Friday, Sept 9, 2003  content presented by Telluride Today .com About The Watch

Today's Stories

PICTURES ON DIGITAL OF BOTH SCHERNER PLUS BROCK AND OF LYNN PATTERSON

Chef Scherner Applies Some Thought to Pizza….  Homestyle Indian Cooking at Jody’s…

Culinary Tracts

By Seth Cagin

 

“My reputation is in fine dining,” noted Bob Scherner, the highly regarded executive chef at Allred’s. “But the real and true is that I just love good food. Good food doesn’t have to be foie gras and oysters all the time. It can be sandwiches and pizzas….”

And so having reached the heights of fine dining, not just figuratively but literally at the Telluride Ski and Golf Co.’s fine dining establishment atop the San Sophia Ridge, Scherner is now out to demonstrate exactly what he can do in the realm of sandwiches, pizza and cafeteria food.  He was put in charge of all of Telski’s food services at the end of the last ski season, charged with putting some pizzazz into everyday ski resort dining. This fine corporate impulse, to feed skiers well even at an on-mountain cafeteria, is in keeping with ski industry trends, Scherner allows. He visited Vail’s highly regarded Two Elks Restaurant last season, and came away impressed. So, too, there is a broader trend in America for fine chefs to apply their sensibilities and talents to everyday foods.

Acknowledging that there are “logistical challenges” in overseeing some six eating establishments, ranging from Allred’s at the top end to Giuseppe’s at the top of Lift 9 to the Gorrono Ranch and Big Billie’s cafeterias, Scherner this week put the emphasis on the positive: “There are lots of opportunities for us to make ourselves better,” he said.

The first opportunity to experience what Scherner can do with low-cost, everyday food can now be sampled at That Pizza Place, formerly the Pizza Chalet, operated by Telski in the Mountain Village Core.

The change from what Telski was doing in this space is dramatic and instantly obvious from the moment you walk in: the restaurant has been completely refurbished, from sparkling new appliances visible in the kitchen to a new full-service bar in the front to tasteful ochre walls.  The food has likewise been reconceived from the ground up.

What can a thoughtful and ambitious chef do to pizza?  For starters, Scherner is not following in Wolfgang Puck’s hallowed footsteps. There’s no barbecued chicken pizza on the menu. But everything that does go into a pizza at That Pizza Place is made on premises, the restaurant’s young (at 25) manager Matt Brock proudly explained, notably the pizza sauce.  Pizza dough is made from hard wheat flour so that does not cook up into something resembling bread or pastry; the ovens are not conveyor belt pizza ovens – as is all-too-common in pizzerias – but are stacked ovens with serious floors to create seriously crisp pizza crusts.

You can get a standard pepperoni or sausage pizza here, but it’s the designer pizza – thoughtfully conceived and carefully executed – that steals the show. Start with the White Clam with Ricotta, Roasted Garlic and Tomato Pizza. Those garlic cloves liberally sprinkled on the pie are not put on the pizza raw, to roast in the oven as the dough bakes, but are roasted in olive oil so that every last trace of garlicky sharpness is converted to mellow sweetness before the buttery cloves are applied to the pizza.  The oil in which the garlic roasted is then folded in to the ricotta.     

Other designer pies include Multi-Mushroom with Arugula and Truffle Oil, Spicy Smoked Bacon with Pineapple and Jalapeños, and Proscuitto with Melon and Basil Pesto, and range in price from $14 for a 12-inch pie to $21 for a 16-inch pie. That mushroom pizza, it’s worth noting, is loaded with chanterelles, porcinis and morels and the arugula is piled on after the pizza is cooked; on the Smoked Bacon Pizza, the jalapeños are just what’s needed to cut the sweetness of the pineapple, while the smoked bacon is light years more subtle than the boiled ham that is found on a typically cloying Hawaiian Pizza. I didn’t try the Proscuitto, Melon and Basil Pizza, and can’t recall ever seeing cooked melon before on any menu anywhere, but was assured by both Scherner and Brock that it’s well worth sampling.

“There was an older couple in here from Texas who thought it sounded weird,” Brock said. “But I told them that we like to get people to try new things, so they took my word for it and tried it at lunch, and they were back at dinner for more.”

Apart from pizzas, That Pizza Place serves up salads, ranging in price from $4.75 for Organic Greens with Gorgonzola, Walnuts, Pears and Fig-Lemon Vinaigrette to $7 for a Caesar with White Anchovy, Orange, Black Pepper, Croutons and Parmesan.  Sandwiches – Proscuitto Pannini, Roast Beef Pannini, Avocado and Smoked Bacon or Veggie Wrap – are in the same price range.

“Our mission here, in appealing to our winter visitors, is for them to come away from Telluride saying that the skiing was great and the food was amazing,” Scherner said. The philosophy, he added, is to provide healthier alternatives. At That Pizza Place, he and Brock are hoping to create an appealing lunchtime and après ski ambiance.

“We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel,” Scherner concluded. “We’re just trying to put out a great product with a few interesting twists that doesn’t cost a ton of money.”

Two other points about That Pizza Place.  Pizza is available by the slice:  $2 for a cheese slice and just $2.75 for a “slab of the day,” which will typically be a designer slice.  And secondly, the carryout pizza here is “take and bake.”  Any pizza on the menu – and that includes “make your own” pizzas – can be prepared for you to bake at home.

Unlike a precooked pizza that you take home, these pies can be enjoyed a home piping hot, right out of the oven.

“We’ll probably start selling pizza stones,” Scherner said, “so that people can bake the pizzas at home and get a really good crust.”

That Pizza Place will stay open for lunch and dinner at least through mid-October, when the gondola closes, before reopening at Thanksgiving for the ski season.  It will be interesting then to see what Scherner has come up with for Gorrono and Giuseppe’s.

 

HOMESTYLE INDIAN

It is fitting that greater Telluride’s first taste of Indian cooking by Lynn Patterson came at a private party hosted by her husband’s employer. For it is homestyle meals that Patterson will be serving up two days a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, at Jody’s Kitchen, starting tonight.

“I’ve never cooked professionally,” Patterson quickly proclaims. “But I’ve always loved to cook, so here we are.”

Patterson’s excitement at embarking on a second career – she worked for over twenty years in the health care field, as a lab technician, before moving from Cincinnati to Telluride in September – is palpable. Her approach, understandably and wisely, is to take it one step at a time.

The dishes she served at Erik and Josephine Fallenius’s home last week, to a crowd consisting of the Fallenius’s colleagues at Nevasca Realty, were enthusiastically consumed. This was very much food created by a talented home cook: it included the standard Indian side dishes of dal and raita, along with curried cauliflower, chicken saag curry, keema (curried ground beef) and aloo mutter (potato and pea curry). These will indeed be the first items on the menu this week when Patterson takes the controls behind the stove at Jodie’s. Each Tuesday and Thursday Patterson will prepare a meat dish, a vegetable dish, dal, and basmati rice. A meal consisting of portions of all of the above will go for $25 a person, with a la carte portions available to those who prefer to eat less.

But very much unlike an Indian restaurant in a city, there won’t be a wide variety of curries and kormas and vindaloos, of rice biryani dishes, tandoori meats, or Indian breads.  Naturally, such a menu would be much more than a single chef could take on, plus there is no tandoor clay oven at Jodie’s nor a ready supply of Indian ingredients.  What Patterson may not deliver in variety, however, she makes up for in honest simplicity and a confident hand with Indian spices.

Patterson is a self-taught cook. Her first husband, she explains, was Indian. They traveled to India frequently, where she became captivated by the cuisine.  “I was never a steak-and-potatoes person,” she allows. Patterson does not frequent Indian restaurants in the United States, though, she said, because, “to be honest, I like my own cooking better.”

Patterson fully expects her cooking to evolve as people who eat it tell her what they liked, didn’t like, and would like to see.  She is not lacking in can-do spirit. “I feel that I can cook anything,” she says. “I’m looking forward to trying different things out. I think this will be a great experience for me.”

 

Watch Sports

 

There Are 1,600 Stories on the Imogene Pass Run

 

Weather Cooperates

 

 

By Elizabeth Heerwagen

 

"There is something that intrigues me about that little mountain pass," explained U.S. Postal Service employee Jim Looney to me on his need to compete in the Imogene Pass Run each year.

With two Imogene Races under my belt, I understood exactly where Looney was coming from.  Looney, myself, and 1,200 others runners ranging from fellow Imogene addicts to first time neophytes competed in the 30th annual Imogene Pass Run on Saturday, Sept. 6.

At the summer's start, I thought about sitting out the race this year. I had back surgery in the spring, and imagined sparing my newly remodeled spine and enjoying the race as a spectator. However, as the race drew near, I could not quell the seemingly neurotic urge to pound up 10 miles of steep uphill and blast downhill for seven miles on rocky road.

The challenges of the Imogene Run have, over the years, sucked in thousands of ambitious, or possibly, irrational runners.  While some competitors race to achieve their fastest time, others run and hike for the sheer accomplishment of finishing. On the deadline for locals’ registration, Aug. 25, I signed on for this year's run, grabbing the very last bib number, #1600.

Early Saturday morning, participants in the 30th Annual Imogene Pass Run gathered on the quiet streets of Ouray. Renowned for variable conditions of wind, snow and sun, weather was the hottest topic of conversation among those who were waiting.

With dark rain clouds churning over the Sneffels Range, I mentally prepared myself for the next few hours of rainy and nasty weather. However, at 7 a.m., there was a sign of hope in the skies. Amidst the bleak backdrop of ominous clouds, a double rainbow spanned over the valley in rich hues of reds and blues. The early morning spectacle created a "really cool start" to the race according to Telluride runner Keith Hampton. Whether the double rainbow held some greater cosmic meaning is questionable, but it definitely motivated several runners as a sign of possible good weather.

Preparing for the foot journey from Ouray to Telluride, serious runners warmed up their legs and expanded their lungs with practice laps through Ouray's neighborhood. Entering the starting corrals, I greeted familiar Telluride faces and exchanged good luck hugs with Amber DeHerrera and Dave Lesnow. With five minutes to go, I chatted nonchalantly with Jim Greene in effort to forget the task at hand for the final few minutes before it became a reality.

When 7:30 a.m. struck, the race began and the mass of runners pushed out of downtown Ouray, their energy unfortunately reminiscent of a cattle drive. Since the road was thickly filled with competitors, people jockeyed for position and bumped elbows, bouncing along the road in the first push out of Ouray. We were soon trudging up steep trails alongside the highway en route to the 13,000 foot summit of Imogene Pass.

Runners quickly found their own steady pace. I moved along to the quick rhythmic beat of runners' feet tapping against the dirt. Up ahead I could see the graceful blue shape of DeHerrera bouncing along with ease. Just behind DeHerrera was Greene, patiently plodding along with 300 minutes of mini disc music to fuel him through.

"Zoned out in [his] own little world," Greene later recalled, he kept his "head down, sunglasses on and tunes cranked" to get him through the 17-mile course.

 

POWER HIKING MODE

The first five miles of the climb were fast moving. However, as runners turned left toward Camp Bird, the climb became significantly steeper and more challenging. At this point many racers, like Jim Looney, switched from running mode to power hiking mode. In my pack of racers, some ran and some walked. Right in front of me, a comedic duo switched leads back and forth repeatedly. While a tall 6’5” gentleman walked with long-legged strides, his shorter, five-foot counterpart trotted up and down with little baby steps.

At Upper Camp Bird, an aid station awaited runners with Gatorade cups and a selection of snacks. Runners crossed the chip-timing carpet, recording their progress in the race. Fans cheered and encouraged the racers as they began the final three-mile ascent to the summit.

Above timberline, the road switched back and forth up steep grades, causing the majority of runners to walk.  As Hampton explained, "Everyone walks a little bit" when you "get to the point that you are running so slow that it makes sense to use different muscles."

Aiming to finish under 2:30, Hampton bounced between second and third place during the final miles of the ascent. He "wanted to go a little faster," though, especially up the two 20 percent grade pitches where he had to walk.

Although Hampton was in the heat of the battle for a top finish, he marveled at the moment he came over the top.

With "perfectly clear skies on the Ouray side and socked-in fog on the Telluride side, it definitely felt that you were going over from one side to the other," he recalled.

Behind Hampton by forty minutes, the Imogene summit struck a similar chord for me. I had my hardest time in the climbs of the last two miles and related well with Greene's comment that it "just about killed me." Attempting to hike as fast as possible, I made a feeble sight with my arms locked onto my knees and back hunched over so much that my head hung at the level of my knees. My lower back ached with constant pain, telling me how unprepared I was for this level of exertion.

Despite the pain involved in such an arduous climb, a steady stream of racers pushed onward in a relentless pilgrimage to the summit. With a mile to go, I could hear the cheers of volunteers at the summit aid station. Although fog limited the visibility to about five feet, the sound of supportive voices ahead kept everyone moving.

In the last mile from the top, Looney started cramping in his legs. Struggling up the last hill he marveled at the ability of some people, like Meg Bona, to muster the energy to pull ahead. Unlike other races, Imogene runners care more about how well a passerby is doing rather than the fact they are getting left in their trail. Looney recalled "how proud he was of Meg" when she passed him, as he wanted to yell out "Go for it, girl."

At the summit of Imogene, the crew of volunteers lifted the spirits of strung out runners like me. I was happy to be done with the grueling climb, but I was equally excited to see so many familiar faces at the top. Marti Davis ran alongside me as I headed toward the food tables. I grabbed a handful of bright colored gummy bears, choking down a few for a little sugar energy. I would have liked to stop and chat with Todd Rector and Tor Anderson at the top, but knew that there were seven more miles until I was home in Telluride.

With a wave of the hand, I dropped off the summit and began the fast descent.

When Looney arrived at the top about forty minutes after me, he found similarly inviting circumstances. Still suffering from cramps in his legs, Looney who was in hot pursuit of breaking the four-hour mark, received the appropriate treatment to get him down in time to reach his goal. With the aid of an EMT, he was pumped full of cups and cups of Gatorade and got rid of the cramps for the rest of the run.

From the summit, the course switched back and forth down steep pitches for the first two miles.  

Another aid station greeted runners at the town of Tomboy. But I resolved to keep moving, sacrificing my legs, to complete the journey as fast as possible.

During my downward haul, the streets of Telluride were alive with cheering fans in support of race winner Bernie Boettcher, from Silt, Colo. Boettcher completed the course in a time of 2:26:15. Seven minutes later, the first Telluride finisher arrived home. Keith Hampton did not achieve his goal of breaking 2:30, but his final time of  2:34:02 awarded him a third-place finish overall and a first-place finish in the Master Men category. 

 

SIDE BY SIDE

Jenni Taormina and Bona worked hard side by side throughout the run. Although there was little opportunity to have an in depth conversation, Taormina said she found it beneficial to have someone to do it with as "we pushed each other" through various slumps. Furthermore, the duo met up with friend Annie Kuhles who motivated them to push extra hard on the downhill. With under a mile to go, Taormina took a spill, but Kuhles helped her up and Bona stopped to wait for her steadfast companion. Team Bona/Taormina crossed the finish line together, arms raised and hands clasped. With a finishing time of 3:53:23, the pair tied for 437th place.

Kristin Patterson arrived at the finish line nearly an hour earlier, with a time of 3:02:57 – not only the first Telluride woman across the line, but a happy mom when her "little two-year-old came over to give [her] a big hug." Patterson faced some adversity during the final miles of the descent as big blisters welled up on her heels. Nevertheless, she finished four minutes faster than last year's time, grabbing an award for third place in her 30-34 age group.

DeHerrera, the blue figure I  had seen ahead in the distance during the beginning miles, crossed the finish line with a time of 3:06:02, capturing second in her age group of 25-29. DeHerrera shaved off about 20 minutes of last year's time.

As for myself, I was surprised to see the clock read 3:10:11 upon my arrival in Telluride. I was even more surprised that I felt so good – those euphoric endorphins kicking in, most likely. I even managed to get a third-place award in my 20-24 age group.

A total of 1,140 people finished the race, 648 men and 492 women. Other Telluride awards went to Chris Howe, who claimed second in the 20-29 category, with a time of 2:36:58. Drew Ludwig

followed Howe with a third place finish and a time of 2:40:36.

Standing on the sidewalk at the finish line, a sizeable crowd cheered on the runners who came streaming down Oak Street. Some runners appeared worn out by their trip, while others gulped down beers, carried smiling children, and raised their hands triumphantly in the air at finishing the grueling course.

As the four-hour mark approached, Telluride natives turned to one another asking about popular  postal worker Jim Looney, on whom the pressure on Looney had been building over the last month, with a fun, highly visible competition as to whether he or Alpine Chapel Pastor Steve Kilgore would cross the finish line first. With only minutes to go. Looney crossed the line, with a time of 3:58:37 (several minutes ahead of Kilgore, who finished with a time of 4:10.

Coming into town, Looney received the largest cheers of the day.

Looney later said he was not quite sure "how to describe the experience." The emotions of finishing so arduous a race, he confided, are so powerful that it "brings you to tears." At the award ceremony, runner non pareil Kari DiStefano cited Looney for his achievement and for his passion for the race.

"It's the one thing in life that I'm nuts about" said Looney, who added that he would encourage "everyone to take part in the once in a lifetime experience of running the pass."

Race director John Jett said he was pleased with how "everything went smoothly" this year. Even the weather cooperated as runners, volunteers, and fans "got a good one this year."

Although I can hardly walk up or down stairs in these days after Imogene, I find it hard to imagine not participating in such an event. I understand what Looney means when he said, "As

long as I can walk, I want to do the Imogene."

Runners will have to wait another year to sign up for the race, but next year will arrive. And of it, Jett said simply: "It’s so much fun! What the heck? We’ll do it next year."

 

A Volunteer’s Eye View of the Imogene Pass Run

 

By Martinique Davis

 

It’s 5:30 a.m., Saturday. My alarm goes off, and it’s still dark outside. In my early-morning fog I can’t remember why I’m up this early in the morning. Then I remember, “Oh yeah, it’s race day.” I roll out of bed and pack my backpack full of warm clothes, and think of all the Telluride runners who have already left for Ouray to run the 30th Annual Imogene Pass run. 

Just volunteering for the race entails quite an early morning, yet there are close to 1,500 people already preparing to run over the punishing 17-mile mountain course. I ponder how unbelievable it is that so many people would punish themselves in such a way, as I shut the door behind me and slowly make my way into town.

6 a.m.:  I arrive at the Sheridan Opera House, the command center for this year’s Imogene Pass Run. If I’ve been up for half an hour, the people in charge of this event must have been up all night, I think, as I take in the massive amount of gear sitting in piles around the opera house. Volunteers are already loading jugs of water, boxes of cups, cartons of fruit and more into trucks parked outside the Opera House. Around the corner members of San Miguel County’s Search and Rescue Team are prepping their dirt bikes and ATVs for the day. Finding some coffee and a donut is about all I can muster at this point.

7:30 a.m.:  Bouncing over rocks in a Mountain Limo suburban, feeling each and every sip of wine I drank the night before, I check the clock. The runners are taking their first of the millions of steps they’ll travel today getting themselves up the 13,000-foot pass between Ouray and Telluride. The fastest runners will be up top in just over one-and-a-half hours from now – unbelievable.

9 a.m.:  The crew at the Summit Aid Station have set up the tables, mixed the Gatorade, cut the bananas and oranges, and poured hundreds of cups of water in preparation for the rapidly approaching onslaught of runners. Imogene Pass Run board member and treasurer John Hopkins gathers the twenty-some crew of SAR members and IPR volunteers for a pep talk.

“We’ve got probably 1,250 people coming up this mountain at us,” he says, pointing to the still quiet Ouray side. “This is the 30th year this has been going on and it’s an event that absolutely requires the help of both the Ouray and Telluride communities. It also gives back to both communities,” he says, explaining that the Imogene Pass Run annually gives money to the Ouray and Ridgway Track Team, the Telluride Track Team and the Silverton Track Team, as well as the Ouray EMTs, the San Miguel SAR team and the Ouray County SAR team. Last year’s event also provided two $1,000 scholarships to graduating high school seniors, one in the Telluride track program and one in the Silverton track program.

9:20 a.m.:  The first runner, and eventual winner, bib #40, arrives at the Summit Aid Station. It is Bernie Boettcher, from Silt, Colo. Behind him we see two more runners, then a dozen more. They begin to reach the summit in twos and threes, looking incredibly strong for running up the steep pass in under two hours.

10 a.m.:  When the fog clears, we can see an almost unbroken line of runners making their way up the steep switchbacks to the 13,114-foot summit. None are running, but they are all making steady progress up to the top. The volunteers have created a true cheering section at the top, whistling and hollering at the exhausted runners as they ascend the last pitch. The runners (at least the ones that can talk) tell us the cheering really helps, so we keep it up as more and more pop over the far hillside like a long line of colorful ants.

10:30 a.m.:  The summit looks like a carnival of dog-tired runners, who cross the timing strip and beeline straight to the water table. Some converse happily about their success so far, others grab cups of water and quietly move on. Behind the table I pour cup after cup of water, barely keeping pace with the grabbing hands.

Kevin Mullican, from Mancos, tells me this is his 18th time running the Imogene.

“I’ve got a soccer game to referee in a few hours, so I’ve got to go,” he says as he takes off down the Telluride side.

It’s Colorado Springs’ Doug Bandle’s first time running the race, and in his words, “It’s a piece of cake.” I don’t really believe him, though he does look to be in pretty high spirits at this point. Does he realize the knee-killing downhill that awaits him?

It’s also Flagstaff’s Scott Baker’s first time running the Imogene. He’s not in such high spirits, however. “It sucks at the moment,” he pants, but still with a smile on his face.  “I though I was at least in better shape that this.”

Lisa Foreman and Robert Granger, also from Flagstaff, made it up the front side and will continue down the backside together. They’ve done the race a few times before and both agree that the hardest part is still to come.

“It’s those last three miles that kill you,” Foreman says, Granger nodding in agreement.  “You can see the town and you just want to be there so bad you can hardly stand it.”

10:40 a.m.:  The sun finally breaks out from behind the blanket of gray clouds hugging the surrounding high peaks. Everyone at the summit breathes a sigh of relief, especially the ones who were there through last year’s sleet storm.

Sandy Dickson from Aspen admits that the weather this year is a welcome change from last year’s freezing temperatures and strong winds. He says he will come back next year for his fourth time, no matter what the weather forecast, because “it’s the most spectacular mountain race in Colorado.”

The happiest runner I see all day reaches the summit with the sun shining above her and a perfect view of the surrounding peaks before her. “It’s even more beautiful on this side!” Katy Hearty from Boulder exclaims as she peers over the Telluride side of the pass.  “This is so amazing, I absolutely love it!”

11 a.m.:  Imogene Pass Race founder Rick Trujillo shows up at the Summit, after walking up a few miles from the Ouray side to take some pictures of the race and its runners. He usually runs the race, but held back this year due to some health issues.

I ask him what’s different about the race today compared to thirty years ago and he laughs.

“Well, for one thing I sure wasn’t eating oranges at the top of Imogene Pass 30 years ago,” he remembers, and a glimmer shines in his eyes as he begins to tell stories of the race’s beginnings.

“Twenty-nine years ago there were six runners and no aid stations – you were on your own from start to finish. Now there’s over 1,500 registered runners and six aid stations. And though there’ve been a lot of changes, the course is still the same. You have to get yourself from Ouray to Telluride on your own power, the old-fashioned way of one step in front of the other. Male, female, young, old, expert, or novice, it’s still you against the course – that’s what I like about these kinds of races,” he says.

Trujillo is a born-and-bred Ouray local who attained his dedicated love of mountain running more than 40 years ago. As a collegiate-level runner in college in Boulder in 1966, he recalls his coach telling him that the mountains were no place for runners.

“But the mountains are what running is all about for me,” he says. “I am astounded at the popularity of this race. When I began mountain running 40 years ago there were very few people that were interested in it.  Now it’s the ‘in’ thing.”

He even remembers when the road from Ouray to Telluride was being constructed in 1964. He was working at a car garage in Ouray as a high schooler and says he remembers hearing rumors about the road that would connect the two communities. 

“I had never heard of that road before, but I have sure come to know it since,” he laughs.

Trujillo admits that the two communities of Ouray and Telluride are the heart and soul of the run, which now sells out every year.

“It really takes both sides working together to put this thing together. Ouray and Telluride are distinct communities – they always have been – but the fact that they are still working together is great. The Imogene Pass Run has been going on for 30 years now, and I see it going on for another 30 years,” he says.

12 p.m.:  The steady stream of runners that has cruised through the Summit Aid Station in the last two hours has begun to wane. The last runners are making their way to the top, while most of the field has already set foot across the finish line.

Finishing first, or even in the top half, isn’t what running the Imogene Pass Run is about for most people. These runners hang out at the top, mingling with other runners, commenting about the gorgeous views and the wonderful weather, thanking all us volunteers for our support.

I take a picture of a glowing group of women who pose together at the Imogene Pass – 13,114-feet sign. I tell them it’s actually higher than that, more like 13,120 feet (that’s what Trujillo told me, and of all people he should know.)I notice the ladies’ family resemblance, and ask them how long they’ve been running the race together.

“Oh, four years maybe?”  Mom, Jan Hyatt, from Wisconsin, comes out every year and meets her three daughters, Cindy Hyatt, Sharon Hyatt-Drennan and Brenda Wasielewski, all from the Front Range. They travel to Ouray and run the Imogene as an annual Hyatt Women tradition, typically reaching the summit together to take their yearly photo at the top.

As they head down into Telluride, I’m almost sad they’re some of the last few runners. I can’t estimate how many people said thank you to me today, both friends and strangers, as I handed them a cup of hot soup or cheered for them up the steep last pitch. I volunteered this year as “mental preparation” for my first running of the Imogene, planned for next year. Now I’m having second thoughts, not because I’m afraid of what it’s like (though I probably should be) but because it may be hard passing up the opportunity to volunteer at the Summit Aid Station next year. Volunteering is a lot easier than running the Imogene Pass Run, that’s for sure.

 

Our ‘Light at the End of the Tunnel’

 

By Janet Kask

 

“Unless you were at the World Trade Center on 9/11/01, or unless you’ve ever thought you were going to die, it's really hard to describe the emotions that were involved that day,” says Janet Kask, who, hugely pregnant, was not quite three weeks from her delivery date when she drove into Manhattan to pick up her husband, Peter, early on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

“My husband is a structural engineer and at the time, I was vice president of administration for the New York Islanders Hockey Club. We lived in Babylon Village, Long Island.”

The Kasks – Janet, her husband, Peter, and their son, Aidan, now live in Placerville. Aidan celebrates his second birthday Thursday, Sept. 11. They had been visiting Telluride for roughly ten years, to ski, and then again in the summer, for Fourth of July celebrations. After their 9/11 experience, they decided to make their downvalley home their full-time residence, a decision they’ve never regretted.

 

My husband Peter had had a surgical heart procedure the day before, at the New York University Medical Center, and I was headed into New York City to pick him up. I was pregnant, and due to deliver at the end of the month. My friend, who lost a leg to cancer 15 years ago, was with me. It was a beautiful warm day and we happened to be admiring the skyline at the moment the first plane hit the tower. We saw smoke surrounding one of the towers, but thought it was billowing up from a boat or a ship on the river. Then my friend saw paper flying through the air.  We quickly turned on the radio, but still didn’t think too much of it; on the radio, eyewitnesses were saying a small plane had lost control and hit one of the towers.  We proceeded into the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, unaware of the severity of what was about to happen.

Traffic stopped in the tunnel; it was closed on both the Brooklyn and the Manhattan sides, and we all sat there with our cars idling.  We were in the tunnel for quite a while, and it was getting extremely hot down there.  People were losing their patience, getting out of their cars and walking towards Manhattan.

There’s a section of the tunnel where you lose radio contact.  We didn’t have any radio at all for awhile; then we moved up a bit, and the radio came back on.  At that point, we learned about the second tower being hit, and the attack on the Pentagon, and that experts suspected possibly six to eight planes were in the air, with random targets all over the country.  I was very scared, and looked at the delivery trucks in the tunnel wondering if they were filled with explosives.

We heard on the radio that the first tower collapsed; by then, we were pretty much through the tunnel on the Manhattan side, about two blocks from the World Trade Center. All of a sudden, people were running towards us, screaming, with a big cloud of smoke behind them.  People panicked.  We all abandoned our cars and ran.  The tunnel got very dark and filled with smoke.  For a while, you couldn’t see anything.   

I had this big belly, and my friend had one leg. We became separated in the panic and chaos to get out.  I kept running; in their haste to get out, people left their cars idling and their car doors open. I couldn’t see very well in the darkness, and I ran into several car doors. I was terrified that there had been an explosion in the tunnel, and that water would start pouring in.  We thought we were going to die.

I can’t swim. My best friend drowned when I was eight years old, at a local town pool on Long Island, and since then, I’ve never been too comfortable around water. Even though I had my built-in flotation devices – my big belly and newly acquired boobs – I was scared. I held a sweatshirt to my face as I ran, trying not to breathe in all the fumes. I was a wreck.  People in cars at the end were actually turning them around and driving out.  Some people grabbed onto roof racks and spare tires and rode out on the vehicles.  It was total desperation.  I ran up to a car just as it was pulling away begging for a ride, but they didn’t hear me, and drove on.

The tunnel seemed endless. It isn’t straight.  You’d get to a point and it would just continue on and on.  I prayed to see the light of day.  We ran from Manhattan to Brooklyn – approximately two miles. When I got out of the tunnel, one sight I’ll never forget was a guy pushing a wheelchair with a guy in it who was holding an elderly woman in his lap.  I got out before my friend, and was upset because I didn’t know where he was.  I begged a policeman and a fireman to go in and get him.  My friend came out several minutes later with a fireman.  As soon as you got out of the tunnel, you had to give the police your car keys and a description of your vehicle.  It was my friend’s car, so he handled that.

The ambulances were there with water and oxygen, trying to calm people down and see if anyone was injured. When the second tower collapsed, another wave of smoke came through the tunnel and we were evacuated up to the toll booths.  At the time, we didn’t know what the smoke was from; I ran into a toll booth to escape it. A policeman told me to move, but when I stood, up he realized I was pregnant and put me in an ambulance.  There were other people in the ambulance.  The EMT in the ambulance told me she thought I lost the baby because she couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat or detect any fetal movement. The other people got out of the ambulance and I was rushed to Long Island Lutheran Hospital in Brooklyn.  It was the longest ride ever – I just stared at the ceiling, thinking I lost my baby.  All you heard in the distance were sirens of many emergency vehicles responding to the site that is now known as ground zero.

When we arrived at the hospital, there were at least 15 doctors out on the sidewalk, waiting for the injured people who, for the most part, never came. I was rushed up to the maternity ward and thankfully, the baby was fine.  I was then discharged and in the hospital lobby people were crowded around the television, probably similar to when Kennedy was assassinated.  It was then that we learned the second tower had also collapsed.

No cell phones were working. I just wanted to find out where Peter was and let him know that we were safe. He had left a message on my cell phone earlier that morning saying that something awful had happened and not to attempt to come into the City.  NYU Medical Center had called me the night before with specific instructions – he wasn’t supposed to walk anywhere or do anything but simply rest. 

Peter witnessed the entire attack from his hospital room – the planes hitting the tower, the explosions, people jumping, everything.  His best friend since childhood was on the 73rd floor of Tower One, and Peter was very stressed – hardly the right state for a patient recovering from a surgical heart procedure. As a structural engineer, Peter knew from the heat of the fires that the towers would most likely come down.  NYU Medical Center was set up as a triage center and Peter was hastily discharged, to wander the streets of Manhattan; mass transit wasn’t working.  Neither one of us knew what the other one was going through.

My friend and I were now wandering around Brooklyn; no car, he with one leg, and me with my belly.  We must have looked like some sight because an off-duty police officer, who was on his way to give blood, stopped us and asked if we needed a ride. He took us to a subway station, and dropped us off. But the subways weren’t running and we were stranded again. We eventually got a car service, which took us to Atlantic Ave., in Brooklyn.  We got out of the car and a plane flew overhead.  People ducked and said, “Oh God, not again.”  We thought we were still under attack, but thankfully, it was a U.S. military plane.

We got on the first Long Island Rail Road train at the station.  We were happy to get on the train; however, I was leery of having to go underground again. I used to commute to Manhattan every day for five years several years ago, and no one on the train ever talks to one another; they’re like robots.  However, this day was different.  There was such a sense of camaraderie. The guy behind me was asking if anyone was hungry, offering granola bars and pretzels. We were all trying to grasp the reality of what had happened, and sat there in a state of shock.

I had a scheduled 4 p.m. appointment with my doctor at Good Samaritan hospital in West Islip on Long Island; the baby was breach, and the doctor was going to try to turn him. I wanted Peter with me, but had not been contact him all day.  I decided to keep the appointment and went in alone.  When I arrived on the sixth-floor maternity ward, two nurses standing at the window commented on how strange it was that there weren’t any planes in the sky.

When I got there, a nurse hooked me up to a monitor and told me I was in labor. I said: “No, I’m not” and she said, “Yes, you are.”  We jokingly argued about it and I was told I had contractions four to six minutes apart, even though I felt absolutely nothing.  I was told that the emotional and physical stress and trauma of that morning kicked things into high gear. 

I wouldn’t recommend turning a baby to anyone.  It’s the most uncomfortable thing in the world. They literally hang you upside down and twist your gut. The doctor successfully turned the baby, but when he let go, the baby flipped back all the way around into his original position. The baby then went into distress and his heart rate dropped.  The mood in the room changed immediately.  Nobody was talking to me anymore and I was being prepped for surgery.  The doctor said he needed to perform an emergency C-section to save the baby.  I told the doctor I didn’t’ want him to deliver the baby without Peter at my side.  However, it was an emergency situation.  I was told  had five minutes if I wanted to call someone to be with me.  My family lives out of town, and I couldn’t think of anyone who lived close enough to the hospital.  The birth of our first child was supposed to be a joyous occasion and I was about to experience it all alone under these circumstances.

Then, after a few minutes, the baby stabilized.  I sat up and went to pull out the IV and told my doctor that I had to go to work the next day and I’d come back in a few days with Peter and we’d deliver the baby then.  My doctor laughed and said the baby would be delivered today, but that he’d try to wait for Peter to arrive – even though Peter had no idea where I was and I couldn’t track him down.

The long wait began.  The nurses called the NYU Medical Center to confirm that Peter had in fact been discharged; they called his cell phone and our home many times. Finally, they called our home one last time; I asked her to give me the phone, and it was Peter’s voice on the other end. He had just walked in the door. I became emotional just hearing his voice and told him that I was at the hospital, to grab the camera and we were about to have a baby. 

When Peter arrived at the hospital we hugged but still had no idea what the other one had experienced that morning.  My doctor was very concerned about Peter.  He was exhausted and still had all the things from his surgery taped to his chest.  He had ended up walking to Penn Station and getting on one of the first Long Island Rail Road trains leaving the City at approximately 8:30 p.m.  He then walked another couple of miles from the Babylon train station to our home.

 Our son Aidan was delivered by C-section at 10:05 p.m. on 9/11 – two-and-a-half weeks early, but healthy at 7 1/4 lbs. and 21 1/2 inches long.  Our birth announcement had a picture of me, Peter and Aidan and everyone said we looked great.  Little did they know that Peter still had things taped to his chest, I had asbestos in my hair and my feet were covered with band-aids from the blisters I got from running through the tunnel.

The next morning, we found out that Peter’s friend was safe.  He was in the World Trade Center ten years ago when the bomb went off in the parking garage and knew right away to get out.

We also knew a girl who perished in one of the towers – it’s almost like we feel a bond with that family now. They lost their daughter, and our son happened to be born that day. Words can’t properly describe the emotions surrounding that day.

I was the only person in my family who still lived in New York – my brothers live in Pennsylvania and Maryland (just outside of D.C.). As my sister-in-law pointed out to me, my brothers and I each lived in areas where there were terrorist attacks that day.

In my hospital room, I watched the replay of the attacks over and over and it just seemed so surreal.  It was hard to comprehend what had actually happened and I felt very lucky.  I returned to work a week later, as I was overseeing some important construction projects and we had pre-season hockey one week away.  I finally took maternity leave five weeks later and, with rampant terrorist threats still continuing in New York, couldn’t wait to leave the area. Peter packed up the car with the baby and our dog and we headed for Telluride.  It wasn’t until we were here that we truly felt safe and able to relax.

  I am now a full-time mom. We call Aidan our “light at the end of the tunnel.” He’s a very happy little boy, and the complete opposite of the tragic events that occurred on the morning of his birth.

 

 

SAVED TO PRODUCTION BY SETH

 

SKI Magazine Ranks Telluride Among Top Ten Resorts

 

The Telluride Ski and Golf Co.’s expansion into Prospect Bowl and its multimillion dollar capital investment in new lifts has apparently done the trick, at least as far as the readers of SKI Magazine are concerned. Telluride for the first time has cracked the Top Ten in SKI’s annual reader survey of the Top Sixty North American Ski Resorts.

Telluride came in at number 10 on the list. The highest Telluride has been ranked in the past was at number 12 last year; the year before it was ranked number 19.

“We are psyched!” said Telski President and Chief Operating Officer Chris Ryman in a press release. “This shows what happens when a resort and a community work together, listen to the guests and respond to the guests’ wants and needs in a vacation experience.”

“We’re slowly creeping up the ranks,” said Telski spokesperson Maryhelyn Kirwan We could not have done it without the local merchants and the lodging community.”

The issue of SKI containing the rankings hits the stands next week.

Telluride’s top ten ranking was helped by high rankings for weather (second), scenery (second) and terrain (tenth). Telluride received its lowest rankings for family programs (45th), value (50th) and access (73rd). 

“Access is [Telluride’s] biggest hurdle, and its saving grace,” SKI writes in its summary of Telluride. “Hard to get to. Keep it that way,” implores one reader. “The town of Telluride is ‘what a ski town should be’,” writes another.

The gondola, the story reports, is “key to Telluride’s enduring appeal,” linking “the genuine old-town charm of Telluride and the modern service-centric hub of Mountain Village.”

Skiing Telluride, according to the magazine, is “about being psyched to be there and picking your own style.”

Local businesses cited by name include Wildflour, Fly Me to the Moon Saloon, the Peaks Spa, Allred’s, Honga’s, the Cosmopolitan, Harmon’s and the Last Dollar.

Six of the top ten resorts in the SKI survey are in Colorado.

The top ten resorts according to the poll are: 1. Vail.  2. Whistler/ Blackcomb, B.C. 3. Deer Valley, Utah. 4. Snowmass. 5. Steamboat. 6. Breckenridge. 7. Sun Valley, Idaho. 8. Beaver Creek. 9. Park City, Utah. 10. Telluride.

More than 20,000 SKI readers are surveyed for SKI's “Top 60 Resort Guide” by an independent research firm. SKI readers ski an average of 23 days a year.

 

Resource Center Publishes Spanish Information Guide

 

By Liz Lance

 

The San Miguel Resource Center released the first-ever San Miguel County Latin American Resource Guide this week. It contains everything from important emergency phone numbers to immigration information to winter driving tips, all published in Spanish.

With “La Guia de Recursos para Latinoamericanos del Condado de San Miguel y el Area Circumvecina,” SMRC is trying to reach out to the Hispanic community and provide them with information that used to be available to the Spanish speaking population mostly by word of mouth.

Daniel Kanow, cultural outreach coordinator at SMRC, conceptualized the guide in November 2002 to further reach the Telluride region’s Hispanic community. Kanow modeled the guide after the Paginas Amarillas in Denver, as well as on similar guides on the Front Range, but decided to limit it to white pages information and fund it locally. Of the $7,000 needed to publish the guide, over 90 percent came from the community, he said. The Telluride Foundation contributed about 55 percent of that budget.

Kanow estimates the Hispanic population in San Miguel County at anywhere from 300 to 1,000 full-time residents, although the 2000 Census reported only 500 full-time residents. SMRC hopes that publishing this guide is a way to give back to the Hispanic community, as well as educate them on the domestic abuse services they provide, and “to hopefully make them a stronger face in the community… so they’re not a cultural group in the shadows,” Kanow said.

“They are the backbone of the county; they make it run.”

Eloisa Carlos, a bilingual member of the Hispanic community, is pleased to see the guide published, and reports a lot of interest at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, where copies were distributed Sunday. “All who live in Telluride are the same community and we should all be in touch,” Carlos said.

Javier Martinez, who does not speak English, has spent two and a half years in Telluride and said, through translator Kanow, that before, he didn’t have much of the information and had to ask friends – not always the most reliable source. Pointing to the education section of the guide, Martinez said it would have been helpful to have this guide when he was enrolling his daughter in school, with its list of necessary immunizations.

Of the guide, Martinez said: “It is very important for Latin people; many people don’t know how to cash a check, call the police or know emergency phone numbers.” For women, she added: “There’s also information on domestic violence in case they’ve been mistreated.”

Many people with no immigration documents are afraid to call for any kind of public service, because they think the authorities will take them away.

“Now people don’t need to be afraid because they’re having problems; now they have the resources,” Kanow said, referring specifically to the section on immigration.

Coalition Plans 9/11 Commemorative Ceremonies for Thursday

 

By Marta Tarbell

 

A coalition of San Miguel County Peacewalkers, the group organized by San Miguel County Commissioner Art Goodtimes and Telluride Jewish Community leader Michael Saftler, that convenes and marches on the eleventh of every month to commemorate events of Sept. 11, 2001, and This Republic Can, Telluride’s grassroots organization of political activists concerned about American foreign policy abroad since that terrorist attack, has organized a double-whammy commemorative peace march for Thursday, Sept. 11.

“Or 9-1-1, as I prefer to call it,” says This Republic Can organizer Chris Myers, alluding to the fact that the numbers used to describe the airborne terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the aborted White House attack that crashed in a Pennsylvania field, were, prior to Sept. 11, 2001, best-known as the phone numbers to call in an emergency.

So, on 9/11 this Thursday, marchers will gather at the San Miguel County Courthouse for a rally, at 12 noon, and then a march along main street to Telluride Town Park.

That evening, discussion groups will convene, from 7-9 p.m., for a “conversational café,” at a to-be-announced location.

One thing is for sure: The American flag will fly proudly over the course of the day-long rally.

“We’re going to rally ’round the flag” says Saftler.

“We like the idea of using the flag,” says Myers, going on to opine that the American flag has “become so distorted, and is used” to broadcast support for American military activities abroad.

“It’s our flag, and we’re all citizens,” declares Myers, who comes from something of a military background. “My grandfather was a captain in the Navy in World War II,” he says, “and every morning, the ritual was to raise the flag, and every evening, the ritual was to take it down. He never let it stay outside overnight.

“You see such abuse of the flag today – it’s on people’s headbands, on their bumper stickers, whatever. It’s disturbing. It’s a measure of how the culture has changed,” he reflects. It also raises this question: “How deep is our citizenry’s true patriotism and respect for the values of this country?”

For an answer, Myers and Saftler suggest, look to the assortment of personalities involved in this Thursday’s march.

Just organizing the Peacewalkers has forged a bond between its two once-at-loggerheads organizers. According to Saftler, he and Goodtimes have heretofore been on the opposite sides of most issues.

“This is the first thing that’s ever brought us together,” he says,  adding a positive cast to their interactions at the county level (Saftler is a member of the County Planning Commission). And if these two politicos can work together, he suggests, anything is possible.

Not to be outdone in terms of the coalescing of opposite energies: Chris Myers, as the son of a CIA operative, grew up in Moscow in the late 60s.

“One of my strongest childhood memories,” says Myers, a photographer and lighting designer who relocated from Carbondale to Telluride in 2000, is witnessing the 50th May Day anniversary in the Soviet Union, in 1967.

“They showed their military might five lanes deep, parading with missiles and tanks past the American Embassy.

“It was very clear there was an ‘us’ and ‘them,’” says Myers, who was five years old at the time. “One doesn’t forget that sort of display.”

Over the course of the hour-long midday march, a Korean Buddhist walking meditation ceremony will take place. “It is supposed to be respectful,” Saftler says, of the ceremony involving “three steps and one long bow,” inspired by the Global Responsibility Group, in Boulder, which is undertaking a 200 mile pilgrimage as part of its 9/11 commemorative activities.

“The message” of the walking meditation, says Saftler, “is to raise people’s awareness of other people’s cultural practices.” The purpose of the Peacewalkers, “an informal gathering since Oct. 11, 2001,” Saftler says, is similar.

“There is something powerful,” Myers breaks in, “seeing people walking down main street with this big banner, beating a drum” in an effort to memorialize the victims of 9/11.

The two men get tough, however, when talk turns to the War on Iraq.

“This is not a war,” says Myers. “This is a prosecution. It’s an invasion.”

“In all fairness,” says Saftler, “if you believe that ‘violence begets violence,’” a phrase made famous by Martin Luther King, Jr., in the days of the American civil rights movement, a logical interpretation is that “terrorism begets terrorism.” In this instance, a “terroristic” American military offensive has been the response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

It’s time to abandon the eye-for-an-eye premise of most military policy, Saftler suggests. “There is enough blame to go around,” he says. “Creating more terror as the result of terror? No. It’s time to be self-reflective.”

To that end, he asks: “Why has there not been a forum to discuss why 9/11 occurred?” He offers, then takes issue with the Bush Administration’s explanation: “They attack us because we are free? We aren’t free.” He’s just warming up. “Why do we call it the Defense Department? Why can’t we have a Peace Department?”

Both men were moved by Former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara’s appearance at the Telluride Film Festival, over Labor Day Weekend, following the premier of Fog of War, the Wes Blank documentary about what led up to the J.F. Kennedy Administration’s brink-of-nuclear war exploits, culminating in the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis. As the tight lid on once-classified information is loosened: “We are coming up out of our burrows and beginning to understand the ‘fog of war’ that has kept us from understanding our enemy,” says Myers – a kind of we have seen the enemy, and he is us, he suggests. And so, if humankind is to survive, the next step, he suggests, must be “to empathize with your enemy.”

It is time, the two suggest, for Americans to understand that 9/11, an undeniably horrific tragic attack, the first-ever by a foreign enemy on U.S. soil, should now be deconstructed so as to offer the citizenry on all sides of the conflict “an opportunity to engage in dialogue,” says Myers.

“Engaging in dialogue is the only way people make change happen. People need to exchange ideas, and not have ideas foisted upon them.” To that end, This Republic Can staffs an information table every weekend at the Oak Street base of the Telluride gondola station.

Any and all are invited to attend any or all of the events now in the planning stages to commemorate 9/11 – including the Wednesday, Sept. 10, 5:30 p.m. meeting in the planning room at Wilkinson Public Library.

Asked the inevitable question – “Is your father proud of you?” – Myers doesn’t bristle.

“My father is dead, but yes, he would be appreciative of the fact that I’m standing up for my beliefs,” he says confidently. “I am participating as American citizens should, when they don’t themselves in agree with what the government is doing.

“I’m not doing anything illegal – I’m simply expressing my freedom of speech,” although, he agrees, “maybe more visibly than others.”

“He’s a born agitator,” says Saftler of Myers. “And he’s very efficient with the use of his organizational time.”

“We have a pretty good organization,” Myers says of This Republic Can (he’s the one who dressed up like Thomas Jefferson in their Fourth of July parade wagon, under a sign proclaiming him to be “Thomas Jefferson Rolling Over in His Grave”). The grassroots group was key in arranging for the sign advertising Telluride’s rejection of Constitution-threatening provisions of the American Patriot Act at the entrance to town.

Over Labor Day Weekend, Myers was approached by a hostile visitor at the table. “He said he’d been in the military, and he was outraged at our message,” Myers says. “He said we should be ashamed of ourselves – that he had fought for my freedom.

“‘If that’s the way you represent my freedom of speech, I don’t want you fighting for my freedom’” is Myers’ response.

In the heat of them moment: “No, I didn’t think of it until later. I just said, ‘Thank you. Have a nice day, sir,” he confides.

“The Constitution loses its foundation if the Patriot Act is carried out the way the Bush Administration intends it to be,” says Myers.

“This country can’t last much longer when you allow the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to be walked all over,” observes Saftler.

“Only one congressman – Ron Paul, a Republican from Texas, voted against it,” says Myers.

“Any true Republican should have voted against it,” says Saftler.

Both men emphasize that they are “activists,” not anti-war protestors.

“There are reasons to go to war,” says Saftler, “although I haven’t seen any in the last 50 years,” he observes.

The 9/11 Memorial March starts at 12 noon Thursday, on the steps of the San Miguel County Courthouse, then heads slowly east on main street to wind up in Telluride Town Park.

“Bring candles,” suggests Saftler – both at noon, and at the 7-9 p.m. conversational café at a to-be-announced location.

All are also welcome at a Wednesday, Sept. 10 planning meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. in the program room at Wilkinson Library.

 

Nightwatch

By Amy Kimberly

 

How to Experience All the Blues in One Short Weekend

 

In the ten short years Telluride Blues and Brews Festival has been in production it has blossomed into a world-class festival. What started as a main street fundraiser for KOTO Radio has become an 8,000-person festival that now attracts talent like Joe Cocker and The Allman Brothers. This year’s tenth anniversary celebration boasts a strong line up that will no doubt create some fine musical memories in our fair valley.

Some of the best memories happen at night. The Juke Joints have grown through the years to become a gumbo of sizzling entertainment. A separate night pass is available to anyone who wants to move freely from venue to venue for only $16.50. There’s so much good music, this might be the best way to experience it.

Basically, all this entails is a pair of comfortable shoes, the ability to eat on the run and the desire to not miss a thing. Simply purchase your night pass at the Blues and Brews box office and you’re off and running.

The venues involve everything from the 800-person Telluride Conference Center in Mountain Village to the underground depths of the 250 person Fly Me to the Moon Saloon. There are shows that end by midnight and there are those that start at midnight. Here is a quick guide of how to do it all and only hurt yourself a little.

First and foremost, remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day and during the night. Beer is good, but it hangs heavy the next day without a little extra hydration.

Second, purchase a night pass in advance and don’t party until the festival officially begins. (The biggest festival mistake is going out the night before a festival starts and getting trashed!)

Eat well before hitting the nightlife; protein is everything. Do not rely on Red Bull only.

Know the acts. There are so many good ones you may get stuck at one show and never leave. Here’s some insider entertainment hints.

The conference center shows end by midnight so check those out early. Two incredible shows grace this space starting with Buddy Miles on Friday and North Mississippi Allstars on Saturday.

A Jimi Hendrix alumnus, Buddy Miles may best be known for his work with the Band of Gypsies featuring Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Miles and Billy Cox, but his powerhouse drumming and soulful vocals have their own place in history.

As Modern Drummer describes Miles, “Twenty years before Living Color and the Black Rock Coalition, there was Buddy Miles and his visceral Hard Soul. Hell and back may be an apt description of where he’s been, but Buddy uses it all for inspiration.”

Catch Miles for a bit and then head on over to the Nugget Theater for a touch of rootsy blues with Sue Foley and Otis Taylor. Foley is the first-ever Canadian female nomination for Best Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year at the W.C. Handy Awards and has received five Maple Blues Awards. Her music is rocking and her voice is rootsy and if you haven’t checked her out before, now is the time, especially since she is with Otis Taylor. Watch for an extended Taylor interview on Friday.

The next stop has to be the Sheridan Opera House where, as Otis Taylor says, “Lucky Peterson will blow you away.” Peterson may not be that well known yet, concedes Taylor, but once audiences see him, they will be instant fans.

Peterson grew up influenced by the likes of Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf and Albert King who performed at a local nightclub in Buffalo, New York where Peterson grew up.  His family lived above the nightclub and little “Lucky” often fell asleep with his ear to the floor listening to the beats of the blues.

An accomplished guitarist and organist, along with ripping vocals, Peterson and his band are a tight ensemble of soul and motion. Expect heavy horns, blistering guitar work and everything from Mavis Staples-like gospel to Ray Charles soul.

Spend the last hours of early evening at Fly Me to the Moon Saloon with the Cajun beats of Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers. In fact, New Orleans makes its home at the Moon both Friday and Saturday night with this band and they are the real deal.

Dopsie’s father is the late Rockin Dopsie, a zydeco legend and great accordionist. When Dwayne was three years old he slipped on his father’s accordion and fell on his face. It was perhaps a good omen because today he is considered one of the hottest zydeco accordionists out there. Dwayne and the Zydeco Hell Raisers will have the dance floor full all night long!

If you partake in the Grand Tasting on Saturday, featuring libations from hundreds of regional microbreweries, you may require a nap. This can be easily done on a nice piece of grass at Town Park (unless it’s raining). Saturday night goes later than ever with an After Hours Jam at the Sheridan Opera House from 1 till 4 a.m. with Anders Osborne and Monk Boudreaux.

Osborne is an amazing guitarist who hails from New Orleans and has lots of friends in the biz, so who knows who may drop by. By himself or with guests, Osborne is a force to be reckoned with!

Of course the big news on Saturday night is the North Mississippi Allstars at the conference center. Fronted by Cody and Luther Dickinson, the Allstars now sport R.L. Burnside’s son, Dwayne, along with bassist, Chris Chew. The Dickinson boys were the sons of legendary studio musician Jim Dickinson who played and produced many classic albums from the 60s and 70s.

NMA are a hard-driving southern blues and roots rock band that have three recordings to their name and produce a show that takes you down many an American road. Their latest recording, Polaris, is receiving rave reviews and much radio play throughout the country.

An added show this year could end up being the most talked about. Hubert Sumlin may not be a household name to many but Jimi Hendrix knew him and considered him “one of the best guitarists in the world.” He has influenced the likes of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Carlos Santana. This man has been around!

Performing with Kid Ramos and Lynwood Slim at the Sheridan Opera House, Sumlin will awaken many  young twenty-somethings to just what guitar playing is all about. Sumlin played with Howlin Wolf and Pinetop Perkins, as well as Albert King and Stevie Ray Vaughn. Sumlin is one of the last living connections to an era that brought us much monumental music.

Saturday night would not be complete without a stop at the Nugget for some stupendous Kenny Neal blues or the Roma where young Alex Maryol will once again be ripping it up.

Remember, the blues come in many forms and many feelings. Do this weekend right and you will come away with a wee lack of sleep, but lots of sizzling snippets of late night greatness! See ya out and about with my converse all-stars on!

 

 

 



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