Tuesday, December 31, 2013

High Gear: Slope style for 2014

#Breckenridge, Colorado.
Photo: Courtesy of Zeal Optics 

As technology advances, the ability to create lighter weight and higher performance apparel evolves. We’ve hand-picked a men’s on-mountain outfit from this season’s hottest styles to keep you in high fashion and high performance.
The Sharp Helmet from Bolle is a no-brainer for your brain bucket. This lightweight helmet has adjustable vents to cool your scalp on warmer days. And the soft, comfortable lining is removable and washable — so wash it, fellas. Chicks dig clean. The double-density EPS construction will keep your melon safe, and our testers were 36.8 percent sure the lightning bolt flare makes you faster.
Retail: $109.99; www.bolle.com
Leave it to industry innovators Zeal Optics to create the HD Camera Goggle, the first in-goggle camera that’s as discreet as it is advanced. The goggles themselves are full of features that we’ve come to expect from Zeal: 100 percent UV protection, helmet compatible, anti-fog lenses, impact-resistant frames. But the real show stopper is the camera, which captures HD-quality video and 12 megapixel HD photos — that’s right, 12 megapixels. The images are easily shared over social media outlets, letting your friends see just how elevated your style and skills have become.
Retail: $399; www.zealoptics.com
The return of retro is still going strong, and we’re on board when it looks this good. This Powder Town Beanie from Patagonia is crafted from a chlorine-free nylon and wool blend, resulting in a hat that stays dry even on snowy days and remains warm and insulated if it gets wet. The eco-friendly treatment of the wool leaves the hat feeling soft and itch-free. Groovy on the outside, cuddly on the inside — it’s the mountain version of a hipster knit hat.
Retail: $39; www.patagonia.com
Be bold, be fast and be focused with the Focus LT Hoody from Westcomb. This ultra-lightweight shell is the stylish answer to your speed needs. Constructed with a waterproof/breathable eVent membrane, this highly technical shell gives you everything you need and leaves behind the clunky things you don’t.
Retail: $280; www.shopwestcomb.com
The form-fitting and flattering PhD SmartLoft Divide Jacket from Smartwool is insulated in only the right places and stretchy in the others. The merino wool will keep you warm, dry and smell-resistant while the quilted nylon on the front panel is water and wind resistant. The convenient left chest pocket has media cord routing so you can keep the beats bumpin’ as you slay through the bumps on Pallavicini.
Retail: $198; www.smartwool.com
The [ak] Silkweight Crew from Burton is pure sleek, silky goodness. This modern, lightweight and breathable top is the perfect choice for next-to-skin comfort and performance. The Polartec PowerDry fabric keeps you dry while hiking or shredding the gnar, and the cut is long enough to stay tucked in.
Retail: $64.95; www.burton.com
Cold digits are the worst. Nothing can zap the fun out of an otherwise perfect day like cold hands and fingers. The Patrol Glove by Hestra is a burly beast that delivers superior warmth and functionality. Part of Hestra’s Alpine Pro line, these cream-of-the-crop gloves are constructed of fine leather that’s windproof, waterproof and breathable and comes with a removable liner, Velcro closure and a carabineer.
Retail: $125; www.hestragloves.com
While the Millenium Blur Pant from Columbia may look like simple black ski pants, wait until you see the inside. These sparkling stunners would make Michael Jackson proud. But the Omni Heat silver metallic dots are more than just a party in your pants — the thermal reflective liner provides unparalleled warmth. Pair that with the internal stretch panels and leg ventilation, and you’ve got yourself ski pants that are anything but simple. And we won’t judge you if you rock them inside out on closing day at The Beach at A-Basin.
Retail: $200; www.columbia.com
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Climate change and ski resorts, Part 3: The ‘terrified’ versus the ‘sanguine’

#Breckenridge, Colorado.

This is the final part in a three-part series about climate change as it relates to the ski industry.
Barbara Coddington is terrified of climate change. The Glenwood Springs woman applauds the ski resorts in the region for anything and everything they’re doing to help the environment, but she’s worried that global environmental damage is so bad that it will be impossible to reverse the consequences.
Coddington believes 100 percent in the science that proves climate change is human-caused. She points to the fact that more than 97 percent of the scientists in the field agree that it’s happening and doesn’t think the other 3 or so percent who argue different viewpoints are credible.
At 65 years old, she also attributes some of her confidence on climate change to her age.
“I guess you need some age, some years, to see the changes that are happening in the weather,” she said. “Things are changing and I think it’s obvious — it’s obvious to me.”
Coddington came to Colorado 38 years ago from Missouri and remembers all of the Monarch Butterflies she used to see in the mountains. But she doesn’t see them anymore.
She also thinks there are fewer bird species around and when she’s back home in Missouri she has noticed less noise from the insects that used to sing throughout the night. She attributes all of it to a warming climate.
Coddington is passionate about the environment, so much so that she finds herself frustrated and angered when she sees others being inconsiderate of it. She said she got very heated just recently while at the bank because a truck driver had left his tractor-trailer idling outside.
She writes letter after letter to the newspaper on the subject because she thinks the media doesn’t cover the subject enough, therefore she fears people remain ignorant about environmental issues. She used to prod her daughter to have children because she wanted to be a grandmother, but now she’s not so sure.
“Now I don’t even mention it,” Coddington said. “I think it’s not a good world to bring children into. It’s very sad — it’s frightening.”
Howard C. Hayden is a climate change skeptic who has no fear about climate change based on the science he follows. Hayden is a former professor of physics at the University of Connecticut and is the editor of The Energy Advocate, a monthly newsletter about energy and technology. He recently retired and lives in Pueblo.
He talks about the climate’s ongoing changes throughout history and, unlike Coddington, doesn’t have a worry in the world that any of it will harm humanity.
The computer models that the mainstream scientists use to research and analyze climate change can’t be right, Hayden said, because there are so many models.
He points out that temperature is affected by so many variables; from sunshine to cloud cover to deforestation to how much snow is on the ground reflecting back into space. The mountain pine beetle, which has killed millions of acres of trees in the Rocky Mountains, has caused changes in reflectivity and the evaporation rate of water on the ground, too. Even the Earth’s orbit affects temperature.
All of those factors, plus countless others, are called positive and negative terms. The climate models just need to miss one single term to throw off the accuracy, Hayden said.
“Now you begin to see the absurdity of it all,” he said. “There’s something like 83 different models for climate — obviously at least 82 have to be wrong because they all disagree with one another.”
Hayden points to the billions of dollars that have been spent on climate research by people with vested interests in the outcome of that research.
“The people who are, let’s say, a little more sanguine about climate change have no such resources,” Hayden said. “People tend to trust things that come from the government, and very often that trust is quite a bit misplaced. … It’s a groupthink.”
Craig Idso, founder and former president of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, has published numerous scientific articles on issues related to data quality and urban carbon dioxide concentrations. He heads up the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, which released a report in September that includes 1,000 pages of scientific research that says global warming is not the crisis that governments and government-paid scientists say it is.
“This work provides the scientific balance that is missing from the overly alarmist reports of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which are highly selective in their review of climate science and controversial with regard to their projections of future climate change,” the report’s executive summary reads. “In many instances, conclusions have been seriously exaggerated, relevant facts have been distorted and key scientific studies have been ignored.”
The report came out a week before the United National Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its fifth assessment report, blames global warming for recent extreme weather events.
But equally credible and distinguished scientists and researchers — the majority of them — think more like Coddington. “Explaining Extreme Events of 2012 from a Climate Perspective,” a report released in September by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society,included the work from 18 different research teams from around the world. It shows that natural weather and climate fluctuations played a role in the intensity and evolution of many 2012 extreme events, and in some cases that human-caused climate change was also a factor.
When National Climatic Data Center Principal Scientist Thomas Peterson, one of the report’s lead editors, answered questions about the report on behalf of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, he acknowledged that scientists who participated in the report came up with different conclusions in some cases about whether events were human-caused or naturally occurred.
“Well, you’ve hit a touchy subject. It is a difficult question even for some scientists to understand,” he said in question and answer interview posted on www.climate.gov. “Some of it is due to exactly what metric one is looking at. Are you looking at how warm the temperature was, or are you looking at how often you could reach that particular temperature? Those are different metrics of change, and so exactly how you look at it does alter the answer.”
Certainty does exist, whether it’s 100 percent scientifically proven or not, among 98 percent of scientists in the field that human-caused climate change is happening. Hayden calls it groupthink, but the ski industry and citizens like Coddington believe in the credibility of such a large percentage. A small scientific opposition on the subject doesn’t bother Coddington, who faces opposing views in her own home.
“My husband works for the (Bureau of Land Management) and he does oil and gas, so there’s tension in this household,” she said.
Without definitive answers about what the future holds for the ski industry, resort companies can only plan for the worst and continue to increase environmental responsibility. At Aspen Skiing Company, that also means continued efforts to create a vibrant community, said Sustainability Director Matt Hamilton.
At Vail Resorts, when faced with questions about environmental stewardship in the face of a large expansion of summer on-mountain activities, it means growing a business in the most environmentally sound way possible.
“We believe that is really environmentally responsible. We’re taking advantage of existing infrastructure, in a concentrated area on National Forest land,” said Vail Resorts Vice President of Natural Resources and Conservation Rick Cables. “Hopefully to cultivate new recreation enthusiasts — we need a constituency that’s really going to care about the environment in the future.”
Lauren Glendenning is the editorial projects manager for Colorado Mountain News Media. She can be reached at lglendenning@cmnm.org or 970-777-3125.
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Climate change and ski resorts, Part 2: Industry looks to take lead on global issue

#Breckenridge, Colorado.

This is the second in a three-part series about climate change as it relates to the ski industry.
Last May, 108 ski areas from around the country signed the Climate Declaration, calling on federal policymakers to act on climate change.
“Ski area environmental programs have come a long way in 20 years, particularly in terms of their level of sophistication, demonstrated results and their concerted focus on addressing climate change,” said Geraldine Link, the public policy director for the National Ski Areas Association. “Signing the Climate Declaration is the next logical step for our members to get solutions to scale.”
Those solutions have been slow going in Congress, leaving the ski business and ski resort companies frustrated with a sense of responsibility to take whatever action they can as an industry.
The NSAA’s Sustainable Slopes program is in its 13th year and more than 190 ski resorts have endorsed the Environmental Charter, meaning they’ve identified an environmental contact person and have taken steps toward improved environmental performance.
Many resort companies, especially heavy hitters like Vail Resorts, Powdr Corp. and Aspen Skiing Co., are taking environmentalism far beyond what’s expected in the industry.
Vail Resorts has added many jobs over the years to focus on environmental initiatives. Environmental responsibility has become one of the company’s main messages to its customers and its employees.
Luke Cartin, the senior mountain environmental affairs manager for Vail Resorts, oversees a team of seven environmental managers. Sean Conboy, the corporate energy manager, oversees energy strategies and conservation efforts. Nicky DeFord is the company’s senior manager of charitable contributions who also organizes company volunteer days, which often include environmental projects such as the Hayman Fire restoration, in which the company contributed $4 million and volunteers planted 1 million trees and seeded 17,000 acres.
Rick Cables, previously the head of Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain region director, was hired for the company’s newest environmental role this year: vice president of natural resources and conversation.
“There’s been sort of a strategic shift in the last several years,” Cables said. “It’s (the company) being systematic about how we achieve conservation sustainability objectives.”
Vail Resorts set a 10 percent energy reduction goal in 2008, but it was before the company had put a lot of thought into its strategies for energy use, Conboy said.
“It took a long time for us to do analysis of what energy we were using and figure out a baseline,” he said. “Over the course of three years, we ended up working to educate employees, drive payroll changes and do small capital projects. … By the end of the 2011 fiscal year, we reduced electricity and natural gas use by 10.75 percent.”
The company is now working on its next goal to save another 10 percent in 10 years. Just two years in, savings have already reached 4.7 percent, Conboy said.
Aspen Skiing Co. has been doing a detailed energy analysis — the type of analysis Vail Resorts only initiated within the last few years — for more than a decade.
Aspen releases an annual sustainability report, which breaks down the company’s carbon dioxide emissions and energy consumption, including natural gas, water and fuel usage. In 2000, the company emitted 31,605 tons of carbon dioxide. Its lowest emissions year was 2003, with 28,725 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, while the highest year was 2006, with 32,676 tons.
Vail Resorts, a publicly traded company, doesn’t release its emissions figures, but Conboy said the company’s five energy-saving focus areas are lifts, facilities, snowmaking, grooming and restaurants. The company has invested more than $4 million in snowmaking efficiency upgrades alone in recent years, saving more than 6 million kilowatt hours per year.
One of the major upgrades happened at Breckenridge in 2012. The resort replaced 150 snow guns with lower energy guns that run more efficiently. The company reports it will save 1,142,641 kilowatt hours of energy, enough to power nearly 1,200 American homes for a month.
Copper Mountain Resort parent company Powdr Corp. is a believer in human-caused climate change, which is why the company’s chief sustainability officer Brent Giles feels a moral obligation to take environmental strides.
“We’re very energy intensive business — we use a lot of electricity, a lot of diesel fuel,” he said. “We do everything we can at this point to reduce our carbon footprint and the negative impacts we have on the environment. Forest health, water, recycling — that’s what we concentrate on.”
The company has installed wind turbines at Copper Mountain and solar thermal technology at the Solitude Lodge. There are water bottle filling stations at the resort, too, to discourage the use of plastic bottles.
The company is also using social media in a new way this season by asking customers for their energy-saving ideas. Powdr Corpo. will review the ideas submitted and pick a meaningful project to fund, Giles said.
“It seems like the right thing to do to try to keep things moving in the right direction,” Giles said. “It’s for the greater good.”
‘Perfectly positioned’
The ski industry has long been a leader on climate change and continues to pave the way for future innovation. The Aspen Skiing Co. in 2012 invested $5.5 million in a plant that converts methane into electricity at the Elk Creek Coal Mine in Somerset, Colo. The plant reportedly generates about as much electricity as the company uses annually.
In the last 10 years, Aspen Skiing Co. has seen its energy costs rise from $1.5 million annually $5 million annually, said Matt Hamilton, the company’s sustainability director. Sustainability is about the environment, but it’s also about a ski company’s bottom line.
Aspen Skiing Co. really shifted its focus to energy efficiency in order to reduce its carbon footprint, but Hamilton said there’s also been a focus to use the company’s brand to do more for the environment. It starts with educating guests and promoting policy changes both locally and nationally, he said.
“We are perfectly positioned, living in the mountain environment and dependent on natural snowfall, to talk about climate change,” Hamilton said. “It would be short-sided of us not to do everything we can, in our power, to preserve and protect that for future generations.”
Hamilton points to the University of Colorado study by geography professor Mark Williams and Brian Lazar of Stratus Consulting that predicts a climate in Aspen more like that of Amarillo, Texas, in 100 years if global greenhouse gas emissions continue at current rates.
“Look at a world where, potentially, you’re not able to ski the lower half of Aspen Mountain,” he said. “So we talk about, for example, how do we find those unique partnerships like the one we were able to put together to develop the coal methane plant. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of action happening in D.C.”
Ski areas have endorsed more than a dozen climate change-related bills since 2000, Link, of the National Ski Areas Association, said. Last year, the industry supported wind energy production tax credit legislation and clean energy standard legislation, and endorsed the Environmental Protection Agency’s new power plant regulations, she said.
Colorado Ski Country USA, the trade group representing state ski areas excluding Vail Resorts, encourages state resorts to continue to seek innovative ways to cut emissions, although strategies are still developing.
“Education is paramount in building the critical mass of environmental groups, business groups, and citizens necessary to tackle the complex policy issues posed by climate change,” said Colorado Ski Country USA spokeswoman Jenn Rudolph. “Recognizing the challenges, CSCUSA would like to see something that is good for the industry as a whole and takes into account varying resorts and resources.”
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Climate change and ski resorts, Part 1: Resort industry wants to see Congress do more

#Breckenridge, Colorado.

This is the first in a three-part series about climate change as it relates to the ski industry.
Rae Jensan has called the Vail Valley home off-and-on for 31 years. She has noticed changing weather patterns over that time and doesn’t think it’s for the better.
Jensan recalls a summer in the early 1980s when Vail reached a record high of 88 degrees, while Avon hit 92 degrees.
“We were all complaining at how hot it was (because) the upper 70s was the norm, with the low 80s being ‘hot’,” she said. “But the past three summers we have reached those temperatures a lot of the time.”
Jensan points to climate change as the culprit, and also to the forests throughout the region that have suffered widespread pine tree mortality due to the mountain pine beetle epidemic. She thinks unusual weather patterns such as earlier winters and earlier summers could be the result of climate change.
“Of course climate change has natural cycles over long periods of time — thousands of years, or at least hundreds — but it’s really hard not to conclude the impact humans have on it,” she said. “I am baffled by people who don’t believe that climate change has to be affected by the population of humans and industrialization.”
Jensan joins mainstream scientists in her beliefs. According to “Expert Credibility in Climate Change,” a 2010 report in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, more than 97 percent of climate researchers actively publishing in the field agree that greenhouse gases are warming the earth and that humans are responsible.
That mainstream thinking is prevalent within the ski industry, as energy-saving initiatives, environmental programs and activism have become the norm.
But the scientists known as climate change skeptics or deniers point to everything from faulty weather models, biases and political influence as proof that mainstream beliefs on climate change are nothing more than irresponsible groupthink.
That sentiment comes up in debates on social media and chairlifts, too. When asked if changes in weather patterns signify human-caused climate change, answers vary from a resounding yes to sarcastic remarks.
“Winter: cold. Check. Summer: warm. Check,” commented Kurt Desautels on the Vail Daily’s Facebook page. “All seems normal to me.”
David Dempsey added a tongue-in-cheek comment that he misses the “good ol’ days when the climate never changed and it was always the average temperature every day.”
The sarcasm comes from both sides of the argument.
“Yeah, dumping huge amounts of pollutants/gasses that retain heat into the air couldn’t possibly do anything harmful at all, lol,” wrote Jacob Deneault on the Summit Daily’s Facebook page. “Deniers are not the brightest bunch.”
Jokes aside, there is scientific evidence that the earth has been warming — the National Weather Service reports that 2012 was the warmest year on record in the United States — however 2013 is on pace to have more daily low temperature records than daily high records.
That can all be explained, though, according to mainstream science.
“While 2013 is unusual in the context of the past two decades, periods of relatively cold weather — including Arctic outbreaks — are still to be expected in a warming world, studies show,” according to a National Weather Service statement issued earlier this month about cool temperatures this year.
Research galore
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a group established by the United Nations Environment Program and the World Meteorological Organization with the task of reporting climate change impacts to the world. The panel reviews scientific and technical information regarding climate change but does not conduct research. It’s an intergovernmental body, open to member countries of the United Nations and World Meteorological Organization. It has become the widely accepted authority on climate change.
Ski resorts have gone to great measures to conduct more research specific to the industry, such as the Park City Climate Change Assessment, a report prepared by Stratus Consulting in 2009, and a December 2012 Natural Resources Defense Council and Protect Our Winters report, “Climate Impacts on the Winter Tourism Economy in the United States.”
The National Ski Areas Association has released an annual report on sustainable slopes every year since 2001. And Colorado Ski Country USA, the trade group representing Colorado ski resorts (excluding Vail Resorts), encourages more Colorado ski industry efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Protect Our Winters, or POW, is a group started in 2007 by professional snowboarder Jeremy Jones that has emerged as a leader within the snowsports industry for climate change activism. Professional winter athletes and industry professionals have joined the cause, including famous Aspen athletes Gretchen Bleiler and Chris Davenport, who both sit on the organization’s board of directors. Four people on the 10-person board of directors hail from Aspen or the Roaring Fork Valley, actually — Basalt resident and Backbone Media founder Penn Newhard and Aspen Skiing Company Vice President of Sustainability Auden Schendler are the other two local members.
POW’s “Climate Impacts on the Winter Tourism Economy” report predicts the potential for major economic losses due to climate change. The $12.2 billion winter tourism industry in the United States is already feeling the impacts of climate change, according to the report.
“Across the United States, winter temperatures have warmed 0.16 degrees Fahrenheit per decade since 1895 and the rate of warming has more than tripled to 0.55 degrees Fahrenheit per decade since 1970,” according to the report. “Furthermore, the strongest winter warming trends have occurred in the northern half of the United States, where snow plays an important economic role in their winter season.”
Boulder-based scientist Mark Williams, a snow hydrologist at the University of Colorado studying effects of climate change, predicted a rise in snowlines throughout this century in a 2008 study. The snow line — the elevation in which snowfall turns to rain — would move up more than 2,400 feet from the base areas at Aspen Mountain and Park City Mountain in Utah, according to the study which was sponsored by both resorts.
Under a high-emissions scenario, the report predicts no snowpack at Park City’s base by 2100.
Conflicting interests
A University of Colorado press release about Williams’ research notes “private jets that fly celebrities and vacationers in and out of Aspen for winter ski jaunts and summer recreation trips are by far the biggest carbon dioxide emitters in the Roaring Fork Valley.”
Ski resorts across the West covet the destination guest, someone who flies into town rather than drives. Destination guests stay longer, spend more money and are vital to ski town economies and resort companies’ bottom lines.
It’s a conflict of interest that ski resorts acknowledge — the valued jet-setting guest vs. environmental responsibility — but they hope to offset some of the negative impacts through other environmental initiatives.
Matthew Hamilton, sustainability director at Aspen Skiing Company, said the company is aware of who its guests are, but he points to the company’s efforts to educate guests on environmental responsibility.
“Ideally they’re putting their Blackberry or iPhone down for a little bit and enjoying the natural environment around them and gaining appreciation for that experience,” Hamilton said. “What we’re doing that makes our resort special — hopefully they take some of that home or to their own business.”
Rick Cables, the former head of Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Rocky Mountain region for the Forest Service who joined Vail Resorts this year as the vice president for natural resources and conservation, said people obviously need transportation to get to the mountains. The company realizes that and creates more conservation efforts with that in mind.
Waste water, recycling and energy reduction are some of the focus areas that help offset the energy used for transportation, he said.
And with the purchase of Colorado Mountain Express a few years ago, Vail Resorts is itself a transportation company, too.
“Some of it we can control,” Cables said. “We can ensure we have vans fully loaded — it’s a form of communal transportation — to try to make it very pleasant. We’re exploring ideas to have our fleet be as fuel-efficient as it can possibly be.”
Colorado Mountain Express does also offer luxury transportation services in private vehicles, so not all rides are communal.
Vail Resorts Chief Executive Officer Rob Katz wrote a letter to the Denver Post one year ago to make the point that climate change is bigger than the ski industry:
“It’s hard to understand how the weather changes the way it does and why things can look so different from year to year,” Katz wrote. “Count me in the category of someone who is very worried about climate change, but also someone who tries not to look at every weather pattern as “proof” of something. But, maybe more than anything, you can count me out of the group that says we need to address climate change to save skiing. … So, let’s keep the focus where it belongs and encourage everyone to do their part to reduce greenhouse emissions: not to save their favorite ski run, but to save the planet for our children and grandchildren.”
Vail Resorts also ran an ad in the New York Times a year ago featuring photos of skiers and snowboarders enjoying fresh snow at its resorts. The ad banner read: “the climate HAS changed.”
Aspen Skiing Company Vice President for Sustainability Auden Schendler later told the Aspen Times that Katz’s comments seemed to mock the conversation on climate change. Schendler pointed to a very different strategy at Aspen Skiing Company, one that uses the threat to winter sports as a way to educate people about climate change.
Both ski companies can agree that reducing greenhouse gas emissions through environmental programs is good for the environment, and good for cutting costs.
Vail Resorts has resorts in California, Nevada, Michigan, Minnesota, Colorado and Utah, as well as hotels and condominiums around its resorts and at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. As the company grows, so do its environmental programs. Cables said there’s “just no one doing more than Vail Resorts.”
“There’s a lot of ski companies in the United States and many are doing wonderful things for the environment, and that’s great,” Cables said. “It takes all of us working together to make a difference.”
Lauren Glendenning is the editorial projects editor for Colorado Mountain News Media. She can be reached at lglendenning@cmnm.org or (970) 777-3125.
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Ring in the new year with events around Summit County

#Summit County, Colorado.
Photo by Mark Fox, Summit Daily News

A calendar of New Year's Eve events around the county.


Carlton Pride and Mighty Zion, Alma’s Only Bar
Carlton Pride and Mighty Zion will play the New Year’s Eve bash at Alma’s Only Bar. Pride’s show is an upbeat form of blues, funk and roots reggae that keeps a crowd on their feet and dancing from beginning to end. Spirit-filled lyrics leave concertgoers uplifted, energized, enlightened and inspired. Pride has shared the stage with artists such as The Wailers, Black Uhuru, Yellowman, Culture and The String Cheese Incident, and Carlton Pride and Mighty Zion were the first reggae act to grace the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. The show has a $10 cover and starts at 9:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.almasonlybar.com.


New Year’s Eve in the Mountains, Arapahoe Basin
Ring in 2014 with a special dinner by chef Christopher Rybak in a beautiful mountain setting. Celebrate New Year’s Eve with New York at 10 p.m. with a glass of champagne and party favors. This is a lift-serviced only event. Guests are not permitted to snowshoe before or after dinner. Cost is $95, plus tax. Call (888) ARAPAHOE.


New Year’s Eve in Breckenridge, Peaks 8 and 9
The Torch Light Parade will take place on Peak 9 at 6 p.m., followed by fireworks at 9 p.m. New Year’s Eve fireworks will be launched from the mountain between Peak 8 and 9. This provides a better view from town of this beautiful fireworks display, which uses the Ten Mile Range as a backdrop. And with clear skies, these fireworks can be seen in most locations in downtown Breckenridge. Visit www.breckenridge.com for more information.
Josh Galvin live acoustic, 10 Mile Station, Breckenridge
Breckenridge singer-songwriter and recording artist Josh Galvin will be performing his original songs and eclectic cover tunes at the Starlight Dinner at 10 Mile Station Restaurant on Peak 9. You will be whisked up to 10 Mile Station by sleigh to partake in a gourmet dinner on the mountain and under the stars from 6 to 9 p.m. Visit www.breckenridge.com for more information.


NYE Rail Jam and Torchlight Parade, Copper Mountain
From 5 to 7 p.m., check out the NYE Rail Jam or grab a good seat by the bonfire for the torchlight parade, fire dancers and the first of two fireworks shows. Free live music from 3:30 to 6 p.m. with John Truscelli and then with Lefty Lucy from 8 p.m. to midnight. At 10 p.m., ring in the New Year with the second mountain-side fireworks show and specials throughout the resort. Part of the Twelve Days of Copper. Visit www.coppercolorado.com.


A New York New Year’s Eve, Lake Dillon Theatre Company, Dillon
Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Summit County on Times Square time. Celebrate 2014 with a special performance, dancing, drinks and more but follow the New York clock. Visit www.lakedillontheatre.org.
Something Underground 2013 NYE Party, Dillon Dam Brewery
A special dinner menu starts off the night at Dillon Dam Brewery, followed at 9:30 p.m. by Something Underground, a band that plays roots rock featuring brotherly harmonies, creative arrangements and a high-energy show. Party favors and free glass of champagne at midnight. Visit www.dambrewery.com.


Jaden Carlson Band and Genetics, The Barkley Ballroom
Jaden Carlson Band and Genetics will play a free New Year’s Eve show at The Barkley Ballroom in Frisco. Carlson is a guitar prodigy who has been compared to Eric Clapton, Duane Allman and Jimi Hendrix. Carlson has played on big stages like Red Rocks and Telluride but has chosen The Barkley Ballroom as the best venue to play an intimate New Year’s Eve show that will be filmed for a live DVD coming out in 2014. Look for special guests from bands such as Toots and the Maytals, Mofro and Derek Trucks Band. Celebrate 2014 with a free champagne toast at midnight. The Fort Collins funk band Genetics opens the free show at 9 p.m. Visit www.barkleyballroom.com for more information.


The Ultimate ’80s New Year’s Eve Party, Warren Station Center for the Arts, River Run Village, Keystone
Flash back to the days of MTV and mullets for The Ultimate ’80s New Year’s Eve Party starring radical cover band “New Sensation” at Warren Station at Keystone. You might be used to hearing string bands on New Year’s Eve in Warren Station, but this time around, the venue is shaking things up in Summit County on the biggest night of the year. The ballroom will be a mega dance party filled with big hair, free neon party favors, slap bracelets and glow necklaces, while supplies last. Guests are invited to dress to the nines or show off their best and worst ’80s prom attire for a chance to win nostalgic prizes and lift tickets. There is plenty of champagne and even a complimentary Gondola Photo Booth to capture your last, cheesy moments of 2013. Purchase tickets online at www.warrenstation.com for $11 per person in advance. Doors open at 9 p.m., and the music kicks off at 9:30.
New Year’s Eve at Keystone Resort
In Lakeside Village, there will be cookie decorating and a puppet show at the Adventure Center from 5 to 7 p.m., fireworks at 7:30 p.m. and live music at The Bighorn Bistro & Bar at midnight. In River Run Village, there will be a Torch Light Parade at 7 p.m., followed by The Ultimate ’80s New Year’s Eve starring New Sensation at 9:30 p.m. (doors open at 9). Visit www.keystoneresort.com for more information.
Swerve, Snake River Saloon
Swerve will play back-to-back shows on Monday, Dec. 30, and Tuesday, Dec. 31, at the Snake River Saloon in Keystone. Doors open at 4 p.m. both nights, and the music starts at 9:30. Call (970) 468-2788 for more information.
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Silverthorne’s Nordic track, skating pond, sledding hill all open for the winter

#Silverthorne, Colorado.

The town of Silverthorne this week announced that its free winter amenities are open and ready to be enjoyed from dawn to dusk.
Among the activities residents can take part in for Christmas is ice-skating at North Pond Park, Nordic skiing and snowshoeing at The Raven and sledding at Rainbow Park.
North Pond Park, located at Hamilton Creek Road and Colorado Highway 9 across the street from Silverthorne Elementary School, offers a warming hut, restrooms and parking, providing locals with access to the biggest natural pond in Summit County. A Summit Stage bus stop also is available at the site.
Residents are required to bring their own skates and hockey sticks. Non-skaters can watch the fun from the heated warming hut or outside on one of two docks.
Nordic skiers and snowshoers can choose between two courses with a variety of trails of varying difficulty, while also taking in the scenery at The Raven at Three Peaks Golf Club.
Located at 2929 North Golden Eagle Road in the Three Peaks neighborhood, the North Course offers more challenging terrain with plenty of elevation changes. The South Course is flatter, offering novices an easier experience, while still providing the fun of some twists and turns.
Parking is located at the clubhouse and admission is free. The courses are maintained for skiing and snowshoeing only, meaning pets are not allowed.
If skating, Nordic skiing or snowshoeing aren’t in the cards, Rainbow Park’s sledding hill provides another option for families to play together in the snow.
The sledding hill offers a variety of pitches and heights for all ages and wraps around the multi-purpose field, which is an ideal place to build a snowman or have a snowball fight.
Public restrooms, a warm lobby and a variety of low-priced snacks are available at the Silverthorne Recreation Center, located adjacent to Rainbow Park. Parking is available at the Recreation Center, 430 Rainbow Dr. A Summit Stage bus stop can be found right in front of the recreation center.
Silverthorne’s winter amenities are maintained as time allows, with street and sidewalk maintenance being the first priority. For more information, call the recreation center at 262-7370 or visit www.silverthorne.org.
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Breckenridge's new Peak 6 opens at noon on Christmas Day

#Breckenridge, Colorado.

Breckenridge Ski Resort’s new Peak 6 terrain and lifts open to the public for the first time at noon on Christmas Day, Wednesday, Dec. 25.
The Peak 6 opening represents one of the biggest ski-area terrain expansions in North America in the past decade and will be the first at Breck since the Peak 7 expansion in 2002.
Visitors to Breck on Wednesday, will be able to ride the resort’s two brand-new chairlifts, the Zendo Chair and Kensho SuperChair, both of which start operations for the first time at about noon.
Once skiers arrive at Peak 6 via the new lifts, they will have access to the above-tree-line intermediate and expert terrain that the expansion will become famous for.
Trails and terrain available on Peak 6’s opening day will depend on weather conditions and snow coverage; guests can stay tuned to Breck’s social media outlets at facebook.com/breckenridge or follow the new @BreckConditions Twitter account for the most current terrain status updates.
“We couldn’t be more excited about being able to open Peak 6 this holiday season,” said Pat Campbell, chief operating officer of Breckenridge Ski Resort. “This project has been years in the making, and thanks to the incredible efforts of the entire project team, we are poised to be able to open Peak 6 right on schedule and deliver the holiday gift of a lifetime to our guests from around the world.”
A detailed, behind-the-scenes look at the final stages of Breck’s operational completion of the Peak 6 project can be seen in a video titled “The Finishing Touches” (at youtube.com/breckenridge); it’s the latest episode in the resort’s “Inside the Creation of Peak 6” series, presented by GoPro,
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Frisco adopts new building codes

#Frisco, Colorado.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, the town of Frisco will be adopting the 2012 International Building Construction Codes for all new projects starting after the New Year.
“The town has adopted the 2012 codes to stay current with national building standards that improve energy efficiency and building safety,” said Rick Weinman, Frisco building official, in a news release.
Over the past year, Frisco worked with the other building officials in Summit County to evaluate the ramifications of the code changes prescribed by updated versions of the international codes. Collectively, all of the building officials in the county met with the Summit County Builders Association, High Country Conservation Center, the fire districts, and a number of designers/architects to inform the building community of the code changes, and seek their feedback and technical consideration, the release stated.
The following provides general information regarding the significant changes between the 2006 and 2012 code series:
• Sprinklers
— The 2012 International Residential Code prescriptively requires all dwellings to be provided with an automatic fire sprinkler system. The current fire code requires fire sprinkler systems only for homes over 6,000 square feet.
• Energy Efficiency
— The 2012 code prescriptively requires a minimum R 49 roof, R20 wall cavity with 1-inch of foam insulation to be installed at the exterior of residential structures. The code amendments will allow an alternative prescriptive option to permit an R23 blown insulation system be installed in wall cavities accompanied with the minimum R 49 roof. Energy modeling shows this alternative prescription option provides the same energy performance as the 2012 code requirement.
• Window and doors
— The 2006 IRC requires that fenestrations, doors and windows, have a maximum 0.35 U-factor. The 2012 code prescriptively lowers the requirement to a maximum U factor of 0.32. Code amendments will again continue to allow the use of the maximum 0.35 U- factor.
• Ventilation systems.
— The 2012 code requires that ventilation systems be installed in all new homes due to air sealing requirements. This ventilation can range from a simple exhaust fan in an upstairs bathroom to a whole house heat recovery unit. This requirement ensures a healthier indoor air environment.
• Blower door test
— The 2012 IRC requires all homes to pass a minimum air leakage standard through a blower door testing prior to final inspection. Air leakage testing will have a construction cost impact of $150 to $300 and a potential cost benefit to the home owner of hundreds of dollars a year when compared to a leaky house. As an option, the contractor may instead have the building inspected during construction by an approved third party to verify air barriers and air sealing are installed in conformance with ENERGY STAR standards.
• Drywall in crawlspace
— The amended 2012 code requires unfinished basements and crawlspaces with 4 feet or more headroom, framed with engineered joists, to be protected with ½” gyp at the underside of the floor system when that crawl space is used for storage. The drywall is to protect fire fighters from floor system collapse in a fire event.
• Radon mitigation
— The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified three zones in the country for radon and Frisco is located in “zone one,” which is their highest radon potential of the three zones. The new codes include the IRC Appendix Chapter F as part of the update. This chapter governs construction techniques intended to resist radon entry and prepare buildings for post-construction radon mitigation, if necessary.
• Summit Sustainable Building Code
— A number of areas covered by the existing sustainable building code are addressed in the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code.
For more information, visit www.friscogov.com.
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News.