allows fiery finale to the village Grump
CRESTED BUTTE – Summer
monsoons arrived to the Colorado Rockies late in the season
but perhaps early enough to ensure a fiery finale for the Grump
of Crested Butte.
The Grump is a large statute
that is held responsible for all the misfortune of the past
year. Ordinarily during September, the Grump is put to trial,
with a pre-supposed verdict. Usual sentencing is burning at
the town’s four-way stop, followed by a community bonfire.
The burning was up in the air until recently because of a statewide
ban on open fires. However, the ban was lifted just in time
for the ceremony.
The Grump’s purging
pyre is part of Crested Butte’s fall harvest festival,
called Vinotok, in recognition of the Slavic heritage of the
coal miners who originally settled there. As explained by the
Crested Butte News (Sept. 6), any and all storytellers are invited
to spin tall tales, with the truth to be determined by the crowd.
During that same evening, the Green Man is chosen – a
symbol of virility, strength and fertility, as well as growth
and a human life source. “It is an intimidating and intimate
title for any local man to uphold,” noted the News.
Americans scorned abroad
because of flag on Durango
BANFF, ALBERTA – After parking their
RVs at a campground, three retired couples then drove to Banff
to shop. Their Dodge Durango had large, magnetic U.S. flags
proudly displayed on each side. Returning to the sport-utility
vehicle, they found a scornful note on their windshield:
“Americans, why don’t you and
your ugly ‘American-Mobile’ go the (expletive) back
to that dirty rotten country you call home? 9/11 was payback,
not terrorism. Stick your flag up your (expletive).”
The couples removed the flagrant flags
for the duration of their Canadian visit but wondered if all
Canadians felt that way toward Americans. One resident, a town
councilor in Banff, assured them they didn’t. He speculated
that the note-writer wasn’t even Canadian, reports the
Banff Crag & Canyon (Sept. 9).
in Aspen not playing by the rules
ASPEN – The Aspen Times had some
decidedly tart things to say about its second-home owners this
summer. “We are no longer primarily a ski town,”
observed the newspaper (Aug. 10-11). “Nor are we an enclave
of free-spirited mountaineers conducting an enlightened social
experiment. No, we are a virtual country club. The price of
membership is the price of real estate. If you can buy in, then
you’re in. If you can’t, then you are in employee
housing or doing the downvalley shuffle.”
But there are obligations on both sides,
explained the newspaper. Locals try to keep Aspen/Snowmass pleasant,
controlling growth so the upper valley’s natural beauty
remains, building employee housing so that the country club
has a work force. Country club members support the arts with
their generous donations, buy and furnish lavish homes, and
spend freely in the restaurants and stores.
Trouble is, said The Times, “some
of the power elite are not just jetting into Aspen to unwind.
No, upon landing, they are applying their energy and expertise
to profit from the local real estate market. They are violating
what should be a key rule for club members: Make your money
somewhere else. Just because you can profit by developing here
doesn’t mean you should.”
Man looks death in the eye while out bison hunting
JACKSON HOLE, WYO. — What would be
your impulse if a grizzly bear ripped part of your face off?
Jesshua Amun, a 39-year-old resident of Sedona, Ariz., was in
the Yellowstone National Park area recently to track bison when
he apparently surprised a grizzly sow.
“I had a pretty interesting experience
when she bit my face,” he told the Jackson Hole News (Sept.
4-10). “I went to a very quiet, very peaceful place. There
was no darkness or light. There was no judgment. Basically,
I thought I was dead.”
The bear tore most of his face apart, and
he remembers his upper lip “just hanging on by a piece
of skin.” Doctors later put in 300 stitches to hold his
face together. He was also bleeding profusely and suffered other
Yet, speaking from a hospital bed, he demanded
that public land managers not kill the animal, also known as
ursus arctos horribilis. “The bear shouldn’t be
punished or who they are,” he said, slurring his words
because of the stitches. “We all share the same woods.
To think we are separate from our surroundings is as ludicrous
as it comes.”
Public land managers were fearing the woods
are too small for bears and people. Even by late August several
bears had charged hikers and bitten people, with the worst expected
to come when bow-hunters steathily take to the woods.
Just what role for Hispanics in the future of ski
I-70 CORRIDOR — Aside from Winter
Park, the role of Hispanics at ski resorts is an emerging issue
elsewhere in Colorado.
The new White River National Forest master
plan allocates significant potential new acreage for Summit
County ski areas, which are closer to Denver. The assumption
behind the potential acreage is that destination business of
Colorado ski areas in the decade ahead will be flat, but that
Colorado’s burgeoning Front Range growth will continue,
producing more skiers in Summit County and, to a lesser extent,
Vail and Beaver Creek.
But Colorado Wild’s Jeff Berman argues
the Forest Service’s methodology is shoddy. As in the
past decade, a high percentage of Colorado’s new residents
will be Hispanic. Given that Hispanics have traditionally been
of lower income and less likely to ski, it’s logical to
assume that the demand projected by the Forest Service will
not materialize. Hence, Berman’s group wants less land
allocated to potential ski area expansions.
Yoga is OK, but coffee
and sugar may be on way out
ASPEN — Public school officials somewhat
unexpectedly found themselves in the public eye when several
parents objected to a new yoga program at Aspen Elementary School.
The regimen of breathing and stretching
exercises, said the parents, were accompanied by words and expressions
from the Hindu religion, from which yoga originates. By virtue
of that fact, yoga violates separation of church and school.
In response, school officials are having the yoga curriculum
gutted of all material that could be construed as religious.
Meanwhile, at the high school, students
may eventually have to face their days without either sugared
or caffeinated beverages, reports The Aspen Times (Sept. 10).
School officials have reviewed national reports that link diets
high in caffeine with restlessness, nervousness and hyperactivity
among students. School nurses warn of osteoporosis dangers growing
girls will face later in life.
FedEx terminal planned for former sawmill in
KREMMLING — Early in the 20th century
Zane Grey visited this sagebrush-crowded town and wrote a novel,
Mysterious Rider, a tale that evoked all the sweetness and hardness
of the mythical Old West. In many ways, Kremmling hasn’t
changed all that much since then.
Lumber mills have come and gone. A big
molybdenum mine now employs some people. And increasingly, the
town has become a lower-cost bedroom for people who work in
the big-name ski resorts that surround it. It looks, however,
like a place that the New West forgot.
Now, real estate agent Paul Ohri is trying
to nudge the town into being a service center for Winter Park,
Steamboat Springs and Summit County, all of which lie within
an hour’s drive, with Vail only a little farther. His
first success, reports the Winter Park Manifest (Sept. 4) is
getting FedEx to move its ground satellite terminal from Silverthorne,
38 miles away, to the old sawmill in Kremmling.
-compiled by Allen Best
Something similar has gone on at former ranching lumber and
mining towns that have become the locations for laundries and
other such businesses that cater to resort areas.