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Kirsten Dobroth

Edlis Neeson Arts & Culture Reporter

Kirsten was born and raised in Massachusetts, and has called Colorado home since 2008. She moved to Vail the day after graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2011. Before relocating to Basalt in 2020, she also spent a year living in one of Aspen’s sister cities, Queenstown, New Zealand.

Kirsten comes to radio from print journalism. She has in-house experience as the former digital editor of Vail-Beaver Creek Magazine, where she oversaw digital content and strategy, and contributed extensively to the magazine’s print publication. As a freelancer, she has been published in regional and national outlets, and has covered everything from the future of farming in Colorado to backcountry ski trips.

When Kirsten’s not reporting on the Roaring Fork Valley’s vibrant arts and culture scene, she’s typically snowboarding, hiking, camping or trail running with her husband and their dog, Yukon. She is also an avid traveler, lifelong soccer player and US women’s national soccer team superfan. 


The Arts & Culture Desk is generously supported by the Edlis Neeson Foundation.

Riccardo Savi/Aspen Institute

As more people get vaccinated and temperatures warm up across the country, people have nostalgia for the before times — before the pandemic, that is. Recent data suggest that nearly two-thirds of Americans are intending to travel for vacations, and some are planning overdue family gatherings. Others still are getting back into specific summer habits, and looking forward to the many summer-long festivals the region has to offer.  

Courtesy of Carbondale Tourism

As things warm up across the Valley, Carbondale is looking to attract tourists and locals alike with two days of events and a new printed pocket guide to the area’s local food locations. 

Dan Bayer/Aspen Words

This week, a group of middle and high school students from the Roaring Fork Valley compete virtually in Aspen Words’s Youth Poetry Slam. The event is the culmination of Aspen Words’s Poetry Project programming in local schools, and marks the end of National Poetry Month.

Scott Brockmeier

Breckenridge-based photographer Scott Brockmeier has spent his career snapping images of ski racers, mountain search and rescue teams and ski patrollers. But there’s one subject that’s continued to capture his interest — and lens — over the years: avalanche rescue dogs. 

Courtesy Theatre Aspen
Courtesy Theatre Aspen


Years before Beth Malone found fame on Broadway for her work in the musical “Fun Home,” and a Tony Award nomination along the way, she called the Roaring Fork Valley home. Malone, a Colorado native, came to the Aspen area in 1992 to perform at the now-closed Crystal Palace. 

Courtesy Aspen Film

Women filmmakers are getting attention at this year’s Aspen Film Shortsfest, which also happens to be the organization’s 30th annual short film festival. Nearly 3,000 films were submitted for this year’s Shortsfest—80 were chosen for this year’s virtual event, and 55 of those selections were directed or co-directed by women. That’s over two-thirds of this year’s featured Shortsfest films. 

Aspen Public Radio has compiled the following list of local, state and national resources that are providing current coronavirus information and resources. You can also follow our updates for the most recent coronavirus news. Información para hispanohablantes

Aspen Historical Society


Dr. Duane Vandenbusche was designated as Colorado’s State Historian this past Colorado Day, Aug. 1, 2020, a title that he will hold until Colorado Day this year. Vandenbusche is also the state’s longest serving professor; he started teaching at Western State University in Gunnison in 1962, and he has authored a handful of books that have become the go-to classroom texts for Western Slope history. This week, he will join Aspen Historical Society for a virtual event covering Aspen and the state’s colorful ski history.

Courtesy Matt Nuñez

Glenwood Springs resident Matt Nuñez snapped a photo of southwest Colorado’s Mount Sneffels, one of the state’s 58 peaks over 14,000 feet, with its lower slopes blanketed in fall colors on a road trip back in 2017. When the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles announced its Iconic Colorado contest this summer to redesign the state’s driver licenses, 400 photos, including Nunez’s shot of Sneffels, poured in from photographers around the state for consideration. This month, Nuñez received word from the state’s Department of Revenue and Gov. Jared Polis’s office that his photo of Mount Sneffels was picked to grace the front of the new IDs. 

Colorado Avalanche Information Center

Avalanche conditions have been historically dangerous and deadly across Colorado this winter, prompting regional avalanche education and forecasting groups to rethink their social media strategy. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center, and its partner nonprofit Friends of CAIC, have been promoting the social media hashtag #LowAngleFTW, which encourages skiers, snowmobilers and others to share photos of themselves making conservative decisions away from avalanche-prone terrain while they’re recreating in the backcountry. (“FTW” refers to the acronym “for the win.”)

Alex Hager/Aspen Public Radio News

The Mountain West has some of the highest suicide rates in the United States. Colorado is no exception; the state has been in the top 10 for highest suicide rates in the country since 2009. Ski towns, in particular, have significantly higher rates of suicide than the national average.

Mental health experts have called it the “paradise paradox,” and the University of Colorado’s School of Public Health cites factors ranging from financial instability, geographic isolation, lack of healthcare, easy access to firearms and the transient nature of resort communities as being some of the reasons communities in rural areas across the Mountain West continue to suffer from high suicide rates. In Aspen, that rate is two to three times the national average, according to CU’s School of Public Health.

Erin Lee Ries/Creative Commons

A quarter-mile section of Carbondale’s Rio Grande trail will be lined with farolitos, or small paper lanterns, this weekend as part of “Light The Night With Love.” The inaugural event features public art installations stretching from DeRail Park to the Latinx Folk Art Garden, and proceeds from tickets purchased as part of the “HeART Walk” go to the American Heart Association.

Courtesy of the artist and Baldwin Gallery, Aspen

Aspen’s Baldwin Gallery opens a new exhibition next week called “A Third of the Night” by LA-based artist Enrique Martínez Celaya. Martínez Celaya’s been a fixture in the Aspen arts scene over the years, and is known for his involvement with Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and exhibitions at the Baldwin Gallery. He’ll be back in Aspen when the Baldwin Gallery debuts his newest collection of paintings and sculpture on Friday, Feb. 12, and said it’s a kind of homecoming. It will also be his only exhibition in the United States this year.

Courtesy Doc Eason

Doc Eason has been a Snowmass staple for visitors and locals for over four decades. His card tricks and sleight of hand magic delighted audiences at the Tower Restaurant’s bar until it closed in 2004, and he took his act to the StoneBridge Inn, where he performed right up until the pandemic shutdowns last March. He’s performed at venues and parties around the world, and has been named the Magician of the Year by Hollywood’s Magic Castle five times. According to Eason, the magic behind his act is connecting with audiences throughout the course of his career.

Photo by Pelle Martin on Unsplash

Back in 2019, licensed clinical social worker and therapist Kathleen Callahan was approached by Lindze Letherman and Quinn Gallagher about starting a mental health support group for hospitality and restaurant workers.

Letherman and Gallagher both work at Hooch, in downtown Aspen, and offered the space as a meeting place for local service industry workers to talk about their unique challenges and support each other. Since the pandemic hit, the group “Hospitality Matters,” hasn’t been meeting in-person, but they’ve continued their meet-ups virtually.

The Art Base

The Art Base has been passing out free art kits for kids from its Basalt location since everything shut down due to the pandemic in March. Since then, the art organization has distributed 1,600 kits to local families, and recently, it partnered with Carbondale based Dance Initiative for a special edition “Wild Rumpus” Art Box. 

Courtesy Carbondale Clay Center

Before COVID-19 hit, arts and cultural events and institutions made up 12 percent of the Pitkin County economy, according to a 2019 study recently released by the Aspen Chamber Resort Association. That equals nearly half a billion dollars in economic output, and it is higher than the statewide average. The monetary value ripples up and down the valley, and data from 2018 point to over 3,000 jobs within the Roaring Fork Valley coming from the creative economy.

Kirsten Dobroth/Aspen Public Radio News

The entire outdoor industry has been impacted by the pandemic, and the regional backcountry hut system is no exception. The 10th Mountain Division Hut Association closed its huts last March and cancelled remaining reservations for the winter during the original spate of coronavirus lockdowns. They reopened to the public this summer, and have been taking reservations for the current winter season, albeit with new restrictions in accordance with local health protocols.

Roshni Gorur/Anderson Ranch Arts Center

The pandemic provided inspiration for Anderson Ranch Art Center’s outdoor exhibition “Sculpturally Distanced,” which featured 17 works of art scattered throughout the Snowmass Village campus this summer. As part of the art institution’s newest outdoor exhibition, six Roaring Fork Valley artists decorated trees around the facility for an artful take on more traditional holiday aesthetics.

Courtesy Colorado Avalanche Information Center

When the pandemic shut down ski resorts across the state in mid-March, an influx of skiers and snowboarders descended on Colorado’s backcountry. The makeup of those users is now coming to light, thanks to a new study released by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC).

Courtesy Aspen Center for Environmental Studies

A new coffee table book from The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies documents Aspen’s surroundings through photos and essays. The book is called “The Hidden Life Around Us,” and includes over 400 species of plants, animals, bugs and fungi surveyed at the organization’s 25-acre Hallam Lake Nature Preserve in Aspen.

Jasperdo / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Even before the pandemic effectively scuttled human interaction, city officials in Rifle say they noticed that neighbors just weren’t being that neighborly anymore. People were looking at their phones instead of saying hello to each other on the street; COVID-19 only made things worse.

“Many people are even scared to look at you like you’re gonna get the cooties if your eyes meet, and I can’t stand it. I don’t want to live in that kind of world,” said Rifle City Manager Scott Hahn.

Courtesy Hugh Carey/Cripple Creek Backcountry

When ski lifts across Colorado stopped spinning in mid-March due to the pandemic, there was a rise in backcountry use among skiers and snowboarders. Officials think that trend is likely to continue this year, too.

“Given what we saw last spring, we are expecting more people in the backcountry than we’ve seen in previous years,” said Brian Lazar, an avalanche forecaster with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center

Courtesy Aspen Film

This is Week In The Arts—a curated list of upcoming virtual events, exhibitions and reopenings around the Roaring Fork Valley.

Aspen Film streams the documentary “16 Bars” Thursday, Nov. 19 through Sunday, Nov. 22 this week. The film touches on the songs and stories within America’s prisons. More information can be found at Aspen Film's website.

Courtesy Sopris Theatre Company

This is Week In The Arts—a curated list of upcoming virtual events, exhibitions and reopenings around the Roaring Fork Valley.

The Red Brick Center for the Arts opens two new exhibitions on Thursday, Nov. 12. “Alaprimas: Living Locally, the Art of Life in the Roaring Fork Valley” features watercolors by local artists, and the gallery’s Resident Artists Exhibition features mixed media work.

Eleanor Bennett/Aspen Public Radio News

The day of the dead, or Día de los Muertos, is a Mexican tradition honoring loved ones who have passed. Traditionally, locals fill graveyards with candles and flowers for the event. Carbondale Arts is hosting its own Día de los Muertos event virtually as part of its monthly First Friday celebration on Nov. 6 from 6 to 7 p.m. 

Lauri Jackson / Aspen Public Radio

Updated at 11:45 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 5

State Sen. Bob Rankin has won his reelection bid after a close content between him and Democratic challenge Karl Hanlon. Hanlon called Rankin to concede Thursday morning. There were about 1,000 votes separating the two men, according to the latest, unofficial returns. 

Courtesy Aspen Center for Environmental Studies

This is Week In The Arts—a curated list of upcoming virtual events, exhibitions and reopenings around the Roaring Fork Valley.

Courtesy Glenwood Springs Historical Society

Do you believe in ghosts? That’s one question historians with the Glenwood Springs Historical Society say they hear a lot—especially around Halloween. The organization’s executive director Bill Kight says that’s not necessarily a bad thing, though.

“If it takes a ghost story to create an interest in history, then I’m all for it,” he said.

Courtesy Carbondale Arts

This is Week In The Arts—a curation of virtual events, exhibitions and reopenings around the Roaring Fork Valley.