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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
“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
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