Week in Summit: Dillon gets first retail pot shop; two skier deaths at Breckenridge Ski Resort
Lifelong local Justin Williams and his father co-own Alpenglow Botanicals dispensary in Breck and the new Aplenglow Premium Cannabis shop, which opened last week in Dillon. Considering there are a handful of relatives on staff, the Williams just might be the county’s first family of marijuana.
President’s Day weekend marked the grand opening of the new store, which is Dillon’s first and is located next door to Natural Grocers.
“It was worth putting the money into another store in another town,” Williams said. “It’s nice to set a precedent as the first dispensary in Dillon, to get that word-of-mouth advertising. I think we’ve put a lot of time and effort into putting together a top notch store.”
Williams is known for his signature strains: Green Poison, Skywalker Kush and a personal favorite, Agent Orange.
TWO SKIER DEATHS AT BRECK
The week saw two apparently accidental skier deaths at Breckenridge Ski Resort.
On Monday, Feb. 23, University of Colorado student Jacob Koltun, 22, died after skiing expert terrain on Peak 7. Koltun was skiing without a helmet.
Breckenridge Medical Center alerted the Summit County coroner’s office at about 2:30 p.m. The coroner said Koltun’s death appears to have been an accident.
Kulton’s Facebook page shows he was a senior studying English at CU and that he was from Alameda, California.
Just three days later, on Thursday, Feb. 26, another skier died after an accident on the mountain.
Krzysztof Kostelic, 46, was visiting Breckenridge from Rolling Meadows, Illinois, when he died after skiing into a tree on Northstar, an intermediate run between Peaks 7 and 8.
Summit County Coroner Regan Wood said Kostelic was wearing a helmet and may have had a medical issue that led to the accident. She has ordered an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
Ski patrol responded to the incident immediately, providing advanced life support and transporting Kostelic to the Breckenridge Medical Center after receiving a call at 9:48 a.m.
The coroner’s office has not released further information on either of the deaths.
Here in Summit, most of us know the Ski Tip Lodge in Keystone is a truly fine dining experience. Now the word is spreading.
OpenTable, a restaurant reservation and review website, recently named the Ski Tip among its Diners’ Choice 2014 Best Restaurants in America, rating the iconic mountain chalet No. 6 after poring over more than 5 million reviews of 20,000-plus restaurants across the U.S.
Bryan Baker, executive chef at Ski Tip, was ecstatic about the ranking, which puts the high-end, New American eatery in such company as SeaBlue Restaurant & Wine Bar in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Sushi Nakazawa in New York City.
“It’s huge! Are you kidding me?” he said of the honor. “Just look at our geographical location and the restaurants we are being compared to. I thought to myself last year when I received the biggest award of my life, being top 100 in America, ‘How can we go further?’ Well, another year of hard work, consistency and doing what I love, and look, we went from being recognized nationally in the top 100 to being ranked in the top 10.
VARMINTS IN THE GULCH
Walter Joe Blanc is a Grand Junction resident who regularly visits Summit County to work his mining claims near McCullough Gulch. He also appears to have more than a little in common with that fiery, irascible prospector of Warner Bros. cartoon fame, Yosemite Sam.
The problem for Blanc, you see, is all the muley-headed recreationists and other no-good varmints and hammerheads who insist on treading near his claims, which are located near the McCullough Gulch Trailhead and Quandary Peak south of Breckenridge.
Because the gulch is one of the county’s most popular hiking destinations, a conflict between Sam — sorry, Blanc — and unsuspecting passersby was probably inevitable. Sure enough, last year a Forest Service official and later a team of Summit Search and Rescue Group volunteers reported being threatened by Blanc, who was armed on both occasions, as they passed near his claims.
The exact nature of Blanc’s threats wasn’t clear, but we all know how Sam would have dealt with such outlandish infringers: “I’m the hootinst, tootinist, shootinist bobtail wildcat in the West! Now get your flea-bitten carcass off’n my real estate!”
Or something to that effect.
A summons issued after the rescue group incident was canceled, but Blanc was convicted in Grand Junction on Friday, Feb. 13, on 10 counts that include interfering with the duties of a Forest Service employee and operating on public lands without the required authorization.
He received a bond condition that prohibits him from national forest lands and is scheduled to be sentenced in May. He faces up to five years in prison.
At the forefront of Colorado’s legalization of recreational marijuana is Denver attorney Sean McAllister. He launched the drug-reform policy organization Sensible Colorado in 2004, nearly three years before the first round of personal caretakers began growing and selling marijuana to medical patients.
In 2007, he was co-counsel for the marijuana movement’s landmark lawsuit, a case against the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment he describes as the moment when “the boundaries were really taken off medical marijuana.” He eventually helped draft Amendment 64, the law that made recreational marijuana legal.
A few of his remarks during a recent Q&A with the Summit Daily give an idea what condition our condition is in when is comes to weed:
Regarding regulation: “I think the important thing for people to understand is that marijuana is not being regulated like alcohol. It’s being regulated like plutonium. It’s not totally unsurprising, in that this is a totally new industry. We’re bringing a black market product into the legal market.”
Regarding edibles: “I think that’s where the market is heading. These will be billion-dollar brands down the road, like Reese’s.”
Regarding federal decriminalization: “I think we’re already at the tipping point. It’s happening, and once you have 26, 27, 28 legal states, the federal government will have to see the light. … We don’t actually need federal legalization — we just need some deferment from the federal government that says if businesses are operating within the laws of their state, they won’t be shut down. And that can’t just be a statement. It needs to be a statute, a law.
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