Friday, June 30, 2006

Frisco Sign Code to get Up-date

A comprehensive update of Frisco's sign code needs further discussion before any action on it is taken, the town council decided Wednesday. Following a presentation by community development department members and several comments by the public, council members voted to table the first reading of the ordinance that would amend the existing code.

Frisco's sign code was last reviewed formally in the 1980s.

Impetus for the comprehensive update came in part from the obvious changes in the community over the last 20 years, town manager Michael Penny said. The proposed update is the culmination of several months of public process, comprised of open houses, focus groups and several planning-commission work sessions.

Contemplated changes to the current code include a distinction between allowable signs on Main Street and those on Summit Boulevard, permitting temporary "sandwich-board" signs along the sidewalk on Main Street, decreasing the size of temporary banners in some areas and increasing the allowable size of freestanding signs along Summit Boulevard. General design guidelines have also been added.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

MTV "Cheyenne" Shot in Breckenridge Airs Tonight

Teenage singer and songwriter Cheyenne Kimball was in Summit County last January, along with her MTV crew documenting the dramatic time in her life for the series, "Cheyenne."

The episode shot in Breckenridge will air tonight at 8:30 p.m. MDT on MTV.

During her stay, cameras were rolling in Breckenridge at the Ullr bonfire, Summit High School, Breckenridge Ski Resort (where the girl who'd never seen snow before tried snowboarding) and at the Lodge and Spa in Breckenridge.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Summit Foundation Presents Awards

For the third year in a row, The Summit Foundation celebrated another milestone at the spring grant award presentations at Keystone Resort recently.

Thanks to the generosity of more than a thousand donors, and supporting the hard work of 30 nonprofit agencies, The Summit Foundation presented $302,265 to local organizations at their semi-annual spring grant reception.

Fulfilling its mission of improving the quality of life for residents and guests of Summit County and neighboring communities, the foundation awarded 33 grants to Summit, Park, Grand, Lake, and Eagle County nonprofit organizations. Total grantmaking by the foundation has now exceeded $8 million.

For additional information about contributing or volunteering, or for the foundation's upcoming event schedule, please call (970) 453-5970 or visit the web site at www.summitfoundation.org.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

NRO Presents "Broadway and Beyond" in Breckenridge

The 2006 National Repertory Orchestra, Carl Topilow, music director, is proud to present "Broadway and Beyond," Friday, June 30, at 7:30 p.m. at the Breckenridge Riverwalk Center.

The program will feature Soprano Nancy Davis Booth performing works by Verdi, Puccini, Donizetti, Bernstein, Sondheim, Gershwin and Rodgers and Hart.

The program highlights include excerpts from several operas and Broadway hits, tracing the progression of song from Verdi, Puccini, and Donizetti to Gershwin and Bernstein. Carl Topilow will be making a guest appearance on his clarinet.

Nancy Davis Booth is one of the most versatile singers on the scene today. Enjoying a career which includes concerts, orchestra engagements, oratorio, opera, musical theatre and cabaret.

The NRO is a non-profit organization with a mission to prepare young musicians ages 18-28 for seats in professional orchestras in the United States and abroad.

For more details about the NRO and their calendar of events, visit the website at www.nromusic.com.

To get your tickets to this National Repertory Orchestra performance, please call the Riverwalk Center box office at (970) 547-3100.

Friday, June 23, 2006

13th Annual Barbecue Challenge in Frisco

More than 65 cooking teams will set up their tents and grills on Frisco’s Main Street at the 13th Annual Coors Colorado Barbecue Challenge for today’s and Saturday’s festivities.

Sanctioned for the 11th year by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, grills and portable smokers will converge on Frisco from several states as teams vie for bragging rights and prepare their secret barbecue recipes for tasting and judging.

Starting on Friday, competitors will begin cooking for the crowds that will descend on Main Street.

“Buck a Bone” samples will be available Friday from noon until 9 p.m. Sauce and salsa competitions will take place on Friday afternoon as well as the “Kids Kook Off.”

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Keystone World Music Festival

This weekend River Run at Keystone is celebrating cultures straight from the West Indies.

The calypso and reggae-influenced event blends live music, a marketplace, international dances, artwork and tasty dishes from the Caribbean Islands and beyond.

Extra-delicious flavors capture the essence of the tropics at high altitude.

Visit Energy Alley for inflatable bounce houses, island crafts and more.

At 9:15, a fireworks show lights up the night sky over River Run Village.

For more information, please contact (970) 496-4FUN.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Genuine Jazz Festival Returns this Weekend

The Genuine Jazz Festival returns to Breckenridge this weekend (June 23, 24 and 25).

There are two festival newcomers, Tim Bowman and Tim (Slim Man) Camponeschi. They will play back-to-back beginning at 9 p.m. Saturday in the Ten Mile Room near the resort's Peak 9.

The show is a ticketed event. Bowman's gospel background influences his jazz. In fact, he still plays at his church in Detroit, Mich. In the 1980s, at age 21, he hit the big time, traveling the world with the Winans.

"I still love the gospel, the blues, the jazz," Bowman said. "That's just who I am in my music."

After performing jingles for commercials, he released his first record, which reached No. 18 on the Radio and Records list in 1996. By 2002, the guitarist's CD "Smile" won rave magazine reviews. His last single, "Summer Groove," hit No. 1 on the charts, and his next CD is due out in spring, showing his ever-changing creative beats.

For more information go to: www.genuinejazz.com

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Deed Restricted Housing Case Settled

In a potentially precedent-setting case, Breckenridge municipal court Judge Buck Allen accepted a plea agreement from the Indiana couple charged with violating town affordable housing covenants two days before the case was set to go to trial.

As required by the agreement, Kirk and Pam Alter pleaded "no contest" last week to the criminal charges and agreed to reimburse the town the profit they realized when they sold the property at 11 Rodeo Drive, in addition to $2,500 for town attorney fees.

The terms of the agreement stipulate the money must be paid within 30 days and that final judgment in the case will be deferred for one year, on the condition that neither incurs other criminal charges during that period.

Kirk Alter, a professor at Purdue University, and his wife Pam bought the deed-restricted single-family house in the Wellington Neighborhood in July 2004. The Alters paid $305,000 for the new two-story, three-bedroom, two-bath home. At the time, the couple signed an affidavit stating that one of them was employed within Summit County at least 30 hours a week.

During the 18 months the Alters owned the house, it appeared they only visited the neighborhood a few times, town prosecutor Seth Murphy said.

Breckenridge filed criminal charges against both Kirk and Pam last fall after unsuccessfully trying to contact the couple.

"Under the town code, it's a criminal violation," Murphy said. "Under the code they could have been assessed up to $100 a day (for every day they didn't live in the house)."

Because both Kirk or Pam were charged individually, fine amounts against them could have amounted to more than $100,000.

In response to the town action, the Alters hired an attorney and filed motions challenging the legality of the prosecution.

In January, with the case still pending, they sold the house to a local family for $379,000. After subtracting the cost of a two-car garage added while they owned the house and Realtor's fees, the Alters took home $13,021 in profit, which must now be returned to the town.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Breckenridge Chamber Awards Business and Employee of the Year

Friends Welcome, Breckenridge's communitywide guest service program, honored Breckenridge Ski Enterprises (The North Face Store and Main Street Outlet) as the 2006 Business of the Year and Kathy Franklin as the 2006 Employee of the Year.

The presentations took place the evening of Friday, June 16, at the Breckenridge Town Party at the Riverwalk Center.

Known as much for their energetic ads as their customer service, The Main Street Outlet is one of two businesses under the Breckenridge Ski Enterprises umbrella. Owners Steve and Susan Lapinsohn have been in business in Breckenridge for 14 years and are extremely proud of the way their employees level of customer service set their businesses apart.

"They consider themselves town diplomats," commented Nissa Erickson, Friends Welcome director.

The Employee of the Year, Kathy Franklin, received $4,300 in prizes from local businesses. Franklin has been a Reservations Specialist with ResortQuest for two years, but is more wildly known in the Summit Daily's Summit Up section at the "angel in a blue coat."

The blue coat is a ResortQuest logo coat she wears all the time, while going out of the way to help visitors.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

State Ski Resorts Set Record

Colorado ski resorts set a record this past season with 12.53 million skier visits, easily besting the previous high mark set nearly a decade ago.

Molly Cuffe, spokeswoman for the Colorado Ski Country USA industry group, said Thursday that last season's total was 500,000 more than the record set during the 1997-98 season. It was also 712,000 ahead of last year.

The figures were announced at the trade group's annual meeting in Steamboat Springs.

Nationally, the number of skiers and snowboarders in the United States reached a record 58.8 million last season, up 3.3 percent from a year ago, according to preliminary data from the National Ski Areas Association, based in suburban Denver.

Industry growth is being spurred by the popularity of skiing and snowboarding with a younger crowd and equipment improvements that allow aging baby boomers to stay on the snow longer, NSAA president Michael Berry said.

A skier visit represents one person buying a lift ticket and using it to ski or snowboard.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Gondola in Breckenridge has to Rent "Air Space"

It's the cheapest rent in Summit County: $250 for a 30-year lease.

Granted, it's all air.

In order to run the new gondola over a small portion of the North Park Avenue right of way - which is now Highway 9 - the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is granting an airspace lease.

For a one-time payment of $250, CDOT will allow Breckenridge Ski Area to operate its gondola over the road for 30 years.Normally, CDOT requires an annual rental rate for airspace rights. But CDOT also has a policy that allows for a one-time rental of $250, if the town of Breckenridge agrees to be a co-tenant with the ski area. Because the airspace lease runs for more than a year, the town code calls for an approval by city council. Council members supported the first reading of the ordinance, and Councilmember Eric Mamula said the agreement is straightforward enough to most likely pass at the next town council meeting.

The enclosed cabins prevent riders from throwing or dropping anything onto the road, so there's no need for netting. Originally, the ski area designed the closed cabins to protect Cucumber Gulch from falling items.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Breckenridge Ski Resort Reports Record Year

Vail Resorts CEO Robert Katz announced the resort operator's record ski season this past year.

Katz called it "potentially the best ski season in history" at the company, and he called Breckenridge "our best performer" of the five resorts that Vail operates.

This past week, Vail Resorts reported record growth and raised expectations for next year. Skier visits were up 6 percent across all five of the resorts that Vail operates - Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, and Heavenly in Lake Tahoe - but it was Breckenridge that showed the biggest jump in skier numbers. Well over 1.6 million skier days were logged at Breck this past season, a jump of more than 10 percent over the previous year.

Katz, who reminded folks that he was part of a group that brought Breckenridge under the Vail Resorts umbrella in the early 90s, recalled that "it was crystal clear from day one that the town was a terrific asset for the resort."

He lauded town officials for their foresight and vision over the years, and said that he attributed a lot of the on-mountain success at Breckenridge to the relationship that the resort has with the town.

"The fruits of that are really paying off," Katz said.

This past season, Breckenridge added North America's highest chair lift - The Imperial Express Super Chair, and finished the Skyway Skiway project, a ski-back from the resort's base areas down to the parking lots near Main Street Breckenridge.

The biggest news at the resort, however, is the new gondola taking shape. That project was announced late last year, and is the central cog to the ambitious development plans laid out by Vail Resorts.

Co-president of the mountain division for Vail Resorts and chief operating officer of Breckenridge and Keystone Roger McCarthy particularly touted the new Imperial Express, saying the new lift "really put Breckenridge on the map."

He was equally impassioned about the new gondola, saying that the opportunities for a new in-town base area are promising for the entire business community. More than that, the new gondola guarantees at least some alleviation of the Ski Hill Road gridlock that Breck suffers from during peak season. McCarthy estimated that the 19 buses currently serving the more than 1 million-plus riders every season can only handle about 1,600 people every hour. The new gondola will be able to handle at least 3,000 people every hour.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Optimist Club Golf Tournament

The third annual Summit Lake Dillon Optimist Club Summer Solstice Golf Scramble will be Wednesday, June 21, at Keystone Resort's River Course.

Phil Heller, one of the co-chairs of the event, says it's a great way to officially welcome summer. Heller, who with Jean Helmer, Daphne Schroth and Nick Shama, is chairing the event for the Optimists, says they still have several slots available and need some players.

Proceeds for the event will help fund the more than 40 Optimist programs in Summit County, including the club's outstanding youth athletic and education activities.

Registration begins at noon. The shotgun start is at 1 p.m.The cost is $125 per player and includes cart, driving range, gift bag and a box lunch.

For more information or to register, call Phil at (970) 485-0750, Jean at (970) 547-2214 or Nick at (970) 468-7211. Registration forms are also available at all FirstBank locations, which is the event's major sponsor.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Breckenridge's Backstage Theatre Children's Program

Backstage Theatre artistic director Christopher Willard came to Breckenridge last year about this time and one of the first things he noticed was the abundance of families in town.

Almost immediately, bringing children's theater to his new audience was a number-one goal. Willard isn't new to the genre; in fact, he describes it as a passion of his.

"Hyronomous A. Frog: The Frog Prince," which the Backstage is presenting this summer as the first production of their new Summer Children's Theatre Series, is the same show Willard presented at the Arvada Center in Denver nine years ago.

"I've had it in my heart for so long," he said. "It's great for kids and so wonderful for adults as well."

During his time writing, acting and directing children's theater in Denver, Willard's garnered several recognitions by the Denver Post theater critics. He views the genre as being somewhat neglected.

"There's a lot of bad children's theater out there," he said. Since it's for children, he said he thinks people believe they can just throw it together. But, he sees it as quite the opposite.

"Children are the most discerning people in those seats," Willard said. Through fidgeting and squirming they let the director know they aren't interested and alternatively they will suspend their disbelief more fully, according to Willard.

Another motive the director has to produce quality children's theater is in keeping his art medium alive. Nurturing the future performers and future audiences with a good impression of theater is essential to continuing the growth of theater and "making sure we have a theater," he said."It's such an important part of life development for kids - a place for them to learn about right and wrong, to gain life lessons, to be invigorated and entertained and to stimulate their imagination," he said.

The performances will be 11 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays (following the opening Friday, July 7 at 7 p.m.) and 11 a.m. Sundays running July 7 through Sept 3.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Frisco Redevelopment?


Even the most casual observer on a stroll down Granite Street can tell things are changing in Frisco.

Construction dust covers the greenery, cranes swing stacks of two-by-fours high above new foundations, and yards of utility pipe lie along the street’s shoulder. All this activity is occurring in an area of town that was pretty much built-out 15 years ago.

Older, more modest buildings are being demolished to make way for new edifices, as redevelopment becomes the focus of Frisco’s growth.

The Granite Street redevelopments, as well as nearby projects such as the upcoming transformation of 2nd Avenue’s Sky Vue Motel into12 high-end duplexes, are partly the result of local geography.

According to town numbers, Frisco’s area is roughly 1,100 acres and at the end of 2005, only about 45 acres, or 4 per cent, remained undeveloped. Subtracting the town’s controversial 9.4-acre parcel leaves only 35 acres for new development.

“All the easy stuff has been developed,” Frisco’s community development director Mark Gage said. “What you’re seeing is smaller, older properties that are changing hands, and all you’ll see now is redevelopment.”

Friday, June 09, 2006

Summit Trail Running Series

The Nike Summit Trail Running Series (STRS) kicks off on Wednesday with a race at the Baker's Tank trail off Boreas Pass Road in Breckenridge.

Organizers say it's not likely to be "bigger than ever," which will be a change from recent years.

Since the town of Breckenridge took over the series' organization four years ago, it has gone up in numbers every year.

From 200 total competitors in 2003, it grew to 500 runners in 2004, then 731 runners in 2005. Series organizer Stacey Todd of the Breck Recreation Department said she expects the numbers to finally plateau this summer.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Breckenridge Movie Theatre Opens for Summer

Breckenridge's independent movie theater, The Speakeasy, opens for its summer season Friday with the film "Thank You For Smoking."

Owners Mike Anderson and Guy Natanel handpick the films shown at their location in the CMC building in Breckenridge; they also make the popcorn, run the projector and personally say goodbye to attendants as they leave.

The theater invokes the artistic event a film can be with an art gallery showing local artists' work in the lounge, and informal (and sometimes formal) discussions erupting after the films.

They recently added a lounge in the gallery with coffee tables and chairs, allowing movie-goers to arrive early and stay a little later in the atmosphere.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Dillon Reservoir Fills - Again!

With inflow into Dillon Reservoir reaching 1,700 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Monday, Denver Water's high country lake filled to capacity and started to overflow through the glory hole for the second year in a row.

That's a relief for Colorado water managers after several years of sustained drought, but this season's runoff didn't bring the anticipated high water levels in local streams. An unusually dry spring - one of the driest on record in parts of the state - evaporated some of the snowpack before it had a chance to melt.

Denver Water managers Marc Waage and Bob Steger said they expect outflow from Dillon Reservoir to peak at somewhere between 600 and 1,200 cfs, between June 9 and June 12. After that, the flows should slowly decline through early July.

Raftable flows of 500 cfs or more in the Lower Blue may last for a few weeks in the middle part of the month, according to Steger.

Monday's inflow was tempered by diversions through the Roberts Tunnel. Denver Water is sending about 500 cfs under the Continental Divide into the South Platte drainage, said Silverthorne public works director Bill Linfield.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Breckenridge Medical Back in Business

It was business as usual again at Breckenridge Medical Center Friday afternoon after an agreement was reached between the Vail Valley Emergency Physicians and the clinic’s managing partner, Vail Valley Medical Center (VVMC).

Medical care had been unavailable at the clinic since Wednesday evening, when the physician group contract with the facility expired.

Although nurses continued to provide first aid to walk-in patients on Thursday and physicians were present at the clinic in case of emergency, ambulances were diverted and patients with appointments were redirected to the Keystone Medical Center.

VVMC public relations director Scott Boie declined to give details of the new contract, but emphasized his hospital’s commitment to maintaining services without interruption.

“This will keep the clinic open until ownership issues are resolved,” he said.

A joint venture of VVMC and Denver-based HealthOne since 1992, the future of Breckenridge Medical Center remains uncertain, as both HealthOne and Centura Health, parent company of St. Anthony Summit Medical Center, have expressed interest in buying VVMC’s share of the operation.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Beaver Run Expansion Underway


After taking a big hit during the post-9/11 economic slump, the local conference business is perking up and returning to earlier levels, says Bruce Horii, director of sales and marketing at the Beaver Run Resort and Conference Center.

To keep pace with that growth, Beaver Run is in the midst of a $3.5 million renovation that will up the level of comfort and convenience for the resort's guests, Horii said.

"We're going to be coming out of this with a new lobby bar, a new apr├ęs ski bar and cafeteria," Horii said, explaining that the work essentially encompasses a demolition of the existing Copper Top bar and Tiffany's.

The Copper Top replacement should be done before Thanksgiving, he said.The Copper Top will be extended and probably renamed and Tiffany's will become more of a high-end lounge type area, ideal for quiet wine and martini sipping, Horii said. The apres-ski action will move from Tiffany's to the new Copper Top, he added.

The resort will also be adding a new 2,500-square-foot ballroom, with balconies and views up to the slopes of Peak 9, adding to the potential for wedding and reception business.

"We're trying to drive room revenue and add to our food and beverage revenue," Horii said. The overall intent of the project is to give the entire slopeside complex a fresh look. Beaver Run has been around for more than 20 years, and this summer's big renovation is only the latest in a series of upgrades that included remodeling of both pool areas in the last several years, as the demand for spa-type services has grown.

"This is one of the last components of the new Beaver Run," Horii said, describing the work on the 500-unit condominium and conference center. "We need to keep up with the new products that are out there and the renovations that have been done elswhere," he added.