Top 5 stories on, week of Aug. 30

Blake Elrod skis the the Frisco backcountry on March 7. After Vail Resorts announced its plan for a reservation system this winter at its North American ski areas, members of Colorado’s backcountry winter sports community raised concerns about how the new program will affect crowds on public lands.
Courtesy Gary Fondl

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

1. Worries about winter backcountry crowds follow announcement of Vail Resorts reservation system

After Vail Resorts announced its plan for a reservation system this winter at its North American ski areas, members of Colorado’s backcountry winter sports community raised concerns about how the new program will affect crowds on public lands.

Some backcountry ambassadors like Jon Miller, the founder of Backcountry United, believe there will be a cascading effect from reservation systems like this. Miller said he understands the situation Vail Resorts is in and gets the potential liabilities of hosting resort skiing during a pandemic. But he believes skiers and snowboarders will find the way “with least friction” to send it, like water will always find the path of least resistance downhill.

“If they can’t go skiing on a powder day with a chairlift, then naturally they are going to go somewhere else, and that’s where the national forests are going to be that somewhere else,” Miller said. “… I think we learned exactly what was going to happen when people can’t go and ski and snowboard on a powder day. Berthoud, Loveland and Vail passes hit critical mass in the spring. It was a precursor to what I think is about to happen in a more ongoing, regular fashion.”

— Antonio Olivero 

2. Silverthorne pays $9,500 settlement to ‘First Amendment auditor’ following incident at post office

The town of Silverthorne agreed to pay a settlement of $9,500 after police asked a man filming inside the Silverthorne Post Office to leave.

On Feb. 24, a YouTube channel called Amagansett Press posted a 51-minute edited video of a man and his son entering the post office on a “First Amendment audit,” to see if “these folks honor and respect our right to take video and photographs in public and from publicly accessible places.”

Silverthorne Police Chief John Minor said officers asked him to leave at the request of the postmaster, who officers were in contact with via telephone on scene.

The town said in a statement that the settlement wasn’t an admission of liability or wrongdoing, and the police department stood by its staff and officers.

— Sawyer D’Argonne 

3. Breckenridge Town Council concerned with proposed 284-unit neighborhood

A proposal for a new neighborhood containing 284 units in the northern portion of Breckenridge did not sit well with Breckenridge Town Council as members had numerous concerns about the plan. The proposal, which was presented to council by Tom Begley on behalf of the applicant, Miller Property, asked for an increase in density to the development, which is planned to combine deed-restricted, market-rate and lowered AMI-rate units.

Council members were concerned about the demographic mix, as theoretically all of the market-rate homes could be owned by second-home owners rather than locals.

Council member Kelly Owens said she had a “major concern” regarding child care. She pointed out that if the neighborhood houses local families, it could add strain to the town’s child care system where there is already a 250-child waitlist in Breckenridge.

Mayor Eric Mamula said that he doesn’t believe the town’s infrastructure could handle this large of a new development.

— Taylor Sienkiewicz

4. Want a luxury home in Summit County? $1 million won’t cut it 

In many areas, luxury real estate is defined as anything priced over $1 million. However, resort areas like Breckenridge, Vail and Aspen have many properties priced far above that number. In Summit County, the 2020 year-to-date average sale price of a single-family home is $1.2 million, according to Land Title Guarantee Co.’s April sales report.

In Summit County, what a person can get for $1 million varies. In general, it’s cheaper to live in Silverthorne and Dillon, Canfield said. In June, both Dillon and Silverthorne had listings for four-bed, three-bath single-family homes priced at about $1.06 million.

In Breckenridge and Frisco, $1 million is likely to get you a condo or townhome, Canfield said. A three-bed, 3 1/2-bath townhome in Frisco was listed at $998,000 while a two-bed, two-bath, ski-in, ski-out condo in Breckenridge is just shy of that at $995,000. 

However, local Realtors aren’t likely to consider those properties as “luxury,” the definition of which ranges from Realtor to Realtor and from area to area. 

— Libby Stanford 

5. Summit County to take legal action against property owner in Lakeview Meadows neighborhood

Summit County officials are planning to take legal action against a property owner in the Lakeview Meadows neighborhood, along Colorado Highway 9 near Summit High School.

The property owner’s home is on a right of way that provides trail access to the national forest. Neighbors of the landowner have sent complaints to the county about the owner allegedly attempting to block people from accessing the trail, Assistant County Attorney Keely Ambrose said.

Ambrose said the property owner had put a sign by the trail access indicating the trail is not available for public use. The property owner also has been allegedly confronting people who attempt to go on the trail, which has involved some altercations between the owner and neighbors.

County Attorney Jeff Huntley said the county has attempted to address concerns with the landowner but has reached an impasse, which is why the county decided to move forward with legal action.

— Libby Stanford

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