Friday, July 6, 2007

Mountain Town News


Mtn. bikers want to see wilderness with wheels

DURANGO, Colo.—Two conservation organizations, the Sierra Club and the San Juan Citizens Alliance, are advocating a designated wilderness in Hermosa Creek, a 145,000-acre tract northwest of Durango. While the San Juan Mountains have plenty of wilderness, the ecosystem there is somewhat different: a lower-elevation, mixed-conifer forest.

While Mark Pearson says he and other conservationists recognize it's not feasible to entirely shut out mountain bikers from the entire area, mountain bikers are talking about a management designation that would exclude motorized use, but not mechanized use. The International Mountain Biking Association favors a national scenic area or primitive area designation, notes the Durango Telegraph.

Only billionaires need visit Saudi prince's house

ASPEN, Colo.—The 56,000-square-foot house near Aspen owned by Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the former ambassador to the United States from Saudi Arabia, remains for sale. It went on the sales block last summer for $135 million, the highest price ever asked for a home. The house also comes with 95 acres.

Perhaps playing off a now aging Aspen joke, the Times says that mere millionaires need not apply—only billionaires, of which Forbes Magazine says there are 946.

A majority of the serious shoppers for the property, called Hala, have come from old money, fortunes gained at least a generation ago, real estate broker Joshua Saslove told the Times. As to why, he could not say. As to whom, he would not say.

Whistler resort planner busy in Eastern Europe

WHISTLER, B.C.—Paul Mathews of Whistler-based Ecosign, a ski area and resort planning consultant, has been planning ski areas in North America for decades. But currently he's at work on three resorts in the Ukraine, two in Romania and two in Serbia.

"North America and Europe are mature markets," Mathews told Pique newsmagazine. "Every skier that leaves the sport is replaced by a new one right now. But in Eastern Europe, the markets are brand new. Eastern Europe currently has between 5 million and 7 million skier visits annually, or about as much as Colorado's Summit and Eagle counties put together, but could be doing 140 million skier days in a generation.

Steamboat aiming for skiers in the Big Apple

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo.—Look out Aspen and Vail; Steamboat is gunning for your skiers.

The resort is adding a substantial number of airplane seats next winter, and will have 490 potential passengers every Saturday from the three major airports in and near New York City.

"Accompanying the fact that New York is the single most lucrative ski market is the fact that it's the single most expensive media market," said Andy Wirth, vice president of sales and marketing for the Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp, "but in this case, we felt the financial reward is there."

Unlike flights from Atlanta, in which case about 40 percent of passengers actually come from Atlanta, about 98 percent of passengers on the Saturday flights from New York will come from New York.

Bear-proof Dumpster is unsafe, councilman says

VAIL, Colo.—If Vail's new wildlife law isn't a threat to human life, it's at least a threat to limbs.

So says one of the town's councilmen, Farrow Hitt. Hitt, who voted for the law earlier this year that mandates bear-proof Dumpsters and other trash containers. But in his duties as the manager of a condominium complex he sees significant problems.

Hitt says that the heavy lids on the Dumpsters provided by Waste Management are too heavy. "If someone was lifting that lid up and it fell back down on their hand, it would take their hand off," he told the Vail Daily.

For several years, Vail town officials had laws on the books that mandated no garbage could be left out until the day of pickup. Failing that, bear-resistant containers were required.

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