Denver backs off bid to get ski resort ethnic quotas

DENVER – Officials in Denver Mayor Wellington Webb’s administration have indicated they won’t go along with the urging of City Council members to require diversity in a contract with Intrawest, the corporations taking over management of the Winter Park ski area.

Several council members who are Hispanic had pointed out that skiing largely remains a white, non-Hispanic sport. They had called for minority-hiring requirements, both for staff and management, and minority housing components, as well as marketing programs aimed at attracting minorities.

However, Webb’s administration has concluded that these contractual obligations would be little more than racial and ethnic quotas.

The Denver Post (Sept. 18) applauded the administration’s stance. Lack of minority representation is understood, “but we would bet the reasons for the under-representation are complicated and not susceptible to a quick fix through a single contract limited to just one of the state’s many ski areas,” said the newspaper in an editorial. The newspaper also noted that the city itself, in its own affairs, does not have the specific racial or ethnic requirements that council members wanted Intrawest to adopt at Winter Park.

A-Basin finally joins ranks of other snow-making areas

SUMMIT COUNTY – It’s now sounding like Arapahoe Basin will make snow this year. Although operating since 1946, the ski resort was but one of just three of Colorado’s 27 ski areas to have no snow making.

Ski area manager, Jim Gentling, in August had been pessimistic that the $7 million snow-making system would be installed in time for use this year. However, the Denver Post (Sept. 18) reports a new optimism and also enough water in the nearby Snake River to make water.

Vail’s ‘Pioneers Weekend’ draws 1,200 old-timers

VAIL — Vail opened in 1962, and by 1984 there was already a great deal of talk about “the pioneers,” the innovators and the entrepreneurs who braved mud and bankruptcy in what was, within a half-dozen years, one of the continent’s great resort success stories.

But the pioneers have been graying and even dying. After a funeral last year, several of Vail’s early residents chose to host a gathering of like-tenured people without the need to wear suits. They invited anybody who had been in Vail before 1977 to return or at least turn out for a weekend of memory sharing, face guessing, or both.

Some 1,200 people showed up on the autumnal equinox weekend, and from various accounts it turned out as well or better than was expected. While some people stayed away, fearing it would be like a high school reunion, scattered reports of those who attended was that a fine time was had by all.

Crested Butte advertising itself as unVail of resorts

CRESTED BUTTE — Crested Butte is continuing to define itself by what it isn’t. Awhile back, its marketing promotion was: “Heaven forbid we will ever be like Vail or Aspen.”

This year the tagline is: “This is not Vail,” along with such qualifiers as “You can tell because the car is too old, and the people are having too much fun.”

Accompanying that text is a photo of Mardi Gras revelers piled into and on top of an old brown Volvo.

Or: “This is not Vail. You can tell because the party she’s going to isn’t catered,” with a photo of a woman carrying a 12-pack of Corona in her bike’s basket.

And what is Crested Butte? “As different from Vail and those other overcrowded interstate resorts as you can get,” says the ad. The Crested Butte News (Sept. 20) reports the ad will run in Ski and Skiing magazines this winter.

John Norton, chief executive officer of Crested Butte Mountain Resort, points out that the ads are intended to focus more on the community and less on skiing but also are geared to “youth, fun and excitement.”

Silverton Mountain gets cheap PR with ‘first tracks’

SILVERTON — Chalk one up to audacity. When the first snow storm of the season arrived in the Colorado Rockies in mid-September, employees at the new Silverton Mountain ski area cranked up the lone chairlift and proclaimed bragging rights to first tracks.

What’s more, they got front-page newspaper mentions in Denver and elsewhere. A photo dispatched by the new ski area made it look good, even if a report in the Rocky Mountain News (Sept. 20) noted that grass was poking up through the snow.

Ski area entrepreneur Aaron Brill said the ski area will begin operating Oct. 17. If so, it will be racing with Loveland and several other ski areas in Colorado for opening day bragging rights.

At present, Silverton’s primary claim is exclusivity. It has only 344 acres of private land, and it does not yet have permits to use the adjacent 1,300 acres Bureau of Land Management land except when accompanied by guides. But Brill plans virtually no base-area development and has promised to keep a lid on skiers on the mountain. Terrain ranges up to 13,400 feet; much of it is steep.

Suspected lone Yellowstone wolf on the prowl in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — A wolf-like creature was spotted in July on a ranch southeast of Logan, in the far northern part of Utah, feeding on a lamb carcass.

Although there seems to be some suspicion that the animal was a wolf-hybrid, one of the region’s top wolf experts, Ed Bangs of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, says he’s sure it was a wolf, and Utah should get ready for more.

“I’d say it was a wolf,” Bangs told the Salt Lake Tribune (Sept. 14). “There is very little doubt about it.”

If so, the wolf likely had strayed from its pack in the Yellowstone-Grand Teton region, 135 miles north.

Bangs suggested that more wolves will likely be on the way, and Utah residents should start figuring out how they’re going to deal with them “before there are dead sheep everywhere and the wolf lovers and wolf haters are beating each other over the heads.”

If the first wolf has loped from Wyoming down into Utah, could they begin working their way toward Steamboat Springs and the Flat Tops Wilderness Area in Colorado within a few decades? Rob Edwards, with Sinapu, a Colorado-based wolf recovery organization, says wildlife experts find it highly unlikely that wolves will return to Colorado unless they’re transplanted.

No yearly bonuses for the top brass at Vail Resorts

AVON — Vail Resorts had three lousy quarters and one good quarter last year, says Adam Aron, chief executive officer of Vail Resorts Inc. That means that 400 managers won’t be seeing performance-based bonuses this year. Aron told the Vail Daily (Sept. 19) that the company is cutting expenses 2 to 4 percent. His own salary, he said, will be 56 percent of what it was last year, when it was $675,000. His bonuses last year included stock options valued at $2.6 million, a $1.5 million bonus for a Beaver Creek home, and other perks. Those and other bonuses last year amounted to approximately 1 percent of the company’s gross expenses, Aron said.

Some experts say logging helped cause wildfires

LOS ANGELES — Did a century of wildfire suppression cause this year’s forest fires? Environmentalists getting in the way of public land managers? Drought?
None of the above, suggests The Los Angeles Times (Sept. 17). Instead, the newspaper advances the idea that wildfires have followed logging, mainly because loggers take the largest logs, leaving smaller ones standing as well as branches on the ground. That creates tinder for fires. Also, the Forest Service practice of replacing clearcuts with dense young growth is blamed for creating conditions that have resulted in fires.

– compiled by Allen Best






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