Mountain goes Soviet Union
COPPER MOUNTAIN –Less than 20 years after Ronald Reagan
was denouncing the “evil empire,” the Soviet era
has arrived in Colorado ski country.
The Pravda Vodka Bar recently opened in Intrawest’s carefully
calculated and calibrated Copper Village. With its red walls,
red lighting, red velvet curtains and dungeon-esque restrooms,
the nightclub recreates the atmosphere of the Soviet era, reports
the Summit Daily News (April 18).
It doesn’t end there. “Security,” i.e. bouncers,
are dressed as KGB in dark trenchcoats and black, pulled-down
hats. The door is heavy, riveted metal. And the bar itself is
made of polished steel.
General Manager Greg Silas says this secure, intimate setting
gets people out of their shell. “They let loose a little
more. About 35 to 50 percent (of the patrons) last weekend were
women, which means they feel secure here.”
Helping them loosen up a bit, apparently, are the 40 vodkas
stocked behind the steel, all of them offered icy cold. Four
shots run $12 each.
Silas says that with Pravda now having opened its icy cold
steel doors to the public, Copper Mountain has a nightlife experience
previously unavailable anywhere in the Rockies. “We like
to say it’s a big city feel without the big city attitude,”
explained Mark Lowe, spokesman for Pravda. “It has the
sophistication of nightclubs in the city with the traditional
warmth and hospitality that people in the Rockies are known
Mexican music fills Vail’s arenas
VAIL – Regional Mexican music is becoming a big draw
at Vail’s Dobson Ice Arena as well as in the big concert
venues of metropolitan Denver.
Dobson regularly sells out its monthly shows, which have a
capacity of 2,200 people shelling out $45 each. The shows are
promoted by Vail local Pedro Luevano, who by day is a groundskeeper
at a condominium, reports The Denver Post (April 17).
Meanwhile, in Denver, the city’s top concert promoters
have begun booking such venues as the 16,000-seat Pepsi Center
for the music known as Regional Mexican. “It’s just
too big of an audience to ignore,” said Chuck Morris,
a music promoter in Denver since the 1960s, who is now affiliated
with radio giant Clear Channel Communications.
The Post describes regional Mexican music as “the raw
voice of Mexican immigrants.” Lyrics speak to the insecure
and vulnerable feelings of immigrants, as well as getting ripped
off by employers, missing family and, of course, missing Mexico.
The newspaper further explains that most concerts contain a
sea of men in cowboy hats, fancy cowboy boots and colorful dress
shirts. Women are usually far fewer in number.
Bus passengers called un-American
WINTER PARK – A bus driver turned upon two women who
had been speaking in Spanish and demanded to know their names
and addresses. Speaking Spanish on a public bus was an “un-American
act,” he told them, and informed them he would contact
their supervisor at Winter Park Resort as well as the police.
Frightened, the women themselves contacted police, who in turn
interviewed the bus driver about his motivations. He said he
had been disturbed by what he thought was a discussion of the
war in Iraq, and he also thought the women may have been saying
bad things about the U.S. The cops, according to the Sky-Hi
News (April 17), warned him against confronting passengers.
Campers required to bear-proof
BANFF, Alberta – Campers in Canada’s western national
parks this year will be required to completely bear-proof their
They must store all food and other items with odors that could
attract bears, including barbecues and dishrags, in hard-sided
vehicles or campground storage lockers. They cannot be stored
in tents or tent trailers. This, reports the Rocky Mountain
Outlook (April 10), applies whenever the items are not in use,
or at night when campers are sleeping, or when the campsite
is unattended for any length of time.
When applied in a test campground in Banff National Park last
year, visitors got the idea quickly, tidying up their camps
so as to avoid attracting grizzly and black bears, say officials
with Parks Canada.
Once the bruins get a taste for human food, it can start them
down the dangerous path toward habituation, which can lead to
their eventual destruction, notes the newspaper. Only 60 grizzlies
are believed to remain in Banff.
Plans arrive for heart of Big Sky
BIG SKY, Mont. – Gallatin Peaks Land and Development,
which owns a huge swath of land in the middle of Big Sky, is
trying to give the resort what columnist Todd Wilkinson describes
as “the tangible community heart it never had.”
The anchor of their company’s blueprint, writes Wilkinson
in the Jackson Hole News & Guide (April 9), is a town square
of green space, flanked by “neighborhood” mom-and-pop
shops, doctors’ and dentists’ offices, an athletic
club and so forth. They’ve enlisted Jim Pepper, described
by Wilkinson as a progressive planner who has “made recommendations
to help this Pinocchio of a place become a real town.”
Among his ideas: rotate existing street grids by 15 degrees
to offer everyone standing in the town center a clear view of
Paraglider perishes in Sun Valley
SUN VALLEY, Idaho – A 29-year-old veteran paraglider
pilot died after spiraling out of the sky over Bald Mountain,
Sun Valley’s major ski hill, and into the Big Wood River.
Authorities say the victim was doing an extreme aerobatic maneuver.
Chuck Smith, the owner of the local paragliding business, likened
the maneuver to popping a wheelie while on a motorcycle. “Some
people ride motorcycles their whole life and don’t do
wheelies,” he told the Idaho Mountain Express (April 16).
Mary Jane grooming causes uproar
WINTER PARK – The Mary Jane portion of Winter Park has
at least 34 mogul runs. Surveys consistently rate it as having
perhaps the best bumps in North America. But David Barry, head
of Colorado operations for Intrawest, says that Mary Jane is
underused, and the best way to expand use is to mow down moguls.
To that end, the resort groomed two of the resort’s best-known
mogul runs, Outhouse and Drunken Frenchman, this spring. The
former had head-high moguls deep enough to hide in, while the
later was a popular yo-yo run among proficient skiers.
Resort officials say the response has been 50-50.
Some mogul skiers, including some second-home owners from the
Denver area, say Intrawest has it all wrong. Instead of making
Mary Jane more intermediate, they say, it should market itself
more to the advanced and expert skiers.
“Why would you want to mow down the best bumps in the
world?” asks one, 42-year-old Bill Kauffman, in an interview
with the Winter Park Manifest (April 16).
Gary DeFrange, general manager at Winter Park, said rumors
that up to 70 percent of the moguls at the Jane will be knocked
down are not true. “We’re only looking at a few
runs, and in most cases it’s only partial grooming,”
At the heart of the dispute is an anxiety about how Intrawest
will steer the resort. Winter Park has had a habit of losing
money, or at least not making much money. Compared to some other
resorts, it has a smaller mix of destination visitors and sells
its skiing goods at a lower price. The fear of Front Range skiers
is that Intrawest will upscale the resort, catering more to
destination skiers than die-hard locals.
Vail reports best snow in six years
VAIL - In the final days of its ski season, Vail reported surpassing
the 400-inch snowfall market. It's the best snowfall the resort
has had in six years, and is 62 inches more than the seasonal
Parents rave about dual immersion
KETCHUM, Idaho – Parents and teachers at two elementary
schools have raved about an English-Spanish dual immersion program,
now in its second year.
The schools’ superintendent, Jim Lewis, reports that
based on evidence elsewhere, he expects test scores to stay
the same or drop a bit until fifth grade. “Then they skyrocket
above their peers,” reports the Idaho Mountain Express
Lewis said the district is using a compact disc in its national
search for bilingual teachers. “We need role models, especially
native Hispanic speakers (of Spanish and English),” he