Top 5 stories on SummitDaily.com, week of Jan. 27 | SummitDaily.com

Top 5 stories on SummitDaily.com, week of Jan. 27

Skiers and snowboarders traverse past the T-bar hut amid snowstorm at Breckenridge Ski Resort Friday, Jan. 18. Breckenridge Ski Resort has announced its intentions to extend its ski season into late May, but the resort will need Forest Service approval to do so and remains in discussions with town officials how an elongated season could affect town operations.
Hugh Carey / hcarey@summitdaily.com

Social Calls are comments taken from the Summit Daily’s website and Facebook page.

“Saturday was worse. Screw breckenridge and all of summit county. Our family is done selling house and we are out. On that note 5 bedroom 3 bath house fully remodeled on peak 7

1.3 mill. Pm me.” — Justin Carrigan on “What ruined Sunday’s commute in Summit County? Events, snowfall and Google Maps to blame”

“Well, I-70 was built in the 1950’s when the US population was almost half of what it is today. Only about 65 million cars were on US roads in the late 1950s. Last year 267 million cars were registered in the US. Yet, I-70 has not really changed much in the mountain corridor. Eisenhower tunnel counted a daily average of 28,210 vehicles per day in 2000. Last year the daily average of vehicles was 441,750! So one can extrapolate that in the last 18 years, at least 15.6 times as many vehicles are on a segment of interstate that has not changed much in 60 years. And there does not appear to be a viable plan to address growing demand for road capacity, at least not in this state.” — Suzanne Brannon on “What ruined Sunday’s commute in Summit County? Events, snowfall and Google Maps to blame”

“I’m pretty sure that dealing with traffic and tourism is a choice you made when you decided to live in Summit County.” — Jodi Grotegut on “What ruined Sunday’s commute in Summit County? Events, snowfall and Google Maps to blame”

“I’ve lived here my entire life, I have never seen the traffic as bad as it was this weekend. I get living in a tourist town and that is what we have to deal with, but this weekend was insane! The county simply cannot accommodate the amount of people who continue to come here.” — Leah Perry on “What ruined Sunday’s commute in Summit County? Events, snowfall and Google Maps to blame”

“Noooo… Then people can get in touch with me when I’m on the blue” — Jason Brier on “New cellphone tower could fix dead zone north of Silverthorne”

“I’d be happy I they could just keep the whole mountain open till regular season end. That should be first goal! No matter how much awesome snow there is every spring, there’s no workforce, no food or beer, and only peak 8 open. Beware the spring marketing hoax.” — Liz Collins on “Breckenridge Ski Resort working with town, Forest Service to lengthen ski season”

“They are even teaching the elementary school kids how to use these. My 10 year old and I just had a discussion about it. She was alarmed that defibrillators weren’t going to be every where she might need one.” — Soni Leah Jethro on “Breckenridge Grand Vacations CEO asks officials

“Shouldn’t some of the blame go to the resorts for increasing lift capacity’s while the runs will always have a set number of skiers they can handle safely.” — Matt Venz on “Is resort skiing more dangerous? A new group thinks it’s time to do something about it”

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

1. Kratom: It’s legal, unregulated and has contributed to 2 Grand County deaths

A story from the Sky-Hi News in Grand County explores what kratom is, and how it has been affecting the community. Kratom, a substance derived from a tropical evergreen tree that is native to Southeast Asia, becomes a sedative with effects that are analogous to opioids when taken at higher doses. While it may initially appear innocuous, like any other natural supplement, many public health officials, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, are beginning to sound the alarm on the still unregulated substance. Kratom has been linked to two specific deaths in Grand County in the last four months alone, according to the county coroner. Much of the ongoing debate about the regulation or banning of kratom revolves around the drug’s unique properties and the way in which it mimics the effects of opioids. Advocates, however, claim the picture is more complicated than government officials acknowledge and that a ban on kratom could make addiction issues worse, not better.

2. What ruined Sunday’s commute in Summit County? Events, snowfall and Google Maps to blame

While weekend traffic in Summit County and on I-70 is notoriously bad, Sunday, Jan. 27 was even worse. Whether it was the fresh snow, the Snow Sculpture Championships, Dillon Ice Castles or Aspen’s X Games — or a combination of them all — Sunday’s traffic was described by one woman on social media as as “insane,” while another likened it to having Christmas, New Year’s and the Presidents Day weekend all rolled into one. Based on figures provided by the Colorado Department of Transportation, the weekend was particularly bad for travel with 54,730 vehicles passing through the Eisenhower Tunnel on Sunday alone, only 3,000 shy of the single-day record.

“I have lived here over 15 years and I have never seen anything like this,” a third woman wrote only to have her comments echoed by a fourth who said she’s been here even longer and “each year is stupider than the last.”

3. Is resort skiing getting more dangerous? A new group thinks it’s time to do something about it

Dozens of concerned residents gathered at the Summit County Community and Senior Center last week for a widespread discussion about safety on the ski slopes. The discussion was led by the Alliance for Skier and Snowboarder Responsibility, a recently founded group dedicated to better helping skiers and snowboarders understand and adhere to their responsibilities in regards to safety while on the mountain. The group collectively identified issues with skier education, substance abuse, enforcement of rules on the slope and respect for fellow skiers and boarders as the core issues surrounding skier safety — diving more specifically into ancillary problems such as speeding, lack of awareness and control, and distractions like selfies and headphones on the mountain.

4. Breckenridge Ski Resort working with town, Forest Service to lengthen ski season

Breckenridge Ski Resort recently announced plans to extend its ski seasons and run lifts into late May, starting this year and continuing into the future. While the decision has been celebrated by some winter enthusiasts, there are still conversations in the works on how the details of this decision will be worked out. For one, the ski resort is working with the town on potential implications to the town’s public transportation system. The resort’s plan to go into late May doesn’t necessarily mean the town is going to run its winter operations that late into the year. Another consideration in Breckenridge Ski Resort’s efforts to extend its ski season is that the decision is ultimately subject to U.S. Forest Service approval — although district ranger Bill Jackson said he doesn’t expect that to be too heavy of a lift.

“It isn’t like analyzing a brand new chairlift,” he explained as he said that resorts’ efforts to adjust their open and closing dates are fairly typical.

5. Man sentenced to 4 years in prison for assaulting Dillon police officer

James Patrick Morrow, 27, who pleaded guilty in November to charges stemming from an assault on a Dillon police officer, was sentenced to four years in prison. In October 2017 officers with the Dillon Police Department responded to a call regarding a suspicious person, and found Morrow stumbling in the street. Officers said that Morrow was evasive and uncooperative w, and that he became violent after attempts to detain him. Officers tried to put handcuffs on Morrow, at which point he threw one of the officers to the ground and began punching the other. Additional officers arrived on scene shortly thereafter and successfully arrested Morrow. Morrow was inebriated on a mixture of alcohol, cocaine and LSD at the time of the incident.

“I take full responsibility for my actions,” Morrow said in his court apology. “The entire situation was created because I chose to ingest a chemical. It resulted in unacceptable actions, with serious consequences. … I hurt the people trying to protect me from myself.”


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