Earthquakes push ski area to higher elevation

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. It's probably not enough to warrant revising the trail maps, but Mount Rose has gained just a little bit of vertical in the last eight months. A swarm of 1,600 tiny earthquakes coincided with a slight shift in a Global Positioning System station on Slide Mountain, where the ski area is located. The mountain rose 8 millimeters, or about 3/8ths of an inch, researchers said.

"We've been watching earthquakes for 30 years in the Tahoe area and have never witnessed an earthquake swarm anything like this," said Ken Smith, a research seismologist for the Nevada Seismological Laboratory at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Causing the earthquakes is molten rock that is migrating 20 miles below the surface of the Sierra Nevada. But there's no need to fear lava flows on the ski slopes, say experts contacted by the Tahoe Daily Tribune . Chances of a volcanic eruption within current lifetimes is almost nil.

Nearly all the recent earthquakes were too small to be felt. Several decades ago, however, a 6.0 jolt near Truckee damaged the dome on the Nevada state capitol several dozen miles away. An even larger earthquake, with a magnitude of 6.5, struck the area in 1887.

Vail Resorts works on adding minorities to slopes

AVON, Colo. Vail Resorts has committed $600,000 during the next two years to a program that aims to introduce more minorities to snowsports.

As well, the corporation has agreed to a goal of putting at least 10 minorities into front-line positions, such as ski patrol, lift operations and mountain operations, at each of its resorts. The corporation owns Heavenly in California and the Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone resorts in Colorado.

Alpino, the sponsoring group, was founded by Roberto Moreno, a former ski instructor and ski patroller in Colorado's Summit County. He argues, as do most demographers, that if the ski resorts are to thrive in years ahead, they must more aggressively reach out to minority skiers, including the fast-growing Hispanic population. If they do not, says Moreno, ski resorts will even more resemble country clubs for the rich unconscionable, especially given that they are located on federal lands.

Moreno, and others, also argue that to truly reach out to minorities, ski areas should make conscious efforts to diversify their front-line personnel. If minorities do not see others of their own kind on ticket windows, lifts and other areas, they are less likely to stick around beyond the hard part of being beginning skiers.

During the next two years, Vail will give Moreno $10,000 for administrative purposes and also provide 2,500 packages (including lift, lessons, rentals and lunches) to be used at any of the company's four resorts in Colorado. Youngsters from Denver, where Hispanics and blacks make up about half of the population, will be given the trips based on performance in school and community service.

Furthermore, Keystone will provide up to 1,000 discounted lift tickets for participants next January on a day to be called Diversity Day.

"We have a responsibility to show leadership, and that's what we're doing," said Bill Jensen, president of Vail Mountain.

Moreno told Ski Area Management magazine that Vail's program is "probably the most insightful marketing move made by any ski company since the industry started embracing snowboarders."

Electric grid extended to mesa outside Telluride

TELLURIDE, Colo. The electrical grid is being extended to Hastings Mesa, outside of Telluride. An unspecified number of people already live on the mesa, but with solar- and other forms of electrical power. This extension of a 25-kilovolt underground powerline was described by proponents as a reliable source of backup power.

But some residents see this as an opening of Pandora's box, with development pressures increased and, even more important, the diverse consequences of electrical use unrestrained. Of particular concern to some residents is the prospect of lights blotting out the night sky. While special regulations will require shielding, the residents remain dubious of whether the regulations will or can be enforced, reports the Telluride Watch .

Some residents also fear the electrical lines will boost the potential for leukemia.

Parking issues plague the Roaring Fork Valley

ASPEN, Colo. It has lots of mass transit. It has an environmental conscience. Aspen also has a parking issue that makes its commercial core congested and unfriendly to pedestrians.

To make Aspen's core area more pedestrian-friendly, says Councilman Tim Semrau, the city should raise prices of parking and strip the two-hour-free parking zone from the nearby residential areas. "If we had the courage to inconvenience locals, we could make this pedestrian-friendly overnight," he said.

Other council members didn't necessarily dismiss Semrau's suggestion, reports The Aspen Times , but neither did they rush to embrace it. Mayor Helen Klanderud offered the most skepticism. "These are people who feel priced out of the community in every which way," she said. "Why add another layer to it? You're not going to do that without a lot of angst and anger."

Rachael Richards, a fervent believer in mass transit, is wary of Semarau's idea. Raising parking fees to discourage locals from driving into town could exacerbate the perception that Aspen is too expensive, she said.

The town is considering new parking structures.

Smokers ordered out into the streets in Banff

BANFF, Alberta Ashtrays disappeared from bars and restaurants in Banff on Aug. 1 as a new town law went into effect.

Establishments that do not want to order their smoking patrons out onto the sidewalk to puff have the option of creating designated smoking rooms, although waiters and waitresses cannot be asked to provide service in such rooms.

Not much grumbling was evident among those businesses contacted by the Rocky Mountain Outlook , but then it's not 40 below outside either.

Man jailed for dragging Rottweiler behind car

KREMMLING, Colo. Lately, the word "horrific" is getting a lot of use and probably misuse. An annoying twisted ankle? To some, it's horrific. But when a judge used "horrific" to describe how a dog was dragged to its death last year in Summit County, he was on target.

Several people camping at a reservoir had been bothered by raccoons, and for some reason this led to a Rottweiler named Misha being tied to the passenger side-door of a Jeep belonging to Randy Dean Randels.

Randels left at 3:30 a.m. toward Silverthorne, apparently not hearing the screams and shouts of the other campers. The dog could not keep up and was dragged for 18 miles.

Newspapers cited no evidence at his trial that he meant to do it, but the judge was indignant that Randels had disposed of the dog's body "like a piece of trash" next to a 7-Eleven garbage bin. "She didn't deserve that," said Judge Edward Casias. "No pet does."

The dog's owner asked that Randels be spared jail. The judge nevertheless ordered a month in jail, 200 hours of community service, a $500 fine, and counseling for use of drugs and animal-abuse.

New Revelstoke ski area awaits local sign off

REVELSTOKE, B.C. The clock is ticking for developers who want to expand a small ski area at Revelstoke into a major international destination resort.

The developers, Mount MazKenzie Resort Ltd., have now received conditional approval from the provincial government for their master plan for the Mountain MacKenzie ski hill. But that approval becomes dead unless they reach agreements with city authorities at Revelstoke and with Cat Powder Skiing, the current ski area operator, by the end of September.

A report in the Revelstoke Times Review , based on an interview with Revelstoke Mayor Mark McKee, gave no suggestion that differences will prevent such agreements.

The expansion during the next 20 years is expected to fuel significant growth. The ski area itself is projected to have 20 lifts with a capacity of 6,700 skiers per hour.

compiled by Allen Best






News Index Second Index Opinion Index Classifieds Index Contact Index