Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Samplings Restaurant Hosts Famous Chef

Giuseppe Tentori, former chef de cuisine at Charlie Trotter's Restaurant in Chicago, joins Michael Weist, Samplings Restaurant executive chef, to prepare a Celebrity Chef Dinner to kick-off Valentine Week at Samplings in Frisco.

During the Champagne Reception, a silent auction of Collectors' Wines benefits St. Anthony's Medical Center.

Scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 11, the dinner features an "Amuse plus Five" courses paired with fine wines. The reception begins at 6:15 p.m. with both chefs and Tyler Grey in attendance to greet guests. The menu and wine pairings can be found at Seating is limited for this private event which is priced at $159 per person, plus tax and gratuity.

For more information and to reserve space for the Celebrity Chef Dinner, call (970) 668-8466 or visit

Monday, January 29, 2007

Oregon Team Wins Snow Sculpture Championship

Team Oregon took home the gold in the 2007 Budweiser Select International Snow Sculpture Championships for “They Call him Old Man Winter”, a sculpture of an older man reflecting on his life with a satisfied grin.

Silver went to Team Minnesota with “Cool Jazz,” a complex shape resembling a music note.

Team Canada captured bronze with “Almost There,” a sculpture of a hand making the last fold in an Origami squirrel.

Honorable Mention was given to Team Switzerland for “Rock ‘n Roll” a sculpture of four cones balancing on a base.

Thousands of spectators watched during the week as 14 teams from six countries participated in the event, now in its 17th year. Artists have been working since Jan. 23 to create these sculptures. The finished pieces are achieved without the use of power tools, internal support structures or colorants. The sculptures should remain in display at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge until Sunday, Feb. 4.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Breckenridge Shock Hill Development

A proposal to increase density and shrink the development footprint on two tracts in the Shock Hill subdivision near Cucumber Gulch in Breckenridge got a mixed reception at a recent town council work session.

Some council members said they had concerns about adding density in the area around the gondola turn station, while others said more density might be acceptable if the buildings are scaled to avoid significant visual impacts to nearby Cucumber Gulch.

At issue is a preliminary proposal by a company named AZCO II, LLC to build a condominum-hotel consisting of two lodge-type buildings with underground parking instead of the townhome complex currently included in the Shock Hill master plan.

To make the project work financially, the developers want to add 33 single-family-equivalency (SFEs) units on Tract C and 14.3 SFEs on Tract E, using density from the town's transfer of development rights (TDR) bank. Both parcels together total 9.56 acres. Overall the density would increase from 84.7 to 132 residential units.

At the same time, AZCO proposed dedicating 2.25 acres of land as open space as a public benefit.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Town of Blue River Opts Out

Contrary to the countywide solidarity shown in getting the affordable housing initiative passed by voters in November, the Town of Blue River has decided to opt out of the program.

The decision by Blue River’s town board won’t have a significant effect on the amount of money to be collected under the sales tax increase and new development impact fees, said housing authority director Bonnie Osborn.

“We didn’t expect to get any money from Blue River or Montezuma,” Osborn said. “No one seems to be upset about their decision,” she said, explaining that the ballot language gives individual towns the choice of whether they want to participate.

The decision not to participate was based on the town’s small size and the fact that Blue River is nearly built out, said Mayor Lindsay Backas, estimating that there are about 680 residential units in Blue River, with only about 22 lots still available for development.

“We’re just different. We’re totally residential. Blue River is almost built out … and our housing is somewhat affordable anyway,” Backas said.

County attorney Jeff Huntley said local towns all agreed up-front that the inter-governmental agreement on the housing authority would provide for flexibility in the way the impact fees are collected and administered. So, unlikely as it is, any of the other towns in the county could also decide not to impose impact fees, although the countywide sales tax increase of .125 percent is not optional, Huntley said.

In contrast to Blue River, Montezuma will participate in the affordable housing program, charging the graduated per-square-foot impact fee on new residential developments. Summit County will collect and administer the fees generated by any new construction in that town, Osborn said.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Summit Foundation Hires Director of Development

After successful stints with the Summit Recycling Project (SRP) and the Keystone Center, Kasey Geoghegan is moving into the position of director of development with the Summit Foundation.

"I am very excited that Kasey Geoghegan is joining the Foundation staff as our Director of Development," said Summit Foundation executive director Lee Zimmerman.

"Kasey's experience with non-profit organizations in Summit County and her expertise in fund-raising will be a tremendous asset to the Summit Foundation."

"I think it's a wonderful opportunity for me to focus my fundraising efforts on this community," Geoghegan said.

"I have good relationships with corporations in Chicago and New York," she said, referring to her national fundraising efforts for the Keystone Center. "But I live here. This is my home. To be able to give back to this community is potentially very rewarding."

Geoghegan came to Summit County in 1992 to work for the SRP (now the High Country Conservation Center), where she helped put the organization on a firm financial footing, growing revenue from $90,000 to $360,000 annually. Under her leadership, the SRP won several regional environmental awards. Geoghegan also helped lay the groundwork for the recently opened Material Recovery Facility.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Frisco Nordic Center Gets Snowmaking

The Town of Frisco and the Nordic center have nailed down the water rights, at least temporarily, to begin making snow on crosscountry trails.

"What we're excited about is learning about snowmaking," said Nordic center operator Gene Dayton, after firing up the snow gun for the first time this week.

The complex deal gives the Nordic center five acre-feet of water, enough to cover a 5- to 6-kilometer trail about 20 feet wide and 18 inches deep, Dayton said.

Just like snowmaking at lift-served ski areas, the process involves mixing compressed air and water and spraying out through a nozzle, allowing the tiny droplets to crystallize in the cold air.

Dayton said snowmaking will help ensure more consistent coverage and seasonal operations at the Nordic center. With the snowmaking, he hopes to have at least some terrain open for Thanksgiving each year.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Backstage Theatre Auditions

The Backstage Theatre in Breckenridge is currently casting for their upcoming world premiere production of "Hidden," a powerful new play written by award-winning writers, Jamie Bruss and Christopher Willard ("Belle and the Beast," "Tribal Tales of Africa"). "Hidden" tells the story of an elderly woman living in seclusion in Vermont who holds the key to the past for a young commissioner of Jerusalem's Yad Vashem - an organization that bestows honor to Christian Rescuers of Jews.

Some roles have been pre-cast. Parts are available for three men and two women ages 18 and up. The theater is also seeking a young boy about 6 to 9 years old. Men are especially needed.

The Backstage is casting an actor (aged 20s to mid-30s) to play the Yad Vashem investigator and is seeking two versatile actors (aged 18 to 70) and two versatile women (aged 18 to 50) to play various roles in the story.

All positions are paid and lodging is available for actors traveling from outside Summit County. Rehearsals for The Backstage Theatre production begin in mid-February and are flexible with the schedules of the actors.

"Hidden" opens at the Backstage Theatre on March 30 and runs weekends until April 21.Auditions will be held at the Breckenridge Theatre, located at 121 S. Ridge St., on Sunday, Feb. 4 from 6-9 p.m.

Those auditioning should prepare a one-minute dramatic monologue and be prepared to read from the script. Call (970) 453-0199 to make an appointment. Call Willard at (970) 404-1288 for more information. Script is still in development and no advance copies are available.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Snow Sculpture Event Starts Next Tuesday

The Budweiser Select International Snow Sculpture Championships at the Breckenridge Riverwalk Center gets underway next Tuesday.

Competitors include teams from Canada, Czech Republic, Mexico, Switzerland, Turkey and nine teams from in United States, including Breckenridge, Alaska, Colorado (CaƱon City), Idaho, Minnesota, New York, Oregon and two teams from Wisconsin.

The sculptors will sculpt Tuesday through Saturday before judging on Saturday. Each four-person teams is assigned a 12-foot-tall, 20-ton block of machine-made snow. These teams work within a five-day period to create sensational sculptures - sometimes enormous pieces of whimsy and sometimes with powerful political or social commentary. The finished pieces are achieved after a total of 65 hours of work without the use of power tools, internal support structures or colorants.

When the sculptures are finished, a panel of artists and patrons of the arts serve as judges and will present awards to the first, second and third place sculptures. Awards are also given for People's Choice, Kids' Choice and Artists' Choice. There are no cash prizes; the artists instead revel in the reward of hard work, forged friendships, freedom of artistic expression and the satisfaction of long hours of preparation that lead to the event.

Sculptures will remain on display in Breckenridge until Feb. 4, weather permitting. Visit for more information.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Freeskiing Open at Copper Mountain

The 10th annual U.S. Freeskiing Open, literally the largest event in the freeskiing world, kicks off today at Copper Mountain.

It is the first time Copper has hosted the high-flying event — which features slopestyle, superpipe and big air competitions — since it was announced that the Open’s long stay in Vail had ended.

According to the latest list of registered athletes, this week’s event will include 63 female skiers and 323 males, the largest number in the Open’s 10-year history.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Summit Foundation Awards Grants

The Summit Foundation Board of Trustees has awarded $413,904 to 45 nonprofit agencies in Summit, Park, Grand, Lake and Eagle Counties in December.

Over its 22-year history, a total of $8,578,279 has been distributed in the form of grants and scholarships. Established in 1984 by the Breckenridge Ski Area, The Summit Foundation is a community, public foundation dedicated to improving the quality of life for residents and guests of Summit County and neighboring communities.

The main vehicle for the Foundation's fundraising efforts is a transferable ski pass provided by Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, Breckenridge Ski Resort, Copper Mountain Resort, Keystone Resort, Winter Park and Vail and Beaver Creek Resorts. Additional funds are raised from a variety of annual special events including the Summit Foundation Hockey Classic, Mountain Art Gathering, the Summit Foundation Celebrity Golf Tournament, the Summit County Parade of Homes and the Rubber Duck Race. Additionally, funds were raised for the Foundation through events at Copper Mountain Resort and by Serenity Spa in the Fall.

For additional information about contributing, grants, volunteering or for the Foundation's upcoming event schedule, please call (970) 453-5970 or visit the web site at

Monday, January 15, 2007

Senior Winter Games

The 2007 Senior Winter Games will be held at Keystone Resort, the Frisco Nordic Center and the Summit County Community and Senior Center on Feb. 11, 12 and 13.

The games are open to participants 50 and older. A $25 entry fee covers both days of racing. Entry fees are non-refundable. The registration deadline is Jan. 20.

Residents, visitors and Olympic hopefuls are encouraged to find an event that will suit their skill level. Events include alpine and Nordic races, ice skating, snowshoe races, a hockey shoot-out and snowball-throwing contests.

The games will start with a spaghetti dinner Feb. 11 at 5:30 p.m. The cost of the dinner is $8 and reservations are required.

For registration forms and additional information, please contact Pat Hutson at (970) 453-2461 or Beth Koran at (970) 668-2941.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

International Snow Sculpture Championships

280 tons of snow, 65 hours to complete the sculpture, 14 teams and one chance to witness snow transformed into art - that is the Breckenridge International Snow sculpture Championships.

The event has been named by USA Today as one of the "top 10 ways to celebrate winter."

Now in its 17th year, artists from nine countries will come together in Breckenridge from January 23 - 29 to present the most intricate, awe-inspiring snow sculptures you have ever seen. The artists will carve twenty-ton, 12 foot tall blocks of snow into works of art using only their creativity, inspiration and their hands.

If you visit for the first time or the 17th, you will be participating in a great Breckenridge tradition.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

County Going Wireless

Summit County will soon have a community wireless network, nearly two years after its first attempt deemed "The Beanpole Project" failed to bring reliable service to the county.

New technology and a partnership with a company named WisperTel has increased the confidence of county planners, after watching a $480,000 state grant originally funding the "Beanpole" network waste away. When Netbeam, the original grant recipient, and then its sister company, Peak Speed, filed for bankruptcy in 2005, the county received criticism for not taking control of the network's assets. It stepped back and began talking with WisperTel, who services 4,000 internet customers throughout much of the state east of Summit County.

WisperTel, who presented its WiMax technology Thursday night at the Our Future Summit gathering, is entering the market to compete with giants like Comcast and Qwest. The goal of the new network is to give reliable access to towns and government, and to help increase options for private citizens and businesses.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Breckenridge Ski Area Outlines Plans

Ski area executives shared their vision of a conceptual plan for build-out of the Breckenridge ski area at a town council work session Tuesday night, outlining a number of upgrades and improvements to existing lifts and trails, as well additional snowmaking and a new terrain on Peak 6.

Town council members had a lot of questions about the plan, which includes some previously approved projects as well as new elements. The list of projects is an informal master plan that revises the ski area's existing Forest Service master plan, a document that dates back to the 1980s and has been updated on a piecemeal basis with projects like the Imperial Express chair and the Peak 7 expansion from a few years ago.

The Forest Service no longer does formal ski area master plans, with the associated public scrutiny and comment required by federal environmental laws. Comprehensive master planning was dropped as part of the agency's overall streamlining push.

"This is a road map for the next six to eight years," said vice president of operations Rick Sramek. "It's important to note that this is not an approval process, it's conceptual."

Site-specific review and approval for the various pieces would be part of a U.S. Forest Service process, Sramek explained.

"I haven't added up the dollars yet," said Roger McCarthy, co-president of Vail Resorts mountain division, explaining that the implementation of some of the projects are real-estate dependent, in terms of some of the lift improvements, on-mountain services and renovation of the Bergenhof at the base of Peak 8.

"These are all the potential things we want to do, but it doesn't mean we'll do them all," McCarthy said.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Breckenridge and Colorado Mountain College

This week the Breckenridge Town Council will review the first draft version of the agreement with Colorado Mountain College that will outline the terms for construction of a new campus on the Block 11 property, near Coyne Valley Road, at the north end of town.

“We’d like to have some comments on it,” said Breckenridge town manager Tim Gagen, explaining that CMC is pursuing a fairly aggressive timetable for planning and is hoping to break ground before the end of 2007.

If the timetable holds, the campus could be ready for occupancy by the end of 2008, Gagen said. The initial discussions will shape the subsequent planning and approval process, envisioned as a collaborative effort. The aim is to incorporate community uses with the campus, Gagen said. That would include access to trails and the rec path, as well as parking, he said.

Plans for the campus will be integrated with the town’s vision for the remainder of the Block 11 and McCain properties. The Breckenridge–CMC deal is modeled after the preliminary agreement the college had with Frisco for the proposed peninsula location — with one significant difference. The Frisco deal was for a land lease, but Breckenridge plans to convey title of up to 20 acres to CMC, Gagen said.

Gagen said the early vision is primarily for one building to house the new CMC campus near the end of Coyne Valley Road, with strong trails and transit connections.

“We see it as kind of an entrance statement for the town,” Gagen said, adding that the design will be geared toward making the development mesh with the river environment.

The college hopes to use progressive green building techniques for the facility, thereby meeting the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards, Gagen indicated

.According to the draft Memorandum of Understanding, the town will waive planning fees for the campus and will provide sewer and water service. Any portion of the property that is not used by the college will be conveyed back to the town upon request. The property would also revert to town ownership if it’s used for any purpose other than higher education or “other compatible uses,” according to the draft agreement.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Ullr Festival Schedule

The weeklong Ullr festivities in Breckenridge often bring out the crazy side of living on a mountain, and folks can be seen in hot tubs in floats during a parade down Main Street, dressed up as Vikings and Viking maidens, and new this year — being set up on a date with the help of Ullr.

Following are the week's worth of Ullr events.

Budweiser Bar Series• Today through Friday, Jan. 12T
he bar series offers specials and giveaways at area bars and restaurants around Breckenridge.

Ullr Skating Party• Sunday from 1:15-4:30 p.m.
Skate with Ullr himself at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena, 0189 Boreas Pass Road. Enjoy hot concessions for sale and $5 skate rentals. Proceeds from this event benefit the scholarship program of the Breckenridge Resort Chamber Ambassadors. Great for family and friends of all ages.

Nordic Event & Ullr Bonfire• Monday from 5:30-9 p.m.
Event is held at the Gold Run Nordic Center (located on the Breckenridge Golf Course) and includes an indoor reception beginning at 5:30 p.m. featuring food, beverages (free beer while it lasts) and the crowning of the Ullr King and Queen. The crowning is followed by a beginner friendly Nordic ski/snowshoe out to the Ullr bonfire from 7-9 p.m. Cocoa and cider are provided at the bonfire. Discounted ski and snowshoe rentals are available. Participation is free.

Ullr Dating Game• Tuesday from 8-10 p.m. at Cecilia's
KSMT hosts this retro, original TV show "The Dating Game"-inspired event. Johnny Brokaw, KSMT promotion director and on-air personality, said the set will be "cheeseball" with Steve (the morning guy) Burell hosting in a similarly cheesy way. Bachelors and bachelorettes, who signed up by Thursday, will be chosen for four rounds of matchmaking.

Ullympics• Wednesday from 6-8 p.m.
This event features co-ed teams competing for fun and prizes in three zany events. A party follows with beer and prize giveaways. Join the event at Carter park for a great time, and don't forget to practice tossing that frying pan. Find a downloadable entry form at to sigh up your team.

Ullr Parade• Thursday from 4:30 p.m.
The famous Ullr Parade on Main Street is themed this year, "Nobody's Cooler than Ullr." The parade will stage on Main Street between Watson and French Street and proceed south through the heart of Breckenridge. Registration is open until Tuesday to enter a float in the parade. Call (970) 453-5055 or visit for a downloadable entry form.

Ullr Comedy Night• Friday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m.
Enjoy an evening of comedy with Denver comedians Chris Voth and Louis Johnson at Beaver Run Resort. Laugh the night away, all in the name of raising money for local child care. Appetizers and cash bar available. Tickets are $25. Call (970) 453-6423.

For more information on Ullr Fest, call (800) 936-5573.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Lots of Snow Overnight

After two consecutive storms only dusted the ski areas while pounding the Front Range, Summit County received substantial snowfall last night and this morning.

Area resorts reported between 6 and 8 inches as of 5 a.m. today, with plenty more snow falling since. I have at least 10 inches on my deck this morning and it is still snowing.

Two different storms piled feet of snow on Denver and other areas in the last two weeks, while the Summit County received 3-4 inches.

Forecasts call for 5-8 inches today, with more snow on Saturday and clearing on Sunday.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Gondola to End Free Parking

Free parking at Breckenridge's new gondola ends in four more days.

Breckenridge Ski Resort won't start charging for parking in the Miners and Tailings lots until Monday, when spots will go for $10 a day because of their proximity to the new BreckConnect Gondola, which started running on Sunday.

"We thought it be a good way to ease the transition and give our guests a little holiday thank you," resort spokesperson Nicky DeFord said.

The resort will run a shuttle from the free parking lots to the gondola, including the Goldrush lot across Park Ave. from the gondola, the Postal lot next to the Miners lot and the Airport Road lot, DeFord said.

Also, the resort's Green Route, which shuttled people from the resort's parking lots to Peak 8 and Peak 9 will no longer run up to Peak 8 in lieu of the new gondola, DeFord said. The route will continue to service Peak 9.

The Town of Breckenridge will be still operating the Blue/Black route which services Peak 8.

The resort continues to offer season parking passes, ranging from $99 to $350 depending on where and in which lots you plan to park. For more information, call (970) 453-5000, or visit

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Breckenridge's Ullr Fest is Early This Year

Breckenridge's Ullr Fest, its annual winter carnival, will be early this year. It starts this coming weekend. Ullr, the mythical Norse god of snow is honored at this annual winter festival. The winter carnival began way back in the late 60s when the Norwegian population in Breckenridge came up with the idea. They got in a bit of trouble with the U.S. Government when they minted coins for the festival. The coins were actually worth money and could be used to purchase items in Breckenridge. The U.S. Treasury did not think highly of this. Above is a photo of last years parade.

Sign up to build a float for the 2007 Ullr Fest Parade where "Nobody's Cooler than Ullr" is the theme. Those interested can register at or contact Larissa Enns at the Breckenridge Resort Chamber at (970) 453-5055 by Jan. 9.

The parade will take place at 4:30 p.m. in downtown Breckenridge on Thursday, Jan. 11.

New this year, KSMT is hosting the Ullr Dating Game Tuesday, Jan. 9 from 8-10 p.m. at Cecilia's. Bachelors and bachelorettes interested in finding love can apply by e-mailing with their name, age and phone number - and likes and dislikes for matching purposes. Four rounds of the retro-style game will offer prizes to matched pairs.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Breckenridge Opens Gondola

Breckenridge opened the BreckConnect Gondola on Saturday. The gondola connects the town with the resort’s base areas.

The gondola begins at the Breckenridge Transportation Center, and continues onto a terminal at Peak 8 with a terminal at Peak 7 opening in 2008.

At this time, the ski resort plans to operate the gondola in both the winter and summer seasons.

Ride time is approximately 10 minutes from the transportation center to the base of Peak 8, and carrying capacity is 2,800 people per hour.

BreckConnect Gondola facts

• 10 minute ride time from Transit Center to the Peak 8 terminal

• Two mid-stations at Shock Hill and Peak 7 base area

• 7,592 ft. in length

• 396.1 ft. vertical rise

• 28 towers

• Capacity of 2,800 per hour

• 121 cabins