Monday, January 30, 2012

Just Listed - 6946 Ryan Gulch Road, Silverthorne, Colorado

Local and second home buyers alike, need to see this beautifully remodeled town home style condo. Slab granite and slate, stainless steel appliances, new wood floors and new carpet. A corner unit with a wrap-around deck with views of the Continetial Divide, the Keystone ski runs and the Gore Range at a very reasonalble price. Views from every window!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Google Takes to the Slopes of Breckenridge

Instead of a figure walking, there's a little skier in the lower right corner of the Google Maps page, in street view mode.

Google has added the slopes of Breckenridge Ski Resort to its Street View special collections, a page that includes world landmarks, business highlights and parks of the world. They say Arapahoe Basin, Keystone and Beaver Creek will also be included in the collection.

The idea is to enable browsers to “tour some of the world's most beautiful ski terrain right from your browser,” according to a press release. “Whether you're planning your annual trip to your favorite resort or hunting for a new adventure, Street View can transport you to your desired destination.”

Current resorts on the docket include: several locations at Whistler/Blackcomb, the Gold Coast Face at Squaw Valley and Four O'Clock run at Breckenridge, as well as Deer Valley and Crystal Mountain in Washington.

All snow view imagery was captured by the Street View snowmobile, which made its debut two years ago at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The growing gallery of special street view collections takes browsers from the snow to the beach to city life.

Courtesy Summit Daily News

Friday, January 20, 2012

Breckenridge Snow Sculpting Championsips

Remember when you were a kid, and traipsing through the snow and shaping it into snowmen or igloos or sofas made you feel like a fantastical wizard?

Even if you missed that kind of experience, it's not too late to soak up some of the magic at the 22nd annual International Snow Sculpture Championships. Already, volunteers have spent days stomping down 3- to 4-foot layers of snow, until they created 23 packed snow blocks measuring 10x10x12 feet and weighing 20 tons.

Tuesday, 15 of the best international snow sculpting teams will begin transforming the blocks into amazing fine art pieces in an event cofounder Rob Neyland terms both sport and passion.

“A lot of these teams bring their charismatic color to the event,” Neyland said. “It's important, because at the end of the day, snow sculpting is a performing art; it is a living art form that is performed on the public stage. It is a cross between art and theater. The energy they bring in manifesting their own country's spirit is a big part of the process.”

And it's a process the public has the privilege to take in throughout the week, as people wander among the blocks, watching sculptors use only hand tools — some of which they've literally invented — to uncover the beauty frozen within the blocks.

“The truly wondrous thing to behold is the living process of the sculpture, which very few people experience,” Neyland said. And he's right: Most people view sculptures after they're finished; they don't sit onsite as an artist welds metal or chips away wood or bronze. “Rarely do you get the opportunity to see monumental sculpture being done.”

Kings (and queens) of the mountain
This year particularly stands out in the minds' of organizers because it brings together more teams who have won medals in snow sculpting than any other year, including Team China and Team Canada-Yukon, said Rachel Zerowin, spokesperson for Breckenridge Resort Chamber.

Neyland calls it the “distilled cream of the cream of the cream.”

In selecting 15 of the 32 entrants this year, judges evaluated the quality of design, looking for striking, dramatic and “doable” ideas (with snow, without any supporting materials); a team's pedigree (how many snow sculpting competitions it has attended and how it placed); and the perceived likelihood that members would show up, because in the past, teams from certain countries have told officials two days before the competition they couldn't get visas or plane tickets, Neyland said.

In addition to selecting teams with great track records, Breck officials also strive to bring in new artists.

This year, judges saw more entries than usual, said Vanessa Agee, Riverwalk and events manager. She attributes the high number to Breckenridge's reputation and call-outs. In the past 22 years, Breck's competition has become one of the premiere international snow sculpting competitions, moving from “who's that? to being one of the notches that you need on your belt,” Neyland said, adding that there are approximately 10 first-rate international competitions: about three in Canada, four in Europe, one in Japan, one in China and one in Breckenridge.

In addition to bringing in fresh teams internationally, locally, Neyland and crew have been cultivating snow artists through the Snowflake Challenge, which began in 2008. Team Breckenridge captain Keith Martin came directly through the Snowflake Challenge; after winning it two years in a row, Neyland brought him on board; this will be Martin's second year with Team Breckenridge, which also includes veteran Tom Day, previous Snowflake Challenge competitor Tim West, and Margo Jerkovitz and Betty Richter.

Other United States teams include Team Alaska and Team Wisconsin. Two teams cross boarders. One is Team Greece/USA — Idaho, and the other is Team Australia/USA. Australian Noah Davis started the latter, but he lives in Carbondale, so last year, most of his team members, except his American wife, came from Australia. This year, a few of his mates couldn't make the overseas trip, so Agee recommended a sculptor, and Davis invited another Carbondale buddy to join, resulting in a team mix of three Australians and two Americans.

Three teams hail from Canada (Ontario, Qu├ębec and Yukon), and other international teams are traveling from: Catalonia, (Spain), China, Finland, Germany, Baltic (Latvia-Estonia), Mexico and Switzerland.

The luxury at Breck
In 2008, the championship began providing a 59 percent travel stipend, making it easier for artists to attend. Breckenridge also has gained a solid reputation as a cushy place to compete, due to all the benefits competitors receive.

“We really roll out the welcome mat as a community,” Agee said, pointing out that it's not just a town and Breckenridge Resort Chamber event.

Restaurant owners provide free meals for team members on Wednesday night, one sponsor provides massages, and Breckenridge Ski Resort gives lift tickets, and, of course, makes the snow, which is a very big deal: Clean, machine-made, foot-packed snow provides the best medium in which to sculpt. Agee said some competitions scoop their snow from parking lots, which literally results in blocks with cigarette butts, dog waste and other debris.

“We notice the caliber of teams and designs and quality of sculpting has really gone up (every year),” Agee said.

Last year, organizers made the event more comfortable for viewers, as well, by adding leather sofas in the Riverwalk Center and LED lighting. This year, Cadillac has joined Budweiser as a main sponsor; Budweiser is the title sponsor, while Cadillac is the presenting sponsor. The extra support allowed staff to purchase even more leather sofas and install electricity in the Riverwalk parking lot, eliminating the need for loud, messy diesel towers. They also added LED uplighting, which creates more shadows, and thus depth, than just downlighting can.

“In my mind, this is certainly a great art festival for all to enjoy, and it's a very accessible art form,” Agee said, explaining that not everybody is going to be able to go to an art museum and appreciate the pieces, but snow sculptures are fun and easy to enjoy.

Budweiser and Cadillac both have custom, full-size snow sculptures in the Blue River Plaza (and one at Beaver Run). Neyland will be one of the artists creating the gateway sculpture, as he was last year — a role he enjoys because he's not tied to competition rules that limit the number of participants, so he can let friends help sculpt.

Meanwhile, the team he helped form — Breckenridge — from a passion of playing with snow back in the late 1960s and early 1970s to pay homage to Ullr, will create a technically challenging piece, mainly due to the need for suspension, as it builds a carousel.

Courtesy of Summit Daily News

Monday, January 16, 2012

Just listed:  260 Ski Hill Road - Twin Elk Lodge in Breckenridge, Colorado.  Great location.  Take a look at the video:

And contact me today!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Arts and entertainment events in Summit County for January

Free dinner to check out square dance club

The Timberline Toppers Square Dance Club will be offering lessons to beginners, starting Jan. 24. Square dancing is fun, and is great exercise for the mind and body. The lessons will be given on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. for those who would like to learn this active and social pursuit.

To give those who are curious a chance to try square dancing, the Timberline Toppers will be having a dinner dance party on Jan. 17. At 5:30 p.m., there will be a chili dinner, then at 6:30 a top square dance caller will give everyone a free introduction to square dancing. This will allow those who are unsure about what square dancing is a no obligation opportunity to give it a try.

The Timberline Toppers is the largest square dance club in Colorado, with over 100 members. They dance to modern music and wear modern dress. The dance calls have been standardized and are the same worldwide. Many of the members dance with clubs around the nation when they are visiting other parts of the country. They have found it to be a great way to meet people wherever they are.

To reserve a place at this Jan. 17 dinner dance, call Dave Bittner at (970) 390-1604 or email him at

Friends of the Libraries Present ‘The Wizard of Oz and Other Strange Talks of the American West'

You've probably seen “The Wizard of Oz” many times, maybe even read the book, but it turns out that it's a lot more than a great children's story filled with lovable critters, music and color. Rick Hague will give you another side of the story at the first Friends of the Libraries slide show and talk this winter.

Find out what Hague has learned about American history in his talk presented by the Friends of Summit County Libraries at 7 p.m. today in the Blue River Room of the North Branch Library, 651 Center Circle in Silverthorne.

“There is another side of the story of Oz because the film is really a story within a story,” Hague said. “Join me on the yellow brick road, and we'll take a journey into one of the most difficult, contentious and awe-inspiring periods of American history. Our journey even passes through Summit County.”

Join Hague for this free talk (donations accepted) tonight. The Friends of the Libraries presents these talks as part of its fundraising efforts to help the libraries purchase books and other supplies. For more information, call (970) 468-5887.

Summit County's ‘Dream Machine' winter casting call for kids 5-16

“Dream Machine is a local children's musical drama group that strives to develop self-confidence, stage presence, speaking skills and vocal performance through community productions.

This season's musical journey back in time in search of “The Secret of America's Greatness” teaches powerful lessons that will instill thankfulness for the tremendous blessings God has bestowed upon America.

Rehearsals begin the week of Jan. 15th with performances the end of March. For more information contact: Nancie Read at or (785) 409-9180.

Talk on Tibetan murders

In 2006, Himalayan mountain climbers on Cho Oyu witnessed a murder. Tibetan refugees passing their base camp came under fire by the Chinese Border Patrol. Professional mountaineer guide, Luis Benitez, was there and emailed his account to the world. His decision cost him his career and profoundly affected his life. Join Benitez as he explains the complicated world of mountaineering, politics and human self-preservation 7-8:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 23 at the Colorado Mountain College's Paul & Eileen Finkel Auditorium, 107 Denison Placer Road, Breckenridge. Admission is $10; pre-registration is recommended (use class #65720). (970) 453-6757.

Comedy tonight

The Carriage House Early Learning Center funniest fundraiser is the perfect way to pay homage to Ullr. The Norse God of snow is obviously in a bad mood and the Carriage House and Breckenridge Resort Chamber feel the cure is a good ole belly laugh.

Tonight the Carriage House brings two famous comedians to the mountains for a fun filled night of laughter. Phil Palisoul and Eugene Kenny will perform at Beaver Run Resort for one night only. Tickets are $35 and are available by calling (970) 453-6423. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show starts at 8.

Headliner Palisoul has appeared on the “Tonight Show,” “Last Comic Standing” and “Premium Blend” but is famous for using his self-deprecating humor to poke fun at some of life's harsher truths. Opening for Palisoul is Denver Comedy Works regular Eugene Kenny. Known for his work on the Black Entertainment Channel, Kenny has performed with Robert Townsend, Larry the Cable Guy and Dave Chappelle.

The show will be hosted by KSMT's Scotty Bondo. The show contains adult content and is not recommend for children under 16. For more details or to purchase advance tickets call (970) 453-6423.

Miner's Ball and Annual Wine Tasting

Celebrate Valentine's Day early on Feb. 11 from 4-11 p.m. at the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum's 25th Silver Anniversary Celebration at the Miner's Ball and Annual Wine Tasting. Wear your Victorian finest and sample a variety of wines while you tour the museum, then enjoy an elegant three-course meal. Afterwards join in the fun on the dance floor or one of the card games. Don't forget to take a souvenir home from the silent auction. All proceeds from this special fundraising event go toward the NMHFM to support its mission of telling the story of mining, its people, and its importance to the American public.

Tickets must be purchased in advance by calling (719) 486-1229. The cost is $80 per ticket, $600 for a table of eight, or $750 for a table of 10.

‘The Book of Mormon' comes to Denver

The producers of the national tour of “The Book of Mormon,” winner of nine Tony Awards including Best Musical, and Denver Center Attractions announce that single tickets will go on sale Jan. 22 at 10 a.m. Tickets start at $35 and will be available at, by phone or at the Denver Center Ticket Office; limit six tickets per order. “The Book of Mormon” will play a strictly limited, three-week engagement at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House Aug. 14 to Sept. 2.

“The Book of Mormon” features book, music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone. Parker and Stone are the four-time Emmy Award-winning creators of the landmark animated series, “South Park.” Tony Award-winner Lopez is co-creator of the long-running hit musical comedy, Avenue Q. The musical is choreographed by Tony Award-winner Casey Nicholaw and is directed by Nicholaw and Parker.

To charge by phone, call Denver Center Ticket Services at (303) 893-4100. Buy online at
Courtesy Summit Daily News

Friday, January 06, 2012

Snowboarding's Beginnings: Jake Burton's original maple-wood boards

Many kids in the 1960s grew up riding a Snurfer in the winter months — after all, Sherman Poppen's invention sold thousands of boards — including Jake Burton. Although he was a talented skier, attended the University of Colorado and hoped to join the ski team before a collarbone fracture, Jake pursued his love for riding single-plank devices.

Upon graduating from New York University in 1977, Jake worked in the financial world for a few months before quitting his job to create Burton Boards. By the 1977-'78 season, he was building homemade snowboard prototypes out of a barn in Londonderry, Vt. Constructed of laminated maple wood, the Burton Backhill was born.

Jake visited shops all over Vermont that winter, marketing his prototype, but he had a similar experience to Winterstick's flop at the 1977 trade shows: No one was very interested. After selling just 300 boards during that season, Jake returned to Vermont in 1979 with a new model known as The Backyard and sold 700 boards — a huge improvement. Regular and goofy stances, as well as binding adjustments (no tools necessary!) were available. Burton had a bright future.

Jake widened the boards, added a urethane base, began signing team riders, and moved Burton to Manchester, Vermont during the 1980s. Over the next few years, Jake competed at snowboarding contests (including the first-ever contest at Ski Cooper in 1981), showing off his groundbreaking products and innovative equipment, including soft boots, metal edges, P-tex bases, highbacks and bindings. The first snowboarding outerwear gear was introduced and Burton expanded internationally — all while campaigning to have ski resorts open lifts to snowboarders. By 1996, 95 percent of ski resorts had opened their doors.

Throughout the 1990s, Jake and Burton Snowboards continued to push snowboarding to the forefront of winter sports by continuing the pursuit of establishing it as a vital part of the Colorado and international market. In 1995, Jake and wife Donna founded the Chill program, which works to “build the self esteem of undeserved youth through board sports.” The program exposes kids, who wouldn't normally have access to these opportunities, to snowboarding.

In 1998, snowboarding premieres at the Winter Olympics and Burton riders captured bronze and gold medals in the halfpipe, including Colorado native Shannon Dunn.

Jake was inducted into the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame in 2010, recognized for his rich history in the establishment and development of snowboarding in the state. Some of Jake's early snowboard creations are on display at the new snowboard exhibit at the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum. Several pieces are visible, including the wooden board Jake brought to the first Snurfer competition, generously on loan from Brooke Long.

Jake and Burton Snowboards continue to contribute to Colorado snowboarding by investing personally, sponsoring riders and events, and continuing local research and development.

Sources included:

Off the Chain: An Insider's History of Snowboarding by Ross Rebagliati

“Snowboarding: It's Older Than You Think,” by Paul J. MacArthur, Skiing Heritage Journal, March 2009
Courtesy Summit Daily News

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

National Snowshoe Championship comes to Summit County

Farmer's Korner will be the site of the 2012 National Snowshoe Championship, the nation's premier race of its kind, Feb. 24-26 — and like most of other things Summit County hosts, it will be the highest ever.

The event, which rotates from year to year through five regions — Northeast, Midwest, Rocky Mountains, West Coast and Alaska — always attracts some of the country's most talented endurance athletes, many of whom use snowshoeing as a way to stay in shape over the winter season.

The race will anoint national champions for each gender in various age groups, as well as overall national champions, which would be the day's fastest snowshoers for men and women (20 and up), boys and girls (19 and under). Those athletes will then have an opportunity to compete at the world championship.

Race director Darren Brungardt has been busy coordinating with the school district and the U.S. Forest Service to organize the race on the Iron Springs Open Space behind the school. He has also been organizing lodging for competitors, dining and partying events to take place in Frisco. Meanwhile, the United States Snowshoe Association will handle most of the on-course operations.

One key component to any National Snowshoe Championship is a healthy amount of snow, which we currently do not have.

Brungardt is optimistic that Summit will have the required 16 inches before the race; however, backup plans include the Frisco Nordic Center or Gold Run Nordic Center in Breckenridge, facilities that would be both suitable for the race and large enough to handle the influx of racers.

However, the backup venues won't be able to provide the backcountry terrain typical for the event. Proper snowshoe races consist of 1/3 groomed, 1/3 packed snow and 1/3 off-trail, unpacked terrain, and the Farmer's Korner venue provides all those things.

“When we looked at venues, the high school is a great place to have it because we have all those different options over there,” Brungardt said. “I know it'll work out. We still have two months to go before the event happens. We only need about 16 inches of snow, and hopefully we get that between now and then.”

Brungardt also said Summit County was selected based on the accessible location, strong local transportation and other fun things to do in the area.

Colorado racers, who usually represent well at the event regardless, will have a strong advantage this year with the championship being held at the highest altitude in its history. One guy to look out for is Vail's Josiah Middaugh, a four-time national champion.

“I definitely think the Colorado racers will be at an advantage,” said Brungardt. “We had them in Utah a couple years ago and (Middaugh) won that race pretty easily, beat a guy from New York who was highly touted to win the title. I think it was held at about 5,000 feet, and that was considered a big deal.”

Locals are encouraged to qualify at one of three regional races, the first of which is on Saturday in Silverthorne at the Swift Skedaddle Snowshoe Adventure. The top 10 overall finishers and top three in each age group will earn a start at the national race.

Other qualifiers include the Colorado State Championships in Leadville at the end of the month and the Love Me Tender race at the high school, which will serve as a precursor to the championship, on Feb. 11.

The whole operation is aided by sponsors on both the national and local levels, so businesses interested in getting involved should contact Brungardt at (970) 227-9452.

Courtesy Summit Daily News

Monday, January 02, 2012

Copper Mountain: Union Creek quad performs better than expected

Copper's new Union Creek High-Speed Quad has been in operation since mid-December, and so far, it's performing beyond resort officials' expectations.

The lift replaced the slower High Point double chair, which served Copper since 1976 and hauled people up the mountain in about 10-12 minutes. Now, with two queues feeding the lift, four seats on each chair, and a 5-minute, 22-second ride, the well-used advanced-beginner West Village area sees far less congestion.

“It's worked out even better than expected,” Copper marketing director Pete Woods said.

It's the closest lift to shuttle service, a fact that was often previously ignored by guests, largely because the hassled lift service voided the shuttle's convenience.

Now, though, people have figured it out, and Woods said he's seeing traffic head to West Village to take advantage of the area's beginner terrain (it's where the ski and ride school is based) and to take laps on the Woodward at Copper Central Park terrain park (which links up directly with the lift).

Woods said intermediate skiers and riders are also accessing “great” terrain off the lift previously left empty due to circulation problems at the base. That alleviates some of the pressure from other areas of the mountain, such as the Timberline lift, which can get congested with skiers wanting to do quick laps on one chair.

“This moves so many more people,” Woods said of the Union Creek chairlift. “People are surprised and amazed at how fast that lift is, because High Point was not.”

Beyond benefiting the holiday guest and local visitors who want to ski that side of Copper Mountain, the Union Creek quad should facilitate boardercross training that's been ongoing at Copper for several years — and help the mountain better host the USASA Nationals in spring.

Guests benefit from other changes

This summer, Copper also invested in other West Village improvements, such as an outdoor sitting and eating area off the Union Creek cafeteria.

“It's an entirely new layout for the learning area,” Woods said of the face-lift. The smallest Magic Carpet lifts are closest to the deck so parents and guardians can relax and watch the youngsters learn. The meet-up and drop-off area is “just steps away” from the deck, which helps draw down the ski school hassle for parents.

Courtesy Summit Daily News

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Crowds pack Summit County for Christmas, New Year's

With the national economy on a slow path to stabilization, crowds of vacationers came surging back to Summit County, packing the resorts, restaurants and roads over the holidays.

As the busiest week of the year draws to a close, initial numbers and reports indicate tourist visits between Christmas and New Year's were at least on par, and possibly up from last year despite the lack of snow.

The number of incoming cars from the Eisenhower Tunnel this weekend surged from last year's numbers. More than 23,000 vehicles passed through the tunnel on Interstate 70 westbound Friday, up by nearly 5,000 vehicles from Dec. 30, 2010.

Almost 19,000 vehicles were counted heading westbound through the tunnel on Thursday and westbound counts on Saturday had exceeded 4,000 vehicles by noon.

Lodging occupancy in Breckenridge was expected to hit 75-85 percent between Christmas and New Year's, and room rentals between Dec. 27 and Jan. 1 are on track to be flat or up from last year, according to the most recent numbers provided by the Breckenridge Resort Chamber. Final numbers will not be available until January.

“The really encouraging sign is that we appear to be on a path to growth, despite below-average snow …” said Breckenridge Resort Managers president Toby Babich, who heads up the Breckenridge Lodging Association. “This holiday season again demonstrated the loyalty of our destination visitor seeking the Breckenridge holiday experience.”

Those in the ski and hospitality industry countywide had similar positive reports following the holiday week.

“It's been busy,” Keystone Resort spokeswoman Laura Parquette said. “The village has been bustling.”

Restaurants also reported an increase in business this week from holidays in the past. Some chalked the increase up to the lack of snow, which they said might have encouraged people to spend less time on the slopes and more in restaurants.

“I think it was almost busier than normal,” Dillon Dam Brewery general manager George Blincoe said of the Christmas to New Year week. “I wish we had better snow, but I think people know we have more vertical than Nebraska or Kansas ski areas, so they're here. And we're glad they are.”

Courtesy Summit Daily News