August Mayor’s Minute

Mayors Minute

Words by Laila Benitez / Government, Mayor's Minute

Hello neighbors,

Below are some Town Council meeting highlights from last month and some upcoming topics. As always, I hope you can join us for tomorrow’s meeting or consider sharing your feedback with us about any of these matters.

July 19 Meeting Highlights

If you would like more specifics about any of these topics, you can review minutes from the meeting or watch the video on the town website.

August 16 Agenda Topics

  • Telluride Bluegrass Festival is requesting the continued use of on-street parking for their four-day event. When Town Council discussed this request last November, we recognized the economic significance of the festival but expressed that the residential impacts must be better addressed and mitigated. After months of discussion, a new proposed agreement was outlined calling for a 150% increase in the cost of parking, approximately $100,000 in town revenue annually. If Town Council approves the proposed five-year agreement, the Bluegrass Festival will be the only festival or event to which the town extends an on-street parking privilege. The additional revenue would be earmarked for future Gondola Parking Garage upgrades.
  • Over the years, Telluride Ski and Golf (TSG) has provided the town with various licenses, easements, and other conveyances that have been necessary as our town has grown and developed. TSG has asked the town to acknowledge this assistance as “Public Benefits”, as envisioned by the Comprehensive Plan. Town Council will consider whether to formally acknowledge these public benefits in a Memorandum of Understanding. Note: the town cannot assign any weight or value to these benefits at this time. The value of public benefits can only be made in conjunction with any future land use applications.
  • Town Council will appoint a residential representative to the Telluride Regional Airport Authority (TRAA) Board.
  • Lastly, we will receive reports from Telluride Tourism BoardTRAA, Green Team Committee, and the Town Hall and Village Center Subarea Committees.

A full agenda has been posted on our website; we welcome your input and hope to see you at the meeting.

Warm regards,

Laila Benitez
Mountain Village Mayor

Join Mayor Benitez for the Final ‘A Walk with the Mayor’ Event of the Season August 7


Words by Bill Kight / Community

The final ‘A Walk with the Mayor’ event takes place today, Tuesday, August 7 from 9 to 10 a.m. beginning in Mountain Village’s Heritage Plaza. The inaugural monthly walking series gives community members and visiting guests the opportunity to discuss current events, topics, and town projects that interest them with Mountain Village Mayor Laila Benitez.

“I heard from a lot of people that live here that they would come to see me, but would never come to a Town Council meeting, and it would be great if we had an opportunity to talk that is more casual,” Mayor Benitez said of the idea to host such walks.

If you are interested in talking with Mayor Benitez, all are welcome to join in the walk around Mountain Village. To learn more about Mayor Benitez, please visit .

Mountain Village Celebrates Safe Communities with National Night Out Event, Food and Ice Cream Social

National Night Out

Words by Bill Kight / Community, Emergency Preparedness

Bringing together community members and emergency responders, the Mountain Village Police Department is hosting their seventh annual National Night Out Tuesday, August 7 from 5 to 8 p.m. The community is invited to join their neighbors, police, fire, and EMS teams at Mountain Village’s Meadows Parking Lot located at Adams Ranch Rd for free ice cream, BBQ, swag, games, and tours of police cars, fire trucks and an ambulance. Food will be provided by Shake N Dog Grub Shack and Telluride Fire.

National Night Out, a part of the National Association of Town Watch, involves over 38 million people in 16,000-plus communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases worldwide. This well-known and celebrated annual event was designed to heighten community awareness of safety and fire prevention issues, as well as to strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnership.

National Night Out is one of many ways local police and fire departments become acquainted with our community in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. Come to celebrate this national event referred to as America’s Night Out Against Crime.

“National Night Out provides a great opportunity for our residents to get out and meet the first responders that serve them in the community. It allows our first responders and our neighbors the chance to build a safer community through open communication and community engagement in a fun, relaxed, and inclusive environment, “ said Mountain Village Police Chief Chris Broady.

For more event information, please contact the Mountain Village Police Department at (970) 728-9281.

Mountain Village Chip Seal Project Begins Monday July 30 Through August 2


Words by Bill Kight / Public Works

The Town of Mountain Village will perform chip seal operations, Monday, July 30 through August 2. The project will improve and prolong the life of the road surface.

United Companies has been contracted to chip seal the following roads. Please use caution, and travelers are also urged to watch for equipment, and maintenance crews working along the roadway.

  • Aspen Ridge Drive
  • Vischer Drive
  • Victoria Drive
  • Stevens Drive
  • Hanglider Drive
  • Gold Hill Court
  • Benchmark Drive from Rocky Road to the Cul-de-sac
  • San Sofia Drive

For additional information, please visit:

July Mayor’s Minute

Mayors Minute

Words by Bill Kight / Government, Mayor's Minute

Hello neighbors,

Below are some Town Council meeting highlights from last month and some upcoming topics. As always, I hope you can join us for Thursday’s meeting or consider sharing your feedback with us about any of these matters.

June 14 Meeting Highlights

July 19 Agenda Topics

  • We will appoint one residential representative to each of the following two boards:
    o    Ethics Commission
    o    Community Grant Committee
  • Town Council will consider a resolution to sell an affordable housing unit, Cassidy Ridge Unit C201, to a town employee via a weighted lottery system and based on ongoing town-employment requirements. The Town Charter requires that Town Council approves any sale of town-owned property. The town has gone through the lottery system and is set to sell the unit to an employee with a closing date of August 7. All proceeds from the sale go back into the Affordable Housing Fund.
  • After months of direct negotiation between principal-designated representatives, in April Town Council approved a term sheet regarding settlement of the 161C-R and Ridge at Telluride litigation. Per the terms of the settlement, the Ridge Development is submitting an Alternative Parking Requirements Application with a request to reduce the required parking to one parking space per condominium unit from the two parking spaces required by the Community Development Code.
  • Finance Director Kevin Swain will present the 2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and 2017 Audit Report for Council approval. A few highlights from the report:
    o    The town’s net position increased $4.2 million – up from $52.6 to $56.8 million.
    o    Sales tax collections continue to establish new record levels – exceeding $4.26 million for the first time.
    o    Development-related revenues exceeded prior year by over 100%  – contributing to surpluses building the town’s General Fund reserves to $10.9 million.
  • Due to recent staffing changes, Town Council will consider short- and long-term options to support forest health and mitigation program administration. To continue offering these programs, we will be considering a proposal to move forward in the short-term by contracting for the necessary tree-marking services while a Request for Proposals (RFP) for longer-term services is in the works. I am hopeful we can find a solution that allows us to continue offering the Defensible Space Initiative Program and the Cedar Shake Incentive Program to property owners without interruption during the program’s busiest season.
  • Public Works Director Finn Kjome will update us on the current drought status and ongoing water restrictions.
  • Lastly, we will receive reports from EcoAction Partners, Telluride Ski & Golf, and the Town Hall and Village Center Subarea Committees.

If you would like more specifics about any of these topics, you can review minutes from the meeting or watch the video on the town website.

A full agenda has been posted on our website; we welcome your input and hope to see you at the meeting.

Warm regards,

Laila Benitez
Mountain Village Mayor

Telluride Ski & Golf to invest one million dollars into new and enhanced network of Freestyle, Technical & Cross-Country Trails

Bike Park

Words by Bill Kight / Community, Recreation

Telluride Ski Resort (TSG) has started construction of the new Telluride Bike Park with an anticipated opening in June 2019. The park has been designed by, and is being constructed in partnership with Gravity Logic, the Whistler, British Columbia-based industry leader in the design, development and construction of bike parks in North America.

Mountain biking has become a booming global trend. Not only will this park attract more visitors and provide more opportunities and activities for them, it will help stimulate the local economy. Upon its opening in June 2019, the Telluride Bike Park will encompass approximately 15 trails and 17 miles of terrain, designed to appeal to riders and resort guests of a wide variety of ages, skill and interests. The park will also provide lift-serviced access from Mountain Village on the Village Express chairlift (Lift 4).

The terrain will include new Freestyle trails (commonly known as “flow” trails), enhancements to the existing Technical trails (currently managed as the Mountain Village Bike Park), and existing Cross-Country trails within Telluride Ski Resort’s permit boundary (e.g. Prospect Trail, Prospect Loop, Village Trail, Basin Trail, etc.).

In addition, the park will offer lift service, pass sales, guides, clinics and camps from the Telluride Adventure Center in Mountain Village and pass sales location at Oak Street in Telluride.

Additional Facts & Information:

  1. Anticipated opening on the 3rd Saturday in June with daily operation through Monday Labor Day. Saturday, Sunday operations through the 2nd Sunday in October. Weather Permitting.
  2. The cross-country (XC) trails will open at 6:30 a.m. daily, and all access will close 30 minutes before sunset. Before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m., XC trails will be accessible via the gondola at San Sophia Station and will not require an access pass.
    1. The FREESTYLE and TECHNICAL trails in the Bike Park (including lift access via Village Express – Lift 4) will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., daily.
  3. From 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Telluride Ski Resort will provide the following services across the trail network:
    1. Bike Patrol & Emergency Response Services
    2. Pass sales in Mountain Village and at Oak Street
    3. Pass scanning at Village Express and gondola mid-station
    4. Lessons, instructions, and guides
  4. During operating hours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., lift access to the Mountain Bike Trail Network will require an access pass.
    1. Before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. the FREESTYLE and TECHNICAL trails in the Bike Park are closed, but riders can access the XC trails for free.

Single-Day Trail Access Pass:

Single-Day Mountain Bike Pass: single-day access to all XC, FREESTYLE and TECHNICAL trails, and Village Express (Lift 4). $36/day, which includes a $1 donation to the National Forest Foundation (NFF).

Season Pass Access Products:

  1. TSG Winter Season Pass-holders: Unlimited Mountain Bike Trail Season Pass with access to all XC, FREESTYLE and TECHNICAL trails, and Village Express (Lift 4). $25 NFF Donation.
  2. Non-Winter Season Pass-holders: Unlimited Mountain Bike Trail Season Pass with access to all XC, FREESTYLE and TECHNICAL trails, and Village Express (Lift 4). $199, which includes a $25 donation to the NFF.
  3. XC Trail Season Pass: unlimited access to XC trails, NO Bike Park, FREESTYLE or TECHNICAL trail, or Village Express (Lift 4) access. $25 NFF Donation.

For more information please contact Scott Pittenger, Director of Mountain Operations at Telluride Ski Resort by email.

2018 Red, White and Blues Celebration Expands to Two Days with More Events


Words by Bill Kight / Community, Event

The Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association presents the 2018 Red, White and Blues Celebration taking place July 3-4, 2018 at Sunset Plaza, on the lawn near Lift 1 and at Heritage Plaza near the base of Lift 4.

This two-day event in Mountain Village offers music, kids activities, ice cream social, merchant discounts, food and drink specials, and much more.

“TMVOA is excited to expand our mainstay Red, White & Blues event from one to two days with more music, events and kids activities in Mountain Village,” said Heidi Stenhammer, TMVOA Operations Manager. “We look forward to having our members, guests, and visitors attend this entertaining holiday event.”

Each day will feature children’s activities and entertainment from 1 to 5 p.m., along with music on the Sunset Plaza Stage from 2 to 5:30 p.m. The Red, White & Blues Celebration concert will kick off at 2 p.m. with Boulder, Colorado’s Foxfeather, featuring an Alt-Americana sound bolstered by strong blues-rock. From 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. gospel and blues singer Paul Thorn will take the stage.

On July 4 in Heritage Plaza, the talented Trombonist and New Orleans native, Glen David Andrews, brings his funk, soul, gospel and rock sound with a robust new project that correlates his own reclaimed life to his reclaimed city of New Orleans. Dave Jordan and the NIA, also from New Orleans and Telluride’s own Porch Couch will kick off the day of music in Mountain Village, and rounding out the day of music will be a dance party featuring DJ Kat V from 7 to 9 p.m.

Additional 4th of July events feature a light installation art show in Mountain Village’s Heritage Plaza with Electroliers Light Show’ by local Artist, Katy Parnello. The installation will be on display July 3-6, starting at 9 p.m. each evening. To learn more about the artist, please visit

The Red, White & Blues Celebration is provided free of charge by TMVOA and the Telluride Society for Music. This event is sponsored by Alpine Bank, Madeline Hotel & Residences, Rodney Strong Vineyards, KOTO FM Radio, Telluride Resort Lodging, Telluride Ski & Golf, the Town of Mountain Village, The Peaks Resort & Spa, Telluride Express, and The Market at Mountain Village. The event is rain or shine.

The Common Consumption Area is in effect during the weekend celebrations at Sunset Plaza on July 3 and Heritage Plaza on July 4, allowing patrons to purchase alcoholic beverages from participating licensed establishments attached to the Common Consumption Area and move freely with beverages within the defined boundary of the concert area. Only alcohol from the participating establishments is permitted in the Common Consumption area.

To learn more about the Red, White & Blues concert and event contact the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association at (970) 728-1904 or by visiting For local events, please visit

A Roundup of Regional Offerings for Fourth of July


Words by Special Contributor / Community, Event

The Fourth of July is a time of revelry and rejoicing capped off by a large fireworks show. This year, due to wildfire concerns, only one place in the region is still offering a firework display — the City of Montrose. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to do. See below for a roundup of all the Independence Day courtesy of Telluride Daily Planet.

When the sun sets on the Telluride Valley July 4 this year, the commemoration of our nation’s birth will come to a quiet conclusion. Extreme drought and fire danger has meant there will be no fireworks display booming off the canyon walls and sending dogs into paroxysms of fear, but this year’s mid-week holiday is still packed with all the other traditions, new and old, that make Fourth of July in Telluride a cherished, small-town celebration.

In Telluride’s mining heyday, the Fourth of July began with a bang — a very big bang — or two or three. Miners would herald the dawn by exploding dynamite for a “powder monkey’s breakfast,” rousing genteel townsfolk out from under the quilts with pounding hearts and interrupted dreams. While the mines are quiet these days, rumor has it the Tommyknockers (the mythical, Hobbit-like miners of Welsh folklore) are still up to their mischievous ways. You may not need an alarm clock to get out of bed July 4th morning.

Runners of every age may already be awake for the 7th Annual Rundola, a recreational foot race that benefits the Telluride Foundation. With a 13 percent uphill grade and an elevation gain of 1,810 feet, this race is not kidding around. It starts at the base of the gondola at 8 a.m. and runners can either chug up the Telluride Trail, or bushwhack up the side of the mountain to the finish at the top of the ridge near the San Sophia gondola station. It’s crazy, and crazy fun. Register by going to

The flyover of military jets means it’s almost parade time. They thunder overhead, seemingly on a collision course with the mountains at the east end of the valley, only to arch gracefully to the sky, winging to their next small-town flyover.

In what is probably one of the day’s most beloved events, the Fourth of July parade at 11 a.m. can make even the most cynical of us feel patriotic and proud. Who better to lead the parade a than contingent of our local and visiting military veterans, who serve as the parade’s color guard and flag-bearers? The grateful applause they receive as they head down Main Street is deeply moving.

From then on it’s wave after wave of motorcycles, kids (of all ages) on bikes, the summer scientists, dogs, the saucy Silver Belles, kids with super-soakers, babies in wagons, marching bands, rock ’n’ roll bands, hockey teams, actors, unicyclists, jugglers, pool parties, the belly-whistlers, lots of candy-throwing groups, fire-breathing Burning Man floats, the Grand Marshals and other luminaries perched in classic cars — anything or anyone you can think of, marches proudly down main street.

Bringing up the rear of the parade, beautifully done up for the occasion by their proud owners, are the horses. The riders are a mix of horse-loving hobbyists, working wranglers and 4-H kids. Last year, in a lapse of common sense, beach balls were lobbed from a Main Street penthouse onto this part of the parade. Don’t do it. Skittering horses and kids running onto the street to fetch candy is a bad combo. Make sure the horses have passed safely by before lobbing anything onto the parade route.

Fourth in July in Telluride smells amazing (with apologies to our vegetarian and vegan friends), as the aroma of 1,500 pounds of beef and 1,300 pounds of chicken roasting to tender perfection wafts from Town Park. The fireman’s barbeque in Town Park is summer on a compostable plate loaded with tender slices of beef or chicken, doused with barbeque sauce, and sides of baked beans, corn on the cob, and potato salad and a bright, sweet watermelon wedge for dessert.

Telluride Volunteer Fire Department Chief David Wadley is in charge of this year’s festivities. He serves as El Jefe to literally his entire crew of volunteer firefighters — including many who come out of retirement to lend a hand — doing everything from collecting donations along the parade route, to selling beer, to serving the estimated 2,500-3,000 hungry souls who make their way to the park after the parade.

“It’s all hands on deck,” Wadley said. And by that, he means not only the men and women attending to the throngs of red white and blue-clad people, but also standby teams of firefighters ready to respond to any wild land or structure blazes.

Wadley never gets tired of this festive summertime gathering in Town Park. “It’s community I like best about this,” he said. “I like to wander and see everyone. Old-time locals and second homeowners … it’s one of the best community days of the year. Everyone has a smile on their face.”

Be sure to drop a few extra dollars in the bucket if a friendly fire department volunteer comes by. The department is so much more than fireworks, Wadley said. The department not only offers scholarships to local students to the tune of $8,000 per year, but they are currently helping fund the restoration and installation of narrow gauge railroad tracks in Ridgway in a partnership with the Ridgway Railroad Museum. The Galloping Goose that rests in the little park next to the San Miguel County Courthouse is fully functional and hits the rails a few times year. The department is also undertaking the full restoration of the department’s original horse-drawn hose wagon, which was built in 1915. Next on the restoration list will be their 1913 water wagon. And Little Red, the 1940 Ford fire truck that is often in the parade and that sits in Town Park all day for kids to explore, is always in need of upkeep.

“We’re certainly disappointed about the fireworks,” Wadley said, “but everything that’s donated goes back to the community.”

The Placerville Volunteer Fire Department is in charge of the kid’s games, which include a sack race, balloon toss and the trout tank, where kids wade in to try to catch a trout using nothing but their bare hands. The games begin at 2 p.m.

If you need to walk off that hearty meal and you have a sweet tooth, the Telluride Historical Museum at the top of Fir Street at 201 W. Gregory Ave. is offering free admission all day and root beer floats ($5 suggested donation). The museum’s hours are post-parade (12:30-ish) to 5 p.m.

Being the photo-friendly day that the Fourth of July is, consider entering a picture or two taken on this day of days in the Telluride Hot Shot Photo Contest. Judges are looking for the most memorable image that captures the spirit of the day. Photos must be taken on July 4 and within San Miguel County. It’s free to enter and the top prize is $1,000. Check out the guidelines for submission at

On July 3-4 the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association presents the 2018 Red, White and Blues Celebration in Mountain Village featuring kids activities, carnival games, an ice cream social, face painting, a magic show, merchant discounts, and live music.

Authorities would like to remind local and visitor alike that fire restrictions and water conservation rules are in effect until the monsoons finally arrive sometime later this summer. And, much as we all miss them, no fireworks of any kind, anywhere. The penalty for lighting fireworks is steep and the fire danger is extreme.

Read Telluride Daily Planet’s full article.

Mayor’s Minute Emergency Preparedness

Mayors Minute

Words by Laila Benitez / Emergency Preparedness, Mayor's Minute

Hello neighbors,

With the fires south of us blowing quite a bit of smoke our way and ongoing severe drought conditions persisting, many of us are growing concerned about how we should be preparing and staying informed in case of an emergency. Linked below is the Town of Mountain Village Emergency and Evacuation Guide and Evacuation Map. Please take some time to review what you can do now to prepare for a possible emergency and possible evacuation routes. In the case of a wildfire, you may need to evacuate quickly, and we want you to be prepared.

It only takes a few minutes to get started today:

  1. Review the Evacuation Map and Emergency Preparedness Guide – note that an additional evacuation access road has been added on Adams Ranch Road to Hwy 145.
  2. Sign up for CodeRED alerts
  3. Build a kit for every member of your household with medications, essential supplies, a change of clothes, chargers, all important documents (e.g. insurance, passport, birth certificates) available for evacuation.
  4. For more info, please visit our public safety pages on our website.
  5. For information on current conditions and fire restrictions visit

Reminder: All open fires and fireworks are prohibited. In addition, smoking is restricted to enclosed vehicles, buildings, or on paved, hardscape areas. Stage 2 fire restrictions are in effect throughout San Miguel County to include U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Town of Telluride and Mountain Village.

Let’s all do our part to have a fun and safe Fourth of July!

Warm regards,

Laila Benitez
Mountain Village Mayor

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