Life on the Summit: Hey, Spike! digs out the story of a big-time avy run
February 22, 2014
New news always seems to bring out some old news.
That line is going to make the editor cringe.
With all the snow and resulting avalanches in Colorado and the West — unfortunately accompanied by a wave of deaths, some of which occurred nearby — it brought back from Spike!’s black-and-white photo file the one seen here.
That’s Mikey Curry, who’s now back home in New Jersey but who was very famous around here for his corporate team’s real estate sales at Copper Mountain Resort. He was involved with the annual John Elway Celebrity Ski Races and the Golf/Trout Tournaments.
Mikey was also a distance runner who completed the Leadville 100 in 26 hours, 36 minutes.
In the photo is Mike running from Copper to Frisco, down Ten Mile Canyon near Officers Gulch, right through a snowplow cut on the recpath. He had zoomed down the avalanche chute, over the pathway, across Ten Mile Creek and out onto the eastbound lanes of I-70. This was — guessing here — back in 1996, another year like this one for massive snowfalls.
Big Mike ran again recently, but not as far, reports Danny Moroz, our local Facebook weatherman, ex-ski patroller, avy expert and now interim fire chief at Copper.
Spike! connected with CDOT retiree Gary Martin, of Frisco, who chatted with the state highway system’s kinda-retired avy expert for more details.
“I visited with Ray Mumford, an I-70 avalanche mitigation expert who retired from CDOT a few years ago. He now works part time for CDOT, assisting with avalanche control in Summit and Clear Creek counties. Ray was on-site for the mitigation and cleanup after the ’96 ‘Big Mike’ slide across Admiral Grade above Officers Gulch on I-70. The plow cut on the recpath was all of 30 feet deep after Big Mike ran,” Gary says.
Gary also explained where the names came from.
“The name ‘Big Mike’ does not come from Michael Salamon, Eisenhower-Johnson tunnels longtime super, but for some of the slide paths above Officers Gulch and Admiral Grade on I-70. Others are Big Sam, Big Lee and Ellie,” he says. “Ray says they are all named after narrow gauge steam locomotives that ran through the canyon in the old days.”
Developer Larry Feldman and Coldwell Banker brokers Marylynn and Chuck Carner hosted an open house at Larry’s already sold-out Condos Off Main in downtown Frisco on Tuesday, at which time he debuted his next effort — Town Centre Condos at Fifth and Granite.
Enjoying the luncheon, with goodies from Boatyard, Butterhorn Bakery and Foote’s Rest, were more than 70 Realtors, buyers and support staffers, including Mark McCrerey, Kirsten Lassen-Smith, Rob Philippe, Steve Smith, Jean and John Nonemacher, Sue Downen, Dave “Petey” Petersen, Kate Marrone, Christine Blaski, Henry Barr, Butch Elich, Jim Neville, Bob Gentile, Kim Hebron, Firstbank-ers Blake Davis and Jeff Campeau, Dwight and Mary Jo George, Ronda Campell, Jim Junge, Kouri Wolf, Jan Skultety, Danny Pins, Keats Scott, Tim Garrett, Candy Snyder, Russ Camp, BJ McCarthy, Dirk Fowler, Tyler McGuire, Ryan Walsh, Kevin Broadrick, Bernie Zubriggen, Bob Girvin, Annette Zaegel, Jack Carpenter, Kristin Corsette, Lynn Sustad, Erika Schmidt, Renee Apfelbeck, Patti Jones and Bob Hamilton.
Also making the scene were Joanne Van Steenberghe and Joy Klein from the Summit Housing Authority.
Miles F. Porter IV, nicknamed “Spike,” a Coloradan since 1949, is an Army veteran, former Climax miner, graduate of Adams State College, and a local since 1982. An award-winning investigative reporter, he and wife Mary E. Staby owned newspapers here for 20 years. Email your social info to firstname.lastname@example.org
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