The Breckenridge Film Fest is partnering up with the Backstage Theatre to show some of the festival’s 2014 hits during the next two weeks. “Flying the Feathered Edge: The Bob Hoover Project” is up first Wednesday, Dec. 3, and Thursday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m.
‘THE PILOT’S PILOT’
Robert A. “Bob” Hoover, age 92, nicknamed “The Pilot’s Pilot” by his peers, is largely unknown outside aviation circles, despite his staggering array of accomplishments. Following a storied career during World War II as a fighter pilot, Hoover continued to serve for years as one of our best test pilots and inspired generations of fighter pilots from the Korean and Vietnam eras. Director Kim Furst captures every nuance of Hoover’s amazing life story by skillfully interweaving vintage still images, historic footage and testimonials from other flight legends past and present, bringing this legend’s life and story out into the limelight.
Hoover is considered by many to be one of the founding fathers of modern aerobatics. Jimmy Doolittle called him “... the greatest stick and rudder man who ever lived.” “Flying the Feathered Edge” preserves the stories, the friendships and the legacy that surrounds this man, who quietly touched the trajectory of aviation’s many developments and who, due to his piloting skills, judgment, decency, luck and just-flat out ability to fly, is considered the best.
“Flying the Feathered Edge: The Bob Hoover Project” was a highly researched, three-year project. Aviation Week reporter Fred George wrote, “After 90 minutes, there were few dry eyes in the house as the credits rolled at the end of the documentary. … In Aviation Week’s opinion, a film well worth our readers’ viewing time when it appears in nearby theaters.”
The film begins with a tribute by Neil Armstrong to Hoover’s flying skills and stars Harrison Ford, Burt Rutan, Dick Rutan, Carroll Shelby, Gene Cernan, Medal of Honor Recipient Col. George E. Bud Day and Clay Lacy, among others.
Film Fest Redux is a fundraiser for both the Breckenridge Backstage Theatre and the Film Fest. The Breckenridge. All films start at 7 p.m. Concessions are available for all film screenings and include Milk Duds, beer, wine and mixed drinks, which can be taken into the theater with you.
For more information about the film series or to purchase tickets, visit www.backstagetheatre.org or call the box office at (970) 453-0199.
The 2014 Breckenridge Film Festival Audience Choice Award winner “Pie Lady of Pie Town” and selected comedy shorts will be shown Wednesday, Dec. 10, and Thursday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m. The evening will open with a short question-and-answer period with Kathy Knapp, the pie lady herself.
Tickets for both films are available in advance online www.backstagetheatre.org or at the door.
The Backstage’s annual holiday musical is running weekends through Saturday, Jan. 3. In “Dog Park: the Musical,” join Champ, the show dog; Bogie, the territorial rebel without a collar; Itchy, the sad sack terrier with ADD; and Daisy, the lone Westie female, who must choose a mate from one of the three.
Featuring songs inspired by hot jazz, torchy ballads, and catchy doggie doo-wop, “Dog Park: The Musical” will leave you wanting to capture your inner canine and howl along with these irrepressible stage dogs.
The holiday shows always sell out, so get your tickets early.
Before any athletes drop in on the Dew Tour halfpipe and slopestyle courses in Breckenridge, Dec. 11-14, some of the world’s best superpipe skiers and snowboarders will kick off their seasons at Copper Mountain Resort with the annual U.S. Grand Prix, Dec. 3-6.
For some of last winter’s Sochi Olympians, this will be the first big competition of the season.
“For halfpipe it’s go time,” U.S. Freeskiing and Snowboarding team spokeswoman Tricia Byrnes said.
Unlike years past, this year’s event — part of the three-stop Grand Prix tour — will not include slopestyle. Although it’s not an Olympic qualifier, as an event sanctioned jointly by the International Ski Federation (FIS), Association of Freeski Professionals (AFP) and World Snowboard Tour, it will attract an Olympic-caliber lineup.
Earlier this week Grand Prix officials announced another star-studded list of athletes expected to attend, headlined by Sochi gold medalists Kaitlyn Farrington, David Wise and Maddie Bowman and four-time Olympian Kelly Clark.
“It’s always great going to Copper for the first contest of the year,” 2010 Olympian Louie Vito said of the Grand Prix. “It’s great to start the season off in a good pipe and at a good event like the Grand Prix. I’m very excited to get the season rolling and get back in the swing of things and see all our friends.”
In addition to top halfpipe medalists, slopestyle silver medalists Devin Logan and Telluride’s Gus Kenworthy are expected to compete. Kenworthy will likely be joined by fellow Colorado Olympians Aaron Blunck, Torin Yater-Wallace and the Steamboat Springs snowboarding brother sister pair of Taylor and Arielle Gold.
Coverage of the competition will be available online via nbcsports.com and on TV on Dec. 6-7 on NBCSN; it will be rebroadcast later in December on NBC.
In preparation for the competition, Copper Mountain officials announced that the resort’s 22-foot Olympic-size superpipe will open to the public on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 29-30. It will then be closed for athlete training starting on Monday. It will reopen to the public after the Grand Prix on Sunday. Freeski halfpipe qualifiers will kick off the Grand Prix on Wednesday morning, Dec. 3, at 8:30 a.m. Freeski finals will take place Friday, Dec. 5, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Snowboard finals will follow on Saturday during the same time period. NBCSN will broadcast the finals on tape delay the day after each final, Saturday and Sunday.
Where to watch
The U.S. Grand Prix is free to the public to attend and will take place in the superpipe above Copper Mountain’s Center Village. Guests will be able to hike or ski up to watch from the bottom of the pipe. They will also be able to view from a spectator area along one of the halfpipe’s walls.
The Lodge at Breckenridge will host a grand reopening event on Friday, Dec. 5, to celebrate its recent $3.7 million renovation.
The community is invited to taste complimentary samplings from the new Traverse Restaurant & Bar, tour the property, take part in raffles and giveaways, jam to the beats of local band The Pine Beetles and rub elbows with Ullr, the Norse god of snow, who will be in attendance to christen the site.
GETTING A FACELIFT
Guest Services Inc., a private hospitality company and National Park Service concessionaire based in Fairfax, Virginia, purchased The Lodge last summer with plans to build it back into a premier property in Breckenridge, a “boutique luxury hotel,” said Rhonda Profaizer, general manager.
“The property was built in the ’70s,” she said. “It was built more as an athletic area for this community up here on Boreas, and then they expanded it into a hotel and kept expanding through the early ’90s to get us where we are now.”
The Lodge is situated just off Boreas Pass Road southeast of Breckenridge town center, with a full-service spa and 45 guest rooms. As part of the full interior and exterior facelift, the rooms were completely transformed, with new energy-efficient windows, carpet, paint, furniture, lighting fixtures, electronics and appliances. Beetle-kill pine was incorporated into the room interiors, and a gigantic new fireplace greets visitors in the entryway of the lobby.
“The fireplace is a big thing,” Profaizer said. “It was a huge undertaking for us; it almost doubled in size and really made it a huge welcoming attraction when you first walked in. Now it’s the grand fireplace that sets that ambiance for our guests when they are checking in.”
TRAVERSE RESTAURANT & BAR
The fresh look extends to the restaurant and bar within The Lodge, a space that hasn’t been used since 2006, when the previous establishment was shuttered. What was once called Top of the World has been reopened as Traverse Restaurant & Bar under new executive chef Brent Turnipseede, originally from Texas and most recently chef at Sweet Basil in Vail.
“The restaurant was a huge focus because we didn’t have one, and this space being here as it was, we needed to utilize the hotel as best we could,” Profaizer said.
The restaurant was completely gutted and redone, starting from scratch from front to back. The dining room was outfitted with everything from new tables, chairs and booths to flatware and plates, and the kitchen was stocked with new ranges, pots and pans, blenders, hot boxes and more.
“Three months ago, there wasn’t a single piece of equipment in there,” Turnipseede said of his kitchen. “We’ve gone through everything from getting the design from the ground up and imported everything from equipment to cookware.”
Without a doubt, the best feature of the space is the view, with sweeping panoramas of the Ten Mile Range and Breckenridge Ski Resort. A new deck is under construction for outdoor dining, and the menu caters to social, sharable dishes that can be enjoyed outside in the Colorado sunshine.
“We definitely wanted to utilize the views during the day, so our initial thought was to have a big appetizer menu,” Turnipseede said. “Sit on the deck, enjoy some bites, all while taking in the view and the surroundings. Going off that, we created a menu that was largely focused on small bites and tapas, obviously being able to use any local ingredients, produce and proteins whenever possible, focusing on what’s in season.
“Being up in the mountains, that presents somewhat of a challenge, but we have some great vendors in place to help us reach that goal and focus. Drawing on my background, you’ll see a lot of smoke and spice, sweet and savory, the flavors of the mountains with a Southern twist.”
SHOWING OFF THE MENU
The grand reopening event will include an expo of the Traverse menu to give visitors a taste of what the new restaurant is trying to accomplish with its food service — elevated Colorado cuisine in an elegant setting, Turnipseede said.
Menu highlights include the pig and pineapple, a house-smoked pork belly with pickled pineapple and charred jalapeno salsa verde; house-made pimiento cheese with bacon jam and grilled bread; and the Traverse “Tatonka” burger, a blend of house-ground bison chuck and brisket with Tillamook cheddar, house-made pickles, lettuce, tomato, onion and fries.
“We have a big selection of proteins, everything from wild boar, to elk, bison, pork belly,” Turnipseede said. “I definitely take kind of a snout-to-tail approach with everything I do, including the vegetables, using the beet tops to make a vinaigrette and all the trimmings of the elk to do a tartare. My approach to food is using all aspects of whatever ingredients I’m using.”
To accompany the food, Traverse has a craft cocktail menu, with many drinks featuring vodka and bourbon from Breckenridge Distillery, as well as other top-shelf liquors. The wine list covers all of the bases from red to white to bubbles and will expand and evolve as the restaurant gets rooted, and beer drinkers will also find something tasty to sip on.
“Along with the restaurant, in the bar, we’ve got 12 beers on tap; 11 of those are from Colorado,” Turnipseede said, gesturing to the open area with high-top tables. “We like to focus whenever possible on utilizing the bounty of everything that Colorado’s got around us to offer. And that includes all the decor, too. The whole bar is beetle-kill pine. All that wood up there is unstained and beetle kill in its natural form and state.”
The unpretentious vibe of the space and format of the menu are meant to be casual and welcoming, a feeling that will extend to Traverse’s daily happy hour, with a tapas menu and drink specials from 3 to 6 p.m.
“It’s going to be a situation where locals feel at home,” Turnipseede said. “A nice cozy, casual place to hang out, but sit down and have one of the best meals in town.”
On Wednesday, Nov. 26, Vail Resorts opened its Epic Mountain Gear store in the Basecamp shopping center next to Whole Foods Market in Frisco.
The luxury gear and high-end clothing store is the first to align specifically with the skiing, lodging, real estate and retail company’s Epic brand.
Scott Leigh, Summit County regional manager for Vail Resorts Retail, said the store will offer year-round biking and skiing sales and rentals as well as a full-service shop with tuning and fitting. The store, at 223 Lusher Court, will soon install monitors with up-to-the-hour weather conditions, snow conditions, trail openings, special events and traffic updates.
Epic Mountain Gear will sell brands like Stockli, Kjus and Mountain Force, and the store will have a rotating Vendor Lab. Each month, a different brand will showcase its newest products, technological innovations and emerging styles and designs.
The 10,000-square-foot store, which is still hiring, will have a grand opening in January.
Epic Mountain Gear is the second Vail Resorts retail store in Frisco; the other is the Breeze at Antlers ski rental store. The company operates 29 retail and gear rental stores in Summit County.
Carlos is a married man, a father of two, who has lived in Summit County for nearly 13 years. His family of four resides in Summit Cove, where his eldest daughter attends Summit Cove Elementary School. Carlos and his wife both work in local jobs, and generally enjoy living in Summit County.
Trouble came earlier this year when Carlos struggled to find work during the off-season, unable to find more than a part-time job at a fast food restaurant. On top of that, his wife had to be taken to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco for emergency gall bladder surgery. Between little work and high medical bills, he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to afford his rent.
“It was everything at the same time,” Carlos said. “My job, my wife was sick, surgery, what else?”
At that point, Carlos realized he had no choice, and turned to the only remaining resource available to him — the Family & Intercultural Resource Center (FIRC).
FIRC’s emergency assistance fund provides temporary financial aid for Summit County residents who are struggling beneath rent, utility or medical costs.
FIRC estimates that more than 97 percent of its clients face financial struggle because of sudden or seasonal job loss, reduction of hours, a medical emergency keeping them from work or the need to get out of an abusive relationship.
“It’s just a hard place to live up here,” said Anita Overmyer, development director at FIRC.
The organization has served 121 households through its emergency assistance fund so far in 2014, and estimates it will help about another 50 before the year is through. Of those already given assistance, 99 were helped with housing, 21 with medical bills and one with utilities.
Using information from the 2011 Self-Sufficiency Standard, FIRC estimated monthly costs for basic expenses for living in Summit County. Based on cost of living, the organization reports, a family of four, with one child in child care, needs to earn $76,939 a year or $6,411 per month to afford the basics, without outside assistance.
About 90 percent of households served this year through the emergency assistance fund were at or below 200 percent of federal poverty level (FPL), the report continues. A family at the 200 percent FPL earns $3,975 per month or $47,700 a year. A family at 100 percent FPL earns even less, which accounts for about 45 percent of these families, according to FIRC.
“Some people might say, ‘Oh well, there’s so many jobs available now, why are people still in these situations?’” said Overmyer. “And ultimately it’s because the cost of living is increasing at a much higher rate than anything else, than wages are.”
THE SEASONALITY AND WEATHER DEPENDENCY OF MANY JOBS HERE IN SUMMIT COUNTY LENDS ITSELF TO INSTABILITY, SHE ADDED. SOMEONE MIGHT HAVE PLENTY OF WORK DURING SUMMER AND WINTER, BUT NOT VERY MUCH OR EVEN NOTHING DURING SPRING AND FALL. IF IT’S A YEAR THAT EXPERIENCES POOR SNOWFALL, THOSE WHO WORK IN SNOW-RELATED JOBS COULD SUFFER CUT HOURS OR EVEN LOST JOBS.
THE POINT ISN’T THAT EMPLOYERS AREN’T PAYING, OVERMYER SAID, BUT THAT “THE COST OF LIVING IS INCREASING AT A MUCH HIGHER RATE THAN WAGES ARE.”
TIMES OF CRISIS
While it’s hard enough getting by paycheck to paycheck, that becomes nearly impossible when life inevitably throws a wrench into everyday living. Medical emergencies can cause multiple missed paychecks, which many can’t afford.
“It’s really those one or two missed paychecks and all of a sudden they went from being OK to ‘I can’t afford my rent, I don’t know what to do,’” Overmyer said.
That’s when the emergency assistance fund can help. A potential client will come in, meet with FIRC employees and go over paperwork to figure out how much will be required to help them stabilize.
“WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE MONEY AND YOU HAVE TO PAY SOMETHING, YOU FEEL SO FRUSTRATED,” SAID CARLOS. WHEN HE LEARNED THAT FIRC COULD HELP HIM, HE WAS IMMEDIATELY RELIEVED.
“IF SOMEBODY HELPS YOU, YOU FEEL SO NICE,” HE SAID. “I DON’T KNOW, WHAT CAN I SAY? AWESOME, REALLY GREAT, FABULOUS. YEAH, THAT’S WHAT I FEEL.”
FIRC has a variety of programs in place to help people, such as classes on shopping on a budget, and similar counseling programs.
“But a lot of times, when people are living crisis to crisis, it’s hard to think about anything else besides ‘this is happening right now,’” Overmyer said. “It’s our ultimate goal to help them build on their strengths that they already have, and use those strengths to avoid crisis in the future.”
A QUESTION OF HOUSING
Some things have changed since last year. The majority of the assistance fund has gone towards housing, as opposed to medical. Overmyer attributes this to increased insurance availability, as more people qualify for Medicaid. This doesn’t necessarily mean a medical emergency won’t push a family into crisis, but that perhaps it won’t be as difficult to recover from.
HOUSING IS STILL A LARGE PROBLEM THOUGH, AS RENTS IN SUMMIT COUNTY AND OTHER RESORT AREAS TEND TO BE HIGH.
“THERE IS A GREAT NEED FOR AFFORDABLE HOME OWNERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES FOR MODERATE INCOME RESIDENTS, BUT WE ALSO SEE DISTURBING TRENDS RELATING TO RENTERS,” SAID ROB MURPHY, FIRC ASSISTANT DIRECTOR. RECENTLY, HE ADDED, “WE’VE BEEN HEARING THAT WE CAN EXPECT LOW VACANCY RATES. PEOPLE ARE GOING TO HAVE MUCH MORE TROUBLE FINDING PLACES AND THAT RENTS ARE LIKELY TO INCREASE EVEN FURTHER.”
A HANDFUL OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING IS AVAILABLE IN SUMMIT, INCLUDING THE VILLA SIERRA MADRE II HOUSING COMPLEX, WHICH OPENED THIS OCTOBER IN SILVERTHORNE. AS OF THE OPENING, ALL UNITS WERE RENTED AND A WAIT LIST HAD STARTED.
“SO (HAVING AFFORDABLE HOUSING) COULD MEAN THAT PEOPLE ARE ABLE TO WEATHER THE CRISIS ON THEIR OWN AND DON’T HAVE TO REQUEST ASSISTANCE. IT COULD MEAN THAT THEY, OVER A PERIOD OF SEVERAL YEARS, THEY ENCOUNTER A CRISIS LIKE THAT LESS OFTEN BECAUSE THEIR HOUSING PAYMENT IS LESS. IN SOME CASE THEY MAY STILL, EVEN WITH THE REDUCED RENT PRICES, NOT ENTIRELY BE ABLE TO WEATHER THE CRISIS ON THEIR OWN, BUT THE AMOUNT OF HELP THEY NEED TO REMAIN STABLE MAY BE SIGNIFICANTLY LESS,” MURPHY SAID. “IT MAY NOT STOP A PARTICULAR FAMILY FROM HAVING TO COME AND ASK FOR HELP … BUT THE AMOUNT THAT THEY REQUIRE FROM A HELPING AGENCY LIKE OURS MAY BE SIGNIFICANTLY LESS BECAUSE OF THE AFFORDABILITY OF THEIR HOUSING PAYMENT.”
THOSE WHO DON’T LIVE IN LOW-INCOME OR AFFORDABLE HOUSING UNITS WILL NEED TO DEAL WITH HIGHER RENTS, AND POTENTIALLY LARGER FINANCIAL CRISES.
While the emergency assistance fund is open to donations year-round, the holiday campaign ushers in a final push to pull in more money by the end of the year. Donations can be made through The Summit Foundation, through a link on the website.
“The best thing about this campaign from a donor perspective is 100 percent of the money raised is used to actually pay the bills. None of it goes into administration costs,” Overmyer said. “You know 100 percent of your gift is making a true difference.”
In past years, Summit County Cares has pulled in up to $60,000. This year, Overmyer said the goal is $50,000. The campaign lasts until Dec. 31.
Though the perception may be that we in Summit County “live in paradise,” Overmyer said, “Unfortunately it’s still a really difficult place to live for people who are working multiple jobs or seasonable jobs. It’s hard to have a savings up here; it’s hard not to live paycheck to paycheck. We all know them. We’ve all been there, most of us. … I think that this is really eye opening, the true cost of living up here.”
7 p.m., Backstage Theatre, 121 South Ridge St. Speed Mating. Get in on the dog park scene with Champ, the show dog; Bogie, the territorial rebel without a collar; Itchy, the sad sack terrier with ADD; and Daisy, the lone Westie female, who must choose a mate from one of the three. (970) 453-0199.
Drop In Pickle Ball
Silverthorne, Nov. 25
11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Silverthorne Recreation Center, 430 Rainbow Drive. Drop in sports are free with a valid Silverthorne Recreation Center pass or daily admission. Clean, non-marking gym shoes are required while using gymnasium. All games must fall within the designated drop in times. Must be 16 or older. (970) 262-7370.
Adult Swim Club Drop In
Breckenridge, Nov. 25 & 27
6:45 a.m., Breckenridge Recreation Center, 880 Airport Road. Swimmers receive hands-on instruction from Pro-Triathlete and USA Swim Coach Jaime Brede. Jaime guides individuals and groups through various workouts that increase endurance and fine tune stroke techniques while developing a team atmosphere conducive to improving performance. (970) 453-1734.
Frisco, Nov. 25 & 29
2-7 p.m., Gatherhouse Glassblowing Studio and Gallery, 110 Second Ave. Watch the glassblowers transform 2000-degree molten glass into pieces of art. Fascinating for all ages. Classes available.
Ladies’ Night with Karaoke hosted by DJ Spicolli
Dillon, Nov. 25
9 p.m., Lake Dilon Tavern, 119 E LaBonte Street #108. Win free prizes for performances, and never a cover. Over 30k songs to choose from, and true, professional stage and sound system to sing on. Absolutely the best Karaoke night in the county.
Gail Westwood, owner and manager ofBreckenridge Tours, has been giving her ghost tours around town since June 2010, and she discovered that people don’t always dress appropriately for the weather during the winter months.
“I’ve tried for four and a half years to explain to people that it gets cold here at night,” she said. “I wear a real fur coat, Uggs, thermal underwear, sheepskin gloves, and as much as I tell people a good idea would be to wear your ski suit, they never come in their ski suit. They come in daytime attire, jeans and a light jacket. We always struggle to keep people warm.”
What makes this tour unique from others offered in Breckenridge is that most of it takes place indoors, and food and drinks are part of the experience.
“They can hear the stories in the warmth of a building instead of standing on the street, which is absolutely fine the rest of the year; it’s just through the winter months that it gets harder,” Westwood said. “I noticed that we really do have a problem through the middle of the winter with people keeping warm, so I didn’t want to stop doing the ghost tour but I thought it might be a good idea.”
The tour starts at The Dredge Restaurant & Bar just off Main Street, where participants will have a cocktail before moving on to Cabin Coffee for coffee and cookies. The next stop is Creatures Great and Small, a collectible shop on Main Street.
“Then we’re going to go inside Apres, which used to be The Prospector,” Westwood said. “It has Sylvia, one of the most well known ghosts in town. The owners are keen for me to go in there and talk about Sylvia and have some craft beer there.”
French Fry Heaven will provide fries to nosh on at Apres Handcrafted Libations, and then the tour will head to its final stop, The Historic Brown Hotel on Ridge Street, where participants sample homemade Colorado chili.
“The idea is that we’re going to have a table set aside for us, sit at that table, sample the foods and drinks and tell the ghostly tale stories while we’re inside,” Westwood said. “Who are the characters that you might meet? Sylvia, the lonely widow; William Goodwin, the mangled miner; Dr. Condon, the cold-blooded killer; and Miss Whitney, the lady of the night.”
Westwood said people love ghost tours, and another element that makes hers unique from the Haunted Tour offered by the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance is the addition of technology to seek out the ghosts.
“We have ghost-hunting equipment,” she said. “We use dowsing rod and EMS meters and laser thermometers, so that sets us apart right now. We’ll be providing it on this tour and the stops that we’re stopping at.”
In the past, Westwood found that people would call in the morning to book their tours, and then as the day went on, after skiing all day, the sun would go down and the weather got colder and walking around in the snow no longer seemed very enticing.
“We’ll appeal to people because they won’t have to be standing out in the cold,” she said.
After a summer-long series featuring prospective conductors, the Breckenridge Music Festival Orchestra has found a new leader in David Danzmayr, the Austrian conductor who has been at the helm of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra for the past two years. He is widely considered a rising star — a rock star, if you will — among lovers of classical music.
The adventurous young conductor hails from Salzburg, Austria, where he studied at the University Mozarteum before cutting his teeth as assistant conductor with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. He also serves as music director for the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra in Columbus, Ohio. He is widely sought after for guest appearances at venues around the world, including Croatia, Iceland, Scotland, Netherlands and Germany in 2015.
“Danzmayr has clearly imbued the Illinois Philharmonic with a renewed spark,” writes Lawrence A. Johnson of the Chicago Classical Review, applauding “the strides the Austrian conductor has made in upgrading the quality of the southwest suburban ensemble in just two years.”
Danzmayr was selected by a committee to lead the Breckenridge Music Festival Orchestra following this summer’s five-week festival, which featured visits from three finalists, each of whom programmed and conducted two concerts. He will take up the baton from emeritus conductor Gerhardt Zimmermann, who led the orchestra for the past two decades.
“Gerhardt has been absolutely critical in building the quality of orchestra,” said Marcia Kaufmann, executive director of the Breckenridge Music Festival, “but just like anything else — you learn different things from different teachers. To be able to bring in a new artistic personality on the podium will be an opportunity for the orchestra to grow and learn in new ways.”
He has a gift for orchestral music, and he knows how to communicate it to the musicians and the audience.
Danzmayr’s musical interests range from the Austrian composers of his homeland to “populist” revolutionaries like Astor Piazzolla, creator of the libertango. He has also proven to be a champion of American music in Illinois, where he vowed to feature at least one piece by an American composer on every program.
“We have played close to 20 pieces by American composers in the last three seasons,” he said. “I’m sure pieces of American music will find their way to the Breckenridge Music Festival too.” He is currently working with festival organizers to plan the 2015 repertoire.
“David Danzmayr is a young conductor who is absolutely on the rise,” Kaufmann said. “He knew from a very young age he wanted to be a conductor, and he has had excellent training. He has a gift for orchestral music, and he knows how to communicate it to the musicians and the audience. It’s training, it’s focus, but in the end — it’s a gift.”
“The orchestra is very good,” Danzmayr said of the BMF Orchestra, pointing out how difficult it can be to play at high altitude. “They are doing a great job. I really honor that.” He looks forward to “making good music together,” and also to conducting the joint concert with the National Repertory Orchestra.
“On the one hand the young musicians of the NRO may be playing some pieces for the first time in their lives, so there’s a lot of enthusiasm,” he said. “On the other hand you have the well-played, professional musicians of the BMF. The groups, side-by-side, can only end in an energetic performance.”
Along with the leadership change, the Breckenridge Music Festival will institute a new “artistic partner” model this year, comparable to that pioneered by the full-time St. Paul Chamber Orchestra but adapted to fit the five-week summer program. In it, as the Festival Orchestra’s artistic advisor, Danzmayr will shepherd the artistic team on the entire orchestral program, while concentrating on the classical component. He will conduct the opening two weeks of the Summer 2015 Festival, then bring in guest conductors to lead specialized programs for the remaining two classical concerts.
With his help, the BMF will identify nationally recognized specialists, called “artistic partners,” to direct the pops and chamber music components of the orchestra’s programming, starting with pops in 2015.
“This will be the first time the Breckenridge Music Festival has had an artistic advisor, not a music director,” Danzmayr said. “The music director led almost all the concerts, so it really shaped its own picture. I will have a different role. I will come for two weeks, and I will really enjoy conducting the orchestra. I will advise on personnel, guest conductors and programming,” he said. “If it works well it means more self-governance for the orchestra.”
The model is a perfect fit for the Breckenridge Music Festival, Kaufmann said, because it allows for greater flexibility and diversity in the Festival’s programming. “This differs from the guest conductor model in that the artistic partners are more invested,” she said. “It allows us to get to know a number of top conductors in their fields.”
“Sometimes it is nice to have different conductors conducting different concerts,” Danzmayr said. “You get different views, different input. Every conductor has a different approach and personality — so that can be good if it works out as planned.”
“David is very much at the forefront of a new generation of music-making,” Kaufmann said. “We are absolutely thrilled to have him, and we eagerly anticipate where his leadership will take us in the coming seasons.”
Erica Marciniec is a paid writer with the Breckenridge Music Festival.
Ski mountaineering, alpine touring, ski touring, randonee skiing, skinning or, in the snowboard world, splitboarding — they are six descriptions for what’s essentially the same thing: human-powered uphill travel in the mountains. Whether it’s aggressively climbing a steep couloir, 20 or more people racing to the top of a resort slope and back down again, a conditioning workout or a casual touring session in some fairly tame backcountry, there’s no question that more and more people are getting out there and giving it a try.
In fact, SnowSports Industries America — the trade association that tracks ski industry trends — reported last year that touring-related gear was one of the fastest growing markets in the industry.
While alpine touring has been popular in Europe for decades, it’s relatively new in the states, but on the rise toward mainstream in the winter sports realm. In recent years, resorts have had to work on policies to accommodate the growing community.
Continuing that progress toward growing the uphill community is one of the goals of the four Summit County locals who recently founded the Summit Ski Mountaineering Club. Avid uphillers Teague Holmes, Joe Howdyshell, Jon Low and Ram Mikulas decided they wanted to get more people out to enjoy uphill, human-powered skiing.
“It’s been such a fun, joyful part of our lives,” runner and ski mountaineer Holmes said of their inspiration behind forming the group. “I want to share this type of skiing with other people.”
Part casual social club, part race training and conditioning group and part youth team, the SkiMo Club is a new effort at expanding the ski mountaineering community in Summit County.
Holmes said there’s something for everyone in the club’s inaugural winter. The initial plan is for a combination of youth training sessions, low-key adult touring sessions and ski mountaineering race training.
“We’re in the early stages,” Holmes said of the group. “It’s going to change with the needs of the community.”
For now, the group has plans to organize casual alpine touring sessions for all ages and experience levels on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Holmes said the idea is for like-minded touring enthusiasts to connect and find new people to get out in the backcountry with.
The weekend sessions will stick to less aggressive, avalanche-safe terrain geared toward a variety of skill levels.
“We’re focused on safe uphill skiing and there’s lots of places we can go,” he said, explaining that the group will alternate locations for its touring sessions.
During the week the group also has plans for more workout-intensive race training sessions for both youth and adults.
The plan is to organize youth training sessions on Wednesdays after school, with the goal of getting a team together to compete at races later in the winter.
The group also plans to host adult training sessions at 6 a.m. on Tuesdays or Thursdays with a more aggressive focus toward AT race training for competitions like the Arapahoe Basin randonee series and other regional competitions.
Holmes said that the schedules are subject to change later in the winter.
Weekend sessions will be open to anyone who’s interested. Those who continue to come out will be encouraged to join as members. Members will receive updates on group functions and have access to the more focused, coached, race training sessions. Holmes encouraged anyone interested to come out and give the group a try.
Months before the cranberry sauce and the pumpkin pie arrived on your holiday table, bees helped bring those foods to life.
The buzzing insects are the primary pollinators that make one-third of global food production possible, and for the last decade beekeepers have raised alarms because the bugs have been dying at unprecedented rates.
Now the Keystone Center, a nonprofit headquartered in Summit County that brings together diverse stakeholders to discuss controversial issues, has gotten involved. The center is facilitating discussions with industry leaders, government agencies, universities, conservation groups and other partners about how to address the problem.
“Honeybees are a really important player in our food supply,” said Julie Shapiro, the center’s lead on the project.
The issues facing the bees aren’t limited to colony collapse disorder, or the drastic rise in the number of disappearances of North American honeybee colonies since 2006, Shapiro said, and declines in honeybee health don’t have any simple solutions.
“There’s no one problem or one silver bullet,” she said.
In June, the group officially formed the Honeybee Health Coalition with more than 30 members. Last month, the coalition released the first result of its meetings, a report called “Bee Healthy.”
The guiding document lists four priority areas of concern: hive management; forage and nutrition; crop pest management; and cross-industry education, outreach and coordination.
“It’s a very important document,” said Larry Gilliand, 74, a longtime Summit County resident who has kept bees in his backyard near Silverthorne for the last couple of years.
Gilliland, who’s unaffiliated with the coalition, keeps three hives and closely researches and follows honeybee issues. Though he has concerns about the coalition’s approach, he called the document a good start.
‘BEE HEALTHY’ STRATEGIES
Under hive management, the coalition lists the Varroa destructor mite as one of the honeybee’s biggest threats.
“Even the best beekeepers could use help controlling it,” said George Hansen, a coalition member and past president of the American Beekeeping Federation.
The group plans to gather and transfer specific know-how and technologies to beekeepers to improve control of the mites and other pests and pathogens. The coalition will also promote science-based innovations, including the development and registration of new products, and create a best practices guide for managing the mites.
Under forage and nutrition, the group writes about creating high-quality bee-friendly landscapes when and where bees can most use them.
“Bees, like most species, need a healthy, diverse habitat for their foraging diet,” said Peter Berthelsen, a coalition member and director of habitat partnerships for Pheasants Forever.
Nutrition requirements vary regionally, so the coalition will focus on foraging needs in the agricultural lands of the Upper Midwest and then move to other parts of the country. The group also will encourage the development of supplemental nutrition options and the planting of bee-friendly cover crops.
Under crop pest management, the group wants to accelerate the adoption of the best known crop pest management practices.
Gregory Sekulic, agronomy specialist at Canola Council of Canada, said the coalition will promote crop- and product-specific practices that manage agricultural pests while ensuring the health of pollinators.
In its outreach, the group will promote understanding across stakeholders and emphasize the need for collective action.
Two weeks ago, Gilliland went to Castle Rock, Colorado, to attend the winter meeting of the Colorado State Beekeepers Association.
There he heard beekeepers passionately discuss the biggest threats to bees and what to do about them.
Competing interests make agreeing on solutions difficult, he said, as does mistrust among consumers, backyard beekeepers, agribusiness and government agencies. One source of debate is the controversial practice of hauling honeybees around the country to pollinate monocultures where a lack of biodiversity means bees can’t survive naturally.
In the biggest pollination event, about 1.6 million hives arrive in California every February to pollinate almond trees (800,000 acres in 2013) for two weeks, Gilliland said. If honeybees are considered livestock, “it’s the world’s largest movement of livestock.”
Gilliland knows a beekeeper in Florida with about 20,000 hives who criss-crosses the country every year with his bees, going to whichever crop needs them.
“He says, ‘I keep bees by ABCs: almonds, blueberries and cranberries,’” Gilliand said.
However, that beekeeper doesn’t pollinate nearby Florida citrus, Gilliland said, because he doesn’t want to expose his bees to the harsh chemicals used there.
Supporters of organic agriculture say the mass honeybee die-offs can be attributed to pesticide use and monoculture farming.
Meanwhile, “the pesticide people say, ‘It’s not really us. It’s the varroa mites,’” Gilliland said. “A number of people, no question about it, are finger pointing.”
He called the issue complex and said he’s happy the Keystone Center brought together a variety of interests in the coalition.
“Of course, where’s the money coming from?” he said. He hopes funding from large chemical companies doesn’t “give them an inordinate amount of sway.”
Multinational chemical giant Monsanto Co. originally approached the Keystone Center with the idea and initial funding for the coalition.
The company wanted to address honeybee health beyond colony collapse disorder in a collaborative way that incorporates science in decision-making and implements proven and new solutions.
The nonprofit has close ties to the company. The center’s executive committee is co-chaired Jerry Steiner, former Monsanto executive vice president of sustainability and corporate affairs, and Glenn T. Prickett, The Nature Conservancy chief external affairs officer.
Representatives from Monsanto and two similar corporations, DuPont and Dow, sit on the nonprofit’s board of trustees.
As a third-party facilitator, Shapiro said, the Keystone Center supports the coalition but stays independent. She works with the group as a whole to find common interests.
About half of the group’s members are contributing only their time, while the other half have made donations ranging from $250 to $100,000 to cover the coalition’s administrative costs.
Earlier this week, Shapiro visited Washington, D.C., to share the coalition’s vision with the Pollinator Health Task Force, an effort by the USDA and the EPA that was created this summer by President Obama to design a national pollinator health strategy. That federal agency task force is accepting public comments until Monday, Nov. 24.
Now Shapiro will continue working with the coalition to hammer out strategies that fit its priorities, and she expects the group to release more specifics in the next year.
Gilliland said he’s curious to see what more the coalition will do and which other groups and local players it will involve.
“The ideas are great, but how do we make it work?” he said.