Art and Milly Judson

Photo by Tom Ross

Art and Milly Judson

Locals 2012: Art and Milly Judson

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Are You a Local? Quiz

Take Steamboat Living’s simple quiz to help determine whether you’re a cheechako or a sourdough when it comes to your tenure in Steamboat.

1. White out is used to:
A. turn legs into jelly
B. correct mistakes on a term paper
C. warm up your legs on the first run
D. A and C

2. Three current postal clerks’ names are:
A. Don, Tom and Ron
B. Fred, Hank and Harriet
C. Julie, John and Norbert

3. Locals used to gather atop Thunderhead in the early morning for:
A. advice from Billy Kidd
B. free coffee/mimosas
C. rope drop

4. I try this ski parking sequence, in order:
A. tiny lot below Knoll Lot, Ski Time Square, Knoll Lot, Meadows Lot
B. Meadows Lot, Knoll Lot, Ski Time Square
C. rodeo grounds, City Market, Wildhorse Meadows

5. Drink out of the Lithium Spring and you may get:
A. the trots
B. a euphoric feeling
C. a ticket
D. algae in your teeth

6. The original name of the Yampa River was:
A. Bear River
B. Steamboat River
C. Anything Town USA River
D. Billy Kidd Brook

7. The original hospital in town now is:
A. a medical marijuana dispensary
B. Old Town Pub
C. Old Town Hot Springs
D. a tattoo parlor

8. The following people attended Perry-Mansfield:
A. Dustin Hoffman, Julie Harris and Lee Remick
B. Justin Bieber and Justin Timberlake
C. Marilyn Monroe

9. Touch the Buddy Werner statue atop Mount Werner and you’ll get:
A. arrested
B. good luck
C. cold fingers

10. The following Broadway musical resulted from Agnes de Mille square dancing in a schoolhouse in Hayden:
A. “Grease”
B. “Oklahoma”
C. “West Side Story”

11. The word “Yampa” comes from:
A. a flowering, edible root that grows along the river
B. the founder of town, Herbert B. Yampa
C. an Indian greeting

12. The real name of today’s Lighted Man is:
A. Tom Hanks
B. Jon Banks
C. Claudius Banks

13. The name of our local mountain range is:
A. Park B. Elk
C. Zirkels
D. Never Summer

14. These bands played at the Inferno:
A. Dave Matthews, Clarence Gatemouth Brown and Sonia Dada
B. Lynyrd Skynyrd, Taj Mahal and the Suburbs
C. Grateful Dead, Jethro Tull and Charlie Daniels

15. The original name of Steamboat Ski Area was:
A. Billy Kiddville
B. Storm Mountain
C. Grouse Creek
D. Wally World

16. The old Routt County license plates started with:
A. ZY
B. YK
C. WZ

17. Lincoln Avenue is so wide because:
A. it was designed to fit Hummers and Lincoln Navigators
B. it was used to drive cattle to stockyards
C. high school tuba players needed more room at Winter Carnival

18. The train depot once was one of the largest:
A. cattle shipping centers in the West
B. facilities to host Cabaret
C. coal-transfer stations in Colorado

How did you score?
5 points for each correct answer (90 total)
80 to 90: veritable John Crawford
70 to 79: Billy Kidd
60 to 69: five-year ski bum
50 to 59: came for the winter, stayed for the summer
Below 50: just visiting

Art and Milly Judson met in a snowstorm during a mountain rescue mission west of Fort Collins. Although not exactly a first date, it was a fitting initial encounter for the two University of Colorado students whose lives have been full of mountains and snowstorms.

He was a child of New York’s Adirondacks transplanted to Northern California. She grew up in Chicago and became enthralled by the Colorado Rockies. Their paths crossed as members of Rocky Mountain Rescue Group. If you ask Art, he’ll likely confess that he fell in love because she was a better climber than he was. “I was a better climber then, and I’m still a better climber,” Milly says.

“Jud,” as friends know him, freely acknowledges that his wife once extricated him from a tricky situation on a volcano in Oregon’s High Cascades known as Mount Thielsen. “I was leading and got myself stuck,” he recalls. “Milly had to take the lead and belay me up.”

The two married in 1956 while Art was studying geology at the University of Colorado and then moved to Oregon State University in Corvallis, where Art earned his bachelor’s degree in forestry in 1960. The couple will have been married 55 years in December.

After reading a magazine article about snow rangers practicing avalanche control in preparation for the 1960 Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley, Calif., he found his calling. That interest in avalanches and snow safety brought the couple back to Colorado where Art landed a job as a snow ranger with the Arapaho National Forest. He became a protege of veteran snow ranger Dick Stillman, conducting research on avalanche zones on Berthoud Pass. Milly, meanwhile, enjoyed careers as a high school English teacher and manager of a travel agency. She also is an accomplished fine-art painter. The two built their home in Steamboat and moved here in 1969.

Art is keenly aware that more people than ever are skiing and snowmobiling in the backcountry these days, and he doesn’t understand the chances they’re taking. “It’s a different kind of thinking,” he says. “People have more knowledge (about avalanche conditions), and they don’t want to be told you can’t really forecast these things accurately.”

Milly has the distinction of having an avalanche path on the northeast flank of Hahn’s Peak named after her, the Milly O (her maiden name is Opie).

In 2006, Art received recognition for his contributions to the field of avalanche forecasting and safety by the American Avalanche Association.

He faithfully records weather data for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at 7 a.m. every day. And he still drives up Elk River Road in the winter with a pair of binoculars and a camera to keep an eye on avalanche activity across Routt County.

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