Dozer rampage roots run
GRANBY Predictably, more details have
arrived concerning the volcano known as Marvin Heemeyer who erupted
in a bulldozing rage through downtown Granby.
Initial reports had
traced his rampage to a rezoning that accommodated a concrete batch
plant next to his muffler shop. But new reports in the Sky-Hi News paints a picture of a man with a
penchant for assembling rain clouds.
That first large piece of evidence goes back to 1992, when Grand
Lake, where Heemeyer lived, was proposed for legal gaming. It came
down to a statewide vote, but there was plenty of local squabbling
as well. Sky-Hi News publisher Patrick Brower recalled that
Heemeyer became so agitated with any opposition to gambling that he
got into a shouting match with the Sky-Hi
News reporter, a man distinctly his
The story of the batch plant also goes back to 1992, three years
after Heemeyer had moved to the area. Heemeyer bought his two acres
from the Resolution Trust Corp., the federal agency set up to
handle the assets of failed savings and loan institutions. He
bought the two acres for $42,000 but later agreed to sell it to the
Docheff family, which wanted the property for a concrete batch
plant, for $250,000. They agreed, but then he wanted $375,000 and
at some later point wanted a deal worth approximately $1 million.
All of this was well before the rezoning proposal hit town
"I just think he set things up to the point where you would have
to say no.'" said Susie Docheff in an interview with the Sky-Hi News. "He probably set you up to say no'
just so he could get mad at you."
Meanwhile, early defenders of Heemeyer contended he made a point
of not hurting anybody during his bulldozer rampage. But the
sheriff's department argues that the fact nobody got hurt was more
luck than intent. He fired many bullets from his semi-automatic
rifle at Cody Docheff when Docheff tried to stop the assault on his
concrete batch plant by using a front-end loader. Later, Heemeyer
fired on two state troopers before they had fired.
Heemeyer also fired 15 bullets from his .50-BMG rifle at power
transformers and propane tanks. "Had these tanks ruptured and
exploded, anyone within one-half mile of the explosion could have
been endangered," said the sheriff's department. That included 12
police officers and residents of a senior citizens complex.
As well, the sheriff notes that 11 of the 13 buildings that
Heemeyer bulldozed were occupied until just moments before the
destruction. At the town library, for example, a children's program
was in progress when the incident began.
Mtn. Village lots go for
MOUNTAIN VILLAGE As first conceived,
Mountain Village was to have been largely a pedestrian-only
development adjacent to the ski slopes of Telluride. That vision
has been largely abandoned over the years, but ground has recently
been broken on a subdivision called The Ridge, where the 24
single-family homes will be accessible only by gondola (and then on
foot or by golf cart) or snowmobile. These are not inexpensive
lots, as the five that have already been sold went for $1.5 million
each. The homes will be up to three stories high, reports The Telluride Watch .
Ski descents of Tetons
JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. The first ski
descent of the Grand Teton took place 33 years ago. Since then, an
estimated 200 people have skied it.
Now, Exum Mountain
Guides has begun offering guided descents of the peak, in the
process "pushing the envelope of guided North American ski
mountaineering," in the words of the Jackson Hole News and Guide .
Cameron Romero, a 37-year-old ski instructor from Park City,
paid $1,300 for the two-day guided trip. He is an accomplished
skier and mountaineer of his own, having summitted the Grand Teton
20 times. Two years ago, he tried to ski the peak, but lost his
way. As well, he had already chalked up several notable but easier
ski descents of his own in the Tetons.
"It's kind of difficult to find partners for something like
this, so when I learned of this opportunity I wanted to continue my
education," Romero told the newspaper. He also had skied with his
guide, Doug Coombs, in Alaska.
Part of what Romero hired is local expertise in tracking snow
conditions. "You have to hit the timing just right, down to the
hour. Living in Park City I can't judge that. It's like harvesting
French wine grapes you have to pick them at just the right
Tom Turiano, an Exum guide and also a historian of ski
mountaineering in the Tetons, said he welcomed the advent of
commercially guided trips on the Grand Teton. He said the danger of
wet-snow avalanches on the peak in spring and summer is
significant. 'm worried that a lot of people don't know when to
turn around. If you're going to do it, use a guide."
No matter how good the skier, Exum will require belays on
certain sections of the descent. "Exum belays people climbing up,
and we'd certainly belay them going down," explained Exum co-owner
Exum has guided climbers in the Tetons for decades, but the
difficulty level is increasing. "Years ago, people just wanted to
be guided up 5.6 or 5.7 routes, and now they want to be guided on a
5.10. This is an extension of that," said Coombs, the guide, who is
considered one of the most skilled ski mountaineers in the world.
During winter, he guides in the Alps.
Dog poisoning plagues
JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. Jackson Hole has
been plagued this year by the poisoning of dogs. Twenty-six dogs
had been killed or sickened by the pesticide Temik as of mid-June.
Authorities speculate that laced hot dogs and hamburger meat is
being spread by someone who is angered by loose dogs, reports the
Jackson Hole News &
"We are a county that loves our dogs and seeks diligently to
protect our wildlife," wrote Bill Paddleford, a Teton County
commissioner. "Stop your skewed and disgusting form of terrorism
Open space outprices real
SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah In the
unincorporated area of Utah's Summit County, open space
preservation is paying better than development. The Park Record says that a deal has been finalized
that ensures 219 acres owned by the Rasmussen family for a century
will be dedicated as open space. The land is being purchased for
$1.4 million with money from a bond approved three years ago by
voters in a recreation district.
The Rasmussen family had wanted to develop the land with one
unit per acre, but after the mandated open space and other public
improvements, they would have been able to get only 16 homesites.
Calculating the infrastructure costs, they figured they could get
more money from the open space fund and still end up with a tax
Meanwhile, the Summit County commissioners are considering
whether to ask voters in November to approve a $10 million bond for
the purchase of recreational open space. If the bond is approved,
one developer tells the newspaper, more developers will opt for a
deal for open space rather than try to deal with the county's
Ski pioneer Dick Durrance
ASPEN Given its relative size, it
would seem that skiing is as an old industry, like steel mills or
railroads. That's not the case.
The first commercial ski
areas in the West were not created until shortly before World War
II, and the real flowering of the industry did not come until after
the war especially in the 1960s. Some individuals from those early
years remain active even now.
But they are dropping
rapidly now. Among the latest to pass on is Dick Durrance, who died
recently at the age of 89. His biography is like a history book,
with important stops at Sun Valley, Alta, and then
Ironically, he was a
native of Florida and did not see snow until age 11. But while
living in Germany during the '20s and '30s, he became what skiing
historian Morten Lund calls America's first world-class alpine
In 1939, during his
senior year at Dartmouth, Durrance was hired at Sun Valley, where
he designed and cut the first trail on Mt. Baldy. He also raced so
proficiently that railroad tycoon Averell Harriman named a peak
after him. In 1941, he began his film career, making two ski films
about Sun Valley. Then moving to Utah, he took on the fledgling
Alta resort. In 1945, he was in Denver, designing and testing
Groswold skis. He also helped found Arapahoe Basin, which began
operations in 1946. And finally, in the summer of 1947, he arrived
at the new ski resort of Aspen, where he was the third general
At Aspen, Durrance
immediately cut several trails, says ski historian Lund, including
a beauty named Ruthies Run. A few years later, he made the
first-ever feature-length American ski racing documentary, called
"Ski Champs." He continued as a filmmaker for another 50 years with
compiled by Allen