Biker says hunters beat him
Ketchum, Idaho – If proven true, the claim made against three hunters in the Sun Valley area could be a new low standard for civility. A 39-year-old motorcycle rider claims that a woman driving a Chevrolet Blazer forced him off the road, spilling him and his 7-year-old daughter. Then, two men in the Blazer told him to take off his helmet, because they wanted to beat him. He declined, so they beat him on the face several times. The cause? The motorcycle driver had ruined their deer hunting, according to the report given to police. The Idaho Mountain Express (Oct. 30) says charges against the trio of hunters are being considered.

Keystone ads target Gen X-ers
Keystone – Ski areas that have profited handsomely from baby boomers are now aiming at younger crowds.

The Summit Daily News (Nov. 8) reports that Keystone‘s effort to that end has a “Need an Adventure?” theme. One ad pictures a woman in her late 20s crouched atop a grocery store conveyor belt, tucked into a skiing position, two loaves of bread under her arms serving as poles.

Another ad, shot on Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive, shows a line of men and women clad in ski gear, hitchhiking with signs indicating Keystone as their destination.

The ads will run as billboards in Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta and Kansas City, with the intended result of drawing 28-plus Gen Xers to the resort in January and February, a time when the resort has traditionally hosted families.

Edema among Teton accidents
Jackson Hole, Wyo. – The American Alpine Club’s annual book, Accidents in North American Mountaineering 2002, is out, and the 13 incidents detailed in the Grand Tetons run the gamut of what can go wrong while climbing.

Among the most unusual, reports the Jackson Hole News (Oct. 30), is the case of a woman who suffered pulmonary edema. It’s an uncommon ailment in the Grand Tetons, where the highest peak doesn’t even hit 13,800 feet. The woman’s husband thought overheating had caused her vomiting, as it was a hot August day. Climbing rangers who came across them, however, quickly discerned the cause, and expedited a rapid evacuation to a lower elevation.

Also in the Tetons, a professional climbing guide tied a knot that failed when it was weighted, which the editor of the book, Jed Williamson, said reaffirms the basic rule to check and then recheck all knots and anchors before a life is entrusted to them.

Deaths spur safety questions
Jackson, Wyo. – Two fatal accidents in just a few days has the leader of Jackson Hole’s Latino Resource Center wondering if Latinos need better instruction in U.S.-style safety.

In the first case, a 16-year-old died in a car crash on Teton Pass. He was wearing no seat belt. Three days later, a 35-year-old man died of carbon monoxide when he closed the door in the auto shop where he was working and left a car running.

Like many Latinos in Jackson Hole, the latter victim comes from the Tlaxcala region of Mexico, where the warmer and drier climate causes buildings to be less tightly constructed. That, says Carmina Oaks, director of the Latino Resource Center, may explain why he thought he could leave the door closed, despite common knowledge of the deadliness of carbon monoxide, reports the Jackson Hole News (Oct. 30).

Investors buy Monarch for $5M
Salida – Although smallish ski areas have struggled, purchasers of Monarch ski area believe they can continue to compete in Colorado’s heated ski market.

Denver-based firm First Pacific Investment, which has apartment units in Denver and Oklahoma City, is the majority investor. Minority investors include six businesses in Chaffee County, where the resort is located, according to The Denver Post (Nov. 5). Purchase price is $5 million.

First Pacific’s Bob Nicols told the newspaper that the new owners hope to grow the business a bit, but that existing business volume works sufficiently. Last year, a drought winter in the wake of 9-11, Monarch reported 139,000 skier visits.

Monarch’s core business in the past was church groups from Texas and Oklahoma. In comments made to The Denver Post, Nicols suggested Monarch can remain aloof from the price wars among ski areas along I-70 west of Denver.

“We can compete from a price standpoint with the big gorillas on I-70,” he said.

“There’s a tremendous market that comes from the Southwest that is price-conscious. We are going to continue to work for that market.”

Nude calendars sweep ski towns
Canmore, Alberta – In Canada, the national cross-country skiers decided to go for the gold by creating a calendar that included five carefully positioned, lightly clothed members of the women’s national team. That 2001 calendar raised $80,000 (Canadian) and also drew a great deal more interest to the sport of cross-country skiing.

After a year off, the team now has a calendar out for 2003. This time, the skiers are all clothed, reports the Canmore Leader (Nov. 10). The team hopes to raise $30,000 in sales.

Meanwhile, in Colorado, the 2002 Vail Undressed calendar is out, with more than 80 locals baring all in the name of charity. The debut calendar last year featured a local doctor, clad only with a stethoscope from her neck, on the cover. It raised $30,000 for local medical emergencies.

This year the cover features Chris Anthony, the winner of various extreme skiing competitions, launching from a cornice. Responding to questions, he affirmed that, yes, cold does induce shrinkage, reports the Vail Daily (Oct. 14).

But the calendar is not just about hard bodies. One photo – taken in summer – is of the Happy Hikers, a group of women all over 60 who routinely meet on Thursdays to hike, in the case of this photo in the buff. Organizers hope to double sales this year for charity cases involving medical emergencies.

The Butte getting larger homes
Crested Butte – So far, few mansions have been built in the Crested Butte area, the largest being 8,891 square feet. That compares with some homes of around 40,000 square feet in the Aspen and Vail.

But Gunnison County, of which Crested Butte is a part, has been offering incentives with building sizes and densities to developers who avoid sensitive areas, such as meadows. Gary Garland is the first developer to go through the process, and his proposal has the potential to produce homes of 14,000 to 18,000 square feet. In contrast, the grocery store in Crested Butte only has 11,000 square feet, and the largest hotel in the area, the Sheraton, has 33,000 square feet.

The Crested Butte News (Nov. 8) reports the prospect of mansions has some local residents concerned. One concern is the number of employees that will be generated in building and maintaining each mansion, a concern in an area where lower-paid affordable housing is always an issue. One study finds that a 12,000-square-foot house requires 90 employees.

“Where are these people going to live?” asked one resident. The developer responded, “God forbid we provide jobs. Not everybody has trust funds. There are people that need jobs.”

Wyoming adopts wolf policies
Jackson Hole, Wyo. – Wolves introduced into the Yellowstone ecosystem by federal authorities have multiplied to 218 and are now fanning out across Wyoming. They’re still protected under the nation’s Endangered Species Act, except in cases where they have been proven to be killing livestock.

Citing growing numbers, state wildlife biologists recommended that wolves be classified as trophy game, allowing killing by licensed hunters. But, in a 4-to-2 vote, the State Wildlife Commission rejected that advice.

Instead, the wolves will be classified in two ways. Within parks, wildlife refuge areas and federal wilderness areas, they can be killed by permit only. In all other areas they can be killed by anybody at any time.

This may set up a showdown with the federal government, but the speakers before the commission’s recent hearing seemed pleased, according to the Jackson Hole News (Oct. 30). Speakers at a recent hearing in Jackson, where cowboy hats outnumbered Patagonia 10-to-1, rallied against federal intrusion. One wildlife commissioner had a contrary opinion. He argued against butting heads with the federal government. In that way, the wolf would more rapidly be delisted, and then licensed hunters could at least slow the growth of wolf packs.

Green Party candidate prevails in town vote
Truckee, Calif. – When people run for office in town elections, they are not formally affiliated with parties. But, for the record, the top vote-getter among candidates for the Truckee Town Council was Beth Ingalls, who happens to be registered with the Green Party. The Sierra Sun (Nov. 6) reports that Ingalls hasn’t been active in the Green Party but was disillusioned by local politics.

Elsewhere in the mountain valleys, Green Party candidate Justin McCarthy ran for county commissioner in Colorado’s Summit County, but garnered only 37 percent of the votes. He was defeated handily by incumbent Gary Lindstrom, an independent. Another Green Party candidate, Art Goodtimes, commissioner for San Miguel County, was not up for re-election.

– compiled by Allen Best





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