Features

An uphill season

When the snow starts to fall, Cam Smith ratchets up his training. In recent weeks he has skied four laps up and down Red Lady in a day, climbed 72,000 vertical feet in a week and has raced up and down Crested Butte with maximum effort in the dark These strenuous efforts get Gunnison Valley resident Smith in top shape, ready to take on the world’s best in ski mountaineering races across Europe.

A pioneer of participation

His mother died from complications of childbirth. His family’s livelihood was wiped out of existence by the federal government.

A different way to fame

Heather Hughes recently received a package of old photographs from her mother — family trips and personal achievements — all bundled up in a stack of glossy paper. Among them are a pair of mall glamour shots, complete in every way, from the towering hair to the elaborate outfits.

Cherish the little things

A Pitkin business owner and a Colorado educator have published their first children’s book together, “Out Westin’s Window.” Kandy Nasso along with co-author Jean Olmsted have written a story affectionately showcasing the relationship between Nasso, “Grandy,” and her grandson, Westin.

Winter fun for all ages

It’s no secret that nordic skiing is on the rise this winter. While there’s been a boom in youth participation, older adults are also hitting the trails to try the sport for the first time.

Alferd Packer in Gunnison

Alferd Packer is well known as a prospector onvicted of murder and cannibalism. For those not familiar with the story, in February 1874, he and five other prospectors left Chief Ouray’s camp near Montrose, heading for the Los Pinos Indian Agency cow camp in what is now Gunnison. Ignoring advice from Chief Ouray about the large amount of snow and the danger of the trip, they went anyway. A few months later, Alferd Packer wandered into the Los Pinos Indian Agency holding a coffee pot filled with live coals. There, he told the first of several contradictory stories about what had occurred. After hearing his story, he was arrested on suspicion of homicide and taken to the Saguache jail. In August, the bodies of his companions were found. Shortly thereafter, Packer escaped and wasn’t recaptured for nine years.

Western MEM puts boots on the ground

Public lands in the Gunnison Valley are in the process of some big changes. There’s the shift from dispersed to designated camping, proposed fees for campsites, increased outreach — and it’s all work that’s underway thanks in large part to Western Colorado University students.

League gives gift of mental health

In response to a program from Kimberley Behounek, regional director for the Center for Mental Health, the League of Women Voters of the Gunnison Valley (LWVGV) said, “No! No! No!” to the idea of going ahead with a Christmas tradition — a party at which $10 gifts are exchanged among members — and instead shouted “Ho! Ho! Ho!” to a plan to give that money and more to help combat the sharp increase in the number of citizens needing attention.

Of fantasy and friendship

One of Dylan Weihnacht’s fondest adventures included an ocean voyage in search of hidden artifacts that evolved into a full-on underwater brawl with a slew of sea creatures and dragons. It wasn’t real life, of course, but a campaign in the widely popular game Dungeons and Dragons.

A humble hero

By the end of the day on Jan. 5, Kyle Tibbett had ferried temperature-sensitive vials, distributed a steady flow of needles, kept track of how many nurses had vaccinated how many people and navigated a slew of state and federal guidelines. But the result was 200 more people with the coronavirus vaccine, and that left Tibbett, Gunnison County’s COVID-19 logistics chief, energized and ready to do it all again the next day.