Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Mountain Town News


Keystone trumps Purgatory Drive

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- It turns out that people won't have to live in Purgatory, just as nobody officially skis there, either.

That had been the plan in Cheyenne, where the name "Purgatory Drive" had been picked in a subdivision with a street grid whose names came from ski resorts.

The ski area in question is the original name for the Durango Mountain Resort. The name came from Spanish explorers, who lost a member of their party to the waters of a river that they called El Rio de Las Animas Perdidas en Purgatorio, or the "The River of Lost Souls in Purgatory." Today, it's better known as just the Animas River, although another river of lost souls elsewhere in Colorado is called the Purgatory.

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle says the developers of Fox Run, a subdivision of rural acreages, were thinking of a scenic ski area when they chose the name Purgatory, but later decided that some prospective homeowners might instead think of a morally complex and ambiguous afterlife.

The streets signs are being changed out with the more prosaic "Keystone Drive."

Spencer joins San Juans

SILVERTON, Colo. -- Two mountains west of Silverton have memorable names: Grand Turk and Sultan. A mountain newly named, Spencer, has a more prosaic name, but the individual for whom it was named, Donald C. Spencer, was anything but.

The Durango Telegraph explains that the namesake developed an entire new field called Spencer cohomology, which combines algebra, calculus and geometry. Perhaps more saliently, while teaching at Princeton University in the 1950s, he was mentor to John Nash, the mathematician made famous by the book, "A Beautiful Mind," and later a movie of the same name. The author, Sylvia Nasar, called Spencer a "brilliant theorist, teacher and mentor, and later, a bearded environmental."

Retiring to Durango in 1977, Spencer was bitterly opposed to a dam on the Animas River, among other issues. He particularly loved the montane and alpine environments around Silverton.

Aspen Skiing partners for non-Vail shuttles

ASPEN, Colo. -- The Aspen Skiing Co. isn't about to share its mailing list with rival Vail Resorts Inc., and so it has thrown its business for transporting people from airports to a company called Gray Line Worldwide.

A company called Colorado Mountain Express for the last decade had cornered the business of transporting people from Denver International Airport, as well as from Eagle County Regional Airport, to ski resorts along and near Interstate 70. The company was owned by East West Partners, the land-development company.

But East West earlier this year decided to sell CME to Vail for $40.5 million. The deal is expected to be completed this fall.

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