Ear to the ground 

“I know this guy who buys the same color boat every year so his wife doesn’t notice.”

-A Durangoan explaining the fine art of keeping gear acquisition secret from your spouse

Ski Fort Worth

Who needs snow anyway?

A development team is currently bucking Mother Nature in its quest to bring skiing and snowboarding to central Texas. The group plans to build a 250-foot-high “mountain” and create a year-round winter resort called Bearfire outside Fort Worth, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The skiable terrain is expected to be about 15 acres.

Charlie Aaron, the head of the company, is seizing on a new technology called Snowflex, which is gaining ground in Europe. Think of wet, white Astroturf with bristles, says the Journal. The system uses water-misters to create a non-refrigerated surface slippery enough for skiing, but with enough grip for turning. Aaron also plans an “alpine village’ with chairlifts, ice rinks and a bobsled track, as well as a hotel and a winter wonder park for children.

“There are some naysayers and people who can’t really wrap their brain around it,” he said. Investors ultimately intend to post $150 million and borrow the rest of the total cost, estimated at nearly $700 million. Aaron said the resort is expected to generate 2.4 million visitors in its first year of operation, beginning in 2008, but it can remain profitable if numbers are 20 percent less. As a side note, The Journal noted that temperature topped 100 degrees on 43 days last year in Fort Worth.

The Battle of the Animas

If you don’t get Hypalon fix during this Friday’s Animas River Days Boat Parade, more blow-up fun is scheduled for next week. Mild to Wild’s 6th annual Battle of the Animas, a race pitting local businesses and individuals against each other in a head-to-head paddle-rafting race, takes place June 6.

The 32nd Street start will be Le Monde style with all boats leaving the shore at the same time. New for this year will be an open division for all rafters, opening the Battle of the Animas to the general public. Entry fee gets you a spot in the race and a spot at the Steamworks après raft party. The Battle of the Animas also comes with a karmic plus. Proceeds benefit the Durango Winter Sports Foundation, which provides Nordic, alpine and freestyle skiing for local youth. For more info, call 247-4789.


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