Mountain Town Roundup |

Mountain Town Roundup

Compiled by Ryan Wondercheck
summit daily news

ASPEN – A race as gnarly as any previously dreamed up in Aspen will make its debut March 5 on the slopes of the four ski areas.

The Power of Four Ski Mountaineering Race will feature more than 10,000 feet of vertical gain, including a climb from the Aspen Highlands base to the top of Highland Bowl – after competitors have already skinned up Snowmass Ski Area and traversed across to Buttermilk.

The Aspen Skiing Co. is presenting the race after sensing demand for this type of event among a growing number of ski-mountaineering competitors in the Roaring Fork Valley.

“There’s been a growth in this sport, in these types of endurance events,” said Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle. The Skico is also planning a mountain bike race on a course across the four ski areas in August. A running race might also be explored.

Between 50 and 75 two-person teams are expected in the inaugural ski mountaineering race, Hanle said.

The Power of Four Ski Mountaineering race will be held three weeks before the Grand Traverse, a race across 40 miles of rugged Elk Mountains backcountry, starting in Crested Butte and ending in Aspen. It is expected to appeal to many of the same competitors.

“This would be an excellent practice run for them,” Hanle said.

Participants must race with a teammate. Each racer must have a beacon, shovel, probe, skins, windshell and helmet. Only alpine touring gear or telemark gear will be allowed. No nordic or nordic touring gear will be allowed.

The full-course racers will start at 7:15 a.m. The half-course racers will start at 7:30 a.m.

The cost is $170 per team of two before March 1, regardless of whether they race the full- or half-course. The price increases by $20 after March 1, and there is no race-day registration.

More information about the race, including course maps at each of the ski areas, can be found at the Aspen Skiing Co.’s website, Navigate through the “events and activities” link to the 2010-11 events and find Power of Four Ski Mountaineering Race.

– Scott Condon/The Aspen Times

VAIL – Vail police are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a suspect involved in another burglary in Vail.

Sometime between 12:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. on Feb. 11, the ATM machine inside the Golden Peak Lodge, located at 458 Vail Valley Drive, was burglarized. It is unknown how the suspect was able to get into the building, but he or she used common hand tools to cut and pry open the ATM. The suspect was able to take an undisclosed amount of cash from the machine.

This most recent burglary comes on the heels of several others, including the Dobson Ice Arena, Vendetta’s, the Red Lion, Up the Creek and Axel’s. Vail police suspect the same person is responsible in all of these crimes. The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office is also investigating a burglary at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards and a similar ATM burglary at the Highway 6 Cafe in Eagle-Vail. Based on evidence at the crime scenes, the suspect is believed to be the same person.

Vail police detectives are currently analyzing video footage from the building and surrounding area in hopes to identify the suspect.

Video surveillance of the suspect gathered in prior burglaries indicates he is a white male, approximately 5 feet 11 inches to 6 feet 1 inch tall, weighing about 150 to 180 pounds, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, black pants and a black ski mask and baseball hat. The suspect was also carrying a backpack containing a variety of tools, including a cordless drill and several pry tools. The suspect is targeting cash registers, safes and ATMs.

Businesses are urged to take extra precautions to secure money, valuables and personal information, as well as ensure all doors and windows are locked at the end of business. Police recommend removing all cash from the premises at the end of the business day, as well as ensuring that any surveillance and/or alarm systems are operational and activated.

– Vail Daily staff report

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – The case remains open, but there have yet to be any big breaks in the investigation of the Jan. 22 Strawberry Park Hot Springs armed robbery.

“All the leads have not led to the suspect,” undersheriff Ray Birch said Friday. “They have not panned out.”

Birch said the Routt County Sheriff’s Office has received information from members of the public and other law enforcement agencies.

“Our investigators have followed up … and it turned out not to be our suspect,” Birch said. “We’ll keep the case open for some time still.”

They are looking for a white man from 5 feet, 10 inches to 6 feet tall with a slight build. During the robbery, the man was wearing a ski mask; a dark, hip-length coat; yellow and brown camouflage pants; and gloves.

According to the sheriff’s office, the man entered the check-in area at the hot springs off Routt County Road 36 just before 11 p.m. Jan. 22 with a gun and demanded cash from the lone employee on duty. After getting about $800, the man told the employee to get on the floor. The man then pepper sprayed the employee and disabled the office phone before fleeing. No one was seriously hurt.

Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to call investigator Mike Curzon at (970) 870-5508 or Crime Stoppers at (970) 870-6226. People who call Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and could earn a cash reward.

– Steamboat Pilot staff report

Snowpack in the high-elevation mountains above Middle Park now ranges from 111 percent to 170 percent of the 30-year average (1971-2001).

Last-year snowpack at this time was only about 65 percent of average.

“We’re just lucky this year,” said Mark Volt of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Kremmling Field Office.

Snow surveyors Volt and Jenny Stricker took the Feb. 1 snow survey measurements during the last days of January.

Snow density is averaging 25 percent, which means that for a foot of snow, there are 3 inches of water.

“This is pretty dense snow for this time of year,” Volt said.

Most of the snow courses around Middle Park have been read since the 1940s.

Snow course readings are taken at the end of each month, beginning in January and continuing through April.

March is historically the snowiest month, and the April 1 readings are the most critical for predicting runoff and summer water supplies, as most of our high country snowpack peaks around that time.

For further information, including real-time snow and precipitation data for SNOTEL (automated Snow Telemetry) sites, visit

– Special to the Daily

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