Vail’s old Vista Bahn cable gets new life |

Vail’s old Vista Bahn cable gets new life

VAIL — When the new Gondola One was inaugurated at Vail Mountain in 2012, few took notice of its predecessor, the Vista Bahn chairlift. The Vista Bahn Express Lift (No. 16) was deconstructed in 37 days. Some of the old chairs were sent to give older lifts around the resort a boost. Most of the rest was transported to Rocky Mountain Recycling in Commerce City. Thirty semi-trucks hauled 594,920 pounds of steel and cable off the mountain and to the Front Range. Most of that was melted down into something else, except for some of the steel cable, which ended up in the hands of Denver-based company repurposedMATERIALS. Thanks to their innovation, several miles of ski lift cable got new life as architectural railing on office buildings and homes. The cable also became part of cages used by commercial fishing companies in Alaska in order to anchor the cages down when they were dropped into the water. The company, started by one-time Vail local Damon Carson, specializes in taking materials that would otherwise end up in landfills and finding new, often industrial, uses for them. That's not the only ski resort "junk" that got a new use. The company also turned a few hundred plastic tube bottoms — once used as the sheeting on the bottom of resort inner tubes —into plastic troughs used to feed animals, who neither cared what color or how fast the bottoms were. One man's trash … Carson first started the company as a side project. He lived in Vail from 1994 to 2002, running the garbage company PHI Waste. He moved to the Front Range and stumbled upon the idea of re-purposing when someone asked him to set aside any vinyl billboards that he came across. Carson asked the client why, and the man responded that the vinyl sheets made great drop cloths for painting projects. He started repurposedMATERIALS in 2010, and the company's next project was reusing the long pieces of rubber that come from conveyor belts used in mining. Turns out old rubber is quite useful — several thousands of feet of the stuff was sold to a company in Las Vegas that rented Lamborghinis by the hour. The conveyor belt material ended up making great wall coverings for the company's racetrack. After all, bouncing a Lamborghini off a rubber wall is far less damaging than bouncing it off a plastic wall or metal rail. "I guess this is my second foray into trash," Carson said. "Before, we took it all to landfill, and now I try to keep it out." Uncommon uses In most cases, re-purposing is much more environmentally and economically efficient than recycling. When items are recycled, they're broken down and made into something else. With re-purposing, they keep their current form and just get a new use, explained Carson. Compared to dumping the materials, it's often cost-neutral or cheaper for companies to re-purpose their items through repurposedMATERIALS. They can be environmentally friendly, plus they don't have to pay landfill fees. The materials are often items that people have no idea what to do with, but Carson and his employees are up to the challenge of finding the materials new jobs. Those billboard vinyls, for example, have also been sold to a U.S. Army base as use for obstacle course partitions, and as slip and slides at the University of Chicago. Occasionally the repurposedMATERIALS folks do get stumped. They were once given plastic conveyor belt material from a Campbell's Soup factory that sat in the warehouse for months. Finally, oddly enough, Paramount Pictures bought the material for an unspecified use on the set of the movie "Transformers." "Every deal is different," Carson said. "We know what materials resonate with our customers, but we don't know if it's going to be going from a copper miner to a farmer, or to a golf course operator." The company looks for generic materials, not one-use items like ceiling fans or fridges. That said, Carson hesitates to turn anything away because, after all, he just might find a way to re-purpose it. "Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge just called us and had 300 to 400 auditorium seats. It was just the backs and the seats, without the frame," he said. "Now the fun thing is figuring what the 'after' is going to be." Assistant Managing Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 and

Fashion Extreme

The look: Caroline Jacobs, 4, of Winona, Minn., and Carson Gaffrey, 4, of Deston, Fla., strut their stuff in designer names. Major designers are creating looks for younger children. Why it works: Caroline and Carson looked like they just popped out of fashion magazine. Caroline looks super cute in her red Puma sweatsuit. She also wore a black Popstar shirt. To finish off her ensemble, she wore Lelli Kelly shoes. Carson looked just as cool in his rock star outfit. Carson wore a Someday Dreamers shirt and True Religion jeans. He also wore a camouflage belt from Abercrombie and Ugg boots. When to wear it: At 4 years old, Caroline and Carson already know how to dress up a storm. Their looks go just about anywhere, whether its a birthday party or the first day of schoolThe label: Abercrombie showcases a variety of clothing, ranging from Western looks to urban style. True Religion sells urban-styled jeans. They have become a favorite among the celebrities in Hollywood. Ugg is known for its light material and comfort. Lelli Kelly is a shoe brand well-liked for its embroidery and bead work. Popstar and Someday Dreamers are childrens brands that are known for their style and chic looks. Puma takes athletic gear and makes it trendy.How to duplicate it: All of these names are found nationally and on the Internet. Other designers starting to break into the childrens market are Marc Jacobs and Von Dutch. Why it Works: Caroline and Carson looked like they just popped out of fashion magazine. Caroline looks super cute in her red Puma sweatsuit. She also wore a black Popstar shirt. To finish off her ensemble, she wore Lelli Kelly shoes. Carson looked just as cool in his punk-rock outfit. Carson wore a Someday Dreamers shirt and True Religion jeans. He also wore a camoflauge belt from Abercrombie and Ugg boots. When to Wear it: At 4 years old, Caroline and Carson already know how to dress up a storm. Their looks go just about anywhere, whether it’s a birthday party or first day of school The label: Abercrombie showcases a variety of clothing, ranging from Western looks to the urban looks. True Religion sells urban-styled jeans. They have become a favorite among the celebrities in Hollywood. Ugg boots are known for its light material and comfort. Lelli Kelly is a shoe brand well liked for its embroidery and bead work. Popstar and Someday Dreamers are children’s brands that are known for their style and chic looks. Puma takes athletic gear and makes it trendy. Vail, Colorado

Some late shows back from strike

NEW YORK ” “Late Show with David Letterman” and “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” will be back with their writers airing joke-filled new hours starting Wednesday, the shows’ production company, Worldwide Pants, announced Friday. An interim agreement between the Letterman-owned company and the Writers Guild of America will allow the full writing staffs for both shows to return to work, even as the Hollywood writers strike continues to shutter much TV and movie production. Both of those CBS late-night shows have been airing reruns since the strike began eight weeks ago. “I am grateful to the WGA for granting us this agreement,” Letterman said. “This is not a solution to the strike, which unfortunately continues to disrupt the lives of thousands. But I hope it will be seen as a step in the right direction.” The deal, which restores the two shows to business as usual, gives them an enormous advantage over their competition NBC’s “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” as well as ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” had already announced they would resume Wednesday without benefit of their writing teams. Similarly, Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert” planned to return writer-less on Monday, Jan. 7. Resisting such an arrangement, Rob Burnett, president and CEO of Worldwide Pants, had actively sought an interim deal. Talks between studios and networks and the guild broke down Dec. 7, but the guild has been pursuing agreements with several small independent producers that would allow at least some members to return to work. “We are appreciative that the leaders of the guild dealt with us reasonably and in good faith,” Burnett said. Much speculation has been focused on how the other late-night shows will fill their time deprived of monologues, skits and other written material. All the hosts ” with the exception of NBC’s Carson Daly, who returned to the air Dec. 3 ” are members of the guild, making those without an interim deal subject to union rules that would severely limit what they can do. A related issue centers on whether their shows will face a problem booking A-list guests, who may not be willing to cross a picket line. Central to the contract dispute has been compensation for work distributed via the Internet and other digital media. The guild also has called for unionization of writers working on reality shows and animation. When writers went on strike in 1988, only two late-night shows were affected: Johnny Carson’s “Tonight” show and Letterman’s “Late Night,” both on NBC. Carson made a deal with the guild shortly after returning to the air, but Letterman went weeks without his writers’ services before the strike was settled. “”” On the Net:

Roots of Racing: Carson was a student of the Pro Tour

This winter, Vail and Beaver Creek hosted the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships for a third time. The Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum has opened its ski racing archives to tell stories that connect the dots between today's spectacular made-for-TV competitions and their humble beginnings. This series will feature many of the significant milestones, instigated here in Colorado by individuals now enshrined in the Hall of Fame, which helped shape skiing and international racing. When you are in Vail Village, stop by the museum for a trip through skiing's past. For more information, go to Paul Carson joined the Canadian Ski Team when he was 17. He climbed the racing ladder, competing in World Cups, claiming the title of Canadian National Slalom Champion in 1973 and then turning pro at a race in Australia before his 21st birthday. From 1973 until 1981, Carson would compete on the World Pro Skiing circuit, traveling internationally, ranking as high as third in the world, and planting the roots for his life to come. Carson loved the pro format found on the WPS Tour. "Dual format is awesome because it's man against man … first one to cross the finish line." He noticed early on that the "amateur format" gave an unfair advantage to the top skiers. The best skiers would go first, leaving ruts and tearing up the course. It was hard to improve, and advance, when you started so deep in the field that the course had degraded by a second or more by the time it was your turn to start. With World Pro Skiing's format, you raced on the same course conditions as your competitor, at the same time. Everybody had a chance to win, if they were fast enough. As proof, Carson recalls racing against his idol Jean Claude Killy in Killy's last professional race, and winning. One big family For Carson, the WPS was special because it was such a big family. Everyone was in it together, trying to make it succeed. He recalls guys like Spider Sabich doing a month-long press tour before the season even began, on his own dime, to help promote the Tour. His good friend Doug Woodcock turned pro a year before him, as he was a year older. "I followed him, and we traveled the world together for eight years," he said. Carson would bring a guitar and "Woodie" a banjo, and they played bluegrass in the European bars. Both met their wives on tour, and they remain close. A month before Bob Beattie folded his Pro Tour, Carson retired. He was shocked by Beattie's decision. Jobless, he, Otto Tschudi and a few others worked to keep the Pro Tour alive by founding the Professional Ski Racers Association. Carson became the business manager as they searched for a sports marketing firm to promote their new tour. "We asked guys for 10 percent of their tour money, from the year before, to start it up. All but a few stepped up, those that wanted to continue racing," Carson remembered. All told, they raised $50k for a new tour. Paul was able to attract the First Bank of Denver to support a race in Winter Park and hired a New York-based sports marketing company, giving them almost the entire $50,000. It was wasted money. Sponsors were confused by Beattie's sudden closure, and a rival tour out East was claiming to be the new "Pro Tour." Nobody would bite. Still committed to the bank, Carson ran the Winter Park race anyway. His race series lasted a few years, with stops in the U.S. and Europe, but they were never able to resurrect Beattie's dream. From beaches to 'Doggie Olympics' While trying to set up a race in Japan, Carson was approached to take over sports marketing for Pro Beach Volleyball. His progress with the ski tour had impressed enough people, and he was hired to resurrect beach volleyball. Right off the bat, he took a speech from Bob Beattie, telling the athletes "we are in competition with football, baseball and every other sport out there. In competition for dollars and sponsors … we should be the biggest event that comes to town." He instituted fines for swearing, added bleacher seating, electronic scoreboards and put it on television. They made the tour professional and fun. His wife, Kathy, later took over management of the beach volleyball — running the $750,000 Cuervo Gold Crown Series for 10 years. Now, Carson Events and TV production produce the National Dog Show presented by Purina on NBC on Thanksgiving Day. They also created and produce the Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge (known as the "Doggie Olympics") for network television. Carson's office is adorned with ski memorabilia — a poster here, a medal there — and even a letter from President Gerald Ford. He stays in touch with several competitors from his racing days, coming together to race as legends in the American Ski Classic in Vail. They may be older, and a little banged up, but they still love the thrill of the race. "It's amazing to see where they are now," he said. Some made connections racing in the Director's Cup. Carson took the discipline he had learned from WPS and grew a successful sports marketing firm. Wherever they ended up, they remember where it all began — on Bob Beattie's World Pro Skiing Tour.

Planning for a comfortable retirement

A comfortable retirement means different things to different people. Some people envision a leisurely retirement as a time to tour the world, visiting other countries and experiencing different cultures. Others see it as an opportunity to take up new hobbies or spend more time with family members.Whatever your retirement dreams, youll need a well conceived investment plan to help you reach them. Thats because the obstacles that stand between you and a comfortable retirement can leave you with less money than youll need when your working days are done.Social Security will probably provide only a small portion of the amount youll require to maintain your standard of living during your leisure years. And considering the vast number of people who will be drawing Social Security benefits as the population ages, no one really knows how healthy the system will be a decade or two from now.Dont count on your company pension plan to make up the difference. Pension plans offer no guarantees should the company go out of business.If youre fortunate enough to have a solid pension plan, it may still only provide about half of the amount needed to maintain your standard of living in retirement, according to retirement-planning experts. But even if you have a terrific plan, can you be sure that you wont be right-sized before you plan to retire?If you want to build a comfortable nest egg, you need to start investing now and regularly put away as much as you can. Its never too early to start investing for retirement. And if youve never established an investment plan independent of your employers program, its never too late to begin.Assume that you invest just $200 monthly in an account that earns 8 percent annually. After five years, your account will be worth $14,589; after 10 years, $36,025. Twenty years? $113,800.To keep your money growing faster than inflation, invest a portion of your portfolio in securities with the potential to outpace inflation. Historically, stocks have been the best-performing asset class. In fact, stocks outpaced inflation more than three to one from the end of 1925 to the end of 2004 (keep in mind that past performance cannot guarantee future results).Find out how much youll need to secure your retirement dreams — and the amount you should be putting aside each year — by talking with your financial advisor. He or she can help you chart a course of action to get the most out of your money — and work toward securing your retirement dreams.The accuracy and completeness of this material are not guaranteed. The opinions expressed are those of Fraser M. Horn and Dudley M. Irwin and are not necessarily those of Berthel Fisher or its affiliates. This material is distributed solely for information purposes and is not a solicitation of an offer to buy any security or instrument or to participate in any trading strategy. Provided courtesy of Fraser M. Horn and Dudley M. Irwin, Investment Advisor Representatives with Berthel Fisher in Edwards, C.Registered Representative of and securities offered through Berthel Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc. Member NASD/SIPC. 1st & Main Investment Advisors is independent of BFCFS.

Foot-stompin’, hand-clappin’, fiddle-playin’ fun

VAIL ” When Eileen Carson first laid her eyes on the feet of a group of cloggers at the Union Grove Festival in North Carolina, a strange feeling took hold of her. Using only their feet and a piece of wood, the dancers were not performing. They were not even on stage. They were merely percussion instruments accompanying a live band. “It’s an individual pursuit where the dancer feels very connected to the music,” she said. Carson, who had studied classical and modern ballet, was just 17 years old then, but she had “caught the bug,” she said. Giving up her years of ballet training to pursue her new-found love, she founded the Fiddle Puppet Dancers. Soon, folk festivals scattered along the East Coast began inviting the puppet dancers to perform, and it was the first time clogging had been seen out of its region. As the dancers toured to various festivals, they would come in contact with other forms of percussive dance such as Irish step dance, African and African-American dance, step dancing, gumboot dancing and tap. Over time, the company learned and introduced all of these freestyle techniques into its show, which is now a pastiche of Appalachian, Irish, Scottish, English, French, Canadian, South African and African-American culture and tradition. With many new influences in its repertoire, the company evolved into the Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble. “It’s sort of like a historic homage,” Carson said of the company’s patchwork style. “It’s also a product of our journey, which we started as cloggers from a social place and loved it so much we started choreographing and performing. We saw it as a valid art form and wanted to present it on stage while trying to stay true to it. “There’s a lot of places in the show where there’s improv, which is truer to the tradition of dance, but it is a stage show, which is almost a contradiction.” What results is an audience clapping, stomping and marveling at the skillful and diverse talents before them. Carson also lends her voice to the live music that is integral to the performance. Accompanied by a quartet of fiddle, guitar, mandolin and bass, the group shifts from wistful Celtic ballads to energetic Appalachian stepping without hesitation. The Footworks dancers also join in the music-making when they pick up accordions, drums and fiddles, not to mention rubber boots, soda bottles and water-cooler jugs. If it can make noise, Footworks can transform it into a form of artistic expression. In addition to the free Sunday family matinee, Footworks will also perform a free mini-show in conjunction with the dance festival’s Village Vignettes program today at noon in Beaver Creek’s upper plaza. Staff Writer Laura A. Ball can be reached at 748-2939 or Vail, Colorado

Whirled Peas Grill lands at the Vail Golf Club

Watch out for the red-winged black bird on hole No. 2 of the Vail Golf Course, it’ll steal any unattended food items. Magpies and crows also hover around the tee box. Like golfers, these birds are on the hunt for a quick and easy meal. Lucky for the hungry, Whirled Peas recently opened shop at the Vail Golf Club. The Denver based catering company turned restaurant serves up sandwiches, wings and nachos, along with weekly specials. “(We serve) all bar and golf course food,” said Jeff Carson, chef and manager at Whirled Peas. “When you get off the golf course, you don’t necessarily want duck or fois gras.” That said, the bar food Carson serves his high quality and he said they take pride in everything they do. “These are the best sandwichs we can make,” Carson said. The Vail Golf Club’s signature dish is the adobo chicken sandwich, which is an adobo chili rubbed chicken breast served on a ciabatta bun. The sandwich is finished off with chipolte mayo and lettuce, tomato, onion and avocado. Another popular item is the Thai Chicken Wrap, which is a spinach tortilla filled with grilled vegetables, including squash, asparagus, zucchini, red onion and roasted peppers. The wrap is completed by adding romaine, Thai-marinated chicken, fried rice noodles and peanut sauce. On the lighter side, Whirled Peas also offers a variety of salads ” mixed greens, Ceasar, orzo pasta salad, and the “Kitchen Sink Cobb Salad.” Several regulars ordered the cobb salad for lunch, noting it is one of the best salads around. Lenny Bloom, a 19-year valley resident, who works as a starter ranger at the golf course is hooked on the capicola ham sandwich. “It’s good food at a good price,” he said. He said the new restaurant is a “good change” from previous proprietors, noting that the food was never bad, but also never this good. “If an item is not getting good response we’ll change the menu,” Carson said, adding that he’s open to special orders. “Everyone has their own special way they like it, so we accommodate each of them.”

Vail Daily’s parent company acquires paper in Park City

PARK CITY, Utah — Park City's 135-year-old newspaper has a new owner. Swift Communications of Carson City, Nevada, has purchased The Park Record from Digital First Media of Denver. The sale closed Tuesday. The price was not disclosed. Swift Communications, which is based in Carson City, Nevada, owns 27 local and regional publications in five states. Its president and chief operating officer, Bob Brown and Andy Bernhard, who has been The Park Record's publisher since 1987, are longtime friends. Bernhard notes that Swift Communications has a keen appreciation for challenges of operating newspapers in mountain resort towns that attract sophisticated and outspoken readers. The company owns the Snowmass Sun, The Aspen Times, Summit Daily News and Vail Daily in Colorado along with the Tahoe Daily Tribune and Sierra Sun in California. Brown said that through Bernhard he has come to know Park City well. "I have known Andy Bernhard for decades. Our company has a great affinity for the Park City community and tremendous admiration of The Park Record." Brown said. Swift Communications' chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bill Toler agrees that The Park Record is a good fit for the company. "Swift Communications feels a deep connection and commitment to mountain communities and resort markets. At the same time, we fully recognize that each community has a unique culture and areas of interest. That is why our newspapers and digital publications in Aspen, Breckenridge, Lake Tahoe and Vail are different. "As with our publications in other communities, we will expect The Park Record team to operate autonomously and to continue to serve the Park City community to the best of their ability," he said.

Got a mess? Call Frank Doll

Shortly after returning to Fort Carson, Frank was assigned to the 2nd United States Army Missile Command. Before assuming his new duties, he was required to attend a four-week course in Air-Ground Operations at an air base near Biloxi, Miss. Upon returning from the school just before Christmas, he was assigned to be the Headquarter Company Commander, 2nd Missile Command. This wasnt what Frank expected and just about died. He asked, Who do I see next?Youve just seen him, came the reply. Well, this position was hardly one Frank envisioned himself doing. The company was a mess. The commander from Fort Carson who had just left nearly tossed out on his rear end had stolen from it, and generally run the company into the ground. His duties included having the place in shape for the annual general inspection, which was due in a month. This inspection was the most important event of the year for a unit. It was where it was decided whether or not you were fit to accomplish your mission. Now as the company commander, Frank had a month to get the place in shape. With what he had to work with, the job was impossible and Frank knew it. Working feverishly, Frank did what was humanly possible to get the unit in shape for the inspection, and when the day came, Frank looked at the Inspector General and realized this man was a school mate from his days at Colorado A&M. Frank was convinced if it hadnt been for this friendship, the unit would have flunked. When the inspection was over Frank sat quietly while the inspector general outlined all that was wrong with the company and the list went on and on. After the general left, the Chief of Staff said to Frank, And you sit right there.Frank remained seated.The chief of staff looked Frank in the eye. What do you need to get this place in shape?Frank said, I need some people who know A from B, and I need to get rid of a whole bunch of people who dont know X from Y, and a whole bunch of other things.If you give me a list of the men you want gone, Ill get it done tomorrow. Anything else? Yes, sir. My terms are that I leave here the day after the inspection.The Chief of Staff smiled. Consider it done.And I want to go to the 52nd Missile Command. Most of the officers in this unit were officers with whom Frank worked in Korea.All right.Consider it done, sir.A year later, when the inspection was completed, the company got the highest score ever recorded at Fort Carson. And the next day, Frank was gone.E-mail comments about this story to

New restaurant opens at the Vail Golf Club

A lot of people in the Vail Valley have already tasted the food at Whirled Peas Grill, the new restaurant at the Vail Golf Club. Its sister company, Whirled Peas Catering, has cooked for weddings at Donovan Pavilion, the American Ski Class, the World Forum and the Vail International Dance Festival.The same chef behind the tasty catering grub, Jeff Carson, created the menu for Whirled Peas Grill, which opens Saturday.We are excited to embark on this new chapter in our company’s growth, said Whirled Peas Grill and Whirled Peas Catering co-owner Marc DesRosiers. Whirled Peas has always had a strong presence in the Vail Valley, but we have desired to create a permanent presence here. With the new relationship between the Vail Recreation District and Whirled Peas, this vision is finally a reality.Visit or call 303-431-7784 for more information.