Fire causes minor damage to Antlers |

Fire causes minor damage to Antlers

FRISCO – If Christian “Campy” Campton had had any rafting trips scheduled to leave with his company, KODI Rafting, Thursday morning, he would have arrived just in time to see the building erupt into flames.

Firefighters responded to an early morning blaze at the Antlers building on Summit Boulevard in Frisco around 6:30 a.m. Crews quickly doused the fire, but not before flames blackened a man-sized hole in the front face of the building above the deck awning. Damage inside was limited to heavy smoke on the south side of the building and some water and missing ceiling foam where firefighters broke through to get at the fire before it swept into the ceiling.

“I would have been in there if we’d had any trips leaving from Frisco this morning,” said Campton, who rushed to the scene with his wife after a friend called to notify them. “I think we were lucky.”

The building, erected about 1980, was formerly owned by Frisco businessman Dan Sederstrom. Firefighters called Sederstrom just before 7 a.m. because they were unable to locate anyone with a key to the building.

Sederstrom sold the building May 15 to Denver businessman Tom Sapiro. The new general manager of Antlers, Dave Tunison, said he had just left the Inxpot coffee shop in Keystone when he heard news of the fire on the radio.

“I thought, “That can’t be right,'” Tunison said, surveying the undamaged clothing and other merchandise in the store after fire inspectors brought employees inside. “Then the more I listened, I knew I had to get right over here. It was us.”

Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue Assistant Chief Jeff Berino said fire inspectors will continue to examine the scene, but he suspected that lightning or roof tarring had caused the fire.

Firefighters from Lake Dillon and the Red, White and Blue Fire Protection District responded to the call, along with Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue volunteers to keep firefighters hydrated and fed.

“They did a great job – I can’t believe how good we got off,” Tunison said. “We can’t thank them enough.”

Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 237, or


An article in Thursday’s paper should have listed DHM Designs as the consulting group Frisco selected to create a wayfinding strategic plan.

Colorado high on skier visits

Aidan Leonard


SUMMIT COUNTY – In a year that saw war, a feeble economy, airline bankruptcies and SARS, somehow, some way, Colorado posted its fourth-highest number of skier visits in history.

The 2002-03 ski season saw an increase of nearly 4.3 percent for a total of 11.6 million overall visits in the state. Nationwide, the Associated Press reported the National Ski Areas Association as saying ski areas are expected to post a record tally of 57.6 million.

“All things considered, in the new world we live in and based on the previous challenges we faced, we consider that a pretty successful result,” said Rob Perlman, Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) president and chief executive officer.

After promising early-season snowfalls kick-started the season, visits tapered off as nationwide travel stalled – thanks to uncertainties surrounding Iraq and a massive spring blizzard that closed Interstate 70, one of the main conduits between the Front Range and several ski areas.

The numbers for “destination resorts” within the state reflected these realities as they brought up the rear with a 2.63 percent growth rate. “Front Range destination resorts,” a category that includes all Summit County ski areas, saw a 4.43 percent increase. Far and away the largest boom was at “Front Range resorts” (category title not a reflection of location) Eldora, Loveland and Ski Cooper, which collectively saw a jump of 14.2 percent.

“The trend is that people are staying closer to home,” Perlman said.

This seems to have helped some local ski mountains substantially.

Arapahoe Basin has already more than doubled its visits over last season, according to the Associated Press, and is still open. Copper Mountain, which will release its official tally at the end of the month, had its “best year ever,” resort spokeswoman Beth Jahnigen said. She noted that the resort surpassed its 2001-02 record of just over one million visitors.

Loveland Ski Area, which has also not posted its final numbers, showed a 25 percent increase in visits, according to marketing director Kevin Wright.

“This was the year for Loveland,” he said.

Bucking the trend were Breckenridge and Keystone, both of which posted slight declines in the number of visits. Keystone saw nearly 1.04 million visitors, down 2.8 percent from the previous year. Breckenridge, which saw a record 1.47 million visits in 2001-02, experienced a decline of three percent to slightly more than 1.42 million.

Breckenridge and Keystone resorts chief Roger McCarthy said the drop-off in destination visitors had hurt the two areas but that Breckenridge had still posted an increase in revenue, primarily the result of increased pricing. Seemingly undaunted by the decline, he predicted a rebound in 2003-04 and said he’d be surprised if Breckenridge did not top 1.5 million visits.

“I’ve been in the business 30 years, and I’ve never seen such a lineup of stuff that went against us in this past year,” he said. “(Still), I think we had a very good year in Breck.

“I think we’re going to see (the destination market) come back,” he said. “If that’s the bottom in Keystone and Breckenridge, man oh man, that’s a hell of a base to build on.”

Aidan Leonard can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at

Forgotten Flag Day? The patriotic holiday is Saturday, but few are planning to celebrate

Ryan Slabaugh


SUMMIT COUNTY – With the sudden surge in patriotism since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, one might expect a big celebration on Flag Day.

Yet for most people, Flag Day is a mystery.

Even Frisco Hallmark Store employee Cherri De Santis had to look into her all-knowing holiday book to see when the holiday is and if, indeed, her employer recognizes Flag Day.

It’s Saturday, she found out, and it is a recognized Hallmark holiday. But you won’t find cards in her store for the occasion. The flags in the corner, near the red-white-and-blue paper cups, were put there for the Fourth of July.

While local towns will be celebrating by lining their main streets with flags, there will be no parades. The celebration, started by a Wisconsin schoolteacher in 1884, still hasn’t gained the popularity of other, more decorated holidays.

“I live in the Bay area, so I’d probably get shot by hanging a flag,” said Krista Rea, of Oakland, Calif., in town for the week. “Unless I’m protesting it, or something. Then I might be OK.”

Not everyone is scared of the stars and stripes, but throwing a Flag Day bash is still not a fad.

“I don’t really celebrate it,” said Denver’s John Burnett, a retiree and outdoorsman in town for the day. “I appreciate our rich heritage in America. I think that’s what it’s celebrating. The history of putting a nation together, from the Declaration of Independence to today.”

But do he and his wife own a flag?

“I hate to say it, but we don’t,” Burnett added. “We honor it, but we’re not flag-waving people. I don’t need a flag to appreciate what we have here.”

Silverthorne’s Mario Herrera has two flags in his home: an American flag and a Mexican flag.

“I have the Mexican flag because it’s where I was born,” Herrera said. “America is where I live now, so both mean something to me.”

But what about celebrating Flag Day?

“I don’t know what that is,” he laughed. “Is that an American holiday now?”

Flag Day was officially established as a time of celebration by President Woodrow Wilson on May 30, 1916. Not until Aug. 3, 1949, did it become official, when President Harry S. Truman signed the act of Congress designating June 14 as National Flag Day.

Soon after, Francis Bellamy, an ordained minister of Rome, N.Y., wrote, “Let the flag float over every schoolhouse in the land and the exercise be such as shall impress upon our youth the patriotic duty of citizenship.”

Then, in 1966, Congress called for the week of June 14 to be National Flag Week.

Apparently, the message was lost on most walking through Frisco on Thursday. Frisco residents Joey Smith and Mike Davis were blunt, to say the least.

“It doesn’t mean anything to me,” Davis said.

“Can it be any kind of flag?” Smith asked.

“I guess it could be,” Davis replied.

“I guess I just don’t know much about it, to be honest,” Smith said.

But what about people from Texas, home of the current president?

“We don’t do it down in Texas, that’s for sure,” said Jeff Hopf, vacationing from San Antonio with his wife, Jeanna.

“Yes we do,” Jeanna contradicted. “People hang the flags all the time. They just don’t celebrate the holiday. I have a friend who flies the Confederate flag every July 4.”

So, maybe the holiday isn’t quite Christmas. If you do feel like celebrating, American flags can be bought at stores like True Value or Target for between $15 and $35.

“We have all different sizes,” said Bill Eaton, manager of True Value. “It really depends on the size and whether you want a wood pole or a metal pole, or if you’re just getting a replacement flag.”

Ryan Slabaugh can be contacted at (970) 668-3998 ext. 257, or at

Silverthorne’s town center plan approved

Aidan Leonard


SUMMIT COUNTY – Plans for the development of Silverthorne’s town center took yet another step forward Wednesday as council members approved a plan establishing general guidelines for the site’s development.

“I think this is a good starting place,” Silverthorne mayor pro tem Dave Koop said. “But I think it is a starting place and not the finished (product).”

Nore Winter, president of Winter and Company, and Jim Carpenter of BBC Research and Consulting, the two firms hired by the town to research options for the center, presented council with a plan that includes more than 12,000 square feet of retail space, 5,000 square feet of retail and 9,700 square feet of office or residential space in a two-story structure.

Winter said the design is intended to mold the site as a “focal point for the town,” has a linear orientation conducive to pedestrian traffic and will have “mountain architecture” related to that already present in Silverthorne.

The town is aiming for a “soft launch” for the guidelines. With the adoption of the plan as policy, it can now begin informal negotiations with potential developers, “almost as an informational interview,” Winter said. This will allow the town to proceed at a more deliberate pace in determining the final product.

“I want us to move slow,” Koop said. “I want us to do it right.”

Additionally, the town faces various economic obstacles that further necessitate such an approach.

Carpenter characterized the developable parcel as small and said the lack of a retail anchor such as grocery store would diminish patronage.

“It’s absolutely doable, but the risk level is higher,” he said.

Winter said that despite somewhat adverse conditions, he expects the development to succeed.

“On the one hand, this is a very appealing site,” he said. “On the other hand, this is a soft market to be developing retail and specialty office (space) in this area, so we need to have realistic expectations.”

Aidan Leonard can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 228 or

Open house for John Gill today



BRECKENRIDGE – The family of John Kenneth Gill, who died in a car accident near the Great Sand Dunes National Monument June 9, will hold an open house in his honor from noon to 6 p.m. today.

The open house will be held at the family home at 213 S. French St. in Breckenridge.

Gill was born Feb. 5, 1983, to parents Victoria and John Gill of Kamloops, British Columbia. He attended elementary school in Breckenridge.

Gill spent many years snowboarding in the mountains and had numerous friends in Summit County. He loved the outdoors and frequently made camping trips to the Great Sand Dunes.

He is survived by his parents, sisters Zoe and Kim and brother Randy. Gill’s body was cremated, and his ashes will be spread in favorite places in Summit County, Shuswaf Lake, British Columbia, and Maui, Hawaii.

Gardening advice available throughout summer

SUMMIT COUNTY – This year, three local women – Nancy Swett, Suzie Rawles and Lisa Clement – completed their Colorado Master Gardener training at the Colorado State University Extension Office in Eagle.

The nationwide program includes 10 weeks of coursework addressing soil, woody and herbaceous plants, turf, irrigation, botany, vegetables, trees, pathogens and entomology. It also requires the newly certified master gardeners to complete 50 hours of volunteer work in the community.

The three women will be available to answer gardening questions and provide information at various gardening events this summer. The events include:

– A plant sale from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Saturday at City Gardeners on Fourth Street in Frisco. Ten percent of proceeds will benefit the Summit County Community and Senior Center’s new garden.

– The “Water, Weeds and Wildflowers” information program is co-

sponsored by the Continental Divide Land Trust. This is slated for 12-4 p.m. July 13 at the Silverthorne Pavilion.

– Summit County Garden Tour registration is 8:30-10:30 a.m. July 26 at the Silverthorne Pavilion.

– The Dillon Farmer’s Market takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. every Friday from June 20 through September.

Stop by any of these events to ask questions of these local master gardeners. For more information, contact the local extension office at (970) 668-3595.

Friends Welcome announces Business of the Year

BRECKENRIDGE – Friends Welcome, Breckenridge’s community-wide guest service program, will announce the Business of the Year and the Employee of the Year at the town party today. The party will be on the Riverwalk Center lawn. The results of the Friends Welcome program awards will be kept secret until the announcement at 6:15 p.m. The business and the Employee of the Year will both be in attendance, but the Employee of the Year will be unaware of the award. 

The Friends Welcome program is based on standards created to enhance and build positive guest service. Overall, the Friends Welcome program has certified nearly 2,500 Breckenridge employees and 100 Breckenridge businesses since its inception.

The program is funded publicly and privately by the town of Breckenridge, the Breckenridge Resort Chamber, Breckenridge Ski Resort, East West Resorts, Grand Timber Lodge, The Village at Breckenridge, Breckenridge Restaurant Association, Resort Quest, Breckenridge Lands, The Highlands, LLC, Resort Loyalty, Inc, The Summit Daily News, KRSN and KSMT.

Due to this generous funding, the program is free to any Breckenridge business license holder.

For more information on the Friends Welcome program, contact Jen Federocko at (970) 453-2913 ext. 206 or

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