Silverton debates OHV
SILVERTON, Colo. "Ahhh the slush.
Ahhh the mud," writes Jonathan Thompson, editor and publisher
of the Silverton Standard and
Silverton's sales tax revenues are anemic, so much so that Thompson
in his weekly editorial exhorted locals to buy their necessities at
home rather than driving to outside towns. If every household in
town spent $75 more each week in Silverton, he explained, the town
would be $31,000 richer at year's end.
One other idea being
discussed is to allow off-highway vehicles onto town streets. Town
trustees, remembering a heated discussion four years ago, won't
tackle this issue themselves. They want to put it up to a community
election. "I don't even want to touch this with a 10-foot pole,"
said Trustee Joe Zimmerman at a recent meeting.
The Standard explains that proponents want to make
Silverton accessible to OHV riders doing the loop among the nearby
towns of Telluride and Ouray. But opponents say roaming OHVs would
scare off other tourists and be a detriment to the safety and
quality of life of residents.
Much the same discussion
was being held last year in Telluride, where OHVs are currently
banned from city streets.
With everybody in the
high mountain towns getting cranky this time of year, the OHV
debate in Silverton sounds like it could become a brawl.
Moose nails snowshoer in Park City
PARK CITY, Utah Never again, said a
65-year-old snowshoer after he was stomped hard by a 700-pound bull
moose in a canyon near Park City. "I'm never coming back," said
The Park Record explains that Baldwin and two
70-something companions were snowshoeing in the canyon when they
encountered a moose on the trail about 50 yards away. The trio of
men tried to hide behind a tree, assuming the moose would mosey
down the trial, but they were wrong.
"He came down and stopped by the tree and licked his lips a few
times," explains Bob Mitchell. The moose then knocked Baldwin down
and began kicking and stepping on him, causing a fractured scapula
and a severe laceration to his leg, before moving on.
There was some conjecture that the moose may have been agitated
by previous encounters with people and dogs.
SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. A 39-year-old
snowmobiler was killed last week by an avalanche on Mt. Guyot, near
Breckenridge. Authorities who spoke to the Summit Independent Daily suspected high-marking, which is the
game of seeing how high on a slope you can get before gravity
overwhelms acceleration. It is usually the reason that snowmobilers
die in avalanches.
Avalanche danger at the time was cited as moderate, which is
most often the danger when avalanche victims are killed. Newspapers
and the radio and television stations that repeat what newspapers
dig up have been filled for much of the last month with stories
about the instability of the snow. Despite that instability, there
have been fewer than average deaths so far this season.
Altitude may impact heart
SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. Are you more
likely to have a heart attack if you go up from low-lying
elevations, like say Oakland or Houston, to Colorado's high country
Yes, say a handful of
county coroners contacted by the Rocky
Mountain News .
Young people are a particular concern. In Summit County, with an
elevation of around 9,000 feet, one in seven heart attack victims
is under 40. One in 14 heart attack fatalities were people under 40
in Vermont's largest resort area, with an elevation of 3,000 feet.
The fatalities are mostly tourists. Full-time residents under 40
rarely have fatal heart attacks.
But Dr. Gordon Gerson, a cardiologist at Aspen Valley Hospital,
flatly rejects the notion that the low-landers become more at risk
when recreating at mountain resorts. "We have three to four skiers
a year who have heart attacks on the mountains out of how many
thousands of skiers?" he asked.
Flatlanders who have heart attacks in the high country were
probably going to have them anyway, he maintains. That's the same
view of Dr. Ben Honigman, director of the new Colorado Center for
Altitude Medicine and Physiology.
Winter Park scraps its ski
WINTER PARK, Colo. The ski jumps at
Winter Park that turned out at least a few Olympic jumpers are
being scrapped to make way for beginning skiers.
Intrawest, now in its
second year of management, has set out to boost the numbers at
Winter Park by making it more appealing to intermediate,
destination skiers. At least one major run, Outhouse, is being
groomed, to the dismay of many die-hard bump skiers. Using the
space now reserved for the 40- and 60-meter jumps located at the
base area also allows more users in the same space. Intrawest
figures it can accommodate 30,000 beginning skiers, compared to the
15 to 50 skiers now in the jumping program.
There are, of course,
protests, including one from a 78-year-old skier who remembers
skiing at Winter Park when the resort opened in 1940 as perhaps
Colorado's first destination resort.
The Winter Park Manifest , in its editorial, says that
Intrawest is "walking a thin line between improved profitability
and lingering distinctiveness." The paper recalled that Intrawest
had "signed on to retain the uniqueness of what is Winter Park" and
neutrally noted that it awaits Intrawest demonstrating how it can
Affordable housing slow in
TRUCKEE, Colo. Growth continues to be
the story at all resort areas across the West. That is unlikely to
change for many years, despite the occasional economic lull that
temporarily leaves the demand for and supply of affordable housing
Still, many of the big
boom areas are still slow to step in to require affordable housing
as a component of all projects, something called inclusionary
zoning. In Colorado, commissioners in Eagle County, which is home
to Vail and Beaver Creek and is also a suburb for Aspen's workers,
this year rejected inclusionary zoning. The proposal would have
mandated that a percentage of any new subdivision include housing
within the "affordable" price range. The idea had been under study
for seven years.
In California's Truckee,
which is getting hit left and right with plans for high-end
housing, the town also does not require affordable housing, except
as negotiated in the larger, planned-unit projects. A case in point
is the Tahoe Donner subdivision, which the Sierra Sun claims is one of the biggest
subdivisions in the United States (a far-fetched claim).
Planned are 82 single-family lots, with homes as small as 2,000
square feet, far below the typical mansions that characterize homes
in the New West.
One planning commissioner seemed to think that 10 to 20 percent
of the lots should be restricted to first-time homebuyers making
120 percent of the town's median income. But others dismissed his
call because no town policy is yet in place to base that
Dogs packs killing deer
SUN VALLEY, Idaho In the Wood River
Valley near Sun Valley, at least four elk were killed in early
March by canines that, in at least one case, were dogs.
A woman recalls hearing
a "horrible screaming sound" near her home and went outside to see
two dogs one a German shepherd and the other a malamute or husky
chasing a young elk down the canyon's slope until the elk bogged
down in steep snow.
"One dog jumped on its
back, and one jumped on its neck," Katherine Weekes told the Idaho Mountain Express . "They took it to its knees and
killed it right in front of me. It was awful."
A state wildlife officer, Roger Olson, explained that in spring,
when the snow is alternately wet and then crusted, dogs can run on
top of the snowpack with ease, while deer and elk break through.
"Dogs will be dogs, and their instinct is to pursue and chase. Some
do it for fun, and some do it to kill."
In the Banff-Canmore area last December, dogs chased an elk onto
the Trans-Canada Highway. The elk was then smacked by a truck.
Owners of those dogs were fined.