Host a team of the International Snow Sculpture Competition
The International Snow Sculpture Competition is looking for hosts. As a host, you will be assigned to a specific snow sculpting team. Hosts are not responsible for lodging or paying for any of their team’s expenses. Throughout the week, hosts visit their teams usually two to three times daily to ask if they need anything and make them feel welcome. Other expectations of hosts include taking your team on a tour of the event site and taking them out for Wednesday night’s dine around program. Hosts would need to be available from Jan. 26 to Feb. 1. Being a host is a great way to establish international relationships that could last a lifetime. There will be an informational meeting next Tuesday, Jan. 6 from 6–8 p.m. For more details, and to RSVP, please email Heather Pease at email@example.com.
Summit Stage extends run time for New Year’s
The Summit Stage is encouraging residents and visitors to stay safe this New Year’s Eve by taking the bus to and from holiday festivities. Summit County’s free public transportation system will operate with extra capacity on Dec. 31 beginning at 8 p.m.
Summit Stage managers will be stationed at key stops throughout the county during the entire evening, dispatching overflow buses as needed on existing routes and schedules. Buses will be on standby at Breckenridge Station at the end of the night to ensure that all passengers traveling out of the town get a ride. Last buses depart from Copper Mountain at 1 a.m., from Keystone’s River Run at 1:25 a.m., from Silverthorne at 1:15 a.m., from Breckenridge at 1:35 a.m. and from Frisco Station (to Breckenridge or Silverthorne) at 1:30 a.m. Buses on most Summit Stage routes run every 30 minutes during the day and once every hour at night. For maps, routes and detailed schedule information, visitwww.summitstage.com, or call 970-668-0999.
New volunteer training class for Swan Center Outreach
Swan Center Outreach is hosting a new volunteer training class this Saturday, Jan. 3 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at their ranch north of Silverthorne. Come join for a day of learning the history of Swan Center Outreach, animal communication and how to feed and care for more than 40 animals. Swan Center Outreach provides leadership and self-awareness programs, with rescued horses, that empower and support youth and adults in the achievement of their life goals.
Christmas tree recycling service offered
Summit County Venture Scout Crew 888 is providing Christmas tree recycling service Jan. 4 and 10. Venture Scout Crew 888 will be picking up Christmas trees from your home and taking them to a recycling center for mulch or use at a community event. Suggested donation is $10. One hundred percent of your donation will be used to support equipment purchases and educational scouting activities. To schedule tree pickup, please visit http://summitcrew888.wix.com/tree, no later than Jan. 9 or call (970) 333-9535 for more information.
Keystone Science School seeks volunteers
Keystone Science School is looking for community volunteers to help facilitate a grant-funded astronomy program being offered to all Summit County fourth-graders and their families. Volunteers will have the chance to work with students in station-based activities and take a tour of the observatory. No previous astronomy knowledge is required. The program will be held on the following dates: Jan. 13, 14, 15, 29 and Feb. 3 and 4. Volunteers will be asked to arrive at Keystone Science School’s campus at 5:45 p.m. and stay until 9 p.m., dinner and coffee will be provided. For more information or to sign up for a date, please contact Kristina Horton at (970) 468-2098 or email KHorton@KeystoneScienceSchool.org.
Elks Lodge fundraiser breakfast supports local Girl Scouts
Sunday, Jan. 11 from 9 a.m. to noon, Girl Scout Troop #4061 would like to invite the community for a breakfast fundraiser at the Elks Lodge #2561 located at 1321 Blue River Parkway in Silverthorne. Enjoy a delicious all-you-can-eat breakfast of eggs, biscuits and gravy, potatoes, and the best bacon in town. Tickets are only $10 pre-purchased or $12 at the door. Children under 12 are $5. There will be cookies available to taste, and Girl Scout cookie sales will begin on Feb. 8. To purchase tickets, please contact Joan Jardon at firstname.lastname@example.org or (970) 406-0778 or Sue Moran at email@example.com.
Summit County Cares supports locals in need
Please help the Summit County Cares holiday fundraiser reach $50,000 by Dec. 31. One hundred percent of donations are used to help locals facing eviction, disconnection of heat or difficulty paying for medical care. This is Summit County’s largest emergency assistance fund, and last year it helped more than 700 children and individuals in crisis. Donations accepted through The Summit Foundation’s Summit County Cares fund. SummitFoundation.org.
Shovel for Summit seniors
Summit County Seniors are looking for help with snow shoveling. If you are interested in doing some shoveling this winter for local seniors, please contact Valerie at (970) 668-2941 or the front desk at (970) 668-2940.
Volunteer with Breckenridge Backstage Theatre
The 41st season is here with an exciting array of theatrical presentations. If you love live theater, support the artistic endeavors of amazingly talented folk, can occasionally wield a hammer, saw, or paintbrush and enjoy the camaraderie and fun of working the box office, come join an enthusiastic group of dedicated theater volunteers. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Romp to Stomp seeks volunteers
Tubbs Romp to Stomp Out Breast Cancer Snowshoe Series seeks volunteers. It’s Romp to Stomp time on Saturday, March 7, 2015, at the Frisco Nordic Center. The Tubbs Romp to Stomp benefits Susan G. Komen® Colorado. Volunteers are needed for several positions the week prior, Friday night’s Pink Party and all day Saturday for the event. Save the date and please reply ASAP. Please contact Melissa if you are interested at email@example.com or register athttp://tubbsromptostomp.com/co/volunteer. Stomping out breast cancer one snowshoe step at a time
When the afternoon work break ends at Saratoga Forest Management, an earsplitting ruckus resumes as dozens of sawmill workers return to their posts. Inside the two-story facility, timber is debarked, sawed, sorted and sent to dry in a kiln. By day’s end, the mill will crank out 300,000 board feet of premium studs — enough framing lumber for about 20 average-sized American houses. Not bad for a business that was sitting idle 18 months ago.
All the lumber produced here comes from pine-beetle-killed or infected lodgepole pine and Engelmann spruce, with many studs carrying the distinctive blue stain of beetle damage. Saratoga, a small southern Wyoming town of fewer than 1,700, sits in the midst of the state’s most severe pine-beetle outbreak, says Clint Georg, who reopened the mill with partners in January 2013 after a 10-year lull.
The Saratoga mill and another recently restarted stud mill in Montrose, Colorado, are reviving the Rocky Mountain region’s wood-products industry. Both use beetle-killed wood to produce lumber. The byproducts, like sawdust and wood chips, are used by other businesses to make stove pellets, building materials and other goods. Other scraps go to a biomass power plant to produce electricity. Together, these industries are putting beetle-killed trees to use, perhaps reducing forest fire risks in the process. Yet the mills remain hampered by a lack of raw materials.
The Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Region, which includes Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and most of South Dakota and Wyoming, now sells far fewer board-feet than it once did, as the agency emphasizes new-era forestry that relies less on logging the biggest trees. But it’s begun pursuing “stewardship contracts” in beetle-infected areas, where contractors harvest some big trees but also thin smaller-diameter trees and brush to reduce fire danger, especially around campgrounds and roadsides. That program is supporting new jobs in the woods and sending some timber to the Saratoga and Montrose mills.
But Georg and others say the contracts aren’t clearing large-enough stands of dead and dying trees; the stud mills, lacking enough timber, can’t run at full capacity. They need logs and timber sales to stay afloat, Georg says, and the businesses using the byproducts need the mills.
With wood trickling in instead of flowing, Georg and others are worried that the uptick in their business may not last. Neither the industry nor the agency has quite figured out how to restore forest health while guaranteeing a steady flow of timber.
“This shortfall cuts across companies regardless of their size or products,” says Tom Troxel, executive director of the Intermountain Forest Association, which represents industry in the three states, “and it threatens the resurgent industry.”
When the beetles kicked into high gear last decade, the Saratoga mill was shuttered. Georg blames the closure partly on pressure from environmentalists, saying the reduction of logging in the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies and a rise in timber-sale lawsuits reverberated throughout the West. Supplies from national forests dwindled, so wood-products manufacturers turned to international markets. Timber sale volumes in the Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Region were, until recently, roughly one-third of the amount harvested in the 1980s and early ’90s. After a 1999 fire, the Saratoga mill never reopened. Some smaller mills in the region, boosted by timber sales, boomed during the housing run of the mid-2000s, but busted with the recession. Wyoming had 34 operating sawmills in 1983 and 21 in 2005; today, there are only a dozen.
When lumber prices and home construction rose again, however, Georg and his partners — eying Wyoming’s huge supply of beetle-kill — decided to reopen the Saratoga mill and upgrade its equipment. Today, the mill, which produces over 200 tons of chips and sawdust daily, supports local businesses that manufacture stove pellets, animal bedding and other products. Some of the sawdust and chips supplies the new biomass power plant in Gypsum, Colorado, the state’s first, which produces electricity for thousands of homes.
“A sawmill is the only thing that can economically operate at a landscape scale for forest health,” says Georg, “and it allows other industries to thrive off the byproducts.” The mill alone provides 100 onsite jobs and another 50 for contract truckers and drivers — and if it ran multiple shifts, those numbers would nearly double. Saratoga, Montrose and many other regional mills, though, currently can run only a single shift each day. The national forests in South Dakota, Wyoming and Colorado meet just two-thirds of the industry’s regional capacity.
Annual timber sales are slowly increasing in the Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Region as industry capacity rebounds, but the totals represent less than 1 percent of the region’s timber base, says Norm Birtcher, resource forester at Montrose Forest Products. Once dead trees rot or topple during blowdowns, they become harder and more expensive to harvest and can lose their timber value. But if they’re not removed, they increase fire risks, says Birtcher, adding: “If we don’t manage it, Mother Nature will.”
Some forest ecologists question whether logging is the best way to manage the beetle-kill crisis or reduce fire risk. Recent research suggests beetle outbreaks don’t affect the likelihood of wildfires, and that logging can’t overcome the impacts of climate change. A 2013 analysis from Northern Arizona University concluded that thinning and clearing overcrowded stands can reduce the frequency and severity of large wildfires, however.
To that end, the Forest Service has implemented stewardship contracts to balance the costs of thinning low-value wood and removing biomass with the payout from harvesting larger trees. Brian Kittler of the Pinchot Institute for Conservation, a forest-policy think tank, calls stewardship contracts “one of those quiet policy wins. It’s the right kind of tool for a lot of ecological objectives,” since the long-term deals provide benefits to both industry and the national forests.
The four 10-year stewardship contracts currently in place in Colorado and Wyoming treat about 7,300 acres on several national forests. They give successful bidders time to carry out projects in unhealthy or burned-over areas and offer enough stability to develop financing and markets, says Rick Cooksey, director of state, private and tribal forestry programs for the Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Region.
Two of the four contracts went to West Range Reclamation, based in Hotchkiss, Colorado, which daily sends 12 truckloads of wood chips from the White River National Forest to the Gypsum biomass plant. West Range’s other stewardship contract along Colorado’s Front Range sends some timber to the Saratoga mill and sustains West Range’s own smaller mill in Eaton, Colorado, as well as a new doweling plant in Laramie, Wyoming, and businesses that manufacture landscaping mulch and other wood products.
Georg and others, including Chuck Dennis, West Range’s chief forester, believe the program and other timber sales still need to expand, however. “There’s a role for stewardship contracts,” Georg says. But they’re small-scale efforts, and industry proponents want bigger projects that thin more forests and also produce more blue-stained timber for the housing market.
The Forest Service is “trending in the right direction,” says Jacqueline Buchanan, the agency’s Rocky Mountain Region director of renewable resources. The regional management budget has increased and includes some landscape-scale restoration projects in southwestern Colorado and South Dakota’s Black Hills. Agency grants also support new bio-energy development projects and businesses. But, Buchanan adds, the Forest Service has a long list of responsibilities, including wildlife habitat protection and recreation management to balance against timber harvest.
Back at Saratoga, Clint Georg believes his business and others can play a role in forest management while also re-establishing the industry. But as the day shift nears an end, he laments that Saratoga still lacks a night shift — and won’t have one unless it gets more logs. “Nobody in this industry should feel too secure,” Georg says.
DJ Rudeboi plays your favorite top-40 hits at the Snake River Saloon in Keystone on Thursday, Jan. 1. Doors open at 4 p.m., and the music starts at 9:30. Call (970) 468-2788 for more information.
Thursday, Jan. 1, is open mic night with Arnie J. Green at the Dillon Dam Brewery. Experienced local musicians age 21 and older are invited to stop by and session with Green, playing funk, rock, R&B and other creative tunes. The jam starts at 9:30 p.m., and there’s no cover. Visitwww.dambrewery.com for more information.
Operation Don’t Drink & Drive on New Year’s Eve
On Wednesday, Dec. 31, the Breckenridge Free Ride Transit System will be offering special late-night service. All scheduled routes will shut down as normal at 11:45 p.m. This is the 12th year that the Breckenridge Free Ride has conducted Operation Do Not Drink and Drive on New Year’s Eve.
Starting at midnight, there will be a bus running up and down Main Street to pick up passengers at the Free Ride bus stops. This bus will take people to Breckenridge Station, where they will be placed on a directional bus that will deliver them to any Free Ride bus stop within the town of Breckenridge. This special late-night service is return service only. No pick-ups will be made at individual bus stops once the scheduled service has stopped for the night, except for Main Street. The last bus will depart Breckenridge Station promptly at 2 a.m.
The Free Ride will have a beverage ban in place for New Year’s Eve. No beverage containers of any kind will be permitted on board after 6 p.m. for the holiday. This will speed up the boarding process for everyone. Federal transit regulations and local ordinance both prohibit alcohol onboard the buses or at bus stops. Persons with open containers of alcohol will be denied boarding. This will be strictly enforced.
For more information and other tips on how to make your holiday safe and enjoyable, visitwww.breckfreeride.com.
Apres celebrates one-year anniversary in Breckenridge
Apres Handcrafted Libations will celebrate its one-year anniversary on Sunday, Jan. 4, and is hosting a countdown to the big day, with drink specials and more. On Wednesday, Dec. 31, New Year’s Eve, the bar will throw a Bubbles and Beer party, with special champagne cocktails and free swag. The festivities continue Thursday, Jan. 1, with a New Year, New Beer promotion, where Apres will tap several beers that are new to the bar and new to Breckenridge.
On Friday, Jan. 2, head to Apres for Firkin Friday, the first one of 2015, with a tapping of Epic’s Mid-Mountain Ale brewed with Chinook hops, followed by Sip Saturday on Jan. 3, with Colorado beer flights for $10 and Colorado whiskey flights for $15. The series culminates on Sunday, Jan. 4, with the Apres Birthday Bash, with $4 specials and free cupcakes while they last.
Silverthorne’s ice rink, warming hut at North Pond Park now open
The town of Silverthorne North Pond Park Ice Rink is officially open for the season. North Pond Park is located directly across the street from the Silverthorne Elementary School at Hamilton Creek Road and State Highway 9.
Free amenities include a warming hut, restrooms, parking and access to some of the best true pond skating in Summit County. Bring your own skates, hot chocolate and hockey sticks, and play all day. Non-skaters can view the rink while staying warm inside the heated warming hut or relax on the dock while watching the fun. Skating is available from dawn to dusk, and the warming hut is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Upcoming events at North Pond include Twilight Skate, complete with warm chili and moon pies around the fire pit on Sunday, Jan. 25, and the Colorado Pond Hockey Tournament on the weekend of Saturday, Feb. 14.
The North Pond ice is plowed and maintained by Silverthorne’s Public Works Department as time allows, with street and sidewalk maintenance being the town’s first priority. For more information or to register for events, call the Recreation Center at (970) 262-7370 or visit www.silverthorne.org.
Keystone Resort donates coats and food to community
Keystone recently donated coats and nonperishable food items to local families in need through the Family and Intercultural Resource Center, a nonprofit working with families and individuals in Summit County.
Keystone’s Alpenglow Stube and Der Fondue Chessel, signature restaurants located atop North Peak, hosted their annual coat drive Friday, Dec. 12, and Saturday, Dec. 13, and collected 156 coats to be donated to FIRC for local families in need. Guests received a 50 percent discount on their check at either restaurant when donating a coat.
The Keystone Lodge and Spa collected 450 nonperishable food items during its fall collection, far surpassing its goal of 300 items. The Keystone Lodge and Spa has donated more than 1,000 nonperishable items to the FIRC this year via seasonal food drives. Patrons donating items received discounts on select spa services.
The New Year is quickly approaching, and Summit County towns, resorts and restaurants are pulling out all the stops with fireworks, parties, elegant dinners and more. Many restaurant seatings fill up quickly, and most require reservations, so make your plans now to spend your New Year’s Eve in style.
• Ring in 2015 with your friends and family at Black Mountain Lodge at Arapahoe Basin on Wednesday, Dec. 31. Chef Christopher Rybak will prepare a special meal in the vein of the Moonlight Dinner Series, and this dinner falls on the week of the full moon. Take the lift to mid-mountain, eat an incredible four-course meal, and celebrate the New Year with New York at 10 p.m. (so you have time to get home before midnight). Call Guest Services to inquire about availability at (888) 272-7246. For more information, visitwww.arapahoebasin.com/dinners.
• Ring in the New Year in Breckenridge on Wednesday, Dec. 31. Kids ages 5 to 13 can register for the glowworm parade that will take place on Peak 9. Registration starts at 5 p.m. at the Beaver Run Ski and Ride School, and the parade will begin at 5:45 p.m. Kids will ski down Peak 9 in a long formation with glow sticks, giving the appearance of a glowworm. Participants must be able to turn and stop on green terrain.
At 6 p.m. skiers and boarders from the Breckenridge Ski Resort continue the evening with a dazzling luminary procession, parading from the top of Peak 9. The best views of this parade are from anywhere you can see Peak 9. At 9 p.m., catch the fireworks display over Peak 9. With clear skies, these fireworks can be seen from most locations in downtown Breckenridge. Visitwww.townofbreckenridge.com for more information.
• The newly renovated Lodge at Breckenridge and Traverse Restaurant & Bar (112 Overlook Drive, (970) 453-9300) welcome 2015 with a luxurious five-course plated dinner sure to send off 2014 in style. Two seatings are available, one at 6 p.m. and one at 9 p.m. The 6 p.m. seating is $99, plus tax and gratuity, for a five-course meal, glass of champagne and party favors. The 9 p.m. seating is $119 and includes the same features. Reservations are required; call (970) 453-9300 to claim your spot today. Learn more at www.lodgeatbreckenridge.com.
• The Warming Hut (207 N. Main St., (970) 389-3104) will be offering a choice of dining specials for New Year’s Eve. Choose either the beef tenderloin with shrimp and crab, garlic mashed potatoes and a seasonal vegetable or grilled salmon with lemon crème sauce atop Parmesan risotto with a seasonal vegetable.
• The MotherLoaded Tavern (103 S. Main St., (970) 453-2572) is bringing Stoney Live to the stage to ring in the New Year on Wednesday, Dec. 31. From Stillwater, Oklahoma, Justin Stone rocks red-dirt music like no other. Covering everything from country music to solid rock hits of the ’80s and ’90s, Stoney Live brings people to their feet and causes spontaneous dancing on the tables. The music starts at 10 p.m., and there’s a $10 cover. For more information, visit www.motherloadedtavern.com.
• Apres Handcrafted Libations (130 S. Main St.) is counting down to its one-year anniversary, starting with Bubbles and Beer on New Year’s Eve. The evening will include special champagne cocktails and free swag, with specials each of the following nights leading up to the anniversary on Sunday, Jan. 4. Visit www.apreslibations.com for more information.
• Dado Sa Quartet will play free live Brazilian jazz at Blue River Bistro (305 N. Main St., (970) 453-6974) in Breckenridge on Wednesday, Dec. 31. The music runs from 5 to 10 p.m., and there’s no cover. Visit http://blueriverbistro.com/livemusic/calendar.aspx for more information.
• Copper Mountain’s 12 Days of Copper wraps up with a New Years Eve Celebration on Wednesday, Dec. 31. Check out the USASA Rocky Mountain Series Rail Jam at 4:30 p.m., Kid’s Glow-Stick Pageant and Torchlight Parade at 6 or fireworks in Burning Stones Plaza at 10 p.m., as well as specials and deals at retailers around Copper and happy hour specials at each resort restaurant and bar. Visit www.coppercolorado.com for more details on 12 Days of Copper deals or the following restaurant specials for New Year’s Eve.
• CB Grille (910 Copper Road, (970) 968-3113) is offering a four-course dinner for $100 for New Year’s Eve. Start with appetizers ranging from crispy calamari to a Colorado cheese board and soup or salad, followed by one of 10 entrée choices — from the steak fan, Midwest Black Angus Grilled Beef Tenderloin, to the vegetarian, Organic Quinoa and Grilled Acorn Squash — and wrapped up with dessert. Seatings are available from 5 to 9 p.m.
• Spend New Year’s Eve at Endo’s Adrenaline Bar & Grill (209 Ten Mile Circle, (970) 968-3000), with food and drink specials and swag giveaways. The restaurant will be serving food until 11 p.m., with the bar open until 1 a.m. and a free champagne toast at midnight.
• The theme for New Year’s Eve at Jack’s Bar (184 Copper Road, (970) 968-2318) is “Bring Your Bling,” with a free champagne toast and drink specials all night. The bar is open from 9 a.m. to midnight, with swag giveaways, free live music from Lefty Lucy from 9 p.m. to midnight and fireworks off the deck at 10 p.m.
• JJ’s Rocky Mountain Tavern (102 Wheeler Circle, (970) 968-3062) is seating at 5, 7 and 9 p.m. New Year’s Eve, with dinner specials including Surf & Turf with Colorado all natural Angus beef tenderloin filet and pan seared sea scallops for $34, Prime Rib for $26 or Green Curried Sea Scallops for $28, each with a choice of soup or salad. The restaurant also will have live music from Moe Dixon from 10 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
• Storm King Lounge (0178 Copper Circle, (970) 968-2318, ext. 44152) is open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. New Year’s Eve, with drink specials and a free champagne toast at midnight. The restaurant will also have sushi roll specials, including the Smokin’ Pear with smoked hamachi sashimi, yucca chips, white soy, craisins and Asian pear for $22 and the Surf & Turf Roll, with seared yellow fin tuna, gobo, cucumber, avocado, japapene ponzu and nitume for $22. Stick around for open mic night from 10 p.m. to midnight.
• The Lake Dillon Theatre Company (176 Lake Dillon Drive, (970) 513-9386) will host its second-annual New York New Year’s Eve celebration at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 31, counting down to New York’s New Year’s at 10 p.m. Mountain Time. Limited to only 60 guests, New York New Year’s Eve includes an intimate, classy cabaret performance featuring New York artist Melanie Beck, a catered gourmet dinner by Gilchrist Catering, open bar, elegant dancing, celebratory countdown and many other special surprises. Tickets are $200 for premiere seating, and a portion of ticket prices is a tax-deductible donation to the LDTC. Visit www.lakedillontheatre.org for more information or tickets.
• The Dillon Dam Brewery welcomes Wonderlic for its final show of the year on Wednesday, Dec. 31. Celebrate the New Year with a high-energy show, champagne toast at midnight and party favors. Wonderlic performs original compositions and covers that span funk, bluegrass and jazz, with an eight-string electric mandolin, guitar, drums and bass. The festivities start at 9:30 p.m., and there’s a $12 cover, which includes champagne and a party favor, or come early for New Year’s Eve a la carte dinner specials from 5 to 10 p.m., including Avocado Shrimp Salad appetizer, Bison Prime Rib or Seared Scallops entrees and Winter Warmer Bread Pudding, and avoid the cover charge. Visitwww.dambrewery.com for more information.
• In addition to its traditional dinner menu, Bagalis (320 E. Main St., (970) 668-0601) will be serving special four- and six-course dinner options on New Year’s Eve. The four-course option ($65 per person without wines or $85 with wine pairings) will include a salad, house-made soup, entrée and desert, while the six-course ($90 per person without wines or $120 with wine pairings) will add an appetizer, including a delicious foie gras as an option, and a light course to revive the palate before desert.
• Eminence Ensemble will rock the house for New Year’s Eve at The Barkley Ballroom (610 Main St., (970) 708-7042). Eminence Ensemble is a five-piece progressive electronic rock group based out of Boulder. Since forming in 2008, the Summit High School graduates have been mesmerizing the Colorado music scene through their eloquent, inventive composition style and captivating, explosive performances, elegantly fusing elements of jazz, rock, funk, classical, hip-hop, reggae and electronica. Doors open for the 21-and-older show at 8:30 p.m., with a $5 cover that includes a champagne toast at midnight. Visit www.barkleyballroom.com for more information.
• Warren Station at Keystone (164 Ida Belle Drive, (970) 423-8997) is in hot pursuit of an epic New Year with the future of acoustic music. Head for the Hills, a “quintessential Colorado band,” fuels the ballroom with its cutting-edge strings and unique indie-bluegrass sound. Add a little hip-hop, funk and a rocking crowd, and the mountains have never sounded so good on New Year’s Eve. Free party favors while supplies last. Doors open at 8:30 p.m., and the music starts at 9. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 the day of the show. Visit www.warrenstation.com for more information.
• Modern country-rock band Swerve will take the stage at the Snake River Saloon (23074 U.S. Highway 6, (970) 468-2788) on Wednesday, Dec. 31. Swerve is a professional, working cover band based in Denver. The band performs rock, classic rock and modern country, as well as a variety of other material and has performed on large and small stages, at bars, festivals and private events. Swerve’s stage show and set list are diverse enough to entertain people of all ages and backgrounds. Doors open at 4 p.m., and the music starts at 9:30.
• The Goat Soup & Whiskey Tavern (22954 U.S. Highway 6, (970) 513-9344) will ring in the New Year with Dead Phish Orchestra. Celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Grateful Dead and 30th anniversary of Phish together in one band experience. There will be giveaways, door prizes and a champagne toast at midnight. The Dead Phish Orchestra is a quartet of musicians who, above all, are close friends who have played together for many years. The music starts at 9 p.m., and there’s a $10 cover. Visit www.soupandwhiskey.com for more information.
• The Swing Crew continues its winter stand at Keystone’s Last Lift Bar in the Mountain House Base Area, with a New Year’s Eve après show. Fun is the bottom line with this interactive, acoustic band. The shows feature a wide variety of music, audience participation, jokes, stunts, cornball humor and toasts. The free music runs from 3 to 7 p.m. Visit www.facebook.com/theswingcrew for more information.
• Bring in the New Year at Keystone Resort, with kids activities starting at 3 p.m., including free cookie decorating downstairs at the Adventure Center from 5 to 7 p.m. At 6:30 p.m., watch the Torch Light Parade on Dercum Mountain, visible from River Run Village, followed by firework shows in Lakeside Village at 9 p.m. Visit www.keystoneresort.com for more details, including full menus for the New Year’s Eve parties at Keystone’s restaurants and bars, listed below.
• The Keystone Lodge & Spa Terrace (22010 U.S. Highway 6, (970) 496-2316) will offer a bird’s eye view of Keystone’s fireworks show, hand-passed hors devours, New Year’s Eve party favors and a champagne toast at 9 p.m. The party runs from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m., with a $50 cover charge.
• Following the fireworks, the Adventure Center in Lakeside Village will host live music with the Moses Jones Band downstairs starting at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance or $20 at the door, which includes a champagne toast, and the party is for those 21 and older only with valid ID.
• Ski Tip Lodge (764 Montezuma Road, (800) 354-4386) is offering a fixed, five-course menu for $125 per person on New Year’s Eve. Come experience the food and thoughtful service that continues to get rave reviews, starting with a choice of soup, followed by an appetizer or salad, champagne-orchid intermezzo and entrees ranging from Bacon Wrapped Petite Filet and Caramelized Sea Scallop to Panée of Gulf Coast Grouper. The chef’s choice dessert selection is revealed upon completion of your chosen entrée.
• The Alpenglow Stube (100 Dercum Square, (800) 354-4386) invites you to ring in the New Year at 11,444 feet with live jazz entertainment and a special six-course pre-fixe menu. The meal starts with an amuse of Bay Scallop Ceviche, followed by a choice of appetizer, then soup or salad and a sorbet intermezzo and is rounded out with a choice of entrée and Valhrona Chocolate Molten or Champagne Crème Brulee for dessert. The cost is $125 for adults or $65 for children.
• The New Year’s Eve celebration at Der Fondue Chessel (100 Dercum Square, (800) 354-4386) includes champagne and music by The Polka Chops. The meal starts with Gruyere and Emmental cheese fondue, followed by Caesar salad and a Raclette course and topped off with chocolate fondue for dessert. The dinner is $79 per adult, $39.50 for children ages 6 to 12, and children 5 and younger are free.
• The Edgewater Café (22101 U.S. Highway 6, (800) 354-4386), a casual family café offering a cozy view of ice skaters in the winter, is serving a special menu on New Year’s Eve, with seatings from 5 to 8 p.m. The meal includes antipasti, salad bar and breadbasket, pasta station, choice of entrée and pastry chef Ned Archibald’s desserts and is $27.95 for adults or $12.95 for children.
• Keystone Ranch Restaurant (1239 Keystone Ranch Road, (800) 354-4386) is offering a special six-course menu for New Year’s Eve. The meal includes champagne and is $125 per person. Call for menu details.
On a snowy Friday in December, a crowd formed at the top of the Timberline lift at Copper Mountain Resort as more than a dozen people gathered around two men wearing green forest ranger jackets.
The rangers, Daryl Roepke and Larry “Bear” Astor, are two of the most experienced guides with the Ski With A Ranger program, put on by volunteers through Friends of the Dillon Ranger District.
The nonprofit promotes environmental stewardship in Summit County through partnerships, volunteer service, education and support of the local White River National Forest district.
On skis, the duo led the group down a run, stopping five or six times to share a wealth of knowledge.
While Copper is in national forest, Roepke said, the land on the other side of Interstate 70 is protected even further as a designated wilderness area. That means no motorized vehicles are allowed, not even wheelbarrows.
Since volunteers helping the Forest Service can’t use chainsaws in wilderness areas, he asked the group what they use to cut down trees.
“Lots of beavers,” one participant said, laughing.
Friday, Dec. 19, marked the beginning of the Ski With A Ranger program’s sixth season, and Roepke and Astor have been giving the free hour-long tours since the start.
This year, the tours meet Fridays at 11 a.m. at Breckenridge Ski Resort (top of Independence Chair on Peak 7), Keystone Resort (top of the gondola) and Copper Mountain Resort (top of Timberline).
Due to high demand, Copper does a second tour every week on Saturdays at 11 a.m. The program has been growing each year, and more than 500 people participated in the 2012-13 season.
Participants must have lift passes, proper equipment and at least intermediate skiing or riding abilities. Most tours have five to 10 participants, though sometimes the groups swell to more than 30 people.
Roepke, 67, works in mountain safety at Copper and got involved with FDRD about seven years ago when he moved to Summit County.
He likes to ski the run a couple of times before each tour to look for animal tracks.
“Everybody was around last night,” he told the group Friday. He saw fox tracks, coyote prints and an ermine, a small white member of the weasel family.
The rangers brought the group to a set of snowshoe hare tracks and explained that the hare’s large hind legs land in front of its forelegs every time it hops. That pattern helps humans tell which way the animal was going.
Roepke passed around photos of lynx, bobcat, moose, elk, mountain lion and other animals as well as images of their tracks and scat.
“Every tour is a little different,” he said, as guides focus on what interests them, be it ecology, geology or the history of miners, Native Americans and early ski industry leaders.
“We like the forest and the animals,” Roepke said of his tours with Astor.
Even tours led by the same guides at the same resort are different, he added, as rangers adjust the information they give based on audience interest.
BEETLES, SNOWFLAKES AND TREE WELLS
The tour Friday touched on the recent pine beetle epidemic, caused by a beetle the size of a grain of rice, and local efforts to address the beetle’s impacts.
At another stop, Astor explained the finer points of snowflakes.
The largest snowflake ever recorded was 15 inches across, and their characteristic six sides come from the hexagonal shape of layers of water molecules. Snow in Colorado is such good quality, he said, because of a dominating type of snowflake called stellar dendrite.
Roepke also talked about how friendly snow can turn into an enemy because of sublimation, that is, when a solid skips the liquid stage and becomes a gas.
That happens around the warm trunks of trees creating tree wells, which can seem like bottomless pits.
“You could really nosedive down deeply, and it’s hard to get out,” he said, explaining how a friend fell in face first and was buried up to her skis.
Luckily, people nearby got her out quickly, and she was fine.
At the end of the tour, the rangers gave a quiz with candy prizes.
Roepke said after five years of tours he still enjoys seeing how much people appreciate learning about where they’re skiing.
“This is a whole different kind of adventure. For years, I skied through this forest and didn’t have a clue what I was looking at,” he said.
Roepke recalled a couple from Bosnia and Herzegovina who enjoyed the tour so much they did it three years in a row. He watched the couple’s daughter grow from 6 years old to 8 and said she would remind them to tell the group her favorite fun facts.
“Tell them about the pinecones,” Roepke said she would say.
People who take the tours are mostly vacationers from around the U.S. and abroad, though locals and other Coloradans regularly enjoy them as well.
On Friday, one man turned to Gail Shears, board president of Friends of the Dillon Ranger District, after a stop and commented about how surprised he was by how much he was learning on the tour.
“I’ve skied here however many hundreds of times, and I’ve never done it,” he said.
Even though she had taken the tours before, Shears said, she always learns something new. “These guys know so much.”
For more information about the Ski With A Ranger tours and Friends of the Dillon Ranger District, visit fdrd.org.