Friday, December 3, 2010

Mountain Town News


Hundreds apply for a smattering of jobs

WHISTLER, B.C. -- Job openings are scarce going into ski season at Whistler.

Pique Newsmagazine reports 300 people waiting in freezing temperatures in pursuit of the 20 jobs at a food-and-beverage business called Garfinkel's.

At the Garibaldi Lift Co., 600 people were interviewed for 17 available positions, with just five minutes per interview.

"It was a bit of a gong show that day," said company Manager Derek Pretty.

Tahoe snowpack may drop average 40-60%

LAKE TAHOE, Calif. -- A new study by scientists at the University of California, Davis attempts to provide a glimpse of the changing climate for the Lake Tahoe basin during the next 90 years.

If you're a skier, it doesn't look good.

The study notes that there may be just as much precipitation, maybe even more. But in some years, all of it may come in the form of rain. Altogether, the snowpack may decline 40 to 60 percent on average, and runoff may come up to six weeks earlier.

The report, titled "The Effects of Climate Change on Lake Tahoe in the 21st Century: Meteorology, Hydrology, Loading and Lake Response," also says that the clarity of the lake, already a concern, could worsen this century.

Aspen ski areas go locovore with beef

ASPEN, Colo. -- The Aspen Skiing Co. has announced that this season it will be using only locally produced, grass-fed beef for hamburgers at all its 17 food-vending operations.

The company also announced it will use only fair-trade certified organic coffee and cooking oils with zero trans fat. It also vows that all disposables will be either recycled or composted.

Vail Resorts several years ago launched something similar, with a push toward organic ingredients at its eateries.

Airports upgrading for new regional jets

ASPEN, Colo. -- Airports in both Aspen and Telluride expect to be capable of handling a new generation of planes by this time next year.

In Aspen, the runway will be expanded by 1,000 feet next summer at a cost of $14.5 million. Airport officials tell The Aspen Times they are confident of funding by the Federal Aviation Administration, which normally pays 95 percent of such expansions, using taxes collected on passengers, freight and jet fuel.

Resort and airport officials have long wanted the extension, as it will allow planes to take off with more weight, including passengers. That will become particularly crucial in summer, when the warm air of afternoons requires planes to carry fewer passengers. But this will also make the airport accessible to more types of regional jets.

At Telluride, the airport runway has been leveled and lengthened at a cost of $50 million. Now, the terminal must be expanded to allow waiting room for passengers going through security.

But before more money is spent, the Telluride-Montrose Regional Air Organization wants evidence that airlines will schedule flights to the airport. The organization will be talking with airlines in the spring.

Also being considered at Telluride is whether commercial flights can be allowed after dark, say to 10 p.m., while excluding general aviation planes.

Vail still at top-end for single-day prices

VAIL, Colo. -- Top lift-ticket price for ski areas this year—at least until Aspen decides what it will charge—is Vail. The company is charging $99 per day for walk-up customers during Christmas Week, Presidents' Weekend and the weeks of spring break. At other times, the rate is $94.

Not many people pay that, of course. For a few hundred more you can get a season's pass.

Aspen, reports The Aspen Times, might match or beat that price, given that it will charge $192 for a two-day ticket. Presumably, the one-day ticket will be a smidgeon higher.

Jeff Hanle, the company's spokesman, said single-day lift tickets account for about 10 percent of sales revenue per season at the company's four ski areas.

Other one-day prices, as compiled by the Times, are: Telluride, $98; Steamboat $97; Deer Valley, $94; and Sun Valley $94. There's also some place in Vermont called Stowe, which is charging $89.

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