Avalanche cuts off
TELLURIDE, Colo. March this year came
in roaring like a lion, nearly knocking Telluride on its rear
A quick but hard
snowstorm that isolated nearby Silverton for several days because
of avalanches also caused avalanches that knocked out two power
lines supplying the Telluride area. That left only one remaining
power line, causing rolling blackouts. The gondola was idled as
were some lifts. Diesel generators were fired up to power the
Meanwhile, the wobbly
remaining power threatened to go off, too.
According to the The Telluride Watch , power company officials would not
allow workers to repair the lines until the avalanche danger had
abated. On top of all this, another storm was moving in.
Deliberately triggering an avalanche could destroy homes in the
town of Ophir, raising another question of who would pay for the
lost homes, worth up to $10 million? And what about the improbable
but potential loss of life?
In the end, the various government leaders as well as the new
owners of the ski company struck a deal pledging responsibility
should things go wrong, crossed their fingers, and ordered that
explosives be set off to little effect. All the snow that was going
to run had already run.
The linemen did their duties, the electricity began flowing, and
life returned, more or less, to normal.
Land disputed at Silverton
SILVERTON, Colo. Call it the tale of
two ski areas. Before there was a Silverton Mountain Ski Area there
was a Velocity Peak Inc., a company proposing a resort-style ski
area in the same vicinity.
But when Silverton
Mountain showed up across the road, Velocity Peak began getting
cranky. It has become particularly cranky lately, after Silverton
Mountain has done control work to make the skiing acceptably safe.
Velocity Peak's owner says the slides have been crossing onto his
property, and skiers have skied on it and across private property.
The owner has filed a complaint with local authorities.
But San Juan County
officials intend to take no action. The photos submitted as
evidence, while showing ski tracks, do not show skiers, explains
the Silverton Standard.
As well, the snow ranger
for the BLM has seen no evidence of trespassing by Silverton
Mountain guides and clients.
Resort area ranch sales
JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. The brisk market
for ranches near resorts has been revealed in several sales during
First was the 650-acre
Guber Ranch near Aspen, which sold for $46 million, or $70,800 an
Second is the
10,300-acre Castle Peak Ranch near Eagle, which sold for $23
million, or about $2,200 an acre. The buyer is an investment banker
from London. Proximity to a major airport (Eagle County Regional),
the restaurants and other cultural activities of Vail and Beaver
Creek, plus views piled upon stunning views, contributed to the
healthy sales price.
It might have gone
higher, except that the ranch lacks a critical feature wanted by
hobby ranchers a river running through it. Brokers associated with
the deal told the Eagle Valley Enterprise that they expect
virtually no development to occur.
Meanwhile, in Jackson
Hole, a development company owned by Ross Perot Jr., son of the
two-time presidential candidate, has contracted to buy 1,300 acres
of a ranch. The price has not been disclosed, reports the Jackson Hole News & Guide
, but the listed price was
$110 million. If that were the sales price, that works out to
$8,461 per acre.
Perot's company intends to subdivide the land into parcels of 35
acres or more but retain the core of the property as a working
In Jackson Hole, ranches rarely exceed $10,000 an acre, except
in smaller acreages. In the Blue River Valley of Colorado's Summit
County, prices of smaller ranches are in the range of $10,000 to
$30,000 an acre as long as there's a river or creek in it.
Near Meeker, where golfer Greg Norman and financier Henry Kravis
have ranches, prices range from $2,000 to $6,000 an acre. The
beauty is unsurpassed, but their ranches are several hours from the
cultural opportunities of Steamboat, Vail and Aspen.
Authorities seize Warren
BANFF, ALBERTA Not all the exciting
footage taken by a Warren Miller film crew near the Sunshine
Village ski area will be seen in theaters next fall.
While shooting in an
out-of-bounds area, the crew observed an avalanche. A report went
out that the crew had caused the avalanche; crew members denied the
report. Parks Canada, which administers the land, corroborated the
film crew's story, but nonetheless requested the film segment of
the avalanche, to ensure it does not get used.
A spokeswoman for Banff
National Park said park authorities believed that the film crew
"had put themselves in an unsafe area" and did not want the film
used, thereby avoiding sending an inappropriate message.
The crew was in the
Banff-Lake Louise area for 10 days. With the prospect of 50 million
people seeing some of this, tourism officials were delighted. "It's
gold for us and the Alberta ski industry," said Don Boynton, a
Travel Alberta spokesman.
Skiers return to Colorado resorts
VAlL, Colo. Destination skiers have
returned to resorts of the Rocky Mountains this winter. From Winter
Park to Crested Butte to Aspen, the story is the same hefty gains,
including some double-digit increases in skier days.
In January, the
passenger count at Eagle Valley Regional Airport, which services
primarily Vail/Beaver Creek but also Aspen was up 2.3 percent over
the same month last year, reports the Vail Daily .
Meanwhile, in Aspen,
where the story for much of the last year has been the decline in
retail sales, a record was set during January for retail sales
$45.3 million in taxes collected. Cold weather and the
much-heralded Winter X Games were attributed to the 17 percent
The only sector losing
ground in Aspen was liquor, down 15.7 percent from last year,
reports The Aspen Times
Hot tubs proposed for
CHALLIS, Idaho A hunting and fishing
outfitter is asking the U.S. Forest Service to allow installation
of hot tubs in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness
The tubs would be set up
in spring, taken down in autumn. Water would be drawn from nearby
streams and heated with submersible wood-burning stoves, reports
the Idaho Mountain Express
The Wilderness Act of
1964 bans motorized vehicles and equipment as well as forms of
mechanical transport, but it does not specifically address hot
tubs. A key question presumably would be how different a hot tub
set up for a full summer would be from a tent that is set up from
spring through autumn.
Utah licenses illegal immigrants
PARK CITY, Utah Mexican citizens
rejoiced in Salt Lake City after state legislators rejected a
proposed law that would have denied illegal immigrants the ability
to obtain drivers' licenses.
The defeat angered
supporters of the measure. "Federal law is very clear," said Matt
Throckmorton, co-founder of Utahans for Immigration Reform and
Enforcement. "(Undocumented immigrants) shouldn't be here if they
don't come here legally, and then it is just kind of a slap in the
face to every citizen of Utah when they begin chanting long live
Mexico' right in our rotunda," he told The Park Record.
Crested Butte debates
CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. During winter,
Crested Butte lies at the end of the road. During summer, the only
other road options are gravel, or worse.
The Federal Highway
Administration would like to change that by paving the remaining 13
miles across Cottonwood Pass, making Interstate 70 and Denver about
an hour closer. The essential question for Crested Butte is how
much closer it wants to get to civilization, and at what
One cost is money,
reports the Crested Butte
News . The
chief operating officer for Gunnison County, Marlene Cosby,
explains that aggressively maintaining a gravel road costs 10 times
more than maintaining an asphalt road. Moreover, applying magnesium
chloride is the primary method for controlling dust on gravel
roads. Many believe the chemical causes adjacent trees to
But another cost is the loss of quiet caused by additional
traffic to the area of Cottonwood Pass and Taylor Park