Ear to the ground

“Now that the rally’s gone, I think Durango should throw a gay bike week.”

-A local bike shop worker’s suggestion on a way to fill the void left by the Rally in the Rockies

Relief for El Rancho

The Durango community is continuing to help El Rancho Tavern and the Central Hotel get back on their feet. More than $12,000 in community donations flowed toward Central Hotel fire victims last week, and more is on the way.

Early last week, the Bank of the San Juans sent word to the community via local radio stations that it would match funds up to $1,000 in a relief effort for the Central Hotel fire victims. The response was overwhelming. Since then, community members have contributed in excess of $11,000 to help get them back on their feet.

The Durango Diner was one of the first to get involved and donated more than $2,000. On Aug. 17, Ska Brewing Co. threw a Ska-B-Q, complete with celebrity El Rancho bartenders, and raised more than $2,000. Then, a local family, who wishes to remain anonymous, wrote a check for $4,500. The remaining pieces came in $5, $10 and $20 donations from hundreds of Durangoans.

“It’s amazing how quickly it adds up when everyone gives just a little bit,” said Angie Beach, marketing director at Bank of the San Juans. “This community has incredible heart. Our ability to respond when a neighbor faces tragedy never ceases to amaze me.”

Donations are still being accepted at the Bank of the San Juans, 144 E. Eighth St., and the First National Bank of Durango, 259 W. Ninth St. For more information, contact the Bank of the San Juans at 247-1818.

Tunneling into Snowbird

The drop in temperature says it all. Ski season is officially less than 100 days away. And the season will have a new spin for visitors to Utah’s Snowbird Ski Resort. Beginning in November, skiers and snowboarders will be able to ride a 30-inch-wide conveyor belt through the only ski-area tunnel in North America. Snowbird built the 600-foot tunnel as an alternative to its tram and to provide easier access to intermediate terrain. Before the tunnel, intermediate skiers had to descend steep switchbacks to get to the land of the blue square. Once inside the tunnel, a “magic carpet” conveyor belt will transport skiers and snowboarders slowly up the 7-percent grade. Construction of the tunnel and conveyor belt came in at $650,000, a relatively modest sum compared to the multi-million dollar expense of a new high-speed quad.