WINTER/SPRING 2020-2021 $4.95 | priceless in Telluride THE NIGHT SHIFT • IT’S NOT YOU • MISSING WALTER CRONKITE THE ANTI-BUREAUCRAT BUREAUCRAT • HIDE AND SEEK
KNOLL TOP VIEWS SPECIE CREEK FRONTAGE 4 Beds / Alpine View / 57 Acres / Pond Private & Sunny 1.21 Acres / Premier Golf Course Lot 192 Top of the World Drive - Placerville $2,750,000 Lots 709/710 Adams Ranch Road - Mountain Village $1,200,000 TRANQUIL LIVING WILSON MESA HAVEN 3 Beds / Horse Amenities / 35 Acres / Park Like Setting 49.35 Acres / Elk Creek Frontage & Big Views / Water Rights 185 South Point Road - Specie Mesa $740,000 Lot A, Posey Road - Wilson Mesa $699,000 Te l l u r i d e A r e a R e a l E s t a t e . c o m
STEVE CIECIUCH [ Chet-chu ] Providing Trusted Advice, Extensive Market Knowledge, and Exemplary Personalized Service For 34 Years. RIVER RANCH INSPIRED DESIGN 318 Acres / 13 Beds / 1+ Mile River Frontage / Private Skiing 4 Beds / 7,900 s.f. / 35.14 Acres / Incomparable Views Red Rock River Ranch - Dolores River $9,500,000 706 Wilson Way - Gray Head $9,950,000 360° VIEWS THE PERFECT ESCAPE 4.29 Acres / Incredible Views / Best Value 202 Acres / Borders BLM / Sweeping Views / Elegant Yurt & Teepee Lot 73 Josefa Lane - Aldasoro Ranch $675,000 Specie Point - Specie Mesa $2,450,000 STEVE CIECIUCH (Chet-chu) Director [email protected] | 970.708.2338 237 South Oak Street @ the Telluride Gondola
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WELL 673 E PANDORA AVENUE Extraordinary Views: Ajax, Bear Creek, Ski Area, Western Sunsets – 5 Bedrooms/4.5 Baths – $6,495,000 118 PROSPECT CREEK Private Estate – Easy Ski Access – 6 Bedrooms/6.5 Baths – Sunset and Palmyra Views – $5,995,000 244 BENCHMARK DRIVE Direct Ski-In/Ski-Out – 5 Bedrooms/5.5 Baths – 4,896 Square Feet – Highly Sought-After Rental Property – $2,995,000 Rick Fusting 970.708.5500 [email protected] 137 W. Colorado Avenue Telluride, CO 81435 For virtual tours: rickfusting.com PERSONAL COMMITMENT PROVEN RESULTS
MOVING FORWARD from where you are, to where you want to be. Telluride Properties has been a market leader since 1986 and we are committed to providing you with the necessary tools and proactive guidance needed to make informed decisions in the pursuit of your goals as a buyer or seller. Pictured: 114 Aguirre Road, Aldasoro Ranch CONNECT WITH US and start moving forward. 970.728.0808 I TellurideProperties.com I 237 S. Oak St. I 560 Mountain Village Blvd., Ste. 103 tellurideproperties @tellurideproperties LLURI DE A F E STIYOG TE June 24 - 27, 2021 VA L 201 W. Colorado Ave. Ste. 200 / (970) 729-1673 schedule at: tellurideyoga.com DROP-INS WELCOME / many styles and levels
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Legacy Homes esTaTe modern To w n choose Your archiTecTure — choose Your advenTure Luke TrujiLLo aia TruLinea.com 970-708-1445 [email protected]
20+ Years Living & Selling The Telluride Lifestyle Former President of the Just For Kids Foundation Former President of the Mountains to the Desert Bike Ride Former President, Vice President, & Realtor of the Year for the Telluride Association of Realtors Former One-to-One Mentor for 11 years Former Telluride Search and Rescue Team Member for 5 years Volunteer Baseball & Hockey Coach Recent Sales $6,370,000 $4,550,000 $4,400,000 $4,000,000 $3,625,000 $2,800,000 represented buyer represented seller represented buyer represented buyer represented seller represented buyer “I value his “I have used Eric on a number of transactions in Telluride. He is extremely knowledgable about the local insight & Telluride market, including market trends, factors affecting value, etc . He places long-term client success trust him.“ before his own short-term gain. He is a good person, well integrated into, and well-liked by the local community. I will continue to use him without hesitation for all my real estate needs.” Ethan Miller ERIC SAUNDERS Broker Associate [email protected] | 970.708.2447 Saunders.SearchTellurideRealEstate.com I 237 South Oak Street @ the Telluride Gondola
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16 • WINTER/SPRING 2020-2021 DEPARTMENTS CONTENTS 19 WITHIN FEATURES Turn the Page 32 Hide and Seek 20 CALENDAR OF EVENTS Forrest Fenn dies shortly after his hidden treasure is discovered By Craig Childs The Who, What, Where, and When in Telluride This Season 35 Missing Walter Cronkite Modern media climate requires discerning viewers 24 INSIDE ART By Judy Muller The Show Must Go On 40 The Night Shift It may not be glamorous, but it can be glorious 26 LOCAL FLAVOR By D. Dion Masks Off, It’s Time to Eat 46 The Anti-Bureaucrat Bureaucrat Pendley spent his career trying to dismantle the 28 MOUNTAIN HEALTH Bureau of Land Management before being chosen to lead it By Jonathan P. Thompson House Calls 56 History 30 ASK JOCK The great and terrible flood By Paul O’Rourke Athletic Advice From Our Mountain Guru 80 Campaigning for Cold Take the plunge 52 TELLURIDE FACES By Michelle Curry Wright Meet Mountain Guides Joe Shults, TellurideMagazine.com WINTER/SPRING 2020-2021 Tara Butson, and Bill Allen 60 FICTION “It’s Not You” by Elizabeth McCracken 68 TELLURIDE TURNS Police Body Cams, Typewriter Restoration, Pot Offenses Pardoned, Mental Health Emergency Response 76 INNOVATION Baby Steps 84 NATURE NOTES Bad News for Birders 86 ENVIRONMENT Protect Our Winters 88 SAN JUAN SCRIBES Book Reviews: Local Authors and Titles 94 COLOR BY NUMBERS Index of Facts and Figures 96 LAST LOOK Steed Speed by Gary Ratcliff
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18 • WINTER/SPRING 2020-2021 Magazine Telluride Magazine is produced by Telluride Publishing LLC, Contributors ELIZABETH MCCRACKEN a locally owned and operated company. TellurideMagazine.com WINTER/SPRING 2020-2021 Elizabeth McCracken (“It’s Not You,” p. 66–67) is the author of seven books: Here’s Your Hat What’s Your PUBLISHER Hurry, The Giant’s House, Niagara Falls All Over Again, TELLURIDE PUBLISHING LLC An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination, Thunderstruck & Other Stories, Bowlaway, and the ~~~ forthcoming collection of short stories The Souvenir ADVERTISING EXECUTIVE Museum. She won the 2015 Story Prize and is a recipient of the PEN New England Award, and her JENNY PAGE work has been published in The Best American Short ~~~ Stories, The Pushcart Prize, The O. Henry Prize, and elsewhere. A former faculty member of the Iowa EDITOR Writers’ Workshop, she currently holds the James DEB DION KEES Michener Chair for Fiction at the University of Texas at Austin. When McCracken is not teaching or writing, ~~~ she spends “entirely too much time” on Twitter. CREATIVE DIRECTOR KRISTAL FRANKLIN JONATHAN P. THOMPSON ~~~ Jonathan P. Thompson (“The Anti-Bureaucrat DISTRIBUTION Bureaucrat,” pp. 46–48) has been writing about TELLURIDE DELIVERS the Four Corners Region for a quarter of a century, including as one-time editor at the Silverton Standard ~~~ & the Miner. He is a contributing editor at High Country News and is the author of River of Lost Souls: The WEB ADMINISTRATOR Science, Politics, and Greed Behind the Gold King SUSAN HAYSE Mine Disaster, Behind the Slickrock Curtain: A Project Petrichor Environmental Thriller, and the forthcoming ~~~ non-fiction book Sagebrush Empire: A journey into the heart of the public land wars. CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Christina Callicott, Craig Childs, Martinique Davis, Deanna Drew, Jen Parsons, Elizabeth Guest, Elizabeth McCracken, Judy Muller, Paul O’Rourke, Sarah Lavender Smith, Jonathan P. Thompson, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, Lance Waring, Lorraine Weissman, Michelle Curry Wright ~~~ CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS & ILLUSTRATORS Bash Jelen, Nick Kalisz , Matt Kroll, Gary Ratcliff, Stephanie Morgan Rogers, JT Thomas ~~~ WWW.TELLURIDEMAGAZINE.COM Telluride Publishing produces the San Juan Skyway Visitor Guide and Telluride Magazine. Current and past issues are available on our website.. © 2020 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 $14.95. Cover and contents are fully protected and must not be reproduced in any manner without written permission from the publisher. WINTER/SPRING 2020-2021 STEPHANIE MORGAN ROGERS $4.95 | priceless in Telluride Stephanie Morgan Rogers (illustrations pp. 60–67) THE NIGHT SHIFT • IT’S NOT YOU • MISSING WALTER CRONKITE is a fine artist and illustrator who splits her time THE ANTI-BUREAUCRAT BUREAUCRAT • HIDE AND SEEK living on a small ranch in Ridgway, Colorado and Telluride. She studied art at Evergreen State ON THE COVER College, University of Washington, and Universita The peak is S9, in the Sneffels Range. per Stranieri in Perugia, Italy. She is inspired by the The image was shot by Gary Ratcliff and the outdoors and her favorite type of work is primitive folk art because of its authentic allegorical nature. illustration is by Kristal Franklin. She works in a variety of media, from illustration to large scale installations, and describes her style as a channeling of an old Italian pottery decorator. DIGITAL PARTNER
Within h TURN THE PAGE Ready for the future It really did seem like time stood Life can only be story is about the creative solutions still in the spring of 2020, when understood backwards; for dining out or at home during a pan- a pandemic shut down the world, but it must be lived forwards. demic. Inside Art focuses on the way and everyone hunkered down in their musicians are adapting to create new cocoon phase, waiting and watching —Søren Kierkegaard stages and opportunities to perform to see what would happen. And so live music. And our Innovation piece much did—record-breaking wildfires, tain in shape (“The Night Shift,” pp. 40–42) we are is about a new app to help you track so many lives lost to COVID-19, so all becoming more aware and learning to take care and lower your carbon footprint. much civil and political unrest. of each other and ourselves. We also have fiction by Elizabeth Telluride felt like a safe haven, and not just Never has protecting the environment McCracken (“It’s Not You,” pp. 60–67) and a fun to people who live here—indeed, tourism in the seemed so important, as we take solace in our essay by Craig Childs about Forrest Fenn’s trea- San Juans was as healthy as ever, and real estate outdoor sanctuary here. We have a piece in this sure (“Hide and Seek,” pp. 32–33). Need more sales were abundant, as people sought out the one issue about the mass die-off of migratory birds to read? Check out our book reviews about local thing that brings peace: escaping into the beauty this fall (“Bad News for Birders,” p. 84) and a authors and titles (San Juan Scribes, p. 88). Lastly, of these mountain landscapes. story about an organization that calls on sports don’t miss the profiles of three incredible moun- celebrities for climate advocacy ( “Protect Our tain guides (Telluride Faces, pp. 52–54) who can Of course, we all needed to adapt to the chang- Winters,” p. 86). Even our History section has a take you outside of your comfort zone and into the ing world. Masks, outdoor seating, social distance, cautionary tale, (“The Great and Terrible Flood” best of what the outdoors has to offer. waiting in long lines at the gondola to let the cabins pp. 56–58). be cleaned between riders. The future is always an unknown quantity, but Whatever the challenges we face, we are we take every lesson learned and all of our new- We’ve become better citizens as a result. ready. Our Mountain Health department features found strengths and knowledge with us as we move Whether it’s learning to be a more discerning the new telehealth services, and our Local Flavor forward. It’s time to turn the page. consumer of news (“Missing Walter Cronkite,” pp. Thanks for reading, 35–36), fighting to conserve public lands (“The Deb Dion Kees Anti-Bureaucrat Bureaucrat,” pp. 46–48) or even just taking care of business by keeping the moun- WINTER/SPRING 2020-2021 TellurideMagazine.com 19
20 • TEEVELLNUTRCIADLEEFNADCAERS CALENDARWinter • Spring 2020-2021 of EVENTS ARTS Ah Haa School for the Arts has a variety of online and outdoor art classes and to-go art kits available as they remodel their new space on the corner of Pacific and Fir Streets. The school is also hosting a digital art sale online through Dec. 9. For more information or to register for a class, visit ahhaa.org. Telluride Arts holds art walks from 5-8 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month. There will be a Holiday Arts Bazaar Dec. 11–12 on the corner of Fir and Market Streets, along with a Winter Market on the same dates. The Telluride Transfer Warehouse will also host open-air après live music regularly, weather permitting. For more information visit telluridearts.org. Sheridan Opera House is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and people are welcome to drop by and see the historic building if there is not an event happening—hand sanitizer is provided and masks/ social distancing are required. Sheridan Arts Foundation Young People’s Theater will perform Singin’ In the Rain (Dec. 4–5), A Christmas Carol (Dec. 18–19), Annie (Jan. 15–16), Cinderella (Feb. 19–20), and Tuck Everlasting (March 26–27). Visit sheridanoperahouse.com. LIBRARY Wilkinson Public Library has a variety of programs for adults and children, including storytime in English and Spanish, book, film, and listening clubs that meet monthly, fitness and wellness classes, online legal help, and much more. The library is currently open for walk-ins for two-hour slots at 9:30, 12:30, and 3:30. Learn more at telluridelibrary.org or call (970) 728-4519. MUSEUM Telluride Historical Museum is open from 11 a.m. through 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays Dec. 1 through April 3. Visitors are limited to ten at the same time and reservations are recommended. Visit telluridemuseum.org for more information. RECREATION Telluride Parks and Recreation offices are closed to the public but can be reached by phone or email. For a list of open/closed facilities visit https://www.telluride-co.gov/178/Parks-Recreation. Hanley Pavilion Ice Rink requires masks at all times. The ice rink schedule and programs are online at https://telluride.maxgalaxy.net/Home.aspx. The Nordic Center will be open this winter to rent Nordic skis, snowshoes, sleds, and ice skates. For information about trails and programs visit telluridenordic.com. *All events this winter and spring are subject to change due to public health regulations. Please check the websites for updates.
Our activity offerings range from Peak Ascents and CREATIVITY Ski Mountaineering to gentle Snowshoe Tours. IS GOOD FOR Telluride’s most exclusively recommend backcountry YOUR HEART guide service. AH HAA SCHOOL FOR THE ARTS The Ah Haa School for the Arts offers COVID-SAFE ways to get creative this winter for kids and adults. learn more at ahhaa.org \"Science is the great adventure of our time.\" DEEPAK CHOPRA In winter, we specialize in Ice Climbing, ENGAGE, INSPIRE, TRANSFORM Backcountry Skiing/Snowboarding and Snowshoeing for all ages and abilities-from first timers to seasoned veterans. Offering educational science experiences for kids of all ages. Pinhead is our region’s leading provider of STEM (Science, BOOK NOW at www.tellurideadventures.com Technology, Engineering, and Math) education and a proud 970-728-4101 affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute. CAMPS I CLASSES I VISITING SCHOLARS I INTERNSHIPS | TUTORING www.pinheadinstitute.org WINTER/SPRING 2020-2021 TellurideMagazine.com 21
Visit our websites to learn more about our Southwest Co towns! TELLURIDELOCAL.NEWS • DURANGOLOCAL.NEWS • MONTEZUMALOCAL.NEWS • PAGOSALOCAL.NEWS Local News, Created Locally, Delivered Locally, and Supported by Local Businesses
Leaving on a Jet Plane FLY ON A JET RIGHT INTO TELLURIDE Enjoy the convenience of a full-service airport, just 10 minutes away from downtown Telluride. Now offering daily jet service on Denver Air Connection. To book, go to United.com or DenverAirConnection.com. The Telluride destination is served by two airports, Telluride (TEX) and Montrose (MTJ). TEX now offers daily service on Denver Air from Denver (DEN), bookable through United, and MTJ offers nonstop flights from four national hubs on three major carriers this summer.
24 • INSIDE ART THE SHOW MUST GO ON Augment Musician Fund supports local performers By Jen Parsons Music is built on changes— fer Warehouse space. Fire pits, an from modulation, to chord igloo bar, and an improved tent progressions, to switching structure is in the works to keep the key or rhythm or even genre, the groove going. “We’re making it what makes music interesting is its a cool space. We want more music capacity to shift and innovate. So it here, and for regional bands to was no surprise that when the pan- come here, too,” he says. demic caused the cancellation of Playing live on the summer stages most events, Telluride’s musicians allowed the music community to con- were able to adapt. nect with their audiences and with When locals asked what a sum- each other. Virtual concerts filled mer without festivals would look a need early on, but, honestly, they like, our musicians answered. Small lacked spark. Alex Paul describes stages were built for the makeshift that spark as the “palpable exchange promenade on Colorado Avenue, of energy in a live show that’s missing farmers markets hosted singers and from playing over a computer.” guitar players, and there were tiny Leslie Ann Oliver Browning outdoor concerts outside the Sher- knows how to ride the energy of idan Opera House and beneath the IT’S A TESTAMENT TO THE CREATIVITY playing live. She says the expo- stars in the roofless, airy Transfer sure from performing has helped Warehouse. “We had more live music OF THIS COMMUNITY. WE FOUND her make connections: She’s been in Telluride this summer than Austin, handed business cards for music Texas had. We had more live music A BOLD WAY TO KEEP MUSIC PLAYING. producers and jammed with world- than Nashville,” Alex Paul says. class musicians in a beautiful local Paul, part of the local band Birds studio. And she’s paid it forward. of Play, knows the music scene. He and Tom Nading twenty-seven gigs canceled between Telski shows The day I saw her busking on the main street stage, and Don Berman formed the Augment Musician Fund and others when COVID hit,” says Simmons. “I was she invited a new musician, Hazel Brooks Jakobsen, as a way to remove the barriers for working musicians. stressed. I wondered if I’d need to find a different job.” to play with her. New to town and to performing, While the fund initially began as a mentorship pro- He was able to get some grant money to help Jakobsen brought a guitar loaned from Wilkinson gram pre-COVID, they saw a different need emerge with expenses until outdoor gigs started to flourish Public Library the first time she took the stage. due to the pandemic. “I began to think of how we could in midsummer. Between the small shows on plazas Browning says, “When I moved here in 2007, shift Augment’s focus.” in Mountain Village and the stages in downtown there were open mic nights. People welcomed me. Paul contacted Kate Jones, the executive Telluride, he played between four and eight shows That isn’t happening right now, so I want to bring director of Telluride Arts, to brainstorm the best a week and earned enough to live on. He plays solo, new people on stage, give new artists experience.” use of their time and resources for the local music and with his bands Lavalanche, Porch Couch, and Open air performances will be even more chal- community. One project was a new stage on Colo- Patio Chair. As a town resident, you may have seen lenging this winter when the weather gets colder, rado Avenue in front of Telluride Outside, built to him pull his Radio Flyer wagon full of gear to Colo- but Telluride’s musicians and venues have proven host shows on Friday and Saturday evenings and rado Avenue to perform. “I really enjoy music and their ability to modify the way things work. So bun- accommodate buskers anytime. “It’s a testament hopefully it will stay as my main source of income.” dle up and stay tuned to hear who will be playing to the creativity of this community,” says Paul. “We Now, the musicians have to contend with win- where this season. \\ found a bold way to keep music playing.” Tyler Simmons depends on his income from live ter challenges. Fortunately, Jereb Carter shifted For winter booking inquiries at Telluride Transfer his work from production director at Telluride Warehouse, please contact telluridetransferware- performances. In March, that income dried up. “I had Blues & Brews Festival to managing the Trans- [email protected] TellurideMagazine.com WINTER/SPRING 2020-2021
archival photograph by Alan Shaffer Ed Moses December 15th - January 31st 130. E COLORADO AVE. TELLURIDE CO (970) 728-3300 WWW.TELLURIDEGALLERY.COM
26 • LOCAL FLAVOR MASKS OFF, IT’S TIME TO EAT From outdoor cabins to take-out food, dining looks different this winter By Elizabeth Guest Local restaurants rallied this summer with The cabins operate as dining rooms for take- Tracks Café, Poacher’s Pub, and The Coffee Com- OLGAARKHIPENKO© AND PIXEL-SHOT© ADOBESTOCK.COM outdoor tables and curbside pickup to out food and libations from any Mountain Village pany. These tented structures seat eight and accommodate COVID-19 restrictions, but as restaurant or bar. They fit up to eight people and provide comfort and shelter from the outdoor ele- daylight dwindled and snow accumulated, picnics afford families more flexibility in food choices— ments. They’re adaptable, with flaps that roll up became less viable. While take-out options are kids can order pizza or cheeseburgers from one and down depending on the weather. An oversized better than ever, winter dining during a pandemic restaurant, while parents can get something more dining pavilion for larger parties is also available demands new, creative approaches. upscale from somewhere else, and still eat together. outside the Telluride Conference Center. The Cabins at Mountain Village, debuting this Kathrine Warren is the public information There are no reservations for the Cabins at season, are a collection of gondola cabins and tented officer for Mountain Village; the town, its business Mountain Village, which operate on a first-come, dining pavilions scattered throughout the plazas. development committee, and the local homeown- first-serve basis with expectations of respect- Twenty refurbished gondola cars—similar to the ers association collaborated on the project. “The ful patronage: Don’t take too long of a gondola ones used on the ski resort—are equipped with gondola is a treasured Mountain Village asset, so “ride,” and let cabins air out before climbing tables, benches, lighting, heat, and ventilation. Eight we might as well play on that idea, as well as sup- aboard. Menus are available at www.town- are located around the fire pit in the center of the vil- port local restaurants,” says Warren. ofmountainvillage/dining. Also, since drinking lage core, four by the base of Life 4 and Tomboy Tav- alcohol is allowed outdoors in Mountain Village, ern, and four more by the top of Lift 1 and La Piazza. The Cabins at Mountain Village also include folks can disembark and enjoy the last sips of outdoor dining pavilions for patrons of La Piazza, TellurideMagazine.com WINTER/SPRING 2020-2021
a hot toddy on a starlit stroll also available. LittleHouse caters telluride | colorado through the plaza. to little people with items like grilled cheese and parmesan farm fresh delicatessen Downtown Telluride restau- pasta, but also includes more rants are also finding food sophisticated samplings: Thai dine-in + 11 am service solutions. Expecting noodle salad, ahi tuna poke, take-out to a busy winter, The National Tuscan five bean kale salad, e at e ry 9 pm has redesigned the interior crab cakes from the case, plus space to accommodate socially six different sandwiches, vegan www. l i t t l e H o u s e. menu distanced dining as well as lasagna, beef Bourguignon, plexiglass partitioning at the Brussels sprouts, and soups and WINTER/SPRING 2020-2021 TellurideMagazine.com 27 bar. “People are still wanting salad paired with cocktails like a to go out,” says Ross Martin, mezcal old fashioned or a simple The National’s co-executive glass of sauvignon blanc. “We felt chef with Erich Owen. “Dining that town was in need of this,” in-house this winter will be a says Chef Martin. “A kind of Cal- coveted thing for Telluride; res- ifornia-European delicatessen.” ervations are going fast.” There’s another new restau- GRAB AND GO rant in town opening during the pandemic: Lunch Money, No available tables? No prob- located in the breezeway of the lem—90 percent of The National Heritage building at 126 West menu is available online for con- Colorado Avenue. Focused on tact-less, curbside pickup. For foodies, Lunch Money is for mid- groups of four and more, they day munchies and also seasonal recommend you order forty-eight take-home meals five days a hours in advance for a restau- week, so you don’t have to cook rant-caliber meal in the comfort dinner. The menu changes fre- of your own abode. quently to highlight fresh ingre- dients and healthy fare: salads, The National also has a noodle bowls, sushi, soups, new offshoot restaurant called wraps, snacks, sweet treats, and LittleHouse a few blocks away cold-pressed juices, with ample at 219 West Pacific Street. The vegetarian and vegan options. farm-fresh gourmet delicates- And no green guilt—Lunch sen is open 11 a.m-9 p.m. for Money uses environmentally lunch and dinner. Like The friendly to-go containers. National, the food features high- end quality ingredients and If there is one good thing craftsmanship, but with more that has come out of the pan- family-friendly offerings in a demic, it’s that most restau- more casual setting. The atmo- rants, even the fine dining ones, sphere is lively yet comfortable have upped their take-out game. with lots of natural light, clean The Butcher & The Baker has a contemporary finishes, and a deli case full of to-go sides and rustic mountain feel. A large dishes, and offers chicken din- garage door in front features ners to bring home, and you can floor-to-ceiling lighting, opening order meals online to pick up at on sunny days for a cool indoor- Cosmopolitan Restaurant and meets-outdoor space, the per- Siam. Virtually everything you fect place to lunch on a sunny can find in a restaurant is now ski day, and a close walk from available to eat at home; the the gondola and Lift 8. There’s a new Telluride dining world is, as full bar, beer, and wine with they say, your oyster. \\ pre-order family-style meals
28 • MOUNTAIN HEALTH HOUSE CALLS Telehealth streamlines medical care Seeing your doctor while wearing pajamas is By Jen Parsons JT THOMAS Hastings Mesa, too. A friend who lives on the not just for toddlers anymore; now it’s for all mesa found telehealth useful when she broke of us. Telehealth offers the opportunity to con- ORDINARY MEDICAL out suddenly in full-body hives. The itching was fidentially meet with your physician anywhere with APPOINTMENTS intense and uncomfortable. Like many of us, she a solid internet connection: perhaps in between self-diagnosed via the internet at first. “I Googled binge-watching Netflix shows or while working from COULD SHIFT FROM every possibility of what it could be. There were home. Through Telluride Medical Center, a routine PACIFIC AVENUE TO YOUR many things—some terrifying,” she said. Then, she screening can now be done, well, via screen. called TMC Telehealth. A hearty dose of Benadryl COUCH AS A WAY TO was advised, and the doctor told her to call back The Telluride Medical Center began imple- PROTECT BOTH MEDICAL immediately if her voice or breathing changed. menting telehealth in November 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic shifted our idea that a doc- PROFESSIONALS AND “It did,” she said. “My voice got croaky.” tor’s visit had to be done in person. With grant PATIENTS FROM Her symptoms cleared with a steroid prescrip- funding, the medical center was able to establish tion, as did her self-diagnosing. “It was really scary, their telehealth services. Follow-up visits such as UNNECESSARY VIRAL and I was so glad to be able to talk to a doctor and sharing lab results or refilling prescriptions, as EXPOSURE. get help. It’s challenging enough to schedule an well as anxiety/depression screening, help with appointment in town when you live forty minutes sleep issues, and birth control consultations all fit away, but the pandemic makes it even more so. I nicely into a virtual appointment. was really grateful.” Telehealth offers more clues to aid in diagno- This helped Telluride Medical Center be sis than a regular phone call, Dr. Mahoney pointed game ready in March 2020 when in-person visits out. “Seeing someone’s face is helpful. You feel became more complicated due to COVID-19 con- connected. There is a lot of non-verbal information siderations. Ordinary medical appointments could we can gather…if someone’s arms are crossed, for shift from Pacific Avenue to Your Couch as a way example. If they are saying they are ‘fine,’ but their to protect both medical professionals and patients face isn’t smiling. With video capacity there’s from unnecessary viral exposure. “It was to our more you can understand.” advantage that we already had this set up when COVID began,” said Christine Mahoney, the cen- There are silver linings to the pandemic— ter’s director of primary care. really. We are learning to do things differently, and to be patient. Dr. Mahoney noted that Further, as a result of the pandemic, insur- things are slower now; it takes longer to go to ance companies were mandated to cover virtual the grocery store or get a haircut. It’s the same appointments on par with their coverage for at Telluride Medical Center—it’s a little slower in-person visits—offering the same co-pays. Emer- in real life, with pre-screening, and tempera- gency declarations also waived geographic restric- ture checks. While you may still see your doctor tions and expanded the types of practitioners who in person at the medical center, if it suits your could provide telehealth services. “This was in medical needs, a telehealth visit could be offered direct response to COVID as a way to help provid- as an alternative. “Thankfully, it helps us to care ers continue to treat patients through telehealth.” for all of our patients.” Telehealth eliminates any fear patients might With all of the inconveniences created by the have of coming into contact with the virus. “Our pandemic, at least one thing has been simplified: patients over 65 and those with a higher risk like it,” Dr. now, a routine doctor’s visit can be done online. Mahoney said. “It’s also really helpful for our patients And you can even wear your pajamas. \\ who live further away: Ouray, Norwood, Ridgway.”
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30 • ADVICE ASK JOCK Athletic Advice from Our Local Mountain Guru On Thin Ice Q Dear Jock, I’ve heard that when the snow is sparse and temps are cold, some locals ice skate on alpine lakes. I love to skate, and it sounds like fun to be out in the high country, but I’m worried about falling through thin ice. How can you tell if ice is thick enough for skating? And are there any other safety precautions I should consider on lake ice? I don’t want to be involved in any icescapades. —A Wild Ice Wannabe A Dear Wannabe Wild, General consensus is that ice thicker than 4 inches will support the weight of a skater. Some skaters push that envelope, but many of them have harrowing tales of narrow escapes and cold swims. The best way to determine thickness is to chop test holes with a hatchet or an ice auger. Start near the shore and carefully continue your testing pattern toward the center. Be aware that current from any incoming streams can reduce the thickness of the ice. Your first lap around the lake should be cautious. Use your eyes and ears to warn you of any changes, and be pre- pared to skate away quickly if the ice underneath you begins to crack. Savvy skaters carry special self-rescue ice picks for traction to claw out of the water if the ice gives way. You can order a pair for under $10, which seems like cheap insurance to me. If you are unlucky and end up in the drink, deploy your ice picks to exit the water then return to thicker ice by commando crawl- ing on your belly. Crawling distributes your weight more equally. Enjoy the wild ice experience, — Jock Saddles and Skis COVID Couture Q Dear Jock, Q Dear Jock, In an outdoor magazine, I saw a picture of a cowboy riding a horse I know we all need to follow the five COVID-19 commitments this win- towing a skier. What a cool concept! Is that something I can do around ter and that face coverings are an essential part of the package. I read some- here? I used to ride as a kid, and I love to ski. Is there a team I can join? where that Buff neck gaiters aren’t as effective as an actual mask. But I like the warmth a Buff provides when I’m skiing. Do you think I should also carry —A Cowgirl at Heart a mask to wear on the chairlift or in the gondola? Or is a Buff enough? Dear Cowgirl, —COVID Cautious A You are describing the sport of skijoring. For hundreds of years, Nor- Dear CC, wegians harnessed reindeer to pull them on skis as they hunted for food on the frozen tundra. Gradually, skijoring has become less of a necessity A I also read the study you reference, but I then discovered a follow-up study and more of a pastime. (nytimes.com/2020/08/17/well/live/coronavirus-gaiters-masks.html) that examines the question more deeply. It allayed many of my concerns. Here in the American West, we substituted horses for reindeer and added jumps and rings for the skiers to grab as they passed by. The sport is As a layman, my takeaway is that any face covering is better than none. gaining traction with a competitive winter circuit and cash prizes. In the same breath, the thin fabric of a Buff offers less protection than a thicker dual-layer mask that fits your face snugly. Just down the road in Ridgway, there is a skijoring competition slated for January 9-10, 2021, and another scheduled in nearby Silverton over Pres- Another COVID-19 corollary comes to mind when you ask about riding on ident’s weekend in February, 2021. There are categories for skiers, snow- the chairlift or in the gondola. The critical difference lies in the prepositions boarders, and a combined event where the riders and sliders switch places “on” and “in.” Chairlifts are surrounded by the great outdoors, while gondola after each lap. For more information about these two skijoring events, go to cabins are small, enclosed spaces. I’ll bet you can follow this line of reason- ouraycountyrodeo.com/skijoring or silvertonskijoring.com. ing without further explanation. Perhaps you’ll sign up to participate on one end of the rope or the other. Since the pandemic began last spring, we’ve all been learning to adapt Good luck! our behaviors to fit local protocols and our own comfort levels. I urge you to err on the side of caution. We have a lot of complex behavioral choices to — Jock make this winter to protect our neighbors and ourselves. Please do your part with all your heart. TellurideMagazine.com WINTER/SPRING 2020-2021 Let’s all stay healthy together, — Jock
32 • ESSAY HIDE and SEEK Forrest Fenn dies shortly after his hidden treasure is discovered By Craig Childs The treasure chest hidden by the late For- rest Fenn was not large like you’d imagine of a pirate chest, but compact and heavy, its bronze forged and ornately decorated in seventeenth century Spain. You could have picked it up in both hands, straining from the weight of not just the bronze, but the treasure inside. In 2010, he stashed it, loaded and sealed, somewhere in the Rockies and put out clues. Three million dollars of gold pieces, jewels, and small, precious artifacts belonged to whomever might find the chest. Hundreds of thousands of people searched. At least five died while on the hunt. In the summer of 2020, Fenn announced it had been discovered. He said he’d received a photograph from a person “back East” proving the chest had been found. He gave no name and said only that the location of its hiding place was in Wyoming. Hardly three months later, 90-year-old Fenn was dead. His death was determined to be from natural causes. Considering the number of people who searched for the chest, some quitting their jobs and gambling on discovery, this conclusion must have been unsatisfying. It’s just like Fenn to leave with the last word, treasure discovered by no one named, location none of your business, tracks covered by his own death. It is as if Fenn wrote the ending himself. My last dealings with the Santa Fe art dealer were years ago. Fenn sent me angry emails accusing me of black journalism, calling me an informant after I’d interviewed and written about him, casting him in a mildly unfavorable light. As an artifact collector, he had dismayed many archaeologists. In New Mexico he’d bought a piece of land on which stands the ruins of an abandoned, multi-hundred-room Pueblo aban- doned about 350 years ago. He turned the site into a private excavation, his finds stored in the house, a heavy bound book printed about his discoveries. I replied that I had no grudge against him, and found him to be a fascinating man. I’d done no informing other than what I’d published, shar- ing only what he shared with me. After our heated exchange, he invited me to a cocktail party in Santa Fe. I declined. TellurideMagazine.com WINTER/SPRING 2020-2021
THAT’S WHAT I FOUND FASCINATING ABOUT HIM, HIS SENSE OF TIME, SO MANY ARTIFACTS AND ANTIQUITIES FLOWING THROUGH HIS HANDS IT WAS HARD TO TELL WHICH CENTURY HE OCCUPIED. The word “trickster” comes to mind. In the early 80s, Fenn put up an exhibition of high art forgeries, claiming them as originals. As they were being admired, prices negotiated, he announced the sham, the joke on everyone. “If you like it less because it’s a fake, who is the fraud now?” he said at the time. He turned around and sold the replicas for a high price, all of them painted by a single forger, Elmyr de Hory. It was a setup, a publicity stunt; not just for sales, but to make fools of his clients. The hunt he kicked off for a treasure chest was probably no different. He may have actually hid- den it, and it may have actually been found. Or not. Whichever the case, he was enjoying our vanities. Fenn was 78 years old in 2008 when I interviewed him. Gracious and beaming with sly enthusi- asm, he invited me into the personal museum of his Santa Fe home. It was a tour of ages, bits of Pompeii and Chaco, statues on pedestals, painted skulls, rugs, and Native American robes on the walls. He showed off a series of bronze bells he had cast, explaining how he was going to bury them around the world with his memoirs sealed inside. He wanted them to be discovered centuries from now. On one of the bells, he had inscribed the words: “If you should ever think of me a thousand years from now, please ring my bell so I will know.” That’s what I found fascinating about him, his sense of time, so many artifacts and antiquities flowing through his hands it was hard to tell which century he occupied. As if telling the punchline of a joke, he said the tongue inside his inscribed bell came from a seventeenth-century Spanish mission bell. I asked how he felt about scavenging arti- facts this way, not preserving the original bell for its own history. “Save the past for the future?” he said. “When is the future? Give me a date.” Fenn kept the treasure chest in a vault inside the house. Shelves and workspaces were busy with artifacts, and one was his open chest overflowing with jade, gold, silver, and emeralds. He lifted out a tarnished silver bracelet with inlaid turquoise beads and said, “This is the bracelet Richard Wetherill had made after he discovered Cliff Pal- ace—when was it?—1888! And these twenty-two beads are the very ones he collected that day!” He told me the plan was to hide this trea- sure and leave clues, setting off a hunt. When he told me this, I said I could hide it for him and it wouldn’t be found for thousands of years. He said he wanted it to be found in his lifetime. Fenn got his wish, or so it seems. Someone from back East may now have Wetherill’s bracelet, along with a few million dollars in loot. Or perhaps Fenn somehow slipped out a back door, bracelet and mask in hand, laughing his way into the afterlife. \\ WINTER/SPRING 2020-2021 TellurideMagazine.com 33
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MISSING WALTER CRONKITE MODERN MEDIA CLIMATE REQUIRES DISCERNING VIEWERS By Judy Muller A s a retired journalist, or rather a journalist of a certain age who no longer works for a major television network (there is no such thing as a retired journalist, really), I hear a lot of complaining from folks who are angry with the news media for one reason or another. The most common refrain I hear is some version of “I really miss Walter Cronkite.” In fact, if you Google “missing Walter Cronkite” a The cable television news shows have also authoritative approach to delivering the news number of articles will pop up, so it’s definitely a thing. been infected with this commercialization, and the every evening, at a time when families could only It’s hard to imagine that this needs to be said, result is a smorgasbord of news-as-conflict, aimed choose among three major network news shows but here it is: Walter Cronkite is not coming back. at capturing as many eyes and ears as possible. The (all anchored by older white guys, by the way) Nor is a newscast that even vaguely resembles the public editor of the Columbia Journalism Review, because there was no cable or social media, those one he anchored each night from the CBS Broad- Ariana Pekary, left her job as a producer at MSNBC days are over. In very important ways—the inclu- cast Center in New York, ending with his sonorous, because of her despair over the profit incentive in sion of Black and Asian and Latinx and female avuncular “And that’s the way it is.” voices, for example—we are much Because the way it is now is all better off for moving beyond the about profit and ratings and clicks parameters of the Cronkite model. and eyeballs and all the other things ONCE BROADCAST NETWORKS SAW Meanwhile, the mainstream that drive the news media these days. HOW MUCH ADVERTISERS WOULD PAY TO GET Ironically, this shift to news as a profit network news shows—ABC’s World center may have started with the tre- News Tonight with David Muir, THEIR PRODUCTS ON A TOP-RATED NEWS SHOW, CBS Evening News with Norah mendous success of 60 Minutes. Once THE SEEDS WERE PLANTED. O’Donnell, and NBC’s Nightly broadcast networks saw how much News with Lester Holt—are pretty advertisers would pay to get their much the same product, with slight products on a top-rated news show, the seeds were broadcast news. She writes, “Financial incentives variations. Muir’s show is a breathless recitation of planted. Those seeds got a mighty dose of fertilizer are a bad way to decide news priorities. Ideas at the verb-free headlines that begin with “Tonight…,” (and I know what you’re thinking, those of you famil- extremes overpower those in the middle.” She says even though the story may have occurred that iar with the composition of fertilizer) with the birth of MSNBC calculates that ideas on the left will attract morning or the day before. My partner (also a social media, which adrenalized the clickbait business viewers, while Fox news focuses on ratings from the retired TV correspondent) once counted more plan on Twitter and Facebook, a plan grounded in the right. CNN, she adds, figures that those two sides than fifty utterances of “tonight” in that broadcast. emotions of conflict and anger. Every time someone arguing with one another will bring in audiences. Apparently someone at ABC decided that gerunds agrees with us about posts that appeal to those feel- It’s hard to argue with that, although you are more riveting than old-fashioned verbs, so you ings, our brains are rewarded with a hit of dopamine. can still find plenty of unbiased news if you know get sentences like, “Tonight, people fleeing, fires The result: lots of “likes” and retweets that divide us where to look and if you know how to judge. But burning, panic growing… .” What’s disturbing is into silos of opinion, facts and evidence be damned. the days of trusting in “Uncle Walter” Cronkite’s that this machine-gun approach has apparently WINTER/SPRING 2020-2021 TellurideMagazine.com 35
36 • FEATURE worked; Muir’s ratings are doing IT’S EASY TO GLIBLY SAY “THE MEDIA IS BIASED” We no longer live in an era just fine, thank you very much, and where one distinguished journal- other network news programs are OR, WORSE, “THE MEDIA IS FAKE NEWS” ist—traditionally, a white male— now copying that verb-free style. As is trusted to impart all we need to an ABC Correspondent for fifteen WITHOUT DISCRIMINATING BETWEEN THE MANY know in a half hour or less. Now years, I reported for World News we are all “prosumers,” consuming Tonight with Peter Jennings, so NEWS MEDIA OUTLETS. “MEDIA” information and sometimes produc- I am clearly from the old school IS A LAZY CATCHALL WORD, ANYWAY, SINCE IT ing it, as well, even if it is only by and find this new style unwatch- ENCOMPASSES EVERYTHING FROM DEODORANT re-Tweeting or re-posting on Face- able. But I do believe that all three book. And with that change comes network broadcasts are committed responsibility, at least in a democ- to evidence-based, fair reporting. ADVERTISING TO DISNEY CARTOONS TO racy with a strong First Amendment My complaint is with the writing PORNOGRAPHY TO NEWSPAPERS, RADIO AND protection for a free press. and delivery and the dearth of any TELEVISION NEWS, AND SO MUCH MORE. I was a Cronkite fan, myself. deep-dive reporting or investment I arrived at CBS News as a young in foreign news, for the most part. reporter the same week that For excellent reporting, writ- Cronkite was retiring and Dan ing, and delivery, I personally recommend PBS When I was a professor at USC’s Annenberg Rather was taking over the anchor desk. In the Newshour, which devotes a full hour every eve- School of Journalism and Communication, I co-taught radio newsroom, where I worked, I sat between ning to thoughtful, unbiased, and often ground- a class in media/news literacy. I wanted to call it Douglas Edwards (who was the first television breaking reporting. But every responsible citizen “Detecting Bullshit” but USC insisted on calling it anchor, before Cronkite) and Richard C. Hottelet, needs to arrive at his or her own conclusions something more politically correct or academic. Stu- one of “Murrow’s Boys” who reported on World about what news broadcasts and publications to dents learned the difference between credible news War II with great bravery and distinction. My trust. And that requires some level of responsibil- sources and propaganda or opinion. Credible news is first thought was, “Someone has made a mistake. ity and critical analysis. verifiable (evidence and fact-based), independent I don’t belong here.” For the handful of women And there’s the rub. Critical thinking takes a (not a propaganda tool of a political party or inter- who worked with me in that newsroom, however, bit of work. It’s so much easier to denounce, say, est group), and accountable (meaning if they make a and all those female reporters who followed, and CNN for devoting so much time to panels of peo- mistake, they immediately correct it). especially all those journalists of color, I think I ple who argue endlessly over the “breaking news” A news-literate person knows the difference can safely say that while I value the heritage of of the day (and on CNN, ALL news is “breaking”) between commentary and news reporting. Sean Walter Cronkite, I don’t miss some version of the or Fox for parroting propaganda or untruths. It’s Hannity and Rachel Maddow are commentators, “good old days” that excluded so many voices and easy to glibly say “the media is biased” or, worse, with their own shows on Fox and MSNBC, respec- so many stories. What I do hope for is a day when “the media is fake news” without discriminating tively. So when someone complains, for example, news literacy, based on critical thinking and fact between the many news media outlets. “Media” is that such people are “biased,” it is stating the checking skills, is taught in every school in the U.S. a lazy catchall word, anyway, since it encompasses obvious. But the best commentators know how to And the day when no one is lamenting the absence everything from deodorant advertising to Disney buttress their points of view with evidence and ver- of Walter Cronkite. \\ cartoons to pornography to newspapers, radio and ifiable facts, a key factor in determining credibility. television news, and so much more. It’s as bad as For some fun and informative exercises in testing Judy Muller is Professor Emerita at USC’s Annenberg denouncing (as so many people seem to be doing) your news lit skills, I highly recommend the News Lit- School. She previously reported for both CBS and ABC the “right” or the “left.” Lazy and dangerous. eracy Project website newslit.org. News. She lives in Norwood, Colorado. TellurideMagazine.com WINTER/SPRING 2020-2021
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40 • FEATURE The NIGHT Shift IT’S NOT ALWAYS GLAMOROUS, BUT IT CAN BE GLORIOUS By D. Dion The work is physically and mentally chal- department, or mountain ops for short. From the tling all day, interacting with guests and bumping lenging, even dangerous, and the hours are time the chairlifts stop running in the late afternoon chairs, there is a reward as they get off the moun- terrible. The job is performed mostly out- until they fire up again in the early morning, the tain: a peaceful, quiet run on a vacant slope at twi- doors at night in the cold, winter air and mountain ops night crews are busy checking equip- light. “That can be the best run of the entire day,” at extreme altitude. The pay is decent, but nobody ment, making snow, sculpting the terrain parks, and says Daniel Last, the director of Lift Operations. is getting rich doing it. So why are so many people turning chopped-up snow into beautiful corduroy. “You get to just enjoy the views and the solitude of drawn to a career in mountain operations? being on the mountain by yourself.” The evening starts with the lift operators, “It’s the best job I’ve ever had,” says Joe Stiles. AKA lift ops or lifties, shutting down the chairlifts. The lift ops are integrated into the last sweep Stiles has been the head of the grooming depart- That’s not just flipping a switch, mind you—it of the mountain, shepherded by ski patrol as they ment for five years, and spent nine years before involves carefully watching every single chair go by clear the mountain of any last patrons wend- that driving snowcats from midnight to 10 a.m. all empty, with no skier left behind. (They make bad ing their way down. By the time patrol gives the season. “I love the graveyard shift. It’s gorgeous— horror movies of such nightmare scenarios.) While “all clear” on the radio, the swing shift of Stiles’ the moon, the wildlife. Plus, you can ski every sin- the last chairs turn, they shovel snow by hand to grooming crews have already started their 3:30 gle day…nothing beats that.” keep the loading and unloading ramps in shape. p.m. to midnight shift. After a thorough inspection Then come the post-operational safety checks, of the snowcats and a briefing by Stiles, they head Grooming is just one of the essential teams that turning off the power, and locking up. After hus- out to the steeper black diamond and blue runs. comprise Telluride Ski Resort’s Mountain Operations TellurideMagazine.com WINTER/SPRING 2020-2021
BEING ON THE CREW IS A LITTLE BIT LIKE BEING ON A REALITY TV SHOW: IF YOU’RE NOT CUT OUT FOR IT, YOU’RE NOT GOING TO BE INVITED BACK FOR THE FOLLOWING SEASON. BASH JELEN It’s not just the work itself they love, but also the working environment. Maybe the IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT Even without a winch, just driving a snowcat only thing that rivals the beauty of Telluride is complicated. There is no steering wheel; they are during the day is the incandescence of the It’s the most experienced groomers that handle operated with sticks and a dashboard of some forty mountains at night, lit up by the moon. The the high-angle terrain, says Stiles. The snowcats or more buttons, and operators have to make small landscape is ethereal, almost otherworldly, they drive are massive, weighing upward of 20,000 adjustments to accommodate myriad factors includ- and completely deserted. Stiles likes to pounds. Specialized winch cats are outfitted with ing the type and depth of the snow and the area being remind the cat drivers to step out of the cab 1,400-foot cables that attach to anchors at the top groomed. “There are so many variables, it can be frus- once in a while to stretch, and take in the of a run, allowing the operator to lower themselves trating. It takes at least three years to learn, and the splendor. He remembers one night, as the down the steepest slopes in the cats and then raise training never stops. We set our rookies up for success, graveyard crew was setting out, when they back up, grooming as they go. And despite how because any imperfections reflect on all of us.” all got to see something remarkable. “The obsessively the equipment gets checked, there pack had assembled and was about to roll is always the chance that something can go awry, Stiles insists that all the training, the pride out onto the hill when two lynx came from like the cable breaking. “It requires many years they take in their work, and the good teamwork different directions to meet directly in front of experience to get in a winch cat,” says Stiles. results in a perfect product. “Everyone takes their of the cat pack, in the bright lights, and nuz- “You have to think creatively about what things job very seriously. We have one of the best groom- zled one another for fully ten minutes. The could go wrong. It takes a very calm head—quick ing teams in Colorado, and the terrain we groom two lynx then bounded off into the dark, and actions, quick responses.” is, for the most part, flawless.” the crew hit the hill feeling blessed at what they got to witness.” TEAM GARY There would be a lot less snow for groomers to push around if it weren’t for the snowmak- ing crew. Snowmakers start in late October and work until January or so, in shifts from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. and 11 p.m. until 11 a.m. They labor for long hours during a short win- dow of time when it is cold enough to build a base on the mountain. “Snowmaking is short, sweet, and expensive,” says Brandon Green, who has been the director of snow- making since 2016. Green has been making snow since he was 20 years old, and doing it in Telluride since 2008. Snowmaking is intense work. It’s proba- bly the most physically demanding job on the mountain, hauling gear like snow guns, hoses, generators, fuels, extension cords. There is a lot of hiking, lifting, and moving heavy equipment around on rough terrain. And it’s a constant battle with the elements; not just the below-freezing temperatures, but also the wind, which is constantly changing directions and means that they have to adjust where the guns are blowing. Not to mention the snow— although a lot of natural snow is a good thing, it buries the equipment (requiring lots of shoveling) and makes it hard to get around. WINTER/SPRING 2020-2021 TellurideMagazine.com 41
42 • FEATURE I LOVE THE GRAVEYARD SHIFT. IT’S GORGEOUS—THE MOON, THE WILDLIFE. PLUS, YOU CAN SKI EVERY SINGLE DAY… NOTHING BEATS THAT. The thirty snowmakers are a tightknit crew, like ronment in adverse conditions. The camaraderie RADIO CHATTER all mountain ops teams, and Green said that’s par- that develops—I don’t see the same sort of family tially because it’s a high-pressure environment— in an office or regular coworker environment.” The behind-the-scenes work that happens literally. The snowmaking system runs at about when the resort shuts down is a huge produc- 600–800 pounds of water pressure (for scale, a Communication in any family is key, and the tion, most of which takes place in the dark. typical fire hydrant is at about 100 pounds of water way they talk to each other is over the radio. Snow- On-mountain restaurants get re-stocked, pressure) and operators have to make the safety of makers even have special systems in their helmets, snow gets stockpiled, slopes get smoothed themselves and their co-workers paramount. Being which allow them to be hands-free while they focus and combed into corduroy, jumps and berms on the crew is a little bit like being on a reality TV on work. They are so busy, in fact, that they don’t and rails get built or freshened up. The coor- show: If you’re not cut out for it, you’re not going to bother to even use their co-workers’ names: Every- dination not just within each team but also be invited back for the following season. “It takes a one making snow is simply addressed as “Gary.” No among all the mountain ops crews is crucial. certain type of person to excel in this job. You have one on the crew is actually named Gary. “We’re all to be able to work under pressure, always be mind- Gary,” says Green. “It’s constant on the radio when That happens mostly by radio. Teams have ful of everything around you, be really present in the we’re working together. It was an old joke that lasted one channel to communicate with each other, moment, and work well with others in a team envi- the better part of a decade now. You’re a Gary, and and use other frequencies to talk to different you’re part of the family.” crews. There’s a lot of funny banter in the transmissions, and bonhomie, and probably some comfort in hearing the voices of other people as you work alone in the dark at night. Sometimes it’s less comfort and more entertainment, like with Hannah Smith, the director of the terrain park. She speaks effusively, bubbling over with enthusiasm and energy. “Everyone hates my radio voice because it’s so high-pitched,” laughs Smith. “They all say, ‘turn it down, Hannah.’” Terrain park crews also work 24-7, and coordinate with all the other teams as they help transform the snowmaking piles into jumps, park features, and an amphitheater at the Gorrono restaurant. They groom the parks, and also set the rails and metal fixtures, and even do some welding. “In the terrain park you have to be a swiss army knife, you need to be able to do a little bit of everything.” Smith likes the night shift for the same reasons that entice all of the mountain ops crews—it offers the most intimate relation- ship you can have with the mountain, an expe- rience that includes solitude within the natural beauty and a kinship with your team. From the kit of foxes that come and visit at night, to the glow of the moonlight on the snow, it’s all worth it, she says. “It’s just beautiful. The nighttime is always this magical thing, and so much gets done. It takes a certain person to want to work at night—it’s a total paradigm shift. And cof- fee. It takes a lot of coffee.” \\ TellurideMagazine.com WINTER/SPRING 2020-2021
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46 • FEATURE THE ANTI-BUREAUCRAT BUREAUCRAT PENDLEY SPENT HIS CAREER TRYING TO DISMANTLE THE BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT BEFORE BEING CHOSEN TO LEAD IT By Jonathan P. Thompson In September a federal judge ruled that Wil- liam Perry Pendley had been serving unlaw- fully as acting director of the Bureau of Land Management for more than a year, and that he must step down immediately. Instead, Pend- ley—who once opined that no one was more arrogant than federal officials—merely deleted the acting-director language from his title. Then he told reporters that the judge’s order had “no impact whatsoever” and that he would continue to run the nation’s largest federal land management agency. He simply refused to leave. The director of the BLM has typically been a behind-the-scenes, career bureaucrat, someone who leaves the limelight—and the political postur- ing—to others. Yet instead of formally nominating someone from the ranks to take the agency’s helm, in July 2019 Interior Secretary David Bernhardt named Pendley, a spotlight-hogging firebrand who has spent most of his career waging ideological and legal war against the very same agency that he was now being asked to lead. Pendley was thus charged with overseeing nearly 250 million acres of public land—from the slickrock canyons of Utah to the sagebrush-strewn basins of Nevada to the piñon and juniper forests of western Colorado—along with the federal min- erals that underlie millions more acres of private and public lands. President Donald Trump and his administration had long demonstrated that they see these lands as a big grab bag of oil, gas, uranium, coal, and other natural resources that should be opened up to exploitation with as few regulatory hindrances as possible. TellurideMagazine.com WINTER/SPRING 2020-2021