Beaver Creek tackles bad business

BEAVER CREEK, Colo. The story of Dennis Kozlowski and Tyco best illustrates what went wrong with American corporations during the frenzied 1990s. As CEO of the company, Kozlowski gained extravagant compensation and, when that wasn't enough, began hiding the illegal reimbursements that financed his ridiculously luxurious lifestyle. He was eventually accused of pilfering $600 million from the company.

Among his many properties were three at Beaver Creek, valued at $14 million, among them a large log-and-stone mansion in Bachelor Gulch, the most exclusive and newest of Beaver Creek's neighborhoods. It was, as real estate promotions advertised, the place where only the few could live.

Recently, a conference was convened at the base of that exclusive neighborhood, largely a creation of Wall Street wealth, to talk about the excesses of Wall Street. The conference title: "Changing the Game: Reforming American Business."

Panelists, reports the Vail Daily , seemed to agree that it wasn't a matter of just a few bad apples, but rather the very structure of the apple barrel. Corporate executives expected to be rewarded, not just for success, but at all times. Boards of directors, in an unhealthy web of influence, went along with it. The result was a widening gap between compensation paid CEOs and wages of company workers 50 to 1 as the decade began, 500 to 1 when the decade ended.

Telluride fest nixes plastic recycling

TELLURIDE, Colo. The Telluride Bluegrass Festival was held for the 30th time this year, and as has become usual, it was a sell-out, with tickets capped by community agreement at 10,000.

This year there was a new effort to promote recycling and composting, reports The Telluride Watch (June 20). But one of the lessons that organizer Craig Ferguson learned was that it makes no sense to haul materials long distances. The lesson seems to be compost at home. As for recycling plastic, he decided it's better to bury it in the nearest landfill than to haul it 100 miles to a recycling center.

Steamboat bans downhill bikes

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. High-speed downhill mountain biking has been banned at the Steamboat Ski Area effective July 1.

There seems to be two fundamental reasons for the decision. First, the high-speed bicycle riders are posing a threat to other bicycle riders. Second, they are creating many renegade, or illegal, trails that are causing erosion.

Many downhill bikers would like to see the resort build other trails for them to use, says John Kohnke, the mountain bike director at Steamboat, but they don't seem to understand how much work is involved in creating a legitimate downhill trail.

"It does require thought and money and time," agreed Janet Faller, a ranger for the U.S. Forest Service, on whose land the ski area is located.

Couple follows caribou to Arctic

ARCTIC NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, Alaska Whatever adventure you had during mud season, you can bet that a husband-wife team of wildlife biologists from the Banff-Canmore area can one-up you.

The couple traveled to the Yukon River, where a herd of 123,000 caribou winter. From there, the caribou spent six weeks traveling 350 miles to their summer range in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which also is the site of oil reserves that geologists estimate would power the United States for six months. The couple wanted to see what was at stake from the perspective of the caribou.

"We've forded rivers with floating ice, kicked steps down avalanche slopes, braved ground blizzards, traveled with and were stalked by one of the many grizzly bears shadowing the herd," Leanne Allison told the Rocky Mountain Outlook (June 19). For their troubles, Allison and her mate, Karsten Heuer, each lost 10 pounds and are nursing feet swollen from frostbite and hands covered with blisters.

And does the couple think the oil supply should be tapped? No surprise there. "Given what we've seen so far, it just doesn't measure up," Heuer said.

Vail looks to boost local economy

VAIL, Colo. Vail, as a business proposition, is hardly broken. After all, $1 billion in reinvestment proposals for the town's two primary economic drivers, Vail Village and Lionshead, are currently on the table.

Still, there is a great deal of talk about the town's flagging economy. Part of it's the national economy, of course, but Vail also feels competitive heat from its down-valley suburbs, as well as from other resorts. Not least, many businesses think that landowners have jacked up lease rates too high, causing too many empty storefronts.

Dick Cleveland, a town councilman, is taking a lead in a community discussion. He told the Vail Daily (June 24) that he believes the town has a responsibility to tinker. An unfettered free market in big cities results in slums and in ski towns, empty storefronts, he says.

Man loses leg after unusual misstep

KINGS BEACH, Nev. Returning home alone from a barbecue at Incline Village, Leathan Renfrow, 20, fell off a walkway in a complex of largely vacant rental condominiums, dropping 10 feet. The impact fractured his tibia and fibula, crushed his kneecap and severed one of the offshoots of the femoral artery in his left leg.

He then spent most of the next 10 or 11 hours calling for help until finally he crawled to a condo and broke in. From there, he was able to telephone for help. Doctors were later forced to amputate his leg. Law authorities had considered filing charges for breaking into the condo, but decided against it, reports the Tahoe World (June 19).

The man, who had been a snowboard rider as well as basketball player and BMX rider, is said to be really depressed. The family was hoping to find others who had lost limbs who would be willing to talk with him about their coping mechanisms.

Aspen scores third Winter X Games

ASPEN, Colo. The ESPN Winter X Games will return to Aspen and Buttermilk for the third straight year. To get this unprecedented trey, the Aspen Skiing Co. had to sweeten the deal with lodging, transportation and marketing incentives. The company declined to identify the value of the package, but did acknowledge spending about $1 million in the past, reports the Aspen Times (June 18).

ESPN also has invested more in programming, including more prime-time slots and a greater presence on "Sports Center." Last year's games drew 48,000 spectators to Aspen. Nearly 20 hours of programming were broadcast on three television stations.

Climber lands on hot bachelor list

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. Amid the movie stars, a charming prince and so forth in People magazine's "25 hottest bachelors" this year is Jimmy Chin, a rock climber and photographer. Are climbers going mainstream?

At 29, Chin has had many photos published in National Geographic after establishing an impressive resume of original climbing routes in the world's great ranges. The muscles he has developed in those climbs are displayed in a photo in People in which he is shirtless and barefoot. He was, Chin told the Jackson Hole News & Guide (June 25), somewhat deceived, as the photographer had told him she wanted the topless photos just for herself.

Chin later this summer will attempt the Hornbein Couloir on Mount Everest. His climbing partner, Stephen Koch, also has been getting publicity, showing up on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien."

Telluride Film Fest strapped for cash

TELLURIDE, Colo. Everywhere, the economic downturn has cut into donations for nonprofit organizations. In the case of the Telluride Film Festival, which draws scads of Hollywood types every Labor Day, the deficit is running $60,000 to $80,000 against the total budget of $2.6 million. The Town Council was asked to chip in, but council members indicated they're strapped for cash themselves, reports the Telluride Watch (June 6). Regardless of the crisis, the show will go on.

-compiled by Allen Best





News Index Second Index Opinion Index Classifieds Index Contact Index