Top 5 stories on, week of May 24 |

Top 5 stories on, week of May 24

Mack Voelker, right, stands behind a plexiglass window while scanning lottery vouchers at Arapahoe Basin on Wednesday, May 27. After more than a two month closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, A-Basin was granted a variance and allowed to re-open through the use of a lottery system that allows up to 600 skiers or riders per day.
Jason Connolly /

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

1. Arapahoe Basin Ski Area to open Wednesday, other county variance requests denied

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area reopened on Wednesday, May 27, after receiving a variance approved by the state.

The variance allows the ski area to host a maximum of 600 skiers per day. Skiers must register through an online reservation system, which initially crashed upon launch when 4,000 people signed on to reserve spots at once.

The first day back on the slopes seemed to be successful for A-Basin, without the usual crowds, lines or high energy that typically comes with spring skiing.

This was the only variance request from Summit County that was approved by the state. The requests to reopen short-term rentals and dine-in services at local restaurants were denied, although on Monday the state announced that all restaurants were able to open at 50% capacity.

Taylor Sienkiewicz 

2. Summit County grapples with variance denial as restaurants are given a limited green light statewide

Summit County public health officials requested a variance from the state on May 15 to reopen short-term rental establishments, restaurant dine-in services and ski areas. On Sunday, the county was officially notified that ski areas were allowed to open due to the expiration of the state executive order, but requests to reopen short-term rentals and dine-in restaurant service were denied.

A day later, Gov. Jared Polis updated the safer-at-home order to allow all restaurants in the state to reopen on May 27, for limited in-person dining

“We were really disappointed,” county spokeswoman Julie Sutor said of the variance denials last week. “We feel like our data is trending in the right direction and we have put together some really great plans in collaboration with the restaurant community and the lodging community. … We’re hopeful that these industries will be able to reopen in the not-too-distant future.”

Taylor Sienkiewicz

3. Breckenridge passes resolution for pedestrian-only Main Street

Breckenridge Town Council last week gave a green light to close portions of Main Street to vehicle traffic so that it can serve as a pedestrian walkway.

While the council was somewhat split on the issue due to the low level of interest received from restaurants, members agreed to move forward. 

The resolution gives Town Manager Rick Holman the power to decide which businesses are eligible to expand into the street and what “terms and conditions” are necessary for businesses to use the street space during the closure. Holman also can determine the time frame and boundaries of the closure, which is planned for 200 N. Main St. to 400 S. Main St. Town Clerk Helen Cospolich said the closure of Main Street is planned to begin June 12 and to last for about eight weeks.

Taylor Sienkiewicz

4. Breckenridge liquor store clerks cited for selling to Lindsey Ward

Two liquor store employees have been charged with selling alcohol to Lindsey Ward while she was allegedly visibly impaired, minutes before she caused a fatal crash on Colorado Highway 9 while driving drunk last year.

Avran Lefeber, 37, and Cody Moral, 25, have been charged with selling alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person, after a witness told investigators that the men acknowledged that Ward was inebriated, offered to drive her home and still sold her alcohol when she refused.

At about 5:15 p.m. on Aug. 30 last year, Ward was involved in a two-vehicle car crash on Highway 9 north of Blue River after swerving into the wrong lane and into another car, killing 41-year-old Benjamin Mitton and 43-year-old Nichole Gough.

Sawyer D’Argonne

5. Rescue group saves climbers on Mount Royal, finds missing kayaker on lower Blue River

The Summit County Rescue Group has seen a noticeable increase in calls over recent weeks, as visitors and residents take to the backcountry to enjoy warmer weather, perhaps unprepared for changing snow and water conditions.

Just in recent days, the group has helped to rescue a pair of stranded climbers on Mount Royal, and a missing kayaker in the lower Blue River.

“We’ve noticed a significant spike upwards in the last three weeks,” said Charles Pitman, a spokesperson for the rescue group. “… Water levels are rising and snow conditions are changing, all at a rapid pace. In addition, with a relaxation of travel advisories more people are heading to the mountains and wanting to get into the backcountry.”

Sawyer D’Argonne

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