Caucasians flee Vail’s schools

AVON –Vail and the Eagle Valley have a school district with a steadily rising number of students for whom English is a second language.

From the start of Vail in 1962, the resort’s founders didn’t want their kids in the public schools, which then were at least 50 percent Hispanic. A mine in the area had drawn large numbers of Hispanics from New Mexico and Colorado’s San Luis Valley. But Vail’s founders wanted higher educational standards, so they created a private school.

That private school continues to flourish, joined in the last decade by a now lengthy list of parochial and private schools. The newest school, a charter elementary school, is planned for Eagle-Vail, a suburban-type neighborhood of 4,000 people west of Vail, adjacent to Avon. Organizers tell theVail Daily they were concerned that the neighborhood school, called Meadow Mountain, would close, so they struck out to organize their own school.

But why not send the kids to Avon Elementary School, only a mile or two down the road? It is upwards of 70 to 80 percent Hispanic. Seeming to deny ethnic prejudice, founders of the charter school insist their new school will also embrace Hispanic children.

The public perception, however, remains somewhat different. In fact, white flight is now being publicly talked about. Racism seems to be less of a motivator than the fear that English-speaking students are being slowed while waiting for their Spanish-speaking fellow students to arrive at the same page. Public schools in the Eagle Valley are nearly 50 percent Hispanic, the private schools still very much Anglo-dominated.

The Vail Dailyreports a widening gap in test scores between Anglos and Hispanics. A task force of school and other government officials has examined how to make public schools more attractive. A recent discussion delved into Hispanic culture and family values, as well as the correlation between lower incomes and lower scores.The Vail Dailyreports no particular conclusions.


Big box stores get cold shoulder

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah – In both Colorado and Utah, the same question has been asked again and again: Can a mountain town feel like a mountain town if it has big box retailers?

The latest place where this question is being posed is Utah’s Summit County. Like its counterpart in Colorado,

it is split by an interstate, in this case I-80, which draws many commuters going west to Salt Lake City as well as skiers coming east to Park City. But among the communities along I-80 is a place called Snyderville Basin.

There, despite a community plan that pointedly allows maximum buildings of no more than 60,000 square feet, a developer has submitted plans that anticipate Best Buy, Barnes & Noble and other national franchises.

The Park Record reports an icy response from the Planning Commission. “We’ve said mountain resort character over and over again,” said Mike Washington, a planning commissioner. He and other commissioners point to the detrimental impact they believe the big retailers would have on the smaller retailers.

“Is there an outcry for a big box?” asked Claudia McMullin, another commissioner. “I see no reason on Earth to revisit this right now.”

But the rejection is not complete. The argument is made – and heard – that consumers like these stores. If not there, then will they be accommodated down the road, at another jurisdiction – with the sales tax dollars going to that other jurisdiction?


Frisco takes on global warming

FRISCO – Frisco has adopted an environmental stewardship policy that calls for town employees to consider environmentally sustainable practices in all operating and budgetary decisions. The policy specifically identifies concerns about global warming.

“The international scientific community has reached consensus that human activities are warming the planet, and with its mountain setting and proximity to some of Colorado’s major ski resorts, Frisco is on the front lines of climate change ... ,” the resolution reads.

Mark Gage, the community development director, pointed out that buildings account for about half of U.S. energy consumption. “Where change really needs to start is with buildings,” he said, and it needs to start at the local level.

In adopting the resolution, Frisco is also joining the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization, a metro Denver-based group that seeks to encourage local action against greenhouse gas emissions. Other cities in the organization include Aspen, Boulder, Denver and Fort Collins, as well as Summit County.

Gate told theSummit Daily News that Frisco is keeping its eye on Aspen, which last year launched a program called the Canary Initiative. An audit conducted

as part of that program found that Aspen residents and the skiing, tourism and second-home economy are responsible for double the per capita greenhouse emissions of the United States as a whole. This is despite heavy investments in Aspen in alternative energy.


Telluride boasts highest lodge

TELLURIDE – Where is the highest lodge in the Rocky Mountains? A likely contender is a house built at an elevation of 12,200 feet near the Telluride ski area. It was built by a real estate agent, David Eckley, who not incidentally happens to be a high-altitude runner.

“I thought it would be cool to live at altitude, because I was running in high-altitude races,” Eckley explained toThe Telluride Watch, which puts out a real-estate magazine calledShelter. At the time, he was competing with the national Fila Sky Runners team, traveling around the world to compete in mountain races.

As you might expect, the house has views! views! views!, as real estate ads are wont to say. Out the front door is a chasm of nearly 3,000 feet, with 13,000-foot peaks beyond and, in the distance, the red rock country of Utah.

Eckley sold the house to the operator of the Telluride ski area, and today it is available for overnight rental. In addition to Buddhist, Hindu and other artifacts from around the world, it has a pool table and oxygen tanks. Also: a ski patroller who knows about how to deal with problems of sleeping in thin air.


Film covers corporate ski towns

SUMMIT COUNTY – A film that makes the argument that “the soul of skiing is being lost” is being prepared.The Summit Daily News reports that a trio of filmmakers – Hunter Sykes, Darren Campbell and Steven Siig – were in Summit County to film several segments and interviews. They say their film will examine the effects of the corporate ownership model on the sport and mountain communities.

They intend to focus on Mammoth Mountain, Calif., where the corporate takeover is still in progress. Longtime owner Dave McCoy several years ago sold much of his stake to Intrawest, and more recently sold his remaining interest to Starwood. Efforts to make Mammoth, primarily a weekend ski resort, into a full-fledged, high-end resort similar to … well, just about every resort in the Rocky Mountains is already well under way.

– compiled by Allen Best


In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
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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