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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 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.

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.”

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.”

Crews chipping away at Snowmass Inn improvements, studios get total revamp

“Rough shape” might be a generous description for the condition of the 39 studio units at the Snowmass Inn, where dripping faucets, mysterious stains and stoveless kitchens used to be the norm. “Kitchen,” too, might be a generous word for a space that could accommodate, at most, a mini-fridge, a coffee maker and a hot plate or microwave.

Well, it might describe most of the units, anyway. After the town of Snowmass Village bought the slopeside hotel-turned-housing in 2020 and formally took over management from East West Partners in 2021, a small crew of workers has been chipping away at renovating the rooms, revamping nearly everything within each unit’s 330-ish square feet. (Some enormous armoires that look large enough to house at least two portals to Narnia have stuck around.) 

“It’s kind of shocking sometimes to see the condition they’re in,” said Betsy Crum, the housing director for the town of Snowmass Village. 

“To be able to bring them … up to par, to make them a nice place where anybody would like to live — it feels good,” she added. 

Eight units already showcase the new digs, which Charles Cunniffe Architects helped design and which a compact crew have been turning into reality over the past few months, according to Crum. Matt Dutcher, a housing maintenance mechanic with the town, and Matt Pine, who owns Ajax Supply in the Snowmass Mall, have taken the reins on the construction work, Crum said while leading a walkthrough of the inn with Dutcher and this reporter on July 18. 

The redone kitchens feature a built-in two-burner stove, plug-in oven/air fryer unit and a larger sink with a wood slab cut to fit over the basin to create more counter space. An almost-floor-to-ceiling cabinet unit offers storage space and separates food prep from the bathroom sink. The flooring is new; the walls have a fresh coat of paint. 

The Inn had previously has been home to both seasonal and year-round tenants, with each double-occupancy rooms renting for $1,500 per month with utilities and housekeeping included. Some businesses master leased units for employees. The last round of seasonal residents moved out at the end of the 2021-22 ski season and the town intends to offer units on a year-round basis, according to Crum. 

There are still year-round workers living in about half of the units, Crum said. They get dibs first on the remodeled studio units, which will rent for $1,200 per month with all utilities included. Residents also get access to a swimming pool shared with the Willows Condominiums and the Pokolodi Lodge, Crum said. As the town finishes remodeling more units, some will eventually go to people on the waitlist.

The rent is more on par with a one-bedroom or two-bedroom unit in the town’s rental inventory, where other studios currently rent for $550-$1070 per month, according to the town’s 2022 rental rates chart

Crum recognizes that, and counters with the amenities — slopeside and poolside access, all-inclusive rent — and the cost of the effort to the town, which bought the inn for about $6 million and has allocated another $800,000 to renovations so far.

Initially, that renovation fund may have covered some exterior and interior improvements, but rising construction costs put a pin in some of the aesthetic updates outside in favor of what Crum refers to as “livability” updates inside, which include some heath and safety related work on the electrical and boiler systems as well as the room remodels.

With 125 local workers currently on the town’s waitlist for a studio unit, the Snowmass Inn project will at least make a dent in the long line for affordable housing here. 

Allocation is based on employment time, not time spent on the list; applicants need an average of five years’ employment time to make it to the top of the waiting list, according to a master housing plan that was approved last year. And the Snowmass Inn helps fill that housing gap without the added challenges of developing new construction on the little buildable land that remains in the town. (The town’s 2018 Comprehensive Plan indicates that single-family lots and lodges are already 94% built out and multifamily lots are already 95% built out.)

“It’s really great to be able to add units on the affordable market,” Crum said. “And it’s hard to build. … We don’t have a lot of land here in town. So it doesn’t, you know, create any real — more impact (on the land).”