| AspenTimes.com

Calling all ski bums —Aspen-based Ski.com is offering dream jobs again

The perfect ski bum job will be even better this season.

For the second straight year, Ski.com is looking for people to visit some of the hottest ski destinations in the world and document their experiences. But this year, the Aspen-based company is looking to hire 12 ski bums rather than one, like last year.

The winners of the Dream Job competition will be assigned to travel to and document the “ski-boots-on-the-ground” experiences at six destinations, with two people assigned to each resort during the 2020 winter. The six destinations are Aspen-Snowmass; Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Big Sky, Montana; Banff and Lake Louise, Alberta; Chamonix, France; and Niseko, Japan.

Ski.com, the largest provider of ski vacations in North America, is expecting widespread interest in the Dream Job. The company will accept applications today through Oct. 29 for the positions.

“Last fall, for Ski.com Epic Dream Job, we received nearly 1,200 video entries and a very passionate community formed online in support of the applicants,” Dan Sherman, Ski.com chief marketing officer, said in a statement. “This year, instead of hiring one person, we are now looking for candidates to fill 12 open positions who will visit six incredible destinations around the world while receiving products and services from an all-star group of partners.”

The Dream Job personnel will each be compensated with all-expenses paid VIP resort experiences, flights on United Airlines, gear from Stio, Black Crows, Giro and GoPro, according to Ski.com. They will also each get a $2,000 paycheck and an opportunity to work with Protect Our Winters.

Ideal candidates must be able to ski or snowboard at an advanced intermediate or above. They must love apres skiing, mingling with locals and documenting their travel experiences. And, of course, they must have a “serious desire to travel to some of the most amazing mountain destinations on the planet,” Ski.com said.

To apply, interested job seekers must choose which one of the six resort destinations they would like to work at, then submit a video application explaining in 90 seconds or less why they should be hired and what drew them to the particular destination. Each applicant can choose one resort or apply to multiple destinations, with different applications for different resorts. Ski.com will welcome applications from individuals or two-person teams.

For more information or to apply, visit www.ski.com/dreamjob.

An announcement will be made Nov. 19 on the 12 people who have been selected.

Denver man remains missing on Pyramid Peak outside of Aspen

A 66-year-old Denver man remains missing on Pyramid Peak on Monday night after search crews could not locate him following an all-day search, according to the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.

The man, who is described as an “experienced outdoor enthusiast,” was reported missing at 6 p.m. Sunday by his hiking party, the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. They said he separated from the group at about 2 p.m. near the peak, which has a 14,018-foot summit, and had not returned.

Because of the late hour Sunday and the difficult terrain, a search group was deployed at 5 a.m. Monday, followed by another group at 7:30 a.m., according to the news release.

Before noon Monday, a helicopter from the Army National Guard out of Gypsum was called in to help with the search. With no sign of the hiker by evening, crews pulled out of the field at 7 p.m. Monday.

The man is described as 5-feet-10-inches tall, about 165 to 170 pounds with blue eyes and blond hair.

Pyramid Peak is about 12 miles southwest of Aspen.

The Pyramid Peak trail on the northeast ridge is about 8 miles round trip from the trailhead at Maroon Lake, according to website 14ers.com. The last 1,000 feet to the summit requires “Class 3 and 4 climbing and careful route-finding,” according to the website, and the “remaining 500 feet to the summit is complex.”

Stark differences surface at Aspen rape sentencings of Callahan, Henley

Monday’s sentencing of a Woody Creek teen who pleaded guilty to violently raping two local girls presented two starkly different points of view.

On one side was prosecutor Don Nottingham, who said Henry Henley, 18, was a dishonest, deceitful and violent sex offender with an anti-social personality disorder who will likely fail to complete the sweetheart plea deal he accepted last month. Henley’s victims, by contrast, are courageous heroines who came forward to stop future sexual assaults, he said.

“(The first girl who reported Henley’s actions) is a hero,” Nottingham said. “And the other young women who came forward in this case are heroes.”

Henley’s lawyer, Trent Trani of Denver, had a different take on the situation.

He first talked about how “people including teenage girls” make false rape statements to police and that to disregard the possibility of that in this case “is not the correct thing to do.”

Furthermore, mandatory minimum sentences associated with the sex assault charges Henley faced made it impossible to go to trial and challenge the veracity of the victims’ accounts and examine their sexual histories, Trani said. He couldn’t gamble on Henley’s future when he was facing between 55 years and life in prison, Trani said.

Henley was ultimately failed by Aspen schools, Aspen police, the Aspen District Attorney’s Office and psychiatrists since he was 6 years old and diagnosed as having attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, Trani said.

Finally, he tore into Aspen parents and society in general.

“This city has some serious issues,” Trani said. “The children in this city run amok. There’s rampant drug use. The sex these kids are having in these high schools. I was amazed.”

Without some deep civic reflection, “this is not the last time a case like this will be in this courtroom,” he said.

Henley pleaded guilty in August to felony second-degree assault in which he admitted to using his hands as a deadly weapon. That plea is related to allegations that he restrained and choked a 16-year-old girl before sexually assaulting her. He also pleaded guilty to felony sexual assault using force on another victim.

In exchange for the pleas, Nottingham agreed to drop 15 other counts related to those two cases and two others. He said Monday he offered the plea because of Henley’s young age and to save the victims from the traumatic experience of testifying at trial.

Henley was sentenced to the Colorado Department of Corrections Youthful Offender System for five years. Assuming he successfully completes that program, he will face a minimum of 20 years of probation and a maximum of life. During the probationary period, he must take part in intensive sex offender probation and register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. He cannot ever have any contact with any of the victims in the case.

If Henley violates his probation, his probation sentence could be converted to a prison sentence, District Judge Chris Seldin said.

Henley did not speak in court Monday on the advice of his lawyer. And while Trani blamed nearly everyone but his client for Monday’s outcome, he did acknowledge that Henley might be somewhat responsible.

“Mr. Henley understands he’s not perfect,” Trani said. “He has some work to do and he knows that.”

Keegan Callahan, Henley’s co-defendant, also was sentenced Monday. He pleaded guilty earlier this month to sexual exploitation of a child and second-degree assault — both felonies — as well as two misdemeanor counts of unlawful sexual contact.

Callahan, 21, was sentenced to 14 years in prison, which will be followed by five years of parole as part of his plea deal. He also will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. Callahan didn’t speak in court Monday, either.

Abe Hutt, Callahan’s Denver-based lawyer, also bemoaned the mandatory sentencing laws that he said treated his client the same as a first-degree murderer. He said both defendants and the victims in the case all had mental health issues long before they ever met, and that labeling one side heroes and the other evil will ensure similar case continue to appear.

Hutt also brought up sex by Aspen teens.

“If the court knew what kind of consensual sexual behavior was taking place by (these) teens and (Callahan), you would lose your breath,” he said.

Both teenage victims spoke in court Monday before the two defendants were sentenced.

“What he did I can never forgive,” one said to Henley. “Goodbye, Henry. I do hope the world isn’t kind to you.”

The second victim told Henley that he and Callahan wounded them deeply.

“They don’t know what they took from us — from not just me but everyone,” she said.

The first victim told Callahan that people always told her to stay away from him, but she didn’t immediately realize why. The second victim said people told her Callahan was a bad person, but she didn’t believe it.

She said that when Henley assaulted her, she asked Callahan, who was present in the room, to help her.

“You just looked at your phone and ignored me,” she said tearfully.

After the Monday’s court proceeding, the first victim said that hearing Trani cast doubt on her story was “really frustrating.” She said she doesn’t want anything from Henley and Callahan and wouldn’t have chosen to go through such a terrible experience.

“It kind of invalidates everything I’ve gone through,” she said. “None of us wanted to deal with it, but at a certain point, we have to.”


New city software to scrape Internet for short-term rentals in Aspen

In what has been a yearslong effort to regulate and collect taxes on residents who use their properties for short-term rentals, the city of Aspen is switching to a more effective software system.

The city had been using a company called Innoprise for its sales and lodging tax software, but it’s unstable and has caused major disruptions to the government and taxpayers, according to City Finance Director Pete Strecker.

Innoprise shared space on a server with the city’s financial and permitting software, Eden.

Last year, the server crashed and Innoprise was down for multiple weeks.

“It prevented folks from filing their monthly tax (payments), or applying for business licenses,” Strecker said.

In response, the city migrated the two software servers to minimize the burden on the server.

But now Strecker and the finance department will use a Durango-based software package that provides a business license and tax remittance portal, as well as a new application that can track short-term rentals that are not complying with city laws.

“We don’t want to wait for the next problem,” Strecker said.

He estimated that there are more than 2,000 short-term rentals in Aspen, and many of them do not have business licenses or pay the 2% lodging and 2.4% city sales taxes.

“This software helps us get our arms around the VRBO world,” Strecker said, adding that the new software scrapes the internet where properties would be listed for rent.

Strecker said the finance department can recoup the $38,000 cost for the software solutions, MuniRevs and LodgingRevs, both through departmental savings and increased revenue when the city captures uncollected tax collections.

The city solicited bids last year for other systems, which came back at around $78,000, but those options were not as robust as what MuniRevs and LodgingRevs offer, according to Strecker.

Snowmass Village also uses that system to collect on short-term rentals.

Strecker said he hopes to have both systems in place this fall for a full roll out at the beginning of 2020.


Men arrested in child solicitation sting appear in court

A firefighter. An antiques dealer. An accountant. A volunteer.

Most of the men accused of soliciting child prostitution in a sting last week have no criminal record.

Seven of the nine people charged as a result of the sting operation in Garfield County, which created online posts advertising sex with children, appeared in court Monday for their first hearing.

Glenwood Springs antique dealer Scott Fetzer, 60, was advised on the charges in a closed courtroom on Friday. The Post Independent previously reported on his Thursday arrest.

One man accused of soliciting sex with a child is Jan Blewett, 35 of Crested Butte, who is a firefighter with the Colorado River Fire Protection District and works part time with the Crested Butte Fire Department.

“I think we were as shocked as anyone,” said Sean Caffrey, CEO of Crested Butte Fire.

Blewett has worked part-time with Crested Butte fire for one year, and was a volunteer for 13 years before that.

The allegations that Blewett solicited sex with a child through undercover operatives “do not represent (Colorado River Fire’s) values or mission or our members’ unwavering commitment to providing high quality emergency services to the communities we serve,” Colorado River Fire Chief Randy Callahan said in a statement.

Colorado River Fire will conduct an internal investigation, Callahan said. Blewett has worked for that district since 2012.

Blewett is on unpaid administrative leave from both fire districts.

In addition to the solicitation charge, Blewett may also be charged with the felony obscene communications.

From Thursday to Saturday morning, nine individuals allegedly communicated with the undercover agents to negotiate prices for sex with children. When they showed up at the meeting place, allegedly to engage in the criminal offense, they were arrested, Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario said Saturday.

“We’re glad we can make these arrests, but we’re sad this exists in the community in the first place,” Vallario said.

The details of the charges are still unclear, and court records were unavailable. The Ninth District Court has not released arrest warrant information.

Public defender Scott Troxel, who advised all seven men who appeared in court Monday while in custody, said his office had not even received the arrest documents.

Magistrate Susan Ryan said the documents were no longer sealed, as the suppression order in the cases, designed to protect the ongoing law enforcement activity, expired Saturday morning at 1 a.m.

Another man, Mingma Sherpa, 51, told Magistrate Ryan during advisements Monday that he works with Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Eagle, and helps low-income people find housing.

Ryan imposed mandatory protection orders on all the accused men that forbids them from having contact with children under the age of 18.

Sherpa was not the only defendant with children, but he requested allowance to see his two children. He said he has two children, 17 and 14 years old.

“It’s disturbing that the solicitation charges are for someone the same age as his son,” Ninth District deputy prosecutor Graham Jackson said of the allegations against Sherpa in court.

Ryan also imposed cash bonds for all the suspects, and denied personal recognizance bonds, which do not require an inmate to pay before being released.

Another man accused of the same charges was Rifle resident Brian Alvarez, who said he understood that the personal recognizance bond was out of the question.

“I‘ve been in the community for five years. I have family. They are here (in court) to support me,” Alvarez said. “I would like the cash bond to not cripple them.”

According to Alvarez’ public Facebook profile, he works as an accountant and is a Colorado Mountain College graduate.

One of the accused men, Guillermo Carreon-Salinas, 31, was on probation at the time of the sting, Jackson said. The others had limited criminal records.


Divers to attempt unprecedented Lake Tahoe clean-up

Two Lake Tahoe residents are taking steps to address the lake’s long-time trash problem by swimming the 72 miles around Tahoe.

Tahoe Dive Center owner Matt Meunier and Clean Up the Lake founder Colin West plan to spend nearly four months scuba diving around the lake, all while picking up garbage, an undertaking they are hoping will be the biggest cleanup in Tahoe’s history.

Meunier approached West, who is a filmmaker, about the idea of making a film about swimming around the lake.

“I loved the thought but only if it was going to mean something,” said West.

The two men will get in the water three to four times a week starting June 1, 2020. Each session, they will use three air tanks which will take them about a mile and a half all while picking up trash.

West has been interested in making a difference for several years, after he visited Belize and saw the trash problem there. He started the nonprofit, Clean Up the Cayes.

“I had a burning desire to do something more other than lining the pocket of the alcohol industry,” said West, who has primarily made films and shows about the food and wine industry.

He then decided to focus his attention on the problem at home.

“With tourism increasing, so many jurisdictions working hard to manage the trash problem across two states, no one is able to pay attention to the trash under the surface of the lake that dates back all the way to the ’70s in areas,” West said in a press release. “I decided it was time to make a difference in our own backyard. Tahoe appears to be pristine and beautiful, but under the surface, there are quite a few issues going on with pollution.”

He’s now in the process of getting dba’s for Clean Up the Plastic and Clean Up the Lake to start focusing on Tahoe.

Microplastics in Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe has recently gotten attention because of research done by the Desert Research Institute (DRI) proving there are microplastics in the lake and in the Truckee River.

Microplastics are defined by DRI as being plastics that are the size of a pencil eraser or smaller.

Assistant Research Professor Hydrology at DRI, Dr. Monica Arienzo realized a lack of research done on microplastics and got a grant to study them. Arienzo and her partner, Zoe Harrold, took surface level samples from Emerald Bay, Nevada Beach, Kings Beach and Tahoe Keys.

They were given samples of the Upper and Lower Truckee river by Kyle Chandler-Isacksen, co-director of the Be the Change Project.

The League to Save Lake Tahoe used its citizen science group, Pipe Keepers, to gather samples from storm drains that flow into the lake.

“We found microplastics in pretty much all of the samples,” Arienzo said.

Because microplastics are under-researched, Arienzo can’t say where they are coming from. Part of her and Chandler-Isacksen’s research is to determine what the microplastics are so they can figure out the source of the problem.

“It seems so bizarre that there are little plastics floating around in the water, snow or air,” Chandler-Isacksen said. Although the research is not definitive, his gut tells him there will be negative impacts from microplastics.

Arienzo said her biggest concern is smaller animals ingesting the plastics.

West has approached DRI about working together on his project and Arienzo is open to the opportunity.

“I got into science because I scuba dive, so for me, if I could work with them or dive with them, I’d be stoked,” Arienzo said. “It’d really be coming full-circle.”

Volunteers sought

Besides working with DRI, West is looking for more help.

During their swim, they will pinpoint areas using a GPS that need extra attention. They are looking for 18 to 30 volunteers to focus on those areas.

West and Meunier are also looking for funding. They are seeking state and federal grants but they’ve also started a GoFundMe account.

They are asking for $80,000 to help cover the costs of scuba equipment, trash cleanup supplies, gas for the boat, filming supplies and man hours since both men will be taking time off from their jobs.

To kick off the project, West and Meunier are hosting a preliminary cleanup Saturday, Sept. 21, on the east shore of the lake. This event will mark the start of filming for the “Making a Difference” documentary about the project.

West is aiming to get the film out in early 2021. In the film, he will highlight other groups that are finding solutions for the microplastics and trash problems.

“We want to show people who are trying to find a solution,” said West.

West believe most of the microplastics are coming from trash, so he wants to use this project to influence people to stop littering.

“I guarantee you that if I took you down there, within half a tank, I could find trash that’s been buried down there for 25 years,” West said.

The League to Save Lake Tahoe engages the community by hosting beach clean-up days after major holidays. They have been collecting data on items they’ve collected. Since 2014, they’ve collected over 125,000 pieces of plastic from the beach.

DRI is also fighting the trash problem. Education Program Manager Meghan Collins recently released an informational flyer urging people to “beat microplastics” by using reusable items such as coffee mugs and utensils, not buying skin products with microbeads, washing synthetic clothing less often, picking up trash and using reusable shopping bags.

Although Arienzo is not convinced all microplastics come from trash, she does think West’s project could help find a correlation between beach trash and trash found in the lake.

The one thing everyone agrees on; even if trash isn’t the cause of microplastics, everyone still needs to do their part to clean up.

“(Fixing the problem) requires and hinges on a science component and it’s about making a connection to community members who would be interested in mitigating the problem and finding a solution,” Collins said.

To donate to the 72-mile cleanup project, or to see a trailer about the film, visit http://www.gofundme.com/f/72-mile-lake-tahoe-scuba-clean-up.

To learn more about DRI’s research, visit http://www.dri.edu/newsroom/blog/401-featured-project/5842-problem-plastic-investigating-microplastic-pollution-in-nevada-s-waterways.

Hunters worried about sport’s future as fewer young people are participating

As leaves begin to turn and Colorado heads into the heart of the fall hunting season, recreational hunters and those who make their livelihood off an industry with a $26 billion annual impact on the American economy are wondering why their numbers are declining, especially among millennials.

There were 11.5 million hunters in 2016, according to the most recent figures published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, representing a decline of 2.2 million from 2011.

In 1991, 28% of U.S. hunters fell in the 25-34 age group, accounting for the largest share of the hunting population. That number declined to 16% in 2016, and there were similar decreases in the 18-24 age group. Meanwhile, there has been a corresponding aging in the group. In 1991, 23% of the hunting population were between 45 and 64. That percentage doubled to 46% in 2016.

“Kids, we’re losing them,” said Jeff Danker, a hunting personality who hosts the show “BuckVentures” on the Sportsman Channel. “If Grandpa don’t hunt or Dad don’t hunt, they ain’t hunting.”

Click here to read the full story from The Denver Post.

Theatre Aspen’s new Solo Flights festival spotlights one-person-shows

While Aspen’s summer art scene may be winding down, Theatre Aspen is giving visitors and locals a reason to stick around a bit longer.

The inaugural Solo Flights festival features four in-development one-person plays and a series of panel discussions that are free to the public. Performances run Wednesday through Saturday at the Hurst Theatre.

“There is no festival in the United States that focuses on this part of the theatrical world,” said Theatre Aspen producing director Jed Bernstein. “I’m hoping that over time — it’s not going to happen immediately — but over time those theater professionals who are interested in developing new work and in booking new work will start coming to Aspen specifically for this. Then, the avid theatergoers who go to play festivals in various cities or musicals in various cities, will add this to their itineraries.”

One-person shows are a growing part of the theater world. Originally, they mostly consisted of famous people portraying historical figures. For example, Hal Holbrook playing Mark Twain or Julie Harris playing Emily Dickinson

“We still have some of that,” Bernstein said, “but now writers are writing shows with one character. Comedians are doing dramatic pieces, and less stand-up comedy. Billy Crystal’s ‘700 Sundays,’ for example. It’s a category that’s getting more and more attention.”

Solo Flights replaces and re-brands the company’s Aspen Theatre Festival, which ran annually from from 2015 to 2017 at summer’s end. It focused on workshop productions of developing plays and musicals.

With relatively fewer events happening om Aspen this time of year, Bernstein thinks September is the opportune time of year for this festival.

“We think it’s going to catch on and we’re excited for it,” Bernstein said.

Theatre Aspen put out a call for entries almost exactly a year ago and they received 86 submissions, from which they chose four.

“We wanted to make sure there was some variety in terms of the topic and men versus women,” Bernstein said. “We think they’re all interesting in their own way.”

The festival will debut four different one-man shows including: “Coach: An Evening with John Wooden,” “Dr. Glas,” ‘’What We Leave Behind” and “When It’s You.” The shows run between 60 and 80 minutes, all performed without intermission.

The schedule has them playing like a film festival would, all day long. People can see one a day for four days or they can see two and two. The schedule is flexible, Bernstein noted, offering optimal convenience.

“What I say to people is that they will for sure hate one of the four, they will feel good about two of the four and they will love one of the four,” Bernstein said. “Every person will have a different sequence, but that’s how it’s going to break down. I hope people will embrace the idea of sampling — they could see the entire festival in two days if that’s what they wanted to do. There’s lots of choices and I hope people will sample everything.”

Theatre Aspen’s hope is that over time, the festival will attract more and more people from outside Aspen.

“I think that it could be a real value added to the list of the other various iconic events that are on the Aspen calendar every year,” Bernstein said. “I hope that at least one or two of the projects that we do over the next five years will go on to successful and highly visible lives, whether that means Broadway or London or get turned into a film or whatever it might be. I think we have significant talent this year at the director level, writer level and at the acting level.”

Bernstein hopes that audience members will take away a sense of adventure about it all.

“One of our goals is to expand our footprint so we’re not just an end-of-June to the middle-of-August organization, and this is a big step in that direction,” he said.

The festival will ultimately allow the nonprofit organization to expand the kind of work they do. Bernstein suggested that Solo Flights will allow Theatre Aspen to take a little more risk in terms of topics, to be a little more ambitious.

Bernstein is striving to make this week as festival-like as possible, meaning there will be offstage events as well as the four main shows. There are two events open to the general public including an interview with Beau Bridges, who stars in “Coach,” as a panel discussion with the directors.

Mobile home parks in Aspen, Pitkin County are integral part of affordable housing stock

While the existence of five trailer parks in Colorado’s wealthiest county might come as a surprise to some, they are actually an integral part of Pitkin County’s affordable housing system.

The city of Aspen first took steps in the early 1980s to preserve a cherished trailer park neighborhood in the middle of town that still exists today for employee housing. Pitkin County has since followed suit, buying or helping preserve four more mobile home parks in the upper Roaring Fork Valley for affordable housing during the past two decades.

“I think Pitkin County — because of the limited land available for affordable housing projects — had to capture what land was available and preserve it,” said Pitkin County Commissioner Patti Clapper, who not only has helped preserve four of the mobile home parks during her five terms on the board, but she’s lived in the fifth one for more than 30 years.

“We started this process so long ago and we recognized the issue early on so, therefore, we were able to step in before these parks were sold off.”

Aspen’s history both as one of the oldest ski resorts in the United States and as a bastion of progressive thinking has elevated the issue of worker housing to the forefront of elected officials’ civic concerns for decades. Those concerns led to an affordable housing program in Aspen and Pitkin County that began in the late 1970s and now includes more than 3,000 deed-restricted units.

Of those 3,000-plus housing units, 395 are located in four mobile home parks under the oversight of the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority. Pitkin County paid $6.5 million in early 2018 for a fifth mobile home park that currently features 40 units, though commissioners have indicated they might add as many as 20 more to the property.

That means 435 mobile homes in Pitkin County now provide affordable housing for about 1,000 people employed in the county and their families, Clapper said.

“Our basic fundamental philosophy is to preserve existing affordable employee housing,” Clapper said. “Perhaps even more important is to preserve the communities those mobile home parks create.”


The first to be preserved was the Smuggler Mobile Home Park located at the foot of Smuggler Mountain on Aspen’s north side. It began as a rental mobile home park in the 1970s, though the city of Aspen approved a subdivision process in that allowed tenants to buy the land under their mobile homes for about $25,000 each, according to APCHA’s website.

Clapper and her husband, Tommy, bought their 1967 single-wide trailer with 860 square feet and the land beneath it in 1987, and have lived at Smuggler ever since. The location is within walking distance of town, provides stellar views of the city and surrounding peaks, as well as a salt-of-the-earth-type neighborhood of 87 units where people care about and help each other, she said.

“We raised two kids, multiple dogs, one cat, way too many hamsters and a gecko in that trailer,” Clapper said. “It is one of the greatest places to live in the community.”

The next mobile home park to convert to land ownership for tenants was Aspen Village, a 150-lot mobile home park located near Woody Creek about a 10-minute drive down Highway 82 from Aspen. Residents there began working toward purchasing the park in 1996 and were able to buy subdivided lots in 2000 for an average price of about $33,000, according to APCHA’s website and Aspen Times coverage.

The 100-lot Lazy Glen Mobile Home Park — located next to Highway 82 near Old Snowmass — followed in 2002, when mobile home owners there were first able to begin buying lots. Tenants at the 58-unit Woody Creek Mobile Home Park were able to purchase their lots in 2006 after a long ownership process spearheaded by APHCA, which bought the park in 1998, APCHA’s website states.

All four mobile home subdivisions now feature a mix of stick-built homes, modular homes and trailers. And while all four are governed by different rules because they were approved at different times, in nearly every case, residents must qualify to buy property in those subdivisions under APCHA’s affordable housing income guidelines and have full-time jobs in Pitkin County.

“It’s for locals,” said Lanny Curtis, a 43-year resident of the Woody Creek Mobile Home Park. “It keeps people with money from coming in here and buying it and flipping it. I think it’s a good thing.”

The Woody Creek Mobile Home Park features manicured grounds, new roads and quality infrastructure, he said.

“It came at a price but it was worth it,” Curtis said.


The Phillips Mobile Home Park — located on a prime slice of the Roaring Fork River between Woody Creek and Old Snowmass — became the fifth mobile home park in the county’s affordable housing inventory. Pitkin County used $6.5 million from an employee housing impact fee fund to purchase the 40-lot property, and is currently going through a planning and design process for it.

Phillips property owner Harriett Noyes received far larger offers for the 76-acre property — which her parents bought in 1933 — but told The Aspen Times last year that she wanted to ensure that her tenants, who she said were like her family, would continue to have an affordable place to live.

“If I had sold on the open market, a lot of people would be homeless,” she said.

Pitkin County Assessor Deb Bamesberger has lived at Phillips for 20 years on a month-to-month lease.

“At any time, they could have told me to pull (my mobile home) out,” she said. “And you can’t (move it). So I lived in fear at that park that someone could come kick us out tomorrow.”

And while Bamesberger is happy the county purchased the park to keep it as affordable housing, she’s nervous about the planning process, both for herself and her neighbors.

“I’ve been waiting to buy it and I hope I get to buy it,” she said. “But there’s a lot of people on fixed incomes who are afraid they might have to move.”

Decisions on the number of units that will eventually be available at Phillips and whether tenants will be able to purchase lots have not yet been made. Pitkin County commissioners will make those decisions in the future.

Curtis, who owns both his 1969 mobile home and the chunk of Woody Creek beneath it, is all too familiar with the fear Bamesberger lived with for two decades. He was the president of the park’s homeowners association when it went through the long, arduous process that led to ownership and still harbors some animosity toward the powers that be that directed the process.

However, ownership is, as he said, worth all the hassles.

“It’s a big difference,” he said. “It’s security.”


What’s the Big Deal: $5 million for Aspen condo

“What’s the Big Deal?” runs Mondays and is based on the most expensive property transaction recorded in Pitkin County through 3 p.m. each Friday.

Price: $5 million

Date recorded: Sept. 10

Address: 95 W. Lupine Drive, Unit A, Aspen

Buyer: Heidi Baumann Trust

Seller: Howard Dublin Trust

Property type: Condo

Year built: 2008

Total heated area: 3,643 square feet

Property tax bill: $9,194