Hey, Spike! finds local angles in Jackson Hole
When Summiteers travel to Jackson Hole, Wyo., we are likely just a few who drop 3,000 feet in elevation.
Most visitors to the ski and summer resort town at the edge of Grand Teton National Park, which leads to the equally impressive Yellowstone National Park, are dwellers of much lower lands. Millions of tourists motor there annually.
The Cowboy State’s lure of fewer people, combined with plenty of winter and summer recreation opportunities, has attracted two well-known local names from Summit County: Gill and Paffrath.
This week’s Hey, Spike! features Karen A. Gill, who Spike and Mary visited with during their summer artshow stop recently.
Abby Jean Paffrath hits the spotlight in next week’s column.
We bumped into Karen and friend Diane Mahin Collins while they were making the rounds of the 47th Jackson Hole Art Fair, staged by Amy Fradley and Steph Fellows, whose parents have a place in Water Dance on the edge of Lake Dillon.
Many longtimers around here will recall the name Gill, as Karen’s former husband Jim was a Breckenridge Ski Area honcho before moving northward in 1991 to run the Teton Village Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. They divorced in 2003, and Jim passed away last year.
Karen was in charge of lift ticket sales at Breck for many years, following her arrival here in 1971.
“I have been in real estate for 13 years,” says Karen of her current career. “I’ve worked with Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates (JHREA) for three years, the largest firm in Jackson Hole and Teton Valley, Idaho.”
“I miss the beauty of the Colorado Rockies, and my friends in Summit County,” notes Karen.
“While Breckenridge and Jackson Hole are both resort towns, there are many differences. They both have many positive attributes, however, the older I get the more I enjoy living at 6,200 feet in elevation rather than 9,600. I see a big difference, both climate-wise as well as my physical health,” she explains.
“Living at the gateway to both Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks is amazing. There are hundreds of hiking trails to conquer, where you are sure to encounter at least an elk, deer, moose or bison along the way. I love to ski and hike,” she adds.
Other locals visiting the Jackson area recently included bicyclists Mark Mannheimer of Multi Business Products of Silverthorne and Graeme Johnston, who were among the 350 riders on the 16th annual Tour de Wyoming Bike Ride July 15-20.
“This year it started in Jackson and did a 360-mile loop in six days, ending in Jackson,” says Mark, noting 75 riders were from Colorado; 82 Wyomingites; and rest of the group from around the US. The average age is 54.
“This bike tour is one of the cheapest tour in US – $271 and includes five dinners and six breakfasts,” he notes. “What a deal.”
Tour riders hit five towns, with a couple of those nights in Montpelier and Driggs, Idaho – “great people, great time,” according to Mark.
Also making a trip northward – in their 2008 C6 Corvette with its “BDAZLD” plates – were Jackie and John Moberly. She is the SDNews subscription and legals staffer.
Their roadtrip was to visit daughter Kelly, a Jackson Hole snowboard instructor and a TSA-certified ferry pilot on Jenny Lake in Teton National Park.
During their trip to the targeted destination of Jackson, which is eight hours and 500 miles one-way from here, the Moberlys visited Old Faithful and received a “nice CD of cowboy music and local readings that lasted about 40 minutes” from WYDOT for their patience at a Towgotee Pass construction stop.
Piloting their red convertible ‘vette back through Vernal, Utah, where they spent a night, John and Jackie found Vernal “just gorgeous.”
“Main Street is totally lined with huge planters full of petunias – mile after mile,” Jackie reports.
While running the streets of Jackson, Spike stopped in for a chat with ex-local George Casaletta, now a ski and bike tech with Hoback Sports.
“Jorge” says hi to all.
Elsewhere, High Country Healthcare’s CEO Rhonda Koehn reports via Carol Craig that Dr. Kate Skaggs will soon join the team at High Country Healthcare OB/GYN Specialists in Frisco.
“Dr. Skaggs has lots of friends and patients in Summit and Eagle County as she lived and worked in the High Country from 2002-10. She’ll be seeing patients by mid-September,” Rhonda says.
Back in the family homeland of Iceland recently were the Ahlquists: Mary Frances, and Richie and son Ricky.
Gladly, we note the 25th wedding anniversary of former locals Brad and Carol Johnson, who live in Watertown, S.D. He was the Summit Sentinel editor and she worked for Keystone Resort President Jerry Jones.
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.
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