Nearby resort aims for five
TELLURIDE Two things
stand out about the new $25 million Elk Mountain Resort, a diamond
in the rough country of Southwestern Colorado.
First, all the slick
marketing materials frequently mention nearby Telluride. In fact,
it's about an hour away, across a mountain range and in an area
called the Uncompaghre Plateau. Although pretty enough, that area
is not where you'd expect to find a lodge that aspires to a Mobile
Five Star hotel ranking. Only 30 hotels in the United States have
been accorded that lofty ranking, two of them in Colorado: the
Little Nell in Aspen and the Broadmoor in Colorado
Standards for a
five-star hotel are exacting and precise, explains The Telluride Watch , which is why this new Elk Mountain
Resort has substantially more employees than potential guests.
Resort operators expect to invite the Mobile's inspectors within a
Michele Rees, director of sales and marketing at Elk Mountain,
predicts that the resort's appeal will be for family vacations,
wedding parties and corporate retreats. It has 21 lodge rooms and
18 three-bedroom cottages if a 2,500-square-foot structure can be
accurately described as a cottage. In addition to riding stables
and a wedding chapel, there is a go-kart track.
The second surprise? Among the resort's sporting opportunities
is the Valhalla Shooting Club. It has clay and trap shooting
ranges, which are ordinary enough, and an indoor pistol range
featuring static lanes with computerized controls. But then there's
also a 16,000-square-foot house that can be configured to simulate
all manner of real-life situations for those who want to shoot
themselves out. "For the self-defense enthusiast, it's akin to a
life-sized video game with live ammo," says The Watch .
This shoot-em-up seems to be a key selling point for the resort.
"Today, you rescued the plane, prevented a carjacking and shot your
way out of a crowded subway station and you never left our
resort," reads one ad slick for Elk Mountain. "Save the world by
day. Relax with your favorite cocktail, vintage cigar and fine
cuisine at a true five-star mountain resort by night."
Sun Valley event attracts
SUN VALLEY, Idaho Space
was at a premium at the airport servicing Sun Valley for the July
4th weekend as Wall Street favorite Allen & Co. played host to
heavy-hitters of Fortune 500 companies and their
Sun Valley is accustomed
to celebrity splash. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry have second (or third)
homes there. So, a few corporate mega-millionaires (or
billionaires) doesn't turn the locals into stalking
autograph-hunters, notes the Idaho
Mountain Express .
Now in its 22nd year, the Allen & Co. event is known as a
place where deals are sometimes hatched. Allen, a small (fewer than
200 employees) but influential money manager, for some years tried
to keep the gathering hush-hush. That was futile, what with 50
corporate jets descending, the hiring of local escorts and
baby-sitters for VIP families, and the presence of Bill Gates,
Oprah Winfrey and Michael Eisner.
Several years ago, Allen went completely the other direction,
inviting the national media, while still keeping the sessions in
private. Satellite TV trucks sitting around and reporters lying in
wait to get interviews didn't go over well with the attendees.
Now, it's neutral ground. Reporters show up, but not many. The
locals are aware. And the sessions remain private.
Sierra snow melts a month
SACRAMENTO, Calif. In
California, the debate about global warming is not whether it is
occurring. Instead, state officials are trying to figure out how to
adapt to global warming and also "how to delay global warming," in
the words of Arthur Rosenfeld, who is overseeing the state's $60
million budget for research and development. It's the first
state-sponsored global warming program.
One possible result of
global warming is the earlier snowmelt in the Sierra Nevada. The
trend began about 1950, and snowmelt now occurs 20 to 30 days
earlier, Mike Detinger, a researcher with the Scripps Institute of
Oceanography, told the San Diego
"The mountain ranges are
essentially draining and drying earlier," Dan Cayan, a researcher
with the U.S. Geological Survey told the Los Angeles Times . "I would say there's enormous
concern about this."
This earlier melting has profound consequences for Southern
California, which relies heavily upon the mountain snowpack for its
water. The mountains act as a giant natural reservoir. But with
earlier runoff, that means a longer time without water. And it also
means more of a balancing act for managing those artificial
reservoirs, which were also built to contain floods from winter
rains. Compounding this is a multi-year drought that is causing the
Colorado River, another primary source of water for Southern
California, to be carrying far below its normal flows.
How much either the current drought or periods of heat can be
traced to global warming, scientists are still unsure. Weather in
the West is notoriously unstable.
Also unclear is how much of global warming is caused by natural
variability. But clearly, greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide
introduced into the atmosphere by power plants, cars and other
sources are at least partly responsible. As such, California is
trying to reduce the human impact.
California's Air Resources Board has released recommendations
about how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by cars and light
trucks by nearly 30 percent by the year 2015. This can be done
without hurting the state's economy or consumer choices, the
board's chairman, Alan C. Loyd, told The
Associated Press .
California already leads the way in energy efficiency with a 4
percent annual improvement, compared to 1.6 percent
Breast feeding splits
JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. Of
all the places to have a controversy about public breast-feeding,
Jackson Hole would be the most unlikely. After all, the local
mountain range, which itinerant French fur trappers named the
Tetons, can roughly be translated into English as
Yet simmering in the
letters section of the Jackson Hole News
& Guide is a disagreement about whether
mothers should nurse their babies in public. One indignant woman
wrote to announce that she had been informed she could not
breast-feed her child on the deck of the swimming pool at the
In response, one couple wants an official county policy ensuring
protection of nursing mothers against harassment. Asked another
woman: "When will our society recognize the difference between a
natural act and indecency?"
Breast-feeding is natural, agreed another woman, but she argued
that "so is modesty and respect of others. If you must breast-feed
in public, cover your shoulder and baby and breast with a blanket
like I always did when caught in public. Nobody straight wants to
Frisco building goes
FRISCO Geothermal is
being used to heat and cool a new commercial 9,000-square-foot
building in Frisco that will house a Wendy's fast-food restaurant,
a convenience store and a gas station.
Fifty-six holes will be
drilled 400 feet deep into the ground. The temperature there is 47
degrees Fahrenheit. A solution of water and antifreeze gathers that
heat as it circulates in a high-density polyurethane pipe about 6
inches in diameter. When pumped to the surface, 4 or 6 degrees and
hence energy are stripped from the solution.
Energy bills can be
reduced by 50 percent or more when geothermal energy is used at a
commercial or residential property, said Terry Proffer, owner of
Major Geothermal, a firm based in Denver. He told the Summit Daily News that geothermal energy systems,
although around since the 1940s, have not been used commonly in
mountain communities. However, they are popular in the
Twister nearly attacks golf
WOLCOTT If not for his
photo, the story told by electrician John Cummins might not have
He was driving by a golf
course located on what is called Bellyache Ridge, about halfway
between Eagle and Beaver Creek, when he saw ominous-looking clouds.
A foursome teeing up were also getting a little nervous. The golf
course is located at about 9,000 feet in elevation.
Sure enough, soon after
a funnel snaked out of the cloud, although it did not reach the
ground. As such, it is not classified as a tornado, explains the
Vail Daily . While tornadoes have been recorded
in several mountain areas of Colorado, they largely remain a
phenomenon of the flat-lands.
ELF torches Salt Lake
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah The
Earth Liberation Front the same group that claimed responsibility
for setting fires that caused $12 million in damage to structures
atop Vail Mountain in 1998 has claimed responsibility for setting
fire to a suburban lumber yard. The fire caused $1.5 million in
A fax sent to a radio
station said the lumber yard was targeted because it had ignored
warnings to repair forklifts that emitted more pollution than
diesel engines. The initials "ELF" were sprayed on the side of a
building at the lumber yard and on a truck, reported The Associated
ELF, a loosely organized
group of militant environmental activists, generally communicates
with the media through e-mail. The FBI says that ELF has caused
more than $10 million in damage since 1996.
Vail area sets real estate
VAIL Real estate sales
in both the Aspen and Vail areas are reportedly on a torrid,
May's $181 million in
real estate sales in Vail-dominated Eagle County was the second
largest month for volume on record, second only to last December's
$185 million. If this continues, Eagle County will set a new record
of $1.77 billion in real estate transactions. So far this year,
real estate was passing hands at a clip of $5.8 million a day,
reports the Vail Daily
Most of this dollar volume is in a relatively few high-end
sales. Housing priced at less than $500,000 accounted for 66
percent of transactions but only 18 percent of dollar volume.
In Aspen, the story is much the same. So far in the
Aspen-dominated Roaring Fork Valley, transactions have hit $652
million. The old record of $1.2 billion in sales established in
2000 is likely to be toppled.
"We're definitely on a record pace," said Bob Ritchie, a partner
in Coates, Reid and Waldron. He said during the last year sales hit
Although experiencing market lulls before, none have been as
long as that from July 2002 to June 2003. Now, not only is property
moving rapidly, but prices are rising again. Ritchie told The Aspen Times that luxury homes were selling for
$850 to $900 per square foot until recently, but now are moving
toward $1,200 to $1,300 per square foot.
The Denver Post , looking more broadly at resort
areas, says the same thing is happening all over, from Telluride to
compiled by Allen Best