Noise wall going up
along Interstate 70 in Dillon area
of a 10- to 12-foot high noise wall, with a jagged top designed
to look like mountain peaks, is scheduled to begin next May
along Interstate 70 at the western foot of the Eisenhower Tunnel.
When completed in five years, the wall will be nearly a mile
long, buffering residents of the Dillon Valley housing project.
One resident, a local fire
chief, told the Summit Daily News (Oct. 3) that when he bought
a house in the subdivision 16 years ago, he never expected I-70
to gain this much volume. “I’ll still hear the trucks
with the unmufflered jake brakes,” he said. “But
I think it will have a significant impact on the tire noise.”
He said the highway noise prevents normal conversations outside
the house on many days.
Mountain bike group doubles membership in just one
WHISTLER, B.C.—In just one year,
the Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association grew from 538 members
to 1,035 members. More impressive yet was its growth in budget,
from just $2 to $11,681.
What happened? The group had boasted a
large membership before, says the Whistler Pique (Oct. 10).
But free-riding was becoming more important, and the group was
perceived as being preoccupied by weekly races.
What the group considers first and foremost
are mountain bike advocacy and trail maintenance. “I think
we finally got it across that we’re not just a bunch of
people who drink beer and do Loonie Races, although we do that,
too,” said Tony Horn, the out-going president.
The group intends to devote its budget
to building and maintaining trials. The group’s only permanent
trail counter found more than 14,000 people rode one particular
trail, called “A River Runs Through It,” this past
Riders zip at 50 mph on new mountain amusement venue
PARK CITY, UTAH—Park City Mountain
Resort has a new way for people to spend time and money. Called
the ZipRider, the resort’s newest attraction allows people
to sit in harnessed, swing-type seats that descend from an overhead
cable. Riders can swoop down the slope, semi-Tarzan style, hitting
speeds of up to 50 mph, reports The Park Record (Sept. 28-Oct.
FBI agents called in to study threat to Winter Park
WINTER PARK—Already, water is so
scarce at the Winter Park ski area that there is talk of possibly
needing to truck it in this winter. Now, two million-gallon
water tanks for the nearby town, which is also called Winter
Park, are being threatened.
However, it’s possible the threat
to destroy the tanks was caused by confusion about who owns
them. And it’s also possible that the Earth Liberation
Front – the group that seems to have taken responsibility
for the 1998 arson burning of Two Elk, a restaurant atop Vail
Mountain – is becoming a pseudonym for anybody with a
grievance of a vaguely environmental nature.
The threat was contained in a letter mailed
in September to the Denver Water Department. The city diverts
large amounts of water from the Winter Park area. Denver also
had angered some people because of a land transaction that resulted
in loss of access to the Arapaho National Forest.
But the letter-writer may have gotten the
story wrong. According to the Winter Park Manifest (Oct. 9),
while the letter protested the water tanks limiting access to
the nearby national forest, the buried water tanks are owned
by the local water and sanitation district, not Denver. And,
according to that district, the only forms of recreation not
allowed are motorized.
Police have never been able to confirm
nor deny the link between the Vail arson and ELF, and there
similarly is no proof of a link in this case. Whoever handles
press communications for the group told The Denver Post (Oct.
15) that the press office typically receives messages from ELF
members after actions have been taken.
FBI domestic terrorism experts have been
looking into this case partly because there are five dams in
Grand County, in which Winter Park is located.
Crested Butte’s new head faces uphill battle
with area’s image
CRESTED BUTTE—John Norton is on a
difficult mission. The easier challenge is convincing Crested
Butte, a place that reveres its past, that it will also like
change. “Change is good,” he says.
But the harder part may be to persuade
the outside world to care. The ski area that he now heads, Crested
Butte Mountain Resort, has suffered from poor to mediocre winters.
When put up for sale a few years ago, all the major players
in the ski industry dropped by to take a look – and then
left. Skier days have been declining, and despite the funky
appeal of the old mining town, the ski area is said to have
a low return rate for customers.
In a way, what Norton has is a rebuilding
program that sounds a lot like the Denver Nuggets, a professional
basketball team in the cellar for most of the last decade and
unable to climb out. Like the Nuggets, he is drafting young
– a challenge that eventually all the ski industry will
have to face.
Unlike Breckenridge’s aborted guttural
campaign to get twentysomething customers, which employed words
like “bitch” to depict Breck’s appeal, Crested
Butte’s advertising theme for ski magazines this winter
is cuter. “This is not Vail,” it teases, with Vail
meant to symbolize everything that might be considered stodgy
or pretentious about ski towns. Parties are not catered, cars
are old, and people are having fun.
In an interview with the Rocky Mountain
News, Norton was even more direct.
Vail, he said, is nothing more than a retirement
Of course, he could have said the same
thing about Aspen, where he spent the last 12 years as No. 2
in the Aspen Skiing Co. And, in an off-hand way, he does say
as much in an essay published in the Crested Butte News (Sept.
Norton recalls the years when the company’s
marquee resort didn’t allow snowboards. Management wanted
them, he said, but the owners didn’t, having been convinced
by an influential segment of older and wealthier customers.
“Finally, ownership relented. Probably 100 faithful Ajax
skiers kept their word and quit the sport or quit Aspen altogether,”
he said. “And thousands of people replaced them, finally
happy that we’d wakened and smelled the roses.”
And that’s Norton’s essential
point. “Old people will follow young peoples’ energy.
Young people don’t follow old people.”
The Colorado ski industry has a problem,
says Norton, one already recognized by Colorado Ski Country
USA. “Whistler, Mammoth, and some smaller California areas
have been kicking our butts. They are getting younger people,
and we’re stuck with the same people we’ve had for
20 or 30 years. College kids on spring break don’t think
of Colorado as Mecca anymore.”
Latinos angered that mass murderer going to asylum
GLENWOOD SPRINGS—As midnight
approached July 3, 2001, long-time mental patient Michael Stagner
calmly walked to a trailer park in Rifle and shot seven people,
killing four. He was, he explained later, on a mission from
God to rid the world of wicked people. All of his victims were
Latinos, mostly from Mexico, who worked in Aspen or the Roaring
Now, Stagner has been found innocent
by reason of insanity and has been committed to a mental hospital.
But his victims and other Mexicans are outraged that he wasn’t
at least imprisoned for life. As is, he could conceivably be
released at some point, although psychiatrists who found him
insane hold no hope that he’ll ever become mentally well.
Rafael Rico, a representative of
the Mexican Consulate in Denver, said the decision is extremely
difficult for Mexican nationals to understand. “And I
stress the word extremely,” he told the Glenwood Springs
Post Independent (Oct. 9).
Stagner has been hospitalized 20 times in the past 20 years,
and has been diagnosed with three illnesses: schizophrenia,
bipolarity, and schizoaffective disorder with psychotic features.