Tuesday, Jan 14, 2003  content presented by Telluride Today .com About The Watch

Headlines (click headline for full story )

Lady Miners Lose One to Grand Valley, Team Struggles to Keep Errors Down, By Elizabeth Heerwagen

A Day of Non-Violence Workshopping for This Republic Can

Koffee With Kandee,  Morning at the Excelsior Café: "We Could Be Anywhere"

Watch Sports, Lizard Heads Send Glenwood Packing, 6-1-1, By Martinique Davis

A Steak House Where a Vegetarian Can Feast, Culinary Tracts, By Seth Cagin

Silverton Mountain: A Day Skiing the Mountain, By Elizabeth Covington

 This is the first in a two-part series. Part Two will run in the Watch on Friday, Jan. 17.

 While ski resorts across the Rocky Mountain West plow dollars into upgrading lifts and expanding terrain in order to grow their share of a shrinking market, Silverton Mountain, six miles north of Silverton on Cement Creek, is thinking small. There are no factory-new, high-speed quads. No groomed intermediate terrain. No on-mountain, gourmet restaurants.

Instead, Colorado’s newest ski area is placing its bets on a second-hand, fixed-grip double chair, ski runs created by avalanche paths, BYO brown-bag lunch, and steep, steep terrain.

Silverton Mountain founder and owner, 31-year-old Aaron Brill, has cobbled together a 1,600-acre, 1,900-vertical-foot-drop (or 3,000, if you hike another 1,000 feet from the top of the lift) area that has received rave reviews from backcountry ski magazines such as Couloir and Powder. (By comparison, the Telluride Ski Area has a 3,500-foot vertical drop and 3,200 acres of permitted terrain.) These magazines have billed the area as a backcountry skier’s paradise, a place where skiers can have run after run of steep and deep. This is not a hill for beginners or intermediates, the press has emphasized. Even experienced skiers can land themselves in trouble.

The dream of a steep-and-deep ski hill serviced by one aging lift was sown when Brill and his fiancé and college sweetheart Jen Ader spent a college semester abroad skiing New Zealand’s club fields. There, Brill volunteered as an assistant guide.

Mountain towns down under set up a rope tow that pulled skiers to a high snowy ridge above the valley. Skiers might ski from the top of the tow, or the more adventurous might hike a bit higher and find another way down. New Zealand, however, enjoys a less-litigious society than the United States; thus the idea of skiers willing to take greater responsibility for their actions flourishes.

The more relaxed feel of the clubs and the lure of off-piste, steep-and-deep skiing appealed to Brill, however, and he dreamed of making New Zealand’s more liberal approach happen in the U.S. He wanted to build a mountain where the terrain was suitable for expert skiers only, where good snow could still be found days after a storm, and where the dominant revenue source was ticket sales, not real estate.

The dream is not without precedent. In Montana, where Ader and Brill lived after graduating from Pitzer College in 1994, there are a several small areas that serve a local town and have one or two lifts, Ader said. She named Missoula’s Snowbowl, the Great Divide above Helena, and Turner Mountain near Libby to illustrate. In fact, Bridger Bowl, a coop outside of Bozeman, has broken even in recent years and made a little bit on top of that. That is what we want to do, she said.

In 1998 and 1999, Brill combed the Rocky Mountains for just the right place, maybe a defunct small ski area, but certainly something that had steep terrain and high annual snowfall. He searched Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Canada before looking into a closed area near Lake City. Then he found Silverton. The area had steep mountains, a high average snowfall of 400 inches (by comparison, Telluride's is 305), and private mining claims adjacent to public property. Moreover, the ailing local winter economy would allow Brill access to low-interest, state-backed loans intended to revitalize the area.

Captivated by Silverton, Brill approached the local private claim owners and purchased his first claims the summer of 1999. By the end of the year he had submitted a special use permit application to the Bureau of Land Management. That winter he moved to Silverton and with the help of snow safety consultants he started studying the snowpack and avalanche terrain on the mountain. The next winter, before the lift was installed, Brill and Ader offered guided backcountry tours. By January 2002 they had installed a used chairlift they acquired from Mammoth Mountain in California and were open for paying customers.



On a recent Sunday on the mountain, Brill and Ader, a former snowboard competitor and current jack all of trades who does everything for the operation "except throw explosives," guided a group six. Currently, the ski area's permit requires skiers to ski with a guide and limits the number of paying customers on the mountain to 40 per day.

The group met at 9 a.m. in a metal-ribbed, cloth-covered Quonset hut located at the base of the lift. Inside, old rugs and large carpet scraps covered the floor and few aging couches and several folding chairs in a semi-circle faced a sturdy, fired-up woodstove. The group – two single men, a couple from Lander, my boyfriend and me – was older than I expected. Talking to Brill several years earlier, he had spoken of appealing to twenty-something ski bums and mentioned building a few cabins at the base of the hill, so that crowd “wouldn’t have to sleep in their trucks.”

The current $99 per day charge for a lift ticket and guide is holding that demographic at bay, Brill acknowledged. The two men were clearly older than twenty-something; each had graying hair and looked like they were in their early fifties. One owned a brewery in Farmington, and the other was a science teacher in Salt Lake City. The couple was there to celebrate his fortieth birthday.

When the ski area sells more tickets and the lift ticket price drops to the $30 range, the skier mix will change, Brill said. However, the longer it takes him to secure a final special use permit from the BLM, he cautioned, the higher the price will be.

Ader led the briefing and made sure everyone was carrying a beacon, shovel and probe. Those who didn't have the proper equipment rented beacons.

“For the rest of you, I assume if you have a beacon, you know how to use it,” she said.

After each of us signed a waiver, which, she emphasized, had already been proven in the Colorado courts by other ski areas, Ader gave a short safety talk.

She began by stating the obvious.

“We are not like other ski areas,” she said. “You will get hungry, cold and tired,” she continued, pointing out there was no warm restaurant on the mountain, “so look at each other and keep track of each other. I don’t think we will be in serious avalanche terrain today, but I want to talk about what to do if you do get caught in a slide."

"First thing to do is try to out-ski the avalanche, either to the left or to the right side. “Second, if you get caught, fight for your life, because that is what you are doing. As the avalanche slows, put one hand over your mouth and one hand in the air. But I really don’t think we’ll be seeing any activity today.”

The group listened intently and when she was done we gathered our backpacks, buckled our boots and headed outside to the lift.

The gathering at the base of the lift had an unfussy, carefree feel to it. We would be the only skiers on the mountain. There was no stressing to get to the front of the line, no elbowing or posturing. No one was showing off the latest Bogner or Descente suit. No one was missing a hat that might mess a hairdo.

This group was about wool knit hats pulled down and neck gaiters pulled up against the single digit temperatures. We were wearing heavy jackets and pants, the kind that would block wind and snow.

The parking lot, which was immediately adjacent to the lift, held a few aging Toyota trucks, some showing a fair amount of rust, a Volkswagen van, and a two Subaru Outbacks. The absence of shiny four-wheel drive BMWs or Land Cruisers was noticeable and refreshing.

Brill, who is fair-skinned, wore a ripped straw hat with a leather under-the-chin tie to protect him from the strong southwest sun. A snowboarder, he wore a ten-year old pair of Sorels for boots. Later in the day Ader mentioned that numerous boot makers had called to give Brill a pair of the latest boots. Brill had steadfastly declined their offer to market their boots, in favor of his favorite Sorels.

The worn-out Sorels, the wool hats, the waiting, not pushing, for the lift, created a feeling of skiing as it might have been in yesteryear; if it were not for the fat skis and plastic telemark boots, we could have been somewhere in Vermont in the 30s or Alta in the 40s, when skis were wooden and skinny and wool knickers were all the rage, a time when skiing was about making turns and gathering in the base lodge at day’s end for a warm hot toddy.



From the 12,300-foot top of the lift, the world spreads out before you. To the east is massive Colorado Basin, known in the past as Velocity Basin, which in its heyday hosted the world speed skiing championships. To the north, Red Mountains 1, 2, and 3. To the west is terrain on the west side of Red Mountain Pass, including Telluride Peak and Trico. To the south is Storm Peak, which marks the head of Colorado Basin. And you, the skier, are in the middle, standing on the north end of a ridge that runs southeast to northwest.

From the top, skiers can hit tight, timbered runs further down the ridge or hike south and up the ridge to choose from dozens of shots and open bowls to the east and west.

After the last of us dismounted from the lift and Brill turned off the lift, we headed down the ridge and north to find our way west through the dense trees.

Brill led the way and stopped at a break in the forest. We would make a few turns where the trees were more open, he explained, and then move left onto a treed ridge. Stay out of the open avalanche shot, he said, where the snow was hard from a weekend of boot-packing. With Brill in front and Ader behind, the group followed.

It had not snowed in three weeks and unfortunately snow conditions had deteriorated. In these north-facing trees the snow had faceted, turning to sugary crystals, and skiers easily sunk through the bottomless pack. Additionally, because the snowpack was not very deep, skiers had to be constantly on guard for fallen trees and stumps. Certainly those early skiing conditions will change as the winter pack builds.

The run ended at the Cement Creek Road and Brill radioed the lift operator, Charlotte, who doubled as a shuttle driver, to pick us up. The shuttle bus is an old people-mover, the type that at one time carried travelers from the hotel to the airport. When living in Montana for off-season, Brill and Ader loaded up the van with a bed, some storage bins and their two dogs and took some "great road trips” after the ski area closed down.

We returned to the lift base and after Charlotte helped unload our skis from the back of the bus, she started the lift.

Our second run started with a twenty-minute hike up the ridge and a tricky drop into a bowl on the east side of the mountain. We dropped one by one into an icy, rocky chute and traversed above a wide-open bowl.

After three weeks of no new snow, the bowl had been tracked out and it was hard to find untouched snow. Lower down, though Brill found a nice line through untracked snow and instructed us to stay to the right; his choice offered new snow for most, but not quite all of the whole group.

Nonetheless, the terrain was a beautiful, and one could imagine on a powder day getting cold faceshots, turn after turn after turn.

For our last run we were back in the trees and we wiggled our way through the sugar and tight trees. It was beautiful and quiet in the thick timber and I imagined returning on a powder day and enjoying some of Colorado’s best cold smoke.

The end of the day found us again in the base lodge, circled around the woodstove, and drinking cold beers, which Ader served from behind the “smallest bar in San Juan County.” Someone who had been helping the snow safety that day shared their salami, cheddar cheese and crackers with the group. Not too long after we had settled in to the couch and chairs, the snow safety team rolled in for their end-of-the-day beer and the hut filled with talk and conversation about snow, skiing and another good day on the mountain.


On Friday Part Two will look at the effort involved in getting Colorado’s newest ski area, Silverton, off the ground and permitted.


A Day of Non-Violence Workshopping for This Republic Can


Telluride members of This Republic Can, the locally organized anti-war group working to ensure a secure future through education, outreach, and public action, will travel to Washington, D.C., this week, to take part in the Jan. 21 anti-war protest (on the first day of Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend). In preparation, group members traveled to Montrose Saturday for training in nonviolence.


By Amy Levek

"The situation is deteriorating," a National Public Radio commentator is saying as we head over Dallas Divide, Saturday morning at 6 a.m., en route to Montrose for a day of nonviolence training with Gunnison resident John Bach.

The commentator is referring to the "situation" in North Korea, as that country positions itself for a possible nuclear attack.

We're headed to a one-day session with Bach, whose lifetime of activism spans the Civil Rights movement to today's anti-nuke protests.

"I spent three years in prison during Vietnam” because of refusing to serve in that war, says Bach, a Quaker from Pennsylvania's Lancaster County. "I've been on the same wonderful trajectory ever since," he says, participating in protests everywhere, from Nevada nuclear test sites to Central America.

These days, he's part of the Gunnison Valley Peace Initiative. “I believe there are vital links between environmental issues, social justice and the peace movement,” says Bach. Especially today. “As the drums of war get louder, there’s more interest in the work we do.”

Bach kicks off the workshop with some basic guidelines: “No hitting,” “don’t volunteer anther person” for hands-on demonstrations,  “listen and pay attention,” “what you put in is what you get out of the experience,” and, finally, urging the group to "stay" throughout the entire day's worth of interactive experiences.

The goal of today's exercises: To get participants thinking on their feet, learning to quickly organize within a group to deal with simulated situations.

“It’s a mystery to me why you people show up,” Bach tells us, “especially when others wouldn’t consider it, even though they know the reality of war in Iraq.”

Breaking into small clusters, participants discuss their hopes and fears for the coming demonstration, learning firsthand about group dynamics, with an eye to reaching consensus despite a wide variety of viewpoints. Whose ideas prevail? How does a group reach consensus? Is there strength in group decision-making?

The first group, reporting "no expectations" for the day, gets dubbed “the Buddhist group.”

The second group pronounces itself "full of anxiety" about what will happen in Washington, and afterwards, specifically regarding how its members participation in so arguably countercultural an activity "could affect" their livelihoods.

The third and last group reports agreeing to focus on how its members can "be effective."

Bach’s advice: “Whenever you can, accentuate the positive in your group interactions.” he says, pointing out how participants had complimented the first group.

Group personalities identified, exercises and simulations follow. How will we deal with a police officer in attendance at our peace group’s meeting? Notify a boss that we are going to the Washington demonstrations? Talk to a parent or child about our involvement in peace activities. All are real-life possibilities. A thread runs through the discussions and exercises, of taking responsibility for the relationships in our lives.

“How do we express what is important to us and why we’re doing what our convictions tell us to do?” asks Bach. He answers his rhetorical question: “Speak from the heart - it’s really hard to argue against that. This is not Dale Carnegie. Starting with the obvious is always important." Say, for example: "‘I don’t expect you to agree with this…’”

Bach now puts us through the basics of non-violent action, pointing out that many nonviolent techniques have a lot to do with ensuring individual and group safety (and which, he says, ultimately empower the larger community).

Then there’s direct legal action, direct illegal action and, finally, symbolic action – legal or illegal. Delving into the differences, one person shares an experience where a protest included an ingenious smuggling and unraveling of a banner in front of the president, The banner had a well-thought out whimsical rather than in-your-face message. “Nonviolence is almost always more creative than violence,” points out Bach, encouraging the group with the Greek story about women who agreed to refuse to sleep with their husbands if they went off to war.

We break into yet smaller groups, dubbed "affinity groups," their members focused on learning how to watch out for the group's overall safety, with specific roles assigned to ensure someone is always empowered to take action.

Our role-playing includes media spokesperson, facilitator, police liaison, first aid and group “vibes watcher.” And, of course, there’s always a support person, who doesn’t participate in the demonstration but rather takes care of such basics as knowing where spare keys are, having a cell phone and critical phone numbers.

Bach stresses the importance of having appropriate people in those roles because they may have to act.

It makes sense. A prepared community is one whose members take responsibility for their own actions and are accountable to the whole. Bach notes that with overall responsibility and commitment to the larger organization, groups go deeper and have more profound experiences as a community, enabling them to make more far-reaching and creative decisions.

As the day progresses, the simulations are more difficult, as they deal with increasingly real possibilities –talking with the media, coming face to face with an unsympathetic police officer, confrontations between opposing groups on a narrow street, a random act of violence in a crowd.

“Boy, this is tough,” says one participant, as he ponders the reality of his upcoming trip to D.C.

Bach reminds us that nonviolent training is about working with the group as a community for dealing with individual problems of all kinds.  Much of the challenge is to remember how to humanize players involved in conflict.

He warns us about the possibilities of danger posed by provocateurs who often show up at demonstrations, people unrelated to the action who provoke others and disrupt activities, endangering everyone.

A woman participant recounts her recent experience in San Francisco antiwar demonstrations, with the “black block,” an ominous looking group of black-masked and hooded men who made their way through the crowd, intentionally disrupting  demonstrations with violence and actions aimed at the creation of chaos and confusion.

Bach advises us to be prepared – that’s where affinity groups and assigned roles become important.

He has practical suggestions too – no dogs, no running, no drugs, how to handle tear gas, and at what point you need to “abandon hope and retreat.

However: “I don’t want to leave you with the impression that you’re going to go to D.C. and get pummeled,” says Bach, finally, going on to relate several stories about various characters and certain moments of inspiration in his previous experiences.

“And if they take you to D.C. Central" – we hold our breath – well, "You can’t buy that kind of entertainment,” he laughs. “It’s like walking into a Charles Dickens novel.”

It starts to sink in that this training really is more than just dealing with garden-variety problems in protest or demonstration situations.

The non-violent principles espoused by Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and others truly are good training for life. When people learn how to listen, how to deal with conflict, and how to respond to things they may not want to hear with more compassion and without violence, they also form better communities.

 Koffee With Kandee,  Morning at the Excelsior Café: "We Could Be Anywhere"


The Excelsior Café is lit up with early morning sun and Myjah Wilson looks pretty perky for having worked late and risen at the crack of dawn to make coffee. The gas fire is blazing and people are hunched over steaming mugs with newspapers in front of them.  We could be anywhere.


Kandee DeGraw: So, bacon muffins?

Myjah Dixie Wilson: Bacon muffins with white cheddar cheese.

KD: mmm

MW: Want one?

KD: Yeah. How long have you been doing this early morning coffee at the Excelsior?

MW: Since the 22nd of December.

KD: Was this your idea?

MW: It has always been on my mind, and then Greg finally asked me to do it. 

People enter and Myjah gets them coffee, pleasantries are exchanged.  There is the sound of a very beep like disco song, which turns out to be Myjah’s cell phone.

MW: Hey, I am being interviewed. (long pause with some uh-huus)  Bacon muffins,  yeah. Okay bye.

KD: What’s the song on your phone? Funky town?

MW: No, it’s some funk anthem, I don’t know. A friend just asked me to audition for the AIDS Benefit Fashion Show. 

KD: That put a little skip in your step.

MW: Yeah, sure. Everyone auditions right? Gazillions of people are in it right, at least from what I recall?

KD: Yeah.

MW: It was probably my stint on the Bud commercial…

KD: You were discovered?

MW: Yes, ever since then…(laughs ruefully)

KD: You normally work at the Excelsior?

MW: Nope, just doing the coffee shop. But Greg Chorebainian does the books for both places and is sort of Jake while Jake is in Italy. He said, “Remember that time you talked about doing a coffeeshop and how the Excelsior would be the perfect little café.”  He asked me to do it.

KD: You like getting up at five?

MW: It’s fine. I used to do it in Colorado Springs, I owned a coffee shop there. Caveman Coffee, “We Put the UG in your mug.”

KD: You work at Blue Point at night, so you sleep…

MW: About four to five hours a night.

KD: That is enough for you?

MW: It isn’t showing. (smiles fetchingly)  I have eliminated my bar schedule, so I will just be managing and waiting tables. Just bartending on Friday nights and I don’t work here on Saturday’s so hopefully it will be worth it a little more. Hopefully it will pick-up.

KD: I imagine it is hard to get regulars, cuz they are regular somewhere else.

MW: Especially in the morning because people are on auto-pilot. They just got to where they usually go and don’t think about what is new. “Must have coffee.” We are zombies that early. I have to run out the door and scream for them to come in here instead. 

KD: You lure them with the bacon muffins?

MW: And the quiche.

KD: Can we talk about the quiche?

MW: I think Billy Justice is going to have a cult following based solely on the quiche. 

KD: It is so fluffy.

MW: Billy, how do you get it so fluffy?

Peering mysteriously through his fluffy, seven-inch muttonchops, Justice merely laughs.

MW: Ancient Justice secret. Yesterday I had to cut it too early, cause these people came in right at 7:00 and it was still warm. They said they needed it right then.

KD: Just here for the quiche?

MW: Yep. I told them they had to wait for a few minutes or it would ruin it for everybody else, but they didn’t care. 

KD: This bacon muffin is good. What is the quiche today?

MW: Gruyère cheese and sautéed onions.

KD: Nice. What is tomorrow going to be?

MW: I’d like to keep it the same. It is a nice simple quiche that keeps the focus on the quiche not the ingredients. And people like it so why change a good thing? Unless it gets busier, then I would have two to offer. 

KD: Everyday, including Sunday…

MW: 7:00 am till 1:00 p.m.

KD: Good place for a light brunch…

MW: Yep. Best place in town to have coffee. We have French press, we are the only place that does that. 

KD: Explain.

MW: It is freshly ground coffee, kinda like a cowboy coffee. You know when you are out in the sticks and you’ve just got grounds and water. The same sort of concept, you’ve got extremely kick-you-in-the-butt coffee. Only, French press coffee is silky and dreamy and not gritty and gross like true cowboy coffee.

KD: You hand press every cup?

MW: Yes. Our French probably holds two and a half cups of coffee. That's a pretty good deal, pay four dollars and get two and half cups of really nice coffee. We use a French Roast for the press. It is a finely ground coffee, we use a different grind for drip and a different grind for espresso. It steeps for four minutes, it is good to share with a friend. 

KD: Where do you get your coffee?

MW: Steaming Bean for the French Roast and the drip. I love working with Doug, I try to use him as much as possible. 

KD: So you do the local support thing?

MW: Yes. My quiche, blueberry coffeecake, and bacon cheddar muffins are all made by Billy Justice. Neddy Troutman does the cheesecake and she will bring in a few goodies every once in awhile, which is nice.  

KD: You also have a full espresso bar, cappuccinos and whatnot?

MW: Yes, and a full bar bar. Bloody Marys, Mimosa, Baileys and coffee, and I don’t know, beer. And it’s really warm in here, we have a fireplace.

KD: And it’s good lookin’.

MW: Well, I’m good lookin’. Did I mention they just asked me to model?…(laughs)  And Malika is such an asset to have here. She’s a beautiful person inside and outside. 

KD: She works a couple of days a week?

MW: Yep. She has a great coffee shop personality.

KD: Yeah, kinda  Seattle old school.

MW: Yep, love it.

KD: Witty, urbane…and again good looking. Is that a prerequisite?

MW: Witty and good looking, quasi – angry. Everyone sorta expects that. She asked me if she needed to take out her piercings and wear different attire. That is the reason I hired her. I want her piercings and she should dress as funky as she wants.

KD: No, blazers and pantyhose?

MW: (she gives look of disgust)  I like the different clientele we both draw in. She brings in a bunch of different people. It’s just a big melting pot right here at the Café Excelsior. 

KD: Politicians and hobos…

MW: I get the Noir Bar night crowd. She has the spa people…

KD: May I have a glass of water please?

MW: (She grabs a pint glass off the shelf, whips it around in a quick fluid motion and pours quickly with no wasted effort.)

KD: I was expecting a surly response and instead it’s like ‘cocktail’, wow, huh?

MW: Water with a smile.

KD: What is your best comeback so far?

MW: We get… as you know, the Excelsior used to do breakfast, so often I get, “Do you do breakfast?’.  My comeback has been… “Yes.”

KD: That must really stop them in their tracks. 

MW: To me breakfast is food in the morning. People can even bring in their own food.  I am cool with that. Most of the breakfast places don’t have coffee as good as ours. If it works out we may evolve into doing a pannini station back here, just like two different types. Something pretty low-impact on the Excelsior.

KD: What is pannini?

MW: It is an Italian type sandwich, grilled with eggplant and cheese and some kind of red sauce, for example. 

KD: How long have you been here?

MW: Two years, March 18th.

KD: How many jobs do you have?

MW: Two.

KD: Do you live in town or commute?

MW: I live in town now. A few summers ago I lived in a tent. 

KD: That should be requirement for when you first move here. 

MW: Just boycott rent all together. I didn’t have a campfire or food, I was too afraid of bears. I had a member ship at the athletic center for the shower part.

KD: You didn’t just date someone with a shower?

MW: No, I was actually living with my ex-boyfriend at the time.

KD: Were you ex’s then?

MW: No. It’s pretty close quarters in a tent.

Watch Sports, Lizard Heads Send Glenwood Packing, 6-1-1, By Martinique Davis

 Despite Saturday's blustery weather, Telluride Lizard Heads stormed the snow-covered Lizard Head Ice Garden and skated away with six wins, one tie, and one loss in what was likely the longest and most watched – and most victorious – day of home-rink hockey so far this season.

“Maybe our most victorious weekend ever. Telluride hockey was pretty hot," Peewees coach Kevin Swain said of the three Telluride teams’ sweep of their burly competition Glenwood Springs and Vail over the weekend.

The Squirts team (ages 9 and 10) revved up the long day of hockey in town park with an early-morning 4-1 win over Glenwood Springs. Though star players Sandy Brown and Sam Enbring had to sit the game out due to injuries they sustained in the Telluride Ski Area's Air Garden last weekend, Squirts coach Gerry Cecario says other players on the team stepped it up for both games.

The first goal of the game, which Willie Hess snuck by the Glenwood goalie was followed by teammate Tucker Brumley’s two consecutive goals. 

Towards the end of the game, it looked as though Telluride would have to battle more than just the stormy weather to retain their lead, when two Telluride players were required to do time in the penalty box, giving Glenwood a 5 to 3 player advantage. But Telluride’s shorthanded offense didn’t let up and Ivan Zeller plowed through his stacked competition to put in one more goal to secure the Telluride victory.

The Squirts had a rougher time in their second game of the day, battling the Glenwood squad who picked up the intensity after their earlier loss. After Zeller's first goal the Glenwood Squirts held Telluride to a 1-1 tie score until the last minutes before the final whistle. Telluride goalie Daniel Oldmixon kept the Glenwood offense at bay while his team scrambled and Max Walker-Silverman secured the team's second weekend win with a last-second shot.

The Telluride Peewees (ages 11-12) started the day ahead of Glenwood Springs 1-0, but in the final 37 seconds succumbed to a disappointing 1-1 tie when the Glenwood offense snatched a tie-making goal from Telluride goalie Carl Schroedl. 

Snow was a major factor in the first game, slowing down play and equalizing competition between players, said Swain. Once the ice was cleared and the snow storm subsided the Telluride Peewees stormed the rink and showed what they were really made of, beating Glenwood by a five-goal margin.

All of his skaters played an excellent game, with second-game goalie Gus Kenworthy shining in front of the net and allowing two goals past the goalline, Swain said.

“It was a good solid team effort – rock ‘em, sock ‘em hockey,” Swain said of the day’s games. “It was a fast day of hard-hitting hockey for sure. After the way the Peewees played this weekend, I feel pretty good that my team has a shot at the league tournament at the end of the season.”

The Bantams (age 14-15) were next on the rink, continuing the Telluride winning streak with a 3-1 win over the stacked Vail squad in their first game and finishing up with an impressive 6-2 win in their second game.

J.D. Kirkendoll and Kyle Ward each powered in three of the team’s goals for the day, with teammates Charlie Cohn and putting in two and David Conrad scoring one. Ward stayed on an extra-week after his holiday break to play with this weekend with the Lizard Heads.

Goalie Ryan Roth was a powerful force in front of the net throughout Saturday’s two games, said coach John Cohn.

Many of the Bantams continued on to play with the big boys in the Midgets (age 16 and above) league, who played the final two games of the day against Glenwood Springs.

“Those Bantams get out there and play with hearts the size of elephants,” Cohn said of younger players Kyle Ward, Lance Kipfer, and the rest of the squad. “They’ve been practicing, they’re in good shape, and they’re doing a great job busting their butts. A lot of these younger guys are out there facing up against guys that are 18 years old, but they can hold their own.”

Though the much-larger, in both size and stature, Glenwood Springs players played a rough game, Telluride contained the onslaught, Cohn said. The indomitable offensive might of Telluride skaters Stevie Hilbert, Lance Kipfer, Nick Kenworthy, Alex Smith, and Walker Melzer paled only in comparison to the sheer strength of Hanley Fansler in the net.

“Hanley is one of those players that can win the game for you,” said Cohn. “The guy’s a magician in the net.” The final score of the first game saw Telluride ahead 5-1, thanks to the slick skills of Telluride players Andrew Hess, Ian Fallenius, David Nepsky, and the Kyle and Colby Ward brother duo.

The only Telluride loss of the day came at the last game of the evening, when a figtht broke out between two players. With Telluride down by two goals in the final period, a Telluride's Alex Smith and a Glenwood player went at each other. Both players spent the rest of the game in the penalty box, with Telluride unable to make up the goal difference and falling to Glenwood 5-3.

Cohn called the fight “a disgusting display of sportsmanship.”

“We want our kids to play hockey and have a good time. Poor sportsmanship dilutes the program and is intolerable. It is not what we teach our kids,” he said. “But all in all, the club itself had a great day.”

All the coaches agreed that though their players displayed heroic acts out on the ice to bring six wins to the Lizard Head's season record, it was parents, spectators, and the Parks and Recreation Department that were the real heroes of the day. They kept the games rolling by pushing shovels by the dozen and clearing the quickly accumulating snow from the ice. 

“We wouldn’t have been able to play without the army of parents and others that went out to shovel off the ice between periods,” said Swain. He gave special credit and thanks to Parks and Rec employees Rich Hamilton, Sally Jones, and Ron Brumley. “We’re looking forward to the covered pavilion!” he says.

This weekend the Mites (7 and under) traveled to Gunnison for that town's Hockey Festival and brought home their own winning weekend, taking a top spot.

The Women's Box Canyon Beavers brought home the gold from the festival, as well, winning two games against Crested Butte and one against Gunnison.

The next Lizard Head home games take place next weekend, when the Midgets meet Craig on Saturday at 9 and 11 a.m. The Men’s Team will then play Durango at 6:30 p.m.

The Midgets will play more games on Sunday, against Summit/Breckenridge at 8:15 and 11:45 a.m.  The Bantams will play Glenwood Springs at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

A Steak House Where a Vegetarian Can Feast, Culinary Tracts, By Seth Cagin

 Your family is in town and the question is where to go for dinner. Your father is in his usual mood for a thick, juicy steak. Your sister is a vegetarian. You think: the New Sheridan Chop House – the steakhouse where a vegetarian can feast.

This could not be more counterintuitive, of course. The New Sheridan Chop House observes the classic chophouse regimen, featuring prime rib, filet, NY strips and sirloin, with sauces and sides of your choice. 

“A chop house is a restaurant where the product speaks for itself,” says chef Paul Atkinson. The philosophy, he adds, is to serve the “best possible beef, fish, game and lobster,” with the emphasis on beef, of course, and to prepare it simply so that the chef “does not overpower but complements the identity of the beef and its quality.”

In classic chophouse fashion, the New Sheridan seeks out the best Grade A beef it can find, pays handsomely for it, grills it expertly and serves it simply. This is why your dad and I love a chophouse and are willing to pay chophouse prices for a sirloin, at least once or twice a year: you simply can’t buy this quality of beef at the local grocery store. Even in a big city it’s difficult to find a butcher that can match what the Mortonses, the Palms, and the New Sheridan Chophouses of the world snatch up. High-end steakhouses are a rare category of restaurant whose market niche is secured by the absolute scarcity of what they serve.

“We get our beef from Lombardy Meats,” Atkinson reveals. “There’s no better beef.”

But if the nation’s great chophouses have cornered the market on great beef, what sets them apart, mostly, is what they serve alongside that beef, and this is where the New Sheridan shines. At a classic steak house it’s a no-brainer: you’ll have hash browns or a baked potato and creamed spinach with that sirloin. At the New Sheridan, choosing your sides may take a bit more thought.

Anasazi Beans? Green Chile Polenta? Quinoa with Bing Cherries and Pecans? Spaghetti Squash with Sauce Alfredo? Fennel Roasted then Fried?

And here’s where your vegetarian sister will find herself happily overwhelmed, and maybe just a bit flummoxed by this restaurant’s category-bending ways. How is it that a chophouse can measure up to the most pretentious San Francisco vegetarian restaurant?  A plate of four or five New Sheridan Chophouse sides ($4 each) would make for an entirely satisfying vegetarian meal.

Those Anasazi beans, to start, are a nod to Telluride’s geographical place in the Southwest – they’re from Dove Creek – but its likely that the ancient Puebloans, who first cultivated these beans, never tasted the combination of spices Atkinson uses to season them. Atkinson's beans are faintly smoky with chili accents, but far more complex than barbecue.

And for the spaghetti squash Atkinson takes a cue from its name and treats that elegant gourd like a pasta, to wonderful effect. A basic, but rich and elegant foodstuff, Fettuccini Alfredo suits any chophouse; at the Chop House Spaghetti Squash Alfredo twists and modernizes the idea. It tastes overwhelmingly of Alfredo, but with an undercurrent of squash flavor.

If you are a longtime Chop House patron you will be glad to know that the menu retains one wildly original item from the original menu: Fried Spinach with Parmesan and Soy. No, this is not sautéed spinach, with which you are surely familiar. This spinach really is deep-fried and crispy giving it a nutty taste that is nearly addictive.

Though with the exception of the spinach and the obligatory chops the menu at the Chophouse is new this season, Atkinson is not exactly new to the kitchen. He was the restaurant’s first chef some eight years back. He had left by the time Lesley Brown and her father, Harmon Brown, of Harmon’s at the Depot, took over management of the restaurant in July 2001. After working as a private chef for the past few years, he returned to take the reins at the New Sheridan this off-season.

Atkinson and the Browns clearly took their time creating the menu.

“You start with the understanding that the chophouse concept was working well,” Atkinson said. “It’s right for the space, it’s right for the location and for the building.”

A steakhouse, he explained, should be on a prominent downtown corner in a venerable hotel with huge plate glass windows. “Either that or in a basement!”

Starting with the steakhouse premise leads to the required filet ($27) and sirloin ($52 for two), and major fish entrees like tuna ($25) and swordfish ($24). And the addition of live Maine lobster fits the formula. From there, it gets more creative.

“Our typical patron has eaten at all the great chophouses, at Morton’s and Ruth’s Chris,” Atkinson explains. “And probably likes them, so while we kept to the theme, we wanted to add a few different accents.”

To that end, the menu is rounded out with game, another holdover from the original New Sheridan Chop House menu, partly because game suits a resort restaurant by allowing visitors to experience something just a little different.

Further venturing forth from the strict steakhouse motif, however, Atkinson added a number of braised items to the menu. It’s no secret that short ribs ($20) and lamb shanks ($24) – less expensive cuts of meat – are popular during hard economic times. But diners enjoy these items, when they’ve been expertly braised, at absolutely no sacrifice in flavor.

The Chop House’s short ribs come from the same beef that provide the sirloins and filets, Atkinson points out, so he is starting with a superior piece of meat. He dusts them with chili and flour before searing them, deglazes the pan with red wine, braises the meat in veal stock with carrots, celery and onion for hours – “slowly, slowly,” he emphasizes. After they’re cooked, the ribs are chilled overnight, facilitating the removal of the fat the next morning. Then, when an order is placed, they’re reheated, “slowly, slowly.”  No wonder they melt in the mouth and deliver a giant flavor.

“If a table orders a couple of steaks and a couple of braised items, it works well for the kitchen,” Atkinson explained, allowing the cooks on the line to concentrate on the grill while those slow-cooked braised items slowly reheat.

Lesley Brown admits to being surprised by how popular some of the more unusual items on the menu have proven to be. The grilled radicchio appetizer, for example, is a big seller, as is the braised rabbit. One of his favorite meats, Atkinson says, rabbit is especially “wine friendly.”

That suits Brown, who says it is a goal to “get a bottle of wine on every table.”

Having grown up at California Spottiswoode winery, which her father once owned, and worked at Robert Modavi and run a wine importing business in Hong Kong, Brown is especially proud of the New Sheridan wine list.

“It’s the most reasonable in town, with more variety and less of a mark-up,” she says. Because the restaurant’s owners, the Leucadia Corp, owns several wineries, Pine Ridge Winery and Archery Summit Winery are featured.

Dessert at the New Sheridan sticks with the “comfort food” theme of a chophouse, Brown says, with four or five specials offered nightly.

One night this week it was chocolate dipped strawberries with vanilla ice cream and a Gran Marnier sauce. Think of it as a gift to family togetherness. Odds are that by the time you get to dessert, both your meat-eating dad and vegetarian sister will be mighty comforted by the dessert they can both enjoy.

Lady Miners Lose One to Grand Valley, Team Struggles to Keep Errors Down, By Elizabeth Heerwagen


In their first game of the new year, the Varsity Girls Basketball team started on a rough note with a 47-67 loss to Grand Valley on Saturday. Although the Lady Miners continued their trend of lagging far behind, Coach Michael Lee felt that his team was always within reach of winning the game. However, it “just wasn’t our night,” said Lee who recognizes that his team played well in spurts, but “never really put it together.”

Too many fouls and poor rebounding left the Lady Miners vulnerable and the Grand Valley offense took advantage of each error. In spite of their mistakes, the girls continued to press Grand Valley and at times contained their offense, but they turned the ball over and fouled too frequently which made it impossible for them to pull ahead.

The high number of fouls, 25 team fouls for both Telluride and Grand Valley, made for “a slow, wierd game,” said Lee. As a result, the girls “never got in the flow” and lacked the fast-paced rhythm that they are accustomed to.

Though the LadyMiners had a strong second quarter, they did not maintain the level of play for the rest of the game. For instance, Telluride collectively scored 19 points in the second quarter, helping them to cut the lead to 37-28 at the half. However, the Lady Miners only scored the same amount of points as they did in the second quarter, 19 points, in the entire second half.

By the fourth quarter, the Miners cut Grand Valley's lead to 7, but when Grand Valley scored an additional 10 points from the free throw line, they surged ahead of the Lady Miners once and for all.

That Telluride shot only 55 percent from the free throw line, making only 15 of 27 of their shots did not help them either. Meanwhile, Grand Valley capitalized on Telluride’s fouls, putting in their free throws to increase their lead on the scoreboard. By the fourth quarter, four of the Lady Miners' top six players had fouled out of the game.

While nobody on his team played particularly well, Lee said, Saturday's games did not represent the true ability of his team. Typically, accurate shooters, on Saturday the Lady Miners shot poorly and turned the ball over close to 25 times. Chelsey Padilla lead her team with 13 baskets; she was followed closely by Inga Johansson’s 11 points and Kimber Hall’s 6 points.

Lee said his team has the potential to beat Grand Valley and he has planned a tough week of practice to iron out the wrinkles in his team's playing. In particular, the girls need to improve their free throws and rebounds to prepare themselves for successful league play.

Next weekend the Lady Miners will have two opportunities to pull the season into line and put a few wins under their belts. On Friday, the girls play Crested Butte at 5:30 p.m. at home. The Lady Miners have already taken a win from the Butte team, in a 57-18 game  played before the holiday break.

Following the girls' game at 7:00 p.m., the boys varsity team is scheduled to play Crested Butte as well. With the addition of new players who have now gone through the allotted number of practices required to be eligible for league play, the boys will resume with their season.

Continuing the busy weekend of basketball, both the girls varsity and junior varsity teams, and the boys varsity travel to Mancos on Saturday for more games.






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