Free shows hurting concert promoters
JACKSON, Wyo. – Lovers of contemporary music were in heaven this summer in Jackson Hole. There were shows by up-and-coming bands and well-known performers like Emmylou Harris during July and August. Many were free.

Too much of a good thing? Those who charge money for shows told the Jackson Hole News&Guide that the freebies hurt. “It’s hard to get that cover ($20) out of people, because they could see up-and-coming to big-name bands for free,” said promoter Dom Gagliardi.
How much will people pay? Concert-bar promoter Harper Hollis said he tries to keep the cover charge down to $5. At $10 to $15, customers turn around at the door.

Killing problem bears hard on officers
CRESTED BUTTE – In a graphic and poignant essay published in the Crested Butte News, state wildlife officer Chris Parmeter tells about having to kill a 3-year-old bear that he had come to know well.

“This is part of my job as a district wildlife manager, a part that I despise,” he wrote. He told of being summoned to a rural subdivision where a bear had repeatedly tried to invade a house to get food. There was no choice but to kill the bear. But that did not make him feel good about what he had done.

He recalled “the acrid smell of gunpowder lingering in the air, mixed with the sweet, sickening smell of bear blood that oozed down the driveway of the home.”

Parmeter said he first encountered the bear in a dumpster when it was a cub, and then again several times more. “He’d pull down bird feeders and I’d give out ‘Living with Bears’ brochures to the homeowners. A month later I’d see the bird feeders out again, right against the picture window.”
For the bear, says Parmeter, the choice was easy: four hours of picking berries, one by one, versus four minutes munching down birdseed for the same caloric gain.

People always wanted the animals kept alive, but taken elsewhere. But in the end, they created the circumstances, leaving bird feeders and other food accessible to bears, that left wildlife officers with no choice.

“As he gasped his last breath and his blood oozed out onto the driveway, I only wished that all those people we had met along the way could have been there to share this moment with us,” he concluded.

Moose take a nice, long sleep
PARK CITY, Utah – All turned out well in Park City, where wildlife officers tranquilized an adult moose and two mooselets who had been hanging around the central part of town. The moose were transported to less genteel surroundings in central Utah, reports The Park Record.

Aspenites contemplate big growth
ASPEN – Mayors of Aspen from 1973 to the present recently assembled to share notes in a public forum. The first of them, Stacy Standley, had initially arrived in Aspen in 1966, poor and a college drop-out but taken with the town.

Over beers with other 20-somethings at the time, he expressed his unhappiness with the direction he saw Aspen going. It was headed toward real estate development, with a gutting of everything about Aspen that had drawn them in the first place.

“To get that vision in Aspen, we had to have a vision, and the mission was to get control of the process in some way, and to do that you had to have passion,” he said at the forum, which was covered by the Aspen Daily News.

“To me, it really came down to that, a shared vision, a mission and a commitment, and a passion to see it through to the end. Really (Aspen) was just doing business as usual by the people who had lived here forever, and God bless ’em, they didn’t see this bulldozer coming down Highway 82 that had nothing but growth gorillas in the cage on the back.”

Says the Daily News: “The rest is history, as Standley was elected mayor in 1973, served for six years, and the battle between members of the community and developers began that is still being waged to this day.”

Bill Stirling, mayor from 1983-91, said it wasn’t until the 1980s that people began to view Aspen as a potential source of wealth, a commodity.
When he arrived in Aspen in the 1960s, 80 percent of the people lived and worked there. By the end of his mayoralty, about 45 percent of people lived and worked in town.

Snowmass bumps into No. 2 spot
SNOWMASS VILLAGE – Come winter, Snowmass will be the second largest ski area in Colorado. The addition of 230 acres that has been in the works for about a decade will give Snowmass 3,362 skiable acres. Largest is Vail, which has 5,289 acres. The Aspen Daily News reports that a new $15 million restaurant is set to open this winter at Snowmass as well.

Diversity swells the crowds in Whistler
WHISTLER, B.C. – Looking back on a busy summer, people in Whistler are now thinking ahead to ski season.

Diversity explains the volume of visitors at Whistler this summer, says Pique publisher Bob Barnett. “Festivals and free concerts have been an important part of the village’s attraction, but diversity means there is constant animation: downhill mountain bikers in their armor, hikers with ski poles and packs, yoga enthusiasts with their mats, busy patios, street entertainers, even roving stagettes provide a little amusement,” he says.

The ski area is kicking off a promotional campaign called “Wonders at Whistler Blackcomb.” Skiers and snowboarders will be encouraged to “map” their wonders by uploading photos and video to the WB Wonderground website.

Season passes at Whistler Blackcomb this year are $1,489 if purchased by Oct. 8.

Locals want cheap season passes, too
WHITEFISH, Mont. – Reading about all the swell, low-cost season passes now available in Colorado’s I-70 corridor and California’s Tahoe Basin., skiers at Whitefish Mountain Resort wonder why they have to pay so much.

The Whitefish Pilot reports discontent on the Internet after the resort announced it would charge $550 for a season pass. Compare that with Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass, which costs $639 and allows unlimited skiing at 10 resorts.

Deep discounts are possible when you do big numbers, responded Nick Polumbus, the marketing director at Whitefish Mountain. Whitefish does 290,000 skiers annually; Vail and Breckenridge about 1.6 million each.

More realistic comparisons are to Bozeman’s Bridger Bowl ($580) and Big Sky ($999), or Durango ($819) or Crested Butte ($999), he said.

It’s dumping money at Squaw Valley
SQUAW VALLEY, Calif. – The new owners of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows continue to pour money into the two ski areas, with another $24 million in capital improvements planned for this winter.

Topping the list: snowmaking. Worse than almost any other ski resort, Squaw was high and dry well into January last season. A whole range of improvements were announced that will allow Squaw and Alpine to make a larger quantity of higher quality snow in a shorter period of time.
At Squaw, a high-speed six-pack chairlift is going in, among other improvements.

After buying first Squaw and then Alpine, Denver-based KSL Capital Partners announced plans for a five-year, $70 million upgrade to the two resorts. The company was founded by former executives of Vail Resorts.

Meanwhile, Squaw continues forward into government review with its plans to nearly double the bed-base at Squaw and expand the amenities. Included are plans for an aquatic center, an entertainment center and indoor zip lines, reports the Sierra Sun.

Chevis Hosea, the senior vice president of development for Squaw Valley Real Estate, said the improvements are designed to provide a better destination ski experience. Altogether, the upgrades are intended to provide a “critical mass of bed base for international financial stability and to compete with all the other great alpine ski resorts in the world.”

Sun Valley setting for Eastwood invite
SUN VALLEY, Idaho – Turns out the seed for Clint Eastwood’s much-discussed condemnation of Barack Obama at the Republican National Convention was sown at Sun Valley earlier this summer.

The New York Times explains that Romney privately invited Eastwood to speak at the convention after the actor had given him a “gravelly, full-throated endorsement” at a fund-raiser at the Sun Valley Resort Lodge.

“He just made my day. What a guy,” Romney is said to have joked with his diners.

The Times described Eastwood’s comments as “rambling and off-color,” although the applause and laughter in the assembly hall in Tampa, Fla., indicate his bluntness hit the spot with many delegates. Less clear is the effect on the people sitting on the fence who will decide this close election.

Blind woman climbs Grand Teton Peak
JACKSON, Wyo. – Nancy Stevens told the Jackson Hole News&Guide before she set out to climb Grand Teton, the jagged 13,776-foot peak, that her attempt was not about proving she can do it. “It’s about the enjoyment of the challenge,” she said.

Stevens, who has been blind since birth, this summer became the first blind woman to climb the mountain. In that feat, she joins Erik Weihenmayer – who also was the first blind person to climb Everest.

The News&Guide explains that while living in Colorado, Stevens began hiking up 14,000-foot mountains. Longs Peak was her first.

Last year, she met Ryan Burke, the program manager at Teton Adaptive Sports, an organization that strives “to promote and support sports and recreation opportunities for people with disabilities living in and visiting the Greater Teton Area.”

Making the trip with Stevens were Burke, two friends, and three guides from Exum, the famous Jackson-based mountaineering guide service.

Chain-stores quotas back on Banff agenda
BANFF, Alberta – In July, it looked like the idea of quotas for chain businesses in Banff had been shelved for a few years. But the idea is back before the council.

“Clearly, our community has differing viewpoints on how best to maintain our community while ensuring our future economic prosperity,” said Grant Canning, in announcing plans to introduce a proposal. Without necessarily saying they would ultimately vote for the proposal, other councilors said they also supported another public discussion.

The Rocky Mountain Outlook notes that this conflict has been kicked around for most of the last decade. Indigo Books, a chain, arrived in 2007, and the family-run book store that had been around for 43 years went away. The jury is still out on the effect of the arrival of David’s Tea, which has 30 stores, on the viability of the locally owned Banff Tea Co.

Meanwhile, some town officials have been studying how other municipalities regulate what are generally called formula-based retail establishments. Councilor Stavros Karlos told the newspaper he had visited eight municipalities in California that have formula ordinances. He said he would most likely support a law limiting the number of formula businesses.

Mammoth founder McCoy turns 97
BISHOP, Calif. – Dave McCoy, who leveraged a rope tow on Mammoth Mountain into one of the major ski destinations in North America, recently turned 97. The Sheet sat down with him, and reported him to be sharp as a tack.
– Allen Best