Friday, Sept 13, 2003  content presented by Telluride Today .com About The Watch

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Superior – No, Make That Magnificent –

Soccer Inaugurates Lawson Hill Fields


Blown quote: “It’s level, the grass is mature – it’s looking great… and there’s been no balls in the river, yet,” he said.


By Martinique Davisb


Mother Nature must have known that some superior soccer was about to take place Wednesday, because she lifted the gray shroud hovering above the shoulders of the valley and interrupted the two-day downpour in time for the early evening Telluride Coed Soccer League contest between Bluecorn Roma and Smuggler’s.

Last year’s trophy contenders wasted no time breaking in Telluride Parks and Rec.’s newest soccer field, inaugurating the Lawson Hill field with some of the fastest footwork this side of the San Miguel.  Only the second game ever played on the spanking new pitch (it was the first time Telluride’s adult rec. league has ever used the field, since earlier scheduled matches at Lawson Hill had been cancelled due to rainy weather), the Smuggler’s v. Bluecorn Roma battle on Wednesday night set the standard for topnotch soccer at Telluride’s new satellite field.

The stormy match-up set off at a slower pace than either team is used to, thanks mostly to the sluggish climate of the previous few days.  But despite a mid-first-half hailstorm, Mother Nature kept true to her word in keeping the skies clear for the Smuggler’s/Roma match-up, the first they’ve played since the first week of the season. 

Though both teams were a little sleepy during the first few minutes of the game (Roma manager Josh Borof says the heavy rains had already driven his team to the bars pre-game), the red-suited Bluecorn crew managed to put one into the net in the first five minutes of the game.

The goal came off a Borof corner-kick assist, which forward Andy Montalvo nailed into the back of the Smuggler net, easy as pie.

The black-shirted Smugglers put their heads down and dug their cleats in response to the early Roma goal, eventually using the same corner-kick trick to tie the game 1-1 late in the first half.

This one came from kicker Chris Lundberg’s boot to Damien Webster, who finessed the ball past the Roma’s new goalie Kevin Asmann.

A cluster-muck in front of the Smuggler net midway through the second half resulted in a sloppy Roma goal, which originated from a “sick” Mike “Lynch-mob” Lynch pass to on-fire Dave Allen.  Allen’s shot was true but Smuggler’s seasoned goalie Ben Bahney denied it, coming out of the goal to deflect the shot.  Sweeper Webster did his best to protect the keeper-less goal but the ball was on a crash course to the net, deflecting off of Webster’s shin guard before coming to rest at the back of the net.

With Roma ahead 2-1 and not much time on the clock, the Smuggler squad succumbed to the heavily stacked Roma side, taking a few more shots but coming up empty handed in the end. 

The Smuggler’s squad was not entirely disappointed with their Wednesday night performance, however.  As some team members pointed out, for having no subs and no cheering section (unlike the loaded Roma side): “We did pretty well… but where the hell is our deep fan base?”

Wednesday’s Roma victory adds yet another win to the team’s undefeated 2003 record.  Team Manager Borof says that even though the team is still undefeated, “it feels like it could be anybody’s cup.”

The first game on the Lawson Hill field gave players a new field perspective, as the Roma’s Borof explains:  “It’s short – extra super short.  So when it’s wet and skippy, it makes for a tricky game.”

Telluride Parks and Rec. Department’s Recreation Supervisor Rich Hamilton, who made a cameo appearance at Wednesday’s game, assured players that the Town Park’s Bear Creek Field would remain the league’s primary playing field.

“But Lawson Hill can provide a second field around festival times.  Having this new field definitely adds some game slots to the season,” Hamilton said.

Construction on the Lawson Hill field began nearly three seasons ago, and was a “long, slow process” according to Hamilton.

“There’s a lot that goes into making a field – there’s a lot of stuff underground that nobody sees that has to be dealt with, along with a number of other factors,” including safety issues and town politics.  Now that all the details have been ironed out, Hamilton says the Lawson Hill field is looking pretty buffed out.

“It’s level, the grass is mature – it’s looking great… and there’s been no balls in the river, yet,” he said.

Telluride Town League soccer action resumes after Blues and Brews, with game times bumped up to 5:30 p.m. to stay ahead of autumn’s waning light.


Girls Volleyball Begins Season with a Winner


New Coach, Similar Goals


By Martinique Davis


A rejuvenated girls varsity volleyball team took to the courts of the Telluride High School gymnasium on Tuesday night for their first league games of the school year against Nucla. Darting just ahead in their last match of the night they took home three wins and two losses against their West End rivals.

The six-woman starting lineup, comprised of seniors Michael and Casey Arnold, Randi Albanese, Stacy Kilgore, and Mary Faye Samuelson, as well as sprightly sophomore Jenna Kirsh, toppled the Nucla ladies in their first two matches of the evening, 26-24 and 25-12.

The Telluride ladies let their guard down against the dominating Nucla squad for the next few games, missing a few too many serves. Nucla put their offense into high gear and won two games,  25-17, 25-18.

It was Telluride captains Casey Arnold and Samuelson who forged ahead in spite of the two losses, revving their team’s winning engine to finally put the last win in the Miner basket, 15-11.

The 2003 Miner varsity volleyball began their season this week not only with a revised starting lineup from last year, but also with a new drill-master behind their game. Coach John Bosse has stepped up this season to fill the shoes left by previous years’ coach Ian Evans. Bosse says he’s ready to take the team’s downfalls head on to turn those losses into wins.

“We played a pretty inconsistent game and made too many mistakes in those second few matches,” Bosse says of the ladies’ Tuesday night season opener at the Miner Dome.  “But I think I know how to fix those mistakes, and their play will definitely improve with practice.”

Bosse is no stranger to the coach’s whistle. He fills the Telluride Varsity Volleyball Coach position after a 17-year reign as a volleyball coach at Montrose High School.  Bosse was a teacher with the Montrose schools for close to the last 30 years, more than half of those as the high school’s volleyball coach as well. When he retired last year, he and his wife moved to their new home outside of Norwood.

Bosse admits he wasn’t expecting to jump on a coaching job right away. When Evans stepped down as head coach, Bosse was asked to apply for the position. 

“I wound up with the job, and here I am,” he says.

When asked about what led him so quickly back onto the sidelines as a girls volleyball coach, Bosse does not hesitate to answer.

“I just love the sport,” he explains, admitting that though he may be “a little old,” he’s had no problem so far keeping his heart and his head in the game.

As far as the Miner varsity volleyball team goes, Bosse says the team’s weaknesses may also be their strengths.

“We’re pretty small size-wise,” he explains, commenting that to keep up with some of the league’s taller teams the Telluride girls have to make up for their height deficiency by playing extremely tough on the defensive side.

“We have to be intense on defense and play harder than the other team on that end, but so far we’ve done pretty well with that,” he says.

As in year’s past, this year’s girls volleyball program Telluride High School is thriving, with 14 girls on the varsity squad, nine on the junior varsity team and eight on the junior junior varsity side. Bosse is not surprised that the volleyball program remains popular within the un-crowded halls of THS.

“They’ve been winners in the past,” Bosse explains, noting that teams in prior years have had nearly undefeated records.  “There’s nothing like being a winner, so people want to participate. Plus, volleyball is just a great sport.”

Bosse says the team’s initial goals for the season include rallying for a top spot at the District Tournament, where they hope to place in the top two. Watch the Telluride varsity squad face off against Dove Creek in their next match, to be held at Dove Creek High School at 10 a.m. this Saturday, September 13.


Pizey Steps Up to KDNK News Directorship


Telluride Youth Link’s Annie Pizey has relocated to Carbondale, where she has been named news director at KDNK radio, KDNK General Manager Mary Suma announced last week.

 “Local news is an important part of KDNK’s twenty-year history of reflecting the passions and interests of our diverse community,” Suma said. “Annie understands that importance.”

 Pizey was Youth Services Coordinator for the Town of Telluride for the last three years, overseeing everything from creating and planning educational programs to outdoor trips and recreational activities for local kids and extensive grant writing. Pizey worked with more than 200 kids in her three years as director.

“I want to bring the character of KDNK and the community into the news coverage,” says Pizey, of her new job. “This community has many voices. I’d like to bring out more of that in the newscasts.”

During her time in Telluride, Pizey worked in the news department at KOTO, and wrote about the Telluride music scene for many years.

Pizey holds a B.A. from the Teacher Education Program at Goddard College; her undergraduate studies at Evergreen State College focused on literature. She has also worked as Mentorship Program Director for the Telluride School District and as the school’s service learning coordinator – all by way of working to further her belief that “our communities are our greatest source of education and youth need to stay involved in helping to build community.”

Pizey’s daughter, Marlee, an eight grader, will attend the Waldorf School.

She can be reached after Sept. 22 at KDNK at 963-0139



Grassolean Production Ramps Up, Recycling Local Fry Oil


If It’s Easy to Produce 80 Gallons, Why Not 500?


By Suzy Loeffler


If you’ve walked down main street Telluride this summer, you’ve probably caught a glimpse of the beautifully hand painted, biodiesel fueled Galloping Goose bus. But have you noticed a little blue Chevy Luv pickup, reeking of fryer oil, lurking through back alleys, filling steel drums with used grease from local restaurants? 

The pickup belongs to the team at Grassolean Solutions, the same team of visionaries who were instrumental in bringing a veggie fueled bus to town. The veggie-fueled pickup gathers local fry oil and returns to Montrose where Grassolean Solutions is turning it into a source of fuel.

The Grassolean production project began in 2001 when Charris Ford, Ken Hodges and Glen Harcourt began looking into what it would take to make veggie fuel. Hodges designed a small-scale processor that could produce 80-gallon batches of low-grade biodiesel in a fairly simple process.

“We began hauling it around to various conferences and alternative energy fairs to demonstrate how simple it is to make diesel fuel out of recycled vegetable oil,” explains Nickolai Cowell, who is manager of the Montrose Grassolean plant. “Ken’s processor was one of the most compact efficient units we saw anywhere.”

The visionaries of the Grassolean team decided to expand the operation. 

“If we could successfully produce 80 gallons at a time, why not 500 gallons?” asked Harcourt

In 2002, Eric Jacobson and Cowell joined the team. Jacobson donated some space at a defunct power plant he owns in an industrial section of Montrose. The dilapidated skeleton of the old power plant overshadows the inconspicuous Grassolean production plant. There are some greasy barrels stacked around, and five-gallon containers of used vegetable oil. The whole production area, including a 500-gallon and two 250-gallon tanks is contained in a large shed. Cowell has converted the old office into a living space. The walls are covered with pencil sketches demonstrating ways to improve the processing system. The shelves hold system models and stacks of computer printouts of renewable fuels information.

Cowell and a German engineering intern, Christoph Beck, with help and input from the rest of the team, assembled the production plant last winter. By March they produced their first 420-gallon batch of Grassolean.

“I’m pretty proud of the systems we were able to create out of the mishmash of materials we had access to,” says Cowell, pointing to a jerry-rigged web of hoses and pumps. “I’m glad Recla Metals junkyard is right down the street. I spend a lot of time there digging around for parts.”

Grassolean Solutions is officially in production, although they are not yet producing the biodiesel to fuel the Galloping Goose. The fuel for the Goose comes from a company on the Front Range that produces the fuel from virgin oil straight from the farm, rather than from recycled oil.

“Our operation is not yet ASTM certified,” explains Cowell. “So we can’t commercially sell the fuel we produce.” The ASTM certification is a national standard of purity that is require to commercially sell biodiesel.

“We could get our certification, but we need to upgrade our system to meet the purity standards,” Cowell adds.  “Using recycled oil doesn’t pose any problem for meeting the spec, but the spec is almost prohibitively strict for small producers to meet. In fact, it was written by the multi-million gallon producers. They all use nonrecycled virgin seed oil, so their process is simpler. They can afford high tech monitoring equipment, but ironically, it’s the grassroots homebrewers who developed much of the technique through trial and error. It’s also interesting that the national standards for dino diesel aren’t nearly as strict as for biodiesel.”

But as Ford comments: “We are committed to the whole recycling process”

Grassolean’s product is tried and tested. All of the members of the Grassolean team use it to fuel their personal vehicles. Harcourt fuels a plow, a crane, a truck, a small front-end loader, and a backup generator for his green business, Steeprock Jointery.  Even the Telluride Ski and Golf Company has logged some miles with their greens groomers.

 Until the Grassolean team gets its Fuel Distributor’s License, they plan to market a blended product.

“Like a 20 percent  post consumer recycled type blend,” explains Ford. They also would like to expand to become a local distributor of certified biodiesel.

“We take a lot of pride in our process; our product is 100 percent recycled, and the only byproduct is biodegradable glycerin, which can be used in soap or on dirt roads to keep the dust down,” says Cowell.

Their process is green as well. Most of the initial filtering is done with the help of gravity and passive solar heat in huge black holding tanks. Then the glycerin is drained and the fuel passes through a force filtering process that requires a little additional heat. The final filtering takes place in a washing process where a water and an air bubbling system collects the remaining methanol and glycerin, which are water soluble, in cone bottom tanks.  What remains is a clear particle-free product which is pumped into holding tanks.

“It’s an organic circular system, and it works,” Cowell concludes, “though it is not necessarily cost effective at this point. I spend a lot of time just figuring little details out”

One goal of the Grassolean team is to produce one or two 420-gallon batches of fuel a week, but they are having trouble getting enough oil. Many local restaurants are happy to have the little pickup carry away their spent oil, but a lot of the fast food restaurants around Montrose find it easier to have the big companies take their used oil away to Grand Junction, where it’s sold for cattle feed or goes to landfills along with over three billion gallons nationwide per year.

“The environmental plug doesn’t always work; it’s more about cost effectiveness for some businesses,” says Cowell.  “In Telluride, every restaurant we’ve dealt with has been fantastic – totally supportive.  We would love to recycle every drop of this waste stream from Telluride and Mountain Village.”

“This is still an emerging market, which is great because it allows hacks like us to have a go at it,” Cowell laughs. “The real reward is firing up the engine and knowing it’s running on something renewable.  Sometimes I feel a little smug, but then I remember I’d rather everyone drive the stuff, not just a select few.  It’s so easy – no engine conversions – just pour it in and go.”  The only drawback he’s found with biodiesel is that his windshield is never clean.  “I don’t stop at the gas station any more.”

Biodiesel is renewable, biodegradable, non-toxic, and the emissions form a closed loop CO2 cycle. This crucial benefit means that the amount of CO2 produced by burning one gallon of biodiesel is about how much it takes to grow the plants for the same amount of fuel again.

Business Brief


ResortQuest and TREC Form Alliance


ResortQuest Telluride and the Telluride Real Estate Corp. announced late last month that they have formed a strategic alliance. The agreement between the local operating company of ResortQuest International, which manages and markets vacation homes and condominiums, and TREC “allows both companies to concentrate on their core business,” according to a press release.  ResortQuest Telluride will focus on vacation rentals and resort property management, while TREC will focus on real estate transactions.

Under the alliance, TREC will recommend ResortQuest Telluride to new homeowners who desire property management services.  In return, ResortQuest will assist in real estate leads and the marketing of high-end real estate. ResortQuest’s inventory includes Exclusive Vacation Properties, ultra luxury homes and townhomes in Telluride.

“This new alliance gives our customers a greater depth of services,” said ResortQuest’s Colorado manager Steve Hilliard. “This alliance not only opens new opportunities to our existing homeowners while freeing us to focus on our central business, but will enhance our luxury rental inventory in Exclusive Vacation Properties.

Steve Hilbert, a founding partner with TREC, said his company has a 20-year record of providing the premier real estate services.  Pairing with ResortQuest creates great synergy.

“We want to be in the real estate business. Our alliance with ResortQuest allows us to do what we want, yet provides our customers with the property management services they need,” Hilbert said.


Election Season Starts With a Declaration of Candidacy


John Pryor Announces for Telluride Mayor


By Seth Cagin


John Pryor, a 14-year Telluride resident, announced this week that he will run to be Telluride’s next mayor.

His written commentary declaring his candidacy appears on page 5. Pryor declined to be interviewed this week, stating that his letter contains the rationale behind his candidacy. He said he will be available for interviews within the next few weeks.

In his written declaration, Pryor emphasizes a desire to restore integrity to town government and to demonstrate respect for differing viewpoints. “The time is right for a change in our local government and the time is right for me to give back to this community that I love,” he writes.

Pryor’s is the first announcement by any candidate in the upcoming November election.  Incumbent Mayor John Steel has not announced whether he will be a candidate for reelection, though he has reportedly indicated in private conversations that he is leaning in that direction. Other names that have been floated as possible mayoral candidates include council members Hilary White – if Steel does not run – and Stu Fraser. While White has been a reliable vote on the current council in support of positions staked out by Steel, Fraser has generally been on the other side of issues.

There will be four seats up for election on the seven-seat Telluride Town Council, including the mayor’s seat. Along with Steel’s term, seats currently held by Dave Johnson, Mark Buchsieb and Dawn Ibis are up for election. Council on Sept. 16 could fill the seat vacated by Ibis, who recently resigned two years into a four-year term, but even if they do make an appointment, the town charter provides that voters will have the ultimate say about who will fill out the remaining two years of the term.

While Johnson has hinted that he will not be a candidate for reelection, Buchsieb has made suggestions that he will run again. To date, however, there have been no formal declarations of candidacy for a council seat.

With a majority on the Telluride Town Council, including the mayor’s seat, in play, the November election promises to be lively. In addition to deciding the composition of the Telluride town government, voters in both Telluride and Mountain Village will be asked to approve a two percent tax on the sale of restaurant food and on lodging to go to the regional air services organization. Voters in Telluride will face a proposed charter amendment initiated by citizen petition that would extend the right to vote in municipal elections to non-resident property owners. 

An election for four open seats on the Telluride School Board has cancelled due to the fact that there were fewer candidates as of the deadline than the number of seats.  The three candidates who filed for three four-year seats, Paul Ruud, Lynda Tueller and Cindy Lystad, have been declared elected. The fourth seat, for a two-year term, will be filled by appointment.

The Colorado state ballot contains an already-controversial measure that would authorize $2 billion in debt for new water projects.



Historic Montrose Downtown to Receive Award of Excellence

Lt. Gov. Norton Comes to Town for First-Ever Revitalization Awards Presentation


The newly revitalized Historic Montrose Downtown will receive a Community Revitalization Conference Award of Excellence next week, when Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton comes to town.

Norton is hosting the Colorado Community Revitalization Association’s annual statewide community revitalization conference, to be held Sept. 18 and 19 in downtown Montrose. 

The main topic of discussion, “Maximizing Momentum on Main Street – Cashing in on Your Assets,” is designed to provide information to business and community leaders seeking to rebuild and invigorate downtowns and neighborhood districts.

A highlight of the conference will be the first-ever Governor’s Awards for Downtown Excellence luncheon and ceremony on Sept. 19, 12:15 – 2 p.m., and during which Lt. Gov. Norton will present awards in six categories. 

CCRA, Colorado Municipal League and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade introduced the awards program in 2003 to annually recognize outstanding downtown and neighborhood revitalization projects in Colorado.  Qwest Communications, Inc. is the corporate sponsor; the City of Montrose was a partner in the project.

Montrose was selected by officials pronouncing themselves tired of seeing downtown sidewalks being “rolled up” at 5 p.m. and who noted the success of its downtown coffee house’s Thursday evening concerts.

Three Montrose merchants and Historic Montrose Downtown, Inc. hatched the idea, dubbed Main in Motion, that brought regional musicians, storytellers, balloon artists, car clubs, and artisans of all mediums to create entertainment “spectacles” up and down the 12-block main street from 6-8 p.m. Thursday evenings during summer and early fall.  The crowd then migrated to the Coffee Trader’s Jazz in the Garden concert from 8-10 p.m. 

Main in Motion encores will be held during Harvest Fest and Holiday Mistletoe and Merriment. 

Valecia Crisafulli, senior program associate for the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Main Street Center, will open the conference on Sept. 18 with a message about understanding and strengthening the main street business mix on Main Street.  Russell Butler, principal and vice president for EDAW, Inc., will provide the keynote address “Placemaking – Images that Spark Your Imagination” on Sept. 19.

Educational workshops offered during the two-day event will address appreciating and maintaining historic buildings; conducting and using market analyses; mitigating the effects of a bypass; implementing guerrilla marketing tactics; choosing financing mechanisms for revitalization efforts; and helping local businesses succeed and expand.  In addition, downtown Montrose will serve as an “urban laboratory” showcasing scaled-back street lighting, overhead wire removal, and storefront improvements. 

On Sept. 18, from 6-10 p.m., conference participants and the general public are invited to attend Main in Motion, an outdoor arts and entertainment extravaganza organized by Historic Montrose Downtown, Inc.  Main in Motion features music, cars, dancers, artists, farmer’s market, shopping, food, fun and frolic throughout the downtown district.  Montrose has participated in CCRA’s Colorado Main Street program since 2001.   

Conference participants interested in finding out more about Main in Motion and downtown Montrose’s other successful promotions or learning about the Colorado Main Street program are encouraged to attend networking breakfasts on Sept. 19.

For a conference brochure and registration costs, contact CCRA at 303.282.0625 or visit  Tickets for the Governor’s Awards for Downtown Excellence luncheon and ceremony are included in the conference registration cost or may be purchased separately for $25. 

Colorado Community Revitalization Association is a Denver-based nonprofit organization established in 1982, serves Colorado communities, organizations and individuals involved in downtown and neighborhood commercial district revitalization.  CCRA administers the Colorado Main Street program and serves many of the state’s downtown development authorities, urban renewal authorities, business improvement districts and municipalities.   The Colorado Main Street program is funded in part by the Colorado Historical Society’s State Historical Fund.

Other CCRA award recipients this year include Fort Collins, for its Northern Hotel Renovation; the Pearl Street Mall Renovation, in Boulder; the Shaw Building Renovation, in Greeley; the Historic Olde Town Arvada, in Arvada; the Downtown Tile Project, Colorado Springs; the Lafayette Oatmeal Festival, Lafayette; and a merit award for the Train Lighting Ceremony & Holiday Walk, Alamosa; and a special achievement award for the Downtown Streetscape/Lake & Boardwalk Park Renovation, Windsor; and a merit award to Aurora for its Aurora Asian Film Festival.

Watch Business


Annual Visitors Bureau Meeting Focused on Air Services


By Seth Cagin


“People are struggling with our new name,” said Rick Houston, the president of Telluride and Mountain Village Convention and Visitors Bureau, speaking before that organization’s regional meeting on Wednesday.  He demonstrated, reciting the tongue twister “TVMCBV.”

“Let’s just call it the convention and visitors bureau,” he suggested.  “The CVB.”

Houston’s suggestion came in a speech in which he described the challenges facing tourist economies generally and Telluride’s tourist economy in particular, challenges ranging from national recession, forest fires, the West Nile virus, airlines in bankruptcy, drought, and changing vacation patterns.  Telluride has actually held its own in this difficult environment, Houston said, though not without considerable hard work and sacrifice.

The next best step that Telluride can take to meet the ongoing challenges, Houston strongly suggested, is to support the Telluride/Montrose Air Services Organization, and its current effort to win elections in November in the towns of Telluride and Mountain Village, imposing two percent food and lodging taxes that would be dedicated to guaranteeing air service.

The major business at Wednesday’s meeting was to fill three seats on the CVB board of directors. That activity took place at meeting’s end, with the election of Steve Swenson to a seat representing Service and Professional business license holders, Melanie Eggers elected to a Lodging seat, and Tom Hess elected to a seat representing Telluride-at-Large. But the bulk of the meeting was devoted to air services.

Speakers representing different segments of the economy testified that reliable and frequent air service is critical to their businesses. Pete Woods, the Telluride Ski and Golf Co.’s Vice President for Sales and Marketing, reported that 80 percent of winter business arrives by air, and that those tourists spend much more than skiers who drive to Telluride. He also reported that both Crested Butte and Durango experienced severe economic distress when they lost air service. He suggested that Telluride might not want to hit bottom, as Crested Butte did, before voters in that region approved taxes dedicated to airline guarantees.

Similar messages were delivered by Penelope Gleason, who owns Boot Doctors and who said that she was initially skeptical about the air program, but has come to recognize that it is absolutely crucial to the health of her business. Boot Doctors gladly collects a two percent resort fee on sales, which it donates to the program. Those few customers who ask about the two percent surcharge are not at all upset by it when it is explained to them, she said.

Keith Hampton of the San Sophia Bed and Breakfast emphasized that transportation is the number one issue that tourists face when they consider a trip to Telluride. Lodging reservations are cancelled when suitable air reservations can’t be made, he said. Chad Scothorn of the Cosmopolitan restaurant said that the vast majority of restaurants in Telluride and Mountain Village support the food and lodging tax proposal.

“Without the air services program, plans would not keep flying here,” Scothorn said. “Some people seem to think they would, but that’s not a risk we should take.”

Tom Hess, who is president of the Telluride/Montrose Air Services Organization stated flatly that airlines would not fly to Telluride or Montrose without financial guarantees. He and others answered several questions from the audience: Even businesses who primarily serve locals benefit from the air program, he told Maggie Eagleton of Maggie’s Bakery, because their customers depend on tourists who arrive by air. The new taxes – if approved by voters – will be collected along with existing sales taxes, will go to the towns of Telluride and Mountain Village, and will be under the towns’ control for appropriation to the air services organization.

Contracts with airlines are written so that once flights are profitable, guarantees no longer need to be paid out, he explained.

As was fitting for a meeting so focused on air service, Wednesday’s meeting ended with a drawing for free airline tickets. The winners were Adam Singer of Poacher’s Pub and Shawna Hartley of Hartley-Vaughn Ltd.


Town of Mountain Village


Yes to County’s Idarado Deal… No to Referendum A…


Village Briefs



The Mountain Village Town Council adopted two resolutions Tuesday generally supporting actions of the San Miguel County Commissioners. The first offers broad support to the commissioners in having granted development approvals to the Idarado Mining Co., east of Telluride.  While the resolution does not speak to a legal complaint filed by the Town of Telluride challenging the commissioners’ action, members of council said that they oppose any obstacle that would prevent Idarado from moving ahead under the county approval, due to the fact that the agreement between Idarado and the county would protect thousands of acres of high country by transferring it to the U.S. Forest Service.

Council also voted to send a letter to the commissioners supporting a possible compromise with the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Assn. with respect to Tri-State’s efforts to upgrade a power line between Nucla and Telluride. Tri-State has appealed the county’s requirement that portions of the line must be constructed underground to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. The PUC will take public comment on Tri-State’s appeal on Thursday, Sept. 18, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Sheridan Opera House. A formal evidentiary hearing on the appeal is set for Oct. 20-24 in Denver.



Mountain Village has joined a growing list of organizations, governments and public officials in opposition to Referendum A on Colorado’s November ballot. The measure would approve $2 billion in debt for new water projects. Opponents say that the ballot question does not specify how the money would be spent, setting up likely conflicts between the sparsely populated but wet Western Slope and the populous and dry Front Range.

“Referendum A ignores common-sense solutions for increasing our water supply, such as using the water we already have more efficiently,” a flyer distributed to council reads. “Instead, Referendum A only allows funding for new dams and reservoirs – the costliest, slowest and most environmentally damaging option.”

The appeal to council to join the “No on Referendum A” campaign came in a letter signed by Grand Junction Mayor Jim Spehar “on behalf of” four county commissioners from Eagle, Summit and Mesa counties.



The Mountain Village Town Council gave final approval on Tuesday to the ballot question that will be considered by voters in November seeking approval of a new tax of two percent on lodging and restaurant sales, with the proceeds going to support the regional air services program.

The tax, if approved, is projected to generate about $550,000 in 2004.

Council took the same approach that the Town of Telluride did in drafting a question seeking the same taxes in that town, removing a series of conditions and stipulations. Instead of stipulating that the Telluride Ski and Golf Co. must make continued annual contributions of at least $500,000 to the air services program and also continuing to make discounted season ski passes available to Mountain Village merchants, those agreements will instead be negotiated with the ski company.


A Missing Hiker and a Pair of Jeepers Survive Two Nights in the High Country.


Severe Weather Stymies Search Efforts


By Brett Schreckengost


A hiker who had been missing since Tuesday afternoon walked into the San Miguel Sheriff’s Office unscathed Thursday morning after spending two days and night out in the cold.  Two hours later, two jeepers, also caught in the storm and missing since Tuesday, were plucked off the east side of Imogene Pass, 115 feet from the summit, where they had become stranded.

Though all three individuals trapped by the fast-moving, early season storm spent two days and two nights in the high country, none suffered serious injury.  Searches for the three missing people kept San Miguel County emergency response personnel busy during the two-day storm.

In the first incident, Edward Magoffin, 36, of Breckenridge, became separated from his partner while attempting to summit his 49th fourteener, Wilson Peak, when a winter-like storm blasted the high country with lightning, sleet, snow and unseasonably cold temperatures.

Fearing the worst, his partner called 911 to file a missing persons report after Magoffin failed to return to their campsite at the Silver Pick trailhead. The ten-year Colorado resident was prepared with a survival kit consisting of three days of food, matches, a knife and was outfitted in several layers of quick drying fleece.

“We got caught in whiteout conditions,” Magoffin said on Thursday. “I couldn’t see anything in any direction.”  Magoffin said he lost sight of his partner in the poor visibility above tree line near the Rock of Ages Mine, just fifty feet from the summit. Disoriented, Magoffin says he descended into the wrong basin and headed east toward Lizard Head.  Upon reaching tree line he constructed a stick and branch shelter under an old growth tree and spent two cold days and nights waiting out the storm.

“I was shocked at how fast it came in and didn’t quit” he said. “I really didn’t expect it to keep up as long as it did.” 

When the storm finally broke on Thursday morning, Magoffin walked down the Bilk Creek drainage to the Sheep Corral campground in Ilium Valley, where he met a camper who drove him to the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office.

Fourteen members of the San Miguel Sheriff’s Office and Search and Rescue participated in the two-day search for Magoffin, which had to be temporarily suspended on Wednesday as severe weather grounded the helicopter crew and sent foot rescuers running for cover in improvised rock shelters. Winds were recorded at over 40 miles per hour at 12,000 feet with limited visibility due to low cloud cover and heavy snowfall.  San Miguel County Sheriff Bill Masters described the conditions in a KOTO interview Wednesday as "pretty miserable" adding that "someone up there without shelter would be in some serious jeopardy."

"[Magoffin] just walked right through the door and said, “I think you¹re looking for me’,” said San Miguel Sheriff’s Office public information officer Jennifer Smith. “He didn’t want any food or coffee, he just wanted to sit down and call his mom."

The two jeepers, Jane and Daryl Seaton, both 43, of Clearwater Florida, were traveling from Ouray to Telluride on Tuesday when they were forced by extreme conditions to simply stop. The couple huddled together inside their soft-sided jeep for warmth.

Several attempts to locate the Seatons from the air by helicopter on Wednesday were unsuccessful due to weather conditions, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Attempts to contact them on the ground from both sides of Imogene Pass also failed due to severe conditions on the pass.

On Thursday morning, Daryl Seaton was able to use a camera battery and a band aid (literally) to power up a dead cell phone, and was able place a call for help. The Seaton’s were rescued by helicopter just before noon on Thursday.

While Margollin does not possess a Colorado fishing license or a hikers, either of which covers the expenses of a Search and Rescue operation, the two jeepers were covered by licenses.

All three victims of the storm were treated and released at the Telluride Medical Center. The only injury was a mild case of frost nip suffered by Daryl Seaton.





High-Tech, Upcoming 18-Hole Nicklaus Golf Course

Slated to Open Next Year, in Montrose, and Guess Who’s Its Superintendent? Joe Distefano!


By Martinique Davis


Just when you thought Montrose had it all – a Home Depot, a Super Wal-Mart, and even a Starbucks in the works – our neighbor city brings us something more awe-inspiring than all three combined.

The Bridges at Black Canyon, a premier Nicklaus Design golf course and resort community in the heart of downtown Montrose, will become the Western Slope’s newest luxury golf resort.  Slated to open in 2004, The Bridges at Black Canyon will showcase a traditional-style 18-hole Nicklaus Golf Course, with a backdrop of a 450-plus home site master-planned community as well as a Swim and Tennis Club and Day Spa and Fitness Center.

The golf course, admittedly the heart of the entire development, is currently under the careful and expert hand of none other than Telluride’s own golf course guru, Joe Distefano.  As The Bridges’ Golf Course Superintendent, in the last 11 months Distefano has overseen the movement of nearly 850,000 cubic yards of soil, the construction of an extensive irrigation system, and the installation of the golf industry’s highest-technology watering and weather-testing equipment on the course grounds.  With a crew of 16 daily shaping, moving, digging, and sculpting the land into rolling hills and natural-shaped water features, Distefano says the terrain is steadily blooming into a premier golf course.

“People ask what the course’s signature hole is – but they’re all signature holes.  The layout has a championship air about it, with a good, consistent feel from tee to green, hole 1 to 18,” Distefano says of The Bridges’ 7,089-yard, par 71 course.

And Distefano should know what a good course feels like.  He’s been working on golf courses for nearly 30 years, since his first caddy job at a Denver course when he was just 13.  For the last 13 years he has been the Superintendent at the Telluride Golf Course, hired on as one of the course’s first employees in 1989.

Distefano also worked on the development of the first Nicklaus Signature Design golf course, at the Castle Pines course in Castle Rock, Colo.  With prior experience working with the Nicklaus design team, Distefano understands why Nicklaus courses are consistently rated the top courses in the world.

“The Nicklaus team has a whole complex of people that make sure every little detail about the course is taken care of.  The designers come on a monthly basis to check on the progress, and there is also frequent agronomic assistance to deal with soil type and water quality issues.  It is that level of professionalism the makes Nicklaus’ courses always so consistent,” Distefano says.

The budding Bridges golf course, says Distefano, is shaping up to be no different quality-wise than any of Nicklaus’ other world-renowned courses.

Take the course’s high-tech irrigation system, for example.  Irrigation water for the course is taken from the Loutsenhizer Canal, which comes from the Blue Mesa Reservoir.  The water is fed into three holding ponds, where it can then be fed into the Fertigation/Injection System housed at the course’s maintenance facility.

The Fertigation System will allow Distefano and other course employees to keep the turf in the best condition possible by enhancing irrigation water with nutrients, microbes, and other products whenever they are needed.  Relatively new to the golf course industry, Distefano says that Fertigation Systems such as the one going in at The Bridges is quickly becoming the industry standard for highest-quality course maintenance.

Also emerging as a hot item on the golf course scene is the installation of weather stations on the course, which can measure the amount of moisture in the soil and thus dictate how much water different areas of the course need.

Distefano explains that the weather station, currently being installed at The Bridges, measures “evapo-transpiration,” or a combination of wind, temperature, and precipitation values.  The weather station sends that information to the controller, which through the program’s software can adjust watering amounts based on the amount needed – thus taking the guesswork out of watering the turf.

Distefano says the major advantage of using weather stations to gauge needed watering values is that areas of the course will be consistently watered just the right amount – without over watering some areas and under watering others.

“This system really heightens efficiency, which is a good thing,” says Distefano, since watering efficiency is an incredibly important feature for a golf course to employ in Southwest Colorado during times of drought.

Not only is Distefano an authority on golf course maintenance, he also has the eye of an expert golfer since his college days as a competitive golfer at Colorado State University, Distefano has come to know golf courses around the state not only from the maintenance side but also from the golf-lover’s perspective.

The Bridges at Black Canyon will satisfy the golf itch of novice to expert, Distefano says, thanks to the course’s no-expense-spared layout.

The course design features 11 lakes, a waterfall, and numerous water features – 17 of the course’s 18 holes have water features, an almost unheard-of amount of water for a single golf course.

In fact, the name The Bridges at Black Canyon came from the 17-bridge course design.

Unique to The Bridges course is a split tee (Hole 2 and 11,) a split fairway (Hole 6,) and Hole 15 plays to two separate greens – one at 572 yards and one at 600 yards, over a canal.

Distefano adds that the course architects employed a traditional touch to the course design, allowing for little separation between greens and tees (linking all the holes together fluidly – hence the golf term “links.”)

From the golfer’s perspective, perhaps the most favorable aspect of The Bridges course will be its extensive practice area.  The driving range is more than just an open area to whack the ball – it is really a sculpted fairway.  And golfers can practice their sand and chip shots from different distances and lays with a choice of greens as the target.

Overall, The Bridges at Black Canyon’s golf course will be “a challenging yet fair test of golf,” says Project Manager Mike Martin.  And as for the development as a whole, “It is an extremely high end golf development – there is really nothing like it in the area.  This has really raised the bar, not only for Montrose, but for the entire Western Slope.”

Martin explains that The Bridges owner Larry Day, from Denver, looked at the demographics of the developing Montrose community, its growing popularity as a retirement/pre-retirement community, and, of course, its mild, 10-months-of-golf climate, and decided Montrose needed a development such as The Bridges.

Besides a great golf course and “mountain resort” community, Day included some other bonuses for The Bridges homeowners.  The 23,000 square foot clubhouse features all the clubhouse necessities (pro shop, cart and bag storage, and elegant men’s and women’s locker rooms,) but also includes amenities such as a fine-dining restaurant with banquet/special events facilities, a patio with stunning views of the San Juans as well as the “stadium” Hole 18 green and practice area, as well as several one- and two-room suites on the top floor that will be available for rental use by guests of property owners.

The Bridges will also showcase a Country Store, offering a limited selection of convenience and grocery items, a soda fountain/snack bar, and a patio overlooking the golf course – combining the charm of an old-fashioned country general store with the golf course snack bar at the 9-hole halfway point.

The Swim, Tennis, Day Spa, and Fitness facilities will also add another facet to The Bridges that will place the community apart.

Martin, who has overseen the construction of hundreds of courses and resort communities in his 40 years in the business, says that The Bridges will truly shine as an exceptional golf and residential facility. 

“The Bridges irrigation system is the most elaborate irrigation and drainage system I’ve ever put in at a project.  It’s also one of the most environmentally friendly courses I’ve ever worked on.  It will be the first project I’ve overseen where the clubhouse will be finished in time for the course’s Grand Opening, and it’s only the second course I’ve worked on whose maintenance facility was finished before the course… It’s a facility the whole Western Slope can be proud of,” he says.  “Best of all, most of the money we’ve spent on this project stays right here in the Western Slope.” 

Staff at the budding Montrose resort are currently sounding the bell for local residents to get in on Montrose’s only “country club living” opportunity.  During the first weekend in October (October 3-5,) Western Slope locals will get their first and only chance at becoming a “Founding Member” at The Bridges.  One hundred and twenty-five home sites located throughout the 400-acre development will be up for grabs ranging in price from $65-150 thousand.

“We really want the Telluride community to be here, and honestly, the Telluride community is going to want to be here,” says The Bridges at Black Canyon’s Director of Sales Ty Jennings.

Jennings mentions that there will be “lots of incentives” for buyers that weekend, and that weekend only.  To schedule a tour or for more information on Montrose’s new golf resort, The Bridges at Black Canyon, call 1-877-546-GOLF, or visit




Docile and Loving, Greyhounds Make Perfect Pets


Especially If Your Cats Are ‘Dropping Like Flies’


By Liz Lance


Harley Brooke-Hitching and her son Matthew Blackman are hoping to start a new Telluride trend—adopting retired greyhound racing dogs.

Brooke-Hitching got her first greyhound, Ghost, a 5 1/2- year-old male, as a Christmas gift from her son almost a year ago, after dropping hints at the dinner table and around the house. When Ghost turned out to be “so cool,” she decided to get two more, Ella a 2-year-old female and Jellybean, a 10 1/2-year-old female, and the three are the only Telluride greyhounds in a sea of huskies, labs and golden retrievers.

“I’m no dummy – Mom started dropping hints,” Blackman explains. “The subject of greyhounds came up a lot.”

That and the fact that the 20-year-old family cats were “dropping like flies,” according to Blackman, is what inspired him to buy Ghost, who was named so because of his thinness and lack of hair at the time of adoption.

“You could almost see right through him,” mother and son agree.

When Ghost came home for the first time, his back legs were completely bald and he was underweight due to an underactive thyroid. But this is what Brooke-Hitching considers part of the charm of retired greyhounds. They are usually adopted at a low point in their lives and are very thankful and affectionate after they are well cared for in new homes.

“They’re so docile, so sweet. Even though they’ve been abused, they’re willing to open up again,” Brooke-Hitching says, never taking her eyes off of the dogs.

While the humaneness of sport animal racing is still debated, it is a common misconception that all racers are abused. The greyhounds are only as good as how well they race, so it is in the owner and trainer’s best interest to treat them well. Not surprisingly, however, it is the dogs that win that are treated better.

The pressure for a dog to race well is high. At about 18 months a greyhound will compete in a maiden race, which are held only for dogs who have never won a race before. If a dog does not place in the top four within six races, he is no longer used for racing, and is either put up for adoption or euthanized. And because greyhounds are so used to being handled, especially by veterinarians, they have been widely used in laboratory testing and as specimens (both dead and alive) for veterinary schools, although that is no longer the case in Colorado. Now most greyhounds can easily be adopted into homes as there are over 300 greyhound rescue agencies in the United States.

The greyhound has an exalted place in history, dating back to 6000 B.C. in what is now Turkey. Temple drawings from that area and depictions on funeral vases from 4000 B.C. in what is now Iran illustrate the high regard in which these dogs were held. The Egyptians were also greyhound aficionados; King Tut and Cleopatra were known to keep them. The loyalty of the greyhound was illustrated in Homer’s Odyssey—after Odysseus returned home after 20 years, his greyhound Argus was the only one to recognize him.

The greyhound undoubtedly has a noble air about it, with its graceful neck, elongated snout and well-defined musculature, and it was indeed a nobleman’s sporting dog during the Middle Ages and through the Renaissance. Coursing (sending two greyhounds out into a field after a hare) gained popularity throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, and when British started emigrating to America, they brought their hounds with them. In the early 20th century modern-day racing around a track was made possible by the invention of the artificial lure.

Often referred to as gentle giants, and likened more to deer than dogs, greyhounds are generally regarded as great housedogs and good with children and other pets, but they don’t perform the tricks that families often seek out; it is rare to find a greyhound that will lick, fetch or sit. Greyhounds are faced with a multitude of new experiences when they come home for the first time. Because they’ve been raised in the exclusive company of other greyhounds in kennels, they are not accustomed to certain household aspects that may be normal for other dogs, namely mirrors and stairs. The first time a greyhound encounters these two things usually provides the owner with some comic relief.

Another common misconception about retired greyhounds is that they still need to run vigorously on a daily basis. Brooke-Hitching and Blackman describe their clan as couch potatoes and say they actually make great city dogs. Because they’ve worked so hard for most of their lives, they really just want to relax and cuddle. Blackman says a good romp about once a week is sufficient, in addition to daily walks. One important thing to note about greyhounds, Blackman insists, is that they are famous, rather infamous, for what is known as “Greyhound Gas,” although this can be corrected with a sprinkling of yogurt or enzymes on their food every morning.

Greyhounds are sighthounds, which means they hunt purely by sight, and not by scent. For this reason, greyhound adopters are told they must keep their dogs on leashes at all times; there is no telling when a squirrel or rabbit may cross its path and the thousands of years of genetic instinct will kick in, the dog taking off in a sprint up to 40 mph after the creature. Most greyhound literature warns this is one of the most common causes of death for the dogs as they often cross the path of a car.

Brooke-Hitching agrees that the dogs could take off without warning – “They’d be in Ouray before you could catch them.” – but hasn’t had them on leashes in a month. She says that in a low-traffic area like Telluride, she is not concerned about the danger presented by cars, and they rarely leave her or Blackman’s side.

“They’re devoted; they really love their mommy,” Brooke-Hitching says with a smile.

Of her three greyhounds, she describes Ghost as the alpha dog, prancing up to other local dogs, both large and small, with no fear. Ella, at only two years old, is an unusual case. She didn’t like to chase after the bunny and was considered a fighter, so she was retired earlier than usual. Ella is more affectionate than the other dogs and looks up at people with deep, sweet eyes just begging for a rub behind the ears. Blackman said Ghost didn’t take too well to Ella’s arrival at first; he was used to being the fastest dog in town and Ella now holds that title. Jellybean, the eldest of the three dogs, was a champion racer in her early days and was bred extensively. She has low blood sugar and a tumor on her kidney, so she is not as active as the others, but still perks up when she sees a cat, Blackman says.

The Telluride greyhounds can be seen in Ophir and around town, sometimes making laps on the baseball field in Town Park, but are absent from a few common hangouts, including the Spruce St. Park and the patio outside of a certain coffee bar.

“I can’t take Ghost to Coffee Cowboy,” Brooke-Hitching explains, chuckling. “He peed on somebody’s handbag once.”

If you are interested in adopting a greyhound, or for more information, contact Rocky Mountain Greyhound Adoption at (720) 685-9687 or (303) 358-5847, or visit their website at  



Shopping with Bill Fandel


A House – and a Listing Broker – with Personality


By Elizabeth Covington


Touring for a new home in the Telluride Region with Bill Fandel is a little like going on a fishing trip with an uncle your parents have always called a bit crotchety and dull witted.

During the weekend, though, you find out that crazy uncle is energetic and smart, with sincere opinions about the real world – and he’s fun to hang out with.

Fandel could be that uncle. Like the uncle, Fandel as a real estate agent is preceded by a not-so-favorable reputation, in some quarters. Some deride those in the profession as slow on the uptake and in-it-only-for-the-money sharks. This “shark,” however, seems sharp, insightful, and on top of his game. And to his advantage, he is one land man who is keenly aware that not all the world loves a real estate broker; Fandel has no problem poking fun at himself.

Within minutes of plunging into a discussion about the local market, Fandel wastes no time putting the profession in context. In a region where there is a concentrated industry, whoever is making his or her living in that field “is held in contempt,” Fandel says. “It was the same with the discovery of oil in western Pennsylvania.” And one hundred years ago it was land speculators and outfitters in the West who earned the reputation of being slick and greedy.
“It is tough in real estate because we are always advertising and driving big cars,” he says. “We are an easy target.”

In spite of his success, Fandel has not lost touch with reality; he remembers that it takes some perfect combination of wit, wile and luck for many to stay in town.

After graduating from college 14 years ago, Fandel, a geography major, moved to town with a “bike and $250 in my pocket,” he says. He worked a string of typical low-paying resort jobs, driving a cab for Skip’s Taxi (before it was bought and became Telluride Express) and cutting trees for Cap’n Jack Carey. He has seen many friends move away or “over the hill” because the local market is too expensive.

“It is painful to watch people get driven out of town,” by the expensive real estate market, he says. And he means it.



When talking with a potential client, Fandel’s working knowledge of the local market is immediately apparent.

“Telluride is like an inland island” are his first words of advice to any future buyer.

That is to say, land is finite here. Seventy percent of the land in San Miguel County, for example, is managed by the federal government. When you ride the gondola into Telluride, you can see all of the 240 acres, he points out, and, as they say, they are not making any more of it.

Recently attractive interest rates boosted the local market and prices took a step up, he goes on to explain. With low rates people could afford to buy more house.

“It is unlikely, however, that when interest rates go back up, local prices will come down,” he says cautioning the buyer.

What did shift in the market, though, was the percentage of buyers who purchase houses with financing as compared to those who buy properties with cash. Typically, in this market the ratio is 50/50, he said. However, when interest rates dropped, luxury property buyers took advantage of inexpensive loans and took out mortgages. When interest rates moved up again, there was a noticeable slowing in the $1 million and under market, Fandel points out, when “people went back to buying with cash.”

Those buying properties listed for less than $1 million became more cautious about finalizing their choice.

Fandel also points out that properties in the $1-2 million price category have “suffered since 9/11 and the stock market downturn.” Buyers who are “tied to stock market options became more cautious,” after watching their stock values drop significantly, he explains.

On the ground, the market in the Mountain Village “is seeing a big surge,” he says. “There has been a lot of pent-up demand for certain properties. Folks were waiting – no one really needs what we have” – Fandel says with typical self-deprecating wit – “and wanted to see where the market would go. That was the pent-up demand.

“Now there is more activity, and while the average sale price is up and the number of transactions is up,” in the Mountain Village, and “the percentage of the selling price as compared to the original list price has gone down.”

That is to say, he continues, as though explaining this concept to a novice luxury property buyer, sellers are agreeing to a sale price that is noticeably less than the original list


“Sellers who are willing to sell are making deals,” he says

“It shows the market is healthy at the right price,” he adds. “People are buying if they feel like they are getting a good value. In this economic climate, no one wants to pay full price. They want a perception of good value.”

Wrapping the conversation around, he arrives at the beginning: “That is the reason why I made the point about the island. Land is finite and that pushes the price upwards. Because we are running out of land, it becomes difficult duplicate a home at the same cost.”

Nonetheless, the market emphasis is always shifting from Telluride to Mountain Village. In the Mountain Village, the buyer has privacy, something they might not have in town, where “when the neighbors phone rings, you think it is yours,” he says, laughing.

There is also a trend among “well-heeled Mountain Village homeowners,” who choose to move to the region and, if they are going to live in the region, Telluride, with its proximity to schools, grocery stores, restaurants and the movie theater, makes more sense.

“They also get more involved in the community,” Fandel points out; what they sacrifice in square footage, they make up for in access to community.



The tour begins at the front door of the log-and-frame home, and Fandel transitions easily from talk about the local market into selling the property.

“It is directly trailside. Ski-in-ski-out is our analogy to waterfront property,” he says. “There is only so much of it.” He points out the private setting of the home, set well below the grade of Mountain Village Boulevard, and the open space parcels on two sides.

The home was, for its current owners, a first second home. For several years, it served them well; however, because the wife has a large extended family (eight brothers and sisters), the couple is looking for a bigger place that will accommodate all those folks.

The center portion is built from old-growth Douglas firs that have a thick circumference; the wings on each side are frame construction and sided with grey barn board.

Massive wood doors, carved by Chester Armstrong, guard the front entryway.

The house, which is being sold completely furnished, has been appointed with a balanced mix of traditional antiques and rustic western pieces.

In the great room Fandel raises the mechanical blinds and points out how the house is oriented to the west, so at the end of the day, its rooms fill with light. The hot tub, of course, is placed on the west end of the deck. The great room, with its leather sofa and side chairs, immense stone-clad fireplace and views to the north of the San Sophia Ridge, anchors the house.

The kitchen, separated from the great room by a wet bar and dining table, has cabinets made of aged barn wood; refrigerated drawers that hold beer and sodas pull out from the island. The countertops are an inky black granite.

On to the master bedroom, which, Fandel points out, is located on the main level, a trend in houses. Being on the same level it is easier to access, and as families get older, grandparents find stairs a challenge.

“People who are looking to buy a place in Telluride are horrified by the amount of contention in town, by the anger and the animosity,” he says, picking up again an earlier discussion about the local community. Why is that?

One problem he cites is a lack of leadership on Telluride’s town council; he laments the fact that he and his thirty-something friends who live in town “will inherit the problems created by the current town council.”

The voters’ defeat of the Idarado Legacy Project (the development project proposed two years ago by Idarado), for example, was a critical loss to the town. The town lost a significant amount of affordable housing, the opportunity to tie the development to the town’s central water and sewer systems, and sizeable revenues from the real estate transfer tax indefinitely into the future.

“That was crazy, voting down that project,” he says. And now the Town of Telluride, seeking more affordable housing and to tie the new houses to central systems, among other things, is bringing a lawsuit against San Miguel County.

“We should be keeping a ticker of all of the lawsuits the town is locked in,” he said. “We blew our opportunity to negotiate a deal and now we are spending so much money on lawyers and litigation.”

As for the town’s effort to acquire the Valley Floor: “Yes, of course, but not if it means bankrupting the town.” Unfortunately the current lawsuit will only make the lawyers rich and a drawn out process only means a higher price tag, as property values continue to go up.

“By the time Sunnyside has traded twice and the lawsuit has dragged on, the comparables could be one and a half times higher,” he opines.

The town has “locked horns with the landowners on either side of it,” he says. For a town of 2800, that doesn’t make sense.

However, because of the financial pressures associated with living in town, many are precluded from becoming involved in civic affairs. For Fandel, a 65 to 70 hour work week keeps him out of the civic arena, at least for the time being.
“The best leaders choose to lead companies because they would rather not have their lives ripped to shreds,” he says. In the end, odds are Fandel and his friends will eventually get involved.

Moving downstairs to the ground floor, he walks through the pool room to a well-appointed guest room. Also on the floor: A boys’ room (done in blue) and a girls’ room (done in pink). Perfect for a family, he points out.

“What we should be doing is leading, not being contentious,” he says, going back upstairs and closing the blinds.

The blinds closed and lights shut off, Fandel emphasizes that bottom line: He loves what he does.

“There are great stories behind each of my clients. Remarkable success stories,” he says. “Folks who live here took a chance; they came out here and are making a go at it. My clients have taken the more conventional route. They are successful entrepreneurs and now having a home here is what they dream of.”

As for himself: “I’m just so grateful to be able to live in such a beautiful place and to have been given such a great opportunity,” says Fandel.



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