Morning photo: Along the Gulf Coast (part 1)

Subtropical!

Gulf Coast sunset.

Sea life.

ENGLEWOOD — The road trip reached its southernmost point in Englewood, Florida, where we stayed a few days with family. Exploring the Gulf Coast from the mouth of the Mississippi to the northern border of the Everglades gave us a chance to see a part of the country that’s quite different from our Colorado mountain home.

And for Summit County readers who have been around a while, we met someone you might remember — Louisiana native Andy Cook was cleaning a nice haul of yellowfin tuna at the Venice marina when we rolled up for a seafood dinner. Cook owned and operated Ma’s Po Boy restaurant on Park Avenue in Breckenridge for a couple of years in the min-1990s, until Vail Resorts bought the property. Continue reading

Summit Voice: Week in review

Wildfires once again dominated the headlines

Duckett fire, west flank 6/13/11 — photo courtesy USFS

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Stories about the Wallow Fire, now the largest wildfire in Arizona history, and the Duckett Fire, still raging in Colorado northwest of Westcliffe, got the most views this week.

Wildfires

Summit Voice editor Bob Berwyn is currently taking a road trip with his family and has been posting stories here and frequent updates on Twitter.

Road Trip USA

With the summer entertainment scene heating up, here are some stories about great things to do in Summit County this weekend:
Upcoming events in Summit County

Continue reading

Summit County to host annual travel blogger confab

Keystone' River Run Village during the 2010 Beer and Bluegrass festival.

TBEX’12 to bring hundreds of travel bloggers to Keystone, Colorado 

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Keystone, Colorado has been picked as the site for next year’s TBEX (June 15-17), the biggest annual roundup for an influential crowd of online and social media-savvy writers and travel bloggers.

According to a press release from Vail Resorts, the conference will generate significant buzz and revenue, as well as promote Colorado’s Rocky Mountains as an exceptional destination and the perfect spot for online and offline adventures.

The annual Travel Blog Exchange meet-up brings together wanderers and explorers whose diverse interests and travels fuel the most popular travel blogs in the world. Continue reading

VoiceOver: Sign o’ the times?

Ranting about chili dogs and sunroofs since 2009!

We're down with this, so we're going to break open the piggy bank and see if we can get our gas tank up to quarter-full for a change.

By Summit Voice

Good morning and welcome to VoiceOver, the world’s only column that’s really starting to appreciate the benefits of a sunroof. We’ve often heard people speak of this particular automotive accouterment, but until recently, just brushed it off as yet another silly accessory that’s reserved for people who never get into their car without a pair of Vuarnets, a silk driving scarf and doeskin driving gloves.

But yesterday, en route to Denver to watch a soccer game, we were grooving to the scenery, side windows open, when we noticed this warm sensation on our right arm. Looking at the dash, we saw the heater was off … Hmmm … and all of a sudden, that lightbulb moment — we have a sunroof. And the sun is shining through it! Wow, what a concept. We slid that puppy wide open to enjoy fresh air streaming down around us without that annoying side blast that gives us an earache, and now we’re sold on sunroofs, for sure … Continue reading

Steep Shots: Safety first in the backcountry

Spring powder skiing at Arapahoe Basin in Summit County, Colorado.

Spring often brings a few bonus dumps, so don't put away those boards just yet.

Golden-based Summit Voice contributor Emily A.P. Mulica reviews some spring skiing safety tips, along with information on access

By Emily A.P. Mulica

The shutting down of the chairlifts is not the death knell of ski season. Rather, it can be the harbinger of spring backcountry skiing. For me, safety and access are the flagship topics when venturing off piste.

But before bidding adieu to the resorts, celebrations of the season are in order. Obligatory crazy outfits scatter the slopes and festiveness fills the alpine air the last day at any ski resort. Many host free concerts and other events (we’ll be enjoying free performances of Wyclef Jean, Guster, Robert Earl Keen and Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars at Vail’s upcoming closing weekend).

I like to fill the late spring ski season with an intermingling of laid-back A-Basin days with backcountry adventures (when the avalanche danger is low to moderate according to the CAIC. In the springtime, however, the avalanche danger changes during the day and a warm afternoon can create a heavy wet slab on top of deep weak layers. The best strategy is to play it safe.

Safety first in the backcountry
As the days become more consistently warm, spring weather can lead to a more stable snowpack. Oftentimes folks get lulled into a false sense of spring snow, though, Breckenridge Ski Patroller Matt Krane wrote in a recent e-mail.  He cautioned, “We worry about ‘free water’ percolating down through the snowpack, lubricating deeper layers along a hard surface and creating ‘deep slab instability.’” Continue reading

Blog-o-rama: Citizen journalism to global warming

One of the links in our weekly blog-o-ram leads to a blog about U.S. Forest Service efforts to develop a new paradigm for public land management.

Jackson Hole news

This week’s blogorama begins in Jackson Hole, where ski resort officials said skier days dipped about 5.6 percent from last season to a total of 413,684 — not as bad as it could have been, given the poor snowfall in the northern Rockies and the still-shaky economy. That’s the assessment from our blogging friends at JH Underground, who also reported that Mother Nature finally stepped it up a notch in early April, delivering 5 feet of snow in the past week. Jackson Hole president Jerry Blann also said spending by guests climbed enough during the second half of the winter that the resort will move ahead with some on-mountain improvements that could include a snowmaking upgrade. The April powder prompted Grand Targhee to stay open an extra week, through April 18, with $39 tickets for adults and $19 tickets for pre-teens. Get the details at JH Underground.

JH Underground also took a sharp poke at former VP Dick Cheney in a blog post based on reporting in the Times of London, a conservative paper that charged Cheney colluding to keep innocent people imprisoned at Guantánamo. The Times report is based on statement from a former chief of staff to Colin Powell, filed as part of a lawsuit by a Guantánamo detainee. The gist of the report, as recapped by JH Underground, is that the Bush administration knowingly kept innocent people in prison for political ends. “Remember that next time you bump into Cheney at Kmart or Whole Grocer,” JH Underground concludes. Read the post and subsequent comments here.

Denali-bound
Over at Lou Dawson’s Wild Snow blog, the team is still preparing for a Denali climb. One recent post include great detailed information on a Denali repair kit and advice on practicing stove repair at home, where it’s easier. The Wild Snow blog stream as always includes great product reviews, including this riff on Colorado-made Icelantic skis, and another post on the quest for super-light backcountry skis.

More blogorama after the break … Continue reading

Blogorama: Hot dogs, tulips and right-wing rants

Redesigning the great American tubesteak ...

Redesigning the hot dog, right wing rants and so much more …

Bear blog
SUMMIT COUNTY — We begin this week’s perambulation through the blogosphere by pitching our own Bear Blog, part of the regular news feed on Summit Voice. As part of our efforts to maintain friendly relations between Summit County’s human residents and their furred and feathered neighbors, we’ve partnered with the Colorado Division of Wildlife to promote the Bear Aware campaign. In the bear blog, we scan headlines and science reports to bring you the latest ursine news from around the world. We’re hoping for a few guest blogs from notables like Smokey, or Yogi, but we’ll see if they respond to our request. Click here to check it out.

Grand Traverse
For some in-depth coverage of the Grand Traverse, we turn to Colorado Mountain Journal, which featured an up-close interview with Bryan Wickenhauser, a member of the winning team. Wickenhauser and his partner, Brian Smith, won the race, which usually traverse the Elk Mountains from Crested Butte to Aspen. But a powerful spring storm forced a last-minute route change, leading to some confusion. Read the Colorado MoJo interview with Wickenhauser here.

The Petal and Bean offers flower arrangements and much more.

Tulip time!
If you’re feeling that tingling spring sensation, swing by the Petal and Bean blog, where the latest post features some outstanding tulip photography, including shots from the Denver Botanic Garden, where spring apparently has already sprung. Checking this out inspired us to search for some other tulip blogs, not knowing what we would find. but lo and behold, here’s a link to the Keukenhof Gardens, Ground Zero for tulips as far as we can tell. And then this blog, with some cool aerial shots of tulip fields in Holland. More blogs after the break … Continue reading

Blog-o-rama: From ski mountaineering to pond skimming

Some of the best coverage of the recent Paralympics isn't coming from the mainstream media, but from local blog sites like Tara Kusumoto's Mingling with Words. PHOTO COURTESY MINGLING WITH WORDS & U.S. PARALYMPIC TEAM.

Ski Mountaineering
This week’s blog-o-rama starts with a hearty congrats to Pete Swenson and Mona Merrill, fresh off wins at the North American Ski Mountaineering Championships. Here’s some fairly fresh video of the event from Lou Dawson’s widely respected Wild Snow blog.

All politics is local
In Silt, Peggy Tibbetts blogs on the doings of local government, from barking dog ordinances to rumors about in-town natural gas drilling. Turns out those rumors are unfounded — for now, but questions remain about wells planned for rural areas just outside of town.

According to Tibbett’s blog, From the Styx, a previous town board started an annexation procedure to secure a buffer zone against drilling, but those plans have been dropped by the current administration.

Tibbetts also reports on neighborhood concerns about wells drilled near the Colorado River. Oil and gas rules adopted under Gov. Bill Ritter require new wells to be at 300 feet away and out of the flood plain, but older wells have been grandfathered in.

Tibbetts blog is a great example of what good neighborhood/community blog looks like, and we’d like to see a few local Summit County folks sign up with Summit Voice to provide similar content from our local areas, just letting people know what’s going on in the neighborhood. Contact us if you’re interested.

Poetry with Gary

We checked in with Gary Lindstrom this week at his blog, where we’re always delighted to find a succinct paragraph or two on a topic of interest. Gary’s latest post is a riff on poetry and floppy disks, a little piece of hardware we haven’t thought about in a while. In a world full of windbaggery and verbosity, we certainly appreciate brevity, and Gary’s musings nearly alway fit the bill, from the one-word title of his posts right through to a closing sentence that’s usually thought-provoking. Continue reading

VoiceOver: Home of plutonium gum

… Where the Gruffalo roams

Good morning and welcome to VoiceOver, Summit County’s only column that just can’t get over how the world of chewing gum has changed in our lifetime. Used to be that there was Wrigley’s gum: Yellow (with a slightly fruity flavor), minty green and white, which, as far as we were concerned, was the bland flavor for old people. Plus, there was Bazooka bubblegum if blowing bubbles was your thing.

Oh yeah — and Chiclets, which we never really got, because they were so small you needed to chew about 16 of ‘em to get a good wad going. Turns out Chiclets were at the center of some early candy cartel skullduggery, as outlined on this fascinating web page.

These days, there are so many brands and flavors that gum pretty much needs its own aisle in the grocery/convenience/drugstore. We can’t even begin to keep track any more and we really get overwhelmed when it’s time to make a choice. Should we go with the Black Jack licorice-flavor? And the flavors keep changing, seemingly from week to week. We know it sounds fogey-ish, but we yearn for a simpler time, when three main flavors was more than enough.

We’re pretty sure this profusion of variety in the world of gum has some deep cultural significance, although we couldn’t begin to tell you what that might be. We’ll wait until some grad student publishes a thesis on it.

Heck, 5 Gum, a newish Wrigley’s brand, even has its own Facebook page.

Scores of VoiceOver Readers: “Get out! A chewing gum with a Facebook page? How many fans does it have? Can we win prizes, like a lifetime supply of gum?”

VoiceOver: Uh, we don’t know. Out of principle, we refuse to visit a chewing gum fan page, but you’re welcome to click on over there yourself and check it out. Let us know if it’s worthwhile. Here’s the link: 5 Gum. Looks like they’re offering a “personalized sensory experience.”

Read the rest of VoiceOver here.

Blog-o-rama: From Kabul to Salt Lake City

Our weekly blog roundup includes local bloggers and news of note from around the planet.

Beacon reviews, news from Kabul and U2 in Salt Lake City

Compiled by Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — This week’s blog-o-rama starts in Andorra, where Lou Dawson’s Wild Snow blog has posted a detailed report from the 2010 ski mountaineering world championships, where Team USA placed ninth in the team rankings as the only non-European team to crack the top ten.

A pair of Summit County skiers led the way, as reported previously in this Summit Voice story.

The uphill-downhill races across rugged Alpine terrain have grown wildly popular in Europe and are starting to catch on in the U.S. The upcoming Five Peaks contest in Breckenridge should help throw a spotlight on the discipline.

For an overview of the of the different types of races and the courses at the world championships in Andorra, click here.

New avalanche beacon
Staying with the backcountry skiing theme, we want to point you toward Colorado Mountain Journal, where Rob Coppolillo posted a detailed review of the Backcountry Access Tracker2 beacon.

The Tracker2 features three antennas, which helps pinpoint a buried beacon, especially in a deep burial, making a potential rescue that much quicker. Copolillo says the Tracker2 is the fastest beacon he’s used and claims that it doesn’t freeze up while processing data. Read the full review here.

From Colorado to Afghanistan
We’ve also been following The Long Way Around, by Breckenridge, Colorado resident Shannon Galpin, who is blogging from Afghanistan. In her latest post, Galpin reports on the recent appearance of graffiti in the streets of Kabul. Specifially, Galpin writes that stenciled drawings of dollar sign, poppies, helicopters, a Talib, and the phrase “Cost of War” are being juxtaposed across wall-scapes to send a message about the cost of war.

Galpin also blogs at Mountain to Mountain, an organization she founded to create educational opportunities in remote and poor parts of the world by building connections between mountain communities around the world. In her most recent post, Galpin writes about the work she is doing with street children in Afghanistan.

You can also follow Galpin on Twitter to get updates from her blogs.

San Francisco to Silverton

We also found a cool blog post from some San Francisco-area folks who shared some images and perceptions of a snowboarding trip to Silverton Mountain. It’s alway interesting to see how visitors from the outside perceive our mountain towns.

We recently added the Petal and Bean to our blogroll and found this entertaining post about creating an avalanche-themed wedding. Suggestions include stopping in for an Avs game in Denver, taking an avalanche awareness class with Babes in the Backcountry, renting gear from Avalanche Sports and enjoying a pint of Avalanche Ake at the Breckenridge Brewery. Fun stuff!

In another local blog, Mingling with Words, Tara Kusumoto posted some great information about the Paralympics, starting this weekend in Vancouver. It looks like Kusumoto’s Twitter stream is also featuring up-to-date information on the Paralympics.

In Jackson Hole, JH Underground blogger Jim Stanford posted a story about U2′s upcoming concert in Salt Lake City. The Irish rockers are kicking off a world tour June 3 at the Rice-Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah, with Lenny Kravitz opening. According to Stanford, there are still plenty of tickets left.

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