Week in Summit: Summit loses two local legends, one a climber, one a rhymer | SummitDaily.com

Week in Summit: Summit loses two local legends, one a climber, one a rhymer

Compiled by Kevin Frazzini

Robert W. Craig might just have been the Most Interesting Man in Summit — minus the Dos Equis and cheesy quotations, of course.

After a long career in mountaineering, in which he led expeditions and climbed Mount Everest and K2, the longtime Summit resident founded the Keystone Center based, in part, on the idea that good things can happen if you get smart people to sit down together in a room and work on big problems.

Craig died recently at the Colorado Acute Care Hospital in Denver, his family announced last week. He was 90 years old.

While serving in World War II, Craig was on the first naval ship to arrive in Nagasaki, Japan, after the atomic bomb was dropped. From 1953 to 1965, he was the first executive director and chief operating officer of the Aspen Institute, and while in Aspen, he was cofounder of the Aspen Center for Physics.

He also owned and operated a ranch near Aspen before moving to Summit County in the early 1970s to found the Keystone Center.

As a mountaineer, Craig led the first attempted American ascent of K2 in 1953. His book “Storm and Sorrow” details a harrowing expedition in the Pamir Mountains of Central Asia in which he lost several teammates and faced death himself. He was elected to the American Mountaineering Hall of Fame in 2009.

Under Craig’s leadership, the Keystone Center built its reputation by tackling a number of groundbreaking policy issues, including nuclear waste, biotechnology, AIDS research and a myriad of natural resource concerns. The center became known both for confronting tough issues and for bringing leaders with disparate positions to the mountains — a neutral space — to share perspectives and move toward collaborative solutions.

As fellow mountaineer and Coloradan Tom Hornbein, one of the first Americans on Everest, put it, Craig had “a patient ear and an uncanny ability to guide you without your ever knowing you were being steered.”


Friends of Arnie J. Green paid tribute to the longtime local musician in a fundraiser-turned-memorial at The Goat in Keystone, Sunday, Jan. 18. Green, 57, had myelofybrosis, a rare form of leukemia, and was in full-time hospice care in Denver. He died with his mother, daughter, other family and close friends at his bedside on the very afternoon his Summit friends had gathered to raise funds to help offset his medical expenses.

Many offered condolences to Green’s friends and family through Facebook and email. Summit County musician Len Rhodes posted that Green was a “dear friend, great musician and inspiration to many here in Summit County these past 20 years.”

“Arnie was a brother and inspiration! He transcended this life full of love and supported by the magic of this incredible community,” wrote musician and friend Leon Joseph Littlebird following the fundraiser on Sunday. “Last night was another testament to how we in Summit County take care of our own. His legacy will live on in our hearts and our music.”

A celebration of life is being planned for Green on Saturday, Feb. 7. Visit the Arnie J. Green Fund Facebook page for details.


Jerry Olson, who owns Medical Marijuana of the Rockies, wants to move the dispensary to a new location in Frisco but one potential new neighbor is not rolling out the welcome wagon — the Holiday Inn. The hotel is located just across a parking lot from the building Olson hopes to buy — a building coincidentally known as the Holiday Center.

Olson wants to add recreational marijuana to his medical business and move it into the nearly 10,000 square foot, two-story structure.

Hotel representatives on Tuesday, Jan. 13, told the town council the dispensary would drive away the hotel’s business. They said most of the hotel’s customers are families, not marijuana seekers, who would see the dispensary and look elsewhere for lodging. They also asked the town to consider changing its code so the hotel’s employee housing units would qualify as residential dwellings, meaning no dispensary could be located within 500 feet of them.

Olson countered that the dispensary would have a positive, or at least a neutral, effect on the hotel, and the council seemed unlikely to amend town code to the Holiday Inn’s liking.

Which is no real surprise when you consider that pot dispensaries have quickly become a solid source of revenue for Summit town governments. In August last year alone the county generated about $114,500 in marijuana tax revenue, according to the state.


The only surprise during that Frisco Town Council meeting was Mayor Gary Wilkinson’s response to the hotel’s Andy Bradford, who pointed out that teenage ski racers make up a large portion of the Holiday Inn’s guests in November. If Olson’s new dispensary opens, Bradford said, it would tempt the speedy teens.

“Believe me, I coached ski racing for a long time,” Wilkinson countered, “and if you can find a ski racer that doesn’t smoke pot, I’ll give you $100.”

That drew the ire of Jerry Karl, executive director of the youth ski racing group Team Summit Colorado, who stated in a letter to the Summit Daily that his group’s “athletes abide by our code of conduct, which prohibits the use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs. These dedicated and hard-working individuals deserve better from the mayor and from the Summit Daily News.” For readers who might be confused, the Daily appears to have offended Karl simply by reporting the remarks of a public official.


Summit brewmasters want to help you release your inner “wino.” The minds behind the six local craft breweries — Backcountry, Bakers’ Brewery, Breckenridge Brewery, Broken Compass, Dillon Dam and Pug Ryan’s — have created a second collaboration beer, this time a barleywine.

Barleywine is not a wine, of course. The “wine” in the name refers to the drink’s alcoholic strength, which is similar to a wine — often between 8 and 12 percent alcohol. But barleywine is made from grain, not fruit, so it is a beer, we promise. It’s generally dark in color, and flavors range from malty sweet, somewhat fruity to varying levels of bitter, depending on the ingredients.

The collaboration barleywine will be available at the participating breweries while supplies last. Don’t delay.

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