Longtime Summit County locals reflect on the snowstorm’s latest wreckage (column)
January 14, 2017
Using Vail Resorts' popular multi-area pass named Epic, it's the right word to describe this winter's choking deep snows.
It's turning into a day-after-day "developing news" story as the ramifications of so much — without let-up — snow presents challenges of trying to get through it, move it, store it, yet enjoy it at area ski resorts.
Backcountry adventuring is highly discouraged.
It's likely the story will continue even into springtime and summer as the snowpack melts and starts running down the river basins of Colorado at what will probably be flood stage levels for many.
Nothing brings these storms' impacts to light more abundantly than Wednesday night's collapse of the Ten Mile Room at The Village in Breckenridge due to the heavy snow-loaded roof.
What's quite amazing is the structure was vacant that night.
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Built back in 1972 as the Village Cinema, long before modern-day snowload construction requirements, it later became a venue for meetings and social gatherings.
Longtime local Leigh Girvin offers her historical perspective this way:
"A lot of fond memories from this old building. The first 'big time' movie theater in Breckenridge. The opening film was 'The French Connection,' which I was not allowed to go see, but I remember my parents making a big deal about it. I saw 'American Graffiti' there seven times. Hung out with friends. Both brothers (Bob and Alex) worked the snack stand.
"When it converted from a theater to a convention venue, there were many fun concerts and events. I'm glad no one was hurt when it collapsed. And I'm not sad to see it go. It was built poorly (my dad, Bob, says he didn't even know if there were plans for it); still ugly after all these years."
Another resident of the Kingdom of Breckenridge, Mountain Art Festivals' co-director Tina Cunningham, daughter of Dick and Mary, wrote on Facebook about her recent employment stint there.
"The Ten Mile Room at The Village at Breckenridge collapsed tonight," writes Tina. "I not only worked in this space for the past 2+ years as a banquet manager, but ran these halls as a kid when it was a movie theater. So glad that no one was injured. Crazy to see this building flattened like a pancake. So many memories."
In addition to attending events there over the years, Spike! and Mary listened to actor Elliot Gould chat as a headliner of an early staging of the Breckenridge Film Festival.
Another miraculous tale of "nobody home so no one harmed" came when the scary snowpack broke loose and slid down Peru Creek over by Montezuma, taking out the historic Maid of Orleans cabin.
A total loss, according to early reports from the Summit Sheriff's Office, the cabin is only accessible in the winter by snowmobile and skiing.
Before the exact cabin was identified, Spike! contacted Jana Novak to see if it was hers, known as Murphy's Cabin, which she sold last fall. "Thankfully, no. It was neighbor's place — about a mile or so up the Peru Creek Road from my old cabin. Crazy," she reports.
An author, Jana recently moved from Bill's Ranch in Frisco to Oklahoma City, where she's the senior adviser on communications for Gov. Mary Fallin.
Jana provided a map of the area and the locations of both cabins.
She also offers this Colorado Avalanche Information Center video link: youtube.com/watch?v=KptgC9jE3sI
She's finding the weather in Oklahoma equally challenging, and says:
"Meanwhile, we have an ice storm coming here, which has shut down most of the state and so it will be crazy as well. Yikes on weather this year."
This avalanche havoc brings to mind the old story of Masontown, right above Frisco on Mount Royal, when a New Year's Eve (1912) slide took out the mining camp. Rumors were that the partying was so loud it triggered the slide. As all the miners were down in town, no one was around to be hurt.
Miles F. Porter IV, nicknamed "Spike," a Coloradan since 1949, is an Army veteran, former hardrock 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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