Friday, February 4, 2011

Mountain Town News


Whistler part-timers
ask for seat at table

WHISTLER, B.C. -- A group of people who own homes in Whistler and cash most of their fun coupons there, but work and otherwise live in the Vancouver area, wonder why they can't vote in municipal elections.

British Columbia began allowing vote-by-mail in 2008, and some 32 municipalities have implemented it. Whistler is not among them.

Jim Scabo is among those protesting the lack of a vote.

"My address is down here," he told Pique Newsmagazine, referring to the Vancouver area. "But if I'm not working, I'm at Whistler. I spend quite a bit of money in Whistler. I have a home there. I pay taxes. I should have a say in who's sitting in the mayor's seat."

X Games good for Aspen brand

ASPEN, Colo. -- By various metrics—butts in bed, eyeballs on ESPN—the Winter X Games are huge for Aspen.

Bill Tomcich, president of the local reservations agency, reports that occupancy at Aspen and Snowmass Village was expected to run "north of 95 percent." That, he told The Aspen Times, is a higher occupancy rate than at Christmas, Presidents' Day weekend or the Fourth of July. Before Aspen began hosting the X Games a decade ago, occupancy was lucky to hit 70 percent for the final weekend in January.

As for eyeballs, the Aspen Skiing Co. believes it gets huge exposure. In addition to the 84,000 people who show up in Aspen, roughly one out of every four teenagers in the United States watches the aerials on television live, said John Rigney, the vice president of sales and events at the ski company.

"It reinforces Aspen's reputation for hosting world-class events on a global scale to millions of youngsters, athletes, families and influencers," Rigney told the Times.

Teva Games to add a winter event

VAIL, Colo. -- In June, Vail hosts an event called the Teva Mountain Games, which can be seen as a warm-weather answer to Aspen's X Games. There's kayaking, rock climbing and other warm-weather sports.

Next year, there will also be Winter Teva Mountain Games, following the X Games by about a week. Running four days, it will include ice climbing, on-snow biking, telemark skiing, dog events and other types of competition.

The Teva Mountain Games don't garner the same buzz as the X Games. Compared to the 85,000 in Aspen, the games drew 40,000 spectators to Vail.

Like the spring counterpart, reports the Vail Daily, the Winter Teva Mountain Games will allow amateur athletes to compete against some of the world's best professional winter competitors. These professionals will be competing for a $60,000 purse in next winter's event.

The competition will be sponsored by Eddie Bauer, which reports that it has had "great returns" from sponsorship of the summer games.

Vail cranky about losing races

VAIL, Colo. -- While the X Games surely are the biggest event involving snow sports in the United States, on the world-wide stage the World Alpine Ski Championships are a much bigger deal. Aspen hosted them in the 1940s, and then Vail did in 1989 and 1999. Now, it's scheduled to do so again.

Sort of. The name Vail will go on the event, but all the racing events will be held at Beaver Creek, a few miles away. So will the awards and other celebrations.

That hasn't been going over well in Vail, where the town government has been asked to contribute $1.25 million to the event, compared to $2.5 million for Beaver Creek.

It sounds like this heartburn will continue for a good long while. Vail, though rearmed with $2.5 billion in redevelopment money during the last decade, remains ever vigilant about losing its standing—whether to a more distant competitor or its own offspring.

Buzz at Lake Tahoe
about 2022 Olympics

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. -- The buzz is starting to build about a potential bid from the Lake Tahoe Basin for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. A meeting was scheduled and organizers are soliciting donations of $1,000 a year for the next three years from businesses.

While the U.S. Olympic Committee remains mum about intentions of bidding for the 2022 or any other Olympics, the Nevada-California effort is being led by Brian Krolicki, the lieutenant governor of Nevada.

"While 2022 seems a long way away, this area needs to be prepared should the United States Olympic Committee call for a bid city," he said.

In Colorado, a Denver group has been loosely assembling plans for a bid, should the politics look favorable.

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