In Brief: Rock hospitalized driver in canyon; Keystone to vote on becoming a town; Vail Resorts going mobile with passes |

In Brief: Rock hospitalized driver in canyon; Keystone to vote on becoming a town; Vail Resorts going mobile with passes

Staff Report

Rock hits driver, shuts down Glenwood Canyon

A rockfall incident in Glenwood Canyon last week resulted in a Glenwood Springs resident being hospitalized when part of the rock struck her vehicle.

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, a single rock came down and broke into pieces on the shoulder of westbound Interstate 70 near No Name a little before 9 a.m. on Thursday.

“The rock broke into pieces, and one piece collided with a vehicle traveling westbound,” wrote Elise Thatcher, CDOT Region 3  communication manager, in an email.  

She said that the rock hit the driver’s side of the windshield. 

There were no other injuries. The person who was hit was in the hospital on Friday with no other information provided.

The incident resulted in a closure of westbound I-70 between No Name and Glenwood Springs for about an hour.  

After assessing the collision, Thatcher said that CDOT’s geohazard team determined the rock came down from the canyon wall.

Keystone residents to vote whether to become state’s newest town

Roughly three weeks before Keystone residents will decide their future with a vote to become Colorado’s newest town, proponents of the effort hosted a public meeting on March 2 featuring a slew of candidates running to sit on the would-be town’s charter commission. 

The charter, the governing document for Keystone should residents vote to incorporate, will be drafted by the commission and voted on by residents at a later point but only if voters support incorporation when the all-mail election ends at 7 p.m. March 28.

Ballots will begin arriving in the mailboxes of Keystone’s roughly 900 registered voters on March 6. According to Kevin Linehan, chair for the election commission, which is overseeing the vote, there is no threshold for votes to decide the election’s outcome — meaning it will be a simple majority of the votes cast. The election marks the second such effort by residents to break from Summit County government in the past two decades.

“There’s a lot of issues that haven’t been addressed, and that caused the resurgence of the effort,” said Ken Riley, president of both the Keystone Incorporation Committee and the Keystone Citizens League — groups that are supporting incorporation. “The only way that we’re going to get our needs met in this community is to incorporate.”

For charter commission candidates, the effort stems from Keystone’s “unmet needs” that they claim the county is not positioned to address. From investments in infrastructure to public safety, candidates, all of whom are long-term Keystone residents, pitched their vision of Keystone as a self-governing town that controls its tax revenue and makes its own legislative decisions. 

“There’s a big future in front of us,” said Doyle Richmond, a Loveland Pass Village resident. “We have an opportunity as the local residents and registered voters to control that money.”

“We have literally no voice or power,” said Valerie Thisted, a resident of the North Fork Estates neighborhood, who described incorporation as a “grassroots effort born out of frustration.”

Vail Resorts going to mobile passes, lift tickets

Vail Resorts announced Thursday that its new mobile pass and mobile lift ticket technology will be available to guests on a new My Epic app coming in fall 2023.

The technology, which allows your phone to be your ticket to the slopes, is planned to be available for the 2023-24 winter season at Vail Resorts’ U.S. resorts, including Breckenridge Ski Resort and Keyston Resort in Summit County, with availability at Canada’s Whistler Blackcomb to follow in future seasons.

“This innovation reflects our commitment to harnessing technology to improve your experience, making it easier to get you on the mountain faster and then help you have the best day exploring,” said Tim April, chief information officer of Vail Resorts, in a company news release.

The new technology will allow guests to buy their pass or lift ticket online, activate and store it on their phone in the My Epic app, put their phone in their pocket, and get scanned, hands-free, via Bluetooth technology designed for low energy usage. This reduces the need to visit the ticket window or wait to receive a pass or lift ticket in the mail. Vail Resorts said the innovation will also reduce the waste created by plastic cards and RFID chips in line with the company’s Commitment to Zero sustainability pledge.

Even after the feature is launched, Vail Resorts will continue to have plastic cards available to any guests who cannot or do not want to use their phone as their pass or lift ticket. The company will also activate the plastic cards of renewing pass holders and mail plastic cards to all new guests for the 2023-24 season, as part of the transition to Mobile Pass & Mobile Lift Ticket.

Eagle River Fire will seek tax hike for ladder truck, new gear

The Eagle River Fire Protection District this spring is asking voters for some financial help.

The district — which runs from the top of Tennessee Pass to Wolcott, but excludes Vail — at the May 2 election will ask voters for a small property tax increase. The increase would raise roughly $2 million per year. If approved, the money will be used exclusively for equipment and maintenance, along with facility maintenance. The increase would be just less than $12 for every $1 million in assessed value.

The district was set in 2020 to ask voters the same question in the May special district elections. But the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the district board to pull the question off the ballot.

District Chief Karl Bauer said the equipment list includes both replacement and new gear.

The replacement items include a new ladder truck and self-contained breathing apparatus for firefighters. New gear would include wildland firefighting equipment including both large and smaller wildland trucks.

In a previous interview, District Board member Darell Wegert noted that the current truck is 10 or 12 years old and nearing the end of its useful life.

Fire equipment is expensive, and built to order. Bauer said a new ladder truck wouldn’t be delivered for roughly two years, and will probably cost more than $1.2 million.