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Writing Switch: These creatures need no (re)introduction

talk of reintroducing wolves to Colorado has been somewhat controversial. Those against bringing back the predators cite concerns over farming and safety. We’re assuming most proponents’ reasoning is the video on Facebook where they let wolves loose in Yellowstone and the general ecosystem is rejuvenated. But then there’s us. We’re solely interested in seeing the most badass animals possible, so we thought we would — actual written, researched arguments accompanying — give a few suggestions as to what species we’d like to see brought back to the Rockies next.


BW: Sean and I are big fans of the bulbous, bright-breasted bird with habitat spanning the West. There aren’t a lot of rules on The Aspen Times copy desk, but one of them is that we make sure every story from The Associated Press, Denver Post or Colorado Sun about sage grouses makes it into our back pages. Mostly, I am completely for installing every mechanism possible in growing the sage grouse numbers, including a yuge wall around North Star, and removing them from the endangered list. So I can hunt them.

Don’t be alarmed; I’m not doing it for sport. I’m doing it so I can have a stuffed sage grouse above my fireplace. Taxidermy runs in my family, but last time I tried to mount an animal I got banned from Wagner Park. It’s astonishing how professionals make those corpses so lifelike, especially after I’ve blasted it to smithereens. How do they just have so many spare eyes, beaks and talons laying around in the shop? Now I’m definitely not going to consume any of that meat, gross.

While stalking the sage grouse, you can use a mating call to alert the birds to your location. First, pucker up, then squeeze your lips together like a tube of toothpaste while crying “hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy.” As a threatened species they are attracted to such poignant songs highlighting injustice.

I also propose fast-tracking sage grouse DNA into the lab program tasked with splicing new genes to recreate previously extinct animals. Ten-foot-tall flightless birds known as phorusrhacids used to roam the Earth, and I’d rather have a trophy of a fancy-plumage version of one of those. Instead of sitting on the mantle it can go right in the foyer, next to my rhinoceros tusk chandelier, pangolin vase and white tiger carpet.


SB: Why are we stopping at gray wolves? It’s time to return a little Darwinism to the Rockies. The only way to get people to respect nature is to let them get mauled and/or killed by it. No, that’s not the mushrooms kicking in, you damn Wookie, it’s a pack of rabid animals straight out of “Game of Thrones.” Maybe next time don’t attract the beasts with an endless stream of jam bands and beef jerky.

I’m not saying people who get lost trying to take shortcuts on fourteeners shouldn’t be rescued, I’m just saying if they happen to get picked off like a sick member of the herd in the time it takes Mountain Rescue to get in the field, the next person might not be so eager to veer from the path.

I understand wolves are harmful to livestock, but at the same time, we’ve been euthanizing pigs and cows for a few months now and I’m still finding ribs and steaks on the shelves.

Also, there would finally be a good reason to enforce the leash law. Your dog possibly getting ripped apart by dire wolves is definitely more incentive to keep it close than just appeasing hikers who “aren’t dog people.”

And there’s always the off chance of rescuing a litter of dire wolf pups, parsing them out between you and your siblings and raising them to be your personal body guards. That way, when the U.S. enacts to martial law following the November election, you have great but also free protection.


BW: Humans haven’t figured out when exactly the last Pokemon left our shores for the regions of Johto, Kanto and Galar. But who can argue that having our own Rolodex full of creatures to carry out our bidding, accomplish our chores and beat the shit out of each other for our amusement wouldn’t be beneficial? Pokemon have evolved quite a bit since the Red and Blue versions were released on Gameboy in 1998. We went from Charmander, a cute little fire-breathing lizard, to Klefki and Trubbish, which literally are a key ring with eyes and a pile of garbage with eyes, respectively. OK, then.

But if I could reintroduce any Pokemon to live alongside our modern species, I would choose Lapras. Basically a plesiosaur/Loch Ness Monster with a big shell on its back, Lapras would be a great companion to have along for any water-based activities, like pulling randos’ innertubes through Twin Lakes so I’m not forced to on my SUP.

Yes, the sea was angry that day, my friends. The waves buffeted me, my craft and the shirtless, shoeless guy I was playing Theodore Tugboat for. Eventually, the combination of choppy water, rowing against the current and imbalance from having an extra 230 pounds attached to me proved too much, and I tipped into the lake.

When you suddenly fall overboard, you have to concentrate on four actions at once: close your eyes, hold your breath, pinch your nose, don’t let go of the paddle, and start kicking upward in the direction you hope your paddleboard is. Oh, that was like five-and-a-half things. And that’s the predicament of capsizing: even when I’m sitting on my couch in a blankie and concentrating, I can barely remember what the steps are, let alone when freezing cold liquid fills your lungs as you gasp underwater and all your vision is green bubbles and the hot mermaids from “Goblet of Fire” staring back at you.

I manage to crawl back onboard, tie my soaked Old Glory headband around my paddle and, like George Washington crossing the Delaware, let out a mighty yell at Poseidon — part terror, part invigoration, part because I just watched “Full Metal Jacket” the night before.

And then up from the depths like a breaching sperm whale comes a sympathetic Lapras, gracefully towing us back to the beach where our friends have long been at safety, when otherwise we surely would have missed the shore by half a mile and been marooned on a shale of jagged rocks and I would have to crawl up in my flippy-floppies, exhausted legs and arms convulsing, to find the road and self-rescue. Whew, sure is a good thing that definitely didn’t happen.

With beer in hand, joint between lips and pals cheering me on, I reward the Lapras by throwing a Master Ball and catching the legendary monster! Big, stupid turtle, should have let me drown and join the mermaids. Now you’re just a house pet with superpowers and must show me affection or be trapped in this digital chamber forever. #Don’tCancelPokemon


SB: The brown bear derives its name from a football team in Chicago. They’re twice as awesome as black bears, as you can see by their massive size and claws, which are double the length (4 inches) of a black bear’s (2 inches).

The perception that they’re aggressive is often misguided as is evident in the nature documentary series “The Yogi Bear Show.” The bear’s enthusiasm for picnic baskets aside — rarely if ever did I see tourists at Jellystone use bear-proof containers — he had plenty of chances to maul and/or kill Ranger Smith but opted for more unconventional tactics.

Also, if we reintroduce wolves and brown bears, they’ll theoretically battle within the animal kingdom, thus sparing precious livestock with the bonus of possibly happening across a real bear vs. wolves showdowns. (I don’t have the betting odds for each ratio of wolves to bear matchup but the bear would be favored most of the time.)

I’m sick of these poorly animated Animal Planet reenactments. It’s not animal cruelty if two alpha predators come across each other in the wild; it’s just nature.

Hell, if Leo can survive an attack from a grizzly and an evil Tom Hardy in the 1800s, I’m 73% certain bear attacks will not end in death 100% of the time in 2020.

Have an animal you’d like to pitch? Think about it quietly in your head and keep it to yourself. sbeckwith@aspentimes.com bwelch@aspentimes.com

Brake the Cycle charity ride returns with limited numbers, same big goal

The size of the peloton will be smaller, but the cause will be just as big and far more important amid a global pandemic.

Back for its ninth year, the Aspen Invitational “Brake the Cycle” charity ride will take place Saturday in an attempt to raise money for the citizens of Zambia who are in desperate need of clean water.

“It’s a new and challenging way to continue the annual fundraising goal,” said co-organizer Nicole Birkhold of the mostly virtual format this year. “We really wanted to make sure our goal and some of the money and fundraising efforts that people in Zambia count on every year from us in order to install more clean water wells in rural areas of Zambia didn’t go short this year, because it’s more important than ever.”

Brake the Cycle, which is organized in large part by the local Appleby family, is done in partnership with World Vision, one of the largest humanitarian aid organizations on the planet. The main goal of the non-competitive ride is to provide funds in order to create new water wells in Zambia, a land-locked country in Africa located just south of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The money raised also goes toward new bicycles, which provide the Zambians with a means to commute to work, school, the market and to the wells, which aren’t always close by. Many of the organizers, including the Applebys, have traveled to Zambia in the past to help dig the wells and deliver the bikes.

“I can’t do much because we don’t make a lot of money, but we can give back with our time and just being available and being part of the ride as guides,” said pro cyclist Katie Compton. “Bringing clean water and bikes to people, it’s a life-changing thing you can give them. And also teach them to be self-sufficient and pretty much rely on themselves to get their products to market, to have the girls be able to get to school, to be able to transport themselves and rely on themselves. It just makes it better for everyone.”

Compton, a Colorado Springs-based cyclocross rider who happens to be among the best in the world, is one of a handful of professionals who have long been involved with the Aspen Invitational. Boulder’s Cari Higgins has long served as the ride leader, with alumni including Kiel Reijnen and George Hincapie, among many others.

Compton plans to be in Aspen on Saturday for the in-person ride, which is being limited to only 40 riders spread out on the route in smaller groups to abide by local COVID-19 guidelines. It won’t be the same spectacle as in past years due to the coronavirus pandemic, but combined with the online Strava challenge it should fulfill its goal of helping the Zambians.

“You can’t really enjoy large groups, but we can still do something,” Compton said. “It’s fun for the pros to chat with people, and people who are really committed to doing something good, to raising money for clean water, to raising money to provide bikes.”

The staggered in-person start gets underway at 8 a.m. at Paepcke Park in Aspen. The route includes some of the most popular spots in the Roaring Fork Valley, such as a trek out to the Maroon Bells and lap around Owl Creek Road and Snowmass.

While the in-person component is sold out, people can still get involved virtually.

“We were optimistic early on that everything was going to be fine and we would be able to have our in-person ride with the 100-plus people we normally ride with. But as things got closer it became more apparent that was not going to be able to happen,” Birkhold said of the quick shift in format. “One of the cool things about it is it has allowed us to broaden our reach as well, so we have people joining us from Georgia, from the U.K., from Zambia, actually. So people from all around the world are now able to join us in this effort via bicycles to raise money for clean water.”

For more information, visit www.brakethecycle.net.


Roger Marolt: It is part of the price we pay to live here

Is it too much to ask visitors to wear masks? I am afraid it might be. The right to be obstinate is part of what we offer to entice them. They behave the way we have conditioned them to. Come one, come all, with plenty of cash, and make yourselves at home. Relax. Relapse. Whatever you want. It’s Aspen!

Add disagreeable COVID-19 behavior to the list of anything goes. Visitors behaving badly is another cost of living here. It’s as real as the affordable housing shortage and the inexplicable price of gas. Should they yammer away on their cellphones on the gondola? Should they swoop parking spots in the City Market lot? Double park in front of The Wheeler? Do they need to be so demanding?

You can’t take any of this personally. You are the last thing they are thinking about. It takes everything they’ve got to concentrate on getting their money’s worth, here in the church of the tragically hip.

Do you really want to live here? If so, prepare for cold January days, June cottonwood allergies, and tourists irritating you. It is all part of the deal.

Rather than running around yelling at tourists to put masks on, a resident will do better staying away from perceived dangers in their wakes. It’s not hard. I don’t need to be anywhere near downtown except for work. I’m in, I’m out. Loitering for conversation can wait for better times. If not, we can meet somewhere out there, off the beaten path. This is part of the home field advantage. If you feel trapped in a mob on the mall, you might not be “local” enough yet. It doesn’t take 50 years to learn how to get away.

It is enough to know smart people are wearing masks. Science backs this up. Go ahead, play the fool on the hill, your lot in life being to put up patiently with the less enlightened. If Dr. Anthony Fauci and a bevy of incontrovertible statistics can’t convince someone that wearing a mask is smart when it is his job to do so, then how are you going to accomplish it by getting into a shouting match over it in front of Carl’s completely for the hell of it? Setting a good example is your best bet. Being a local is your ace in the hole. So many visitors would love to be mistaken for you and, for that reason, they watch. It’s better that they eventually rise to your example than you one day realizing you are absentmindedly carrying your skis tails first through Gondola Plaza.

I find comfort in looking at this situation and how I am reacting to it and telling myself, “I don’t see much chance of coming down with this thing.” It’s an honest evaluation. I haven’t been in any crowds. I don’t get within 6 feet of people. If the grocery store is crowded, I come back later. I don’t touch people, not even light, European double-cheek kissing. I wash my hands after everything and before most. I wear a mask. If I come down with this thing, it will be by an act of God and not of my own stupidity. This helps me sleep.

To make a place your home requires a committed love not unlike that found in a good marriage. First, you need to be observant enough to see the truth of what you are undertaking. Then, be honest enough to fully accept it. If you get past this part maintaining enthusiasm and embracing the town with all of its faults, you must then renounce any expectation of correcting those faults. Resolving not to try will make things better. If you can’t help yourself, keeping expectations low is compulsory.

Unless you have a vaccine recipe in your back pocket, you are not going to save the world from COVID-19, much less Aspen with its built-in imported attitude, so you might as well focus on saving yourself, your family and select friends who still nod along to your proselytizing after you’ve had one too many or who post encouragement on your Facebook page.

We don’t want to become bitter over this. We’ve suffered plenty already and there is simply too much else that could go wrong yet. It is out of our control, and by “it” I mean almost everything. Do what you can and then head deep into the woods for a good cry. This will help lighten the load.

Roger Marolt is not convinced a country with 5% of the world’s population and 25% of COVID-19 deaths can claim exceptionalism in all things. roger@maroltllp.com

Aspen Cycling Club: Results from Basalt Mountain MTB time trial on July 8




Mens A (Open)

1 0:26:48 SAMPSON, Mike Hub of Aspen / Revel Bikes

2 0:27:43 BECK, George Basalt Bike & Ski

3 0:28:43 KELLY, Christian Limelight Hotel

4 0:28:54 ESPINOZA, Jorge Excel Sports – Insight Designs

5 0:29:22 PETERSON, Butch RFMBA Trail Agents

6 0:29:29 LEONARD, Scott Basalt Bike & Ski

7 0:29:54 DEWIRE, Markus RFC Pinnacle Junior MTB Team

8 0:30:17 LEWIS, Joseph Wifey Racing / Shott Peformance

9 0:30:38 NOVY, Erik RFC Pinnacle Junior MTB Team

10 0:30:43 KOSTER, Ryan Culver’s Glenwood Springs

11 0:30:49 CARPENTER, Corbin RFC Pinnacle Junior MTB Team

12 0:30:58 VIOLA, John


14 0:31:25 LOGAN, Levi RFC Pinnacle Junior MTB Team

15 0:31:29 JOHNSON, Finn Basalt Bike & Ski

16 0:31:50 LOEFFLER, Alexander FastG8

17 0:31:55 LOGAN, Mark Basalt Bike & Ski

18 0:32:50 KLEIN, Caden Hub of Aspen

Womens A (Advanced)

1 0:36:15 HILL, Morgan

2 0:42:06 BORCHERS, Emma RFC Pinnacle Junior MTB Team

Mens B (Advanced)

1 0:32:34 TUDDENHAM, Luke Basalt Bike & Ski

2 0:33:25 BORCHERS, David Basalt Bike & Ski

3 0:33:32 KLUG, Chris Hub of Aspen / Chris Klug Foundation

4 0:33:38 ELLIOT, Simon Basalt Bike & Ski

5 0:34:18 ADAMS, Casey Basalt Bike & Ski

6 0:34:30 ETTLINGER, Jared

7 0:34:56 PERNA, Lew Great Divide Brewing

8 0:35:39 WILLIAMS, Brian

9 0:35:44 BRITTINGHAM, John

10 0:37:46 CHERNOSKY, David Groove Subaru

11 0:38:00 CIBULSKY, John Roaring Fork Cycling

12 0:38:26 MORROW, Gardner

13 0:39:01 KIERNAN, Ryan STRAFE

14 0:41:46 FAAS, Michael Hub of Aspen

15 0:42:40 GOTTLIEB, Benjamin Roaring Fork Cycling

Mens C (Sport)

1 0:37:50 CALLE, Juan Basalt Bike & Ski

2 0:40:39 KELLOFF, Alex

Womens C (Sport)

1 0:51:18 SHAW, Sara Limelight Hotel

Mens 50+

1 0:33:31 LANE, Chris ACES

2 0:37:38 COOK, Miles Modern Market Racing p/b GP capital partners

3 0:38:48 BURKLEY, Rich Limelight Hotel

4 0:39:04 COLE, Jeffrey Hub of Aspen

5 0:39:32 TRANTOW, George Old Farts

Men 60+

1 0:38:17 GIBANS, Jon RFMBA Trail Agents

2 0:47:09 LYONS, Steve Basalt Bike & Ski

3 0:48:19 MURTAGH, Patrick

Men 70+

1 0:47:19 JONES, Larry

2 0:56:50 OVEREYNDER, Phil

High School Boys

1 0:35:59 TRANTOW, Tristan CRMS

2 0:39:38 FRIDAY, Sam

3 0:43:36 CRAWFORD, Nat CRMS

— Race Marshals: Kristen, John Grice, Richard Diether, Tyler Newton, Heidi Mellin

— Results may also be viewed at www.aspencyclingclub.org. Questions about results should be directed to results@aspencyclingclub.org.

High Country: How to celebrate cannabis concentrates on ‘7/10 Day’ (and every day)

With 4/20 long designated as the annual holiday of cannabis, another date on the calendar has gained momentum in the post-legalization era: “7/10 Day” (intended to read as “oil” backwards). Also known as “Dab Day,” July 10 honors cannabis in its purest form. Imbibing in concentrates, extracts and oils is hardly a new method of consumption — in fact, it’s said to have been around (in some form) as early as the 1940s.

According to Merriam-Webster in a 2018 “Words We’re Watching” post, it is “the act of heating a sticky oil or wax of concentrated THC extracted from cannabis and inhaling the vapors.” To newcomers, the lexicon alone — from blow torches, nails and carb caps to rigs, bangers and mats — is pretty intimidating. But cannabis companies are increasingly designing products to make the entire process more user-friendly, with its reputation becoming deservingly less illicit.

Getting high, for those who want it to, can mean getting higher. Dabbing cannabis in any form is often criticized as having a stronger potency than smoking a joint, drawing health concerns as the popularity and accessibility continues to grow. But Green Dot Labs, the leading brand of concentrates in Colorado and the first company to focus solely on cultivation for its eponymous line of extracts, encourages the consumption of its products at lower temperatures “to maximize the taste and sensory experience without inducing excessive psychoactive effects.”

Whether you are a concentrates connoisseur or you’re curious about exploring a whole new world of weed, here, High Country breaks down the terminology* and shares a curated list of dabbing discoveries to take your next session to the next level.


Bubble Hash

Bubble hash is a cannabis concentrate comprising countless trichomes,
or resinous glands, that have been separated from the plant using ice water, agitation and a sieve. Its name come from the way that it bubbles when exposed to flame.

High Country pick: Dadirri Extracts Strawberry Cookies Bubble Hash, $39, dadirriextracts.com
Shop local: High Q, highqrockies.com

Courtesy Green Dot Labs


One of the many consistencies for cannabis concentrates, identified
by its malleable texture that looks and feels like cake frosting. Not
all budder looks the same, and the appearance depends on the starting material and methods of extraction.

High Country pick: Green Dot Labs Fuzzy Navel Black Label Live Badder, $45, greendotlabs.com
Shop local: Roots Rx, rootsrxstores.com

Live Rosin

The process, as well as the resulting concentrate, that is extracted from fresh cannabis plant material that was not dried or cured. This method is used to retain the terpenes that are lost during the drying and curing process. Products that have been extracted using the live process — freezing the cannabis plant material and extracting it — have been associated as the most high-quality and flavorful concentrates due to the amount of terpenes.

High Country pick: 710 Labs Banana Pie Live Rosin, $60, 710labs.com
Shop local: Best Day Ever, bestdayevercannabis.com

Willie’s Reserve

Oil Cartridge

A pre-filled container of cannabis oil or concentrate designed for use with a vape pen. “Carts” are offered in multiple formats, from 510-threaded cartridges that twist onto a battery to pods that magnetically snap into place. Pre-filled vape cartridges built with ceramic tanks run less of a risk of ruining the flavor, as they do not rely on a wick or metallic coil to vaporize the oil.

High Country pick: Willie’s Reserve Redheaded Stranger CO2 Distillate, $65, williesreserve.com
Shop local: Roots Rx, rootsrxstores.com

Courtesy 710 labs


The resulting concentrate when heat and pressure are applied to the cannabis plant. Rosin is a desirable technique because its concentration doesn’t require the use of external solvents. It can also be used to turn lower-grade hash into a concentrate that can be dabbed.

High Country pick: 710 Labs Persy Sauce, $90, 710labs.com
Shop local: Best Day Ever, bestdayevercannabis.com


A brittle, glasslike cannabis extract with a tendency to snap when handled. Shatter is named for its breakability and is favored for its ease in handling while dabbing. It requires long, delicate purging cycles to properly remove all solvents used in the manufacturing process.

High Country pick: Green Dot Labs Tahoe OG Shatter, $24.99, greendotlabs.com
Shop local: Green Dragon, greendragon.com


A term used for any concentrate that has a similar consistency to wet, sappy sugar. They’re not uniform in nature and typically have colors ranging from a bright yellow to a deep amber. Sugars are also typically enhanced with small crystals of THCa that create a more granular texture and enrich the flavor and aroma of the dabbing experience.

High Country pick: Summit Concentrates NYC Diesel Sugar, $24.95, summitstrains.com
Shop local: The Green Solution, tsgcolorado.com

Water Hash

A cannabis concentrate formed by sifting the trichomes of the cannabis plant in the presence of ice water. Ice hash, (commonly referred to as ice water hash, bubble hash, or wet sift)
is typically dabbed, but can also be used to add potency to flower. Ice hash should bubble when smoked.

High Country pick: LoCol Love Peach Sorbet Water Hash, $60, locol-love.com
Shop local: The Green Joint, thegreenjoint.com


Heat and pressure with no additional agitation is the key to premium
wax. This process results in the best retention of the terpenes, flavor and highest quality final product.

High Country pick: Kush Masters Peachy Williams Wax, $30, kushmasters.com
Shop local: The Green Joint, thegreenjoint.com

*Definitions edited from WeedMaps


Higher Standards Heavy Duty Glass Rig
Courtesy Higher Standards

Higher Standards Heavy Duty Rig

Engineered specifically for the water filtration of concentrates, this durable, medical-grade borosilicate glass rig has been handcrafted for powerful, reliable performance, and features a quartz banger for optimal flavor transfer. With slits on its diffused stem that create fine bubbles for a smooth draw, the Heavy Duty Rig boasts superior airflow and an airtight seal. $180, gethigherstandards.com

Courtesy G Pen

G Pen Roam

Seamlessly combining design with advanced technology, the G Pen Roam preserves the experience of traditional dabbing while on the go. Optimized to the user’s preference, it heats up within seconds to deliver the best flavor. $249.95, gpen.com

Puffco Peak

This sleek, smart device unlocks the true power of concentrates, providing the purest expression of the potency, flavor and effects of the cannabis plant. As one of the most efficient and clean dabbing devices on the market, there’s also a minimal learning curve. $379.99, puffco.com

Courtesy 710 Labs

710 Labs Pen

The most potent vaporizer pen and pod combo is also the cleanest; 710 Labs only uses medical-grade materials with no chance of heavy metal effecting the cannabis concentrate you’re consuming. 710 Labs pods are sold separately (locally at Best Day Ever) and formulated with a high-terpene fraction of its proprietary live resin extract. $20, 710labs.com

Katie Shapiro can be reached at katie@katieshapiromedia.com and followed on Twitter @bykatieshapiro.

Mountain Mayhem: Fun on the Fourth

While this year’s Fourth of July was noticeably different with missing traditions from the Boogie’s Buddy Race (which went virtual this year) to the Old Fashioned Parade to the Aspen Music Festival concert at the Music Tent, several holiday staples were still in place: shiny red fire trucks parked out front at the Aspen Volunteer Fire Department, picnics in parks, a steady stream of muscle cars and motorcycles cruising through town and even longtime local Mike Tierney festively dressed and spinning the streets on his unicycle. Hotels and restaurants were humming with business. The Limelight Hotel Aspen offered drink specials and live music with Stevie Lizard in the lounge. Hotel Jerome’s courtyard offered an airy and spacious outdoor setting to enjoy the afternoon. Kemo Sabe’s outdoor seating area with its hay bales and blankets served as the perfect spot for people watching into the evening. All in all, it seemed the quieter, more relaxed 4th was still fun in its own right.

North Star changes a big improvement for county

North Star changes a big improvement for county

Congratulations to the Pitkin County Commissioners for approving updates to the North Star Management plan and to Dale Will and Janet Urquhart and the Open Spaces staff for their ongoing support for North Star.

In August,1949 my father, Jimmy Smith bought this ranch from Theresa Barrailler for $80 an acre. During a trip to the West we New Yorkers stopped in Aspen and he went to Jim Moore’s for a haircut. Moore was Aspen’s only realtor then and Jimmy was a captive audience when Mrs. Barrailler appeared to tell Moore she wanted to sell the ranchl.

She and her husband had survived by running cattle, growing vegetables, cutting hay with a team of horses. According to “Aspen, The Quiet Years,” she was also an accomplished bootlegger.

Jimmy worked to improve the ranch’s productivity, attempting to drain a swamp and produce more hay, leasing grazing rights to Clyde and Wayne Vagneur, and clearing willows with a used bulldozer purchased from Jim Hayes. We’re descendants of J Sterling Morton, the founder of Arbor Day so planting trees was also a priority.

Our first haystack caught on fire, the roof of our barn collapsed in the first snowstorm, and the water level in the swamp was too low to allow it to be drained but luckily Jimmy received several federal appointments so that we weren’t reliant on the ranch for a living. Later we worked out the sale/donation to the Nature Conservancy.

North Star and the many Aspenites we knew and worked with in the ’50s and early ’60s have given me both extraordinary memories and invaluable life experiences. So thanks again for maintaining the beauty of this property.

Morgan Smith

Santa Fe

Editor’s note: Morgan Smith served in the Colorado House of Representatives and as Commissioner of Agriculture. He can be reached at Morgan-smith@comcast.net.

Community overreacting to COVID response, wearing masks

Community overreacting to COVID response, wearing masks

I laugh when I see opinions on COVID-19 that say to listen to science but don’t note what science. Is it Dr. Fauci, the CDC or the WHO? They’ve been wrong on almost everything they claimed. Yes, we have a spike in cases, we are testing more. But we are NOT having a spike in deaths. Put more cars on the highway and we’ll have more accidents too.

Per medicalxpress.com, “..in the United States, 1.3% of patients will die from the illness.” Most are over 75 or had underlying conditions. If I had cancer and my chance of survival is 98.7%, I’d be feeling confident.

Based on “rules” put in place, it only spreads at small businesses, the big ones stayed open. If masks work, why let criminals out of jail instead of giving them masks? Politics? The Aspen Times reported you should wear a mask if you can NOT maintain a distance of 6 feet for more than 10 minutes. Apparently no mask for 10 minutes is OK.

Aspen journalists neglect their ethical duty to report facts. Have they reported how a COVID death is determined? Nope.

Facilities get reimbursed covid death cost plus 20% to cover missed revenue from other procedures. It’s an incentive to mark it COVID related when it isn’t. (CDC.com, drill in a bit).

Some doctor in town said we should all wear masks/isolate/shut down and suffer for months “for the greater good,” but admits herd immunity works.

So how about we all go back to our lives, maybe feel sick for a couple of weeks and get this over with in a much shorter period of time? If you’re one that is concerned or at high risk, how about you stay isolated/wear a mask for the greater good? Isn’t it better a few suffer rather than all for the greater good? People die every day from various causes, this is no different.

Jim Neborsky


Editor’s note: The May 16 edition of The Aspen Times includes a story “Colorado changes way it reports virus fatalities.”

Hand-rolled and home-baked in Aspen: Bam! Bagels! is on a roll

When businesses and schools shut down this past spring, Avery Lieb got fired up. Instead of simply researching a “passion project” to present via video to her seventh-grade class as independent study during the pandemic’s stay-at-home order, Lieb turned on the oven in her family’s kitchen. Her gut feeling was to start baking.

“I knew I wanted to make a bagel business,” Lieb says matter-of-factly, while prepping a batch of orders for Bam! Bagels! last week. “I love baking, and there aren’t very many good bagel shops in Aspen. I like how they’re bread, but little and cute.”

Inspired by visits to her maternal grandmother in New York City, where she tasted the real deal, and using a recipe made over the years by her father, an energy consultant with a background in baking, Lieb got to work. A happy accident early on led to her current formula, a simple ratio of organic flour, two types of malt, salt, and Aspen tap water. Oh, and a big spoonful of 100-year-old sourdough starter that her dad scooped up in Italy some 20 years ago. “That’s important because it helps the dough rise,” Lieb notes. The result: beautifully puffed bagels that satisfy a craving.

Lieb began her school project by building a website: BamBagels.com. There she launched a blog to explore interesting bagel topics and share facts learned during her research. Among them: Why bagels have holes, who invented the bagel, regional differences in bagels, and a cost analysis that breaks down why she charges $3 per bagel. She also discovered that her paternal great-grandparents owned a bakery in Johannesburg, South Africa, long ago.

“That was mostly for the school project,” says Lieb, explaining that she was required to weave in subjects such as math, science, history, art and language. “But now I think it’s nice, because people know what they’re buying.” (To fulfill the latter requirement, Lieb translated her shopping page to accept orders in Spanish.)

When I arrive at 8 a.m. to see Lieb’s home-baked operation, she’s in a groove. The tough part is done already. At 3 p.m. the day before she mixed the dough, which rested 30 minutes before kneading. Then she covered the bowl for three hours of bulk fermentation. Once portioned, 18- to 20-gram dough balls rest again in long proofing boxes, stored inside a car in the cool garage overnight, which slows fermentation so the dough doesn’t rise too much in 12 hours.

Now Lieb shows me how she hand-shapes the hole in each inflated orb of dough. She slips the bagels into a big pot of boiling water, where they cook about 30 seconds per side, before transferring them to burlap-covered baking boards. (A splash of water on the fabric prevents dough from sticking and creates steam.) Midway through the bake, Lieb flips the bagels onto a hot baking stone, which helps offset heat loss from constantly opening the oven door.

Lieb, who turned 13 in May, moves around the small kitchen in what looks like a choreographed dance. Wearing a mask, she is alternately pressing a timer, sprinkling spoonfuls of seed mixture onto Everything bagels, rinsing off baking boards, and transferring puffed, golden orbs to cooling racks. Her notebook order log indicates how many bagels to wrap in each brown paper bag, tied with ribbon and a brand-new business card. She’ll deliver some by bicycle; the rest will go into a cooler on her front porch for socially distanced customer pickup.

Lieb sold her first batch of Bam! Bagels!—available in Plain, Everything, and Cinnamon-Raisin—on May 3. Social media and word of mouth have drawn enough buzz that Lieb has recruited her 10-year-old sister as official helper and taste-tester. Everyone agrees that Lieb’s chewy, New York-style bagels are in a class of their own here in Aspen. When neighbor and Olympic ski racer Wiley Maple posted about her bagels on Instagram, orders surged.

“It’s a lot of work, so to have people love it is necessary to keep it up,” says Lieb’s mother, Kim Master, a coffee fanatic who launched her own “elaborate passion project,” Red Butte Roasters, in 2015. “Everyone has been so supportive. It gives her—and our whole family—a deeper sense of connection with the community.”

By focusing on quality control of a single item, Lieb has been able to adapt to challenges (flour shortages during corona) and let positive feedback fuel Bam! Bagels!

“She’s kept it simple,” Masters says. “It’s hard to go wrong when you have an amazing bread product.”


Pop-Up Sculpture Garden: Anderson Ranch installs 17 artworks on Snowmass campus

Beautiful, relaxing, surprising and as social distancing-friendly as a walk in the park, the new sculpture exhibition at Anderson Ranch Arts Center is an art show made for our moment.

The show opened quietly Monday, July 6, without the usual receptions and fanfare that would attend this kind of happening. But it is a momentous undertaking: 17 sculptures installed across the campus from a mix of internationally renowned and Aspen area artists, from art stars like Sanford Biggers and Enrique Martinez Celaya to valley-based legends like James Surls and Nancy Lovendahl.

The work will remain on view through September 2021.

“This sculpture installation is one of the most exciting changes to the Ranch campus in years,” Ranch President and CEO Peter Waanders said, “providing a new and fresh way of exploring and experiencing this amazing gem of a campus. In the middle of COVID-19, it was so important to us that we find a way to keep the community and visitors engaged with the Ranch, art and art-making. We wanted to create an experience that people enjoy on their own while maintaining physical distancing”

In the weeks leading up to the opening, installation turned the Ranch into a creative construction zone, with backhoes and diggers and cranes sliding all the pieces into place. The works range from the whimsical to the topical, from Charmaine Locke’s six-armed “open book” figure to Paula Crown’s polished aluminum clouds, Jaime Carrejo’s incisive monument made of cage fence to a piece from Sanford Biggers’ of-the-moment “BAM” series which confronts police killings of Black men in the U.S.

The exhibition was curated by Lissa Ballinger, now the Ranch’s director of exhibitions and sales. Along with the artists mentioned above, the show includes works by Ghada Amer, David Kimball Anderson, Ajax W. Axe, Mark Cesark, John Clement, Trey Hill, Richard Lapedes and Brad Reed Nelson.