Study finds mountain bikes
ASPEN The International Mountain
Bicycling Associates has released a study that claims that mountain
bikes don't cause any more damage to trails than other uses,
Claims that mountain
bike wheels do cause more damage to trails are "unsubstantiated,"
according to IMBA's Gary Sprung, a Crested Butte resident who
conducted the study.
However, The Aspen Times didn't have to go far to find even
mountain bikers who didn't quite bite on that rather brazen claim.
Michael Thompson, of Basalt, who was identified as both a mountain
biking and hiking enthusiast as well as a trail builder, said
improperly constructed trails tend to channel water rather than
Wheels cause more erosion than hooves or feet when the soil is
wet, he said. However, properly designed and built trails can
absorb the impacts of mountain bikes with little problems.
Snowboarding growth starts
DENVER The growth of snowboarding
continues to slow, although it still outpaces the growth in
From growth rates of 21
percent at the turn of the century, the pace slowed to 11 percent
and this year is expected to slow to 5 percent, according to Nolan
Rosall, of the Boulder-based research firm, RRC Associates. Still,
that growth rate will push snowboarders to more than 31 percent of
all visitors to the nation's ski hills this season.
"That is still pretty
solid growth," he told The Denver
Post . "It
will be higher than growth in skier visits. But it's certainly not
at the rates we saw 10 years ago."
Sale of snowboards has dropped off even more, from 30 to 40
percent gains during the late 1990s to just 4 percent for each of
the last three years, according to annual surveys by SnowSports
Industries America, a trade group.
Vail Resorts' Bill Jensen reports a 50-50 mix of skiers and
snowboarders at the company's five ski resorts.
Teton County the nation's
JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. For the fourth time
in six years, the Internal Revenue Service has reported Teton
County as the nation's wealthiest, based on income tax returns
filed in 2002. The mean adjusted gross income of $107,694 is 2
percent higher than that of Fairfield County, Conn.
In another statistical
category, Teton County ranked first in per-capita income, the sixth
time since 1995. Pitkin County, which is where Aspen is located,
had led the previous year, but income levels there dropped nearly
30 percent between 2001 and '02.
What's going on with all
this wealth? Everybody knows, as the Jackson Hole News & Guide noted, that jobs in ski and
resort towns don't pay well.
Well, Jackson Hole has lots of amenities, beginning with
Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, a ski area, great
rivers and so on. But most important is that Wyoming does not levy
an income tax, explains Bob Graham, president of Real Estate of
Jackson Hole. That causes lots of people who might be able to claim
residence elsewhere to make Jackson Hole their primary
"You could go to places like Vail or Aspen or Telluride or Big
Sky, but you would not have the tax advantage you would achieve in
the state of Wyoming," he said.
Also keeping Jackson Hole's rates up are the fact that it's not
near a large city. That eliminates a lot of weekend second homes.
And then people of money tend to cluster once they have found an
interesting place with services, an airport and technology that
allows them to stay connected to the rest of the world.
Others on the top 10 list include a suburb of San Francisco, two
suburbs of Denver, and suburbs of New York City.
Inventor of the Gamow Bag
BOULDER Igor Gamow's name is
well-known among mountain climbers. Among his other inventions he
created the Gamow Bag, a portable hyperbaric chamber that can be
used to fight off bouts of potentially fatal altitude
But he is also a letch.
Or in the words of regents for the University of Colorado, who
recently voted to fire the 68-year-old chemical engineering
professor, he's guilty of "moral turpitude."
Seven women have accused
Gamow of making unwelcome sexual advances since 1982, the most
recent in a lawsuit filed in 2002 by a former research assistant
who claimed that Gamow threatened her job if she didn't have sex
Aspen leans toward artificial turf
ASPEN When Aspen's Wagner Park was
nominated as a candidate for artificial turf this spring, the
protests were quick and easy. You're going to make a plastic park?
But after touring two
soccer fields in the Vail Valley where artificial turf is now in
use, members of the Aspen City Council proclaimed themselves
pleasantly surprised. "Feels pretty nice," conceded Mayor Helen
Klaunderud. "I'm more impressed than I thought I'd be. This is a
really nice field," said the councilman known simply as
Still, it sounds
unlikely that artificial turf will be put into place at Wagner
Park, although it could well find use on a playing field
As for plastic replacing
natural materials, Vail also has had some internal debates on the
subject. In 1986, the Town Council debated creating a new
landscaping scheme for the main entrance to the town, using plastic
boulders. Amid cries of plastic Bavaria, the council
Movie theater threatens to close
CRESTED BUTTE Crested Butte is in a
one-movie theater valley, and the owners of that movie theater,
called the Majestic, would like to keep it that way.
But the owners are
annoyed beyond words because the new Gunnison Valley Economic
Development Corporation, to which their Crested Butte Town Council
gave $4,000 this year, has announced plans to recruit a theater for
Gunnison, the larger town 27 miles away.
Owners of the Crested
Butte theater say even art films shown one night per month in
Gunnison cut into their financial solvency. They have vowed to
close shop unless the subsidy for a theater in Gunnison is
Crested Butte Mayor Jim
Schmidt told the Crested Butte
News that he
was dismayed. "It's ridiculous that you give money to the (Economic
Development Commission, and the first thing that happens is that
one of our businesses goes out of business."
Winter Park feuds over
WINTER PARK With Intrawest now in
charge at Winter Park, there are suspicions that the company is
trying to muscle its way into a greater share of the lodging
Some even whisper that
the company-operated Winter Park Central Reservations steered
customers toward Intrawest properties instead of the 32 other
lodging properties. There also seem to be fears the other lodges
could be culled from the roster altogether.
In response, Intrawest
has hired Ralph Garrison, of the Denver-based Advisory Group, to
conduct a summer-long review of operations. The review, said Winter
Park general manager Gary LaFrange, is "not an attempt to walk away
from Central Reservations."
Instead, LaFrange said
the review is needed to assess whether the central reservations
system now used is working, particularly because travel
arrangements have been changed so much by the Internet.
"I don't know what the
right format is going to be in the future, but I do know that if we
don't look into this now, we're going to wake up three years from
now and be way behind the curve," he said.
Sue Neuman, director of
central res, said that Garrison as an independent consultant and
should be able to determine if, in fact, non-Intrawest properties
have been slighted.
Students schooled in big air time
KEYSTONE The Denver Post recently observed a class at Keystone
where students were being taught how to launch off a 6-foot-high
ramp for some "really big air." "Ten years ago, you would have had
your pass pulled for showing the bottom of your skis," observed ski
school director Chris Heidebrech. "The kids are going to do this
stuff anyway," he said. "We might as well teach them the right way,
so they can be safe."
The Post also reports that resorts in Colorado
are diverging from the standards of the Professional Ski
Instructors of America, which hasn't developed a standardized
curriculum of new "free-ride" instruction. The group's executive
director, Steve Over, acknowledged that the PSIA has followed the
resorts in this case, but rejects the charge that the organization
is too conservative. Some fads stick, others don't, he says. He
seemed to say that the PSIA waits to see which is which.