Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mountain Town News


New bottom line for owners of Whistler

WHISTLER, B.C.—Taking stock of the sale that now makes Intrawest and its parent, Fortress, a minority owner of the Whistler-Blackcomb ski areas, publisher Bob Barnett sees plenty of upside for his hometown of Whistler.

Barnett, editor and publisher of Pique Newsmagazine, notes that ski area operations at Whistler had been consistently profitable for Intrawest but received little return investment. Now, that money cannot be siphoned off to prop up less stable resort operations, he notes.

Identities of the stock purchasers in the new holding company that now owns 75 percent of the ski areas have not yet been revealed, but Barnett, after examining the list of officers, sees good local and ski industry representation.

"It is not 100 percent local ownership of Whistler Blackcomb, but the board ... should bring a broader perspective of the operation of Whistler Blackcomb than simply the bottom line," he writes.

Jail for the Vail area has too few customers

EAGLE, Colo.—In 2008, when the Eagle County Commission voted to spend nearly $33 million to expand the jail by a third, to accommodate 120 prisoners, the curve lines all showed an uphill slope.

A report in the Vail Daily suggests there was an average of 96 prisoners then. But this year there has been an average of 58. The commissioners are closing the jail until business picks up.

"We were housing an average of 20 prisoners per day outside the county," said Commissioner Peter Runyon of the decision in 2008 to build the jail expansion. "Will we need it (the added prison cells and beds) at some point in the future? You betcha. In two years or less, we may have to reopen it."

Ambulances help or create sick people?

PARK CITY, Utah—If you get nauseated by vehicle exhausts, you don't want to hang out near ambulances. Even when stopped, they keep their motors running.

And that's what happened on Main Street in Park City recently. The ambulance had been called to help block traffic while employees of an electrical utility worked on a downed power line for about an hour.

At some point, residents of a nearby accommodation complained of the fumes, saying people were getting sick. But a fire chief said ambulances had to keep running, as medical supplies could freeze if the engine were turned off.

Park City currently only asks that people not idle their cars and trucks, but will consider a proposed ban this week. That proposal, however, would exempt emergency vehicles, reports The Park Record.

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