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Coal Ridge’s Garrison sweeps sprints at 3A state meet, Titans take 2nd; Demons’ Sandoval 3rd in 4A boys 200, 4th in 100

Coal Ridge senior sprinter Peyton Garrison leads the Titans’ 800 sprint medley relay to first place Saturday at the 3A State Track & Field Championships at JeffCo Stadium in Lakewood. Garrison also defended her individual 100-, 200- and 400-meter titles on Sunday.
Cody Jones/Summit Daily

Coal Ridge senior Peyton Garrison defended her state titles in the 100- 200- and 400-meter events Sunday, as the Lady Titans fought hard but came up just short in their team title defense, finishing second to Liberty Common at the Class 3A State Track & Field Championships at Jeffco Stadium in Lakewood.

Garrison outran Liberty Common’s Katie Wrona in the 100 with a winning time of 12.41 seconds. Wrona crossed in 12.77, followed by Alamosa’s Aani Hardesty in 13.01, and Basalt’s Jacey Read was fourth at 13.02 seconds.

Garrison was tops again in the 400 with a time of 54.97 seconds (her prelim time of 54.71 seconds on Thursday was a new state meet record, as well as a personal best and new school record). She finished way ahead of Strasburg’s Peighton Marrero at 58.13 seconds and Halle Hamilton’s third-place finish of 58.46 seconds. Liberty Common’s Lily Morrison was fourth in 58.49 seconds.

Coal Ridge's Peyton Garrison got emotional after crossing the finish line first in the 200-meter dash during the final day of the Colorado High School Activities Association Track and Field Championships at on Sunday, May 22, at Jeffco Stadium.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Next up was the 200-meter final where Garrison again broke the tape first with a time of 24.82 seconds, another school record. It was the second straight year Garrison swept the sprint events at state. She also helped the Titans’ 800 sprint medley relay win on Saturday.

“It’s truly exciting to watch, she truly gets faster every week,” Titans head coach Ben Kirk said of Garrison, who is committed to run at the collegiate level for Montana State University next year.

“With her work ethic and her competitiveness within herself and with the sport, and with some better coaching at the college level, she’s only going to continue to improve,” he said.

Liberty Common was stacked in the 200 event, with Wrona again taking second in 26.19 seconds, and teammates Lily Morrison in fifth at 26.6 seconds and Gigi Jurgens taking seventh in 26.90.

Titans senior Natalie Smythe had a fifth-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles final, with a time of 46.15 seconds, and Titan Brilee Jensen took fifth in the shot put with a throw of 35 feet, 6 inches.

In the 4×100 relay, the Titans squad of Mary Bolitho, Rilyn Krueger, Jackie Camunez and Nicole Herrera took fifth in 50.87 seconds. Liberty Common won the event with time of 49.35.

Junior Mikayla Cheney placed seventh in the 1600 meters in a season-best time of 5:04.44. Basalt junior Katelyn Maley was fourth in the event at 5:00.06, and teammate Ava Lane was 10th in 5:10.49.

Coal Ridge junior Mikayla Cheney, right, competes in the 3A girls 1600 meters during the Colorado High School Track and Field Championships Sunday in Lakewood
Cody Jones/Summit Daily

Liberty Common’s Isabel Allori won the 1600 in a meet record time of 4:55.12 to give her Eagles team an insurmountable lead.

To top things off for Coal Ridge, in the final event of the weekend, the Titans 4×400 relay team of Camunez, Krueger, Smythe and Cheney claimed gold, finishing first in 4:01.66.

“It was a big gamble to put Peyton in the medley instead, but the rest of the girls really responded. It was a big moment for them,” Kirk said.

With all events scored in the 3A girls meet, Coal Ridge had 86 points, second to Liberty Common’s 98. Basalt finished sixth with 41 points.

Another top podium finish for the Titans came in the 800-meter sprint medley, with Bolitho, Herrera, Garrison and Camunez crossing first Saturday in 1:48.19.

A trio of discus throwers — Addy Davis, Brilee Jensen and Abigail Wittenberg — also stepped up big time, finishing in the points at seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively, to keep Coal Ridge in the mix.

One hiccup for the Titans came Saturday in the 4×200 relay where Coal Ridge was the second-fastest qualifier out of the prelims. A clerical error on the relay card submitted by Kirk resulted in the team being disqualified from the finals, leaving some valuable points on the table.

“The kids bounced back well, and we had a team meeting and talked about trying to get 80 points. We ended up with 86, so that was big,” Kirk said.

The top athlete for the Coal Ridge boys was senior Eddie Salazar, who placed fourth in the 3A long jump with a leap of 21 feet, 0.5 inches. And, the Titans 4×400 relay team of Omar Vergara, James Webber, Dylan Campbell and AJ Montes took fifth with a time of 3:28.04.

Glenwood’s Sandoval shines

Also making the podium twice on Sunday was Glenwood Springs High School sophomore Joaquin Sandoval in the 4A boys 100 and 200 meters.

Sandoval finished fourth in the 100, matching his season-best time at 11.15 seconds, and a short time later took third in the 200 meters with a time of 22.59 seconds.

After barely making it into the 100 finals from the Thursday prelims, grabbing the ninth and final slot, Sandoval counted himself lucky to podium twice.

“Having to wait out the weather, I was pretty anxious to get out there and compete,” Sandoval said in a phone interview, referring to Friday’s postponement of the state track meet due to the spring snowstorm.

“It felt pretty good seeing my name up there twice,” he said. “I felt pretty strong in the 200, and just had to find that second gear for a little bit extra to be able to pull through.”

Sandoval said he looks forward to a return to the state meet his junior year, with sights on improving his 400-meter time as well and teaming up with some fellow Demons to try to qualify in some sprint relays.

State track meet results by day

Basalt’s Katelyn Maley and Coal Ridge’s Mikayla Cheney, outside lanes, at the start of the 3A girls 800 meter finals Saturday, May 21, at the Colorado High School Track and Field Championships at Jeffco Stadium.| Cody Jones/Summit Daily


4A boys 100M: Joaquin Sandoval, Glenwood Springs, fourth (11.15 seconds)

4A boys 200M: Joaquin Sandoval, Glenwood Springs, third (22.59)

3A girls 100M: Peyton Garrison, Coal Ridge, first (12.41); Jacey Read, Basalt, fourth (13.02)

3A girls 400M: Peyton Garrison, Coal Ridge, first (54.97)

3A girls 200M: Peyton Garrison, Coal Ridge, first (24.82)

3A girls 300M hurdles: Natalie Smythe, Coal Ridge, fifth (46.15)

3A girls shot put: Brilee Jensen, Coal Ridge, fifth (35 feet, 6 inches)

3A girls 4×100 relay: Coal Ridge, fifth (50.87)

3A girls 1600M: Katelyn Maley, Basalt, fourth (5 minutes, 0.06 seconds); Mikayla Cheney, Coal Ridge, seventh (5:04.44); Ava Lane, Basalt, 10th (5:10.49)

3A girls 4×400 relay: Coal Ridge (Jackie Camunez, Rilyn Krueger, Natalie Smythe and Mikayla Cheney), first (4:01.66).

3A girls long jump: Vanessa Bryant, Basalt, 14th (15-8)

3A boys long jump: Eddie Salazar, Coal Ridge, fourth (21 feet, 0.5 inches); Kade Bishop, Rifle, seventh (20-7); Gavin Webb, Basalt, 14th (19-2)

3A boys high jump: Gavin Webb, Basalt, ninth (5-9)

3A boys 4×400 relay: Coal Ridge (Omar Vergara, James Webber, Dylan Campbell and AJ Montes), fifth 3:28.04.


4A girls 800M: Sophia Connerton-Nevin, 17th (2:24)

4A girls long jump: Breauna Sorensen, Glenwood Springs, 10th (16-6.25)

3A girls 800M sprint medley: Coal Ridge (Mary Bolitho, Nicole Herrera, Peyton Garrison, Jackie Camunez), first (1:48.19)

3A girls discus: Addy Davis, Coal Ridge, seventh (107-08); Brilee Jensen, Coal Ridge, eighth (107-01); Abigail Wittenberg, Coal Ridge, ninth (106-09)

3A girls 4×200 relay: Basalt (Jacey Read, Vanessa Bryant, Ava Lane, Katelyn Maley), fourth (1:46.22); Coal Ridge (disqualified on technical violation)

3A girls 800M: Katelyn Maley, Basalt, first (2:13.27); Ava Lane, Basalt, fourth (2:14.82); Mikayla Cheney, Coal Ridge, eighth (2:17.42)

3A girls pole vault: Jamie Caron, Rifle, ninth (8-08); Sophia Craig, Rifle, 11th (8-02); Haven Prodzinski, Coal Ridge, 14th (8-02); Liliana Schmitz, Coal Ridge, 18th (7-08)

3A girls high jump: Lydia Karren, Coal Ridge, 14th (4-09)

3A boys shot put: Troy Mataia, Rifle, fifth (season-best 45 feet, 0.25 inches)

3A boys pole vault: Patrick Whitt, Rifle, fifth (11-06); Justin Richel, Coal Ridge, seventh (11-06); Emjai Holder, ninth (11-06)

2A boys discus: Jacob Doyle, Grand Valley, fourth (144-06)

2A boys triple jump: Kade Sackett, Grand Valley, 11th (39-0.75)


4A girls triple jump: Ana Shea, Glenwood Springs, 16th (31-10.25)

4A girls high jump: Ana Shea, Glenwood Springs, 13th (4-9)

3A girls 3200M: Katelyn Maley, Basalt, third (11:14.65); Mikayla Cheney, Coal Ridge, sixth (11:18.96)

3A girls triple jump: Natalie Smythe, Coal Ridge, fourth (35-6.75)

3A girls high jump: Lydia Karren, Coal Ridge, 14th (4-9)

3A boys pole vault: Patrick Whitt, Rifle, fifth (11-6); Justin Richel, Coal Ridge, seventh (11-6); Emjai Holder, Coal Ridge, ninth (11-6)

3A boys triple jump: Eddie Salazar, Coal Ridge, 18th (38-8)

3A boys discus: Marlon Nelson, Basalt, ninth (127-1); Jason Prado, Rifle, 18th (107-11)

The state meet got underway Thursday. However, a weather front that brought snow to the Front Range postponed Friday’s event schedule altogether. The meet resumed Saturday afternoon.

In 4A girls results on opening day, Glenwood Springs 4×800 relay team of Maria Carlson, Sophia Connerton-Nevin, Quinn Waaler and Madison Stewart placed 17th with a time of 10:35.34; and freshman Ana Shea was 16th in the triple jump with a mark of 31 feet, 3 inches, and 13th in the high jump at 4 feet, 9 inches.

Also competing for Glenwood but not making it to the finals were junior Ruby Patch, 13th in the 100-meter hurdles prelims, 16.4 seconds; and senior Maria Carlson, 18th in the 400 meters at 1:03.65 seconds.

Basalt’s Katelyn Maley and Coal Ridge’s Mikayla Cheney lead the pack to start the 3A girls 800-meter final Saturday at the Colorado High School Track and Field Championships at Jeffco Stadium in Lakewood.
Cody Jones/Summit Daily

The Day 1 showcase was the girls 3200-meter run, where Basalt’s Maley finished third with a time of 11 minutes, 14.65 seconds. Coal Ridge’s Cheney was sixth with a season-best time of 11:18.96.

In other Thursday finals, Titans senior Smythe placed fourth in the triple jump with a season-best leap of 35 feet, 6.75 inches. Out of the scoring were Lydia Karren, 14th in the high jump (4 feet, 9 inches), and the 4×800 relay team of Araceli Ayala, Taylee Richards, Brooklyn Richards and Haven Prodzinski, placing 12th with a time of 10:26.

For the 3A boys, Coal Ridge’s Justin Richel and Emjai Holder placed seventh and ninth, respectively, in the pole vault, both clearing 11-6; the Titans 4×800 relay of Tyler Parker, Dylan Campbell, William Parra and Isaac Thompson was 17th in 8:51.61; and junior Eddie Salazar was 18th in the triple jump at 38-8.

Rifle’s Patrick Whitt was fifth in the pole vault, also clearing 11-6, and the Bears’ Jason Prado finished 18th in the discus, with the throw of 107-11.

Among the 2A boys, Grand Valley’s Kade Sackett was 15th in the long jump with a mark of 18-7.

Roaring Fork’s Kyra Reeds took part in the girls 100-meter hurdles prelims on Thursday, finishing 14th in 17.87 seconds. She did not qualify for finals.

The Basalt boys were led Thursday by senior Marlon Nelson, who finished ninth in the discus throw finals. His best toss reached 127 feet, 1 inch, coming on his second throw. Woodland Park’s Sam Johnson won with a throw of 137-02.

Other area relay teams finishing out of the qualifying Thursday were the Coal Ridge boys 4×200 relay of Omar Vega, James Webber, Sergio Jaquez and Eddie Salazar, 12th (1:32.84), and Rifle’s 4×200 team of Jorge Villagrana, Ethan Wolf, Daniel Hernandez and Peyton Prettyman, 13th (1:33.71).


PHOTOS: Sunshine returns for Glenwood Springs High School Class of 2022 graduation

Graduates of Glenwood Springs High School class of 2022 toss their caps into the air during Saturday's commencement ceremony.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

The clouds parted and the sun made a welcomed appearance at Stubler Memorial Field for Saturday’s Glenwood Springs High School class of 2022 commencement ceremony. After a day of snow and rain, the 211 graduates gathered for one last time to commemorate four years of high school including a two year pandemic that began during their sophomore year.

Also recognized during the ceremony was the sudden loss of a fellow classmate and the brutal assault of another. The graduating class of 2022 honored each of the victims and their families by donating $500 to each as this year’s senior gift.

Class of 2022 graduates walk onto Stubler Memorial Field for Saturday's Glenwood Springs High School commencement ceremony.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent
Graduates walk to receive their diplomas in front of family and friends at Saturday's Glenwood Springs High School class of 2022 commencement ceremony.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent
Glenwood Springs High School class of 2022 graduates salute the flag during the National Anthem at the start of Saturday's commencement ceremony.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent
Graduates congratulate each other during the Glenwood Springs High School class of 2022 commencement ceremony on Saturday.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent
Friends and family of graduates fill Stubler Memorial Field at Saturday's Glenwood Springs High School class of 2022 commencement ceremony.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent
The graduating class of 2022 celebrate a fellow graduate during Saturday's Glenwood Springs High School commencement ceremony.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent
Glenwood Springs High School principal Paul Freeman looks back and acknowledges the graduating class of 2022 during Saturday's commencement ceremony.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent
Glenwood Springs High School class of 2022 honor fallen classmate Brian Guzman who died unexpectedly in April.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent
Glenwood Springs High School class of 2022 graduates look out into the crowd for family and friends at the start of Saturday's commencement ceremony.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent
Two graduates of the Glenwood Springs High School class of 2022 lead a chant during the closing of Saturday's commencement ceremony.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent
Glenwood Springs High School class of 2022 valedictorian Ethan Erdman and salutatorian Katelyn Brennan take the stage to address their fellow classmates and graduates during Saturday's commencement ceremony.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent
Graduates smile to each other during Saturday's Glenwood Springs High School class of 2022 commencement ceremony.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent
Glenwood Springs High School class of 2022 valedictorian Ethan Erdman shakes hands with a fellow graduate while returning to his seat after addressing the class during Saturday's commencement ceremony.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Visual Journalist Chelsea Self can be reached at 970-384-9108 or cself@postindependent.com

Glenwood Springs swimmer Amy Madsen signs with Puget Sound

Glenwood Springs High School senior swimmer Amy Madsen has signed to swim for the University of Puget Sound.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Amy Madsen vividly remembers her first-ever swim race as a member of the Sopris Barracudas team when she was just 6.

“I was incredibly nervous, and I didn’t know if I wanted to swim,” the Glenwood Springs High School senior said. “But my mom was like, ‘You know what, just do this one race and tell me how it feels.’

“I touched that wall first, and I was like, ‘Mom, did you see that!’ I just fell in love with swimming immediately,” said Madsen, who made her mark for several years at the club level with the Barracudas and Team Sopris, and went on to be one of the most consistent members of the GSHS varsity swim team.

Recently, Madsen decided to take her talents to the collegiate level, signing her National Letter of Intent to swim for the University of Puget Sound, where she plans to attend college.

Madsen is the daughter of Stevie and Corey Madsen, and grew up in Glenwood Springs attending Sopris Elementary, Glenwood Springs Middle and Glenwood Springs High schools.

She played other youth sports and tried cross country running for a season in high school, but swimming has always been her sports passion, Madsen said.

After placing second at the 3A State Championships in February in the 100 freestyle and swimming as part of the Demons state champion 200 freestyle relay team, Madsen began to set her sights on swimming in college.

But the right fit was important, she said.

“I went for a couple of visits this past year and talked to the coach there, and Puget just really checks off everything on my list,” said Madsen, 17, who eventually plans to pursue a master’s degree in physical therapy after studying exercise science during her undergraduate years.

“I looked at some other schools in California and Oregon, and it was definitely a hard decision. But I’m more than sure that I made the right one,” she said.

Madsen said she embraced swimming as a young athlete because she likes that it’s an individual sport, but with a strong team bonding component.

“All my best friends are on the swim team, and I love the idea of working on improving yourself and racing against the clock and trying to improve your previous PRs (personal records),” she said. “I’m also just super competitive, and as a team we all push each other a lot.”

Glenwood Springs High School senior Amy Madsen, center, was joined by her parents Stevie and Corey Madsen at her official National Letter of Intent signing to swim for the University of Puget Sound after she graduates high school later this month.
Glenwood Springs High School Athletics/Courtesy photo

Longtime Barracudas and Demons swim coach Steve Vanderhoof said it was evident early on that Madsen had a great feel for the water.

He remembers when she was 12 and won the Colorado State club championship in the 100 freestyle.

“Amy’s championship helped bring Team Sopris from a struggling 30-member team six years ago to nearly 100 swimmers today,” Vanderhoof said. “Her championship displayed to her teammates what is possible.”

That mentorship carried over to the Demons relay team this past season, and was a big part of them winning the state championship, he said.

“We are all very excited for Amy, and I believe Puget Sound University will be a better place with Amy on the team,” Vanderhoof said.

Madsen said she expects to continue concentrating on the freestyle sprint events, although she has worked to improve her breaststroke in the sprints, as well.

“My best event is still the 100 freestyle, followed by the 50 free,” she said, adding she hopes to land a spot on the Loggers’ sprint relays.

Puget Sound competes at the NCAA Division III level, so her signing does not include an athletic scholarship. Madsen said she was able to make that up with several academic and club swimming scholarships.

“Division III can still be super fast, so it’s very competitive,” Madsen said. “But I definitely wanted to focus a little bit more on my education than swimming, but swimming is still a very big and important part of my life.”

Madsen also loves being a role model for her much-younger siblings, ages 2 and 4.

“My 4-year-old sister is probably actually going to start swimming for the Barracudas,” she said. “They have the competitive genes, for sure, and they like to try and race me whenever we go to the pool.”

As a family, she said her family is more into running and triathlons. She said she also enjoys competing in triathlons, and will likely continue to do triathlon races for fun.

“I’ve done quite a few with my mom over the past few years,” Madsen said. “It’s just something really fun to do and train together.”

Mom Stevie Madsen said Puget Sound should be a great fit for her daughter.

“I am very excited for Amy,” she said. “University of Puget Sound has a competitive swim program, and a very strong sense of community. I’m very excited for her to take this next step.”

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or jstroud@postindependent.com.

Town council wants to see action to determine if Krabloonik has a ‘path forward’ in Snowmass

Dogs bark in their kennels at the end of the day at Krabloonik in Snowmass Village on Monday, March 14, 2022. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

If the owners of Krabloonik Dog Sledding want to continue leasing their property on Divide Road from the town of Snowmass Village, they’ll need to provide easy-to-understand records and plans for an off-tether exercise, adoption, retirement and spay and neuter programs for the dogs to the town by May 2.

That would help the council “determine if we’ve got a path forward,” Mayor Bill Madsen said — key word being ‘if.’

The Snowmass Village Town Council determined at an April 11 work session that Krabloonik was in default on its lease with the town because the facility’s owners had not met commitments made in the Best Practices Plan attached to the lease.

Madsen set the May 2 deadline, asking Krabloonik co-owner Danny Phillips to provide plans and “real records that we can manage” for those adoption, retirement, exercise and spay and neuter programs.

“I think that from where I sit, that path forward has to be, how is Krabloonik going to evolve to become this state-of-the-art operation, so that you can function, so the dogs are in the best place possible, and you’re providing an amenity that is a real asset to Snowmass Village, and so we don’t get caught in the minutia of it,” Madsen said.

“If you’re doing that, then I think you have a viable business, and if we can’t get to that point, then maybe, you know, dog sledding in Snowmass has run its course,” he added. “But I think that there’s a way that that can happen, and I want you to be able to show us how that’s done.”

Phillips requested a detailed, written request from the town by the end of the week and said he was “blown away” by the meeting, which had initially been proposed as a meet-and-greet for the members Best Practices Review Committee and a general overview of the Best Practices Plan. He said discussing the lease and potential violations was “super disrespectful” to a committee with five newcomers who had come in to learn more about their roles.

“I think we should have never had our Best Practices Review Committee in here and be discussing the lease at the same time,” Phillips said. “What a hell of a way to start out on the bad foot. This is awful, and whatever that you guys would like, I’d like to have it in writing, so I can do it right and have it in by May 2. And I think this was a horrible meeting to set these people up with all of this. It’s not fair to these people that came in here.”

Madsen had said earlier in the meeting that the town’s responsibility was the lease and that the Best Practices Review Committee Plan was part of that. He said the town was “just trying to follow that process” of review laid out in the lease, and that the town would need to see plans and records for programs in question “relatively shortly” in order to move forward.

Concerns about animal welfare and Krabloonik’s operations reached a boiling point during the heated discussion with Phillips and members of the Krabloonik Best Practices Review Committee this week, but the issues have been bubbling for months.

A Feb. 8 supplemental report from committee member Seth Sachson (previously the only remaining member of the group) identified lapses in the commitments Krabloonik made in its Best Practices Plan. Council also received separate reports from two former Krabloonik employees, both alleging poor living conditions for the dogs, very limited veterinary care, understaffing and minimal time off-tether for the animals.

Krabloonik has caught the attention of state and local officials and activists nationwide over animal welfare concerns, and the facility was sued in two separate lawsuits related to sled crashes and collisions last year. The Pitkin County Sherriff’s Office issued an arrest warrant for a former Krabloonik musher on one charge of misdemeanor animal abuse that was recorded on video during a tour earlier this winter.

Council has also received more than 1,000 emails since last Friday expressing concerns about Krabloonik’s operations, Madsen said. Many were form emails copied and pasted, Councilman Tom Goode said, but not all of them are “bogus” and “somewhere there’s got to be some truth in there.”

Action and documentation

Phillips maintains that he was not aware that the Best Practices Plan would be part of the lease when it was developed in 2015, but he and Krabloonik co-owner Gina Phillips did sign off on the lease with the plan attached.

He also has said that he faced challenges with adopting out sled dogs to the right homes and that during the pandemic, Krabloonik tapered off on spaying and neutering dogs amid limited resources. Phillips has said he wants to adopt out dogs and reduce the kennel numbers to 100 working dogs but there are still more than the lease-dictated maximum of 175 dogs onsite. The town had verbally given the Phillips leniency on the total number of dogs on the property in 2021 and flexibility on the adoption program in 2018 with but council members are now adamant about action.

Sachson, who is the director of the Aspen Animal Shelter and president of the Friends of the Aspen Animal Shelter, said at the meeting Monday night that he could round up at least 50 people who could speak to the success of adopting a Krabloonik sled dog from the animal shelter and that the Friends of the Aspen Animal Shelter was “always willing” to financially support spaying and neutering of Krabloonik dogs.

Off-tether exercise for the dogs was also a prominent concern at the meeting.

State regulations from the Pet Animal Care Facilities Act (PACFA) prohibit the use of dog houses with chains as an enclosure, but dog sled facilities in good standing can request a waiver if they submit and implement an exercise and training plan for the dogs, according to PACFA rules.

Phillips had provided to the town and to PACFA documents showing the exercise records and spay and neuter tracking program. Copies of the charts show slashes (a / symbol) to mark a minimum of one hour off-tether for a dog on a given day, according to an email from a Krabloonik Reservations address to PACFA inspector Kari Kishiyama.

Bill Fabrocini, now a member of the review committee, had acquired the charts via a public records request from PACFA and sent a link to a Dropbox folder containing the charts from the fulfilled request to The Aspen Times.

Sample off-season charts show, for many dogs, one slash every six days, indicating about one hour off of the chain for that dog each week. Charts during the winter season when dogs are running sleds look much busier, and many dogs have five to seven slashes in a row on the chart, denoting at least an hour off the chain attached to their house almost every day of the week. Year-round, charts indicate that several retired dogs are off-tether all the time.

Former Krabloonik employees as well as some committee members and council members have identified the impact of limited staffing on Krabloonik’s ability to ensure all dogs get time off tether.

Krabloonik had between one and four employees in the offseason of 2021 and as of mid-March 2022 had nine animal-related staff, Phillips wrote in a March 15 email; Krabloonik has had nearly 200 dogs on site at times, though that number has decreased as some dogs were brought to the Aspen Animal Shelter for adoption. Krabloonik is currently supposed to give each dog two hours of off-tether exercise per week, Phillips said.

Councilwoman Alyssa Shenk and Madsen questioned whether the records were sufficient proof that the dogs actually got off their tethers. Fabrocini also raised concerns about the authenticity of the charts and who completed them.

“I want to know, as I would hope you would want to know, who signed off on these charts,” Fabrocini told the council.

“There’s a lot of details that go into that chart, which you’re right, you’re missing, and you need that information,” Fabrocini added. “But the most important information is, who are the employees on site? You need to know that regularly.”

Though the documents include a space for a musher to sign off on the records, that space is left blank on the charts Krabloonik provided to PACFA.

“I’m sorry, but I don’t believe it’s happening,” Shenk said. “So for me, little checks on a paper aren’t working. … It’s obviously been questioned by a lot of people within the community and other places, so I mean, I don’t know — I don’t know what the evidence should be, I’m not in this business, but it seems like it has to be something more than that, because anyone could come in and just scribble things on a piece of paper.”

Finding the ‘path forward’

Madsen and other council members like Goode and Tom Fridstein said that they see a role for Krabloonik as an amenity for the town if everything is done right and the facility meets all requirements and best practices. But they also said they need more substantive proof and a course of action to know that everything will be implemented as promised.

“We have a lot of people that are after us to ‘do the right thing,’ and basically shut Danny down,” Goode said. “I’m not anxious to shut you down. I think the town needs that icon, for Krabloonik to be there. Now, it’s been there for a long time, and I think it needs to be improved, and I think that’s the job, in my opinion, the job for the (Best Practices Review Committee).”

Madsen said he sees reports from the review committee as a way to advise the town on how to find that way to move forward, and that he sees program documentation as a way to prove that Krabloonik is improving.

Shenk said she would like to see both reports from the review committee and action from Krabloonik at the same time, without waiting for more reports to prompt more discussion.

“We have to see action on these things, I have to see action on these things,” Shenk said. “I can’t sit and just say, ‘OK, you know, let you guys go out, make and report and come back to us.’ They have to happen simultaneously, in my opinion.”


Monday’s meeting was originally proposed as a way for the six members of the volunteer Krabloonik Best Practices Review Committee to meet with one another and with the town council, and to discuss their role and the rules of the Best Practices Plan attached to Krabloonik’s lease. Five of the six members are new to the committee.

After the Best Practices Review Committee dwindled to just one member in February, the town and Krabloonik appointed five new members to fill vacant seats on the six-person committee. According to the terms established in their lease, Krabloonik’s owners get to choose three members and the town council chooses the other three.

Seth Sachson, the director of the Aspen Animal Shelter and president of the affiliated Friends of the Aspen Animal Shelter group, is the one member who has remained on the board since its inception in 2015. He is a town appointee, which left two other spots for council to fill.

The two other town-selected members are Bill Fabrocini and Karyn E. Spiropolous.

Fabrocini co-founded the Voices for the Krabloonik Dogs (later renamed Voices for the Sled Dogs) and was ​​an active member from 2010-15 before he took a hiatus for several years. The group of activists were particularly vocal critics of the operations at Krabloonik when it was operated by Dan MacEachen and are advocates for improved standards of care and off-tether programs in the dogsled industry at large. Fabrocini also was among those who lobbied at the state level to develop the tethering waiver requirements.

Spiropoulos, who lives in Carbondale and works in education, is a longtime valley resident who has expressed a keen interest in sled dog operations. She has visited several kennels in Alaska and also has visited Krabloonik.

Krabloonik’s three appointees are Andy Gillis, Stacy Rothenberg and Bisque Jackson.

Gillis applied to the committee through the town’s application but the town selected Spiropolous and Fabrocini for its two open seats; Krabloonik appointed him to one of its three seats on the committee. He operates an invisible fence dealership in Basalt and works with dogs daily, he wrote in his application. Gillis noted in his application that Sachson recommended him for the committee.

Rothenberg is a two-decade resident of the valley who met and became close friends with former Krabloonik operator Dan MacEachen in her second year here, she noted in a biography submitted to the town. She and MacEachen spent “a lot of time together at, and outside of, Krabloonik.” She also is a longtime volunteer with foster dog rescues.

Jackson is a local veterinarian who sometimes works with the Krabloonik animals onsite. (Krabloonik will sometimes seek out veterinary care elsewhere for services Jackson does not perform or when Jackson is not available, Phillips said.) She was not present at the meeting this week.

A need for clarity

Though council emphasized the value of reports from the volunteer Best Practices Review Committee, members of the committee made clear on Monday night that, in fact, they aren’t entirely clear on the scope of their authority or responsibilities.

Sachson, Fabrocini and Karyn Spiropoulos had all previously expressed to the town that they believe the existing Best Practices Plan lacks some quantifiable measures that the committee could monitor. They reiterated that Monday night, and Andrew Gillis shared similar thoughts.

Committee members also asked for guidance on what the committee can and can’t or should and shouldn’t do.

“I think we all need to know, if we’re going to move forward, What are our rights? What are our obligations?” Sachson said.

Sachson said he has spent hours upon hours in conversation with people concerned about the welfare of the Krabloonik dogs and, in turn, in conversation with people who have the authority to enforce it at the town and at PACFA. Sachson said the lack of clarity about the authority and responsibility of the committee made him feel like he was in “no man’s land.”

The committee’s role as stated in the lease, is to “inspect and review the operation of the Krabloonik Kennels to determine the extent to which Tenant is complying with the Best Practices” on a quarterly basis and to prepare an annual report on compliance with Town Council.

They can also file reports “describing any circumstances or events which the BPRC believes violate the Best Practices or jeopardize the health, safety or well-being of the Krabloonik sled dogs,” the lease states.

Committee members have faced intense public pressure over the current operations at Krabloonik, but they cannot demand records, and they cannot take any regulatory action.

That is up to the town, and several committee members expressed frustrations that town officials have at times deferred to the committee when it is actually the municipality’s responsibility to enforce the lease.

“At the end of the day, the committee has limited authority and no resources at our disposal,” Sachson said while reading a prepared statement. “We are not the landlord, nor are we trained investigators from the Colorado Department of Agriculture. We are simply a group of volunteer citizens who have been placed in an untenable, no-win situation.”


Basalt’s new council members outline their biggest issues

Tuesday was slated as election day for three seats on the Basalt Town Council but it was canceled for lack of interest. Only three candidates entered the ring.

Incumbent Ryan Slack will return for his second four-year term. Newcomers Dieter Schinder and Angela Anderson will take seats uncontested.

Basalt Mayor Bill Kane said he has met with both new members of the board and believes they will make solid contributions. He said he was surprised the election didn’t draw more interest.

“There are a couple of ways you can interpret it,” Kane said. “Well, we don’t have (any) barn-burning issues on the front page every day that really get people stoked. Maybe it’s an indication that people feel like it’s going OK, (they) don’t have to get in there.

“Or maybe it’s boring,” he continued. “I’m not sure what to say. We didn’t get bad people. We got three really good people to serve on council.”

Schindler and Anderson will take their seats on April 12 at the council first meeting after the election date. They replace Gary Tennenbaum, who couldn’t run again because of term limits, and Bill Infante, who declined a re-election bid.

Despite the lack of an election, The Aspen Times asked Schindler and Anderson to answer questionnaires to acquaint them to the community.

Angela Anderson

Angela Anderson

Age: 38

Education: I have a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Mass Media and Speech Communication from Houston Baptist University

Occupation: I’m primarily a stay-at-home mom

Family: My husband, Aaron Ward, and I have two sons, Anderson (6) and Ever (3)

Neighborhood: Willits

Years residing in Basalt: 7

Experience on volunteer boards: In 2018, I helped introduce a fundraiser called the Angel Tree project to Basalt and have volunteered on its board over the last few holiday seasons. Angel Tree serves local families each year to make sure every kid gets a gift under the tree. I’m currently volunteering on the Teacher Appreciation Week committee at Basalt Elementary.

Why did you decide to run for town council?

I love Basalt! It’s a gem of a town and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to raise my kids here. I want to show them that it’s important to give back to your community however you can. And, at present, our town council has only one female council member. Gender diversity in leadership is a good thing, so it’s important to bring more women into positions of influence in our town.

The affordable housing crisis is particularly acute now. What ideas do you want to explore to ease it?

We need to take steps to convert short-term rentals in our area into housing for people who live and work here. I’d like to encourage private investment in local housing by offering a financial incentive for homeowners who offer long-term leases for locals.

It’s also vital to loosen restrictions on Accessory Dwelling Units. Allowing someone to build an ADU addresses two issues. First, it creates an opportunity for home ownership that might not otherwise exist. The cost of purchasing a home in this valley is a huge barrier for so many people. Having a rental unit attached to a home allows a prospective homeowner to have a guaranteed stream of income to help make a mortgage more affordable. And second, it brings a desperately needed rental unit into our community.

List three other primary issues that you want to address in the next four years:

— As a stay-at-home mom, I am personally impacted by the child care crisis facing our community. We need more facilities overall and more infant care.

— Recent data shows that human recreation impacts wildlife, and the elk population is especially suffering. I want to explore solutions like wildlife migration crossings to help prevent collisions and protect the animals that also call this place home.

— Like many other locals, I have been saddened to learn recently that some of the mental health resources in our community are not providing adequate care. I’ll be paying attention to this issue and supporting organizations that can provide mental health services for our residents.

Dieter Schindler

Dieter Schindler

Age: 49

Education: B.A. Political Science, Metropolitan University of Denver

Occupation: Food and Beverage

Family: Wife, Michelle Schindler; and daughter, Genevieve (10)

Neighborhood: Elk Run

Years residing in Basalt: 8 years

Experience on volunteer boards: Nearly two years on the Basalt Finance Advisory Board.

Why did you decide to run for town council?

I ran for town council (both times) because I am a personality who wants to help, be involved, and bring a pragmatic approach to solving the evolving issues that face our community. (Schindler ran for office in a contested election in 2020 and narrowly lost.)

The affordable housing crisis is particularly acute now. What ideas do you want to explore to ease it?

Affordable housing has been an issue the Roaring Fork Valley has been grappling with for many years. I think ADU incentives and increased deed restriction incentives could be a few tools to deploy for near-term relief in this current housing crisis. That said, I recognize that sustainable strategies to address the affordable housing issue require robust valley-wide collaboration and need to be nimble to seize immediate opportunities while staying steady in moving toward longer-term solutions. Fortunately, there is already a wealth of information, strategies, tools and learned experiences in the struggle to address affordable housing. As a Basalt Town Councilor, I plan to further immerse myself in this information, bring ideas forward, collaborate and help execute on strategies that address the affordable housing issue while maintaining the character and sense of community that make Basalt a place my family proudly calls home.

List three other primary issues that you want to address in the next four years:

— Finding solutions to enhance early childhood care and education opportunities.

— Grow after school programs and recreational opportunities for middle and high school students.

— Keeping up the positive momentum of Basalt Forward 2030. There are a good number of projects in motion already. I don’t want to lose site of some of the runners up, such as a new and necessary police facility.

Mountain bike trail maintenance crew is in desperate need of summer seasonal help

A crew from Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association takes a break from work on the Arbaney Kittle Trail in summer 2020. From left to right are Chad Smith, Sophia Jacober and Spencer Ellsperman.
RFMBA/courtesy photo

A program that has benefited thousands of mountain bikers around the Roaring Fork Valley the past five years is in danger of scaling back this year.

Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association hasn’t been able to hire enough workers so far to fill out its seasonal trail crew. The crewmembers lop off vegetation that grows into the trail corridor, improve drainage and tackle maintenance issues as they arise. They work on routes from Aspen to New Castle.

“We’re not getting as many candidates this year,” association president Mike Pritchard said. He suspects it is related to the dearth of affordable housing that has made it difficult for employers throughout the valley to find enough workers.

Last season the mountain bike association employed seven on its crew, the largest ever. Six worked full time. The full-timers generally worked four 10-hour days and had three-day weekends off.

This year, only one crewmember is signed up and an offer has been made to a second person. Pritchard’s goal is to hire a crew of at least five. Pay ranges from $17 to $20 and there is a stipend for health insurance.

The work starts in late April and goes into fall, as weather allows. Pritchard said he has relied heavily on college students who return to the valley for the summer. It’s provided a good source of workers, but they typically have to leave by late August.

Crewmembers go through training to start the season. Reliable personal vehicles are required for access to the trailheads. Mileage is paid. Crews typically work together on projects and RFMBA avoids solo work in the backcountry.

The nonprofit group is one of the organizations that have answered the bell to assist cash-strapped federal land management agencies with trail work. The work is important because the trail crew also serves as trail ambassadors.

More information on the positions is available at www.rfmba.org/2022-stc.


Lauren Boebert column: Delivering conservative victories for rural Colorado

The time for platitudes and kicking the proverbial can down the road when it comes to making the tough choices to reduce our deficit spending and rein in our national debt has passed. For far too long, too many politicians have talked a good fiscal game while running America into a pending financial collapse.

The U.S. government is over $30 trillion in debt and will spend $900 million per day in interest payments on this debt. To pay off our country’s debt, every man, woman and child in the United States will currently have to pay $90,000. Instead of focusing on reducing the federal government’s spending problem, many D.C. politicians are back to their old ways and again spending massive amounts through the process known as earmarks.

From 2011 to 2021, earmarks were banned in Congress, and for good reason. First, earmarks are wasteful. Recall the “Bridge to Nowhere,” that spent nearly $400 million and accomplished nothing.

Second, earmarks foster corruption. Members of Congress and lobbyists have gone to jail for misusing earmarks to get members to vote for things they wouldn’t otherwise vote for, and members of Congress have even been caught using earmarks to pave roads they live on and build airports for their own personal convenience.

And third, earmarks are like Lay’s chips: Betcha can’t eat just one! According to the Heritage Foundation, there was a 282% jump in earmarks placed in appropriations bills from 1994 to 2011. Sadly, career politicians have picked up right where they left off, including over 4,000 earmarks in the recent $1.5 trillion omnibus bill. One senator alone received over $500 million in earmarks. And the total cost of earmarks in this one bill to the American taxpayer? Over $4 billion.

This is bill crap.

Republicans and Democrats should reject earmarks, use the normal appropriations process to fund the government, and have the best local projects compete, as has traditionally been done when not using earmarks, for worthy expenditures. This isn’t an archaic or outdated process, it’s actually an effective way to approve the spending of your tax dollars with necessary accountability.

Since joining Congress, I’ve proven that members of Congress can successfully advocate for local priorities while rejecting the corrupt earmark process. In fact, I recently secured nine important victories for rural Colorado through the regular, nonearmark process. These include:

1. $1.74 billion for Community Health Centers to serve rural communities;

2. $515 million for the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program so counties can fund education, law enforcement and infrastructure;

3. $48 million for the U.S. Forest Service to address the bark beetle infestations ravaging Colorado and to actively manage our forests;

4. $1 million to compensate farmers for livestock lost to wolves;

5. Important pro-life protections like the Hyde and Weldon amendments;

6. Preventing the greater sage-grouse from being listed as an endangered species and locking up our lands;

7. Exempting livestock haulers from burdensome Department of Transportation electronic logging device mandates;

8. Important federal resources for NASA and Colorado’s space programs; and

9. $10 million for the Indian Irrigation Fund to benefit the Southern Ute Tribe and combat drought.

Advocating for local issues and being a fiscal conservative aren’t mutually exclusive, and I reject the thought that earmarks are the best way for Congress to appropriate the tax dollars of hard-working Americans.

I will continue not to request earmarks and recklessly spend America further into financial bankruptcy. But I will go to bat for our communities and continue to secure more wins, like the nine above, through the normal appropriations process.

I was sent to Congress to legislate as a conservative, and that’s exactly what I’ve done. And as your congresswoman, I’ll continue to deliver conservative victories for rural Colorado.

Lauren Boebert represents Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Gabel goes for gold: Snowboarder heads to Paralympic Games for the third time

Keith Gabel competes in his second run in the snowboard banked slalom event on Friday, March 16, 2018 at Jeongseon Alpine Center at the Pyeongchang Winter Paralympic Games.
Mark Reis/U.S. Paralympics Snowboarding

Heading into his third Paralympic Games, Keith Gabel’s ambitions are far more golden than they’ve ever been. The Roaring Fork Valley snowboarder already owns a pair of medals — silver from 2018, bronze from 2014 — in boardercross, and needs just one more to round out his collection.

“Everything I’ve worked for to this point is specifically for these upcoming moments,” Gabel said in a recent interview with The Aspen Times prior to leaving for China. “I’m ready to complete the set. That’s bottom line for me. I’m going for gold 100% and super stoked to just have the opportunity to chase it one more time.”

At 37, Gabel is a veteran member of Team USA’s roster for the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games, which get underway Friday with the opening ceremony in Beijing. He’s been at the forefront of the sport since it made its Paralympic debut at the 2014 Sochi Games, when Gabel finished third in his class behind fellow Americans Michael Shea (silver) and Evan Strong (gold).

Eight years ago in Russia, Gabel was like the rest of the riders in that he was simply happy to be there, excited to have the sport included. Four years ago in South Korea, when Gabel won silver behind Finland’s Matti Suur-Hamari, he said his goal had been nothing more than to make it to the gold-medal round, which he did.

Now, with Father Time lightly tapping on the dials of his watch, Gabel understands his opportunities to race at this level will soon run dry and he’s not taking anything for granted.

“I wasn’t 100% sure I would go for a third, and the stars aligned, and I was able to continue to compete. I’ve been really fortunate to make this a career and have the backing that I’ve had and the support from my family and loved ones,” Gabel said. “Just being in it for as long as I have, I’ve seen every athlete that’s in the sport start their career and grow into what they are today, on snow and off snow. It’s a tremendous honor for me to be able to be out there and be with them for at least one more.”

Gabel was raised in Ogden, Utah, part of the Salt Lake City metro area, and found his way to the Roaring Fork Valley about 10 years ago with the specific intent of training with the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club. Like so many before him, the move wasn’t meant to be permanent, but the draw of the area, especially in the summer, led to Gabel establishing firm roots around Aspen. On top of his snowboarding career, Gabel now has a 2-year-old child and he and his wife, Heather Short, opened a coffee shop last summer in El Jebel called Coffee Connections, or CoCos for short.

But his next career grinding beans isn’t quite ready to go full send, as Gabel has more work to be done in snowboarding. It’s a sport he got into back in his teens, before a 2005 industrial accident crushed his left foot, leading to his left leg being amputated just below the knee. Only three months later he was back on his snowboard, but it would still be years before the sport evolved into a career.

“I’m absolutely blessed to have had that happen when I did. Technology was ramping up due to the war, so the government was spending a lot of money on technology. I think that’s probably one of the bigger factors that played in me getting back on snow so quick,” Gabel said. “That probably set the tone for where I’m at today. I realized at that point the sky is kind of the limit. I never knew I would have the opportunities I have now and never in my wildest dreams would have dreamt of being a professional snowboarder.”

Earlier in his career, and especially prior to the pandemic, Gabel might have spent up to 10 months on snow each year, traveling the world for competition and training. Anymore, he mostly does his own thing and spends far less time on snowboard cross-specific training and more time simply chasing powder. His true passion is in the backcountry, and he believes the skills required to ride out there translate well to the boardercross course.

That said, Aspen Skiing Co. has built a world-class course in Snowmass this winter, using the walls of what is typically the superpipe to provide local athletes with some of the best training ground on the continent.

Officially an AVSC alumnus, Gabel still keeps close ties with the club and enjoys connecting with the younger generation whenever possible.

Keith Gabel competes on his second run in the snowboard banked slalom event on Friday, March 16, 2018, at Jeongseon Alpine Center at the Pyeongchang Winter Paralympic Games.
Mark Reis/U.S. Paralympics Snowboarding

“They are super kind and give me options for the gym there or when the kids are out ripping gates or something like that, I might get a text message from the director that if I’m in town to see if I want to come over,” Gabel said. “If it’s dumped a bunch of snow, I’m going to ride pow. There is something to be said for your mental stability and your mental training when you are just out there having fun and releasing and doing what you truly enjoy.”

With his 40s fast approaching, Gabel found plenty of inspiration watching the Winter Olympics last month. One of Team USA’s top storylines was that of veteran riders Lindsey Jacobellis, 36, and Nick Baumgartner, 40, pairing to win gold in mixed snowboard cross. Jacobellis also won individual gold in Beijing in what was her fifth Olympic appearance.

The Alpine snowboarding world being as small as it is, Gabel knows both pretty well. Baumgartner’s brother, Josh, actually lives here in the midvalley. A native of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Nick Baumgartner mentioned in various Olympic interviews he hopes to join his brother in Colorado after his snowboarding career is over.

“I was so stoked. I was literally screaming at my TV when Lindsey was coming down,” Gabel recalled of the two-rider Olympic mixed team race, in which the men race first, followed by the women. “It’s definitely inspiring to know that the old dog’s still got it. You can’t ever count the old ones out. We got a lot of tricks up our sleeves, and that’s kind of the name of the game. It’s not always about who is willing to charge the hardest and stuff — you got to be tactically sound in every aspect of the sport. I think that’s where that veteran experience really comes into play.”

Keith Gabel competes in his first run in the snowboard banked slalom event on Friday, March 16, 2018, at Jeongseon Alpine Center at the Pyeongchang Winter Paralympic Games.
Mark Reis/U.S. Paralympics Snowboarding

Gabel competes in the LL2 classification at the Paralympics — a lower-limb division for those with slightly less limitation than the LL1 athletes — and will race in both boardercross (qualifying is Sunday, finals on Monday) and banked slalom (finals are March 12) in China. He finished sixth in banked slalom at the 2018 Paralympics.

NBC will televise much of this year’s Paralympics on its various channels and apps, as it did for last month’s Olympics.

A passionate racer, Gabel is equally as proud of his work off the course. He’s on various international committees, including through World Para Snowboard, and speaks on behalf of many of the sport’s athletes. He played his part in getting snowboarding to the 2014 Paralympics and wants to make sure it sticks around long after his career is over.

“We had doubts that we would ever get it into the Paralympics. And now here we are over a decade later and I get to go for my third,” Gabel said. “It’s time consuming, but it’s kind of a passion project, if nothing else. I want to see Para snowsports and see Para snowboarding around long, long after I’m gone. I feel like this is a good way to help continue the journey for other athletes.”

But Gabel’s own journey as an athlete isn’t over quite yet. He recalled being asked by reporters after his races in Pyeongchang four years ago — and he meant quite literally in the moments directly after he had crossed the finish line — about possibly retiring, and he didn’t have a good answer then.

A Russian honor guard soldier salutes as silver medalist Michael Shea, left, gold medalist Evan Strong, center, and bronze medalist Keith Gabel listen to the U.S. national anthem during a medal ceremony at the 2014 Winter Paralympic on Friday, March 14, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.
Dmitry Lovetsky/AP

Heading into Beijing, not much has changed in that regard. Gabel is like most of the other athletes in that he’s put so much into this year’s Paralympics, there hasn’t been time to dwell on what comes after.

Could he head into retirement after the snow melts this spring? Certainly.

Then again, as Baumgartner proved, age is just a number, and the 2026 Paralympics in Italy aren’t that far away.

Before any golden sunsets, however, Gabel’s going for a less fleeting type of gold. That is, the eternal glory type that comes with winning at the Paralympics.

“It’s always floating around. It’s hard to think past the Games, because in a quad, that’s your main goal, is to make it to those days and then everything after that is just kind of on the backburner,” Gabel said of retirement. “In Beijing, my goal is gold. I want the gold. I’m hungry, I’m ready for it, I’ve trained my butt off. This is 12 years in the making for me.”


Glenwood Springs High School theater switches things up with ‘Freaky Friday,’ opening this weekend

If you go…

What: Glenwood Springs High School production of ‘Freaky Friday’

When: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 25 and 26 and March 4 and 5 (doors at 6:30); also 2 p.m. March 5

Where: Jeannie Miller Theatre, GSHS

Glenwood Springs High School drama students Ella Lindenberg and James Howell rehearse for Freaky Friday during a dress rehearsal at the school on Monday afternoon.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Glenwood Springs High School drama students return to the stage this weekend and next following a years’ hiatus with their musical production of “Freaky Friday.”

Coincidence or not, it’s perhaps fitting that the school would signal a return to normal with the abnormal tale of a mother and daughter who have a spat, then magically switch bodies and get a chance to see what each other’s hectic lives are like.

“We’ve done a lot of my personal favorite musicals, so we were looking to find something fresh and relevant,” said longtime GSHS stage director Kate McRaith. “This one just kind of struck a chord. I love the characters, and the music’s great. It’s just a really fun show.”

Tick the clock back to early 2020, when GSHS was wrapping up its last theater production of “Footloose.”

“We closed the show just as people were starting to get really nervous about things,” McRaith said of the early days of the coronavirus before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.

“That following Thursday, everything shut down,” she said.

Neighboring Aspen High School scrambled and converted its production that year to a virtual performance. High school theater students wouldn’t return to the stage for auditions until last fall.

“Even then, we didn’t know how things were going to go, so we made some adjustments,” McRaith said. “We kept the set minimal, and the costumes are contemporary, so that was easy. And for the first time we’re using recorded music as opposed to a live orchestra.”

And, with local COVID-19 case numbers way down after the January surge, the curtains are set to rise at the Jeannie Miller Theatre at 7 p.m. Friday for opening night of “Freaky Friday.” The show continues at 7 p.m. Saturday and again at 7 p.m. March 4 and 5, plus a 2 p.m. understudy matinee on March 5.

GSHS seniors Ella Lindenberg, Katherine Young and James Howell were in the school’s production of “Footloose” as sophomores, and are looking forward to getting back on the stage in front of a live audience.

“Being able to do this show has definitely brought joy and happiness back into my life,” said Lindenberg, who plays the part of Ellie Blake, daughter of Katherine Blake (played by Young).

“Music and acting are so much a part of my life, and to not have a show last year was so sad,” Lindenberg said. “Our theater community is pretty tight, and these are some of the most positive groups of people I can surround myself with.”

Glenwood Springs High School students, from right, Sara Corwin, Ella Lindenberg and Alicia Lowe and , rehearse Freaky Friday during a dress rehearsal at the school on Monday afternoon.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

“Freaky Friday” gives everyone in the show a chance to shine, she said.

Young agreed.

“This show has a lot of dynamic characters, and a lot of character development that I think is really interesting,” she said. “It’s a very heart-warming story once you get past some of the sadness.”

Howell plays Ellie Blake’s good friend, Adam.

Compared to their freshman-year productions of “Mama Mia” and “Footloose,” this year’s show is refreshing, he said.

“Just getting to put on a show at all is incredible,” Howell said. “It gives all of us an outlet to express our creativity and explore our characters.”

The show involves about 35 cast members and a total of about 75 students including the crew. McRaith noted that former student Alexander Tucker returns as the lighting consultant.

That speaks to the joy she has had through 13 years at GSHS directing various stage productions.

“I’m really excited to go out doing a show instead of not doing one, like last year, so that’s really nice,” McRaith said. “Like these guys mentioned, the community that the drama department has established over the years has just been a lifesaving and beautiful thing. Year after year, students come back to me and say how much it changed their lives.”

That joy extends to the broader community, she said.

“We really wanted to do something hopeful and optimistic that will bring people out and give them a little bit of joy.”

Glenwood Springs High School students perform Freaky Friday during a dress rehearsal at the school on Monday afternoon.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or jstroud@postindependent.com.

Basalt’s Faulhaber finishes sixth in first Winter Olympic halfpipe skiing final

Family, coaches, friends and ski buddies of Basalt freeskier Hanna Faulhaber gather in the Limelight Hotel to cheer her on in Snowmass Base Village on Thursday night. The group exploded in cheers as Faulhaber finished her second run of the evening during her Olympic debut.
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

Hanna Faulhaber said she “just cracked” during training ahead of finals. The wind was making it difficult to get any speed through the halfpipe and the pressure of the Winter Olympics was starting to set in for the teenager from Basalt.

Nothing a pre-game joyride can’t fix. And the minor meltdown looked all but history by the time she officially dropped in for her first run Friday in China.

“The biggest mental battle that I’ve probably ever faced. I was crying all throughout practice, just really trying to find myself and find why I’m doing the sport and trying to have fun again and just took some time to myself and did a few fun laps,“ Faulhaber told reporters after the finals. “I put quite a bit of pressure on myself going in and just to be able to put something down in finals, it made me so happy and made me have fun again.”

Faulhaber eventually finished sixth in her first Winter Olympic appearance on Friday — or Thursday night in Colorado — behind a pair of strong runs, but could not keep up with China’s Eileen Gu, who cruised to women’s halfpipe skiing gold in Zhangjiakou, which is just over 100 miles from Beijing.

Faulhaber, the 17-year-old who grew up skiing with the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club and made her X Games debut only last month, briefly held down the top spot early in the first round behind an opening-run score of 85.25, which would prove to be her best result. She landed a solid, albeit almost identical, second run for 84.50 but fell midway through a promising third run that ended her podium hopes.

The fourth of the 12 finalists to drop in, Faulhaber held the lead until Canada’s Cassie Sharpe, the 2018 Olympic gold medalist from Pyeongchang, scored 89 as the seventh skier to take the lead. The top skiers, including Sharpe, had multiple 1080s in their runs, a trick Faulhaber doesn’t yet have in her arsenal.

Faulhaber did bring her soon-to-be trademarked amplitude, getting over 13 feet above the lip of the halfpipe despite the windy conditions, and successfully landed a 900, which is still relatively new to her, on her final hit of her first two runs. She also attempted the highly technical switch 720, a trick she hopes to make a regular part of her run in the future.

“We were able to lay down two good runs and also gave that switch 7 a shot,” Faulhaber said. “Really stoked to have given that a shot. Don’t think I would have been that happy if I didn’t leave everything out on the table. Just overall happy with how I skied.”

Basalt’s Hanna Faulhaber competes during the women's halfpipe skiing finals at the 2022 Winter Olympics on Friday, Feb. 18, 2022, in Zhangjiakou, China. She finished sixth.
Francisco Seco/AP

Gu’s win was historic for action-sports athletes, as it gave her three medals in the same Winter Olympics, the first to ever do so. The American-born star, who is only 18, also won gold in big air earlier in the month and took silver in slopestyle behind Switzerland’s Mathilde Gremaud.

“She’s really pushing the sport to a new level,” said Great Britain’s Zoe Atkin, who finished ninth, of Gu. “It’s really great to see and it’s so inspiring. It makes me want to be a better skier myself. I think she’s amazing for the sport.”

Sharpe, who had slight improvements on each run to finish with a best-run score of 90.75, won silver. Only a year ago, she severely hurt her knee, which put her entire Olympic season in doubt.

“It feels surreal at this point,” Sharpe said. “I can’t even put it into words. I’ve been through hell and back the last year, so I’m just so grateful that all the pieces that I’ve worked so hard on came together today.”

Her fellow countrywoman, Rachael Karker, won Olympic bronze with 87.75, scored on her first run. This was Karker’s first time competing at the Games.

Kelly Sildaru was just off the podium in fourth place; she leaves her first Olympics with a bronze from slopestyle. The just-turned 20-year-old from Estonia won X Games Aspen gold only last month, a contest that did not include Gu, Sharpe or Karker. Faulhaber won bronze that day in her X Games debut.

Basalt’s Hanna Faulhaber competes in the freestyle skiing women's halfpipe final run during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at Genting Snow Park H & S Stadium in Zhangjiakou, China.
Pavel Bednyakov/Sputnik via AP

Gu, who led Olympic qualifying, was the last to drop in and closed out the contest with an easy victory lap, not likely the last she’ll have of her career. She scored 93.25 on her first run, more than enough to win the contest then and there.

“I feel at peace. I feel grateful. I feel proud,” Gu said. “Skiing is all about fun and individuality and being able to express yourself and find that flow, and for myself I really find that in halfpipe. Being able to feel the rhythm of the walls, and being able to put unique grabs, to try different axis, spin different directions — it’s really fun and it’s the essence of the sport.”

Faulhaber was the top finisher among the Americans, much as she was when she finished fourth at the world championships last March in Aspen. Brita Sigourney finished 10th with 70.75 and her fellow Californian teammate Carly Margulies was 11th with 61.

The fourth member of the U.S. Olympic women’s halfpipe ski team, Devin Logan, did not make finals.

Faulhaber was already looking toward her second trip to the Olympics — the 2026 Winter Games will be held in northern Italy — and the steps she needs to take between now and then to get there and compete for a podium spot.

“Going into the next one I’m just going to obviously train my hardest,” she said. “Probably prepare a little better with getting new tricks in because I did a few things a little last minute, and just not trying to change up too many things at once. But, yeah, I feel good.”

The men’s halfpipe skiing finals, featuring Aspen’s Alex Ferreira, is 6:30 p.m. Friday night, Colorado time.

Basalt’s Hanna Faulhaber competes during the women's halfpipe finals at the 2022 Winter Olympics on Friday, Feb. 18, 2022, in Zhangjiakou, China.
Gregory Bull/AP
Basalt’s Hanna Faulhaber competes during the women's halfpipe finals at the 2022 Winter Olympics on Friday, Feb. 18, 2022, in Zhangjiakou, China.
Gregory Bull/AP
China's Eileen Gu reacts during the women's halfpipe finals at the 2022 Winter Olympics on Friday, Feb. 18, 2022, in Zhangjiakou, China.
Lee Jin-man/AP


The Associated Press contributed to this report.