Aspen bar goes smokeless

ASPEN  – Slowly, steadily, the nonsmoking movement is moving across the ski world. The latest place to erect “no smoking” signs is Aspen’s famous bar, The Red Onion.

“I don’t know if it’s good or bad. I’m going to do it,” declared “Wabs” Walbert, the owner. Years ago, Aspen banned smoking in restaurants, workplaces and other public places but exempted bars and taverns. The potential for a blanket ban on smoking in public places in Colorado spurred Walbert to adopt the ban. Business may decline, he said, but it’s worth the risk for the sake of his employees and the restaurant part of the business.

The Aspen Times reports a dwindling number of bars that allow smoking in other than outdoor courtyards or patios. Some bars also have designated smoking rooms.

Meanwhile, Steamboat has an even more far-reaching policy come July. The new law bans burning tobacco in bars, as well as restaurants and workplaces. It also says “no fumarola” in athletic fields and outdoor amphitheaters.

Steamboat’s law requires motels and hotels to have 80 percent of their rooms smoke free. As well, the council toyed with banning smoking in condominiums rented to the public but decided it would be too hard to enforce, as owners of the condos could use them for smoking.


A-Basin sees avalanche death

ARAPAHOE BASIN – A mid-morning, wet-snow avalanche on Arapahoe Basin’s famous Pallavicini Trail killed a skier May 20. It was the first avalanche-caused death of a paying customer on a commercial ski trail in Colorado in 30 years.

It had been abnormally warm in Colorado the day before the slide, and the snow that night at A-Basin, located at an elevation of 10,800 to 13,000 feet, had not frozen. The snowslide occurred at 10:30 a.m. The victim, a 53-year-old skier from Boulder, was not completely covered, allowing ski patrollers to find him quickly, but he was declared dead when removed to the bottom of the mountain.

The last fatal avalanche during operating hours at a ski area was in 1975, at Crested Butte. However, six ski patrollers have died of avalanches since 1980 while doing control work: one at Snowmass in 1981, a second at Copper Mountain in 1983, three at Aspen Highlands in 1984, and then one in 1993 at Crested Butte.

A woman was also buried on a ski run at Copper Mountain in 1994 by an avalanche, but she was rescued.


Less moisture predicted for West

DENVER – New computer models forecast 17 percent less rain and snow in the American West in coming years as a result of global warming, even as the Canada Rockies gain more precipitation.

The two new studies link less precipitation in the storm track that delivers snow in Utah and Colorado as a result of the dwindling ice peak in the Arctic. About 20 percent of ice in the Arctic is expected to melt by mid-century given current trends. With the ice gone, warmer temperatures will prevail toward the North Pole, changing regional pressure systems – causing jet streams to veer northward. That will be to the gain of the ski resorts near Banff, Revelstoke and other towns along the TransCanada Highway.

The new projections, reportsThe Denver Post, are based on eight climate models done by researchers from the University of California at Santa Cruz.


Toasty Chicks land in Snowmass

SNOWMASS VILLAGE – Are construction workers so crude that they’ll forsake bologna sandwiches and apples for women wearing tight T-shirts that say, “From our box to yours.”

That’s the bet of a new company formed in Snowmass Village, where a building project that will ultimately see 1 million square feet of development is soon to get under way. The firm is called Toasty Chicks, and the chicks are being hired to take orders from the 600 construction workers expected for the project – orders of what kind of food they want from local restaurants.

The brainchild, Rodney Millspaugh, denies sexual double entendres. “We’re not selling sex or sluttiness or anything like that,” he laughed, when asked byThe Aspen Times.


Vail man stages own kidnapping

VAIL – Vail is rapidly gaining a reputation for bizarre, bumbling criminal capers.

First, two seasonal workers staged a hold-up of a bank, then fled to Denver International Airport with the proceeds, ready to spend spring break in Mexico

with their booty. They had, however, failed to disguise their Australian accents. The pair had also brushed up against the law just a few weeks prior, making them quick suspects.

Now a local man has staged his own kidnapping. Apparently, the 35-year-old man intended to raid his wife’s credit cards. However, he did not even bother to leave the valley with the proceeds, but instead was seen at a party the next night. Once arrested, he told police that he was high on psychedelic mushrooms the night of his alleged abduction, which police say was staged with one accomplice.


Four lanes nearing Breckenridge

BRECKENRIDGE – The busyness of a ski town can usually be predicted by A) The size and proximity of the closest airport; B) the proximity of a four-lane highway, and C) the proximity of a nearby metropolitan area.

Vail, of course, has all three, with Denver 100 miles away, a major airport 35 miles away and an interstate highway slicing through the town. Aspen now has a four-lane highway and a significant airport on the edge of town.

Breckenridge has relative proximity to both Denver and to major airports, and it may soon be getting a four-lane highway. A proposal to go to Colorado voters in November to authorize expansion of the state budget would see $20 million going to the four-laning of the highway from Frisco, a distance of 9 miles. More funding would be necessary to complete the link, however.


Whistler discusses big box ban

WHISTLER, B.C. – Whistler has commenced a full-bore discussion about the merits of allowing big-box retailers. Precipitating the discussion are plans by a firm called London Drugs to open an 18,000-square-foot store. Only a handful of stores in Whistler are larger than 5,000 feet, and the largest, a grocery store, is only 25,000 square feet.

Town planners, apparently at the municipal council’s invitation, have submitted a proposal to ban businesses of more than 5,000 square feet. Opposing the ban are those who would welcome larger chain stores and the generally lower prices they can afford local residents. They also argue that this is an unwise restraint on free trade. They argue there’s room for both the chains and the mom-and-pop local stores.

– compiled by Allen Best

In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows