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Persson, O’Sullivan lead AHS girls golf into thick of championship hunt after Day 1

By their standards, the first round of the Class 3A state championship on Tuesday didn’t go as well as it could have for the girls of the Aspen High School golf team.

Sure, Aspen Golf Club can be challenging, but the Skiers knew that coming in and maybe had higher expectations than most, considering they are hosting the tournament in their own backyard.

So, to be tied as a team for first place at the midway point of the 36-hole affair came as a surprise. Just maybe not too surprising.

“Not totally surprising but a little surprising,” Aspen girls golf coach Shannon Day said. “They were probably a little surprised because they didn’t feel as good as it looks, but I was so proud of them. There is nothing I have other than pride.”

This is a program that was happy just to be able to field a four-person team only a few years ago. Now, it’s knocking on the door of a first state championship, and it could come on Wednesday on its home course.

After 18 holes on Tuesday, Aspen finished with a three-player score of 263 (50-over par) and is tied with two-time defending state champion St. Mary’s Academy for the top spot.

“It is really exciting,” sophomore Lenna Persson said. “It’s still really exciting because there are not that many low scores out there today, because Aspen is a hard course. There are tough greens, lots of balls lipping out and just burning the edges. Honestly, I’m really happy with how everyone played today. We know we can do better, and that’s an exciting feeling.”

Persson, the team’s two-time regional champion and burgeoning star, led the Skiers by shooting an 8-over 79 and finds herself in solo third place entering the final round. Junior Maddy Bante, the defending individual state champ from St. Mary’s Academy, shot 74 and holds a four-stroke lead over Peak to Peak senior Noelle Thompson (78) and sits five shots ahead of Persson.

Aspen High School junior Brooke O’Sullivan putts on the back nine during the first round of the Class 3A girls golf state championship on Tuesday at Aspen Golf Club.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

Like so many on Tuesday, Bante struggled early, shooting 39 on the front nine. But she finished on a heater, going bogey-free over the final eight holes to shoot 35 on the back nine.

Persson played alongside Bante on Tuesday — Rye’s Emma Garcia (94, T18) rounded out the lead threesome — and she’ll do the same on Wednesday, where Persson said she will need to find more consistency to make up the five-stroke deficit.

“It was kind of hard on the back nine, to be honest,” Persson said, noting the fast greens and gusty winds players had to battle through on Tuesday. “I’m happy with it. It was kind of inconsistent. I had some lucky breaks, but then I also had some good shots, and then I also had some unlucky things going on. So I’m happy with how it turned out.”

Not too far back of the front group is Aspen junior Brooke O’Sullivan, who shot 84 and sits in fifth place among the 84-player field. Salida’s Kyndra Johnson shot 80 and holds down fourth place.

Aspen High School sophomore Lenna Persson hits her tee shot on the par-3 17th during the first round of the Class 3A girls golf state championship on Tuesday at Aspen Golf Club.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

Catching Bante may be too tall of a task for Persson, but she also plays far beyond her years, and according to Day, this will give her a chance come the final round.

“She’s always been really mature. … You saw the nerves, but not in the swing,” Day said. “Maybe some putts, but the whole field was nervous. In the first four or five holes, no one was doing much special. Then she got into her groove, and that is such a skill: to be able to get through the elements and push through.”

Critical to the Skiers being in the championship mix was getting a solid third score from either Audrey Woodrow or Madison Nelson, both sophomores. And both delivered, with Woodrow shooting an even 100 to end the round tied for 30th, and Nelson shot 110 to finish tied for 53rd place.

Woodrow, especially, probably left a few strokes out there, but it was more than enough for the Skiers to stay in contention.

“She is cool and collected and just keeps it together. It’s not her best, but she did her job,” Day said of Woodrow’s round. “We really had the home-field advantage. Golf is so weird. I know a lot of them didn’t feel good during the round, but that happens so often.”

Aspen High School junior Brooke O’Sullivan hits her approach shot on the 18th fairway during the first round of the Class 3A girls golf state championship on Tuesday at Aspen Golf Club.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

In third place as a team is Peak to Peak, four strokes back of leaders Aspen and St. Mary’s Academy. Prospect Ridge is in fourth place, 10 back of the co-leaders. The metrics — found via the CHSAA Golf app — had Peak to Peak as the top-ranked team in 3A entering the state tournament, followed by No. 2 Prospect Ridge, No. 3 Berthoud, and No. 4 Aspen. Berthoud was fifth after the first round, 11 back of the co-leaders.

For Persson, who after a calm practice round on Monday finally felt the nerves on the opening tee on Tuesday, says she needs to tighten up her short game, notably her chipping, to have a chance at making a run at Bante on Wednesday.

“It was really nerve-racking. There were so many people behind us. I was like, ‘OK, nice and easy right in the fairway.’ And I was happy. Starting on a par was a good way to start the day,” she said. “My chipping is usually a lot better than it was today. I had no up and downs, which I usually do, and chips I’m usually super confident on were either way too long or way too short. That wasn’t really like me.”

Cleaning up the small things will be key for all of Aspen’s players but so will handling the nerves. As the day wears on Wednesday, the intensity will likely ramp up, as well.

And for the Skiers, this is uncharted territory, although the boys golf team has made it commonplace in recent years, winning state titles in 2018 and 2021.

Now, the Aspen girls are 18 holes away from possibly adding to that legacy.

“You can’t change that,” Day said of the nerves. “That is not something you can control. The pressure is going to be there. But yeah, now I also think they and I have more confidence they can play under pressure. So, I don’t want to worry about it too much. We are there and we prepared, and it’s going to be fun.”

The Round 2 pairings, released late on Tuesday, have Nelson teeing off at 9:30 a.m. from the 10th hole. The other three Skiers will start from hole No. 1, beginning with Woodrow, also at 9:30. O’Sullivan will tee off at 11 a.m. in the second-to-last group to get on course, alongside Prospect Ridge’s Hope Torres and Salida’s Johnson.

The leaders will be the final to tee off from the first hole around 11:10 a.m., a threesome that includes Persson, Bante, and Thompson.


Rivers unforgiving during run-off; second death in two weeks in region

A week after a rafter from Vail died in Glenwood Canyon, the body of longtime Aspen and Snowmass resident Tony Welgos, 73, was found Monday in the Roaring Fork River near Basalt’s Lazy Glen neighborhood.

“We got the 911 call of a person in the water with jeans and sweatshirt,” said Scott Thompson, chief of Roaring Fork Fire Rescue. “All we got from the beginning was there were sightings of him in the water, so we set up to do a contact rescue near the bridge on Highway 82 and Lazy Glen.”

The Roaring Fork Fire Rescue team was able to recover the body with the assistance of Aspen Fire, Aspen Ambulance, and Carbondale Fire. 

“We tried CPR for a considerable amount of time, especially in cold water scenarios, but we were unsuccessful.” Thompson added, “People need to be very careful this time of year. Rivers are full and moving swiftly. The river is unforgiving, and unless you are prepared to be in the swift water, you should not be out there. Do anything possible to not be on the water.” 

He suggested using a professional guide service with noted rafting experience.

“No one should be there in river in a tube or a small inflatable raft that is not made for handling swift water. Right now is a dangerous time of the year. People need to make informed decisions.” 

Close call for a waterman

Paul Meyers knows well the dangers of spring runoff. He nearly died rafting through Shoshone Rapids on the Colorado River.

Paul Meyers doing what he loves: fly-fishing via boat in the Roaring Fork Valley.
Julie Bielenberg/The Aspen Times

He has been rafting and fly-fishing in the Roaring Fork Valley since 1992. For over three decades, he has typically used a 12-foot raft, solo paddling, often with family and friends aboard. He’ll usually complete 25 to 30 raft trips a year on the Colorado, Green, and Roaring Fork rivers.

However, it was his first trip on the Colorado River in a raft in Class III rapids that nearly took his life in spring 2004.

“I was overconfident. I missed a paddle stroke on Shoshone Rapids and got flipped by a wave. I missed the stroke because I hit air and not water and didn’t get the boat turned into the wave and over,” said Meyers.

First, he swam for the boat. Then he changed his mind and swam for his wife, Joy, who was also in the water. She made it 100 yards down the river and was able to climb out. Meyers and his wife were luckily both in approved personal flotation devices, which aided in their survival, thus far. 

“Where I landed, there are pretty big rocks for erosion control, and it took me a few tries to get the correct rock to grab myself and get out of the water,” he said. “We gathered up what gear we could and had approximately a mile walk on the bike path back to Grizzly Creek park-and-ride.”

Before the he got to the parking lot, he started having chest pains. And then it got worse. 

“Somebody who saw the accident was also parked at Grizzly Creek and helped me to her pickup truck. She was trying to keep me calm and telling me to breathe.”

Another person near the accident saw the Meyer’s boat floating downriver upside down and had called 911, who dispatched an ambulance.

“Without that very quick response, I would not have made it,” said Meyers.

The rescue responders arrived, and he ended up going into cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated in the ambulance — and a couple more times en route to the hospital. 

“Contributing to my survival was the fact that Valley View Hospital has just opened a cardiac catheterization lab with more high-tech instruments to diagnose patients,” he said. “They immediately started a stint.”

A year before the incident, Meyers had a mild heart attack and stent inserted. This stint would later fail because of a blood clot caused by the cold river water. 

Their raft was recovered in West Glenwood Springs, about six miles down the river.

Oh, he also broke his knee in the snowmelt-swelled rapids that spring day.

Today, he is much more vigilant and cautious about spring runoff. He’s been out five times thus far this year but only the Green River, as well and the Roaring Fork River between Carbondale and Glenwood — not through Glenwood Canyon, certainly not Shoshone Rapids.

“I’m not doing that rapid anymore. I’ve only done it once since the accident,” said Meyers.

On Tuesday, at the Roaring Fork River put-in at the Carbondale Bridge.
Julie Bielenberg/The Aspen Times

How fast are the rivers moving?

River flow is measured in cubic feet per second (cfs). That is how river enthusiasts determine the level of hazard and speed of the river.

“We haven’t hit peak flows in most rivers yet this summer,” said Ken Murphy, owner of Glenwood Adventure Company in Glenwood Springs.

He also owns Lakota Guides, a commercial whitewater rafting company based out of Vail and Colorado Rafting Adventures in Buena Vista. Murphy, although an Ireland native, has been on the rivers of Colorado since 1996 and has owned Glenwood Adventure Company for 13 years.

“Mother Nature is going to dictate when we hit peak, and we haven’t had the warm evenings combined with the warm days to really send the flows into higher numbers,” he said.

The Roaring Fork River and Crystal River aren’t controlled as much as many other rivers. The Roaring Fork upstream of Aspen does have the Lincoln Creek Connection Canal southeast that diverts water from Lost Man Tunnel No. 2 to Grizzly Reservoir. The Crystal River is largely free flowing and the subject of possible wild and scenic river designation.

“Vegetation is now an obstacle, the banks are more unstable, the river can take items from the banks and push them into the river and downstream. Every day can be different as the water rises and falls during this time of the year,” Murphy said.

He recommended that if private boaters have questions or concerns on river conditions, they should call commercial outfitters and ask about the conditions, as the pros are out there daily.

“Some of these commercial outfitters have guides with years of experience on certain stretches of the river with plenty of history and knowledge they can pass on,” he said.

He said the water’s been higher than it is now.

“I’ve seen higher flows in lower snow years due to a quick warmup with warm evenings. It’s all how it melts, and what’s released. If we have plenty of sun with warm nights, it can come down faster.”

Murphy recalled years when Shoshone Rapids in Glenwood Canyon was running at 16,000 to 17,000 cfs in lesser snowpack years. On Tuesday, Shoshone Rapids was at 6,700 cfs. 

“We don’t run certain areas when it gets over a certain cfs, and we always factor in the guests’ age, weight, and physical ability when deciding on the best adventure that suits their group’s wide range of abilities. Outfitters have staff on hand to help you choose the best trip for your group. When one area may get too high, there are always other options here, and that’s what makes this area such a popular rafting destination both privately and commercially,” he said.

Hypothermia can easily consume river enthusiasts, as Meyers can attest. River water is snowmelt — and so cold, very cold.

“You need to be wearing the proper attire for the conditions and an approved personal flotation device,” Murphy said. 

Multiple families enjoy a warm and much calmer Labor Day in 2022.
Julie Bielenberg/The Aspen Times

The rise in private boats on the river

River traffic has surged over the past decade with private boat ownership, and many new owners who hadn’t experienced high run-off like this.

“We now have many more private craft on the water, and many of these water recreationists haven’t seen flows this high before. Things are moving so much faster, and you have to make decisions much faster. The set-up needs to be earlier as you prepare for the obstacle ahead much earlier than in years past,” said Murphy.

“There’s absolutely a rise in private boats,” Meyers said. “It’s crazy. The parking at the boat ramps is tight, and they are in terrible shape.”

Parking lots and boat launches along the Roaring Fork can feel a bit like frat parties on the weekends throughout summer with pressure to get loaded and unloaded quickly with boat congestion.

“Fortunately, everyone cooperates and helps each other, preventing it from being chaos,” he said. 

“It’s a bigger water year. It’s a great year, and those who love the water and are experienced are going to have a blast. I’m afraid there are some people that shouldn’t be on the water,” Chief Thompson said.

Aspen City Councilman Sam Rose last week noted the danger upstream from the city: “Devil’s Punchbowl is a swimming hole up by Independence Pass, and it feels like every year someone dies from going in it while the water level is too high,” he said. “I mentioned it because it is a high-water year, and someone just died in Glenwood Canyon rafting, so I believe vigilance is important as we get excited about summer.”

Vail resident Nick Courtens, 34, died Sunday, May 21, in a paddling accident in Glenwood Canyon. Garfield County authorities said he was wearing a personal flotation device and a helmet while rafting with a group of five people, in two rafts. Between the Shoshone power plant and Grizzly Creek, two people went into the river from one of the rafts while navigating a rapid. Other members of the group were able to get both of them to shore and begin CPR. Unfortunately, only one of the men responded.

Everyone, including Fido, needs a certified PFD on the water, authorities say.
Julie Bielenberg/The Aspen Times

Colleen Pennington, Glenwood Canyon manager for the White River National Forest, said: “Hazards can change day-by-day, including debris and tree snags that can trap people underwater and puncture rafts, dangerous currents, and cold-water temperatures that can create dangerous situations for even strong swimmers.”

Garfield County Emergency Manager Chris Bornholdt said: “Water levels are predicted to come up even more in the next couple weeks and stay at a high level for over a month. River safety should be our biggest concern right now. Navigating the river is tricky under normal conditions, and when you add three-four times the amount of water and speed, things can happen really fast.”

Hours later on the Roaring Fork, rescuers had a happier outcome with a rescue downstream at Willits near the Basalt Business Center.

Albert Blanc to lead Roaring Fork High School girls basketball program

Early last week, Roaring Fork High School Athletics Director Crista Barlow announced that the Rams have hired veteran Front Range coach Albert Blanc to guide the girls basketball team at the school. He replaces Juan Quintero, who coached the Rams the past four seasons.

Though he amassed most of his 650-plus wins at Eastern Slope schools such as Falcon, Pueblo East, Discovery Canyon and Swink, Blanc is no stranger to the Western Slope of Colorado, having made coaching stops at Delta and Rifle, also.

Blanc, a 1966 Glenwood Springs High School graduate, was a two-year all-conference and all-state player for coach Bob Chavez. Following high school, he went on to play collegiately at then Western State College in Gunnison. He served as a student teacher and freshman basketball coach at Glenwood in 1976.

Blanc won a state championship at 2A Swink in 1996 and was inducted into the Colorado High School Activities Association Hall of Fame in 2018. He ranks fourth on the list of all-time coaching victories in Colorado behind only Rudy Carey (Denver East), Dick Katte (Denver Christian), and Ken Shaw (Regis Jesuit).

Blanc will inherit a team coming off a 6-14 campaign in 2022-23, but he sees a great deal of potential in the many young players the Rams currently have on the roster, as well as a talented group of incoming freshmen.

“This job means a lot to me,” he said in a phone interview from his home in Colorado Springs. “I get an opportunity to work with a group of quality young people and to try and bring back the hope and spirit of the Roaring Fork girls basketball program. It all starts with hard work, defense, rebounding and the classroom. That’s what it’s all about.”

Blanc will be introduced to the Roaring Fork basketball community at a meet-and-greet this Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. in the school gymnasium. Parents and prospective players are encouraged to attend.

From ‘never forget’ to never mind? An Aspenite seeks to address Holocaust education

In 31 states, teaching high schoolers about the Holocaust and rise of Nazism is considered optional.

Texas has a law passed in 2021 prohibiting educators from discussing difficult, controversial issues, and if such topics come up anyway, the law, HB 3979, mandates taking no position. At least one school board interpreted it to mean that opposing views on the Holocaust must be taught as well. The district superintendent apologized later for suggesting there were “two sides” to this bit of history.

Florida’s department of education this month banned two textbooks concerning the Holocaust for being “woke.”

A 2020 study by the Pew Research Center found more than half of Americans didn’t know that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.

Enter Aspen resident and Roaring Fork Broadcasting partner Jordan Rednor, who is appalled. He’s decided to host a June 13 event at 5:30 p.m. in Aspen’s Chabad Jewish Community Center, introducing an initiative launched by his alma mater, Penn State. 

“The goal was to teach educators how to teach students and educate people about the Holocaust,” he says. “It’s part of Penn State’s Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Education Initiative.”

Boaz Dvir
Boaz Dvir/Courtesy photo

Israeli American film-maker and the initiative’s founding director Boaz Dvir will also speak at the Chabad, at 435 W. Main Street.

The Penn State effort examines possible ways for teachers to educate children in grades K-12 such difficult and disturbing history. Those who created the initiative wanted to expand it nationally. Rednor sees Aspen as progressive with a vibrant Jewish community, a perfect launching pad for a topic that he knows has become controversial.

He’s dismayed that some U.S. high schools have banned teaching about Nazism and the Holocaust because they view the topic as too disturbing. He notes that a civil discussion of school curriculum can become impossible because “we live in an age so filled with vitriol.”

He adds that a five-month program that tackled how to teach kids about enslavement and the Civil War won a $190,000 National Endowment of the Humanities grant. He says the initiative recently won a $5 million endowment from Pennsylvania’s Vic and Dena Hammel.

The event is free.

El Jebel land among U.S. Forest Service sites eyed for potential workforce housing

As lawmakers address housing shortages in the West, U.S. Forest Service properties are being eyed for their potential to provide residences for local workforces, including in El Jebel.

Signed into law in December 2018, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 — otherwise known as the Farm Bill — gave USFS the authority to lease its administrative sites for affordable housing. But the act has yet to result in the construction of affordable housing on those sites, and that’s in part “due to their lease terms,” said U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, “which are not long enough to provide certainty to local communities.”

A new bill being introduced by him and U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse seeks to remedy the lease-terms issue by allowing USFS to issue 100-year leases with an option to renew on administrative sites to be used for housing.

The bill — known as the Forest Service Flexible Housing Partnerships Act — received a hearing in the House Natural Resource Committee on May 23, in which Troy Heithecker, associate deputy chief of USFS, spoke in favor of the bill.

“The numbers of communities that are in or adjacent to national forest systems that have housing costs that just plain aren’t affordable to people is a challenge that we’re trying to overcome,” he said.

Two projects in the White River National Forest have already been proposed as a result of the 2018 Farm Bill.

One project, which was proposed in the Roaring Fork Valley of Eagle County at the Forest Service’s El Jebel administrative site, has seen objections from Eagle and Pitkin County, which cited concerns with the housing density suggested for the site.

The El Jebel administrative site contains an upper and lower parcel, but the lower parcel is not being considered for housing due to the fact that it is in the floodplain, provides access to the Roaring Fork River, is understood to be ecologically important for a variety of riparian species, and is home to several recreation features and trails.

On the upper parcel, however, the White River National Forest says it is no longer able to maintain the buildings to its standards and says the land could better serve the public in other ways. The upper parcel is roughly 30 acres, which USFS says could provide 90 affordable housing units on the low end to a maximum of 300 units on the high end, “with a more likely number closer to 200,” according to the White River National Forest.

Pitkin and Eagle counties objected to the use of the high-density number.

“A high-density build-out is not reflective of community Climate Action Goals, which clearly state that high-density development be located in close proximity to existing infrastructure and transit centers,” according to Eagle County’s objection.

“The intention of Pitkin and Eagle counties is to develop the site to include three key uses: Conservation, recreation, and low-density housing,” according to Pitkin County’s objection.

USFS, in its response to the objections, says it will analyze “only the most reasonably foreseeable use of the administrative site, as determined through a market analysis,” as the project continues to move through the process.

Another White River National Forest administrative site housing proposal, in Summit County at the Dillon Work Center property, appears to be going more smoothly and was mentioned at the May 23 hearing.

Neguse — who is the ranking member of the U.S. House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands — said as a result of the 2018 Farm Bill, a project for 163 affordable housing units has been proposed in Dillon. The property would be leased to the Summit County government for the development of affordable workforce housing.

Heithecker said he has been working closely with White River National Forest Service Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams on the project.

“The ability to partner in areas especially neighboring national forest — where, in Summit County, for instance, housing prices are exorbitant, there’s not land available to develop homes, we have the land, we’re able to work with these partners, and through this leasing authority, provide affordable housing to their employees and our employees — is a great opportunity,” he said, “and we’re looking forward to working on the expansion of it and continuing to build more.”

In his testimony, he said the lack of affordable housing is a major barrier to recruiting and retaining a stable workforce at the USFS.

“We do appreciate the authority given to us in (the Farm Bill),” Heithecker said. “We have a couple other pilot opportunities we’re looking at, and we’re really looking forward to successfully implementing a project on the White River.”

Statewide gas prices rise by double digits in a week

Average gasoline prices in Colorado have risen 13.2 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $3.44/g on Tuesday, according to GasBuddy’s survey of 2,158 stations in Colorado.

Prices in Colorado are 1.3 cents per gallon lower than a month ago and stand 81.2 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has fallen 4.9 cents in the last week and stands at $3.91 per gallon.

According to GasBuddy price reports, the cheapest station in Colorado was priced at $2.81/g while the most expensive was $5.00/g.

In the Aspen area, regular gas was listed at $4.79 at the Main Street station, $5.00 at ABC, $4.79 (for full service) in Snowmass Village, $3.99 in Woody Creek, and $4.49 at the Highway 82 turnoff to old Snowmass, according to AutoBlog.

The national average price of gasoline has risen 2.7 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $3.55/g today. The national average is down 3.2 cents per gallon from a month ago and stands 105.5 cents per gallon lower than a year ago, according to GasBuddy data compiled from more than 11 million weekly price reports covering over 150,000 gas stations across the country.

Historical gasoline prices in Colorado and the national average going back 10 years:

  • May 30, 2022: $4.25/g (U.S. Average: $4.60/g)
  • May 30, 2021: $3.16/g (U.S. Average: $3.04/g)
  • May 30, 2020: $2.08/g (U.S. Average: $1.97/g)
  • May 30, 2019: $2.93/g (U.S. Average: $2.83/g)
  • May 30, 2018: $2.94/g (U.S. Average: $2.96/g)
  • May 30, 2017: $2.40/g (U.S. Average: $2.37/g)
  • May 30, 2016: $2.25/g (U.S. Average: $2.32/g)
  • May 30, 2015: $2.60/g (U.S. Average: $2.73/g)
  • May 30, 2014: $3.45/g (U.S. Average: $3.67/g)
  • May 30, 2013: $3.80/g (U.S. Average: $3.61/g)

“Gasoline prices have drifted higher in the last week due to some relatively minor refinery kinks and low gasoline supply, but it may not be a trend that lasts too much longer,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.

“As we unofficially start the summer driving season, the national average is likely to spend much of the summer in the range of $3.35-$3.85 per gallon, though it could go higher if unexpected refinery outages flare up, or we see a major hurricane or economic development,” he said. “While gasoline prices have inched up slightly, we’re still faring much better than we did last year, when the national average started to soar after Memorial Day on its way up to the $5 per gallon mark. In addition, gas prices may temporarily rally if there’s a debt ceiling deal that passes through Congress in the weeks ahead, based on the optimism that such a deal could avert a major recession, keeping oil demand stronger this summer.”

GasBuddy’s survey updates 288 times every day from nearly 150,000 stations nationwide. See prices.GasBuddy.com.

Storytellers sought for ‘Voices of the Collective’

Storytellers are invited to be part of a Live Storytelling event taking place from 6-8 p.m. on Sunday, July 23, at The Collective in Snowmass.

In partnership with Writ Large, tellers are being sought to share their potent, thought-provoking, and authentic tales as part of a collaboration to deepen our understanding of our local communities. Storytellers will be supported and coached by Writ Large’s founder and director Alya Howe, whose expertise will enhance storytellers’ prowess.

The theme of the July 23 event is “Voices of the Collective,” inviting tellers to prepare and share a deeply meaningful, seven-minute narrative. Under her guidance, participants will discover and unearth the essence of their stories. There are no fees associated with this opportunity. Guest storytellers will receive personalized mentoring, professional photographs, and an opportunity to perform before a live, welcoming audience.  

Writ Large is founded on a long-standing tradition of captivating live storytelling events in the valley, touching the hearts of storytellers and listeners, alike. Howe says stories, being an ancient form of communication, possess the incredible power to connect us to one another and deepen our bonds within our community and environment. They convey the importance of values and shed light on the consequences of living by or straying from ethical and societal codes.

“Joy and fulfillment lie in our triumphs and learning from our mistakes,” she says. “A community lacking a strong narrative, or failing to value storytelling, struggles to survive as a cohesive unit, instead becoming a collection of isolated individuals driven by personal pursuits.”

For this event, stories should be personal and revelatory true accounts, spoken from the heart rather than read. All stories are welcome, whether they evoke tragedy, humor, happiness, or sorrow. Howe encourages prospective participants to embrace stillness, reflect, and allow the story to choose them.

“This is playful, revealing work,” she says. “The more you invest yourself in this journey, the greater the rewards and opportunities will unfold.”

Participants are required to meet the following schedule leading up to the live performance: 

Week of May 29 (or earlier): Submit a full draft or a detailed outline of your story to info@thecollectivesnowmass.com. Howe’s writing team is available to craft the written versions of stories allowing focus on the telling of the story — not refining the content. Those uncomfortable with writing can also work with her to record their story to define an outline. 

  • 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 11: Rehearsal on Zoom 
  • 6:30-8 p.m. Thursday, July 20: Rehearsal at The Collective in Snowmass
  • 6-8 p.m. Sunday, July 23: Live performance

To participate or for more information, contact Howe at 970-309-2582 or alya@alyahowe.org. For details on The Collective Snowmass, visit thecollectivesnowmass.com.

Snowmass trails other ski towns in summer bookings

As of mid-May, summer tourism in Snowmass Village is pacing below last year’s rate, the latest Snowmass Tourism Talk revealed.

“Our summer season is down 20% in room nights booked,” said Rose Abello, Snowmass Tourism director. “We’re using room night books because it really gives a better sense. Occupancy varies based on how many rooms are available to be rented. … Room nights booked is an absolute.”

She said June through September are considered the summer months, and they are all currently pacing below last year. June is down 7.6%, July is down 28%, August is down 30.94%, and September is down 13.03%, according to numbers presented by Abello.

Snowmass isn’t the only resort seeing a drop in occupancy and rooms booked for the coming summer.

“We’re not alone in this,” she said. “Room nights booked at all the Destimetrics resorts are down.”


Snowmass is about 17% booked for the summer across the board, Abello said. The average across all other mountain resorts whose data is managed by Destimetrics is 25%.

Winter tourism in Snowmass Village finished strong with a 55% paid occupancy rate across the entire season. According to Destimetrics, February had the highest paid occupancy rate of the season at 75%. March was right behind at 74% and January at 73%.

Destimetrics compiles data for most major resorts, and according to a webinar she attended, Snowmass finished with a better total occupancy rate than the average of all the resorts, which was 53%.

“Except for the first and last month, Snowmass fared better than most of the ski resorts and we finished at 55%,” she said.

Snowmass compared to other ski resorts.

Snowmass also fared better than other resorts in average daily rate, averaging $679 compared to $598 across all resorts for the winter season.

“We outpaced on occupancy and in ADR, which is not uncommon. Typically, Snowmass is number one or two across all the resorts in occupancy,” Abello said.

According to her, the sky is not falling, but everyone will need to work a bit harder this year.

“The abundance of demand we have seen over the last few years is just not here this year,” she said. “In a typical year, we are about 19% booked by this time of year. This year we are at 17%, down from a record of 22% last year.”

Snowmass In Brief: Village Shuttle switches to summer schedule; draw site housing open house on Wednesday

Village Shuttle Switches to Summer Schedule

The Village Shuttle summer service schedules begin on Monday, June 5. 

Summer schedules may be viewed online: snowmasstransit.com/133/Routes-Schedules 

Due to the Brush Creek culvert reconstruction project detour, Village Shuttle Route #8 will serve the Melton Ranch and Horse Ranch communities at 15-minute service intervals between 7:05 a.m.–8:05 p.m. (30-minute service continuing to 9:05 p.m.) from June 5–Sept. 24. Ride request service will be available until midnight.

Snowmass Village is also served by several multi-modal options. Multi-use paths run throughout the town, and Village Shuttle connects to regional transit services provided by Roaring Fork Transit Authority (RFTA). Bike-share is available in town via WE-cycle. Bicycle information is available at snowmasstransit.com/192/By-Bike.

Brush Creek Culvert Replacement Project Update as of May 26

The Brush Creek culvert replacement project has begun. Weekly updates will be provided throughout the project. Project information can be found online at tosv.com/566/Brush-Creek-Culvert-Reconstruction.

Comments, feedback, or suggestions for improvement can be shared with project@tosv.com. We appreciate your patience during this construction project!


  • Brush Creek Road is now closed for the duration of the project.

What work was completed this week?

  • Traffic control was modified to better protect pedestrians crossing across Brush Creek Road from Owl Creek Road.
  • Crews have excavated down to the fiber and cable runs to start the temporary relocation of those lines.

Work planned for the week of May 29:

  • Fiber and cable temporary relocations.
  • Soil nailing to support the hillside next to the future culvert.
  • Set up the bypass structures that will carry Brush Creek water while crews replace the culvert.
  • Begin work to bypass the sewer and water lines around the construction area.

Upcoming traffic-flow changes: 

  • None anticipated until the JAS weekend. More details to follow. 

Draw Site Housing Project Open House

The Town of Snowmass Village will have an Open House on an upcoming housing project on Wednesday, May 31, from 4-6 p.m. at Town Hall. 

The Town Hall Draw site was identified as the next housing project in the 2021 Workforce Housing Master Plan. The site has the most significant potential for unit development, is well-located, and has historically been identified for future housing development.  

In response to the need for workforce housing in our community, the Town of Snowmass Village developed a Workforce Housing Master Plan unanimously adopted by the Snowmass Village Town Council in October 2021.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Document-1-1024×563.jpg The Town of Snowmass Village for an Open House on an upcoming housing project on Wednesday, May 31, from 4-6 p.m. at Town Hall. The Town Hall Draw site was identified as the next housing project in the 2021 Workforce Housing Master Plan.
Town of Snowmass Village

The Town Hall Draw site was identified for the next housing project because it has the most significant potential for unit development, is well-located, and has historically been identified for future housing development. This project aims to maximize the site for housing, be developed within the existing topography, fit the location’s character, create a mix of housing sizes (one-, two-, and three-bedroom units), and take advantage of existing transit.

Staff will be available to answer questions about this project, and housing within Snowmass Village, at an open house on Wednesday, May 31, from 4-6 p.m. The open house will be held at Town Hall in the Council Chambers. We hope to see you there!

More information is available on the project webpage.

Hilts: CMC offers model for taxing times

I was encouraged to read an article recently where the Colorado Mountain College board declared that they would be voluntarily lowering their tax levy for next year in light of the huge increases in property valuations during the last two-year reference period. This is encouraging.

With this as an example, I would call on all taxing districts to do the same. Right now, in Basalt we have 17 separate taxing districts! The three largest, in order of cost to my wife and me are: Roaring Fork School District, town of Basalt, and Basalt Fire Protection.

We appreciate all that they do for us. We are happy to pay our fair share, while — for example, we have no children — we do recognize the value that education plays in sustaining our community, state, and country. The same goes for our other taxing districts.

However, there are limits!

I call on all taxing districts to do the same as the CMC board. There are many of us, especially those of us who have lived here for many years, who will be paying attention. Remember that future funding requests to add new taxes, increase existing tax levies, or extend certain levies must be approved by the voters. 

I also implore the local press to keep an eye on this. It will make an interesting story as we get to the end of this year, and we find out what these huge property assessments will really cost us.

Paul Hilts