Ear to the ground

“They’re actually pretty good, me and my kids tried them once on a hike.”

-A local man commenting on the flavor and consistency of a dog biscuit

Come on down!

In one of his final appearances, Bob Barker called Durango down to “Contestant Row” on Dec. 4. Yep, following the words “Come on down, Heather Hooten,” the Durango resident took her place on one of America’s most storied game shows, “The Price is Right.”

Hooten, along with fellow Durangoans Tina Miely and Kelly Lombardo, all attended “The Price is Right” adorned in silk-screened T-shirts picturing their dogs in hopes of tilting the odds in their favor. The three journeyed out to Studio City with the express intent of seeing Barker in one of his Swan Song performances. Barker, who turns 83 on Dec. 12, is set to retire in June of 2007 after 35 years with “The Price is Right.”

Nobody’s sure if it was the hounds on her chest or the “Hooten” in her name, but Heather was welcomed by Barker to “Contestant Row” and coincidently asked to bid on his-and-hers Rossignol skis and snowboards. Facing less-than-stiff competition from her Heartland competitors, Hooten’s price was right and she joined Barker on stage.

At that point, Rich Fields did not shout out the trademark “A new car!” Instead Hooten was a given a shot at winning a new karaoke machine. The Studio City gods were not smiling on her, however, and the sing-along machine just eluded her grasp. Hooten’s spin on the big wheel was also not quite enough to land her on the Showcase Showdown.

Hooten’s episode is scheduled to air on CBS on Jan. 24, 2007.

Condé Nast at DMR

Discriminating customers may be on the horizon for Durango Mountain Resort. Purgatory has been selected as one of the top 20 resorts in North America in the December 2006 edition of Condé Nast Traveler.

The list was selected by readers who were invited to evaluate 104 North American ski resorts that they had visited in the past three years, and rank the resorts on terrain and conditions, lifts and lines, town ambience, dining and apres ski/activities. Only resorts that received a required minimum number of responses were eligible for inclusion in the rankings.

Purgatory received the 20th spot on the list, receiving an overall score of 64.3. Terrain and conditions were the highest ranked area for the resort with a score of 71.9, with town ambience close behind with 71.0 and lifts and lines rounding out the top three with a score of 68.8.