candidates appeal to Latino population
JACKSON, WYO. – Two County Commission candidates in Teton
County, both Democrats, took the so-far unusual tactic of appealing
to potential voters in Spanish-language media.
John Carney, who won the election, and Peter Pilafian, both
advertised in La Voz de Jackson Hole, a Hispanic newspaper.
Carney also completed public service announcements in Spanish
on local radio stations, calling for U.S. citizens to vote.
Pilafian told the Jackson Hole News & Guide (Nov. 20) that
he didn’t expect to get any votes, but he did wish to
“support the legitimacy of the Hispanic community.”
Actor Harrison Ford, who has a home in Jackson Hole, contributed
$5,000 to Democratic candidates. Vice President Dick Cheney,
also a second-home owner, gave $100 to a Republican candidate.
‘Father of snow grooming,’ Steve
Bradley, dead at 86
WINTER PARK – Steve Bradley, considered the father of
snow grooming, has died at the age of 86.
Bradley was executive director at Winter Park Ski Area from
1950 until 1977. As such, he helped start Winter Park’s
ski jumping program and the renowned National Sports Center
for the Disabled. He also was instrumental in designing the
Mary Jane expansion in 1975, which then was the largest expansion
ever in the United States and also the first done under the
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, notes the Winter
Park Manifest (Nov. 20).
In 1952, he created the Bradley Packer Grader, a one-man gravity-powered
slope-grooming device. Bradley invented it because he didn’t
care to ski bumps. It was, of course, the beginning of a major
transformation in skiing.
Bradley also had his fingers in Aspen’s 1950 World Alpine
Ski Championships and the 1960 Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley.
More independent mountain town newspapers born
SUMMIT COUNTY – Consolidation has been the name of the
media game for most of the last decade in populous and prosperous
mountain valleys. In Jackson Hole it occurred just a few weeks
ago when the 30-year newspaper competitors, the News and the
Guide, ceased their polite warring to instead link arms, debuting
Nov. 20 as the Jackson Hole News & Guide.
Some readers told the newspaper they were happy to have less
to read. Environmentalists were happy for fewer trees being
shredded for newsprint. But others fear that consolidation,
something that earlier has occurred in Jackson’s radio
scene, will cause duller reporting.
Along the I-70 corridor in Colorado, consolidation began probably
13 years ago, soon after daily newspapers arrived. Now, one
company owns all the dominant newspapers from Aspen to Summit
County, as well as various others along the margins.
Responding to this near monopoly is a new paper, The Summit
County Independent, which debuted Nov. 22 along with the motto,
“Locally Owned Since the Turn of the Century.” The
newspaper seems, in part, to be a reaction against mountain
consolidation, both in newspapers and ski areas, with a particular
jab at nearby Vail. Three of Summit County’s four ski
areas are operated by or affiliated with Vail Resorts.
The paper started out as 20 pages, heavily stocked with ads,
and shrugged back to a mere eight pages for its second issue.
Its nickname seems to be the Indy.
Also on the I-70 strip, another publication has come out, called
Mountain Weekly. Entertainment seems to be its forte, and the
younger crowd its intended audience. Instead of council meetings,
it covers sex, including the nationally syndicated advice column
of Seattle Weekly editor Dan Savage. Initially, the editors
chose not to censor his work but had second thoughts. Henceforth,
they said, the publication would only allow language that could
be used in front of their mothers or rich tourists.
They characterized neither the matrons nor those of wealth,
so it’s unclear how much the editors will be weilding
blue pens on the column in question.
Security more than doubles at Eagle regional
GYPSUM – You think airport security costs aren’t
skyrocketing in the wake of 9/11? Just consider the new measures
at Eagle County Regional Airport.
The airport is Colorado’s third busiest during winter,
when it funnels travel to Vail, Beaver Creek and Aspen. During
summer, however, it slows, and during the shoulder seasons commercial
flights end altogether.
Before, there were 16 year-round screeners and 25 at high season.
But because of federal-mandated security measures, authorities
are now hiring 59 screeners who will work year round. The new
jobs will pay $30,000 to $40,000, which includes an 8.64 percent
cost-of-living adjustment because of the Vail area’s prices,
as well as the generous benefits package for federal employees.
Also being expanded are technological devices, such as those
that detect explosives. To accommodate the new equipment, airport
terminals are being modified, sometimes apparently extensively.
Friction has accompanied installation of new baggage-screening
equipment at the Gunnison/Crested Butte Regional Airport. There,
contractors arrived with instructions about how to do it, but
airport manager, Rex Tippets, thought the plans were poorly
assembled. He fears the changes will cause long waits, perhaps
up to two hours if there are 200 people checking in for a flight.
According to the Crested Butte News (Nov. 22), local officials
believe they can get the modifications necessary for stepped-up
security accomplished more effectively and economically than
the federal government. There also seems to be a bit of heartburn
about the federal government’s failure to run the planned
changes at the airport by the county commissioners for approval.
Steamboat Ski Resort easily fills job openings
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – The Steamboat Ski Resort had a much
easier time finding its employees this year, and at least one
observer expects it’ll stay much easier for the next 16
years as the Echo Boom Generation, a.k.a. Gen Y, comes of age.
With the economy still in the tank, many employees from last
year returned. With that in mind, the ski company cut back its
number of foreign recruits by 40 percent. So few jobs were available
that the company canceled its annual job fair. Going into Thanksgiving,
only 20 jobs remained unfilled.
The same story is told in the community at large, reports The
Steamboat Pilot (Nov. 24). The Colorado Work Force Center, an
employment resources center, reported only 40 job listings,
compared to 100 usually at this time of year.
Two theories on this situation: First, to make a go of it (single,
with no kids) in Steamboat requires making $13.31 an hour. Few
service jobs pay that much, hence people hold down multiple
jobs. But another theory comes from Scott Ford, who runs the
Small Business Development Center for Colorado Mountain College.
He sees the Echo Boomers arriving in the work force, and continuing
to do so for 16 years.
Snowmobiles showing up in wilderness areas
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS –Snowmobile tracks are showing up across
Mount Zirkel, Sarvis Creek and other wilderness areas in northern
Colorado. Forest Service officers who patrol the wilderness
boundaries have documented nearly 300 violations this year in
the Zirkel Wilderness near Buffalo Pass.
The Steamboat Pilot (Nov. 21) notes that some of the illegal
snowmobilers may be unaware that the Wilderness Act of 1964
bans motorized use inside wilderness, but there is evidence
that some riders are scofflaws, as they ride around signs that
announce the regulations.
Clocktower becomes symbol at base of Mammoth
MAMMOTH LAKES, CALIF. – Intrawest’s development
at the base of Mammoth Mountain now has a 30,000-pound copper
roof over the clocktower, indicating work is well along toward
“This is a topping out of The Village,” said Ed
Brisson of Intrawest, Mammoth. “The clocktower is the
icon, the symbol of The Village.”
The Village Gondola opens at Christmas even as work continues
on the condominium and hotel units, which are expected to open
in February and March, as are the various themed eateries and
drinkeries. Grand opening of The Village is slated for Memorial
Day, reports the Mammoth Times (Nov. 21).
Intrawest says sales of housing are picking up now that there
is something to see. Before, it took customers two to four weeks
to decide; now it’s one to five days.
Scientists consider feeding Canadian wolf pack
CANMORE, ALBERTA – Elk have been declining in population
in the Bow Valley portion of Banff National Park. With fewer
elk to hunt, the wolves may be roaming afield from the park
in search of food. And that puts them at risk of being hunted.
That scenario has wildlife experts talking about whether wolves
need to be fed if they are to survive in the developed and busy
Bow Valley. The valley has 180 elk from Lake Louse to Canmore,
but with most near Banff. That is not enough elk, some believe,
to sustain a pack of wolves, reports the Rocky Mountain Outlook
Carolyn Callaghan, a wolf researcher, said she doesn’t
know what should be done, but she does know that the system
has already been significantly manipulated. Twice during the
20th century the wolf population in that area was extirpated
or severely depleted. Wolves naturally recolonized the area
beginning in the 1970s.
Dave Dalman, Parks Canada’s ecosystem secretariat manager,
said the agency preferred less manipulative approaches. “However,
we do understand that it is absolutely essential to have an
active wolf population connected to the elk population.”
In other words, as a species, the elk there are dependent upon
wolves helping to maintain a healthy population.
Snow-measuring helps with ski area insurance
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – In 1996, Joseph McNasby tried something
different, catastrophic-type insurance for ski areas. It started
slowly, then picked up clients rapidly.
The insurance worked great for a few ski areas in Colorado.
Early policies paid dividends when skier days dropped because
of unusual circumstances. Some had bought just before the beginning
of a series of slow-starting, low-snow winters. Resorts also
made $23 million after Y2K affected the all-important Christmas
week reservations. Some resorts may have paid as little as $150,000
in premiums but received millions in return.
But underwriters doubted the accuracy of snow measurements
at some resorts, insisting on the need for proven accuracy.
The answer, reports National Ski Areas Association Journal (October/November
2002), is Snotel. Snotel is a radio telemetry system for monitoring
snowpacks across the West that is monitored by a branch of the
U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The insurance plan still works on a combination of lost skier
days and snowfall, but now the weather piece of the program
is based on reduced precipitation. In the four-month plan, resorts
must experience a 20 percent drop in snowfall average plus a
significant loss in skier days. In the one-month plan, the drop
is 30 percent.
McNasby is working on other catastrophic situations, such as
airline stoppages, road closures or even wildfires.