Hope Mine, e-bikes, local data & Giving NewsDay
It’s a busy time of year giving thanks, preparing for the peak holidays and getting everything ready for ski season. At Aspen Journalism, we have also had a busy week, publishing two in-depth feature stories and breaking some new ground on our two on-going data projects.
Among the data points that caught my attention in Data Desk Editor Laurine Lassalle’s detailed breakdown of increasing bike and e-bike accidents on local trails, published in Friday’s Aspen Times, was that both Pitkin County Open Space and Trails and Aspen Valley Hospital’s trauma department are reporting that more of the bike accidents they are seeing involve e-bikes. At AVH, summer 2021 saw more e-bike accidents than ever before, according to the hospital’s trauma medical director, who called for better education for the riding public to go along with the growth of e-bikes as a recreational pursuit.
To follow that up, Aspen Journalism’s resident local history writer Tim Cooney struck again, with a feature piece published in Sunday’s Aspen Daily News exploring a fascinating chapter in Aspen’s history. The Hope Mine was the town’s last best effort at reviving mining, where for 18 years, workers — financed in part by small-dollar shareholders from the community — tried to find an elusive vein of pure silver thought to be running underneath the west side of Aspen Mountain. The bonanza never materialized, however, and the operation couldn’t recover from a catastrophic 1929 fire. What I loved especially about the piece was its glimpse into the soul of Aspen in what has come to be known as the “quiet years” between the late-Victorian-era silver boom and the ascendance of skiing as the town’s primary economic driver. Tim says it best at the end of the piece:
“For better or for worse, the evolving Hope Mine drama never petered out from lack of trying, but simply from not producing. Had that vein revealed — and it still might be down there, deeper — a different kind of Aspen fortune might have materialized between the silver and skiing booms. In any case, the Quiet Years might more accurately be called Aspen’s ‘Normal Years,’ when a small, tight-knit community prospered before the big wealthy world rolled in.”
Also this week, we added a snowpack-tracking feature to our Data Dashboard, which reveals at this early stage of the water year the disparity depending on where you sit in the basin. Independence Pass, for example, has around 80% of its average “snow-water equivalent,” while a monitoring station in the upper Fryingpan drainage is showing above-average readings. Head out to the West Elks, however, and things look different, with McClure Pass at 31% of average and Schofield Pass at 66%.
Our Tracking the Curve project monitoring developments related to the COVID-19 virus in Eagle, Pitkin and Garfield counties also reported recently that Aspen Skiing Co has seen near total compliance with its employee vaccine mandate, save for about 2% of the company’s 4,000 employees who qualified for a religious of medical exemption, plus “a small number” of employees decided to leave rather than get vaccinated, according to a company spokesperson.
Thank you all for reading and thanks especially to those who have made a gift to Aspen Journalism as part of our year-end matching campaign. If you subscribe to this newsletter and value Aspen Journalism’s work, but haven’t’ yet donated, it’s a great time to start a new monthly donation, which will be matched 12 times, up to $1,000 total, or have your one-time gift matched dollar for dollar up to $1,000, thanks to our national and statewide partners, NewsMatch and the Colorado Media Project.
Thanks for reading and supporting Aspen Journalism.
— Curtis Wackerle, editor
Considered a sure bet in 1911, Aspen’s Hope Mine up Castle Creek aimed to be the economic revival of Aspen by finding the lost silver lode under Little Annie’s, only to become the town’s broken dream 18 years later.
By Tim Cooney | November 29, 2021
Lawsuit leads to financial troubles, before fire fries flotation mill.
AVH saw a record number of e-bike injuries this past summer
By Laurine Lassalle | November 26, 2021
“It’s definitely higher than it ever has been,” said Dr. Christopher Roseberry, AVH’s trauma medical director. “The e-bikes are so popular, and e-bike rentals are so popular among visitors. We went into the season fully expecting to see more e-bike injuries, and that’s what we ended up seeing.”
Air temperature keeps dropping in Aspen as winter approches.
By Laurine Lassalle | November 30, 2021
• SNOTEL site at the Independence Pass shows that snowpack was at 79.7% of average on Nov. 28.
• The monitoring station at McClure Pass recorded a snowpack of less than one inch, or 33.5% of average.
Documenting COVID-19 in Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties
By Laurine Lassalle | November 30, 2021
Pitkin County’s seven-day incidence rate is hovering at 155 per 100,000 on Nov. 29. A week ago, the incidence rate was at 282. Eagle County’s incidence rate also decreased from around 300 last week to 198 on Monday, according to state data. Garfield County’s incidence is around 228 per 100,000, down from 238 on Nov. 22.
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Source: aspentimes.com | Read more
“Strecker and Supino … stated short-term rentals in Aspen generated $50 million in taxable revenue from January through September. Given STRs for the first nine months of the year accounted for 35% of the accommodations business in Aspen, the STR industry “should be assessed to ensure it is operating within the city’s policies and community’s expectations.”
Source: aspentimes.com | Read more
“In a recent analysis of Zillow real estate data, Headwaters Economics, a nonpartisan research group, found a 15% increase in housing prices from July 2020 to July 2021 in Teton County, Idaho, which includes Driggs and Victor. Prices spiked to unprecedented levels in communities up to an hour’s commute from Jackson.”
Source: hcn.org | Read more
“For us to be able to maintain just a slice of what Carbondale was like 100 years ago is pretty cool,” Suzanne Stephens, AVLT executive director, told the Aspen Daily News shortly before the deal was finalized on Aug. 31. “This is a very cool historic working ranch.”
Source: aspendailynews.com | Read more
He spent almost 50 years alone at 10,000 feet. His hobby helped shape climate research in the Rockies.
In the numbers, he points out patterns. Nearly half the record-low temperatures came in his first decade here, and more than half the record highs occurred in the past one. The years between 1974 and 2000 averaged 10 more days with snow on the ground than the years since. The number of consecutive days when temperatures stayed below freezing has plummeted.
Source: washingtonpost.com | Read more
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