Beaver Creek base-area bar goes smokeless for apres

BEAVER CREEK – It used to be that you walked into the Coyote CafE9 after the slopes had closed and immediately gulped two packs’ worth of smoke. But after a trial this summer, the base-area bar is smoke-free until 9:30 p.m.

The biggest surprise? It was the smokers who thought it was a good idea because their nonsmoking friends, wouldn’t accompany them to the smoky bar, said bar manager “Buzz” Busy.

Elsewhere along the I-70 corridor, West Vail’s Half Moon Saloon continues to be a smoker’s haven on most nights. Owner Justin Hurley told the Vail Daily (Nov. 14) that he can’t afford to ban smoking every night, but he usually will for bigger musical concerts. He’s noticed that bigger bluegrass or roots music shows do best when smoking is not allowed. Across Vail Pass, at Dillon’s Dam Brewery, the decision to nix smoking was easy, as most of the bar’s patrons also come to eat. The bar isn’t looking back.

Green Party candidate gets last-second invite in Utah

PARK CITY, UTAH – For young job-seekers, the age-old question is, how do you get experience until you can get a job? For third-party candidates, the question is how do you get votes unless you’re allowed to speak?

That was the essential question when Laura Bonhan, a Green Party candidate for the Utah Legislature, arrived at a candidate forum. The moderator refused to allow her on the panel until both Democratic and Republican candidates conceded her presence. Her initial exclusion was premised on rules by the League of Women Voters. Those rules state that regardless of the race being contested, to qualify for a public debate the party must have received at least 5 percent of the vote in the state during the past federal election. In Utah, Green Party candidate Ralph Nader in 2000 garnered 4.6 percent of votes.

Bonham said the Green Party is correctly but slowly being viewed as more than just environmentalism. “It’s much more about economic and social justice,” she told The Park Record (Nov. 6-8). Democrats are moving to the right politically, she believes. She received 7 percent of votes.

Ski photographer ‘Miggs’ Durrance dies at 85

ASPEN – Margaret “Miggs” Durrance, a photographer who recorded the evolution of Sun Valley, Alta and Aspen from little mountain towns into world-famous resorts, died recently at age 85.

After skiing for only two years, she was in Sun Valley, where she was named an alternate to the 1940 Olympics. There, she also found her future husband, Dick Durrance, who also was a racer but seemed more interested in photography. They soon married and moved to Alta, where he managed the resort. In 1947, they arrived in Aspen, where he managed the new Aspen Ski Corp. In 1950, Dick permanently shifted his profession from skiing to photography and filmmaking, as did she.

The couple traveled the world, filming documentaries with famed radio broadcaster Lowell Thomas. Her photographs appeared in Life, Look, Sports Illustrated and National Geographic. After living in New York City and elsewhere, they returned to Aspen in the 1980s, says the Aspen Times (Nov. 12). Their story was chronicled in a 1995 book, The Man on the Medal, written with John Jerome.

Environmentalists fear less funds for lake under GOP

LAKE TAHOE, CALIF. AND NEV. – With Republicans firmly in charge of Washington D.C., environmentalists fear that $30 million planned annually for protection of Lake Tahoe may get lost.

The Lake Tahoe Restoration Act of 2002 aimed to provide $300 million the next decade to protect the lake, complementing $608 million from other sources. Rochelle Nason, director of the League to Save Lake Tahoe, told the Tahoe Daily Tribune (Nov. 15) that she is worried. Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, a Democrat, concurs in the reason to worry.

But U.S. Rep. John Doolittle, a Republican from California, rejected the worrisome talk. “I think you’re just hearing the Democrat propaganda machine, which environmental groups are a part of,” he said. “Check the record. President Bush is getting more funding to the lake than Clinton did.”

Silverthorne gets bleak review for new development

SILVERTHORNE – Ford Frick of BBC Research is a frequent consultant to ski towns and businesses in the Rocky Mountains and beyond. Recently, he was hired to review the prospects for a 2.5-acre parcel of land between Highway 9 and the Blue River, just north of I-70. The town owns the land and wants to co-develop it.

Frick told town officials to go ahead and start shopping the idea with developers but not to expect much for the time being. “Mostly what I see in the resorts is uncertainty,” he said (Summit Daily News, Nov. 15). “There’s no real clear sense of market direction. What’s happening next? Nobody knows. So people are just holding back.”

Put the land on the shelf for the time being? Frick encouraged investors to test the waters. “At least engage in talking to a couple of leasing agents, developers. You do own a precious resource, and should the world become a friendlier place, there aren’t a whole lot of other opportunities like this out there.”

However, he also pointed out that a developer might see a partnership with a town government as troubling. “That’s going to make a lot of people nervous.” The town has many objectives, and the developer has few, he added.

Ski season sees first fatality

LOVELAND SKI AREA – The first ski area fatality of the year in Colorado was a 23-year-old snowboarder from metropolitan Denver. Forensic pathologists have determined he died of asphyxiation after running into a boundary rope, reports the Summit Daily News (Nov. 15). Last year 16 people died while skiing or snowboarding at or near Colorado ski resorts. Of those, 10 hit trees. Only one of the 16 was wearing a helmet.

Glenwood Springs fights to quell fire in mid-November

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – On June 8 a decades-old underground fire in a coal seam broke through to the surface on an extremely windy day and ignited tinder-dry brush just a few miles from where 14 firefighters died on Storm King Mountain.

The flames soared and roared across the Colorado River and four lanes of I-70, going on to burn 29 homes and 12,000 acres. Even now, while homes are being built on the periphery of Glenwood Springs, where subdivisions crowd hillsides of piF1on and juniper trees, the fire has lingered near where it originated five months ago.

The Glenwood Springs Post Independent (Nov. 13) reports the hot spots are most pronounced in the area where coal from a long-abandoned mine was loaded onto railroad cars. Even as snow has chilled surrounding mountains, the temperature of the earth just below the surface has been 600 degrees. Exposed to the earth, the coal lights up like logs in a fireplace. The scene, says the newspaper “has the appearance of an active volcano, with billowing clouds pouring out everywhere from the heated earth.”

Next there will be an attempt to put out the fire, possibly using grout and aircraft firefighting foam.

Long-time rival newspapers merge in Jackson Hole

JACKSON, WYO. – The two dueling newspapers in Jackson Hole have merged, creating a combined publication called the Jackson Hole News & Guide. It will have a paid circulation of 11,500, making one of the largest circulations for a weekly newspaper in the Intermountain West.

The merger, explained Guide publisher Elizabeth McCabe, prevents either newspaper from being swallowed by a syndicate. In a letter to readers, she reported that after being adversaries for years, she was surprised recently to discover a friend in Mike Sellett, the publisher of the News.

The two formerly independent publishers will become co-publishers. As well, the two respective editors, Thomas Dewell of the Guide and Angus Theurmer Jr. from the News, will become co-editors. It isn’t clear how many reporters from the two publications might be laid off.

The two newspapers have parallel histories. McCabe’s late husband, Fred, bought the Guide in 1968. Sellett bought the News in 1973. Both newspapers have consistently won awards far beyond Wyoming.

Intrawest to concentrate more on resort experience

VANCOUVER, B.C. –Intrawest founder and president Joe Houssian told shareholders that the company’s management wants to become less reliant on building base villages or ski areas and become more invested in people and systems.

Speaking at the company’s annual meeting, he said the company wants to shift from being “just a ski and real estate company to being a marketing company.” The goal, he explained in a report carried by Pique newsmagazine (Nov. 14), is to become an integrated leisure company, which is why it is placing emphasis on resort club operations, golf and a central reservations network.

The company blamed the 9/11 terrorist attacks for Intrawest’s first decline in six years in revenue per skier. Revenue-per-skier-visits rose an average 10.2 percent per year from 1996 - 2001.

Last season, skier spending dropped to $53.66 per skier visits, compared to $54.32 the previous year. Figures are in U.S. dollars. Intrawest’s flagship resort, Whistler-Blackcomb, was the major contributor of the slide.

– compiled by Allen Best





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