Sheep Mountain rename shot down

TELLURIDE, Colo. The proposal by a retired military officer to rename Sheep Mountain, between Telluride and Rico, appears headed for defeat. It is one of 38 summits in Colorado named Sheep, and Bruce Salisbury wanted it renamed Kiamia, an acronym for Killed in Action and Missing In Action.

But Colorado, in addition to a flock of Sheep Mountains, also has hundreds of unnamed mountains, said the San Miguel County commissioners. They suggested that Salisbury draft one of those unnamed peaks to honor military combatants, leaving alone the 13,188-foot Sheep Mountain near Telluride that is the namesake for a local environmental group.

With that response, this proposal is all but dead. The U.S. Board of Geographic Names, which has authority over names on public lands, almost always defers to local governments.

Jackson touts infill development

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. In Jackson the converted continue to preach the virtues of infill development, otherwise known as density, in lieu of sprawl.

A town planning commissioner, Greg Miles, recently attended a conference in Portland to study that city's infill development. "What a cool town," he reported upon returning. "Portland has fully embraced smart growth and green building techniques."

All development, he explained, must happen within a pre-determined boundary. The result: "The city ends, bingo. There's a clear definite boundary."

In November, 62 percent of Jackson voters killed a higher density development for the town core, in part out of fears it would foster a more city-like atmosphere. However, opponents also noted that the increased density within the city was not coupled with a commitment from the county commissioners to put more of a lid on development beyond city limits.

Rebuffed by voters, Jackson town officials continue to attack the density issue from another perspective. They are now creating a rezoning that would allow smaller lot sizes. With smaller lot sizes, they argue, the city's less wealthy can afford to have single-family homes as an alternative to condos. As is, the existing lots in the auto-urban residential zone are large enough, 7,500 square feet, to accommodate one primary and two accessory homes.

Aspen lifestyle magazine released

ASPEN, Colo. Aspen is to get a new magazine, called Aspen Peak , with 40,000 copies to be delivered this spring. The city already has two magazines, but the editor of this new magazine says Aspen Peak will be somewhat different.

What those differences will be wasn't clear in a story reported by The Aspen Times , except perhaps a somewhat more direct focus on second-home owners in the cities where they maintain primary residences. "It's going to be a lifestyle publication as a whole, with culture, fashion, art, entertainment and business," explained Jason Binn, the publisher.

Binn's company, Niche Media, also publishes magazines in New York City, Los Angeles, the Hamptons and Miami.

Workers file for smoke damage

BANFF, Alberta There's a new twist to the anti-smoking movement in Canada. Some workers have filed for workers compensation when second-hand smoke from their workplaces has aggravated other conditions, such as asthma or allergies. Also, reports the Banff Crag & Canyon , a woman who has lung cancer after waiting tables 40 years in a smoky restaurant having never smoked herself is filing for workers compensation.

Banff town leaders are considering banning smoking in public places, but some bar and restaurant owners fear the economic consequences, as the resort draws a large international crowd. A bartender of 19 years, Bunny Julius, says such concerns are misplaced. Many of those owners and managers don't actually spend seven or eight hours daily in a bar, he said. "It's almost like society looks at (service industry workers) as bottom feeders, and it doesn't really matter what they do to us."

In Colorado's Summit County, that was the crux of a similar argument. A key opponent of smoking, Gary Lindstrom, argued that the public has a right to legislate restaurants to prevent the spread of diseases. It only makes sense, he said, that the public can also regulate another public health hazard, smoking.

Summit County voters, by a two-to-one-margin, agreed with him. Indoor public smoking except in select places becomes verboten in June in unincorporated areas, which includes the ski resorts of Copper Mountain and Keystone. Meanwhile, Frisco, Breckenridge and other towns within the county are adopting parallel laws.

Vail Valley gets a taste of opera

VAIL, Colo. In the mining frontier of the 19th century, the bigger mining camps all had opera houses. To this day, Aspen, Leadville and Telluride, to mention three of Colorado's mining-come-ski towns, have functioning opera houses, even if opera is rarely, if ever, heard there.

One johnny-come-lately, Beaver Creek, has no opera house. But it recently hosted its first opera, a performance of Verdi's "La Taviata" as performed by European's largest and most successful opera touring company, Teatro Lirico D'Europa. The show was sold out.

The venue for that show, the Vilar Center, with 530 seats in a horseshoe arrangement, is not all about highbrow stuff. Also on the itinerary this winter are Sam Bush, the bluegrass musician, and Derek Trucks, the blues guitarist. Trucks, who last played in Vail at a bar called 8150, named after the town's elevation, told the Vail Daily that he was trying to get into more art theaters, where people are "more interested in listening than drinking."

Releasable bindings for snowboards?

TELLURIDE, Colo. In the 1950s Earl Miller Sr. developed one of the first releasable bindings for alpine skis. In the 1960s, he designed a brake for skis. Then, before he died in 2002 at the age of 77, Miller invented a releasable snowboard binding.

Now, his son, Matthew Miller, is trying to get snowboard manufacturers to buy into his father's technology. The releasable binding, called Miller's Revolution Z Interface, is manufactured by his Utah-based company, Miller Snowboarding Corp. He claims it will prevent up to 90 percent of snowboard-related injuries.

Why wouldn't a snowboard manufacturer want this binding? If the story is really as simple as explained by The Telluride Watch , manufacturers worry that releasable bindings could cause more injuries due to premature ejections. The real story, the newspaper suggests, is that equipment manufacturers are slow to embrace technological change. After all, says the newspaper, manufacturers took 17 years to embrace brakes on alpine skis.

Town throwing party for area buyers

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. The ski company and the townspeople are, often enough, like oil and water. But after a series of hard-luck years, the people of Crested Butte are almost giddy about getting new owners, Tim and Diane Mueller, of the Vermont-based Triple Peaks LLC.

Fully expecting the deal to be consummated, the Crested Butte Town Council allocated $4,000 for a giant community party. Speeches are planned, reports the Crested Butte News , as well as ski movies, a band and fireworks. "We only get a new ski area owner once in every 33 years," quipped Mayor Jim Schmidt.

Aspen tries to be hip' destination

ASPEN, Colo. Aspen may try to become a "hip" destination resort. It's not what you think.

In response to a financial crisis, officials at Aspen Valley Hospital are pursuing affiliation with Manhattan's Hospital for Special Surgery, a leader in selective joint-replacement surgery, such as knee and hip replacements, reports The Aspen Times . The goal is to get people to fly to Aspen to become disjointed and rejointed. Also part of the strategy is to get Aspenites to stay at home for such procedures.

There's a precedent for this ski town catering to the rich and sometimes famous. For more than a decade, professional football, hockey and basketball players (including Kobe Bryant) as well as many others who can afford premium prices have been going to Vail to get their knees and shoulders fixed at the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic. But Dr. Richard Hawkins has decamped for the East Coast and Dr. Richard Steadman is nearing retirement. In this shift Aspen seems to see opportunities.

Aspen surgeons were reported to be cautiously supportive but expressed fears that Aspen, with its elevation of nearly 8,000 feet, might not be the best place for generally older people to go for major surgery.

compiled by Allen Best





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