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Brigham Young University’s Aspen Grove has a new lodge to accommodate the mountain retreat’s many visitors.

Christened after the driving force behind Aspen Grove’s creation, the late Ray Beckham, the lodge can host more than 200 guests attending Aspen Grove’s many programs (family camp, marriage retreats, family getaways).

Beckham’s widow, Janette H. Beckham, cut the ceremonial blue ribbon to open the lodge on Friday, Feb. 2 and shared memories of the camp’s development and growth, including a “watermelon bust” to mark the opening of the camp’s swimming pool.

BYU’s Advancement Vice President Matthew O. Richardson also paid tribute to Beckham’s legacy. Focusing on Janette’s theme of memories, Richardson called Aspen Grove’s creators, donors and employees “Builders of memories ... they’re creating an environment where we can be inspired, aspire to more and be able to change for good. That’s what Aspen Grove should be.”

Aspen Grove — a history of preserving family memories

Ray Beckham, as part of the BYU Alumni Association, envisioned and created the original Aspen Grove facility. In its first season, 1963, eight families attended Aspen Grove. Today, the mountain retreat operates year-round and serves an average of 80 families each week and hosts over 20,000 guests each year.

The new, 22,000-square-foot, three-story lodge replaces some of the aging cabins at BYU’s Aspen Grove and includes a mix of room sizes and accommodations for families and guests. Regular rooms sleep up to seven people (in two-bedroom suites), and small rooms are designed for up to three people. Each floor boasts a common kitchen area with an adjacent gathering space with a fireplace. The new part of Beckham Lodge can accommodate up to 216 guests and will be used for families attending Aspen Grove’s signature programs (Family Camp, Marriage Getaway, Family Getaway), single families and large reunions, conferences, and holiday gatherings over Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Each year, more than 80 students help staff Aspen Grove. They use this work-study experience to enhance their education at BYU – and it also helps them pay their way through school. Hundreds of students have made Aspen Grove a part of their BYU experience. Rachel Hansen is one of them.

“I love the environment (at Aspen Grove), interacting with the full-time staff, summer staff, and guests,” she said. “I was trusted and given extra responsibilities to help me become a better leader.”

Emley Holcombe, another student team member at Aspen Grove, said, “I gained amazing skills that definitely have application for my education and my future.”

Looking ahead, the team at Aspen Grove plans to upgrade and update some of the historic cabins, grounds, and facilities to provide the best possible guest experience for everyone who comes to the mountain retreat.

For more information, or to check on available reservations, visit

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If Mac Smith ever decides to hang up his skis as Aspen Highlands Ski Patrol director, he will immediately have seat on the pantheon of Aspen ski industry greats.

Smith has racked up numerous accomplishments in his 40 years as patrol director but he will probably be celebrated for decades to come as the person who did the most to open Highland Bowl.

U.S. Forest Service officials were skeptical of allowing expanded skiing in the Bowl when Aspen Skiing Co. started an environmental impact study of the concept in 1997. Smith pleaded, cajoled and nagged federal officials to keep an open mind.

“I don’t want to take all the credit for it, but I was talking to all these guys a lot about it — ‘You have to give us the opportunity to do this. We’ll study it and get it done,’” he recalled during a conservation from the Highlands patrol hut at the top of the Loge Peak chairlift on a recent snowy Saturday.

The problem, as the Forest Service winter sports staff saw it, was the terrain didn’t provide lift-served skiing, one of the criteria for allowing use of national forest. To demonstrate that it was lift-served, Smith and his crew developed the first of the Y-Zones on the north end of the Bowl in winter 1997-98.

“We had this unbelievably gnarly catwalk that came out,” he recalled.

That narrow, spooky path connected to other catwalks until it linked to the Grand Traverse beneath Steeplechase and provided access back to the Loge Lift. Problem solved — the Bowl terrain linked to a lift.

“You could always tell a Highlands skier because they had a monster calf on that downhill ski (leg),” Smith said with a signature grin that punctuates at least half of his sentences.

He credits a lot of past and present colleagues with helping advance the development of the Bowl. Former Aspen Skiing Co. executive John Norton gave an under-the-table nod to pursue the idea. Former Aspen Highlands Mountain Manager Ron Chauner enthusiastically pitched expansion to Skico brass. Former Skico President and CEO Pat O’Donnell realized the appeal and unlocked the funds necessary to study the avalanche mitigation that was key in making the Bowl accessible to the public. And, of course, the Highlands ski patrollers and particularly snow safety staff figured out how to get the job done.

Twenty-two seasons after that initial work, the Bowl has made Aspen Highlands a bucket-list destination for truly passionate skiers and the bread and butter of many Roaring Fork Valley residents. Once it was fully developed, it attracted 800 to 1,000 skiers on a busy day. Now it lures twice that many, Smith said.

“I go up to the Bowl sometimes and just stand there and listen to the people yelling and screaming and having such a great time,” Smith said. “That’s the thing that drives all these (patrollers) to be able to put out the effort that needs to be done.”


Smith is adept at getting things done. He credits his upbringing. He’s as comfortable in cowboy boots and a cowboy hat as he is in ski boots and a ski helmet.

Smith spent his early years in upstate New York as part of a skiing family who made Mount Mansfield their ski area of choice.

“I’ve been skiing since I was 3,” he said.

His family moved to Ogden, Utah, when Mac was in elementary school and they started skiing Snow Basin. His dad had skied Aspen Highlands in 1958-59, its inaugural season, and developed an affinity for the Roaring Fork Valley. His parents bought what they named Gateway Ranch in Old Snowmass in 1960 and started a guest ranch. They were as out of place as the lead couple in the old TV show “Green Acres,” according to Smith.

“They didn’t know which end of a horse to ride,” he quipped.

They had a big red barn, which still exists today, and eight guest cabins. They offered pack trips into what is now the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. Mac was thrown immediately into the operation. Youth was no excuse. He recalls plucking ice balls off horses’ eyes on frigid winter mornings so they could feed. As early as 10 years of age, he was tasked with taking a couple of loaded packhorses alone to places such as Snowmass Lake to restock a camp.

He was always hanging around the wranglers, picking up their skills and their nasty habits, such as constantly pulling pranks on others.

“It was almost permission to be crazy,” he said.

He was a regular at Aspen Highlands during winters. He recalled as a 10- and 11-year-old “terrorizing” ski school classes just for the fun of it. Repeated misbehavior got him tossed from Highlands.

He began skiing Buttermilk after his mom started working in the kitchen of one of the restaurants there and his dad drove a bus. While it was a different ski area, it was the same problem. Young Mac was always in trouble with the ski patrol.

“I got caught blind jumping all the time by the patrol so I had to sit in the corner, like a dunce corner,” he said with a laugh. “An hour later, they’d say, ‘OK, go ski again.’”

And the scene would repeat itself. Eventually, he was only allowed on the slopes while with patrollers.

“That was really cool because I had a spotter for my jumping,” Smith said.

Since his mom reported for work before the area opened, Smith got to ride first lifts with patrollers. He would tag along while they attended to their early morning chores. The die was cast for his career.

“They became my mentors,” Smith said. “The wranglers were, then the ski patrollers kind of were. I think that’s where it really came from.”

Late in middle school he returned to Aspen Highlands and he skied there throughout high school, becoming a very good skier and learning all the nooks and crannies. They would gain access to the terrain that became the St. Moritz Trail, ski what is now Boomerang Woods and sneak back into the ski area on the established Boomerang Trail, keeping an eye out for the two patrollers stationed on the upper mountain at the time.


Smith graduated from Basalt High School in 1971 and took a job at Merry-Go-Round restaurant at mid-mountain at Highlands for the 1972-73 season. He joined the ski patrol the following season.

He was promoted to co-assistant patrol director in 1974-75. In 1977-78, the patrol director wasn’t around much. Smith became de facto patrol director, though not in title. The next season he gained the title, as well.

Early on in his tenure with the patrol, he forged a relationship with Whipple Van Ness Jones, the founder and overlord of Aspen Highlands who has since died.

“My second year — this is where Temerity came from — I had the temerity to go into Whip’s office and say, ‘Hey, Whip, as a kid I used to ski down into Steeplechase and get back to Boomerang. A little goat trail was out there. We could open all of this without any new lifts.’”

It was a moment of truth.

“At that moment, I didn’t know if I was going to get fired or if he’d be OK with that,” Smith said. “It was a start of a relationship with Whip that I think was unique to anybody else at Highlands except maybe (longtime manager) Don Robinson.”

Jones let Smith regularly ski the Steeplechase terrain to figure out how to get skiers out of there. They created a frighteningly narrow catwalk called the Grand Traverse. It was initially so narrow a patrol toboggan would barely fit. But the Steeplechase terrain put Highlands on the map for steep terrain, much as the Bowl would rekindle 20 years later. When terrain was opened between Steeplechase and the Bowl, it was named Temerity in honor of Smith’s conversation so many years ago about terrain expansion.

Jones had a longstanding policy to shoo ski patrol members away after about three seasons. A 1960s effort to unionize left a bad taste in his mouth. He busted the effort and wanted quick turnover thereafter. That policy changed with Smith.

“I got to be really good friends with Whip,” Smith said. “I think he liked the entrepreneurship that I had. Maybe it’s because this became my mountain at that point and time. I called it that and I think he was good with it.”


Starting with Steeplechase and most recently with Highland Bowl, Smith and his team have pursued and accomplished impressive terrain expansions (see sidebar). The ski area was at 380 acres when Smith joined the patrol. It is listed at 1,040 acres now and skis even larger because of all the lines through trees.

But it’s not the terrain expansion that makes Smith most proud. It’s the culture he helped create. He takes pride in the accomplishments of the ski patrol and their close relations with the public.

Ski patrols regularly hold exchanges where a handful of members from one resort will go to a different resort for a few days. Aspen Highlands doesn’t have a lot of turnover with its patrol staff, but when there is an opening, it is typically filled quickly by a patroller from another ski area who liked what they saw at Highlands and wants to join.

“I’ll probably sound a little braggadocious,” Smith said. “I think we’re the most celebrated ski patrol among our communities. Even the Jackson Hole boys who were here for five days (earlier this month), they couldn’t believe all the thank-you’s we were getting from our guests. It’s so typical of every patrol that comes here because they get to see how tight we are with our community.”

Smith said he doesn’t have to be an overbearing manager, which is good because it’s not in his nature.

“I’m really under the philosophy that I hire the best people I can,” Smith said. “Give them the tools, time and training and stay the hell out of their way.”

Peer pressure within the patrol and the appreciation from the public usually provides the ski patrollers with all the motivation they need to perform well. The ski patrol has 40 members, with 26 working any given day. There are five snowcat drivers.

When the new patrol hut was built in the early 2000s, the initial plan was for it to be in a rather inaccessible perch that wouldn’t have been nearly as inviting for the public. Smith intervened and persuaded Skico brass to locate it at its current site just off skier’s right of the Loge lift’s upper terminal. It’s got a stunning view of Maroon Valley and the surrounding mountains that invite the public to soak it in. They are also welcome to venture inside where they are offered “guide-quality information” on what terrain is skiing best.

“I really felt like I built this building and this relationship with the community because it’s very easy for a ski patrol to slip into that stereotypical hardcore, don’t-penetrate-my-bubble (organization),” Smith said. “I’m very fearful it could morph back into that if I wasn’t there.”


At 66 years of age, he knows that retirement is in the not-too-distant future. He addresses it with one of the “cowboy-isms” that regularly emerges from his thinking.

“Somewhere down the line, the horse is going to be faster than you,” he said.

He swears retirement won’t be a problem. He has plenty of fences to mend and other tasks to tackle on his midvalley spread, where he lives off the grid with his wife.

On the other hand, he’s not looking to hightail it out of Aspen Highlands even after 47 total years at the ski area.

“I’d sure love to be at 50 (years of service),” he said. It wouldn’t necessarily have to be as patrol director, he volunteered.

Whenever the time comes, he hopes he is able to achieve one final goal. He wants to see Loge Bowl on the upper west side of the mountain opened and added to the expert skiing experience. A side benefit is the Loge terrain possesses a series of progressively higher cliffs that skiers can huck off. The patrol refers to them as Mac’s Air.

“I don’t have anything named after me after all these years,” Smith said with another laugh. “I’d like to get there.”

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Visitors to the Maroon Bells Scenic Area prepare to board a RFTA bus with “Maroon Bells” displayed in the bus destination marquee. Riding the bus supports sustainable transportation to the Maroon Bells and can help visitors avoid road closures due to overcrowding. (White River National Forest, courtesy photo)

Bus service to the Maroon Bells Scenic Area will gear up June 9 for its 40th season, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

“That’s 40 years of reducing traffic congestion, carbon emissions and other impacts in the environment by limiting car trips,” the agency said in a statement.

More than 300,000 people visited the area last year for day visits, camping or venturing into the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness.

The bus service provided by the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority will operate from June 9 through Oct. 8. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for children 6 to 16 years of age and seniors 65 and older. Children 5 and younger ride for free. Tickets can be purchased at Four Mountain Sports at Aspen Highlands or the Rubey Park Transit Center.

Aspen Skiing Co. has increased parking fees at Aspen Highlands. The rates are $5 for up to three hours Monday through Friday and $10 for as many as three hours on weekends. For three to eight hours, the rate is $10 Monday through Friday and $15 for weekends. A full day, more than eight hours, will cost $20 for weekdays and $25 for weekends.

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Courtesy of United

Imagine having an airport terminal all to yourself. It can actually happen — if you’re willing to pay for the privilege.

United Airlines has announced plans to partner with The Private Suite for high-paying business class passengers at Los Angeles International Airport who want nothing more than to avoid the huge crowds for a totally elite travel experience.

The passengers will be driven from the terminal to the tarmac to their planes in a BMW 7-Series sedan and have their own staff of eight assigned to their booking, CNBC reported. This premium offering also includes a custom security screening away from the long lines.

“I think this is a very smart move on United's part to compete,” Henry Harteveldt, founder of travel-industry consulting firm Atmosphere Research Group, told CNBC.

But all this exclusivity and luxury comes at a hefty price. An annual membership at the Private Terminal normally goes for $4,500, but access will be included in some ticket fares on flights to or from LAX, to Newark, Aspen, Hawaii, London's Heathrow, Singapore, Tokyo Narita and Sydney, said United, according to CNBC.

United isn’t the only airline revamping its premium offerings. Other airlines are also re-upping their airport lounges, first class cabins and seats to appeal to more customers who are willing to pay more for comfort.

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MARBLE - More homes are in demand, and Mike Yellico will provide, though not without feeling some conflict.

The long-haired, Chaco-footed owner of Grateful Builders is leading construction of a house that seems better fit for Aspen, which is 56 miles away, but a whole world away as far as the people of Marble are concerned.

"Mountain modern" is the look, Yellico says. Gray metal and burned timber will accomplish the aesthetic - an eye-catching edifice here in the woods, where simpler cabins and cottages suit most of the 130 year-round residents.

"Mountain modern" just might represent the new age of Marble.

Mike Yellico, is the owner of Greatful Builders and a city councilman in Marble, Colo. Pictured Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, on a building site in the Colorado mountain town. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

"People don't want growth," says Yellico, a town councilman who's called Marble home for nearly 25 years. "But growth is happening."

The sun is rising on this day before fall, the shadow lifting over the aspen-splashed hills turning gold. Summer is over, so the unpaved roads in the no-grocery store town are getting relief.

The bustle began in May, as it will again, with drivers pulling off Colorado 133 and following the Crystal River, passing ruins from a wrecked trolley that 100 years ago carried Marble's first source of fame: the milky-white rock used for the Lincoln Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

An Italian company still mines the marble, shipping it all over the world. But nowadays the draw is the scenery, such sights as the duck pond that emerges beside the road and shimmering river, in a meadow surrounded by peaks.

From town, a gray-white road climbs to the quarry. Unauthorized personnel stop at massive marble blocks that form the overlook of alpine majesty.

Beaver Lake is the aqua showpiece below, at the end of Marble's main street. Again this summer, vehicles will line the way to its 20 surface acres, and canoes and paddleboards will vie for space.

Traffic drives through Marble, Colo., Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. The road, which turns into a technical 4x4 drive only road, leads to the Crystal Mill, Schofield Pass and Crested Butte. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

Silver Street skirts the water, turning into the wicked road increasingly toured by ATVs and Jeeps. At the end is the historic Crystal Mill, the photographic rival to Aspen's Maroon Bells that some locals say has spawned "a zoo."

Marble has been discovered, says Town Clerk Ron Leach, who's been in the valley since the 1970s.

"All the people who come here permanently is because of their desire for solitude, and moving away from exactly what's happening here in the summer," he says.

Marble has had busier days. The population was its highest, nearly 800, in 1910, about two decades after Whitehouse Mountain was proclaimed as storing the finest marble in all the land.

The market sharply declined during the Great War, and World War II again closed operations. Natural forces caused other woes. Destroyed by fire, mudslides and snow slides, many of the town's former buildings are memorialized at the Marble Mill Site Park.

The foundations and walls are enough to constantly pique the curiosity of local history nerds, such as Max Sickels, 18. History was one reason he wanted to move to his uncle's town. The small-town feel was another.

"I've already gotten on a name-to-name basis with the dogs," he says, including Brisket, the black lab greeting guests at Slow Groovin' BBQ, Marble's only restaurant.

The Slow Groovin BBQ in Marble, Colo., Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. The local restaurant is open May 1 to Oct. 31. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

It is that quaintness that residents have tried to keep while towns boomed in every other direction, riding the wave of tourism under the Elk Mountains. Marble's population picked back up in the '70s, as valley folks rose against a ski area's development.

A small campground in the heart of town seems to welcome recreation. It was recently developed amid fears of reckless dispersed camping, and there are thoughts of keeping it open in winter for backcountry skiers.

The Marble Museum is open Memorial Day weekend through the end of August and it's hours are Thursday - Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

"Marble has been discovered," Leach says. "Probably a similar story all around Colorado, all these little towns stuck back in the mountains are being discovered. That's good and bad."

Good for business. Bad for the timelessness that makes Marble Marble, that makes Crystal Mill a destination.

Deep in the forest, the wooden structure has been perched above a waterfall since 1893. On this day, one flew a drone while another, Carolyn Ansell, stood back, quietly admiring as she has for years. She used to live in Marble.

"Every time I look at this," she says, "I think how someday, it's gonna go."

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A closer look at Avalanche Ranch Cabins and Hot Springs in our continuing series on hot springs in Colorado.


Glenwood Springs to the north and Aspen to the east get far more attention than Redstone, the quaint town along Colorado 133. But treasures lie within, such as Avalanche Ranch's hot springs, overlooked by the dramatic Mount Sopris. A family tapped a well in 2010, releasing the geothermal waters that flow into three pools stacked on top of each other.

But the soaking spots aren't the only draw at Avalanche Ranch. Several rustic cabins, three wagons, a ranch house and a cottage are some of the accommodations to be reserved by hikers and cyclists who want more than a day to explore area trails. The ranch is along the Crystal River's Gold Medal waters, and anglers staying the night can keep up to four trout stocked in the private pond. Guests are welcome to canoes. Winter activities include snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and ice skating.

Book a massage or join a yoga session for optimum healing, though the mineral-rich waters should do the trick. The upper two pools are kept at 103 to 105 degrees, while the biggest one is about 88 to 94 degrees.

Rules: Suits required. Pools closed on Wednesdays for cleaning, opening for lodging guests after 5 p.m. All-day visitors must make reservations. No pets by pools. No glass, no smoking.

Address: 12863 Colorado 133, Redstone, 81623

Hours: Day visits made for four-hour slots, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1 to 5 p.m.

Contact: 970-963-2846,

Getting there: Off Interstate 25, exit for U.S. 6 west and follow to Interstate 70 exit toward Grand Junction. Continue west to exit 116 for Colorado 82 east to Glenwood Springs/Aspen. Turn for Colorado 133 south and go about 13 miles to hot springs.


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Avalanche Ranch Cabins and Hot Springs

Glenwood Springs to the north and Aspen to the east get far more attention than Redstone, the quaint town along Colorado 133. But treasures lie within, such as Avalanche Ranch's hot springs, overlooked by the dramatic Mount Sopris. A family tapped a well in 2010, releasing the geothermal waters that flow into three pools stacked on top of each other.

But the soaking spots aren't the only draw at Avalanche Ranch. Several rustic cabins, three wagons, a ranch house and a cottage are some of the accomodations to be reserved by hikers and cyclists who want more than a day to explore area trails. The ranch is along the Crystal River's Gold Medal waters, and anglers staying the night can keep up to four trout stocked in the private pond. Guests are welcome to canoes. Winter activities include snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and ice skating.

Book a massage or join a yoga session for optimum healing, though the mineral-rich waters should do the trick. The upper two pools are kept at 103 to 105 degrees, while the biggest one is about 88 to 94 degrees.

Rules: Suits required. Pools closed on Wednesdays for cleaning, opening for lodging guests after 5 p.m. All-day visitors must make reservations. No pets by pools. No glass, no smoking.

Address: 12863 Colorado 133, Redstone, 81623

Hours: Day visits made for four-hour slots, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1 to 5 p.m.

Contact: 970-963-2846,

Getting there: Off Interstate 25, exit for U.S. 6 west and follow to Interstate 70 exit toward Grand Junction. Continue west to exit 116 for Colorado 82 east to Glenwood Springs/Aspen. Turn for Colorado 133 south and go about 13 miles to hot springs.


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SNOWMASS, Colo. (CBS4) – Supporters of the deaf and hearing-impaired community are coming together to help a camp hit hard by thieves and vandals.

Aspen Camp, located in nearby Snowmass, rents out cabins between sessions for the hard of hearing to help support the nonprofit organization’s operations.

(credit: Aspen Camp)

Hundreds of children and their families visit the camp each year from across Colorado and even internationally.

The damage that occurred during this year’s X Games has put camp staff in a bind to get the facility ready for its next group of deaf campers.

The year-round, one-of-a-kind retreat teaches life skills to deaf youth, adults and families.

(credit: Aspen Camp)

A camp spokesperson said that some X Games fans renting out a couple of the camp’s cabins through Airbnb apparently did not respect the valuable programs.

Ryan Commerson, Aspen Camp’s board president, spoke to CBS4’s Melissa Garcia through an interpreter.

He said the rowdy party-goers trashed the camp, broke an electric wiring outlet and damaged a door frame. They also left a sticky mess on cabin floors, scattered fpod along trails, and stole meals meant for deaf families from the staff kitchen after breaking into the main lounge.

(credit: Aspen Camp)

“Everything was locked,” Commerson said. “The doors and the windows were locked. And it was a smaller window that they really had to work hard to have squeezed themselves into.”

One vandal wrote a disparaging message on the kitchen’s fridge that read, “We are not deaf.”

Vandalism left at Aspen Camp (credit: Aspen Camp)

“(It was) a classless act,” Commerson said. “It’s just another example of what we always face every day of our lives as we’re growing up.”

Aspen Camp volunteers and staff members worked tirelessly to clean, repair, and restock.

“An additional unnecessary stress,” Commerson explained.

CBS4’s Melissa Garcia interviews Ryan Commerson. (credit: CBS)

The several-thousand dollars in damage were a big blow to the nonprofit that was already struggling to break even.

An outpouring of support since the vandalism, however, will revamp not only the facilities, but also scholarship funds for the 70 percent of deaf youth campers who otherwise can’t afford to attend.

“We teach (the deaf and hard of hearing) to advocate for themselves. And this situation is just an example of the types of things that we’re wanting to practice with them to know how to deal with when they’re out in the world,” Commerson said of the adversity.

The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office is also investigating, but has not said if deputies have been able to identify who broke in and caused the damage.

An Airbnb spokesperson provided the following statement:

“We take incidents like this extremely seriously and are urgently investigating what happened. We are in touch with our host and are giving them our full support. Additionally, we have reached out to local law enforcement to offer our assistance with their investigation. Our community standards prohibit behavior like this and if a guest violates our policies, we will take action including suspension or permanent removal from our platform. There have been more than 260 million guest arrivals in Airbnb listings to date and negative incidents are extremely rare, but even so, we’re constantly working to improve our policies, and our protections, because even one incident is one too many.”

Commerson encouraged anyone interested in learning more to reach out to the camp.

Melissa Garcia has been reporting for CBS4 News since March 2014. Find her bio here, follow her on Twitter @MelissaGarciaTV, or send your story idea to

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The U.S. Forest Service is looking for operators to rent out the Aspen Guard Station north of Mancos.

The San Juan National Forest is seeking applications to operate the historic Aspen and Glade guard stations.

A successful applicant will gain a commercial permit for renting the cabins to the public, said Tom Rice, recreation planner for the Dolores District.

“They are really neat buildings that are not getting used,” he said. “Having an operator will allow the public to stay in the forest in historic cabins and provide a local business opportunity. Rental management will also help keep the buildings maintained.”

The Aspen Guard Station is 10 miles northeast of Mancos on Forest Road 561. It is a rustic cabin with a water well, propane and solar system. It has a kitchen and three bedrooms.

The Glade Guard Station is 30 miles north of Cortez on Forest Road 512. It is similar to the Aspen station but has had renovations in the past five years that include corrals.

Access for both properties is via gravel forest roads. Winter snowfall typically closes access from November to May. Snow machines and off-highway vehicles may be used when roads are closed because of snow. The commercial permit term will be for two years, with an option to extend the term non-competitively for an additional five years.

The cabins have a long history with the Forest Service.

The Glade Guard Station was established in 1905 when a small log cabin was constructed as an administrative facility for the Glade District of the Montezuma National Forest, which is now part of the Dolores District of the San Juan National Forest. In 1916, a wood-frame residence was built and a barn was added.

The Lone Dome Civilian Conservation Corp camp was set up adjacent to the Glade Guard Station in 1930s. During this time, a garage, meat house (later used as a toolshed) and an outhouse were constructed. The station continued to serve various functions through the 1970s and is one of the oldest Forest Service administrative sites in Colorado. The site was listed on the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties in 2001 and is considered to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

The log-constructed Aspen Guard Station was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1938 for Forest Service administration under Superintendent G. Wayne Bauer. It is in an aspen grove near the historic Jersey Jim Lookout Tower.

The Aspen station was built as part of the federal government’s effort to generate jobs after the Great Depression and was part of a campaign of natural resource enhancement undertaken by the Forest Service during the New Deal era.

Rangers lived in the Aspen station when they worked in the field, and it included office space, a bedroom, storage and a garage. Later, a small kitchen and dining nook were added. By the 1950s, it was being used for seasonal work crews. Beginning in 1994, the dwelling was used for an artist-in-residence program, but that program ended in 2012.

Rice said the cabins need some upkeep, and that some of the revenues generated by the rentals would be earmarked for building maintenance.

As part of the application, bidders must show a business plan and experience with providing lodging to the public. Other details should include visitation numbers, season of use, potential revenue, logistics and cost of infrastructure and operations. Providing public benefit and generating revenue are critical parts of this opportunity, Rice said.

Parties are encouraged to research and visit the stations by contacting the Dolores Ranger District before Oct. 15. Application packages must be received by 4:30 p.m. Oct. 27.

Interested parties may contact Tom Rice, recreation program manager, Dolores Ranger District, 29211 Colorado Highway 184, Dolores, CO 81323. Rice’s phone is 882-6843. His email is

For more information, including an electronic copy of the prospectus, contact Rice. The prospectus is posted at:

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GLENNS FERRY — A lingering power outage at Three Island Crossing State Park is still affecting five cabins, the day use area and the park's irrigation pumps.

The park reported in early August that electricity had been restored to both campgrounds, the history center, service and shop areas and the front kiosk.

But by Monday, the Dogwood, Elm, Aspen, Juniper and Oak cabins were still without power, and inability to operate the irrigation pumps had left the grass and trees extremely dry.

"We are still working with electricians to fix the situation," the park posted Monday on Facebook. "Please continue to check back for updates."

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