The Road to Sochi

Today, we’ll bring you the latest with the investigation into the murder of Aspen native Nancy Pfister.

Republicans and Democrats are whittling down the contenders for state and local elections this fall.

Aspen’s first recreational pot shop starts selling buds… and we find out how much Carbondale has made on marijuana taxes.

And we hear from a Paralympic coach who arrived in Sochi this week. With the international tensions in nearby Ukraine, we’ll hear how safe athletes are feeling.

Getty Images-AFP-Pierre-Philippe Marcou

Aspen athlete and Nordic skier Noah Hoffman competed yesterday in the last day of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The US Ski Team praised Hoffman’s performance in the taxing 50 kilometer race. Afterwards, Hoffman told NBC News he felt good about how the event went.  As the crowd cheered in the background, Hoffman explained he’s focused on the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea: “This is definitely a step in the right direction for me, and looking forward to progress in the World Cup Circuit and coming back in four years and winning a medal here.”

The Thompson Divide prompted conflicting statements by environmental groups and Garfield County this week. Avalanche danger has been sketchy lately because of certain unusual factors.  And if a snow slide happens inside a ski area, turns out the resort isn’t to blame. A Basalt advisor wins an award for her work with female investors. We say goodbye to a member of the Aspen Public Radio family, lost too soon.  And, we’ll wrap up our coverage of Aspen area athletes going to the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

A new report says there isn’t enough natural gas in the Thompson Divide to make it worth drilling. But the industry argues there aren’t enough facts to say if the leases would be a bust…

A new marijuana task force is meeting for the first time today. The goal is to monitor the effects of recreational pot on the Roaring Fork Valley.

The City of Aspen’s utility wants to run on 100-percent renewable energy and its enlisted the help of a government laboratory to help them get there. Aspen will inch closer to its renewable goal when it starts taking power from a new hydro plant in Ridgway later this month.

Local teenagers are getting a lesson on slam poetry. Two performance artists are visiting schools this week, teaching kids how to write and deliver “spoken word” poetry.

Finally, a Durango biathlete is competing in Sochi tomorrow. Her story is a unique one - she owes her Olympic bid to her twin sister.

With just eight days until the Olympics start in Sochi...the Aspen community sends off four local athletes who will compete.

Health care prices in the Valley have been rising for years. Now, a handful of local employers are trying to improve worker’s health--and bring down costs.

Basalt’s setting a path for its future...in a non-traditional way. It’s using a method called “crowd-sourcing” to gather input on urban planning.

A new group in Aspen wants to make it easier for young people to stay in Aspen. City council approved the Next Generation Advisory Commission this week.

And, as Colorado’s population grows, the state’s water supply can’t keep up. A Basalt organization is involved in a statewide water plan.

Terrain parks are ubiquitous at ski resorts around the country. Now, there’s an effort to make them safer.

Finally, Aspen’s Torin Yater-Wallace is heading to the Olympics. The freeskier is recovering from injuries...but, says he’s ready to compete.

The X Games are in full swing, with eye popping jumps and bright lights. And, it’ll be on the calendar for five more years, thanks to a new agreement.

Hometown favorite Gretchen Bleiler is competing in this week’s event-- her last X Games before she retires.

Aspen Police say a so-called skimming device was discovered at a local ATM. We’ll find out what that means for locals.

Cell service can be a real pain in Snowmass Village. But improving coverage can be tricky.

We’ll hear how a state senator hopes to expand broadband internet in the Valley….

Whether there’s more snow coming any time soon…

And the long view from a decorated athlete... about his experience at the Olympics.

The first purchases of recreational marijuana in the Roaring Fork Valley happened this week. People lined up outside the Doctor’s Garden in Carbondale on Wednesday.

While weed becomes legal for adults 21 and older, parents are worried about the effects retail pot might have on teenagers, if it gets into their hands.

A trial in Aspen this week leads to an acquittal for a brew pub in Aspen. The Aspen Brewing Company was cited for noise violations.

Rainbow flags along Aspen’s streets mark Gay Ski Week in Aspen. This year, there are more participants than ever before. And, a group ceremony for civil unions will wrap up festivities.

As ski equipment improves and people are skiing faster, ski resorts are working harder to educate people. Aspen-Snowmass is focusing on ski safety.

Finally, the U-S cross country team is doing well this season. And, some think there’s a chance the team could medal. That hasn’t happened for more than 30 years.

Colorado made history this week when retail marijuana stores around the state opened for business. People traveled across the country to stand in line at several Denver-area businesses.

Here in the Roaring Fork Valley, retail pot shops will open later this year. In the meantime, law enforcement is getting ready.

Aspen resident and Nordic skier Simi Hamilton also made history-- but in a totally different field. He’s the first American male to win a World Cup stage race. The win gets him closer to the Olympics.

Paying for health insurance is really expensive in the Roaring Fork Valley compared to most other places in Colorado. Now, Governor Hickenlooper says he may get involved in lowering premiums.

Garfield County believes the state did a bad job setting up the prices for those premiums. But some experts say insurance officials didn’t break the rules. We’ll hear from one expert who’s asking why medical care is so high in the Valley and other resort communities.

Finally, sometimes the the road to Sochi is especially difficult. Ski racer Wiley Maple’s efforts were cut short after an old injury flared up.

Seatbelts could have prevented some major injuries in a bus rollover that happened in October. That’s when A RFTA bus crashed near Carbondale.

The Pitkin County Jail is working on a set of policies for sexual assault. It’ll serve as a model for rural jails across Colorado.

Turns out, the higher you go in elevation...the bigger your brain gets. This brain swelling may be keeping high school athletes safer.

One of the largest citizen science efforts in the world kicks off on Sunday. The annual Christmas bird count includes volunteers in the Roaring Fork Valley.

And, Aspen’s Olympic history stretches way back. It begins when the first ski runs were being cut on Aspen Mountain...in the 1930’s. We’ll have more in the Road to Sochi.

Federal agents on the Front Range today are raiding medical marijuana dispensaries and grow operations with the help of local authorities. We’ll have the latest.

A new method for handling criminals is ramping up in Pitkin County. Instead of incarceration, a new wellness program is being tried for people who fit the bill.

As the Greater Sage Grouse’s habitat disappears across the West, federal officials are deciding how strongly to protect some of its Colorado habitat. Local stakeholders are watching closely.

College students around the country are getting an inside glimpse into the social workings of the Roaring Fork Valley...through a book called “The Slums of Aspen.”

A Wall Street Journal reporter explores the early movers and shakers in developing fracking - one of them is a former Aspen resident.

Finally, the fastest distance Nordic skier in the U-S grew up in Aspen. We profile Noah Hoffman in the Road to Sochi series.

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