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Briefs: Basalt softball splits with Rifle, awaits Delta in key league games


The Basalt High School softball team split with host Rifle on Saturday, winning 10-0 in Game 1 before falling 9-8 in the second game. The Longhorns played without seniors Afton Larsen and Sequoia Kellogg, who were both injured earlier in the week.

Sophomore Maya Lindgren pitched the complete game shutout in the first game, allowing five hits and striking out eight batters. Zoe Vozick had a team-high four RBI in the win.

Basalt led 4-0 in Game 2 but Rifle rallied to push across the winning run in the bottom of the seventh and final inning. Basalt outhit Rifle in the second game, but untimely errors late and 11 strikeouts by Rifle's Kaitlyn Jackson were too much to overcome. Vozick had a team-high three hits in the second game, while Payten Spencer led the team with three runs.

Class 4A Rifle moved to 9-6 overall with the split. Class 3A Basalt now is 9-3-1 overall and 5-1-1 in league play. The Longhorns next host Delta (15-2, 8-0) in a home doubleheader on Tuesday. Basalt was No. 9 and Delta No. 6 in 3A in the Sept. 17 poll by CHSAANow.com.

Game times are 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. The games between BHS and Delta will likely determine who wins the 3A Western Slope League. Meeker currently is third at 6-3 in league play.


The Basalt High School boys tennis team played at Steamboat Springs on Saturday, falling 7-0. Earlier in the week, BHS won 6-1 on Wednesday over the Grand Junction junior varsity team. The only loss came at No. 3 singles in a close, three-set match. No. 1 singles player David Zalinski cruised 6-0, 6-0 in his match against GJHS, as did the No. 1 doubles team.

The Longhorns will conclude their regular season on Saturday, Sept. 29 with an 11 a.m. rematch against Aspen at Crown Mountain Park in El Jebel.


The Aspen High School cross country team swept the boys and girls titles Friday at the Ramble at the Reservoir meet at Ridgway State Park. Basalt was second in the girls race, while taking fourth in the boys race.

Basalt's Sierra Bower won the girls race in 23:20.99, followed in second by Aspen's Kylie Kenny (23:32.91) and third Aspen's Kendall Clark (23:35.24). AHS had nine total runners finish in the top 20 of the girls race, while Basalt had five.

Ouray's Cooper Rondinelli won the boys race in 19:30.66, with Aspen's Everett Olson taking second in 20:01.87. Aspen's Nicholas Galambos was third. Basalt was led by Tucker Bruce, who finished seventh, and Noah Allen who finished 10th.

Complete results can fe found at co.milesplit.com.


The Big Mountain Enduro mountain bike series recently announced its 2019 schedule, and once again Aspen Snowmass is included. The season will get underway May 25-26 in Santa Fe, with stops in Winter Park (July 13), Telluride (July 27) and Big Sky, Montana (Aug. 3-4). For the second straight year, Aspen Snowmass will host the BME Finals, with the 2019 dates scheduled for Aug. 17-18.


Briefs: AHS soccer loses to Ridgway

Aspen boys soccer loses fourth straight

The Aspen High School boys soccer team fell 2-0 at host Ridgway on Friday. The Demons improved to 3-3-1 overall while the Skiers fell to 2-4 overall. Aspen is scheduled to next play Tuesday at Moffat County (0-5).

The Skiers' next home game is slated to be next Saturday, Sept. 29, when it hosts rival Basalt under the lights on the AHS turf. Basalt (2-5) is off until it plays at Coal Ridge on Tuesday.

Coal Ridge volleyball too much for Longhorns

Thursday in New Castle, the Basalt High School volleyball team lost 3-0 to the perennially powerful Coal Ridge. Set scores were 25-12, 25-11 and 25-11.

The Titans improved to 7-4 overall and 3-0 in WSL play, while the Longhorns fell to 3-8 overall. Basalt next plays Saturday, Sept. 29 at Cedaredge.

Delta softball rolls over Aspen

The Aspen High School softball team lost a pair of games Thursday at Delta, falling 18-0 and 20-0 against one of the stronger 3A teams on the Western Slope.

The Panthers improved to 13-2 overall and 6-0 in league play. Aspen fell to 1-11 overall and 1-9 in league play. The Skiers are scheduled to host Cedaredge on Tuesday. Basalt softball (8-2-1 overall) plays a doubleheader Saturday at Rifle. BHS will host Delta on Tuesday.


The sports and disciplines were announced earlier this week for January's X Games Aspen, with things staying relatively as they have been. Returning will be contests in big air, slopestyle and the superpipe for both skiing and snowboarding. The annual snowboarding Special Olympics unified race is also set to make a return.

The only snowmobile event on tap for 2019 is the freestyle competition. There also will be a snow bikecross and snow bike best trick competition. Not returning is snowmobile speed and style.

Athletes who medaled in last year's competitions were recently sent invitations to return for the 2019 event. The rest of the athlete lineup will be announced at a later date.

X Games Aspen is scheduled for Jan. 24 to 27 at Buttermilk Ski Area. This will be the 18th year in a row Aspen has hosted the Winter X Games.


Rifle football beats Glenwood Springs, gets to 4-0 entering league play

Playing in front of a standing-room only gathering at Bears Stadium in Rifle, the Glenwood Springs Demons and Rifle Bears got together for their annual clash on the gridiron. For the 8th straight year, the Bears came away with bragging rights, toppling the Demons 27-14 in a hard-fought affair.

Both teams were unable to move the football on their initial possessions of the game, but the second time the Demons touched the ball proved to be a charm. With 5:37 showing on the first quarter clock, senior running back Miguel Herrera broke free through the right side of the Rifle line and out-raced defensive back Levi Warfel to the end zone on a 79-yard touchdown burst that gave the visitors a 7-0 advantage after the PAT by senior Sebastian Torres.

Rifle took the ball following the kickoff on their own 10 yard line, and what was to follow could have been a big momentum swing for the Demons. Deep in Bear territory, Glenwood linebacker Sam Fitzwilliams pounced on a fumble by Rifle running back Warfel, setting the Demons up with a golden opportunity to go ahead by two scores. But the scoring hopes slipped through Glenwood's fingers like grains of sand as they fumbled the ball right back to the Bears a couple plays later.

"There are some plays that the momentum of the game can turn on, and that could very well have been one of them," said Glenwood Head Coach Pat Engle. "Rifle took the ball down and scored after the fumble, so it's a possible 14-point swing."

Rifle capitalized on the turn of a friendly card when running back Tanner Vines rambled 52 yards down to the Glenwood 11 yard line. Warfel cleaned things up from there with a 10-yard scoring run. The PAT by Eddie Ruiz was good, and the rivalry game was knotted at 7-7 as the opening quarter came to a close.

Rifle went up on the scoreboard with 6:47 showing on the clock before halftime. With their misdirection running game grinding out impressive chunks of yardage, the Bears methodically marched down the field toward the west end zone before Vines broke several Demon tackles en route to a 30-yard score for a 14-7 lead.

With coach Engle inserting junior quarterback Dylan Albright into the backfield, the Demons caught a big break when Albright's pass near the right sideline opportunistically popped out of the arms of one Glenwood receiver and into the waiting arms of senior Wyatt Ewer, who promptly out-raced all Bear pursuers 60 yards to the end zone to tie the game at 14-all.

Rifle took the lead rior to halftime as quarterback Holden Stutsman and fellow junior Talon Cordova would pop 20 yard runs on the Demons. From 11 yards out, Warfel cashed in a touchdown for the Bears and the score stood at 21-14 in favor of Rifle on a beautiful Homecoming night.

Rifle got the ball to start the second half and ate up nearly six minutes of the clock behind the rushing of Vines, Warfel, Cordova, and Dalton Pruett. There were no points to show for the effort though, as the drive stalled on downs at the Glenwood 39 yard line.

Glenwood then put together a similar drive of its own, only to see things end on a failed fourth down attempt at the Rifle 33 yard line.

Next Friday night, both Glenwood and Rifle will take to the road. For the Bears (4-0), another rivalry game is on tap as they travel just up the interstate to take on the Coal Ridge Titans in a 2A Western Slope League tilt. Glenwood (1-3), heads over the mountains to take on the always formidable Roosevelt Roughriders.

Stirling Cup returns with 1998 women’s Olympic hockey team

The 1998 U.S. women's hockey team broke new ground when it won Olympic gold at the Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. That was the first time women's ice hockey had been an Olympic sport, and that team inspired a whole generation of girls.

Now, 20 years later, the majority of that same team will be in Aspen Saturday night for the 18th annual Stirling Cup, a fundraiser for Aspen Junior Hockey.

"It's going to be great," AJH executive director Shaun Hathaway said. "That group of women paved the way for girls hockey and the growth of girls hockey, there is no doubt about it. That gold medal was a game changer. It literally changed the complexion of hockey in the United States for girls."

The '98 team will play the University of Colorado women's hockey team at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22 inside Lewis Ice Arena. General admission tickets are $5.

In past years, the annual all-star game as part of the Stirling Cup has featured alumni of various National Hockey League franchises. But, considering the milestone anniversary for the Olympic team and the recent success of girls' hockey here in the valley, Hathaway pitched the idea to USA Hockey about bringing in the women's national team.

The original idea was to have the '98 team play the 2018 Olympic team, which also won gold this past winter, the first since that original team. Alas, a scheduling conflict kept that from happening.

"There is actually a young lady on the '18 team getting married this weekend, so all the players on the '18 team are going and I didn't have the guts to call her and ask to change her wedding date," Hathaway laughed. "It's time. It's time to really give the girls the credit they deserve, and what better way to do it than through the Stirling Cup."

After the first period of Saturday’s game, AJH will recognize its girls 16U AA team that competed in the national championships in April. After the second period, it will recognize Aspen's longstanding Mother Puckers women's hockey team, part of an exciting night celebrating the success of female hockey players, both in the valley and abroad.

"For what we've accomplished on the girls' side of the game, it's the right time," Hathaway said. "Hopefully we can pack the house here. I think with the CU women's team, it will have an exciting feel to it."

The Stirling Cup weekend, which includes Sunday's golf tournament at Aspen Golf Club, raises money toward AJH's scholarship fund. Hathaway said they hope to give out around $25,000 in scholarships to get local kids on the ice.

The organization's largest fundraiser is its Fall Faceoff, which includes three straight weekends of tournaments. That gets underway Oct. 12.


No more RFTA taxes

It's been reported in the press that a campaign is about to be funded and launched to try to convince Roaring Fork Valley taxpayers to approve a new mill levy to support the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority. Proponents use the word "only" to describe the purportedly minimal impact of such an addition to a homeowner's property tax bill.

Citizens already are taxed to support RFTA through a sales tax on virtually all your purchases. It's a bit here and a bit there so you might have overlooked it, and it's practically impossible to figure what it adds up to at the end of each and every year.

I can almost hear the thought process of those advocating a property tax mill levy: if you don't support being taxed, it must mean you don't care about the environment and don't favor mass transit. Don't fall for that. Most families make decisions about what they can afford given their financial resources. They certainly can't raise a tax so they can spend more.

While a public agency such as RFTA might like to do a number of additional things, don't forget that once a tax is created, it won't ever go away. I'm sure I'm not alone in stating that in the past three years alone, my property tax went up 52 percent, including a 53 percent increase in School District tax, 33 percent more for Crown Mountain Park, and a doubling for the Basalt Regional Library (even before the new library bond). Say "No" to more taxes.

Bob Hubbell


Five drives for finding fall colors around Aspen

1. Ask anyone in the know about where to go for fall colors in the Aspen area and the first thing you're mostly likely to hear is: "Check out the Castle Creek Valley." And this is good for everyone because Castle Creek, located just outside town on the west side of Aspen Mountain, is good for walking, hiking, biking and riding in the car.

To get there, follow Highway 82 west out of town until you hit the roundabout, then follow the signs. Note that you'll pass the entrance to the Maroon Creek Valley on your way. We'll come back to the treasures contained therein.

The Castle Creek Valley's winding, two-lane blacktop ensures your driver won't log much gawking time, but passengers will reap the benefits of the approximately 12 miles to the ghost town of Ashcroft. As the road climbs deeper into the hills, every turn yields new and changing views of hillsides painted yellow and orange.

The ghost town of Ashcroft is a good place to stop and stretch your legs while on your leaf-peeping excursion.

2. The Maroon Creek Valley — home to the famous Maroon Bells, reportedly the most photographed place in all of Colorado — is next door to the Castle Creek Valley and well worth braving the crowds to visit. There's never a bad time to look at the Bells, though fall may be the best.

The road to the Bells is equally as ridable as Castle Creek, but not as drivable. The Bells' popularity means you must park at Aspen Highlands and take a shuttle, though you can drive up early in the morning or after the last shuttle in the evening.

3. For another beautiful fall drive or ride, head up Highway 82 toward Independence Pass. If the dramatic twisting, two-lane road doesn't make you gasp, the colors that line the highway and the sweeping few of the Rocky Mountain landscape from the top will definitely do the trick. As you head up the Pass, keep an eye to the right just before the narrow turns for one of the area's most explosive stands of Aspen trees.

4. Closer to town, a drive up Red Mountain is a good colors bet for soaking in the blanket of color on the valley floor. (You can also hike Sunnyside Trail or Smugger and trek through Hunter Creek Valley for a different vantage point).

5. And don't forget Snowmass Village. Just winding your way up Owl Creek Road and on to the top of the Villlage offers views of Snowmass ski area and the surrounding hills — all of which are spectacular in fall. The town also offers many hiking and mountain biking trails that put you underneath the glittering trees.


US Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame announces eight new members

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame's Class of 2018 was announced on Sept. 14 in Ishpeming, Michigan, featuring ski legends Bode Miller and Andrew Weibrecht as well as Bill Jensen, of Vail.

A formal induction will be held for the group of eight noted skiing and snowboarding pioneers, athletes and sport builders on April 6 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Park City will host the Snowsport History Celebration April 4-6 with several events to welcome the class of 2018 to Utah. This three-day celebration will culminate with the induction ceremony in Salt Lake City at Little America. The annual induction honors not only athletes, but industry icons, innovators and inventors with lifelong national and international achievements in all facets of snowsport.

The eight inductees are:

  • Bode Miller, 5-time Alpine Skiing Olympian
  • Andrew Weibrecht, 2-time Alpine Skiing Olympian
  • Kristen Ulmer, known as the first female extreme skier
  • Hilary Engisch-Klein, a world dominating freestyle skier
  • The late Tom Sims, inventor of the "skiboard"
  • William Jensen, nationally renowned resort operator
  • The late Don Henderson, a pioneer of ski racing
  • Tom Kelly, the leading spokesperson for U.S. Ski & Snowboard

The new inductees will bring the total to 433 National Hall of Fame honored members, of which 125 are still living.

"I was honored when I heard the news about my hall of fame nomination," Miller said. "I always tried to ski in a way that inspired myself and ski racing fans and I appreciate this support from the industry."

For more information, visit http://www.snowsporthistory.com. Tickets for the event in Park City will be available online in October.


Aspen football wraps up non-league play at Grand Valley, BHS at Paonia

The Aspen High School football team needed a strong bounce back game after a loss at Bayfield, and it got that last week in a 48-12 rout of Cedaredge in its home opener. Now, the Skiers head back on the road for the third time in four games to face Grand Valley at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21 in Parachute.

"I continue to stress to them that you are only as good as your last game, so it feels good coming off Cedaredge," AHS coach Travis Benson said. "But at the same token, you got to definitely prepare and grind and work and they did that this week. They showed up and there was a hunger with them still and that's all we ask for."

Aspen (2-1) is off to a better start than some may have predicted considering it lost its coach and quarterback from a year ago. But three games into the season and the Skiers have mostly picked up where they left off from an 8-2 season in 2017.

Class 1A Grand Valley (1-2) has faced some elite competition this season, although it didn't fare well. The Cardinals have losses to Kent Denver, currently No. 10 in 2A, 49-6, and to current No. 4 in 2A, Rifle, 49-0. Their lone win came last week in a 42-0 rout of Lake County.

Regardless of where each team stands, they have played each other incredibly close the past three seasons.

"They always play us strong and always play well at home," Benson said. "We go in knowing that we are going to get their best game, for sure. They are tough kids and they like to fight and they definitely like to run the ball."

A year ago at Grand Valley, the Skiers escaped with a 30-26 win. In 2016, Aspen lost 48-34 at home. In 2015, Aspen left Parachute with a 12-6 win. Benson said seeing another close game Friday night isn't out of the question.

"It would not surprise me at all," Benson said. "Our kids' preparation was good this week. Our execution was great this week. We are starting to get our rhythm back in the passing game. It's just a tough place to play."

This will be the final non-league game for the unranked Skiers. Aspen opens 2A Western Slope League play next week at Delta. AHS only has two of its five league games at home this season, making that three homes games in nine total contests.

"It probably started last year. They became road warriors then," Benson said. "We definitely have played well on the road. Going down to Parachute is not a huge haul, but at the same token it's always fun playing in a different atmosphere."

Longhorns head to Paonia looking to stay IN driver's seat

Even Basalt High School football coach Carl Frerichs believes it's way too early in the season to put too much stock into the rankings. Yet, he still believes his players should take some pride in where they currently sit.

Heading into Friday’s 7 p.m. game at Paonia, Basalt (3-0) is ranked No. 5 in Class 2A by CHSAANow.com and has the No. 1 RPI in the classification, ahead of powerhouses like La Junta (RPI No. 2), Bayfield (RPI No. 5) and WSL foe Rifle (RPI No. 6). Aspen is No. 11 in RPI.

"Even though in the long run it doesn't mean anything, it is something these kids should be proud of with how they started and where they are being recognized in the state in 2A football," Frerichs said Thursday afternoon. "We want to make sure we control our own destiny and I think tomorrow night's game will really decide that at the end."

The Longhorns have looked every bit a legitimate championship contender through three games, shutting out both Olathe and Pagosa Springs, with a 47-6 rout of host Battle Mountain in the middle. Class 1A Paonia (2-1) comes into Friday’s game with back-to-back wins, a 41-0 rout of Monte Vista and a 19-0 win at Coal Ridge, one of Basalt's league opponents.

The Eagles' lone loss came in the season opener, 38-0 to Centauri. Paonia is effectively ranked No. 11 in 1A this week, with an RPI of 18 in 1A.

"They are not real deep, so I think that's one of our biggest advantages. We play a lot more kids," Frerichs said of Friday’s matchup. "They are pretty strong up front; they are pretty aggressive up front. So we just got to make sure we are matching that aggressive play back, which I think we will."

Basalt will face Coal Ridge next week for its WSL opener.


Guest commentary: Follow the money to health care’s undo administrative costs

Last year, the United States spent around $3.5 trillion on health care. As there are about 325 million of us, that comes to a bit over $10,000 per person.

Not only is that twice the per-person average that other industrialized countries spend, at around 18 percent it is also about twice the percentage of gross domestic product that those countries spend on health care. And they cover everyone.

According to data provided by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, a group of 36 countries working on economic and social issues, we are not getting our money's worth.

We pay the world's highest prescription drug prices. Our medical outcomes, such as maternal and infant mortality and our overall life expectancy, are worse than those of most other modern nations. Millions of Americans have no health care insurance, and millions more who have insurance either defer needed care or go bankrupt due to unaffordable deductibles and copayments. Where is all the money going, if not to good care?

Some experts point to our high prices as the culprit. They believe that price transparency and more competitive markets can solve our problems. Our prices are high, but there's an even larger elephant in the room, gobbling up a ton of money. In fact, it consumes close to one-third of all health care spending. That unproductive and ravenous elephant is administrative overhead.

How did we come to spend around $1 trillion a year on health care administration? There are many reasons, but the main ones are for-profit private insurance companies and a bureaucratic industry called managed care.

The overheads of private insurance companies average around 20 percent. Until reigned in by provisions in the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), many companies spent even more than that, on advertising, executive compensation, sales commissions, shareholder dividends, and routine claims processing, including denials and appeals. The overhead of Traditional Medicare is 2 percent to 3 percent, because all it does is process claims.

In the 1970s, as health care costs were rising everywhere, we in the United States tried to bring them under control through better management. We experimented with health maintenance organizations and hired physicians, nurses and case managers, to reduce hospital lengths of stay, deny treatments and otherwise micromanage health care. The result has been a slight improvement in some medical costs, but this has been accompanied by an enormous new managed care bureaucracy, spread among hospitals, physicians' offices and insurance companies. The cost of all this bloated administration accounts for that trillion dollars.

About the same time that we went in that direction, Canada implemented its single-payer national health care system, with private doctors and hospitals. By eliminating around half of the administrative overhead of a complex, multi-payer, for-profit insurance system, their percentage of GDP spent on health care remained fairly flat, while ours has continued to escalate. Their health outcome results are better than ours, and everyone is covered.

Multiple academic studies agree that we could cut our health care administrative overhead by around half by moving to a single-payer system, saving as much as $500 billion each year. We could save $100 billion more by negotiating prescription drug prices. That total amount is many billions more than it would cost to provide full health care insurance to everyone, with no deductibles or copayments. That amount is more than enough to pay negotiated prices for prescription drugs, as well as dental, vision and hearing care. Billions now spent each year on paperwork could be redirected to actual care.

How do we move the money around? There will be taxes, as you have no doubt heard. What you may not have heard is that for 95 percent of households, those taxes will be less than what they currently pay in insurance premiums, deductibles, copayments, prescription drugs and other components of health care. The only ones expected to pay more are those with annual incomes around $400,000 and higher. For the 99 percent, you would pay less and get more.

The simplest route to this goal is to expand and improve Medicare, a proven and efficient single-payer system. There may be some tradeoffs, but the greatest result would be improvement in our nation's health and the relief of much unnecessary physical and financial suffering.

Dr. George Bohmfalk practiced neurosurgery in Texas before retiring to spend half of each year in the Roaring Fork Valley. He is active in Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP.org), a physician-driven group advocating for a single-payer health care system. His series will appear in The Aspen Times on Fridays.

Kudos to A Way Out symposium

I want to give an enormous thank you to our local non-profit A Way Out for putting on the symposium at the Jerome on Tuesday 9/18. This event hosted three experts in the field of addiction and provided lifesaving information for our community. I am grateful that organizations like A Way Out fundraise and put on these events to change the culture and patterns within our amazing community.

Kimberly Reil