Vail stuns mainstream
EAGLE, Colo. – The Kobe Bryant case unleashed what The
Vail Trail (July 11) described as a “ravenous media beast.”
A press conference in Eagle soon after Bryant’s arrest
for investigation of sexual assault produced 29 print journalists,
9 television cameras and eight photojournalists. The DA’s
press conference 10 days later produced 100.
And others were presumably out probing other nooks and crannies
of what several described as a “sleepy” town. “Quiet
doesn’t begin to describe Eagle,” reported one San
Francisco journalist, who was astonished to learn that some
residents never bothered to lock their doors.
More astonishing to one columnist from a Denver newspaper was
that the Vail Daily had known Bryant was being investigated
but did not report it – indeed, didn’t even report
the arrest until two days after it happened. This was, said
Mike Littwin of the Rocky Mountain News, sure evidence that
Vail and the Eagle Valley coddled celebrities. The Vail Trail,
a weekly, rifled a similar charge of softness against it daily
Bryant incident may boost hotel
EDWARDS, Colo. – The Lodge & Spa at Cordillera has
been mentioned in more than 300 newspapers in only nine days
in July, usually as “posh,” “swanky”
and “exclusive.” The reason? That’s where,
depending upon your point of view, Kobe Bryant committed adultery
So, what does that do for the 56-room hotel where standard
rooms rent for $325 a night? Marketing experts consulted by
The Denver Post (July 16) mostly agreed that any news short
of murder is good news. “It would cost hundreds of thousands
of dollars, even millions of dollars, to achieve that kind of
notoriety, said one Denver-based marketing consultant. A Beverly
Hills-based branding expert for spas agreed. “In the big
picture, this little problem is worth its weight in gold,”
However, a New York consultant who specializes in independent
boutique hotels, said the case “will be a blip on the
radar screen. Hotel reputations are built on other factors.”
5,000 expected at Utah reunion
PARK CITY, Utah – Ever get dragged to a family reunion
where you didn’t recognize 90 percent of the people? Just
imagine if you were among the 5,000 people expected for a reunion
of descendents of Amasa Lyman on Aug. 2 in Fillmore, Utah.
A member of the Church of Latter Day Saints, Lyman settled
in Utah in the 19th century. His eight wives, 37 grandchildren
and 234 great-grandchildren may now have produced 25,000 descendents,
reports The Park Record (July 9). If you wonder whether you’re
part of the family tree, all the details are available at www.amasayman.org.
Leadville joins Krispy Kreme craze
LEADVILLE, Colo. – The Krispy Kreme craze continues.
In the 2-mile-high city of Leadville, a businessman has offered
to import the doughnuts with a dawn run from Denver, 100 miles
distant. Customers must pre-order their doughnuts, $8 a dozen,
reports the Leadville Chronicle (July 10).
Something even more bizarre occurs at Jackson Hole, where a
fresh batch of Krispy Kremes is trucked daily from Salt Lake
City, several hours distant.
Could this be like Coors Beer? When the beer was sold only
in the West, collegiates and others on skiing trips to the Rockies
always hauled a few cases of the brew for resale back home.
The beer gained a reputation as the nation’s premier brew.
But when Coors expanded its distribution, the brew seemed to
lose its special appeal.
Clouds seeded with founder’s ashes
VAIL, Colo. –At Vail founder Pete Seibert’s memorial
service last year, his son, Pete Seibert Jr., told those gathered
that his father’s ashes would be scattered by seeding
them into clouds. Expect “one hell of a powder day,”
And that’s exactly what happened, reports the Vail Daily
(July 15). Seibert’s family distributed most of the ashes
atop Vail Mountain on Christmas Day, saving the remainder to
send skyward in a cloud-seeding generator. The chosen day was
St. Patrick’s Day.
That storm produced only 12 inches of powder at Vail, but several
feet of snow in Summit County and in Denver, one of the biggest
storms of the last century.
Patriotic Wal-Mart opens in Avon
AVON, Colo. – Consumerism goes hand-in-hand with patriotism
in the Vail Valley. There, in opening a “supercenter,”
Wal-Mart had a VFW unit present the flag, a sales associate
sing the national anthem, and to top it all off, recruited high
school cheerleaders to lead the hurrahs.
The 187,000-square-foot store is located in Avon, along with
a new Home Depot. The old Wal-Mart there is to be remodeled
and expanded, creating space for three national chain stores:
Gart Sports, Pier 1 Imports and Office Depot. In other words,
instead of going to the city, consumers along the I-70 corridor
are finding the city is coming to them.
Real estate hot with Jackson locals
JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. – The strongest sector of the real
estate market in Jackson Hole this year has been what David
Viehman calls the “locals market of under $750,000.”
Viehman, owner and broker of Jackson Hole Real Estate &
Appraisal, LLC, largely credits this to low interest rates.
He reports the number of homes sold up 14 percent but dollar
volume of only 17 percent.
Through June, 21 homes were sold for $1 million or more. That
compares with 26 last year. On the other hand, the condo-townhome
sales is up 51 percent. Viehman told the Jackson Hole News &
Guide that he sees the number of listings shrinking, perhaps
a prelude to a seller’s market.
The report is available online at www.jacksonholereport.com.
Fast food battles to be healthy
SILVERTHORNE, Colo. – Travelers who turn off I-70 for
fast-food in Silverthorne have their choice of Wendy’s,
Burger King, McDonalds and Good Times.
While Wendy’s and Burger King battle over prices, both
McDonalds and Good Times are now shooting for health consciousness.
McDonalds, of course, recently announced it would begin converting
to beef without antibiotics.
At Good Times Burgers, a Colorado-based chain of 35 stores,
including one at the Winter Park ski area, a deal has just been
struck with Coleman Natural Meats, a purveyor of beef free of
antibiotics, growth hormones and other byproducts. Coleman,
incidentally, is now owned by a conglomerate headed by George
Gillett, one-time owner of Vail Associates and today still the
owner of Wyoming’s Grand Targhee ski area.
Whistler explores geothermal power
WHISTLER, B.C. – A geothermal power plant being studied
would generate 100 to 200 megawatts of electrical power, or
enough to service a city of 500,000 people. The power would
tie into the Bonneville grid, and hence be sold in California,
reports the Whistler Question (June 26).
The geothermal area is found 43 miles northeast of Whistler,
in the Meager Creek Valley. With an eruption 2,000 years ago,
it is the site of Canada’s most recent volcanic activity.
Water would be injected into fractures among the hot rocks and
heated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, then drawn to the surface
by a series of wells. Flashing to steam, it would drive turbines
that generate electrical power.
Capital cost for the plant is estimated at $300 million (US).
A feasibility study is expected to be complete in 18 months.
Couple finds missing ring at Keystone
KEYSTONE, Colo. – In February, a couple pledging their
love atop Keystone’s Outback at 12,200 feet lost the engagement
ring into a foot of fresh powder. Several hours of searching
by metal detectors and even an avalanche rescue dog failed to
produce the $6,500 diamond-and-platinum ring.
Returning in mid-July, the frustrated couple were about to
give up after hours of fruitless searching when the groom finally
glimpsed reflected sunlight from between two rocks. This time,
he slipped it onto his fiance’s finger quickly. A September
wedding in Iowa is planned.
Composters smell good news in Banff
BANFF, Alberta – When Canmore tried to compost its sewage,
the result was 85 odiferous. Neighborhood residents created
a stink of their own. Since then, it has spent $300,000 a year
($221,000 US) to haul the stuff to some distant place. Other
communities closer at hand figure that if it’s too stinky
for Canmore, they don’t want any part of it either.
But up-valley at Banff, a new $2 million biosolids composting
facility is now on line, and municipal officials say it passes
the sniff test. “It’s unbelievable,” Canmore
Councilor Jon Frolick told the Rocky Mountain Outlook (June
11). “Standing 10 feet from the building, you don’t
smell anything.” The plant uses a technology that is described
as negative press in-vessel composting.
Meanwhile, Canmore officials have agreed to chip in for a study
of a valley-wide organics composting facility. Both Canmore
and Banff outlaw backyard composting, presumably because it
attracts wildlife. Instead, they are trucked to a landfill at
Calgary at enormous expense.
Aspen gets EPA award for commuting
ASPEN, Colo. – The EPA is giving Aspen its award for
Best Workplaces for Commuters. This is the first time the award
has been given to a municipality; normally it goes to organizations
such as business parks.
The award doesn’t deny Aspen’s congestion, but
it does recognize that people have options, including free in-town
bus service, car-pool parking and a program to help car-poolers
link, explains The Aspen Times (July 4). As well, the community
offers a car-sharing program plus an outreach service to employers
and visitors. “Aspen provides its commuter with big-city
benefits to preserve its small-town appeal,” said an EPA
Gunnison County cleans up roadways
CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. – Gunnison County, which is where
Crested Butte is located, is trying to gussy itself up for tourists.
A new beautification committee is encouraging removal of junk
cars and what not from along the major thoroughfares in the
county. To encourage such efforts, the county landfill is offering
reduced rates for disposal of appliances and trailer homes,
reports the Crested Butte News (July 10).
-compiled by Allen Best