail workday, on Aug. 27, volunteers will be focusing more on rock work for the trail.

“We always have a good little group of volunteers that really enjoy rock work, so we’re saving a lot of that work to do with volunteers,” O’Brien said.

Following the conclusion of the second workday, RFOV and OST will evaluate the progress and consider adding another day of trail work if necessary, according to Daniels.

RFOV will partner with RFMBA and Sacred Cycle, which works to provide “affordable counseling for survivors of sexual trauma through mountain biking,” according to the organization’s website. Members of the partner organizations will join the 40 volunteers who signed up through RFOV, according to Daniels.

“The thing that I really love about working here is that we really value partnerships with other organizations and we believe that we don’t get anything done independently; everything is done in partnership with other people,” Daniels said. “We wanted to spread the word about what they do and engage with their communities.”

The climbing trail is built parallel to the existing Airline Trail, which will be restricted to downhill traffic once the new trail opens. The new climbing trail will be for uphill bicycle traffic and bidirectional foot traffic.

The plans for the climbing trail were drawn up last year in response to urging by RFMBA, one of the major shareholders for Sky Mountain Park, according to O’Brien.

“It was a concern that RFMBA really pushed over the years and we got to finally address that push during the update to the Sky Mountain Park management plan,” O’Brien said.

During the process for creating an updated master plan for Sky Mountain Park, which occurs every five years, RFMBA voiced their concerns during the public comment period.

“Everything we do is based on public comment and the public process,” O’Brien said.

In the past, the existing Airline Trail has been used for both uphill and downhill traffic. The Sky Mountain Park saw its greatest usage in 2020 with 79,000 visitors, according to the management plan. The most common usage of the park is for mountain biking.

“With the amount of use the park gets, having one bidirectional trail invited the opportunity for conflict or collision to occur on that trail,” O’Brien said.

Although no collisions were ever officially reported, O’Brien said OST heard “through the grapevine” about some minor collisions occurring on the trail.

The major challenge for the project, according to O’Brien, was clearing out the thick vegetation that grew where the trail will be. OST’s trails and maintenance crew began that process in mid-July, finishing it last week. On Aug. 2, the outside contractor for the project, Gumption Trail Works, began machine work on the trail.

“We’re moving along, progressing … ahead of schedule so we’re happy about that,” O’Brien said.

The Roaring Fork community has been very supportive of the project, according to Daniels.

“I’m really excited that there’s so much community enthusiasm for this trail,” Daniels said. “I know it’s been a long time coming and people have spent a lot of time working on getting this open and so we’re really excited to be working on it. We hope to get it open for people as soon as possible.”

Anna Meyer is an editorial intern at The Aspen Times for part of the summer. She will be a sophomore at Vassar College this fall.

Snowmass sharpens Town Park plan: Changes made for rodeo, wildlife

The Snowmass Village Town Council lassoed some loose ends this week in their plans for the Town Park.

The council unanimously agreed to add a much-discussed warmup area for rodeo contestants as part of approving the special review application for phase one as Ordinance No. 5.

The revised plan for the Town Park application incorporates the recommendations from the Planning Commission’s meeting on July 13, as well as additional conditions the council decided on, including a commitment not to disrupt more than a tenth of an acre of wetlands before an additional environmental assessment is completed.


Sara Tie, who is part of the design team creating the new plans, said there have been several changes to the plan since the last meeting. The Roaring Fork Valley Horse Council and the Snowmass Western Heritage Association’s chief complaints concerned the lack of a warmup area for contestants. The new plan addressed that.

Other changes include larger pens for the bucking mares, a barrel racer entry and exit for direct access from the warmup area to the arena, improved vehicular access during the event, two new bucking chutes, back pens for stock, an area for roping ending in a stripping chute, relocated return alleys, double fencing to further separate contestants from the arena, a shifted loading/unloading area and the potential for an addition of a bleacher section for rodeo competitors’ family.

“I think this is great. I think it addressed all these operational needs,” Tie said. “I think when we came together (with organizations) on our second meeting.”


Birders worried in previous discussions that the ecosystem would be harmed by the new Town Park design.

But Jonathan Lowsky, principal wildlife ecologist and wildfire mitigation expert at Colorado Wildlife Science, said the loss of wetlands proposed by the plan will not cause any declines in local wildlife populations. Though some species may leave during the construction phase of the project, they will likely return within three years, according to Lowsky.

Councilman Bob Sirkus expressed concern that the space would not be optimized for other activities.

“It’s designed as a rodeo first, and that’s first and foremost,” Town Manager Clint Kinney said. “Any event that can happen on a rodeo arena can happen, but it’s a rodeo arena first.

Though the council wants the space to be usable for events other than the rodeo, such as an ice rink, the surface agreed upon by the SWHA and design team — angular washed sand on top of a road base — is incompatible with an ice rink.

Councilman Tom Fridstein took issue with a reference to 60-foot poles for lighting and telecom equipment included in the ordinance, as if a given, he said.

“We don’t want 60-foot poles,” he said.

The council agreed to revise the language to mandate a maximum height for the light poles. The specific height will be reviewed and the design team and determined at a later date.

With the approval of the ordinance, the council has set a clear path for how to progress with the Town Park redesign.

The council’s next step will be to work with the design team to finalize the details of the plan and with the contractor and Snowmass Western Heritage Association to finalize construction details, according to Kinney.

“With the unanimous approval of the Town Council on Monday, the decades-old question of how to complete Town Park and the entryway to Town was answered,” Kinney said in an email.

Anna Meyer is an editorial intern at The Aspen Times for part of the summer. She will be a sophomore at Vassar College this fall.

Snowmass history: Western tradition comes to the village

“A crowd of approximately 1,500 people flocked to the mall at Snowmass-at-Aspen for Western Days,” The Snowmass Villager reported Aug. 8, 1968. People gathered “to watch and participate in a variety of planned events.”

“There was a parade of the old west, horse races, western entertainment, square dancing, a western movie, can-can girls, western snacks, a flapjack breakfast and dancing to western music.”

Snowmass briefs: Hitting the trails

Snowmass 50 hits the trails Saturday

The Snowmass 50 mountain bike race is back Aug. 6, when competitive mountain bike racers will complete one or two 25-mile loops around Snowmass Village. 

Hikers and recreational bikers should be mindful of racers when out on the trails Saturday. The race course begins and ends on Fanny Hill and tackles some of the town’s most popular trails, including Viewline and Deadline in Sky Mountain Park, the Tom Blake trail, some cross-country riding trails that traverse Snowmass Ski Area and the North and South Rim trails. 

For a full description of the route, visit bit.ly/3zr1ICp

5K on the Mountain back in town Friday, Saturday

The 5K on the Mountain race returns to Snowmass Village this weekend with two race options and post-run beers as part of the Colorado Brewery Race Series. 

The first race takes place in two waves at 6 and 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 5 to coincide with International Beer Day. The second race takes place in two waves at 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 6 

People can participate in one or both races, which are structured as untimed fun runs open to all levels of runners, walkers and joggers. The course begins and ends on the Snowmass Mall. 

Participants who are 21 or older will get a complimentary beer from New Belgium Ranger Station once they finish.  
For registration and more information, visit bit.ly/3OrQ7rg.

Plein Air Art Festival makes Snowmass debut next week

The Snowmass Arts Advisory Board will present the village’s first Plein Air Art Festival on Aug. 8-14, featuring work from 18 Colorado-based artists.

Plein-air painting requires that the artists remain outside while they are painting, as opposed to taking a photograph and then returning to their studio to paint. Painting outside allows the artist to more accurately capture the way light hits the landscape.

“Plein-air painting is really a product of the beauty of the landscape as defined by the light that is illuminating the colors and the landscape,” advisory board member Diane Oshin said. “That’s what makes plein air so special — that the entire art is created with natural light.”

The artists start their work Aug. 8, and their finished products will be displayed Aug. 13-14.

All of the art on display at the festival will be painted within a 40-mile radius of Snowmass Village in the five days leading up to the festival. The canvases will be stamped by the Snowmass Arts Advisory Board to verify their authenticity. The artwork, with prices beginning at $400, will be available for purchase from the artists at the festival with options for shipping.

Oshin first got the idea for the festival after a serendipitous visit to Telluride during their Plein Air Festival in 2019. Upon joining the advisory board, Oshin inquired about a plein-air festival in the Snowmass area and learned there had been one in Aspen several years ago, but nothing since.

Oshin connected with an artist she had met at the Telluride Plein Air Festival to find out how to begin planning a plein air festival.

“In order to build a plein-air festival, it … matters secondarily what the consumer or the person who goes to the festival wants,” Oshin said. “You really have to talk to the artists. That is your primary audience.”

Although Oshin initially envisioned the festival as an event where any artist could sign up and attend, she learned from talking to several artists that more exclusivity was necessary in order to have a “bonafide, successful” plein-air festival. As a result of her conversations with plein-air artists, Oshin decided to stage the festival as an invitational.

Oshin worked with three Colorado-based artists — Kathleen Lanzoni, Tammy Lane and Peter Campbell — to curate a list of the best plein-air artists in Colorado.

“I think it’s going to be a great event for tourists and people in the community who love art,” Oshin said. “But the real thing is to try to make this successful for the artists. They’re all so excited about coming to Snowmass because it’s just renowned for its beauty. I hope that people will come and buy art so that it’s successful.”

Anna Meyer is an editorial intern at The Aspen Times for part of the summer. She will be a sophomore at Vassar College this fall.

Artistic ‘Journey’ underway at Anderson Ranch

The Anderson Ranch artist showcase remains on display until Aug. 12, featuring work from 12 members of the artistic staff that debuted last month.

The art, which was presented at an opening reception July 26, ranges from sculpture to painting to printmaking and photography. The collection is stationed in the Patton-Malott Gallery at Anderson Ranch.

The show takes place every year to celebrate Anderson Ranch’s artistic staff, according to Meriwether McClorey, who is the artistic affairs manager and curator of the show. The artistic staff is responsible for facilitating studio programming for artists-in-residence and visiting artists, as well as creating art.

“The show is a way for us to highlight our artistic staff and celebrate them and the fact that they are all professional working artists as well as working here at the ranch,” McClorey said.

The title of the exhibition is “The Journey,” named after Mary Oliver’s poem of the same name. The poem explores themes of self-discovery, doubt and the passing of time and life, all of which are ideas touched on by the displayed art.

McClorey said the exhibit was named after the poem due to its ability to unite the disparate works under one umbrella.

“I felt as though for any of our practicing artists or working artists — I mean, honestly, anyone in the world — life is a journey and that’s kind of what (Mary Oliver) is addressing and the things and the notions she talks about are all things artists think about,” McClorey said.

Self-discovery and reflection are especially important themes for artists, according to McClorey.

“I think an artist has to truly know themselves to make successful work,” McClorey said.

Liz Ferrill, artistic director of painting, drawing and printmaking at Anderson Ranch, had two gouache-on-paper prints displayed at the show. For the prints, Ferrill used a stencil process called “pochoir.” Pochoir is the French word for “stencil,” and refers to an intricate process traditionally used in book arts. Ferrill used one-of-a-kind, hand-cut matrices to make the prints.

The images, titled “Cone, Blood, San Francisco” and “Picnic,” depicted an orange cone on an orange staircase and a green picnic table with a striking shadow, respectively. Ferrill’s unique style is characterized by portrayals of ordinary, everyday urban scenes in a remarkable light.

“Content is really important to me and I love empty spaces that people typically use,” Ferrill said. “I always remove the figure or I look at spaces where there aren’t any people, but there are places where people are supposed to be using that space. I’m also really drawn to color and shape and shadow and really intense light.”

One unique privilege that the ranch’s artistic staff is privy to is the opportunity to explore different mediums. In addition to having access to studios for creating art in their area of expertise, artists also have access to all of the other studios at the ranch.

“Our staff members can explore and push their practice in that way,” McClorey said.

Anna Meyer is an editorial intern at The Aspen Times for part of the summer. She will be a sophomore at Vassar College this fall.

Snowmass brief: Fun on the farm

Farm Collaborative hosts ‘Farmyard Fridays’ 

The Farm Collaborative is hosting weekly “Farmyard Fridays” at the FarmPark at Cozy Point Ranch from 4:30-7:30 p.m. on Fridays.

All are welcome on the farm to wind down from the week with yard games, a dip in the creek, skyline views and community connection. People can bring their own food, drinks and picnic blankets.

Snowmass history: Meeting of the movie minds

The Aug. 1, 1968, Snowmass Villager reflected on the Aspen Film Conference held in Snowmass-at-Aspen in July, chaired by playwright Robert Murray.

“Starting with a provocative and stirring keynote address by Yale historian John Morton Blum on Wednesday evening, July 24, the Aspen Film Conference at Snowmass gained momentum and sustained its excitement with stimulating panel discussions and the screening of films which ranged from old favorites to an iconoclastic epic of evil and terror, ‘Rosemary’s baby,’” the Villager reported.

“National and international greats of the film world who participated in the tightly scheduled four and a half day conference included stage and screen star Lee J. Cobb; young Polish director Roman Polanski who gained fame with ‘Knife in the Water’ and who recently directed ‘Rosemary’s Baby,’” among many others.

“In addition to the mental dynamics of the conference itself, Murray said there are indications that significant breakthroughs for young film makers may have taken root at the conference here.”