Carlos is a married man, a father of two, who has lived in Summit County for nearly 13 years. His family of four resides in Summit Cove, where his eldest daughter attends Summit Cove Elementary School. Carlos and his wife both work in local jobs, and generally enjoy living in Summit County.
Trouble came earlier this year when Carlos struggled to find work during the off-season, unable to find more than a part-time job at a fast food restaurant. On top of that, his wife had to be taken to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco for emergency gall bladder surgery. Between little work and high medical bills, he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to afford his rent.
“It was everything at the same time,” Carlos said. “My job, my wife was sick, surgery, what else?”
At that point, Carlos realized he had no choice, and turned to the only remaining resource available to him — the Family & Intercultural Resource Center (FIRC).
FIRC’s emergency assistance fund provides temporary financial aid for Summit County residents who are struggling beneath rent, utility or medical costs.
FIRC estimates that more than 97 percent of its clients face financial struggle because of sudden or seasonal job loss, reduction of hours, a medical emergency keeping them from work or the need to get out of an abusive relationship.
“It’s just a hard place to live up here,” said Anita Overmyer, development director at FIRC.
The organization has served 121 households through its emergency assistance fund so far in 2014, and estimates it will help about another 50 before the year is through. Of those already given assistance, 99 were helped with housing, 21 with medical bills and one with utilities.
Using information from the 2011 Self-Sufficiency Standard, FIRC estimated monthly costs for basic expenses for living in Summit County. Based on cost of living, the organization reports, a family of four, with one child in child care, needs to earn $76,939 a year or $6,411 per month to afford the basics, without outside assistance.
About 90 percent of households served this year through the emergency assistance fund were at or below 200 percent of federal poverty level (FPL), the report continues. A family at the 200 percent FPL earns $3,975 per month or $47,700 a year. A family at 100 percent FPL earns even less, which accounts for about 45 percent of these families, according to FIRC.
“Some people might say, ‘Oh well, there’s so many jobs available now, why are people still in these situations?’” said Overmyer. “And ultimately it’s because the cost of living is increasing at a much higher rate than anything else, than wages are.”
THE SEASONALITY AND WEATHER DEPENDENCY OF MANY JOBS HERE IN SUMMIT COUNTY LENDS ITSELF TO INSTABILITY, SHE ADDED. SOMEONE MIGHT HAVE PLENTY OF WORK DURING SUMMER AND WINTER, BUT NOT VERY MUCH OR EVEN NOTHING DURING SPRING AND FALL. IF IT’S A YEAR THAT EXPERIENCES POOR SNOWFALL, THOSE WHO WORK IN SNOW-RELATED JOBS COULD SUFFER CUT HOURS OR EVEN LOST JOBS.
THE POINT ISN’T THAT EMPLOYERS AREN’T PAYING, OVERMYER SAID, BUT THAT “THE COST OF LIVING IS INCREASING AT A MUCH HIGHER RATE THAN WAGES ARE.”
TIMES OF CRISIS
While it’s hard enough getting by paycheck to paycheck, that becomes nearly impossible when life inevitably throws a wrench into everyday living. Medical emergencies can cause multiple missed paychecks, which many can’t afford.
“It’s really those one or two missed paychecks and all of a sudden they went from being OK to ‘I can’t afford my rent, I don’t know what to do,’” Overmyer said.
That’s when the emergency assistance fund can help. A potential client will come in, meet with FIRC employees and go over paperwork to figure out how much will be required to help them stabilize.
“WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE MONEY AND YOU HAVE TO PAY SOMETHING, YOU FEEL SO FRUSTRATED,” SAID CARLOS. WHEN HE LEARNED THAT FIRC COULD HELP HIM, HE WAS IMMEDIATELY RELIEVED.
“IF SOMEBODY HELPS YOU, YOU FEEL SO NICE,” HE SAID. “I DON’T KNOW, WHAT CAN I SAY? AWESOME, REALLY GREAT, FABULOUS. YEAH, THAT’S WHAT I FEEL.”
FIRC has a variety of programs in place to help people, such as classes on shopping on a budget, and similar counseling programs.
“But a lot of times, when people are living crisis to crisis, it’s hard to think about anything else besides ‘this is happening right now,’” Overmyer said. “It’s our ultimate goal to help them build on their strengths that they already have, and use those strengths to avoid crisis in the future.”
A QUESTION OF HOUSING
Some things have changed since last year. The majority of the assistance fund has gone towards housing, as opposed to medical. Overmyer attributes this to increased insurance availability, as more people qualify for Medicaid. This doesn’t necessarily mean a medical emergency won’t push a family into crisis, but that perhaps it won’t be as difficult to recover from.
HOUSING IS STILL A LARGE PROBLEM THOUGH, AS RENTS IN SUMMIT COUNTY AND OTHER RESORT AREAS TEND TO BE HIGH.
“THERE IS A GREAT NEED FOR AFFORDABLE HOME OWNERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES FOR MODERATE INCOME RESIDENTS, BUT WE ALSO SEE DISTURBING TRENDS RELATING TO RENTERS,” SAID ROB MURPHY, FIRC ASSISTANT DIRECTOR. RECENTLY, HE ADDED, “WE’VE BEEN HEARING THAT WE CAN EXPECT LOW VACANCY RATES. PEOPLE ARE GOING TO HAVE MUCH MORE TROUBLE FINDING PLACES AND THAT RENTS ARE LIKELY TO INCREASE EVEN FURTHER.”
A HANDFUL OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING IS AVAILABLE IN SUMMIT, INCLUDING THE VILLA SIERRA MADRE II HOUSING COMPLEX, WHICH OPENED THIS OCTOBER IN SILVERTHORNE. AS OF THE OPENING, ALL UNITS WERE RENTED AND A WAIT LIST HAD STARTED.
“SO (HAVING AFFORDABLE HOUSING) COULD MEAN THAT PEOPLE ARE ABLE TO WEATHER THE CRISIS ON THEIR OWN AND DON’T HAVE TO REQUEST ASSISTANCE. IT COULD MEAN THAT THEY, OVER A PERIOD OF SEVERAL YEARS, THEY ENCOUNTER A CRISIS LIKE THAT LESS OFTEN BECAUSE THEIR HOUSING PAYMENT IS LESS. IN SOME CASE THEY MAY STILL, EVEN WITH THE REDUCED RENT PRICES, NOT ENTIRELY BE ABLE TO WEATHER THE CRISIS ON THEIR OWN, BUT THE AMOUNT OF HELP THEY NEED TO REMAIN STABLE MAY BE SIGNIFICANTLY LESS,” MURPHY SAID. “IT MAY NOT STOP A PARTICULAR FAMILY FROM HAVING TO COME AND ASK FOR HELP … BUT THE AMOUNT THAT THEY REQUIRE FROM A HELPING AGENCY LIKE OURS MAY BE SIGNIFICANTLY LESS BECAUSE OF THE AFFORDABILITY OF THEIR HOUSING PAYMENT.”
THOSE WHO DON’T LIVE IN LOW-INCOME OR AFFORDABLE HOUSING UNITS WILL NEED TO DEAL WITH HIGHER RENTS, AND POTENTIALLY LARGER FINANCIAL CRISES.
While the emergency assistance fund is open to donations year-round, the holiday campaign ushers in a final push to pull in more money by the end of the year. Donations can be made through The Summit Foundation, through a link on the website.
“The best thing about this campaign from a donor perspective is 100 percent of the money raised is used to actually pay the bills. None of it goes into administration costs,” Overmyer said. “You know 100 percent of your gift is making a true difference.”
In past years, Summit County Cares has pulled in up to $60,000. This year, Overmyer said the goal is $50,000. The campaign lasts until Dec. 31.
Though the perception may be that we in Summit County “live in paradise,” Overmyer said, “Unfortunately it’s still a really difficult place to live for people who are working multiple jobs or seasonable jobs. It’s hard to have a savings up here; it’s hard not to live paycheck to paycheck. We all know them. We’ve all been there, most of us. … I think that this is really eye opening, the true cost of living up here.”
7 p.m., Backstage Theatre, 121 South Ridge St. Speed Mating. Get in on the dog park scene with Champ, the show dog; Bogie, the territorial rebel without a collar; Itchy, the sad sack terrier with ADD; and Daisy, the lone Westie female, who must choose a mate from one of the three. (970) 453-0199.
Drop In Pickle Ball
Silverthorne, Nov. 25
11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Silverthorne Recreation Center, 430 Rainbow Drive. Drop in sports are free with a valid Silverthorne Recreation Center pass or daily admission. Clean, non-marking gym shoes are required while using gymnasium. All games must fall within the designated drop in times. Must be 16 or older. (970) 262-7370.
Adult Swim Club Drop In
Breckenridge, Nov. 25 & 27
6:45 a.m., Breckenridge Recreation Center, 880 Airport Road. Swimmers receive hands-on instruction from Pro-Triathlete and USA Swim Coach Jaime Brede. Jaime guides individuals and groups through various workouts that increase endurance and fine tune stroke techniques while developing a team atmosphere conducive to improving performance. (970) 453-1734.
Frisco, Nov. 25 & 29
2-7 p.m., Gatherhouse Glassblowing Studio and Gallery, 110 Second Ave. Watch the glassblowers transform 2000-degree molten glass into pieces of art. Fascinating for all ages. Classes available.
Ladies’ Night with Karaoke hosted by DJ Spicolli
Dillon, Nov. 25
9 p.m., Lake Dilon Tavern, 119 E LaBonte Street #108. Win free prizes for performances, and never a cover. Over 30k songs to choose from, and true, professional stage and sound system to sing on. Absolutely the best Karaoke night in the county.
Gail Westwood, owner and manager ofBreckenridge Tours, has been giving her ghost tours around town since June 2010, and she discovered that people don’t always dress appropriately for the weather during the winter months.
“I’ve tried for four and a half years to explain to people that it gets cold here at night,” she said. “I wear a real fur coat, Uggs, thermal underwear, sheepskin gloves, and as much as I tell people a good idea would be to wear your ski suit, they never come in their ski suit. They come in daytime attire, jeans and a light jacket. We always struggle to keep people warm.”
What makes this tour unique from others offered in Breckenridge is that most of it takes place indoors, and food and drinks are part of the experience.
“They can hear the stories in the warmth of a building instead of standing on the street, which is absolutely fine the rest of the year; it’s just through the winter months that it gets harder,” Westwood said. “I noticed that we really do have a problem through the middle of the winter with people keeping warm, so I didn’t want to stop doing the ghost tour but I thought it might be a good idea.”
The tour starts at The Dredge Restaurant & Bar just off Main Street, where participants will have a cocktail before moving on to Cabin Coffee for coffee and cookies. The next stop is Creatures Great and Small, a collectible shop on Main Street.
“Then we’re going to go inside Apres, which used to be The Prospector,” Westwood said. “It has Sylvia, one of the most well known ghosts in town. The owners are keen for me to go in there and talk about Sylvia and have some craft beer there.”
French Fry Heaven will provide fries to nosh on at Apres Handcrafted Libations, and then the tour will head to its final stop, The Historic Brown Hotel on Ridge Street, where participants sample homemade Colorado chili.
“The idea is that we’re going to have a table set aside for us, sit at that table, sample the foods and drinks and tell the ghostly tale stories while we’re inside,” Westwood said. “Who are the characters that you might meet? Sylvia, the lonely widow; William Goodwin, the mangled miner; Dr. Condon, the cold-blooded killer; and Miss Whitney, the lady of the night.”
Westwood said people love ghost tours, and another element that makes hers unique from the Haunted Tour offered by the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance is the addition of technology to seek out the ghosts.
“We have ghost-hunting equipment,” she said. “We use dowsing rod and EMS meters and laser thermometers, so that sets us apart right now. We’ll be providing it on this tour and the stops that we’re stopping at.”
In the past, Westwood found that people would call in the morning to book their tours, and then as the day went on, after skiing all day, the sun would go down and the weather got colder and walking around in the snow no longer seemed very enticing.
“We’ll appeal to people because they won’t have to be standing out in the cold,” she said.
After a summer-long series featuring prospective conductors, the Breckenridge Music Festival Orchestra has found a new leader in David Danzmayr, the Austrian conductor who has been at the helm of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra for the past two years. He is widely considered a rising star — a rock star, if you will — among lovers of classical music.
The adventurous young conductor hails from Salzburg, Austria, where he studied at the University Mozarteum before cutting his teeth as assistant conductor with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. He also serves as music director for the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra in Columbus, Ohio. He is widely sought after for guest appearances at venues around the world, including Croatia, Iceland, Scotland, Netherlands and Germany in 2015.
“Danzmayr has clearly imbued the Illinois Philharmonic with a renewed spark,” writes Lawrence A. Johnson of the Chicago Classical Review, applauding “the strides the Austrian conductor has made in upgrading the quality of the southwest suburban ensemble in just two years.”
Danzmayr was selected by a committee to lead the Breckenridge Music Festival Orchestra following this summer’s five-week festival, which featured visits from three finalists, each of whom programmed and conducted two concerts. He will take up the baton from emeritus conductor Gerhardt Zimmermann, who led the orchestra for the past two decades.
“Gerhardt has been absolutely critical in building the quality of orchestra,” said Marcia Kaufmann, executive director of the Breckenridge Music Festival, “but just like anything else — you learn different things from different teachers. To be able to bring in a new artistic personality on the podium will be an opportunity for the orchestra to grow and learn in new ways.”
He has a gift for orchestral music, and he knows how to communicate it to the musicians and the audience.
Danzmayr’s musical interests range from the Austrian composers of his homeland to “populist” revolutionaries like Astor Piazzolla, creator of the libertango. He has also proven to be a champion of American music in Illinois, where he vowed to feature at least one piece by an American composer on every program.
“We have played close to 20 pieces by American composers in the last three seasons,” he said. “I’m sure pieces of American music will find their way to the Breckenridge Music Festival too.” He is currently working with festival organizers to plan the 2015 repertoire.
“David Danzmayr is a young conductor who is absolutely on the rise,” Kaufmann said. “He knew from a very young age he wanted to be a conductor, and he has had excellent training. He has a gift for orchestral music, and he knows how to communicate it to the musicians and the audience. It’s training, it’s focus, but in the end — it’s a gift.”
“The orchestra is very good,” Danzmayr said of the BMF Orchestra, pointing out how difficult it can be to play at high altitude. “They are doing a great job. I really honor that.” He looks forward to “making good music together,” and also to conducting the joint concert with the National Repertory Orchestra.
“On the one hand the young musicians of the NRO may be playing some pieces for the first time in their lives, so there’s a lot of enthusiasm,” he said. “On the other hand you have the well-played, professional musicians of the BMF. The groups, side-by-side, can only end in an energetic performance.”
Along with the leadership change, the Breckenridge Music Festival will institute a new “artistic partner” model this year, comparable to that pioneered by the full-time St. Paul Chamber Orchestra but adapted to fit the five-week summer program. In it, as the Festival Orchestra’s artistic advisor, Danzmayr will shepherd the artistic team on the entire orchestral program, while concentrating on the classical component. He will conduct the opening two weeks of the Summer 2015 Festival, then bring in guest conductors to lead specialized programs for the remaining two classical concerts.
With his help, the BMF will identify nationally recognized specialists, called “artistic partners,” to direct the pops and chamber music components of the orchestra’s programming, starting with pops in 2015.
“This will be the first time the Breckenridge Music Festival has had an artistic advisor, not a music director,” Danzmayr said. “The music director led almost all the concerts, so it really shaped its own picture. I will have a different role. I will come for two weeks, and I will really enjoy conducting the orchestra. I will advise on personnel, guest conductors and programming,” he said. “If it works well it means more self-governance for the orchestra.”
The model is a perfect fit for the Breckenridge Music Festival, Kaufmann said, because it allows for greater flexibility and diversity in the Festival’s programming. “This differs from the guest conductor model in that the artistic partners are more invested,” she said. “It allows us to get to know a number of top conductors in their fields.”
“Sometimes it is nice to have different conductors conducting different concerts,” Danzmayr said. “You get different views, different input. Every conductor has a different approach and personality — so that can be good if it works out as planned.”
“David is very much at the forefront of a new generation of music-making,” Kaufmann said. “We are absolutely thrilled to have him, and we eagerly anticipate where his leadership will take us in the coming seasons.”
Erica Marciniec is a paid writer with the Breckenridge Music Festival.
Ski mountaineering, alpine touring, ski touring, randonee skiing, skinning or, in the snowboard world, splitboarding — they are six descriptions for what’s essentially the same thing: human-powered uphill travel in the mountains. Whether it’s aggressively climbing a steep couloir, 20 or more people racing to the top of a resort slope and back down again, a conditioning workout or a casual touring session in some fairly tame backcountry, there’s no question that more and more people are getting out there and giving it a try.
In fact, SnowSports Industries America — the trade association that tracks ski industry trends — reported last year that touring-related gear was one of the fastest growing markets in the industry.
While alpine touring has been popular in Europe for decades, it’s relatively new in the states, but on the rise toward mainstream in the winter sports realm. In recent years, resorts have had to work on policies to accommodate the growing community.
Continuing that progress toward growing the uphill community is one of the goals of the four Summit County locals who recently founded the Summit Ski Mountaineering Club. Avid uphillers Teague Holmes, Joe Howdyshell, Jon Low and Ram Mikulas decided they wanted to get more people out to enjoy uphill, human-powered skiing.
“It’s been such a fun, joyful part of our lives,” runner and ski mountaineer Holmes said of their inspiration behind forming the group. “I want to share this type of skiing with other people.”
Part casual social club, part race training and conditioning group and part youth team, the SkiMo Club is a new effort at expanding the ski mountaineering community in Summit County.
Holmes said there’s something for everyone in the club’s inaugural winter. The initial plan is for a combination of youth training sessions, low-key adult touring sessions and ski mountaineering race training.
“We’re in the early stages,” Holmes said of the group. “It’s going to change with the needs of the community.”
For now, the group has plans to organize casual alpine touring sessions for all ages and experience levels on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Holmes said the idea is for like-minded touring enthusiasts to connect and find new people to get out in the backcountry with.
The weekend sessions will stick to less aggressive, avalanche-safe terrain geared toward a variety of skill levels.
“We’re focused on safe uphill skiing and there’s lots of places we can go,” he said, explaining that the group will alternate locations for its touring sessions.
During the week the group also has plans for more workout-intensive race training sessions for both youth and adults.
The plan is to organize youth training sessions on Wednesdays after school, with the goal of getting a team together to compete at races later in the winter.
The group also plans to host adult training sessions at 6 a.m. on Tuesdays or Thursdays with a more aggressive focus toward AT race training for competitions like the Arapahoe Basin randonee series and other regional competitions.
Holmes said that the schedules are subject to change later in the winter.
Weekend sessions will be open to anyone who’s interested. Those who continue to come out will be encouraged to join as members. Members will receive updates on group functions and have access to the more focused, coached, race training sessions. Holmes encouraged anyone interested to come out and give the group a try.
Months before the cranberry sauce and the pumpkin pie arrived on your holiday table, bees helped bring those foods to life.
The buzzing insects are the primary pollinators that make one-third of global food production possible, and for the last decade beekeepers have raised alarms because the bugs have been dying at unprecedented rates.
Now the Keystone Center, a nonprofit headquartered in Summit County that brings together diverse stakeholders to discuss controversial issues, has gotten involved. The center is facilitating discussions with industry leaders, government agencies, universities, conservation groups and other partners about how to address the problem.
“Honeybees are a really important player in our food supply,” said Julie Shapiro, the center’s lead on the project.
The issues facing the bees aren’t limited to colony collapse disorder, or the drastic rise in the number of disappearances of North American honeybee colonies since 2006, Shapiro said, and declines in honeybee health don’t have any simple solutions.
“There’s no one problem or one silver bullet,” she said.
In June, the group officially formed the Honeybee Health Coalition with more than 30 members. Last month, the coalition released the first result of its meetings, a report called “Bee Healthy.”
The guiding document lists four priority areas of concern: hive management; forage and nutrition; crop pest management; and cross-industry education, outreach and coordination.
“It’s a very important document,” said Larry Gilliand, 74, a longtime Summit County resident who has kept bees in his backyard near Silverthorne for the last couple of years.
Gilliland, who’s unaffiliated with the coalition, keeps three hives and closely researches and follows honeybee issues. Though he has concerns about the coalition’s approach, he called the document a good start.
‘BEE HEALTHY’ STRATEGIES
Under hive management, the coalition lists the Varroa destructor mite as one of the honeybee’s biggest threats.
“Even the best beekeepers could use help controlling it,” said George Hansen, a coalition member and past president of the American Beekeeping Federation.
The group plans to gather and transfer specific know-how and technologies to beekeepers to improve control of the mites and other pests and pathogens. The coalition will also promote science-based innovations, including the development and registration of new products, and create a best practices guide for managing the mites.
Under forage and nutrition, the group writes about creating high-quality bee-friendly landscapes when and where bees can most use them.
“Bees, like most species, need a healthy, diverse habitat for their foraging diet,” said Peter Berthelsen, a coalition member and director of habitat partnerships for Pheasants Forever.
Nutrition requirements vary regionally, so the coalition will focus on foraging needs in the agricultural lands of the Upper Midwest and then move to other parts of the country. The group also will encourage the development of supplemental nutrition options and the planting of bee-friendly cover crops.
Under crop pest management, the group wants to accelerate the adoption of the best known crop pest management practices.
Gregory Sekulic, agronomy specialist at Canola Council of Canada, said the coalition will promote crop- and product-specific practices that manage agricultural pests while ensuring the health of pollinators.
In its outreach, the group will promote understanding across stakeholders and emphasize the need for collective action.
Two weeks ago, Gilliland went to Castle Rock, Colorado, to attend the winter meeting of the Colorado State Beekeepers Association.
There he heard beekeepers passionately discuss the biggest threats to bees and what to do about them.
Competing interests make agreeing on solutions difficult, he said, as does mistrust among consumers, backyard beekeepers, agribusiness and government agencies. One source of debate is the controversial practice of hauling honeybees around the country to pollinate monocultures where a lack of biodiversity means bees can’t survive naturally.
In the biggest pollination event, about 1.6 million hives arrive in California every February to pollinate almond trees (800,000 acres in 2013) for two weeks, Gilliland said. If honeybees are considered livestock, “it’s the world’s largest movement of livestock.”
Gilliland knows a beekeeper in Florida with about 20,000 hives who criss-crosses the country every year with his bees, going to whichever crop needs them.
“He says, ‘I keep bees by ABCs: almonds, blueberries and cranberries,’” Gilliand said.
However, that beekeeper doesn’t pollinate nearby Florida citrus, Gilliland said, because he doesn’t want to expose his bees to the harsh chemicals used there.
Supporters of organic agriculture say the mass honeybee die-offs can be attributed to pesticide use and monoculture farming.
Meanwhile, “the pesticide people say, ‘It’s not really us. It’s the varroa mites,’” Gilliland said. “A number of people, no question about it, are finger pointing.”
He called the issue complex and said he’s happy the Keystone Center brought together a variety of interests in the coalition.
“Of course, where’s the money coming from?” he said. He hopes funding from large chemical companies doesn’t “give them an inordinate amount of sway.”
Multinational chemical giant Monsanto Co. originally approached the Keystone Center with the idea and initial funding for the coalition.
The company wanted to address honeybee health beyond colony collapse disorder in a collaborative way that incorporates science in decision-making and implements proven and new solutions.
The nonprofit has close ties to the company. The center’s executive committee is co-chaired Jerry Steiner, former Monsanto executive vice president of sustainability and corporate affairs, and Glenn T. Prickett, The Nature Conservancy chief external affairs officer.
Representatives from Monsanto and two similar corporations, DuPont and Dow, sit on the nonprofit’s board of trustees.
As a third-party facilitator, Shapiro said, the Keystone Center supports the coalition but stays independent. She works with the group as a whole to find common interests.
About half of the group’s members are contributing only their time, while the other half have made donations ranging from $250 to $100,000 to cover the coalition’s administrative costs.
Earlier this week, Shapiro visited Washington, D.C., to share the coalition’s vision with the Pollinator Health Task Force, an effort by the USDA and the EPA that was created this summer by President Obama to design a national pollinator health strategy. That federal agency task force is accepting public comments until Monday, Nov. 24.
Now Shapiro will continue working with the coalition to hammer out strategies that fit its priorities, and she expects the group to release more specifics in the next year.
Gilliland said he’s curious to see what more the coalition will do and which other groups and local players it will involve.
“The ideas are great, but how do we make it work?” he said.
Thanksgiving can be a time of high anxiety if you aren’t a wiz in the kitchen. If baking the turkey, whipping the gravy, mastering a mountain of side dishes and trotting out pumpkin, pecan and chocolate pies (because the kids won’t eat pumpkin and your uncle refuses to acknowledge Thanksgiving without pecan pie) is the stuff of your worst nightmares, relax — Summit County restaurants have you covered. From traditional turkey dinner to surf and turf, leave the cooking to the experts and take advantage of one of these stress-free Thanksgiving feasts.
• Pug Ryan’s Brewing Co. (104 Village Place) will be open for Thanksgiving, serving its regular menu, plus a special Thanksgiving dinner starting at 2 p.m. The all-inclusive Thanksgiving dinner includes roasted turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, green beans and yams, plus pumpkin pie, for $21.99 for adults and $9.99 for children. Reservations are suggested but not required; call (970) 468-2145.
• Blue River Bistro (305 N. Main St.) will offer a traditional three-course Thanksgiving spread in addition to its regular menu. The first course is a pear and roasted chestnut bisque; main course is garlic and thyme-roasted turkey, roasted onion and Fontina mashed potatoes, apple and walnut stuffing, bourbon-brown sugar spiced yams and cinnamon-cider cranberry sauce; and the third course is pumpkin cheesecake with maple-chocolate sauce. The three-course dinner is $30 for adults, $12 for children. Reservations are strongly suggested and are quickly filling up; call (970) 453-6974.
• Hearthstone Restaurant (130 S. Ridge St.) will be serving a four-course plated Thanksgiving feast to celebrate the holiday. The meal starts with roasted carrot and red quinoa salad, with organic field greens, shaved Bartlett pears, Jumpin’ Good goat cheese and apple cider dressing; followed by Colorado butternut squash soup with ginger creme fraiche and sage. The main course is roasted breast of turkey with sherry gravy, cranberry-orange compote, pheasant-cognac sausage and hazelnut cornbread stuffing, Yukon gold potatoes gratin, roasted Colorado red beets with aged balsamic vinegar glaze and Colorado green beans with organic hazel dell mushroom duxelle. Finish it off with pumpkin crème brûlée, Colorado apple pecan crumble or sweet potato cake with caramel sauce. Dinner is $44 for adults and $14 for children younger than 12 and runs from 2 p.m. to about 10 p.m. The regular Hearthstone menu will not be available Thanksgiving Day. Reservations are required; call (970) 453-1148.
• Modis (113 S. Main St.) will be featuring its original menu, as well as a Thanksgiving Day turkey special, starting at 3 p.m. The special will include roasted, all-natural turkey with house-made gravy, steamed cauliflower with cheddar cheese sauce, sage and parsley stuffing, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, green beans, house-made biscuits and house-made cranberry coulis. The price is $28 for adults and $12 for children. Reservations are strongly suggested; call (970) 453-4330.
• The MotherLoaded Tavern (103 S. Main St.) will be serving a Thanksgiving dinner in its home-cooked style. The restaurant will feature its full menu — or get a roasted turkey breast Thanksgiving plate for $10.95 — from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Kids pay $5.95. The MotherLoaded will reopen Friday at 11:30 a.m. Call (970) 453-2572.
• Quandary Grille (Main Street Station, 505 S Main St., C1) is doing a variety of dinner deals for Thanksgiving. One option is a traditional turkey dinner, with white and dark meat, honey-cured ham, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green beans, corn, corn bread, dinner rolls and cranberry sauce for $19 for adults and $12 for children. Another choice is prime rib, house seasoned and slow roasted for six hours and served with two sides, creamy horseradish sauce and au jus, 8 ounces for $19 or 12 ounces for $23. For the little ones, Quandary has mac and cheese, dino nuggets, corn dogs, hamburgers, penne pasta with butter or marinara and grilled cheese on sourdough. Reservations are recommended; call (970) 547-5969.
• Sevens (Grand Lodge on Peak 7, 1979 Ski Hill Road) will be serving special Thanksgiving-themed lunch items from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and a gourmet Thanksgiving dinner for $35 from 5 to 9 p.m. The meal begins with roasted beet salad or roasted butternut squash stew, followed by a turkey dinner with gravy, thyme sweet potatoes, Italian sausage apple stuffing, corn casserole and cranberry-orange compote. Dessert is cinnamon-apple bread pudding served a la mode. Reservations are recommended but not required; call (970) 496-8910.
• Spencer’s (Beaver Run Resort, 620 Village Road) will set out a gourmet buffet featuring chef-attended pasta and meat-carving stations, soups and breads, cheese and crudité platters and salads, a seafood display with snow crab and peel-and-eat shrimp and all the traditional foods that accompany a home-cooked Thanksgiving dinner. The buffet will be available Thanksgiving Day, with seatings from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Adults dine for $46 and kids younger than 12 for $16, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations are recommended but not required; call (970) 453-8755.
• Backcountry Brewery (720 Main St.) will be serving an all-you-can-eat Thanksgiving buffet from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., including clam chowder, salads, smoked turkey breast, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, baked macaroni and cheese, green bean casserole, corn bread stuffing, cranberry relish, cinnamon-apple crisp, rolls and butter, pumpkin pie and apple pie. The price is $19.95 for adults and $9.95 for children ages 5 to 12. Reservations are recommended; call (970) 668-2337.
• Bagalis Restaurant (320 Main St.) will be serving a three-course Thanksgiving dinner to celebrate the holiday, along with the restaurant’s full menu, for both lunch and dinner. The special includes a choice of butternut squash soup or field green salad with pears, grapes, almonds, mozzarella cheese and roasted pear vinaigrette; a main course option of Colorado “Red Bird” turkey prepared two ways and served with mashed potatoes, maple and brown sugar sweet potatoes, French-style green beans and a Grand Marnier orange-cranberry compote or braised rabbit fettuccini, with house-made pasta, butternut squash and beet greens; and a third course of either pumpkin-chevre cheesecake with maple cream and fruit compote or dark and white chocolate mouse with raspberry compote served in a martini glass. The price is $35 for adults, with an optional wine pairing for an additional cost, and $13 for children ages 13 and younger. Reservations are highly recommended; call (970) 668-0601.
• The Lost Cajun (204 Main St., Frisco, and 411 S. Main St., Breckenridge) is cooking up Cajun-infused, deep-fried turkeys for Thanksgiving. The restaurant charges $55 for just the turkey (10 to 12 pounds) or $99 for a whole meal, which includes two quarts of your choice of gumbo, crawfish etoufee, lobster bisque or red beans and rice with potato salad or coleslaw and French bread. Pick-up times are available from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Call (970) 547-8330 for Breckenridge or (970) 668-4352 for the Frisco location.
• Bighorn Bistro & Bar at Keystone Lodge & Spa (22101 U.S. Highway 6) will host a Thanksgiving Day buffet from 3 to 8 p.m. Buffet items include soups, salads, antipasti with cured meats, cheeses and marinated and pickled vegetables, poached shrimp, cured salmon and smoked trout with artisan breads, spreads and preserves, entrees ranging from herb-roasted turkey with cornbread dressing and candied yams to pork loin medallions with caramelized apples and onions to Scottish salmon with lemon-thyme sauce. Top it all off with a chocolate fountain with assorted dipping items, pumpkin pie, crème brulee and more. The price is $49.95 for adults, $25 for children ages 6 to 12, and children 5 and younger are free. Reservations are recommended; call (970) 496-4386.
• The Ski Tip Lodge (764 Montezuma Road) is offering a four-course Thanksgiving menu for $75 for adults and a three-course menu for children 12 and younger for $45, with three seatings at 4, 5:30 and 7:45 p.m. Sample menu items range from duck or butternut squash soup to salads and appetizers, with entrees from bacon-wrapped turkey to flat-iron steak to venison short loin, finished with a chef’s choice of desserts. Reservations are recommended; call (970) 496-4386 for more details.
• Keystone Ranch Restaurant (1239 Keystone Ranch Road) is bringing out a four-course, holiday-inspired menu for Thanksgiving, which includes soup, salad, entrée and dessert. The meal is $65 for adults, or get a three-course children’s option for $18. Reservations are recommended; call (970) 496-4187 for more details.
• The Black Bear Grill in the Inn at Keystone (23044 U.S. Highway 6) is serving a three-course Thanksgiving meal, starting with a choice of house salad or Southwest corn chowder. Entrée options include traditional roasted tom turkey with sage dressing, mashed potatoes, natural gravy, orange cranberry relish and green beans; certified Angus beef prime rib au jus with mashed potatoes, horseradish cream and green beans; or sesame-grilled salmon with soy ginger glaze, steamed jasmine rice and zucchini ribbons. Dessert is pumpkin pie with whipped cream or apple pie a la mode. The price is $29 for adults or $12 for children, and reservations are recommended; call (970) 496-4386.