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Home Explore Telluride Magazine Summer/Fall 2022

Telluride Magazine Summer/Fall 2022

Published by deb, 2022-06-03 03:08:33

Description: King of Stoke, Tree Huggers, As the Pelton Wheel Turns, Bring Back the Beaver, and fiction by Nina de Gramont.


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16 • SUMMER/FALL 2022 CONTENTS FEATURES ESSAYS DEPARTMENTS 42 TREE HUGGERS 34 TO STRAVA OR NOT TO STRAVA? 19  WITHIN Telluride Arborist celebrates twenty years The mountain-athlete subculture Origin Story of climbing (and caring for) trees and the sports social media app By Christina Callicott By Jesse James McTigue 20 EVENTS The where and when 46 AS THE PELTON WHEEL TURNS 38 WHERE STORIES ARE LAID this season Bridal Veil Hydropower Plant still offline A rumination on rock art after 2016 mishap By Craig Childs 22 LOCAL FLAVOR By Samantha Tisdel Wright Putting Bread on the Table 58 M Y MISTAH MAPLES 52 K ING OF STOKE AND THE DRUMS OF HOME 24  MOUNTAIN HEALTH Craig Wasserman teaches skateboarding The healing power of music Migraines and Altitude and life skills to Telluride youth By Maple Andrew Taylor By Sarah Lavender Smith 26  ASK JOCK Athletic advice from 76 HISTORY: ALL IN THE FAMILY our mountain guru The Telluride Film Festival During its 4th Decade By Paul O’Rourke 28 INSIDE ART A Space to Create 86 FICTION: HERE LIES SISTER MARY From Nina de Gramont’s The Christie Affair 30 ENVIRONMENT Illustrations by Stephanie Morgan Rogers Better Buildings 62 TELLURIDE FACES KOTO DJs: Norman Squier, Deb Gesmundo, Jay Raible 68 INNOVATION Battling Cancer 70 NATURE NOTES Bring Back the Beaver 98 TELLURIDE TURNS Lewis Mill, School Board Support, Felony Possession 106  COLOR BY NUMBERS Index of facts and figures 108 L AST LOOK Learning Curves Photo by Melissa Plantz SUMMER/FALL 2022

TELLURIDE REALTY, LLC Telluride’s local real estate company since 1970 STACY TICSAY JACK WESSON MARK SIMPSON brings her strong communication skills, integrity, work moved to Telluride in 1989. For 25 years, joined by is passionate about Real Estate. He has presided ethic and love for the Telluride region to every real his wife, Emily, he has managed the family businesses; over more than 100 transactions, bought and sold estate transaction. “I was getting displaced because real estate, architecture, and development. Jack’s many of his own properties, and understands the my landlord had to sell the building where I was renting, priorities lie not only with his work but also more complexity and uniqueness of each deal. He truly so I asked Stacy for help. I’m so glad I did, because importantly with his family, including three daughters. cares about his clients and will work hard to get them she found a way for me to stay in Telluride! She never In his spare time Jack volunteers and enjoys life in the best possible results, without sacrificing honesty pressured me to buy, but she gave me a few different Telluride. Jack has participated in over a decade of or integrity. “Mark was awesome in helping us find options and told me that I’d know when I was ready public service, including positions on town and county our dream home for a great price! He acted quickly to to become a homeowner. She ended up finding me boards, as well as provided pro bono architecture and make sure we got our offer in and helped us through my perfect home, which I didn’t think would happen real estate services for local non-profit organizations. each step of the closing process with calm clarity.” because Telluride is not cheap. I cannot recommend Away from the desk, Mark cherishes time with his Stacy enough—she’s absolutely wonderful and she young family and can be seen flying his paraglider really cares about the working class of Telluride.” thousands of feet above Telluride. MICHAEL SAFTLER SCOTT ELKINS has lived in Telluride since 1974. He has developed has over 20 years of experience in Telluride with Real multiple subdivisions including the Promontories, Estate, Development, Building, and Renovating. His Lazy Dog Ranch, and the High Noon Ranches. Michael current projects expand to the surrounding region of brings much experience, local knowledge and Ouray, Ridgway and Montrose. Scott specializes in enthusiasm to his career as a real estate professional. 1031’s and complex Opportunity Zone funds, as well “I chose Telluride Realty because of its impeccable as, Airbnb/short term income rentals. Scott enjoys reputation for integrity and for its long standing “Living the dream” here in Telluride and Southwest position in the community as the longest continuous Colorado with his family. real estate brokerage in the town of Telluride since 1970.” If you would like to conduct your real estate business with a 46 year, and counting, local, Michael is at your service. TELLURIDEREALTY.COM 109 EAST MAIN STREET #2 • TELLURIDE • 970.728.4000

18 • SUMMER/FALL 2022 Magazine Telluride Magazine is produced by Telluride Publishing LLC, Contributors TIM JOHNSON a locally owned and operated company. Tim Johnson (“My Mistah Maples,” p. 58) is a local artist, videographer, and musician. He teaches music at the PUBLISHER Rock and Roll Academy and plays in the band Bolonium. TELLURIDE PUBLISHING LLC He combines his artistic skills and video editing chops to create animation, music videos, and other types of video ~~~ content for various organizations. He says he is grateful for the Telluride community for inspiring him and sustaining ADVERTISING EXECUTIVE him, allowing him to do work he is passionate about. JENNY PAGE ~~~ SAMANTHA TISDEL WRIGHT EDITOR Samantha Tisdel Wright (“As the Pelton Wheel Turns,” DEB DION KEES p. 46) is an award-winning independent journalist and freelance writer who lives and writes in Silverton. She has ~~~ worked for publications across southwestern Colorado as a reporter, columnist, contributor, and editor. Through CREATIVE DIRECTOR her writing, she seeks to evoke the raw beauty, grit, KRISTAL FRANKLIN complexity, and perplexity of this place and its people, from the frothy blue ice falls of the Ouray Ice Park to the ~~~ deepest, darkest bowels of the historic mines that plumb the San Juan Mountains. You can read more of her work at DISTRIBUTION TELLURIDE DELIVERS ~~~ WEB ADMINISTRATOR SUSAN HAYSE ~~~ CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Christina Callicott, Craig Childs, Nina de Gramont, Deanna Drew, Matt Hoisch, Karen Toepfer James, Jesse James McTigue, Paul O’Rourke, Emily Shoff, Sarah Lavender Smith, Maple Andrew Taylor, Lance Waring, Lorraine Weissman, Samantha Tisdel Wright ~~~ CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS & ILLUSTRATORS Ryan Bonneau, Tim Johnson, Melanie Kent, Matt Kroll, Dave Manley, Michael Mowery, Melissa Plantz, Stephanie Morgan Rogers, Brett Schreckengost ~~~ WWW.TELLURIDEMAGAZINE.COM Telluride Publishing produces the San Juan Skyway Visitor Guide and Telluride Magazine. Current and past issues are available on our website.. © 2022 Telluride Publishing For editorial inquiries call 970.708.0060 or email [email protected] For advertising information call 970.729.0913 or email [email protected] The annual subscription rate is $15.95. Cover and contents are fully protected and must not be reproduced in any manner without written permission from the publisher. SUMMER/FALL 2022 NINA DE GRAMONT $4.95 | priceless in Telluride Nina de Gramont (“Here Lies Sister Mary,” p. 86) is a TREE HUGGERS • KING OF STOKE professor of Creative Writing at University of North AS THE PELTON WHEEL TURNS • BRING BACK THE BEAVER Carolina, Wilmington. She is the author of The Last September (Algonquin 2015) as well as several Young Adult ON THE COVER novels. “Here Lies Sister Mary” is excerpted from her 2022 Magic wand: The soap bubble illustration is by Kristal novel The Christie Affair (St. Martin’s) which she dedicates Franklin and the images within are photography by to former Telluride resident Liza Jane Hanson. Melissa Plantz and Ryan Bonneau. DIGITAL PARTNER SUMMER/FALL 2022

Within Origin Story Seems like everybody in town’s got a “Telluride “Sometimes reality is too Christie, the famous mystery author, disappeared story,” the tale of how they first arrived in complex. Stories give it form.” for eleven days in 1926. We excerpted de Gramont’s town. Whether they came here to work in the work in this issue (“Here Lies Mary,” p. 86). mines before the town was a destination resort, —JEAN LUC GODARD pulled up in a VW bus to hear the Grateful Dead Wherever we start our journey, our stories con- play in Town Park, or moved here after college to Even buildings can have a Telluride story, tinue. We learn and grow as we make discoveries spend a season skiing or snowboarding that turned and perhaps none has a background as colorful about science (“Battling Cancer,” p. 68), about into several seasons, Telluride is like a milepost and complicated as the Bridal Veil Hydroelectric ourselves as we reconcile with our pasts (“My marking the beginning of a new journey. Power Plant. Samantha Tisdel Wright chronicles Mistah Maples and the Drums of Home,” p. 58) the latest chapter in the plant’s story, and the acci- and about the world around us (“Bring Back the These origin stories are peppered throughout dent that has left it unable to produce hydropower Beaver,” p. 70). And we often share that journey, this issue. You can read about how the legend- since 2016 (“As the Pelton Wheel Turns,” p. 46). sometimes literally, on social media (“To Strava or ary KOTO DJs Deb Gesmundo, Jay Raible, and Not to Strava?” p. 34). Norman Squier made their way to Telluride and Our ancestors etched and painted their stories on into the studio (Telluride Faces, p. 62), or how rock. You can still find them in this region today, and In the end, all our stories get pieced together, Natalie Fijalkowski and Tyler Schultz met, fell in use your imagination to try and discern the mysteri- like a mosaic. We become part of a much bigger love, and planted the seeds of their family and ous ancient narratives (“Where Stories Are Laid,” p. narrative. Tyler Schultz says one of the things he arboriculture company here (“Tree Huggers,” 38). Sometimes, we document the stories of others. loves about his job is pruning and caring for old p. 42). When Craig Wasserman arrived on the Nina de Gramont created a fictional tale about an trees, preserving their legacy. “It’s exciting to scene, there was just an old wooden ramp for actual event: In her novel The Christie Affair, she think that these trees that I’m working on will be skateboarding; but he engendered a loyal tribe of imagined what might have happened when Agatha seen by people when I’m long gone. And we are skateboarders and lobbied to expand the skate- part of their story.” park into the modern concrete marvel it is today (“King of Stoke,” p. 52). We hope you enjoy reading the stories in this issue, Deb Dion Kees SUMMER/FALL 2022 19

20 • EVENT CALENDAR Calendar of Events THESE ARE SOME OF THE SIGNATURE EVENTS THIS SUMMER AND FALL IN TELLURIDE. For more information about local events, visit,,, and Photos by Ryan Bonneau

MAY JULY The Science of Cocktails SEPTEMBER (Pinhead Institute fundraiser) Mountainfilm in Telluride Telluride Theatre GALA July 16, 2022 Telluride Film Festival May 26–30 (May 31–June 7 July 2, 2022 September 1–5, 2022 online), 2022 Shakespeare in the Park Shakespeare in the Park July 22–23, 2022 KOTO Fall Street Dance July 22–23, 2022 September 10, 2022 JUNE Ride Festival AUGUST Telluride Blues & Telluride Balloon Festival July 6–10, 2022 Brews Festival June 3–5, 2022 KOTO Duck Race September 15–18, 2022 Telluride Art + Architecture August 5, 2022 July 11–17, 2022 Telluride Autumn Classic Wild West Fest Top Chef and Taste of Telluride (née Cars and Colors) June 6–11, 2022 Telluride Americana August 11, 2022 September 23–25, 2022 Music Festival, a benefit for Telluride Bluegrass Festival the Sheridan Opera House Telluride Jazz Festival Original Thinkers Festival June 16–19, 2022 July 14–17, 2022 August 12–14, 2022 September 29–October 2, 2022 Vaudeville The Ah Haa “HAHA” Fundraiser Telluride Mushroom Festival June 23, 2022 July 15–17, 2022 August 17–21, 2022 OCTOBER Telluride Wine Festival Telluride Horror Show June 23–26, 2021 October 14–16, 2022 Telluride Yoga Festival Rocky Horror Picture Show June 23–26, 2022 October 28, 2022 Telluride Arts Summer Bazaar June 24–26, 2022 MusicFest/Telluride Chamber Music June 25–July 3 Telluride Plein Air June 28–July 4, 2022 SUMMER/FALL 2022 21

22 • LOCAL FLAVOR PUTTING BREAD ON THE TABLE Blue Grouse mills local wheat by hand for artisan loaves By Matt Hoisch Bake days begin early for Hannah Rossman. She wakes up around four in the morning and begins baking around five. Bread is out the door by ten. But that’s only three days a week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. “It’s a pretty nice schedule for a bakery,” Rossman said. The bakery in question is Blue Grouse Bread, in Norwood, which Rossman co-owns with her cousin, Ben Rossman. For her, it’s about more than bread. It’s also about the people it connects her with. “Bread is so salt-of-the-earth,” Hannah explained. “Everyone needs their weekly bread loaf, and so you’re sort of nourishing your community.” Blue Grouse, Hannah estimates, bakes about 2,000 sourdough loaves per week in an array of styles: millhouse, rye, spelt, seeded, olive, anad- ama, and baguette to name a few. They use longer fermentation for a more complex flavor, and bake the loves on a stone hearth. The bakery also mills its own whole wheat flour on a custom, eight-inch Meadows stone mill, and sources all of its wheat from Colorado. The millhouse comes from a her- itage “turkey red” wheat grown in Norwood, two miles from the bakery; the spelt comes from a Dolores-based farmer who works entirely by horse- power. “It’s just really important to spend money where you are,” Hannah explained, “because oth- erwise we risk losing the people that make the cul- ture of our communities.” Growing up in Vermont, Hannah said, sour- dough artisan bread was ubiquitous. “Like you could go down to the gas station and get a locally made, wood-fired loaf of sourdough bread.” In high school her French class built a wood- fired bread oven, inspiring the next generation of craft bakers. After college, Hannah jumped into culinary life—initially as a pastry chef. She enjoyed SUMMER/FALL 2022

it for a time, but that world, she That was all about six years partythunisdseurmthme esrtars explained, is different from bread, ago. Blue Grouse opened in 2016 which is more of a necessity; a pas- and now boasts three employees SUMMER/FALL 2022 23 try is a treat. Cooking high-end pas- in addition to Hannah and Ben. tries also became stressful to the They deliver loaves to businesses in point where food was “no longer Norwood, Montrose, Ridgway, and fun anymore,” Hannah explained. Telluride. Hannah admits there She missed the bread-making com- have been challenges and scary munity. So she decided to pivot. moments—”I think the hardest part was writing that first check for When Hannah connected with the oven and just hoping it was all her cousin Ben about helping start a going to go okay”—but she said her bakery in Norwood, he had recently team and their community have made his own bread-based transi- made this breadventure “much eas- tion. Only a few months earlier he ier than it really even should be.” was a physical therapist’s aid, plus “doing a few other random jobs,” And after all these years it’s still Ben said. “And instead of going into fun for Ben. “The bread itself, it’s the mountains, I was spending all changing every day,” he said when of my free time in my home kitchen we spoke in April. “Today it’s a little baking bread.” Eventually he bit colder and overcast. Our produc- decided to “apply blindly for a Head tion’s a little smaller, so everything Baker position” at Persephone Bak- feels just ever so slightly different ery in Jackson, Wyoming, and got it. than it will feel mid-summer when it’s warm and things are moving A few months after that, Han- fast and production’s high because nah reached out, and Ben was on all the festivals are happening. And board. He quit his work in Jackson we’re just trying to keep up like and spent a couple months travel- everybody else. It’s what keeps us ing to different bakers around the coming back every day.” country using wood-fired ovens and milling their own flour to get When Hannah thinks about more experience and learn how what keeps her in the bread game, they could structure their bakery. she comes back to the people; Blue He called it a “breadventure.” Grouse enables her to give back to the community. “Obviously there “Such a cool thing about the are people who can’t eat bread or baking community is how open don’t eat bread because it has glu- everyone is, and how communal all ten in it,” she said. “But I feel like, the efforts are, and how everyone’s for the most part,people eat bread. just there to teach the next gen- And it’s just been a really great way eration,” Ben said. “Everyone just to connect with this place and the wants each other to succeed. It’s people that are here.” \\ really a group effort with bread.”

24 • MOUNTAIN HEALTH MIGRAINES AND ALTITUDE Caffeine is your friend Claudia García Curzio has suffered By Karen Toepfer James drilling a hole in her skull to relieve the pressure migraine headaches since childhood, but more patients with migraines here compared to sounds appealing, Kris’s migraines usually last from her last one was truly epic. when I worked in Seattle,” says family physician two to six hours. During that time, she loses vision in It hit her this past February, following a Heather Linder, MD, founder of Telluride Whole the affected eye and can’t keep down any food. “They crunch of late nights and long hours when she added Health, who has seen anecdotal evidence of the are significantly more severe at altitude,” she says. Telluride AIDS Benefit volunteer work to her day job. relationship between migraines and altitude in her Her temples throbbed ceaselessly for eight days, and practice. “I have not quantified it, but I have also Published research and his own years of clinical her light sensitivity was so bad she couldn’t go out- noticed that altitude can trigger a migraine when experience confirm for Hackett that anyone with a side or even think about looking at a bright screen. locals return to altitude after being at sea level.” history of migraines or chronic headaches risks them worsening at high altitude. The risk is even greater She finally found relief two hours after receiv- Common symptoms of migraine may include in Mountain Village than in Telluride despite a mere ing an injection of prescription migraine medica- moderate to severe, even unbearable, pain—on 800-foot increase in elevation. “It’s a critical differ- tion at the Telluride Regional Medical Center, she one or both sides of the head, or in the front or ence,” says Hackett. “Nine thousand feet is a thresh- says. “A migraine is literally debilitating,” she says. back. It may occur around the eyes, or behind the old where your oxygen level really starts to drop off.” “You can’t do anything.” cheeks, and may cause pounding, throbbing, or pulsating sensations, according to the American That doesn’t mean migraine sufferers should García Curzio’s experience aligns with research Migraine Foundation (AMF). avoid the mountains; but they should be prepared. suggesting that those who live above 1,000 meters Hackett recommends carrying ibuprofen, staying (or 3,280 feet) may endure longer, stronger, and The pain can worsen with physical activity or well hydrated, and sleeping at a lower elevation more frequent migraines than their lower-elevation movement and is often accompanied by nausea or for a night before ascending to Telluride or Moun- counterparts. The difference, however, is “not huge,” vomiting. Extreme sensitivity to light, sound, or tain Village from sea level. explains University of Colorado clinical professor and smell may develop, and some people experience high-altitude medicine specialist Peter Hackett, MD. light flashes or blind spots—called visual aura— Another type of ailment often confused with “The data says there’s a bit more migraine.” before the onset of head pain. migraine is the caffeine withdrawal headache. In the past, physicians advised high-altitude travel- According to a 2017 study of 2,100 Nepalese Kris, a local resident who prefers her last ers to avoid caffeine to prevent dehydration and men and women published in the European Jour- name not be published, has also experienced related headache. “That’s really bad advice,” says nal of Neurology, researchers found that migraine migraines since childhood. Once she moved to Tel- Hackett. “Caffeine is metabolized differently at prevalence increased from about 28 percent of luride, they became more intense, as the research altitude and, if anything, you need a little more.” those participants living below 500 meters (1,640 suggests, but not more frequent. feet) to 45.5 percent for those living between 2,000 Coffee lovers can rejoice. Hackett suggests that meters (6,562 feet) and 2,499 meters (8,199 feet). Her first sign of trouble is a decline in her cogni- habitual drinkers concerned about altitude-trig- tive functioning, she explains. At the point in which gered migraines should up their caffeine intake by The same study also found that migraine prev- she finds her missing glasses on top of her head, she’ll as much as 150 milligrams—or one twelve-ounce alence decreased to just under 38 percent for par- try to derail the migraine train by drinking water and ticipants living above 2,500 meters (8,202 feet). resting in a cold, dark, quiet place. Once nausea sets cup of drip coffee—to play it safe. By comparison, we sleep at 8,750 feet in Telluride, in, however, she knows she’s lost the battle. “Extra caffeine is a good thing 9,547 feet in Mountain Village, and even higher in to take,” he says. \\ places like Ophir. “Clinically, I do think that I see Describing the pain on the (usually right) side of her head and behind her eye as so intense that “CAFFEINE IS METABOLIZED DIFFERENTLY AT ALTITUDE AND, IF ANYTHING, YOU NEED A LITTLE MORE.” —Dr. Peter Hackett

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26 • ASK JOCK ASK JOCK Summit Seeker MELANIE KENT Athletic Advice from Dear Jock, Our Local Mountain Guru Go With the Flow Q I’m new to town—fresh from the plains of South Dakota, actu- ally—and I’m determined to climb a 14,000-foot peak (aka four- Q Dear Jock, teener) this summer. I’ve done a few long day hikes in the Black Hills of As an adult who loves to mountain bike, it’s hard for me to keep my home state, but I’ve never climbed a mountain. my kids away from the downhill bike park because I know how fun it is to rip downhill. But as a parent, I also know the bike park can lead What should I bring in my pack? Do you have any tips to help me to high-speed impacts and catastrophic crashes. I don’t want to forbid prepare physically? Which local peak should I target? my kids from feeling the flow, but I don’t want them to end up at the medical center either. —Wannabe Mountaineer Do you have any advice? Dear Wannabe, —Worried Mom A The first thing you should do is read the classic North American Dear Worrier, climbing textbook titled Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills to understand the physical aspects of hiking, scrambling, and climbing. Next, A I have two words for you: padding and practice. By “padding,” I mean acquire and learn how to use the “ten essentials” that the book recommends encase your kids in Kevlar armor. Start with a full-face helmet. This all climbers carry. style provides maximum protection—especially for the teeth and jaw. Add a pair of full-fingered gloves. Finally, acquire elbow, knee, shoulder/thorax, With that initial research under your belt, you’re in for a great series of hip, and shin pads. outdoor adventures on the path to achieving your 14,000-foot goal. I say a series of adventures because—unless you hire a guide—you’ll prepare to Practice could be as simple as riding in the park together and, during climb a fourteener by warming up on local hiking trails and lower peaks. the lift rides, discussing how you both safely navigated obstacles. If you’re not comfortable in the park, consider hiring a professional coach. Either Longtime local Susan Kees wrote an excellent guidebook to hiking way, the goal is to help your kids to build their riding skills slowly instead of around Telluride. There’s also a regional trail map at the Telluride Visitor’s letting them launch and hoping they have the instincts to land well. Center or online via the San Miguel County website. After hiking a number of trails, you’ll be ready to set your sights on an actual peak. I suggest Ajax Of course, no matter how much you prepare, there’s still an element of Peak at the east end of the Telluride valley because it’s straightforward hik- risk in the bike park. But without risk, there are no rewards. ing and has great views. Assuming Ajax goes well, you could then attempt a peak with a little scrambling, such as Mt. Greenback off of the Sneffels — Jock Highline Trail or Ballard Peak above Bear Creek. Van Life I can’t tell you exactly when you’ll be ready to climb a local fourteener, but I can say that the weather in early September is often stable, and the Dear Jock, days still relatively long. Whenever you set forth, leave early and be ready to turn back if the weather—or anything else—isn’t right. Q I lost my housing in town, and I think it’s the universe telling me it’s time to hit the road and see where the wind blows me. My plan The secret to climbing mountains is returning home safely. is to sell everything and buy a Sprinter van or a pull-behind trailer. I — Jock own a 2010 Toyota 4Runner with a tow package, so I could easily pull a mid-size trailer. Which option—van or trailer— do you think would be best for a long road trip? —Future Nomad Dear Nomad, A There are many variables to consider. I’ll assume price is one and that you have a budget in mind. But even if money is no object, the essen- tial question is: How do you foresee the rhythm of your travels? Are you mov- ing on every couple of nights or eddying out for weeks at a stretch? Vans are relatively easy to set up for sleeping and pack up for travel. This is an advantage if you plan to change venues frequently. They’re also self-contained, which is useful if you do any urban stealth camping. And a van is far easier to maneuver when turning around or parking. While less nimble, towing a trailer gives you the luxury of having a mothership and an approach vehicle. This is ideal if you want to establish a long-term basecamp and have a smaller vehicle available to explore the surrounding countryside or run errands around town. Once you make this initial decision, things should fall into place. May the road rise up to greet you, — Jock SUMMER/FALL 2022

28 • INSIDE ART A SPACE TO CREATE New artists collective in Ilium Valley Jules Fallman, a former full-time By Matt Hoisch mediums,” including drawing, painting, graphic ceramicist who had moved to Tellu- design, jewelry making, and clothing design. ride before the pandemic, was teach- ARTISTS CAN ing at the Ah Haa School for the Arts MEET OTHER ARTISTS, The transition from kitchen storage to artist when the world shut down in early 2020. THEY CAN LEARN FROM studios, Shaunette added, wasn’t difficult. “It was When Fallman learned the school would be more just us getting all of our junk out of there,” closing for an extended period, she asked if OTHER ARTISTS. she explained with a laugh. she could buy the Ah Haa’s wheels and kiln. IT’S A JOINT MAKER SPACE. “From that moment,” Fallman recalled, “it When I visited the studio space in early was only three weeks until we had a fully said, the Ghost Pocket team was hearing more April this year, it had the unmistakable air of functioning ceramics studio.” demand for artistic needs than culinary ones. creativity. A string of lights hung across the “We were getting more requests from artists who ceiling, snaking its way around the space. Blue That studio lived above a kitchen in wanted to have a studio there than we were from tape demarcated six studio spaces and a walk- Ilium, about six and a half miles outside Tel- food businesses that needed a place to store all way along the floor. And spatterings of every luride. Fallman had reached out to Geneva their pots and pans.” So, it was a natural choice to sort of this-and-that littered the open plan Shaunette, co-owner of Ghost Pocket, a expand the art space. But there was a challenge: area: a suitcase, a lamp, some forks and toilet shared-use space, to see about using some of “We know how to get the food clients, but we don’t paper and a mannequin mid-dress. the area above their commercial kitchen. The know every artist in town who needs space.” pandemic had curtailed most major food-con- Telluride Arts had started renting out the suming events; so, said Shaunette, “We real- That’s when Telluride Arts came in to manage spaces earlier in the year and some artists ized we had this room upstairs that was an the space for Ghost Pocket. Austin Halpern is the were clearly more installed than others. But as office, but no one was using it. So we just kind Exhibits and Events Manager for the local arts the move-in continues, Halpern said “It’s really of turned that into the ceramics studio.” nonprofit. “When this space opened up for us,” he exciting to see the space activated.” said, “it was kind of an obvious ‘yes.’” That studio was a kernel that expanded And, he emphasized, it will also be a col- into a larger studio, providing valuable space In early 2022, the Ilium Artist Studios opened laborative environment. “So while there are for artists in an area where square footage is six studios with Wi-Fi, storage, and 24-hour access. spaces for individual artists to rent, there unimaginably valuable. But it took time. According to Halpern, it supports “a range of artistic are six studios up here. And one of the great aspects of a community art space is that it is As the pandemic progressed, Fallman a community,” Halpern explained. “Artists can explained, the studio grew into a shared com- meet other artists, they can learn from other munity space. At its peak, it held twenty-five artists. It’s a joint maker space, and we hope that artist-members. “A lot of people just needed this that can be a great experience for the different respite and that’s what that space became. A lot people that will come through here.” of people said just driving down there was the best The new artist spaces are opening as Fallman part of their day because they were somewhere prepares to move on from her studio. With her cur- else that wasn’t their couch.” rent responsibilities in life, she no longer has time to manage the ceramics space. At the moment she said And, she recalled, it was a mixed group. About she’s in a bit of limbo as to whether someone else will half, she estimated, had done pottery before; the rest take over that studio. Still, she hopes the additional just needed something to do with their newfound spaces can carry on what her studio started. “I hope time. A small community emerged. “I’d walk in and it continues to be a place of respite,” she said. “I hope the shelves would just be overflowing with work,” she that it continues to be a place that people can show said. “I think for a lot of us it was this little space of up to town and find fertile ground to land in and find joy that existed during a really tough time.” a place to make their art.” Art, Fallman said, “is how we keep places The studio was just one corner of a wider weird and cool and local and funky. And I think upstairs area for storage above the kitchen— that when the art goes, the funk goes.” \\ about 1,200 square feet of space. And, Shaunette SUMMER/FALL 2022

Dana Flores Dan McCleary [email protected] 970.728.3300 130 E Colorado Ave. Telluride, CO 81435

30 • ENVIRONMENT BETTER BUILDINGS Sunnyside, VISION House prove net-zero is attainable By Lorraine Weissman Who wouldn’t love to get a $0 electric bill? ing emissions. “The recent regional greenhouse gas Buildings with a net-zero energy rating emissions analysis showed us seventy percent comes produce, on an annual basis, as much from commercial and residential buildings,” said renewable energy on site as they consume. Sunny- Cooper. “It’s really important that we take the steps side, the thirty-unit development two miles west of necessary to reduce those emissions. The town and Telluride, is the first net-zero affordable housing county decided early on to at least try to make this project in the region. The project includes on-site a net-zero. We had been told it would add to the cost solar panels, taking advantage of the hillside sun, and that it would be impossible to do; but we knew it and the units have high-efficiency electric appli- had been done in Basalt. We decided to plan net-zero ances—there are no natural gas connections. from the start, hired our design/build team accord- Phasing out natural gas is a critical step toward ingly, and they were able to pull it off. Essentially we net-zero standards, as gas heat and appliances proved that it’s possible to build at the lowest possi- burn fossil fuels, releasing carbon dioxide back ble square footage price at a net-zero standard; we into the atmosphere. The rental units—a mix anticipate that the site will actually produce more of apartments and tiny homes—also have tri- energy on an annual basis than it consumes.” ple-pane windows and in-floor radiant heating and cooling. “We’re looking to incorporate these design A common misconception about green build- concepts into other projects we’re currently work- ing is that the cost is out of reach for most people, ing on,” said Lance MacDonald, program director but Ron Jones, co-founder and president of Green for the Town of Telluride. Builder Media, likes to say that “first cost is not full cost” when it comes to green building practices, Sunnyside is a joint effort between the town and and “it’s a myth that green building is only for the the county. San Miguel County Commissioner Hilary ultra-wealthy.” Long-term savings relative to energy Cooper said projects like this are crucial to reduc- use and efficiency start to add up almost immedi- SUMMER/FALL 2022

Request a Quote ESSENTIALLY WE PROVED THAT IT’S Elevate Your Home POSSIBLE TO BUILD AT THE LOWEST POSSIBLE With endless customization options and access SQUARE FOOTAGE PRICE AT A NET-ZERO to unique windows, doors, and millworks, you’re STANDARD; WE ANTICIPATE THAT THE SITE WILL sure to find exactly what you want. ACTUALLY PRODUCE MORE ENERGY ON Visit or scan AN ANNUAL BASIS THAN IT CONSUMES. the QR code to get started today! ately. “An Energy Star refrigerator,” and eight-inch walls to achieve Jones noted, “uses about the same a structure with about the same SUMMER/FALL 2022 31 amount of electricity as a sixty-watt insulative properties, he joked, as a lightbulb. Consumer products have Yeti cooler. Without ever activating vastly improved, and now it’s about power and relying only on thermal our ability to measure our built gain, the coldest part of the build- environment.” ing registered fifty degrees, but there is on-site solar to provide While highly efficient building electricity. They even used materi- materials like windows and doors als with a lower carbon footprint— are more expensive, making smart SIPs (structural insulated panels) decisions about materials, fen- and salvaged wood. estration, and insulation allows people to downsize heating and The project will be ready cooling systems, which in turn for occupancy this summer, and saves money. And some decisions, Jones envisions it as a place that like building orientation to maxi- will “help people fall in love with mize sun exposure in cooler cli- nature.” Even before it officially mates or shade in warmer areas, opens its doors as an educational add no cost at all. retreat, VISION House at Mari- posa Meadows shows us that net- Jones, together with his part- zero building is not only possible, ner Sara Gutterman, have created but a fully achievable goal for any one of the first privately developed construction project. And unlike net-zero projects in the region: Sunnyside, which achieves its net- VISION House at Mariposa Mead- zero standard by contributing to ows, a completely off-grid demon- and pulling power from the grid, stration project in the San Juan VISION House is also self-sufficient. National Forest. Like all mountain towns, Tellu- VISION House consists of three ride has struggled to keep up with structures with dwelling units, the burgeoning demand for hous- a small visitor/education center, ing, and there is a large amount and lodging. Sustainability and of private and municipal develop- nature are the focus at VISION ment in the works that seeks to House, which sits in the middle of address the problem. But we don’t a national forest. Jones designed have to sacrifice quality for quan- the buildings with small footprints, tity; Sunnyside and VISION House maximizing efficiency by using have manifested the idea that sus- every inch of space in a thoughtful tainable building is not just attain- manner. They installed triple-pane able, but also affordable. \\ windows, twelve-inch roof panels,

32 • ESSAY To STRAVA or Not MELISSA PLANTZ To STRAVA? The mountain-athlete subculture and the sports social media app By Jesse James McTigue Telluride is attractive to many Strava came on ridden it. Segments the Only Fitness App That Matters.” because of its unique culture. the scene in 2009 as have leaderboards He wrote, “I’d heard a bit about the And a huge part of this cul- a social platform for and the fastest man fitness app beforehand—that it was ture is that prestige seems to cyclists. Cyclists use and woman on a seg- mostly for cyclists, especially arro- come from your last hike, bike ride, Strava to record their ment is declared the gant dickheads who used Strava’s lea- or backcountry adventure rather rides and compile and KOM and QOM (King derboards to compete for ‘King of the than the name of your company, share the mileage, of the Mountain and Mountain’ titles on steep hills around graduate school, or job title. In fact, GPS route, time, and a Queen of the Moun- the world. Strava and its uber-aggro locals like to think that movie stars host of other metrics tain). If you happen users, I’d read, had even been blamed enjoy coming to Telluride because no with their “friends” on Strava. Users to have a KOM or QOM, and another for the deaths of a cyclist in Berkeley, one really gives a shit about them; can upload pictures of their ride, rider beats your time, you receive a California, and a pedestrian in New unless, of course, they’re a sick skier, make comments, and give each other message notifying you that you’ve York’s Central Park. Was this a com- cyclist, or climber. “kudos.” Strava’s compatibility with been “dethroned” with the person’s munity I wanted to be part of?” products like Garmin and the like time, name, and profile. But, even within the realm of have improved dramatically since Segments and ultra-competitive Gross was not alone in his initial outdoor pursuits, there is a certain 2009, as has its GPS capabilities, Strava use came under scrutiny in perception of Strava, and of aggro code when it comes to social media, making it easier to upload, share, 2010 when a Berkeley man died on road bikers in general. However, especially in this global age where copy, inspire, compare, and analyze. a descent while trying to reclaim after using Strava and weighing picture-perfect posts can do uninten- his KOM for the segment. His family its negatives and positives, he con- tional harm to the people who look Additionally, Strava has a com- sued Strava for “wrongful death” and cluded that the benefits, support, on with envy or the hidden places petitive element in a feature called “encouraging dangerous behavior.” positivity, and inspiration of the that are suddenly over-run. How “segments.” Anyone can create a seg- Strava won the suit. Strava community superseded his much information should we share? ment for a popular climb, descent, or Journalist Matt Gross shared negative first impression. With whom? And why? loop. Once a segment is established, his thoughts about the competitive anyone who rides that segment can nature of Strava in a Men’s Journal Strava has evolved significantly This is where the conversation compare their time on that portion article titled, “How Strava Became since its inception. Strava’s 2021 stats around the use of an app like Strava of the trail to everyone else who has showed it had more than 95 million begins. users, is available in 195 countries, SUMMER/FALL 2022

and that only twenty percent of users are in the US. It has also diversified beyond just cycling, and now allows members to record their workouts in thir- ty-three different sports. Users have access to training data for some of the world’s best athletes: 176 Tour De France riders uploaded their stage data and results to Strava; elite ultra-endurance runners share training and races, as do elite mountaineers such as North Face Global athlete and Telluride’s own Hilaree Nelson. Telluride has a strong, local, mountain-athlete subculture, and I was curious as to what people here think about Strava. So I did a little research, and surveyed local avid cyclists (people who ride a lot), semi-competitive cyclists (people who hop in a race here and there), and those in the indus- try (people who own guiding companies or work in bike shops).This is what I found. PURISTS Some, let’s call them “purists,” intentionally avoid Strava. Their claim: I’m in the wilderness to be present and enjoy it; the very act of using my cell phone to record mileage, take photos, or use GPS, negates this experience. One such pur- ist commented, “People get overly obsessed with it. I bike and do sports to get into nature, not nec- essarily to beat a friend.” Another replied that you spend “more time looking at a screen versus riding the bike.” Further, this camp believes people should use discretion before sharing rides and trails that they feel should remain unknown. “Secret trails aren’t secret for long when people Strava them,” one person commented, while another wrote, “Tellu- ride riders should not put game trails, non-Forest Service trails, and backcountry trails on Strava. Personal discovery is part of the thrill and there are trails that should remain anonymous.” INSPIRERS OR CONNECTORS However, there are others, we’ll call them “inspir- ers” or “connectors,” that reported happily using Strava for encouragement, support, and route infor- mation. One commented, “Another rider used my rides to go riding in France without getting lost,” while another opined that it doesn’t feel overly com- petitive here: “It feels like most everyone uses it for personal data...not like Boulder, etc.” I also asked about segments. The responses included, “I’m not even sure what that is,” “Uhhh—segments?” and my personal favorite, “I’m not an A-type super biker. Give zero shits. Love riding here.” As for me, I have used Strava differently at dif- ferent times. I’ve had stints in which I’ve Strava-ed every ride and chased segments, others in which I’ve intentionally abstained, and others when I’ve used it solely for mileage and routes. I personally love seeing what others are riding, especially around Telluride. People get after it and have fun doing it. But, at the end of the day, do the metrics or leaderboards really matter? As one local cyclist commented, “Many of the top riders are on Strava, but there are a bunch that are not. Don’t let the leaderboard fool you!” At Strava, they like to say, “If it’s not on Strava, it didn’t happen.” They clearly haven’t been to Telluride. \\ SUMMER/FALL 2022 33

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True North serves high school students in the Telluride, Norwood, and West End school districts. All programs and activities are free of charge for participants. True North’s vision is that every participant will graduate high school with a plan and a path to follow into adulthood. True North Youth Program would like to thank the following foundations, community organizations, governmental organizations and individuals for their contributions over the past year. Foundation Supporters & • Denise Clark UE NOR • Coldwell Banker • Bob Grossman Community Sponsors • Louis & Bonnie Cohen • Deer Hill Foundation • Rose Gutfeld & Peter Edwards • Alpine Bank • Virginia Coleman TH PROG • EcoAction Partners • Chris & Stacie Harden TH • Friedman Family Foundation • Hill Hasting • Marci & Dan Morris • Garvey Brothers’ Land & Cattle LLC • Jessica Heady • Michael MoweryYOU • Montrose Workforce Center • Mary Higgins • Anschutz Family Foundation • Suse Connolly • George Lewis & Judy MullerTR • Region 10 Colorado • Kim Hilley • ASAP Accounting and Payroll, Inc. • Brooke & Calvin Crowder • Lanier & Denee Nelson • Rocky Mountain Arts • Sarah Holbrooke • A.V. Hunter Trust, Inc. • Durfee Day • Lisa & Victor NemeroffRAM • Rotary Club of Telluride • Kathy Hunninen • Bank of America Charitable Foundation • Matthew Devine • Sean E. O’Fallon • San Miguel Resource Center • Jeff Keil & Danielle Pinet • BuildStrong Education • Kevin Dunkak • William & Jill Orton • Seas of Trees • Nancy Kerr • Carmel Classic Golf Tournament • Cindy Elbert • Susan & Paul Oupadia • Second Chance Humane Society • Peiper Kirkendoll • CCAASE - Town of Telluride • Betsy Farrar & Craig Echols • Gary & Mary Page • Telluride Academy • Kris Kwasniewski • Colorado Department of Higher • Jim & Mary Gallagher • Jeff Keil & Danielle Pinet • Telluride Adaptive Sports Program • Ximena Rebolledo León Education • William R. Garing • Jess Stevens & Stephen Pollard • Telluride Food Pantry - Angel Food • Matt Lewis • Colorado Opportunity Scholarship • Eliza Gavin • Jennie Franks & Jeff Price Baskets • Sefra Maples Initiative • Martha Gearty • Deborah Pruett • Telluride Nordic Association • Jay & Becky Markley • Deer Hill Foundation • Zoe Gillet • Graham Russell • TheraTogs, Inc. • Chris Meyers • Edmund T. and Elenor Quick • Bill Gordon • Pat Russell • Town of Naturita • Brittany Miller Foundation • Jerry Grandey • Ulli Sir Jesse • Town of Telluride • Jody Miller • El Pomar Foundation • Kathy Green • Sarah Lavender & Morgan Smith • Valentine Farm LLC & • Tanya Morlang • Faraway Foundation • Amy Greene • Jim & Joanne Steinback Jubilee Stables LLC • Marci Morris • Just for Kids Foundation • Jerry Greene • Katie Tapper • Vicki’s Fresh Food Movement • Lanier Nelson • Lone Cone Legacy Trust • Peter Edwards & Rose Gutfeld • Vesta Tutt • West End Economic Development • Jordan Perkins • Mabel Y. Hughes Charitable Trust • Chris & Stacie Harden • Elizabeth Werner Corporation • Stephen Pollard • Montrose Community Foundation • Richard & Pier Angela Hare • Anne Whalen Individual In-Kind Donors • Vicki Renda • Rocky Mountain Health Foundation • Richard Harris • Sandy & Roger Wickham • Cimmy Alexander • Erin Ries • San Miguel County • Lucinda Carr & Nancy Heim • Ashley Williamson • Leslie Ament • Christine Roth • San Miguel Power Association • Nancy Hild Community and Business • Nina & McKay Belk • Graham Russell • Schuster Family Foundation • Barbara Hinterkopf In-Kind Donors • Richard Betts • Scott Schooly • Telluride Foundation • Carol & Henry Hintermeister • Ah Haa School for the Arts • Michele Blunt • Deana Sherriff • Todd W Hoffman Foundation Inc. • Todd W. Hoffman • The Apple Core Project • Katherine Borsecnik • Tom Singer • Town of Mountain Village • David & Laura Homer • ATS Meat Block • Pam Brownlie • Ashley Coady Smith • West End Pay it Forward Trust • Alex Jones • Christ In F.O.C.U.S Church/Norwood • Tara Carter • Sarah Lavender Smith • Shelley Kelly • Maria Casanova • Joanne Steinback Individual Donors • Charleen Knickerbocker Food Bank • Kathleen Cole • Jess Stevens • Anonymous • Kyle Koehler • Suse Connolly • Lee Taylor • Dawn Alligood • Thomas Kyle • Lisa Durant • Betsy Walker • Mary & Paul Anderson • Harold & Shawnee Krebs • Claudia García Curzio • Rick & Teri Williams • Anne S. Andrew • Kiernan Lannon • Kim Fischer • Marty Wollesen • Kathleen Armacost • Donald Katz & Leslie Larson • Doylene Garvey • Jeremy Womack • Nina & McKay Belk • Amy Levek • MacKayla Gordon • Clint Wytulka • Katherine Borsecnik & Gene Weil • Matt Lewis • Christina Gregory • David Ziegler • Robert Bowen • Carol Linneman • Eliot & Mary Brown • John & Susie Mansfield • Ben Canty • Joan May • Bob & Paula Canty • Ellen & Tracy McVicker • Daniel & Elizabeth Caton • Jody Miller college and career readiness • academic tutoring and support • community service activities • catering apprenticeship program • teen drop-in center college scholarships • positive youth development • outdoor recreation • wilderness trips • spring break staycation • teen summer jobs fair To see True North’s full list of volunteers, donors, and partners, please visit: LEARN MORE, DONATE, GET INVOLVED: TRUENORTHYOUTHPROGRAM.ORG


38 • ESSAY DAVE MANLEY STWOHRERIEES ARE LAID A rumination on rock art By Craig Childs When you see ancient rock art, you are look- ing at the oldest human stories on the land. A spiral or a bighorn sheep pecked on a wall or painted in the vaulted, protected shell of a sand- stone alcove, is a sign of ancestry and seniority. In North America, the earliest images put onto rock date back to almost 13,000 BC, deep in the Ice Age. Those types are rare. Most of what you see— phantom-body figures, snakes, lightning bolts, shields, hunting scenes—come from the last hand- ful of millennia, animistic hunter-gatherers and corn-bearing agrarians, the rise of Native America. I live on the Colorado Plateau, a swollen, high-desert landmass pushing up on the Four Corners. Cliffs and boulders are well decorated with rock imagery, what is sometimes called rock writing. If you spend time here, you can’t help see- ing it, hearing of a panel on a rancher’s land, or pulling off the side of the highway with binoculars, looking up a cliff at a dizzying array of dancers. Who are these people, what were they saying, and what are they saying now? Rock art can be rubbing, scratching, pecking, painting. A pictograph is painted. In green, red, yellow, and white, you’ll see strokes of big yucca brushes being used a thousand years ago, or some- time a two-hair brush depicting the feathers of a tiny bird. A petroglyph is chipped into the rock, often with a hammerstone and a bone chisel. Sharpened deer leg bones work best. This reveals brighter material underneath, a painstaking pro- cess, shoulder against the wall, blowing out dust, pinky fingernail scratching out lodged sand grains. In their day, when they were fresh, these petro- glyphs would have popped like neon, as bright and dynamic as any paint. Each presentation requires its own kind of study, different light of day, coming by flashlight or moon- glow. Morning and evening can be soft and coppery while midday is awash with sunlight, cliffs as shiny as mirrors. Late afternoon in December is some of the best light, warm and spectral, though you might prefer the palpable shift from last stars to first light. Not far off a dirt road in Utah, easy to reach in the dark without a headlamp, I went to a sin- gle pictograph site four autumn mornings in a row. This is where you sit and stare at nothing, a boul- der the size of a house, lightless, the sky around it bannered with stars. Sit and wait.

DAVE MANLEY First layers of indigo in the east outlined the HE SAID THE WORD IN ENGLISH a flute player calling, a sky god unleashing thunder, boulder and several minutes later, red dancers MEANS RAW. WHEN YOU’RE BORN, HE and seconds later rain comes down in a gush. You’d appeared as if rising out of a well. They were in SAID, YOU’RE RAW, AND WHEN YOU’RE see this kind of thing at the Hopi reservation or any a circle holding hands, painted in red hematite, OLD OR DYING, YOU’RE RAW. THAT IS, of the New Mexican pueblos. When rain hits during then scratched with sharpened tools. The pig- ceremonies, dancers in the plaza, even those wear- ment, a red ochre, had been mixed with a pro- CLOSER TO THE SPIRIT WORLD, ing regalia and wooden, painted tablitas, don’t run tein binder, something like blood, semen, or egg THE THINGS WE DON’T SEE THAT ARE for cover. They dance harder and the drums grow white, which fused the paint into the rock grains. HAPPENING ALL AROUND US. WHEN HE louder, which is what I imagined depicted on this I’d put the work around a thousand years old, the SAID THE WORD IN ZUNI, IT SOUNDED thousand-year-old rock art panel. Fremont culture. The only way to get a solid date LIKE SMALL SHELLS TUMBLING OVER from a site like this is to put a mass spectrometer As light came on, the boulder became messy to the paint, which would be a destructive pro- EACH OTHER IN THE WATER. with graffiti and names of Anglo settlers and cess. You get a rougher and useful enough date I COUNTED NINETEEN SYLLABLES. ranchers. People had scratched and chiseled with by style and relationship to surrounding archae- steel over older figures. It began to look more like ological sites. a pissing post than a creation story. A pantheon appeared with the coming light. For about twenty minutes each morning, when The circle of hand-holders had a flute player on the horizon was a thin, vibrant line, this overlay of one side. On the other was a god-like figure hold- recent history peeled away. I saw the first imagery ing a staff that appeared to be shooting out light- as it had been intended, the original art. Instead of ning. Or was it a warrior bracing for battle, or a photographic enhancement or bouncing electro- magician casting a spell? Questions like this can magnetic waves through the rock, I found sunrise go on forever. an ample technique. This is why I returned each morning at the same time, for this twenty minutes. A Zuni weaver and farmer I know, direct Each morning I looked into this well of paintings descendant of the makers of some of the rock as if it had been applied yesterday, later claims art around the Four Corners, said that enlarged and vandalism removed. human-like figures, like the one holding a staff and shooting lightning, are “spirit beings.” He said The sun arrived like a deep exhale. The air the word in English means raw. When you’re born, moved, leaning to the east as if pulled in by the he said, you’re raw, and when you’re old or dying, light. Pink and orange dappled the rock, mov- you’re raw. That is, closer to the spirit world, the ing across names, dates, and places. Something things we don’t see that are happening all around important happened here, something that mat- us. When he said the word in Zuni, it sounded like ters, enough to lure people back to this spot cen- small shells tumbling over each other in the water. turies later. A deed was signed here, a prayer was I counted nineteen syllables. sent. You may not know what rock art means or why it was put in this place, but know that it mat- As the eastern horizon turned yellow, fields of red tered. This is where they laid their stories down. \\ thumbprints on the rock appeared like a rain- storm descending on the circle-dancers. I imagined Craig Childs is the author of Tracing Time: Sea- this as a depiction of an event, a dance in the rain, sons of Rock Art on the Colorado Plateau (Torrey House Press 2022). He lives in Norwood, Colorado. DAVE MANLEY SUMMER/FALL 2022 39



42 • FEATURE TREE HUGGERS Telluride Arborist celebrates twenty years of climbing (and caring for) trees They weren’t the most auspicious of begin- By Christina Callicott read about Ouray and I’d read about Bridal Veil, nings. Natalie arrived from Eugene, Ore- ride Arborist, the primary point of care for trees and I was so stoked to come here and climb these gon in December 1997, mid-snowstorm, in across the region. big ice waterfalls,” he said. He did climb Bridal a beat-up Chevy with bald tires. She and Veil, the Ice Hose, and much more, but climbing a friend wearily and warily navigated the Ophir While Natalie came to Telluride for the trees is what keeps him busy today. Loop in a whiteout. “We were freaking out! We sun and snow—“I spent some rainy winters in didn’t even know where we were, it was snowing Eugene!”—Tyler was drawn to the climbing. “I’d “We climb all the trees we work on,” said Tyler. so hard,” she recalled. While being a small business might preclude the purchase of a mechanized lift, the fact is, Tyler and Landing for the night at their new digs, the his crew love trees, and they love to climb. old San Bernardo schoolhouse, they woke the next morning to news of an avalanche fatality in the Do they climb trees with spikes on their shoes, couloir above. That afternoon, they watched as a like you see on television? “No, gaffs wound the rescue helicopter flew away with its mournful load. tree,” he explained. “If you ever see someone using gaffs to climb a tree and prune it, you know you Fortunately, things got better from there. have the wrong person for the job.” In January 1999, Tyler and his brother Blaine left Wisconsin in two Volvo station wagons. When Instead, they use lead weights tied to a small-di- Tyler’s broke down on I-70 at Copper Mountain, ameter rope, and with an underhand throw they lob they called a tow truck, piled Tyler’s belong- the weights and line over a branch. Then they use ings into Blaine’s Volvo, and kept on trucking the line to pull up a larger-diameter arborist rope to Telluride. The brothers lived in tents up on and, finally, ascenders or prussiks to climb the rope. the Jud Wiebe for the winter. It took all of two weeks for Tyler and Natalie to cross paths. More To illustrate some of the boys’ athletic feats, than twenty years later, they have a son, Briar; a Natalie pulled out a picture of Big Bertha, a cot- home in Ophir; and a successful business, Tellu- tonwood in Montrose with a circumference of twenty-seven feet and branches up to three feet in diameter that spread laterally over the earth. SUMMER/FALL 2022

“Because it’s such a broadly spreading tree,” treatment of pests and diseases. In addition Local. Tyler said, “there aren’t a lot of good anchors to private homeowners, they serve regional Professional. above the workers. So we have to tie into a municipalities, keeping the area’s town parks Experienced. rope that is anchored toward the center of and campgrounds safe and beautiful. “We’ve the tree and then walk out on a limb with our worked with Lake City for ten years, Ridgway -Drapes pruning tool, with the possibility that if we Parks for at least fifteen, and the Town of Tel- -Blinds fall, we pendulum a long ways.” luride for eighteen,” Natalie said. “We keep the -Shades Bluegrass Festival safe,” she laughed. -Shutters It was climbing that introduced Tyler to -Roman Shades arboriculture, through his college climbing “Nobody was really doing this work -Motorization partner who majored in urban forestry. Tyler when we got here,” Tyler said. “We found a pitched in on a job at his parents’ house, and niche, and we provided a service that was FREE QUOTES he was hooked, later taking full-time arbo- greatly needed.” CALL TODAY riculture jobs in Wisconsin and Oregon to 970.728.8238 learn the trade and its underlying science. This year, Telluride Arborist celebrates its For a time, he and Natalie worked as a team, twentieth year in business. Since they started, SUMMER/FALL 2022 43 with him in the tree and her on the ground. the science of arboriculture has grown, and “I’ve done a lot of rock and ice climbing,” Tyler has kept pace, doing continuing edu- she said, “and I prefer to belay.” cation to maintain his certification. Some of their old employees have started their own Somebody’s gotta keep the family grounded. businesses and their own families. Others stay For many years, Natalie ran her own on as year-round employees or return year business doing landscape design and instal- after year to work the busy summer season. lations. Today, Natalie is Telluride Arborist’s “Our employees are our friends,” Tyler said. office manager, social media specialist, and “We look out for each other at work, and we den mother. “Our employees are like our fam- enjoy being in each other’s company.” ily,” she said, “and I feel like I have a bunch of sons. I feel like I have a bunch of young men It’s quite the feat to live in Telluride, to look out for, because it is dangerous work.” have a family, do what you love, and enable I asked Tyler to define arboriculture. “To your friends to do the same. But Telluride me, it’s really the science of caring for trees Arborist is about creating a legacy. “One of in a people environment,” he said. “The my biggest pleasures is when people come trees we take care of have targets under to us with a giant tree that they want to them: a house, a car, the clients’ kids. Our preserve,” Tyler said. “They need someone job is to mitigate the hazard and to help to prune it with care and to give them good keep these trees alive and vigorous.” advice, to help them preserve the legacy of They achieve this goal through a combina- this ancient tree. It’s exciting to think that tion of pruning, supporting the tree’s structure these trees that I’m working on will be seen with padded cables, and the diagnosis and by people when I’m long gone. And we are part of their story.” \\

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46 • FEATURE By Samantha Tisdel Wright Photos by Brett Schreckengost AS TPHELETON Perched on the brink of a sheer cliff overlook- WTUHRENESL ing Telluride astride the longest free-falling waterfall in Colorado, the 115-year-old Bridal Veil Powerhouse still offline Bridal Veil Powerhouse, a hydroelectric after 2016 mishap power plant, is often touted as one of the oldest operating industrial AC power plants in the world. For the past six years, though, this antique beacon of innovation has been, well, not oper- ating, leaving Telluridians to wonder what went wrong and when the storied powerhouse will ever spin water into electricity again. Bridal Veil’s owner/operator Idarado Mining Company (and its corporate parent Newmont) had to take the 0.5-megawatt facility offline for repairs in 2016 after a hydraulic surge event severely damaged its inner workings. The problem stemmed from a tricky water-sharing agreement between the Town of Telluride and Idarado, which acquired the Bridal Veil Powerhouse and its far-flung water storage and conveyance infrastructure in Bridal Veil Basin in the 1950s, along with other assets from the recently liquidated Telluride Mines, Inc. Idarado didn’t need the hydro plant to power its own mining operations, since coal-fired elec- tricity was by then so cheap and easy to buy. But the valuable water rights associated with the hydro plant came in handy down at the Pandora Mill, so the mine company at least made an effort to keep the aging Bridal Veil water system intact. Those water rights and that system are the key to this story. AN ENGINEERING MARVEL Built in the early 1900s to power the Smug- gler-Union mine and mill, the interconnected water storage and delivery system that feeds the Bridal Veil Powerhouse is an engineering marvel. Most of the water comes from a remarkably deep, exceptionally pure vessel called Blue Lake, a shimmering liquid jewel cupped in a hidden glacial cirque two miles above Bridal Veil Falls. The natural, dam-augmented lake holds 6,000 acre-feet of water. Water leaves Blue Lake via a hole drilled into the side of its lake bed in the 1930s—like a bath- tub drain—and gets sucked into the Blue Lake penstock, a two-mile-long pressure pipeline with a 1,900-foot drop that goes all the way down to the Powerhouse to turn its turbine, picking up addi- tional water from a few other lakes along the way. When the level of Blue Lake gets too low, it can be topped up with water from nearby Lewis Lake via a two and a half-mile pipeline—like a bathtub faucet. Lewis Lake, a shallow lake whose depth is also augmented by an elegant historic drywall dam, sits at a slightly higher elevation (12,704 feet) than Blue Lake (12,220 feet), which means gravity can facilitate the transfer of water from the higher lake to the lower. This ingenious water conveyance system, and the Powerhouse it serves, ran continuously until October 1928 when the Smuggler-Union closed, and intermittently after that under a series of other mine operators until Idarado came along and shut the Powerhouse down. For years, it slumped toward ruin at cliff’s edge.

THE PANDORA WATER TREATMENT PLANT WAS COMPLETED IN 2015 WITH A FINAL PRICE TAG OF ALMOST $20 MILLION, AND THIS ELABORATE PLAN WENT INTO EFFECT. THE SYSTEM WORKED QUITE ELEGANTLY UNTIL ONE DAY, IT DIDN’T. HEXAVALENT CHROMIUM BLUES COURTESY OF TELLURIDE HISTORICAL MUSEUM Here, it would pass through another hydro- As the Idarado Mine went through its own death electric turbine to power the Pandora Plant, after throes and began the lengthy process of decom- As the Town of Telluride’s Environmental & which some of the water would be returned to the missioning in the 1970s, Telluride morphed from a Engineering Division Manager Karen Guglielmone San Miguel River at the Marshall Creek conflu- virtual ghost Town to a fledgling ski resort. describes it, the idea was that the Town would pick ence, while the rest (the Town’s share) would be up the “exhaust” water that comes out of the Pow- treated and stored for municipal use. The Town was looking to increase its water erhouse’s tail race after running through the Ida- supply, and drilled several test wells in Town Park. rado turbine, along with some direct flow right out The Pandora Water Treatment Plant was com- The well water contained an industrial pollutant of nearby Bridal Veil Creek during certain times of pleted in 2015 with a final price tag of almost $20 called hexavalent chromium, traced to a reagent year, and pipe all this water down the cliff to the million, and this elaborate plan went into effect. The used at Idarado’s Pandora Mill. nearby Pandora Water Treatment Plant. system worked quite elegantly until one day, it didn’t. In exchange for that loss of potential drinking It’s still a touchy subject that no one likes to water supply, Idarado ultimately gave the Town talk about, but public records of the incident paint some of its precious water rights in Bridal Veil the full picture of what happened. Basin, along with access to its water conveyance THINGS FALL APART infrastructure. On the morning of August 4, 2016, Town staff was working to reactivate the Town’s receiving pipe- Those rights included a portion of the tremen- line at the Powerhouse, which had been offline for dous water storage capacity of Blue Lake, which about a week while Idarado conducted annual ser- could serve as a jumbo, high-altitude raw water vicing on the plant’s ancient Pelton wheel. storage tank to help Telluride meet its future municipal water needs. Something went wrong with the procedure, causing air bubbles to build up. Shortly after First, though, these water rights had to be con- the reactivation was complete, a devastating verted from mining/industrial use to municipal use high-pressure surge in the Town’s receiving pipe- in water court, a years-long controversial endeavor. line “burped” explosive columns of water back up into the Powerhouse. It took many more years after that for the Town and Idarado to finally hammer out a Com- Newmont’s Bridal Veil Hydroelectric Plant prehensive Settlement Agreement, signed in 2012, Supervisor David Swanson was running errands in that dictated exactly how all the water and convey- Telluride when the incident occurred. Once alerted ance infrastructure they now shared in Bridal Veil to the situation, he raced up the hill to intervene. Basin would be cooperatively managed. Swanson’s witness statement, included in an During this lengthy negotiation process, Ida- incident report that Newmont later filed with the rado also gave a two-acre parcel of land to the Town Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, spelled near the old Townsite of Pandora, on the hillside out in detail what he saw when he arrived onsite: above the decommissioned Pandora Mill, where the “Upon entering the plant I noticed a loud roar of Town built a brand new one-million-gallon-per-day water. Upon walking down to the generator room I water treatment plant to convert raw water from Blue Lake into municipal drinking water. SUMMER/FALL 2022 47

48 • FEATURE noticed water gushing up through the floor. The house and ensuring this kind of accident could agement at Newmont who collaborates with David floor had been blown up almost two feet exposing never happen again. Swanson to oversee the entire project. the flume and the electrical wires and conduit.” While the plant was offline for repairs, Ida- Work in the Powerhouse will continue this Swanson and his helper Wyatt Collins drove rado/Newmont took the opportunity to initiate summer, with upgrades to the switch gear, the gov- three rugged miles up to Blue Lake to turn off the decades’ worth of deferred maintenance and ernor mechanisms, and the electrical components water main. When they came back to the power upgrades on the historic inner workings and sub- that run the antique generator. The original Pelton plant, Swanson reported, “Water was still gushing structure of the Powerhouse, making it safer and wheel assembly weathered the accident quite well around inside the plant from the exploded flume.” easier to operate. and patiently awaits reactivation. “That thing is a rock star piece of equipment,” Horntvedt said. Closer inspections revealed even more This included everything from the installa- “There’s nothing better on the market that we wreckage. tion of a catwalk out along the rim of the cliff, could replace it with right now.” providing a safer place to do exterior repairs and Newmont dispatched a slew of engineers, maintenance on the most exposed portion of the Over the past six years that the Powerhouse high-angle rope technicians, welders, and earth plant, to the replacement of the buried antique has been offline, the Pandora Water Treatment movers to help muck out and repair the damage. pipeline that penetrated the Powerhouse twelve Plant has remained up and running, making The Town assumed financial responsibility for feet below the surface from its back side, feeding drinking water for Telluride, and the scheduled these repairs, as documented in a letter from pressurized water into the turbine. upgrades to the water storage and conveyance then-Town Manager Greg Clifton to Newmont, A SILVER LINING infrastructure in Bridal Veil Basin have continued. penned in February 2017. Although the accident caused a lot of heartache, it came with a silver lining. “As far as the upgrades Idarado is in charge of doing the work and the The first priority was to install a new bypass to the plant itself, it has definitely opened up that Town pays 15/39ths of the expenses—the portion of from the penstock above the Powerhouse to window to get in there and do some real and much the shared infrastructure and water rights owned by allow the Town to continue receiving Blue Lake needed open heart surgery,” said Devon Hornt- the Town, according to the terms of the 2012 CSA. water for its Pandora Water Treatment Plant vedt, the 38-year-old Director of Legacy Site Man- NOT AN EASY FIX while the Powerhouse was shut down. Additional It would have taken several years to complete safeguards addressed the issue of air backflow in this massive, multi-pronged, multimillion-dollar the Town’s infrastructure, protecting the Power- undertaking under the best of circumstances. Crews typically only have about twelve weeks per year to get stuff done in the high country—less if winter comes early or there’s been a big snow year that delays summer access. Even the Powerhouse, at a mere 10,279 feet, remains largely inaccessible throughout the winter months, with several formi- dable avalanche paths crossing its access road. The COVID-19 pandemic, with all of its com- plications, from brutal supply chain issues to labor shortages, has delayed things even further. “It’s like trying to push five different pebbles forward with a bunch of wet noodles,” Horntvedt said. In spite of the delays, Idarado and Newmont remain committed to seeing the project through according to the highest standards. “We’re trying to do it the right way the first time,” Horntvedt said. “So that’s probably the biggest reason why things are taking a little longer than we’d like. Of course, the pandemic and supply chain issues and everything else certainly hasn’t helped.” SUMMER/FALL 2022

Serving San Miguel, Ouray, Innovative. Trusted. Yours. & Montrose Counties for Over 28 Years Our promise to you. Rated #1 in Telluride and #1 in the State! A Few Ways to Help: • Become a Donor Robin Watkinson • Shop at Our Thrift Shops • Donate to Our Thrift Shops Branch Manager and V.P. • Adopt a Pet [email protected] In addition to pet rescue, rehabilitation, 970.728.1023 & adoption services, TELLURIDE: 191 S PINE STREET, SUITE 1C | 970.728.1023 we offer a range of community outreach RIDGWAY: 218 SHERMAN STREET | 970.626.3157 programming. Visit us at Community Medical Services are available to the general public, cost is determined by ability to pay. Animal Resource Center: 177 County Road 10, Ridgway Telluride Thrift Shop: 335 W Colorado Avenue Ridgway Thrift Shop: 309 Sherman Street • (970)626-2273 Connecting Pets, People, & Community While Saving Lives We can’t wait to see you this summer! Visit to learn more about our 2022 SUMMER CAMPS! Offering engaging educational adventures for kids of all ages. Pinhead is our region’s leading provider of STEM enrichment and a proud affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute. SUMMER/FALL 2022 49

50 • FEATURE If Horntvedt squints his eyes, though, dora Water Treatment Plant, Idarado’s share he can finally see the light at the end of of it returns downstream to the San Miguel the penstock. He’s optimistic that the his- River—helping Idarado meet state-mandated toric hydro plant will be up and running water quality standards in the river as out- again sometime next summer (2023)— lined in its Remedial Action Plan. spinning clean, green electricity to light up Telluride’s post-pandemic future. Electricity generation is the frosting on the cake. From her perspective with the Town of Telluride, Karen Guglielmone is happy to Once the Bridal Veil plant comes back see that light. “The goal for us all is to get online, its electricity will be sold to San a 21st-century water system in that basin,” Miguel Power Association, which secured a she said. “To have it dialed in, so we can 25-year contract in 2012 to purchase all of operate it like the Starship Enterprise.” the power produced at the plant as part of its Green Blocks program, a renewable energy BACK FROM THE DEAD initiative that allows members to purchase The Bridal Veil Powerhouse probably renewable energy credits to offset their wouldn’t exist today if it weren’t for Eric energy consumption. Jacobson, a Grand Junction native who took advantage of a new program through The Town of Telluride, in turn, has com- the Federal Energy Regulatory Commis- mitted to purchasing these credits from sion in the 1980s aimed at bringing his- SMPA. Thus, the old hydroelectric plant is toric hydroelectric plants back online. lighting the path toward a more sustainable Through this program, Jacobson was future for Telluride. able to get a 99-year lease on the decrepit ONCE THE BRIDAL VEIL PLANT hydro plant in 1988, in spite of Idarado’s COMES BACK ONLINE, ITS ELECTRICITY The project will also help Newmont, in a best efforts to thwart him. small way, to meet its own ambitious climate Jacobson coaxed the aging ruin WILL BE SOLD TO SAN MIGUEL POWER and carbon goals, while making the Idarado back to life and started selling elec- ASSOCIATION, WHICH SECURED A Mine itself a power-positive site. Granted, tricity into the grid in 1991. He ran the the decommissioned mine has very minimal Bridal Veil hydroelectric plant for almost 25-YEAR CONTRACT IN 2012 TO PURCHASE power requirements these days. “But every two decades. But things were never ALL OF THE POWER PRODUCED little bit helps,” Horntvedt said. easy between Jacobson and the mining company, and in a sealed settlement AT THE PLANT. Newmont also values the project’s pro- agreement in 2010, his 99-year lease ter- found historical significance. “Telluride was minated early, and operation of the power one of the first electrified Towns on the planet, plant reverted to Idarado and Newmont. and while Ames may have been the standard The corporate behemoth takes its odd role CONNECTING THE DROPS bearer in that effort, Bridal Veil towers high as as operator of the hydroelectric plant seriously. “There are a lot of reasons we’re continuing to a conspicuous reminder of the spirit of inno- Which begs the question: What possible interest invest in the Powerhouse,” Horntvedt said. “The vation driven by the region’s (historic) mining could a global mining giant have with rehabbing primary one is our legal obligations as per the CSA. culture,” Horntvedt said. and running an antique hydroelectric plant in Those go hand in hand with the maintenance of As the world tilts once more toward a more southwestern Colorado, that will ideally produce our water rights (which are tied to making hydro- electrified future, that same spirit of innovation enough electricity to light up a couple hundred electricity) and the operational flexibility associ- could lead to more sustainable and environmen- houses? ated with those.” tally responsible mining practices, he said. “What After the water from Blue Lake makes elec- better symbol of that exists than ‘reuse’ of a legacy Why not just shut it down, or turn it into a tricity at both the Bridal Veil Powerhouse and Pan- system that powered one of the first electrified museum, or sell it to Sting, or Airbnb it? mines in the world?” It’s just one more chapter in the complex, ever-evolving story of the Bridal Veil Hydroelectric Plant—a story with many moving parts. \\ SUMMER/FALL 2022

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