Friday, May 31, 2013

Dillon Farmers Market opens today; Breckenridge Sunday Market on June 16

Posted for Nancy Yearout
RE/MAX Properties of the Summit, Breckenridge, Colorado
nyearout@colorado.net
http://www.realestate-breckenridge.net

#Breckenridge, Colorado

Nothing says summer like open-air markets, which in Summit County open again for the warm months starting today in Dillon and June 16 in Breckenridge. Fans of fresh produce can also find goods from Colorado farms at Uncle John’s roadside stands in Frisco and Silverthorne starting in mid- to late June — depending on when the cherries are ready, that is.

Dillon Farmers Market
 
The Dillon Farmers Market opens today with approximately 120 vendors carrying fresh Colorado produce, meat and fish, local products such as goat cheese, honey and soaps, handcrafted goods and food concessions. Among the popular stops are Miller Farms, which not only offers produce a la carte but also a Community Supported Agriculture program. Participants purchase a CSA share of the farm, and the money goes toward seeds and other expenses for the year’s crop, said Russell Ivie, who runs the Dillon stand. In exchange, they get to fill up two bushel baskets with the produce of their choice each week from any of the Miller Farms stand locations, including Dillon, Breckenridge, Vail and Idaho Springs. Half CSA shares are also available.
 
New to the Dillon Farmers Market this year are concessionaires with falafels and organic cookies, work by blacksmith (and former Summit Daily staff photographer) Mark Fox and cooking demonstrations by Colorado Mountain College. Borden Farms, a certified organic farm based in Delta, also joins for the first time this year. Summit Historical Society returns with a booth where you can purchase local history books and sign up for membership, and the Family Intercultural Resource Center hosts a kids’ corner, usually flanked by face painting. There also will be Tumble Bubbles — plastic bubbles that kids can climb inside and roll around — in the park.
 
The layout of the Dillon Farmers Market changes this year as the market moves down Buffalo Street, where it will take up approximately half a block before swinging through the parking lot at the La River Mall end of La Bonte Street and continuing up La Bonte to Main Street, according to Matt Miano, events manager for the town of Dillon.
 
As usual, there’s live music from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
 
“We’ve got a terrific entertainment schedule lined up, with some exciting first-time performers, as well as some local favorites like Doo Wop Denny, Randall McKinnon, Nancy Cook, Arnie J. Green and John Truscelli,” Miano said.
 
For the full entertainment lineup, visit www.townof dillon.com
 
Breckenridge Sunday Market
 
Breckenridge Sunday Market opens June 16 for its 11th year. Each week, 40 vendors gather at Main Street Station to offer a variety of goods including farm-fresh produce, baked goods, seafood, pastas and sauces, candles, soaps and lotions, jewelry and even sports equipment and demos, along with live music from local bands.
 
“I try to pick completely different things,” said event organizer Karin Bearnarth, who explained that the market aims to appeal to locals and visitors alike. “A lot of locals I see every week; they can’t wait until Sunday to get their produce.”
 
There’s also “a lot of Colorado stuff, some made in Breck,” good for both souvenirs and gifts, Bearnarth said. Examples include Climax Jerky, which carries beef, buffalo, elk, venison, turkey and salmon jerky at its Breckenridge and Dillon market stands, and Breckenridge Candle Cabin, which will also have booths at both locations.
 
“One blend we make is of pine, cedar and eucalyptus,” said Bernadette Foley, of Breckenridge Candle Cabin. “It smells just like walking in the woods here in Colorado.”
 
Fair-trade items such as handbags and hats can be found at A-Mark on the World, and new this year are Living Greens’ jellies and jams, a miniature wine garden from Avanti Winery and a children’s area with books, face painting, hula hoops and hair braiding.
 
Visitors to Breckenridge Sunday Market can also give standup paddleboarding a try on Maggie Pond, thanks to Alpine Sports.
 
“Paddleboarding is one of the world’s fastest growing sports that dates back centuries but has gained profound interest inland recently due to new inflatable (more durable) paddleboard models,” said Jeff Hurley, who manages the Park Avenue store in Breckenridge. “We provide 15 minute or longer demos of several different models and brands of paddleboards during the market,” with an introduction, discussion of techniques and safety principles and instruction by certified guides.
Outdoor sports enthusiasts can also test-drive skateboards by Simplicity Longboards, pick up a handmade fleece bandana from Hot Bandits or shop a selection of trout flies from Brothers Flies, which sells hand-tied trout flies and bead items, made in Kenya, which benefit Kenyan communities.

Uncle John’s Farm Stands
 
Those desiring unfettered access to fresh produce can visit Uncle John’s Farm Stands, slated to open for a ninth season in June. The stands are open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily and run into October. Dates vary from season to season.
 
To stock the Frisco and Silverthorne locations, Summit County local Chris Brewer, who co-owns the stands with his wife, Suzanne, heads to Palisade and other area farms to pick up fresh produce and Colorado products a few times per week. What’s available depends on what’s in season and how the season is going — but it usually starts off with cherries, greens and local beef, he said. Eggs are on a first-come, first-served basis. Other goods to look for soon include “a nice round of honey” from the farm stand’s new beekeeper, organic quinoa, dried beans (including an heirloom variety with a 20-year story), hot-house tomatoes (followed later by field-grown tomatoes), organic grape juice from last year’s grapes, jams and jellies and “really good breads,” he said.
 
“We get a lot of positive feedback,” Brewer said. “People like the fact that we’re open every day. They like the fact that I run down there two to three times a week so everything is pretty fresh. If they ask where it’s coming from, I can let them know. There’s a real direct connection there.”
The business is modeled on farm stands “back East,” Brewer said, adding that “there are always little surprises.” In addition to its roadside locations — at the corner of Main Street and Highway 9 in Frisco and a quarter mile south of Interstate 70 by the Silverthorne Town Center — Uncle John’s returns to the Breckenridge Sunday Market this year.
 
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Keystone Resort’s Ranch Course opens Friday

    Posted for Nancy Yearout
    RE/MAX Properties of the Summit, Breckenridge, Colorado
 
    #Keystone, Colorado
 
    Golf is in full swing at Keystone Resort, as the Ranch Course opens with 18 holes ready to play on Friday. Already open at Keystone is the River Course, which offers 18 holes of mountain-style play.
 
video
 
     Golf enthusiasts can enjoy a full summer of fun on the greens with a variety of Keystone season-passproducts, providing access to all 36 holes of championship play.
      The Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed Ranch Course follows the links style of a Scottish course on the front nine, while the back nine presents a traditional mountain valley layout. Winding through lodgepole pines, around sage meadows and across a nine-acre lake, this par-72 course features slight elevation changes and many bunkers for a scenic, challenging round of play.
 
      Throughout the summer Keystone’s courses will offer a variety of lessons and clinics specifically geared toward improving golfers’ games in a productive and friendly atmosphere.
 
      Half-hour private lessons with a PGA professional that are tailored to individual skill level and goals are available for $50. Clinics such as Boomers on the Links at the River Course for seniors and Just for Juniors for 17-and-under golfers also will be available throughout the season.
 
      On August 21, Keystone Resort will host a clinic with Nancy Lopez, winner of the Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year awards in 1978. The clinic will include breakfast, putting exhibition with Lopez, short-game clinic stations focused on putting, chipping, pitching and sand, followed by a boxed lunch.
 
      Golfers will have the chance to round out the day with nine holes on the Ranch Course with Lopez hitting a par three with each group.
 
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Breckenridge solar garden breaks new ground

Posted for Nancy Yearout
RE/MAX Properties of the Summit, Breckenridge, Colorado
nyearout@colorado.net
http://www.realestate-breckenridge.net

#Breckenridge, Colorado

Officials from the town of Breckenridge, the High Country Conservation Center and the Clean Energy Collective gathered at the empty Stilson property in Breckenridge yesterday afternoon. Surrounded by a small crowd, they grabbed shovels and dug into the earth as part of the Breckenridge Ullr Solar Array groundbreaking ceremony.
 
The event kicked off the construction of a 500-kilowatt solar garden designed to allow local businesses, residents and local governments to invest in renewable energy.
 
“It opens up the access for anyone in the community to buy clean power in Summit County without having to put panels on their house,” said HC3’s executive director Jen Schenk.
 
The local nonprofit leader said the project came to fruition because of a high interest from the public, the support of the town of Breckenridge and the expertise of the Clean Energy Collective.
“We really went out and tried to gauge public interest in the project and had tons of citizens who showed up to forums who were interested in learning about the project,” Schenk said. “We’ve also had local businesses and local governments interested in buying panels.”
 
Construction at the site, at 710 Wellington Road, is due to be completed later this summer, and panel owners will see a power credit on their utility bill as soon as the array goes online.
Breckenridge Mayor John Warner said the groundbreaking event marked a milestone more than a decade in the making.
 
“This groundbreaking represents another step to our sustainability goal, which we started in about 2008 that all emanates from our vision plan in 2002,” he said during the ceremony. “Here we are moving forward realizing some of the visions and goals that we put together regarding sustainability.”
The Clean Energy Collective is the private-sector business responsible for building the solar array. The company has 19 community solar gardens, either complete or under construction in Colorado, said Tom Sweeney, CEC chief operating officer. Five percent of the solar capacity being built will be donated to low-income beneficiaries, he said.
 
The Ullr Garden is one of two solar installations planned for Breckenridge. The southernmost garden, being built at 710 Wellington Road, is being named after the Norse god of snow.
Pending final approval by the Breckenridge planning commission, the second solar garden, slated to be built on the McCain property north of Breckenridge, will be named Sol after the Norse goddess of the sun, Warner announced.
 
The Clean Energy Collective is taking deposits for panel purchases on a first-come, first-served basis. Each 235-Watt panel is $870, with a minimum purchase of five panels. Breckenridge residents and businesses will receive a 10 cent per watt rebate. The Clean Energy Collective can be reached at (800) 646-0323.
 
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Breckenridge to tackle parking, transit

Posted for Nancy Yearout
RE/MAX Properties of the Summit, Breckenridge, colorado
nyearout@colorado.net
http://www.realestate-breckenridge.net

#Breckenridge, Colorado

Members of the Breckenridge Town Council began discussing this month an overhaul of town’s existing parking and transit protocols to create a high-level “people-moving” system that would keep cars outside the downtown area and visitors circulating inside.
 
The conversation marries, for the first time, possible solutions to two of the town’s biggest issues.
“There’s sort of a dynamic where transit is joined at the hip with parking,” Councilman Ben Brewer said at the town council’s retreat May 7. “The more convenient our transit system is, the more usable it is and the nicer it is, the less parking is a problem. If we build it for cars, we’ll get cars.”
 
Town leaders discussed creating a model that would encourage pedestrian activity within the core of Breckenridge and attempt to keep vehicles largely on the outskirts by making in-town parking more expensive and installing a circulation system that is simpler and more enticing to use. Reducing the use of cars within town has long been a priority for a number of Breckenridge leaders.
 
“We want to embrace a process that creates an excellent system that enhances our guests’ experience and our walk-ability,” Mayor John Warner said.
 
It’s a project town officials said they were ready to take on with or without the partnership of Breckenridge Ski Resort (BSR).
 
The promise of action to improve the town’s transit system was included in the election platforms of several sitting council members, but the initiative stalled out in the last year after the town spent several months trying to collaborate with the resort.
 
Two significant BSR-owned parking reservoirs in Breckenridge, the north and south gondola lots, are slated for development in the next few years. The resort’s current plans have those spaces being replaced with large parking structures, which are unpopular with some council members.
Officials are looking for replacement parking for a few town-owned lots, which are also planned for development or other uses.
 
“We have sufficient parking,” Councilman Mike Dudick said at the retreat. “The question is, is there a better plan for where we should put the parking spaces in the future?”
 
Members of the council discussed answering that question with a new approach, which they compared by turns to models seen in Disney World, London or Vail, with large parking reserves set away from the action and made accessible with transit service. Some floated the idea of using a tax on the sale of lift tickets to help fund such a system.
 
“I think we need to embrace a whole master plan of people moving and transportation and guest arrival experience that we believe services this community and then go approach the ski area,” Councilwoman Wendy Wolfe said.
 
The council placed the issue on among their top 10 priorities for the year and have said they plan to have a larger discussion on the topic in the future.
 
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Continuum of care a must in Summit County

Posted for Nancy Yearout
RE/MAX Properties of the Summit, Breckenridge, Colorado
nyearout@colorado.net
http://www.realestate-breckenridge.net

#Breckenridge, Colorado

The senior population from 2010-2020 in Summit County will increase dramatically.

Where will all these seniors live?

We are fortunate to have an outstanding and active Summit County Community and Senior Center. The senior center offers Monday night dinners, Tuesday, Thursday lunches, Meals on Wheels, bridge, book club, yoga, Mah Jongg, various games once a week, hiking at different levels, biking, day trips, line dancing, plus GALS (Golden Adventurous Ladies of the Summit), which meets at private homes or happy hour establishments. These are all wonderful social activities, but what happens when one is ready to sell their home and downsize or in need of an assisted-living facility?
Summit County is one of the few counties in Colorado that does not have senior housing. A number of housing studies support the fact that there is a tremendous need for senior housing in Summit County.
 
The studies include the following:
 
2001 Assisted Living Feasibility Study completed by the Summit Housing Authority
2005 Summit County Senior Citizens Needs Assessment
2009 Summit County Senior Housing Option Study
 
The 2005 study was paid for by the Summit County Seniors and the 2009 study was covered by a group of organizations in the county including: Summit County Seniors, The Summit Foundation, Summit County Realtors, Saint Anthony’s Hospital, NWCCOG, Summit County, plus the towns of Silverthorne, Frisco and Dillon.
 
All of these studies showed a tremendous need for senior housing. The Board of County Commissioners is in agreement that a Continuum of Care Campus is the ideal solution. The Continuum of Care Campus would include independent living, assisted living and memory care, with a skilled nursing facility as the final portion of the campus. The Senior Housing Task Force has also met with the Faith Community of Summit County, representatives of St. Anthony’s Hospital and town representatives, making them aware of this project. This effort is well supported by the residents of Summit County.
 
The Summit County Senior Survey of 2009 currently found that the vast majority, 70 percent of seniors ages 65-74 and 87 percent of seniors 75 or over already living in Summit County plan to stay in Summit County for their retirement years. This finding points to a critical need for senior housing and services when combined with dramatic increases in Summit County’s 60 plus population shown above in the “Summit County Population Growth.”
 
The Senior Center Board endorsed unanimously the vision and mission statements of the Senior Housing Task Force as outlined below at their last meeting:
Vision: A residential community for seniors and disabled adults that provide a continuum of care, including health and support services, which promotes the ability to remain in Summit County for a lifetime.
 
Mission: To plan and participate in the development of independent living units, followed by assisted living units and secure memory care units in Summit County in the very near future.
When seniors leave Summit County they take their assets with them. Seniors are important to our local economy. As seniors age, they find that they cannot do everything they did when they were younger. Seniors employ local contractors to help make their lives easier. The local doctor, dentist, painter, hairdresser, landscape designer, carpenter, painter, snowplower, window cleaner, dog walker, nursing assistant, etc., are needed to assist seniors as they age. Approximately $28 million per year in Summit County could be lost in potential income of residents who leave. Many of these residents would rather stay if expanded senior living opportunities were developed, according to a report written by a master student of economics at Colorado State University.
 
A number of friends that I knew when I first arrived in Summit County in 2005 have moved to Denver or other places because they had no choice. We want our seniors to have choices. We do not want seniors to think that Summit County has no need for them. Seniors add tremendously to the vitality of a community. They volunteer their time in schools, Meals on Wheels programs, church work, local events and just giving us knowledge from their past.
 
The Board of County Commissioners is definitely onboard with this project, and I hope the community is also in agreement. The Senior Task Force is ready to go forward with the Affordable Housing Application once land is available. Let’s make this happen as soon as possible!
 
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News

Sunday, May 26, 2013

High-speed rail poses high costs on Interstate 70

Posted for Nancy Yearout
RE/MAX Properties of the Summit, Breckenridge, Colorado
nyearout@colorado.net
http://www.realestate-breckenridge.net

#Breckenridge, Colorado

It’s a vision for the future of transit that would make the Jetsons proud: a high-speed, clean-powered train capable of making the sometimes-treacherous trek up the 120-mile Interstate 70 corridor from Jefferson County to the Eagle County Regional Airport in under an hour.
 
But the state transportation department’s private partners in the industry — experts in the train-building business — say such a machine is possible.
 
The question is whether Colorado can afford it.
 
“Financial feasibility is the last piece in determining the overall feasibility of an (advanced guideway system) along the I-70 mountain corridor,” Colorado Department of Transportation Division of Transit and Rail director Mark Imhoff stated in a recent release. “Like partnering with private-sector technology providers helped us determine technical feasibility of an AGS, we look forward to private sector concessionaires and financial providers helping us determine whether or not Colorado can afford such a system.”
 
The proposal is an expensive one. Transportation officials expect the total cost of the system could approach $20 billion. CDOT’s annual budget for road maintenance, upkeep and expansion for the entire state is only $1 billion.
 
The best estimates indicate ticket sales for an AGS would only cover operational expenses, leaving taxpayers to cover construction costs.
 
“None of us have extra money right now,” CDOT rail manager David Krutsinger told the Summit Daily in a recent interview. “If we’re going to use taxpayer dollars, we have to be very sure that what we’re buying on behalf of the public is a good use of money.”
 
CDOT issued a request for financial information to private companies this month, asking them to provide feedback on funding and financing options, such as project-generated revenues, public-funding financing capacity, structure and cost. Transportation officials want the system completed by 2025, and the input from the private sector will help determine whether that goal is financially possible.
 
The agency asked interested companies last year whether a train with the components necessary to be useful on the steep and sometimes slippery I-70 mountain corridor was physically possible. The answer was a resounding yes.
 
Industry experts came back with designs for elevated guideway systems, powered by magnets, electricity and air, that can travel hundreds of miles per hour, ferry cars or transport passengers in individual cars summoned with a smartphone. Companies pitched trains powered by solar energy and hydrogen, controlled by computers and capable of cruising from the Front Range to Keystone in 45 minutes.
 
“I flew in from Pittsburg,” Colorado Maglev Group project manager David O’Loughlin said at an AGS expo in December. “The idea would be, I have my skis with me on the plane. They just put them on the MagLev vehicle and I can be in Vail in an hour. That’s possible with this technology.”
But all of the proposed systems came with price tags of millions of dollars per mile.
 
In the end, there were three categories of feasible rail models identified for the corridor: systems that exclusively follow the existing alignment of I-70, those that run a different course than the highway and those that could do both.
 
The potential routes for the rail system, along with performance characteristics of different technological proposals, are being analyzed to develop ridership and cost projections for a proposed system, while CDOT officials say they are collaborating with mountain communities to determine the locations of future train stations, each of which would have a large footprint.
 
Responses to the request for financial information are due by June 28. The determination of the overall feasibility of the proposed system is expected in the fall.
 
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Marinas open for Memorial weekend

Posted for Nancy Yearout
RE/MAX Properties of the Summit, Breckenridge, Colorado
nyearout@colorado.net
http://www.realestate-breckenridge.net

#Breckenridge, Colorado

The snow has melted, the temperature is rising and a favorite pastime is returning to Summit County.
 
The Frisco Bay and Dillon marinas are open this weekend, and the staff is ready to get outdoors lovers out onto the water.
 
Frisco Bay Marina is renting out the usual fleet, which includes canoes, kayaks, paddleboats and powerboats. This year they are also adding stand-up paddleboard rentals, which will be available on June 15.
 
Dillon Marina is renting boats this weekend as well. It opens today at 10 a.m. with a fleet that includes three 22-foot sailboats, an 18-foot runabout and 22-foot pontoon boats.
 
Dillon Marina sailing instructor Bobe Cope said he’s happy to start sharing his passion with marina visitors again this season.
 
“I just love being out on the water,” he said.
 
After this weekend, Dillon Marina will shut down temporarily to finish construction projects, including an expanded parking lot and new boat ramps.
 
Cope said the result will be a user-friendly marina experience.
 
“It’s really going to enhance what we do down here as a boating community,” he said.
 
Frisco Marina’s office manager, Jenn Shimp, said she’s looking forward to seeing bikes meandering along the recpath, watching families stroll to the water’s edge and kids building sand castles on the beach this summer.
 
One of Shimp’s favorite things to do at the marina is kayak first thing in the morning.
 
“It’s flat and calm. You can watch the sunrise and creep along watching the ospreys or the heron’s nest on Fish Hook Island,” she said. “Osprey will come and pull fish out of the water right in front of you.”
 
The marina offers a nice mix of urban and outdoor fun, she said.
 
“We are in town, but at the same time you are just steps away from feeling a little more remote.”
 
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News

Friday, May 24, 2013

Frisco selling Whole Foods site to developer for below market value

Posted for Nancy Yearout
RE/MAX Properties of the Summit, Breckenridge, Colorado
nyearout@colorado.net
http://www.realestate-breckenridge.net

#Breckenridge, Colorado

The Frisco Town Council is on track to sell the Whole Foods project site to a developer for roughly $2 million less than market value.
 
At an emergency meeting Wednesday, the council approved the first reading of an ordinance to sell what’s known as the “Interstate Parcel,” located between Interstate 70 and Lusher Court, to developer David O’Neil and his firm, Brynn Grey X LLC for $4.5 million. The property was appraised at $6.75 million in April 2011.
 
In spite of the discrepancy in market value, Frisco town manager Bill Efting said the sale was “fairly comparable” financially to the 2012 lease agreement the land deal would terminate. Frisco officials said the terms of the development project itself would remain unchanged.
 
“I think the developer is getting a fair deal, and I think the town of Frisco is getting a fair deal,” Efting said.
The original lease agreement provided an option for developers to buy the property within the first 10 years of the lease.
 
Efting said O’Neil approached the city about seven weeks ago with the desire to buy the land. Since that time, Efting said Frisco employees, council members and attorneys have been negotiating the sales terms behind closed doors during the council’s executive sessions.
 
Community members who attended Wednesday’s special council meeting expressed concern the property sale didn’t seem to be thought out.
 
“I don’t know why the rush. Why are they so desperate to make this happen so quickly?” said Larry Feldman, a Frisco resident who has been involved in several development projects in Summit County, including the Dillon Ridge Marketplace. “Even though Whole Foods may be a good use for the property, I think the deal the town is making is wrong.”
 
Frisco resident Paul Connelly called the sales process “scandalous,” stating that the council kept the sale “under wraps,” talking only in executive session and issuing the bare minimum in public notices and comments.
 
Developer David O’Neil disagrees, saying the council has been thoughtful and transparent in its decision making throughout the development planning process.
 
“This council has put in a huge amount of time and has been extraordinarily deliberate,” he said. “The town is getting excellent return on that asset.”
 
City officials said there were factors to consider beyond the appraised value of the property, including the value of community buy-in for the project. The land has sat dormant because community members couldn’t agree on a use for the property, community development director Jocelyn Mills said.
 
“We saw something we’ve never seen before relative to this property with people being supportive,” Mills said. “It was a complete turnaround.”
 
Town representatives expect to get about $1 million in sales tax revenue every year from the development of the Whole Foods supermarket and accompanying enterprises. The school district, county, Colorado Mountain College and Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue all will benefit from taxes accrued through the project, officials said.
 
Efting said the council’s approval process has been sped up slightly to stay on track with the timing of the development. Town representatives said they didn’t want to lose momentum on the project.
 
“Every year that you lose, or wait for a new project to come along, you have lost a million dollars in revenue,” he said. “If you delay the project two to five years, that’s potentially $5 million that you have left on the table.”
 
Frisco Mayor Gary Wilkinson said he felt confident with the terms and process of the property sale.
 
“I feel comfortable and I want to ensure that everyone else on council understands it as well,” he said.
Council members will have a chance to discuss the sale before their final decision during their meeting Tuesday.
 
“It will definitely be on the agenda, and I hope to facilitate that so everyone understands what we are doing and there is no confusion or questions,” the mayor said.
 
The council meeting is open to the public and will be in the Frisco Town Hall building, 1 Main St., at 7 p.m. The agenda can be found online at www.friscogov.com.
 
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Summit County Fishing Report: Dillon Reservoir opening up

Posted for Nancy Yearout
RE/MAX Properties of the Summit, Breckenridge, Colorado
nyearout@colorado.net
http://www.realestate-breckenridge.net

#Breckenridge, Colorado

It’s been a while in the coming, but Dillon Reservoir is opening up. While not fully open, a few brave souls have been packing hand-launch craft to the water. For their efforts they’ve been rewarded with a fair number of smaller rainbows in the 10-12 inch class. Ten Mile Creek inlet, and likely the others, is a good place for shore anglers. Reports indicate most worms, power bait, streamers and spoons are producing.
 
Below the reservoir the Blue River is still running low and clear for those waiting out the high, roily water of most rivers. Midges and mysis shrimp patterns are the mainstay for most, but don’t hesitate to run a small streamer through the deeper runs, especially during low-light conditions and low angler pressure.
 
South Park reservoirs are drawing a number of anglers and even producing a few fish. Antero and Spinney are both seeing fair numbers of cruising trout near shore. Midge and chironomid patterns below a strike indicator are producing a few fish. Streamers also will work for those liking a more active approach. Eleven Mile and Tarryall reservoirs are worth visiting, Eleven Mile for bigger fish, Tarryall for fast action. The road to Jefferson is not yet open.
 
A few quick notes.
 
Williams Fork Reservoir is closed to trailered boats and no motors are allowed at this time.
 
Wolford Mountain Reservoir is low, but filling. Consequently, water clarity is bad, although bait is working somewhat.
 
Granby Reservoir has decent clarity, and remains cold. It’s under 45 degrees and a great opportunity for shallow lake trout. Only the Sunset ramp is open. Also, hazard buoys are not out and a fair amount of debris is floating on the surface, so caution is needed when boating. Both Grand Lake and Shadow Mountain Reservoir are open and fishing fair.
 
David Coulson is the state editor for FishExplorer.com He can be reached at dave@fishexplorer.com
 
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Summit County turns out pockets for Highway 9 project

Posted for Nancy Yearout
RE/MAX Properties of the Summit, Breckenridge, Colorado
nyearout@colorado.net
http://www.realestate-breckenridge.net

#Breckenridge, Colorado

Local groups and governments are emptying their piggy banks trying to find any available money to contribute to a 10-mile safety-improvement project on Highway 9 in Grand County.
Their cash is crucial to getting the plan approved.
 
High Country stakeholders have to put up 20 percent of the project’s $46 million bill to qualify for Colorado Department of Transportation funding. The owner of the Blue Valley Ranch near Kremmling, billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Jones, contributed $4 million to the match last month, leaving a local citizens’ group with $4 million left to raise from the public and local stakeholders before CDOT’s deadline for project applications next month.
 
“His incentive for doing that was to make that project a possibility,” said Blue Valley Ranch manager Perry Handyside, a member of the Citizens for a Safe Hwy. 9 Committee. “So stakeholders would have the incentive to finish out the rest of the match.”
 
The project aims to resolve an ongoing problem with wildlife-related accidents on the rural highway north of Silverthorne with roadside fencing and a series of under and overpasses that will allow animals to safely cross the highway and access a critical water source. The proposal also calls for the road to be expanded with wider shoulders and room for bicycle lanes.
 
The improvements, the result of a collaboration between CDOT and the Division of Parks and Wildlife, are designed to increase safety on one of the more dangerous stretches of road in the region. In the last 20 years, 16 humans and hundreds of animals have been killed in collisions on the segment Hwy. 9 through Grand County.
 
Friends of the Lower Blue River, a local citizens group, has agreed to pledge $1,000, 20 percent of its total donation reserve for the entire year, to the fundraising effort. “We feel really strongly that this is an important project,” executive director Marty Richardson said.
 
Despite budget constraints, the Summit County Commissioners say they plan to scrounge for some cash to chip in as well. The money will likely come out of savings from cutbacks across county departments or a surplus generated by increased sales tax revenue in the first three months of the year, officials said.
“We’re going to look at our budget and see where we can find some money to contribute,” Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier said. “It’s an essential project, not only for the wildlife overpasses that are really fantastic, and the bicycling, which is a big economic benefit, but also because of the critical safety issues. We’ve had way too many fatalities to be acceptable.”
 
If the Hwy. 9 citizens’ committee can come up with the $9 million match, the project will be considered for funding through CDOT’s Responsible Acceleration of Maintenance and Partnerships (RAMP) program, created to expedite key highway proposals across the state using a onetime $1.5 billion reserve. Committee leaders see the program as potentially their only shot at getting the Hwy. 9 project funded.
 
Handyside speculates that failure to come up with the 20 percent match, even in rural counties where money is tight, will send a message to transportation officials that the project is not a top priority for local stakeholders and state funding that does become available for new road projects in the future will be directed to roadwork in more populated areas.
 
“It’s almost now or never, essentially,” he told the Summit Board of County Commissioners in an open meeting Tuesday. “(It) means to me a new priority system. So where’s the money going to go? It’s going to go to the urban metro corridors where they have cars and people and investors and tax dollars that we don’t have. This is our one chance to get this done.”
 
The citizens’ committee plans to make pitches for donations to both Silverthorne and Breckenridge this week. But local governments have their own RAMP projects they’re hoping to push through; those will be competing directly with the Grand County Hwy. 9 proposal for the $1.5 billion in available funding.
 
Summit County officials say they plan to use in-kind donations, such as right-of-ways and maintenance services, to come up with the 20 percent match for local RAMP applications.
The state transportation commission will allocate the RAMP funding in September.
 
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Bye, bye Bergie

Posted for Nancy Yearout
RE/MAX Properties of the Summit, Breckenridge, Colorado
nyearout@colorado.net
http://www.realestate-breckenridge.net

#Breckenridge, Colorado

In 1961, the now-thriving four-mountain Breckenridge Ski Resort was just a smattering of cut runs, a few chairlifts and three modest buildings.
 
The Bergenhof was one of them.
 
For nearly 50 years, the restaurant affectionately known to locals as the Bergie was the centerpiece of the Peak 8 base area, a place where skiers and resort employees gathered for drinks, parties and a weekly viewing of Breckenridge legend Trygve Berge’s jumps and backflips on the Ego Lane run.
“I don’t remember that I ever had any money to buy anything, but I do remember hanging out in the bar,” said longtime Breckenridge local Maureen Nicholls, who worked for ski patrol in the resort’s early days. “It was great fun.”
 
Now the Breckenridge institution is in its final days. Locally owned lodging company Breckenridge Grand Vacations (BGV) closed on the purchase of the Bergie site Monday with plans to put a new time-share development on the site. Owners said the old building is slated for demolition in the near future.
The building of Breckenridge
 
The Bergenhof’s long and storied history is almost inextricable from that of the ski area itself.
Locals remember the dawn of the now-booming industry in Breckenridge as an answer, not to a landscape ideal for skiing, but to a wave of new construction.
 
“Their whole point was not a ski area, the point was selling land for development,” Nicholls said. “The ski area was an off shoot of that sort of promoted by the Norwegians.”
 
The Bergenhof was constructed at the same time as the fledgling resort. Locals remember it being built in just six months, despite a heavy early season storm that dumped roughly 17 inches of snow in September of that year.
 
The restaurant opened the day before the ski area, with a big party to mark the start of the 1961 season, locals say. It was one of three buildings that made up the Peak 8 base area. The second structure housed the ski school, a small ticket sales office and other resort functions, while the third was set up at the base of the chairlift.
 
When it opened, the Bergenhof was the only restaurant on the mountain and was equipped with bathrooms, something former patrons say was a big deal at the time. Its grand stone fire place, bar and wrap-around deck made it an instant success and gathering place for skiers at the end of the day.
“It was a lot of fun in those days,” former Bergie manager Michael Colpitts, who ran the restaurant from 1974 until 1990, told the Summit Daily in an email. “People drank a lot and skied a lot. There were town races. People competed hard in the races, but they drank harder. And they drank in the Bergie bar.”
 
He remembered pouring plenty of Coors, for $1 a beer, and peppermint schnapps, also $1 each, and seeing some locals every afternoon, even when they weren’t skiing. The restaurant served “Bergie balls,” which were burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches or whatever other food didn’t sell during the day, deep fried and served as fritters. Happy hour brought a free taco and appetizer bar, sustenance that the “ski bums” told Colpitts got them through the winter.  “It was the happening place,” he said.
 
The resort soon began adding on to the building to help accommodate growing crowds, expanding both the deck and the building over the years. Colpitts remembers trying to limit unauthorized parking around the popular restaurant with very little success.
 
“I soon learned that I should not try to enforce parking rules,” he said. “When I was informed that my car would end up in a mine shaft if I towed them, I came to my senses.”
 
But as the building aged, maintenance became a growing problem. Colpitts remembered walking into the bar one day in the summer of 1975 and smelling gas. Ice had fallen from the roof of the building and split a 2-inch gas line. He hurried home to call the resort handyman who was able to shut off the gas.
 
“We saved the Bergie!” Colpitts said.
 
Breckenridge Ski Resort traded hands several times during the decades that followed, but other than the periodic expansions, “the Bergie continued pretty much the same,” Colpitts said. “The bar was still the apres ski bar of choice.”
By any other name
 
The origin of the Bergenhof’s unusual name is a popular source of speculation among Breckenridge locals. One rumor holds the restaurant was named for the now almost legendary Trygve Berge, who taught ski school at the resort for many years and helped initiate the Norwegian tradition that continues today both on the slopes and across the community.
 
Colpitts said the establishment was dubbed after one-time leader of the German Nazi Party Adolf Hitler’s mountain hideaway.
 
“I did not name it,” he said.
 
But most, including Nicholls and resort representatives, agree the name came from the Norwegian phrase for mountain house and was originally written Bergen Hoff.
 
“When the signs were made, it became one word with only one ‘f,’” Nicholls said. “But the real Norwegian way of doing it would have been two words.”
 
Whatever the origins of the moniker, to locals it became known as the Bergie and it is that title that will live on in the restaurant’s place.
 
Owners of the new development say they plan to name the new restaurant inside the resort after its predecessor. They also hope to incorporate pieces of the original building.
 
“It will be called the Bergie Cafe or Bergie Bistro,” BGV co-owner Mike Dudick said. “Not Bergenhof, but Bergie. We’re going to attempt to salvage the fireplace and to reuse the bar top.”
The ski area is now one of the most visited resorts in the country. Vail Resorts representatives said the decision was made to shut down the Bergie several seasons ago, when they opened the larger Ski Hill Grill and T-Bar nearby.
 
“It closed because we didn’t need two restaurants right here,” Breckenridge Ski Resort spokeswoman Kristen Petitt Stewart said. “It just wasn’t built for the kind of volume we were doing. We just needed a sturdier facility.”
 
Developers don’t have a demolition date set, but say the old building will be torn down soon.
 
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News

Monday, May 20, 2013

Interstate 70’s next big traffic buster

Posted for Nancy Yearout
RE/MAX Properties of the Summit, Breckenridge, Colorado
nyearout@colorado.net
http://www.realestate-breckenridge.net

#Breckenridge, Colorado

With one major highway project already under way on Interstate 70, Colorado Department of Transportation officials are now working on their next move to maximize the capacity of one of the state’s more congested highway corridors.
 
The new peak-period shoulder lane will utilize the asphalt outside the existing highway lanes to create a reversible third lane that can be used to help improve traffic flows in either direction. The lane will be tolled, or managed, and run from Empire Junction all the way through to the Twin Tunnels where it will join up with a new, permanent third lane.
 
The Twin Tunnels project, a $106 million expansion near Idaho Springs, will add a third lane of traffic on the eastbound side of I-70 through an area that creates a bottleneck during heavy travel days, particularly on Sunday afternoons in the winter when many skiers are returning to Denver.
That widening project and the hard-shoulder lane are intended to work together to improve the congestion on Interstate 70.
 
“From an engineering conceptual (standpoint) there’s benefit to doing it,” CDOT Region 1 engineer Tony DeVito said. “We’re getting about 10 minutes of operational benefit with the Twin Tunnels and we get about 30 minutes of operational benefits with the combined 13-mile (shoulder) lane.”
 
The hard-shoulder lane is a interim solution. A recent study on the Interstate 70 corridor calls for more sweeping permanent solutions, including widening the highway permanently through the mountain corridor and offsetting vehicle congestion with an advanced guideway system, or high-speed rail, that will run adjacent to the highway. But those more expensive proposals are only in the early phases of a long-term planning process.
 
In the meantime, the hard-shoulder lane — if the project gets a nod from local stakeholders and funding becomes available — is tentatively slated for construction in the summer of 2014. It’s still unclear when it would be completed.
 
The lane, although reversible and temporary, is different from the proposed “zipper lane” project that was scrapped last year. That proposal would have required taking a westbound lane and converting it to an eastbound lane, or vice versa, when heavy traffic demanded increased capacity on one side of the highway.
 
“The Twin Tunnels failed the zipper lane,” DeVito said. “Trying to squeeze a reversible lane through the obsolete Twin Tunnels wasn’t going to work, and that’s really what gave birth to the Twin Tunnels visioning, which is really now under way.”
 
CDOT engineers also realized it wasn’t practical to subtract a westbound lane to support eastbound traffic, as it would cause delays and problems on the other side of the highway.
 
The hard-shoulder lane is expected to cost approximately $30 million and has been proven to work effectively in other states, including Minnesota. Local officials say they’re supportive of the plan.
“I think it’s a really important option,” Summit County Commissioner Dan Gibbs said. “When you look at improvements along the I-70 corridor, I think that would be money well spent. They’re looking at a very aggressive time frame ... and so I’m excited. The trends and the congestion reflect that freeing up an additional lane for use eastbound and use that for a managed lane, I think is a real positive and it could add to safety on the corridor as well.”
 
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Royal Gorge: not for the faint of heart

Posted for Nancy Yearout
RE/MAX Properties of the Summit, Breckenridge, Colorado
nyearout@colorado.net
http://www.realestate-breckenridge.net

#Breckenridge, Colorado

There’s something special about rafting or paddling a new section of river. You can read about it beforehand and imagine how it will run. You can hear stories from other people, but nothing beats that moment when you’re approaching the rapids. First you hear them. The echoing sound of rushing water magnified to a roar by the canyon walls ahead. Then you see the river drop off downstream, like a horizon.
 
For a raft guide or a kayaker it’s a moment of shear focus and concentration, a moment to take a breath and find your mental zone, then scan for a line to run. To the seasoned rafter it’s pure adrenaline.
 
But for those new to rafting it is likely an unsettling feeling, nervous excitement, not knowing quite what to expect. That’s the look I saw on Breanna’s face. The young high school grad from Colorado Springs was smiling as we set off from the put-in above the Royal Gorge. But it was a nervous smile. The kind that looks as though she was probably clenching her teeth behind it. I saw that same look on my Dad’s face the first time I took him skydiving.
 
The lead up to the Royal Gorge is a gentle float, as the gorge walls rise and narrow beside you. There is time to wonder about the rapids ahead. Our guide, Graeme, from Royal Gorge Rafting, shared a little of the gorge’s history as we passed an old rundown house and the remains of a large pipeline. The old pipeline, made of redwood, was used to run water out of the gorge to Canyon City, and the house precariously close to the rapids belonged to the pipeline’s caretaker.
 
As we passed through the first light rapids at the mouth of the gorge, that forced smile remained on Breanna’s face. She was on the trip with her friend Tre from school, and her aunt Tammy and uncle Ron, who were visiting from Ohio. It was Tre’s first time, too. He was quiet, but he didn’t seem to have the same nervous smile. Tammy and Ron had been rafting before a few times, once on the New River in West Virginia. It was clear they had an idea what to expect and were excited to run a new river.
 
The sound of rushing water increased as we approached the bigger features of the gorge. As we progressed,the walls rose more than 1,000 feet on either side of us, with no way out but downriver.
I could see the river drop off ahead. The excitement and anticipation rose.
 
“I don’t want to swim,” said Tammy looking ahead.
 
Graeme prepared us for Sunshine Rapid, a Class IV at that water level. The line involves weaving through a boulder garden, with current raging around big rocks as the river angle drops sharply. The plan was to paddle toward the river’s right side. He called out a paddle stroke, then repeated the call as we floated sideways toward a rock.
 
Seeing that we hadn’t paddled hard enough, Graeme quickly shouted an order to lean in. Eyeing the rock I braced myself. Tammy, seated in front of me, didn’t react fast enough. Before I could reach for her she popped out of the boat as we made contact with the rock.
 
She surfaced in a slightly calmer spot below and before a bigger section of rapids. We came around the rock toward her. Well out of arm’s reach, she put herself in the downriver safety position, floating feet first. Graeme yelled for her to swim toward the boat. Tammy didn’t immediately respond, then paddled without enough urgency, as if swimming in a pool.
 
“Harder” Graeme shouted. She made little progress. The current got stronger, Tammy couldn’t fight it and started to drift toward a narrow gap between two rocks. Springing into action, Graeme called for the rest of us to start paddling, The gap was wide enough for a person, but not a raft. Tamme squeezed through and bobbed under water. As we paddled hard around the rocks, she popped up close to the boat, almost behind it. I turned the handle of my paddle toward her, but she was still out of reach.
 
Graeme made quick adjustments, as we reached the heart of the Class IV. At one point he tried to get the boat to surf a wave in hopes of getting Tammy close enough. The maneuver failed.
Tammy went under again. This time she drifted under the boat.
The most important thing to do when out of a boat in rapids is to stay calm, take a second and collect yourself. Those are instructions any raft guide will give prior to a trip. Remembering instructions from earlier, she pushed off of the boat and popped up again. By now her husband, Ron, was contemplating jumping in after her, a move that is not recommended in the middle of a rapids. It makes for one less paddler and one more to rescue.
Graeme made another manuever. Finally, through the burliest part of that rapid we were close enough for Tre to grab Tammy and try to pull her in. I reached forward to help him get her the rest of the way.
Breathing heavily and somewhat shaken, Tammy sat in the raft as we pulled into an eddy. Quiet at first, Tammy motioned that she was OK but needed a minute. One of the saftey Kayaks caught up to us to check on her. With more than half the trip still remaining, we paused as the other raft in our group caught up. “That was some swim,” someone remarked.
 
With more Class III’s and another Class IV still ahead, Tammy collected herself. It didn’t take long before she was laughing and making jokes again. We pushed on downriver. “You’re the first swimmer I’ve had all season,” Graeme later remarked.
 
The rest of the trip was an adrenaline-filled ride through the canyon without incident. Tammy learned her lesson, albeit the hard way: When the guide says lean in, lean in. The scenery around us was surreal. We passed under the Royal Gorge Bridge, suspended almost 1,000 feet above us, and eventually on to calmer waters as the canyon widened.
 
Back at the White Water Bar and Grill Tammy recalled her harrowing swim. “The disorientation was the worst part,” she said of being tossed around by the rapids. She commended the guides’ response. “They knew what they were doing that’s for sure.”
 
The average guide on the Arkansas goes through a rigorous training in safety and how to run the river. New guides often spend more than a month training and running the river before they are checked off to guide customers.
 
“It was a wild ride,” said Tammy of her Royal Gorge adventure. “I’d do it again.” Without the swimming, she clarified.
 
“It was bigger than anything I’ve ever done,” said her husband, Ron. His wife’s swim not withstanding, “This is the funnest rafting I’ve ever done,” he said.
 
Breanna agrees, though her face might not have shown it. She, too, enjoyed the trip, and said she hopes to do it again.
 
Before leaving, Tammy pulled Graeme aside in the bar and complemented him on his guiding. “You made the ride,” she said with a smile and a thank you.
 
Rafting the Royal Gorge is a truly stunning experience. It is a rush, start to finish. But it may not be ideal for a first-time rafter. Anyone nervous about whitewater may want to opt for the less intimidating Sheep’s Canyon tour nearby, or Brown’s Canyon, near Salida. Those routes offer a tamer stretch of river that is also scenic, with enough splash to be an exciting ride.
 
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Clean-up begins on Summit County’s most toxic mine

Posted for Nancy Yearout
RE/MAX Properties of the Summit, Breckenridge, Colorado
nyearout@colorado.net
http://www.realestate-breckenridge.net

#Breckenridge, Colorado

Cleanup work at one of Summit County’s most polluted landscapes will begin this month — more than a century after toxic metals were released from the Pennsylvania Mine site.
 
The mine operated from the late 1880s into the early 1930s. It produced more than $3 million in silver, lead and zinc. But the mine exposed a source of toxic heavy metals that drain into Peru Creek, choking fish from the stream and sending pollutants into the Snake River.
 
Today, Peru Creek is devoid of aquatic life. The Snake River, which the creek drains into, supports a limited number of species only in its lower reaches.
 
Individuals and groups have recognized the mine as a tainted site and have been trying to address the problem since the late 1980s. But until now, little has been done to terminate the source of the pollution.
 
“There have been several smaller mine cleanups in that basin with state and grant funding. But everyone has recognized that the major issue remains the Pennsylvania Mine,” said Brian Lorch, a county official overseeing open space and trails.
 
Part of the reason it’s taken so long to tackle the site is that no one has been able to take on the environmental liabilities that go along with the cleanup, Lorch said. Now, the EPA is taking the lead on the project, and several other regulatory agencies are on board.
 
Cleanup work at the mine portal is set to begin this month. The plan will be phased over several years and will address threats from the acidic discharge draining from the mine, as well as tailings and other waste found on the surface.
 
“This project is a big step forward to clean up a long-standing threat to the Snake River Watershed,” Paul Peronard stated in a press release.
 
Peronard is the EPA coordinator who will oversee the cleanup work. “From mid-May to August, heavy equipment will be operating at the mine portal,” he said. “We are asking the public to avoid using the immediate area due to safety concerns.”
 
During construction Peru Creek Road will remain open, but there may be some brief periods of road closures. Increased truck traffic is expected during the summer. Four-wheel-drive access to Cinnamon Creek will be open, but access to the mine will be closed. The Dillon Ranger District will have specific information on scheduled road closures.
 
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News

Friday, May 17, 2013

A new age of deicers on Summit County roads

Posted for Nancy Yearout
RE/MAX Properties of the Summit, Breckenridge, Colorado
nyearout@colorado.net
http://realestate.net

#Breckenridge, Colorado

Drivers may see less sand on the roads next winter, as the Colorado Department of Transportation shifts to a more effective and efficient alternative to magnesium chloride and granular products.
Apex, a new liquid deicer product, can manage slick winter roads at lower temperatures and in smaller quantities than other techniques, transportation officials say.
 
The switch comes after CDOT transferred Summit County into a new internal planning region, where maintenance officials plan to employ the use of Apex more frequently on local roads.
“Because lower temperatures are so prevalent in Summit County, it’s going to be (the better choice),” CDOT spokesman Bob Wilson said.
 
Magnesium chloride has historically been unpopular in Summit.
Several years ago, local residents began noticing dying trees along local streets and, aided by information from several studies, blamed the phenomenon on the use of mag chloride. At one point county officials asked the state transportation department to back off the use of the chemical.
A taskforce was also formed to investigate the issue and a lodgepole pine-beetle epidemic followed. Ultimately, the committee determined that magnesium chloride was no more harmful to the environment than its alternative, traction sand. Officials now say the science available in the past was incomplete and more recent research has shown that chemical deicers aren’t as harmful as once thought.
 
“In the end, the conclusions were that all this stuff is bad,” County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier said. “Whether sand or magnesium chloride, it just needs to be used judiciously. We don’t like any of that stuff, but we also don’t like accidents.”
 
Technology has changed as well, introducing products, like Apex, that have again changed the conversation about how to best manage slick roads in the High Country. For local officials, Summit County’s transfer into a new planning region presented an opportunity to readdress the issue of winter highway maintenance.
 
“Not only has the science changed about what’s good and what’s bad, but also the product has changed significantly,” assistant county manager Thad Noll said. “They can use just a fraction of what they used to use, it’s a lot better for the environment than sand and magnesium chloride and you don’t have the monstrous clean up that you have with sand.”
 
Liquid deicers and sand are damaging to vehicles. The deicer is corrosive to paint on cars and trucks, while granular products get kicked up by traffic and can cause windshield cracks and body damage.
Local officials have expressed frustration with the use of sand, saying it frequently accumulates along highways and gets washed into waterways.
 
“Our traction sand collection is out of control,” Noll said.
 
Summit County and its state highways were transferred earlier this year to the jurisdiction of CDOT’s Region 3 from Region 1, which included much of the Interstate 70 mountain corridor prior to a restructuring of the regional map. Local officials have expressed concerns about the move, which separates the management of Summit County roads from that of the Eisenhower Tunnel.
 
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Tight funds strain plans for Blue River reclamation in Breckenridge

Posted for Nancy Yearout
RE/MAX Properties of the Summit, Breckenridge, Colorado
nyearout@colorado.net
http://www.realestate-breckenridge.net

#Breckenridge, Colorado

The town of Breckenridge may back out of a possible partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers to reclaim a segment of the Blue River after the corps implemented a new policy that would put a bigger financial burden on the town.
The two entities have been in talks for several years to jointly fund the project — to return a northern section of the river to its pre-dredge mining glory — but when the corps announced the town would be responsible for half of the cost of a feasibility study, local officials indicated they might back away from the partnership.
“We are still trying to figure out what that really does to affect us and what are some of our options,” Breckenridge spokeswoman Kim Dykstra-DiLallo said. “Nothing’s been decided yet.”
The project would focus on one of several portions of the Blue River harmed by dredge mining. In some areas the water disappears, seeping through the damaged river bed. The restoration work has been on the town’s to-do list for decades, officials said, and represents the last and most complicated segment of the Blue River slated for reclamation.
Dykstra-DiLallo said the work is “one of our ways to conserve water as well as just beautify it through the town.”
The Army Corps of Engineers had what was referred to as a “loose” agreement with the town to pay for the majority of the restoration project with federal funds. But in past years, there has never even been enough money available to complete the feasibility study. The new policy, corps officials say, is intended to encourage local partners to get involved early on.
“Very little money has been available,” Army Corps of Engineers project manager James Baker said. “There has been an ongoing effort in Washington, by Congress and by the various administrations to try to get the local potential beneficiaries of these project involved early on a financial basis.”
But with the policy change, Breckenridge officials are talking about striking out on their own with the project instead.
Early estimates put the total cost of the restoration for the last section at approximately $7 million, a big bill for the town to foot alone. On projects like this one the corps would traditionally fund 75 percent of the cost, asking the local actor to contribute the remaining 25 percent. However, even if the town did pitch in for half of the feasibility study, it wouldn’t guarantee federal funding for the project itself.
Members of the Breckenridge Town Council said moving away from the corps could present an opportunity for a new conversation regarding reclamation.
Town officials will address the issue again at their next pre-meeting work session May 28.

Courtesy of the Summit Daily News

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Shaking the rust at a Summit County range

Posted for Nancy Yearout
RE/MAX Properties of the Summit, Breckenridge, Colorado
nyearout@colorado.net
http://www.realestate-breckenridge.net

#Breckenridge, Colorado

While this may not be based on any verifiable, quantitative scientific research, I’m fairly certain golf is the most humbling, expletive-inducing sport in the history of the world.
 
On some level, watching pro golfer Sergio Garcia plunk two balls into the same water hazard in rapid succession this weekend, at the PGA Tour Players Championship, was comforting. Even the pros hit it in the drink once in a while.
 
My trip to the driving range at The Raven Golf Club at Three Peaks, on the other hand, was not so assuring. If the 7-iron is the easiest club to hit, I might be in for a long season. At least I’m on track with my long-standing goal to be good at golf by age 65.
 
This story won’t go into detail about how many wicked slices I shanked to the right, the number of times I topped the ball to hit a worm burner, my fear of hitting a divot further than the ball, or the times I missed all together. I also won’t be sharing the thoughts that went through my mind when the guy next to me told his friend, “Man, I just hit 12 great shots in a row.”
 
Instead, this will be more constructive and cover some pointers from local course pros on how to avoid early season anguish. With that in mind here are a few tips to shake off the off-season rust.
First and perhaps foremost: “Don’t have high expectations,” says Breckenridge head golf pro Erroll Miller.
 
While we’re a society that teaches kids that everyone’s a winner. Let’s be honest, the PGA Tour won’t be calling, at least not most of us.  Both Miller and Mark Nickel, golf director of the Raven, recommend starting the season slow. So don’t take the driver out of the bag right away. Consider sticking to irons for the first time back at the range, specifically, a mid-range club like a 6 or 7-iron.
Nickel also recommends resisting the urge to be John Daily or Tiger Woods and go for big drives. Instead work on short game first and build gradually. So aim at a closer pin on the range. He says this helps golfers loosen up swing motion and find the rhythm of their swing so the swing will be better when reaching for the big boys in the golf bag.
 
Miller also suggests not hitting too many the first time out for the season. Just like skiing, muscles need to adjust to the motion again after a long off-season.
 
Working on your core muscles through activities like yoga, bicycling, or training with a weight ball leading up to or early in golf season is also important, say Nickel. Core muscles are essential to a full and balanced swing.
 
One of the biggest things he sees on the range, especially early in the season, is, “people over arm swinging.” That means they’re concentrating on using their arms to try to muscle through a swing. This often results in swinging harder through the swing rather than having a smooth consistent follow through. He urges remembering that a golf swing is a full-body motion. Golfers may have a tendency to forget about their legs and hips. Nickel compares it to a coil. Motion starts in the legs and hips and progresses up through the shoulders to the arms. It’s “what a lot of people don’t think about,” says Nickel. Legs and hips stay ahead of shoulders through the swing.
 
Now if you, like me, find yourself topping two or three balls in a row, pay attention to your stance. Coaches often say keep your head down on the ball. Nickel corrects that idea. It’s not just the head, but rather a tendency to raise up one’s whole body through the swing. It’s important to keep your stance consistent through your swing. Keep “head up, spine in line,” says Nickel.
 
If hitting a divot further than the ball is a major concern, he encourages practicing, “clipping the grass” with a swing.   Finally, Nickel reminds golfers not to over think. Focus on one aspect of the swing at a time.
 
Course pro Errol Miller also emphasizes three things that can throw off a swing the quickest. Balance, alignment to the ball and grip.  Hopefully these pointers will have some a little more prepared to hit the range than I was Monday. Remember golf is a game, it’s supposed to be fun.

Update Course Opening Schedule
 
Keystone River Course will open the front nine this Friday. Course pro Phillip Tobias expects the full 18 to be open as early as mid week next week, and likely by Friday, May 24 at the latest. “We want to open with a solid product for our customers,” says Tobias. The Keystone Ranch course should open all 18 on the 31st of the month.
 
The Breckenridge Golf Club plans to open it’s driving range this Friday, according to head golf pro Erroll Miller. He is hopeful all 27 holes will be open the following Friday, May 24. Miller anticipates that they will be able to open at least 18 holes on that Friday.
 
The Raven Golf Club at Three Peaks currently has the practice area and the front nine open. They hope to have the back nine open on Thursday, or Friday at the latest.
 
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Summit County recpath opens ahead of schedule

Posted for Nancy Yearout
RE/MAX Properties of the Summit, Breckenridge, Colorado
nyearout@colorado.net
http://www.realestate-breckenridge.net

#Breckenridge, Colorado

The spring thaw is giving way to a slew of outdoor activities in Summit County.
 
The paved Recreational Pathway System is plowed and ready for walkers and cyclists.
“The recent warm weather has helped us open the recpath ahead of schedule,” said Summit County open space and trails resource specialist Brad Eckert.
 
County officials expect crowded conditions on the path, especially on weekends. They ask those who use the path to be prepared to slow down, and to pull off the pathway when stopping.
 
Although the path is open, there are still wet and icy spots, as well as some sandy areas, Eckert said.
“Most backcountry trails are likely to be snow-packed or muddy for several weeks,” he said. “We hope that the early opening of the recpath will provide an alternative to avoid damaging trails during this time period when they are most fragile.”
 
People using the paved trails may come upon maintenance vehicles and should slow down when approaching them. The county will be doing work on a piece of the Dillon-Keystone Recpath, which stretches from the Dillon town limit to Swan Mountain Road. Workers will be refacing the decking on the bridge over the Snake River, removing and replacing asphalt and improving drainage on this portion of the trail system.
 
The Ten Mile Canyon recpath segment remains closed due to avalanche concerns.
 
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News