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Tony Vagneur: Casey Tibbs, a horse-riding idol

In the strangeness of the dream, my dad told me we were going to (Old) Snowmass to meet Casey Tibbs. That name hadn’t crossed my consciousness in maybe 20 years.

Casey Tibbs (1929 to 1990), in case you didn’t know, was a big deal, and still is. He won six Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association saddle bronc championships plus two all-around cowboy championships and one bareback riding championship. That’s what you call one tough and talented dude.

I’d never heard of Tibbs until around 1956-57. Up there on our Homestead Mesa, working with one of the hired hands and talking about how I’d like to be a saddle bronc rider when I got older, “You mean like Casey Tibbs,” he said. “Who’s that?” came my reply.

We didn’t have television and only the occasional magazine or newspaper on the ranch so it was difficult to keep up with national or international events on a regular basis. For a kid like me, hired hands often brought the exciting world outside of Aspen and Woody Creek into my daily life. Besides, the Vagneurs were known as ropers, not bronc riders, so I didn’t really have any role models.

Things come and go and I rode all the bronc-type horses we had on the ranch and during junior and senior summers, a buddy and I rode the W/J bulls two or three nights a week, including Snuffy. Nobody in the Roaring Fork Valley seemed to know much about saddle bronc riding. And then college, where I rode bareback in some eastern slope rodeos, and before it seemed possible, I was 23 years old and riding in wild horse races, about as close to saddle bronc riding as I could find.

Moose Rusher, a man I admired, took me under his wing. He knew about saddle broncs and told me I should go to school for such a thing. Couldn’t, for some reason. Moose and I put together a bucking barrel in his backyard, a 55-gallon drum tied off to trees or posts in four directions that could tear you up good with four strong people pulling on the ropes. Precursor to a mechanical bull. We wore it out almost before we got started.

Casey Tibb’s dad, a true horseman who at one time ran about 2,000 head of horses, told Casey that if he ever rode in a rodeo, he would never speak to him again. At 13, his dad intentionally left him at the rodeo grounds in Fort Pierre, South Dakota, after Casey did the unthinkable by riding in the annual rodeo. The rift was never repaired.

Here was a man who, at 19 had made more money in one rodeo than his dad might have ever seen in a lifetime, and was accused of robbing a bank. That has to color a young man’s attitude toward life. But as Casey said about bronc riding, “Get back up and get back on. And don’t be afraid to get bucked off again.” Hurt makes you tough.

Casey was a helluva bronc rider, but he wasn’t the hero he might have been, not in my mind. I’d have liked to have been another Casey Tibbs, but to me the hero was the rodeo, especially behind the chutes. The dirt, the dust, the stomping of snorting horses, the slinging snot of raunchy bulls, the s— that is always prevalent around grass-eating animals, and the noise of the crowd when you did something right, or terribly wrong. Ride hard, party hard, and stay up all night. That’s how I thought it was supposed to be done, following in the mold of the world champion. And I was good at it.

Out of all Casey, the “Rainbow Man,” did, taking his only child, his daughter into his life after many years of separation might have been his greatest act. The separation wasn’t exactly anyone’s fault, nor was the unmarried pregnancy, but things happen. Casey, who was on the road almost continuously, paid child support until the child’s mother got married and insisted her new husband be the sole father and supporter of her daughter. Visits with Casey were strongly discouraged.

Casey’s daughter, at 21, approached him in the hospital where he was recovering from an injury, a visit during which Casey asked if they could begin to get to know each other. Of course, if you read of things his daughter has said about their relationship, the love and respect shine through, especially Casey’s love for his granddaughter.

You can be the world’s best at anything, including bronc riding, and you can make rodeo a popular sport amongst the populace, but when you show yourself as human and work with what family you have, then you are a true hero. Casey Tibbs, who knew the importance of fathers, ultimately rode the rainbow to the end as a man of strength and courage.

Tony Vagneur writes here on Saturdays and welcomes your comments at ajv@sopris.net.

Judge denies motion to suppress Miller’s comments in Lake Christine Fire case

A judge Friday denied a motion to suppress statements Richard Miller made to law enforcement officials when he was questioned at the Basalt shooting range immediately after the Lake Christine Fire broke out July 3.

Eagle County District Judge Paul Dunkelman ruled that prosecutors would be able to use Miller’s comment regarding the type of ammunition being fired by the rifle used by his girlfriend, Allison Marcus.

In a hearing Thursday, Heidi McCollum, Assistant District Attorney in the 5th Judicial District, said Miller initially was uncooperative with investigators about the type of ammo used in the rifle he and Marcus borrowed from Miller’s dad.

McCollum said when an Eagle County deputy sheriff asked to look in an ammunition box, Miller replied, “Well, if I can be honest, it was tracer rounds.”

Investigators suspect that incendiary tracer rounds ignited dry grass on the edge of the rifle range. The fire eventually burned 12,500 acres of national forest and private land.

The attorneys for Miller and Marcus claimed that his comments should be prohibited from use at trial because no law officer read him his Miranda rights, which inform a suspect that any comments could be used in prosecution.

Attorney Stan Garnett for Marcus and attorney Josh Maximon for Miller tried to establish in Thursday’s hearing that Deputy Josiah Maner kept the defendants at the shooting range for about 69 minutes before releasing them. That qualifies as police custody and the questioning as “custodial interrogation,” the attorneys argued.

“They’re being ordered by an officer to stay where they are at least five times over a 69-minute period,” Maximon said in Thursday’s hearing.

McCollum countered that Maner didn’t detain Miller and Marcus. He didn’t question them for the entire 69 minutes they were all at the shooting range, she said. He also was assessing the rapidly growing fire and coordinating response with fire and other police officials. He was speaking with Miller and Marcus as conditions allowed, she said.

When McCollum asked Maner why he didn’t read them their Miranda rights, he replied Thursday, “They weren’t in custody. I did not restrain them in any way. I did not put them in handcuffs.”

In his order Friday, Dunkelman wrote Maner did not restrain or restrict Miller in any manner, plus he gave him access to move his vehicle.

“Maner was not confrontational or intimidating towards Miller,” the ruling said. “In fact, he was the opposite. He was sympathetic and to a degree supportive of Miller and Marcus.”

None of Maner’s actions “are consistent with a deprivation of freedom to a degree associated with a formal arrest,” the judge wrote.

The judge’s decision will now require the DA’s office to make a tough call. McCollum had filed a motion to combine the trials of Miller and Marcus into one. Dunkelman on Thursday conditionally approved the request. However, he said if they were combined, Miller’s comments couldn’t be used in the joint trial because it would be prejudicial to Marcus. He gave the DA’s office until the beginning of next week to determine if they want to proceed with a combined trial or keep them separate.

Miller and Marcus each face three charges of fourth-degree arson, a Class 4 felony, and setting fire to woods or prairie, a Class 6 felony. Miller and Marcus are free on a $7,500 bond each.

As the cases stand now, Miller’s trial is scheduled for May 28 to June 7 with the trial for Marcus on June 17 to 28.


CDOT seeks public input on new marijuana-impaired driving campaign

The Colorado Department of Transportation has launched an online survey in hopes of gathering public input on creative concepts and messaging for a new marijuana-impaired driving campaign.

The survey, part of CDOT’s ongoing “Cannabis Conversation” initiative, will help to create a new awareness campaign that better resonates with cannabis users in Colorado.

“We want as many people as possible to weigh in on these concepts,” said Sam Cole, safety communications manager with CDOT. “Our goal is to capture feedback that spans a wide range of views, lifestyles and demographics to get a well-rounded perspective of how these messages are connecting with different audiences.”

Members of the public can take the survey at http://bit.ly/CDOTCannabisConvoSurvey, or view the creative concept animatics at http://bit.ly/CDOTCreativeConcepts. For more information on the campaign, visit ColoradoCannabisConvo.com.

Judge denies Aspen man’s request to withdraw guilty plea

An Aspen man who pleaded guilty to burglary and indecent exposure charges last year will have to suffer the consequences of that action after a District Court judge refused Thursday to let him withdraw his plea.

District Judge Chris Seldin said that though Benjamin Morton, 30, didn’t have a lawyer at the time of his plea, he was still properly advised of the consequences of his guilty plea, including the fact that he’d have to register as a sex offender.

Allowing Morton to withdraw the plea would “make a mockery” of the court’s regular, detailed efforts to ensure defendants pleading guilty understand what they’re doing, Seldin said. The judge routinely goes through a lengthy series of questions to make sure defendants who plead guilty know the consequences of their actions and understand the rights they give up in such situations.

Seldin, who handled Morton’s case from beginning to end, said he was always under the impression that Morton was able to make rational, adult choices about his case.

“There was no reason to doubt that his answers to my questions were accurate and truthful,” Seldin said.

However, Morton’s lawyer, Michael Fox, said his client had a “fundamental misunderstanding” of what he’d done and what punishments he was in line to receive. Morton, who has a learning disability, didn’t even know what charges he’d pleaded guilty to, which was a just reason to allow the plea withdrawal, Fox said.

The judge disagreed.

Pitkin County sheriff’s deputies arrested Morton in May after a woman reported seeing him enter her apartment and masturbate in her roommate’s room. He later admitted the behavior to a deputy.

In October, he pleaded guilty to felony burglary and misdemeanor indecent exposure. The burglary plea was in exchange for a two-year deferred sentence, meaning the felony conviction would not appear on his record after two years provided he wasn’t charged with another crime.

The indecent exposure plea, however, came with no strings. That meant Morton would have to register as a sex offender for a minimum of 10 years, prosecutor Don Nottingham said.

Nottingham said he wrote in the plea paperwork he gave to Morton in October that he would have to register as a sex offender, and repeated that information in an email he sent him.

The May offense was not the first time Morton had been in trouble for his behavior.

In April 2018, Morton pleaded guilty to misdemeanor public indecency after Snowmass Village police arrested him for allegedly masturbating in a condominium complex hot tub. He received a year of unsupervised probation in that case. He was originally charged with indecent exposure when he was arrested.

Morton is scheduled to be sentenced under terms of his October plea deal next month.


Roger Marolt: Confusing philosophical calculus with writing on the wall

In springtime, it is only natural for the thoughts of a man, skiing the slush alone on deserted ski slopes, to turn to geometry. Or so I tried to convince myself after the fact when my concentration was broken and I started to feel weird about it. Show me a skier who complains about traverses and I will show you a person who does not understand the angles of skiing the steeps.

While it is true that flat traverses across the mountain after a good run, as in the case of Highland Bowl, or before one, like one must endure to tackle Aspen’s T-chutes, can be a pain in the wax, it is a fact of skiing that you must go sideways across the mountain in order to enjoy the most challenging runs. The scant exceptions are the trails that run directly under rapidly rising ski lifts.

You can make a straight line between point A (the top of Ajax) and B (the Ajax Tavern) through Spar Gulch and never have to traverse, or you can traverse to descend S1 then traverse again to get Shoulder of Bell and then make one last traverse to “Niagara” before you end up at The Tavern. Who has the better story to tell?

On the drive home I was thinking of this and a little trigonometry trying to decide if my magical sports watch is calculating the slopes of the runs I ski accurately (I have my doubts), when I realized I was doing 27 in a 45 mph zone next to the airport on Owl Creek Road, and I almost missed all the private jets parked there, which is inexplicable during the offseasons.

There were certainly not a lot of jets by comparison to the holidays, but there were definitely more than there are restaurants open downtown now. I could not figure the inverse sine for the adjacent angle on this one. Why were they here?

Then it came to me: It was the end-of-season party at Highlands that afternoon. Crap! I missed it again!

At any rate, the people who flew in on those jets did not miss it. They flew here during mud season expressly for it! And, yes, I know it is circumstantial evidence, but I’m sticking to my story because, if true, it’s interesting.

My first impression was these folks are trying too hard to fit in. I hope I am not sounding like an elitist here, because my intention is to sound like an anti-elitist.

I mean, isn’t the end-of-season party for locals who have worn themselves out waiting on and bending over backward for the jet-set crowd all winter? Isn’t it about blowing off steam? Isn’t it reminiscing about experiences over the entire season, not just when you had the chance to pop into town?

The end-of-season parties have traditionally been for the working stiffs and ski bums. It is what we do when no one is looking and the chamber of commerce is closed. I suppose we should take it as flattery that our rich and famous visitors, deep down in their hearts, only want to be like us. OK, let’s go with that.

But, here is the thing, and we have seen it countless times: The coolest things of this town came about by people living here zig-zagging from point A to B to C … all the way to Z, just because that was the casually interesting route, taking detours through places like La Cocina and Cooper Street Pier along the way. Most of the time they probably didn’t know where they were going and, most likely, didn’t have any particular time they needed to be there.

It is a generalization, I understand, but people in private jets don’t seem to be like that. They demonstrate a desire to get from point A to point Z as directly as possible, and have transformed this town in many ways with that shallow angle of attack. Then, when all the stuff in between is overlooked, it actually becomes virtuous, in their minds, to simply smooth over what appear to be rough spots.

And now to point X: It is a matter of time before billionaire trigonometry angles-off the Rorschach blot that is the Highlands end-of-season party into a neat right triangle. It will get polished. It will be made “more successful” because of its own success. We will have big name acts for entertainment. It will become a three-day event with early-bird tickets going on sale for $150 in July. And yet, this is not worth crying about. A couple years will pass and we’ll only vaguely remember how it used to be. Then, we will build another big hotel to try to bring it back.

Roger Marolt inadvertently reset his magical sports watch back to 1987 when he tried to get his heart-rate measurement. Email at roger@maroltllp.com.

Now a national champion, Faulhaber talks about surprise season in ski pipe

This was supposed to be a feeling out season for Hanna Faulhaber, not so much one to conquer the competition.

Oh well.

“Going into Rev Tour, me and my coaches were, ‘We’re going to go experience it, not really expect much.’ Then as the season progressed it got better and better,” Faulhaber said. “It all built up and made my confidence level go up.”

A freshman at Basalt High School, the 14-year-old Faulhaber recently completed her first season competing at the FIS level, where she predominantly is a halfpipe skier. Expectations were realistic, for lack of a better word, for Faulhaber entering the season. After all, there’s no reason to think a newbie to the FIS stage could compete with kids that have four or five years of experience already.

Then, she started winning. She won the women’s halfpipe contest on Feb. 12 at Copper Mountain, a Revolution Tour event, for her first major victory. Only a few days later, she finished third at the Aspen Freeskiing Open, a Nor-Am Cup event, which was arguably a more impressive result than her Rev Tour win.

On top of it all, she also competed in January’s FIS Junior World Ski Championships in Leysin, Switzerland, where she finished sixth in the finals.

To cap it off, Faulhaber competed in the USASA National Championships earlier this month at Copper Mountain, where she won the women’s halfpipe contest for her first national championship. She even took third in the slopestyle contest a day later.

While FIS requires athletes to be at least 14 to compete, USASA events, including nationals, do not have those age requirements, allowing Faulhaber to have competed at nationals last year.

“It meant a lot because last year it wasn’t as good,” Faulhaber said of winning this year. “I hit my head a little bit and then the ski patrollers grabbed me and said, ‘You have a concussion,’ and they would let me go in the pipe again but wouldn’t let me compete. It was quite a redemption this year.”

Faulhaber also battled with a concussion this year, hindering her learning the trick that set her apart at nationals, a flare, which is basically a backflip with a small rotation. She landed the trick for the first time in competition at nationals.

“There were a few girls that were doing a flare. But just a week prior to going to nationals I decked the halfpipe and fell back in and got a concussion doing a flare,” Faulhaber said. “I started doing it in the bag in December to get to snow in January. I would also slip out onto my hip so I gave it a big break and then came back to it and started landing it, then got concussed.”

Healthy at nationals, it all came together. Now she will look toward her second season at the FIS level with even more possibilities out there. She plans to compete in many of the same events, but could add something a bit bigger, such as the Copper Grand Prix, or other similar Nor-Am or World Cup events. She’ll also compete at the New Zealand Freeski Open. Faulhaber’s mother is from New Zealand, a place she has been many times, but this would be her first significant competition there.

Faulhaber said for her to compete at that higher level she will need to work on getting more air.

“Amplitude is a big one,” she said. “I have a problem with speed checking, because I’m a little nervous going into a trick. I speed check and then I lose amplitude as the run goes on.”

Just something else for the rising star to conquer.


Clubhouse Chronicles: Looking ahead to the summer at AVSC

Last week, we celebrated the end of our competitive season with our annual awards banquet. We recognized community members for their hard work, great results and strong character.

It was nice to gather and reflect on all that’s gone on in the past couple of months, a time during which athletes and staff were constantly on the go, bouncing around the continent, and in some cases, the world. It’s always nice to hit pause and appreciate all our teams have accomplished, but unsurprisingly, after a brief respite, our athletes are eager to get back into the mountains and push themselves and their peers!

We are looking forward to a great summer at AVSC. Summer is a fun time for us — full of cross-training, exploring our backyard on bikes, foot and more. We build strength, we work with new coaches and teammates, and some of us will travel far afield in search of snow. Much of this training is intentional, building toward starting our winter season on the strongest foot possible. Yet it’s also a time to try new things, work on our general athleticism, explore our surroundings and have a lot of fun. We have an awesome lineup of programs to keep local athletes of all ages busy, whether they’re currently enrolled in an AVSC program or not.

We are excited to be celebrating our 10th summer of mountain biking at AVSC. This summer, we are offering four levels of programming, starting with free introductory programs and continuing all the way up to a full-fledged mountain bike team, which will compete in the Aspen Cycling Club mountain bike races as well as the Aspen Snowmass Enduro series. A developmental program will bridge the gap between the two. On top of the technical skills honed, bikers at all levels will learn about bike maintenance and safety, environmental stewardship, and our local trail systems.

Last year was our first offering free introductory mountain bike programming, thanks in large part to a fleet of bicycles donated by Giant; we’re excited to build on that this summer in Carbondale and Aspen. AVSC’s mission is to provide all youth in the greater Roaring Fork Valley the opportunity to excel as athletes and as people through winter sports — biking in the summer is a natural extension of that effort. Our coaches inspire our athletes to excel, chasing passions and developing grit while becoming a part of our mountain community and culture. Whether on snow or dirt, the value and ethos of the experience remains the same.

The competitive bike team will be coached by Sari Anderson (our Spring Gulch Bill Koch Youth Ski League director), a former professional mountain bike and adventure racer who has many (multi-sport) endurance titles under her belt, including a U.S. Mountain Bike Marathon National Championship title. Sari is excited to provide high-level training, take our competitive bike program to the next level, and offer some special clinics such as women’s-specific rides.

Beyond mountain biking, we have many summer programs both at home and abroad. Thanks to Aspen Skiing Co., our freestyle and snowboard athletes will work on air awareness at Buttermilk Glacier, the training park that is built out of the leftover snow from X Games. Our eldest alpine athletes are headed to Norway to train with Lars Kristoffersen, father of Henrik Kristoffersen, Olympic medalist and 2019 World Cup champion. We have trampoline and ramp camps at the Hildebrand Sideyard Project at the AVSC clubhouse, a favorite of Olympic silver medalist Alex Ferreira. There are fitness camps geared toward our Nordic athletes (starting at age 10) that anyone — Nordic athlete or not — is welcome to join.

Check out www.teamavsc.org/summer to register or learn more.

Clubhouse Chronicles is a twice-a-month, behind-the-scenes column written by the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club during the winter months. It runs in the Friday Outdoors section.

Methodist church presents Jesus Christ Superstar for Good Friday

Jonathan Gorst put on “Jesus Christ Superstar” for the Riviera Supper Club’s quarterly dinner theater because he wanted to do something that fit with Holy Week in the days preceding Easter when Christians celebrate the passion, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Gorst’s show gets a second act at two Glenwood Springs churches for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services.

“The show is really based on the last week of the life of Christ. It’s a very loose interpretation of it,” Gorst said. Still, all three nights of the dinner theater performance, which included seven songs from the musical paired with seven Middle Eastern, Hebrew and other dishes, were sold out.

The biblical story of Christ’s Passion presented in a rock-opera musical may seem as strange a pairing now as it did when Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice wrote the show in the late 1960s.

“Andrew Lloyd Weber was in college when he wrote that show, dreaming of being a British rock star and writing some amazing musical theater,” Gorst said.

No one in the London stage scene would produce the show, but it was released as a concept album in 1970 and became an instant hit. It only took a year for the show to make a debut on Broadway.

The show is not scripture, but is retelling a story told in the gospels, with a twist: The production is told from the perspective of Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus to the authorities to be sentenced to death on the cross.

“Fifty years on, I don’t think we really appreciate what an edgy, and fresh, and dare I say radical perspective this work presents of our Lord, and of Holy Week,” Carol Lillie, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Glenwood Springs, said in an interview.

Lillie remembers wearing out her first record of “Jesus Christ Superstar” when she was young.


The idea for “Scenes for Reflection: Jesus Christ Superstar,” to be performed today at 6:30 p.m. at United Methodist Church, started last fall when several of the local Protestant churches met to think of ways to collaborate on music and other events.

In February, Gorst began discussing sharing the Riviera’s production to Holy Week services and Lillie began working on a program that incorporated two of the songs.

“For me, every time I approach either Christmas or Easter, I try to bring these stories that we think we know so well to mind, and have people consider the relevance in our modern lives. It’s a question of how your faith makes a difference in your life today,” Lillie said.

Arthur Williams, who assists the choirs at Glenwood Springs High school and Middle School and plays the eponymous lead role in the Riviera’s dinner theater production of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” will join Gorst’s piano accompaniment and Pontius Pilate for two critical scenes reenacting the time leading to Jesus’s crucifixion.

Gorst and Williams also performed a selection of the musical as part of a Maundy Thursday service and meal.

“We pretty much keep it the same as we did at the Riviera. The only difference is we didn’t get the whole band. So there won’t be a guitar and drum set,” Gorst said.

“That’s probably not a bad thing for being in a sanctuary,” he added.


Joan Osborne on her years-long Bob Dylan covers project

Joan Osborne felt Bob Dylan’s presence before she ever saw him in person.

In 1998, Osborne — hot off of her mega-hit “One of Us” — was set to record a new duet of Dylan’s “Chimes of Freedom,” with Dylan himself, for the TV mini-series “The ’60s.”

She got to the New York City studio early, she recalled, and was hanging out with his band when he entered in silence.

“My back was to the door and when he arrived, even through I couldn’t hear him, I noticed how the weather in the room immediately changed,” she said in a recent phone interview from her country home in upstate New York. “No one really looked at him or talked to him, but all of a sudden everyone became hyper-aware of him, gauging his mood.”

She soon learned the response was from musicians who’d grown used to trying to keep up with him.

“People who work with him develop this low-key vigilance,” she explained, “because he changes his mind very quickly. He has this restless intelligence, where he tries out an idea and by the time he has tried one version of the idea he’s already moved on to something else.”

A lifelong Dylan devotee, Osborne’s singer-songwriter career always had been infused with his music and his influence. Her global sensation of a debut album, in 1995, included her take on the hidden Dylan gem “Man in the Long Black Coat” and she’d frequently included Dylan covers in her live sets.

But she’s gone all in for the past three years, with a full album of Dylan covers and a tour that comes to The Temporary at Willits today. (It’s been several years since she’s been back in the Aspen area, though Osborne has been playing here since a 1997 headlining slot at Jazz Aspen’s Labor Day Festival.)

The current project started with a 2016 residency at the Café Carlyle, the legendary cabaret room that’s been running in Upper East Side Manhattan’s Carlyle hotel since 1955. Given two weeks of shows and no creative restraints, Osborne decided to use the residency to immerse in Dylan’s songs.

“We were uncertain if people were going to like it, but from the very first night it’s been really fun and it’s been a joy for us to do this deep dive into this material,” Osborne said.

The Dylan catalog is deeper than the ocean, of course, spanning six decades and 38 albums and the ever-expanding trove of his “Bootleg Series.”

“It was definitely a difficult thing to choose from the hundreds and hundreds of great songs that Bob Dylan has,” Osborne said. “It’s kind of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, there’s so much to choose from. On the other hand, how do you decide?”

After the residency, she got to work on what would become her “Songs of Bob Dylan” album, released in 2017.

Throughout her long career, Osborne said, she’s kept in the back of her mind the late 1950s run of records by jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald that each tackled the catalog of an iconic American songwriter.

“I always thought this was a great idea and something that I would like to do with writers who I feel uniquely drawn to, who are from my era,” she said.

Osborne’s Dylan record offers new spins on the classics and shines a light on some overlooked Dylan compositions.

Her “Highway 61 Revisited” is a dark and ominous country song, her “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” is a slow and soulful blues. In “Masters of War,” Osborne puts her formidable voice up front, with a steady acoustic guitar in the background and a gradual build of piano.

The enduring relevance and resonance of Dylan’s early work continues to strike Osborne.

“These things that might have been written about something that was happening in his youth are very relevant to what is going on in the world right now,” Osborne said. “It’s particularly genius in the way that he wrote them that they could be timeless in that way.”

But along with those iconic early Dylan classics, the album spans five decades of the Dylan catalog and unearths some deep cuts like “Dark Eyes” (off Dylan’s largely forgotten 1985 album “Empire Burlesque”) and “Tryin’ to Get to Heaven” (off the definitive late-career Dylan album “Time Out of Mind” from 1997) and “High Water” (from 2001’s “Love and Theft”).

“I wanted to put things on the record that people would know, but also to dig a little deeper to allow people to discover something they didn’t already know,” she said. “We really wanted people — even who are fans of Dylan — to find out something they didn’t already know about him.”

Osborne admitted that even she didn’t know “Dark Eyes” until Patti Smith — who recorded a live duet version of it with Dylan — told her about it. Osborne also has widely expanded her Dylan repertoire as she’s toured with the material over the past two years.

“As you’re on the road and doing the shows night after night, you want to keep it fresh for yourself and for the audience,” she explained. “So we put in some live-only bonus tracks and we are never really sure what those are going to be from night to night.”

Dylan is a towering culture figure and Nobel laureate who also is, somehow, an unknown and seemingly unknowable cipher of a human being. He has worn so many masks, taken on so many personas, revealed so little about his personal life, written and recorded so many hundreds of songs that he is beyond comprehension.

Though she’s spent time with the man and has now spent years studying and performing his work, Osborne remains in the dark like the rest of us.

When Osborne sang with the living members of the Grateful Dead for a stretch, beginning in 2003, they co-headlined a big summer tour with Dylan. They saw each other every day and sang together often onstage, but Dylan — true to form — managed to not quite be there.

“I wouldn’t say he and I were hanging out a lot and that I got to know him as a person,” she said. “It wasn’t like we were sitting down and rapping about our childhood experiences or something. He was funny and nice and charming and all of that, but it was a work situation.”

When Osborne released her album of his songs, she didn’t hear from Dylan directly but he did post a compliment on his Facebook page.

“I was surprised even to get that,” Osborne said with a laugh. “He’s got an awful lot on his plate and talking about someone else covering his work is not something that he has to do. So it was very generous.”

Osborne this spring has been finishing up a new album of original material. After her yearslong deep dive into Dylan’s world, he naturally seeped into her songwriting.

“He’s very funny in this wry, droll kind of way,” she observed. “I’ve tried to bring that out in this new record. … When you immerse yourself in this, it lets you be free in that way — and be humorous and real and bizarre.”


Writing Switch: Keeping it 100

Finally receiving your 100-day pin is sort of like your birthday. You feel all special and tingly, and rightfully so, but as soon as the clock strikes midnight you turn back into a pumpkin. With no other goals in life and skiing suddenly reserved only for the weekends (if you feel like it), life in Aspen gets super-duper boring. This week we motivate you to find other activities that will keep you counting to 100 for 365.


BW: The standard by which all other ski town activities are measured, the best part of the 100-day pin is listening to the snarkiness dished by people who, you know, don’t have one.

“Ohh so you’re wearing your pin, huh? Big shot.” “Correct, why aren’t you wearing yours?” “I only got 30 days this year.” “I see.”

Then the excuses start flying. “I was so motivated at the beginning of the season!” they’ll rationalize. I’ve noticed after about two months all but the most enthusiastic abandon their plans when they realize gearing up, hopping on a bus and riding a gondola five or six times a week takes up valuable time that could instead be spent playing video games, laying in bed all day with your significant other or working or whatever. Blah blah blah.

The gloating after year four of 100-day seasons is still as sweet as the first one. Though it would be cool of Aspen Skiing Co. if the winners got a free shot and a beer at an on-mountain restaurant. I think they can afford it, because if you do the math (or trust that I’m capable of dividing 100 by $1,400), each day is worth about $14, depending on how long past the triple-digit mark you care to go.


SB: Being unemployed for 100 days is called offseason. For real adults, a 9-to-5, 365-day-a-year job prevents this glorious-until-the-idle-time-and-lack-of-funds-sucks-out-your-soul experience. But many service-industry workers and young bro-fessionals know that great feeling of turning off your alarm clock indefinitely.

Waking up with nothing but “I need to leave the house” qualifying as a productive day is awesome at first. However, after you’ve beaten “Spider-Man” for the third time and are playing the game like the guy who can beat Mario for NES in 86 seconds, you start to question your own value. What’s the meaning of life? How many consecutive days in a row is it acceptable to eat Totino’s party pizzas? I wonder how many points I have saved up at the dispensary? Is it enough for an eighth?

After converting your change pile to cash for a 30-rack of Extra Gold, you’ll pray for the 100th day to come because the couch is starting to give you bed sores. So good luck to the recently unemployed. Happy offseason.


BW: It’s really hard for me to advocate going sober for 100 days, or even 100 hours — especially while writing this half-buzzed. But it’s the straw I drew so here we go. First, you have to be lenient with your definition of “sober.” If you drink a six pack of PBR, for example, are you drunk? Sobriety doesn’t necessarily mean refraining entirely — but that choice is yours. If you start getting the shakes, maybe it’s OK to take a quick shot of brown liquor to help wean yourself off the sauce. Using a nicotine patch or your little sister’s Juul doesn’t count when you’re trying to quit smoking, so why would this be any different?

My buddy took a break for a week and cleansed on kale and chia-seed smoothies for breakfast. He says he feels great and refreshed, but I’d argue a fair compromise is a screwdriver or mimosa. Orange juice is very healthy.

Treat yourself and your friends to a rager with the $1,500 you saved (not to mention eliminating drunken online shopping purchases) at the conclusion of your three-month sabbatical.


SB: First off, I have no concept of how long it takes to grow your hair out but let’s just pretend like 100 days is long enough to go full Denver yoga instructor. Combining a grossly unkempt beard and greasy top knot for three-plus months may get you an in with your budtender but won’t do you any favors if you’re trying to come off as a credible human being. Nothing says “I’m not using my degree” like some bro growth.

You don’t have to dress like a hipster for this challenge but don’t all clothes count as ironic if your facial hair says hipster? So learn how to handle a hairstyle and download the best Chainsmokers album (if there actually is one) for the 100-day bro growth challenge.


SB: This is a legitimate thing. I know, I saw it on Instagram. People exchange their poles for paddles and hit the river every chance they can get. I like floating as much as the next river beer but there is some rough water. Try buying a duckie that’s not self-bailing and then taking it through real rapids. It’s fun until you have to stop every 15 minutes to dump out the water. Also, kind of hard to drink beer when you’re not sure whether it’s full or full of river water.

Make sure you have a place to dry out all of your gear that isn’t your car because you don’t want it rife with river musk and turning into a petri dish. If you can get through 100 days without baptizing your phone, put it on the Gram.


BW: In the best shape of my life since a sedentary, ranch dressing-filled lifestyle in the Midwest wrecked my physique, I once decided 100 days of lapping Smuggler Mountain Road would be the perfect carryover athletic goal from the winter to warmer months.

Three days of that and I was hobbling around like Fred Sanford after faking a heart attack. I felt a twinge of sympathy for the skier weekend warriors as my marathon mission was quickly abandoned.

I couldn’t stand the people who ran up the mountain, checking calories on their Apple Watches, or the mountain bikers with unbuckled helmets. Hey Brett, you don’t wear them because they’re flattering, and also that’s laughing a little too close in the face of irony.

Like trolling people in the gondola, playing little games along the route can help pass the time in case you accidentally didn’t get high enough to enjoy exercising before leaving the house. I often like to greet everyone descending the trail, offering an affirmative nod to some or a full-throated “hello!” and exaggerated arm wave to others.

If I have guests visiting, we’ll play “Who’s an Aspen Mom or Just an Au Pair?” Nobody ever wins because nobody ever knows.

The most dangerous contest involves seeing how far down a gated driveway you can get before lasers start shooting out of the robotic doorbell.


SB: Sick of Jessica and her overachieving at Pure Barre or yoga or whatever workout class you attend? Trying to rise on the leaderboard definitely not publicly posted to guilt you into returning? Well, try the 100-day workout routine. It’s like P90X but without the inherent air of superiority. (I’m just assuming people still do that workout, but I’m also assuming people still do Tae Bo, so who knows.) Classes also help you avoid that awkward period at the gym when you’re not really sure which machine to use next because you already did the ones you know how to use.

“Yeah, the reverse incline deadlift. Gotta work those … quads?”

We’ve all signed up for a gym membership or bought some form of exercise equipment that sounded like a good idea but gets used about as much as the word supererogatory. (It means excessive but that seems like an excessive way to say excessive.) Put on those leggings or yoga pants, which are different things, and head to the gym to get in shape or even as an excuse to get out of the office. F— Jessica.


BW: Sorry, you’re on your own (literally).

sbeckwith@aspentimes.com bwelch@aspentimes.com