Upscale fishing resort reinvented

GRANBY – Orvis Shorefox is no more. The project along the banks of the infant Colorado River, halfway between Winter Park and Rocky Mountain National Park, was supposed to appeal to extremely well-heeled anglers, golfers and others. But it went belly up soon after the recession started.

CNL Lifestyle Property, a real estate investment trust, has contracted with a resort manager called Resort Ventures West to pick up the pieces. New land-use and marketing consultants have been retained.

Liens filed against the project, $7 million altogether, have been settled.

While the previous developers had completed a fair amount of infrastructure and partially completed a golf course, a representative of Resort Ventures West suggested in an interview with theSky-Hi Newsthat changes will be made.

“It’s fair to say that the original plan was fairly ambitious,” said Gavin Malia. “There is some question as to whether Granby was the appropriate market for such a plan. But what has happened, has happened.”

He told the newspaper that the new project would be carefully introduced in “stages and phases.”

“It’s fairly exciting to look at a property of this size and think of the numerous possibilities,” he said. “The process is just getting started. We’ve really tried not to have any pre-conceived notions of what the product is going to look like.”

In a sense, the business plan for Orvis Shorefox envisioned a high-end resort for people who couldn’t quite afford the swank of Aspen, Vail or Jackson Hole.

It had lots of company in those grand aspirations. Idaho’s Tamarack Resort comes to mind, as do a handful of projects close to Vail, including the giant project at Minturn on the site of former mining properties. Now in other hands after the bankruptcy of Florida-based developer Ginn Co, it is also being down-sized.

Capitol Christmas tree cut in Wyoming

JACKSON, Wyo. – When your Christmas tree is 67 feet tall, it’s not just a matter of tossing it into the back of a pickup truck or strapping it down to a ski rack.

Especially when it’s a 2,100-mile drive, as is the case for this years’ tree for the United States Capitol.

The tree, an Engelmann spruce, was felled just outside Grand Teton National Park and then loaded onto an 81-foot trailer outfitted with a wooden cradle to keep the tree secure.

The truck driver tells theJackson Hole News&Guide that towing such a long bed has its challenges.

“There’s a lot of the curves that we won’t be able to make,” says Jeff Underwood. To get the truck around tight curves, cranes will have to be deployed.

In what surely must cause some heartburn in fervently Republican Wyoming, the tree will be lit on Nov. 29 by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

A U.S. Forest Service employee in Jackson Hole had had her eye on the tree for several years. Photos in the newspaper show a tree in the perfect shape of a cone. Alas, the employee died recently – although not before learning that her project was going to see fruition.

As for the tree, it was 87 at the time of its felling, still relatively young for an Engelmann spruce. The trees in Wyoming and Colorado live 500 to 600 years.

Future of mammoth dig in doubt

SNOWMASS VILLAGE – With snowstorms now almost a daily occurrence, the mucking around in the peat and silt near Snowmass Village has mostly ended for the winter – begging the question of just how much more digging will occur next year?

More than 200 bones of now-extinct species have been removed in the month after a bulldozer operator enlarging a reservoir scraped against what was originally thought to be a cow’s skeleton.

Instead, a veritable museum of Ice Age megafauna emerged as crews began digging in the mud: bones of two Columbian mam

moths, five mastodons, and three bison of a type that was twice as large as today’s bison, plus a ground sloth and a small type of deer.

Many of the species are believed to be from 12,000 to 15,000 years ago, a time when glaciers from the last great advance of ice still hung from high mountain valleys in Colorado.

But the oldest bones found at Snowmass are much older than the last ice age, anywhere from 43,000 to 120,000 years old, according to Dr. Kirk Johnson, chief curator at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Plans for the site haven’t been announced. The Snowmass Water and Sanitation District appears unwilling to foot the bill for additional digging. The district is already on the hook for $30,000.

“We can’t afford to dig for the sake of removing the bones,” states Bill Hamby, director of the water district.

That’s also the perspective of Snowmass Mayor Bill Boineu. “There’s no pot of gold out there when you find these animals,” he toldThe Aspen Times. “People say, ‘It’s a million-dollar find.’ Well, there may be a million-dollar cost to it.”

The museum, however, will return in spring to dig again – but this time with volunteers.

Aspen bears reflect on banner year

ASPEN – It was a good year for bears in and around Aspen. Last year, 20 were killed, compared to just two this year. What gives?

Part of the story seems to be improved compliance with mandates to secure trash, making it unavailable to bears. City officials conducted what they called “knock and talks” with residents and business operators who had failed to secure their trash in wildlife-resistant containers.

But the larger story may have been that bears just weren’t as hungry. There was no late frost to kill the berry crop, with plenty of nuts to be had in the backcountry as well, officials tellThe Aspen Times.

This corresponds with a study by a wildlife researcher, who attached radio telemetry tracking devices to some bears. Sharon Baruch-Mordo’s study had found that during years when the natural food supply is good, bears stay in the backcountry and largely avoid civilization.

It was also a good summer for wildlife in Banff National Park. Wildlife officials tell theRocky Mountain Outlook that both black and grizzly bears appear to be in excellent shape to survive winter after indulging in the bountiful crop this year.

But deer are another story. They’ve been feeding on pumpkins left outside homes after Halloween. That’s good for the deer, in that the pumpkins are rich in calories. But the pumpkins are not natural food.

B.C. resorts expect pre-recession season

KAMLOOPS, B.C. – Ski resorts in the interior of British Columbia expect a good season, capitalizing on a slowly recovering economy while riding the coattails of last winter’s Olympics in Whistler.

Visits rose 7 percent last year at Sun Peaks, and Christopher Nicolson, president of Tourism Sun Peaks, says the increase this year should restore numbers to those before the Great Recession.

Pique Newsmagazine reports that resort officials expect to attract people from Australia and New Zealand, although changes in air travel and economic conditions will cause fewer Europeans to visit.

Counties regulating photovoltaic panels

KETCHUM, Idaho – County and town governments continue to tinker with how to regulate photovoltaic solar collectors. In Blaine County, county officials are tinkering with guidelines.The Idaho Mountain Express reports that at least one installer thinks government regulation is a good thing. The regulations “prevent poorly designed and poorly implemented systems from going in,” said Bill Mann, owner of Sagebrush Solar. But he does quarrel with the cost of permit fees, currently set at 3.5 percent of the value of the system. “That can add two to three years to the payback,” he told the newspaper.

– Allen Best

New ski lodge fails to attract buyers

BRECKENRIDGE – Ski area operator Vail Resorts Inc. has a new and magnificent lodge at the base of ski runs in Breckenridge. It has a stone fireplace the likes of what you’d expect at Old Faithful Inn.

Unlike its other real estate projects through the years, some of the units remain unsold. But the company isn’t dropping prices – to protect the investment of existing buyers, says a company spokeswoman.

Among the amenities at the lodge are a bowling alley, a “rejuvenation center” and a bar that has 40 types of beer on tap, reports theSummit Daily News.

– Allen BestAllen 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