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Library card passwords are now required

As cyber crime continues to escalate globally, malware and ransomware attacks, data breaches and identity theft are frequent features in the news. Meanwhile, public libraries continue a long tradition of prioritizing privacy protection for all patrons. This is why Bud Werner Library and all of its Marmot library partners in Colorado have added a password requirement for all library cards starting Tuesday, March 28.

Libraries are taking this step to protect your private personal information, including your reading history, email address, phone number and home address. From now on, access to your personal information and reading history in the library catalog will require you to enter a password.

Who does this affect?

All residents, guests, Steamboat Springs school students and families using a Steamboat Springs library card are now required to use a password.

How to set up your Bud Werner library card password

1.     Go to SteamboatLibrary.org.

2.     Click on “Account” in the upper right corner. 

3.     Your default password will be the first three letters of your last name in lower case, followed by the last four digits of your library card number. (Don’t know your library card number? Call the library at 970-879-0240.)

4. You will be prompted to reset your password.

Any problems? Call the library at 970-879-0240 and a staff member will help you.

What library services require using your library card password? And what don’t?

Your library card password is now required to place holds online, renew items online, change your account settings (name, physical address, phone number, email address, etc.), access databases from outside the library, and use Libby/Overdrive to access eBooks, eAudiobooks and eMagazines.

You won’t need to use this library card password to simply browse the library catalog, use guest computers, use the self-check machines, or log on to Hoopla and Kanopy.

When do you need a library card password?

Now and forever.

Why are our libraries doing this?

As a public library, Bud Werner Library prioritizes your privacy protection as a core tenet of the Library Bill of Rights. Colorado law also requires the library to take “reasonable steps” to protect personally identifiable information to help combat identity theft. Along with all of our fellow Marmot libraries, this is why a password will now be required for access to your library data. Adding a password to your library card will help keep identifiable information like personal contact details more secure. Library card passwords ensure your reading history is private, too.

Stuck in the process? Got more questions? Need some help?

Bud Werner Library has built a comprehensive Library Card Password Information FAQ page (including video tutorials) at SteamboatLibrary.org/Password. It’s also linked from the library home page. The FAQs should answer most questions about your default password and how to reset your password. If you have additional questions or need assistance, call the library at 970-879-0240.

The library staff thanks our community in advance for working together to better protect everyone’s privacy.

Meghan Lukens: House District 26, our first bill was signed into law

One of the top concerns that I hear from constituents is education, and as a former teacher myself, I have seen firsthand the state of our underfunded education system.

In our rural schools, we struggle to fill open positions. The greatest impact of these open positions is on the students. The number one determining factor to student success is the teacher in the classroom. That is why we need to support our high-quality teachers to stay in our classrooms, and why we need to ensure that open positions are getting filled as soon as possible.

This is a complex problem that will need a multitude of solutions, but I am proud to be a sponsor of a bill that takes an important step toward addressing the teacher shortage. HB23-1064 is a bill that establishes Colorado as part of the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact.

The current teacher licensure system is complex and difficult to navigate. When a teacher wants to move from another state to Colorado, they have to jump through many hoops to change their licensure to match the requirements in Colorado. This burdensome process costs money and takes time, discouraging teachers from coming to our state.

However, the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact streamlines the process for high-quality teachers to transfer their credentials between participating states.

HB23-1064 is a bill that creates opportunity. It provides the opportunity for out-of-state teachers to move to Colorado to fill open positions. This opportunity will empower teachers and military families to make the decision to move here without additional barriers and obstacles. Thus, with greater opportunity, we will make progress in eliminating the teacher shortage in Colorado.

On March 10, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact into law!

While the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact offers an effective solution to the education crisis, there are many more solutions that need to be created and problems that need to be addressed. This is why I will continue to work on and support legislation that addresses our education crisis.

SB23-094, another bill that I am sponsoring, creates a Colorado school transportation modernization task force that would report on the state of school transportation. The bill aims to bring transportation to communities of color, under-resourced communities, and rural communities to increase educational equity.

Our goal moving forward is always to invest as much as we can in public education. To help improve our student’s math performance, HB23-1231, a bipartisan bill, just passed its first committee, which will incorporate multiple evidence-informed strategies into schools, after-school programs, and educator training.

Our education system is complex and multifaceted, which is why we need complex and multifaceted solutions. Education is comprised of teachers, counselors, social workers, nurses, bus drivers, food service workers, paraprofessionals, mechanics, security guards, custodians, maintenance workers, office professionals, and everyone who makes up the diverse and vital fabric of our public school system, and it is important that we listen to their experiences and needs.

Last session, HB22-1390 increased the total funding for public schools by $431 million to $8.4 billion and reduced the Budget Stabilization Factor by over $180 million to the lowest level since it was created. We need to continue to build upon this work because while Colorado’s education system may be in crisis, educators are dedicated and passionate — they show up each day to provide every student with the learning experience they deserve regardless of the challenges.

We need to increase funding in a sustainable way so that districts have the certainty they need to increase pay and use those dollars with maximum impact. Increases in funding should go to increasing teacher pay and hiring and retaining good teachers, which requires a sustained year-over-year investment.

As we begin to work through the State Budget as an entire legislative body, I will continue to advocate for an increase of per pupil funding and a buy down of the Budget Stabilization Factor. Following this process, we will work through the School Finance Act, during which I will continue to uplift the need for rural school funding.

Working on education issues, among many others that I am prioritizing, makes me excited to go to the Capitol each morning. I love my job because each and every day, I can be an advocate for the people who live and work in House District 26. Our unique Western Slope communities are front of mind as I work to sponsor and vote on legislation.

The best part of my job is the people who I have the honor of representing. Every day I meet with and talk with constituents. From face-to-face meetings at the Capitol, discussions over zoom, and direct email conversations, my goal is to be in constant contact with you. Hearing your views on issues that matter and bills that will impact you helps me make the best decisions that I can for our communities.

Please contact me at repmeghanlukens@gmail.com with comments, concerns, and questions.

Also, send me an email if you would like to be added to my newsletter for more frequent legislative updates.

Let’s keep and touch and keep passing bills that make a difference. Onward!

Rep. Meghan Lukens
Courtesy photo

Rep. Meghan Lukens represents District 26, which includes Routt, Moffat, Rio Blanco and Eagle counties, in the Colorado House.

Monday Medical: Increase in pediatric ear infections in the aftermath of COVID

Traditionally, ear infections impact children ages 9 months to 3 years. But lately, physicians have noticed an upward trend in the age of their patients.

Along with a spike in pediatric ear infections this winter season, health care professionals have also noticed that older children are suffering from ear issues at ages not typically seen in previous years.

“It’s not unusual for us to be seeing children in the 3-to-7 age range struggling with ENT difficulties,” said Dr. Jason Sigmon, an otolaryngologist at UCHealth Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic in Steamboat Springs. “It’s definitely something new we’re seeing this year.”

He points to COVID being the likely culprit for the rising cases.

With the easing of COVID-19 habits such as social distancing, wearing masks and avoiding large crowds, viral-borne illnesses have surged in communities throughout the United States. And that includes ear infections, the scientific term being otitis media, of which infants and youngsters are particularly vulnerable.

What is causing the ear infection anomaly?

With life at a back-to-normal pace for many families and children attending daycare, school and other social events regularly, older children are being exposed to germs that they haven’t had a chance to build up a resistance to. Another difference this year is that Sigmon and his colleagues are treating children with ear issues who have not had a prior history of ENT issues.

Again, he points to the double whammy of the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions and the rise of viral infections. These infections cause mucus buildup, inflammation and swelling in the Eustachian tube, which connects the area behind the nose to the middle to the middle ear, that can lead to enough bacteria collecting in the area to cause an infection. Children suffer from ear infections at higher rates than adults because of their underdeveloped immune system, and because their eustachian tubes are smaller and more horizontal, fluid is more likely to collect instead of draining out of the ear.

More information

Signs of an ear infection

  • Pain in the ear.
  • Fever.
  • Lack of energy.
  • Difficulty hearing.
  • Discharge running out of the ear.
  • Feeling pressure or fullness inside the ear.
  • Itching and irritation in and around the ear.

Ways to avoid ear infections

  • Avoid smoke exposure. Research shows second-hand smoking increases the likelihood of ear infections.
  • Control allergies.
  • Prevent colds.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Breastfeed, if possible.
  • Bottle feed babies in an upright position. Avoid bottles in bed.
  • Stay up-to-date on vaccinations.

“We’re not just seeing it locally – it’s a nationwide occurrence as well,” said Sigmon. “No question there’s a noticeable increase in the volume of kids with ENT infections.”

Ear infections are the most common reason parents end up in the doctor’s office with their little ones, with ear infections accounting for about 30 million visits to the nation’s pediatricians each year. Studies show that five of six children will have at least one ear infection by their third birthday.

Most ear infections clear up on their own, and physicians caution against over prescribing antibiotics, as it reduces their effectiveness in the future. Still, if a child is miserable after several days, it’s best to see your pediatrician who can refer you to an ENT for further testing when necessary

Children who get repeated ear infections, sometimes a half dozen a year, may benefit from ear tubes. This is a surgical procedure in which doctors insert small tubes into the eardrum to improve airflow and prevent fluid buildup.

“We’re focusing more on diagnostic testing that may lead to tube placement rather than making a determination based solely on the number and frequency of infections,” Sigmon said. “Tubes aren’t the answer for every child’s ear issues, but they do go a long way in helping manage them until children grow out of the painful pattern of getting ear infections.”

Mary Gay Broderick writes for UCHealth. She can be reached at marygaybroderick@comcast.net.

Obituary: Kirk Mahaffey

February 18, 1941 – December 5, 2022

Lifelong resident Kirk P. Mahaffey passed away peacefully and entered the gates of heaven and joined his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ in eternal life on December 5, 2022, at the age of 81 in Harlingen, Texas.

Kirk was born February 18, 1941, in Mt. Harris, Colorado and spent most of his life in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. As a lifelong resident of the Yampa Valley, Kirk grew up and spent his early life in Mount Harris. He then moved to Steamboat Springs where he graduated from Steamboat Springs High School. Kirk was a gifted athlete playing on the Steamboat Spring Sailor Football and Basketball teams. Kirk enjoyed all the activities of a young man in the Yampa Valley; hunting, shooting sports, participating in bowling leagues, and specially his primary passion in life, golf. Throughout his youth he was a top marksman in the local rifle club and later in his life was one of the top bowlers in the bowling leagues of Steamboat Springs.

After graduation he went to work for Larson Transport as a truck driver. He later became a valued employee of Yampa Valley Electric Company for nearly 3 decades, working as a lineman and a Field Staking Engineer where he was well known and well respected both within YVEA and throughout the community for his expertise on all issues relating to electrical engineering in the construction industry.

Kirk spent some of the winter months in Harlingen, Texas. While being in the warmth of Texas, he was always eager to get back to Steamboat Springs to see his valued friends. Kirk’s true passion was playing golf and he pursued it with energy, enthusiasm, and passion from his early youth though his last days on earth. In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s Kirk would travel with a group of his close golfing buddies to courses from Rifle to Glenwood Springs to Saratoga, Wyoming. Kirk’s legacy and gift to Steamboat Springs is as a founding member of the Steamboat Springs Golf Club. He was the last living founding member of the Steamboat Golf Club, created in 1964. The club is now the oldest continuously operating golf club in the Steamboat Springs area. Kirk served on the Board of Directors for the club for several terms and was the person who members relied on to tell the stories of the development of the course. Kirk was a champion golfer who won more than his fair share of tournaments at SSGC and other courses around the area and region. Most importantly, he was a friend and mentor to many golfers around the region. Kirk and his friends, Ron Shively, Jim Garrecht, Marty Lamansky, and James Chappell] enjoyed having the first tee time on most weekends and on several weekdays. The number eight was memorable to Kirk, his membership was number 8 and he experienced his hole-in-one on the 8th hole.

Surely Kirk was greeted at heaven’s gates by his beloved father Mitchell, mother Geraldine and sister Joyce. He will be remembered fondly by the community of Steamboat Springs and the members, past and present, of the Steamboat Springs Golf Club. A Celebration of Life will be held at the Steamboat Golf Club later this spring. In lieu of any flowers please make donations to the National Forests or Parks.

PHOTOS: Howelsen’s closing weekend makes a splash

Finley Gilman, 2, not competing in the pond skim, still participated through costume at the pond skim at Howelsen Hill on Sunday, March 26, 2023.
Kit Geary/Steamboat Pilot & Today
Friends Henry Blonder, Winston Whitten, Christian Bigelow, Myles Goldsmith, Theo Maul, George Maul, Marcus Borden, and Otto Sloop (all ages 10-12) pose for a photo before skimming the pond at Howelsen Hill on Sunday, March 26, 2023. Theo Maul came in second place for the competition, beating out over 100 competitors. When asked how they prepared for the competition, George Maul answered “all I did was buy a banana suit.”
Kit Geary/Steamboat Pilot & Today
Howelsen staff and ski patrol set up “Rat Lake” for competition on Sunday, March 26, 2023. The crew spray painted “skim or swim” at the end of the pond. “Someone recommended to us that we should do a pond skim, so we looked into the city’s history to see if there was ever a pond skim. One of our patrols, Larry Schnackenberg, brought in this picture of the original rat lake. That old poster did all the marketing for us,” said Lukas Laverty, a maintenance worker for the city’s parks, open space & trails.
Kit Geary/Steamboat Pilot & Today
Maybel and Joe Good pose for a photo along the fence of “Rat Lake” while they watch the competition on Sunday, March 26, 2023. Maybel, who already got her skiing in for the day, had one of the best views in house as she watched participants skim across the pond.
Kit Geary/Steamboat Pilot & Today
Most contestants zipped through the water during the Return of Rat Lake Pond Skim at Howelsen Hill closing day on Sunday, March 26, 2023.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today
Despite chilly weather, costumes ranged from bundled to bold during the Return of Rat Lake Pond Skim at Howelsen Hill closing day on Sunday, March 26, 2023.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today
A large crowd gathered during the Return of Rat Lake Pond Skim at Howelsen Hill closing day on Sunday, March 26, 2023.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today
Competitors busted out the costumes during the Return of Rat Lake Pond Skim at Howelsen Hill closing day on Sunday, March 26, 2023.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today
A competitor leans back and makes it across the pond during the Return of Rat Lake Pond Skim at Howelsen Hill closing day on Sunday, March 26, 2023.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today
A participant creates a spalsh during the Return of Rat Lake Pond Skim at Howelsen Hill closing day on Sunday, March 26, 2023.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today
A participant pumps his fist to celebrate a successful crossing during the Return of Rat Lake Pond Skim at Howelsen Hill closing day on Sunday, March 26, 2023.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today
Terry Williams gets the set up ready for his band, Rattlin’ 44s, to play at the event. The Rattlin’ 44s is a local Steamboat band composed of musicians who all live on Routt County Road 44. While acquainting himself with his new neighbors after moving to Steamboat, Williams realized they had enough musicians on the street that play different instruments to form a band.
Kit Geary/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Documentary at library tells story of Ruby Duncan, economic justice

Next week, Bud Werner Memorial Library will present “Storming Caesar’s Palace,” the extraordinary story of Ruby Duncan, a grassroots movement leader who went from protestor to strategic organizer to White House advisor.

Based on the groundbreaking book by Annelise Orleck, “Storming Caesars Palace: How Black Mothers Fought Their Own War on Poverty,” the documentary spotlights an unsung leader and movement, whose stand for America’s principles of justice, inclusion and opportunity for all continues to shape the calls for economic justice today.

Through interviews with Duncan and other key players in the movement such as Gloria Steinem, the documentary tells the story of the fight for a basic income guarantee to families, and democratic participation for mothers struggling to make ends meet. Duncan challenged the Las Vegas mob, presidents and everyday Americans, urging them to rethink their notions about the welfare system.

“Storming Caesar’s Palace” will screen at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 29. For more, SteamboatLibrary.org/Events/Caesars.

Married dentists focus on warm, family-oriented practice in Steamboat

As “meet cute” stories go, the Klines’ tale is a little messy.

Established dentists now in practice together in Steamboat Springs, Andrea and Clayton Kline first met over a human cadaver in dental school at Ohio State College of Dentistry.

The cadaver lab experience was the second for Clayton but the first for Andrea, who reacted with tears to the bodies being opened. That was just when she looked up through her tears to see Clayton for the first time.

“Oh, dang it, he’s cute,” Andrea thought, embarrassed to be crying in front of five male members of her lab group.

The friendly, warm couple laugh about that meeting now. After that day, the two spent hours together in the lab, then four years dating, more than a decade married and years parenting their two young children.

In January 2022, the Klines purchased the dental practice of retiring dentist Gary Fresques, who Andrea worked alongside last year for four months. Since the two young dentists had worked full time at two different locations on the northern Front Range after earning their doctorate degrees in dental surgery, they one day hoped to create a better work-life balance and raise their family in the mountains. That family-centered practice is Steamboat Family & Aesthetic Dentistry, 940 Central Park Drive.

With the experience of parenting their children ages 5 and 8, the couple already knew each other’s skills and strengths, but working together has increased their appreciation of each other’s hard work and led to a new level of mutual respect. To be able to respond to needs of their children and cover for office staff as needed, the dentists tag-team and alternate heavy work days to help maintain that flexible work-life balance.

The dentists made significant investments to upgrade the practice equipment. Chief among the upgrades is equipment to create same-day crowns. Previously patients wore a temporary crown for about two weeks and visited the dentist again for the final crown that had to be ordered from Denver.

Dentist Clayton Kline shows the before material and after result of making an in-house, same-day crown out of Zirconia.
Suzie Romig/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Now the crowns are made in-house from zirconia, which is a newer material for dental restorative treatments in a zirconium oxide type of ceramic, according to WebMD. Zirconia is stronger than porcelain and some metal alloys and creates fewer sharp edges from normal wear and tear over time.

The precise crowns are cut from a small block of zirconia in a CEREC dental tool machine and then cured at approximately 2,800 degrees in a small furnace device in the office, Clayton Kline explained.

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The practice utilizes 3D imaging equipment, also known as cone beam computed tomography, that allows accurate, three-dimensional imaging to help identify infections, disease, cysts and other problems sooner in the mandible, teeth and sinuses, Andrea Kline noted.

In addition to traditional services of veneers, crowns, fillings and extractions, the dentists also offer such services as restoration of implants and blue laser treatments. The blue laser can be used to treat tongue-tie through a frenotomy, or a surgical cut to release the frenulum when that band of tissue that tethers the bottom of the tongue’s tip to the floor of the mouth is too short or tight, according to Mayo Clinic.

The dentists already have plenty of patient fans, including Olivia Kimmeth, a 30-year Steamboat resident who received a same-day crown. Kimmeth said she highly recommends the practice to people moving to town. She said the dentists are calming, gentle and reassuring while also possessing good teamwork and patient manner.

“I feel like I’ve walked into a friend’s place. You believe in them immediately; the trust is there,” Kimmeth said.

Husband and wife dentist team Clayton and Andrea Kline pose in front of their Steamboat Family & Aesthetic Dentistry office at 940 Central Park Drive in Steamboat Springs.
Suzie Romig/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Routt County resident Nissa Brodman said she is pleased the dental practice accommodates her family with appointments on the same day as well as providing special care to one of her daughters working to overcome dental visit anxiety.

“We are really happy with all the services they provide and how great the practice has been for us,” Brodman said.

The dentists recently received a handmade thank you gift and note from a visiting patient.

“You fixed my crown while we were visiting Steamboat. You went above and beyond the call of duty,” said Ted Foley, an artist from Michigan.

Before moving to Steamboat, the married dentists spent eight years in Ohio, where they were both born. Andrea Kline established a nonprofit dental clinic as part of a charitable medical clinic in northwest Ohio, and the caring couple brought that altruistic mindset to Steamboat. The couple gives back to the community by providing flexible payments for people in need. At Christmas time, the dentists chose a patient in need of more complex dental work that she could not afford and then gifted that care.

Fueling the athlete’s body: Experts in the field of nutrition give advice on navigating exercise and nourishment at high elevations

Perched thousands of feet above the town of Breckenridge on Peak 10, Christopher Fisher found himself debilitated after pushing his body for 15 hours without thinking much about nutrition. 

As he was navigating the rocky spines of the Mosquito and Tenmile mountain ranges in pursuit of the fastest known time for the route, his legs felt like jelly and his mind became clouded. 

“With pushing so hard and not eating enough, my stomach just shut off, and I was nauseous for about the next 15 hours,” Fisher said while talking about his efforts to summit 34 peaks in 24 hours. “I was not able to put any food into my body, and I was throwing up anything I was trying to put in.”

Despite his experience with high-elevation environments, the sponsored endurance athlete said this moment was a wake-up call. 

“I did not have my nutrition dialed at that point,” Fisher said. “Even with prior events and activities, I did not know what I was doing at that time.”

Fisher is a master when it comes to scrambling up mountain peaks, but he was lacking knowledge when it came to the science of properly fueling his body while pushing its limits.

With a majority of Summit County sitting at an elevation above 9,000 feet, High Country recreation brings unique challenges. Professional athletes and Summit’s weekend warriors alike must think carefully about staying adequately fueled if they want to avoid the common high-elevation bonk associated with the Rocky Mountains.

Athletes have to understand what high elevations do to the body and find ways to nourish it before, during and after their long adventures — whether they are skiing slopes, hiking up peaks, rafting whitewater or biking beautiful mountain roads. 

Combating the effects of high elevation

Christopher Fisher pours a NOM dietary supplement powder into his water while standing on Gibson Hill near Breckenridge on Tuesday, March 21, 2023. The supplements help Fisher stay fueled while out on the trail since it has carbohydrates and sugars, which are the building blocks for energy while on endurance pursuits.
Andrew Maciejewski/Summit Daily News

As endurance mountain bike racer Lasse Konecny rotates his pedals thousands of times while training on the trails of his Breckenridge backyard, you’ll find him regularly addressing the effects that come with living at 9,600-plus feet. 

“Every 15 to 20 minutes is kind of my golden rule to take something in, whether it be a gel or drink mix,” Konecny said about his routine to take in the fluids and carbohydrate-heavy supplements he needs to remain fueled during his high-endurance pursuits. 

Nutrition experts who study the effects of elevation say metabolism, stress hormone levels, respiration rate and heart rate all increase at higher elevations, so they often advise athletes to take these things into consideration while exercising. 

One reaction to high elevations that is widely recognized by sports physiologists and dietitians is the way they affect the body at a metabolic level. 

“We do see an increase in overall energy expenditure throughout the day,” said Kylee Van Horn, a registered dietitian nutritionist who is based in Carbondale. “Metabolism does typically increase, and there tends to be a little bit more muscle protein breakdown, too ,at altitude.”

Steamboat Springs registered dietitian nutritionist Kirsten Summers said the main reason for an uptick in metabolism is due to the lack of oxygen, which makes the body work harder to support essential functions.

“Because there is less access to oxygen, your body sort of goes into more of a sympathetic nervous system load; your heart may be pumping a little harder, trying to carry the blood faster to get more oxygen to your muscles to fuel your activity,” Summers explained. “That can cause this uptick in your metabolism.” 

Jessica LaRoche is a sports nutritionist who works with top-level U.S. Ski and Snowboard athletes. She backed the statements made by Van Horn and Summers, but she noted that most of these studies are conducted at elevations above 16,000 feet. 

 The Longevity Project

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Peak nutrition: Fueling the mountain lifestyle

Nutrition experts share insights on how to reach peak health based on Summit County’s lifestyle, elevation, propensity for recreation and high cost of living.

Despite Colorado’s lower elevation, LaRoche says it is safe to assume that athletes need to consume at least an extra 200 to 300 calories a day to cover the body’s increased needs. The extra calories can come in many forms depending on the type of exercise the person is pursuing. 

The thinner air also causes increased respiration, Summers said. As the body is trying to bring more oxygen to fatigued muscles, fluid evaporates as people exhale, so an increase in fluids is needed to stay well-hydrated. Dehydration is a main factor in altitude sickness, which has debilitating effects. 

Van Horn says ingesting enough electrolytes, like sodium and potassium, is key to exercising at higher elevations. She suggests recreationists set alarms to remind them to get enough fluids and electrolytes.

Another micronutrient that is often overlooked is iron, LaRoche said. 

It is essential in making hemoglobin — a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. When people are at higher elevations, red blood cell production is increased in order to bring more oxygen to the body, so LaRoche says getting enough iron is key to performing at your best while in the mountains. 

“Iron status is No. 1,” LaRoche said. “(The Olympic committee) went as far as saying that if you don’t have good iron status before the (high elevation) camp that it is not even worth going — that they are not just going to get enough benefit from the camp if they do not have adequate iron parameters.”

Without moderate levels of hemoglobin in the body, the body can fall into an anemic state, which will cause an individual to feel tired, weak and short of breath.

But she cautioned that iron supplementation should always be done under the supervision of a doctor. 

“I think you have to have blood tests regularly,” LaRoche said. “I would never have someone supplement without having regular blood testing, whether it be every year or every two years.”

For those who don’t need help from supplementation, Summers recommends eating foods that are high in iron in moderation. Some good foods include red meat, poultry, seafood, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and leafy greens.

High-elevation environments have also shown to play a role at a hormonal level with an increase in oxidative stress.

“(If) there is increased oxidative stress, different hormones are released, and it is just more stressful on the body to be at altitude,” LaRoche said. 

LaRoche has specifically seen studies that show that cortisol is elevated while exercising and living at high elevations. An increase in cortisol — often called the stress hormone — can cause recovery to be slowed down and may lead to increased high blood pressure because of the release of glucose into the bloodstream.

LaRoche says the best way to combat the effects of increased cortisol and other hormones such as adrenaline and noradrenaline is by getting in foods that are rich in natural antioxidants.

“Most of the research finds more of a benefit in eating an antioxidant-rich diet instead of taking supplements, — lots of fruit and veggies, whole grains in order to combat that increased stress,” LaRoche said.

These foods may also help the body to repair any muscle soreness athletes may feel after a turn-heavy ski day or quad-crushing trail run.

Finding the right fuel

Steven Josephson/Summit Daily News

After his failed speed attempt to traverse the Mosquito and Tenmile ranges, Fisher said he recognized that something was not quite right nutritionwise.

“A big part of it was not fueling properly before and during the early part of the effort,” Fisher said. 

Fisher was spot on with his assessment, according to nutrition experts. Not only is fuel needed during long forms of exercise, but Summers also recommends that individuals get in a full-sized meal two to three hours prior to heading out the door. 

“A meal that has got complex carbohydrates, protein and fat in it,” Summers clarified. “About 30 minutes before the workout, you want something with simple carbohydrates, something that your body can absorb pretty quickly — like a banana or something like half a bagel with some jelly.”

While out exercising, it is also important to fuel based on the form of exercise and the duration. In the case of someone like Fisher — who is engaging in a longer aerobic-based exercise — Van Horn recommends supplementing with simple carbohydrates and sugars periodically if you are exercising for over an hour. 

Fisher has found that he specifically enjoys Honey Stinger gels, sour candy, salty snacks and other quick-hitting nutrition supplements, which often have carbohydrates and amino acids, to help his glycogen and blood sugar levels reach an adequate level in order to keep pushing forward. 

The same is true for weekend warriors going for a jog around Summit County’s recreation path or a hard ride up Boreas Pass Road in Breckenridge.

Van Horn says that for anaerobic activities like sprinting, weight lifting, high-intensity interval training or hard, quick-hit bike sessions, carbohydrates are almost exclusively used for fuel. Since most workouts are rather short but intense, Van Horn recommends getting in carbohydrates beforehand and then refueling after.

For activities like skiing or snowboarding that do not really fall under anaerobic or aerobic exercise umbrellas, LaRoche recommends a complex meal beforehand and then a snack or meal with liquids during the day in order to keep energy levels at a high enough state to finish out strong. 

After exercise, Van Horn and Summers both recommend that an individual tries to fuel with a fast, small snack within 30 minutes of a session. The 30-minute window is often referred to as an individual’s optimal recovery window and is important as the quick fuel helps begin the process of recovery.

“When you are out and you are exercising, you are using up your glycogen stores in your muscles, and right when you are done your muscles are ready to refill that,” Summers said. 

Some foods that Summers recommends for refueling after exercise are chocolate milk, a sports drink with carbohydrates, a banana or a bagel.

Within an hour or two of finishing a workout at a high elevation, a balanced and complex meal needs to be consumed. Summers and Van Horn recommend whole grains, vegetables, legumes or beans with some protein as well.

“You want that combination of the carbohydrate and the protein within a couple hours afterwards,” Summers said.

The only problem that people may encounter when trying to implement this fueling strategy, however, is that appetites are often diminished when at higher elevations and are even further diminished after exercise. 

“You might not be motivated to eat, so go in with a plan and have a strategy,” LaRoche said. “Hunger is not the best gauge when you are at altitude because you are not going to feel as hungry.”

Fisher experienced this problem while trying to traverse the Mosquito and Tenmile mountain ranges. Fisher’s mind did not feel like it needed or wanted to eat, but his body desperately needed calories if he wanted to continue to stay alert and mobile enough on the series of treacherous peaks. 

With a better understanding of altitude and appetite, Fisher was able to successfully traverse the Mosquito and Tenmile mountain ranges in September of last year — in large part because of a firm fueling strategy. 

“(I made) sure I was eating a certain amount of calories every hour on the hour,” Fisher said of his fueling strategy. “Two-hundred to 350 calories an hour for the first part of the effort really set me up for success for the rest of (the traverse).”

Despite having a plan, Fisher says he did eventually reach a point where his body could not handle solid food anymore because of the altitude and the exercise. For those like Fisher who have trouble eating because of a lack of appetite or intense exercise, Van Horn recommends trying to find fueling options that are easier to stomach. 

“This is something I even work with people not at altitude,” Van Horn said. “Trying to figure out maybe liquid options like smoothies that might be easier to get calories in — or things that sound good to you versus maybe the health of something.”

Fisher specifically combats his episodes of decreased appetite by getting in easy calories through a can of Coca-Cola soda in order to realign his stomach.

“That’s the main reason I carried the Coke because I knew (the lack of appetite) would happen eventually,” Fisher said. “When I get to the point of being nauseous and bonking, having something acidic to realign my stomach so I can put down calories is huge. It has played a huge part in every one of my endurance endeavors since then. You have to keep eating for sure and you have to have something to realign your stomach.”

Ultimately, Van Horn, Summers, LaRoche, Konecny and Fisher all agree that fueling is highly personal and it takes time to nail down a specific fueling strategy. 

“Definitely trial and error,” Konecny said of finding a fueling strategy that works for him. “Growing up in the sport of cycling — especially at high altitude — I never really found the importance of fueling and staying hydrated. It has been a learning process going into the elites (mountain biking division).”

However, with patience, a fueling method can be found that prevents individuals from the dreaded mid-exercise bonk and adequately fuels them through their next Summit County adventure. 

Steamboat girls tennis shows early improvements

Steamboat Springs girls tennis is just two tournaments into the season and already showing improvements. 

The team traveled to Eaton for a six-team tournament on Friday, March 24, and showed impressive results across all divisions. 

Head coach Bill Conway was ecstatic with what he saw from his Sailors and believes the progress will only continue from here. 

“Our first tournament in Grand Junction we were real intimidated and didn’t play well,” Conway said. “They found themselves in this tournament. It was the level of play we wanted to see and to see the team bonding that well was great.”

The highlights of the tournament were junior Grace Brice, who won the No. 2 singles division with freshman Lyla Baker taking second for No. 3 singles and the powerful duo of Evan Quinn and Kelsey Norland earning second for No. 1 doubles. 

Most impressively, Steamboat took third in every other division. 

“Grace Brice won her division which is a hug accomplishment because she was No. 3 singles last year and she stepped up to win No. 2 singles,” Conway said. “Then our freshman, Lyla Baker, had to withdraw with a calf injury but she had the potential to win No. 3 singles.”

Conway expects to see more of the same results in the team’s next match at home against Vail on Friday, March 31 at the Steamboat Tennis and Pickleball Center. The Sailors follow that with a match on the road in Grand Junction on Saturday, April 1. 

There is still a lot to work on, but Conway already has a plan to get the most out of his girls. 

“This upcoming week, basically it’s about getting more comfortable with trusting what they know and then they’ll start working on different types of serves like kick serves and flat serves and stuff like that,” Conway said.

Routt County reservoirs should fill to capacity in a suspected strong water year

During her presentation as part of the Upper Yampa State of the River event on Thursday, March 23, in Steamboat Springs, Division 6 engineer for the Colorado Division of Water Resources Erin Light predicted a strong water year with no calls from senior water rights owners on the Yampa River and that the division’s five largest reservoirs will fill to capacity this year.

The current snow water equivalent percentage of normal in the Yampa and White river basins sits at a healthy 147%, including a boost during the past week from several days of heavy, wet snow.

Light and many others are hoping for a gradual snowmelt and spring water runoff this year similar to that seen in 2011. So far in 2023, the water level trajectory is following the same path that occurred in 2011, which was a very strong water year with only two calls across the division.

“We are trending very closely with the snowpack in 2011, so our flows could be very similar to that year, with the caveat that it is highly dependent on weather conditions throughout the spring and summer,” Light explained.

Using the Maybell gauge in central Moffat County as a measuring point for annual water flow volumes for the Yampa River, the top 10 highest water years in a century of records include, from first to 10th, 2011, 1984, 1917, 1929, 1997, 1921, 1957, 1986, 1985 and 1983.

The two best water years in 2011 and 1984, according to Colorado Division of Water Resources records for Yampa River flows, resulted in different results in the spring and summer. In 2011, the snowmelt and spring runoff was more gradual and did not peak at Maybell until the week of June 7. But in the next highest water year in 1984, the runoff came much faster and sooner with the water volume peaking the week of May 17 at Maybell followed by a sharper decline.

The engineer calls the amount of snowfall in the lower elevations of the Yampa Valley this winter “amazing,” but no snow monitoring stations currently exist on the valley floor to assist with predictions for spring runoff.

The Upper Yampa State of the River evening of water- and river-related presentations drew a crowd on Thursday, March 23 in Steamboat Springs and was presented by Community Agriculture Alliance and the Colorado River District. A similar event took place Wednesday, March 22 in Craig.
Suzie Romig/Steamboat Pilot & Today

“We want a slower runoff, so we don’t have a lot of flooding,” Light said of her hopes for 2023.

The historical annual average of Yampa River water through Maybell for the past 100 years of record keeping is 1.1 million acre-feet, but 2011 saw double that amount at more than 2.2 million acre-feet. For this year, Light expects at least 1.5 million acre-feet to pass the Maybell gauge.

The next highest water year in 1984 saw 2.19 million acre-feet pass through Maybell but with early and fast decline.

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The engineer cautioned audience members to “not get too excited,” because the rate of runoff this spring is uncertain, annual water averages vary widely through the decades and 2024 could be a dry year, such as seen in 2012 following the record-breaking 2011.

Light predicts Stillwater, Yamcolo and Stagecoach reservoirs in southern Routt County, Fish Creek Reservoir east of Steamboat and Elkhead Reservoir east of Craig will fill to capacity levels. Although Fish Creek Reservoir, a main water source for Steamboat, currently is only filled to 42.8%, Light said that is a normal seasonal low, and Fish Creek Reservoir will have no problem filling this year.

Stillwater Reservoir remains on a fill restriction due to repairs needed and was drained for work in late summer 2022. So, Stillwater will only fill to its allowed restriction and currently sits at 23% of capacity, Light said.

So far this March, Yamcolo Reservoir is filled at 60% capacity, Stagecoach at 74% and Elkhead at 72%, Light reported.

Colorado SNOTEL snow water equivalent percentage of normal on March 25, 2023, shows a healthy 147% in the Yampa and White river basins.
National Water and Climate Center/Courtesy photo