Friday, December 10, 2010

Mountain Town News


Restaurateur forced to kill charging bear

TAHOE CITY, Calif. -- The Sierra Sun tells of a restaurateur on the shores of Lake Tahoe who killed a 500-pound bear that charged him. The bear had broken into the restaurant repeatedly during the previous week, and the proprietors had sought help. One idea was to install electric bear wires around the windows and doors.

But then one morning just before Thanksgiving, the restaurant co-owner encountered the bear sleeping on the floor of the dining room. When he tried to coax the bear out, it charged him. Because of the break-ins, he had a loaded shotgun, which he used, killing the bear.

"The business owner was defending himself," said Jason Holley, wildlife biologist for the California Department of Fish and Game. "I'm sure seeing an angry 500-pound wild animal was an intimidating sight."

Holley told the Sierra Sun that no evidence was found that the restaurant had stored trash improperly.

Fisherman on edge of death now gives thanks

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. --In early August, a geologist from Denver went fishing on the Snake River, located about an hour north of Steamboat. While walking through the river, he broke his tibia, or shinbone.

At a recent reunion and thank-you dinner with his rescuers attended by The Steamboat Pilot, the geologist, Craig Horlacher, recounted how he chose to remain on rocks in the middle of the river so he could better be seen.

Though he was able to capture two rainbow trout, he started becoming hypothermic by the second day after slipping into the water.

Though delirious when discovered, and just hours away from death when searchers found him after his fifth night out, Horlacher recovered after 33 days of hospitalization and then further treatment. His tibia has now been fused with nine screws and a metal rod.


Steamboat, Jackson get dumped on memorably

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. -- How quickly driest autumn can turn into deepest winter. Still, this year seems to be exceptional.

Steamboat ski officials reported that it was the snowiest November since records began in 1979. Some 90 inches fell, besting the previous record of 83 inches, officials told the Steamboat Pilot. This is a La Niña winter, and the last one was in 2007-08, when the resort ended up with nearly 500 inches of snow.

In Wyoming, operators of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort opened all of Rendezvous Peak to skiing after getting 113 inches of snow, a record for the date, Nov. 23. Never in the history of the resort, which is now nearly 50 years old, has so much terrain been opened so soon.

"We've never had a complete opening before," said Zahan Billimoria, a resort spokesman.

Ironically, the resort spent $1 million last summer to expand its snowmaking capabilities, to ensure more than one run on opening day.

Judge to determine fate of bankrupt Tamarack

DONNELEY, Idaho -- Tamarack, the beleaguered resort 90 miles north of Boise, may reopen for limited skiing this winter, but the status of its bankruptcy remains in doubt.

The Idaho Statesman reports that lawyers representing Credit Suisse, the Swiss bank that is the primary creditor for $300 million loaned to the resort, argued for moving Tamarack from Chapter 11 reorganization into Chapter 7 liquidation. That way, assets within the resort could be broken up and sold, ensuring the bank gets at least some of its money back.

The bank wants developer Jean-Pierre Boespflug and his partner, Alfredo Miguel Afif, removed from the resort management. Boespflug, in court filings, responded that liquidation demanded by Credit Suisse would be "counterintuitive and perhaps senseless." He argues that the resort has greater value as a whole.

After several abortive efforts over two decades, Tamarack was opened in 2004. The resort sold 531 properties for $359 million after its opening.

Majority owners of the resort filed for bankruptcy protection in February 2008.

Allen Best publishes a newsletter called Mountain Town News, which offers news in both brief and depth from mountain resort valleys of the West. He can be found at

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