Just one man shows
PARK CITY, UTAH—There was a
yawn and shrug in Park City when two religious organizations
sponsored a candidates’ forum. Although candidates for
everything from the courthouse to Congress were there, only
one person not paid to be there showed up — a former city
councilman, reports The Park Record (Sept. 28-Oct. 1). Presumably
everybody else was at home watching television, hearing public
policy issues argued in 30-second advertisements that cost thousands
of dollars to buy and make the candidates beholden to campaign
Denver OKs Winter Park
DENVER– When Porter Wharton III worked
as a lobbyist in 1998 for Pat Bowlen, owner of the Denver Broncos,
he was able to turn the levers that got metropolitan Denver
voters to build a tax-subsidized stadium for the Broncos. Now
working full time for Vail Resorts Inc., Wharton was back in
Denver recently to try to stop the City Council from consummating
a deal with Intrawest. This time he failed.
The Denver City Council has approved the
agreement with Intrawest that transfers management of the Denver-owned
ski resort, Winter Park, to Intrawest. Intrawest is to pay Denver
$3 million upfront, then $2 million a year. In addition, the
agreement specifies that Intrawest will send at least $50 million
during the coming decade to modernize the resort. However, Intrawest
has said it will spend $99 million. While Intrawest also gets
development rights to 140 city-owned acres at Winter Park’s
base, Denver retains ownership of the resort.
As these details were being worked out,
Vail Resorts rushed in, claiming violation of a previous deal
between Intrawest and Vail Resorts, who have been jointly developing
the River Run base area village at Keystone. That contract bars
either Vail or Intrawest from doing a similar real-estate project
near another ski area in Colorado’s four top counties,
if the company also is managing the ski area.
Intrawest says it did not violate the contract,
because it will not own Winter Park—it will only manage
it. But some people wonder if the real purpose of the lawsuit
wasn’t to prevent Intrawest from putting together season
pass packages between Copper Mountain, its other Colorado resort.
may be political
TELLURIDE—At least 15 upscale vehicles
have been scratched with keys or other sharp objections since
mid-summer, causing authorities to wonder if somebody is trying
to make a political statement. First targeted were sports-utility
vehicles like Expeditions and Tahoes. More recently, Mercedes
and Volvos have been defiled. In the case of a Toyota Sequoia,
the word “rat” was carved deep into the hood. The
Telluride Watch (Sept. 24) reports such vandalism occurs rarely,
and only then in such cases as disgruntled employees. Telluride
Deputy Marshall John Wontrobski speculated that the current
vandalism is a form of political statement, either to protest
environmental costs of such cars or a resentment of the wealth
that such vehicles represent.
Joan May, of the Sheep Mountain Alliance,
the region’s most prominent environmental group, said
if the vandalism was motivated by environmental goals, it fails.
“It makes people go the other way, instead of bringing
us together,” she said.
Goat hunter lives to tell
SUMMIT COUNTY—A 35-year-old goat
hunter from Michigan spent a frigid night high up on Buffalo
Mountain and lived to tell about it – because he was high
on the mountain, in snow. Had he been a hundred feet lower,
where it was raining, the hunter could have died of hypothermia.
The greater moral of the story is about
wearing proper clothes for wet weather. “Since he was
only wearing jeans and a flannel shirt, he certainly would have
died of hypothermia,” local search and rescue coordinator
Dan Burnett told the Summit Daily News (Oct. 3). “As it
was, he kept brushing the snow off and didn’t get soaking
wet. He was only super-miserable.”
The hunter had shot a goat in early afternoon,
then followed it above timberline. He got caught in the storm
high on the 12,777-foot peak. Using a cell phone, he talked
to rescuers hourly, sleeping for five minute intervals. He was
rescued by a helicopter first thing the next morning.
Resort may lack snowmaking
WINTER PARK—Despite late summer
rains and early snow, the drought is so severe in Colorado’s
Fraser Valley that water officials are openly talking about
whether water will be trucked into the valley this winter for
faucets, toilets and such at the ski area. Snowmaking at Winter
Park’s Mary Jane complex may be impossible.
The problem for the ski area is two-fold.
First, there’s the drought. According to which study you
consult, these are the lowest streamflow levels in 150 to 300
years. Second, of that little water, Denver has many of the
most senior rights. The Winter Park Manifest (Oct. 2) reports
that if Denver uses its full water rights, only one cubic foot
per second will be allowed past the diversion. Normally, even
after diversions, the river flows three to four cubic feet during
With this additional diversion, the
river could freeze solid.