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Aspen Historical Society launches new Bauhaus tour

A new Aspen Historical Society walking tour is telling Aspen’s Bauhaus story, as the world and the local community celebrates the centennial of the influential German school and art movement.

A crowd of more than 20 came out for the inaugural tour in mid-June — a mix of locals and tourists enticed by the much-ballyhooed Bauhaus 100 celebration and the work of Bauhaus master Herbert Bayer.

Led by the Historical Society’s Nina Gabianelli, the walk starts on Hallam Street with the home of photographer — and Herbert Bayer contemporary — Ferenc Berko. With renovations still underway, the property joins Berko’s historic studio, built in the ’40s in the midcentury modern style, to a new addition fashioned of Bauhaus-styled glass and steel with the flourish of a “Bayer blue” door. An adjacent Victorian, also owned by the Berko family, is undergoing a renovation, as well.

Gabianelli uses it as a starting point because it sums up modern Aspen’s architectural story of saving the old, building modern and letting different eras live on side by side.

“That’s what defines Aspen,” Gabianelli, who developed the tour with her Historical Society colleagues, the city of Aspen and architect Harry Teague, told her tour group. “We are everything. There is no one Victorian historic district, there is no one style. We are people from different places gathered together. That’s why I start here.”

From there, the tour winds through the West End toward Herbert Bayer’s Aspen Institute campus, his iconic Bauhaus environment including functional conference buildings, his marble “Anocanda” sculpture and Marble Garden, his grass mounds and landscape design for Anderson Park, his “sgraffito” mural.

But on the way there, Gabianelli stops at some lesser known Bauhaus-related sites. At the refurbished Victorian home where Herbert and Joella Bayer lived from 1946 to 1959, she stops to let the crowd marvel at Bayer’s distinct fencing design of interconnected rectilinear lines.

The tour also touches on restored, unrestored and new Victorians, noting midcentury modern construction and civic projects like the schoolhouse that became the Red Brick Center for the Arts, telling the story of Aspen’s approach to historic preservation — itself a Bauhaus legacy. Herbert Bayer was a founding member of what would become the Historic Preservation Commission, and Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius, as far back as 1946, urged city officials to save the old but to build new.

The tour also makes a stop at the construction site where the beloved Given Institute once stood, noting the failure to save the Harry Weiss-designed building, constructed on land gifted to the University of Colorado by Elizabeth Paepcke, and sold off by the college during the recession to the Lewis family now building a private compound on the site.

The anniversary Bauhaus tour joins a Historical Society’s lineup of summer tours that includes a History Coach electric car-ride tour of town and walking tours of the West End, downtown, a pub crawl, mining and ranching sites, the Hotel Jerome, the Wheeler Opera House, Smuggler Mountain and the Aspen Historical Society archives. The weekly History Hikes series also runs on Saturdays from July 20 to Aug. 17.


CMC trustees appoint ski and finance expert to board

Colorado Mountain College on Wednesday selected Bob Kuusinen to fill the Routt County seat on the college Board of Trustees vacated by Ken Brenner until the November election.

Kuusinen was particularly attractive for his strong financial background, several board members noted. He is currently the market president for Vectra Bank in Steamboat Springs, and has deep connections to the ski industry.

“Colorado Mountain College is an incredible asset to our community, and I know those of us in Steamboat Springs understand that,” Kuusinen said. “I am honored to serve CMC, its students and the region through governance and setting policies that guide the college’s strategic direction.”

Kuusinen will fill the seat until Nov. 5, when it will be subject to election. In his application to the board, he said he would be interested in running.

The board voted 4-1 — East Garfield County Trustee Kathy Goudy voting nay — in favor of Kuusinen after it interviewed six candidates for the seat. Several trustees expressed appreciation for the number and quality of the candidates.

“I think this was the most outstanding group of candidates I could ever believe,” board member Pat Chlouber of Lake County said.

“I appreciated those people who had a strong association with CMC, and those that had one a little more remote via a child or a friend,” she said.

Several of the candidates previously taught for CMC, and every candidate had some personal connection to the college. Kuusinen said he gained new appreciation for CMC after his daughter attended for two years before transferring to another school.

His resume says he started as a grill cook at Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation in 1974, and worked his way up to vice president of operations by 1990. He started in the banking industry in 2003, and said he is nearing retirement from Vectra, allowing him more time to serve on the board.

Kuusinen is currently a board member of the Mountain Village Partnership, a long-time Rotarian, and has been part of numerous other districts and nonprofit boards in the Yampa Valley.

Kuusinen’s financial background best fits the needs of the board, at least until November, Eagle County board member Chris Romer said.

Romer added that he sometimes questions whether staff members at CMC campuses are best suited for the high-level work of the board.

“I certainly appreciate the institutional knowledge, but I have questions of, can you [segue] from years of staff work to changing hats completely to college-wide versus campus focus, and a governance role,” Romer said.

The board asked each candidate what they see as the role of trustee.

“I think board trustees need to keep in mind the fact that they’re not managing this entity, they are policy [and] government pieces in the organization,” Kuusinen told the board.

“You need to stay up at the policy, governance level, and leave the management to the management group,” he said.

Kuusinen said one thing he would like the CMC board to work on is more four-year degree programs at the Steamboat Springs Campus, and across the network.


Boeing won’t rename Max 737s, CEO tells Aspen crowd

The president and CEO of Boeing said Wednesday the company is passing on President Donald Trump’s advice to rebrand its 737 Max commercial aircraft that crashed twice in six months, killing 346 people.

“We’re not focused on the branding and marketing around the airplane. We’re focused on safety,” Dennis Muilenburg told interviewer Mike Allen, co-founder and executive editor Axios, at the Greenwald Pavillion as part of the Aspen Ideas Festival. “To me, this is not a marketing or branding exercise. I know that’s important, and certainly it affects the public view. The most important thing we can do is ensure safety. And we’re going to stay very focused on that.”

President Trump suggested in April that the company rename the plane. He offered the advice in a tweet, saying, “What do I know about branding, maybe nothing (but I did become President!), but if I were Boeing, I would FIX the Boeing 737 MAX, add some additional great features, & REBRAND the plane with a new name. No product has suffered like this one. But again, what the hell do I know?”

Based in Chicago, Boeing is the world’s largest plane-maker but has been reeling over the events of Oct. 29, when a Lion Air flight crash killed 189 people, and a March 10 accident in which an Ethiopian Airlines jet crashed, killing 157 people.

“These accidents, when they happen — fortunately, airplane accidents don’t happen very often — but when they happen, they’re devastating and they’re defining moments for the company and the industry,” Muilenburg said.

The second crash led to the grounding of nearly 400 Max jets worldwide. Muilenburg acknowledged the impact it has had on commercial air travel.

“The ripple effect to the flying public has been very hard,” he said.

There is no time line for when the aircraft will return, but Muilenburg suggested by the end of the summer.

“We’re now in the process of certification with the FAA and regulators around the world,” he said. “They’ve done simulator certification sessions. As soon as we complete that phase, we’ll schedule a certification flight, and then we’ll get the fleet back up and flying.”

Muilenburg stayed on his message throughout the talk — that Boeing values safety above all else, and its employees are driven to make things right and have been humbled by the experience. Muilenburg said the company has made personnel changes since the crashes, but he would not provide specifics.

“It’s my job, and our management team’s job, to make sure that we are always putting the best talent in the right spots,” he said.

The Max 737’s MCAS flight control software have been blamed as the main culprit for the crashes. MCAS stands for Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System. The software, Muilenburg explained, “added to the overload of the pilots in both cases, and we know there are some improvements we can make to that software.” The company also must better work with its customer airlines, he said. “We’ll learn from both accidents,” he said. “We’re devastated by what happened. We’re humbled by what happened. But we will, as a result, increase the safety of our planes. We’re very confident that the Max will be one of the safest airplanes to ever fly.”

When Allen asked if Boeing would go down if another 737 Max goes down, Muilenburg replied: “I’m not going to live in fear. We’re certainly going to pay attention to it. I’m very confident in the updates that we’re making to the airplane, that the airplane will be one of the safest airplanes ever to fly.”

Muilenburg, however, said he does not expect the public to immediately embrace the new Max 737s. Boeing will have to do extensive work with the airlines to regain the public’s trust, he said.

“It will take some time,” Muilenburg said. “As I said earlier, we regret the impact this has had to our airlines’ customers and to the public’s confidence in the airplane. That’s been a real impact, and it will take us time to earn and re-earn the trust of the public.

“Over time confidence will be rebuilt, but it has to be rebuilt because we are flying and flying safely.”


The cost of dying in Aspen

The Moore Open Space needs to be preserved with the least amount of improvements. Many people consider the sage to be sacred and they need to be protected. Paved trails should be banned and no new trails.

I will probably die at home in town, so I expect my body will be shipped to the morgue at Aspen Valley Hospital for an autopsy. Currently my choice for cremation is in writing, but after researching the carbon cost of cremation, I’d rather have a green burial. It would save a lot of money and better align with my values.

We need a new green natural cemetery. One that bans crypts and embalming. Coffins and caskets only with pure natural or cardboard (certainly 100% biodegradable) could augment natural cloth shrouds or body wraps (no dyes, no plastics). There will be many rules to flesh out (no pun intended). Marker stones need to have a maximum size, be horizontal and half buried, with rough edges and no polished surfaces. I’d ban marble for being too contrasty.

Graves should only be placed between the sage, with the only exception being for some small size.

After being examined at AVH it would only be a short 1 mile trip to Moore saving a round trip to Glenwood Springs. This will take a lot of coordination between Pitkin County and AVH; the coroner will need new policies to follow. It might require adding a new position at Open Space, that of grave digger, or you could just add “grave digger” to somebody’s job duties because I don’t see any of my friends or family digging my grave.

I read Washington state just legalized human composting, but I can’t get over the ick factor, too Soylent Green for me. A sky burial would be appropriate if I lived in Tibet, and a sea burial would be OK, but the nearest ocean is far away. Please make it so. Having dead bodies interred there would decrease the likelihood of future development.

Tom Mooney


Putting their faith in a phony

In his letter “The jig is up for climate deniers,” the writer selected Michael Mann’s famous 1999 Proxy Reconstruction (MBH99) to support the climate alarmist position (June 23, aspentimes.com). If you dig a little deeper than Wikipedia, you will find that this study has been totally discredited. Ross McKitrick and Stephen McIntyre famously demonstrated that they could throw any random numbers into Mann’s algorithm and get a hockey stick to appear. Further, you do not have to have a PhD to understand that tree rings are a terrible proxy for determining small changes in temperature. That’s why Mann had to jettison the tree ring approach for the “blade” part of the reconstruction.

An entire book, “A Disgrace to the Profession,” has been written about this study in which even many non-skeptics explain Mann’s work was a huge black eye for science. Some assert this study to be the biggest scientific malfeasance since Soviet biologist Lysenko’s infamous work. One last note: Michael Mann has claimed to be a Nobel Prize Winner even though he is not. Who does that?

Edward Collum


Guest commentary: Food & Wine Classic remains big boost for Aspen in many ways

Aspen is recognized as one of the most attractive visitor destinations in the country and has developed strong recognition internationally. The exceptional events that take place in our town are significant drivers of Aspen’s recognition and economic success. These successes have led to a vibrant economy, an expansion of employment options, important contributions to the city’s tax base, and an expanded array of quality-of-life amenities for residents.

Congratulations to Jazz Aspen Snowmass (JAS) on a successful new format for the JAS June Experience that features jazz artists from around the world in intimate venues around downtown Aspen. The new format of the concerts is a great way to showcase our local businesses and create vibrancy in our downtown core. Similarly, we are in the midst of Aspen Ideas Festival, an important event that brings in thousands of influential people from around the world to Aspen. Thank you to Aspen Institute for hosting the week’s seminars which bring visitors to town and encourage thoughtful participation.

We also want to thank the community and Food & Wine magazine for another great event — the 37th annual Food & Wine Classic, which kicks off the Aspen summer season annually. The Classic fills Aspen’s hotel rooms, condominiums, rental homes, restaurants and special events venues with official events as well as dozens of ancillary events.

Thank you to the community for embracing our Classic guests, to the hundreds of volunteers who make the Classic run, to our staff and to those at Food & Wine and Meredith Media who put in endless hours to ensure that the event runs smoothly and safely — and is, of course, incredibly fun.

The Food & Wine Classic is of immeasurable importance to the community and is the envy of destination resorts around the world. The quantity of press coverage the event brings, as well as countless social media posts, are invaluable to our town, as the coverage is seen by millions and driving future business to Aspen. As far as economic benefit, this event kicks off the summer season two weeks ahead of our competitors. It brings job opportunities to Roaring Fork Valley locals: from landscapers to security details, food and beverage positions to retail opportunities, to lodging support and more. Additionally, the Classic is a large sales tax generator, which benefits our entire community by funding everything from flowers in our public spaces to public transportation and affordable housing programs.

Wagner Park will be open again Friday after a three-week closure. We want to thank Jeff Woods and his team at the City of Aspen Parks Department for their stellar work in getting the park back in shape so quickly. Over the past 37 years, ACRA, Food & Wine, and the Parks Department have worked through 13 iterations of how best to return Wagner Park. Our current process is a collaborative effort that ensures the public can enjoy the park as soon as possible post event.

The Food & Wine Classic is just one of the events that makes Aspen Defy Ordinary. While this event is one of our highest grossing and sets the stage for a vibrant summer, events such as the Aspen Ideas Festival and JAS Aspen, as well as our smaller events including our art shows and athletic competitions, drive visitors to the resort and stimulate our economy. At the Aspen Chamber Resort Association, we strive to support our local economy in the most innovative way possible — and we are proud to say the Food & Wine Classic is leading the charge.

Debbie Braun is the president and CEO of the Aspen Chamber Resort Association.

Aspen Ideas Reporters Notebook: NFL quarterback Matt Ryan talks safety, schedule

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan isn’t concerned about the state of football. The former NFL Most Valuable Player sat down with Southern Company’s Chris Womack on Wednesday inside the Doerr-Hosier Center as part of Aspen Ideas Festival and hit on many trending questions facing the sport.

The father of 1-year-old twin boys, Ryan is all for his kids playing football one day considering the recent advances the game has made in terms of player safety.

“There have been so many positive rule changes the past five or six years. It’s a much safer league in 2019 than it was in 2008 when I first started to play,” he said. “Starting with the NFL but really going to a grassroots level, I think there has been a great intent to make the game safer. And I think that’s a good thing.”

Another hot topic is the NFL’s current 16-game schedule. Some have talked about making the regular season longer by getting rid of some preseason games, but Ryan thinks the current format is ideal. He did admit, however, that players’ bodies aren’t quite as banged up at the end of the season as many think.

“People will be surprised to know I actually feel worse after Week 1 or 2 than I do after Week 16 or 17,” Ryan said. “The schedule sets up really well. The playoffs are as competitive as anything in professional sports. The parity is really good other than New England winning over and over. But the competitive balance is really good.”

Ryan guided the Falcons to Super Bowl 51 following the 2016-17 season, where they lost to Tom Brady and the Patriots. Atlanta had a slightly disappointing season last year, going 7-9 and missing the playoffs. He said much of that had to do with injuries and believes the Falcons should factor into the Super Bowl discussion come the fall.

“We’ve got a really good football team coming back. We had a bunch of injuries last year, which was a really cool opportunity for young guys on our team to step up and play a lot more,” Ryan said. “The sky is the limit for us. I feel we have a great coaching staff; we have a great group of players. We’ve got enough to win a championship, and that excites me.”


Aspen Princess: Weather is nice, but think back to last year’s Lake Christine Fire

The other day as Levi napped in the back seat, Ryan and I decided to take a drive up to Basalt Mountain to see the burn scar.

It was just about a year ago that the Lake Christine Fire ravaged our landscape, threatened to destroy our homes, and left us all with a touch of post-traumatic stress. I’ll still do a double take at a funky cloud formation, thinking it’s a plume of smoke, though these feelings have certainly subsided. The abundance of precipitation this winter and spring has made me giddy with relief and the cooler temperatures leave me feeling energized. I love the briskness of the cold mornings, love keeping all my favorite hoodies in rotation. I don’t mind snow in June or when the river runs high, especially when I can hear it as I lay in bed at night, the stars so bright against the clear, cold sky that it casts a dream-like glow into my room.

Everything is so green, in fact, that it has transformed our landscape, especially those red dirt hillsides that have all but disappeared beneath a blanket of ground cover so bright and thick it looks almost like carpeting. The snow-capped peaks provide a startling contrast that’s more reminiscent of the Swiss Alps than the typically arid Rockies. No matter how many times I come down Frying Pan Road toward Basalt, my breath hitches at that first view of Mount Sopris in all her glory. I think of all those VIPs at the Aspen Ideas Festival gallivanting around the Aspen Meadows campus, lanyards draped around their necks like some kind of medal and wonder how they can possibly ponder the world’s problems in such a pristine setting. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Last summer I worried wildfires would become a regular thing, as much a part of our seasonal cycle as the monsoons that we desperately hoped would follow. It seemed like every year, our summers got hotter and drier. I remember thinking Basalt was simply at too low an elevation for me. I craved a higher, cooler place, like Silverton or Alma, where between the altitude and the wind it was physically impossible to break a sweat. It would just evaporate from your skin before you could feel it. I always felt in my element up high, as if I were meant to be there on an animal level.

I don’t do well in the heat. I get swollen and splotchy and tend to get weird skin allergies at least once every summer that result in angry, red bumps. Add a wildfire to the picture and it’s not just my version of hell. This time last year, with the smoke-choked skies and the echo of helicopter propellers thumping through the valley, it felt like Armageddon, as if the world might very well come to an end, maybe even in our lifetime. What kind of world would be left for my son? Forget about becoming a Winter X Games gold medalist on home turf — would there even be winter for him to enjoy a powder day?

When we drove up past Missouri Heights toward the base of Basalt Mountain, the burn scar was barely visible beneath the swath of green undergrowth that covered the hillside as vibrant and conspicuous as a golf course in the middle of the desert. I had to scan the horizon for evidence, the gnarled remains of charred trees that tangled against the denim blue sky. It was there, but barely. Someone who was not aware of the fire would see nothing but the photogenic scenery, dominated by Miss Mount Sopris dominating the skyline like a movie star on the red carpet.

On my side of Basalt Mountain, it’s the same picture. The large burn scars that remained as a constant reminder all winter have all but disappeared, camouflaged by new growth. It’s been too cold, not too hot. Too cold to camp, too cold for the pool, even too cold for my new white platform Birkenstock style sandals from J Slides. Every time someone complains about it, I’m quick to remind them, “I’d take this over fire any day.”

The experts remind us that despite what the guy who is still somehow president thinks, climate is not to be confused with weather — what’s happening over the long term is what we need to worry about, not the fact that we’re still skiing on Aspen Mountain in mid-June. We are also told that flooding as the result of the damaged soil and its inability to absorb moisture from rainfall will continue to be a threat for many years to come. This is a concern for us because one of the major flood paths is at the bottom of Frying Pan Road. Considering there is only one way in and out of the Fryingpan Valley (unless you want to navigate a four-wheel-drive route over to Eagle via Thomasville-Eagle Road or over Hagerman’s Pass to Leadville), we have reason to be concerned. To make matters worse, there is no way to predict when this will happen — it could be years.

Still, I can’t help but feel reassured by nature’s ability to heal, at least on the surface. To see so much growth, to be surrounded by hills of green and wildflowers and a robust river flow leads me to believe maybe my son will enjoy the same idyllic setting that I fell in love with myself all those years ago. Last summer, my vision of his future looked more like something out of”Star Wars,” a place that had been ravaged by the human inclination toward destruction.

Climate change is scary and what’s even more frightening is the lack of regard for the immediacy, the urgency of it, or our ability to do anything about it before its too late. At least for today, the hills are alive.

The Princess is sore from a two-hour advanced hot yoga class last night. Email your love to alisonmargo@gmail.com.

Workout Class Pass includes eight Aspen-area workout facilities

After selling out in the winter season, The Aspen Times’ Workout Class Pass is back for the summer season and gives passholders once-a-month access to eight area gyms.

The $99 pass is good for one visit per month for the next six months to Jean-Robert’s Gym, O2 Yoga, CO247 Fitness, Cyclebar, TAC Fitness & Wellness, Zaya Yoga, Pure Barre Aspen and Vimana House.

That is 48 visits from July 1 to Dec. 31 and equates to $2.06 per visit.

There are only 150 of these limited-edition passes, and they sold out over the winter promotion.

For more information or to purchase a pass, go to workoutclasspass.swiftdmp.com.

Basalt councilwoman presses Aspen Skiing Co. to ‘walk the walk’ on climate action

Aspen Skiing Co. is under pressure to Give a Flake in Basalt.

Basalt Councilwoman Katie Schwoerer voted with the majority Tuesday night to approve Skico’s proposed affordable-housing project at Willits Town Center. However, she stressed while addressing Skico President and CEO Mike Kaplan and members of his staff that she expects the company to “walk the walk” on environmental issues.

“I feel that you’re definitely addressing the day care crisis, housing crisis and traffic crisis,” Schwoerer said. “But the big crisis that we are not addressing in this application is climate. Can you make this a net-zero building, Mr. Kaplan?”

“I wish we could,” Kaplan replied.

“Why can’t you?” Schwoerer pressed.

Net zero means a building produces as much energy as it consumes, thus offsetting its carbon emissions.

Kaplan produced a chuckle from the audience when he turned to David Corbin, Skico senior vice president of planning and development and said, “Corbin, why can’t we?”

The answer was solar capacity.

“I would say in part, because there’s probably not enough footprint that we could ever get enough photovoltaics on that building to fully generate all the power that building would need,” Corbin said, referring to the 53,000-square-foot structure. “I don’t know that we could make it net zero. We’ve already taken a lot of steps to add photovoltaics to it, to be as efficient as possible in the building design, to go to electricity (from renewable resources).”

He noted that Skico is a partner in a project in Somerset that captures methane from a coal mine to produce energy.

“In effect, at a global level, if you will, we’ve tried to address all of our power needs and effectively have through that project, so I think we’ve kind of done it at the highest level,” Corbin said. “Doing it in microcosm on this site to make it entirely net zero, is probably very, very difficult. We’ll try to make it as efficient as we possibly can.”

Skico is recognized as a ski industry leader on reducing its carbon emissions and lobbying for national policy change on climate issues. It launched its Give a Flake campaign last year to build support for an environmental agenda.

Skico has committed to use all electric heat at its Basalt project so that it can tap renewable energy sources for power. It also must meet Basalt’s Sustainable Building Policies for construction.

Schwoerer kept pressing company officials to go further to address global warming.

“All of these other things — housing, traffic, day care — if we don’t have a planet, and you don’t have snow, we don’t have people, then this application is irrelevant,” Schwoerer said. “I look to Skico to really walk that walk and push nationally, regionally and in our valley to always have the greenest and progressive thought and (technology) in buildings.”

She urged the company to add solar panels above its 46-space, off-street parking lot to provide shade and produce energy. Corbin said the company would explore the feasibility to see if it could be physically accomplished.

Basalt is already the site of a model net-zero project in the Roaring Fork Valley. The Basalt Vista housing development by Basalt High School will produce as much energy as it consumes by using solar panels on the roofs of the duplexes and triplexes, efficient construction and running on electricity. The project is being built by Habitat for Humanity Roaring Fork and multiple partners. There will be a grand opening of the first units to be completed on-site at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Auden Schendler, Skico’s senior vice president of sustainability and community engagement as well as a Basalt councilman, didn’t attend the Tuesday’s council meeting because of the obvious conflict.

When contacted Wednesday by The Aspen Times, he said he feels Skico’s project will achieve net-zero status. It’s a question of when, not if, he said.

“By electrifying the whole thing, we’re teeing that up,” Schendler said. “And then the next step is to power it with 100% renewable.”

That will either happen as Holy Cross Energy continues to incorporate a greater amount of renewables into its mix or Skico accelerates the renewable mix with a power purchase agreement, Schendler said.

“We are having those conversations,” he said.

He also said the project is addressing the climate concerns raised by Schwoerer by locating it so close to mass transit. That eliminates traffic, pollution and congestion, he said.

The council approved Skico’s workforce housing proposal by a 4-2 vote. Company representatives said during the review process that it’s roughly a $15 million project.