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Aspen Times Q&A with Railroad Earth’s John Skehan

The members of Railroad Earth had only played a handful of live shows around their native New Jersey and recorded five demo songs before they improbably landed a gig at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in 2001.

That show introduced the band to Colorado, and soon to the masses of passionate followers of string music and improvisation. Railroad Earth’s rocking approach to bluegrass and their freewheeling concerts have made them the kind of band that music lovers orient their lives around.

The band returns to Aspen for a two-night run at Belly Up on Jan. 28 and 29. I spoke to Railroad Earth mandolin player John Skehan during one of the band’s previous wintertime multi-night runs in Aspen:

ANDREW TRAVERS: You do a lot of these multi-night runs, and some hardcore fans are sure to hit all the Colorado shows. How do you craft the arc of performances over multiple days?

JOHN SKEHAN: You do end up in a mindset, where rather than a first set and second set you’re looking at Friday, Saturday, Sunday and the overall arc. We change things up night to night, as much to keep ourselves on our toes as to keep the audience interested.

AT: The Railroad Earth connection with fans and audiences is uniquely intimate and personal. Is that something you guys consciously wanted to cultivate? Or did it just kind of happen on the road?

JS: It just kind of happens. We’re very blessed to have that kind of audience that really wants to be with you and see where you’re going to go. It keep us from doing the same thing night after night. They want to take the ride with us. And this scene that we’re in, and that we share with so many of our other brother bands out there, you’re blessed because you have a segment of fans that make live music a big part of their lives. It’s not, “OK, I’m going to go to the Enormodome to see Sting once a year.” They plan their vacations, their lives, their weddings, around going to hear live music. They make it a sacrament of their lives. We’re lucky to share that with them.

AT: Your song “Colorado,” from the first album, where did it come from and what inspired it?

JS: Colorado has been an interesting recurring theme throughout our existence. That came from a banjo riff that Andy [Goessling] had, and it kind of began to come together as we were first trying to figure this thing out. We recorded a short disc of demos that got passed around and we got enough positive feedback on that that we were able to go out and buy a crappy beat up old red van and tour, which led us to go, “Let’s take these five or six songs and add five more so we have something to tour with.”

Part of that initial tour was this big and scary thing that happened: we got a slot at Telluride. So of course one of the lyrics is, “Down the rocks run the cool rushing waters,” thinking about being on that stage in Telluride and looking out to the one end of town where the canyon ends and there’s that beautiful stream running down it. So it was just, well, I guess we’re bound for Colorado.

AT: That first show in Telluride gets talked about like it was really the genesis of Railroad Earth as we know it. Coming out of that show did the band find its identity?

JS: No. I don’t think we had any idea. We were just swept up in something, saying, “What is this thing?” It’s one thing to go in a studio and do some local shows to tune things up and experiment with songs. In that first year and beyond we were just learning what this thing is.

AT: Your progressive bluegrass style fit in with the tradition of Colorado bluegrass — New Grass Revival and Leftover Salmon and company. Do you approach a Colorado show any differently than elsewhere?

JS: I think we’ve always just done what we do. Colorado is receptive to it. Especially in the early days, we didn’t set out to be a bluegrass band or a rock band with bluegrass instruments — we were just working with this body of songs that Todd [Scheaffer] had come up with and that we had contributed to. We were just lucky that Colorado is a place you can come out with bluegrass instruments, put drums behind you, and do some more exploratory improvisation in that context and nobody looks at it as completely bizarre or anything.


RFTA excavator hits Comcast cables, service to be back online late this afternoon

Accidental damage to fiber optic cables caused a region-wide outage of most cellular and internet services on Monday morning, though crews are working to repair the damage. Some services are expected to be back online by 1 p.m. with full service back by 3:30-4:30 p.m.

At 7:47 a.m., a Roaring Fork Transportation Authority excavator severed two fiber optic cables (which included 24 and 72 smaller strands of fiber) at 27th Street and Grand Avenue in Glenwood Springs, according to Comcast director of external affairs Leslie Oliver. Comcast and its subsidiary Xfinity provide most telecommunications services in the region.

Work on an underpass project resulted in the mistakenly cut fiber.

“As part of the 27th Street Pedestrian Underpass Project, the fiber was cut by our project contractor,” said RFTA communications manager Jamie Tatsuno in an email to The Times. “A utility locate was performed at the site by (U.S. Infrastructure Company), they did not correctly locate the fiber line, so the contracted team was unaware of the line’s existence. Crews are onsite and working to repair the line.”

“At this point – our crews are on site and they are beginning to splice the fiber.  Estimated time of repair is about 3-4 hours.  Customers were recently notified by text message about the outage if they are subscribed to receive the notifications.  They can also check their Xfinity account for updates and to sign up for outage notifications,” Oliver said in an email at 12:23 p.m.

Residential and commercial services from Glenwood Springs to Aspen are affected.

All cellular companies are affected because cell towers connect to the broader network backbone by fiber or copper wiring, which they own or lease from local providers. The local network provider is responsible for the restoration of damaged infrastructure, Oliver said.

The process to fix the damaged fiber involves digging it up and assessing the damage to the cables, then splicers will cut back the cable to good glass to prepare for splicing. A new section of fiber optic cable will be spliced into the existing fiber.

This story will be updated.

Knudson: Life in the melting pot

It’s pretty pathetic how some people are offended by a cartoon. Or a book. Or a trans person. Or a woke beer. Or a woke American motorcycle company. Or a Prius. Or clean water. Or women who can choose what and when and how with their bodies.

Get a grip and get educated and learn some other cultures. Meet people totally unlike yourself. This country is a melting pot.

Miles A. Knudson


Johnson: Debt ceiling crisis averted

Thank you, Speaker McCarthy and President Joe Biden, for not listening to the extremes in your parties. You both deserve praise in embracing a long time successful tactic that has served America well — it’s called compromise. 

In the last few years, for some reason, compromise has been decried as a bad thing. Last time I checked, when someone insists that it must be their way or the highway, that person usually grows up to be single most of their life. Most of us usually outgrow that personality trait after graduating elementary school.

My adult friends realize that in any of their successful relationships with their spouse (gay or straight) no one gets everything they want. Creative compromise is what we all do.

By the way, we everyday citizens don’t care which party gets the credit. We just want you to solve problems and make America better. And you know who the real winner is when both political parties come/work together: America.

Keep it up guys! Well done!

Kenneth C. Johnson


Malo Jr.: Right likes to confuse terms

Figuring their ignorant base will equate socialism with communism, the right wing has always thrown around the word socialism recklessly. After all, we fought wars against communism, didn’t we? Take it from one who was tutored in Marxist philosophy by a John Bircher, the right doesn’t know what it’s talking about. 

Doctrinaire Marxist/Leninist socialism calls for the proletariat (workers organized into unions) to control the means of production. In other words, assume the role currently performed by the large corporations.

Also, there is no private property in a pure socialist state. All real estate is controlled by the state and distributed to the masses according to who can put it to best use and need.

Not Bernie nor AOC and the rest of the Squad are proposing we do anything like these actions. All they’re saying is America should observe the “for” part of Honest Abe’s government of, by, and for the people and provide a social safety net for those in need.

And, socialism isn’t the same as communism. Communism is a political system whereby the proletariat organize themselves into communes or soviets. 

Where the fraud of communism comes in is when it contends at first a strong central government is necessary to protect the soviets from the imperialists and will “wither away” as worldwide communism is achieved. In reality, a strong central government never gets anything but stronger until the proletariat rises up and knocks it off its perch.

On the other hand, socialism is an economic system best summarized by Marx’s words, “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.”

Fred Malo Jr.


Colorado sit skier Trevor Kennison finds redemption in ‘Full Circle’

In 2014, at the age of 22, Trevor Kennison hit a 40-foot jump in the backcountry near Vail Pass, went sideways and landed on his back, paralyzing him from the waist down.

He said ultimately, the accident changed his life for the better.

“You can look at an event like this negatively or positively,” said Kennison. “I took everything learned from playing sports and turned it into ‘How quick can I get into my wheelchair?’ ‘How quick can I learn how to go to the bathroom and shower?’ ‘How quick can I learn to ski again?’ I realized that if I wasn’t going to do it, no one’s going to do this for me. I really took that as motivation. This a new life. I knew that there would be challenges, and I accepted them.”

Six years later, he executed a double back flip at the exact spot of his accident. The feature length documentary film, “Full Circle: A Story of Post Traumatic Growth,” directed by Josh Berman and produced by Denver based Level 1 Production, documents that journey.

“Full Circle” is kicking off Carbondale-based 5Point Film’s Summer Film Series with two screenings: Tuesday at the Wheeler Opera House, and Wednesday at TACAW. Kennison will be at both events, which will include a Q&A after the film.

“Full Circle,” Trevor Kennison at Corbet’s Couloir.
Level 1 Production/Courtesy photo

Kennison, originally from New Hampshire, grew up a gifted all-around athlete and fell in love with Colorado when he was 12 on a family road trip across the Western states, which he called “the best experience of his life.” That trip, and the fact that his sister was living in the Roaring Fork Valley, inspired him to move to Avon when he was 21. Less than a year later, his life would change dramatically.

He said the first year after the accident was tough. After months at Denver’s Craig Hospital, he returned to New Hampshire and stayed with a friend, who took him in and let him sleep on the couch. But with the bathroom on the second floor, it wasn’t a long-term situation.

He credits his his sister and brother-in-law, Ashley and Thomas Caruso, who lived in Snowmass, for getting him to a better place.

“They took me out for my first runs and got me involved with Challenge Aspen and other organizations, which was really cool,” he said. “But the first time was hard. After trying a few times, I finally got on a run, and I’m going down and going down and I’m just gripping the outriggers so hard, I couldn’t feel my forearms. And from there I was hooked. I was living in Aspen, and I was skiing Snowmass and Highlands with my brother-in-law snowboarding behind me every single day. That is why I became the sit skier I am today, because he gave me the confidence that I can try this and if I fall, he’s going to pick me up. For him to do that and watch me progress was just the best thing ever.”

Behind the scenes of the filming of “Full Circle.”
Level 1 Production/Courtesy photo

The film has been in the works since before the lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which Kennison called a blessing in disguise. When he initially approached Director Josh Berman about the project, the idea was to produce a three-part limited docuseries leading up to his attempt at the double back flip. But the pandemic gave the filmmakers time to flesh out a more robust story and connect Kinneson’s story with one that happened 50 years earlier.

“Full Circle” follows Trevor on his path of post-traumatic growth and concurrently the story of pioneer climber and extreme skier Barry Corbet, who became a paraplegic after a 1968 helicopter crash in Aspen.

“Full Circle,” Barry Corbet filming at Craig Hospital in Denver.
Level 1 Production/Courtesy photo

Though 50 years apart, their stories mirror each other with common locations and themes — injuries in the Colorado backcountry, rehab at Craig Hospital, fame in Jackson Hole. But they also share a resiliency of spirit and refusal to let their love of life to be diminished by their injuries. It’s ultimately a film about hope and not only surviving, but thriving through life’s most difficult challenges.

For Kennison who is just shy of his 31st birthday, he is grateful to be where he is today and said that not being afraid to ask for and accept help, as well as taking care of his mental health, ultimately got him through the dark days.

“I don’t care if you’re disabled or able bodied, it’s just so important to work on your mental health. This injury so physical, but at the same time with a spinal cord injury, it’s also such a mental battle,” he said.

“What do I want audiences to take away? If someone is struggling or going through anything difficult, I just want to give them some hope. I went back and got redemption. And I am just so thankful for everyone that helped me get to where I am and for what’s to come. I can’t wait for people to see this movie. It’s going to change so many lives.”

“Full Circle.” Trevor Kennison Vail Pass jump.
Level 1 Production/Courtesy photo
If you go…

What: 5Point Summer Film Series Presents “Full Circle.”
Where: Wheeler Opera House and TACAW.
When: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. (Wheeler) and Wednesday 7:30 p.m. (TACAW)
More info and tickets: https://5pointfilm.org/

Rogers: The monster looming behind social media

Heeding the surgeon general’s advisory about the mental health perils of social media for children, the Aspen School District recently sent out an alert to parents:

“This week, the U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy issued an urgent advisory about the mental health effects of social media on young people. We believe this is an important issue and wanted to share the information.”

The warning ran through the highlights. Nearly every kid between 13 and 17 admits using social media. Around 40% of children between 8 and 12 do, too.

“The problem is social media has written these algorithms, these programs that are designed to addict kids, younger and younger and younger, and it’s working really well,” Aspen School District Superintendent David Baugh told the Aspen Daily News. “It’s really negatively impacted schools. We’re spending lots on counselors, social workers.”

But Mom and Dad have been infected, too. This is like trying to talk about their child’s drug abuse to parents missing teeth and jittery from their own addiction. Signs of inflammation abound.

To save the children, Mom needs to unhook herself. Even the best-life posing is corrosive, never mind the groupthink, the electrified gossip, the bullying, the baiting, beatdowns, dolling up, erosion of critical thinking, well, thinking period.

This tide of flotsam and crap overwhelms the cute sharing of meals, trips, children, graduation and so on. As if anyone really cares other than to one up with their own postings. Good intent has been subsumed, invaded, taken over.

Dad needs to find a sport, build a birdhouse, take a walk. Keyboard warrioring is nothing of the sort. Clever trolling is an oxymoron. Look it up, though the attention span required to do that might be gone already.

Grandpa still thinks that Obama vid “admitting” he’s Muslim was real. “How can you fake that?” he demands.    

We’re in trouble. Just look who we elect to positions where social media has a foothold. The disease has spread well beyond the children. Everyone’s hooked.


It gets worse from here, sorry.

ChatGPT is only the Australopithecus of intelligent chat bots that soon will pass the Turing test, no sweat, and not just fool Grandpa. It’s only been out since November and by January had crested 100 million users — a lot faster than any other software release in history.

OpenAI got a little head start. So did MySpace ahead of Facebook, Blackberry ahead of Apple’s iPhone, AltaVista ahead of Google. Meta and Alphabet, and don’t forget Tik Tok will likely rocket past ChatGPT, and who knows, Amazon past all of them.

This frontier is truly wide open. Sneaky algorithms toying with dopamine and cortisol are cute by comparison, even if their use can threaten democracy as we’ve known it.

We have little clue about what’s coming next.


Social media is eroding our mental health and our collective ability to reason just as artificial intelligence has reached the cusp of liftoff.

At one level, this form of AI is a tool like other tools. Social media has this function, as well, an effective part of the marketing mix, for instance. My daughter uses ChatGPT to scale her use of social media business messaging. It’s great. Next level.

There’s even a sense of control. We humans are pushing the buttons. We are choosing what to open and consume. We can handle it, except we’re not, not really. Not the teenagers, certainly not the adults. This is well established now.

It’s axiomatic that ChatGPT or the next evolutionary step of conversant AI that writes more compelling stories than human authors, does the doctor and the lawyer’s jobs better, and outsmarts us generally is also going to breach the borders of everything toxic we associate with social media. Only it’s going to be orders of magnitude more effective at it.

And here we are today, sending urgent notes to parents who can’t handle social media any better than their children even as we all swarm to the next big wave.

The urgent warning has come too late, fallen on too many deaf ears, the barn already emptied. In effect, zombies are real. Welcome to World War Z.

Aspen Times Editor Don Rogers can be reached at drogers@aspentimes.com

In Brief: Sinkhole in Snowmass Village; trailwork begins on Airline; county seeks feedback on $20-$25 million trail proposal

Snowmass Village grapples with sinkhole

A sinkhole has developed on the edge of Brush Creek Road immediately downhill of Lower Kearns Road in Snowmass Village.

The town of Snowmass Village Public Works Department responded and will continue to work with agency partners to assess and stabilize the area, officials said. They noted the damage wasn’t as extensive as feared. The sinkhole has exposed some critical utilities, which will be addressed as part of the stabilization.

Traffic will be impacted as the situation develops. Single-lane, traffic control measures will be in place in the affected area. The route to the Snowmass Center is currently detoured to Upper Kearns Road.

Updates will be provided at tosv.com and on the Town’s social media:

  • TOSV Facebook: facebook.com/TownofSnowmass/
  • TOSV Twitter: twitter.com/TownofSnowmass

Construction of features on Airline Trail begins Monday

Construction of additional features, such as optional jumps, on Airline Trail will begin Monday, Pitkin County officials announced.

The project will take about two weeks. Riders should expect machinery on the trail and ride with caution, officials said. There may also be delays in letting trail traffic through. With last year’s construction of Incline at Sky Mountain Park, Airline became a one-way, downhill-only trail, making the changes possible. 

Feedback sought on trail between AABC and Brush Creek Park & Ride

Pitkin County seeks community feedback on a potential trail that would connect the Aspen Airport Business Center (AABC) and the Brush Creek Park & Ride.

“The trail section between the AABC and the Brush Creek Park and Ride is a significant gap in Pitkin County’s extensive trail system,” said Gary Tennenbaum, director of Pitkin County Open Space & Trails. “While the project costs are high compared to previous other local projects, our focus is to better understand what the community wants and then further explore a number of factors that contribute to the feasibility of the project.”

Other factors, in addition to community feedback, include a cost and benefit analysis, exploration of multimodal opportunities, projected user data, connectivity of the trail system, and identifying funding and grant possibilities. An engineering feasibility study completed in February 2022 looking at all alignment options demonstrated a preferred alternative with a projected cost between $20 million and $25 million. 

A new trail would also provide access to the Rio Grande Trail and greater trail network. The current trail connection from the Brush Creek Park & Ride to the AABC requires trail users to go down to Jaffee Park and up a gravel path that has an average grade of about 12%. At present, getting to the Aspen Airport Business Center from the Rio Grande Trail requires users to descend to the Stein Bridge and climb up a gravel path with another steep grade, averaging about 15%. This route also adds two miles.

An online survey regarding trail alignment options and use is now live through the end of July and can be found at pitkinostprojects.com

CDOT adds funding for road repairs

The Colorado Department of Transportation is investing additional funds received last month to address road conditions after one of the most intense winters in recent decades damaged some roads beyond what they normally sustain each year.

Twelve stretches of roadway across the state have been identified, and preparations are underway to make repairs as soon as possible, officials said. More than $17.6 million in funding has been distributed to two emergency projects, and $7.4 million is being managed by CDOT’s Division of Maintenance and Operations to reimburse local maintenance teams that either perform roadwork or oversee contracted projects. Weather conditions across the state have finally warmed enough that permanent repairs can be made to roads.

Two large stretches of mountain highways will receive extensive work under emergency contracts with private construction contractors. U.S. Highway 40 on the north side of Berthoud Pass, near Winter Park, has experienced badly deteriorating conditions since mid-winter, and maintenance crews have spent weeks making temporary fixes during the seasonal freeze-thaw cycles. A stretch of Interstate 70 from just east of the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnels will also receive pavement resurfacing. This new stretch of road will connect to a project that was already planned near Georgetown and Silver Plume.

Ten additional sections of roadways will receive funding for projects that CDOT maintenance staff will oversee. As work scopes and cost estimates continue to be refined, it will determine whether maintenance staff can perform the work directly in accordance with state law or whether projects will be contracted to private construction firms and overseen by maintenance supervisors. 

New appointment at Aspen museum

The Aspen Art Museum announce that Daniel Merritt has been appointed director of curatorial affairs. He will work closely with Nancy and Bob Magoon Director Nicola Lees to develop and oversee all curatorial programming, including exhibitions, commissions, public programs, and publications.

Since 2014, Merritt has worked at Swiss Institute in New York City, most recently as curator and head of residencies.

“I am thrilled to join the Aspen Art Museum, an adventurous institution founded by artists.” he said. “Throughout its history, the museum has demonstrated a commitment to discovery. Since the mid-twentieth century, the town of Aspen has been a haven for experimentation and the progress of artistic thought. Set in an astonishing panorama, the Aspen Art Museum is a hub in which the true voices of artists drive conversations. I look forward to fostering those voices.”

Merritt holds an MA in the History of Art from the Courtauld Institute, London, and a BA in Art History and American Studies from Columbia University, New York.

Jet charter service extends service to Aspen

Set Jet Inc., a membership-based private jet charter program based in Scottsdale, Arizona, has announced their newest route connecting Southern California and Scottsdale with Aspen.

The company said it will begin servicing routes to Aspen with direct flights from the Scottsdale Airport, as well as one-stop flights from Orange County and San Diego starting the week of June 12. Buy-the-seat costs for Set Jet member flights to and from Aspen will start at $1,330.

“Member requests for this route have consistently increased as we approach the Aspen summer season,” said Set Jet CEO Tom Smith. “Aspen is home to some incredible summer festivals, and our members are looking forward to kicking off our Aspen service as the Food & Wine Classic begins. I am proud to see Set Jet now in 10 airports across five Southwestern states and Mexico as we continue to grow our Set Jet destination map.”

Set Jet Chairman Steve Reynolds said, “As a longtime Aspen local, I am excited to see this route crossed off the Set Jet expansion to-do list. I am excited to bring this impeccable experience to the Aspen community – and there is a certain opposite synergy between the desert and the mountains that I truly enjoy as a second-home owner in Scottsdale, myself.”

For more information, visit www.setjet.com.

On-request personal assistant service comes to Aspen

TULA, an on-request personal assistant service that began in Denver in 2020 is expanding in-person services to Aspen and the surrounding communities.  

Leveraging technology (There’s an app for that) and community, TULA officials said the service offers busy parents, professionals, and anyone who needs a little extra time in their day a personal assistant at the touch of a button. Hourly services are customized for each client and executed by TULA’s network of vetted professionals. 

TULA will launch its next in-person market in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley this month. Aspen local Kristi Hayes Buchanan and year-round Aspen resident Monica Cohan have paired up with TULA co-founders Megan Trask and Cody Galloway to lead this new market for TULA. TULA currently serves clients virtually worldwide and in Denver, Boulder, and Austin, Texas, with in-person requests. Additional in-person markets are set to open later this year.

Members can subscribe to a monthly package of six, 12, or 24 hours (Packages receive a discount on the hourly rate) or purchase a la carte hours at $80 an hour. Packages can also be customized for full-day options or recurring tasks.  

For more information: TULABalanced.com.

Roadwork to begin at Glenwood Meadows

The city of Glenwood Springs and general contractor Johnson Construction are scheduled to begin phase 1 roadwork for the Glenwood Meadows Roadway Rebuild project on Monday.

During phase 1, West Meadows Drive (the entrance between Target/Big 5 Sporting Goods and Lowes) will be closed between Midland Avenue and the north side of the West Meadows roundabout. Alternate business and residential access will remain open through the East Meadows entrance (by Petco) or either of the two Wulfsohn Road entrances.

During phase 1, the Roaring Fork Transit Authority (RFTA) will re-open the Wulfsohn bus stops to the public and remove the temporary one outside of Chili’s.  

Phase 1 is anticipated to be complete in early July and is expected to be the most impactful to access in and out of the subdivision. This phase will replace the island, replace sidewalks, sidewalk crossings, add a full length right and left turn lane to the site, and replace the asphalt with a heavy asphalt section design.

To receive project updates, contact Bryana Starbuck via email at bryana.starbuck@cogs.us or by phone/text at 970-930-1411.

Basalt Connect joins public transit promotion

Zero Fare For Better Air, We’ll Get You There is a collaborative, statewide initiative designed to reduce ground-level ozone by increasing the use of transit.

Basalt Connect is encouraging community residents and visitors to ride transit to help keep Colorado’s air clean during the summer months when air pollution is at its highest.

Basalt Connect will join the statewide effort to promote public transit during the months of June, July and August. The effort is made possible by Colorado Senate Bill 22-180, the Ozone Season Transit Grant Program, in partnership with the Colorado Energy Office. Basalt Connect welcomes individuals who may have never used its transit services and customers who are regular transit users to ride often all summer long and save money getting where they need to go.

“The pilot program that launched August of last year was highly successful,” Colorado Association of Transit Agencies Executive Director Ann Rajewski said, “All agencies that participated increased ridership — ranging anywhere between 2% to 59%. This year we are expanding the program for the entire summer and are expecting to increase the number of transit agencies participating.”
Approximately 85% of the greenhouse gas emissions that come from transportation are due to day-to-day commutes, according to transit officials. By leaving the car at home, a person can save up to 20 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions every day depending on the length of the trip, they said.

Longevity Project: Panel Tuesday to take up best life practices in later years

It may feel like a Peter Pan, ageless society living here, but that would be an illusion. Time always wins out.

Our choices comes down to how we will live in our later years. To that end, the Longevity Project offers a panel discussion Tuesday at The Arts Center at Willits (TACAW) about aging with purpose.

The panelists — all experts in the topic — will offer their insights into how best to navigate big life transitions while maintaining, or regaining, purpose. Moderator Lee Tuchfarber, CEO of Renew Senior Communities, comes to the discussion with some expertise of his own.

Presented by The Aspen Times and Glenwood Post Independent in partnership with Renew Senior Communities and TACAW, the Longevity Project is a bi-annual campaign to help educate our readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley.

Tickets for the event are $15 and can be purchased at https://events.cmnm.org/e/longevity2023. Ticket includes in-person or streamed event access.

Meet the panel:

Kari Cardinale: Modern Elder Academy, Community Without Borders. 

Cardinale is senior vice president of Digital Strategy at Modern Elder Academy, the world’s first-ever “midlife wisdom school.” Dedicated to re-framing the concept of aging, Modern Elder Academy supports students navigating midlife with a renewed sense of purpose and possibility. 

She helps design and deliver digital programs for the academy aiming to build a community movement redefining midlife as a calling. She has worked with hundreds of experts around the world and combining her 30 years of experience as a driven creative strategy social entrepreneur with her professional hosting, facilitating, training and private consulting skills to elicit the best ideas from today’s thought leaders. 

Cardinale is a devotee of lifelong learning and has a background in archetypal psychology and organizational leadership.

Barbara Kreisman, Ph.D.: Dell Technologies, University of Denver, Knoebel Institute for Healthy Aging.

Dr. Kreisman has had a varied career, from working organizational development director for Dell Technologies during the 1990s, to becoming associate dean of the University of Denver, Daniels College of Business, then on to her current role with the Knoebel Institute for Healthy Aging, Ritchie School of Engineering. At age 73, she describes herself as a modern elder.

Her academic achievements consist of a Ph.D. in leadership and organizational behavior from the
University of Texas at Austin; a master’s degree in human resource development from the University of Texas at Austin; and a second interdisciplinary graduate degree in Business and Career Counseling from Arizona State University.

Additionally, she is a four-time alum of the Modern Elder Academy established by Chip Conley in Baja, Mexico, and has dedicated the past three years to research on aging and the challenges people face as they move into their next chapter. She co-designed and teaches the
“Retirement Journeys; New Roads, New Horizons” non-credit public offering at Denver University.

After completion of her Ph.D., she left the corporate world to become a professor of practice at the University of Denver, Daniels College of Business, where she was promoted to assistant dean and then associate dean responsible for the executive MBA, professional MBA and all executive education program offerings.

J. Scott McLagan: University of Denver, Intergistic Solutions, Knoebel Institute for Healthy Aging.   

McLagan is an emeritus professor of the practice in management at the University of Denver, Daniels College of Business, and a partner with Intergistic Solutions, a management consulting firm with offices in Denver and Austin, Texas. He was the faculty lead for the executive leadership and global business elements (classroom and experiential) in DU’s executive MBA program for 18 years prior to retiring in 2022.

He continues to teach and consult in leadership, executive team development and strategic planning/execution. Over the past 20 years he has led leadership programs and consulting engagements for over 80 organizations, including Newmont Mining, DCP Midstream, Kaiser Permanente, Denver Health, Centura Health, Comcast, Level 3/CenturyLink/Lumen, Starz, Lockheed Martin, Crocs, Pacific Life and Vail Resorts.

He is currently working with the Knoebel Institute for Healthy Aging at the University of Denver to develop the program Your Next Chapter: Aging and Well-Being. This program is focused on supporting mid- to late-career individuals or retirees to help define their path in purpose/meaning, health and relationships.

Before moving into academia and consulting, McLagan spent over 25 years in the corporate world and has a diverse professional background. He held senior executive roles with two large global companies (Fisher Controls and Emerson Electric) and a high-tech start-up later sold to Oracle. He has experience in general management, strategic planning, marketing and sales management.

Katherine Fry: CEO, Marble Consulting.

Fry is a retired human resources executive turned consultant and coach. Through her company, Marble Peak Consulting, Fry helps clients transition from deficit-based thinking to asset-based thinking. Her science-based evidence approach is rooted in positive psychology and neuroplasticity.

With 25 years of coaching experience, she helps people lead and live by leveling up, individually and collectively. In addition to being involved in the community, you can find Fry leveling up in part by ultrarunning on mountain trails during the summer and skinning and skiing in the winter.

“You can completely reinvent yourself,” she said. “It’s just never too late. And I help clients who are in their 20s really identify the direction they want to go and get crystal clear on that, and I have clients in their in their 50s and clients who are seven and eight years away from retiring who are really starting to ponder what’s next and starting to go in a new direction. And I think that that’s just so exciting and that’s exactly why I can’t wait for this longevity project and the panel discussion. I’m super excited about it.”

The Longevity Event: Aging with Purpose

When: Tuesday
Where: TACAW, The Arts Campus at Willits
Time: 5 p.m., Meet and Greet; 5:30-7, panel discussion
Tickets: Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online at events.cmnm.org/e/longevity2023

Obituary: Nikifor Budsey II

March 31, 1960 – April 27, 2023

Nikifor Budsey II passed away on April 27, 2023 at the age of 63. Born in 1960 in Loma Linda, California. Nik has called Aspen home since 1980.
Nik was a devoted father to his daughters, Julia and Maria plus a loving partner to Janey Gubow, who was his faithful caregiver for many years.
Nikifor was a ski and snowboarding pro with the Aspen Skiing Company. In the off-season he owned and operated Nikifor’s Car Detailing.
Nik enjoyed volunteering with Lift Up’s Aspen Food Pantry, Ski to Live, and outdoor ed at his daughters’ school.
Nik is survived by his partner, Janey, daughters, Julia and Maria, mother and step-father, Ulla and George Boaz, former wife, Susie Budsey, sister-in-law, Katy Wabisweski, his beloved Labrador, Gus and grand-puppy, Rosie. His father, Robert Alexander Budsey preceded him in death.
A celebration to honor Nikifor’s life will be held at a later date.
Contributions can be made in Nikifor’s memory to Lift Up, www.liftup.org and Pathfinders, www.pathfindersforyou.org.

Aspen Misc.: 50 years of The Gant; sunrise on Frying Pan Road

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The Gant’s gold van in honor of their 50th anniversary. This year marks the 50th anniversary of The Gant. Since December 27, 1973, the resort has followed its motto of “Good Times in Aspen,” which holds true to this day.
The Gant/Courtesy Photo
Wednesday morning sunrise on Frying Pan Road.
Jenny Maschino/Courtesy photo
Sashae celebrated their 18th anniversary this week in Aspen under owner Heather Kemp (and her dog Cowboy) who took over the store from Shae Singer. It’s going stronger than ever. The floral and gift retail space has dozens of brands and has been serving the local community for nearly two years under Kemp.
Julie Bielenberg/The Aspen Times
Now that it’s spring, Aspenite Niklaus Kuhn has traded his skis in for rollerblades and his near daily Highland Bowl hikes have turned into rollerblade treks up Maroon Creek Road.
Niklaus Kuhn/Courtesy photo
Aspen floral artist Alli J Creative weaves together an arch of blossoms that trails from the courthouse door to the sidewalk for a Thursday afternoon wedding last week. She snipped sprays of fragrant purple lilacs blooming nearby to add to the romantic display.
Lynda Edwards/The Aspen Times