Top 5 most-read stories last week: wolf kill, mask mandate and ski streak |

Top 5 most-read stories last week: wolf kill, mask mandate and ski streak

Editor’s note: Stories in this list received the most page views on in the past week.

1. Colorado Parks & Wildlife confirms heifer carcass found near Walden was killed by wolves

Colorado Parks and Wildlife confirmed Tuesday, Dec. 21, that a carcass of a heifer found near Walden was killed by wolves.

Ranching advocates say the roughly 500-pound heifer — born in the spring and meant to replace an older cow in the herd — is at the heart of nearly every issue facing a commission planning Colorado’s reintroduction of grey wolves.

The animal carcass was first reported to Parks and Wildlife on Dec. 19, and wildlife officers are confident wolves are to blame after an investigation.

Parks and Wildlife officials added that state law already includes a program to compensate landowners for livestock killed by mountain lions and bears, and that program will be used to compensate the rancher whose heifer was killed by wolves while a more formal process is being drafted.

— Steamboat Pilot & Today

2. Summit County to implement mask mandate starting Dec. 30

As of Thursday, Dec. 30, Summit County will once again have a mask mandate.

Due to skyrocketing COVID-19 case numbers, an emergency Summit County Board of Health meeting was held Wednesday, Dec. 29, to discuss a new recommendation from Summit County Public Health Director Amy Wineland. During that meeting, Assistant County Manager Sarah Vaine told the board that Wineland recommended a mask mandate in public indoor spaces.

According to the county’s website, the incidence rate over the past seven days was 1,828 cases per 100,000 people.

Summit County Commissioner Tamara Pogue said that over the past week, she’s gotten lots of feedback from community members both in support of and against a mask mandate. While she said she’s sympathetic to the extra burden a mask mandate would place on front-facing staff, she is still in support because of the surge in cases.

— Jenna deJong

3. Leadville man has skied every month for 42 years, vows to keep going ‘until I can’t go anymore’

Tom Szwedko has taken skiing to a whole new extreme. The Leadville resident — who will be 75 years old in March — has skied at least one day a month for 506 consecutive months, and he has no plans to stop anytime soon.

Szwedko said he started his illustrious streak in October 1979, when he used to live in Pennsylvania. He traveled to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia after a snowstorm blanketed the area in over 3 feet of snow.

“I started skiing then and started skiing every month after that,” Szwedko said.

Szwedko ended up moving to Colorado in 1980 during the same winter in which he started his skiing streak. He said the move helped him be able to ski in the summer by trekking up mountains to find at least a bit of snow.

— Cody Jones

4. Christmas storm brings more than 2 feet of snow to some Summit County ski areas

It’s not the kind of gift you’ll find under the Christmas tree, but Summit County got exactly what it wanted for the holiday weekend: snow — and lots of it.

Copper Mountain Resort and Loveland Ski Area, just over the Continental Divide from Summit County, each picked up 27 inches throughout the four-day storm that rolled into the area Thursday.

Breckenridge Ski Resort picked up 23 inches, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area tallied 20 inches, and Keystone Resort reported 18 inches from the multiday storm.

The fresh snow boosted ski areas’ season snowfall totals well ahead of where they were on the same day last year and helped resorts open additional terrain during the holiday weekend.

— Nicole Miller

5. Summit County public health encourages remote work as COVID-19 transmission rate hits all-time high

The response from the Summit County Public Health Department and some local organizations regarding the omicron variant has felt eerily similar to the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s website, the case rate for Summit County is 20,528 cases per 100,000 people, the seventh highest in the state, since the pandemic began in March 2020. And the county’s one-week incidence rate, like most of the state, is considered “very high.”

On Dec. 27, Summit County sent out an alert to community members that its public health department “is reporting record high COVID rates and critical staffing shortages countywide.” The alert went on to encourage community members to transition to remote work when possible, while also asking residents to get vaccinated and boosted, wear a mask in all indoor public spaces, limit gatherings, isolate when sick and seek testing.

— Jenna deJong

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