Elise Thatcher


Elise Thatcher joined Aspen Public Radio in 2013. Previously she worked as a freelancer, covering Southwestern Colorado, as well as with Colorado Public Radio, National Public Radio, KBOO Portland, and KWCW Whitman College. Elise is an award-winning journalist who relishes digging deep into complex issues, as well as covering day to day stories. When away from the microphone, she enjoys rock climbing, mountain biking, backcountry skiing, and other outdoor opportunities.

Ways to Connect

Elise Thatcher

The USA Pro Challenge finished up in Denver on Sunday. After a week crossing Colorado, competitors in the international bike race made several laps in the heart of Denver. In the end though, it was a far different finish than a year ago.

It was a moment three years in the making. After two near misses, pro cyclist Tejay van Garderen finally clinched the yellow winner’s jersey.

Announcer Brad Sohner: “These folks love seeing Tejay van Garderen win, you gotta feel the love in Colorado!”

Tejay van Garderen: “Yeah, let me feel that love one more time!”

Elise Thatcher

All week, the USA Pro Challenge has flashed across TV, computer, and mobile screens… thanks to a film crew on motorcycles. Now we bring you what it’s like to be, literally, in the middle of the peloton. On Stage 2 of the 2013 USA Pro Challenge, Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher rode in a team car with the Champion System pro cycling team.


Every day, before a race begins, the Champion System team meets in their RV. A handful of cyclists sit quietly, suited up in racing jerseys, looking pensive. General Manager Ed Beamon lays out the strategy.

Elise Thatcher

Cycling is trying to prove it’s clean. The sport has had a public relations disaster as one after another rider has admitted to doping in years past... including icon and superstar Lance Armstrong. But organizers and younger athletes maintain the sport is far cleaner now, partly because of the kinds of tests used to catching athletes cheating. Aspen Public Radio took a look at what that actually involves.

Elise Thatcher

Today's Stage 2 of the  USA Pro Cycling Challenge takes riders over Independence Pass and over to Breckenridge. The riders will zoom through Buena Vista, Fairplay and Alma before they reach the finish line. Aspen Public Radio's Elise Thatcher is getting an insider's glimpse. She's riding in a team car for Team Champion System. She's been giving us updates from the road. Here she's passing through Twin Lakes...

Elise Thatcher

The USA Pro Challenge kicks off in Aspen and Snowmass Village today. More than a hundred and fifty top cyclists will compete in the third edition of the race. Many explored the Roaring Fork Valley on two wheels this weekend... and all of them were within arm’s reach during Saturday’s opening ceremonies.

<<Robin Thicke, “Blurred Lines”>>

GasLand II/HBO

Since our report on the documentary film "Gasland II" aired on Monday, August 12th, the story has generated online buzz.  We’ve received emails and tweets from people across the country as well as Facebook posts and online comments.

GasLand II/HBO

Residents and visitors of the Roaring Fork Valley have a chance to see the latest from controversial filmmaker Josh Fox. The man behind "GasLand," which galvanized and focused an anti-fracking movement and was nominated for an Oscar. Now, "GasLand II" is showing tonight in Aspen. 

“My name is Josh Fox. It’s been five years since the first proposal to drill thousands of gas wells came knocking at my door...”

Elise Thatcher

A Texan stole the show at the Pitkin County Democrats’ annual fundraising dinner last night. State Senator Wendy Davis gained national attention earlier this year when she held an all-night filibuster in the Texas legislature, over the issue of access to abortions. Last night Davis held the floor for a much shorter period of time at the Lazy T Seven Ranch.

Elise Thatcher

In a week, more than a hundred residents of the Roaring Fork Valley will be standing at the ready for the USA Pro Challenge. Volunteers will be course officials, media helpers, and help with other logistics to help the cycling race go smoothly. It’s all been done before in previous editions of the race--but this year, volunteers for Aspen and Snowmass Village are prepared to spot terrorists. 

“Anyone can be a victim of terrorism, anytime, anywhere.”

Valley Roundup - August 9th, 2013

Aug 9, 2013

Feuding  Foundations were in the news again this week as the Aspen Valley Hospital and its former fundraising arm trade shots.

The Town of Basalt is preparing to move all the residents out of a mobile home park on the river…what is unclear is where these residents will wind up.

A recent attention-grabbing headline warns of increased human violence as climate change warms the earth’s temperatures.  Our science reporter looked behind the headline and found something a little less scary.

Also NPR Middle East Correspondent Deborah Amos was in town this week for a couple events she sat down for an interview with our Elise Thatcher about gathering news in hotspots like Syria.

Finally on The Download, Rob St. Mary tells us about an online service that helps you request public information from the government.  It’s the FOIA machine and its just ahead on Valley Roundup.

Mountain Edition - August 8th, 2013

Aug 8, 2013

Aspen Public Radio became a bit more digital this week. We posted our first story told through video of the 40th anniversary of the Snowmass Rodeo. It’s part of the station’s multi-media expansion.

With oil and gas in the news pretty much all the time in Colorado, we take a look at lessons learned from one of the hot spots in Western Colorado some years ago.

We continue our Work the Valley series with a look at a forest service employee who designs plans to make towers, power lines and fences blend in with nature.

And, we’ll take a trip to Summit County where an act of Congress could open up more land for affordable housing. Just like the Roaring Fork Valley, it’s a pricey area where free market homes are often out of reach.

We talk to the Chief Scientist for The Nature Conservancy. M. Sanjayan talks about mega-fires and disappearing snowpack.

Office of Senator Mark Udall

Summit County is angling for an Act of Congress. Not just any act-- one that allows the County to buy a chunk of Forest Service land. The idea is to use it for affordable housing... an unusual plan in Colorado.

The next time you drive through Summit County on Interstate 70, look southeast, towards Dillon Dam Road and Dillon Reservoir. Forty acres there could become home for local residents. County Commissioner Dan Gibbs, a big supporter of the plan, says the land has “lost its forest character.”

Elise Thatcher

Less than a decade ago, an oil and gas boom in Colorado started to fire up... and with it came strong opinions on all sides. One of the first major controversies was over the Roan Plateau, a sweeping mesa in Garfield County. The discord centered on a Congressional mandate to drill-- and worries that doing so would destroy world class hunting and fishing, and the local economy. Colorado’s governor and two senators weighed in, and the Rifle area was featured in the documentary GasLand.

Elise Thatcher

In a month, more than a thousand pro cyclists, staff, and journalists will descend on Snowmass Village. That’s for the kickoff of the USA Pro Challenge, an international bike race. It’s the first time Snowmass has hosted part of the event. In past years, retailers across the state have said they don’t make much money from spectators. Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher took a look at what Snowmass merchants are expecting.

Heavyweights in the security and intelligence world politely duked it out on stage yesterday. At the Aspen Institute’s annual security forum, the National Security Agency’s lead attorney defended a surveillance program. It one of those made public this summer by the now-famous former contractor Edward Snowden. On Thursday, longtime journalist and mediator Michael Isakoff got right to what has made it so controversial.

Elise Thatcher

Oil and gas activists peppered Governor John Hickenlooper with questions this weekend. At first they protested outside the St. Regis hotel, hoping to catch Hickenlooper and other democratic governors in a conference. When Colorado’s governor didn’t come out to talk, demonstrators followed him to the Aspen Institute... where Hickenlooper appeared to get flustered after a barrage of questions.   

Jonathan Waterman

Marci Krivonen: Carbondale Writer Jonathan Waterman is known for his adventure writing. Starting with a account of a hairy trip on Denali, the highest peak in North America…to most recently a bleak account of the Colorado River with the help of photographer Peter McBride. 

Mountain Edition - July 11th, 2013

Jul 11, 2013

If you get a DUI, your blood sample isn’t going to the state lab any more... that’s because the Colorado health department wasn’t handling them properly. We’ll get an update on what that means for drug and alcohol cases.

Indian Tribes across the west are strengthening their sovereignty by getting involved in natural resource development on or near reservations. The tribes in Colorado are involved in two hydro projects.

And fires may be burning differently-- because of changing weather, trees, and other factors. That means changes are in store for how firefighters take on wildfires.

Carbondale writer Jon Waterman has a new book out--after detailing the winding journey of the Colorado River, he’s put together what he calls a handbook for a life intertwined with the outdoors.

And, We’ll get a preview of three exhibitions opening in Basalt this weekend... they’re all by women artists.


Last month, when President Barack Obama rolled out a national climate change initiative, a number of decision makers in the Roaring Fork Valley were listening closely.  The President’s plans to cap carbon emissions and boost energy efficiency are in line with much of what has been routine here for years.  Lucy Emerson-Bell is with CORE, the Community Office for Resource Efficiency.


Residents along the Roaring Fork Valley are being asked to share the details of their internet access at home. It’s part of an effort to speed up connections across Northwest Colorado. Phylis Mattice is Pitkin County Assistant Manager.

“The survey is asking people who their internet provider is, how much do they pay for it. We just don’t want it to be available to people, we want it to be affordable to people.